Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 4/4/2012

Back from a bit of a break. That noise you hear? Oh, that's just FOOTBALL. Adieu, hockey and's time for football. Sort of. 
Self-Promotion, Still Shameless: Check out Maize n Brew later today for some basketball talk from me re: how the offense will look decidedly un-Beilein-like going forward. Basically, I suggest that Michigan basketball will look a lot like this:

Let's hope Michigan can bring a little more defensive intensity than that. "THE BALL'S IN HIS SHIRT NOOO WHAT ARE YOU DOING."-Person that takes AND1 basketball way too seriously

Footbaw Talk Is Positively Gorgeous: Al Borges sat down with Howard Griffith and talked real, live footbaw. If this sentence excited you the same way that it did me, then: a) you have a problem and b) it's probably early April.

The two issues to address in the passing game re: Denard are footwork and "second decision making." Al makes even relatively simple concepts like, say, making decisions, sound really cool. He then goes on to break down two plays, the first being that interception against Purdue, an intermediate dig route to Roundtree against Iowa, and the long completion to Gallon on Michigan's late game drive against Notre Dame. You would think that these are relatively simple plays, but I was hoping there'd be more at the end of the video. Alas, it's only five minutes long, but it does give you just enough to ward off the pangs of football withdrawal for a little while.

In any case, the Purdue interception, in particular, is the sort of play that Denard simply cannot make going forward. Given that this will be year 2 in the system, I feel pretty good about not only this sort of play being eliminated from Denard's game, but turnovers in general. Footwork is doubly difficult for mobile QBs like Denard; happy feet leads to interceptions, missed receivers, and other unfortunate happenings. Denard's feet vis-a-vis the passing game (i.e. getting the appropriate depth in his drops, not getting happy feet, not throwing off the back foot, etc.) are arguably more important than the role, in, well, running the ball. Al was not perfect in 2011, but it's hard to feel anything but comfort going forward. Now if we could only just get him to officially become enamored with the concept of continuing to recruit mobile types (of course, very few will be as fast as Denard, if any even exist) for the QB position, things would be just perfect.

Terms to add to your Michigan football lexicon: "steal his eyes" (defender reading the QB's eyes) and "gettin' in the fight" (in reference stepping up in the pocket through the lanes created by the outside rushers).

Diamond in the Rough: Nick Baumgardner's article on GRIII's skyrocketing recruiting hype is another thing to file under "Beilein is a ridiculous talent evaluator" file. According to GRIII himself:
"Those guys believed in me before anyone else really did, and that means a lot," Robinson said.
And also:
"I believe some schools look too much into what a player is right now, and not what their potential could be. Michigan did a great job with that, though, and that's what I really liked about them."
 So, there you go. GRIII has seen his stock rise from "fringe high-major" level to the #28 player in the country according to Scout, making him a just-about-5-star prospect. That is an incredible jump, but if anybody would've been able to predict that sort of spike, it's John Beilein. As much hype as Mitch McGary has gotten (and as much under-the-radar indie hype as Stauskas has gotten), GRIII is the guy from this class that I'm most excited about. He's the athletic dynamo of a winger that elite teams usually have at least a couple of...I imagine his outside game will need a little work, but he will contribute significantly no matter what.

Outside of the article's recruiting slant and GRIII's using not making the McDonald's All-American team as motivation to get better, the article references the fact GRIII was told by the staff that he'd play both the 2 and the 3, and not the 3/4 as was previously expected. I don't normally get too caught up in the numerical designations, but I though it was interesting. Then again, it's entirely possible that this quote was based on information that preceded the news of Smotrycz's departure; in light of that, it's possible that GRIII will still see some time at the 4, although I really sort of hope not. This of course leaves the conundrum of having both GRIII and THJ at the 3, and you'd really like to have both on the court at the same time. If THJ can seriously refine his handle and outside shooting this offseason, then you can pencil GRIII in for a starting spot. Otherwise, I think we're probably looking at Burke-Stauskas-THJ-Morgan-McGary, which is just fine.

Losing Smotrycz, Novak, and Douglass is unfortunate, but I think the future is still bright.

Meanwhile, in Alabama: [Insert Shutdown Fullback's "pig running across a football field" animation]

On a serious note, 2012 signee Dalvin Tomlinson sustained what is termed a "serious" knee injury. Tomlinson is 6'3'' 270. Care to guess how he hurt his knee? If you guessed "soccer," well, you must actually live in the Yellowhammer State, otherwise you'd be inclined to believe that soccer has long since been banned by the Alabama State Legislature.

I'm not completely sure where he fits in the Bama 2-deep at this point in time, but odds are he would have at least been a contributor, even with Australian manbearpig Jessie Williams officially moving to defensive tackle after spending last year as a RVB-esque DT/DE. In any case, it seems a little fishy that he says he'll be "over it" by the time the season starts. Assuming it's an ACL injury, the common wisdom is that that sort of thing takes about six months, which would see the last month of his recovery begin in September. Of course, this last sentence was rampant speculation, so who knows.

Of course, since people are horrible, I must state the obvious: all injuries, suffered by anybody and no matter for what team, are unfortunate. Anyone that roots for an opponent to get injured should be forced to watch the 2008 Northwestern game on loop in a dark room with their eyelids taped open. With that said, this is something to monitor as we get closer to September 1st, as Alabama has already lost a significant amount of defensive talent to the NFL.

More? Andy Katz has Michigan at #8 in his early top 25...yeah, try not to think about 2009 (you can't). Excellent recruiting stuff from UMHoops, as always. Spring practice notes from Tuscaloosa; nothing too exciting. Dudes are nursing injuries, the O-linemen are getting used to lining up next to new faces. Spring football, yeah!

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