Congratulations: To all those who graduated this past Saturday: congratulations. I'll give Dr. Gupta a 4.5/5 on the Scale of Michigan Mandom, just missing a perfect score because he said "hail to the champions" at one point.
Phillip Sims Transfers: AJ McCarron's backup, Phillip Sims, has decided to leave Tuscaloosa for Charlottesville in order to be closer to family (the obvious implication is that he wasn't going to see the field, which he wasn't based on his performances in spring ball and early on in the 2011 season). Well, I'm glad I spent a non-zero amount of time talking about him last week; Phillip Ely is now QB2 for the Tide. Some generic spring fluff re: Ely can be found here; FWIW, Saban says Ely has "improved a lot." Either way, Alabama is in a bit of trouble if McCarron gets banged up, but you could say that about almost any team in college football.
NFL Draft: The draft came and went, and, unfortunately, Michigan had another relatively poor showing. After Mike Martin, whom Tennessee took in the third round, Junior Hemingway and David Molk weren't taken until the seventh round by the Chiefs and Chargers, respectively. The most depressing point of all:
Meanwhile, Alabama had four this year alone. Yeah yeah, oversigning, but Michigan should be doing much better. Luckily for us, it looks like Brady Hoke is doing a good job of hopefully reversing this trend, although it may not become obvious that anything has changed for a few more years.
As a Bears fan, I'm sort of wondering if trading up to get Alshon Jeffery in the second round wasn't sort of foolish since a guy like Junior was available until essentially the very end. I don't think that comparison is necessarily off base. Both are big, leaping sorts that have had some weight issues (although Jeffrey's seem to have been significantly more noticeable). I mean, this overview from the NFL combine sounds like a description of Junior's game to a T. Yes, Hemingway was held back by Denard's inaccuracy a little bit...then again, Jeffery was saddled with the venerable Stephen Garcia, who exclusively tossed chill bro vibes and, occasionally, actual footballs thrown with a paradoxically lackadaisical flair in Jeffery's general vicinity. Jeffrey still produced despite this, although his stats did go way down in the receptions and yardage departments in 2011.
In short, I'm going to keep banging the drum for the "Junior=Jeffery with less college production" campaign. After all, Mel Kiper said he thought that Junior was a fourth round talent, and Mel Kiper is never wrong about anything.
Mel Kiper, football expert
Molk, on the other hand, is going to have a tough time starting right away in San Diego, particularly given that the Chargers resigned starting center Nick Hardwick to a 3 year deal. It is almost impossible to predict whether or not Molk will, in the end, have a long and productive NFL career (even as a career backup) because it hinges on so any factors that are beyond anyone's predictive abilities. With that said, all of the NFL GMs that passed on Molk because of his "short arms" are just incredibly stupid. The NFL's obsession with measurables has become increasingly absurd over the years. I could make a joke about NFL scouts here...or I could just link to this.
Gladwell Gonna Gladwell: I saw this Malcolm Gladwell interview on why college football should be banned linked on MGoBlog and thought "this won't end well." What I expected...
...was generally what occurred in that thread. Of course, that's not in any way an endorsement of Gladwell's assertions. Most of his points are unadulterated gibberish, and for reasons so obvious that no one should waste too much time fisking his "arguments."
I'm going to go ahead and file this one in the already bursting file cabinet containing all the reasons why Slate is terrible and not worth reading, ever.
On Beilein and the lack of depth: SI's Luke Winn awards the "Most Success With The Least Depth" award in SI's inaugural Data-Based Coaching Awards to our very own John Beilein. As you can probably figure, this accolade is somewhat of a double-edged sword. However, it is obvious that you can win without great depth if you're a little lucky and you don't have any foul-happy starters (looking at you JMo). Michigan won a share of the conference title with a starting five plus one stat sheet filler of note (i.e. Smotrycz), and plenty of other big name teams around the country didn't have deep benches (Ohio State comes to mind).
Sure, you can say that Trey Burke slowed down a little bit near the end, and you may or may not be correct. However, I think that Michigan's last two outings being losses in which Trey didn't exactly have great games makes the "he was tired because we literally had zero true backup point guards" an easy cop-out answer. Against the Buckeyes, Trey had to deal with the Sean Avery-esque pest that is Aaron Craft once again--whom had gotten the better of Trey in Columbus in the regular season--and a Buckeye team that was just better from top to bottom. Against Ohio (i.e. Ohio Ohio), Trey was 3/6 from inside the arc but a horrid 2/9 from beyond the arc, of which three of those misses came in the end when Michigan decided to just let Trey play NBA-style heroball instead of running any sort of offense. I don't plan on ever watching that game again, but, from what I remember, fatigue wasn't really the primary reason that Trey had an inefficient game or why Michigan lost (Ohio was pretty good, you know).
But, having depth sure is nice. Michigan still has no real depth at the 1, but the outlook everywhere else is looking much, much better, as Horford re-enters the rotations, Biefeldt comes off his redshirt, JMo returns, and Mitch McGary enters the fold. You can even throw Blake McLimans in there if you feel like living dangerously, and GRIII could see time at 3 out of 5 spots, including the 4. Michigan hasn't exactly become the Chicago Bulls overnight, but they will have more than enough depth in the front court to handle what the 2012-12 season will throw at them.
More? UFA signings from the Big Ten; Michigan had four. Huyge and Watson to Redskins rookie minicamp. Missed this from a couple of weeks ago, but 2012 opponent UMass appears at #120 in the Pre-Snap Read countdown. Alex Cook at Maize n Brew takes a look at the Western Michigan game through the always instructive lens of ALL THE ADVANCED STATS. And here I thought that S&P referred to a stock index.