Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 6/26/2012

Listen up kids. Elvis Grbac has something to tell you (via Wolverine Historian):

Things That That You Already Knew. Sippin' On Purple compiles all the fancy numbers that confirm what we already knew about Northwestern basketball and why it hasn't been able to break through and get that first Big Dance invite:

Northwestern since 2009

Northwestern measures up admirably to the rest of the conference in adjusted offensive efficiency throughout the last four years, coming in 4th (two spots ahead of 6th-ranked Michigan, all Beilein years of course). Defensively, however, is where we find the answers to the many questions Northwestern fans may have about why this thing hasn't found that extra something to propel it to a first ever tourney berth. The Wildcats placed dead last in the conference in adjusted defensive efficiency (Michigan was also middle of the pack here, finishing in 7th).

At this point, Bill Carmody is not exactly an unknown entity: like Beilein, he's an offense-minded coach with a history of deploying the zone on defense, a necessary strategy when your 5 is John Shurna. This likely won't change this upcoming season, which would seem to be a make or break year for Carmody in Evanston.

It will be interesting to track how recent 7'2'' commit Chier Ajou does for NU on the defensive end. Although he is very raw, the best case scenario of his development would provide Northwestern with a viable presence in the paint that has, as far as I know, never been seen in Welsh-Ryan (excepting such players that have worn the other team's colors when playing in that arena). Unfortunately for Carmody, it doesn't seem that Ajou will be a legitimate factor for at least a couple of years, although he will assuredly get playing time by virtue of being really really tall.

 Meanwhile, in West Lafayette. Pre-Snap Read previews Purdue, who falls at the #73 spot in Myerberg's offseason preview series. On the ridiculous QB situation in WL:
All signs point to Purdue again going with a rotation at quarterback. But will it be a two-man rotation or will all three quarterbacks earn snaps in this offense? The Boilermakers would be wise to stick with two – but wiser to go with one full-time starter. One reason why the options should be Marve and TerBush: Henry is the only one of the three who can make an impact in other ways. With not much separating the three, Purdue could shift Henry out to receiver and get him in space, perhaps bringing him into shotgun in certain packages. If fully recovered from last year’s knee injury, the former starter can be a difference-maker if used correctly.
 I have a tendency to whittle various teams' prospects down to a question of how their quarterback will do, but I think that this is especially true in Purdue's case. In spite of the Boilers' anemic offense of late, PU does boast some solid options at the skill positions, namely Antavian Edison at receiver, Akeem Shavers at tailback, and WR/special teams speedster Raheem Mostert.

The defense is of course an issue, and I'm not sure how I feel about new defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar, who came to WL from the CFL. With that said, change was needed on the defensive side of the ball, and Tibesar does have a big time player in Kawann Short to work with up front.

In the end, Hope's 2-year extension through 2016 and last year's bowl appearance lead me to believe that simply appearing in another bowl game this season would constitute a big victory for the Purdue football program. None of the options at QB are particularly exciting, but I think that having the ability to pick one and stick with him will go a long way toward locking up a second straight bowl appearance. I think a six or seven win season is in the cards for Purdue this season. Baby steps.

Tommy Rees still around, working out and such. Tommy Rees is still enrolled and going through summer workouts (see: ALL THE STADIUM STEPS), which would lead one to believe that his status as a ND football player won't be in danger come fall, barring any additional legal missteps.

I only mention this to note that, while it is easy and sometimes funny to make fun of Rees's propensity for turning the ball over in an untimely fashion--are turnovers ever timely?--he was the guy who put up the following stat line on Mattison's defense last season: 27/39, 315 yards, 3 TDs (and 2 INTs). Take out the unforced turnovers and Rees had an excellent game against what turned out to be a top notch Michigan defense. Yes, Michael Floyd is gone and Michigan now has an entire year of game experience in Mattison's defensive system, but still. We are not exactly in a position to scoff at the QB of a team that we were very lucky to beat last year.

I think ND is best served with Rees at the helm early on in the season, in spite of what was a strong spring for Everett Golson. Laugh if you must, but if Rees finds himself booted from the team between now and September for whatever reason, that would be a not insignificant loss and certainly one that would up Michigan's chances of winning in South Bend this September.

 New contracts for basketball assistants Alexander, Meyer, Jordan. Michigan re-upped assistant basketball coaches Bacari Alexander, LaVall Jordan, and Jeff Meyer, who are by all accounts excellent basketball coaches when they are not busy #HALOLing and retweeting motivational quotes.

This is a big deal and a great move for the Michigan program going forward. It's often very easy to attribute all of the success or failure of a program to the head coach and the head coach alone, but I would imagine that Beilein himself would tell you that he couldn't have done any of this alone. In any case, this is good for the continuity of the program and represents one step further away from the athletic department's prior M.O. of extreme stinginess with respect to assistant coaches.

Alexander, particularly, seems like an assistant poised to snag some sort of head coaching job at some point (he's only 35), so this was a smart and probably obvious move for the AD. If you need any more convincing, head to your recruiting outlet of choice and check out how Michigan's recruiting efforts are doing...these guys can recruit, obviously, and you never know how a replacement might do in this crucial aspect of the coaching game.

In this case, it's "mo' money, less problems."

More? BREAKING: Jim Harbaugh is a big meanie per CBS NFL writer Mike Freeman. Okay then.  Andrew Gribble of al.com previews Michigan...a note: I haven't read the comments for this article, but it's generally best to avoid the comment sections at al.com. You've been warned.

Grantland on Royce White's draft prospects vis-a-vis his struggles with anxiety disorder...this is tangentially relevant only because Michigan faced off against White's ISU Cyclones this past season. Still interesting, though.

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