Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bump in the Road

Somewhere in California, two attorneys were laid off last week (see approximate visual representation above).  Their work has been redistributed.  Most of it is now on my desk.  Until somebody new is hired or people stop suing one another, posts will occur with less frequency.

Apologies for the bump in the road.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mike Hart's Time Machine: Just In Time To See The Bus Fly By. . .

When he breaks out of the huddle 
And the play clock starts to dwindle 
I don't think he'll ever make it on time.
But when Henne starts to cook, 
And then I see the look, 
I'm at the corner just in time to see Mike Hart fly by. 
It's alright 'cause I'm saved by the bell Mike Hart and his effing time machine. 
Thanks for being everywhere, big guy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Men of Many Talents

Ever wonder what other sports these guys played in high school?

Disclaimer:  As much as I wanted to emphasize Erik Gunderson's contributions as a 265 pound swimming machine, the following is presently limited to scholarship athletes; before you complain about the inclusion of Jordan Kovacs, please understand that it is no longer 2009.  Incoming freshmen and recruits have not yet been added.  Feel free to point out anything I may have missed.

Devin Gardner
Drew Dileo
Mike Martin (shot put & discus)
Mark Huyge
Mike Martin
Brendan Gibbons
Marell Evans
Rocko Khoury
Josh Furman (100m, 200m, 4x100, 4x200)

Thomas Gordon
Jordan Paskorz
Je’Ron Stokes (100m, 200m, 4x200, 110m hurdles)

Kelvin Grady

Terrence Robinson (4x100)

Isaiah Bell

Teric Jones
(60m, 100m, long jump, 4x100, 4x200)

Jordan Kovacs

Thomas Gordon
(4x100, 110m hurdles)

Ryan Van Bergen

Denard Robinson
(100m, 4x100)

Patrick Omameh

Michael Shaw
(200, 4x200, 4x400)

Mark Huyge

Terrence Talbot
(100m, long jump, 4x100)

Craig Roh

Darryl Stonum
(100m, 200m, 400m, 4x200, 4x400)

Jordan Paskorz

Mike Jones
(200m, long jump)

Fitzgerald Toussaint
(100m, 4x100)

Troy Woolfolk
(100m, 200m, 4x800)

Jordan Kovacs

Ryan Van Bergen

Rocko Khoury

Patrick Omameh

Michael Schofield
(Hurdles, relays, shotput, discus)

Quinton Washington
(Shotput, discus)

Jordan Paskorz

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Six Word Memoirs: Rich Rodriguez's Tenure

Previously:  Michigan football.

The challenge was to capture the good, the bad and at least a flavor of the memes.  This comes close:

Monday, May 16, 2011

In Godin We Trust

Matt Godin is probably bigger than you.  At 6'5, 267 pounds, he can play either the defensive tackle or the strongside defensive end position.  

Despite his imposing physical measurements, Godin's film exposes a few weaknesses.  

He has a tendency to play high (even if this did help him leap over the helmet of at least one offensive guard last season it will hinder him against more disciplined competition), and he can have difficulty shedding blockers when his lateral quickness fails to deflect the initial impact, leaving him vulnerable to single-blocks at the next level.

Godin has plenty of strengths, including...well, strength.  He shows above-average instincts and awareness of the game, and doesn't relent on the play.  In many ways, he is reminiscent of three-year starter Ryan Van Bergen.  Or at least Ryan Van Bergen's slightly less athletic younger brother.  

"X" always stands for either x-treme
or treasure, and Godin isn't a loot piƱata.

As with Van Bergen, Godin is suited for the 5-tech defensive end/tackle hybrid position, but he also has the frame to carry the additional 30-35 pounds that serve as a rudimentary prerequisite for interior, 3-tech defensive tackles in Mattison's 4-3 under.

With limited roster slots in this year's recruiting class, heavy needs at several key positions, and strong interest from top players across the nation, Michigan can afford to be particularly selective with defensive line recruits.
In this context, defensive line gurus Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison couldn't pass up the opportunity to have Godin join the Wolverines next fall.  He will take time to develop, but already he has acquired a vote of confidence from some of the best in the business at his projected position.

Until then, it is in Godin--and the coaching staff who selected him--that we trust.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Content Update: Simpsons-Denard

I am out of town for a few days, so content will resume next week. . .

. . .in the meantime, allow Simpsons-Denard to keep you company.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One Morris Plenty

Some of these pictures are probably of QB Shane Morris.

Michigan picked up a huge commitment on Tuesday from Shane Morris, a quarterback in the 2013 class and the erstwhile father of Stephanie Tanner.

Morris may seem like just another pledge along Brady Hoke's whirlwind, "holy cow, this guy is good" recruiting marathon, but he will have plenty to offer the Wolverines.  Although he hasn't started his Junior year of high school, Morris is already receiving acclaim as one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation.  Not to let expectations run rampant, but MGoBlog is already projecting his entry into the NFL.

The reasons are abundant.

Morris has good footwork and a strong arm.  His mechanics still need refinement, but generally he has a quick release and potent accuracy.  At 6'3'' and only sixteen, Morris may grow another inch or two before he steps foot in Ann Arbor and should have ideal height for a quarterback in Hoke's offense.

Morris is good.  Observe for yourself:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pharaoh Mounta' Defensive Recruits

Pharaoh Brown, Ruler of the Defensive Line and parts of Thebes.

For Pharaoh Brown, I tried to dig deep for the worst pun ever conjured by a native English speaker.  I think mission pretty much accomplished.  For the record, it narrowly beat out a bottle of Greg Mattison's patented Pharaohmones.

Pharaoh Brown does his best J.J. Barea impression.
Unlike the swat that caused Bynum's ejection against
the Mavericks on Sunday, no foul was called on #40.
Brown is a two-way athlete for Brush High School in Ohio, playing both basketball and football for the Arcs.*  As a basketball player, Brown occasionally led the team in scoring despite playing alongside excellent talent in Curtis Oakley Jr., nephew of former NBA star Charles Oakley.  Brown was particularly effective when he was not the face end of a two party face palm (pictured).

In football, Pharaoh has played a peculiar trio of quarterback, tight end and defensive end.  Michigan has recruited him for the defensive end position, so he can be expected to add nearly forty pounds to his 220 pound stature before taking the field.  Unlike the other defensive end picked up by the Wolverines last week, Brown has a long frame that can carry additional mass with ease.

As with most quarterbacks-turned-something-else, Brown will need time to fine-tune his new position.   Like Ojemudia, he is a defensive lineman selected early in the recruiting process by a coaching staff that specializes in the defensive line:  he should be very good.  With his raw physical gifts, Brown has a higher ceiling than recent commits at the position, but I expect it to take at least two years for the final product to begin to take shape.

Assuming Pharaoh remains dedicated in the weight room and on the defensive side of the ball, there may be more than a few plagues unleashed on Big Ten quarterbacks by 2014.

*Brush High School's official mascot is "Arcy the Arc Lamp."  Seriously.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Super Mario 2

Mario Ojemudia committed to Michigan on
May 7, 2011 to play on the defensive line
and possibly to thwart King Koopa.
Mario Ojemudia is a lightning-quick defensive end and one of the best in the nation to play his position.  Had he committed to any other program, he might have been dubbed "Super Mario."

"Super" Mario Manningham
Ability to fly confirmed.
Unfortunately for Ojemudia, star wide receiver and current New York Giant Mario Manningham claimed that title for the Wolverines years ago; fortunately for Ojemudia, Super Mario 2 proved to be a far more dynamic experience than its least until you invested countless and irreplaceable hours of your childhood attempting to reach an end ruined by the regrettable discovery that the entire paper-thin plot was no more than Mario's stupid dream.  I blame you, Japan.

Super Mario 2, Mario Ojemudia
Ability to fly presumed.
Unlike the storyline to the successor title of the acclaimed video game, there are actual reasons to believe that the surmounting hype and high praise surrounding the 6'2'' version of Super Mario 2 is something more than a fleeting, transparent, worthless figment of the imagination.

On film, Mario looks absolutely devastating to offensive lines.  For what it's worth, he also looks rail-thin, like a Davion Rogers who has eaten a hamburger in his life.  Although he will inevitably sacrifice some speed for an additional 20-30 pounds of mass at the next level, he is explosive enough to remain productive and overcome some of the limitations of his smaller frame.

Despite questions about his size and eventual position, there is one nearly-universal truth supporting Ojemudia:  recruits taken nine months before national signing day are hand-selected from coaches' early wish lists.  If there is one thing Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison have learned from more than three collective decades coaching the defensive line, it's how to evaluate a defensive end.

Make no mistake, Super Mario 2 is no dream.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meet Your Walk-ons: OT Erik Gunderson

Already met:  Tony Anderson

Erik Gunderson (#69) signs a helmet for
a fan searching for Michael Shaw.

First Impressions:

Pretending Not to Be Enormous:

Erik Gunderson
RS Sophomore
High School:
Milan High School, Milan  MI
6'8'', 298 lbs
Offensive tackle
If He Were an Animal:
Rhodesian Giraffe

Forward Progress:

Erik Gunderson may not boast the most remarkable development path, but he earns this site's second walk-on profile for two reasons:  (1) at six foot eight inches, he has the distinction of being the tallest player on the roster; and (2) he had to be profiled before he returns to his longship to plunder a mead hall in the heart of Nibelheim.

Gunderson graduated from Milan high school in 2009 where he received academic recognition as an Honor Roll student, further perpetuating the stereotype that offensive tackles tend to be the most intelligent player on the field.  Before you mutter something about "quarterbacks," take a look through Paul Zimmerman's The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football.  It may be long and outdated, but not light on research.

In addition to playing football, Gunderson proved himself a diversified athlete by competing for Milan's swim team.  When you've finished contemplating a three hundred pound offensive lineman swimming competitively, you'll correctly conclude that the guy's a tremendous athlete.

Gunderson has yet to see the field during his brief career at Michigan.  Given that even high-recruited tackles struggle to see playing time during a red-shirt freshman year, his lack of production at the position means precisely nothing.

Outlook for 2011:

Although most red-shirt sophomore walk-on tackles should temper their expectations for playing time to the same degree that Michigan State alumni temper expectations for success, the Wolverines happen to be uncharacteristically thin on the offensive line in 2011.

For this reason, I have Gunderson penciled in as the third-string right tackle behind Mark Huyge and Michael Schofield for the upcoming season.  Gunderson had the opportunity to play right tackle on the second team offense during the Spring game, which can be attributed to missing 40% of the starting offensive line to injury.  As we all know from the frailty of David Molk's left foot and right ACL in 2009, injuries do happen during the season and Gunderson may see more playing time than he otherwise would (none) if Michigan had its traditional depth.

During the Spring game, Gunderson held down the right side of the line extremely well.  On the play that was perhaps the offensive highlight of the day, Gunderson helped erase Ken Wilkins to set up a 68 yard touchdown for Michael Cox.

Final prediction:  Gunderson sees his first career playing time during the third game of the season against Eastern Michigan.  After 2011, he should find himself in competition with Tony Posada to back up the heir apparent right tackle, Mike Schofield.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mike Hart's Time Machine: Geographically International

Previously:  GE Building, 1931

May 6, 1984
This is not the photograph that became the face of the mid-1980s Afghan conflict.  It's the one taken three seconds earlier.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Describing Darius

If you've ever been involved in a relationship or studied a successful actor not named Bill Paxton, you've realized that mankind is capable of a wide and fantastic range of emotion.  Very seldom can a single event evoke as many of them at once as half a sentence from Darius Morris.

"I have decided to stay in the NBA Draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball."

Confusion.  With a looming NBA lockout, questions about his mid-range jump shot and left-handed proficiency, and modest if conflicted projections in the second round, there is ample reason to believe that Morris's long-term financial ambitions would be best served by another year as a Wolverine.

Love unrequited.  Morris had been building a bright future with Michigan.  Earlier this year, he professed emphatically that "we're all coming back," painting a portrait of a Morris-led 2012 squad.  Now his teammates and Michigan fans everywhere are left to play the role of the jilted lover as he chases an uncertain prospect and monetary gain.  Anger.  

Sadness.  His departure leaves a noticeable gap in the Michigan program.  A hole that will someday be plugged by recruit Trey Burke, but almost certainly not by next year.  An upcoming season of unchecked potential will now be relegated to the "under-construction" phase that has defined the program since Morris was in the second grade.  Despair.

Gratitude.  Darius bled maize and blue every day that he was with the program and elevated its prestige to renewed heights.  Hope.  Now another one of our own is poised to make the leap to professional basketball and few would decline to face the incredible opportunities that have blossomed before him.  Pride, envy.

Above all we see a kid with a wide smile and a dream; a lifelong goal that will become reality in just a few short weeks.  It couldn't happen to a more deserving person.  Joy.

With such a maelstrom of emotion competing in pivotal antagonism, there really is only one thing you can do.

Wish him the best of luck from the bottom of your heart.

Good luck, Darius.
Thank you for everything.