The Transition Effect: Carr to Rodriguez

Tag: Carson Butler

15Dec 2014
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The Transition Effect: Carr to Rodriguez

Ryan Mallett

With an upcoming coaching transition, there has been some concern that players will take flight to greener pastures. When Michigan went from a pro-style scheme to a zone read option scheme in the off-season between 2007 and 2008, some offensive players headed out the door. Not much of that can be attributed to the spread. Every team loses players in the off-season. Sometimes players are sick of standing on the sideline, sometimes they get homesick, and sometimes they butt heads with the coaches. Here’s a look at what the transition from Lloyd Carr to Rich Rodriguez cost Michigan going into 2008 and beyond.

Decommitted due to coaching transition: John Wienke, Christian Wilson
Wienke, a pro-style quarterback, decommitted in favor of Iowa, where he never saw any significant time. Wilson ended up committing to North Carolina due to the fact that Rodriguez’s offense didn’t leave a ton of room for fullback/H-back types. Wilson played but never made a huge impact for the Tarheels.

Transferred to other FBS teams between regimes: Justin Boren, Ryan Mallett
Offensive guard Justin Boren would have been a junior starter in Rich Rodriguez’s first season, but some alleged frictions between Rodriguez and Boren’s family led to his departure. Boren transferred to his home state Ohio State Buckeyes program, where he eventually started and became an undrafted free agent; he never played in an NFL game despite making the practice squad with a couple teams. Meanwhile, his right guard position was taken by David Moosman, who turned out to be a decent but forgettable piece up front for the Wolverines. Theories differ on Mallett, a touted quarterback who transferred closer to home at Arkansas. Some say he was already on his way out the door because of butting heads with Carr; others say he realized he wouldn’t fit into Rich Rodriguez’s offense. Either way, he was replaced by walk-on Nick Sheridan and Georgia Tech transfer Steve Threet, both of whom were subpar passers and poor fits for Rodriguez’s scheme. After the 2008 season,

Left early for the NFL Draft: Adrian Arrington, Mario Manningham
Arrington blew up in his final game, a bowl win over Florida, which might have sealed the deal. His 882 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns in 2007 as the #2 option behind Manningham were impressive, although he slipped into the Draft in just the 7th round, making just 9 receptions in a short NFL career. Manningham had some issues following rules/laws and seemed to be headed for the door after a stellar three-year career; he possibly would have been a 1st round pick if not for a marijuana charge, and instead fell to the 3rd round. He was picked by the Giants and has had a solid but injury-marred career with 2,849 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

Transferred to other FBS teams after giving Rodriguez a chance:* Toney Clemons, Vince Helmuth, Dann O’Neill, Steve Threet
Clemons spent a year trying to wedge himself into the slot receiver role for Rodriguez, a role he was ill suited for because he was not very quick or elusive. Clemons had been recruited by Lloyd Carr as an outside wide receiver, and he transferred to Colorado for that reason. He had a decent career for the Buffaloes and managed to get drafted. Helmuth was brought in as a Lloyd Carr fullback, eventually moved to defensive tackle under Rodriguez, and then transferred to Miami-OH, where he never played, either. O’Neill spent a year redshirting and then transferred to Western Michigan, where his lack of lateral mobility was less of a hindrance; he started for several years for the Broncos. Threet got kind of a raw deal. After enrolling early at Georgia Tech in January 2007, he transferred to Michigan over the summer and redshirted during the season, hoping to follow Chad Henne as the starter for the Wolverines. Then when Rodriguez got hired, Threet and walk-on Nick Sheridan split playing time before Threet lit out for his third school, Arizona State. He had to sit out the 2009 season to transfer, and then concussions caused him to end his football career early.

Left early for the NFL Draft after giving Rodriguez a chance:* Carson Butler, Donovan Warren
Butler was unhappy with his role as a tight end in Rodriguez’s offense, so he made a mid-season switch to defensive end, finishing with 2 catches, 17 yards, and 5 tackles. He tested the waters of the NFL but was ultimately unsuccessful.  Warren left after his third season in Ann Arbor, hanging around through 2009. It’s unclear whether a different coach could have kept him around for a fourth season, but Warren was All-Big Ten and made 4 picks in 2009, after which he made an ill-advised attempt at making it in the NFL. He was not drafted and spent a few years bouncing around practice squads.

If Michigan changes systems to a spread or, say, a triple option, some transfers can naturally be expected. That change seems unlikely based on what we have been hearing, but anything is possible. The one guy who seemed like a possible early entrant into the draft (Devin Funchess) is gone already. The quarterbacks are mostly pro-style guys, so that would present a challenge if Michigan wanted to run any kind of option-type stuff. Michigan has been running a lot of zone schemes, so a loss of linemen would not seem to be a huge risk, regardless of the coach. The receivers are mostly big, pro-style guys who could get squeezed out if the new coach wanted to put tiny slot guys out there in spades. Michigan’s stable of tight ends would likely not be happy with a move to a spread, though A.J. Williams will be a senior and Jake Butt could be just a year away from heading to the NFL; the biggest flight risks there would probably be the young guys, Ian Bunting and Khalid Hill, who would still have time to redshirt for a year and make an impact elsewhere.

*There were some other transfers (Sam McGuffie, Marell Evans, Kurt Wermers, etc.) that seemed to have less to do with Rodriguez and more to do with homesickness, academic difficulties, etc.

9Feb 2012
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Former Michigan Athletes of the Week: Mario Manningham and the Super Bowl Wolverines

One, two . . . yep, that’s two feet. And a legend is made. Mario Manningham.

Eight former Michigan athletes were represented on the biggest stage of all this Super Bowl Sunday in SB XLVI, which, of course, was won by the Giants, 21-17. Here’s a recap of each player’s performance in order of their impact on the game:

Mario Manningham: In a microcosm of his season, Manningham had a rough start, but came on strong late. In the first half, he was targeted only one or two times and failed to haul in a catchable deep ball. In the second half, however, Manningham came up with the play of the game and was targeted four straight times during the game winning drive. Manningham finished with five catches for 73 yards, with most of that coming in crunch time, and announcer Chris Collinsworth called Manningham’s 38 yard reception “one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history.” Yeah, it would have been better if Manningham had announced that he were from Michigan rather than his home town, but it seems hard to fault him too much for that.

Tom Brady: It seemed that most Michigan fans were rooting for a Patriots’ victory. If New England had won, Brady would have forever been in the conversation as the greatest quarterback of all time. It’s fair to say that Brady remains in that conversation, but his performance on Sunday didn’t exactly make a compelling case for naming him the greatest quarterback ever. Brady went 27-for-41 in the game for 276 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Although he certainly didn’t get much help from his receiving corps, Brady never looked dominate and only put 17 points on the scoreboard.

David Baas: The starting center for the Giants, Baas’s offensive line blocked for 114 rushing yards and allowed three sacks.

Zoltan Mesko: Zoltan dropped three space emperor punting bombs for an average of 41.0 yards and a net average of 37.7.

Carson Butler: Signed to New England’s practice squad on January 26th, Butler did not participate in Super Bowl XLVI; however, he’s a New England Patriot and the Patriots played in the Super Bowl, so we’re going to count him.

Honorable Mention: Jim Harbaugh may have narrowly missed out on a trip to Super Bowl XLVI, but he was still named the AP Coach of the Year, the first time a 49ers coach has won the award since Bill Walsh.

28Jan 2012
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Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Mario Manningham

Mario Manningham caught a touchdown pass for the third straight week, this time on a 17-yard reception in traffic on third-and-15. Coach Tom Coughlin called it an “incredible football play,” and the score gave the Giants a 17-14 lead with only 8:41 remaining, eventually leading to their 20-17 NFC Championship game victory over the 49ers. Manningham lined up as the outside receiver on the play, ran up field, slanted in and shielded the over-the-top defensive back with his body as he leaped to haul in the touchdown pass. You could try to visualize that, or you could just watch it here.
Honorable Mention: Whether or not you still hold a grudge towards Jim Harbaugh, one thing is undeniable: he can coach. This year he took a hapless 6-10 San Francisco team – and a franchise that hadn’t had a winning season in eight years – all the way to the NFC Championship game, coming up only three points shy of a Super Bowl birth. As stated in the title of an interesting thread on the MGoBoard, congrats to Jim Harbaugh.
Miscellaneous: Carson Butler returns to the New England Patriots’ practice squad, making eight former Michigan athletes who are represented in Super Bowl XLVI, which is among the most of any college. Scot Loeffler, quarterback at Michigan from 1993-1996 and quarterbacks coach for Michigan from 2002-2007, was hired as Auburn’s offensive coordinator, giving Michigan fans “a strange reason to root for Auburn.”
8Jul 2011
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2005 Offer Board

56 total offers

Jason Forcier – San Diego, CA (Michigan)
Harrison Beck – Clearwater, FL (Nebraska)
Rob Schoenhoft – Cincinnati, OH (Ohio State)

Andre Criswell – Detroit, MI (Michigan)
Kevin Grady – Grand Rapids, MI (Michigan)
Mister Simpson – Cincinnati, OH (Michigan)
Rashawn Jackson – Jersey City, NJ (Virginia)

Antonio Bass – Jackson, MI (Michigan)
Mario Manningham – Warren, OH (Michigan)
LaTerryal Savoy – Mamou, LA (Michigan)
Rendrick Taylor – Bennettsville, SC (Clemson)
Nate Boateng – Brooklyn, NY (Florida)
Mohamed Massaquoi – Charlotte, NC (Georgia)
Andre Amos – Middletown, OH (Ohio State)
Eric Huggins – Conway, SC (Oklahoma)
Kevin Cousins – Richmond, VA (Penn State)
Selwyn Lymon – Fort Wayne, IN (Purdue)

Carson Butler – Detroit, MI (Michigan)
Ed Dickson – Bellflower, CA (Oregon)

Justin Schifano – Webster, NY (Michigan)
Andy Kuempel – Marion, IA (Iowa)
Dace Richardson – Wheaton, IL (Iowa)
John Jerry – Batesville, MS (Mississippi)
Alex Boone – Lakewood, OH (Ohio State)

Tim McAvoy – Bloomington, IL (Michigan)
David Moosman – Libertyville, IL (Michigan)
Cory Zirbel – Murray, KY (Michigan)
Ronnie Wilson – Pompano Beach, FL (Florida)
Hivera Green – Conway, SC (Virginia Tech)

Eugene Germany – Pomona, CA (Michigan)
Chris McLaurin – Orchard Lake, MI (Michigan)
Allan Smith – Kansas City, MO (Boston College)
Kyle Moore – Warner Robins, GA (USC)
William Wall – Chatham, VA (Virginia Tech)

James McKinney – Louisville, KY (Michigan)
Marques Slocum – Philadelphia, PA (Michigan)
Terrance Taylor – Muskegon, MI (Michigan)
Craig Bokor – Bedford, PA (Pittsburgh)

Brandon Logan – Lexington, KY (Michigan)
Jerome Hayes – Bayonne, NJ (Penn State)

Brandon Harrison – Dayton, OH (Michigan)
Chris Richards – North Hills, CA (Michigan)
Johnny Sears – Fresno, CA (Michigan)
Lionel Mitchell – Chatham, VA (Alabama)
Avery Atkins – Daytona Beach, FL (Florida)
Anthony Wiseman – Hyattsville, MD (Maryland)
Demetrice Morley – Miami, FL (Miami)
Kendell Davis – Alliance, OH (Michigan State)
Jamario O’Neal – Cleveland, OH (Ohio State)
Justin King – Pittsburgh, PA (Penn State)
Kevin Thomas – Oxnard, CA (USC)

C.J. Byrd – North Augusta, SC (Georgia)
Chris Rowell – Warrensville Heights, OH (Iowa)
Nic Harris – Alexandria, LA (Oklahoma)
Victor Harris – Highland Springs, VA (Virginia Tech)

Zoltan Mesko – Twinsburg, OH (Michigan)

4Mar 2010
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2010 Recruiting Grades: Tight End

Michigan offered three tight ends in 2010, but didn’t get any.

Predictions: The class of 2010 tight ends will be better than Carson Butler.

Grade: Inc. They didn’t really need a tight end, anyway.

Bonus: Hey, Zach Galifianakis is on SNL this weekend.