Mailbag: Site Censorship

Tag: Mailbag

28Jan 2019
Blog, homepage 20 comments

Mailbag: Site Censorship


(image via Ezoic)

Just wanted to say thanks for all of the fantastic, informative, and free content you’ve provided through time.  On that note, I can’t fault you from omitting “attractive girls” to generate income for yourself…you deserve it!  I am also surprised by how much I miss that aspect of the site but I do.  It’s not the same.  I remember an old school barber shop in the back of a bowling alley where I grew up that had Playboy magazines on the table next to the barber chair.  I think when I was 10 or so I finally worked up the courage to open one and the barber didn’t say a thing.  Just kept cutting my hair.  Your site had that cool feel where you could get the news, interesting analysis, and a bit more in a classy way, regardless of whether it’s deemed so or societally appropriate.  I hope you’re considering saying screw the ad robots and bringing back the ladies but my perspective is wholly selfish and my opinion cheap.   
Either way, thanks for all you do and Go Blue!
I mentioned this last week, but Google AdSense started dinging me for all the pictures of good looking women that used to be here on Touch the Banner. I typically make anywhere from $400 to $900 per month from AdSense, which is the majority of the blog’s income, so I couldn’t afford to keep the pictures. Not only did I stop posting new ones, but Google’s bots were dinging me for pictures from several months ago, so I went back and purged them all.
Hit the jump for more.

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1Aug 2018
Blog, homepage 6 comments

Mailbag: Rankings and MGoBlog

Hey, I was reading Mgoblog’s review of the 2018 class and Brian (or Ace) keeps complaining about the slack/terrible job that the rating agencies are doing, as the fall into the tank. Apparently, they barely view Michigan players and only provide minimal effort. Here is an example of that criticism –

I think you and Brian should work out a deal so that your ratings (and comments) are included in the initial player write-ups and/or look-backs. Your ratings [for Michigan players] would be a good addition. They are well-documented, well-researched, well-founded [insofar as you are a coach with an experienced eye for rating talent], consistent, based on your own applied system, long-standing [insofar as you’ve been doing this now for years], and easily available for people to view. A win-win-win for Mgoblog, TTB, and fans.

Thanks for the e-mail and the compliments. I’m glad to know my thoughts are appreciated and respected.

Regarding the premise about recruiting rankings, I somewhat agree with MGoBlog. Brian has suggested over and over again that recruiting coverage has tanked a little bit. I think the tech bubble popped, and there was a glut of information. Websites and media coverage were getting bloated, which is why ESPN, Fox, Sports Illustrated, and others started cutting employees. ESPN seemed like an up-and-comer in the recruiting realm at one point when they had specific sites for team/recruiting coverage, and Chantel Jennings, Tom Van Haaren, and others were basically covering only Michigan. Meanwhile, Scout had Sam Webb, 247 Sports had Steve Lorenz, and Rivals had . . . kind of a rotating cast of characters.

Scout has been absorbed by 247, ESPN’s coverage of Michigan on Recruiting Nation was cut, and Rivals has lost some people. Rivals people have mentioned before that they basically bump up players who go to their camps and Five Star Challenge, which (rightfully) caused some people to distrust their evaluations. ESPN evaluates sophomores and juniors, and then doesn’t bother re-evaluating them again, even if the players have matured physically, added 25 lbs., or shaved off two-tenths of a second off their forty. In the last few years, it seems like recruiting coverage has gone from too much to . . . a lot of fluff.

I would feel guilty about propping up my own rankings as being superior to those national analysts’. I think 247 Sports is the cream of the crop right now and they pay the most attention. I also believe their recruiting analysts know more about football and player evaluation than the people at Rivals, and they seem to have more manpower than the recruiting division at ESPN. I try to do my best, but I’m only one man and this isn’t my full-time gig. (Full disclosure: I also feel a little guilty that I have yet to update my TTB Ratings for the 2018 class, which I hope to finish soon.)

As for combining with MGoBlog, that site has provided TTB with a lot of links and a forum on which to discuss football, which has probably directed a fair amount of traffic to my site. I appreciate what that site has done for me, even if it has been inadvertent. Several years ago, when MGoBlog was looking for someone new to cover recruiting, I volunteered my services. For whatever reason, that didn’t pan out. That’s a bit of a different topic, but I’m just not sure if the guys at MGoBlog would be totally down with it.

My TTB Ratings are also a bit flawed when it comes to meshing with the 247 Composite and/or helping with the star ratings, since I give only a numerical rating without stars attached. That’s probably an easy fix – I could easily assign a star value – but it would require a change.

Ultimately, I’m pretty satisfied with where the site is right now. I have at times purposefully avoided opportunities that I could have taken to expand the website, because it’s a lot to handle. Right now I’m not beholden to anyone except myself for the website, which is great because I’m at a place in real life where I have a lot of responsibility. MGoBlog can certainly use any of my information anytime they want, but I feel like my guilt would multiply if I had a gaggle of MGoBloggers hankering for rankings updates. The regular readers of TTB seem to have a pretty good understanding of what I do and what I can offer, and I’m just happy that there’s a community here that can just talk football and fandom.

Thanks again for the e-mail, and I appreciate all of you! It’s very humbling to think you took time out of your day to compose that e-mail. Sometimes on the internet, it feels like you’re the tree falling in the woods when nobody’s around to hear. I’m glad you people are around.

To hear me fall.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t a perfect analogy . . .

17Jan 2018
Blog, homepage 5 comments

Mailbag: The Development of Mike McCray

Mike McCray

Here’s a question from mejunglechop:

Hi Thunder, huge fan, but this is my first time commenting. I apologize in advance for the number of questions.

First I’ll say I really enjoyed reading through your original Hello post. It was interesting that your rating, although, controversially low at the time, turned out to be prescient. McCray has turned into a good Big Ten starter with some NFL draft potential.

My big question(s) for you looking back :
Originally you thought McCray’s best fit might come at SAM as you thought this would maximize the strengths you saw in his tape (straight line speed combined with size and coverage instincts) while mitigating his weaknesses (forcing him to play more aggressive and downhill). McCray eventually became a very good downhill Mike. Do you think this is more attributable to Don Brown’s scheme and how he uses his Mikes, or McCray developing better instincts reading run plays? If Mike McCray was a prospect being signed today do you think the staff would recruit and develop him for a Noah Furbush style SAM role or would they see him as a Mike prospect?

Check out the answer below the jump.

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18Apr 2016
Blog, homepage 15 comments

Mailbag: Are these 3-stars better than the old 3-stars?

J'Marick Woods 795x

J’Marick Woods

A question from UM_1973 got me to respond to something I have been meaning to address for a couple weeks now:

Thunder, I noticed that our current group of commits are made up of mostly 3 stars. However, unlike last year’s bunch of early commits, you seem to be more impressed by this year’s bunch than last year’s. Based on that, do you expect that there will be less decommitments in this year’s class compared to last year’s class?

To start off here, it’s obviously important to take a look at the current 3-star commits and last year’s.

2017 3-stars committed: S J’Marick Woods, RB A.J. Dillon, DT Phillip Paea, FB Chase Lasater, RB Kurt Taylor, TE Carter Dunaway, CB Benjamin St-Juste

2016 3-stars committed by the end of August 2015: RB Kingston Davis, RB Kiante Enis, LB Devin Gil,  LB Dele’ Harding, LB Dytarious Johnson, TE Sean McKeon, S Josh Metellus, LB David Reese, CB Antwaine Richardson, CB Sir Patrick Scott, QB Victor Viramontes, DE Rashad Weaver

Hit the jump for more on the differences between the two classes.

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30Jan 2015
Uncategorized 7 comments

Mailbag: Two quarterbacks a year?

Kevin Hogan

Numerous people have been asking about Jim Harbaugh’s “standard” practice of taking two quarterbacks in each class. At Stanford he took 2, 1, 2, and 3 quarterbacks during his four years there, so it averaged out to two per year. Without getting into actual quarterback performance (which has been pretty good), here’s how the position has fared over the years. I used Rivals ratings since 247 Sports Composite ranking doesn’t work for ye olden days.

Alex Loukas (3-star):
 Redshirted in 2006. Backup quarterback in 2007, 2008, 2009. Moved to safety in 2010.

L.D. Crow (3-star): Crow sat on the bench in 2007 and 2008. Transferred to UCF, so he sat out 2009. Third-stringer in 2010.

Kellen Kiilsgaard (4-star): Kiilsgard immediately became a safety in 2007 when he realized he had a better shot to play on defense. Spent one year on the team before quitting in favor of a baseball career.

Andrew Luck (4-star): Redshirted in 2008, then became starter for 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. Became #1 overall draft pick in 2012.

Taysom Hill (3-star):
 Signed with Stanford out of high school. Went on his Mormon mission and ended up at BYU when he returned. Backup in 2012, starter for Cougars in 2013 and 2014.

Josh Nunes (3-star): Other than part-time starting gig in 2012 trying to replace Andrew Luck, spent rest of time on the bench. Medically retired before 2013 season due to weightlifting injury.

Darren Daniel (3-star): Sat on the bench in 2010. Moved to wide receiver in the spring of 2011, then transferred to Itawamba Community College, then to Alabama State.

Dallas Lloyd (3-star): Signed in 2010. Went on his Mormon mission and then returned to Stanford in 2012. Spent 2012 and 2013 as a backup quarterback. Moved to strong safety in 2014.

Brett Nottingham (4-star): Signed in 2010. Backup quarterback in 2011 and 2012. Lost quarterback job to Kevin Hogan, so Nottingham transferred to Columbia. Sat out most of 2013 with broken wrist. Started for Columbia in 2014 but got benched and then quit the team.

Evan Crower (3-star): Sat on bench in 2011 and 2012. Backup quarterback in 2013 and 2014. Potential for a return as a fifth year senior in 2015.

Kevin Hogan (4-star): Redshirted in 2011. Backup quarterback in 2012. Starter in 2013 and 2014. Will reportedly return as a fifth year senior in 2015.

2006: T.C. Ostrander/Trent Edwards
2007: T.C. Ostrander/Tavita Pritchard
2008: Tavita Pritchard
2009: Andrew Luck
2010: Andrew Luck
2011: Andrew Luck
2012: Josh Nunes/Kevin Hogan
2013: Kevin Hogan
2014: Kevin Hogan
2015: Kevin Hogan (probably)

As you can see, taking multiple quarterbacks per year did not affect Stanford negatively when it comes to scholarships. Of the eight quarterbacks Harbaugh signed during his tenure, only two (2!) spent four years at the quarterback position for the Cardinal. The rest of them transferred, changed positions, or quit football. Stanford also recruited a couple Mormon players who either never played for Stanford (Taysom Hill) or became a backup QB and then moved to defense (Dallas Lloyd). That situation may not arise for the Wolverines because the Big Ten imprint – Michigan’s primary recruiting grounds – does not have a huge Mormon population. Unless recruiting Mormons makes a drastic difference between the two schools, the numbers should not be an issue. Furthermore, that practice for Stanford led to a great three-year starter (Luck) and a solid almost-four-year starter (Hogan)

As for position changes, we’ll just have to see. Shane Morris has never played defense, although he probably has the speed to be some kind of safety. Wilton Speight has the size to move to tight end. Alex Malzone is too small and too slow to do anything else. Zach Gentry has the size and athleticism to become a tight end.

If Michigan continues to recruit two quarterbacks in each class, things will sort themselves out. Guys will quit, change positions, or transfer. In the meantime, Stanford has had solid to great quarterback play over the years, and I would expect that trend to continue for Harbaugh at Michigan. The cream rises to the top.

*I included the years before and after Harbaugh’s Stanford tenure just for a fuller picture of the roster dynamics.