On Ace Leaving MGoBlog

Tag: MGoBlog

12Jun 2021
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On Ace Leaving MGoBlog

(image via Podbean)

Recently, Ace Anbender announced on Twitter that he was resigning from MGoBlog. While he did not go into much detail about the reasons for his resignation, I have some assumptions. (I will keep those assumptions to myself.)

I feel compelled to post about Ace since he was such an integral part of MGoBlog, a place that has provided a platform for Touch the Banner and my Michigan fandom in general.

You can hit the jump for more.

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7Feb 2012
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Final Team Ranking for Class of 2012

Kyle Kalis is the headliner of a stellar 2012 class for Michigan
(image via Cleveland.com)

Michigan’s – and the country’s – recruiting class is finishing up for the class of 2012.  There are still some outstanding commitments from guys on Michigan’s radar, such as Stefon Diggs, Alex Kozan, and Anthony Standifer.  Some of those guys could shake up the team rankings a bit, but with National Signing Day having come and gone, here’s where Michigan stands to the major recruiting services.

ESPN: #7
Maxpreps: #4
Rivals: #7
Scout: #4
247 Sports: #8

That’s a pretty good haul for a team coming off a 15-22 stretch from 2008-2010.  Of course, Michigan won the Sugar Bowl and went 11-2 during this past season, but many of Michigan’s top recruits (Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Kyle Kalis, Ondre Pipkins, Terry Richardson, James Ross, etc.) were committed well before they knew how good Michigan would be in 2011.

EDIT: After I scheduled this post for publication, I wandered over to MGoBlog and saw that Seth did a very in-depth look at Michigan’s recent recruiting classes.  Head over there if you want a more detailed analysis of where Michigan’s recruits and classes rank over the past several years.

21Oct 2011
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MGoBlog: I Beg to Differ

Yesterday, Brian at MGoBlog made a “Picture Pages” post where he questioned the diagnosing skills by Michigan’s linebackers, based on a play from last week’s game against Michigan State.  I disagree with at least part of Brian’s conclusions.

First, here’s the play:

Michigan is in a standard 4-3 Under alignment, where the responsibilities are as follows:

Jake Ryan = outside contain
Ryan Van Bergen = C gap
Kenny Demens = B gap
Mike Martin = A gap
Brandin Hawthorne = A gap / flow to the ball
Will Heininger = B gap
Craig Roh = C gap / outside contain

Brian’s conclusion is this:

The DL cannot do much more than this. They got a two-for-one on the double that leaves a free hitter. On the frontside they drive into the backfield such that the tailback has one realistic option. Short of throwing offensive linemen into the RB, they have done all they can.

I completely disagree.  The defensive line can do much more.  First and foremost, Mike Martin can make the tackle.  The star defensive tackle that people seem afraid to criticize is the first person who makes a mistake here.  He’s responsible for the playside A gap but refuses to get off the center’s block.  If Martin gets off the block quicker and wraps up Edwin Baker, the play gets made for a loss or a minimal gain.

It’s true that middle linebacker Kenny Demens doesn’t do a great job on the play.  In my opinion, he should be attacking the offensive guard’s outside shoulder, thus maintaining B gap responsibility.  Instead, he takes the guard on head up and then gets stalemated.  If he takes on that guard with his inside shoulder, the WILL (Brandin Hawthorne) is screaming downhill and will tackle Baker for about a 1-yard gain.  (With the way Hawthorne reacts, it looks to me that he’s just flowing to the ball and that the free safety is responsible for supporting the weakside A gap.)

I also take issue with Brian’s assertion that MSU’s linebackers are better at reading plays just because they’re coming downhill as soon as Denard Robinson turns to hand off to Vincent Smith.  Well, of course  they are.  Denard Robinson doesn’t throw the ball very well, and their entire game plan revolved around stopping Denard Robinson and the running game.  Run the ball?  They’re going to sell out to stop it.  Play action?  They’re stopping the run and taking their chances with Denard dumping the ball over their heads.  That’s been the Spartans’ game plan for the past two years, and it worked both times.

Meanwhile, Kenny Demens and Brandin Hawthorne have to be concerned about the play action pass because MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins is someone who can actually complete a few throws downfield.  In fact, just before Demens impacts the releasing guard, you can see his head scan to the right.  I’m not certain that Demens is looking at Cousins, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he was checking to see whether Cousins had kept the ball and was rolling out for a pass.

25Apr 2011
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Are these things connected?

Was Cullen Christian lonely?

Today at MGoBlog, Brian posted an e-mail from a former walk-on who said:

I talked with Bruce Madej for a while as well as Paul Schmidt.  I was surprised to learn that RR did not force freshman/sophomores to live in the dorm.  The only players who HAD to live in the dorm were the early enrollees, and they only had to stay there until after spring semester. Think about that. An 18 year old kid is going right from living at his folks place and attending high school to instantly living on his own, with rent and phone bills, gas bills, grocery shopping, etc ALL THE WHILE trying to maintain his athletics AND play for a demanding coach. There’s no way an 18 year should be put in that situation. It’s overwhelming.  Schmitty told me that was the first thing he told Hoke when he arrived.  Hoke immediately switched the policy back to freshman and sophomores MUST live in the dorm.

I found this interesting, since this information comes on the heels of some crippling attrition that included true freshman starter Ray Vinopal and highly rated cornerback Cullen Christian.  In an article on The Wolverine, Christian was quoted as saying:

I didn’t come up here for the new coaching staff. So when Coach Gibson left, it got crazy; I wanted to be with somebody who recruited me, somebody who knows me and knows what I’m about.  That’s why I picked Michigan in the first place, and if it was a different coaching staff, I wouldn’t have committed there. It’s a good school with a big name and everything, and they reeled me in. The main thing was Coach Gibson; that was the big thing in getting me to Michigan. I didn’t really like it up here.  I didn’t like the campus, and really, I’ve miserable since I’ve been up here. I think it was just about me and what I’m used to being around; there’s a difference between living in Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor. A big difference. A lot of kids like it here, and some don’t. It just wasn’t for me.  So once the coaches left, there wasn’t much holding me here. I was like, ‘Why am I here? I don’t know these coaches and they didn’t recruit me.

The combination of these things makes me wonder if Rodriguez’s rule about living situations had anything to do with the departures of Vinopal and Christian, among others.  I did not realize that the players were allowed to live elsewhere on campus, and obviously, it’s difficult to know exactly how many freshmen in the past couple years took advantage of living off campus.  It had always been my understanding that freshman and sophomore athletes were required to live in the dorms, and I figured that was just the way of the world forever and ever.

But I do ascribe to the notion that living in a dorm is a key part of the maturation process for college students. I am not naive enough to think that kids can’t get in trouble when living in the dorms.  However, it does alleviate some of the stress of buying groceries, paying bills, meeting new people, etc.  When students are forced to live in such close quarters, there are surely clashes of personalities, dustups, etc.  But long-lasting friendships are also forged.  I know many people whose friendships with their freshman year roommates turned into relationships that lasted beyond college.

Christian and Vinopal very well could have ended up transferring whether they lived in South Quad/West Quad or not.  But when Christian says, “Once the coaches left, there wasn’t much holding me here,” I start to wonder how many friends he had.  What should have been present is a strong bond with one or two of his teammates, guys who could have repeated the mantra “Those who stay will be champions” or fellow freshmen who were also struggling to climb their way up the depth chart.  We often hear recruits or recruits’ mentors saying, “Don’t go somewhere just because of the coaches, because they could be gone in a year.”  That’s exactly what happened to Christian, and now he’ll be starting anew as a Pitt Panther.

Regardless, Brady Hoke has apparently returned to making freshmen and sophomores live in dorms, so all is right in the world.  Unless kids start transferring in droves.  Then we can blame it on something else.