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Friday, 30 September 2011

Minnesota Prediction!

Going out on the town tonight, so God knows what time I'll wake up tomorrow; better do the prediction tonight whilst I'm in a clear state of mind!

Minnesota just lost to an FCS team, which is obviously embarrassing, but I don't actually think they'll be that bad tomorrow. I think they could actually put up a decent amount of yards, but just not that many points. UM's defense has been good at forcing turnovers, and they'll be looking to continue that trend with 2-3 tomorrow.

On offense, Michigan should be able to get the passing game going against what is a suspect secondary that even has injuries! I hope Michigan come out throwing short passes, to build up Denard's confidence and also to surprise the Minnesota defense, which is no doubt expecting 70% run plays.

Overall Michigan should lead this game from the start and gradually extend their lead to 15-20 points by the fourth quarter, where we'll hopefully see some of the backups get a chance.

Prediction: Michigan 42; Minnesota 17

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Where are they now: Sammy Watkins

Position: WR

College: Clemson

Recruitment: Michigan was seemingly in a great position for Sammy Watkins entering the fall of last year. He'd already visited for the spring game and planned to come back for an official visit. UM also had his teammate Dallas Crawford committed. The offense was looking explosive in September, and it looked like Watkins would end up in the class. Unfortunately for UM, things went downhill from there, and Watkins jumped for Clemson.

Clemson: At Clemson, Watkins has already established himself as a starter, and one of the most feared receivers in the ACC because of his speed and agility. Through four games he has a whopping 28 catches and 433 yards receiving, with 6 of those catches being TDs! He even has 92 rushing at over 6 yards per carry. He's looking like one of the top receivers in the nation already, and if he keeps his pace up, he's sure to break records at Clemson.

What could have been: Well it seems like Denard could definitely have used a player like Watkins in the passing game this year. Remember all those deep overthrown passes Denard has made? Well Watkins would have had the speed to catch them! He can stretch the defense, and can also be useful in yards after the catch. UM needs a stud receiver, and they almost had one in Watkins...



Sidenote: I promised I'd help advertise the MGoAuction, which is a fund raiser to benefit several undergraduate scholarships at the University of Michigan by auctioning off a bunch of Michigan memorabilia, experiences and tickets. It's for a good cause, so why not check it out here.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Quick Updates

I'm back at University now! Which means I'll be spending much more time on the laptop, and therefore more time potentially blogging? Not much has happened recently in recruiting, but here's a few quick notes:

- Jordan Diamond will be visiting Wisconsin this weekend for their big matchup with Nebraska. This is not the first time he's visited the Badgers, and I think they might end up securing the four star OT, given their stellar record of putting OL in the NFL. Plus I don't think he's too keen on being the 6th OL in Michigan's class.

- A more likely OT addition for UM is Zach Banner, but he visited Oklahoma for their game against Missouri last weekend and came away pretty happy. It should be a close call between UM and OU, and of course we can't count out the home state Washington Huskies, who rarely let the top in state talent out of the borders.

- Ondre Pipkins has been selected for the Army All American game, which is obviously fantastic news for him and Michigan. On a negative note, Ondre announced on Twitter that he'll miss 2-3 weeks with a "Sprained Foot And Tendonitis".

- Seen as the recruiting trail for Michigan has died down recently, it's time to get creative with the blog! I'll be doing a series of 'where are they now' posts, which will look at current college freshman who were very close to picking Michigan in last year's recruiting cycle. The idea for this comes from the success of Sammy Watkins at Clemson. Before UM went downhill last year, Watkins was leaning towards Michigan, who had his teammate Dallas Crawford committed. Anyway, now he's at Clemson and dominating as a freshman! He'll be the first focus of the series.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Dan O'Brien Update

If you listened to Sam Webb's recruiting roundup today, you will have heard that his gut feeling is that Dan O'Brien will probably end up elsewhere. This was somewhat surprising to hear given the rave reviews he gave UM recently, and the fact that he's very friendly with current UM commits.

Still, Webb is rarely wrong when it comes to Michigan recruiting, so it's worrying for sure. I doubt Michigan is completely out of it, but I'll be on the look out for a commitment from him when he visits other schools now, especially Tennessee.

SDSU Preview

Once again there won't be any major prospects on campus for this game, so the preview will once again focus on the actual football, what a shame! Sidenote: Getting early commitments is great, but it really does kill recruiting in the fall, there's virtually nothing to talk about!

Anyway, onto SDSU!

In my preseason prediction, I had this down as a win, and whilst Michigan hasn't really impressed in my eyes, I don't see any reason to change this forecast. I will say though, that it should be a very close game, especially if Michigan gets yet another slow start on both sides of the ball.

SDSU has a good QB and RB, so I'm expecting them to put up a lot of points, probably over 25; with most of them coming in the first half. Their defense however, is not so good, and Michigan should be able to move the ball quite easily against Rocky Long's 3-3-5, especially on the ground.

Michigan's defense should get better as the game goes on and hopefully they will be able to pressurize Ryan Lindley into some mistakes. I think Michigan wins the turnover battle, and eventually moves the ball with ease on the ground, eating up some clock in the 4th quarter to see out the win.

Prediction: Michigan 38: SDSU 28


Ohh, and don't forget to cheer for Missouri, because if they knock Oklahoma off the top spot it could really help us with Zach Banner and Jordan Payton, both of whom are visiting the sooners this weekend.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Weekend News

Just a quick overview of everything that happened this weekend for Michigan:

- We'll start with the game vs EMU. I was unable to watch it, but I have a feeling that UM weren't as good as the scoreline suggests. At one point I remember seeing the EMU were averaging nine yards per play, which is simply unacceptable. It also looks like the passing game struggled to get going, so Michigan has plenty to work on before next week.

- A bit of bad news in recruiting: in state junior OT Steven Elmer committed to Notre Dame whilst on an unofficial visit there. Michigan looked to be right up there with ND for him, so this is a big surprise that he's committing so early. It's also a big disappointment given that he's an early member of the scout100.

- Michigan didn't host many big time prospects for the EMU game, and I doubt they will for this coming weekend. However, this week will have a large impact on the class as both Jordan Payton and Zach Banner are scheduled to visit Oklahoma as they take on Missouri. Michigan leads for both right now, but it might be very hard to hold onto the lead when competing against the nation's #1 team.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Gameday Prediction: EMU

I'm not going to pretend that I know loads about Eastern Michigan, because I don't; and I don't think anyone knows much apart from the fact that they aren't very good.

They've only played FCS teams so far, so no need to be worried by their 2-0 record. Apparently they have a decent running game, but Michigan should be able to dominate them in the trenches; I'd love to see UM hold them under 100 yards running.

On offense, look for Michigan to run the ball a lot themselves, especially if they already have a big lead going into halftime. I doubt we'll see too much of Denard; there's no point risking his fitness in the easiest game on the schedule. Hopefully one of the running backs can step up and gain some consistent yardage. Who knows, it might be Thomas Rawls; who is apparently set to get a few carries in this game.

Bottom line: it should be over by halftime.

Prediction: Michigan 52; Eastern Michigan 13

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Scout100

Scout.com have released their early top100 rankings for the class of 2013, and it's good news for Michigan as both Shane Morris and new commit Dymonte Thomas made the list. Unfortunately it only ranks players by stars at the moment, so we don't know how high in the 100 each prospect is.

However! Shane Morris was one of eleven players awarded a 5th star already, so we can safely say he's right up there!

Also note that Steven Elmer and Wyatt Shallman made the list; these are two in state guys who are leaning towards Michigan right now.

Link!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Visit Reactions

Given the events of Saturday, it's no surprise to hear that the recruits loved their visits:

WR Jordan Payton: He loved the atmosphere, and despite what I thought was a poor offensive performance, he was pleased with what Al Borges is doing. Michigan is now the leader for Payton, with Cal in second. A decision is meant to come quite late in the year, but that visit might just have been good enough to force an earlier commitment; maybe next two weeks?

OT Zach Banner: Was hosted by Taylor Lewan, which is a good choice given they are both OL from out west. Banner loved the game, the atmosphere and apparently Erin Andrews too. All the recruits and commits were seated really close to EA....clever work Michigan :)

DT Dan O'Brien: He wasn't scheduled to be there, but he showed up and I doubt he regrets it. This visit will have had a big effect on O'Brien, and he's in the same category as Payton in that he could decide earlier than expected.

This prompts some changes to the projected class, which you can see by clicking the link at the top of the page!

There's 4 estimated spots left in the class, and I've now got them going to Banner, O'Brien, Payton and Darboh; with Darboh being the one I'm least confident about.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Rational thoughts

Now that everyone has calmed down from the most exciting game ever, let's quickly look at how the game went for Michigan, and what area's do they need to improve.

Positives

- They never gave up, and played as a team throughout.

- The defense gave up a lot of yardage, but also came through for the team in big situations, except of course for ND's last drive.

- Brandin Hawthorne looked very good out there, and should challenge for a starting role from now on.

Things to work on

- Consistently getting pressure on the quarterback. This could be done with better blitz disguises and just tougher play up front; which would also stop some of those big runs.

- Better pass coverage....but fortunately not many teams have a Michael Floyd.

- The offensive line got bullied at times by ND, and Robinson wasn't able to break of many long runs apart from the read-options because of this. It's all well and good creating lanes against WMU, but they need to do it against tougher defenses if they expect to go to a decent bowl game.

- UM needs to develop a short-intermediate passing game. Denard isn't accurate on the long ball, and clearly makes some risky decisions, so they simply have to improve their short passing game if they want to move the ball consistently on good defenses.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

2013 Commit!

Dymonte Thomas has favored Michigan for a while now, so there's no surprise that a visit like this would tip him over the edge. He joins Shane Morris in the current 2013 recruiting class.

For those of you who haven't heard much about Thomas, I believe he is listed as an athlete on most recruiting sites, with either RB or DB being his most probable positions at the next level. There's quite a bit of hype around him already, so it'll be really interesting to see if he comes out as an early four star on scout.com, who are usually first to release their 'early' rankings.

Sidenote: He's also the cousin of Brionte Dunn. Yes, the same Brionte Dunn who now wishes he could turn back time and go to see the greatest game in recent Michigan memory, instead of watching Penn State getting taught by Alabama.

The greatest official visit ever

Someone just tweeted that Zach Banner is on the field dancing around, and now I'm thinking, is this the greatest official visit possible? Think of the circumstances:

- It's the first night game at the biggest stadium in the country, and for the program with the most all time wins.

- It's a big time rivalry game between two historic CFB programs, both with lot's to prove.

- It's a season defining game for Notre Dame, and maybe for Michigan too.

- UM were down by 17 points and looked dead and buried. The hero of last season (Denard) is having a poor game and Michael Floyd is owning the UM secondary. But then UM stages one of the greatest comebacks of all time!!!!

- It's an attendance record! The crowd is electric too (or so it looked :P )

- Instead of taking the safe route and setting up an easy FG, Michigan goes for glory and wins with 2 secs remaining.

All of this makes it possibly the perfect official visit. The only way you could make this better is if the opponents were OSU....but that's asking a little too much.

5:00am here but I'm way too excited to sleep, time to go check out Damefan1's new blog! If you don't remember, Damefan1 is a die hard Irish fan who for the 2009 and 2010 games posted pre game prediction videos on youtube that were simply hilarious. Anyways, now he has a blog!

Update: No reaction from him yet :(

No Title

Best game I've ever seen. Nuff said.

Hail baby....Hail!

Ohh fine I'll elaborate!

First night game and Michigan stadium, UM down by 3 with 30 secs on the clock. With 8 secs left they don't step up the easy FG, no, Denard throws to the endzone and Roy Roundtree comes up big time.

The best Michigan moment of my life so far without a doubt. It's 4:40am here, I think I just woke up my bro, probably some neighbours too.

Visitor Update

Unfortunately for Michigan, four star RB Brionte Dunn was spotted at the Penn State game today, meaning he won't be at the UM-ND game tonight. It seems like a strange decision to me, but at least his cousin Dymonte Thomas (2013 recruit) is still coming to the Big House.

On the plus side, if Dunn is considering Penn State, he won't have had a great visit after they got bossed around by Alabama at home.

Also, if Dunn had of visited Michigan tonight, it would have only been for an unofficial visit anyway, hopefully he'll arrange an official visit later in the season.

Friday, 9 September 2011

ND Prediction

When I did my pre-season prediction, I had this game down as a close win for Michigan. Unfortunately, my gut feeling is that Notre Dame will pull off the win tomorrow night, despite the enthusiastic crowd, and despite the best efforts of Denard Robinson.

We didn't see too much of Michigan's offense against WMU, but what we did see looked good enough to assume that Michigan will put up some points against ND. However I think ND has enough playmakers on defense to create at least one, possible 2-3 turnovers. Manti Te'o is a beast, and how Michigan deals with him will have a major impact on this.

As for Michigan's defense, whilst they did improve against Alex Carder, there were times when they just looked exactly the same as last year's team; the opening drive being a prime example. This time ND probably won't have to play 3 quarterbacks, and will Michael Floyd in great form, I can see the Irish putting up a lot of points and spoiling the party.

If Michigan wants to win this game, I think they basically just have to leave Denard in the shotgun at much as possible. As RR said this week, that's his home, that's where he operates best. Play him in the shotgun, give him 15 QB runs in the game, do whatever it takes to beat the Irish!

Final Prediction: Michigan 31; Notre Dame 42

I know this is a very pessimistic prediction given that ND just lost to USF at home, but their defense was solid and if they sort out their turnovers, they are a very dangerous team.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

ND Visitors list

There will be tons of visitors on hand to watch Michigan take on Notre Dame on Saturday night, so many that it's pointless trying to list all of them right now. Plus, a lot of them might not turn up for varying reasons.

Anyway, for now I'll quickly run through some of the 'main' visitors. The two headliners are both from the West coast, Zach Banner and Jordan Payton. Both will be here on official visits, but I imagine they will take a few more visits after this, so don't expect any commitments from these two.

Michigan always wants to take a RB each year, and two of the best on their board should be on campus this weekend; both for unofficial visits. We all know about Brionte Dunn, and you should have heard of Greg Garmon too. Michigan doesn't lead for either of these guys, but a strong visit should help them to catch up with Ohio State (for Dunn), and interestingly enough, Greg Garmon really likes Notre Dame, so a victory for Michigan could be huge here.

There are some promising juniors scheduled to be at the game too, including Dunn's cousin Dymonte Thomas, Wyatt Shallman, Laquon Treadwell and Steve Elmer.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Dan O'Brien Update

Last Saturday's game against Western Michigan was great from a football standpoint, but in recruiting terms it was a bad weekend. Amara Darboh had to postpone his visit, and there were no other official visitors at all. Fortunately in-state DT Dan O'Brien was able to make it in, meaning at least one top prospect got to see the Wolverines in person.

O'Brien is seemingly very high on Michigan, along with his other top schools; MSU, Alabama and Tennessee. Right now I think Tennessee could be the biggest challenger to Michigan, he's going to be down there for the LSU game and if the Volunteers pull off the upset, Knoxville will be rocking.

I think if he stays in state, it'll be Michigan and not MSU - I don't rate the Spartans chances here; at least not at the moment. A big reason for that is that Matt Godin and all the other in state guys are at Michigan, and O'Brien would love the chance to play alongside his friends in college.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

WMU Game Reaction

Well I guessed 38-10, so I suppose the result was expected, but I really think Michigan could have extended the lead in the fourth quarter. The defense was looking good after the first delay, as was the Michigan running game; so a final score of 40ish - 10 wouldn't have been unrealistic at all.

But anyway, let's go back to the start of the game....who else was very worried after that WMU TD drive? Fortunately Denard came out to calm the nerves of everyone with a solid drive of his own, looking very strong in both his running and passing. He looked accurate to me, and still had that bit of magic whilst carrying the ball, juking defenders left right and center.

Towards the end of the game the UM OL was starting to create major running lanes (as they should vs WMU), and both RBs cashed in with 40+ yard runs. That was encouraging to see, and overall the offense looked good, I don't think we'll have to worry about them.


On defense, UM started very poorly, allowing Alex Carder to get into a good rhythm and his receivers were finding gaps in Michigan's sloppy pass coverage. Thankfully Greg Mattison made some changes to the strategy and started blitzing. When pressured, Carder's throws were inaccurate, and he even had to take a couple of sacks.

Overall the defense is still worrying, but at least they were able to make adjustments to improve as the game went on. Still, I'm terrified about what Michael Floyd could do to them next week given his performance against USF.


As for special teams, they were pretty poor. Matt Wile seemed to do a good job as a punter (filling in for the suspended Will Hagerup), but the team's kickoff coverage was suspect at best. It seemed like WMU got to the 40 yard line every time! That simply has to improve before Michigan takes on teams like ND.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Best time of the year!

Watching Utah State beating Auburn and still going for a fake field on 4th down, I realized how much I love college football! It's such a long offseason, but the wait has been worth it.

Let's hope the Wolverines can polish off WMU and get ready for the Irish next week!

Go Blue!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Pre Game Predictions

I'm going to be busy tomorrow, so today I'll run through roughly what should happen tomorrow as UM takes on Western Michigan.

A week or two ago I did an initial prediction for each game, and I had this one down as an easy win. Nothing since then has caused me to change this, and I think it will be a similar score to the 2009 game between these two sides.

Michigan should be able to dominate in the trenches, so expect a lot of run plays and an increased 'time of possession' compared to last season. Denard will still get his QB designed runs, and I think he'll have 100 yards rushing by halftime against a suspect defense. As for passing, I don't think they'll do anything too risky, quite a lot of short passes to build up confidence.

On defense, I think the team will come out strong and hopefully get some real pressure on the WMU QB. Apparently he's quite good, but to be fair we heard the same thing about Tim Hiller in 2009, and he only put 7 points on the board.

Hoping for one field goal too...!

Final Prediction: UM 38 ; WMU 10.