Freaks. Bruce Feldman's annual list of people who should not be that size and be able to dance like that leads off with Rashan Gary. These lists always have combine porn:
The 6-foot-5 Gary is at the same weight he was at this time last year — 287 pounds — and his 40-yard dash time is the same at 4.57 seconds. His 3-cone drill at 6.79 was a touch behind last year’s 6.70, although his time this year still would beat every defensive lineman at this year’s NFL scouting combine. His 4.22 pro agility shuttle time also would top every D-lineman at the combine. Next best was 4.32. Another really impressive feat: his 10-4 broad jump, which was 8 inches better than what he did a year ago.
Incoming freshman Julius Welschof is #37 because he's very flippy. Three different Badgers (Olive Sagapolu, Jonathan Taylor, and D'Cota Dixon) make the list as well. If Hornibrook stops throwing so many picks, could be a breakthrough for the Badgers.
(Probably) nothing to see here. The Big Ten Network is up for renewal on the Comcast, and as is standard practice there is now a dual-sided PR campaign going on. BTN's like "dang!" and Fox is like "I mean cumong," and that's what's going on right now in these streets. Wetzel:
...cable giant Comcast is threatening to pull the Big Ten Network (as well as FS1, which shows league games) off basic cable packages. It already did outside the league footprint on second-tier packages. Now it is saying BTN will no longer be on basic cable in communities in the league area as of September 1.
Hence, Silverman’s alarm.
“BTN is now facing our biggest challenge since the launch of the network,” Silverman said at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “Our 10-year agreement with Comcast expires at the end of August. A few months ago, BTN was removed from out-of-market cable systems on Comcast, which is the leading cable provider in the country. … It’s extremely concerning.”
This strikes me as much ado about nothing. While Wetzel points out that cable's monopoly is mercifully crumbling and there's pressure to keep bills down, I have a hard time believing Comcast is going to send a significant section of its Big Ten footprint subscribers into a contemplation of cord-cutting. A deal will be reached at the last minute, both sides will claim victory, and the slow bleed of cable subscribers to over the top services will not get a sudden kick in the pants.
[After the JUMP: employees, monkeys... really too long spent talking about monkeys]
There's no money. Also as a part of that article, a stunning stat about the AD:
Michigan, for example, employed 253 people in its athletic department at an average salary of $73,382.64 in 2010-2011, per state records. Just seven years later, in 2017-18, there are 368 employees (up 31.3 percent) at an average salary of $99,310.58 (up 26.1 percent).
Simply by maintaining 2011 levels of staffing—sure you can have that raise, AD employees—Michigan would have 11.4 million dollars left over annually, or 116,000 dollars per scholarship revenue sport athlete. They'd have 12k per athlete, period, including walk-ons.
Nose guardin'. Via user "It's Always Marcia," Donovan Jeter's local paper breaks a little news:
Donovan Jeter would have had a hard imagining himself playing defensive tackle back when he was in high school. And if he did, the thought likely would have irritated him.
But now, the former Beaver Falls defensive end is set to play inside at nose guard for Michigan in the upcoming season. With fall camp starting in August and the season soon after in September, Jeter is thrilled about his new position.
“I like it a lot more than end and three-tech. I just feel like I can really use my strength in there,” Jeter, a redshirt freshman, said.
“I remember in high school I used to hate double teams. I just hated the thought of going inside. But now I’m 310, 315 pounds and that’s what I’ve got to do.”
Michigan has Aubrey Solomon for the next two or three years but loses Bryan Mone after the season so there's an opportunity for Jeter to be starter #2 at a spot that needs more depth than any other as early as next year.
A true thing stated clearly. Nothing much happened at media day except a sentient bottle of AXE asking the world's smuggest question, but Tyree Kinnel did talk about the dreaded slot fade:
“We gave up a lot of yards in the slot, we weren’t much help in the post last year,” Kinnel said. “Those are two things that were emphasized in the spring and two things that were really, really improved in spring ball.
“... Everyone knows it’s not an easy job to guard, especially if the pressure doesn’t get there and the quarterback’s waiting all day, that’s an advantage to the receiver. So that safety has to cover a lot of ground and help all the guys that are covering, and he has to be there to make plays, and there wasn’t enough of that last year. That was definitely (on) me and Josh, we got the majority of the snaps last year, and we didn’t make enough plays out of the post, and you’re going to see more of that this year.”
Brad Hawkins has apparently bounced back to safety, at least for now. Glasgow and Hawkins are destined to swap back and forth until millions of years in the future when they collide and form one elliptical galaxy.
Fluck, and other near-swears. David Hale revisits a frequent topic around these parts: can you actually coach turnovers?
In the past five years, the difference between a team in the top one-third nationally in takeaways and a team in the bottom third is only about one takeaway for every two games played. Over the past decade, 80 FBS programs fall somewhere between a plus-30 and minus-30 turnover margin, a difference of roughly one turnover or takeaway for every four games played. Only 12 programs have finished with at least 25 takeaways six or more times in the past decade, and it's hardly a who's who of college football, with Utah, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern in the club.
The math suggests things like pressure and sack rates have surprisingly little correlation to takeaways, while less intuitive metrics like yards per rush are a better predictor. Even the notion that turnovers dictate the outcome of a game offers something of a chicken-or-egg conundrum. Every FBS team has a positive turnover margin when already ahead on the scoreboard over the past decade, and only about a third of turnovers are committed by the team that's ahead, with only about 14 percent from teams ahead by a touchdown or more. So are turnovers the key to winning or simply a byproduct of it?
It may be the case that you can coach ball security and turnover acquisition but that everyone does so at approximately the same efficiency level so the net is the extreme year-to-year randomness we see. (Unless you're a blogger trying to argue that Rich Rodriguez's system is not inherently-turnover prone by pointing to years of friendly data at West Virginia. In that case the result will not be random at all; it will be tuned to make you look like a giant doof.)
Even the man cited as the exception to the rule, new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt, could be a stock-picking monkey.
Here is a new b—uh what
Bolded alter-ego! You're not supposed to be in this post or italicized!
bold has a different convention in this style of post
True enough. Why are you here?
You just called Jeremy Pruitt a monkey and moved on
Right. Envision 128 monkeys tasked with throwing several darts at a wall of stock names. After a year, monkeys that outperform the average are given a banana and kept around to throw more darts at the wall. Monkeys that don't are sent to... the monkey factory. Wherever. I don't know where monkeys usually work. Bed Bath and Beyond?
Anyway, five years into this experiment you have a set of four monkeys who've outperformed for five straight years. They have ties now. They appear on CNBC to proclaim their monkey wisdom from the heavens. They write books titled THE NEW MONKEY STANDARD: RANDY THE MONKEY AND VARIOUS STOCKS' RISE TO GLORY. They have done nothing but get lucky.
Eh... could be the Pruitt thing. Could be just being at Alabama, which is probably good at turnovers because it's good at defense in general. Hale:
Alabama also has faced the third-highest rate of pass plays over that span, and teams are about three times more likely to turn the ball over on a pass play than a run. And Alabama's defense has faced more third-and-long plays than any other FBS team in that stretch. Turnovers occur at a far higher rate on third-and-long than any other down and distance.
Those trends hold true at each of Pruitt's stops, which certainly is a credit to his defenses, though not necessarily attributable to strip drills, defensive backs with great hands or repeated team mantras about the importance of takeaways.
I tend to think turnovers are 1) very random and 2) more a consequence of being bad or good than a driver of it.
Hughes hope! Vancouver has seven defensemen under contract and might not be able to move any of them, per Jason Botchford:
There just hasn’t been a ballooning market for Vancouver’s veterans, which includes a group of seven NHL defencemen who are in the team’s control.
If you think rookie Quinn Hughes has a chance to be on this team, he has to sign first. It’s believed there is some pressure on the Canucks to clear him out a path and trim the logjam on defence.
The problem for the Canucks is they're all terrible and no one wants them at their cap hit. TBH, I'm not sure why Vancouver would even want to sign Hughes this year. They're going to be bad again, Hughes can only depress their draft pick, and the way the NHL free agency works should encourage teams to stash kids for a couple years. You become a UFA when you're 27 or have been in the league for 7 years, so signing Hughes is trading his age 19 season for his age 26 season. I have no idea why you'd do that, but so many teams feel under immediate pressure.
It does seem likely that if Vancouver does not clear a spot for him that he will be back in AA:
While Hughes acknowledged that both situations have pros and cons — college doesn’t pay and isn’t the same level of competition, but would be closer to his family, possibly more fun and offer a more personalized year of development than the AHL — he did note that there’s no con to playing in the NHL.
According to Benning, Vancouver feels the same, and is conducting meetings within the franchise and with Hughes’ agent, Pat Brisson, to find out just how long that would take.
“If we think he’s ready to play in the NHL and can feel comfortable, then we’ll try to get him signed,” Benning said. “And if we think he’s not quite ready for the NHL and we’re just going to sign him and send him to the AHL, then that’s where we’ll talk about whether he’s better off playing another year at the University of Michigan.”
You'd think that's the move for Vancouver but bad franchises are usually bad because they make bad decisions. Hi, Red Wings fans. Sorry about your unfireable dunce GM.
Etc.: Former UCF kicker suing the NCAA, but chances of success seem dubious.