Sunday, January 25, 2009

WVU's improvement in Year 2 Under Rodriguez

Benjamin Disraeli once said that there are "lies, damn lies, and statistics".

Studying statistics in the context of college football might very well be an exercise in self-deception, or at least wishful thinking.

Michigan football is closing out the 2009 recruiting campaign and will begin spring football practice in 2 months time. The Wolverine coaches and football players will endeavor to erase a painful 2008 campaign that ended with a 3-9-0 record and perhaps the worst offensive and defensive showing for a Michigan football team in decades.
Following the 2008 season, the Wolverine coaches and players realize that they have a lot of work to do, but that they are on a completely new path.

So what can Michigan fans come to expect from the Wolverine football team in 2009?

Good question.

We know that past performance does not guarantee future results. This is particularly true under current Michigan Wolverine football coach Rich Rodriguez.

Everyone knows the major transition undertaken by Rodriguez and his staff for the future of the Michigan football team. New weight training facilities, new conditioning program, new offensive playbook (spread option attack), and a new defensive scheme.

But Rodriguez has been through these transitions before, and the early stages of these transitions have historically proven to be brutal.

How brutal?

Consider his first inaugural football season as head coach at West Virginia.

Rodriguez inherited a 7-5-0 team from former head coach Don Nehlen, including veteran OL, receivers and backfield, but a relatively new defensive line, LB corps and secondary. Don Nehlen ran an multiple I formation attack since his first season at WVU in 1980.

Rodriguez did not hesitate. He proceeded to introduce his radically new player conditioning program and his Glenville College spread option playbook.

With so many veterans returning on offense, including two proven QBs in Brad Lewis and Scott McBrien, expectations for WVU football were very high in 2001.

Instead, West Virginia's on field actual results were disasterous under Rich Rodriguez. The team finished 3-8-0.

Below a comparison of WVU football team offensive stats between 2000(Nehlen) and 2001(Rodriguez) seasons :


With the new spread option attack of Rodriguez, Brad Lewis and Scott McBrien's cumulative pass attempts in 2001 were the same as the year prior under Nehlen and their accuracy actually improved (48% to 54%) under Rodriguez. But interceptions just killed the Mountaineers in 2001 and no doubt cost football games. 19 interceptions and only 9 touchdown passes over only 11 games.

Whoa, those stats hurt. These passing turnovers left a mark on Rodriguez. He would change his approach the next season.


In 2001 West Virginia returned an impressive stable of running backs, including two shifty tailbacks named Avon Coubourne and Cooper Rego. Rushing attempts were essentially the same as under Nehlen, but spreading the field allowed the Mountaineers effectiveness to improve from 3.6 yards/carry to 4.2 yards/carry. The biggest change here was that the Mountaineer quarterbacks under Nehlen in 2000 rushed for -75 yards. Under Rodriguez, QB Rasheed Marshall became the Mountaineers' 2nd leading rusher (and the second string QB) with 210 yards.


The marked decline in passing offense was witnessed in the receiving statistics between 2000 and 2001. West Virginia just ceased becoming a big time scoring threat through the air. 16 passing TDs in 2000 vs. only 9 passing TDs in 2000. West Virginia was turned into a run-centric team in one season. The receiving yardage in 2001 under Rodgiuez was over 700 yards less. Rodriguez's sideline-to-sideline passing attack was evidenced in the yards per catch decline: 15.6 in 2000 to 9.4 in 2001.

What is more startling is to view West Virginia's offensive stats from 2001 (Rodriguez's first season) with Michigan's offensive stats in 2008 (also Rodriguez's first season):


Shockingly similar passing stats in attempts. WVU's completion % was better, but Michigan's inexperienced quarterbacks Threet & Sheridan, if you can believe it, threw dramatically fewer interceptions that Brad Lewis and Scott McBrien did.


Michigan's 2008 rushing stats were virtually identical with those of WVU in 2001. Look at yards gained and yards per carry.


This is made more surprising if one considers that although Michigan did return veteran running backs Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown, both served mostly backup or cleanup duty roles prior to this season. Michigan also did not return a veteran offensive line in 2008. The Wolverines returned one starter (Steve Schilling) and that was it, and for the most part struggled to stay healthy and find cohesiveness.


Again, Michigan's 2008 receiving stats are almost a carbon copy of West Virginia's in 2001 in yardage, yards per catch. Only WVU's attempts were more than Michigan's.

Year 2:

So in 2002, Rodriguez's second year, the Mountaineers returned most of the OL and an experienced backfield. The Mountaineer receiving corps would be brand new, however. But Rodriguez had had just about enough of the interception throwing escapades from 2001. He would use Rasheed Marshall at QB full-time and in every game. RichRod's 2002 strategy emphasized the run even more with Marshall, Cobourne and new speed-demon slotback Quincy Wilson. The results were very, very different from 2001, and not a little bit impressive:


Could the above chart be Rodriguez saying "f&ck you!" to interceptions? 19 interceptions in 2000, man. Nightmarish. Never again, he said. Note the massive drop off in passing attempts. The yardage and accuracy remained the same, but the effectiveness improved: more TDs, fewer INTs.


Whoa dude! That's what happens when flintlock-gun-packing Mountaineers run through the brambles and kick everybody's ass in embarrassing fashion!

Just spread the field, sprinkle in a workhorse tailback (Cobourne) with a mercurial slotback (Quincy Wilson) and a mobile and elusive QB (Rasheed Marshall) and guess what?

Defenses start to get deer-in-the-headlights confused on who to cover and where to be.

It's just science.

For the record, in 2002 QB Rasheed Marshall rushed for 666 yards (Football IS THE DEVIL!) and 12 Mountaineer TDs! The leading rusher Cobourne hit paydirt 17 times. Quincy Wilson 6 times.

West Virginia scored 38 touchdowns in 2002. 38!

That's 22 MORE TOUCHDOWNS than the year prior! WTF??


Yes, RR may have said to hell with the passing attack in 2002, but he really didn't.
The quarterback threw more efficiently, the receivers improved their yards per catch from 9.4 to 11.9, and scored 11 TDs. Also, eight different players caught TD passes for West Virginia in 2002. Go ahead, defensive coordinators. Game plan that one!

Spreading the field, dishing the ball off to multiple home-run capable slotbacks, and adding in a fast and elusive QB with just average throwing accuracy (53%) is sometimes enough to create mushroom clouds of destruction on the gridiron.

West Virginia finished 9-4-0 in 2002 and was one of the nation's most improved teams.

Can Michigan's team repeat such a ferocious turnaround in 2009?

This remains to be seen. The Wolverines have a more experienced and relatively, deep and improved offensively line, plenty of speed at slot and wide receiver.
But the Wolverines don't yet have a mobile and elusive quarterback. It's possible that freshman signal callers Tate Forcier (and possibly recruit Denard Robinson) might be able to contribute that last required ingredient to Michigan's success.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

2009 Michigan Recruiting - Predicted Finish

Michigan has landed 20 recruits so far and should have a final class of 25 commits by signing day.

So who will occupy the final 5 open slots and join the other 20 to don the Maize & Blue in 2009?

Here are my predictions:

QB/CB Denard Robinson, 4 star, No 13 CB, 6-0, 176 lbs, Deerfield Beach, FL, 4.38 speed. Talented QB and CB. Provides RR with badly needed depth for QB position.

CB Adrian Witty, 2 star, NR Safety, 6-1, 185 lbs, Deerfield Beach, FL, speed unknown (was injured in 2008). Robinson and Witty come as a "package deal".

WR Je'Ron Stokes, 4 star, No. 19 WR, 6-0, 195 lbs, Philadelphia, PA, 4.5 speed

WR Willie Haulstead, 4 star, No. 37 WR, 6-2, 195 lbs, Miami, FL, 4.6 speed

DE Sam Montgomery, 4 star, No. 7 DE, 6-5, 240 lbs, Greenwood, SC, 5.7 speed

Other possible, but less likely, commits:

OL Marcus Hall, 5 star, No. 2 OL, 6-5, 293 lbs, Cleveland, OH, 5.4 speed, but tremendous local pressure for Marcus to commit to UM rival Ohio State

OL Quinton Washington, 3 star, No. 125 OL, 6-4, 322lbs, St. Stephen, SC, speed unknown. depends on Hall a little bit.

WR/QB Travante Stallworth, 3 star, No. 120 WR, 5-9, 180 lbs, Leesville, LA, 4.4 speed, but may confirm current commitment to Auburn shortly.

DE Bennie Logan, 3 star, No. 64 DE, 6-3, 245 lbs, Coushatta, LA, 4.8 speed. Depends on pending southern school visits, LSU's greyshirt situation and perhaps.

The best case scenario would be landing just one of the receivers above and Marcus Hall.

The worst case scenario would be a class absent Robinson, Hall and Montgomery. Michigan really must land 1 of these three players, and preferably 2 of the 3.

It's a pretty tall order given the competition. But Michigan's lack of depth, early playing opportunities, not to mention a world-class education, must weigh heavily on the minds of these prospects too.

Michigan finished strong in recruiting in 2008 under Rodriguez. It's important to finish strong again. The hour is late. Important spots (QB and DE) simply must be filled. It is very important too that Pearlie Graves and Daquinta Jones stay in this class or that comparable replacements are somehow found.

Rick Leach Enters Michigan Hall of Honor

Former Michigan All-American quarterback Rick Leach (1975-1978) will be inducted in to the University of Michigan Hall of Honor on Saturday, January 24th.

Rick Leach set all sorts of records in baseball and football while at Michigan. As quarterback, Leach started 48 consecutive games (a record at the time) and led Michigan football teams to 3 consecutive victories over Ohio State, one Orange Bowl and three consecutive Rose Bowl berths. Michigan's football record with Rick Leach under center:

1975: 8-2-2
1976: 10-2-0
1977: 10-2-0
1978: 10-2-0

Leach was one of Michigan's best dual-threat quarterbacks in school history as he operated Michigan's triple option attack out of the I formation between 1975-1977 and out of the wishbone on occasion in 1978.

One could imagine how a young Rick Leach might fair under the new spread offense philosophy of the Michigan football regime of Rich Rodriguez.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Greg Robinson, Michigan's New Defensive Coordinator

Danger, Greg Robinson! Danger, Greg Robinson!

Yes, I know it hasn't been officially announced (*Update: It's official now). But internet rumours as they are, this one is no longer a whisper in the corners of regional blogs. and have both reported that it's 90% a done deal.

Defensive coordinator is a vital position for college football teams. Since defensive play is very indicative of a team's overall success, this position needs to be filled by an experienced, confident and knowledgeable coach. Strong leadership qualities, sound understanding of defensive strategy, creative playcalling and defensive alignments, and outstanding recruiting prowess are all essential characteristics of successful defensive coordinators in American college football.

Greg Robinson has been a football coach for along time in both the college and NFL ranks.

But what do we really know about Greg Robinson?

Most of the "good aspects" of Greg Robinson can be observed when he was a defensive line coach and/or defensive coordinator in college at UCLA and in the NFL for the Denver Broncos, and for a time, with the New York Jets.

Coincidentally, some of the "bad aspects" of Greg Robinson were also when he was defensive coordinator in the NFL for the New York Jets, and most recently, for the Kansas City Chiefs, and as a head coach at Syracuse. The performance and results of Greg Robinson's more recent endeavors have been, unfortunately for Michigan, less and less impressive.

The Good Greg Robinson:

1.) Coached as Assistant Coach and Def. Coordinator/DL coach under Terry Donahue at UCLA during arguably some of the best and most competitive years of UCLA Bruin football ever (1982-1989).

1982: 10-1-1 PAC-10 champs

1983: 7-4-1

1984: 9-3-0

1985: 9-2-1 PAC-10 champs
1986: 8-3-1

1987: 10-2-0

1988: 10-2-0

1989: 3-7-1 (Robinson was OC this one year for Terry Donahue)

2.) Coached as DC for Shanahan's NFL champion Broncos in 1997 and 1998.

The Bad Greg Robinson:

1.) As DC of the NY Jets under head coaches Bruce Coslet (1990-1993) and Pete Carroll (1994), the Jets' defense was ranked as followed in the NFL:

1990: 23rd out of 28 teams ypg surrendered, 17th in scoring defense with 22 pts./game

1991: 12th out of 28 teams ypg surrendered, 10th in scoring defense with 18 pts/game

1992: 16th out of 28 teams ypg surrendered, 18th in scoring defense with 20 pts/game

1993: 8th out of 28 teams in ypg surrendered, 6th in scoring defense with 15 pts/game

1994: 22nd out of 28 teams in ypg surrendered, tied for 14th in scoring defense with 20 pts/game

2) As DC for the Kansas City Chiefs 2001-2003 under coach Dick Vermeil, Robinson's performance displayed the following NFL rankings:

2001: 23rd out of 31 teams ypg surrendered, 23rd in scoring defense with 22 pts/game.

2002: 32nd out of 32 teams ypg surrendered, 28th in scoring defense with 25 pts/game

2003: 29th out of 32 teams ypg surrendered, 19th in scoring defense with 21 pts/game

2004: 31st out of 32 teams ypg surrendered, 29th in scoring D with 27 pts per game

3.) Greg Robinson as HC for Syracuse:

Syracuse team records:

2005: 1-10-0

2006: 4-8-0

2007: 2-10-0

2008: 3-9-0

Under Robinson's 4 year tenure, Syracuse won only 3 Big East conference games.

4.) Greg Robinson as a college football recruiter:

We don't have records of Greg Robinson's recruiting at as AC/DC at UCLA. It's more likely that Terry Donahue did a lot of the heavy lifting for UCLA, as he had become the face of the program after Dick Vermeil left in January 1976.

Recruiting kids to play football in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY - a city where nothing even remotely interesting may ever happen - is certainly not an easy job to do. But Robinson carried the SU recruiting torch for 4 years and - all things considered and compared - didn't screw it up too badly. Robinson kept Syracuse recruiting at more or less the status quo:

Syracuse Recruiting Class Rank 2005-2008 (source:

2005: 49th
2006: 51st
2007: 46th
2008: 50th

Syracuse recruiting under former HC Paul Pasqualoni:

2002: 36th
2003: 62nd
2004: 50th

It's important to note that Paul Pasqualoni's previous head coaching success as Syracuse was decidedly better than Robinson with the same or worse talent.

So taking into consideration the above, it's difficult to know how Greg Robinson would perform at Michigan. Wolverine HC Rich Rodriguez pointed out earlier how important it was for the DC to "fit in" and "get along" with the other coaches. This was apparently a problem under former DC Scott Schafer (now the new DC at, wait for it..... Syracuse!).

Robinson is probably not a star-spangled recruiter anymore, and no one knows where his main connections lie - west coast, east coast? More likely further west.

It certainly will not be the Midwest, nor the cradle of great defensive players in Michigan's past: Ohio & Pennsylvania. Maybe this is not so important, since the other defensive coaches Gibson, Hopson, Tall and even WR coach Tony Dews are the ones doing a lot of the recruiting work anyway alongside Rodriguez himself. The University of Michigan does sell itself with respect to recruiting but Robinson will need to hit the road early and often in order to sow seeds of interest in Michigan's defensive play, and to get recruits to come play for him at Michigan.

Robinson's experience in the NFL should be considered an aggregate plus for Michigan, including the successful stint at the Denver Broncos and even for the NY Jets. The Kansas City debacle is a troubling observation because either Robinson had no players (as with Syracuse) or Robinson was starting to get tired of coaching. Robinson will be only 58 years old in October and will be the oldest coach on the Wolverine football coaching staff.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Michigan's 2009 Offensive Depth Chart

The Michigan Wolverine offense was much maligned in 2008. And for good reason.

Big Ten Statistics:

Scoring Offense: 11th with 20.3 average points per game.

Yards Per Game: 11th with 291 average yards per game, 143 yds/game.

Total Yards Passing: 11th, 1178 yards passing over 12 games, 291 yds/game.

Total Yards Rushing: 7th, 1771 yards rushing over 12 games, 148 yds/game.

Michigan's Big Ten statistics are damning enough, but the offensive numbers nationally are about as comforting as a root canal:

Scoring Offense: 98th out of 120 teams

Yards/Game: 109th

3rd Down Success Rate: 119th (27 % !!!), only godawful Washington State was worse.

Time of Possession: 110th with 27:33 minutes per game (in other words: run, run, pass, punt)

Penalties: 23rd (57 penalities for 500 yards)


That was excruciating to read.

Just about the only thing Michigan's offense was proficient at doing was offensive holding, performing illegal motion, and jump offsides slightly less than 97 other major college football teams during the entire 2008 season. How magical!

So indeed Michigan's offense was not just awful, but one of the nation's worst.

But is there any shred of hope for improvement in 2009, since most of the starters will be back on offense for Michigan?

Here are the 2009 Projected Offensive Starters (though the 2009 Recruiting Class has not fleshed itself out completely):

QB Tate Forcier - 2 Fr. 4 STAR
Steven Threet-10-RS So. 4 STAR
Nick Sheridan-8 So 0 STAR

FB Mark Moundros - 44 Sr. 0 STAR
Kevin Grady-24-Sr 5th 5 STAR

RB/SB Brandon Minor - 4 Sr 4 STAR
Michael Shaw-20 So. 4 STAR
Carlos Brown - 23 Sr. 4 STAR
Jeremy Gallon-? Fr. 3 STAR
Vincent Smith-? Fr. 3 STAR
Teric Jones-? Fr. 3 STAR
Fitzgerald Toussaint-? Fr. 3 STAR
Justin Feagin-3-So 2 STAR

WR Greg Mathews-13-Sr. 3 STAR
Darryl Stonum-22 So. 4 STAR
Cameron Gordon-? Fr. 3 STAR

WR Junior Hemingway-21 So. 4 STAR
Toney Clemons-17 Jr. 4 STAR

WR Martavious Odoms-9 So. 4 STAR
Terrance Robinson-7 RS Fr. 4 STAR

TE Kevin Koger-86 So. 4 STAR

RT Steve Schilling-52 Sr. 5 STAR
Perry Dorrestein-79 Sr. 3 STAR
Patrick Omameh-65 So. 3 STAR
Taylor Lewan-? Fr. 4 STAR
Michael Schofield-? Fr. 3 STAR

RG David Moosman-60 Sr. 5th 4 STAR
Kurt Wermers-64 So. 4 STAR
Ricky Barnum-56 So. 3 STAR

C Dave Molk-50 Jr. 4 STAR

LG Tim McAvoy-62 Sr. 5th 4 STAR
John Ferrara-74 Sr. 3 STAR DE
Elliott Mealer-57 So. 4 STAR
Mark Huyge-72 So. 2 STAR

LT Mark Ortmann-71 Sr. 5th 3 STAR
Dann O'Neal-78 So. 4 STAR
Rocko Koury-63-So. 3 STAR
Anthony Lalota - ? Fr. 4 STAR
William Campbell-? Fr. 5 STAR

Clearly Michigan enters 2009 with a great deal more depth (except at Center), overall talent, and experience than it did just one year before. Even with the losses of TB Sam McGuffie (transferred to Rice), Michigan is now a mile deep with youth, talent and speed at tailback and slotback positions. The Wolverines have considerable speed, wide receiver height and depth on the perimeter as well. The Michigan offensive line will likely only improve in 2009 given it's considerble experience, talent and depth.

But if there is a position on the Michigan offensive team that is still a cause of serious concern, it would have to be quarterback. That concern has more to do with questioning the skill, speed and "play-making talent" required to run the entire spread offense playbook of Rich Rodriguez.

The quarterback is instrumental to any offense in college football, but in order for the full power of the spread option offense to be displayed, the right person must be at the helm.

With Rich Rodriguez's spread offense attack, the quarterback must be able to make fast reads and make big plays - either with the arm, with the feet or with both.

Steven Threet has a strong arm, but lacks throwing accuracy, and was frequently injured (elbow and concussions) in games. In addition, Threet is a slow, long-stride runner. He tends to hesitate in the pocket and accepts unnecessary sacks.

Nick Sheridan is not much quicker than Threet, has below average throwing accuracy and a propensity to throw interceptions. Yet no one on the Michigan roster today knows the offense better than Sheridan.

Third string QB Justin Feagin, as far as anyone knows, can run a QB keeper pretty well, but that's the extent of what we've seen. David Cone remains a highly unlikely 4th option.

Threet and Sheridan alternated as the Wolverine starters all season long, but both struggled immensely making fast, defensive reads and managing this high-tempo, no huddle offense.

And so it is that a great deal of hope has already been pinned on incoming freshman quarterback Tate Forcier from Scripps Ranch High School of San Diego, CA.
Forcier's senior high school statistics:

Rushing: 76 attempts, 771 yards, 10.1 yards per carry, 11 TDs

Passing: 298 attempts, 195 complete, 3,331 yards, 23 TDs, 11 Ints.

Forcier brings all the ingredients that Wolverine head coach Rodriguez is looking for in a quarterback: quick feet, an accurate throwing arm, and the ability to make big plays. Forcier has enrolled early, will participate in winter workouts and can start to study Rodriguez's extensive playbook. He will also be eligible to play in the Michigan Spring Football game April 11th.

It should therefore surprise no one if we were to witness Tate Forcier as the leading candidate entering fall practice to start at QB for Michigan.

While Michigan does return both starting quarterbacks Threet and Sheridan, and young Forcier shows favorable promise, there is still cause of concern on offense.

The spread option offense requires the QB to run the football. He is therefore much more susceptible to injury. Should Forcier, for example, become injured, Threet or Sheridan would likely step in, and the Michigan offense might have to downshift a gear or two (or three!).

Rodriguez really needs two to three talented, dual-threat QBs in order to bring the full weight of the offensive playbook to bear on opponents, and to keep the Wolverine offense running on all cylinders.

Landing a second talented and skilled quarterback, therefore, must be a top priority for Rich Rodriguez's 2009 recruiting class. With 2.5 weeks to go before signing day, Michigan has not yet signed one to replace decommit Shavodrick Beaver.

Michigan's 2009 Recruiting Class - Now In The Final Stretch

With 2 1/2 weeks to go for Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez to fill out his 2009 freshman class.

With 20 recruits so far, the Wolverines' class so far is ranked 12th nationally by and 8th nationally by This leaves 5 spots open that still need to be filled and perhaps more if soft commits DT Pearlie Graves and DE DaQuinta Jones choose to decommit from Michigan.

In my view, Michigan's biggest needs are indeed:


Landing Tate Forcier was very important. But losing talented commit Shavodrick Beaver to Tulsa was a serious blow to Rodriguez's class. At this point in the year, there appear to be slim pickings as far as quality quarterbacks go. Florida CB/QB combo Denard Robinson is one option, and Austin Dantin is another, and LA QB Brandon Mitchell is yet a third target for the Wolverines, but Mitchell says he's 90% sure he'll be an Arkansas Razorback.

Wide Receiver

Senior Greg Mathews graduates this coming fall. Besides, with the spread formations Michigan runs today, more wideouts are needed than just Hemingway, Clemons, Stonum.

Je'Ron Stokes appears to be a prime target for this position right now alongside Travante Stallworth and Anthony Williams.

Offensive Line

Neither Rodriguez nor OL coach Greg Frey can be too satisfied with Michigan's offensive line situation. The Wolverines OL demonstrated the same slow and deliberate movement toward improvement as the Earth's tectonic plates. Michigan landed Schofield, Lewan and Lalota, but may want 1 more to play offensive tackle or guard. With Bond having Carolina on his mind, there remain massive Ohio OT Marcus Hall and SC OL Quinton Washington on the target list for Michigan.

Defensive End

This wouldn't be such an issue if Graves and Jones weren't so soft with their commitments to come to Michigan. An interesting option here is SC DE Sam Montgomery who said he was impressed with his winter visit of UofM. Defensive end is important however, as Brandon Graham graduates next fall. LA DE Bernie Logan is another target that will be visiting Michigan shortly. I do believe that OT John Ferrara will likely move back to defense (DE/DL) in 2009 to provide more talent and bodies on that side, rather than stay on the offensive line for the Wolverines.


In my view, Michigan needs better cornerback play because between 2005-2008 secondary play, in general, has been one collossal disappointment. Cissoko and Warren are very talented, highly regarded and capable. But Michigan needs more talent here, i.e. one or two "shutdown corners" going forward.

Denard Robinson is a CB, but would likely play QB at Michigan. Jayron Hosely is an almost certain South Florida lock for HC Jim Leavitt, so that leaves...nobody? Maybe some of many leftover Michigan's safeties will convert over to play CB.
The 2008 recruiting season ended on a very high note for new coach Rodriguez. With only a few weeks left it will be interesting to see whether Michigan football recruiting again ends with a fury of success, or an anti-climatic thud.

PA Wideout Je'Ron Stokes Liked UM visit

The Michigan Wolverines have some fine receivers on the 2009 roster already, but wideout is a position of serious need for the future:

2009 Michigan wide receivers:

WR Greg Mathews-13, 6-3, 195 Senior

WR Junior Hemingway-21, 6-3, 205, RS Sophomore

WR Toney Clemons-17, 6-2, 205, Junior

WR Darryl Stonum-22, Sophomore

Je'Ron Stokes is 6-1, 180 lbs wideout from Philly with blazing 4.45 speed.

Stokes will visit Penn State next week, but Michigan appears to have made a positive impression this weekend.

Great little capsule on Stokes from Prepticket:

OL Travis Bond sounding rather Tarheelish

Michigan recruit offensive lineman Travis Bond sure looks and sounds like he'll be blue. Carolina Blue, that is.

His verbal commitment will be announced soon. Bond plays at a position of considerable need for the Michigan Wolverines:

Pre-Season Michigan 2009 Offensive Line

RT Steve Schilling-52 Sr. 6-5, 300 5 star

RG David Moosman-60, Sr. 5th, 6-4, 298, 4 star

C David Molk-50, Jr. 6-2, 284, 4 star

LG Tim McAvoy-62, Sr. 5th, 4 star

LT Mark Ortmann-71, Sr. 5th

The Wolverines enter the 2009 season with considerable talent, experience and depth on the offensive line, but it clearly did not convincingly demonstrate much prowess on the gridiron. Otherwise the Wolverines would have finished far better than 11th in scoring and 11th in total offensive yards in 2009 within an anemic Big Ten conference (to say the least).

Bond, a 6-7, 323lbs "mountain of mean" from Windsor, NC, was one of two remaining undecided offensive lineman that Michigan coaches had targeted. The other, Quinton Washington, remains undecided.

See Bond's Scout profile here.

If Bond does commit to North Carolina, that would bring HC Butch Davis' class to 28 players. Davis' class is already ranked 5th nationally by

When Carcajous Attack! Why I love Michigan football!

Michigan football has always been a passion of mine. I've been a Michigan football fan since I was very young. That passion has motivated me to starting writing about the Michigan football team and program on this new blog entitled "When Carcajous Attack!".

So what's a carcajou?

Well, I refer to the words of Ernest Thompson Seton, wildlife artist:

"Picture a weasel -- and most of us can do that,for we have met that little demon of destruction, that small atom of insensate courage, that symbol of slaughter,sleeplessness, and tireless, incredible activity --picture that scrap of demoniac fury, multiply that mite some fifty times,and you have the likeness of a Wolverine."Ernest Thompson Seton"Lives of Game Animals". 1925 - 1928. Vol. II

Carcajous are Wolverines.

And Wolverines are the nickname of the University of Michigan football team.

Let me first state that there are already a load of fantastic blogs out there that have been covering Michigan sports, and particularly Michigan football, extremely well. I read many of these blogs religiously myself. I simply wish to add to that critical commentary and discussion on this new blog. I will attempt to post as frequently as my work and other personal endeavors will allow, providing updates on the Michigan football team, football recruiting, coaching staff and college football in general.

From personal experience, being a Michigan football fan has always been a gut-wrenching experience. I grew up in the 1970s during which Michigan football experienced somewhat of a renaissance of success, winning 96 games, losing 16 and tying 3. One must bear in mind that some of Michigan's finest teams between 1970-1974were never invited to postseason play because the Big Ten conference administrative leadership would not allow it. Observing Michigan's gridiron success starting in the 1970s can certainly skew one's view of Michigan's true college football "greatness". When you witness a team lose 5 consecutive bowl games between 1976 and 1979, you can't help but think "man, being a Michigan fan sure does suck!". What I mean to say is, there have been moments of elation, but each one of those has seemingly been cancelled out by moments of despair.

Michigan fans should be, and are, quite proud of their football program. It's been lead by some great coaches and fantastic players, and comparatively speaking remains one of the most successful in terms of winning games. I am proud to be a Michigan football fan too. But my opinions about the football program right now are a little jaded given my observations over the last 40 years. This jadedness will no doubt make itself evident in my future writings.

And so we begin. I hope that everyone will enjoy this new blogging experiment and feel free to make comments and suggestions to me.

Thank you for reading!