Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stepping on the gas: Recruiting for 2016 and beyond

During Coach Harbaugh's National Signing Day Press Conference (2/4/2015), he addressed questions regarding potential modifications/upgrades to the recruiting department of the football program:

On whether Michigan will set up a department focused solely on recruiting:
“We’ll make some improvements in all areas of our organization. I look at it that way. Always be striving to get a percent better, a mile an hour faster, better today than we were yesterday, better tomorrow than we were today in all areas, in everything that we do so yeah, we’ll take a look at how we’re doing it and start with why and attack even a .01 percent improvement if we can find it. Just like the NASCAR boys, see if we can’t get a mile an hour faster.”
Will there be a specific department for recruiting?
“We’ll look at it and attack it just- how are we going to approach it? We’ll continue to attack all areas in how we do things.”

Coach Harbaugh's comment that he would look at the existing structure and "attack even a .01 improvement if we can find it" suggested he did not want to criticize the structure the former regime had in place.  However, if anyone believed he was simply going to tweak Michigan's recruiting process, that person would have been quickly disabused of such a notion by three key hires made within days of 2015 National Signing Day (NSD). Coach Harbaugh's hires signal that there is a radical shift in how Michigan will conduct recruiting going forward.
Under the old regime, Chris Singletary held the title of Director of Player Personnel.  Per the online media guide, Singletary is in his sixth season as the recruiting coordinator with the Michigan football program. He has handled all of the team's recruiting efforts, both on-campus and out in the community.  He was a three-year letterman at Michigan (1996-98) who played linebacker, Singletary graduated in May 1999 with a degree in sports management and communications.
Under Singletary were just two support staff- Caitlin Aoki (Recruiting Asst.) and Mary Passink (Admin. Asst. to the Head Coach for Recruiting).  Within one week after 2015 NSD, the addition of 3 people to the Michigan Football recruiting department were announced and all with remarkably similar titles:  Gwendolyn Bush (Director of Player Development), Matt Doherty (Recruiting Coordinator) and Chris Partridge (Recruiting Operations Coordinator).  Each of the three new hires bring something special to the program.

Gwendolyn Bush ( was hired as Director of Player Development. She is the mother of Stanford fifth-year graduate transfer Wayne Lyons who is coming to Michigan in 2015 after having started 7 games at CB last year for the Cardinal.  Before college, Lyons played for a high powered 7-on-7 team called South Florida Express (SFE) that also boasts of Teddy Bridgewater and Geno Smith as former players. Ms. Bush was known as the "team mom" for SFE. Coach Harbaugh was apparently impressed with Ms. Bush when he recruited Lyons to Stanford and Coach Harbaugh has now added her to his staff at Michigan. Ms. Bush's 50 question recruiting questionaire for coaches has become legendary.

Matt Doherty was the Director of Player Personnel at the U (Univ. of Miami) when he was hired by Coach Harbaugh. Because Chris Singletary already held that title at Michigan, Doherty is taking the title of Recruiting Coordinator. The addition of Doherty will give Michigan a foothold in talent rich Florida.

From the high school ranks comes (Coach) Chris Partridge who will be the Recruiting Operations Coordinator.  The job was posted on U-M's website Jan. 27 and states "Responsible for the planning, coordination, execution and assessment of recruiting operations. Directly responsible for the coordination and liaison of high school coaches and talent stakeholders in the college football prospect market."  Partridge coached current U-M players Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty at Paramus (N.J.) Catholic High School.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

WR Gallon looks to top off amazing year with bowl victory

Jeremy Gallon took on wearing Desmond Howard's #21 legend's jersey this season and Jeremy has done the honor proud as he has had a fantastic Senior season.  Jeremy set the Big Ten record for receiving yards in a single game (369 vs. Indiana on 10-19-13) and finished second in the conference in receiving yards per game through the 2013 regular season (12 games, 107 ypg). For these accomplishments and more, Jeremy was voted by his teammates as the 2013 Bo Schembechler Team MVP.

Jeremy has posted a reception in a program record tying 38 straight games.  Furthermore, in his last seven games, Jeremy has caught at least 5 passes each game.  In 2013, Jeremy became the 10th player in Michigan Football history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.  In fact, Jeremy is only 47 yards shy of setting a new Michigan single-season mark for receiving yards. However, he has a new QB who will be throwing him the ball in his final game as Devin Gardner is out with an injury.  It will be interesting to see if true freshman QB Shane Morris, who will be making his first start, will be able to deliver the ball to Jeremy.  Jeremy will likely have a huge game as he does for Shane Morris what Braylon Edwards did for a then true freshman Chad Henne in 2004.  That is, Jeremy will likely be the go-to guy for the youngster as Morris tries to find his way.  Jeremy should finish his stellar Michigan career with a big game tonight. Go Blue!

12/29/13- Post-game Update:  Jeremy caught 9 passes for 89 yards and broke the Michigan records for single-season receiving yards and consecutive games with a catch (39).  For good measure, Jeremy also completed a pass to Justice Hayes for a successful two-point conversion. Go Blue!


Shane Morris will be only the third QB in Michigan Football history to start a bowl game as a true freshman

When Shane Morris leads the Wolverines today in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, it will mark only the third time in the 134 years of Michigan Football that a true freshman has started a bowl game at Quarterback.  In fact, only five other Michigan quarterbacks have ever started a game during their true freshman season. They are:

  • Rick Leach- 1975: 11 games including the 1976 Orange Bowl
  • Rich Hewlett- 1979: The M/OSU game
  • Chad Henne- 2004: 12 games including the 2005 Rose Bowl
  • Ryan Mallett- 2007: 3 games
  • Tate Forcier- 2009: 12 games
It should be noted that of the two above-mentioned quarterbacks who started bowl games (Leach and Henne), neither were able to secure a victory.  Leach and the Wolverines lost in the 1976 Orange Bowl 14-6 to the eventual National Champion Oklahoma Sooners.  As for Henne, he and his teammates came up just short in a classic 38-37 battle against Texas in the Rose Bowl.  Therefore, if Morris can lead Team 134 to victory today in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, he will be the first true freshman in Michigan Football history to quarterback the Wolverines to a bowl game victory! Go Blue!!!

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Friday, February 08, 2013

Southpaw jinx?

On signing day Wednesday, the highly touted signal-caller Shane Morris (Warren DeLasalle) was the first recruit to get his signed LOI into the Wolverines. "Sugar" Shane is left-handed which is a rarity for a Michigan QB. In the past 35 seasons, Michigan has only had two left-handed quarterbacks start games (Rick Leach, 1975-78; Demetrius Brown, 1987-88). Go Blue!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


If this is what progress looks like, I sure would hate to see what regression looks like. Michigan capped off its 2010 regular season by suffering a 30-point drubbing at the hands of the rival OSU Buckeyes. The loss means the Wolverines lost five (5) of their final seven games of the 2010 regular season and relegated the team to a losing Big Ten Conference record for the third consecutive season. The defense is one of the worst in the nation as are the Special Teams Units. The fact that the Wolverines qualified for a third-tier bowl game should not be enough to keep Coach Rod as the Head Coach for another season.

After the OSU loss, Athletic Director David Brandon tersely maintained that there were no changes to announce and that he would do his evaluation after the season ended which presumably means after the bowl game. Coach Rod's contract may have something to do with the timing of A.D. Brandon's decision if he in fact decides to terminate Coach Rodriguez. The contract (.pdf) is a six-year deal. Coach Rod is currently in year 3. (See sec. 3.01: Term of Agreement and Employment). Section 3.01 (b) provides that year 3 of the contract runs from Jan. 1., 2010- Dec. 31., 2010 and year 4 commences Jan. 1. 2011. This is potentially very important because of the contract's termination provisions (Article IV). Section 4.01 (a) provides that if the University terminates the contract in year 3 (i.e., in 2010) the severance pay-out to Coach Rod is $4 Million. However, if the University does not terminate the contract until year 4 (i.e., after 1-1-11) then the severance pay-out drops to $2.5 Million. A savings of a cool $1.5 Million to the University. It is also interesting to note that section 4.01 (a) provides that the parties agree that the University may terminate Rodriguez' employment without cause " giving to Rodriguez thirty (30) days' advance written notice of the termination of his employment."

A.D. Brandon's stated desire to do his employment review of Coach Rod after the season makes sense when you consider that within a week or so of Michigan's bowl game that the severance pay-out will drop by $1.5 Million. Thus, after the bowl, A.D. Brandon can give the proper notice, save the University over a million dollars, and get the Football program back on track by hiring the right coach. Go Blue!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2010 Spring Football Media Guide

Table of Contents / Pages 1-2 / 1.08 MB

Part 1 / Pages 3-100: Quick Facts, Rosters, Meet the Wolverines / 8.12 MB

Part 2 / Pages 101-136: Football Staff / 6.18 MB

Part 3 / Pages 137-188: Season in Review / 6.16 MB

Part 4 / Pages 189-280: Records / 9.25 MB

Part 5 / Pages 281-312: Player History / 10.5 MB

Part 6 / Pages 313-357: All-time Letterwinners / 3.23 MB

Part 7 / Pages 358-404: All-time Scores / 3.12 MB

Part 8 / Pages 405-422: Michigan Stadium History / 6.11 MB

Part 9 / Pages 423-452: Wolverines in the NFL / 4.16 MB

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The allegations have come down but Rich Rod is staying

The hastily organized Victors' Rally that was held Sunday portended the release of the NCAA notice of allegations into Coach Rod's practice policy rules infractions. The allegations released today cited five (5) potential Major Violations committed by the Wolverines' Football Program. One of the questions that the University has to answer for the NCAA is whether the allegations demonstrate that Coach Rod failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failed to adequately monitor the members of his staff. Despite this inquiry, incoming A.D. David Brandon unequivocally stated that Rich Rod is going to be the Head Coach next season. Sure. Why not? Coach Rod's "leadership" only brought the first allegations of NCAA Major Violations in the 130-year history of Michigan Football. This is a dark day. Coach Rod should voluntarily resign but there is not a snowball's chance in Hawaii of that happening. Go Blue!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Coach Rod comments at Victors' Rally on coming sanctions

Ann Arbor businessman Pete Nichols put together Sunday's Victors' Rally in an effort to provide a morale boost to the fans of the recently moribund Michigan Football program. During the rally at the Michigan Theatre, attended by 450 fans who paid for admission, Coach Rod made remarks lasting about 15 minutes. Coach Rod was overcome with emotion (imagine that!) as he spoke about the program and his place in it. Most interestingly, he hinted at what is coming down the pipe in terms of the NCAA investigation into allegations that he committed violations during his first season as Head Coach. Coach Rod said at the rally, "We have an issue with the NCAA. That’s going to be resolved and I feel confident at the end of the summer, we’ll be through that. Can you imagine if Bo was told (by) the NCAA, you worked too hard? Maybe we worked too hard, I don’t know. But our players are totally committed.” (emphasis added)

The reason, quite simply, that Coach Rod does not know if they "worked too hard" is because he did not maintain the requisite practice time logs for the Compliance Department during the period of time in question. In the proud 130-year history of the Michigan Football Program, the Wolverines have never been hit with a major sanction by the NCAA for a rules violation. This is another of the Wolverines' streaks that is likely to come to an ignominious end under the reign of Coach Rod. In a ploy to garner support for his rule-breaking practice policies, Coach Rod invoked the memory of legendary Coach Schembechler. In his remarks, Coach Rod asked rhetorically, "Can you imagine if Bo was told (by) the NCAA, you worked too hard?" Fans would be hard pressed to envision a scenario where Bo had to be reprimanded by the NCAA as Coach Schembechler ran a program that always played within the rules and was beyond reproach. Coach Schembechler never had to be told by the NCAA about how hard he was working his players because Bo ALWAYS played within the rules.

In his book, Bo's Lasting Lessons, Coach Schembechler titled the Sixth Chapter: Do the Right Thing-Always. The beginning of the chapter seems particularly pertinent:

Every coach, every executive, every leader: They all know right from wrong. Even those Enron guys. When someone uncovers a scandal in their company, I don't think they can say, "I didn't know that was going on." They're really just saying they're too dumb to do their
job! And if they really are too dumb, they why are they getting paid
millions of dollars to do it? They know what's going on.

Bo went on to write that he could not recall a single moral dilemna in all his
years of coaching. (page 59) He wrote the reason was, "We always
knew what the right thing to do was, so we just did it. And we slept
well at night! Really, it was that simple."

When Coach Rod plaintively asks what it will take for him to be considered a
Michigan Man he does not understand it takes character that is beyond him.
Go Blue!