Unverified Voracity Says Furk

Unverified Voracity Says Furk Brian September 25th, 2019 at 1:20 PM
[Patrick Barron]

UFR is delayed. It's due to crippling bouts of ennui. I'm sure you understand. Anyway, let's have some fun!

The situation. A follow-up from the stat on the podcast about how Michigan has failed to cover the last six spreads by at least two touchdowns from Dimitri Nakassis:


On the bright side, when you click to the big version of an image on twitter and save it, twitter no longer gives you a ".jpg-large" file that has to be renamed before you can actually use it. So I got to skip that step while inserting the neat summary of a half-season stretch in which Michigan has vastly underperformed expectations.

Oh God I just remembered why this graph looked strangely familiar.


RIP, Prevail and Ride. Also us.

[After THE JUMP: surely it gets more cheerful!]

Well, there's that. Adam Rittenberg gets some useful anonymous coach quotes that attempt to explain what is happening to Michigan's offense. "Speed in space" is just a rumor as Michigan plays without Mike Sainristil and doesn't do any speed in space things:

"There's no tempo in the offense," a Big Ten assistant told me. "There's no hurry-up ... and there's no get-the-ball-out-quick on the perimeter."

Against Wisconsin, Michigan's wide receiver screens went to a tight end.

And Shea Patterson is almost never finding someone to throw to in rhythm:

A coach who studied Michigan told me, "The ball is supposed to come out on a plant-and-throw or one hitch. If the quarterback's on his third hitch and the ball ain't out, that's a problem. To blame the O-line is outrageous." A former Big Ten coordinator added of Patterson, "He's not a quick-trigger guy, he's just not. He's a run around and make plays guy. It's a problem."

The problem isn't so much that Patterson can run around and make plays, it's that way too many plays end up breaking down into that after the actual design fails to do anything, whether that's because Patterson isn't finding receivers or everyone is covered.

Toughness: a thing people talk about. I'm not sure how you measure it or how to judge how it affects football games, but it's a press conference staple when things are going badly, and this is no exception:

“Emphasis on physicality, emphasis on toughness and emphasis on hustle,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll make that part of the practice plan more and also playing the players that are dedicated and playing physically at all times. Get those players in the ballgame.”

Ben Mason is tough but Ben Mason is legislated out of this offense; Carlo Kemp might be tough but he's also Just A Guy at DT—if that. Michigan didn't set an edge on Taylor's long TD, and repeatedly flew out of the middle of the field on draw plays and traps. Is that a toughness issue? It seems like a coaching issue when Wisconsin inserts their fullback to the backside of the formation and runs opposite it, like they do all the time, and your linebacker/safety level continually falls for it.

This guy cracked the code. Sometimes signals are not subtle.

It's a tough blitz though.

Good for the gander. The NCAA is really grooving their fastballs these days:

Restoring name and image rights to athletes won't reduce the overall pool of money available but may redirect it towards athletes as donors cut out the middleman. This is bad news for people running organizations of middle-men. Not bad enough to turn down a hard seltzer sponsorship, apparently.

Murphy's referencing TCU's AD, by the way. Prepare for word salad:

“I understand the free market concept and I understand the country we live in is exceptionally prideful and that’s part of our freedom,” Donati said. “But I also think there’s a tremendous amount of monetary value in place on these kid’s educations. That’s a tremendous investment we’re making investing into this amateur model.

“I just think it’d be a shame to throw it away so haphazardly from what I’ve heard. It has potential to be a wild, wild west situation, which is scary as an athletic director."

The Skinner bill has the potential to be the wild, wild west in the same way that legalizing marijuana does: legalizing and regulating a black market economy is the exact opposite of a lawless free-for-all.

They have come for Kansas. The NCAA dropped off a hefty notice of allegations on Kansas's doorstep:

Kansas has been charged with lack of institutional control, three Level I violations in men’s basketball and there is a head coach responsibility charge against coach Bill Self, according to multiple sources. There also are allegations against football, sources added, although those are Level II violations. The football allegations include charges of allowing an extra coach to work during practice under former head coach David Beaty.

The Level I violations are tied, in part, to the recruitments of Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa. Court testimony and documents tied to the federal basketball corruption cases over the past two years included details of veteran adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola having “conspired to illicitly funnel approximately at least $90,000” to the mother of Preston. Gassnola also testified in court that he paid De Sousa’s guardian $2,500, although he denied arranging a $20,000 payment that had been discussed on wiretaps.

The charge against Self will potentially prove a compelling and high-profile application of the NCAA’s head coach responsibility bylaws. Evidence tied to the case included Gassnola and Self talking openly in text messages about Adidas helping Kansas recruit players. “I’m happy with Adidas,” Self wrote Gassnola. “Just got to get a couple real guys.”

Will this be enough to result in meaningful penalties? If not this, then nothing will. When Yahoo showed the NOA to a "veteran compliance officer" his reaction was thus:

“That’s everything that compliance is employed to prevent. That’s the trifecta, that’s unbelievable. That’s the reason why compliance exists, just thinking about it gives me anxiety.”

Anything short of a long-term nuking of Kansas, Arizona, and especially Louisville basketball is an invitation to keep it going.

This space is in favor of nuking these teams because that will convert those fanbases from organizations that support the status quo because it benefits them to fanbases who want to burn the whole enterprise down. This is naturally why programs do not suffer long-term nukes. The NCAA is bedfellows with the black market; the two work together. The guys funneling chump change to players aren't noble vigilantes, they're symbiotic bacteria that help smooth amateurism's ability to digest giant piles of money. 

For its part, Kansas is set to engage in a fistfight:

“In its haste [two years after the FBI investigation was announced] and attempt to regain control, the enforcement staff has created a false narrative regarding me and our basketball program,” Self said in a statement. “The narrative is based on innuendo, [court proceedings] half-truths, [wiretaps] misimpressions [facts] and mischaracterizations [also facts]. In reality, we all know there is only one version of the truth [Kansas pays players and Self knows it]. The truth is based on verifiable facts, and I am confident the facts we will demonstrate in our case will expose the inaccuracies of the enforcement staff’s narrative.”

This might be good? Usually programs get the NOA, complain a little, take their solitary year of post-season ban and light scholarship restrictions, and move on. Here Kansas looks set to fight because not doing so may bring the NCAA's first real punishment in forever. It might happen! The Athletic's roundtable on the situation is pretty interesting:

O’Neil: The depth and scope is pretty massive. The NCAA clearly is cashing in all of its chips to take some very serious allegations — paying Billy Preston’s mother and Silvio De Sousa’s handler — and padding them with others equally damning, albeit less sensational. There is federal testimony, text messages and phone records, and all of it includes multiple infractions involving more than one player. Those are not easy things to get over.

Moore: The allegations that Self and his staff were aware of T.J. Gassnola’s recruiting attempts and allowed it without reporting. The NCAA is attempting to establish a pattern of negligence and show the athletic department also tried to hide violations it knew were occurring. …

Davis: The most important dynamic in play is that Kansas has already challenged these allegations. That means we are going to see the very first test of the NCAA’s new Independent Resolution Panel. This was put in place as part of the Complex Case Unit that came out of Condi Rice Commission’s recommendations, and it will effectively take the case out of the hands of the NCAA and its Committee of Infractions. First, an independent group of investigators will gather to ascertain all the facts. These are people who are professional investigators, prosecutors, etc. Then they will present those facts to the panel. If you look at the roster of panel members, you will not see a lot of familiar names and organizations — or any, really. Again, these are professional legal and compliance minds who are for the most part not technically part of the NCAA. To say all bets are off does not do justice to the uncertainty at hand.

Burn it all.

A divergence in efficiency. Off the bounce threes are increasing in number despite remaining inefficient options overall:

Those NBA numbers are wild, man. In college off the bounce threes remain a meh option, though some guys (Derrick Walton) can make it work.

Etc.: More on state challenges to the NCAA. Emmert calls this an "existential threat." I do not think he knows what that word means.

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September 25th, 2019 at 1:31 PM ^

It seems like a coaching issue when Wisconsin inserts their fullback to the backside of the formation and runs opposite it, like they do all the time, and your linebacker/safety level continually falls for it.

I get the sense this is a Hawkins issue, no?  I recall a play where Hawkins first runs out of a giant gaping hole only to then have to run down the ball carrier.  Which of the LBs had trouble with this?

Joined: 07/29/2010

MGoPoints: 7044


September 25th, 2019 at 1:43 PM ^

I think we panicked after OSU.... changing the offense made our defense soft.  Now we can't stop a power O or stop a crossing route.  Obviously turnover on defensive front 7 hurt.  play the 5 stars on defense, might hurt at first, but help in time for OSU.


We have way too much talent on offense to play like this... 

Joined: 09/08/2019

MGoPoints: 1058

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September 25th, 2019 at 1:35 PM ^

Pretty telling chart


is it me or do air raid or spread teams seem to always have soft defenses?  Say for example Washington State.  Not practicing against man-ball makes you weak.  Except teams like OSU.  They seem to also run a power O sometimes, plus are stacked with 5 stars everywhere.  Data shows this funk started before OSU.   Indiana seems to have provided everyone a blue-print against Don Brown.  Crossing patterns, which is not what got us against Army and Wisky.


I can't get over my depression and I can't seem to get any work done.  This shouldn't matter so much.  I am a mess.

Joined: 09/08/2019

MGoPoints: 1058

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You Only Live Twice

September 25th, 2019 at 1:42 PM ^

The NCAA is indeed, losing its tenuous control of the narrative.  The concept of amateurism is not much more than a relic today.  Sorry, Emmert, reality is catching up.  


Joined: 09/14/2013

MGoPoints: 8778

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September 25th, 2019 at 1:46 PM ^

I'm guessing the last line of the post is an homage to the Princess Bride, which was released on this day 32 years ago.  Well done, Brian.




Joined: 12/05/2012

MGoPoints: 3788

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September 25th, 2019 at 1:46 PM ^

I still don't get who the starters are not buying-in that are not hustling / showing the physical play ... that must be a new issue given they were awarded the starting positions in a competition coming out of fall ball.  I did not notice anyone giving less than their all.  I saw a lot of mistakes on defense, but it looked more like a RPS issue than a hustle issue.

Joined: 06/25/2016

MGoPoints: 5254

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September 25th, 2019 at 1:47 PM ^

All I keep thinking about is... how did Jalen Wilson and his team not evaluate risk/reward if the NCAA got invovled? Why not UNC or anyone not KU/Arizona/Louisville, if the coaching change here moved him off?

Joined: 11/24/2008

MGoPoints: 9


September 25th, 2019 at 1:48 PM ^

A coach who studied Michigan told me, "The ball is supposed to come out on a plant-and-throw or one hitch. If the quarterback's on his third hitch and the ball ain't out, that's a problem. To blame the O-line is outrageous." A former Big Ten coordinator added of Patterson, "He's not a quick-trigger guy, he's just not. He's a run around and make plays guy. It's a problem."

I suspected this as well.  I guess the question is why is Patterson not getting the ball out quick?  Are the receivers not open?  Is he scared of throwing a pick?  Can he not read the defense?  

Joined: 12/17/2018

MGoPoints: 429

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Tom Bombadil

September 25th, 2019 at 1:49 PM ^

So our revamped offense threw out the things we did well in an effort to get rid of the things we didn't do well, but didn't get rid of the things we didn't do well and so now we don't do anything well. At this point I feel stupid for expecting anything different.

Joined: 12/02/2017

MGoPoints: 1678


September 25th, 2019 at 1:50 PM ^


So not one of the posters who wants a back QB just because, but I predicted the offense needs Milton type QB or atleast a QB who can run the zone read by you know, running. I continue to believe that we will be seeing major Milton minutes down the road. 

Hold on to your butts. 


Joined: 09/29/2017

MGoPoints: 1625