Michigan vs Michigan State, what we learned

Embed from Getty Images For one quarter it looked like many past Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans football games. Rough, physical and draining. After the first quarter, the wheels fell off for the Spartans. Meanwhile Michigan was just getting warmed up.

It was the tail of two tapes. Michigan who suffered a questionable loss to Penn State has not looked like the same team since halftime of that game. Leaving many to wonder what was said in the looker room in Happy Valley? The Spartans fall from Big Ten power has been a sharp decline for at least two years now.

Yesterday at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, The Wolverines played like a bully waiting for it’s victim. Michigan was brutally physical, dynamic on offense, defense and special teams. What is more important, Michigan played fearlessly.

Michigan State played the role of the victim taken by surprise. The Spartans looked scattered, extremely reckless, and were  clearly shaken. This beautiful rivalry has come full circle. Rivalries always do. Make no mistake about it, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh wanted to humiliate his in-state rival.

The 44-10 thumping the Spartans took came with deep intention and for Michigan implications, this is a win that grabs attention. Not just of the fan base, not just of the Spartans and the fan base in East Lansing, but the rest of the Big Ten.

At 8-2, Jim Harbaugh’s team is building something for the future. The rough transition from Josh Gattis’s new offense is now humming along. The switch in defensive philosophy from big defensive players to smaller quicker players has also paid high dividends.

For the Spartans and the man who has headed that program up for 14 years, after the game Mark Dantonio looked and sounded weary. Perhaps losing by 34 points, which happens to be the worst loss a Dantonio lead Spartan team has ever suffered, will do that to a person.

Jim Harbaugh, said he wanted the Wolverines to reclaim the in state rivalry and set that as priority one when he took over the Wolverines football program. He talked about how it would help in recruiting. Mission accomplished. Much like his days at Stanford, Harbaugh set the first target on the school that hampered recruiting. Then set a new target.

Now that Michigan has bullied the rivalry back from Michigan State, there is little question Harbaugh will now make another school top priority. That school is the one they play in two weeks. As I mentioned before, Harbaugh has a good history of making good on his vision for his program wherever he has been. It is safe to say he will do it again. Be it this season, next season or the one after that.

 

Juwan Howard has a message for Michigan Wolverine fans

Embed from Getty Images Today is a big day for Michigan as the Wolverines introduce new head coach Juwan Howard of the men’s basketball program. It is a reunion with the former Fab Five member that has sent a surge of energy through both the fans and University of Michigan. Juwan Howard, sent a message through social media.

Howard expressed his own excitement as he said his dream has come true. Juwan Howard is now looking for an assistant coache as one of John Beilein former assistants have left the Michigan basketball team. Howard is said to be zeroing in on veteran college coach Phil Martelli.

That may prove to be a good choice for the first time head coach at a large University. Martelli had been the head coach at Saint Joseph’s since Juwan Howard’s rookie year with the Washington Bullets. St. Joseph’s parted ways with Martelli at the end of last season.

But this day, this day is all about Juwan Howard coming home to the school he loves. He will be flanked by his former Fab Five teammates at the press conference. Many current Michigan players are also at the presser, and some Michigan basketball legends. Terry Mills, Loy Vaught and others, including Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh.

When Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel announced that he was standing before the media, alumni and fan base with “My choice for basketball coach.” Juwan Howard teared up.

Manuel went on to say when he interviewed Juwan Howard in Miami, it was perfect day and he made sure to sit Howard with his back to the beach to a bunch of laughter.

When it came time for the Michigan basketball legend and new head basketball coach to speak he was still emotional, “Wow. Tears of joy,  I’m back.” He started off, to cheers from the Michigan faithful.

Juwan Howard says being named coach at Michigan is the second-biggest accomplishment in his life.

No. 1? Getting his degree from Michigan in 1997.

 

 

Report Michigan offered Juwan Howard the basketball coaching job

Embed from Getty Images First it was Jim Harbaugh. The former Michigan Wolverines quarterback who returned to Michigan to coach the football team. Now another famous Michigan alum is on the cusp of taking over the basketball program.

He was a member of Michigan’s “Fab Five” in the 1990’s. Then Juwan Howard had a successful NBA career. in 2013 Howard retired from playing, he then immediately transitioned into a coaching position with the Miami Heat.

When Michigan basketball coach John Beilein left the school for the NBA the door was open. Juwan had no shortage of supporters for the Michigan job. Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Jimmy King who helped make up the legendary “Fab Five” have been very vocal in support of their former teammate and friend Howard.

Then some of his former NBA teammates joined in. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James who won championships in Miami with Juwan Howard also lent their voices in total support. James is an avid Ohio State fan. But he also knows how big the Michigan job is and wants to see his friend get the chance.

While it has been a rumor for some time now. Howard’s wife sent out a not so subtle hint.

 

This is a good move for Michigan. Juwan Howard is well respected inside NBA circles. He was bound to be a coach sooner or later. What he brings to Michigan is huge.

Being in the NBA for many years and building a relationship with players and coaches, Howard can recruit some of the players sons to Michigan. Something other schools can not do.

Make no mistake there will be a step or two backwards at first. Coaching changes generally do that. But Juwan Howard will do a very good job at Michigan.

Howard was  clearly the sentimental favorite among Wolverines fans after helping guide the program to back to back title games in 1992 and 1993.

Michigan Wolverines football defensive coordinator is looking for redemption

Embed from Getty Images The last two football games of the 2018 season were ugly. Michigan Wolverines defense gave up 103 points and 1,035 total yards in blowout losses to Ohio State and Florida. Wolverines defensive coordinator Don Brown called it, “The most disappointing experience I’ve ever been through in my entire life.”

Jim Harbaugh’s fourth year  defensive coordinator, Brown said he does not believe it was schematic issues that lead to the meltdown. Don Brown said “It’s not the concept, I’ve gotta do a bit of a better job.” That is the starting point.

Entering the 2019 season that will be a little more tricky. Replacements are needed for several defensive players from last year’s group. Linebacker Devin Bush, defensive lineman Rashan Gary and cornerback David Long all entered the NFL draft as juniors , while defensive lineman Chase Winovich and safety Tyree Kinnel, have graduated. Leaving a big void that needs filled.

Michigan lost 47%  of the teams total tackles from last season, also 41%  of the teams sacks. Lost in these gaudy numbers is the fact above the numbers the Michigan defense lost the ever important  intangible leadership. From Devin Bush and Chase Winovich. That is a lot to replace.

“It’s always next man up no matter what happens,” said junior safety Josh Metellus. Now Michigan and Don Brown have had all winter to get  ready. Ready for what comes next. New players need to pick up the system quickly this spring. Players need to focus on growing into their roles.

As for Don Brown he fired this off “We’re going to  do some things a little differently.” What exactly that is, is unknown and is likely to remain that way until August 8, when the Wolverines kickoff the 2019 season.

That is Don Brown and the players focus of spring practice. To get players acclimated and up to speed of the defensive system. Michigan can not afford to have another season ending meltdown in 2019.

 

Jim Harbaugh says 2019 is the best offensive line he has had at Michigan

Embed from Getty Images When Jim Harbaugh took over the Michigan Wolverines coaching job, the offensive line was in shambles. Now entering his fifth season what was once a sore spot is now a  position of strength for the Wolverines.

Michigan ran a running game, ball control offense that saw the team increase its win total to ten last season. This spring there’s a lot to still like about the offensive line,such as players who have been known quantities, as well as those who are emerging from the depth  chart as they improved their game , It seems the unit on the whole has taken their game to the next level.

“Offensive line has been really good,” coach Harbaugh said. “Mike Onwenu is really standing out as is Cesar Ruiz and Ben Bredeson. That’s the real strength for our football team. Both left and right  tackles  Jon Runyan are having real good springs so far and then Andrew Stueber and Jalen Mayfield who are currently battling it out for starting right tackle.

The lines are getting blurry as far as starters, backups and third string. That is very good news for the Wolverines. The means that depth has become a strength. If a player is injured or needs a breather, it truly is next man in. Unlike the past Michigan should not miss a beat offensively.

Michigan and Jim Harbaugh are a long ways from the group he inherited four years ago. Now there is a building buzz and excitement  about the depth that has been built.  “I think this offensive line starting group has got a chance to be the best that we’ve had since we’ve been here,” Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh’s excitement about the offensive line, seems somewhat understated, given, not only the ability of the four returning starters. It goes without saying this is the most  athletic group Michigan has had up front in some time.

Michigan Spring practice underway, Shea Patterson may not be the #1 quarterback

Embed from Getty Images Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh has three quarterbacks on his roster who are all highly regarded. Last season starting quarterback Shea Patterson  returned for his senior season after starting all 13 games and complete 64.6%  of his passes for 2,600 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2018. Patterson is only penciled in as the starter.

Competition is what Jim Harbaugh has harped on during his time in Ann Arbor. Both  Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton are said to be putting the heat on  Shea Patterson this spring leading Harbaugh to say “There’s no possible way that Shea Patterson will be able to put his feet up, in my opinion.”

This is how far the quarterbacks at Michigan have evolved. From one good one, to three above average quarterbacks on the roster all battling for for roster positions on the depth chart. It has been a process, but it paying off.

Dylan McCaffrey, was a 4-star recruit who will be a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Dylan saw plenty of time as Patterson’s backup last fall. He threw his first career touchdown pass the next week against Western Michigan. Dylan also showed he can use his legs to make plays a 44-yard touchdown run on a zone read against Wisconsin was promising.

While Joe Milton who also was also a 4-star recruit showed he may have the strongest arm of the Michigan quarterbacks. Milton played in three of the Wolverines final four games of the season and was able to preserve his redshirt status.

Harbaugh said that offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is giving the three players  equal reps this spring. All three players are looking good so far. It is fair to say the Wolverines starter will be the player who steps up into a leadership role. Who can command the huddle as well as not get rattled when things are not going well during the course of a game. Shea Patterson was that player last season.

This season appears to be different at least in the now. All eyes will be on the three quarterbacks to see if anyone separates from the rest.

Michigan Wolverines will look to Hudson and Gil to bring stability to the linebackers

Embed from Getty Images It was not going to be easy to replace Devin Bush Jr’s production. Yet the Wolverines may be able to use two to get the production of one. At least that is the thought process.

Michigan will count on a pair of experienced veterans Khaleke Hudson and Devin Gil to help bolster the linebackers. Hudson, rings speed and  skill that few others can match on the roster.

Hudson brings a flexibility to the field as he can line up as a hybrid linebacker-safety. Khaleke is also a  two-time all-Big Ten honorable mention selection so that brings hope that he can help out a starter.

Devin Gil, brings perhaps the best run-stopping ability to the linebackers. In 2018 Gil  had 33 tackles (3 1/2 for a loss) and 1 1/2 sacks. Nice stats. Again Gil is likely to be named a starter in 2019.

As with the entire Michigan defense depth is a real issue and a real concern. It simply is not there. That puts pressure on both Hudson and Gil. Both played in a backup role last season will now have the spotlight on them this season.

This is not the kind of sink or swim moment either one was looking for. Yet, that because of the lack of depth  is exactly what it is. Sink or swim. Part of it is on the coaching staff to put them in position to succeed. Part of it is on the two players to do their job and make plays.

Michigan should find out if Hudson and Gil can bring stability at the linebacker position during spring practice. They will be under the microscope fair or unfair. That is what happens when it is the next man or men up.

In theory the Wolverines should be alright. They are getting Devin Bush’s run-stopping ability as well has his pass coverage ability. Only it is not just one player it it two. So there will be an adjustment period.

2019 Michigan Wolverines spring football preview

Embed from Getty Images The Michigan Wolverines fan  base is growing tired of asking Is this the year? It’s been 14 seasons since Michigan’s football team won a Big Ten title the longest drought in program history. Despite improvements made by Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff the team still stumbled down the stretch.

March 17, is kickoff for Michigan’s spring practice.  One of the top questions for the Wolverines is can the offense play with better balance and consistency? Another can they come up with defensive depth?

Wide receivers Donovan Peoples-JonesNico Collins and Tarik Black, (if he can stay healthy and on the field), headline a deep group of  pass-catchers for the Wolverines. New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis has banged the “speed in space” drum since arriving in Ann Arbor.

The Wolverines have more than enough quality depth at running back even with the loss of Chris Evans who was dismissed by Harbaugh for undisclosed reasons. That should help starting quarterback Shea Patterson who has one full season under his belt.

The defensive front that has played a big role in Michigan’s success for most of the 2018 season has some players to replace. Electric pass-rusher Josh Uche, end Kwity Paye and defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour, who took a big step forward last season.That is the good news. The bad news is there is real concern at the lack of depth.

Michigan also has to replace all-everything linebacker Devin Smith. That will not be easy to do. His production will be very difficult to reproduce.

This is a big year for Harbaugh who was brought to Michigan to win championships. Fans are growing weary waiting for it to happen. Losing his first four shots at Ohio State makes Jim Harbaugh the first Michigan coach to do that is doing him no favors. He needs to solve Ohio State.

When Ohio State and Michigan meet November 30 Harbaugh will have yet another shot. Will it be his last? That is a good question as spring practice opens soon.

After what should have been a better season, Michigan now has to reload in some important positions. Young players must step in and step up. This is where coaches make their money.

 

Michigan Wolverines: teams on the rise

Embed from Getty Images Every college has had teams ranked in the top 25 at one time or another. This year the University  Michigan has 3 different athletic programs ranked in the top 10.

 

It is no surprise the Michigan Wolverines football team is a top 10 program. They have been on the rise since Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach.

 

The Michigan football team can lay it’s claim for a College Football Playoff spot with a win Saturday against a sluggish Ohio State team. Michigan is 6 point favorites and boasts the better team this go round with their old rivals.

 

Michigan basketball on the other hand was reloading from a National Championship game last season. College basketball experts thought this would be a bit of a rebuild for Wolverine coach Jim Beiline.

 

However, when the Wolverines beat the then 8th ranked Villanova Wildcats last week the team leaped into the top 10 in the nation. Michigan basketball looks like they will be in the thick of the Big Ten race and another March Madness invite.

 

Next we switch the  Michigan Wolverines hockey team. A hockey program that has seen more players to the NHL than any other. The Wolverines got off to a slow start.

 

But big wins and young players understanding their roll has the hockey team ranked # 9. A hockey team that prides itself on excellence.

 

It is a good time to be a Michigan Wolverine alumni and or fan. College sports are good and fun when certain teams win and are doing well.

 

Michigan is one of those schools. Loved by some hated by others. The fact remains winning has returned to Michigan. It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine!!

Michigan Wolverines: dominating again

Embed from Getty Images It seems like forever since the Michigan Wolverines bullied teams the way they are this season. Jim Harbaugh’s team is not only dominating teams they are flat out suffocating  them on both sides of the ball.

 

Jim Harbaugh is not an elite coach they said. Jim Harbaugh can not beat rivals they said. After beating Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State by a combine score of 101-20 that can be tossed out the window.

 

Penn State is the latest big name team to get hammered by the Wolverines. Last season Penn State had the ball in the waning seconds of the game. They chose not to take a knee and scored a touchdown to run the score up. Fatale mistake.

 

In this seasons tilt Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson said he was not here last season. But, if Michigan had the chance to run the score up they would do it. Check that. Michigan dropped the hammer. 42-7.

 

Jim Harbaugh’s team did not want to just beat Penn State, they wanted to embarrass them. Sacking Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley 6 times and intercepting 2 passes Michigan’s top ranked defense was relentless.

 

As the “Revenge Tour” rolls on. It is a safe bet the Michigan Wolverines have their sights set directly on Ohio State. The game is in Columbus. Michigan would have it no other way.

 

Like Penn State, Harbaugh’s boys will want to embarrass the Buckeyes on their home field. Given the glaring talent gap. Michigan will be favored. This will be the game that changes the guard in the Big Ten. It is the game that will show Michigan is back and ready to stand on the national stage again.

 

With a very talented team and Harbaugh not being afraid to agitate fellow coaches. Michigan is set to both irritate opposing fan bases while enduring themselves to Michigan loyalists.