|9 years ago||'04 #21|
$25,412 | 43
Preseason breakdown: Big Ten
By Olin Buchanan, Rivals.com College Football Senior Writer
HOW THEY WILL FINISH
2. Penn State
4. Ohio State
7. Michigan State
Best offensive player: Offensive linemen are so easily overlooked, but not Michigan's Jake Long. The Wolverines standout is the best player on a unit that features great talent at the skill positions. A returning All-American, Long is a top Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award candidate. He could be a possible top-five pick in next year's NFL Draft.
Best defensive player: James Laurinaitis made a great first impression. Laurinaitis stepped in for the departed A.J. Hawk and earned All-American honors. Laurinaitis won the Nagurski Award after leading the Buckeyes in tackles, interceptions and forced fumbles. This year he's heavier and stronger than he was in 2006.
Best player you don't know yet: In his first two seasons, Ohio State's Lawrence Wilson has posted only 14 tackles. That total should rise dramatically this season. Even though he's still overshadowed by teammate Vernon Gholston, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Wilson has amazing physical ability. The Buckeyes expect to emerge as a powerful pass rusher.
Impact newcomer: In 2006, Illinois finished last among Big Ten offenses. The arrival of Rivals.com five-star wide receiver prospect Arrelious Benn figures to pay off immediately. Benn enrolled early and gave Illini fans a preview of things to come by catching five passes for 145 yards in the spring game.
Sleeper recruit: Three-star cornerback prospect Ryan Collado made a quick impression and is already running with Minnesota's first team. The Gophers need immediate help after finishing last in the Big Ten in pass defense.
THE BIG TEN'S BEST ...
Running backs: Michigan
Wide receivers: Michigan
Tight ends: Wisconsin
Offensive line: Michigan
Defensive line: Iowa
Linebackers: Penn State
Defensive backs: Penn State
Special teams: Indiana
Assistant coach on the rise: As a first-year defensive coordinator, Michigan's Ron English introduced a "fast and physical'' approach. The Wolverines finished 10th nationally in total defense and 15th in scoring defense. If English can construct a unit that even approaches that success again this year, he should be a head coaching candidate in the offseason.
Assistant coach on the hot seat: Northwestern's Garrick McGee was promoted to offensive coordinator last year and endured the trials of a season in which the Wildcats were last in the Big Ten in total offense and scoring offense. Early injuries to quarterback C.J. Bacher were surely a factor, but this year Bacher is healthy.
Best position battle: The Ohio State quarterback competition between Todd Boeckman and Rob Schoenhoft may continue throughout the year. Boeckman has a strong arm and more experience. Schoenhoft has a stronger arm and great leadership skills. If either falters, the other will be ready.
Boom or bust player: Penn State senior Austin Scott has rushed for 1,021 yards in his college career. He takes over for departed Tony Hunt, who rushed for 1,386 last season. Scott has shown flashes - he rushed for 110 yards against Florida State in the 2006 Orange Bowl - but must prove he can be effective a whole year.
BEST BY POSITION
1. Chad Henne, Michigan
2. Curtis Painter, Purdue
3. Anthony Morelli, Penn State
4. Kellen Lewis, Indiana
5. Tyler Donovan, Wisconsin
1. Mario Manningham, Michigan
2. Dorien Bryant, Purdue
3. James Hardy, Indiana
4. Adrian Arrington, Michigan
5. Deon Butler, Penn State
1. Travis Beckum, Wisconsin
2. Dustin Keller, Purdue
3. Andrew Quarless, Penn State
4. Kellen Davis, Michigan State
5. Jeff Cumberland, Illinois
1. James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
2. Dan Connor, Penn State
3. J Leman, Illinois
4. Mike Klinkenborg, Iowa
5. Sean Lee, Penn State
1. Taylor Mehlhaff, Wisconsin
2. Aaron Pettrey, Ohio State
3. Austin Starr, Indiana
4. Kevin Kelly, Penn State
5. Brett Swenson, Michigan State
1. Mike Hart, Michigan
2. P.J. Hill, Wisconsin
3. Chris Wells, Ohio State
4. Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern
5. Javon Ringer, Michigan State
1. Jake Long, Michigan
2. Kirk Barton, Ohio State
3. Jordan Grimes, Purdue
4. Adam Kraus, Michigan
5. Marcus Coleman, Wisconsin
1. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
2. Kenny Iwebema, Iowa
3. Nick Hayden, Wisconsin
4. Terrance Taylor, Michigan
5. Lawrence Wilson, Ohio State
1. Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
2. Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin
3. Justin King, Penn State
4. Otis Wiley, Michigan State
5. Jamar Adams, Michigan
1. Ken DeBauche, Wisconsin
2. A.J. Trapasso, Ohio State
3. Jared Armstrong, Purdue
4. Zoltan Mesko, Michigan
5. Justin Kucek, Minnesota
Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at .
|9 years ago||'04 #22|
$25,412 | 43
Big Ten takes aim at favored Wolverines
By Olin Buchanan, Rivals.com College Football Senior Writer
Amateur comedians throughout the Big Ten have worn out a joke about Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr in recent years.
You know, the one about the inability to spell Lloyd without two 'L's.
Of course, the frustrated fans in Ann Arbor aren't amused by that line - or by the fact that the Wolverines have suffered at least two losses every year since the national championship season of 1997.
To make matters worse, lately those two 'L's have come against Ohio State and in a bowl game. The Buckeyes are 5-1 against the Wolverines the last six seasons, and Michigan has lost its last four postseason games.
However, Carr might get the last laugh. In most polls across the country, Michigan - which is coming off an 11-2 finish in 2006 - is generally regarded as the favorite in the Big Ten. Michigan could be a national championship contender this season.
"We're very excited about our team," Carr said. "We return a lot of people at our skill positions with a lot of experience. Our goals are going to be high."
The Wolverines' offense is stacked with quarterback Chad Henne and running back Mike Hart - considered the best in the Big Ten at their positions. Michigan also features an explosive set of receivers and an offensive line that has two All-America candidates in Jake Long and Adam Kraus.
Michigan also gets a favorable draw in the schedule with Penn State and Ohio State coming to Ann Arbor.
But the list of Michigan's positive attributes is missing a dominant defense - a hallmark of Big Ten championship teams. Last year the Wolverines gave up 74 points in their last two games - losses to Ohio State and to USC in the Rose Bowl. Following the season, they lost four outstanding defenders in the NFL Draft.
At least one observer with a Big Ten background feels those defensive issues could prove costly.
"I think Michigan's offense will probably be the most dynamic for obvious reasons," said ESPN analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit. "I really want to see where their defense is psychologically after the Ohio State and USC games. They lost the core of that defense, and I'm looking forward to see how those (new) players step up.
"It's an unproven defense at this point, and defense is vitally important to get the championship in the Big Ten."
The last five teams that topped the Big Ten standings ranked no lower than 23rd nationally in total defense. The last four ranked at least 12th.
That's a major reason why Herbstreit favors Penn State, which returns six defensive starters from last season's unit that ranked 15th in the country.
"If I were ranking them I would probably put Penn State as the team to beat," he said. "(Quarterback) Anthony Morelli has a year under his belt. They have a great group of receivers and a solid offensive line, so the offense should be good.
"(Defensive Coordinator) Tom Bradley always puts together a great defense for Penn State."
Morelli was inconsistent last year, but he encouraged Nittany Lions fans with his play in the 20-10 victory over Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. However, the Lions are going with a new starter at running back - which is a bit of a concern.
Wisconsin is coming off a 12-1 finish in coach Bret Bielema's first season, but the Badgers must replace quarterback John Stocco.
"Stocco was a great player that won a lot of games for us," Bielema said. "We depended on him to make good decisions and he definitely will be missed. The best thing going for us is that against Penn State Tyler Donovan was thrown into the game (when Stocco was injured) and he finished off that game.
"Then he won the first game he started in a hostile environment at Iowa, and closed the season with a win over Buffalo. We have a quarterback that is undefeated in two starts."
Iowa and Ohio State also have new quarterbacks. The Hawkeyes are boosted by the fact they don't have to play Michigan or Ohio State this year and they're generally being overlooked.
"We've done better traditionally flying low, and I think that's where we're at this year," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Todd Boeckman replaces Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith as Ohio State's quarterback, but the Buckeyes' defense again should be among the Big Ten's best. The first two months of OSU's schedule is also soft.
"I think Ohio State is kind of a forgotten team, but I think Ohio State starts the season 8-0 and will have the best defense in the Big Ten," Herbstreit said. "I think the defense was embarrassed by Florida in the national championship game and will have a chip on their shoulder. After the first eight games we'll find out how good they are."
Ohio State closes with three of its final four games against Penn State, Wisconsin and at Michigan. The Wolverines are determined to finish better than they have in recent years.
"That's something we stress every year," Carr said. "It's something that is certainly a goal. With the disappointments we've had, I think it will motivate all of us.
"Hopefully, we'll be better at the end of the season than we have been."
Then perhaps the amateur comedians will need new material.
Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at .
|9 years ago||'04 #23|
$25,412 | 43
August 14, 2007
Carr: U-M learned from Rose Bowl debacle
Michigan coaches have studied the Rose Bowl film, then studied it some more in preparation for the 2007 season, head coach Lloyd Carr said recently. In doing so, there were several conclusions drawn – some obvious, some not.
"I've been asked a thousand times about USC," Carr admitted. "'They threw the ball 29 straight times in the second half, [but] we were too conservative … we didn't do this, didn't do that.' I think SC was a great defensive team … I give them credit. But the truth is, again, we turned the ball over twice at the short end of the field, which put our defense in horrible field position. We could not run the ball, so normally in those situations you're going to throw it. But we also had a hell of a tough time protecting the quarterback.
"We've studied the film, studied both games [USC and Ohio State]. Certainly there are things we have to do better."
Quarterback Chad Henne cited lack of protection as the primary culprit in throwing the offense out of whack. Carr didn't disagree, noting, "You give up five sacks, that's five drives … and you only get the ball eight times in a game sometimes, maybe 10. A sack ruins a drive. You're going to punt the ball nine out of 10 times."
|9 years ago||'04 #24|
$25,412 | 43
Beltre waiting for more offers
By Mike Farrell, Recruiting Analyst – Rivals.com
It's been well over a month sine we last heard from Randolph, N.J. defensive end Frank Beltre. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder holds two offers, but believes plenty of other schools are possibly close to offering.
"I've got offers from Duke and Towson," he stated. "I only went to one camp this summer to Duke.
"I may still go to Towson and Maryland before the summer is over in the next couple weeks."
Maryland is one of a handful of schools waiting on possibly offering the two-star prospect.
"They along with Northwestern, Michigan, Boston College, Connecticut and a few other schools want to see my first three games since I couldn't make it to camp. They all like me physically, but don't want to make a decision until they get that film."
Do any schools whether they offered or not stand out to Beltre?
"Northwestern does right now," he said. "They have shown a lot of interest and it's always the same.
"I also like Duke. They are a great school and if I have to make a choice they would be it. All I'm looking for is a place to play and they want to let me play."
Currently Beltre hasn't scheduled any officials, but claims he plans to once he hears back from the schools.
In the meantime, the Garden State prospect is keeping busy with football.
"Practice is amazing," he said. "We're working harder than we did last year and the coaches are pushing us more. I've definitely seen an improvement too. I'm stronger and faster."
Updated on Monday, Aug 13, 2007 11:58 am, EDT
|9 years ago||'04 #27|
$25,412 | 43
Michigan TE Carson Butler reinstated after being cleared of a.ssault charges
August 21, 2007
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan tight end Carson Butler has been reinstated to the team after being cleared of charges of attacking a student on St. Patrick's Day.
Butler was released from the team in March after being accused of a.ssaulting the student but was acquitted in July.
Coach Lloyd Carr said Tuesday he decided to allow Butler to return after the judicial process had played out.
"Because of that, I just felt it would be extremely unfair not to give him another opportunity," Carr said during a news conference. "What he's trying to do is do some things he's been asked to do and so we'll see how that works out."
Butler started the final six games of last season, finishing fourth on the team with 19 receptions.
He was charged along reserve defensive back Christian Richards, who was convicted of a.ssault and sentenced to six months' probation. He was released from the team in March.
Michigan begins its season Sept. 1 at home against Appalachian State.
Updated on Tuesday, Aug 21, 2007 2:31 pm, EDT
|9 years ago||'04 #28|
$25,412 | 43
Five star's goals are about team
By Rick Kimbrel, Recruiting Analyst – Rivals.com
Five-star running back Darrell Scott (6-2, 215, 4.43) from Ventura (Calif.) Saint Bonaventure has approximately 70 offers on the table. He's definitely going to be able to punch his ticket to any school he wants to attend. You would think that with that type of recruiting pressure on him it would be hard for the talented running back to focus on anything else but recruiting. But that's not the case.
Scott has his mind on football and is totally centering on his team.
"We're at hell weak right now," Scott said. "We're just trying to get crisp and get ready for the season.
There were questions about Scott's back all those have been answered as Scott is up to full speed.
"I went to therapy and my back is in good shape," Scott said. "Practice is going really good.
"We show up at 5:00 AM and leave at around 7:30 PM," Scott said. "It is like how things are done in college.
"We go to a classroom and get down all things we need to get down," Scott said. "Like what we need to do offensively, defensively and on special teams.
"I'm still trying to ignore recruiting and focus on my senior season," Scott said. "My goal is to go the state championship.
"I'm not interested in any personal goals," Scott said. "I'm not a selfish player. I just want our team to win and if that means splitting the carries with my good friend, Patrick Hall that would be great.
Scott does have a very loose top eight schools right and when you have 70 some odd offers things could change quite quickly, but for the moment his top eight schools are in no particular order are LSU, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Colorado, Texas, Michigan, USC and UCLA.
Just because Scott has put recruiting on the back burner doesn't mean he hasn't though what schools he's going to take official visits to.
"I'm still way open regarding schools but I want to visit Florida and Colorado for sure," Scott said. "I want to visit with Josh (his uncle Josh Smith now a freshman at Colorado).
"I'm probably going to visit UCLA," Scott said. "I'm pretty interested in them. I'll probably visit Florida State and I want to visit Texas, too.
There are many very good reasons why Scott is such a highly coveted running back. He has a lot of things you can't teach and has the mindset to perfect the things you can coach.
As a junior, Scott was an all-state selection after rushing for 3,194 yards and 45 touchdowns while averaging 9.5 yards per carry. Scott rushed for just under 2,000 yards as sophomore when he rushed for 1,988 and 19 touchdowns with an average of 6.8 yards a carry in 2005.
Besides Scott's rushing talents, he prides himself in being the complete back, one who will block and catch in addition to his running responsibilities.
Scott was selected to the Rivals.com Rivals100 for the class of 2008 landing as the nation's No. 4 prospect at any position.
Rivals.com ranks Scott as the nation's No.1 running back in the class 2008 and he's a member of the Rivals.com California Top 100 team named as the Golden State's No. 1 prospect at any position.
Updated on Wednesday, Aug 15, 2007 12:47 pm, EDT
|9 years ago||'04 #29|
$25,412 | 43
Wolverines trio of Hart, Henne and Long hope to end season well for a change
By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
August 18, 2007
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Mike Hart, Chad Henne and Jake Long might be the best running back, quarterback and offensive tackle Michigan has ever had.
Assuming they stay healthy, Hart and Henne likely will leave the nation's winningest football program as record-holders in rushing and passing and Long will probably be one of the top picks in the 2008 NFL draft.
On the other hand, if they goes 0-for-4 against Ohio State and in bowl games, the drought would diminish their legacy.
"It's fair to say that," Long acknowledged. "No matter what type of season we have, people are going to look at what we do against Ohio State and our bowl opponent."
Hart, Henne and Long could've skipped their senior season, and the scrutiny that will come with it, to play in the NFL.
Instead, one by one, they chose to come back for another chance to beat the Buckeyes in November, graduate the next month and close their careers in perhaps the Rose Bowl or the BCS national championship game.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr called Henne into his office the day after losing at Ohio State last year, wanting to know his plans for 2007.
"He said, `Are you coming back?"' Henne recalled. "I said, `There's no reason why I wouldn't. I want to graduate and I want to win a championship.'
"It would've been too tough to swallow going out without wins against Ohio State or in a bowl game. I'm just glad we have one more shot to go out the way we want."
Hart was the next to make his decision and Long was last.
"It's great when you have two guys coming back with you like Chad and Jake," Hart said. "You don't have to worry about them messing up."
Their unified choice made Michigan a popular pick to win the Big Ten and contend for the national title.
Hart is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting. Henne has started each of the 37 games the past three years. Long continues to draw comparisons to former Wolverine greats, now blocking in the NFL, such as Jon Runyan of the Philadelphia Eagles.
"They make life a lot easier for me and Rio (Mario Manningham) on the outside," receiver Adrian Arrington said. "Defenses have to worry about Mike running the ball, about Chad passing the ball, and Jake taking care of anybody that comes near him."
The 5-foot-9, 196-pound Hart is the smallest of the terrific trio, and is by far the most boisterous. He talks, smiles and jokes around constantly and has provided an emotional spark since he cracked the starting lineup in his fifth game and finished the season as the third true freshman to lead the Big Ten in rushing.
Henne started off quiet when he was the surprise starter in the 2004 opener. Slowly, he has developed enough confidence to lead with his mouth and to carry a Louis Vuitton bag -- instead of a backpack like most of his teammates -- into news conferences on game days.
Long is perhaps the most businesslike player of the three and endured the scariest moment in college.
Shortly after going to bed the night the Detroit Pistons won the 2004 NBA title, Long woke up coughing because his room was filled with smoke as the off-campus house he lived in was going up in flames. He kicked the screen out of his window and jumped onto his friend's parked Bronco.
Henne is thankful the trio is still around to share stories and dreams.
"I can definitely appreciate it and I'm trying not to let everything fly by," Henne said. "I think it speaks volumes about the three of us that we wanted to come back to win a championship and to graduate."
Even though Hart, Henne and Long are winless against the Buckeyes and bowl opponents, it's tough to put the blame squarely on them.
Behind the Long-led line, Hart ran for 142 yards and three touchdowns and Henne threw for 267 yards, two scores and no interceptions when No. 1 Ohio State outscored No. 2 Michigan 42-39 last season.
However, Hart was held to 76 yards on 27 carries in his first two games against the Buckeyes while Henne combined to throw three TDs and two interceptions in the 2005 and 2004 matchups.
The shifty and slippery running back ran for just 47 yards against USC in the Rose Bowl after being held to 83 and 74 yards in his first two bowls. Henne, meanwhile, has combined to throw nine TDS and just two interceptions in the postseason.
Long and his linemates did not provide Henne with much protection against the Trojans, leading to six sacks and several hits as he threw.
Each of the stars has room to improve and Michigan offensive coordinator Mike DeBord knows they are up to their respective tasks.
"Mike can maximize his ability to read holes and plays; Chad has to put to use the strides he's taken as a leader; Jake can use his hands in pass-protection much better," DeBord said. "A lot of guys with their talent come back as seniors and they're distractions because they're thinking about themselves and their future.
"That's not the case with any of them. They're great people and true Michigan men, who are going to graduate and continue to make this university proud."
That will be true, DeBord insisted, even if they leave Michigan without a victory against Ohio State or in a bowl game.
"I wouldn't make those two games the final measurement for them," he said. "But that is one of the standards around here. I think it says a lot that they came back as a group to take another shot at it, knowing that was going to be hanging out there all year."
Updated on Saturday, Aug 18, 2007 12:01 am, EDT
|09-01-2007, 09:14 PM||#31|
whats the fu*kin point man. what?!! i put my whole life into that fu*kin program i wore the draws tee shirts and everything. i remeber me and my cousin made a pack in 90 to ride for the program till the death. and the death has come. i gave this program ( i cant even bear to say the name) 20 years of my life man. 20 fu*kin years for what? pure embarrasement thats what. unlike the majority of the bx i bleed this sh*t which we call sports to the depths of my being man. and i just cant do it anymore man. i can not be humiliated like this. i aint no bi*ch a.ssed n*gga. i done put in too much work in my day i done rolled too many heads and i was a legend in the day. i never faced humiliation and i wont now. it was good and bad bx but atleast it was. peace sportcenter truly
Last edited by dj mannie fresh; 09-01-2007 at 09:15 PM..
|09-01-2007, 09:30 PM||#38|