Thursday, October 15, 2009

Post-presser thoughts: I can has freshmen?

Rodriguez was mostly ho hum about the status of Tate in his abbreviated media contact yesterday saying that doctors were still diagnosing him, but it looked good. It seems obvious now that Tate is going to start against Delaware State. I'm not particularly happy with this move, both because of Tate's continued physical ailments (he's still nursing that shoulder, which brother Jason recently said was worse than the media knew; IMO, unlikely, it probably just hurts a lot), but now also because of the unnecessary risk Michigan will be taking with the brain of Tate Scrambly-Back Forcier meeting a Delaware State defender's helemt. So Tate is going to start. Hopefully he only plays a series or two.

More importantly, we're about to find out whether or not stud cornerback recruit Justin Turner (above) is going to redshirt this season or not. If he doesn't see the field against Delaware State, consider him done for the season. There's no way, when Michigan gets into the real heart of the Big Ten schedule (PSU, OSU, Wisconsin), that Turner sees his first playing time. Rodriguez has been mum all year about the status of Turner and other freshmen seeing playing time, saying that he hasn't redshirted anyone yet and there's still time to play. Given MOAEKI!!! and the possibility of that continuing in the future with Woolfolk's move to corner, Turner's development into a Cissoko+ would enable Woolfolk to move back to safety and allow Michigan to play the football they want to without worrying about lumbering tight ends catching 60-yard seam route touchdowns.

The reason I bring this up is because of Rodriguez's mentioning that Woolfolk could move back to safety, and his "Going forward, we’ll see how the other guys (in the secondary) handle it" comment. If the secondary continues to get burned and Turner has proven himself to be better--not even that much better, either--than Michigan's other options at corner not named Woolfolk and Warren, Woolfolk will move back to safety. But if you don't see Turner play on Saturday, consider Woolfolk's move permanent.

Speaking of freshmen and young'uns in general, Vincent Smith and Michael Shaw should see significant carries against Delaware State. Though Rodriguez said that a perfect split for the running backs would be 15 carries for both Minor and Brown, with their lingering injuries, neither looks to get more than 10 carries on Saturday. Minor will be the starter and get the first few carries on the first drive, but Shaw and Smith should see the field shortly thereafter. I would be surprised, with the nature of his injury (concussion), to see Brown get more than 5 carries in the game.

In terms of the Free Press GPA reports, I think I've editorialized about as much as I can on the topic, and I seem to be the only one giving any attention to them in the first place. I don't know why these reports bother me so much. They're clearly not going to affect the standing of the team, and they aren't particularly insightful. But they're needlessly derisive. To a certain extent, I can comprehend the NCAA violation accusations; not that I condone them, but I feel that, if the writers truly believe--rightly or wrongly--that Rodriguez shattered NCAA rules, they needed to report on them. Whether or not there was an agenda behind the report, the writers knowingly left out NCAA exceptions, or the writers used subversive methods they used to get their information, is besides the point. They thought, or at least hoped, that there was truth behind their accusations.

The fact that this GPA story is getting the kind of treatment it is from the Free Press (it's still the lead story in their sports section online and continues to be updated) is disheartening, telling of the Free Press' agenda, and infamatory. The gist of the story boils down to: Rodriguez fibbed. There are no reprocussions that can be brought, NCAA or otherwise, nor is there any reason to have this story make the headlines like it has. This isn't Lane Kiffin telling Tennessee supporters that Urban Meyer committed recruiting violations. This is Rodriguez saying "We did better than everyone ever. *wink*", and then it coming out that they're just doing as well as Michigan has ever done. There's nothing else I can say about this, and I don't plan on discussing it again unless it becomes some big national non-story.


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