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Wednesday Happy Hour is looking on the bright side of being runner up

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Things have gotten pretty quiet on the recruiting front lately. With the exception of Ty Isaac's somewhat unsurprising decision to commit to USC and the quick decision of receiver Csont'e York, Michigan hasn't had much breaking news, at least when compared to the blistering first couple months of the 2013 recruiting cycle.

In fact, more of the news lately has been of the disappointing variety. Isaac went out west, and before that EJ Levenberry chose Florida State. Two five-star players, two runner-up finishes. However, Tremendous doesn't think this is necessarily a bad thing:

Some want to complain about this. I do not. In fact, I think it says a ton about how well this staff is recruiting. People tend to forget that these are kids whose fresh memories of Michigan are with the Rodriguez regime and the turmoil that surrounded it on and off the field. After one year of success on the field, kids are interested in Michigan again. Normally it takes a lot longer for a program to recover from such a damaging period, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

The sheer number of recruits out there means that even the best schools are going to have more misses than commits. These kids are deciding between sometimes five or more schools after spending a few short weekends taking tours and talking to coaches at the NCAA allowable limit. That Michigan is making enough headway to break into a large number of top-twos and -threes has to be looked at as a positive. The more recruits high on UM, the better the odds of Michigan pulling in high rated kids on the whole.

Consider Leon McQuay III, a safety out of Florida that recently visited Michigan and came away impressed. The visit moved Michigan up McQuay's list and gave him a positive view of the coaches and the campus. Whether that turns into a commitment remains to be seen, but you have to respect the way the coaches are selling the program. It is things like this that give hope for visits from players like Su'a Cravens, long considered a UCS lean. Just get them on campus.

There is a long way to go before the 2013 class wraps up, and there will be many more misses than commits down the stretch. But that isn't a bad thing, just a fact of life.

Let's hit the links:

Michigan football team could alter philosophy of passing game after Junior Hemingway's departure - Less jump balls? Unless Jeremy Gallon starts wearing stilts, this is probably a positive step.

Michigan football team still in search of a No. 2 running back, and it may not be Vincent Smith - Running back fluff, just in case you forgot that Vincent Smith was a tiny impenetrable wall in the backfield.

Special K For A Day: Diabolical Double-Cross Edition - This is genius. Blow it up from the inside.

Two dirty plays don't tell the whole story of Spartans' Gholston - There are few college football writers out there that are better than Bruce Feldman, and this profile of MSU's Will Gholston goes to show that. I never really bought into the "Will Gholston is a thug" meme that floated around after the Michigan State game last year. What Gholston did was wrong, and he should have been punished by the university*, but to say he is a bad person based on that slivers of evidence is a stretch. I hope the kid keeps his nose clean, does well for MSU, and repeatedly gets pancaked by Taylor Lewan this fall when the two teams meet.

*(In my opinion Mark Dantonio failed Gholston more than anyone else. Had Dantonio looked at Gholston's actions on the field and quickly disavowed them as something his program wouldn't stand for, everything would have blown over. Instead, the MSU coaching staff changed the conversation to "60 minutes of unnecessary roughness" which vilified Gholston and forced the Big Ten's hand with the one game suspension. Another example of Mark Dantonio's hubris getting in the way)


I'm happy to be here today in beautiful Columbus, Ohio. If you are not Columbus, Ohio, then you should be, because it is a great town. A lively town. I once won a live boy in an all-night pinochle match there. Jim Tressel hated to lose him, but he's been a fine stable boy for me for five years.

Craig Krenzel, I owe you so much more than five years of back pay. i owe you gratitude. Someday I'll get your family out of Haiti, Craig. I promise. I'm the one who sent them there, and I'll be the one who gets them back.

This is clipped right from the beginning. It only gets better from there.

I'm Done With Conference Realignment. I'm Done With Florida State. I'm Done With All Of It.

I know it is easy to make it seem like one, what with relegation being joked about and super conferences being formed, as we slobber all over each other to find the best dual-threat and don't even bother to learn what the kids' first names are instead hoping to focus on their 40-time and what their offer list is. It's a big sham. It's heartless, soulless and pathetic. It used to be fun. It used to be a way for rivals to crack jokes back and forth, to meet up with old friends at a tailgate or watch your team play games against other teams just like your dad did and his dad did. It didn't used to be about TV rights and prestige and bowl games and Beef O'Brady's.

A look at all the conference realignment drama from a school that stands to lose a lot from it all.

Michigan Museday Meets Michigan Replay, Part 2 - The second part of something I linked last week. Join Seth at mgoblog for the rest of the conversation about the history of Michigan Replay.

The RBR Reading Room: The Essential Smart Football

This piece is actually revision of a post that appeared on Smart Football prior to Alabama's 2008 season opener against Clemson (and re-posted a year later). In it Brown starts with an excerpt from Saban's playbook that states his core defensive philosophy -- stop the run on first and second down and play solid zone pass defense on third.

Simple enough but then Brown breaks down how Saban goes about doing that and it gets hairy real quick. In a nutshell: to handle dynamic offenses you want to use Cover 1 (a single safety deep) in order to load the box against the running game but then you are vulnerable to the pass. So you go to the Cover 3 (three deep defensive backs) but give the offense better odds with short passes and the run.

Saban's solution is to customize these schemes to meet the specific threats by using a system of pattern reading that puts players in position to match what the offense throws at them. Once the ball is snapped, they are in place to react accordingly.

I'm going to keep dropping hints about it until you buy Chris Brown's book The Essential Smart Football.

From Peyton Manning To The Sugarhill Gang: Simplicity Kills

At the highest levels of sport, simplicity kills. The San Antonio Spurs' playbook is one of the more old school you will find in the NBA. Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the Champions' League Final not by lifting pages from the school of Spanish Tactical Genius, but instead by playing disciplined (and very lucky) defend-and-counter. The Air Raid variant Dana Holgorsen used to hang 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl is installed in three days, and has no written playbook used as reference.

Simplicity in strategy is in one sense a procrastinator's dream since it allows you to negate others' preparations by forcing much of the mental action to the field. The glorious blitz you spent months constructing for a specific formation and situation, Mr. Sleep-Deprived Defensive Coordinator? The offensive coordinator, working from the hip and calling the play on the field via signals, just made it an irrelevance with an audibled run to the other side for seven yards.

Zero Hour Westbrook

Yet, the thought of "accepting" a one-assist outing from Westbrook doesn’t settle well traditional notions. We like it when our point guards pass. We like it because it makes sense, and what is a point guard if not a player who makes sense of his surroundings? We want our point guards to temper the chaos so that things are simpler on the court and easier on our eyes. When a point guard breaks down a defense, it’s an affirmation of how simple the game can be, of how triumph can be broken down into a set of formulas. Follow the established rules and victory awaits. Point guards are thus brokers of tradition and order, guarding the faint belief that traditional roles themselves provide a blueprint for victory. It’s never that easy.