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Thursday Morning Brews: The Final Stretch

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

A Big Thank You

I haven't had a chance to get back to this, but I ran a poll over a month ago now (!) about changes and preferences for the Morning Brews. Firstly, thanks for the time for all those who participated. Secondly, I got a lot out of it, and I will continue to be adapting the Brews to your preferences.

Basically, this will result in a lot more Michigan pieces and almost no national stuff going forward. There will also be more recruiting news and highlights. I'll try to do a couple columns every week, as well, but it will also be based on what time I have that week.

And, if you'd like to take the survey again or didn't get a chance the first time, here is the link. I warn you, this is the last chance you'll have to call me a blundering dunderhead for several more months. Don't let it go to waste.

Hitting the Links Is Feeling the Blues

Ohio State Presser Bullets: Illinois Week

Illinois boasts the #31-ranked total defense in the country, but Urban Meyer is a brutal tactician when it comes to finding weak links on a team. And Illinois' defense has a number of them.

Michigan Developing A Strong Walk-On Program

The latest preferred walk-on is tight end Dane Drobocky out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, who has a good motor and the ability to play on defense or special teams, as well.

Braden Trying To Build ConsistencyMags Q&A

The players that need to step up the most this off-season: the offensive line. They haven't played to Michigan's standards, and have not produced any defining moment similar to what Michigan's D-Line did against Minnesota. There's going to be more depth, at least, with Patrick Kugler, David Dawson and Grant Newsome competing for spots.

The Story of Christian Mays

This is the first-hand account of a gay Michigan student trying out for the football team. An enjoyable, easy read.

CFP Poll: Iowa Ranked Fifth | More Reaction By Bill C.

Two B1G teams in the CFP's top five - and four in top fifteen - is a pretty good showing by the Big Ten. Meanwhile, there are two teams in the top five of Rivals' 2016 recruiting rankings (Ohio State and Michigan), and four in the top fifteen as well. The "Big Ten underdog" narrative is dormant - for now, at least.

Minnesota Retains Tracy Claeys: The Right Move | Twitter Reax

Kill put it simply: "recruiting is the critical piece." Minnesota has an identity now and a burgeoning reputation for sending overlooked guys to the NFL. Continuity will help Minnesota win some bigger battles on the recruiting trail. This was a bold but powerful statement in support of that, by a blue-chip Minnesota commit:

D.J. Durkin As Maryland's Head Coach?

Testudo Times is running through a wide list of names, and D.J. Durkin's name came up as a candidate. Here's the case for and against him as the replacement for Randy Edsall.

Film Study: Joe Schobert's 57-Yard Run

Three yards and a cloud of dust aside, the Big Ten has gotten aggressive. Mark Dantonio has a knack for going for it on fourth down, and Jim Harbaugh is known to test the waters sometimes (though he's only 4 of 12 this year). Wisconsin is actually fifth in the country in fourth down conversion rate, and Nebraska with Mike Riley isn't far behind. Urban Meyer has made some particularly cutthroat calls - like a 4th and 5 early against Virginia Tech or a 4th and 1 against Rutgers up 28-0.

Jordan Lucas Ends His Penn State Career

The first recruit to commit to Bill O'Brien, Lucas will end lose the rest of his senior year to injury.

B1G Mailbag: Iowa Edition

There are a lot of topics here, from Indiana's weird season to Notre Dame maybe stealing the Big Ten's spot in the playoff. As far as Indiana goes, I remember thinking they weren't ready for the bright lights when they were 4-0, and it's been a marathon ever since of coming up just short.

My guess is that, even if Wilson goes 5-7 this year and misses a bowl, he'll have another shot next year. This year's coaching market will make it difficult on Fred Glass to find a better replacement.

Drafting A Foundational Player In The Front Seven

This is a fun thought experiment, and also highlights some of the Big Ten's best defenses along the way - Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin, and the Buckeyes. Unfortunately, Michigan is missing, but let me throw a pick of my own into the mix.

Bryan Mone hasn't had an opportunity to showcase his talents because of a broken ankle suffered in preseason, but Mone was contending for a starting role against some guys who've turned out to be amazing: Chris Wormley, Willie Henry, Matt Godin, Ryan Glasgow, Mo Hurst. Mone is only a sophomore, and with the departures Michigan will suffer in the off-season, the 325-pound native of Salt Lake City, Utah is a safe bet to be anchoring Michigan's D-Line next year.

Wisconsin Laments What Might Have Been

There's a lot of validity to this, but it's hard to expect too much from a team with few weapons on the outside and a lot of youth in the run game. This season will give them ample motivation for next year, when Iowa has to replace a whole lot of valuable players: Drew Ott and Nate Meier from the defensive line, Jordan Canzeri, safety Jordan Lomax, linebacker Cole Fisher, and receiver Tevaun Smith. Northwestern will also also have to reload its wide receiver corps and offensive line, and replace half of their starting secondary.

Injuries At Wide Receiver, But Ohio State Battles On

Michael Thomas is due for a big game. He's had only two 100-yard games on the year, both of which have come in the last month, but he's one of the better pass-catchers in the conference. To show you how much Ohio State has leaned on him, here is every OSU player with more than one catch:

Position Rec. Yards Catch Rate Yards/Target Receiving TD's
Michael Thomas: WR 39 575 70.9% 10.5 7
Ezekiel Elliott: RB 24 169 100% 7.0 0
Jalin Marshall: HB 23 357 59.0% 9.2 3
Braxton Miller: QB/HB 20 325 66.7% 10.8 3
Curtis Samuel: RB/HB 17 235 60.7% 8.4 2
Nick Vannett: TE 11 100 64.7% 5.9 0
Dontre Wilson: HB 7 63 70.0% 6.3 0
Corey Smith: WR 5 62 50.0% 6.2 0

Nick Bosa, 'Little Bear,' Tears ACL

There's another Bosa headed to Columbus, but the five-star little brother of Joey has ended his high school career on a sour note.

Nate Sudfeld Touchdown on 4th and 9

This Indiana receiving corps is going to be deadly next year. This year's trio - Ricky Jones, Simmie Cobbs, Jr. and Mitchell Paige - should all be back. Camion Patrick, a transfer from Tennessee, should be eligible. And with Jordan Howard moving on, one of the younger players in line for more RB reps is Mike Majette, a phenomenal pass catcher.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn Adds The Exclamation Point

Vaughn had a career-best 180 yards against Purdue, and has 665 rushing yards on the year - more than Josh Ferguson. Not too bad for a freshman.