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Tuesday Morning Brews: On the Road Again

Rumors solidify into an exit, stage left, for Coach Wheatley, while former Michigan players find success in the NFL Playoffs.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State
Getting after it, with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Author’s Note: I appreciate the kind words and encouragement that you guys have sent my way after my first two Brews. But for me being in the process of moving from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic, I would have responded to them all. Continue to sound off in the comments with what you like and what you don’t like - and remember, if you’re reading something Michigan/B1G that I don’t include in the Brews, feel free to post it and start your own discussion in the comments as well.

On to the links:

The NFL playoffs rolled on last weekend, with the divisional matchups being played on Saturday and Sunday. Former Michigan standouts Tom Brady and Alan Branch moved on to conference championship weekend with the Patriots. Brady, the two-season starter turned future NFL hall of famer, had an uncharacteristic night against the Texans. He completed 18 of 38 pass attempts for 287 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Branch, the all-conference defensive line anchor of the 2006 defense, recorded 7 tackles on the evening. Brady and Branch will face off against Fitz Toussaint and the Steelers next weekend. Toussaint, the 2011 all conference honorable mention, was inactive for the Steelers on Sunday due to him being in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Jake Ryan had a quiet night on Saturday, recording only one tackle assist for the Packers against Seattle. Joe Kerridge is also on the Packers’ practice squad. The Packers will face Atlanta.

Tyrone Wheatley, Sr. Headed To Jacksonville

Reports were flying around like the snow this week regarding Ty Wheatley, but in the end Michigan’s running backs coach is going to be NFL-bound. Wheatley’s contract expired at the end of the season.

It should be noted that Coach Wheatley was still recruiting even after his contract expired, including filling in for Coach Harbaugh during an in-home visit with 4* wide receiver Nico Collins the day after Coach Harbaugh’s new son was born. With his departure, though, Harbaugh and Co. will have to work hard to reassure recruits like O’Maury Samuels and Kurt Taylor. Samuels, for whom Wheatley was the key recruiter, will need to forge bonds with other coaches before National Signing Day. Sam Webb ($) has more details; essentially, he’ll be looking around at other schools, but he’s still committed to Michigan.

In Wheatley’s two years as running backs coach at Michigan, he presided over a surge in rushing productivity - going from 158.2 yards per game in 2015 to 212.9 yards per game in 2016.

Women’s basketball continued its winning ways Sunday night, topping Minnesota by 15. Michigan was led by the usual cast of characters, while improving to 15-4, 4-1 on the season. Katelynn Flaherty contributed 22 points, with Hallie Thome (20 pts, 17 rebs), Kyrse Gondrezick (17 pts), and Siera Thompson (12 pts, 7 assts) also featuring prominently. The Wolverines travel to College Park on Thursday to take on the Terrapins at 6 PM. The game will be broadcast on BTN.

Hockey’s Struggles Continue, with Weekend Sweep

In what appears destined to be a frustrating and forgettable season, Red Berenson’s club continues to struggle. Weekend losses to Minnesota (5-2, 4-2) dropped the Wolverines to 1-5-0 in league play, and 8-11-1 overall. The team’s struggles are uncharacteristic of Berenson’s 32 year tenure at Michigan. Over that time, he’s led the Wolverines to a 749-350-77 record, 11 Frozen Fours, 13 Great Lakes Invitational titles, 11 regular season and 9 tournament CCHA titles, 2 NCAA championships, and a 22 year streak of making the NCAA tournament - the longest such streak ever in college hockey. Nearing the end of his remarkable career, there has been speculation in recent years that Berenson will soon retire. It’s not clear how this season will impact those plans.

Derrick Walton Calls Players-Only Meeting, Team Responds Against Nebraska

It’s no secret that Michigan Basketball is at a crossroads. After starting the B1G season with a close win over Penn. State and losses to Iowa, Illinois, and Maryland, some are openly questioning whether John Beilein is the right man to lead the program. Walton, a co-captain, decided that it was time for the players to take ownership. Echoing some of Coach Beilein’s post-game comments about grit and toughness, Walton importuned his teammates to fight for what’s left of their season - and the team responded. Turning in a gritty performance against Nebraska, Walton hopes that sort of play can continue. There are plenty of questions left to answer. Zak Irvin is having the best season of his career, but, at times, the offense still stagnates. Despite bringing in defensively minded assistant coaches in the off-season, Michigan is surrendering more points in the paint this year than in years past. But at 12-6, there is still plenty to play for. An NCAA Tournament birth is still possible, as is a deep run in the B1G Tournament.

Mo Bamba Names Michigan a Finalist in his Recruitment

The 5* 6’11” basketball center recently released his top four schools, and included the Wolverines. The other teams in contention are Duke, Kentucky, and Texas. Not since John Beilein pulled Mitch McGary away from Duke has Michigan been a factor in the recruitment of a big man as dynamic as Bamba. Thus far, Bamba has visited Texas and Michigan - with his visit to the latter occurring during the football game when Michael Jordan was an honorary captain. Bamba indicates that he intends to make his final decision in the spring.

David Dawson Finds Home for Fifth Year

Dawson, the former 4* OL recruit from Cass Tech, announced his transfer to Iowa State recently on Twitter. Despite being a highly touted recruit, Dawson struggled to see the field under the Hoke and Harbaugh regimes. He is expected to graduate in May, and will be eligible to play immediately for Iowa State as a graduate transfer. I, for one, wish Dawson the best in his final year of eligibility at Iowa State.