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Daily Brews: Ref from 2016 “JT Was Short” game defends controversial decision

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JT. Was. Short.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The memory lives on among Michigan fans, even now, four years later. JT was short.

The note, of course, refers to a fourth-and-1, double overtime play in which then Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was ruled to have gotten a first down on a quarterback keeper. Michigan fans to this day say he was short, hence the #JTwasshort hashtag.

Of course, the ruling said otherwise, and Ohio State scored the game-winning touchdown a play later. Such is life as Michigan fans in that rivalry.

But according to one of the officials in the game, speaking now that he has retired after a 20-year career, the real problem is that the network carrying the game did not show a good view of the replay that he claims would have shown Barrett did in fact make the marker.

Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, Dan Capron said ABC/ESPN should have provided a better shot of the play.

“Of course the ruling on the field was that he made the line to gain (on fourth-and-1) and it was going to be a first down. The buzzers went off and it got kicked up to replay,” Capron told the Tribune. “I don’t know why the network didn’t have a camera right on the yard line. It was broadcasting malpractice. Because there was no camera on the yard line, there wasn’t a good angle to make the determination on an excruciatingly close call. I’m talking about within an inch. So replay couldn’t get a read on it, and they did what they’re supposed to do. The ruling on the field stands.”

Softball sets the tone for baseball

Coming off a strong season and trip to the College World Series, Michigan baseball hopes its 2020 campaign features similar success. Expectations are that, with a strong core of players returning and talented individuals readying to fill in for those who have moved on, the Wolverines should contend at a high level.

The same can be said for Wolverines softball. The lady Wolverines are off to a 5-0 start and, as the start of the baseball season approaches, are hoping their success will be contagious.

Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich mirrored those sentiments Sunday at the team’s media day, explaining that the softball program — which features NCAA wins leader Carol Hutchins leading the team — sets the standard for play on the diamond.

“I spoke at my very first press conference saying that softball is a great model for us,” Bakich said in a recent MLive article about the team. “It’s a one of the models of consistency in all of college athletics to see what they’ve done and do year in and year out. To see that, a spring sport and an outdoor sport that’s really in the winter here, to have their high-level success competing with all the southern schools and all the west schools — to see their success, that was for us, kind of that moment of, ‘Well, if they can do it, we can do it as well.’”

Watching Michigan softball get off to its strong start must make Michigan baseball aspire for similar success. The team’s first game is slated for 5 p.m. Friday against the No. 2-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The softball team’s next game also is Friday; Michigan plays at 11 a.m. against Louisville in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Ruiz leads former Wolverines to scouting combine

Eleven former Wolverines are headed to the NFL scouting combine. But which of the 11 players has the best chance of succeeding in the draft and then the next level?

MLive recently broke down the 11 players and how they may fair. Their No. 1 prospect was — perhaps unsurprisingly — Michigan center Cesar Ruiz. Here is what the site said about Ruiz:

1. OL Cesar Ruiz

6’4’’ — 319 pounds

An all-Big Ten honoree, Ruiz left Michigan after his junior season and two years starting at center. He’s regarded as athletic and intelligent, two important combinations to lead an NFL offensive line. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein says Ruiz has “excellent snap to step quickness” and is “fluid on the go and can lead the charge on wide pulls and screens.” A strong combine performance could very well make Ruiz an early Day 2 pick.

NFL prospect grade: 6.41 (out of 8) — “Will be starter within first two seasons.”

Edge rusher Joshua Uche comes in at No. 2, per MLive. Lineman Ben Bredeson is listed as No. 3.

Other Brews

  • Target issued an apology recently after it released “Minnesota Badgers” onesies. Yes, that’s right. The Minnesota Badgers. What makes it better is Target is based out of Minnesota, and still didn’t get its largest in-state school’s mascot correct.
  • A hearing has been scheduled for a man accused of making a school threat in connection with the 2018 Michigan-Ohio State game.