Devin Gardner > Terrelle Pryor

[Via Freep]
ESPN Scouts Inc. recruiting director Tom Luginbill calls the Inkster, MI native and future Michigan QB an "advanced version" of tOSU's Terrelle Pryor.

He says that not only is he a better passer, but compares his ability to that of Tennessee Titans QB and former Texas Longhorn Vince Young. Hopefully it's the 21 year old VY, and not the 19 year old VY, as he struggled in his first 2 seasons as the Texas passer.
“Devin has been far more prepared in the passing game and playing in a scheme that has required him to do some things with his arm on a much more consistent basis than Terrelle Pryor ever was,” Luginbill said today in a conference call. “Terrelle Pryor played in a version of the Wing-T, did not throw the football very much and, quite honestly, was not very efficient throwing the football.

"Going into the next level, Devin Gardner has an advantage there because he has played in a system similar to one he’ll be playing in at Michigan. ... I do think it’s a good fit.

“If you’re a Michigan fan and say we lost out on Terrelle Pryor … they lost out on a great athlete, but there are no perfect players, and everyone had challenges and things they need to work on. In getting Devin Gardner, you’re actually getting a player with similar physical tools and dimensions but probably further along as a passer.”
Obviously this doesn't mean that Devin will immediately step in an make tOSU and other opponents his personal punching bag, probably far from it. But what it does illustrate, very clearly, is that Rich Rodriguez, Rod Smith (QB coach) and Calvin Magee (OC) are going out and getting the best talent that they can find and attracting them to Michigan. And doing so at maybe one of the hardest times ever to recruit for this program in the last 40 years.
“He’s obviously very gifted as a runner and a passer and probably a better passer than he’s given credit for because his mechanics are a bit unorthodox and people see him and make an assumption because it’s not always pretty, he maybe isn’t the passer some guys are,” Luginbill said. “The bottom line is, the guy’s been exceptionally productive, and he, in my opinion, does a lot of the same things ... to Vince Young. Similar dimensions and measureables, similar arm strength, and a very similar quirky-like delivery.”
The question remains, when will Devin see the field?

Last we heard he was not going to enroll early as previously reported, but instead will stay in HS and play basketball. This leads me to believe that either he really loves playing HS basketball, or he knows that enrolling early might not have a benefit for him as he doesn't think Rodriguez will start a freshman QB three years in a row.

In a perfect world, at least my perfect world, Tate and Denard work to improve their respective games and make huge strides this off-season and come back to play much better ball in 2010. And Devin red-shirts to work on getting up to speed to the college game instead of being tossed to the wolves like previous QBs the last two years.

Luginbill sees it another way...
“There’s no doubt he’s got the physical tools to do so,” Luginbill said. “From a height standpoint, he brings some things to the table as far as overall field vision that maybe Tate and Denard Robinson lack a little bit right now. Obviously, if you’re going to be a guy that hovers around the 6-foot mark (like Forcier and Robinson), you’re going to need to be in the shotgun an awful lot, and it probably helps the offense to move the launch point a little bit and try to enhance the field vision. That’s not an issue that you’ve got to try to cover up with (6-foot-4) Devin Gardner.

"Physically, I think he’s as gifted, if not more gifted, than either of those two guys. Those guys have now had a year under their belt playing at the BCS level, the FBS level, and Devin Gardner is going to have to get to that point. I’d be stunned if he’s not involved in the competition throughout the fall.”
To get your very own first, or second look at Devin Gardner and his abilites, tune into the Under Armour All-American High School Football Game this Saturday (Jan 2) from Lake Buena Vista, FL. ESPN will once again air the game live with skills challenges being aired somewhere on the ESPN family of networks.

MBN All-Decade Team

We here at MBN are not impervious to the gimmicky "All-time" posts. So as we wind down the 2000's, it's a good time to look back and take note of massive amount of talent that has passed through the tunnel and ran out onto the carpet at the Big House over the last 10 years. We decided to take the time to come up with, as best we can, our picks for the all-decade team. These are players who played at least 1 full season in the 2000's.

Offense:
QB: Chad Henne
RB: Mike Hart
RB: Anthony Thomas
LT: Jake Long
LG: Adam Kraus
C: David Molk
RG: David Baas
RT: Tony Pape
TE: Tyler Ecker
WR: Braylon Edwards
WR: David Terrell

Defense:
DE: Brandon Graham
DT: Alan Branch
DT: Tim Jamison
DE: LaMarr Woodley
LB: David Harris
LB: Victor Hobson
LB: Larry Foote
CB: Marlin Jackson
S: Jamar Adams
S: Ernest Shazor
CB: Leon Hall

Special Teams:
PK: Garrett Rivas
P: Zolton Mesko
KR: Darryl Stonum
PR: Steve Breaston

Coach:
Lloyd Carr

If you have any suggestions or disagree, please comment below. We're leaving this open to any and all interpretation.

Warren to Go Pro


In a move that surprised no one, CB Donovan Warren has decided to forgo his senior year and declare eligible for the NFL draft. [AnnArbor.com]
"Just trying to do what’s best for me in the long run and for me and my family at this point in time," Warren said. "I just feel like it’s the right decision and the right move to make at this point in time to take me to the next level and just focus on getting ready for the combine."
Warren is expected to sign with prolific super-agent Drew Rosenhaus this week.
"Coach Rod was real supportive," Warren said. "Of course they wanted me to stay, but they understood the opportunity I have for my family and to go and live the dream."
According to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., Warren is the #2 rated junior CB in college football, and will likely go in the middle rounds of the draft.
"Once I got that back I pretty much just knew it was going to be up to me and how I worked out," Warren said. "It's a risk taking a chance of leaving early, but it’s a risk also staying. I just feel better about my chances of leaving, putting the pressure on me."
Awesome.

Next year's defense will be just as good as it was this year, except without Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren. The only other DB to intercept a ball last year was Boubacar Cissoko, and he was kicked off the team mid-season for violation of team rules.

Start. Worrying. Now.

A Long, Hard Winter

With about 2 or 3 minutes left in The Game on November 21st, 2009, I stood motionless in section 37, row 38, seat 3. Surrounded by Ohio State fans on all sides...listening as they turned Michigan Stadium into "The Horseshoe North" with their O-H-I-O chant...I was stunned. All I could do as I looked out at the expanse of the stadium I used to think belonged solely to Michigan fans was ask "How did we get here?"

This article is not really an attempt to discuss any one particular topic, but merely a meandering of thoughts that I have had about sports in general in my month of blog-abandonment. There are many good reasons why I have been selfish enough to basically ignore this site since December began...but I don't want my loyal dear readers to think I am going to make this a trend. We fully plan to head into 2010 with a full head of steam looking forward to next fall.

--

I can not stand pro sports. Nothing about "professional" sports is enticing to me. The day Barry Sanders, the single greatest pro athlete to grace the city of Detroit turned in his cleats at the age of 30 and paid the Lions back the money left on his contract, pro sports died for me.

Football, basketball, baseball, hockey...you name it. There is nothing there for me anymore.

Why? Those teams are run like huge corporations. Athletes are commodities. Nothing more. Just something to throw on screen between commercials...usually a commercial with one of those athletes telling you which car to buy or which shoe to wear. And we as the mindless public just drink it up.

Tiger Woods just cheated on his Swedish model wife with the entire Dallas Cowboys cheerleading team. But who cares, just as long as he wears his red shirt and Nike cap to the divorce trial. Fist pump...Boo ya! Smile for the camera.

Every Detroit Tigers fan is up in arms about how Curtis Granderson was traded to the Yankees for a couple of no-name prospects. Hey, what the hell were the Red Wings doing in the late 90's? It's called no salary cap. New York is a major market, which means more money. Money wins, Detroit loses.

It's the natural ebb and flow of professional sports. Not every guy can be Steve Yzerman or Barry Sanders.

Despite what almost any pro athlete will tell you, its all about the money. Nothing more, nothing less.

That's where my love of college sports comes in.

I am a Michigan football fan through and through. No doubt about it. God put me on this earth to cheer for this team. There is nothing I would rather do than watch the boys in blue on a Saturday afternoon in the Big House. For me, it's everything that is good about sports. The fans, the stadium, the band, the helmets. I cherish those things. College football, at least to me, is the greatest sport in the world.

I've been a Michigan fan for as long as I've known more a thing or two about college football. You can boil it down to a pretty simple equation: Michigan is righteous, everyone else is evil. Not to tough to follow.

So it makes perfect sense that I feel what has taken place over the past two years in Ann Arbor is not only worrisome, but downright depressing.

Michigan is, in every sense, a national powerhouse.
• #1 All-time in winning percentage (.738)
• #1 All-time in total wins (877)
• #1 All-time in winning seasons (110)
• #1 All-time in undefeated seasons (25)
• #1 All-time in attendance
• #1 All-time in televised games (406)
• One of only 3 schools nationally to have a winning record against every Div-1 conference.

I do like Rich Rodriguez, but he's got a ways to go before he earns the love of the Michigan fan-base whom has come to expect nothing short of what I just wrote above in a new coach. It's a tough job, filling the shoes of Bo Schembechler, Fritz Crisler and Fielding Yost. But it's the job Rodriguez signed up for. It's the job he broke his contract and left his home-state of West Virginia for. And it's the job that he currently makes 2.5 million dollars a year to do. And so far, it's not going so well.

But for reasons I've stated time and time again on this blog, we're going to stick by our embattled coach for one more season. I've said it from the start, give the man three years to make his mark. But damn, years 1 and 2 aren't giving me much to look forward to in year 3.

When I look around the college football landscape, I see teams like Texas, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma...all doing well with their esteemed coaches. And I'll admit it, I'm jealous. I'm also jealous of teams like Rutgers, Boise State, TCU, Cincinnati and even Oregon. Those teams are experiencing a tremendous amount of success, all due to great coaching. Not all those teams have amazing players, but they have amazing coaches. And that's enough.

And as much as it pains me to say it, Notre Dame is going to be a juggernaut with Brian Kelly. Not only does he fit in perfectly in South Bend, but he's a winning coach with a great attitude who said every possible thing right in his first presser under the golden dome two weeks ago. As a Michigan fan, Brian Kelly at Notre Dame scares me. I never felt that way with Weis, Willingham or Davie.

The only thing that could screw Michigan more is if Rutgers joins the Big Ten so we have to play against Greg Schiano every year...and we schedule a home-and-home against Stanford to meet up with Jim Harbaugh. It would be the coaching carousel of death. Non-conf games against Harbaugh and Kelly, and then face off against Shiano, Ferentz, Dantonio, Fitzgerald and Tressell.

Kill me now.

Okay, maybe it's not that bad. That is a worst-case scenario. But it simply illustrates that my inner frustration with seeing all these top-notch coaches being swept up by big schools while Michigan keeps banging it's own head against the wall with Rodriguez in yet another bowl-less season.

I'll keep my thoughts to myself about Urban Meyer while that whole situation works itself out. My initial reaction is that there's something really bad going on with Meyer, and he needs time to figure it out and get it right. We as college football fans should at least give him the time and freedom to do so. For all of the reasons I can't stand Urban Meyer, we at least owe him that.

But back to my point about being at least a little jealous of the rest of the bowl teams that we get to watch this postseason.

As I sat there in the last few minutes of the Ohio State game and watched as those hillbilly fans from down south poison our beloved stadium with their awful cheers, I had a moment of sheer astonishment. And I don't say that lightly. I was in shock. While Michigan has struggled in the last 2-3 years, Ohio State has thrived. They've won at least a share of the Big Ten in the last 5 seasons. Jim Tressell has made Michigan his whipping boy. He's secured his place in Ohio State lore forever as being the guy who has finally dominated the powerhouse Wolverines. He single-handily chased off Lloyd Carr, and has made Rich Rodriguez look like a rookie coach, and has made Michigan rebuild its entire football program when a total rebuild might not have been entirely necessary. Well, to be fair, Ron Zook has also made Rodriguez look like a rookie coach...but I digress.

How far away is Michigan from being a powerhouse again? Will we be a powerhouse again? Will we go to a bowl next year? Will Rich Rodriguez be our coach in 2011?

Those questions, and many more like them are going to be the focus of this blog for the next 9 months. We pledge to help guide you, the loyal bleeding-heart Michigan fan through the long, hard winter we must endure. But we will. And I hope, as much as anyone, that there will be a light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

Friday News

Once again, real life has been getting in the way of my blogging! But since the season is over...there's not much to report on, so the timing is working out.

One of these days we're going to get around to posting a season-wrap up type of post. Or at least some original content. But it ain't gonna be this day. So here's whats going on in the world of Michigan football...bullet style.

• At the annual football bust last evening, Brandon Graham once again took the award for team MVP for a second straight year (first time for a defensive player). For a more complete list of awards and notes from the event, Michigan Sports Center has their own bullet list.

• Also in football bust news, Greg from MVictors was in attendance and took in the atmosphere...as well as some cocktails.

• Junior CB Donovan Warren is leaning heavily towards going pro. If he leaves, the top three players from Michigan's rather stogy defense will all be gone next season (Graham, Warren and Brown). Yikes!

• Freshman RB Vincent Smith tore his ACL in the final game against tOSU. He will miss spring camp but is expected to be ready for next season. For a RB, an ACL tear is pretty awful, especially for a guy who is expected to be the starter next year. I don't think he needs surgery, but the recovery will be slow.

• In a kind of surprising move, Notre Dame has turned down a bowl. The team voted after the loss to Stanford, and the firing of their head coach. The AD said he would take the team's vote into account in his decision to send them to a bowl or not. And it seems he has decided to agree with them.

Some folks think QB Jimmy Clausen is all but gone, as well as WR Golden Tate. All I can say is, see ya! All of the sudden it seems the comedy of 2009 could turn into the tragedy of 2010. And of course, the head coaching rumors are swirling quite nicely.