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Friday, September 09, 2005

Er... moving on. Yeah. Fell off the wagon yesterday. Haters Anonymous here I come.

Sorry, Tim. But I think the Massaquoi Heisman run will have to wait a year.

Natty... UP? Orange44 is all over this strange combination of Jolt and awful beer I imagine Orson and Stranko from EDSBS will rush out to buy cases of before they even finish this post.

Maybe that Woodley guy is okay. Bruce Feldman($) points out this article on NIU LT Doug Free, who spent last Saturday battling Lamarr Woodley. Free is apparently a candidate to go in the first round next year (though, disturbingly, the only source cited is CFN).

The stat sheet implies that Free had good day against Woodley but by my count Woodley made 7-8 nice plays to 2 negative ones despite only getting the one tackle. If Free's really all the article makes him out to be he'll probably be the best tackle Woodley goes up against this year; his production should increase from here on out.

Michigan alum and big-baller journalist Jon Chait will be guest posting sometime next week about the disturbing decline of the Michigan defense, but he checks in now with a rebuttal to a strange assertion from the Blue-Gray Sky:

[Mike from] Blue-Gray Sky previews Michigan from a Notre Dame perspective. He professes from the beginning that he's going to offer up reasons "hopefully less obvious than Michigan's much discussed difficulties on defense" why Notre Dame will win.

Among the reasons:

Scot Loeffler's presence provides Irish fans some comfort when faced with an older, wiser Chad Henne. Granted, Henne will benefit from having a year's more experience than he did the last time he faced Notre Dame. However, Loeffler has also had that same amount of time to screw up Henne's mechanics. As Michigan's season progressed last year, Henne appeared to show signs of developing the patented Loeffler Low Release Point(tm). Recall that this was the technique that led to 6' 6" John Navarre rifling passes into the shoulder pads of opposing defensive linemen with amazing frequency.
Well, that certainly IS less obvious than the fact that Michigan's defense has become consistently horrible. In fact, it's a non-obvious factor in the same sense that "Michigan may win because Charlie Weis is prone to die of malnutrition during the game" is a non-obvious factor.

Set aside the fact that Michigan fans and insiders -- including those who want to see assistants like Jim Herrmann dismembered by a wood chipper and felt the same way about previous assistants like Mike DeBord -- agree that Loeffler is immensely effective. Set aside also the fact that QB recruits rave about his ability to give them coaching tips during summer camp that produce massive and immediate improvement, or that Tom Brady has credited Loeffler, then a graduate asistant, with doing more than anybody else to promote his development. Let's focus on John Navarre.

Before Loeffler could ruin him with his crazy passing technique, Navarre was a slow, inaccurate, low-rated recruit who was not offered at quarterback by his home state Wisconsin. After Wisconsin offerd him at defensive end, he committed to Northwestern. Only after Michigan was spurned by its top-tier QB recruits did it go after Navarre, who decommitted in the wake of Gary Barnett's defection. Here is Navarre's completion percentage by year:

2000: 51.9
2001: 53.8
2002: 55.4
2003: 59.2

Here is Navarre's yardage by year:

2000: 583
2001: 2435
2002: 2905
2003: 3331


2000: 8
2001: 19
2002: 21
2003: 24

If Loeffler causes Chad Henne to regress the same way he caused Navarre to regress, Irish fans better be plenty worried. (Amen! -ed)