Mailbag Has Thoughts on Urban Meyer and Might Eat Chicken

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Mailbag Has Thoughts on Urban Meyer and Might Eat Chicken

Football

Mailbag Has Thoughts on Urban Meyer and Might Eat Chicken

Mailbag is coming right on time this week, compared to…every other one except for maybe the first.

So that’s good news.

With fall camp starting in earnest on Friday, the season just under a month away and the Ohio State news and such, it’s a great time to start getting invested in Michigan football again.

Let’s get to it!

Not my style to diss on other people, no matter how contentious they may be (though I have tweeted about him).

I won’t post a paragraph, but I do think people should read this.

Huge, for both.

Though Peoples-Jones has probably a higher ceiling (not that much higher), with Black being healthy, I would expect him to move back to the Z-receiver position, making Black the bona fide No. 1 guy again, at X, because he has more polish. It should be neck and neck now though, because Peoples-Jones has more experience at this point. However, it should be noted that in 2017, DPJ doubled Black’s output, and Black only played in three games, compared to Peoples’ 13.

I think they’ll both benefit though from having each other on the field and a litany of quarterbacks who can get them the ball. The year of experience under the belt is also huge. And while Black had to sit much of that out, he should have a solid mastery of the playbook and routes, which are just as important.

With Eubanks, I think more of the same. It’s kind of weird that Michigan is doing a TE-by-committee type deal, but Eubanks got some early run in 2017 before his injury. He should be deployed similarly to Gentry, though Gentry is a much different player, because of his size. The way I look at it is like this: living up to potential, Gentry is Gronk and Eubanks is Jimmy Graham. Sean McKeon, to me, is Jake Butt 2.0. Tyrone Wheatley is Calvin Johnson, just a bit bigger, and not quite as fast. (And hasn’t proven it on the field as of yet that he’s like, oh, the best receiver in the game.)

So, when you have that kind of talent, you’ve got to play them all, pretty much. And Eubanks, I think, should be squarely in the mix, because his speed/size combo — like we saw against Florida — is a dynamic weapon that can’t really be trifled with.

See, I think it’s preposterous that we’ve been talking about the Urban Meyer saga when the real story is Jim Harbaugh calling chickens: “a nervous bird.”

In seriousness, I do eat chicken on occasion. I am, however, much more fond of steak, if given the option. Usually doesn’t matter unless I’m going out, and I will just about never order chicken from a restaurant unless it’s wings, a club sandwich, a chicken quesadilla (actually, my favorite — from BTB) or a salad — the latter of which I haven’t ordered from a restaurant in years. Generally, especially during the warmer months, I don’t eat more than two meals a day, and usually only one. Day like today, I’ll have a meal replacement bar and then make a breakfast burrito for lunch/dinner.

So, long story short, I’m good with chicken. It’s not my favorite, and might even be my least favorite. So, I side with Harbaugh, though I won’t restrict myself due to its wide access.

Almost definitely Grant Perry. He was Michigan’s best receiver statistically last year. He has hands that are like sticky tape. It’s his senior season. He’s proven himself on and off the field at this point.

I do think Oliver Martin will definitely get some run this year, and it wasn’t a bad idea to redshirt him a year ago. Likewise, I’m not sure where Jake McCurry is playing, if it’s out wide or in the slot, but I could see him in that rotation as well.

But, barring something spectacularly wrong happening, I expect Grant Perry to get the nod for his final year.

No, not really.

I do think he’s made some — ahem — questionable decisions here and there, but what coach hasn’t? As he’s said, if those plays work, everyone’s saying what a genius he is.

Now, I never would have called pass against MSU in that torrent, especially given that Karan Higdon was running for 6 yards-a-pop. But Harbaugh has a long-standing track record at this point of having offenses that work. They’re so very complicated, so when you’ve got a bevy of first, second and third year players playing in prominent, key positions, that doesn’t bode well, considering how many opposing coaches have noted the complexity of trying to face a Michigan offense.

Soon, it should be running like a well-oiled machine, given the personnel (meaning, his recruits starting to grow into upperclassmen roles). Injuries last year didn’t help, and going back to 2016, with the two passes, a lot of coaches do that, it just happened to be the worst call at that point because of the defense.

So, I think it’s fine as it is. But you have to hope he’s learned from last year’s miscues, in particular. Because they were spectacular.

I think that ship sailed away a very long time ago.

Before Ohio State placed Urban Meyer on administrative leave, I thought there was no way he was going to lose his job. But then that happened, and I do see it as an inevitability at this point.

Unlike many — both in the fanbase and the Ann Arbor media — I haven’t been as anti-Urban Meyer as you’d think. I actually kind of liked the guy. (Note the past-tense.) I’ve defended him, because I did think he had learned from his mistakes at Florida and has tried to run Ohio State in the right way. For the most part, a lot of that still rings true, but I really have a hard time, with yesterday’s allegations coming to light, that he didn’t know about the 2015 incident.

This screams Tressel 2.0, but with this being a much more serious situation. If he knew about it and didn’t report it, it’s a violation of Title IX, and a violation of his contract. That’s open and shut. But, even more importantly, he had an obligation as a human being to do something about it. I don’t wanna hear what is and isn’t in his job description as a head coach. If I hear that someone I know and care about is beating on his wife — whether it’s true or not — I have to get involved. That’s a humanitarian situation.

I’m going to digress for a minute, because it comes down to something that resonated with me in recent days. I listened to Dax Shepard’s inaugural podcast, with his wife Kristen Bell as his guest. And in it, she shared her life philosophy: no matter what her course of action is, always take into mind to promote happiness over suffering. If I set out to do something that makes me happy, I have to consider there’s a possibility that that thing I’m doing, while making me happy, promotes suffering in someone else. Thus, it’s not something I should do. Because happiness begets happiness and suffering begets suffering, and there’s consequences to each and every action — and inaction.

So, with that in mind, if Urban knew — and I have a very hard time believing that he didn’t since his wife, his avowed soulmate and partner in life, knew and even stated in the one text that she was going to have to tell him, if I’m not mistaken — his inaction, which to him promoted his own happiness by keeping the structure of the Ohio State staff in place, actually continued to promote the suffering of Courtney Smith and her family.

I do want to clarify — this issue is a Zach Smith and Courtney Smith issue. Zach Smith is the perpetrator and Courtney Smith is the victim. That needs to be clear. But Urban is also wrong, if he knew about it, and didn’t do the right thing, didn’t do the thing that anyone should do, and didn’t do the thing that is required of him by NCAA rules and more recently by his contract. And, if he knew, and went up on stage and lied about it, then that shows you the content of his character.

Life is more than football. And these guys — Urban, Paterno — could have been heroes to the country and their communities if they would have just stepped up and did the right thing the moment they knew anything (again, assuming Urban knew). Instead, they chose to protect the image of the school they were coaching, which in turn, suffered — or will suffer — much more greatly than it would have had the right thing been done in the first place.

Because they chose their own happiness while other people were suffering.

That’s very hard to say, but if Urban Meyer is out, it should create an opening.

I plan on creating a separate post about this later, but since it’s relatively inconsequential, I will post it here, too:

Regarding Zach Harrison, based of my knowledge of the situation, I don’t think that Urban Meyer being removed from his post will actually hurt the Buckeyes’ chances with him personally, since, as I reported earlier, I’ve heard that he isn’t as particularly enamored with some elements of Ohio State as some may have believed. I would say that his interest would remain about even if Meyer does step down or is fired.

However, speaking with my best source on the situation — and using common sense — where this could help Michigan is with Harrison’s parents, who we believe are leaning heavily towards Ohio State. The uncertainty surrounding the program suddenly does leave an opening for the Wolverines — a school that was already in very high contention for his services as it were — in potentially a better spot to get their blessing.

**

As far as other recruits are concerned — shrug-dot-emoji. It’s hard to say, because it’s still Ohio State. It still is (currently) the most prestigious school in the Big Ten Conference, and we saw what happened going from Tressel to Urban. They got better.

But, until this mess in Columbus is cleaned up, I would think it would be difficult for any recruit to look at the situation as it currently stands and want to be a part of it — unless they loved the school itself, which is fine, and what the decision should be based largely off of. But if you’re on the fence, like Harrison, you’d have to think that wholesale changes are coming within the next few weeks or months, and that uncertainty could definitely help Michigan.

Fall camp starts tomorrow, so there’s really nothing to report in that arena.

I would expect Brad Robbins to keep his job. Remember, he was a true freshman a year ago, and Michigan doesn’t use straightforward punting. They do directional punting, trying to pinpoint where the punt actually goes. It’s much more difficult. Kenny Allen looked like a pro because he already had several years under his belt. He was a good 4 years older than Robbins when he retook the punting job. Blake O’Neill — the same. Fifth-year guy who already had that experience. Robbins was fresh out of high school.

But, like I said, we won’t know anything until fall camp is in full swing.

With Ambry Thomas, I’m curious. Because he made the mistake of telling us at a media availability last year that he was practicing on offense, and assuredly the staff didn’t want that to get out. We met with Pep Hamilton the very next day and he was like, “He told you that?! Awww, man!”

Cat was out of the bag.

From there, Thomas was relegated back to defense and special teams. But, I would think he could be a player on offense as well. For as much talk as Jabrill Peppers got and the amount of comparisons he had to Charles Woodson, Thomas is much closer to being like Woodson than Peppers. But, I also think it’s important that he get really, really good at cornerback and kick returner before he starts jumping over to the offensive side of the ball. I think he’ll be there quicker than most think, but still — you have to make sure he has his post locked down before you start meddling with other stuff.

Barrett is a different story. He was brought in as an offensive weapon. He should be deployed in multiple ways the moment he understands anything. That will be his primary role, to create chaos for defenses. I would be surprised if we didn’t see him in some capacity this season.

Speaking of, if there was a situation where that would happen, I would think the second QB would be Barrett. Because, though Shea Patterson can hurt you with his legs, I wouldn’t look at him like, say, Denard Robinson, where that was his primary asset.

So, for me, what I would expect is not putting, like, Patterson and Peters or McCaffrey on the field at the same time, because then you are actually taking away a position that needs to be on the field. But Patterson and Barrett or Peters and Barrett — that could give you a different advantage. Because defenses would have to account for both, whereas, in the other scenario, they could key in with the idea that one of those guys is going to throw the ball and the other is a decoy. Not as much the case if, say, Barrett was under center with Patterson lined up next to him.

That’s just me spitballing though, and I have no idea what they’ll do in that regard. But I would expect to not see multiple nominal quarterbacks in the game at the same time.

I agree on Hill, but yes, I think Harbaugh is absolutely salivating to get Ben Mason on the field as much as possible. It’s why we saw him late in the season, and why he got those few goal line plays against Wisconsin, Ohio State and South Carolina.

Mason is reportedly the strongest player on the team and the hardest hitter. That’s a guy you want in there as much as possible. We haven’t really seen yet how his hands are though, but I do think he’s much closer to what Harbaugh is looking for at the position.

Again, though — I still don’t know why the Hammerin’ Panda didn’t get more play last year. He was as dynamic of a weapon as Michigan had in 2016, and I’d argue that team was elite, and despite the losses, College Football Playoff worthy. He was more valuable on the offensive side of the ball than Jabrill Peppers, and I don’t think there’s much debating that.

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