This episode I am joined by Anthony Broome, site manager of SBNation’s Michigan Wolverine site, MaizeNBrew.com. We talk about this year’s Michigan football team.
We review everything about the Wolverines:
- What’s up with Jim Harbaugh and the cleats?
- Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis ƒm
- The Quarterback battle between Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton
- Who’s going to score points?
- What about the defense?
- How is Michigan ever going to beat Ohio State?
- What do they think of Scott Frost and Nebraska?
Anthony is very knowledgeable about his team and very thorough in his interview.
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About the Transcript
Keep in mind that the following is a transcript. I use a service that automates the first draft. As much as “artificial intelligence” is included in the description of every bit of technology these days, it’s clear that computers understanding human speech is more artificial than intelligent. The transcript has been edited to take out human speech bites, you know, um, okay, uh, but it’s not been edited to be an “article”.
Jon Johnston: Welcome to Jon’s PostLife Crisis. I am your host, Jon Johnston, guy who founded CornNation.com,your Nebraska, Cornhusker State of hoping like hell we have a college football season in some form. I am joined today by Anthony Broome, producer and the head dude at Maize N Brew, SB Nation’s Michigan Wolverines, site of much knowledge about all things blue in the state of Michigan.How are you doing today, Anthony?
Anthony Broome: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me here.
Jon Johnston: We’re going to talk about 2020 Michigan Wolverine football. There are several guys at my side who refer to you guys as the weasels. So we might as well start out with a little bit of animosity. We have to talk about Jim Harbaugh and we have to talk about Jim Harbaugh because he’s an interesting guy. He has not had the success. Maybe the Michigan fans... I mean, really what it comes down to for you guys is beating Ohio State, right? Yeah, and he hasn’t done that. And he’s not done that well against Michigan State. So let’s start there.
Anthony Broome: When you look at what Michigan has done under Jim Harbaugh, now five years are in the books. And I think when you go back to when he was hired, what were some of the expectations after those first five years? You’re hoping that, OK, those first couple of years you’re looking to rebuild, you’re looking to just be competitive because for as much crap as the staff is getting now, what preceded Jim Harbaugh was probably the worst ten year stretch. You know, obviously, at least of my lifetime of Michigan football, there were there was a 3-9 season there. I believe there are a couple of 5-7s, a couple of 6-6s. It just just not where you want to be as a program and you thought maybe after a couple of years of Jim Harbaugh, you’re competing for Big Ten titles, you’re competing for the college football playoff, which if you you can move the goalposts here and there and say that they’ve done that. They have competed for Big Ten titles. But again, really, when you look at the record against top 10 teams is not great. The road record against ranked teams is not great. They’re still 0-fer against Ohio State after five years. And that’s a gap where, of all the expectations that that Michigan had under Jim Harbaugh was you’re going to narrow that gap with Ohio State. Here comes another ten year war with Jim Harbaugh, Urban Meyer. These guys are going to go at it. And the first year that they got blown out at home that second year came down to that spot in overtime in Columbus. And since then, that gap has just gotten a little bit wider. Well, not a little bit. It’s Ohio State’s kick the door wide open. You know, when you look at them as a program, they’re recruiting every bit as good as an Alabama does, as a Georgia does. And that gap just seems to be getting bigger with them in the rest of the Big Ten. So that doesn’t let Michigan off the hook.
Anthony Broome: What’s hurt them in some of these bigger games is, it seems, a lack of preparation, lack of focus, lack of poise. Like I said, you’re going to get a 0-3 season or 10-2 seasons. But are you going to get more than that? We haven’t seen that so far. And I think the difference between being good, which they’ve been good, they’ve objectively been good, but they have been great. And I think that it’s that extra push for maybe a preparedness and, you know, a Monday through Friday practice and game planning standpoint that I think is kind of held them back a little bit.
Jon Johnston: So good, but not great, I mean, we had Bo Pelini for a number of years. He did wear out his welcome in terms of the fan base, I think got tired of it. And I think he got we exhausted him also. We kind of had him up and but it was close to 9-3. 9-4. With Harbaugh at what point do you say good isn’t good enough? It’s not enough for us. We need to get to great. And, you know, where’s that leash at?
Anthony Broome: Yeah, that’s the thing, I mean, you let’s just say let’s let’s do some wishful thinking and say we even play a college football season this year, which again, for everyone, I don’t think you’re going to see if there’s a season this year, you’re not going to see a ton of coach firings because with those buyouts and when these athletic departments are already cash strapped, I don’t think you’re going to see them paying these million dollars in buyouts and things like that. Now, with Jim Harbaugh and Michigan just kind of like, you know, if you’re just if you’re sitting there at 9-3 and 8-4 year in and year out and again, a lot of people will use the argument. When you look at what came before, it’s not that bad. But what do you look at the resources that Michigan has? I mean, the facilities are top notch across the board. They have a national recruiting footprint. There really isn’t much of an excuse for them not to be at least get one against Ohio State every now and then. I think the Buckeyes are 17-3 against them since the year 2000. So that’s we’re going on 20 years of you get to a point where you’re recruiting guys that have never seen you. They haven’t won the Big Ten since 2004.
Anthony Broome: You’re starting to recruit guys who are, you know, 15, 16, 17 years old, who they don’t remember, the Lloyd Carr teams. They don’t remember Braylon Edwards, Chad Hardy, Mike Hart. They remember Rich Rod and they remember Brady Hoke.
Anthony Broome: And they remember, you know, some of these some of these failures in big games of recent years. So it’s hard to say. It’s kind of complicated. I’m on the record of saying Jim Harbaugh is in Ann Arbor. As long as he wants to be, whether that be through, he takes a job in the NFL, whether it be, you know, he just decides to retire. But I do think what you look at him personally, again, it’s his alma mater, which you guys are familiar with. You know, having your head there’s a there’s a strong pull there. There’s a pull for him to continue to raise his kids in the town that he was raised in. So like I said, as long as the ball’s in his court, I really don’t see him going anywhere. And I haven’t seen it a lot from, you know, administration from an administrative standpoint, that there’s a lot of pressure on him to to you know, there’s not a lot of heat. You know, people talk about hot seats. And the only time there’s ever been Jim Harbaugh hot seat talk is when it comes from the national media. I’ve never got a sense of that locally here.
Jon Johnston: It’s a good article. And I mean, we get Scott Frost is on the hot seat from people. And you’re kind of like, it’s been two years, what the hell. Yeah, I get it. We can talk about that toward the end of the show. The comparisons to Scott Frost. Don’t let me forget that because I have a terrible memory. I mentioned Bo Pollini both. He had his let’s just call them quirks, you know, I mean, saying FU to the fans, things like that volatile personality. Like I said, he kind of wore himself out with Nebraska fans after a while. Jim Harbaugh has this chicken thing going on. And then recently we had this incident where a top recruit said that he wouldn’t take his cleats off when he came into his house now. We’re in a bizarre time in human history anyway, I hate wearing pants, all of a sudden I’m not going to get on Jim Harbaugh about wearing cleats and how weird that is, because I think it’s a little bit hypocritical to go into the cleats thing. I mean, you certainly gotten some flak for it from people, haven’t you?
Anthony Broome: Yeah, there have always there have been a few weird instances like that on the recruiting trail. There was another I believe it was I forget they were in on another five star guy who he actually may have actually wound up on the team.
Anthony Broome: I can’t remember. I will recite from memory because it’s slipping me right now. But there was a there was one kid who was out on Michigan decided he didn’t want to be in Michigan because you claim that they spelled his name wrong in a letter or something like that.
Anthony Broome: So there have been some quirky things like that as far as the cleats go, like as a homeowner myself, like you don’t wear shoes in the house. You’re definitely not wearing cleats in the house. So that is a little odd, especially if you’re cleaning around on the hardwood floor or I don’t know. It seems like a fun little story when you look at this was Isaiah Wilson who ultimately wound up going to Georgia.
Anthony Broome: I think there were some other factors there, bagmen, that may have that may have factored into why he ultimately ended up in the south. But it’s the weird recruitments always produce weird results. And that was kind of a weird one to start with. And I’m not I don’t want to use this as an open forum to bash the kid. But this was the same guy who Isaiah Wilson. That is who what he committed on, I believe it was December 16th in twenty sixteen. And his commitment announcement was tied to like a school Christmas pageant at the school he was at. And so people were tuned in to the stream and look, you know how recruiting fans are like. They’ll they’ll there were tens of thousands, tens of thousands of people on this stream of it was a Christmas concert at this school. And, you know, at the so people were already kind of irked by that. Obviously, Georgia fans wound up being happy about that. But, yeah, it’s Jim Harbaugh is yet quirky and weird, dude, for sure. He’s never had any incidents where he’s told fans to f off or anything like that. But, you know, it’s more of a, I guess, somewhat endearing locally or at least some people in the fan base. But nationally, I trust I understand the rep that he gets because it’s not entirely unfounded.
Jon Johnston: He apparently recently had some run in with Ryan Day about during a coach’s online meeting or something. Anything on that yet?
Anthony Broome: I don’t know if this is true or not, it came from the Ohio State boards, I think on 247, but basically on some kind of big ten coaches call, it sounded like Brian Day was talking and Jim Harbaugh interrupted him because there was allegedly video out there of of al Washington who’s there, Ohio State’s linebackers coach who Ohio State hired away from Michigan two seasons ago. So there’s already kind of some bad blood there, apparently. According to this this board post, Harbaugh said that he saw video online of our Washington working with that position group when nobody’s supposed to be working with opposition groups right now. And Ryan said something along the lines of, why don’t you worry about your own team? And then allegedly after this call with Ryan, met with his team, he said, I hope that there’s the big tent. Better put a mercy rule in place because we’re going to hang one hundred on him this year, which, whatever its rivalry, targets. Football guy talk. You know, it’s Ohio State has hung 63 and 56 on Michigan in the last two years. So what’s a couple more touchdowns here and there? It wouldn’t make it any more painful than it has been, honestly.
Jon Johnston: Well, you know, going back to the 10 year war, Schembechler and Hayes, those guys, they had their fireworks. So, you guys need to win a game, take up the, you know, the bar for the rivalry. I mean, find a way to get one. That’s kind of where it is right now. It is one of the best rivalries in college football. And, you know, being a Nebraska guy, maybe I’ll get in trouble for that. But, you know, when we move to the Big Ten, we kind of dismiss all of our rivalries were gone. We got to build new ones. That’s just how it goes. Yeah. You guys have a new offensive coordinator, Josh Gattis.
Anthony Broome: So this is his second year with the program, actually. But everything there’s a lot of new on this offense in general. You know, you’re going to be breaking in a new starting quarterback. You’re going to be breaking in four new starters on the offensive line. They lost to starting wide receivers, starting tight end. So it’s not there’s it feels more new this year than it did last year because they were just kind of updating to last year’s personnel. And it took some time. I mean, it was Michigan. I know you think of what they’ve been traditionally as a program.
Anthony Broome: It’s a three yards and a cloud of dust type of offense, a ground and pound type deal. And what we saw them do, you know, they hired Josh, get us away from Alabama last off season, who he was coaching. He’d coached the wide receivers at Penn State, coach the wide receivers, and was like the coach, offensive coordinator to Alabama. And then he got the full the full OC job here at Michigan. And it was a work in progress because you had I mean, you had a quarterback and Shay Patterson, who had the ability to play in the spread, but there was adjustments. There were turnovers and reeds and things like that. But they are they’re still they’re still very much that power pro style approach in terms of the running game, in terms of some of the blocking schemes. But this is a they’re going to I mean, they’ve been a spread offense. This will be the second year of them kind of doing that. And you’ve seen them adjust to that in terms of kind of the personnel they’ve recruited.
You’re seeing a lot of fast, wide receivers, guys, that you just kind of get the ball out too quickly and let them make plays. So it’s a little more spread in West Coast than it’s been and last year, it’s weird because you have all this new offensive personnel. And again, if they play games, we’ll see what happens. But it feels like they’ll be further along just because even these guys are stepping into bigger roles. They’re going to be playing in an offense that they’ve been repping while there was a spring football. But the terminology and the schemes that they’ve been familiar with for for two seasons now. So we’ll see what happens there. Again, we talk about what kind of what’s the difference for Michigan and going from good to great from being a nine or ten, twenty year to being that eleven, twelve. Let’s go to Indy. Let’s get the playoff type deal. It is the quarterback position. Yeah. The quarterback play has been I’ll say it’s been solid to good. They had the one year in 2017. That was kind of a disaster. I think they played three or four guys that year. You know, Jim Harbaugh has got the. The reputation of being a quarterback guy, and I still do think he he does a good job of reigning guys in and squeezing the best football he can out of them.
Anthony Broome: But I think something that’s kind of distorted what his what the expectations around him as a quarterback developer is, was Andrew Luck. I mean, Andrew Luck was a once in a generation prospect. He hasn’t recruited his, quote unquote, Andrew Luck to Michigan yet. Now they have a guy coming in next year, a five star guy, J.J. McCarthy, who people are very high on. But, you know, this year you’ve got. Dylan McCaffrey, who was a former kind of four star fringe, some people had him as a fringe five star son of Ed McCaffery, brother of Luke, is at Nebraska. You guys know him. So got the bloodlines there. And then Joe Milton, who is a four star guy who has a cannon for an arm. But, you know, you have to be able to throw curve balls and changeups and things like that. You can’t always be fire in the fast ball in there. So that’s kind of what the bummer of this whole I mean, everything’s been a bummer this year because of the pandemic, but more so with spring football. It’s really the first time since Jim Harbaugh has been in Michigan that they’ve had truly and completely a a quarterback battle in earnest. And now, like I said, they’re going to be starting camp on, I believe, Friday.
Anthony Broome: Everyone is getting the OK to do that. I just don’t know if there’s a ton of time to you know, if you have that guy pick, you know, to pick that guy out or to really give it the due diligence that you’ve had. So but the good news is whoever wins that job has to year at least two years of eligibility remaining. In McCaffrey’s case, if Milton wins the job, three years of eligibility remaining, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the guy that lose it wound up transferring because that quarterback room is is fairly deep moving forward. But whoever wins this job, this is this is setting up for the next two years, which is, you know, Michigan fans are kind of tired of the wait till next year thing. But I talked about all the newness on offense and there’s a fair amount of that on the defensive side of the ball, too. But this year being a weird year where anything, any football you get this year is kind of gravy. So whoever wins that job, like if they can get as you know, if they’re game reps to be had, I think that’s that is somewhat exciting to build equity into when things will be normal for everyone else next year. So.
Jon Johnston: Ok, the quarterbacks you’ve covered, McCaffrey and Milton, you mentioned four or five starters gone in the offensive line running backs, Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet.
Anthony Broome: Yep, those are those are two really good players. Charbonnet was a true freshman last year, and he looked the part. There are some load management concerns with him, you know, because he did you know, he does have, I think, some sort of chronic not a chronic knee problem. But, you know, there were some concerns there. So Haskins came on about halfway through the years, a redshirt freshman, and those guys both played pretty well.
Anthony Broome: I mean, you go look at the rushing numbers. They were you know, the numbers weren’t high. It’s not a Michigan rushing offense that people, the college football purists, traditionalists are used to seeing. But when people ask about the run game last year, I think it was fairly efficient when it was used. And I think that’s kind of what they’re looking for in this offense to it’s not necessarily a pass happy offense. There are some you know, there’s a lot of there’s some QB option runs and things like that RPO. But yeah, when you look at those two guys, those two guys alone, I think are you can make the argument they’re one of the top duos in the conference already. And there’s more guys coming back like you have Chris Evans. He was off the team last year due to due to an academic issue. He’s back on the team this year. He’s the guy who’s,he’s been a big time weapon in both the running and passing game. So I think they’re excited to have him back. They have a true freshman. And Blake Corum, who a lot of people are excited about, they think that he could be in the mix for some carries this year. So they have those two guys. But really, they could go is as many as four deep there, which, you know, they haven’t. Michigan really hasn’t had a lead back per se under Jim Harbaugh. De’Veon Smith was at times Karan Higdon was the closest thing to that, probably the best running back they’ve had so far. But to me, I mean, this is this is as deep a running back room they’ve had as well. So, you know, when you talk about we’re through five years of Jim Harbaugh ready year six, I think the biggest change is really how deep they are, just about every position, because that wasn’t the case when they got there six years ago.
Jon Johnston: So receivers, who’s the who’s the explosive dude that’s going to score points? And then go into where are the points going to come from on this offense? It’s going to be in the passing game or the running game cover both those.
Anthony Broome: Yeah. The big guy at wide receiver is Niko Collins. He could have entered the draft this year, probably would have been a mid round pick. But he comes back after Donovan Peoples-Jones goes to the draft, Tre Black transfers to Texas. That was kind of the big three that never really wound up being the big three. And like I said, due to some inconsistencies, a quarterback, some growing pains in the offense and quite frankly, some whacked some kind of wonky play calling early on in the year.
Anthony Broome: But Niko Collins, he’s a jump ball receiver. He’s a guy to where Michigan hasn’t gotten him the ball enough. I mean, they chuck him the ball down the field. And it’s either it seems like every time they do that, it’s either defensive pass interference or he you know, he moss’ the guy. He snatches the ball out of the air and makes a play.
He is their undisputed number one guy, now their top receiver in terms of production from last year’s Ronnie Bell, who you know, Niko Collins is a former four star recruit to read. Black was a four star recruit. Donovan Jones is a five star recruit. Everyone thought that was going to be a big three, that kind of I think a lot of people were hoping they would be what the receivers at LSU were last year obviously didn’t play out that way. But the guy that kind of outshined all of them in terms of from a coach’s standpoint, from a production standpoint, was Ronnie Bell, who is a former two star recruit out of Kansas who originally was going to play basketball somewhere else. So he had a good rapport with Shea Patterson.
Anthony Broome: I’m not sure what his report is like with either the guys that are vying for the job now, but he’s that possession receiver, that guy that can do damage over the middle of the field. And then you’ve got a bunch of sophomore and redshirt freshman. Giles Jackson is someone that they’re excited about. It’s kind of a smaller guy, a gadget player that they might be able to do some things with.
Anthony Broome: Got Cornelius Johnson. You’ve got AJ Henning and Roman Wilson. Mike Sainristill, who had a good spring last year, didn’t do as much in the regular season, but was still productive at some moments. So they’ve got they’ve got five or six guys at wide receiver two. And when you ask where the point’s going to come from on this offense, I guess it really kind of depends on who the quarterback ends up being. If it’s if it’s still McCaffrey. And like I said, Michigan compares itself to Ohio State.
Anthony Broome: Ed Warner, their offensive line coach, was the former offensive coordinator at Ohio State. So there is kind of an Urban Meyer type of influence on this offense mixed with what Josh Gattis brings, you know, from from his experience at Penn State in Alabama. If McCaffrey wins the job, I can see him being more of the like the JT Barrett type of quarterback, where now it’s kind of the design QB runs is kind of more what the offense is built around.
Anthony Broome: And then you throw when you can. And if it’s Milton, Milton can still run the football, but he would be more of like that, that Cardale Jones type of guy, if you’re using that or, you know, maybe hoping Michigan fans hope he would be like a Dwayne Haskins. But so McCaffrey is more of the the run first dual threat guy. And Milton is more of to me is more of the you know, we’re just going to throw the football over the all over the yard. So it depends. I mean, when you look at. Which, you know, when Michigan gets inside the five yard line, they want to run the football. So if you’re out from a touchdown standpoint, I could see Charbonnet Haskins leading the way there because that’s kind of what they did last year.
Jon Johnston: Ok, Nebraska, we have run run the ball guy there, by God, we better run the ball all the time. And on third and one, it always has to be a run under. They’re going ballistic. They’re having been brain aneurysms, heart attacks, everything like that. I assume that given Michigan’s history, you have something similar.
Anthony Broome: Oh, yeah. There are some people who believe that no matter what happens, you know, first, you know, you run on first or you pass on first down to set up the run for the plate or whatever their offensive coordinators. There are so many offensive coordinators on Twitter in this fan base, and I’m sure everyone, every football fans like that to a certain extent.
Anthony Broome: But the fact of the matter is, is when a play call works, people people will praise it. When it doesn’t, people will say this guy needs to be fired. He’s the worst the worst offensive coordinator we’ve ever had. An example I like to use of this is, you know, in the Ohio State game last year, again, it was Michigan was kind of talento toe to toe with them for a while. And then Ohio State started to pull away. But in the fourth quarter, Michigan on four, I think it was fourth and two, they dialed up a run play on their own side of the field to just try try and pick things up there. And the difference between what is a good play call, what’s a bad play call is as simple as it was actually Hassan Haskins sort of following his offensive linemen, which follows if he follows him, he’s got nothing but green grass in front of him. You’re looking at an eight point game with like ten minutes left in the fourth quarter. He bounces it to the outside, get stuff and then, you know, turnover on downs, Ohio State scores. And it’s a totally different game. So that’s just how that’s just how finite a difference between, you know, how people perceive what is a good play call, what is a bad play call.
Anthony Broome: I mean, if they pick that thing up, people say, oh, that was that’s the call, the season. That’s the ballsiest call we’ve ever seen him make. And, you know, but it didn’t work out that way. And people were pretty upset about what wound up happening there. It’s it’s just a matter of, you know, trusting your guy, trusting the body of work. I thought from a play calling standpoint from week one to week even until, you know, Michigan played Alabama and the Citrus Bowl, I thought I mean, there was you could look and there was tangible progress throughout the year. And the offense, you know, they kept saying, you know, when the offense isn’t working and you hear them say during the week in press conferences, we’re confident this is working. It’s working in practice practice, it’s working in practice. You kind of question their sanity and what they’re seeing. But as the year went on, you started to see the fruits of that labor kind of open things up on the field. And now then it just became a matter of the defense not being able to get some of those stops in the bigger games. So, you know, that’s that’s how college football is now. You got to be able to score.
Anthony Broome: And, you know, if you’re not if you’re not throwing the football and you’re not scoring points, you’re you might just be a team that only wins nine games a year. So at best. So that’s kind of how I see that.
Jon Johnston: Michigan State. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Under under Dantonio. OK. I’ll be honest with you. Life issues got in the way and I didn’t do a lot of research on your defense, so go over the defense. Every year you guys are going to lose good players and they’re going to have to be replaced by somebody. But how well do you see the defense stacking up in the Big Ten? And I mean, keeping you’ve got you’ve got the threat now from Ohio State, the 100 points on the board thing. Yeah. How are you going to stop that from happening?
Anthony Broome: Well, I guess anything less than one hundred is is them doing the job. But, you know, they’ve given up sixty three and fifty six in those last couple of years. So it’s been rough and it hasn’t been because they haven’t had good players. I mean, you just look at some of the names from the last few years that have been drafted. You’ve got Devin Bush, Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich. These are all guys that were, you know, first, second, third round picks in the draft. Josh Uche this past year, David Long was the third round pick last year. So to me, talent is not the problem there. I think there might be some schematic things really to me and I kind of touched on this earlier. Their biggest issue has been I think they’re overaggressive at times. And that’s that’s what that’s Don Brown. That’s their defensive coordinator. He says, The day I stopped being aggressive is the day I stopped coaching football and I’m sipping a Mai Tai and Cape Cod or something like that. So that’s going to be what they are. That’s what their brand is. I think the biggest issue with the defense and we’ll get into this year’s defense in just a second is now, for example. So I keep going back to the Ohio State game from last year. There were points in that game where it’s just you have to be able to get, you know, getting off the field.
Anthony Broome: If you can just get off the field a few times in a game like that, you’re going to you’re going to be all that much better off for it. And there are times where, you know, getting stops against Ohio State is as difficult as it is already. And then you jump offsides on a punt and the downs reset. Just those little focused things. You know, Wisconsin, that Wisconsin game last year, the run fits were terrible. They they looked totally confused out there. And to me, that’s that’s preparedness. And I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know who else put that on other than coaching they keep wearing. I mean, Don Brown to he does the press conference every year where. Oh, I’ve I watched the Ohio State film. I promise it won’t happen again. But what we look at so that’s kind of the state of where their defense is. I won’t believe in big games that they can get it done until they do. That’s kind of the benefit. You know, they’ve they’ve lost to me the benefit of the doubt. They’re now at home. That’s that’s the thing at home. A lot of times, like when they play, it seems like whenever they play Penn State at home, they mollet up. They play Wisconsin at home. You know, getting stops hasn’t been a problem. It’s those that focus stuff on the road that’s kind of killed them. They’re this year’s defense.
Anthony Broome: You lose you know, they lost quite a not quite a bit. They’re stars, I think, for the most part are still there. Cameron McGrone at linebacker is someone who I think has a chance to be maybe not quite as good as Devin Bush, but someone who fits that mold there. I think Aidan Hutchinson could be potentially a first draft pick, a defensive end, a guy who, you know, he’s got a you know, he’s got a motor. The motor is always running. Their production could have maybe been higher last year. But when you watch the film and the guy who gives one hundred and fifty percent on every play, I think they’re going to be bigger in the middle on defense this year. It sounds like they have a couple of freshmen that, you know, they were real small up front last year. So you saw a lot of those three man fronts with an extra linebacker and extra defensive back on the field. I still think you’ll see that to a certain extent. But they have a couple of guys. Chris Hunt was a former five star prospect who sounds like he’s bulked up and is ready for a bigger role this season. You’ve got Mazi Smith, who is kind of in that same spot as well, Kwity Paye who can move inside and out versatile. Again, I don’t the defensive line is is always typically pretty deep and I don’t worry as much about depth there.
Anthony Broome: The back end is probably where I have the most questions this year. You lost Lavert Hill. Andrew Thomas is the number one corner who again, I think he’s a guy who I think his football, his best football could still be ahead of him there. But there’s not a lot of proven. I mean, Vincent Gray played inside last year. He’ll be playing on the outside. There’s just not a lot of depth there. Outside of that, you’ve got another five star guy at safety Daxton Hill. So I think he’s going to be a star. Brad Hawkins playing next to him, I think is going to be very good this year if they play. So the pieces are there. I really do think there are pieces there on both sides of the ball where this could be a fun team. I just don’t I just think in a couple of key areas, there’s still a little green and it’s just going to be matter of. How green is everyone else when you play them, and how much progress do you make in this? You know, got it’s 30 days to kickoff. They announced the schedule on Wednesday. And it just seems like whether they start the season on time or not, I don’t know. But it’s going to be a quick turnaround and it’s going to be baptism by fire for a lot of young guys to write.
Jon Johnston: Ok, switch to us, Scott Frost.
Jon Johnston: There’s a lot of similarities between Harbaugh and Scott Frost. They’re both returning home. They’re both back to their alma maters. Obviously, Scott Frost hasn’t been around as long as Jim Harbaugh. But I mean, is two first years Frost has been a, well, disappointment. I mean, you know, 0-6 six to start his first year. And that has never happened in the history of Nebraska football, even during the World War two years when we were terrible and there was a 20 year stretch in there where we were terrible.
Jon Johnston: What do you think as a guy from the outside looking in? What do you think of Scott Frost?
Anthony Broome: I think he came, so he was coaching at UCF he came to Ann Arbor, I think it was his first year coaching there, the year they were terrible. And then in the span of the year, you snap your fingers and, you know, they claim that they won the national title or whatever. Real good football team.
Anthony Broome: But I think it’s a lot easier to do that at a group of five school where you just get a couple of things that click and you can run through your schedule. I think it’s harder to do that in the Big Ten. And I think that, like I said, it’s going to. How many years was Mike Riley there?
Jon Johnston: I don’t know. I don’t when you mention the name My Brain Explodes, I think three. He was there. Three, he was like a placeholder.
Anthony Broome: Yeah. I think when you look at it, just it takes time. And that’s kind of what it seems like. The PJ Fleck’s of the world. Scott Frosts of the world, they have this they have this abrupt kind of rise to power. You know, it seems like within a span of a few years they’re hot coaching commodity and everybody in the country wants them. You look at what you know, it took three years that Minnesota for Fleck to do what he did last year. It takes time. And even that’s kind of where I think the going back to the Jim Harbaugh comparison, I think that expectations for him were kind of ratcheted up early because they won 10 games in that first year and they had a chance to to win the Big Ten and go to Indy in year two they had made Brady Hoke and his staff to their credit, they had recruited well, they just needed to be coached up and they were. But even then, you see, it takes time to build a program. And that’s where some guys come in and they flip the switch right away and they’re good to go. But sometimes it just takes a little longer. And you look at Nebraska, I think. I mean, I’m always the optimist, I’m always looking ahead to what’s next when I look at... I think that Scott Frost is a good coach. I think that people need to be patient. You know, year three is probably a pretty important year. You’re going to know you’re going to pretty much know a lot about your coach by the time you’re three is over with.
Jon Johnston: They said, you know, it’s somewhat normal, we’re assuming we’re kind of trying to assume everything might be normal.
Anthony Broome: Yeah, and that’s the thing, too, is that maybe. I said this in a Radio hit I did earlier this week, it’s almost like because there is there’s obviously Heat on Scott Frost, there’s heat on Jim Harbaugh, but it’s almost like the fact that this year is going to be so weird. It almost feels like it takes pressure off of both of their teams because nothing’s normal for anyone. It hasn’t been a normal lead up to the season. The world’s not a very great place right now. So I feel like. It’s a lot harder for people to manufacture rage over their football teams right now, and I think that’s the I mean, these players are on social media and these coaches are on social media because they’re recruiting kids that use social media. I think that. That that era of, you know, the deep breath of if we even get football, people are going to be grateful. I do think the players pick up on the vibe of the socials and for people, for anyone to say it doesn’t affect them, I just don’t know how logical that is. So like I said, I wouldn’t be pulling the plug on Scott Frost. Like I said, it takes time to to build a program. And, you know, I also feel like your native son, you know, deserves time to kind of build things in his image.
Anthony Broome: Like it’s so it’s so much easier to, you know, because you can recruit those Florida kids in Florida and they might be the three star guys, but it’s so easy to go from. It’s not easy, but it’s a lot easier to go from good to great at a group of five school than it is in the Big Ten, especially, you know, you’ve got Wisconsin and that it’s not the Big Ten East. You don’t have Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan at the top there. But Minnesota is on the rise and Purdue is has kind of been on the verge of busting out. Illinois has been improved. Minnesota and Wisconsin obviously have been very good. Iowa is always very good. So, you know, it just it just kind of have to chip away with it. And that’s kind of I just wish I think a lot of programs, I think wish they would be a little more patient because it does. I think it really does take five, four or five years to to really set a foundation and build a program. So we’ll see what happens. But I don’t know if all I know about a down season this year probably wouldn’t do a whole lot to inspire confidence.
Jon Johnston: So now and it’d be you know, we’d have to live with it for another bloody year. Yeah, that’s the biggest thing for Nebraska fans, is this. You know, you you you lose the Iowa at the end of the season. You don’t go to a bowl game again, and then you have to live with that for months and months and months. And people are tired of the hype. You know, last year we came in, we were somebody ranked us and Adrian Martinez, their starting quarterback, was a Heisman Trophy candidate. And you kind of looked at that and said that’s a little overblown. But, you know, and then people now are they’re angry and they’re gunshy. We really need a... It’d be nice to have as normal college football season as possible.
Jon Johnston: I don’t know if that can happen, but, we’re you know, we’re just people relax and say, I’m really just thankful to be here. OK, we got schedules. One more question. I ask you for predictions because you have to have thought about it since you’re the guy in charge, you know, what do you see happening with Michigan football this season?
Anthony Broome: I have them at 8-2 with losses at Minnesota and obviously against Ohio State. I’m not going to believe it till I see it there. The Minnesota one is maybe a little flaky because Rashod Bateman’s not going to play this year. I think that’s a huge piece. Obviously a huge piece gone might be depending on who you talk to, might be the best wide receiver in next year’s draft. So that’s a big deal for them. At the same time, it’s a road trip early on in the year. Michigan hasn’t played well in the road and they are still working and all those new pieces, so they open with Purdue. I think that that’s at home. I think they should be able to get by that. It’s down for Michigan State. They beat Penn State and Wisconsin at home. Usually, you know, I think I’ve seen people say, oh, 5-5 or 6-4. That’s like a doomsday scenario. I mean, the doomsday scenario is no football at all. But like, that’s probably I’d be pretty surprised, you know, 7-3, 8-2 feels about right. So that’s kind of where I have them. It’s it’s a bummer, you know, actually, all things I mean, you want to see them play as many good teams as possible. They were originally going to go out to Washington to open the year, which Washington’s a little down right now. But, you know, to to go out there to have those questions be looming, it’s kind of maybe I don’t want to call it a trap game because we don’t know a ton about we wouldn’t have known a ton about either of the teams.
Anthony Broome: But to go from that to now opening the season against Purdue at home. I I think that’s a pretty that’s a pretty solid draw to open the year, so that’s where I see things with them. Like I said, there was talk that they’re that final crossover game they had to be was going to be at Iowa, which was Michigan never plays well there. And typically when Michigan plays there, it seems like it’s always a night game, which is always a nightmare scenario. So but instead, they’re going to Northwestern. It’s not I mean, there’s not going to be fans in the stands anyways if they do play. But that’s typically been a venue that’s been pretty kind to them as well. So it’s it’s always going to be kind of a tough schedule because they’re in the Big Ten East. It’s one of the toughest divisions in college football. Their crossover games this year are with Wisconsin, Minnesota, Purdue, and like I said, Northwestern. So it’s Ohio State’s not I don’t think Ohio State plays Wisconsin or Minnesota. So some of this just gets thrown off like that. But, yeah, I think overall, I think it’s not a terrible not a terrible schedule for them at all.
Jon Johnston: I think is there anything else that I haven’t asked you, you want to say about Michigan football this year?
Anthony Broome: I think we pretty much I I’ve probably rambled and covered more than we were planning to, to be honest with you. So any other thoughts or questions you might have for me?
Anthony Broome: What is it what’s going to stop Ohio State, for God’s sakes, I mean, it’s just, you know, Urban Meyer to Ryan Day and they still keep recruiting these guys. Are they the only school that’s using bagmen? What the hell is going on with this?
Anthony Broome: Yeah, I, I think it’s from at least like a Michigan perspective, like, yeah, they’re not Michigan is still recruiting like top five, top five, top seven, top 10 nationally pretty much year in and year out. So talent wise, I mean it’s not as much as the top end, you know, high end, four star and five star guys. But typically speaking and there are people inside the building that feel this way despite the scores of the last few years of these games, that they’re only that they’re like five or six plays here and there that led to the bottom falling out. And I think when when it just comes down to this, I think really for any team you saw with LSU last year, if you get a quarterback that just busts out and plays out of his mind, that can carry you to big wins. I mean, look, I mean, the tornado of destruction that was Joe Berl last year was probably the best college quarterback season I’ve ever seen. Again, like I said, if you’re I think whether it’s Adrian Martinez or Luke McCaffrey, whenever we play football again, I think that it seems like all everyone is quarterback situation is. Everyone’s, for the most part, is an OK hands, unless you’re Michigan State or Rutgers or what have you, but it’s good to beat a team like Ohio State. It’s going to take a big time performance at the quarterback position because that’s how college football is now. And none of our schools in this conference have really been able to do that. So. Unless it’s a random night game at Purdue once every five years or something like that, OK, I think we’ll call it a wrap.
Jon Johnston: Thank you, everybody, for joining me to talk about Michigan football, that is Jon’s Post Life Crisis podcast. Thanks for listening and go Big Red. This is where you say go blue.
Anthony Broome: Go blue!