Sports Outside the Beltway

Dolphins Sign Jake Long

The Miami Dolphins have signed former Michigan tackle Jake Long, ending speculation as to who will be the first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Dolphins Sign Jake Long University of Michigan offensive lineman Jake Long is seen during a game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007. If the Miami Dolphins make Long the top selection in the 2008 draft he will be the first offensive lineman, and fifth in league history, to be the No. 1 pick since 1997, when the St. Louis Rams took Ohio State tackle Orlando Pace.(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Michigan tackle Jake Long has signed a multiyear contract with the Miami Dolphins, who plan to select him with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft on Saturday.

The Dolphins were interested in trading the top pick, but no suitors surfaced — so they decided to sign Long and avoid a possible holdout. Last year’s top pick, JaMarcus Russell, missed all of training camp before signing a $61 million contract with the Oakland Raiders.

The new Miami regime led by Bill Parcells began negotiations last week with Long’s agent, Tom Condon. Offensive line is considered the biggest need for the Dolphins, who went 1-15 last year, and new Miami coach Tony Sparano coached the offensive line with the Dallas Cowboys.

That’s an insane amount to spend on an offensive lineman, frankly, but this is widely considered a “safe pick.” With no sure-fire star quarterback available, one would think the Dolphins would have gone after a pass rusher, especially in a copycat league salivating over what the New York Giants pulled off in the Super Bowl.


Cam Cameron says he is not interested in Michigan job

A year has passed and we hear rumors of another Nick Saban like departure from Miami.

Cam Cameron attempted to make it clear Wednesday that the Dolphins won’t lose their coach to the college ranks for the second straight year, denying his interest in the University of Michigan’s coaching vacancy.

Cameron’s name has appeared in two Detroit papers in a laundry list of potential candidates to replace departing coach Lloyd Carr, who resigned on Monday.

“I’m the head football coach of the Miami Dolphins. This is the place that I am and I’m committed to getting this place turned around, period,” Cameron said.

Cameron served as an assistant, alongside Carr, at Michigan, working for both Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller for 10 seasons before breaking into the NFL in 1994 as a quarterbacks coach for the Redskins.

I believe Cameron, which is in stark contrast to last year’s Saban rumors. Cameron could be involuntarily looking for work again when the season is over. If Miami goes 0-16 and draft picks Ted Ginn and John Beck look like busts. I’m betting Cameron will be back in 2008.


Michigan Falls from Top 25 – Biggest Drop Ever

The Michigan Wolverines set a record Saturday, becoming the first ranked Division I-A team to lose to a Division I-AA team. Now, they’ve set another one: The biggest drop ever in the AP poll.

Thud! The final fallout from a disastrous opening weekend for Michigan came Tuesday, when the Wolverines dropped all the way out of The Associated Press Top 25, an unprecedented fall from No. 5 to unranked. Since the AP poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989, no team has taken a bigger tumble in one week.


As for Michigan, the Wolverines became the first ranked team from Division I-A, now known as the Bowl Subdivision, to lose to a team from I-AA, now known as the Championship Subdivision.


Michigan received 39 points from the media voters in the Top 25, including a 16th place vote by Wayne Phillips from The Greenville (Tenn.) Sun. “I still think Michigan has a good football team,” he said. “I think they’re worthy of being ranked. They may prove me wrong.” Phillips said he gave Michigan some leeway because he’s very familiar with Appalachian State, the two-time defending I-AA champions. “They’re a pretty darn good football team,” he said. “If Michigan had lost to some of the other patsies some of the big teams played I could see dropping them out.”

Appalachian State is not eligible for the AP Top 25, which only ranks Bowl Subdivision teams. The Wolverines host Oregon on Saturday.

Before Michigan’s fall, Notre Dame held the ignominious record for largest drop in the rankings in the Top 25-era. The Fighting Irish dropped 16 spots — from No. 9 to No. 25 — after losing to Northwestern 17-15 on Sept. 3, 1995. Texas dropped 15 spots in 1997, going from ninth to 24th after a 66-3 loss to UCLA in September 1997. Louisville also fell 15 spots — 11th to unranked — in September 2005 after losing to South Florida.

The highest ranked team to fall from the poll after one loss was No. 2 Oklahoma in 1959, when the AP was ranking the top 20 teams. Later that season Army went from No. 4 to unranked. In 1950, Tennessee went from No. 4 to unranked in October and in 1960 Illinois fall out of the ranking from No. 4.

I don’t see how they could have been ranked after this, frankly. But it just goes to show the silliness of having teams ranked by the media before the first games are played and then have everyone jockeying from those spots. Most teams have no chance at a (mythical) national championship because even going 12-0 would not put them into the top two if they start the season unranked.


Appalachian State Upsets Michican!

The Mountaineers bested the Wolverines 34 to 32, which means that Michigan’s season is largely over before it started.



NFL Draft 2007 – Round 1 #18 – Cincinnati Bengals – CB Leon Hall

The Cincinnati Bengals may have gotten the steal of the draft so far, having cornerback Leon Hall fall to them in the 18th spot.

What the Experts Say: Profile:

CB Leon Hall Photo Defensive back Leon Hall of Michigan runs the 40-yards dash during workouts at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Player Evaluation: Rarely tested by opposing quarterbacks, Hall has shut down opponents the past two years. Struggles against speedy receivers, as was the case against Ohio State this year yet has enough natural skills and cover abilities to quickly break into a starting lineup.


  • Anticipation
    Coverage Awareness


  • Closing Speed
  • Recovery Ability

Biography: Three-year starter awarded varying degrees of All-Conference honors since his sophomore campaign. Senior totals were 45/3/15 after 61/4/9 as a junior.

Pos: Good-sized cornerback with outstanding ball skills. Fluid transitioning to run with opponents, stays with receivers out from breaks and quickly closes on the ball. Displays a sense of timing, reads opponents’ eyes and immediately locates the pass. Consistently positions himself to make a play on the ball. Instinctive, gets vertical to defend the throw and flies around the action.

Neg: Does not show top-end speed or play to his forty time. Not a strong sure-handed tackler.


Hall is an excellent addition and he should push for immediate playing time opposite Jonathan Joseph. He is a physical cover corner who is tough enough to match up with bigger receivers, athletic enough to stay with slot receivers and can make big plays in coverage. Character isn’t a concern, either. Hall hasn’t had any problems off the field and he works hard at improving his game. However, Ohio State fans will be quick to point out that he lacks ideal turn-and-run skills despite his excellent 40 time. The Bengals will have to give him safety help over the top when he lines up opposite a premiere deep threat. But the bottom line here is Cincinnati has done a good job of using the draft to build a potentially excellent secondary.


Jack Johnson To Play Thursday

Its been a week for Jack Johnson, in 6 days he will have gone from playing in the NCAA Tournment to suiting up for his first NHL game. A trip that will take him from Ann Arbor to Los ANgeles with a lay over in Denver. After argeeing to a deal with the Kings on Monfay he spent Tuesday working out with some players on injured reserve, today was full practice with the team and his childhood hockey idol Rob Blake.

Jack Johnson
Photo Source: RinkRat @

While Anze Kopitar has become a foundation for the team at the center position, Dean Lombardi has been singing the praised of Johnson since he was aquired looking to him to be the cornerstone of the team on the blue line for better part of the next two decades. By Johnson jumping right into the NHL, it gives the Kings a glimpse at where his development stands to this point. The season is already a loss for the team but getting Johnson NHL experience will help in the creation of a development plan over the summer, acclimates him to NHL life and will shape the off-season aquisitions the Kigns will make with their anticipated $15-$17m in cap space this off-season. This move alone may end up selling out the last two home games fo the season because it sure won’t be playoff excitement. I of course will be at the game, because I am pretty much always there.


Frozen Four Field Set

On April 5th, the Frozen Four will feature Maine vs. Michigan State and North Dakota vs. Boston College. The winners will play on April 7th in St. Louis for the NCAA Title.

1st Round




4-Massachusetts Massachusetts
Won, 1-0 ot
Won, 3-1
Cloud State
Won, 4-1
4 p.m. ET
1-Notre Dame        
4-Alabama-Huntsville Notre Dame
Won, 3-2 2ot
    Michigan State
Won, 2-1
Michigan State
Won, 5-1
3-Michigan State        
St. Louis,
4-Air Force Minnesota
Won, 4-3
    North Dakota
Won, 3-2 ot
2-Michigan North Dakota
Won, 8-5
3-North Dakota        
8 p.m. ET
1-New Hampshire        
4-Miami Miami
Won, 2-1
    Boston College
Won, 4-0
2-Boston College Boston College
Won, 4-1
3-St. Lawrence        


Breaking: Jack Johnson Jumps To NHL

Looks like Jack Johnson the #3 pick in the 2005 NHL draft will leave University of Michigan and play for the Los Angeles Kings this week.

DENVER, March 25 – Michigan star defenseman Jack Johnson is negotiating a contract with the Los Angeles Kings today, ending speculation of whether the sophomore would forgo his two remaining years of eligibility.

Johnson confirmed his departure in an exclusive interview with The Michigan Daily this afternoon.

“I thought I was ready for a new challenge,” Johnson said. “With all my close friends, the seniors, gone now and everything, I thought it was time for me to pretty much go for a new challenge.”

Following Michigan’s 8-5 loss to North Dakota Saturday night in the NCAA West Regional semifinals in Denver, the team flew back to Ann Arbor, but Johnson and his family stayed behind. Johnson’s agent, Pat Brisson, and the Kings’ general manager, Dean Lombardi, worked out the details of the contract.

“I’ll be flying from Denver to Los Angeles,” Johnson said. “Everything’s done except for they’re negotiating bonuses.”

Johnson said he will be in the Kings’ lineup Tuesday night when they play on the road against the San Jose Sharks.

The Kings aquired the rights to Johnson just before the start of the season from Carolina, in a trade that saw the Kings send forward Eric Belanger and defenseman Tim Gleason to Carolina for Jack Johnson and defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky. The Kings took advantage of Carolina who was desperate for an NHL defenseman and in need of a willing partner to take on Tverdovsky’s contract. While the move hurt the Kings in the short term, this news makes the pain go away.


College Coaching vs. NFL Coaching

Rick Gosselin, the Dallas Morning News’ Hall of Fame sportswriter, explains why it’s so much better to be a coach in a big-time college program than in the NFL:

I think Nick Saban suffered from Steve Spurrier Syndrome. Winning in the NFL isn’t as easy as a great college coach may think, so it’s back to campus life where you can coast at 9-2 in an off year. For that reason, Pete Carroll and Charlie Weis should never leave the college game. They have better jobs right now at Southern Cal and Notre Dame, respectively, than what they can find in the NFL.

Michigan, Ohio State and Texas are also better head-coaching positions than any you’d find in the NFL. The Cowboys are about as marquee a franchise as there is in the NFL – and they’ve run through four coaches since winning their last Super Bowl in 1995. And a fifth coach could be on the way. Green Bay? Four since their last Super Bowl in 1996. New York Giants? Four since their last Super Bowl in 1990. Washington? Six since winning their last Super Bowl in 1991. Oakland? The Raiders are soon to be on their fourth coach since appearing in their last Super Bowl in 2002.

Stability wins in coaching. You can find it in college. You rarely find it in the NFL.

Indeed. The Raiders’ stat is the scariest: They went to the Super Bowl in five years ago. That coach was fired the very next year. Then his successor got fired. Then his. Then his. That’s just staggering.


Ohio State and Michigan Remain #1 and #2 After Playing

Despite having lost to #1 Ohio State Saturday, the Michigan Wolverines remain at #2 in the AP poll.

The game of the year didn’t change the top of The Associated Press poll. Ohio State was No. 1 and Michigan was No. 2 in the Top 25 on Sunday. The Big Ten rivals have held the top two spots in the media poll since Oct. 15. After the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines 42-39 in Columbus on Saturday in their regular-season finale, the voters decided to keep them there.

The last 1 vs. 2 regular-season game that didn’t change the top of the poll was the 1966 classic between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State, which ended in a 10-10 tie.

The last time No. 2 lost to No. 1 in the regular season and didn’t drop was 1945, when Army beat No. 2 Navy 32-13.

Quite bizarre, really. It’s virtually unheard of to lose and not drop in the polls. Still, I’m not sure who I’d rank above Michigan right now.


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