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Thursday, December 6, 2012
WolverineNation roundtable

By Michael Rothstein

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Most Valuable Wolverine? Shifts across the country with coaches?

These topics and more are discussed with the WolverineNation staff in this week’s WolverineNation Roundtable.

Jake Ryan
Jake Ryan didn't win the team-voted MVP award, but perhaps he should have.
1) Jordan Kovacs was named Michigan's MVP on Monday at the annual football bust. Who do you think should have been named the team's MVP?

Chantel Jennings: I'll agree with it because it was voted on by the team. Perhaps if the fans had an MVP vote then it would have had a different outcome (probably Denard Robinson). But because so much of Michigan football is closed off to the fans and media, I'm going to have to go and say that if the team voted Kovacs, then I'll say Kovacs. A lot happens behind closed doors and I would imagine that his attitude and persona on and off the field got Michigan through some rough patches this year.

Michael Rothstein: I’d have to disagree with the team. Kovacs had a nice season, but if there was an MVP this season, I would go with linebacker Jake Ryan. Ryan led Michigan in tackles and tackles for loss and he is the one player on the Wolverines defense who would have been very, very difficult to replace. He had both a breakout season and the best season of any Wolverines player.

Tom VanHaaren: I'm not arguing with Kovacs. He's clearly a leader for that team and has proven he belongs, so I don't think it was a mistake.

2) A bunch of coaching transitions around the Big Ten and the country this week. How, if at all, do you think this affects Michigan?

Jennings: Mostly, I think it'll affect the recruiting front. Any time you have coaching transitions in the late rounds of recruiting there will be movement. Specifically within the Big Ten you've got changes at Wisconsin and Purdue, which means those guys could be looking for new options and there are some players out there that were/are committed to those schools that also have Michigan offers. I also think it helps Brady Hoke out indirectly as far as how he's perceived. He has said before that this is his last stop and I believe him. So when recruits go through the process and see what friends/teammates/acquaintances have to go through when a coaching switch happens, I think it makes them appreciate coaches like Hoke even more.

Rothstein: From a recruiting perspective it helps because if there is any mutual interest between recruits at schools with changes and the Michigan staff, there could be opportunities for late offers and switches despite the Wolverines’ lack of room to take many more recruits in the class. I think it will hurt Michigan, though, on the field at least in the next couple of seasons. The reasoning is this -- as Purdue with Darrell Hazell and Wisconsin with coach TBD transition into the new schemes, the Wolverines also see the Badgers still off the schedule and the Boilermakers switch off for the next two years. Meanwhile, in-division opponents for Michigan still face those two teams so it could be that much more difficult to reach the Big Ten title game.

VanHaaren: Probably not very much. The kids who commit to Wisconsin typically really like Wisconsin. Most of them have already said they'll stick it out with their commitment. I'm assuming Wisconsin will likely make a smart hire and will continue to have success. I think it's in everyone's best interest that they continue to be competitive.

3) Michigan has sent out a bunch of new, somewhat late, 2013 offers this week. What does that signify?

Jennings: It's hard to say. It could be attrition or injury (but don't expect Hoke or anyone to comment on that). It could mean that Michigan is losing out on a few of their final guys. But keep in mind that just because an offer goes out doesn't necessarily mean that if the guy says yes, Michigan will too. Don't mistake the fact there is a list of targets from most important offer to least important offer and mixed in to that is position, and the list can constantly change. If a lower guys says, "Hey, you offered me! I'm in!" There might be a waiting-out process.

Rothstein: It is intriguing in the sense of Michigan seemed so set with what was going on for a while, but overall I don’t take it as a sign of much different. Could Michigan be realizing it’ll have to go in different directions on some recruits? Possibly, but last season the Wolverines picked up Willie Henry late and Dennis Norfleet the night before signing day so this stuff is never really over. It’s just part of the process of recruiting.

VanHaaren: That they don't want to be left at the altar on signing day with no options. The schedule of when some of their top targets will decide will make the picture a little more clear. It will play itself out and the offers are to safeguard to make sure they land the positions they need to land.