Chat with Chantel Jennings
Welcome to WolverineNation! On Thursday, reporter Chantel Jennings stops by to chat about the state of Michigan football.
Jennings joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering University of Michigan athletics for three years at The Michigan Daily. Jennings graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Spanish and lives in Ann Arbor.
Send your questions now and join Jennings Thursday at noon ET!
Chantel (12:00 PM)
Hey everyone! Welcome to the chat, glad you could stop by. I'll be here for the next hour but get your questions in early and often for the best chance that I can get to them. Now, who will I go to first.....
Brian (Grand Rapids)
With he commitment of mason cole do you see things dying down for a little bit in terms of gaining commits over the next couple of weeks. It seems like no one we are actively pursuing is close to pulling the trigger
Chantel (12:03 PM)
A few of the guys that Michigan is in on with aren't super close to announcing, so you have that right. OL Tommy Doles is a name to watch -- he could be deciding this spring. There's a lot of interest surrounding him but he hasn't raked in a ton of offers. But he also doesn't want his recruitment to drag out too long. He'll be visiting NU this weekend and hopes to be at U of M for a spring practice. Outside of him, unless a few guys are commit on spot guys (when the offer goes out), it could be a bit quiet.
Does drake harris plan on announcing soon?
Chantel (12:05 PM)
He should have his top group put together sometime this spring or early summer, but don't plan on him making a final decision any time too soon.
Do you think it may be time to test out the 1-3-1 defense for game or two. Most likely out of big ten title so it could give them something to take into tournament. And why did Mitch only play 8 min last night. Thanks
Chantel (12:07 PM)
They really haven't resorted to that too much this year. I'm not sure if it's because Beilein feels like their man to man defense is good enough or if this group of personnel doesn't really fit that scheme or what. They have been bringing a big guy up on high screens to double the ball handler (which is kind of similar to the trapping mechanisms of a 1-3-1), but they have used the 1-3-1 too much.
Chantel (12:07 PM)
As far as Mitch, I don't really know. Jordan Morgan looked like he was trying to get back into the swing of things and Beilein might be trying to get him as much on court, real time before the Big Ten Tournament as is possible.
Jimmy (Grand Rapids)
What are the issues that the hoops team is dealing with lately, and how many can be 'fixed' before Sunday and the NCAA tourney? I think healthy Morgan is huge, but I can think of a few more big question marks moving forward.
Chantel (12:10 PM)
Well, their problem has been kind of the same one all season -- defense. For the most part, the Wolverines' offense has overshadowed that, and in performances in which their offense wasn't impressive and they still pulled out with a win, people didn't really focus on the D following that. But last night, Penn State played really well, Michigan's D did not, and Michigan turned the ball over on offense. That's not a good combo. Can that be fixed? Sort of. They can return to basics and work harder on defense, but if there are teams out there that can figure out how to exploit Michigan's weaknesses on D (like Penn State did, like Michigan State did, like IU did) then Michigan fans better hope the Wolverines offense game is firing on all cylinders.
So last night I had to stop watching the game to go to a chem lab. They were up 11 after a great start to the second half. What happend!?
Chantel (12:10 PM)
Chantel (12:11 PM)
I think there are a lot of ways to come out on the losing side of a game... but the two main ones: 1) a team can beat you 2) you can lose to a team. And in rare occasions, both can happen. Last night, I would say both happened.
Zach (Muskegon, MI)
who needs to have a big spring game/practice? and why?
Chantel (12:12 PM)
I wouldn't put too much stock into the spring game itself because it's one scrimmage. However, as far as the 15 practices go -- I think it's important that the Wolverines offensive line begins to gel. There is going to be a ton of overhaul there and they need to start getting chemistry now if Michigan wants to be successful next fall.
zach (muskegon, mi)
what are the main 2014 targeted recruits that would be huge for michigan?
Chantel (12:14 PM)
Defensively: CB Parrker Westphal, Da'Shawn Hand, Malik McDowell, Lawrence Marshall could be big.
Chantel (12:15 PM)
Offensively: WR Corey Holmes, WR Artavis Scott, TE Nic Weishar, RB Elijah Hood, OL Tommy Doles, OL Alex Bars, TE/ATH Tyler Luatua.
I have read several of articles saying mason cole and artavious scott want to play together in college. Does this mean we will eventually get Scott also? And if so what about Campbell in the 2015 class from the same school?
Chantel (12:17 PM)
I think having Cole will give Michigan a bit more of a chance in the fact that it'll be easier for Scott to hear about Michigan or visit Michigan. I don't think they're a package deal in the way people are making it out to be, though. He's going to take his time and he still has a lot of his recruitment left. Campbell is in the same boat. He's only a sophomore and he has a big camp scene ahead of him, as well as tons of visits to take. But Michigan has impressed him early and Cole is already getting to recruiting him and Scott.
Jace (Grand Rapids)
Chantel, I fear Michigan basketball is suffering from the Kobe effect. As in we count on one guy to do too much. Our young guys look lost and our defense needs help going forward. Our young Canadian friend hasn't shown up in weeks and G. Robinson shows up when he feels like. What steps need to done to get the team we all know and love back to what we are capable of.
Chantel (12:25 PM)
Learning to be consistent is a process. And on a really young team, there is going to be inconsistency. That's why you don't have too many teams that go on to win the national title (now, some do, we know that, but that's the exception, not the rule). Does Michigan rely on Trey Burke a lot? Yes. Very much so. But he has an incredibly talented supporting cast. They need to find a way to play consistently from here on out -- that means avoiding injury, working hard every game, and for this young team, I think it means having fun playing basketball. They're at their best when they're taking smart risks and enjoying the game.
I heard you used to play basketball... Could you beat Trey Burke in a game of one-on-one??
Chantel (12:26 PM)
Ha. Yes, I played basketball. No, I wouldn't beat him. Maybe if we were playing in a game where I had to score once and he had to score 50 times and his feet were in drying cement and he had to wear a blindfold... then I might have a chance.
John gerwig (Pasadena, md)
Any chance a freshman will start on the offensive line this year
Chantel (12:27 PM)
I think we'll see some redshirt freshmen on the line -- Kyle Kalis, Ben Braden, Erik Magnuson. I would assume that the Wolverines would redshirt the true freshmen. In Darrell Funk's perfect world, he has enough depth at the position to do that.
zach (muskegon, mi)
what are hoke's expectations for this season? (not his personal expectations but others expectations for him. i.e. what needs to be improve, record, etc.)
Chantel (12:29 PM)
We haven't had much of a chance to talk to him about it, but I would assume his expectations will start with the lines. He'll want them to play better. They were fine last season, but nowhere near impressive or at what Hoke considers the expectation for the position at Michigan.
GBK (Lincoln Park)
I can understand Michigan's interior defense not being great because the team is small, but why is the perimeter defense so bad? Players going too deep when helping? It's not hard to see how Penn State made all those threes when they are wide open shots.
Chantel (12:31 PM)
If a team has to help inside more often, it means they're closing out on shots rather than contesting them in the first place. It's a balancing act. Having good interior D helps perimeter D, and having good perimeter pressure helps interior D. When one struggles, so will the other.
Matt (Ann Arbor)
Wilton Speight has been added to the watch list. Where do you see him ending up in the rankings when they are released? He is not very highly rated on some other sites but has been invited to the ua game already..
Chantel (12:33 PM)
It's hard to say where he'll end up on the lists just because I haven't watched game film on every single 2014 QB. I will say that I was very impressed with Speight's decision making and accuracy. That's difficult for a younger QB and he has looked good there. Could that move him ahead of other guys? Yes.
zach (muskegon, mi)
how far do you see michigan going in the tourney? and what are their cjances at a big ten title after the penn st loss?
Chantel (12:35 PM)
Don't count much on a Big Ten regular season title. Now, a B1G tourney title? That's definitely possible. As we've seen this season, anything can happen there. Chicago is going to be a crazy place to be that weekend and every game will probably be a real game, bring some popcorn.
With B1G tournament play coming up, is consistent play the biggest factor for Michigan making it through intact? Also, if you were in a buddy cop comedy with one of the other Michigan beat writers, who would you want as your partner and why?
Chantel (12:38 PM)
I think Michigan does need to find some consistency. First, they need to find some steam and then sustain that. We haven't seen that same spark that we saw early on in the Big Ten schedule. They need to get that back and then keep it going. If they play uninspired and tired, then they won't have much of a hope because other teams definitely will.
Chantel (12:40 PM)
As far as a buddy cop comedy..... hmm it's hard to say. Part of me wants to pick Heiko Yang because he's one of the smartest people I know. However, he's also very laid back in which case if there were any fighting, I'd have to do it and that probably wouldn't end well. So I think I'd choose Daily beat writer Everett Cook -- he's also very laid back but could also do more of the fighting. Plus, I think he'd let me drive the getaway car.
Neel (Ann Arbor)
Do you know when the 15 practices for Spring football begin?
Chantel (12:41 PM)
They start Saturday, March 16. And then the 15th practice is actually the spring game on April 13.
Any news on football coaching search.
Chantel (12:43 PM)
Not yet. We're currently reaching out to people that we believe are prospective hires, but Michigan is obviously staying very tight lipped on this.
Jake (NCBC, gulfport MS)
First of all thanks for all the info it kept me up to date no matter where I was. What do you think our chances with southern recruits will be? Does Speight and Cole play a significant factor in getting their attention?
Chantel (12:44 PM)
Recruiting the south is going to be important. The Wolverines haven't really rocked that region recently and with the loss of Jerry Montgomery, Michigan will need to step up its game. I think picking up top guys from those regions early is definitely key, but the coaches will beed to follow up and lay the ground work for bringing some of those guys in.
Justin (Dirty South)
Does Heiko actually say hilarious things to Borges at the pressers, or does he just get a little creative with his blog posts?
Chantel (12:45 PM)
They joke every time about the bubble screen. Al hates when Heiko asks about it, so naturally, Heiko always does. Whenever you read that he's saying something about whether or not someone is wearing glasses, he's probably talking to me. He likes to poke fun at the media and he's always willing to tell some funny stories. Al is definitely one of the more enjoyable press conference coaches at U-M.
Matt (Ann Arbor)
We have been a very different team on the road this season but we have not lost at home andwe did play well in the neutral site games earlier in the year...should that give us hope for both the B1G and NCAA tourney or is it not that simple?
Chantel (12:47 PM)
Here's the thing.... You say Michigan has played well at home, but against whom? The level of competition hasn't been as high. Yes, they beat OSU and that was a good win. But they definitely didn't look good at home against Penn State at home a few weeks ago, right? And they've yet to play MSU or IU at home, and they don't have to play Minnesota at home. So we can make a lot out of these home records and what not, but look at the level of competition they're playing. And, if the Wolverines drop to MSU and IU does that negate everything about their home court swag? No, but I think it's important to keep things in perspective.
Any idea's on what new players will most likely get lots of playing time or start this fall? Meaning hopefully they can fill some holes and hopefully make an impact? And which new players might not play this year? Thanks!!
Chantel (12:52 PM)
I'm going to go with new players meaning ones that haven't played much.... so offensively let's start with the line: redshirt freshmen Kyle Kalis, Ben Braden and Eriki Magnuson will have an opportunity to see some time I believe. At running back, true freshman Derrick Green could be one of the few true frosh that get some time. At tight end, because they're both talented and because Michigan only has four scholarship tight ends, Jake Butt and Khalid Hill could see some playing time.
Chantel (12:53 PM)
Defensively, I think Taco Charlton has an opportunity to play a bit at rush end. He enrolled early and could be ridiculous. I think Michigan might try to find somewhere to put Ben Gedeon because he's so physically ready to play. And in the secondary we could see a lot of true freshmen get some nods -- Jourdan Lewis, Dymonte Thomas, Delano Hill, just to name a few.
Have you seen the horrible jerseys Adidas designed for teams in the tournament? I'm just glad that the athletic department made a good decision to not use those after some of their recent awful choices.
Chantel (12:55 PM)
I'm sorry, did you not see the Michigan-Ohio State basketball game? The ketchup and mustard match up...
How do you see our TE and CB recruiting for 2014 shaking out? Will we take more than one TE, and who do you think gets first priority? Same for CB. Has Westphal indicated an early commitment, or anyone else for that matter? Who do you as the most likely DB pledges for 2014?
Chantel (12:57 PM)
I think it's still early for a lot of Michigan's prospects in both of those categories. The Wolverines have been out to see Tyler Luatua a few times in California. Daniel Helm and Nic Weishar are both guys Michigan could get, but I think they have a lot of recruitment to go through still. As far as DB's, it's kind of the same story. The Wolverines have put themselves in play with a lot of talented guys, but few of them are going to be making early commitments because they are national guys and the spring/summer between their junior and senior seasons is a big time for those caliber players.
Do you see Michigan landing any of the big time 5 star recruits they are after? Which ones are the most likely to joing team #135?
Chantel (12:59 PM)
As I said before, Michigan has put itself in position with a ton of really talented guys. As far as which become five stars and which end up with Michigan, well there's a lot of grey area in there and it's still too early to say on both sides.
Chantel (1:01 PM)
Alright, that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for stopping by though. If you have any questions I didn't get to or think of something during the day, shoot me an email jenningsESPN@gmail.com. Also, I'll be on the radio today at 4:15 to talk some more Michigan basketball (ESPN 100.9 -- www.espn1009.com). Next week Mike will be on the chat, so be sure to check in then!