Rich Rodriguez would not stand to benefit from it, but Michigan’s next All-American defensive back roamed the sidelines before practice one warm day in 2009, surveyed what was (and was not) happening on the field, and from that moment, in Rodriguez’s parlance, was ‘all in.’ Jourdan Lewis stood on the field behind the shiny new Glick Field House that day and saw Denard Robinson—“Nardy,” as Lewis calls him— scampering, pulling, darting around and away from defenders— and no one else he recognized. Compared to 2006, a team full of names like Breaston and Henne and Hart and Manningham, names that Lewis reels off with ease, the only thing similar was that the players in front of him were clad in the familiar winged helmet. Lewis wanted then precisely what he wants now: to be a football star, and to use the platform afforded a football player to change the culture.
[After THE JUMP: “…he knows what lifelines can do, because he was given it.”]
Our intrepid scout/MGoUtilityMan David Nasternak made the trek to what might as well have been South Bend to take in Michigan commit Phil Paea’s serial tiny-right-tackle crunching. Paea’s an interesting prospect because he’s incredibly raw, yet somehow he passes the “could this guy play in college” eye test; he moves well and gives sideline-to-sideline effort, and when he stays low he moves the opposition. His Berrien Springs squad had to go to overtime to beat Buchanan, so we were able to get a fair amount of Paea film, which you can use to answer the burning question: 3-tech, SDE, or both?
[After THE JUMP: Phil Paea film and scouting report]
- Competition junkies vs. fake punt conspiracy theories
- Michigan’s not playing these teams; they’re playing Ohio State.
- Speight’s bye week refinement.
- How is State going to move the ball? Was O’Connor saved for this game?
- Blocking punts: has Michigan solved the spread?
- Big XII offense: nearly a mile a game.
- How good is Washington? Man, if Josh Rosen didn’t play for a crap program
- Hoops open practice: Xavier Simpson can D, no shoot, might be enough to push Walton to the 2 and use MAAR as your rotation guy.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
Previously: Michigan State Offense
I switched around the games a bit for scouting MSU's defense. For recency, I went back over the Maryland game last night. (I recommend doing this.) For an opponent that more closely resembles Michigan, I went back to the Wisconsin game. State had a number of changes to the two-deep between those two games, including moving their best player. I have more notes than are probably necessary, so let's dig right in.
Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
Changes on the Michigan side: Henry Poggi at fullback with Khalid Hill dinged up (Hill may very well still play) and Jehu Chesson loses his shield—the production and draft hype both aren't there right now, but that could change.
MSU has shifted their lineup around quite a bit. Evan Jones, who started the first five games at SDE, is out with an undisclosed injury. To cover for him, Malik McDowell slid out from three-tech to SDE, opening up a spot for Brandon Clemons, who's been surprisingly good for a midseason position-switch starter—he started the first four games at right guard.
CB Darian Hicks was out of the lineup for two games with an injury and returned to his starting spot last week. "STAR" linebacker Jon Reschke has been out since week three with an ankle injury. Riley Bullough is back at the MIKE for at least, like, ten minutes or so.
Base Set? 4-3. MSU utilizes a number of defensive backs in nickel and dime formations. The primary reserve is freshman corner Justin Lane, who usually plays on the outside with Vayante Copeland or another starting DB sliding inside.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
SPONSOR NOTES: I was struck when we were hanging out at the Bo Store that it was very cool that some of our main sponsors were very much like us: small businesses in the Michigan community run by guys who are just dudes, you know? I like to think that UGP and Homesure are the MGoBlogs of their respective fields: small, detailed, involved, pantsless.
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
FORMATION NOTES: Illinois loaded the box the entire game, usually in an over front
They played with one safety exclusively and had 8 or 9 in the box depending on whether M was in a big formation or not.
Michigan didn't have anything too weird except a slightly modified T:
This was one play only. Oh, right, and TRAIN.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Starting line of Braden-Bredeson-Cole-Kalis-Magnuson went most of the way, getting 66 snaps each. The backup line now reads JBB-Runyan-Kugler-Onwenu-Dawson, FWIW. Ulizio got bumped by JBB, must be primarily a tackle.
Butt got the most snaps of any skill player with 56, and Asiasi wasn't far behind with 41. Wheatley had his most extended playing time in a while with 31 snaps; Bunting returned on a single snap. With Perry out the main beneficiary was Kekoa Crawford, who had 35 snaps; Chesson had 33 and Darboh 44. McDoom had his usual deployment.
Poggi and Hill again split snaps about down the middle.
[After THE JUMP: a diversity of items.]
— Joe Sports (@joefedewa) October 27, 2016
MGoReader GameBoy discovered a thread on the Red Cedar Message Board ($) where the denizens of the afore mentioned troll kingdom were given the opportunity to ask a (
probably apparently not fake; sorry Dizzo) Wolverine some questions. Some are good questions, some are, well, we’re talking about the kind of wretches who hoot at the cleverness of adding “sc” to “UM” because then it’s like they’re saying algae instead of the University of Michigan. Get it? Algae is gross, right?*
They’re not great questions—consider the source—but since it’s rivalry week we decided we might as well try to give some full answers. MGoStaff were invited to answer what they pleased. The names and mangling of our common language have not been changed, because nobody here is innocent.
*[MGoReaders: Nobody wants to read about your world-changing research on the emissions-controlling properties of algaeforms ].
1. DantIzzoNio: Will Jeem go for two after every score?
Seth: Only if the chart says so.
2. Is Wilton Speight good?
Seth: Ask again later. We've got two good games and a handful of various shades of iffy. My guess is he started taking hits and lost his mechanics, but used the bye week to shore some of that back up. Harbaugh has an extraordinary track record with quarterbacks so he'll get what he can out of Speight, which is probably a poor man's Ben Roethlisberger when's all said and done. Sophomore year Navarre is a present comparison, or for a Spartan example, Ryan Van Dyke. You can win with those guys, but you don't win BECAUSE of those guys.
3. Will your punter wear Stickum?
Seth: Hard to tell, we rarely punt anymore.
[After the jump, we take some of these seriously.]