A little mental distraction from the impending Lions game. UM obviously has 4 stud linebackers in this class. Anyone know where specifically these guys project? I know Ross was told he will play weakside. It looks like Bolden and RJS are more of the MLB type (Or maybe weakside in the 4-3 under). Then what about Ringer? Does anyone project to Sam?
No time to write a diary; it's past my bedtime.
Video companion to http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-linebacker-hesitancy-fml. Analysis, as always, courtesy Brian.
Full YouTube link is http://youtu.be/vHoyD1dnj4w
24/7 did a write-up of the top ten current linebacker classes for 2012. Michigan came in 2nd behind Alabama and ahead of Texas, USC, and Florida. There were no other Big Ten teams in the top 10:
When putting together a good group of linebackers, it doesn’t hurt to have two of the best in the nation in your back yard. That is the case with Michigan and its instate commits of James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone, both in-state prospects and both members of the Top247. As an added bonus, Michigan’s other two elite linebacker commits are out of rival Ohio State’s backyard. COMMITMENTS: James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Joe Bolden, Kaleb Ringer
Hoke/Mattison Uber Alles.
(H/T to new user Sean Connery)
Rivals lists our current linebacker targets and breaks them down. Where is Kris Frost?
I have to admit to being a GERG fan after he coached my youngest son at the M Football Camp a couple summers ago (sentimental fool that I am). He was terrific to Evan and all the other kids.
Nonetheless, I have been perplexed by M linebacker play -- tentative, out of position, overrunning, but most of all, caught in the wash. Watching M LBs, they seem to initiate play from 3 or fewer yards behind the LOS. Watching other teams (and M teams past), you see them most often position themselves 4-5 yards back on anything other than 3rd and long. The difference is, what, 30-60% more distance? More decision time, more distance to get downhill momentum, more opportunity for angles to the ball, more distance and space for an OL (slower and less agile) to cover, and, importantly, a lot less wash.
Being over half a hundred years old, my own high school experience is probably less than relevant, but I do have vivid memories of my coach yelling, "Move back, dumbass!" more than a few times after I buggered up a play for any of the reasons mentioned above.
Any opinions from the more learned amongst us?
I will defer to Brian when it comes to maticulously combing over the performance of Demens in the Iowa game. However, I will say from my standpoint as a Michigan fan and general college football fan, I was pleased with him. Sure there are some fixable mistakes which stem from his youth. In all, though, I saw him as being very athletic and much more aggressive and decisive in his play. As opposed to Ezeh, who generally waits for the play to get to him, Demens seemed to attack more. In reading the last 3 years of UFR's about Ezeh's poor play, that seems to be a common missing component from his game. Ezeh just doesn't play downhill enough. Just about every coach I've ever had has always echoed the same sentiments when it came to playing style and mistakes. I agree with them. I would rather see a player make a mistake while playing hard and aggressive instead of being overly conservative and basically just taking up space. Ezeh let's himself get caught up in the wash of blockers and takes poor pursuit angles far too often. Not something you expect to see from a multi year starter and upperclassman. Demens, in my eyes, tried to fill and shoot gaps when he could. His athleticism let him pursue well and the most important thing is that he tackled when he got his hands on defenders. I don't know how he'll grade out in the UFR, but I am hoping his playing time continues to increase. Bottom line, I would rather see someone aggressively participating in the effort to win rather than someone who basically just takes up space and plays indecisively.
Interested to hear other's thoughts on this.