...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
I case you missed it, new footage was released today of highlights from the 2nd scrimmage.
If the first scrimmage was to get the starters some live action looks, this one was reserved for 2nd team and guys still in a battle for the open starting spots. This means we got some of our first looks at some of the incoming freshmen, like Morris, (a not getting buried) Green, Da'Mario Jones, Channing Stribling, etc.
I went through and describe some of the plays, including personel where I could. Fort Schembechler's resident cameraman was instructed to shoot this up close and personal, as with the last one. This made things difficult, I tried to do as much detective work to ID as many guys as I could (ENHANCE!).
Handoff to Hayes
Gardner in shotgun, Hayes to his left. Handoff. Magnuson releases downfield, probably to pick up Bolden, probably misses Bolden. Bolden is sitting in the hole as the camera pans back, waiting for Hayes. Neither Kalis nor Funchess gets beat, but both cede ground (to Wormley and Beyer respectively) which basically boxes Hayes in forcing him into Boldon's tackle. Hurst as nose tackle also beats Miller to help out. Yeesh.
Handoff to Hayes
Gardner in 'gun, Hayes to his left. Thanks to Mr Tight Angle, I have no idea what's going on at the line. Looks like a similar play to the last one. As the camera follows Hayes to the line, Glasgow has a good block on Washington but Wormley is beating Magnuson to the inside. Wormley sheds and tackles. Looks like it's Kalis's job this time to block Bolden and he gets blown up so much it actually takes Bolden past the play. Miller seems to have latched onto C Gordon and riden him out of the play FWIW. Worlmey likely saves the day here as there's good blocking downfield.
Nominal Play Action pass attempt to Williams
Gardner under center. Someone motions to the right side of the formation. Gardner "fakes" a handoff to Hayes, who actually runs behind his back. Defense is blitzing C Gordon around the right edge and Boldon up the middle, with Black also beating Glasgow on the left. Gardner is flushed to left and fires on the run at the sideline with C Gordon in hot pursuit. Wilson is there on coverage and makes a play on the ball but whiffs. He probably distracts Williams enough that he drops the pass, which was probably out of bounds anyway. Ojemudia (!) has also made his way some 30 yards downfield.
Gardner in shotgun with Hayes to his right. C Gordon beats Schofield. This is a pretty good example of what Mattison was talking about. C Gordon gets the edge but Gardner could have just stepped up in the pocket and given Schofield a better blocking angle if there was no interior pressure. From his reaction, it looks like there was interior pressure so he back pedals and puts Schofield in even worse position. Thanks to the jerk cameraman, the world will never know.
Handoff to Green
2nd team in. Burzynski, Chris Bryant, Gunderson and Bosch are your OL. Morris under center hands off to Green. The intended gap is between Bryant and Gunderson. Gunderson and K Hill combo Godin and but Gunderson releases before really handing off the block, putting Hill in a bad position. Bryant gets a good block on Ash to seal off the left. Bosch is pulling but gets there at the same time as Green, and actually looks to have impeded him. Green bursts through the collapsing hole with a head of steam, with a nifty cut around Godin and breaking Jenkins-Stone's arm tackle. Jeremy Clark coming of the left edge in run support makes a nice diving tackle to slow up Green, mystery player (Hollowell?) comes from outside to make the tackle. Delano Hill(?) is also in position to prevent a big gain. Jake Butt walks into the frame at the end too, not sure where he was on this play, but probably lined up to the right of Hill.
Pass attempt to Da'Mario Jones
Morris in 'gun, slings a quick pass to a blanketed Da'Mario Jones. Delonte Hollowell on coverage immediately nails Jones and drives him into the ground hard, resulting in a PBU. Ball was maybe slightly overthrown anyway. Pocket was clean FWIW, but I have no idea who was out there.
Pass attempt to ???
First team back in. Gardner under center drops back and makes a half-hearted fake handoff to Rawls(?), who goes on to pick up an unblocked Charlton, borderline holding. Pipkins or Black fights his way through and gets his hands up in the throwing lane forcing Gardner to bail out of a collapsing pocket as Godin and Beyer are also converging. He slings an ill advised pass as he's crossing the LOS to a covered receiver. Stribling is in perfect position to make the catch but it clanks of his hands.
Pass attempt to Jackson
Gardner in 'gun. Gunderson directs Godin coming off the edge upfield and behind Gardner. Gardner has lots of time, but still ends up forcing it to a blanketed Jeremy Jackson. Stribling makes a diving play on the ball for a PBU. I can see why Stribling caught the coaches' eyes during camp.
Pass to Chesson
Gardner under center. Slips on his drop back (yips!) but recovers impressively to dump a short pass to Chesson. Stribling comes up to tackle, has to resort to a WWE style takedown. I can also see how Stribling probably needs another year to bulk up. Rawls has a nice pick up on Wormley in pass pro.
Handoff to Smith
Blake Bars in at RG, Gunderson RT. Morris under center (Miller), drops back and hands off to Smith. Gunderson seals off Godin to the outside, TE gets OLB Jack Doyle.... Bars is sealing off Ash to the inside as the camera pans away. As Smith hits the gap with a nice quick cut to avoid Ash who is beating Miller (?) and accelerates quickly. Ash is
Morris in 'gun between Hayes on his left and Smith on his right. Smith looks like he actively avoids Godin after Godin's clearly beaten David Dawson and is beelining to the QB. What the freshman giveth, the freshman taketh away. Not that it matters because Ben Gedeon and Dan Liesman (?) both are coming clean too. Morris is happy he is wearing an orange jersey. Braden does look pretty good at LT here with a smooth kick slide and stonewalling the DE, FWIW.
Bootleg pass to Bo Devers
Morris under center. The OL zone blocks right as Morris play action fakes and rolls out to the left (damn lefties) and fires a laser to Bo Devers sitting in a gap in zone. Tackled by RJS and Clark. Willie Henry was the DL mirroring Morris on the roll out.
Pass to Funchess
Gardner in gun, quick throw to Funchess underneath. Taylor and Wilson (?) on the tackle.
Pass to Wangler
Morris in gun, quick slant to Wangler. It's almost like they've done this before. Wangler is met by Gedeon and Hollowell but neither wrap up and Wangler manages to stay up. Jeremy Clark has to come in and lay a nice tackle to bring him down.
Pass to Butt
Shane in gun, pocket is collapsing but he's showing good instincts to step up and throw it on the money to Butt, as Ojemudia and Clark are bearing down on him. Gunderson and Glasgow were the guys blocking those two, respectively. Butt has Ross beat by a step and uses his body to shield Ross from making a play on the ball. Ross can't bring him down either and Jarrod Wilson comes up for a lackluster tackle attempt to force Butt out of bounds.
Pass attempt to Chesson
Morris in gun. Looks like a nice pocket and with time and space, Shane unleashes the dragon. The ball rises in a beautiful arc, then rises some more, and drops perfectly onto the hands of.... a blanketed Chesson. Stribling with another nice play on the ball, knocks it away. Artillery: acquired.
Pass attempt to Reynolds
Morris in gun again. Hayes to his right. Pressure comes from his right as Clark or Ojemudia beats Gunderson. The rest of the line (Magnuson, Glasgow, Miller, Kalis) is doing well though, which gives Morris room to step up and throw. Wilson(?) in coverage tips the ball but Reynolds stays with it and brings it in. Unfortunately he is 3 yards out of bounds. Again, good instincts and footwork by Morris to step away from pressure. Also again, Mattison's comment about the interior guys needing to get penetration applies.
Pass to Butt, TD
Play action bootleg. The line zones left as Morris fakes the handoff to Green and rolls out right... right into an unblocked(?) defender. Morris plants a foot and flips the ball to Jake Butt. Impressive. There looked like several open guys (K Hill, D Jones) in the vincinity as well. Green looked to have a nice lane had Morris handed it off.
So, this is what this "depth" thing I keep hearing about is. There were some areas of clear drop off from the starters, but on the other hand there were many others where was some quality play from backups. And there are some future stars hidden out there.
Stribling had the speed to stay with guys and the length to make plays on the ball. Add 10-15 pounds and this kid could be special. Pretty amazing we were able to snatch him up with a camp offer late. Jeremy Clark also looked pretty solid at safety.
Morris is showing what made him a blue chip recruit. Selection bias caveats apply but he's also showing a surprising maturity in the pocket. I'm sure some of your typical freshmen QB errors were made and edited out, but I definitely feel a lot better after seeing this.
The TE position is actually a strength now, which is amazing considering the position hardly existed 2 years ago. This is good because....
Receivers looked pretty meh. Gallon looks to have sat this one out, but the committee of guys other than him seemed to struggle getting an inch of daylight. Starters not getting separation against your 2nd team corners usually isn't a good sign. The Darboh injury is going to hurt more than some are willing to admit I think.
Well, just about 7 days until we find out (and I hand off charting to people that actually know what they're doing).
Does this game cement POY for Burke? No question in my mind. Great players make plays at great moments. E.g. Woodson against Ohio in '97.
Must win game tonight against Western. Notable lineup moves: Janecyk starting in goal, Szuma and Rohrkemper in the lineup, Sparks and Clare scratched.
soooo muc rum and coke. like, so much.
Rivals.com is finishing up their top 120 countdown, and over the weekend they ranked UM #6. They also had MSU #7 and Wisconsin #10. Probably too high, but it won't matter after week 1 anyway, as UM will either move up or down. Rivals also has Denard at #7 in their top 100 players countdown.
Update to story that broke last night and has since fallen off the first page of board topics.
Storm Klein dismissed by Ohio. It seems that if the charges don't stick Urb has left an opening for allowing him back on the team.