"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
We're back with a trips formation.
Check out that guy lined up outside of Mathews way out there: that's a linebacker. He is on the LOS outside of a couple wide receivers. Weird.
Michigan will run a zone stretch, and Illinois will do what they did:
Again we see the backside defensive end crashing in with no thought for Threet. He can do this because Miller is shooting out to contain the QB, like we saw on the last play.
Also, check the linebacker, already flowing upfield as soon as he sees the play start.
Check the very top of the screen: if Michigan was to throw a bubble screen Odoms would probably get lit up, as the linebacker has used his advantageous position to hop past the wide receiver. This defense takes away all three prongs of the Rodriguez system.
But it doesn't take away everything. Look at the vast huge gaping hole between that linebacker and Miller. If Odoms was just to not go anywhere, or if he was to run a little hitch to the line of scrimmage, he would be wide open. Illinois's secondary is playing in the parking lot. If Odoms was to come in at the snap and establish a pitch relationship with Threet, there's no one to cover him on the option. This is not defeat for the zone read; it's just defeat for Michigan's zone read at this moment.
Anyway, McGuffie is forced to cut back because Schilling's been driven into the backfield…
… and gets smooshed.
The instant conclusion to jump to is that Rodriguez got beat. Illinois regularly deployed this gimmicky defense specifically aimed the staple of his offense. It has big gaping flaws in it that Michigan did not adjust to. They assumed Michigan would run on first down, put themselves in a position to stop it, and did; Michigan did not go to a throwing mode.
It's not that easy, of course, when you're a coach at a new school and you're using freshmen everywhere. Illinois, like Oregon, has guys who have been in this offense for multiple years and they pulled out a vast array of sleight-of-hand. Michigan probably doesn't have that rabbit in its hat yet.
Still… doing the UFR here was a sad trip into the recent past. At this point we know the line is better at pass blocking than run blocking—though Ortmann was way worse at guard than he was a tackle—and that teams are teeing off on the zone-read/bubble on first and ten; too rarely did we go away from that.
A disclaimer on the "You May Remember Me From Such Players As": YMRMFSPA is supposed to be a rough estimate of what kind of player the recruit could turn into if he pans out. It is not a projection. The players listed tend to be very good because no one knows what kind of player Doug Dutch is; we just know he can't get on the field. I am not saying that I expect Martavious Odoms to be Devin Hester, the best return man in the history of the NFL. I'm saying that Odoms is sort of like Devin Hester and if we roll a second critical hit on our critical hit roll he might be half as good.
End disclaimer. On with shew.
|Sugarland, Texas - 6'2" 180|
|Scout||4*, #12 WR, #73 overall|
|Rivals||4*, #7WR, #41 overall|
|ESPN||82, #14 WR, #71 overall|
|Other Suitors||Florida, Alabama, USC, FSU|
|Notes||Early enrollee. A couple highlights from Rivals; more, with bonus John Wienke footage for Iowa fans. An interview with GBW's Sam Webb. He's a funny guy. Pre-season interview with Stonum.|
Stonum is the second piece of Michigan's Houston-area skill position haul, a dynamic receiver who was universally acclaimed one of the country's top wideouts. Unfortunately, there's an odd paucity of data out there for such a highly-touted recruit; more on that later.
Stonum's commitment may have been locked up last February, when Michigan signed his Dulles High teammates Troy Woolfolk and Brandon Herron. Non-stop praise for the program from those two and soon-to-be Michigan commitment Sam McGuffie had the Wolverines atop Stonum's list consistently, though he would occasionally throw out scary quotes about everyone being even. These quotes were made doubly scary since the "everyone" included USC and Florida, both of whom offered and pursued Stonum heavily. When Stonum announced he'd be coming to Michigan over the summer, it was a relief.
Given the heavy interest from powerhouse programs and the universal top-100 rankings from four different sites, Stonum must be good. But there are no highlights floating around in the free areas of the web and no one willing to descend from the scouting mountain to tell us what to expect. There's this from veteran scout Randy Rogers:
Sugar Land Dulles's Darryl Stonum is a worthy apprentice for Michigan to plug in behind Biletnikoff Award finalist Mario Manningham.
"Stonum, I think, is special,'' Rodgers said. "He can also return punts, and he's 6-foot-2. He's just exactly like what Michigan's been playing with.''
This is good, but "special" does not constitute detail. We've got his height. All right, then. Maybe some highlights?
There are a couple more of better quality interspersed in this effusive interview with Stonum's coach:
(Side note: it appears these videos were uploaded by Stonum himself.) Though ESPN throws out weird evaluations with frequency, in this case they're the only game in town when it comes to a description of his game. Thus:
Stonum is one of the smoother players we have seen in this class and is a legit vertical threat. He is silky smooth for lack of a better term. He is very natural in terms of his change-of-direction skills and body control. Has fluid hips for a taller receiver and is a smooth route runner who doesn't have to gear down a lot when going into and coming out of his breaks. He is tall, has long arms and good leaping ability. Has shown the consistent ability to come down with the jump ball.
Natural change of direction? Fluid hips? Comes down with jump balls? A mix of Braylon Edwards and Mario Manningham... which, like, dude. Now if we can just get the ball to him...
Guru Reliability: Maximal. They're all in the same ballpark, and they all say he's gooood.
General Excitement Level: Maximal. The second most likely kid in the class to have a long, productive career at Michigan, IMO, behind Dann O'Neill.
Projection: If Carr was still in charge this would be easy: one season of blocking on telegraphed run plays followed by a breakout sophomore season. Under Rodriguez, Stonum will probably get more early looks, especially with only three other receivers on campus now. He'll play and may get up to around 20 catches.
|Klein, Texas - 5'9" 170|
|Scout||4*, #16 RB, #160 overall|
|Rivals||4*, #9 all-purpose|
|ESPN||80, #18 ATH|
|Other Suitors||BC, Wake Forest|
|Notes||Same city, but not the same school as OT Mark Ortmann.|
I have an inordinate fondness for players like Terrence Robinson. I was terribly excited about Marquis Maze, the small-school Alabama midget who temporarily a Michigan commitment last year and hoped that Pennsylvania midget Cameron Saddler would bring his kickoff-return exploits to Michigan. Though those hopes were both kiboshed, Rodriguez and company tracked down Terrence Robinson to fill the crazy-legged slot ninja spot vacant since Steve Breaston took his talents to the NFL.
I'm delighted. This is why:
There are other reasons, most detailed in the post that introduced Robinson to MGoBlog readers: he was named team MVP and MVP of the Klein area over teammate, top 100 prospect, and Texas commit Deshawn Hales. He outrushed Hales by some 1000 yards. He might be underrated because a transfer kept him out for his junior year.
So Breaston's up there as a comparison, and that seems close, especially because Breaston also had to make a transition from high school quarterback. Though Robinson will have an easier time in the spread 'n' shred, which will give him a lot of screens and carries from the backfield, there is the potential that Robinson is something less than a natural receiver. Fellow wonder midget Martavious Odoms might have an early edge on Robinson, about more which later, despite Robinson's higher rank in the eyes of the gurus.
Guru Reliability: High-ish. Only one year, but at a major school that got a lot of attention.
General Excitement Level: Moderate++. Like Martavious Odoms below, his size will likely prevent him from becoming an out-and-out star, but his impressive rise from unknown to four-star says he's talented.
Projection: Immediately in the mix as a returner and battles with Odoms to become the designated bubble screen and reverse guy.
|Pahokee, Florida - 5'8" 160|
|Scout||4*, #49 WR, #293 overall|
|Rivals||3*, #71 WR|
|ESPN||78, #56 WR|
|Other Suitors||WVU, USF, Miami|
|Notes||Pahokee's Big rivalry game is called "The Muck Bowl." State championship highlights. Why are they so fast? They chase rabbits. Literally.|
What is Martavious Odoms? Fast.
"Man, that number 83 (Martavious Odoms), they say he runs a 4.2 - I didn't expect him to be that fast," said Dion Lecorn, who lined up opposite Odoms much of the day. "I was playing both ways and I got tired and lost focus."
Lecorn played for Trinity Catholic, the team that beat Pahokee for the state championship in 2005. Odoms was a sophomore.
Odoms is also... fast. But with hands!
"You're talking about a kid who at the age of 14 caught a touchdown pass in the state championship game," Blustein said. "He owns three state championship rings and 60 percent of that offense Pahokee had this season was because of him. He demands double coverage. There's a lot of wide receivers out there bigger than him, but he's blazing fast. He's a jet with great hands. I remember seeing him make an over the shoulder catch against Glades Central that was just unbelievable. He'd be a solid No. 2 receiver for somebody."
This youngster can flat out scoot. Odoms accelerates as well, if not better, than any wide receiver/scatback we have seen in this class.
With that being said, he is more sudden and quick than he is fast in terms of top-end speed.
Shows good vision in the open field and displays excellent change-of-direction ability. Is shifty and elusive in space. Will consistently make the first defender miss. His ability to separate and explode off the cut or after the catch is awesome. Reaches top speed in a hurry and can stretch the field. He can also be dangerous on reverses. He has huge upside in the return game and gamebreaking open-field skills.
Ok. Quick. Jim Stefani:
An explosive and dangerous player who lacks great size but has everything else. He's quicker than a hiccup (4.12 shuttle as a soph), runs great routes, is strong for his size (14 bench reps as a soph), tough, athletic, goes vertical (34-inch vertical), blocks well and is a very hard worker. A real playmaker.
Fast! A contact very familiar with Florida high school football:
He's a tough SOB. Small cat, really tough, will remind you of Steve Smith. Very, very fast. I'm a huge Martavious Odoms fan, you'll love him.
You get the idea: Martavious Odoms is a tiny man capable of teleporting short distances. Highlights:
It's difficult to tell if this is a consistent thing, but Odoms appears to track the ball well on deep throws and has a knack for over-the-shoulder catches (this can be seen more clearly in the state championship game video linked above).
Odoms' Pahokee team competes in one of the smaller classes in Florida and dominates it. The 2005 championship for Trinity Catholic was preceded and followed by back-to-back Pahokee titles, the latest a 53-14 blowout in which Odoms had 5 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Over the course of his senior season he had 41 catches for 936 yards -- almost 23 per catch -- and 10 touchdowns.
At one point he had an impressive set of offers that belie his kinda-meh final choices. (The Miami offer was basically a grayshirt, as they offered him a track scholarship with the intention of bringing him to the football team after this season.) Notre Dame was the first in March; they were quickly followed by Iowa. South Carolina and Rutgers joined over the summer, and then the floodgates broke: LSU, Oregon, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, South Florida, and Auburn had offered by mid-October.
Oddly, Odoms seemed almost totally uninterested in recruiting until midway through his senior year, when he finally visited Auburn and started paring down his list. West Virginia, then the home of Rich Rodriguez, featured heavily (and, indeed, finished second for Odoms' services), as did USF and Miami. Odoms actually delayed his decision and joined Michigan's class a few days after signing day
Guru Reliability: High. Pahokee's a well-scouted Florida powerhouse with multiple D-I players and Odoms was well known from his freshman year.
General Excitement Level: Moderate++. He's never going to be Braylon Edwards but if he's as fast as his reputation he could be a dynamite returner and even a deep threat: remember Steve Breaston's ill-fated career as the target of bombs? Well, he was open by yards time and again because opposing players got smoked by his moves and always dropped the ball. Odoms looks like he's pretty good at hauling in deep balls.
Projection: Will press for time as a returner immediately and is 50-50 to be the designated bubble screen guy, with Terrance Robinson the other option. Starts off with an advantage on Robinson because he's spent the last four years as a receiver.
|Trotwood, Ohio - 6'2" 156|
|Scout||3*, #89 WR|
|Rivals||4*, #44 WR|
|ESPN||76, #103 WR|
|Other Suitors||Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska|
|YMRMFSPA||Jason Avant on a starvation diet|
|Notes||Very excited about the medicinal properties of his newly-acquired snake oil. Video interview; Purdue commit feature from Rivals. Low-quality highlights.|
The recruit that caused Joe Tiller to call Rich Rodriguez a "wizard-hat wearing snake-oil salesman," Roy Roundtree finds himself at the heart of a thunderous West Lafayette-based controversy. But we're not in West Lafayette or anywhere in Indiana (state motto: "Probably not Ohio"), for that matter, so we don't care.
We do care about Roundtree the player. This assessment of Roundtree after his performance in the Kirk Herbstreit challenge seems about right to me:
The player that personally impressed me the most is Roy Roundtree. He has really evolved as a receiver over the last year. He burst on the scene as a junior and made some amazing catches, and that allowed him to build confidence in his abilities. He is absolutely fearless coming over the middle to catch the ball. He may not run a 4.4 forty, but of the games that I saw he most likely had best hands of any receiver that took the field.
Another brief scouting report in that vein:
He catches everything and he is elusive in the open field. The most impressive aspect of his game was his fearlessness coming acrossed the middle of the field.
He is really effective out of the slot using his size, quickness and savvy to find soft spots and get down the seam. He is tough and will go up and fight for the ball in traffic and isn't afraid to make the clutch grab across the middle of the field. His hands are soft and he catches everything-- shows good focus and concentration to track the ball and haul it in.
His ScoutingOhio highlight video (from his junior year) had a number of diving catches and a pair of beauty one-handers but little in the way of explosive cuts or deep balls. Roundtree was committed to Purdue and he seemed like a quintessential Purdue receiver: lacking physically in some way but a sure-handed possession guy who runs nice routes and can slice apart a zone. No wonder Tiller was pissed.
Though Roundtree is being brought as a slot receiver like Robinson and Odoms, he's a different sort of slot receiver and, if he works out, will fill a different role on the team. He won't be the recipient of any bubble screens, but will camp out in holes in the zone and use his long arms and leaping ability to flag down eight-yard passes on third and seven.
At 150 or 160 pounds it's unlikely Roundtree sees the field as a freshman; as he brings something no one else in this class (or the class before it) does he's got a good shot at filling a #2 or #3 receiver role once he puts on enough weight to prevent being snapped in half.
Guru Reliability: High. No reason they'd misevaluate a kid at a high profile school like Trotwood-Madison and he went to a couple of different camps on top of that.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Never going to be a gamebreaker, but a likely contributor. Has to add a lot of weight to be an effective player.
Projection: Redshirts, plays sparingly his second year, and is 50-50 to emerge into Michigan's #2 WR.