Mike Spath points out that doing an interview for the official site is a pretty good indicator he'll be back.
Personnel notes: Odoms did not play and was replaced by Roundtree. Patrick Omameh got a series late in the first half, probably because Dorrestein was injured. It sounds like Dorrestein might miss the Purdue game, with Patrick Omameh his likely replacement at RG. Robinson did not play until the game was over.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M30||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Long handoff||Mathews||5|
|Illinois walks a safety down. Corner is playing off Mathews a bit so Michigan takes the quick pass for a few yards. (CA, 3, screen)|
|First missed play of the day; we cut to Brown with the ball and an indecipherable blocking scheme; think Michigan pulled out something new and it didn't quite work.|
|M38||3||2||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Koger||9|
|Good timing from Forcier, with the ball getting thrown before Koger fully turns around, which allows him to pick up a few YAC. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M47||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone veer keeper||Forcier||4|
|Okay, so the veer: here the line blocks one way—they downblock—and the running back comes across the line going the other way, with the frontside DE ending up unblocked. Here Forcier should definitely give it off as the DE came inside (ZR -1), but he does juke the DE in question and turns no gain into three yards. Forcier could have had a couple more but he's clearly been told to get down before he gets hit.|
|O49||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||10|
|Illinois crashing the DE and using an OLB on a scrape. Schilling and Ortmann are trying to scoop block the backside DT and can't get it done because the DT is serious about flowing down the line but Schilling(+1) adjusts well, deciding to seal the guy instead of attempting to pass him off and head to the second level. Since Illinois has slanted hard to the playside and neither Moosman or Huyge has managed to seal his guy, Brown's only option is to hit it up in the small crease the Schilling block provides. Good read there and he hits the crease, bouncing off Schilling and running through a diving ankle tackle attempt by the backside DT, hitting it up into a vacant second level. This could be a touchdown but Brown bizarrely cuts right instead of left and finds Illini.|
|O39||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Power off tackle||Brown||4|
|Moundros in. This is a gap-blocked play with Huyge pulling around in an attempt to attack the gap between Koger and Ortmann. Schilling(-1) does not seal his guy, who closes off the intended hole and forces Brown away from the blocks of Huyge and Moundros. Moosman(+1) got a really effective down-block on the backside DT, though, and this gives Brown a cutback behind Schilling. Unblocked LB meets Brown two yards downfield; he picks up two more.|
|O35||2||6||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||6|
|Huyge gets a good stretch block on the backside DT, who was lined up in such a way that made this relatively easy as Illinois appeared slightly misaligned at the snap. Schilling loses control of his guy but it's not quite quick enough for that DT—Josh Brent, he's pretty good—to close down the gap. Brown squirts through it and meets a linebacker that Moosman(-1) had a free run at and could not block. He tackles just short of the first.|
|O29||3||In||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Base 4-3||Run||Power O||Brown||2|
|Pretty easy, as Illinois' line is slanting away from the play. Moundros(+1) gets a good kickout block on the OLB on the line and Schilling gets a block downfield, clearing the way for a first down.|
|O27||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||QB power O||Forcier||4|
|Another power run play, this with Forcier as the primary ballcarrier. DE they're running right at slants himself out of the play; Huyge pulls around with the MLB in his sights; MLB attacks the LOS well and is in a difficult spot for Huyge, cutting off the outside hole and then getting inside of Huyge when he tries to block the MLB. Forcier does well to read the play and cut upfield and looks like he's got a big crease; MLB makes an ankle tackle to hold it down. (RPS +1, Huyge -1) Excellent play by 38 here. Our linebackers never do this.|
|O23||2||6||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||8|
|This is called, as Forcier makes only a token fake to Brown before pulling it out for the bubble. This isn't a true bubble, either, as Roundtree takes a couple steps outside and then sets up; he's not running as the ball comes to him. He makes a good, decisive move outside and picks up first down yardage; good block from Koger. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O15||1||10||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Iso||Brown||-1|
|Huyge(-1) is blown back into the backfield by the playside DE, which erases the hole. Brown has no options and gets tackled for a loss.|
|O16||2||11||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle hitch||Mathews||14|
|Schilling pulls around and does a good job blocking on the edge; Forcier pulls up and zings one to Mathews just as he breaks open in front of the DB. On replay, throw is a bit inside, but this close to the sideline that might be okay. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|O2||1||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Zone stretch||Brown||2|
|Dorrestein(+1) gets off the ball and knocks the playside DE back by himself, opening up the corner and providing a lane for an easy Brown touchdown. Huyge(+1) and Moundros(+1) also erased guys, providing a walk-in.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 3 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M21||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||8|
|Vincent Smith the other back. Michigan running away from the line shift, and Illinois is slanting away from the play, meaning Moosman hardly has to try to block the playside DT. Schilling(+1) makes a good adjustment to get the slanting DE, Smith(+1) pops the blitzing OLB, and Ortmann seals the MLB. Brown can't cut upfield of Stonum's block because of the flowing WLB and cuts outside where a diving ankle tackle sees him fall.. Pursuit would have limited this to a couple more without the fall.|
|M29||2||2||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Iso||Brown||4|
|Similar to the previous third and short conversion, with the backside DT getting himself easily sealed by Schilling(+1) but no frontside crease; Brown cuts back, where the frontside DT peels and tackles, but not before the first down.|
|M33||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Long handoff||Mathews||15|
|This is interesting: it's new. It's basically the zone-read-to-bubble play except instead of throwing the bubble it's just a long handoff to Mathews, who is the lone receiver away from the playside. With the CB there cheating down it's open and Mathews(+1) cuts it up for good yardage, making the most out of the room he was given. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M48||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read veer||Forcier||2|
|This doesn't really work because Illinois is running a scrape. Result: backside DE crashes down on Brown, causing Forcier to pull it (ZR + 1), but the scraping OLB gets out on Forcier and prevents him from picking up any yardage. When Michigan was running this against Iowa and Penn State they were blocking the backside DE and reading the OLB; I guess they thought Illinois would adjust to that. They didn't.|
|50||2||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Edge pitch||Brown||2|
|Roundtree(-1) fails to get a block on the OLB to that side, so the play gets strung out. There was not really an option for a cut up since this is not a true option play and Forcier did not take the DE away by forcing him to come up.|
|O48||3||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Throwaway||Brown||Inc|
|Wholesale OL failure as both OTs get run around and Forcier has to step up in the pocket, where Huyge and Schilling have both failed to control the IU stunt/blitz. The pocket collapsing, Forcier steps up, finds more pressure, and just tries to get rid of it to Brown; ball is understandably inaccurate. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, team)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 13 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O43||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||5|
|Omameh in at right tackle(!). I didn't notice this live but Craig Ross did, and it's true. Dorrestein is apparently having injury issues. Omameh kicks out the DE on the stretch; DE gets upfield enough to take out Smith and force Brown up behind him. Playside DT gets doubled by Moosman and Huyge; that double takes long enough that the release into the second level does not get the MLB, who can tackle Brown. Still a decent gain.|
|O38||2||5||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Smith||4|
|Hell of a four yard run as this is epic OL fail. Omameh(-1) gets slanted inside by the DE and he's going to crush the play for a four yard loss but Smith runs through the tackle. Corner comes up to try to finish it off and misses; Smith spins through his tackle attempt past another DL, where he meets a diving linebacker, avoids him, and falls forward. This is basically 8 YAC; great, Hart-like run. Announcers are talking about Halloween costumes.|
|O34||3||1||I-Form Big||2||2||1||4-4 split||Run||Power O||Brown||2|
|Koger and Ortmann double the playside DE, driving him off the ball; Moundros(+1) pops the OLB, knocking him backwards and giving brown enough room to pick up the first. It's remarkable how bad Brown is about contact.|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||19 (Pen -0)|
|Only six in the box for Illinois as they are manning up on the outside with a single deep safety. Omameh is blocking the backside end since Michigan assumes a scrape and they're right; MLB eliminates himself as Forcier contain. SLB then freaks out to the playside, giving Brown a huge cutback lane as Huyge(+1) slices the backside DT to the ground. Brown jets into the secondary. He cuts outside a good block from Mathews to make the safety chase and gets down to the 13; Mathews gets a somewhat ticky-tack holding call... but I can see it. Dumb. It comes back and we have a do over, basically.|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Sack||--||-2|
|PA stretch fake with Grady rolling out for some pass pro. Forcier appears to have a hitch for a few but doesn't throw it immediately and then the CB comes up, then definitely has a corner route for lots but doesn't throw that, either, and eventually starts running around, taking a sack. Should have thrown it. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)|
|O34||2||12||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||?||Pass||Tunnel screen||Roundtree||4|
|Late to the play again. This is not actually a bubble, as Roundtree is moving inside at the catch. Probably an attempt to take advantage of people over-reacting to the bubble, but on this play Illinois does a good job of staying responsible and holds it down. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O30||3||8||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Sack||--||-8 (Pen+15)|
|A couple of blitzers. One of them attempts to spectacularly hurdle Minor and gets owned, but that blitz and the general tendency of the OL to give ground spooks Forcier and he ends up attempting to roll out against DEs way upfield; he rolls himself into a sack. Should have stepped up in the pocket, where the spectacular leap attempt would have given Forcier a lane to escape the pocket and do his Forcier stuff. He gets facemasked on the tackle. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O15||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Smith||-1|
|Poor read by Smith(-1) as he does not have faith that Moosman can seal the playside DT. Moosman eventually does in the manner of many successful stretches. By that point Smith has abandoned the idea and attempts to hit it up behind Moosman, which ends with Smith getting tackled by the unblocked MLB.|
|O16||2||11||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone veer keeper||Forcier||5|
|Michigan's version of what Illinois does all the time. They must have practiced this all week to prepare for it and threw it in the playbook. Downblock the line, fake the handoff, Forcier(ZR -1) makes the wrong read again when he should give it off, I think, jukes the DE again, and gets a decent gain out of it. Man, this thing can be dangerous if run by a huge fast guy.|
|O11||3||6||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout corner||Mathews||Inc|
|Good playcall gets Illinois in man and should see this open up but the corner here makes a good play and Mathews doesn't sell his route; his in cut does not turn the CB, possibly because it's a rollout, and the guy is close enough to grab Mathews's shoulder as the pass arrives. It's high and as a result Mathews can't extend to bring it in. Pass interference? Technically, yes. The grab came before the pass arrives. Does this ever get called? No. So it's a good play by the DB. (MA, 1, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: FG(28), 10-7, 7 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M46||1||10||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Pass||PA short seam||Hemingway||21|
|New item! Michigan runs a zone read, basically, but Forcier pulls it out and immediately throws to Hemingway, who is open because his guy has set up to play on the corner, allowing Hemingway to lope past unmolested. Forcier hits him for a first down. (CA, 3, protection NA, RPS +1)|
|O33||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||-7|
|Schilling(-1) fails to pick up on the slanting DT and just runs by him; slanting DT shoots into the backfield. Brown(-1), for his part, should instantly slam it up behind the failed block and hope he doesn't get run down by the backside DE. Even if he does it would be a minimal loss; as it is he tries to stretch it out to the sideline and ends up giving a ton of ground and getting tackled for a big loss. Brown is fast as hell but has little in the way of RB skills.|
|O40||2||17||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Scramble||Forcier||16|
|Forcier does have a pocket this time and steps up into it as a DE comes crashing around the outside of Ortmann. Seeing no one open, because there is no one open, he takes off for good yardage. I won't chart this, because it's a good decision and doesn't deserve a TA. Protection 2/2.|
|O24||3||1||I-Form Big||2||2||1||4-4 split||Run||Power O||Brown||2|
|Another good double on the playside DE blows him back; Moundros(+1) kicks out the OLB, and Schilling pulls around into the SLB. Brown has the first down before he hits anyone, at which point he goes down immediately.|
|O22||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||5|
|Very similar situation to the seven yard loss, with the playside DT slanting hard; this time Brown makes the hard cut upfield and because Huyge(+1) got a great block on the backside DT he's out of the play. Brown can run up into folk for a decent gain. I think Molk is getting some of these reach blocks and the cutbacks aren't so constant.|
|O17||2||5||I-Form twins||2||1||2||4-4 split||Run||Iso||Brown||0|
|OL sliding over to run an iso off tackle; Huyge(-1) is pwned and blown back into the intended hole. I'd rather see Michigan double the guy and leave Brown with the linebacker; instead they shoot Omameh at the linebacker and leave Huyge to get pwned. Brown heads outside and is lucky to get back to the LOS.|
|Actually very good protection from the tackles, who don't let the DEs tear around the corner this time, but Schilling(-2) is just beat one-on-one by an Illinois DT—no trickery—and the immediate pressure up the middle gives Forcier no choice but to eat a sack. I do think Forcier had a slant for the first but just did not have the confidence to throw it. Still... (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG(41), 13-7, 1 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Ace||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Brown||-2|
|Illinois shifts a LB late and Michigan busts his pickup as Ortmann doubles the playside DE with Schilling. Koger(-1) lets the LB right inside of him without getting a block; that guy tackles for loss.|
|M18||2||12||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB draw||Forcier||5|
|I don't know what Forcier's looking at because he's got a crease between Ortmann and Moosman that Brown's heading up into to provide a lead block, but Forcier heads directly upfield instead. On his way through a small crease someone knocks the ball loose; Michigan is fortunate to recover.|
|M23||3||8||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Post||Roundtree||77|
|Excellent pocket this time gives Forcier time and room to step up and throw; he rifles a ball 20 yards downfield that hits Roundtree right in stride. A trailing safety is beaten, but a Roundtree stumble gives him a shot at a tackle; he misses it. Roundtree is on the 45 and gone until Hawthorne tracks him down. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O1||1||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Iso||Brown||0|
|Schilling(-1) is blasted back by a single blocker on the backside; the frontside DT double gets him moving backwards and should be enough for Brown to get in but for Schilling falling backwards and giving him no room. Brown falls forward to about the half-yard line; probably could have extended it in.|
|O1||2||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Power O||Brown||0|
|They've got a gaping hole to run a sneak but they don't check to it. Argh. Dorrestein(-1), back in for Omameh, gets blown back and Schilling runs into him, falling right in Brown's path. Resulting unblocked guy tackles Brown just short of the line.|
|O1||3||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Inside zone||Brown||0|
|Brown's fault: the interior line freaking caves the DTs back and if Brown hits it up immediately this is a walk-in touchdown. His vision has always been bad, though, and he waits too long, and his balance has always been bad so he can't run through a tackle here.|
|O1||4||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Outside zone||Minor||0|
|Again a missed read from the RB as Grady takes an interior LB charging up and the OL has slammed Illinois into the endzone. Minor should still get in, but ends up tackled as his elbow hits.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 13-7, 11 min 3rd Q. After the review, Rodriguez looks like Don Draper on this week's Mad Men.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Smith||0|
|This looks like it's going to go pretty okay as a double on the frontside DT looks like it's working. Playside DE gets upfield so there's a crease; Schilling pops off the double to block the playside LB, at which point the DT they were doubling beats Moosman(-1) and shoots up into Smith at the LOS. My kingdom for a Molk. This play has one of my persistent pet peeves about the stretch: Brown goes outside the playside DE and basically makes himself useless. If you tell him to shoot it up then the players never have to stop doubling the DT here and this is a good gain.|
|M20||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Flare screen||Brown||7|
|Good gain; great cut block from Roundtree gets a DB to the ground and the Illinois DL sucked up, removing themselves from the play. Dorrestein(-1) manages to whiff on the charging safety, but Brown cuts up behind him, where a DT and the CB the outside WR was blocking converge. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M27||3||3||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB stretch||Forcier||2|
|Michigan hurries to the line and catches not one but two Illinois players on the field of play as they snap the ball. No call. Ridiculous. Anyway, again Brown just heads outside the tackle and Forcier has to cut it up; a quick-reacting corner blazes past Stonum and Schilling can't block the backside DT, so Forcier gets taken down after just two. If Brown was acting as a lead blocker maybe they get this; I really don't get this blocking scheme on third and short.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-14, 7 min 3rd Q. That is a ridiculous noncall.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M36||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Koger||Inc|
|Quick hitch identical to the first one from earlier; Koger drops a ball that hits him in the hands. (CA,3, protection 1/1)|
|M36||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Roundtree||4 (pen -15)|
|Come to the play late as it's being thrown so not much detail; simple pitch and catch for just four. (CA, 3, protection 1/1) Moosman gets a dumb, unnecessary chop block call.|
|M21||2||25||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Corner||Stonum||Inc|
|Stonum runs what looks like a slant at first before breaking it out into a deep corner route on which he's got a step and there's a window. Good pocket for Forcier breaks down with a delayed blitz but Forcier can stand in and throw just before he gets hit; the ball is a couple yards long. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|M21||3||25||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Improv comeback||Stonum||Inc|
|Third and twenty five sees a four-man rush that's picked up well; instead of stepping confidently and firing to someone, Forcier hesitates, bringing his eyes down and then scrambling out. He pulls up to fire deep to Stonum, who's trying to get open, and throws it a bit wide of a covered receiver; ball is deflected away. Trying to make the best of a bad situation and a throw that was okay after finding no one open, so... (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-21, 4 min 3rd Q. Michigan's trying to avoid the hellacious wind and ends up with a line drive rugby punt for little yardage.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||17|
|Michigan again blocking the backside DE so maybe this is supposed to be a cutback sort of thing. Huyge(+1) cuts the backside DT, who leaps over the block and stumbles wildly; scraping MLB runs himself out of the play chasing Forcier and the SLB move out anticipating a stretch; huge cutback lane. Brown cuts behind the out-of-control backside DT and heads right up the middle, grabbing a chunk of yards before the safeties close him down.|
|M37||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||TE seam||Koger||22|
|Bubble fake with Koger faking a block on the LB lined up over him, then releasing beyond him; Forcier hits him as he clears the second level but before the safeties get up on him. Poor block from Huyge(-1) gets a guy in Forcier's face and forces him to get rid of it when he had two receivers breaking deep against one safety and could have waited for a home run if a guy wasn't in his grill. Good play anyway; throw is a bit high but Koger brings it in. (CA, 2, protection 1/2, Huyge -1)|
|O41||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||17|
|Excellent blocking by the interior line with Schilling getting a seal on the backside DT easily. He's out of the equation. Moosman and Huyge double and blow back the playside DT, with Huyge releasing onto the MLB; he gets outside and threatens to hold it down but the blocks by Moosman(+1) and Schilling have provided a major crease; the backside DE is getting blocked so he's out of the picture, too, and the scraping backer has run himself out of the play for Forcier. Brown's got space and this is what he's good at: darting into the secondary. Again the safeties close him down.|
|O24||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Forcier||2 (Pen +5)|
|Backside DE unblocked this time and stays home but Forcier pulls it out(ZR –1). He's one on one with the DE and jukes him pretty well... and then fumbles for no reason whatsoever. The ball is juggled and he brings it back in; the distraction may have prevented him from fully juking this guy. Result is two yards; Michigan finally gets the “hey you have 12 guys on the field” call as Illinois is egregiously late getting off.|
|O19||1||5||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||9|
|Backside DT slices into the backfield past Schilling and Ortmann and threatens to make a play but he needs Brown to get delayed and that doesn't happen. Brown runs past, then cuts up. Schilling's gotten out on the MLB and a double from Moosman(+1) and Huyge(+1) has stoned that guy; Brown slices through a crease between Schilling and Moosman before getting taken down by a safety.|
|O10||1||G||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||-6|
|Three fold: Huyge(-1) gets absolutely blasted back into the backfield by the playside DT and Moosman, attempting to get the same double he did on the previous play, ends up running at no one, with a linebacker coming behind him. This is not a good situation. Brown should just cut up behind Huyge and take his 0 yards, but instead he tries to get outside—preposterous—and ends up giving up a ton of yards. Freshman mistake.|
|O16||2||G||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle throwaway||--||Inc|
|No idea why this is so open; Illinois should have someone cruising in to crush Forcier on the rollout. It's second and goal from the sixteen. It is open, though. Forcier doesn't like his deep options and should throw to Moundros in the flat for a few yards but doesn't and ends up getting to the sideline and throwing it away. Borderline BR, but (TA, 0, protection 1/1)|
|O16||3||G||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Sack||--||-4|
|Dorrestein(-2) gets completely destroyed by the DE, run around like the other guy is Brandon Graham. Huyge(-1) is bowled over, too, so Forcier has no lane to scramble up in. He gets the ball banged loose and Illinois recovers. (PR, 0, protection 0/3, Dorrestein -2, Huyge -1)|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 13-28, 14 min 4th Q. Michigan fit all that in like two minutes of game time BTW. Jet tempo is fast.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Stop and go||Mathews||Inc|
|Great stop and go route from Mathews coupled with a pump fake from Forcier gets Mathews open deep for what could be a long completion. Mathews looks inside for the ball the whole way, adjusting only when it's clearly farther outside than he thought it was going to be, at which point it's too late. Mathews had plenty of time to adjust and just did not. The throw as not great but it wasn't that bad, either; this is more evidence that the receivers aren't adjusting to balls well. (MA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|M20||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Deep post||Hemingway||66|
|Great protection allows Forcier to step up in the pocket and nail Hemingway as he smokes an Illinois safety, getting two and half steps on his guy. Hemingway has to break stride a tiny bit, allowing the safety to catch up, but the end result is still a huge gain. These last two plays invite the question: why are these the first deep balls of the day? (DO, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O14||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||4|
|Roundtree has a bunch of space and manages to cut inside the crashing safety for a few yards. Timing seemed a little off on this; also if this was Odoms maybe he makes the guy miss totally? (CA, 3, screen)|
|O10||2||6||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Hemingway||Inc|
|Hemingway has this for near first-down yardage when a DB comes up to hit him, jarring the ball loose. DB made it tough but you'd still like to see him make the catch here. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)|
|O10||3||G||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Flare screen||Brown||Inc|
|This is too far in front of Brown but it's possible this is on Brown for not running the route right or adjusting to the pass as it came. Still: (IN, 2, screen)|
|O10||4||G||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Slant||Stonum||Inc|
|Forcier finds a window to zing this in to Stonum. It'll be a tough-ish catch with the safety breaking to possibly make a play on the ball, but it is there; Forcier wings it high and wide. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 13-31, 8 min 4th Q. Charting stops as this game is over. Forcier fumbles on the next play after a blocked punt.|
So I'm still having this ichor problem.
Man… man. This is going to sound insane, but if Michigan just stops turning the ball over they'll have a pretty good offense.
If my eyes weren't empty sockets dripping with a viscous black goo, I would have perfect eyesight.
Hush, tentacled alter-ego cornerback.
Ain't sayin' it. In fact, here's a chart—
NO I MADE A LOL
(Hennechart legend; MA is "marginal", screen results are in parens.)
|Notre Dame||5||20 (6)||2||4||3||3||-||4|
|Eastern Michigan||1||8 (2)||1||1 (1)||1||4 (1)||-||-|
|Indiana||3||13 (3)||1 (1)||2||5||3||-||2|
|Michigan State||5||19 (3)||2||4||3||3||-||5|
|Delaware State||-||2 (1)||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Penn State||3||9 (3)||-||4 (2)||4||2||1||1|
|Eastern Michigan||-||1||1 (1)||2 (1)||-||-||-||-|
Robinson DNP until garbage time late.
Forcier had a decent game. He was not asked to do a whole lot until late. Illinois was apparently vulnerable to screens, so we saw an uptick in little short throws that were effective until the last one. The downfield success rate is good, not great: 9 / 15 = 60%. And the BRs weren't killer interceptions but just poor reads or poor decisions where to scramble, which is progress. I might need another category for "aigh."
The fumbling issue remains a problem, though: Forcier was irresponsible with the ball and coughed it up twice, once on a QB draw he made a poor read on. Michigan lost one, causing everyone to turn the TV off. Hopefully this is a major point of emphasis in the offseason; Forcier can't be as careless with the ball going forward or the offense is never going to get off the ground.
Receiver chart is interesting mostly for its distribution:
[Receiver chart explanation: throws are rated on how difficult they are to catch. A 3 is a totally routine ball that would induce groans if dropped. 2 is moderately difficult; you'd like to see players catch 50-70% of these. 1 is a circus catch on which the QB is bailed out by a great play from a WR or, more usually, not bailed out. 0 is totally uncatchable and mostly exists to chart how often a player is targeted.]
Roundtree tied for the most looks with Mathews, and Stonum is the new Roundtree. Roundtree has passed Grady on the depth chart in what looks like a permanent way because when he is thrown a ball that hits him in the hands it does not fall to the ground. At least, not yet.
Koger also had another bad drop, further sullying his crazy start to the season. He's kind of a tight end version of Braylon, capable of making spectacular catches and dropping routine ones.
And PROTECTION METRIC: 22/27, Schilling –2, Team –2, Huyge –1.
Actually a good day here, though it was against a poor pass rush and Michigan got smoked a couple times. Note the low overall number: Michigan was ground- and screen-heavy.
Why the hell couldn't we get it in from the one?
In four ugly acts:
- Schilling is blown back into the path of an iso play that otherwise would have worked. Even with the pwnage Brown should have an opportunity to extend the ball over the goal line; he does not.
- Michigan attempts to run off tackle where Dorrestein, who's apparently injured and missed the last drive of the first half in favor of Omameh, gets blown off the ball; Schilling runs into him and Brown has no lead blockers.
- Brown waits way too long on a stretch play that sees Illinois's line cave in.
- Minor fails to read the blocking in front of him as Illinois's line again caves in and cuts to the wrong side of Grady's block.
Minor scores on third down and possibly second down if he's in, assuming he is healthy, which is a bad assumption. Actually, at this point I'd rather see Vincent Smith down on the goal line instead of Brown, who is a terrible short-yardage back. Brown's quick and nimble but has no balance or power: you hit him and he's tackled. Sometimes if you wave at his foot he's tackled.
Does this make you want to rage about the coaching?
Yeah. If Minor was healthy enough for fourth down he's healthy enough for first down. I think the coaches thought, as everyone did, that a sustained goal-line stand from Illinois was highly unlikely and didn't think it was a good risk. I can understand that on first and second down. On third, though, it was painful to see a play that Minor would have slammed into the endzone easily end short.
The other major coaching bitch from the game: why didn't Michigan take timeout with a minute left in the half? There was another possession waiting against a terrible defense there if Michigan would have just taken it. I'm willing to live with Rodriguez taking risks like the ones at the end of the first half against Iowa as long as he does it when it's a good idea, too.
My theory as to why Michigan did that, FWIW: they wanted to come after the punt hard but didn't want to give Illinois a chance at a drive afterwards if they got a penalty. That was why they waited to take TO but eventually did at about 30 seconds. Michigan did come after Illinois punts hard all day and blocked one. So it might not have been a terrible decision.
What is wrong with the run game?
Remember that it did pretty well against Penn State so failures against Illinois are not a trend. But issues exist:
- Brown is not an effective short-yardage runner. He's very fast and the risk-reward with him is good on normal downs where a zip into the secondary is a possibility. On short yardage he is bad because his vision and cuts aren't great and he goes down very easily. Without Minor or Shaw, Michigan could either deploy Cox or Smith in those situations; they are freshmen.
- Moosman is not as good as Molk on tough reach blocks. Lot of cutbacks against Illinois because the playside DT did not get sealed. Cutbacks are tougher sledding, usually.
- For whatever reason, Illinois was blowing guys back all day. I don't know if they were timing the snap count or just beastlier or whatever, but there were many instances where the playside DT would shoot into the backfield, which is very bad. Backside DT you can run past; playside DT not so much. This, again, is a Molk issue but it's also a RG/LG issue and a RB issue. Brown compounded problems twice by not cutting his losses and turning zero-ish-yard plays into huge TFLs. This goes back to his lack of vision. Moving Moosman out of the RG spot hurts Michigan there, too.
- Dorrestein is apparently hurt.
Here's a successful run from Brown on which Moosman does not seal his guy and Brown has to hit it up behind Moosman in front of Schilling:
From what I've seen, Molk is more likely to actually get that block on the frontside. He won't do it all the time and the cutback can be effective but then you're relying on the backside block, which is often a tough one.
The other thing on this play: why in the hopping hell does Brown cut right instead of left? This could be a touchdown if cut left, but instead Brown heads into three guys. I mean this…
Forcier, I guess, and Roundtree, I guess. I didn't think anyone on the OL played particularly well, and Brown's drawbacks were evident.
Brown? I know he had a good number of yards but he was one of three players primarily responsible for the goal-line stand, with other demerits going to Schilling and Dorrestein.
What does it mean for Purdue and the rest of the season?
I still think this can be a fairly effective offense when it doesn't turn the ball over willy-nilly. Is that ever going to happen this year? I don't know.
That effectiveness is seriously lessened by Molk's absence. A healthy return for Minor—which is supposed to happen this weekend—would help out; Brown and Minor have their strengths and when Michigan has only one the effectiveness of their game is compromised. Getting Odoms back would help, to. Though Roundtree had a good game, Odoms has proven himself a tough blocker and reliable option more likely to break a screen long, and maybe he won't fumble punts.
I think they'll be able to move the ball against Purdue effectively, with stupid mistakes the difference between a good output and the Illinois game. Wisconsin and Ohio State are a little dodgy with Molk out.
Spring games don't lend themselves to narratives, so how about some bullet points? Bullet points.
Media explosion. If you missed it, there's a torrent. This would be a good moment to consider how vastly different the world is now than it was five years ago. There is a torrent of Michigan's spring game.
If you don't want to bother with that, four minutes of highlights from the Big Ten Network:
Also, Brandon Minor and his sweet beard talk to Shireen Saski: "that's like a real quarterback." Other interviews:
Photo galleries exist from the Free Press, Detroit News, Ann Arbor News, and various places on flickr: user dennisdolan3, the Daily's photostream, user snotzzz73, and Alex Karpowitsch. MVictors has photos of the locker room if you skipped the Line That Never Ends. Notice the U in "honour." Weird. Also from MVictors are alumni game photos.
Pleasantries dispensed, away we go:
Most encouraging development: The general existence of Tate Forcier. Forcier chucked one pass into a linebacker's pads but other than that was worlds better than anything Michigan's seen at quarterback since Lloyd Carr rode out of the Citrus Bowl on the shoulders of his team. Forcier was as advertised: quick and scrambly in the pocket, accurate on the run, worryingly small, &c.
He's not going to be great but his slipperiness and ability to operate out of a moving pocket—which should simplify reads, mitigate whatever issues his lack of height brings, and prevent his head from being taken off—should allow him to be effective without having total command of the playbook. Early competence beckons with the possibility for more down the road.
As always, you take intrasquad scrimmages seriously at your peril, but let's discount the effect of the defense and just look at the opportunities presented:
- Roy Roundtree bursts open deep and Forcier hits him between the numbers for a touchdown.
- Roundtree works free on a slant, upon which Forcier hits him between the numbers, on time.
- Forcier throws an okay fade to Mathews, which he brings down.
There was one overthrown screen and the shoulda-been interception, but other than that he was dead on. Unofficial stats had him 11/14 for 130 or so yards. That's worlds different from last year's spring game, in which both quarterbacks threw multiple interceptions to legends like Artis Chambers and everyone started panicking in earnest about what fall would bring. Forcier's first excursion as Michigan's quarterback could not have been more reassuring.
The final word goes to Greg Mathews:
"The fans were cheering his name before the game, and I said, 'Don't get nervous, Tate,' and he said, 'I'm not nervous. There's some times he gets confused out there, but he's a high school senior. But his poise is definitely what stands out about him. His command when we huddle up, or on the sideline, he's focused in practices instead of goofing around."
A close second most encouraging development: Insert praise about Lloyd Carr here but, man, am I glad Rodriguez has done a 180 on the spring game. That felt like an event. It was fun, and though the 50k reported seemed a little generous—I and most around me thought it was 40k—it was probably about four times the number who attended Carr's last spring game. The line to see the locker room snaked all the way around Crisler and might have impeded traffic on Main.
Least encouraging development: Stevie Brown put a stake through the now annual "this is Stevie's year!" meme by getting juked out his jock by the Coner. Coner has mad flow, and since he was a 6'5" option QB with all the mobility of John Navarre in high school he must have a wicked option fake, but… yeesh, man. At least we're going into the fall with our eyes open.
A close second least encouraging development: the second-team offense, led by the aforementioned Coner, drove the field for touchdowns a couple times despite Cone amply demonstrating why anyone who talks about him starts his paragraph with "Cone is a terrific human being." They did this against the first team defense. Yerk.
This isn't totally unexpected. When the second team running backs are Grady and Brown and Vincent Smith and the second team defensive line includes 5'7", 249 pound Dominic Ware, the talent is not exactly balanced. Once Van Bergen went out with a knee injury (it's minor; six weeks and he'll be fine) the first team defense was missing four sure starters to injury (RVB, Warren, Martin, and Mouton) and using another sparingly to prevent injury (Brandon Graham), putting further pressure on that lack of depth. Said lack of depth is severe, though, and Michigan looks like it will be facing huge dropoffs from the first to second team if they can't remain unusually healthy next year.
What it is. Staying with the defense, the projection about the new scheme was that it would look like a 4-3 with a standup defensive end, and this was for the most part true. Like the spread 'n' shred they're going to look pretty limited early, what with the lack of talent and the missing starters and the new alignment, but GSimmons picked out even, under, and 3-4 fronts even this early. Also picked out: very bad linebacker play from walk-ons.
Obviously. Martavious Odoms fumbled Michigan's first punt return attempt of 2009.
Ok, Carlos, now it's time to pull a hamstring. Tantalize us one last time, Carlos Brown. For old time's sake.
I was going to fret about the defense on this play and then I was like "oh those guys are all walk-ons." So, yeah, if walk-ons play they will not be good. This lesson you have already burned into your brain, so we'll skip the rehash.
A first depth chart bitch of the year. Junior Hemingway, stuck on the second team, had ample opportunity to prove he has nice body control and hands by flagging down a number of Coner ducks. Meanwhile, Darryl Stonum made one spectacular leaping grab… and dropped a screen right in his hands. I'm betting Hemingway emerges as the #2 outside receiver early.
As long as we're on receiver depth chart stuff: Terrance Robinson was also as advertised, quick but with a significant case of the dropsies. Odoms didn't feature much, leaving much of the work in the slot to Roy Roundtree, who looked excellent, sure handed and good with his routes. His rep is as a fearless possession receiver lacking in the speed, so I don't know if we'll see a whole lot of deep seams unless he has the good fortune to be going up against walk-ons in Big Ten play, but a reliable receiver is a reliable receiver.
Also, if Roundtree doesn't already have a nickname…
Roundtree had difficulty focusing on passes this Spring because he had trouble seeing the ball. The U-M staff ordered him contact lenses, which arrived just in time for the spring game. Roy put them in and then put on a show for the Michigan faithful, making big plays and catching a handful of touchdown passes, including a big 60-yard touchdown from Forcier.
"All Spring ball my coaches have been asking me when I'll get my contacts, when I'll get my contacts," laughed Roundtree. "I got my contacts today. I couldn't see the long balls in practice, but today I saw them just fine."
…he should be "Wild Thing". Rodriguez on this impossibility:
"In the first half of the spring, he was struggling catching some balls, and then we looked at him, and he'd squint at you," Rodriguez said Saturday.
"That was the first sign, 'You'd better get your eyes checked.' The doctor said he didn't know how he was walking a straight line."
How does a guy go an entire year at Michigan before anyone realizes he can't see? This is symptomatic of the chaos that went on last year. Deeply symptomatic.
Either that or Roundtree was afraid Carson Butler would give him a wedgie and leave him hanging on a bathroom hook.
Overly-optimistic post-spring chatter. (HT: Dr. Saturday.) I didn't watch Mark Huyge enough to confirm this for myself—and, honestly, I'm an amateur who needs to go over running plays a half-dozen times before I can form an opinion on who did what right—but the general opinion on his play was hugely (HA!) positive. Even without the benefit of tape review I can say this: if Huyge has surged in front of Perry Dorrestein, who was functional last year, and the much-hyped Patrick Omameh that bodes well for his future and for Michigan's line.
With the influx of the redshirt freshmen, maturation of John Ferrara, and healthy return of Huyge there are now a lot of lottery tickets on the line and chances are the guy who lays claim to the right tackle spot is going to be pretty good, at least eventually. This is a situation more akin to Chad Henne beating out Clayton Richard and Matt Gutierrez (sort of; labrum and all that) than Nick Sheridan beating out Steven Threet and No One.
Vincent Smith, on the other hand, was pretty easy to evaluate since he's a running back. He looked small and darty, tougher to tackle than you might imagine but not an instant impact sort. Smith has flashed Mike Hart's crazy ability to defy tackling in practice; too bad he didn't have some crazy spinning run for the crowd to ooh and aw at.
Vlad Emilien is the safety taking a poor angle and trailing Carlos Brown all the way to the endzone in the video above, but, again, people seem highly encouraged by his play. I've had Michigan safety skepticism beaten into me by Angry Michigan Safety Hating God and will remain skeptical until such time as I can't anymore.
Walk-on quarterback Jack Kennedy is so obscure that he sported a regular contact jersey and was used as cannon fodder repeatedly, but… uh… he looked way better than Cone.
The incoming and signed. Denard Robinson made his way up to check out the competition:
"I came up just for the spring game," Robinson said. "I wanted to see the game and the fans and stuff. It's good. It's got me speechless."
That article has an outstandingly FAKE 40 time for Robinson: 4.38. Justin Turner, Isaiah Bell, and Brendan Gibbons also stopped by to see the festivities.
The incoming but unsigned. This will get more coverage tomorrow in Tuesday Recruitin', but the recruiting weekend was a successful one. Thumping Texas back Stephen Hopkins committed. Four star Miami offensive lineman Torrian Wilson left saying Michigan was his leader. So did FL S Marvin Robinson. Unconfirmed chatter on MI CB Dior Mathis and—surprise!—presumed Spartan and MI RB Austin White was also highly positive.
Also hanging around was another Forcier: Jason, MGoBlog's favorite backup quarterback of all time. He's graduating from Stanford and plans to enroll in grad school at Michigan. Presumably he'll try to get on the football team, but he's only got one year of eligibility left and will have to jump through—or, more accurately, create—the proper NCAA hoops if he's going to be able to participate. If you recall Ryan Mundy's immediate playing time after his fifth-year transfer to West Virginia, also recall that the NCAA immediately repealed that rule after Florida pirated one of Utah's starting cornerbacks. He'll have to apply for some super secret waiver, which I don't think he'll get.
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.