Mike Lantry, 1972
Having only now recovered somewhat from a 3 day panic attack, I have taken a look at what Michigan has left in the secondary. While their mission at this point with the amount of youth in play is a dauting one, there is remaining stock in the defensive secondary. In order for the secondary to be serviceable, not great, not really even good, not really even average, but just sufficient to place on a D1 field and be viable, I think the following moves need to be made. I am not playing D coordinator here, just a layperson's opinion as to what needs to transpire to patch this gaping hole.
1. One of the bandit recruits needs to play a traditional safety position, and now. My guess, based on high school game film and news out of summer practice is that such person would be Marvin Robinson. Reason, see number 2.
2. More than one, possibly more than 2 of those listed (either playing as or recruited as) safety are going to have to move to corner. From the looks of things, body type, game film, and strengths and weaknesses, Carvin Johnson (I know he is true freshman and a raw one at that), Teric Jones, and possibly even a Floyd Simmons/Thomas Gordon are going to have to move to corner and contribute. Michigan is actually fairly deep, if you will, at players that theoretically play safety, though often not very well. I think the Adkins diet and a lot of game film are in order for many such players.
3. Despite RR's assurances to the contrary, I think that one or two offensive players are going to have to convert. Notwithstanding the above, the glaring problem in the secondary despite the make-do-able personnel is speed. As we have seen in the past, most notably from Morgan Trent, a wide receiver with speed that can learn the position or cornerback, and possibly even safety. Michigan has 67 wide receivers, most young, and many right in the 6'0, 185 range. I think by seasons end, and possbly by summers end, we are going to see some of these receivers convert to the defensive side of the football.
If there is any more attrition back there, all bets are off. Sure there are going to be nicks and dings, but the remainder of our defensive backfield needs to stay healthy and improve. I think there will be substantial bleeding at the beginning of the season, I have gone from hoping to beat both UConn and ND, to hoping (and believing) that we will still win one of those games despite the the developing situation in our defensive backfield. The good news is, as last year showed, quick starts are often fools gold. Hopefully the experience that a lot of the young DBs gain due to the current situation will pay off, and this team can improve as the season progresses instead of the other way around.
Doesn't Dantonio know that they are playing FAU, I wouldn't expect too much of a party atmosphere. Wouldn't expect it to be much more than a weekend against a MAC school or FCS opponent.
So, this thought came up to me while considering Devin Gardner, and I thought I would put it all to you. We all know you use a redshirt if a kid isn't ready to play, is injured, or is a freshman at a position of depth. So here's a question that occurred to me.
What would you do if you had a freshman early enrollee who was obviously very talented, had worked very hard, was ready to play at least a limited role, and came to you telling you that playing is his reward for working so hard, it's the only reason he worked so hard, and he wants to play, but you had plenty of upper classmen at the position? The kid is realistic about his pro chances, in that, if he's good enough to be a pro, three/four years spent starting versus two/three years starting and a year with limited playing time isn't going to make a difference, and so there will be no convincing him to save that show off time.
What do you do? You know he won't hurt the team to play, but he's also not going to be a tangible improvement over the upper classmen. Do you tell him no, and in doing so, possibly remove or reduce his motivation for trying? Do you tell him yes and lose depth at the position four years down the road to motivate him this year, and at the cost of playing time for your upper classmen?
If my memory serves me correctly (and the interwebs seem to support my memory), Brian has stopped writing for the Sporting Blog. My question now is, where will one go for This Week In Schadenfreude this season? I could really use one for the pre-season right about now, just to have a little comfort in knowing that we're not the only fanbase that's freaking out every time a 3* or higher stubs his toe...
David Brandon just said live on WTKA that he personally advocates putting UM and OSU in different divisions, which surprises me. He then hinted he would not be opposed to moving the UM-OSU game from its traditional spot as the last game of the regular season, so as to avoid the situation of playing OSU twice in a row.
I must say I'm extremely surprised, given his previous comments seemingly showing his opposition to monkeying around with the rivalry.
I would fully support a Michigan Marching band version of the "Bed Intruder Song"