|St. Francis De Sales Schedule 2010|
|8-27||7:30||@ Gahanna Lincoln|
|9-17||7:30||Youngstown Cardinal Mooney|
|9-25||2:00||@ Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's|
|10-15||7:30||@ Bishop Watterson|
|10-22||7:30||Cincinnati La Salle|
St. Francis DeSales
HS projection: Tight End/Defensive End
Projects as: Defensive End/Defensive Tackle
Last year, St. Francis De Sales went 7-3 in the regular season, making the playoffs. Once they got there, they pounded through 4 rounds to the state championship game. There, they lost to Ray Vinopal's Youngstown Cardinal Mooney team. Rock finished with about 50 tackles and 11.5 sacks despite struggling with illness through most of the season.
This year, DeSales expects to make the playoffs yet again (as they have for the past 17 years), and they have intentions to win it this time. They boast senior starters at many positions, and a number of talented players, including 2012 RB Warren Ball, who many suspect is silently committed to Ohio State. However, they have only 8 starters back off last year's team. Rock will play both defensive end and tight end for the Stallions, and look for an improvement on his numbers from last season with a healthy year.
Rock has switched from No. 88 to 54 so he can play on the line in addition to taking snaps at tight end.Rock has been a standout at defensive end since coming to the school for his sophomore year, and should continue to lead the sack parade this season.
If Rock can stay healthy and put a good product in the field this year, he could see his rankings improve. Prior to last year, he was considered a top prospect in Ohio's class of 2011.
I might be able to catch a game or two of Rock's, though they play in Orchard Lake during a Michigan game, so I'll have to head to Ohio to do it. DeSales streams audio from all their games on their website, and typically has highlight videos as well.
|Plymouth Schedule 2010|
|9-17||7:00||@ Livonia Churchill|
|9-24||7:00||@ Livonia Franklin|
|10-1||7:00||Westland John Glenn|
Plymouth High School
HS position: Tight End/Defensive End
Projects as: Defensive End/LB
Last year, Beyer's Plymouth team went 6-3, making the MHSAA playoffs. However, they were pasted in the first round by Canton 40-17 to finish 6-4. That was actually a vast improvement over their regular season loss to the Chiefs, in which they went down 49-7. Over the course of the season, Beyer accumulated 9 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. On offense, he had 6 touchdown receptions.
This year, the Wildcats are looking to make it back to the playoffs, and break their three-year streak of earning six wins. Beyer's offensive stats might suffer, as the team is replacing its starting quarterback, and one of the options is a dual threat. Defensively, I'm not sure if Beyer will stay at defensive end or move to linebacker in anticipation of playing that position at the next level. If Beyer has a huge year statistically, he could move up in the rankings, but he's probably at his peak right now.
With Plymouth's proximity to Ann Arbor, I should be able to check out a few of Brennen's games this year, and will have highlights to post on mgoblog.
|St. Pius X Schedule 2010|
|8-28||7:00||@ Trinity Christian Academy|
|10-8||7:30||@ Monsignor Kelly|
|10-15||7:30||@ Houston Christian|
|11-5||7:30||@ St. Thomas|
St. Pius X
HS position: Linebacker
Projects as: Linebacker
Last year, St. Pius went 8-2 in the regular season, making the playoffs. Once there, they defeated San Antonio Central Catholic 42-28 and winning a district championship before being knocked out in a 28-36 Loss to Temple Nolan Catholic. Jones was one of the stars of his team, with 75 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, six sacks, and three fumbles forced/recovered in nine games played. he also added an interception in his first-team all-state campaign.
The Panthers expect to make the playoffs, as they have in each of the past seven seasons. Jones will be a key player defensively. It is important to note that their success does not come against some of the best teams in Texas, as they compete in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, and don't see the big public schools. That factor will probably keep Jones ranked where he is now.
I won't be seeing Jones in person this season, but still expect to fill you in on his stats each week.
|Fremont Ross Schedule 2010|
|8-27||7:00||@ Toledo Start|
|9-10||7:30||@ Tiffin Columbian|
|9-17||7:30||@ Cleveland Benedictine|
Ross High School
HS position: Safety/Receiver
Projects as: Cornerback/Safety
Last year, Ross struggled to a 5-5 record, missing the state playoffs. For a traditionally strong program, this was a serious letdown. Greg Brown was one of the stars of last year's team, however, and since he was committed for so long, I covered him in last year's Friday Night Lights feature. He finished with about 26 receptions for 440 yards, and 24 carries for 133 yards on offense (where he was named 2nd team All-district at wideout). I couldn't find defensive stats for him.
The year, Ross expects to make a return to the playoffs, and a much-improved record. Brown has moved from corner to safety on defense.
"We want to put him in a position where he can make plays," Kidwell said of Brown. "At corner you can run away from him or you can throw away from him. We put him at free safety and he'll be in the middle of the field and he should be a great run supporter for us and he should be a great pass defender for us."
His attitude is reportedly much better than it was last year, which might mean more stats. He'll still be a versatile threat for the offense, maybe more on the ground this year, as Ross graduated QB Cody Foos. If Brown can prove himself on the field this fall, he might be in for a rankings bump.
I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to see Brown in person this season.
|Cass Tech Schedule 2010|
|8-28||8:00||AA Pioneer (@EMU)|
|9-10||4:00||@ Detroit Denby|
|9-10||4:30||@ Detroit Southeastern|
|9-24||4:30||Detroit ML King|
|10-8||4:30||@ Detroit Northwestern|
Cass Tech High School
HS position: Corner/Wide Receiver
Projects as: Cornerback
Last year, Cass Tech went 5-3 in the regular season, making the MHSAA playoffs. They squeaked by Dearborn Fordson in the first round, before Detroit Southeastern knocked them out with a 41-0 pounding. They finished with a 6-4 overall record. Through five games, Hollowell had 3 interceptions and 25+ tackles, but I couldn't find stats for the second half of the year.
Cass Tech, like most of the Detroit Public Schools, struggles against suburban schools. They are consistently one of the top teams in the PSL, though Detroit Southeastern has whipped them a few times in a row. Hollowell will be one anchor of a strong secondary, and be a speedy, big-play receiver on the other side of the ball. Hollowell is unlikely to see his rankings go up, as it's his size that's keeping him ranked where he is.
This Saturday, Cass plays Ann Arbor Pioneer at Eastern Michigan's Rynearson Stadium at 8pm, part of the Big Day Prep Showdown. I'll be there getting highlights of Hollowell (and his junior teammates Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson). There are conflicting schedule on the internet for the Technicians, so I'm not sure which game is accurate for the 10th.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at email@example.com or tweet @varsityblue.
Tony Posada Goes Blue
FL OL Tony Posada became the 10th member of Michigan's class last night, and third offensive lineman. Michigan is looking for another one or two (plus potential offensive lineman Anthony Zettel).
"Tony's best football is ahead of him," said Plant coach Robert Weiner. "I mean he is on the upswing for sure and has gotten so much better year to year, even the last few months. He's a student of the game and has all the physical traits to be another great lineman at Michigan. We are all real excited for him."
And finally, video of the commitment itself:
Welcome to the Maize and Blue family, Tony.
IL OL Jordan Walsh committed to Iowa. Michigan had seemed to be the favorite until this, so it's a big blow. Michigan needs at least one guard commit in the class and he was a highly rated one. Best chance there seems like IL OL Christian Bryant.
OH LB Antonio Poole never got a Michigan offer, so it's no surprise that the Wolverines are out of his final 3. He's making a decision soon, but if a Michigan offer comes...
PA S Mike Caputo committed to Wisconsin.
The Orlando Sentinel previews Dr. Phillips high school, home of FL RB Demetrius Hart and all the other D-1 prospects in the Panthers' lineup. As recruiting news goes, Auburn is back in the mix for Hart. His is becoming the kind of recruitment that followers shouldn't invest too much in on a day-to-day basis, and just see how it all shakes out in the end. Hopefully, that end will come in 23 days.
FL TE/WR Kelvin Benjamin plans to take an official visit to Michigan:
His plan as of now is to take all of his official visits to out of state schools. “I fixing to set one up with West Virginia coming up, so West Virginia will be the first one I take. Then, I’ll take one to Michigan, the (USC) Trojans, Oregon and probably Marshall.”
At the very least, that vindicates my insistence on leaving him on the board. If he does make it onto campus, there's always a chance at him.
Tom talked to FL OL James Elliott, who is visiting Ann Arbor tomorrow. Rich Rodriguez will be on his way to Seattle immediately after practice, but Elliott will have a chance to meet the headman when he returns for an official visit. He knows numbers along the offensive line are starting to get tight, and if he wants to pick Michigan, he'd better pick up the pace.
I'd removed him from the board long ago, but apparently NJ OL Keith Lumpkin has Michigan in his top group. He's trimmed his list to ten, including the Wolverines. Michigan's recruiting along the offensive line might get wrapped up pretty soon, so Lumpkin will have to visit soon if he's serious about Michigan.
MI DE/DT Damon Knox picked up three Big Ten offers last week ($, info in header), and his Rivals profile now shows that Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State are those three. Knox reportedly has issues with his grades, so those offers are probably conditional upon improvement in the classroom. His film is impressive:
Knox was also a top performer at the Michigan Football Showcase (video), and is he can get his academics in order, he could fill out to be one of the defensive tackles in Michigan's class.
(Re-)Added CA LB/DE Woodson Greer, who holds a Michigan offer. Despite that, he seems unlikely to leave the West Coast.
IL DE James Adeyanju has locked in official visits to Wisconsin, Boston College, Nebraska, and Illinois. Michigan is in a group of six schools vying for his fifth and final visit. As of now, he's a backup prospect for Michigan, and will likely take that visit elsewhere.
OH CB Commit Greg Brown intends to enroll early at Michigan ($, info in header). He's the only current commit that has publicly mentioned early enrollment.
FL CB Dallas Crawford isn't naming favorites, but which school does he list first?
“I plan on making my decision before signing day but not before the season ends... I have my top schools, Michigan, Miami, LSU, Wake Forest, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee.”
That's a positive sign, but we'll have to wait until December or January to find out whether he likes Michigan enough to come up North. Crawford's teammate, WR/S Sammy Watkins, missed the team's first practice, and is a much longer shot for the Wolverines. If Rich Rod can land Crawford, however, it can only help.
OH CB Doran Grant is the subject of the latest Sam Webb profile in the Detroit News. He's down to a final 10 including Michigan, and will trim to a final 5 soon, also likely to include Michigan.
"It is a good vibe (at Michigan)," Grant later added. "I'll probably say that they are going to get an official visit. I'll say that now. Michigan is going to get one, hands-down."
Ohio State ad Michigan State are still on top, but the Wolverines remain in the hunt. He will make his decision a couple weeks after his senior season ends.
Has OH RB Warren Ball committed to Ohio State? He's playing it coy, but even if he hasn't committed, his tone ("that's my dream school") makes it seem like only a matter of time. Maybe his teammate, 2011 Michigan Commit Chris Rock, can convince him otherwise?
Fluff on MO WR Dorial Green-Beckham. He's now on a "no fluff links" policy, so until there's actual recruiting news about him, he won't appear in this space again.
As always, the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board lives here.
Recruiting multiple players from the same school (Trotwood-Madison, Pahokee) has been a go-to strategy for this recruiting staff, and that trend looks to continue in the 2011 recruiting haul.
The latest pair comes from Florida's Hollywood Chaminade high school, in FL WR Curt "Spiffy" Evans (pictured at right) and S Jonathan Aiken. Their teammate, QB Jerrard Randall, also has Michigan interest. Though we knew about Aiken's offer last week, Evans received one at the same time:
I opened mine first and they were identical envelopes so I was like “Whoa!”. I gave him the letter and he was like “Man you’re big time, you got Michigan!”.
The pair might visit this summer, though it sounds like Michigan might be window dressing, at least for Evans:
I want to talk to the coach and find out what day they would want me up there and basically go from there. We’re going up to camp at Ohio State and Notre Dame so we might be able to get up there then...
One of my personal favorites now, well two really, are Vanderbilt and Alabama just because of where I’m from and because I’ve been talking to Vanderbilt a whole lot. Plus their academics really impress me. But these offers like from Michigan, I push them in front of some of the smaller schools just because of who they are.
Though Aiken seems to be playing a similar tune:
I mean, if I can get that one, that means I can get more. So I’m just seeing what I can do to get the biggest schools. Michigan is one of the biggest but now I’m starting to hear from schools on the west coast like UCLA. So I’m just trying to see what else I can get.
Their interest seemed much more genuine when Evans talked to Tom last week:
TOM: Since all of you have Michigan offers, have you talked about going to school together?
SPIFFY: Yeah, we’ve talked about it. If it happens, it would be nice, but it’s not something we’re really trying to do. All three of us are going to take an official to Michigan, though. We already decided that. We actually might try to drive up to Michigan for a summer camp, too [Evans also told SoFlaFootball that a Michigan camp visit is definite.]...
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like Michigan might have a good chance then?
SPIFFY: Michigan has a real good chance. I need to get to know the coaches, and see how that progresses, and see the campus. But, yeah, they have a good chance. I actually talked to Denard Robinson a little while ago. I know him, I’m not really good friends with him, but he was telling me how great it is up there, and that was cool to hear from a Florida kid.
And the same deal when Tom spoke with Aiken (right):
"Me and Spiffy were both excited about Michigan. I watch Michigan all the time on TV, and I think it would be great to play in that maize and blue. I'm probably going to wait until signing day, just to make sure everything's right. Curt and I want to go to the same school, too, so that's a good opportunity for us."
"I read MGoBlog all the time, actually."
In another potential package deal that we're already familiar with, FL WR Sammy Watkins will reveal a public top 10 soon. It is expected to include Michigan, as both he and FL DB/Ath Dallas Crawford are high on the Wolverines following their spring game visit. I wouldn't get your hopes up just yet on both, though.
OH OL Aundrey Walker is the subject of the latest Sam Webb column in The Detroit News. Walker on his game:
"I'm 6-6, 355, and I'm a mean streaker," he said with a laugh. "I like to dog people -- pancake people, lay on top of them, and talk. That's what I do! Blow people off the ball, drive them down the field 20 yards, and then slam them! That's what I do (laughing). That's what God created. I learned from the cradle. My father was a football
player. He was a mean-streaker too. I've just got the attitude to be a dog."
And Scout.com's Bill Greene on Walker:
"Walker is a mauler on the football field, and while his technique might need work, there is no doubting his physical ability," Greene said. "He plays hard and he comes off the ball with a nasty attitude looking to dominate his opponent. Off the field, he is well-spoken, intelligent and a leader. It's no wonder he has schools across the country chasing after him."
Walker admits to loving the Buckeyes in the article, unsurprising for a recruit out of Cleveland Glenville. He'll also wait until the end of the process to make a selection, and though it's likely he'll pick OSU, he's at least giving Michigan more of a chance than Glenville guys have in the recent past. MGoBoard's Magnus evaluates Walker's teammate, OH QB Cardale Jones, on Touch the Banner. [Ed: Dude, Walker isn't coming here.]
And for less-positive package deal news, it appears as though LA S Renaldo Thomas and LA OL Trai Turner may be coming off the board soon. Though Turner has mentioned wanting to visit Michigan, Thomas is expected to commit to LSU this week, and one of his teammates ($, info in header) will probably join him. All signs point to that being Turner. No impending decision is expected for the third St. Augustine prospect with a Michigan offer, LA OL Jonah Austin.
Michigan is in good shape with NC QB Marquise Williams. The Scout article linked is available for free, and reveals that Williams has a top 3 of North Carolina, Michigan, and Notre Dame.
Savon did well enough last fall to rush for 1,544 yards (7.3 yards per carry) and 22 touchdowns.
"He's sort of a bigger Silas Redd," said Mike Farrell of Rivals.com. "He doesn't have the same feet but definitely a little more size and is a little stronger. He also has a knack about him balance-wise, he's really hard to bring down. He's like Marcus Lattimore because he does everything well but also has a knack for bouncing off tackles and gaining three, four yards every time."
"I've been talking to all of the coaches, saying, 'Why is Savon No. 1 your charts?' The most popular answer is that while one (tailback) may have speed and one may have power, they say Savon, more than the others, has a very uncanny sense of balance, and they say that's something you can't teach. He'll run past you, run over you and run around you, and his yards after contact are ridiculous."
That's some serious love from analysts. It's not clear how in-the-mix for Huggins Michigan actually is, but he won't make a decision until February, so there's plenty of time before we find out. Check out his sophomore and junior highlights to see what the coaches are apparently drooling over.
FL RB Demetrius Hart's on-again, off-again impending commit to the Wolverines may be in an off-again phase, as Tom shares that he might not be able to make it up for the BBQ. Still, he's expected to eventually join Michigan, prompting Alabama writers to sound like a snubbed lover:
Originally, he was expected to bring teammate Dee Hart, a standout running back, to Alabama with him, but it appears as though Michigan will somehow track down Hart. Apparently there is some family relations within the program extending way back before his high school years. For most Alabama fans this could serve as a sigh of relief. Dee is an impressive player in his own right, however I think the Tide has their sights set elsewhere.
"I don't know what he sees in those losers. Whatever, we weren't that into him, anyway." Nice try, bro.
Michigan has offered NC TE Drew Owens ($, info in header). It's clear that they definitely want a tight end in this class unless they're looking at all of these offered guys as potential position switchers.
I missed this when it happened over a week ago, but it now appears as though IL DE/LB James Adeyanju has received a Michigan offer. Tom briefly mentioned him in his look at defensive line recruiting as an unoffered prospect. Adeyanju's brother, Victor, played at Indiana and is now in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams.
NC LB Kris Frost tells Tom he's "still loving Michigan." Our contacts in North Carolina tell mgoblog that Frost is a heavy Michigan lean, but will extend the recruiting process to get all the perks.
In The Army Now
The US Army All-American Bowl sent out a wave of "nominations" recently, including not only a number of Michigan targets, but also a couple commits. OH CB Greg Brown has now received a nomination, and we already knew MI CB Delonte Hollowell had already been invited to participate. Speaking of Hollowell, he has an updated junior highlight reel:
400 nominations to the game went out last week, so we'll hold off on reporting every single guy who has Michigan interest until that number is pared down a bit. Most of the top guys that Michigan is pursuing have been invited (or are already committed to ESPN's game).
Top 6 Lists
This normally wouldn't get its own header, but an oddly high number of prospects have released lists of exactly six schools, so here goes:
MI OL Anthony Zettel has a top 6, which I'll assume consists of Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, and a couple other schools.
MI RB Justice Hayes has a top 6, including Michigan.
One of the nation's top defensive linemen, FL DT Tim Jernigan, has Michigan in a top 6 along with Florida (the presumed favorite), Alabama, Florida State, LSU, and Southern Cal. He says all those schools are even, and they're the only ones that he's still considering.
Michigan is not in the top three of FL WR Ja'juan Story, but Tom says they're in the top 10. PA DE Shawn Oakman has to choose whether to play basketball or football at the next level. Michigan is showing interest in PA RB/LB Brandon Cottom, but hasn't yet offered ($, info in header). Some Michigan targets impressed at the ESPN RISE camp at Ohio State. The Skyline Chili Ohio Crosstown Showdown (where Paul and I saw Terry Talbott's Huber Heights Wayne team play last year) has announced its schedule for 2010. No current Michigan commits are playing. Michigan coaches drop in on OH WR Devin Smith ($, info in header). AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena is still thinking about Michigan ($, info in header).
As always, the information is archived in one place on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
SPRING GAME WEEK!
The Spring Game has finally arrived, and this Saturday, the Wolverines will welcome a number of prospects to Michigan Stadium on unofficial visits. Tom's post has a constantly-updating list of kids he's confirmed with over the phone, and here's the cliff's notes version of who you can expect this weekend:
OH LB Percy Johnson
OH DB Greg Brown (commit)
MI DE Brennen Beyer
MI CB Delonte Hollowell (commit) [By the way, Hollowell has been invited to the Army All-American game]
MI OL Anthony Zettel
FL RB Demetrius Hart (Mom coming too.) [Fluff on Michigan's chances to land him.] [Pictured above].
FL S Dallas Crawford This is a big one for Michigan.
FL WR Sammy Watkins Also big. [Confirmation on the last two]
MD DT Vincent Croce - Yes, as of now.
TX RB Jarrell Oliver (same school as Stonum, Herron, Woolfolk)
NJ WR Damiere Byrd - Coming with Antoine Pozniak.
NJ LB Antoine Pozniak - He's coming with the "Top Prospects Family." Je'Ron Stokes dad is the founder of Top Prospects Family.
NJ ATH Miles Shuler
For the most recent update, and to see which prospects are "maybes" and "nos," and why that's the case, check out Tom's list.
For those who were worried about Rich Rodriguez picking up a commitment from OMG UNRATED MI WR Shawn Conway in (Jan/Feb), Rivals.com's Jamie Newberg should assuage those fears:
Conway, a wide receiver from Birmingham, Mich., looks like a big-time recruit and one of the better wideout prospects from the Midwest.
At 6-4 and 183 pounds, Conway has great size and decent speed. He's big and rangy and great in air, showing very good body control and concentration. Conway has a knack for catching the ball well, especially in traffic. He can get behind the secondary and is not afraid to go over the middle. Conway also has a long stride and deceptive speed, and he looks like a very good outside receiver. He's also productive; Conway caught 70-plus passes last season as a junior, and is a good punt return man.
Yes, Michigan fan, you should be excited to have this wide receiver.
So there. "One of the better wideout prospects from the midwest," as I understand it, means there are only a couple guys (DeAnthony Arnett and Davaris Daniels, along with maybe another guy or two) that Newberg thinks are better. Conway was also selected All-OAA in basketball, and is pictured at right dunking over some poor fool.
Scout updated their Scout 300 list last week, and The Other Brian hooks you up with the info on prospects of note:
23. Doran Grant, 5*
27. Sammy Watkins, 5*
57. DeAnthony Arnett, 4*
62. Michael Bennett, 4*
82. Brennen Beyer, 4*
120. Anthony Zettel, 4*
121. Justice Hayes, 4*
129. Damiere Byrd, 4*
155. Andre Yruretagoyena, 4*
168. A.J. Jordan, 4*
178. Vincent Croce, 4*
231. Cyrus Hobbi, 4*
233. Demetrius Hart, 4*
237. Antonio Poole, 4*
266. Cardale Jones, 3*
275. Ray Hamilton, 3*
276. Devin Smith, 3*
300. Jarrell Oliver, 3*
All three of Michigan's commits are now 3-stars to Scout (as noted in this week's Recruiting Class Rankings).
The Buckeye Leaves column on TheClevelandFan.com discusses the recruitment of OH QB Braxton Miller, but doesn't actually give a whole lot of information. Miller showed up to Ohio State practice last week wearing Buckeye gear, so it sounds like the status quo is maintained. VolNation breaks down his game. Having seen him play in person, I'd say it's a fairly accurate synopsis.
Crimson Confidential talks to OH LB Trey DePriest, who mentions that there's a possibility he and Miller might go to school together. Unless DePriest goes to OSU, that seems unlikely, but the article says Alabama might be an option as well.
FL WR Ja'Juan Story (pictured at right) received his Michigan offer a couple weeks ago, and he's come in for quite a bit of fluff lately.
As a Shark he flourished, capturing the attention of colleges with his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, scorching speed and raw talent. Story has the versatility to play quarterback or on defense, but he doesn't mind being recruited as an athlete; he believes he could make his greatest impact as a receiver.
His dad also seems very level-headed when it comes to recruiting, saying that Ja'Juan will be comfortable in any type of offense:
With offers from programs that feature a spread scheme, traditional offense and the triple-option of Georgia Tech, picking the correct scheme to fit a skill set can be challenging. For Rudy Story, it's about trust and the ability to fit in any scheme.
"I think any school that Ja'Juan goes to, they will use him properly," he said. "Coaches are wise, and they will definitely get the best out of his talent. I'll be happy no matter what type of offense they run. If he went to an offense like Georgia Tech, they would use him and he would get one-on-one opportunities and be a blocker. If he went to a spread team like Texas Tech or somewhere, that would be good for him, too."
He'll take his time making a decision, trying to visit every school that offers. The potential for playing time will be a factor in his recruitment, though not the deciding one, as he says he just wants the opportunity to compete for a spot on the field.
FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix says a package deal with FL RB Demetrius Hart is "pretty much sealed." He says there's no way Hart could convince him to go anywhere other than Alabama (where, I should point out, neither of them is committed at this point). Clinton-Dix also drops the following quote:
Is there not a chance Hart might fall for the Wolverines and then try and persuade Clinton-Dix to switch, too?
"No way!" Clinton-Dix said emphatically. "No way!"
So why is the 5-foot-8, 185-pound running back, who, like Clinton-Dix, is an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect, visiting Michigan? Basically, just because he can.
"He's just pretty much having fun with the recruiting process," Clinton-Dix said. "I know where his heart is."
Funny, considering all conventional wisdom says Hart's heart (ugh) is in Ann Arbor, but his brain is telling him to wait to commit until after he can make sure Rich Rodriguez won't get fired - the exact opposite. I wouldn't get too worried about Clinton-Dix's talk until after Hart's visit. South Carolina now leads for their teammate, FL LB LaQuentin Smith.
Michigan has offered FL LB Keith Lewis, bringing his total into the double digits.
Sam Webb's weekly column in the Detroit News this week covers MI CB/RB Valdez Showers, who is hoping for a Michigan offer down the road:
"Michigan was out front a little bit (in getting in on Showers' recruitment) because we went up to their camp last year and he did well," said [Madison Heights Madison assistant coach Chanterius] Brock. "He ran a 4.4 up there and did some good things in the drills. They liked him. At the corner, everybody is coveting his size. He has a great size/speed combination, so that's really big."
The Wolverines haven't extended a scholarship yet, but that could change in a matter of weeks. "They want to get me up to their (one-day) camp this summer so they can see me in person and everything," Showers explained. "Hopefully I'll be able to make it there. If nothing else pops up, I'll be there."
Michigan State has already offered along with a host of MAC schools and others, and Showers doesn't want to talk about where the Wolverines stand on his leaderboard, since they haven't. Extending one would probably put them at or near the top of his list.
Michigan has offered FL RB Mike Blakely ($, info in header). MI OL Bryan Bell will try to earn an offer at the Michigan Elite camp. Recent Michigan visitor PA LB Ben Kline hopes to make a commitment during the summer ($, info in header). OH S Ron Tanner is "still high on Michigan." MD Ath Darius Jennings is pausing his visits ($, info in header). LA OL Jonah Austin is "High on Michigan" ($, info in header, question to which the answer is always "yes"), but his teammate LA S Renaldo Thomas may pick LSU soon ($, info in header).
Personnel notes: Michigan didn't change much at all from the Notre Dame game. Leach played basically the whole game for Mouton. Kovacs again got the fourth quarter when Mike Williams tweaked his ankle. Substitution on the DL continued as before. The only difference is that JB Fitzgerald did get in some as a replacement for Leach or Ezeh.
Michigan did debut a couple of new looks in this game, as described by Steve Sharik earlier this week. One was a pure 3-3-5 look that could have come right out of the West Virginia salad days; the deathbacker played as a MLB. The other was an aggressive eight-man front run defense Sharik calls "split" that M ran against a lot of their ace sets. I noted the 3-3-5 stack somewhat but not the split, which looked like an under to me. I'll work on it for next week. If Robinson stops adding packages I'll eventually be able to ID them consistently.
BTW: This completes Michigan's collection of fronts: They've run even and under 4-3 fronts, a 3-4, and the 3-3-5. Robinson was not kidding about "multiple fronts." The under is still the base, though.
Steve also talked about the "Down G" play that EMU ran a lot. The basic principle here is much like the basic principle was against Michigan State's power ground game the past two years: you are an unblocked DE; there is a guard pulling around who wants to kick you out and open up a crease inside you. You have to get into the guard and make the tailback bounce it outside, where a linebacker will pursue and clean up.
BONUS! In my never-ending quest to make UFR more complicated every year I've added a third defensive metric: tackling. Missed tackles get minuses, as do routine tackles on which the ballcarrier picks up YAC. Open field tackles, tough tackles, and tackles where the guy goes down right where he's hit get pluses. It's very experimental.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Ace trips||4-3 under||Run||Zone stretch right||Van Bergen||9|
|Michigan in a two-deep shell and in man over the WRs so this is six blockers on six defenders even without the QB counting. RVB(-1) gets doubled momentarily and falls to the ground, opening up a lane, and Ezeh(-1) is tentative, which gives the OL sliding to the second level an angle; Ezeh attempts to go around him and takes himself out of the play. RB jets to the second level. Good open field tackle(+1) from Williams(+0.5).|
|O29||2||1||Ace||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch right||Williams||0|
|Eight-man front from M with press man free on the outside. Williams(+1) times a blitz well and shoots into the playside OT before he can peel off Martin, knocking the OL back and erasing any potential lanes. On the bounce, Graham(+0.5) cleans up.|
|O29||3||1||Ace||4-3 under||Run||Zone stretch left||Martin||2|
|Martin(+0.5), slanting, slips past a momentary block from the center and avoids getting scooped, which along with a quick reaction from Ezeh forces a cutback. RVB is flowing down the line behind Martin & Co and makes a good tackle(+1), but momentum carries the back forward for the first.|
|O31||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Fly||Graham||Inc|
|Williams rolled up and press man on the outside again; EMU attempts to test it. M blitzes Williams, drawing the OT, and a RB has to attempt to cut Graham(+0.5, pressure +1), who dives over the cut and gets into Schmitt a bit, causing him to shorten his follow-through. Receiver has a step on Cissoko (-1, cover -1) and room to the sideline, but it's overthrown.|
|O31||2||10||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Power off tackle||Martin||-3|
|Tackle blocks down on RVB(-1), blowing him out immediately, and the guard to that side pulls around as EMU tries to attack the gap between RVB and Roh. No dice though as Martin(+2) shoots into the intended hole, forcing a bounce into Roh(+1), who's held up well and drives his man back. The bounce takes a circuitous route, allowing Brown(+0.5) to read everything and come up to make a solid, no-YAC tackle(+1).|
|Graham(+1, pressure +1) comes around the corner too fast for this screen to develop properly and forces Schmitt to throw it inaccurately. Looked like Brown and Leach had this well sniffed out. (Cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. This drive is actually pretty solid, with one bad play followed by five good ones that saw Michigan defeat Eastern instead of Eastern defeat itself.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Zone stretch right||Van Bergen||-3|
|Eight man front. Michigan slanting into the play here, which gets Van Bergen(+1) and Martin(+1) deep into the backfield directly in the RB's intended path. Surrounded, he's got no choice but to end up in RVB's arms. (Tackling +1) Martin twists an ankle and is replaced by Sagesse.|
|Six yard hitch Ezeh(-1) is about four yards off of when it's thrown, allowing the TE to turn it upfield and pick up four more. (Cover -1)|
|O32||3||3||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 under||Pass||Slant||Ezeh||2|
|Ezeh(+1) reads Schmitt's eyes and immediately takes off for the slant, arriving in time to tackle(+1) short of the sticks. (Cover +1) Very decisive here.|
|Michigan still getting into alignment as the ball is snapped, which seems like poor planning since the snap comes with two seconds on the clock. Eight man front with press man and big spreads between the DL; Michigan is coming after it. Sagesse(-1) steps inside and gets sealed. This cedes a big crease with help from similarly creased Brown(-1). No linebacker help since everyone's selling out on fourth and one, and the RB is into the secondary immediately. Woolfolk takes a good angle and comes up to tackle after about ten, but misses it (-1, tackling -1), giving up another ten before Warren can haul him down.|
|M44||1||10||Ace||4-3 under||Pass||Fly||Cissoko||Inc (Pen +15)|
|Eight man front. Can't say M's not being aggressive here, though on this play the corners have backed off. You've seen this before. Cissoko(+1, cover +1) is running this guy's route and gets called for the world's worst PI. Roh was working his way to the QB, FWIW. Not plus-warranting but pressure was coming.|
|M29||1||10||Ace||3-3-5-ish||Run||Zone stretch right||Sagesse||-1|
|Sagesse(+2) shoots past the center's block and slants past the attempted scoop from the backside guard, jetting into the backfield and forcing the RB outside. With help from Roh(+1, tackling +1), Michigan picks up a TFL.|
|Michigan sends three rushers against max protect so there are eight zone defenders and only three guys in patterns and there's still a wide open hitch five yards downfield that Cissoko is five yards away from at the catch. I usually don't give out personal negatives on zone coverage I can't see but here's a stern look (cover -1).|
|M21||3||2||Ace Big||3-3-5-ish||Run||Zone stretch right||Sagesse||-4|
|Slightly less impressive on replay than it was live because it's revealed that Sagesse was basically let into the backfield unmolested, as he's lined up in a zero tech (directly over the center) and slants right into the play. It's a good angle and he makes an excellent tackle(+1) so here's a +1. Graham(+1) also burst through so this was truly going nowhere.|
|Drive Notes: FG(42), 3-3, 5 min 1st Q. Not bothered by this drive, which was basically a couple of sloppy zone coverages, a gamble EMU won and M lost, and the world's worst PI call. Note that Michigan's running a lot of their 30 front and slanting directly into the stretch plays. This is progress from last week, when M had to discard the stretches because the angles were poor, and I'm betting is an adjustment EMU will make after this drive to open up their run game.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O21||1||10||Ace||Base 4-3||Run||Down G||Banks||2|
|Pulling guards and whatnot, a very Dantonio/Carr play. Michigan stunts, shooting Banks(+1) into the backfield and forcing the back away from the hole. Herron(+1 tackling) cleans up on the cutback.|
|O23||2||8||Ace||3-3-5-ish||Pass||PA TE flat||Warren||2|
|Graham is unblocked and flies upfield at Schmitt after he diagnoses the play action, hypothetically opening up the TE flat sort of play that got Koger a big gainer last week but M is in cover two and Warren(+1, cover +1, tackle +1) reads it well and pops the guy as he makes the catch.|
|O25||3||6||Shotgun 2-back||Base 3-4||Run||Zone read keeper||Brown||13|
|Brown(-2) overplays the zone fake badly and loses contain, opening up huge space for a first down. Worse: this is the backup FR QB, so obviously the run is a preferred option. Very poor.|
|O38||1||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5-ish||Run||Inside Zone||Martin||2|
|EMU finally tries to run right at this three-man line. Leach(+0.5) kind of sort of cuts off an outside hole, which causes a cutback into a doubled Martin(+2), except Martin's shucked his blockers and tackles(+1) at the LOS.|
|O40||2||8||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||PA Cross||Leach||7|
|Play action with a rollout and this is on Leach(-1, cover -1) for vacating his zone and aimlessly running forward to contain a rollout Banks(+0.5) has covered.|
|O47||3||1||Ace tight||4-3 under||Run||Dive||--||4|
|Fully ten guys in the box as EMU lines up in a tight set with both wideouts acting as quasi-TEs. They run right at a sizeable gap between Martin and Graham that Leach(-0.5) doesn't attack fast enough. Looks misaligned or mis-called or something because this didn't seem like a defense likely to prevent a quick burst up the middle.|
|M49||1||10||Ace||3-3-5-ish||Pass||PA rollout scramble||Ezeh||24|
|Man, I don't know what the hell Ezeh(-2) is doing on this. Okay, I do: he's way over-reacting to where Schmitt's looking downfield. He takes himself so far out of his zone that he can reach out and touch Herron, opening up acres of space for Schmitt to either dump off to the running back or take off; he chooses to take off, getting huge yardage. (Cover -2, pressure -1)|
|M25||1||10||Ace||4-3 under||Run||Counter pitch||Heininger||0|
|Yeah, this is a counter, with an H-back pulling backside to block the defensive end as you've seen in Picture Pages frequently. Heininger(+1) reads it, gets into his blocker, and pushes him upfield, necessitating a cutback. Martin(+1) gets blown back by a double team before shucking his guy, reading, hopping to the LOS, and tackling.|
|M25||2||10||Ace||Base 4-3||Run||Off tackle||Martin||10|
|Eight man front. Can't blame Ezeh on this one, as he reads and fills and probably had this snuffed out for little or no gain except for a cutback from the tailback that's open because Martin(-1) got chopped. Leach(-1) failed to read the play and got hooked by a downfield OL, leaving him out of position to deal with this slow-developing play and getting EMU's tailback into the secondary.|
|M15||1||10||Ace||4-3 under||Run||Down G||Graham||4|
|Trap blocking on this; Graham(-1) comes in unblocked but fails to read the pulling guard and doesn't get under him to spill the play outside. RB shoots untouched through the line where Leach(+0.5) makes a solid tackle(+1). This could be on Ezeh, actually... depends on what was called. He was heading outside, though, so I think Graham has to spill the play.|
|M11||2||6||Ace tight||4-3 under||Run||Zone read keeper||Graham||11|
|Well, one: Graham(-2) irresponsibly charges after the tailback, opening up the QB keeper. Weird how this basic zone read defense step is one we can't get right. And two: JB Fitzgerald(-2) makes just an epically bad read, fighting to the inside of his blocker two seconds after everyone else on the defense is chasing the QB.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-10, 11 min 2nd Q. I'm actually way less bothered by this drive than I thought I'd be. It's basically four dumb plays, two on QB contain, two on boneheaded zone drops, and not any sort of EMU-blowing-M-off-ball sort of thing.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O27||1||10||Ace trips bunch||4-3 under||Run||Down G X 2||Roh||2|
|EMU pulls two linemen around to the outside but the tailback just shoots straight upfield. Miscommunication? Roh(+0.5) charges from the backside to tackle; Graham(+0.5) had read the play and helped out, too. (Tackling +1)|
|Running right at the gap between Martin and RVB; RVB (-0.5) gets trapped and creased; can't spill the play outside. Ezeh(+0.5) reacted swiftly, though he wasn't blocked, to tackle in the hole.|
|O33||3||4||Shotgun 2-back||3-3-5-ish||Run||Triple option dive||Ezeh||1|
|I don't know if this is good play or bad from Ezeh since there's a triple option going on outside and the only contain is Brown; this is probably not assignment football. But he's right, and results based charting and all that. Here he attacks the dive aggressively(+1), getting into the RB's feet and helping Graham(+0.5) pursue to the ball and stop EMU short of the first down.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-10, 7 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Ace tight||4-3 under||Pass||PA Sack||Roh||-5|
|Roh(+1) is unblocked on the backside, reads the play, and tackles(+1) as soon as the QB turns around to survey downfield. Excellent read and good job to keep under control to make the sack. (Pressure +2)|
|O20||2||15||Shotgun empty 2TE||30 front||Pass||Hitch||Warren||13|
|This is a whatever hitch for five yards if Warren(-1) makes a tackle(-1); he does not. Receiver spins around and picks up eight more because of the error.|
|Warren(-0.5) one on one with the WR; turns his hips and gets beaten by a little hitch route just past the sticks (cover -1). Ball is dropped.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-10, 5 min 2nd Q. Rough couple plays from Warren there.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M36||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Down G||Fitzgerald||11|
|Well... dammit. They've stuck JB Fitzgerald in the game and it's clear why he doesn't get more playing time. Herron(+0.5) gets into a pulling guard early enough to close off any potential off tackle crease, spilling the play outside where Fitzgerald(-2) should be there to clean up. He's come down inside and run himself out of position so he can't make what should be a TFL. The play springs outside for first down yardage.|
|M25||1||10||Ace Big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Counter off tackle||Leach||9|
|They run a counter, pulling a guard across; Banks(+0.5) again gets into him and spills the play but Leach(-2) has gone into a pass drop already and is eight yards downfield before he realizes this was a bad idea. He runs around some blocks; Ezeh(+0.5) is the WLB here and runs from the backside to tackle. Good athleticism there from Ezeh.|
|M16||2||1||Ace Big||4-3 under||Run||Zone stretch right||4|
|Pretty good job by Sagesse(+0.5) and Banks(+0.5) to hold up against blockers and force a cutback, but there's no one on the backside to clean up because Williams(-1) got clocked. Cissoko cleans up.|
|M12||1||10||Ace Big||4-3 under||Run||Counter off tackle||Williams||6|
|Michigan cramming the box now; Banks(-0.5) blown off the ball by a double team and Herron(-0.5) sets up too far outside to squeeze the hole and spill the play. Still, Williams(-1) is sitting unblocked in the hole and fails to tackle(-1) at the LOS, turning this from like two into five. Michigan TO.|
|M6||2||4||Ace||4-3 under||Run||Down G||Leach||2|
|Slight variant here with EMU blocking down on the DE and bringing one guard around into two linebackers. Leach(+1) reads the play and attacks it, closing in at the LOS and tackling(+1) with help from Ezeh. Michigan TO.|
|M4||3||2||Ace Big||4-3 under||Run||Off tackle||Williams||4|
|This is just tough when they line up two TEs to one side of the line and the three guys you've got over there are Roh, Williams, and Cissoko. Roh(-1) gets doubled and blown back; Williams(-1) gets crushed into the endzone, which prevents any chance of LBs flowing over. M should have been in a goal line set here. Error by Robinson.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-17, 2 min 2nd Q. Note the timeouts! Rodriguez has played enough XBox 360 to understand when he can get an extra possession out of the first half. Can you imagine Carr taking these? There is one run play before halftime but it's academic and not charted.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O12||1||10||Ace trips||30 front||Run||Dive||Williams||6|
|Williams(-1) is half-rolled up and fills on this simple dive play; a solid tackle means this is like three yards (Leach(-0.5) crushed out of the hole by a G), but Williams lets the guy spin through (tackling -1) and pick up extra.|
|O18||2||4||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Inside Zone||Graham||-1|
|Graham(+2) blows through his guy and crushes the play in the backfield with help from unblocked Roh(+0.5) on the backside. (Tackling +1)|
|O17||3||5||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Hitch||Warren||Inc|
|Warren(+1) reacts considerably more rapidly to this hitch than the last one and appears to get a hand on a poorly thrown ball breaking it up (cover +1). Effective blitz got a couple edge guys in (pressure +1) and may have contributed to a hurried throw.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-17, 11 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O9||1||10||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Run||Off tackle||Ezeh||3|
|Michigan slanting away from this so a little fortunate to hold this down. Only one player to the second level, who takes out Leach; Ezeh(+1, tackling +1) has a free flow to the POA which, to his credit, he attacks swiftly and makes a solid tackle at.|
|O12||2||7||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||TE cross||Herron||5|
|I'm not sure what they're running here as it looks like man with Ezeh dropping into some sort of zone and Leach freaking out and attacking the LOS once the RB sets up to block a blitzing Williams. Fire blitz? Herron's in man on the TE, close enough to force a tough throw and no YAC, which is a win, I think. +1 for him, but not on the cover.|
|O17||3||2||Ace Big||4-3 under||Run||Dive||Williams||-2|
|Williams(+1) times a blitz well and shoots into the backfield, keeping under control and snuffing this out in the backfield with help from Martin(+1), who just crushed his guy, and Ezeh(+1) who aggressively sought the play out and cut through trash to make this a party in the backfield.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-17, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Ace Twins||30 front||Pass||PA TE cross||--||Inc|
|EMU finally goes to a bootleg and gets Schmitt on the edge. Ezeh comes up to contain but not quickly so Schmitt has time to find the TE running open for a decent gain. Poor throw and an incompletion. (Cover -1)|
|O20||2||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||PA Hitch||Warren||4|
|Martin(+0.5) and Roh(+0.5) are busting through the line to force a quick throw (pressure +1) on a hitch; Warren(+0.5) tackles(+1) immediately.|
|O24||3||6||Shotgun 3-wide 2TE||4-3 under||Pass||Deflection||Ezeh||Int|
|Michigan sends a zone blitz, getting Ezeh(+1) in unblocked. He leaps in the throwing lane and bats the ball skyward, directly to Roh(+1), who brings it in for an INT. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 31-17, 3 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|We totally miss this play. Arbitrary cover -1.|
|O49||2||1||Ace Big||4-3 under||Pass||PA Fly||Warren||Inc|
|Going for the home run with an almost-free play. Warren(+2) runs the guy's route for him(cover +2) and this has no chance of success. FLAG? Lol jk no.|
|O49||3||1||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Run||Down G||Roh||3|
|Kovacs is in the game for Williams, BTW, and will play the rest of the game. EMU goes back to their down G play, running right at Roh. Roh(-1) is in good position to squeeze the gap and force a bounce but basically gets run over by the G, which provides enough crease for the first. Should go low here, I think.|
|M48||1||10||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Pass||PA Fly||Banks||Inc|
|Banks(+1) blows through the line on a slant, getting hooked and drawing a holding flag. Schmitt flushes from the pocket and chucks it deep to a double-covered WR, who falls. Woolfolk almost intercepts. (Cover +1, pressure +1)|
|O42||1||20||Shotgun 2-back||30 front||Pass||Screen||Ezeh||9|
|Only rush four but playing man behind it so Ezeh is the only one looking at the tailback here and he's got a tough job against two OL. I guess you can ding him for reacting slowly(-0.5). He does force the play inside, where it dies after a good gain.|
|O49||2||11||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 under||Pass||Hitch||Graham||6|
|Graham(+1) bursts around the corner (pressure +1), forcing a quick throw. It's open in zone; Brown and Warren tackle(+1) immediately.|
|M45||3||6||Shotgun empty 2TE||4-3 under||Pass||Hitch||Woolfolk||13|
|Brown gets a free release on a blitz as Michigan goes man with no safeties; Woolfolk is playing off (cover -1) a bit and Schmitt makes a good throw for the first. Woolfolk(-0.5) then struggles to tackle(-1), providing another three or four.|
|M32||1||10||Ace Big||4-3 under||Pass||Flare||Lynch||9|
|Little flare screen on the edge sees Kovacs(-1) and Leach(-1) both get engaged by blockers who drive them off the screen and entirely out of the play. Cissoko has no help and all he can do is delay the RB and wait for help to arrive downfield. (Cover -1)|
|M23||2||1||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Run||Down G||Kovacs||0|
|Kovacs rolled up. He attacks the pulling guard, standing him up and delaying the back. He tries to bounce outside, where Lynch is, and eventually just runs up into Kovacs(+1) for a loss.|
|M23||3||1||Ace Big||4-3 under||Run||Inside Zone||Martin||3|
|Martin(-0.5) gives a yard or two, as does Ezeh, but that's not really his fault, and there's enough of a push up front to get the first.|
|M20||1||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Run||End around||Brown||5|
|Not sure who's got the contain here but it's either Brown(-0.5) or Graham, and I think it's probably Brown's late reaction that barely opens the corner here for an okay gain.|
|M15||2||5||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Penalty||False Start||--||Pen -5|
|M20||2||10||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Run||Down G X 2||Brown||11|
|Variant of the down G here that's supposed to get outside the tackle. TE downblocks on Roh and the T and G both pull around into Brown(-1) who gets planted as you might imagine a safety playing LB would, and the play heads outside with ease. Ezeh(-1) also misreads the play and runs himself into a block.|
|M9||1||G||Ace Twin TE||4-3 under||Pass||PA rollout||--||5|
|Zone stretch fake into a rollout that finds no one despite(cover +2) no pressure(-1) for a long time. Schmitt is able to cut it up for a few yards.|
|M5||2||G||Ace||4-3 under||Run||Off tackle 2||Warren||2|
|Same play that just got 11 yards with a bonus blocker as one of the WRs motions in. So close to the goal line the secondary is active, though. One of the pulling blockers is picked off by Graham(+0.5) getting some penetration. Woolfolk pops up under the last guy, forcing a bounce into Warren(+0.5) who tackles well but does allow the guy to fall forward.|
|M3||3||G||Goal line||Goal line||Run||Down G||Brown||-2|
|Wing blitzes from Kovacs(+1) and Brown(+1) jet past blockers and the two meet the RB in the backfield for a TFL.|
|M5||4||G||Ace||4-3 under||Pass||Fade stop||Cissoko||Inc|
|Receiver does get Cissoko to bite on a fade by turning his head inside, then whipping around to get open at the start of the endzone but can't keep his feet and the throw isn't perfect so it's incomplete. (Cover -1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 38-17, 9 min 4th Q. Jeez that was a long, uncomfortable drive. More on it later.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M47||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||3-3-5 stack||Pass||Sack||--||--|
|The ugly play where Schmitt tears his ACL for no reason.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 38-17, 7 min 4th Q.|
|O14||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 under||Run||Triple option keeper||Roh||3|
|Roh(+1) is unblocked, reads the dive fake, and comes out to tackle the QB by himself. Athletic move there; this is not a guy you want to read, I don't think.|
|O17||2||7||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Hitch||Graham||Inc|
|Graham(+1) is in the passing lane and bats it down. (Pressure +1)|
|O17||3||7||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 under||Pass||Screen||Leach||7|
|Leach(-1) drops in his zone, reads it slowly, and can't recover to tackle. (Cover -1)|
|O24||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 under||Pass||Scramble||--||5|
|No one open (cover +1); decent pressure flushes the QB and he scrambles for a few.|
|O29||2||5||Shotgun 2-back||30 front||Run||Zone read keeper||Fitzgerald||14|
|Fitzgerald's(-1) the guy with the QB, but reacts slowly, takes a block, and gets cut behind as the QB cuts it up.|
|O43||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||30 front||Pass||Hitch||--||Inc|
|Wildly inaccurate for no particular reason.|
|O43||2||10||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 under||Pass||Scramble||--||5|
|Replay of the scramble earlier in the drive (Cover +1)|
|O48||3||5||Shotgun 2-back||3-4 Base||Run||Triple option dive||Banks||1|
|Banks(+1) shucks a blocker and delivers a thumping tackle.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 45-17, 4 min 4th Q. Charting ceases as the second team is put in for the rest of the game.|
So that was concerning, wasn't it?
Slightly, yes, but after looking at the tape I'm more encouraged than I was immediately after the game.
How can that be?
To explain that I think I need a—
|Graham||10.5||3||7.5||Very little opportunity to get after the quarterback. Was good against the run, though he was one of the people responsible for Schmitt's touchdown run.|
|Heininger||1||-||1||Made one nice play.|
|Patterson||-||-||-||Scrub time only I think.|
|Roh||6.5||3||3.5||A couple of nice plays when EMU put him on the edge and tried to fool or read him. Athleticism should be an asset against zone read teams.|
|Martin||7||1.5||5.5||Much better job getting off blocks this week and more active; this is probably because of the competition. Still, he's promising. Probably needs another year before he's truly an anchor.|
|Van Bergen||1||2.5||-1.5||Not holding up very well against doubles.|
|Banks||4.5||.5||4||Rodriguez mentioned he'd been playing well last week and he did make some plays here.|
|Sagesse||3.5||1||2.5||Big fourth down stop was a gift but made some other plays. Needs more PT.|
|TOTAL||31||11.5||19.5||Nice number, so the rushing yards were on…|
|Ezeh||6||5.5||0.5||Well, at least it's positive.|
|Brown||1.5||4.5||-3||Blew a zone read contain for some of his minus points, and got blasted back by guys 60 pounds heavier than he is on some others. Didn't think he played that bad.|
|Fitzgerald||-||5||-5||Yipes. Huge missed reads for all five negative points. Looked lost. Athletic, but lost.|
|Leach||2||7||-5||Didn't make any of his tackles near the LOS, did the Mouton thing where you go into a pass drop on a run play.|
|TOTAL||9.5||22||-12.5||Could have gone better.|
|Warren||5||1.5||3.5||Mostly run support and a couple open hitches/blanketed deep routes.|
|Cissoko||1||1||0||"Hey, that guy isn't Michael Floyd."|
|Floyd||-||-||-||Scrub time only.|
|Woolfolk||-||1.5||-1.5||Almost zero to in coverage. Missed a couple tackles but nothing serious.|
|Williams||2.5||4||-1.5||Like Brown, got a share of minuses just for being 100 pounds smaller than the guy blocking him.|
|Kovacs||2||1||1||Hasn't cost Michigan anything yet..|
|TOTAL||10.5||9||1.5||Almost had the day off.|
|Pressure||10||2||8||Probably why they hardly passed.|
|Coverage||12||13||-1||Also a reason.|
|Tackling||18||5||13||No idea if this is generous or what to compare it to or what. I'm just building data here.|
So… there you go. I'm still working on the tackling bits, obviously. I wouldn't take the minuses on the safeties too seriously.
Why does this make you less concerned than you were before?
We already knew that Ezeh is the kind of guy to get dragged out of position and open up a 24 yard scramble, and we had a strong suspicion that even though the starting linebackers were poor their backups were worse, and all this bore out. Most of the defensive line played up to expectations except Van Bergen, and Banks may add some additional interior depth going forward. The secondary was par for the course, too, and the tackling was pretty good.
Come on, look at that 36-yard all-run touchdown drive. This is Eastern Michigan!
Is that a question?
This is Eastern Michigan?
Fine, fine, okay, yes. It's not like I expect the defense to be good or anything. It's just that the EMU game didn't reveal anything particularly surprising or new. And ten of their points were on the world's worst pass interference call and a thirty-six yard drive. They gained under 300 yards and Michigan outgained them by 180-some. I'm fine with what happened, mostly.
The most disturbing bits were the zone read breakdowns. How does that happen when you practice against it all day every day? I don't know, but when any EMU QB pulled the ball out he had plenty of space.
Any hope for defensive depth in the future?
In the secondary and at linebacker, no. Leach slotting in ahead of Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald proving that wasn't a crazy decision with some really bad play indicates that there's no cavalry coming in the backups. Michigan is riding with Mouton and Ezeh, like it or not. Pray they improve. (To his credit, Ezeh was better at hitting the hole in this game. Baby steps.)
Meanwhile in the secondary, Michigan went the whole game with the starters until Williams got tweaked and Kovacs returned; no corner other than the starting pair saw a snap until uncharted garbage time, and that didn't even include uber-frosh Justin Turner. I did include converted WR/RB Teric Jones, whose redshirt is burned. Burning that redshirt is a whopping statement about where the secondary depth stands: next to Charlie Weis on a precipice, looking down at disaster.
The line, though, looks like it might pick up another contributor in Greg Banks and at some point you figure they will unleash Will Campbell on short yardage. He was part of the goal line set that saw a few snaps and probably should have been in on a few more. He's a tough guy to move.
So… no on Fitzgerald?
Not yet, at least. Watch the linebacker to the top of the screen (not the guy on the line, the guy lined up on the 32, which is Fitzgerald) here:
Michigan was playing that play to spill all day, spilled it, and Fitzgerald was nowhere to be found. He is not mentally ready to play.
The safeties look halfway competent, don't they?
Um… well… mentioning this will probably doom them forever, but maybe? None of ND's long plays can be blamed on the safeties, though part of that was the defensive scheme and part of that was the ability of Notre Dame to exploit an injured, short Cissoko in his first start against a good offense. And Eastern didn't find anything long. The only play on which a safety got a big negative was the long Western touchdown. Just MAC teams, sure, but by this point in any other season there would have been two or more plays from the safeties that make you groan and clutch your rosary. Obi Ezeh's "so we got that going for us" quote about Woolfolk may be accurate.
The starting defensive line outside of Van Bergen, who didn't do much.
All linebackers not named Ezeh, who was decent.
What does it mean for Indiana and the future?
I'll keep it brief since this was a game against Eastern Michgian and you overrate it at your peril: the team is basically what we thought it was. If you want to load up against it and grind down the field you'll have success doing it, though I wonder if teams will manage to score a lot of touchdowns with that sort of approach. Michigan's going to bend a lot; hopefully they won't break.
Greg Robinson is busy installing all sorts of different stuff and slants and various games to cover up for the fact that he's got no depth, two seniors, and three walk-ons contributing. I think we're going to see a lot of instances where the games work and Michigan swarms something and a lot of instances where Michigan gets caught and gashed. There are places to attack this defense, and the safeties are going to have to do a lot of cleanup in Big Ten play.
Is there any upside for these guys? Maybe. It is a new system so Michigan is behind mentally and should improve more than veteran units whose failings are more likely to be physical shortcomings than mental errors. Look at Eastern's long touchdown drive: mental error after mental error. If Michigan can fix those things—or, more conservatively, mitigate them—they appear to have the horsepower to be completely mediocre. Again: getting Ezeh and Mouton up to a level where they are decent is the key to the defense's season.
All recruiting updates can be found on the Recruiting Board.
Michigan had long been considered at or near the top of FL OL Torrian Wilson's list, but Wilson has committed to Stanford. I wouldn't be surprised if he still took some visits, so he'll stay on the recruiting board for a little while longer.
Likely-similar results from the decision of FL RB Eduardo Clements. He's made up his mind, but for some reason (probably to annoy me) won't announce it until Signing Day. Michigan was his favorite as recently as a month ago, but I would guess he's picked somebody else.
The Distant Future. The Year 2011.
September 1st is the first day juniors can receive offers. A number of 2011 guys have gotten them thus far, and as I've noted, one of them has already committed to Michigan. Check out the commitment post on Greg Brown here.
Moving along to other juniors who have received offers, there a number that can be confirmed via free sources. The positions on some of these guys may not be definite quite yet, because jesus they're 16 years old.
FL RB Demetrius Hart was being kept in the dark on his offers, so he can focus on his football season. I can virtually gurantee you he got a Michigan offer, and he's considered a heavy Michigan lean. Hart is a top prospect, and is visiting this weekend (see below). I'm sure the coaches would be ecstatic if he made a commitment. Central Florida Varsity Prospects has video on Hart.
When I talked to MI WR DeAnthony Arnett in August, he had 3 unofficial offers. Offer Day came and went, and now he has 3 official offers ($, info in header). I'm willing to bet they're the same three - Michigan, MSU, and Eastern Michigan.
FL OL Tyler Moore received his Michigan offer. His dad played for Nebraska, so he's considered a virtual lock to join the Huskers down the road. Despite the M offer, they're not in his early top 4, and he plans to decide this fall.
AZ OL Christian Westerman has an official offer from the Wolverines. His dad also cryptically mentions that Christian likes snow. Might that be a hint that Michigan is near the top of his list? Maybe I'm reading into things a little too much.
MI OL Anthony Zettel has not yet received a MIchigan offer, but should he get one, he would probably end up wearing the maize and blue. He attended the Western Michigan game, and I believe is expected to be in town again this weekend.
FL DE/LB James Wilder should be one of the top prospects in Florida. He received a Michigan offer on September 1st, along with offers from the likes of Florida, West Virginia, and Miami (Yes That Miami). Rivals video:
OH DE Chris Rock also received his Michigan offer in the mail already. He admits only knowing about Ohio State, since he's grown up in Columbus. However, he is a former high school teammate of Wolverine Patrick Omameh (well, same high school - Omameh was a senior in Rock's freshman year).
OH LB Trey DePriest has a verbal offer from Michigan, and I'm sure he's gotten the written edition in the mail since that article was published nearly a week ago. He's a top prospect in Ohio, and grew up liking the Wolverines. He plans to take his time in making a commitment. GBMW scouted DePriest last week.
No word on an offer, but OH S Ron Tanner visited Michigan last week ($, info in header), and apparently really liked what he saw.
See below for a little more detail, but OH CB Doran Grant has received an official offer ($, info in header).
A 2011 recruiting board will be debuting sometime soon.
The Free Press has an article on visitors to last week's Western Michigan game (link is no-followed). Other than Dior Mathis, there were mostly current commits and junior prospects in attendance. Photo at right (courtesy of Josh Helmholdt in the Free Press) is 2011 OH CB Doran Grant. MGoBlog's own TomVH caught up with some of Michigan's commitments, and they gave him their reactions to the season-opening win.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has been a longtime Duke commitment, but he's been soft in that commitment basically the whole time. He still plans to take an official visit to Ann Arbor, as well (also of note from that article, FL CB Tony Grimes is down to M, Wisconsin, and Ole Miss). Two visits this fall/winter, one on his own dime? Sounds like the kid really likes Michigan, and might be a serious possibility for OMG SNAKE OILZ~!~!~! It's not like Duke is living up to their promise of being a team on the rise. Olaniyan comes in for some fluff from his high school coach as well:
“I've got two Division I line prospects and a center who's nastier than they are and he's just killing them. At one point, he just blew by two blockers and crushed the quarterback. He's the fastest kid you're ever going to block – literally.”
He plays DE for his high school, but is more of an LB at the next level.
MD RB Josh Furman will be in the house ($, info in header) when Michigan squares off against the Irish.
While we're talking visitors, I may as well mention that this weekend is huge for the hoops team as well. Dylan covers the particulars over at UMHoops.
Maxpreps fluff on a number of Michigan targets. He may get more pub in Recruitin' posts than anyone outside of Devin Gardner and Seantrel Henderson, but how about some more on PA CB Cullen Christian? Game report from his team's season-opening loss, including video highlights of a pretty nice one-handed pick by Cullen. He'll visit UCLA soon. This is more FNL-y, but The Wolverine Blog has video from Jeremy Jackson's game last weekend.