Just wanted to give credit where credit's due. I was re-watching the Indiana game and caught this on the replay when Smith lost his helmet in the 4th quarter:
It's common to see an O-lineman in this position grab and pull his RB for a few extra yards, but in this case he basically stops playing football, puts his hand on Smith's exposed noggin, and cups it all the way to the ground.
He actually does a good job keeping Smith's neck straight while Smith is being tackled. Means his arm is loose (edit: apparently not, see below). He's basically sacrificing his hand in case another helmet comes flying at Smith's skull.
He isn't going to get UFR points for this because it's not a "football" play, but excellent, excellent thinking on his feet and concern for his teammate's safety.
P.S. Smith, you're an RB; get your helmet fixed! This ain't the first time!
EDIT: OK, this thread is taking a very ugly turn so let me turn your attention to two other details. One, look at Braden's right hand in the first shot. It's Ben Braden pressing the Indiana defender's helmet into Smith's face to prevent it from slamming into Smith's head on the way down (Braden would then push away the helmet just before impact, h/t to SugarShane for pointing that out). He probably shouldn't have tackled at all but the whistle was late. Second, the guy who pulled off Smith's helmet -- Covington -- wrapped high but well under the helmet, just couldn't get an arm under Smith's shoulders and even recovered the helmet after it went flying. There is zero evidence of dirty Indiana play. I'm trying to celebrate a good thing here, so please cease with the accusations.
Being that I live in Rockford, I am very proud of this kid! Congrats to him and his hard work. Let's hope he can develop a high level of cohesiveness with the other 4 lineman!
Obviously there has been a great deal written about the offensive line and it is probably the biggest question mark on this team. While I feel like I've read a great deal about the offensive line in general, there doesn't seem to have been as much critique of individual players. For instance:
Glasgow: We saw him both at guard and as center, is he better at one position than the other? Clearly he had his problems with botched snaps in the middle of the season, but my sense is that by the end of the season, he had settled in at center. Did others who know more about the offensive line see improvement or did he still have less obvious flaws in his QB exchanges?
Kalis: were his challenges more with technique, knowing what he was supposed to do, speed getting off the ball? Something else?
Magnuson: seemed to have at least two challenges. First: strength (was he 285 or 295 last year, he is listed both ways in various rosters and depth charts. Second: he was learning a new position (and then had to deal with switching from the right to left side. Given the coaches willingness to switch him around so much, it seems they have a great deal of confidence in his ability to pick things up. Do people who know more about the offensive line think his challenges were more in picking up a new position, strength, something else?
Bosch: my sense is that he was playing because the coaches felt he had good technique and strength, but he just hadn't picked up enough of the offense yet.
Miller: were his challeges in the strength department, or is there something else holding him back?
I think that with either Glasgow or Kugler at center, we will be the strongest we've been since Molk left. I hope Kugler is able to step up, because then I think with Glasgow moving to guard, we'd be alright in two positions. The Magnuson injury is worrisome, because I think the biggest thing he needed was more time in the weight room. I still think he'll be the starting left tackle, he just won't be as improved as we'd hoped.
I think Bosch is going to step up and take the other guard spot and that the biggest question mark going into fall will be right tackle. For those who know more about the offensive line, how much of a question mark is it that Braden wasn't able to move inside? Obviously many others have done it, so it seems like a big red flag to me. For that reason, I think we'll see Dawson at right tackle.
I am more optimistic than many and I think that while last year's line had it's challenges with youth, Borges playcalling and constantly mucking with the line greatly exacerbated those problems. I think that we'll see more improvement than many are expecting.
Thanks for everyone who looked past my formatting fiasco and provided some of the player speciic insights I was hoping for.
TTB Andrew interviewed Ben Braden a few days ago. Braden says he's up to 6'7", 325 lbs. and not planning on redshirting.
The article is free, so you can actually read all about how awesome the 2012 OL class is (and that's without potential future commits like Jordan Diamond), but I'll post it here anyway:
The Wolverines have five commitments on the line led by top national tackles Kyle Kalis (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) and Erik Magnuson (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon).
Kalis has a 247 Rating of 96 and is the No. 40 prospect in the country and No. 7 offensive tackle in a truly special class of tackle prospects.
Magnuson, 6-foot-6, 275-pounds, checks in at No. 63 with a 96 rating. He is the No. 10 ranked tackle in the class.
Joining the impressive duo are tackles Ben Braden (Rockford, Mi.), Blake Bars (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) and Caleb Stacey (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore). Braden is on the verge of four-star status checking in with a 247 Rating of 89.
The tight end group of Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams also comes in for an honorable mention.
This weekend will be a big event for Michigan with the BBQ, but there will be a big time visitor before the cook out as well. With limited spots left prospects could start to make decisions depending on what their peers decide to do themselves, so every spot left is on watch. Here's a look at what happened this week and what's happening in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH and email me with any tips at [email protected].
6'2", 190 lbs.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Darboh is a four star receiver that has shown interest in Michigan for quite some time, bnut has been unable to make it up to Ann Arbor. That's about to change, as he has finally set up a visit to take in the campus and environment.
I'm going up to Michigan tomorrow [Monday the 25th]. Me and my basketball coach are going. He's a Michigan fan and he was able to give me a ride, so he wanted to go. We're taking off here at 8am on Monday, staying all day Monday, all day Tuesday, and then we might be back for a little bit on Wednesday too.
This is a big visit for both parties since Michigan is currently looking for wide receivers and Darboh hasn't been able to meet most of the coaching staff.
I have met Coach Mallory, but I haven't been up there yet. I'm excited, I don't have any questions right now but I'm sure once I get there I'll have some. I'm just excited to see everything. I've heard a lot of good things from my coaches. I've talked to the Michigan coaches over the phone, but I want to meet them and hopefully meet some of the players too.
As far as where his recruitment stands Darboh says he will likely narrow his list down by the time his season starts.
I thought I'd have a top list already but I'm not going to have it until my season starts. Hopefully when my season starts I'll have it narrowed down to a top five and then just go from there. If I take an official visit somewhere and I feel comfortable and it feels right then I'll just commit there. Right now everything changes every now and then because I haven't seen everywhere yet. I don't want to name a list until I finalize it, but I think Michigan has a good chance to be in the top five. I'll know more about them after my visit.
Amara also holds offers from Florida, Iowa, Iowa State, MSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin among others.
6'7", 320 lbs.
Braden has been committed to Michigan since March, though it seems much longer with all the other commitments Michigan has reeled in since. At the time, little was known about him, but since then Braden made quite a bit of noise at Michigan's camp with his size and performance.
I went up against a lot of good defensive linemen. Towards the end of the camp we were given the option to switch to defense, so I tried that out too. I did get to meet some of the other prospects and we were all kind of getting to know each other more than anything. Right now my height is 6-foot-7 and my weight is 320-pounds. I'm not really focused on a certain weight, just getting stronger and faster and better. That helped this year at the camp, but I still have some things I'm trying to improve on.
Ben is starting to realize that his last year of high school football is upon him, but is just trying to focus on one step at a time.
It's all starting to set in with all the seniors, but I'm just trying to worry about the season. With Michigan my family and I are going to try to get up for a few games. I do want to get up to the night game against Notre Dame.
There have been fans that are concerned with what the final product will look like for Michigan on the field in 2011. They've been wondering how that translates to the recruits, and what their perspective is on how well Michigan does this coming season.
Just from meeting the coaching staff I'm very comfortable with their methods and how they teach technique. The biggest thing that I really love and a huge key to why I committed is the family atmosphere. With Brady Hoke and all the coaches I think this season is going to be great, it's going to be huge. I know that they're going to do great. With recruiting I think it's cool that we have a lot of good athletes that are committing to my class. I know we're all excited to interact and build friendships too.
Braden's size and performance at Michigan's camp, in my mind, don't match up with how he's rated on the recruiting sites. As Tim speculated in last week's Friday Night Lights primer, he should have a shot to move up.
6'2", 186 lbs.
Powe is a four-star receiver that has recently come to the attention of Michigan fans. He has shown interest in Michigan, and says the Wolverines are among his top group.
I'm trying to visit Michigan. I've been talking to Coach Heck about when I should come out there. [In order] Oregon State, Michigan, UCLA, Miami, and Cal are on top right now. I'm trying to wait everything out to see all my choices and narrow everything down.
Powe's teammate and fellow wide receiver Malik Gilmore is currently committed to Oregon State, but also had interest in Michigan at one point. It will be interesting to see how Powe's recruitment plays out. He says that he's a fearless playmaker that isn't scared to go across the middle of the field to make a play.
I posted today that 2011 OL Graham Glasgow switched his preferred walk on commitment from Ohio State to Michigan in mid June. He's a 6'7", 295 lb tackle that has been showing some potential so far. Another walk on OL that seems to be holding his own is Gary Yerden from from Parchment, Michigan. Others have pointed out on the board that Yerden was formerly a weight lifter and broke the dead lift record in high school.
If you somehow missed the visitor list for the Big House BBQ this weekend you can find it here. This should be a big deal for Michigan; there are a few uncommitted prospects at the event and there might be potential for a few things to keep an eye on. We'll see.
2013 QB Shane Morris, 2012 DB Terry Richardson, and TE Ron Thompson are all at the Gridiron Kings event in Florida this week. If you've missed coverage of it you have not been on the internet because it's everywhere. Just in case, here's a link to an article. In that article Tom Luginbill says that if Shane Morris were in the 2012 class he would a top five or six guy in the country.