I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Heading into the 2012 season there was much concern over the lack of size of the interior DL. Spring Practice has us convinced that undersized Jibreel Black and hopefully breakout player Will Campbell would be manning those spots and we would survive.
Cut to 2012 Fall Practice and seemingly out of nowhere Quinton Washington emerged as the surprise starter. He went on to have a very good season and hopefully will continue this trend for 2013.
So I pose the question Who will be the surprise breakout starter/contributor for the 2013 season? Here are the candidates:
RB Drake Johnson
Spring Practice was the time for another RB to emerge as Toussiant was still on the shelf and all of the practice reps and carries were there for the taking. Aside from Justice Hayes grabbing the 3rd Down RB spot it didn't seem like anyone else had separated themselves. I was expecting to see more "OR" in the RB depth chart but surprise we see Johnson has used Fall Practice to clearly pass Rawls and the freshman. Speaking of the freshman I think this spot at the depth chart doesn't represent contribution ability but rather the best utilization of eligibility years. Touissant is the clear starter and Hayes should take the majority of 3rd Down plays, leaving only "breather" and "garbage" carries for the other RBs. Better to use Johnson than Green or Smith until and unless either of them show they are ready to take primetime carries.
LG Graham Glasgow
Glasgow had been in a battle with Miller for the Center spot for the Spring Practice and it seemed most of Fall Practice. Only recently did we start hearing Chris Bryant was going to start and almost just as quickly that he had been passed Glasgow. Hopefully Bryant still troublesome knee was not the reason Glasgow took the spot, but rather that once Glasgow got consistent snaps at LG he beat the guy would could have started in 2012. Hopefully this is not similar to 2011 when Barnum was the starter at LG but was injured, making us believe he would be good in 2012.
SLB Brennan Beyer
We have continuously heard praise for Cam Gordon's athleticism and playmaking ability while the only think I remember reading about Beyer that he is a good run defender. Yet he started the Spring Game and remains the co-starter. Here's hoping he has shown significant improvement and all his "hype" has been swallowed up by Fort Schembechler.
My choice for the 2013 Surprise Fall Contributor is Graham Glasgow. Really the only knock against him was his underwhelming recruiting profile, which history has shown means little when dealing with lineman.He is a third year lineman with the size and strength to be a very good player at LG.
I finally got my video editing rig unborked, so now I can get back to making parkinggod highlights and Moving Picture Pages.
(update) My time off has made me sloppy. Wrong font, weird timings on the captions, forgot the Evil Space Magic trick to embed the video, didn't properly credit Brian (original analysis his, used with permission), didn't link back to the original http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-short-yardage-slant, etc., etc. You'll have to excuse me for a bit while I go run the stadium steps.
by Burgeoning Wolverine Star (LINK).
Here's the video of the play in question:
Note that Quinton Washington pushes Purdue's
right left guard back so far that he takes out the pulling left right guard, forcing the RB outside into Jake Ryan and Kenny Demens.
"Will": A One-Down Play (w/ apologies to "Airplane!")
QUARTER 1, DOWN 1
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the game, folks. The Michigan defense starts their work at the 22. Looks like the offense is in an unusual formation, trips plus tight end all on one side of the field. Split end goes into motion. . . to the strong side! Five guys on one side? I don't know if they're trying to confuse Mattison, but they're sure confusing me!
JORDAN KOVACS: Coverage Blue-18. . . Wait, it's not trips, guys! It's quints!
QUINTON WASHINGTON: Huh?
KENNY DEMENS: Denny, Will covers the slot, not the wideout!
WILL CAMPBELL: What?
DESMOND MORGAN: I'm on him! Coverage, Black-32!
JIBREEL BLACK: What?
JORDAN KOVACS: They can't all be on the line. They're forming a second row!
CRAIG ROH: Huh?
JAKE RYAN: Split your zone with Denny, Kenny!
KENNY DEMENS: Will do!
WILL CAMPBELL: What?
JAKE RYAN: Jordan, JT will cover the flanker, but can he stay with him?
WILL CAMPBELL: What?
KENNY DEMENS: Huh?
JORDAN KOVACS: Who?
I'm starting to feel better about NT depth after this year. Although Washington and Ash have not played much, each of them were mentioned by Brady Hoke in news conferences without being asked.
Last week, Brady was asked if he wanted to get Devin Gardner in the game, and Brady's answer was that he wanted to get a lot of people into the game, like Quinton Washington. This week, he was asked about morale and getting backups in. Brady's answer was about how good it was to get Ash into the game.
I also rewatched the end of the Minnesota game and Ash and Washington were in together. Nothing spectacular and it was Minnesota, but they seemed to do fine.
Not feeling as good about 3-tech and 5-tech, but that's probably why Brady went after Wormley, Godin and Strobel. I imagine two of these three will play next year behind Campbell.
Over at MGoBlue.com, Bruce Madej tells the story of four stranded Michigan football players who made team decisions as they struggled to make their way to Jacksonville in the face of this past weekend's east coast winter storm.
Starting offensive lineman Patrick Omameh finally arrived in Jacksonville on evening flight Monday, Dec. 27. He and running back Fitzgerald Toussaint were both in Columbus, Ohio, and when their flight though Washington, D.C., was canceled, they had to fly to Philadelphia.
There was only one seat on the direct flight from Philly to Jacksonville. The players had to decide who would take that one seat and get to Jacksonville on time for the first practice. Tousaaint knew Omameh, a starter on the offense, needed to be on that flight. Toussaint made the decision to put Omameh on the direct flight. He would take the long road to Jacksonville through Charlotte, thinking he was getting his teammate to Jacksonville first.
Ah, but the best laid plans sometimes go awry. The flight from Philly was cancelled and Omameh was stuck, and the Wolverines were without their starting right guard for two practices in Jacksonville. Toussaint, on the other hand, made [it] to Jacksonville late on the 26th.
Junior safety Mike Williams and freshman [defensive lineman] Quinton Washington also tried to make necessary moves to help the team when they reached their connecting flights in Atlanta. Williams' flight on Delta was leaving as scheduled, getting him into Jacksonville on time for the Sunday practice. Washington's flight was delayed. Williams, who played in two games this past year, knew it was important to get Washington, a nose tackle who has played in all 12 games, to Jacksonville first.
The players pleaded with Delta to switch the tickets, but in this day and age of travel, the airline's hands were tied. Williams made it to the Sunday practice, while Washington came in later that evening and was ready to go on Monday.
Decisions on the fly are something football players need to make on the field. These four players had to make decisions about how they would fly and the value to the team of their fellow teammates.
Echoing Madej, these stories show how these Wolverines first consider The Team in their decision making. Quite a contrast with some other behavior we've seen lately.
Nicely done, fellows.