landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Roy Roundtree Interview with Rittenberg:
Nothing really newsworthy here. (No mention of snake oil either.) He does mention that spring has been more fun this year.
So I read the MIchigan Daily article debating which team was more disappointing and naturally wanted the opinion of the MGoCommunity on the topic. So let's break down the cases for each.
Basketball: Basketball came in as a top 15 ranked team and coming off of the first NCAA tourney in 11 years. They only lost two walk-ons from the previous year and brought back two of the more explosive players in the Big Ten. Student ticket sales skyrocketed as people anticipated a repeat performance and becoming a regular participant in the NCAA tournament. The team then dropped two of three in Orlando(a tournament where they were co-favorites), lost to a mediocre BC team that lost to Harvard, and blew a 17-pt HOME lead in the biggest dong-punching game since Roy Roundtree was tackled at the one.
Hockey: Hockey had a preseason top 5 ranking and had made the NCAA tournament 19 straight years. They returned the bulk of an excellent defense and Hogan was a seemingly solid returning goalie. The team struggled early culminating in sweeps against MSU and Miami(No not that Miami). The team decided to preemptively try to out dong-punch the basketball team by losing a game where they outshot the opponent 46-13?!?! The team did just come off of a must have sweep against WMU, but that doesn't seem to be enough to save their season.
Well to be honest, I really could care less about hockey but from an objective point of view it appears their season to be much more disappointing. As a fan base I think that hockey is way more important to the average Michigan student(as judged by the fact that even my friends that couldn't name a football position other than QB can break down hockey).
But I would like to put forth the question to the community at large:
Who was more disappointing this season, the hockey team or the basketball team?
so, a couple of questions for all you guys, and then some ideas/thoughts for next season.
(1) What's the consensus in these parts on Mike Shaw as a go-to guy in the run game? I know he's shown some flashes in his first 2 seasons, but he's also looked a bit fragile and careless at times. With Vince Smith's knee injury and unknown timeline for recovery, it would seem Shaw's the guy for now.
(2) Who else do we expect to vie for playing time next fall? Mike Cox? Fitz Toussaint? Who else? Any of these guys have particular hype or immediate impact-potential?
(3) have we heard any hype/intel on the progress or potential impact of Je'Ron Stokes? Did he work as a slot or outside guy in practice?
(4) I know we've beaten this horse well into the ground, but what the hell do we do w/ denard?
=> I'll address this last question first with an idea... With a lot of unproven guys fighting for playing time in the backfield, I see D-Rob continuing to make a lot of appearances in the running game, whether it be as a 'wildcat' QB or on the field w/ Tate. We KNOW Denard can gain yards on the ground, even when the defense expects it, and he's our top returning rusher. With all the talk about how to handle the QB situation, it's funny to me that, IMO, nothing will change in how these guys are rotated in and out. Unless Denard magically connects his brain to his arm, he's not beating out Tate as the starting QB. On the other hand, unless Shaw has a monster off-season or Vince recovers unusually quickly, Denard will easily be our best returning run threat. In short, I think Rich has eeked out another year of dangling the QB carrot in front of Denard's nose before a real decision has to be made. This isn't to say that i think Denard won't be more effective. I could see him producing 1000 yards between running, throwing and maybe even receiving/returning.
=> IMO, this spring is the time for Rich Rod to get the pass game online. He's got a solid returning thrower in Tate, a 3rd year burner in Stonum who still has a lot of unrealized potential, a dependable minion slot guy in Odoms, a 3rd year receiving tight end in Koger, and the hot handed Roy Roundtree. These guys are going to have to produce early and often next year while we figure out who's going to step up in the running game. It's pretty exciting, actually, and I can only hope Rich really tries to build a scheme around the abilities of all these guys. I'm looking for a 50+ catch season from Roundtree, which you wouldn't think would be a stretch considering that's less than 5 catches a game.
some (potentially wishful) predictions:
*Tate shows some improvement, is handed the keys a little more often (especially early in the season), and throws for around 2500 yards, 21 TDs, 14 ints. he wins us a couple of games, and loses a couple as well.
*Denard, Shaw and Vince rush for nearly identical amounts of yardage (400-500 yards)
*Roundtree grabs 50+ balls for 600-800 yards and 6-8 touchdowns.
*Stonum has a breakthrough of sorts, catching 30-40 balls at over 15 ypc.
I actually think we are on the cusp of an explosive offensive year that should be enough to comfortably get us into the bowl season. Turnovers and the defense will keep us out of BCS contention, however.
Football Foursome Named to Sporting News Freshman All-Big Ten
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – University of Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch HS), wide receiver Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison HS), outside linebacker Craig Roh (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral HS) and safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice, Ohio/Clay HS) were selected to the Freshmen All-Big Ten Team announced today (Dec. 16) by Sporting News. The Wolverines’ four honorees were more than any other Big Ten Conference school.
Roundtree was the team’s top offensive performer at the end of the season, catching 30 passes for 390 yards and two touchdowns in the final four contests. He finished the year as the Wolverines’ top receiver with 32 receptions for 434 yards (13.6 avg.) and three touchdowns. Roundtree played in 11 games at slot receiver and started the final four contests as a redshirt freshman.
Forcier started at quarterback from wire-to-wire for the Wolverines, completing 165-of-281 passes (58.7 pct.) for 2,050 yards and 13 touchdowns. He carried the ball a team-high 118 times for 240 yards and scored three touchdowns. Forcier directed a pair of fourth quarter comebacks (Notre Dame and Indiana) during his initial campaign and had five games with 200 or more passing yards. He joined Chad Henne as the only true freshmen quarterbacks in school history to start every game during the season.
Roh is the first true freshman defensive player to start every game during the regular season. He posted 37 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and three pass breakups during his rookie season. Roh registered a career high seven stops against Eastern Michigan (Sept. 19), including his first career interception and an assisted sack. He added five-tackle efforts against Purdue (Nov. 7) and Ohio State (Nov. 21).
A walk-on who kept making plays each and every week, Kovacs earned eight starts at safety and played in all 12 games on special teams. He finished the year second on the team with 75 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, one interception and forced two fumbles. He had three double-digit tackle efforts, including a league season-best 17 tackles and 2.5 TFLs at Michigan State (Oct. 3). Kovacs was named to the CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-America second team squad.
Graham and Mesko Add to All-America Accolades: Senior defensive end Brandon Graham (Detroit, Mich./Crockett Technical HS) was named to SI.com’s All-America second team and fifth-year senior punter Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg HS) collected second-team accolades from Phil Steele. Graham earned a fourth-team nod from Phil Steele while Mesko received honorable mention status from SI.com.
Congrats to those guys. For anyone questioning whether or not Michigan was a very young team this year, that's the most All-conference selections of any B10 squad. A couple others had 3 selections.
Oddly, I'm glad for this to come to an ending. Granted, I'm annoyed and pissed off about what happened today, but, ya know, that's what happens when you hit rock bottom.
anyway, ignoring the state of our defense next year for a minute, lets talk about personnel and the offense.
First and foremost, I want to see Rich pull this squad together and keep everyone on the same page. Whatever Rich and Tate have with eachother, if anything, needs to dissipate. We need continuity for the first time in a few years. NO transfers at key positions. no scrambling to rearrange the coaches (well, maybe Hopson can get lost). Let's see what this same team can do in terms of progression in a 2nd full year together.
I, personally, am very excited for this Forcier/Roundtree connection to blossom. Having a go-to receiver emerge is a huge step for this team going forward. Next year, we need to see big strides from Mr Stonum. he was nice this year as a kick returner, but he has to be able to be more productive in the pass game. Add in the Koger/Webb combo, and you're looking at a potentially ver potent passing offense. Of course, the linemen will need to step up in a big way as well.
In terms of running backs, it will be interesting to see if Shaw is able to make strides and take over, or if the minion V Smith will be the guy. I love what Vince has added as a receiver out of the backfield.
As for Tate and the QB competition... here's what I'd like to see. Tate needs to compete with Gardner & Denard...... and WIN that competition. I think he'll come back next year and be mch improved, and hopefully better conditioned. Starting over with a new QB, even if it's a guy with freakish ability like D Gardner, probably means even more growing pains. I think we should be routing for Devin to have the luxury of being able to redshirt because Tate puts a deathgrip on the starting job.
Defensively... gulp... Let's hope Will Campbell becomes a beast and Craig Roh puts on some muscle. and we magically grow awesome linebackers and corners. I don't know. We just might have to become more proficient at outscoring other teams.
All is not lost, here, but now is when Rich earns his keep in this program. If we're not seeing significant improvement in some key players next fall, I'd have to start questioning whether he's as good of a coach as we thought. I still think he gets 2 more years, unless disaster strikes next year (or in the offseason with violations, etc).
Some blind predictions for next year...
Tate throws for 2500+ yards, 20/10 td-int ratio.
Roundtree catches 60-70 balls for around 800 yards and 8 tds, leading the team.
Stonum emerges as a deep threat, catches 35 balls for 500-600 yards and 8 tds
Smith and Shaw each rush for 600+ yards
Denard finds a hybrid role and surpasses 1000 total yards (passing, rushing, receiving, returning... however he can get it)
Michigan's a top-20 offense in the nation and #1 in the big-ten.
9-4 with a middling bowl win.
here's to a productive offseason and some continuity going into next year.
Roundtree and Graham are good football players.
I noticed Roundtree commonly on the field after Grady's drop in the 2nd quarter. I also don't recall seeing Kelvin on the field again after that (could be he just didn't get the ball thrown his way). Did Grady get benched? Injured? Should we expect to see Roundtree over Grady from here on out? My thoughts are that the coaches have been giving Grady playing time over Roundtree up to this point for a reason but maybe Roundtree has closed the gap enough that a mistake by Grady meant the coaches felt comfortable giving him the chance.
Do we know enough about Roundtree to know whether this is a good thing, bad thing, or does it not even matter in the grand scheme of things?