It's all about the pad level. Lay some bricks and raise that pad level.
And They're Padded
First: Tim attended the open section of the practice and posted some initial thoughts. He'll be at the 12:45 press conference as well. Meanwhile, the Big Ten Network gets unfettered access to the whole thing. Assorted highlights below. BONUS: I think this whole "everything in the world is scattered in 140-char chunks across twitter" thing is going to be rampant in the future so I inaugurated a new tag: "twitter for humans."
OH MY GOD SHOULDER PADS
Robinson "has better touch and a tighter spiral than I predicted on the long ball."
That shot of Michigan's tiny, tiny quarterbacking contingent is from the Big Ten Network, which is taking in today's practice in its entirety. They are tweeting and twitpicing and so forth and whatnot. It's all very sound-and-fury-signifying-eh-not-much, but here's a fun fact:
Why's the ceiling so high? Michigan went around and measured all the nation's indoor facilities to make sure its was the highest.
I bet one dollar that there's a closet somewhere in Schembechler Hall full of Enzyte. A locked closet.
Also, this child…
…would be very cute if he wasn't on the two deep at safety. Sad commentary on the secondary depth: some of you are checking the link to see if that's true.
You mean the tweedle-dos can be useful? Dave Revsine is also twittering up a storm. The BTN's ability to take in practices from everyone leads to interesting comparisons:
Amazing how much smaller Michigan's skill guys are than OSU and PSU. Not a positive or a negative -- just a different philosophy.… Again -- interesting to see difference in philosophy. I've seen more WR's working on blocking in 1st 20 mins than last 2 days combined
Revsine's also jumping to conclusions on one Tate Forcier:
Initial impression -- Forcier has a nice arm. Looks good. Throws well on run. Robinson a tad more inconsistent, but still fine for scheme. … It's amazing how poised and confident Forcier looks. As Howard said to me, "he has 'it'". Just has an impressive air about him.
[UPDATE: Revsine's final thought:
Tate Forcier is the PERFECT QB for the Michigan system. Good arm,very comfortable throwing on the run and good speed and scrambling ability
I have been looking forward to It ever since we lost It sometime around the Horror. More QBs:
Denard Robinson has looked accurate on short passes during team work. Clearly the #3 at this point, but obviously it's very early.
Also, Vincent Smith looks "really good" because he is "tough to catch," it's "pretty obvious" Patrick Omameh "will be able to help." Aaand if there was a twitter wishing well I'd throw 140 characters down it to make this come true:
Lot of emphasis on one on one tackling -- which was a liability for this team last year. Hard to tell from practice, but looks better.
O'Neil Swanson is a true frosh walk-on from the cradle of football, West Bloomfield, Michigan. He went to Country Day and checks in at an impressive 5-10 156 (which is exactly my height/weight).
Looks like we've got our own Paki O'Meara, though ours is less terrifyingly close to the top of the depth chart. Rothstein also mentions that Justin Turner's a little behind:
While everyone else watched M drill, turner was off on the side not in pads working on backpedaling
Minor and Mathews were in non-contact green. Minor's thing is a lingering headache (concussion?) from a car accident a few weeks ago; we'll no doubt find out what's up with Mathews at this afternoon's press conference.
- Rothstein ran down the first team offense and it was exactly as you might expect: Forcier, Minor, Koger, etc. Huyge still appears to be the leader at right tackle. Okay no big deal except at one spot…
- With Mathews out the nominal first team wide receivers were Hemingway and Savoy. We've started to hear some nice things about Savoy, but given his extremely limited production to date that says more about Stonum. The things are not nice. Hopefully this is a get-on-the-same-page sort of thing?
- Rothstein noted a couple guys in red riding bikes and then made some notable omissions from his second-team offense: Carlos Brown and Rocko Khoury. And maybe Ricky Barnum, but it's hard to tell.
- Rothstein can identify "Jock Jams" in less than three notes.
- aaarghghghgahghagargh from Birkett:
Michigan's punt returners are having problems catching (or judging) the ball. During the morning punt period, with no oncoming cover team, return men Carlos Brown, Terrence Robinson and Martavious Odoms dropped three consecutive catchable balls.
- Birkett focused on Brandon Herron quite a bit, noting he (and RVB) got the best of Ortmann and Dorrestein in a couple drills—eek left tackle—and claiming he is "primed for a big season." I might switch my twitter wishing well request to this one.
Also: maybe we will get some use out of a Grady after all. Kelvin Grady was widely expected to spend this year fastened to the bench as he reacclimated to football, but after some impressive performances (including one sweet practice catch I mentally filed as IN, 1, protection N/A—WOO FOOTBALL COMIN') in practice Rodriguez thinks he'll see the field:
"We’re not in full pads yet, but what I’ve seen in three days, Kelvin Grady’s going to play for us this year. He’s a very quick learner, he’s very coachable, he’s got ball skills. And I think we have a position that fits him perfectly in that slot."
At the very least it's another shot at a punt returner who won't fumble the ball. Here's some high school video to whet your appetite and not remind you of McGuffie in any way:
There's also a dead ringer for Javon Ringer's long one when he escaped from Shawn Crable.
Also, Vincent Smith looks "really good" because he is "tough to catch," it's "pretty obvious" Patrick Omameh "will be able to help."
This scouting report brought to you by Zagat's.
Guess I'm not the only one who thought of Zagat's when reading that part.
Smith should get a try on returns. I know he can return kickoffs quite well, but don't remember if he did punts in HS.
That child will be a future RR slot recruit and will be compared to Wes Welker for some reason...
i live just a couple miles from east grand rapids, so i've seen them a lot over the years...and have to say, i always liked kelvin more than kevin in high school. kevin was just bigger than most of the 5'-10", 180-pound safeties in the O-K conference; he didn't have much burst but didn't need it. obviously, that's hampered him in d1 (that and the grips). kelvin always had nice moves and an extra gear, skills that translate pretty well to d1. he could be really, really good in the open field for us.
try 5'9" 150.
...i think the javonesque run is against northview. my future stepkids went there, and let me tell you - those kind of runs are EASY against those guys. yeeesh.
That run is actually at Lowell. # 7 for Lowell is Sparty potential qb Keith Nichol. #2 is Mike McElroy who is currently the starting safety at Southern Illinois. #4 is Torsten Boss who is a baseball player at MSU and was Mr. Football in Michigan last year.
Lowell, homey. They say "Red Arrows." And Lowell's LEGIT.
i stand corrected, my bad...and yes, lowell is (to understate it by about 1000%) legit.
my apologiess. don't neg me.
Yeah, I was a safety in the OK White in high school, 5'9" 160, bitches.
Please, just put Greg Matthews back there to return kicks and punts (as he did back in the '07 season). He might not have the speed to break a long return, but, at least he can catch and hold on to the ball.
please. Fair catch and take the ball at this point
Rush all 11 to block.
It requires a "catch." Oy. Stevie Breaston, come home.
of dropped punts. If it continues my plasma will definitely be shattered.
Hopefully we get the whole return game figured out because I can't handle another season of 2 or 3 muffed returns a game.
Anybody else find it amusing that the player who missed the initial tackle on Kelvin Grady's version of the Javon Ringer run is wearing #2?
He's also the last player Grady eludes 50 yards down the field.
FWIW, I had a friend on the team who was a senior when Savoy was a freshman, and he said Savoy had star potential, but was concerned about, in the parlance of Carr times, him getting on the right page. That obviously hasn't happened but my impression is it's not for lack of talent. And last year Rodriguez singled him out as the best blocking WR, something that's probably more important in the spread than in pro-style offenses. So maybe he's an asset in that regard.
my brother was a manager for 4 years under mo, and he's said many times that wr blocking was a major point of emphasis - they were constantly coached on blocking "attitude" (as in the infamous "hit until the END of the sound of the whistle") and technique. i agree that nfl wr blocking is not much, but it hasn't been at michigan.
ever since he told me that, i've always watched for it, and very, very few of our wideouts over the years have been half-assed blockers. many - not just the possession-types like avant, walker, walter smith and yale vandyne (i know, obscure reference but i'm blanking) but also the deep threats like edwards and terrell and sometimes manningham - have been devastating.
We have had some great WR blockers, as you say. Avant, for my money, was the best, with Braylon a close second. What I should say is that it's not a greater point of emphasis, but that it may be more critical to the spread scheme, where sometimes you're counting on a flanker's block to create space on the outside, and establish the lanes needed to spring the ball carrier free.
On Grady's Ringer-like run, I'm assuming the flag was for a block in the back? Lame call. Defensive player decided to just turn his back as the blocker was coming. Shouldn't be rewarded. I'd like MHSAA to retroactively award the TD to Grady.
not to mention that it didn't come from the ref who was literally 5 feet away, it came from some guy waay upfield looks like.
I bet he was rewarded by being hired as a Big 10 official.
that I watched that segment about 10 times trying to figure out where that flag came from. It looks like a flag, but from its trajectory, it could not have come from an official.
If it was a flag, I'm guessing it was a bush-league block in the back call.
I watched it several times trying to figure out the same thing. If you look closely I think there is a field judge on the sidelines up field from the play waving his hands. Bad call obviously.
This is like the Zapruder film of HS football.
Anyone else find it interesting that Taylor Lewan is the second team tackle?
Also, Adam Barker was the second team center? Huh? Who is Adam Barker, one of the 5 walk-on O-linemen?
McAvoy, Dorrestein or Nowicki couldn't beat out Lewan or Barker? Is that good or bad?
Center's a different spot. None of those guys have been working on snapping, I imagine, and Barker must be. If Khoury's dinged up or whatever there's no need to bring someone else in at the spot.
Odoms may not be up to the task.
want to put another true frosh back there after last year?
It's punt returner. It's "see ball, catch ball, run forward and try not to get tackled". A true freshman can handle that. I could give a crap what year the returner is as long as he does the first two parts correctly every single time. Part 3 is optional given last year's debacles.
You make it sound oh so easy. Trust me, it's harder than it looks, and comes with about 5 times the pressure of an ordinary play.
I'm only half joking when I say that we may be better off letting it roll and going for the block.
Right, but what I mean is it takes none of the things that usually keep true freshmen off the field or limit them. There's no scheme to learn or plays to learn. It's simply "catch the damn ball", purely physical action. Whoever can consistently catch the ball, no matter what class year, should be the ones we put back there. I don't care how explosive they are, if they continually put the ball on the ground they're going to cost us big unless they're 2006/2007 Devin Hester-good when they do manage to hold onto it.
I thought he showed a flash as a KR last year.
Cissoko showed a lot of explosiveness, but he had a lot of drops and fumbles too. I am a fan of using talented frosh on kick returns, provided they can protect the ball. It gives them a chance to get on the field and use their raw athleticism to make plays when they may be otherwise limited in the offensive scheme. Punt returns, though, make me nervous because of their higher degree of difficulty. Those are high pressure plays, especially now without the halo rule to protect you. It takes a lot of poise to concentrate, make the catch and hang on to the football with nine guys running downhill full speed to rip your head off. PR is a position where sometimes having an experienced, sure handed guy like Mathews or Warren is the better option.
They probably do not want their starting cornerback to get hurt or tired returing kicks. Also with the depth chart at DB.
Just put Mathews back there. He catches the football.
...that's why they play defense.
It's nice to see video of practice up so soon. How is annarbor.com's coverage of football going to be compared to Ann Arbor News? Any thoughts on it so far?
.com > news
Thanks, Turner is a big corner that is for sure.
Coner is tall.
He has to be thinking, "what am I doing here?"
Whatever hes doing definitely involves Febreeze
and it wasn't even football. OK, not really funny. Some guys just seem fated to be dinged.
is the best news out of practice we could hope to hear. The d is obviously not deep, but aside from Herron, I wasn't really worried about any starters.
I see the rest of Dline putting Herron in position to make a lot of plays. His being serviceable, and actually able to make some of those plays would be huge for the whole defense.
It's appalling to see that RR had the entire team come over to personally, one by one, thank Al Glick for making the practice facility possible. I'm sure ESPN will devote all the time to this incident that it did to Wermers and Feagin.
He had 19 punt returns for a 21+ yd av return, and 20 kickoff returns for about 14 yds av return. I can't find any stats on fumbles, but I sure as hell don't recall him dropping any. He was special.