Yesterday Jordan Kovacs casually tossed off something about helping out Dennis Norfleet—or dennisnorfleet, whichever—and other young safeties with minutiae, and then there's a clip of a 5'6" guy wearing 26 tackling someone else:
I hate this for lots of reasons.
The chance Dennis Norfleet becomes a good safety seems minimal. There's being small, and there's being Norfleet small. Bob Sanders is the go-to-comparison here and yes okay there has been one Norfleet-sized safety in the last ten years of college football who has been really good. I can think of plenty of mini-me running backs who have been somewhere between okay and great. Garrett Wolfe, Brian Calhoun, and Jacquizz Rodgers pop immediately to mind, a guy like Vincent Smith has provided Michigan value.
There would seem to be no need to make this move unless safety depth next year is just terrifying. With Gordon/Wilson the presumed starters, the very idea they'd need to move a kid like Norfleet to D says bad things about replacing Kovacs, or that neither Furman or Robinson is viable even as a backup.
Nickel corner? There's even less of a need there. Avery returns, Delonte Holowell is locked into nickel-or-nothing, and Terry Richardson is also a nickel sort. That they'd even try this seems to indicate a need in the secondary that can only be explained by attrition or inability to play.
We're really going to make this move before even trying the guy as a change of pace/third down back? He's clearly not needed to play S for the bowl game, but he may be needed to run the ball since Rawls isn't really getting it done and Norfleet—a guy who Hoke was pushing to get on the field on offense early this year—is just going to go by the wayside to not play safety? WTF?
I mean, if we're trying to win a bowl game here Norfleet has a much better chance of helping that cause on offense than the sideline watching Kovacs and Gordon play safety.
Hoke mentioned something about burning Drake Johnson's redshirt, which he probably won't actually do, but he has put it on the table:
He offered the proposal when asked about his running backs, who will take the field Jan. 1 against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl without starter Fitz Toussaint. Sophomore Thomas Rawls, redshirt freshman Justice Hayes and senior Vincent Smith are expected to be in the rotation.
That indicates Hoke would like to see true freshman Drake Johnson get some time against the Gamecocks. Johnson, who starred at nearby Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, is redshirting this year.
"Maybe," Hoke said. "We like what Drake's done to this point."
So instead of trying out the guy that Michigan thought was good enough to play on kickoffs they're thinking about burning a redshirt for a guy who only got an EMU offer before Fred Jackson swooped in.
This could mean Norfleet isn't good at running the ball to the point where it's not even worth trying him over Rawls. I find that hard to believe after watching his high school tape, but it is a hit on any expectations you may have for the kid as a runner. The nonsensical-seeming position switch is the first step on the road to obscurity.
But more likely it means he's not good at running through unblocked guys and that he might never get a shot running behind an offensive line that could get him some cracks.
Hopefully this is dismissed as a crazy bet Fred Jackson lost by Saturday.
Everyone wants to blame Borges moving DG away from QB as the reason we didn't win the Big Ten, not the fact that our senior starter QB had a near-season ending injury during the game.
It was said when Gardner moved that if Denard went down, we'd be in trouble regardless, so we might as well put all our eggs in that basket and make our decisions as if he was healthy. I agreed with this reasoning. But then, in our biggest game of the season, Denard left the game with an injury, and would never throw another ball again at Michigan.
Maybe, just maybe, that's why we lost that game? Keep in mind, we were losing when Denard got hurt, and we still might have lost even with him in the game? And even if DG had stayed at QB all season, who knows if he would have been able to come in to that environment and lead us to victory.
Do I think that game cost us the championship? Of course. Do I think it's on the coaches any more than on the star player who had a freak injury? Nope I don't.
Well, yeah, but showing Norfleet getting practice at safety in a single bowl practice might not mean anything. He probably wasn't going to see the field at RB for whatever reason (probably because he's too small and our OL can't block anyone). If he's practicing at safety, so what? Will he actually play there? I really doubt it.
EDIT: And it's even possible that the kid wearing 26 in the video that appears for like a half second is not actually Norfleet.
A third option: It could be that the purpose of any blog is to raise issues and opinions. One man's trash is another man's treasure, so to speak. If you chose to believe every move a coach makes is right because he is a division one coach, more power to you. If someone else chooses to criticize every move a coach makes, more power to them. But using the "he knows better because he's smarter than you" argument is kind of a cop-out and kind of boring, to be honest. Debate the merits. Its much more interesting.
So in your worldview the person in a job always deserves the benefit of the doubt and should not be questioned by outsiders that write for a living, or do anything else for a living besides that job. Hmm, k. So I assume you always vote for the incumbent in every election? And favored retaining RR?
"Before I could pull the trigger, I was hit by lightning, and bitten by a cobra."
No politics. No Rodriguez debates. Those two things out of the way, I agree with the sentiment that people in current positions should not be criticized. With annual reviews coming up, that rule would be an awesome way for me to keep my job forever! Muhahaha!
The "coaches are doing it so it is right" argument? What is your take on the 4th down call against OSU after halftime. Oh, that's right, a coach made that call so it is correct. Come on man.
Most of the post was not even questioning the coaches but expressing frustration that in the days of it will be a miracle if Toussiant sees the field again that Northfleet has not proved a capable enough runner to get a serious look. And if that is the case it is dissapointing. Running back prospect to one of many roaming a defensive secondary is rarely a good thing.
you would agree that it sucks that 1) Northfleet is not a kick ass running back with big plans for next year, and 2) Two big time recruits in Furman and Robinson are bad enough that we are converting a 5'6 160 pound kick returner to play safety, correct? So, if this is the case, you and Brian agree on more than you think.
I think that it is just as safe to assume one of our division 1 coaches think that our safety position is not looking good due to the fact that they are willing to try a 5'6 guy there. Yes, they know a lot more about football than we do, but it doesn't require particularly insightful knowledge to know that the vast majority of safeties are not 5'6 and there is a reason for that (too small). The coaches might think there is a chance that he becomes effective there, but the chance that he usurps Wilson/Gordon with Robinson and soon to be Dymonte Thomas also competing for spots is small and seems a waste of Norfleet's talent. Although he might not be an every-down back, how can we not find a way to get him 5-10 touches in a game in space whether it's running or catching? Just seems desperate, like moving Ricardo Miller to TE or moving Will Campbell to OL (know it was previous coaching staff for that second one; also, granted the Washington to DL worked out well).
"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates.
I totally agree with you because who knows what is really the reason they have norfleet at safety? I believe it could even be a case where maybe he giving some type of scout team look for our qbs to throw against bc of his speed. SC has a great def and offensive coordinators will do anything to challenge their qbs in practice to make sure they are prepared for the game. on the other hand, it does worry me the lack of recruiting at the safety position even though it is an easy position to transition someone into if they are athletic and fast and like to lay the wood. bring back ernest shazor!!!
I'm not sure if it makes much of a difference, but Norfleet is not 5'6". He was llisted by Scout as 5'7", and I have seen him around campus, and I would bet he is taller than 5'7". Kids do grow after high school. But like I said, I'm not sure a couple of inches makes that much of a difference at safety when we are talking the 5'6" to 5'8" range. Nonetheless, its not exactly convincing when you try to make your piont by using the lowest cited height for him.
Never can tell if/when a player will suddenly "get it" one year or not, but Robinson might still make a jump. I don't think this clip means anything. Likely that Wilson or Robinson will start next to Gordon next year. We'll have 7or 8 safeties in 2013 and a few of them could play either spot, so Thomas might win a job, but we might not need him to play as a true freshman, either.
It's possible he's trying out at several positions. Since he's viewed by many as a "situational" player to date, he could be a situational player on Special Teams, Offense, an Defense. It could also be that depth at Safety is a concern approaching the Bowl season, and he's not doing much else at the moment.
If you question the Hoke, you get the wrath of the Walmart, man. Shouldn't you just write about how awesome he is and about how funny it is that he doesn't wear a coat? I mean seriously, man. He doesn't wear a coat!!! IN THE WINTER!!!! His arms have to be so freaking cold! Right??
This insight about Norfleet that I wouldn't have otherwise even heard about isn't why I read this blog. I come here for the HURRRR and the BLEARRRRGGGHHH about how awesome it is to win 8 games with a senior QB in the worst year of Big Ten football that I can remember in my entire life. I mean seriously, dude man man dude. I mean if coach Hoke knows enough to put Bellomy in instead of Gardner than he certainly knows how awful Norfleet would be with a solid interior line next year. COME ON!!!!!
or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
Everybody appreciates dissent from the Michigan online hivemind, but I think a lot of the responses here are about the tone of the post, not the information presented or Brian's disagreement with the coaches.
This post is over-the-top and out of character for Brian, save the occassional post about Big Ten expansion, hockey playoffs, etc.
Dudeness goes off all over the place again, and this is the one you feel the need to wrist slap? Is because he uttered the words "Rich Rod"?
Because Dudeness is the one who brought up the comparisons first. As did others. (Which just goes to show the meme around here that "it's always the anti-Rich Rod people who bring him up" is a load of crap)
Or even mention that Hoke receives different treatment now than Rodriguez received in his first year? Not in this thread, he didn't; his words have only gone to point out that it's ridiculous for the coaches to be above criticism. This I'm inclined to agree with, though others have made good points about "Norfleet may not be the future for Michigan's starting RB."
Honestly, is it a bad thing that MGoBlog is becoming more open to dissenting opinions than it was under Rodriguez?
He's right, though, and it's both amusing and a bit sad to see how we're not allowed to criticise THIS coaching staff as if they always know what they're doing.
Lamenting how we can't do this and that (even though no one's stopping it) compared to how it was when "the other guy" was coaching. Which is utter bullshit. And you don't need to do a lot of read between the lines with HD to see what he means. Which he confirms in a latter post in the thread to a mod that it's EXACTLY what he meant. If you need it spelled out, you have been paying attention to him for 2 years.
And I never complained about anyone's criticism. I may say it's stupid to get worked up over nothing like this here (if he starts at safety in the Outback Bowl, have at it). Just saying this whole idea that MGoBlog and the boards were soooo tough on Rich while giving Hoke a free pass is imaginary. Guys like DahBlue who'd stir things up exactly like Dudeness did dissenting would end up -35 or something. The posters protected the coaching staff while winning the same amount of Big Ten games in 3 years as we did this year. If fans are going to be loyal through that, acting like posters are suddenly the gestapo on dissenting views is ridiculous.
I have no problem with dissenting views; I have a problem with hypocritical whining.
The boards are easier on people with dissenting views than before because negbangs don't have any lasting effect. Unless you call "reduced karma" a punishment, but it seems like many readers read collapsed posts anyway, especially to make sense of responses that aren't collapsed. So yeah, it's definitely untrue regarding Hoke being beyond criticism.
But my point is that posters should get judged for what they post now rather than what they have posted before, since people can and should be allowed to change their ways. In this thread, HD focused exclusively on the now rather than the past, which people can self-moderate or respond to without the mods needing to step in and diffuse a political/Rodriguez debate. I have a strong feeling that this was Profit's rationale behind why he didn't try to diffuse HD here, and I do agree with him. Yet it seems that, because HD's past involves meltdowns about RR's firing and ANGAR in general, you want enforcement on this thread towards HD, not the posters that are TRYING to stir the pot when citing his past Rodriguez-firing meltdowns. It's not like HD hasn't been punished before; he was nuked pretty hard by the mods in at least one instance.
And seriously, if Borges cannot find a way to get a guy like Norfleet even the opportunity to be succesful on offense, then I really have no hope we will be an elite team in the future under Borges. Are we really going to just throw deep balls and run 220 lb backs up the middle? I dunno, this kind of shit is really faith shaking. Even MANBALLY offenses like Stanford and Wisconson use lots of formations and speedy guys to counter their POWER on offense. Are we even going to attempt this?