Cissoko on kick returns? From what I saw last year, he is a good returner, but I don't feel comfortable putting our number 2 corner in a position where he the potential for injury is kinda high...
Michigan Media Day: The Coaches
Rich Rodriguez (video available from MGoBlue here).
- The coaching staff has a pretty good idea where they are at this point in the preparation for the season. They aren't ready to play a game yet (who in the country really is), but the staff is confident that they'll be able to get ready for WMU in the next two weeks.
- More players have bought in to the system than had at this time last year. It's not that the players weren't trying to buy in last year, they just now know what is expected of them, and the coaches know more about what each player is capable of.
- The 2nd-year jump may be partially attributable to the fact that a lot of young players have gotten time in the first year of his coaching tenure. Last year's team was very inexperienced offensively, which led to some of the struggles. He feels good about the progress this year's team has made, but he also felt the same way last year.
- Last year must be used as a learning experience. They know what players they have, and how to get the program from where it is to where they want it to be. It's not happening as fast as he wants, but the path from point A to point B is now visible. Within the next two recruiting classes, the roster should be built up to where they want it to be. For now, early playing time is a big draw for recruits.
On Saturday's scrimmage (MGoBlue notes):
- There were both explosive offensive plays and also some defensive stops. Part of the inconsistency has to do with a lack of depth.
- All 3 QBs took reps with the first team, though Sheridan was the first guy out there (not necessarily the best, mind you). The guys have different skill sets, but all will learn the whole offense.
- The QB situation should be settled by the first game, but probably not long before it. Note: The "all 3 QBs will take snaps" AP article floating around is really disingenuous. The only time Rodriguez mentioned such a thing was a joke that all 3 would play at the same time. While it wouldn't surprise me if all three guys took some snaps against Western, this current talk is really much ado about nothing.
- It's hard to tell where your team is when you're playing only your offense against your defense. Rodriguez reiterated his desire to have a preseason scrimmage.
- Rodriguez likes to be able to play 20-22 guys on defense, but he's not sure if they have enough depth this year to be able to do that.
- The LBs at the top of the depth chart are good, there is just very little depth. Ezeh, Mouton, Demens, and Stevie Brown are pretty good, but the remaining depth is almost all freshmen.
- Jason Olesnavage and Brendan Gibbons are leading the pack at kicker. Bryan Wright and a freshman walk-on (apologies, as I didn't catch the name. I believe it was Kris Pauloski) are behind the first two.
- He's not worried about establishing one running back. The best guys will play, and the offense needs at least 3 guys.
- Odoms and Mathews are looking to be the primary punt returners, with Cissoko the main man on kickoff returns. Some freshmen are involved in the battles, and simply catching the ball would be an improvement from last year.
- Warren, Cissoko, Floyd, Teric Jones, and JT Turner are the main corners, with walkon Tony Anderson behind them. There isn't great depth there. Still no word on whether Witty will get in (note: this isn't a good sign, most likely).
- Koger and Webb are both much better than they were last year. They should see some increased passes coming their way.
- The Offensive line has stayed healthy, which is a huge improvement over last year. There's a bit of a battle at right tackle, and David Moosman can back up Molk at center. All three freshman OLs (Lewan, Schofield, Washington) will eventually be outstanding players for Michigan.
Greg Robinson has a good plan and lots of experience. He understands what certain players are and are not capable of. The team will play against a variety of different offenses, so being able to defend both power teams and spread teams is important. And what a better transition to...
- The decision to come to Michigan was an easy one - "It's Michigan." He and his wife have felt comfortable from the beginning.
- The 4-3 Under is similar to the USC system, but there are some different tactics used than Pete Carroll's squad does. Robinson's scheme has more of a 2-deep flavor, while USC typically has a single-safety or 3-deep scheme. While Carroll is developing more Cover-2 elements, it all depends on what the opponent will try to do.
- Stevie Brown will be able to match physical play just fine, despite being a former safety. He's also an advantage when the field is spread.
- Brandon Graham has a future playing in the NFL, and Mike Martin is a physically gifted player. When his fundamentals develop, he'll only get better. Depth on the DL, however, needs to develop - a process that started in the offseason.
- JR Hemingway will probably be one of the best big-play guys this year, so not having him last year was a big blow.
- Je'Ron Stokes will start out as an outside receiver - not a slot.
- The wideout group practices their blocking technique as much as they do any other aspect of playing the position. They block as often as they catch or run routes.
- Coach Frey doesn't like setting concrete expectations. They pigeonhole you into a ceiling, and give an excuse to stop pushing yourself once you hit the expectation.
- Players are more comfortable in the system this year than they were last year. There is more competition, which allows everyone to push themselves.
- Steve Schilling is a good player and person. He moved to guard to help the team, because they needed him more at that position.
- Players are more comfortable in the system this year than they were last year. There is more competition, which allows everyone to push themselves.
- Mark Huyge had a good camp last year, but got hurt and missed 5-6 weeks of the season. That helps explain his seemingly-sudden emergence as a factor at tackle.
- All the redshirt freshmen are athletic, and hard workers. The mental game might be the hardest part, as they have to learn that making mistakes is OK as long as you understand and correct the issue.
Information from the players will be coming up later this week.
Hey, I bet no one on the staff thought about that. Maybe you should have been hired instead of RichRod.
Way to take Sarcasm right past Stinging and into Condescending and Insulting. Good work.
It's not that they are infallible so much as something like "putting our number 2 corner in a position where he the potential for injury is kinda high..." is something there is no chance in hell they haven't thought about. It's like saying that the staff isn't taking fumbles seriously enough, not like they are calling "Z60 Blue Fumble by Minor on 3, break!".
Not what I'm saying at all. Just saying that it's probably safe to assume the coaches know putting an important player at PR is a potential injury risk. Then again, Desmond and Woodson. So, yeah.
I do not recall complaints of putting Charles Woodson, Tripp Welborne or Tom Dardin back for punts. My question is why don't they have someone that can catch punts on a team like Michigan.
Because something like "omg, he might be hurt if he plays more. Didn't the staff think about that?!" is a mostly worthless thing to say. I'm pretty damn sure the coaches are thinking about injuries. It's a really basic part of their job. With Minor's injury history I bet a lot of thought/work has gone into how to limit the chances of him getting hurt and how to adapt if/when he does get hurt.
Saying something like "I don't feel comfortable putting our number 2 corner in a position where he the potential for injury is kinda high..." is a pretty knee jerk thing to say. Being on the football field has a high potential for injury. Why not just bench him for every play? I think the staff weighed their options and decided having the number 2 corner as a returner gave the team the best chance at winning games.
I never said that coaches are infallible. I think defense last year was mostly the coaching staff's fault.
If you look at my posting history, I try to call out what I feel is poor posting quality that doesn't add anything to mgoblog. I would have no problem with a debate about coaching choices but only if the posts are worth reading.
"Because something like "omg, he might be hurt if he plays more. Didn't the staff think about that?!" is a mostly worthless thing to say."
But, of course, insulting criticism has enormous value.
In my minds eye it does have value if the OP quality of posting improves in the future. Was I being a dick? Yeah, most likely. But if the quality of posting increases after being called out, I'll call it a win.
I completely agree. If things like the first post are not pointed out as completely worthless, then they will be accepted by the board as a whole and, at some point, the quality of posts will drop significantly.
1) He did nothing but voice a simple observation. At no point did he say "Rich Rod is stupid, doesnt he know he's putting his number 2 cornerback at risk!!" Which would then warrant your bitchy response.
2) You could take almost any comment ever posted on this board and say "I'm sure Rich Rod know's that, but you should be the coach." The one you chose to comment on and add your sarcasm to was a poor choice because it's a fair observation
The two punt returners that get mentioned at the top of the list most of the time are Matthews and Warren, the #1 CB and WR. Punt returns, as we found out last year, are pretty damn important.
Re Schilling -- isn't guard his natural spot anyways?
I've thought this as well, but he MIGHT have been recruited as a tackle. Which is weird, because I recall people on this board noting early last year that 6'5" Schilling was a OT and 6'7" Zirbel was a OG. He's repeatedly said OG is more natural for him, so hopefully this pans out.
Great post Tim. Thanks a lot.
When I was at the scrimmage Saturday I didn't notice Hemingway that much. Its probably because I was watching the defense and the QB's the most, but I hope he can have a breakout year and stretch the field for us. It will help out our run game and offense overall immensely.
Just a Thought Regarding Adrian Witty-
Is it all that bad if he doesn't qualify?
I mean...didn't he serve his purpose by piggy-backing Shoelace to Ann Arbor?
Have you seen the depth chart at CB? It's not pretty. Also by most accounts he had looked good during 7 on 7's. Now I know that doesn't mean a whole lot but he's not just some throw away player either.
Not at all. He provides much needed depth, is a best-friend to Denard Robinson (which cannot be overlooked, i.e. McGuffie and being homesick) which will help with his transition to college, is a very fast player by many accounts, and could possibly bloom into a solid contributor for us in the future.
I want Witty on campus, maybe not as badly as JT Turner, but I definitely want to see him succeed in the Maize and Blue.
i realize CB is a thin position for us...but considering the DROB LOVEFEST goin on today, my random thought seemed apropos. i know Witty has confidence, but i don't think he would get PT this season as true freshman if cleared.
you northern boyz gots no hospitality!!
Your random thought was that Witty served no other purpose than getting D-Rob here. That is not accurate. He has potential as a CB in his own right. As far as him playing this year, if Teric looks like he could play this year at CB, I feel pretty confident in saying that Witty would have too.
UM has 2 CB's with game experience, neither of whom have particularly good at staying healthy.. That's it. If Witty had been able to practice, I believe he would have played this year.
me thinks you inferred incorrectly...i didn't say "no other purpose than getting Drob here." but, and correct me if i'm wrong, again, if not for Drob there is no way we would have recruited Witty. and yes i do believe his primary purpose was a "package deal". i'm just not concerned if he doesn't clear, Turner was the bigger concern. his impact this year is now minimal, and his situation vastly different than sam's homesickness last year. if/when Drob excels and gels with teammates it won't matter as much if Witty isn't here. and there are a lot of CB prospects in next year's recruiting class, which is filling up, that i'd much rather have than Witty.
Just because a player won't play as a true freshman doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to lose him. I highly doubt Lewan, Schofield or Q will play this year, so would it be OK to lose them as well? When it looked like Witty wasn't coming, we moved a player from offense to CB. To me, that means that the coaches saw the need for an extra player at that position, which Witty would have filled.
I said Witty...to assume i meant that losing "any freshman" wouldn't matter is grossly generalizing.
I agree the CB position is light, though not as light as Witty's 166 lbs...possible to man up 1v1 at that weight?
Possible, but difficult. More possible to do when a player has tremendous athleticism and quickness. At this level if a CB can break on a ball well enough he can be a star. Is Witty that guy? Probably not.
You questioned whether or not Witty had already "served his purpose," which I think is not an appropriate question geared toward any student athlete, regardless of their ability on the field.
It's not that I don't mind Cissoko returning kicks but I think some other guys would be better than him at returning them.
LOL- I read the 2nd and 4th bullet points of the o-line and thought to myself that it was time to step away from the addiction that we call pre-season. I was like, "I have read that before!" And of course it was one bullet point up. Not being a dink, just laughing at how I really need to get a life and stop reading every little detail that pops up, even if it is repeated more than once.
Very good post Tim. Thanks!
Warren and Matthews seem to be getting the most work at PR followed by Odoms, Cissoko, Robinson and Gallon.
i would think that if odoms showed he could consistently catch the ball he'd the guy for punt returns. same with gallon, that kid's dynamite in the return game
Interesting clarification on the AP "three QB" story. If the game turns into a blowout, then it's logical to think all three will play. I particularly want to see Denard flash that speed against a Western defense depleted by graduation and playing at MAC speed.
I think my favorite bullet point (and one that I haven't seen any discussion on) is: "The wideout group practices their blocking technique as much as they do any other aspect of playing the position. They block as often as they catch or run routes."
We all know how important it is for our receivers to block if we want to bust open big plays. And blocking receivers really help the running game which we greatly need to succeed. Receivers not blocking is a great fear of mine so I was very glad to see this.
Just have Odoms fair catch it. Then he won't fumble because he won't be worried about making people miss.
Or we can try and have him be like UConn and run it anyway after signaling for a fair catch (it worked out for them)...
If no one gets hurt Michigan should do all right this year. The secondary and D-line are somewhat thin. UM is going to need a great deal of luck! I hate luck! I want depth and experience on this team. I fear we may win some games we should not and could lose some games we should win. All on Lady Luck, like I said I hate that hag. That is that ND stuff!
I'll take all the luck I can get. There is always some luck in any good season.
Even the yardstick undefeated 12-0 '97 team could have, seriously, been 7-5. (Notre Dame, Iowa, Wiscy, OSU, Wash State could have all been losses without some luck going our way, luck that we didn't have in other years.)