Add more punting packages!
"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
Note: video from last year is lightboxed; previous years will take you off the page.
Overall rating: 4.
|Zoltan Mesko||Sr.*||Jason Olesnavage||Sr.*||Martavious Odoms||So.||Boubacar Cissoko||So.|
|Bryan Wright||Jr.*||Brendan Gibbons||Fr.||Greg Mathews||Sr.||Martavious Odoms||So.|
|--||-||Bryan Wright||Jr.*||Terrance Robinson||Fr.*||Carlos Brown||Sr.|
One of my slides when I went out to New York to talk to the alumni club there was titled "I Love Rugby Punting And So Do You," and this command now extends to the entire readership. Michigan's punt game in 2007 and 2008:
|Awesome Highstepping Fakes||0||2|
Michigan increased the average distance of their punts and still managed to reduce returns by 40%. Across the 83 (ugh) punts Michigan launched last year, the increase in average was worth 282 yards. That's a huge source of hidden yards. And also awesome highstepping fakes.
And though the average doesn't actually show it, I'm of the opinion that the rugby punting significantly reduced the chances of an opponent breaking a big return. The delay allowed by the rollout coupled with the spread formation allows players to get free releases once the punt is off instead of worrying about blocking a guy and then releasing. Guys get downfield quicker, and there more of them.
All this resulted in Michigan's punt game finishing #5 nationally. Zoltan returns and should at least replicate last year's feats, perhaps with a side of curing cancer. If he does, this blog is going to try to get him a Heisman vote. Just one.
Projecting kickers you've never seen before is a rube's game, so this will be brief. But I have some disquiet for these reasons:
Jason Olesnavage is the first one out of the gate right now. He has kicked pretty well, pretty consistent. Some days have been better than others. Brendan Gibbons, Bryan Wright and Kris Pauloski are the other three in camp and they’ve all had their moments. That’s an area that again none of them have kicked in a game quality kicks yet. We are going to try and put them under pressure the next few days and see if there is anybody else emerges or who kind of takes control of it.”
I'm slightly mollified by the idea that if Olesnavage is about equal with Gibbons, you might as well redshirt your freshman.
I don't know what happens here; I'll be happy with consistency from 40 and in.
End preview section.
No, not really. Okay. Okay, so if you ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room, Michigan's returns last year were okay. Both units finished in the middle of the pack nationally and Martavious Odoms ripped off a punt return touchdown. Both primary returners—Cissoko took control of the kick returns by midseason—were freshmen and return, so you'd expect some improvement there, primarily in their effort to
One concern: Michigan's operating considerably shorthanded this year, which might cause the special teams to get filled out with walk-ons and whatnot instead of backup scholarship players. This might be a slight drag on Michigan's ability to block dudes.
Another note: Michigan's a lot deeper in little dodgy guys this year and so if Odoms can't
he'll get a quick hook, at which point it sounds like you might see Terrance Robinson:
On punt returns, Donovan Warren, Terrence Robinson, Martavious Odoms and Greg Mathews all worked on returns. In semi-live punt returning, Robinson made a couple of tough reads and catches. Granted, it's a small, small subset of what really goes on, but he seems to be separating himself a little bit.
I'd like to avoid whatever small possibility there is that Donovan Warren gets pwned on a return. It would be one thing if he'd shown any ability to actually return a punt; he hasn't. Throwing an average returner out there who happens to be one of your most critical players on a thin, thin defense doesn't make much sense.
I do assume that the fumbles will come down to a reasonable level; Michigan projects to be average here.
Add more punting packages!
I can't wait to see Cissoko at SDE; although Odoms may be a better penetrator.
but hold onto the mothafuckin' ball, too.
HOLD ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL!
get hurt returning kicks.
I wouldn't put one pack there until we have proven depth at their positions.
No no. We've all been reprimanded on numerous occasions about this. Players aren't more likely to get hurt returning kicks, notwistanding the fact that the persons attempting to tackle them have a full-field running start before doing so.
I've called out a few people in the past for the 'no starting cb should be returning'. I'm perfectly aware of the injury risk to a much needed, but the proper lens to view the issue through is which returner gives us a better chance of winning this year. Injury risk is a factor for sure into the question of 'how to win' but if a starting player is going to return I have to assume it's because they are better at the job AND the risk of injury is acceptable due to the skill of the player at returning. I don't pretend to have my own answer but I have problems with people thinking that their e-pinion is worth more then the paid opinion of the coaching staff.
You only gave him a 6!?
Please, HOLD ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL!!
See, I asked nicely.
But on a serious note.
Is there any reason why we don't have Zoltan trying to do kicking and punting for us? I mean we have had some kicker/punters in our time (such as Hayden Epstein). I mean if Bryan Wright can back up both, why can't our Space Emperor do both? I would figure he would be better than a walk-on.
Please, HOLD ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL!!
Am I missing something on the chart? Looks like we punted one more time in 2008 than 2007, with an increase net of 3.4 yards per. Which would be an "extra" or so yards. But the text says we punted 83 times last year... which is what '07 and '08 added up would be. Color me confused, yet interested to find out what advantage the rugby formation has given us.
It says "Kick Average", as in average distance kicked. Basically, fewer were returned, distance increased slightly, net punting went up.
Brilliant! I knew there was something simple I was missing. Thanks for explaining.
Maybe Zoltan can return punts while he is curing cancer too.
Brian - quick thanks for all of the great content of late. It's been a crazy week...hopefully a couple of "W"s will squash all of the nonsense.
Nice work on all these previews.
I've barely been able to keep up with the reading. Thanks for the hard work in getting us ready for the season.
in a scrum?
It will be interesting to see how successful the rugby punts will be this year with the rule change. Defenders won't need to hold back as soon as they begin to roll out, there free to tackle them now.
I love the rugby kick/roll punt. I'm glad Rich utilizes his option offense even in special teams.
The line that sums up the specials teams for this year is HOLD ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL!!!