Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
Spring Game Bits
I did go even though it was cold and I expected little and was rewarded by the unexpected unveiling of an actual scrimmage, though the massive losses on offense made it hard to draw any conclusions. The dread specters of
Kirk Mark Moundros rumbling ahead or Andre Criswell getting endzone looks only figure in the nightmares of Michigan fans, not the plans. Some impressions:
- Charles Stewart looked effective at safety. At the very least he looked more on top of things than he did in last year's Minnesota game. He's still just a sophomore and has plenty of time to establish himself as a contributor.
- The first string linebackers were Ezeh, Panter, and Mouton. Though reports from practice have been a little down on Panter's readiness, I thought he looked fine to good out there, a solid tackler with good enough speed. He was mostly tackling Vince Helmuth and Moundros, though. Mouton was physically reminiscent of Larry Foote. I have my money on him in the WLB competition against Graham. Ezeh was at SAM and did okay.
- Savoy and Mathews were somewhat disappointing, though Mathews did provide several moments of levity when he was outraged at being interfered with and expressed his displeasure to the ref. Michigan tried to go to him deep several times; Henne connected on a 30-yard fade but Mallett's balls were always long. I thought to myself "Manningham would have run under that" several times; Mathews is not going to be our deep threat when Manningham gets gone. Savoy's hands were questionable.
- We have no tight ends.
- Mallett had a couple moments where you were like "Jesus!" but usually looked the part of an overmatched freshman. I don't know if the receivers were to blame, but a lot of his balls were wide or long. He was primarily working with walkons.
- Sears is getting trashed many places but he didn't stand out as a negative to me. Not a positive, either, but I concentrated on him for a couple snaps and he seemed okay in my unprofessional opinion.
- First team defensive line was impressive. The backups were not.
- KC Lopata appears to be the first-string kicker. He was 3/4 on the day with two makes and a miss coming from decent distance. Bryan Wright didn't look particularly good.
Carr had one major piece of news in his post-spring presser: Carlos Brown is once again a running back and is not transferring. Score one for Angelique Chengelis. Also, Justin Boren will be the starting center this year. Redshirt freshman walk-on Mark Moundros will be the backup fullback.