Hopefully this won't bore you all to tears... something about being buried under feet of snow makes me feel like waxing poetic.
Welcome all of you Michigan Football Faithful to 2010 - the Year of Redemption (hopefully). 2008 and 2009 were bizarre years for all of us, both painful and embarrassing to some degree and always with that feeling of an especially bad dream that we just couldn't wake up from. Never in most of our lifetimes have we seen our beloved Wolverines flail about in such a disgraceful manner. Now the corner is there to be turned and with this recruiting haul I see prosperity coming on like a freight train... but like a freight train it may take a while to get here.
And how refreshing was it to see this class come together without the constant re-shuffle that was the 2009 recruiting class? I was happy with the players we landed in 2009 but the steady drip of decommits was frustrating. Losing the two defensive tackles at the last moment was especially humbling. Who does that to Michigan? Nothing like that this year, thank goodness. Just commitments staying the course and signing their papers on time, plus a welcome 4/5 star surprise on signing day to give it that proper Christmas-like feel.
Now with two full Rich Rod classes on board, a vision seems to be coalescing out of the fog of the past two years. We are starting to see positions filled with layer upon layer of players with blue-chip credentials or high upside potential. The cupboard is certainly no longer bare, though its talent is young. The players themselves start to look more interchangeable, like we don't have to fall off cliff should so-and-so get hurt or pick our poison in the defensive backfield.
I mean, just look at the Defensive Backfield
for a moment and consider:
Corner - Warren (The MAN! Unfortunately decided to move on)
Corner - Cissoko (Reminder to take every hyped recruit with a grain of salt)
FS - Kovacs (Freshman Walkon played inspired football, but so SLOW!)
SS - Williams (Reminder to take every hyped recrui... (What too much salt will do to your blood pressure.)
Depth: Yes Woolfolk and JT Floyd were also in the mix with the former decent at times and the latter burnt crispy.
Corner - Turner (Please no grains of salt...)
Corner - Woolfolk
SS - Robinson (Maybe not a LB?)
FS - Dorsey (Please no grains of salt...)
Depth: Christian, Johnson, Kovacs, Emilien, Floyd, Gordon, Talbott, Avery, Vinopal
Yes the 2010 bunch looks young and inexperienced. It also looks light-years better than their 2009 counterparts with the exception of Warren and has some much improved depth to plug in in case of injury/incompetence. If Warren had stayed the D-Backfield could have been a strong point of the 2010 team.
Another area where the depth chart is looking solid is on the OL. Many will bemoan the fact that only one OL recruit was landed in the 2010 class but the depth chart shows that things are looking just fine:
|OL (13 - 3)
Those five returning starters are encouraging for the coming season, no? Plus the gap created by taking only one OL recruit this season will provide a nice "early playing time" selling point for 2011 OL recruits.
Looking at the rest of the team gets me downright giddy...
QB - Should be a strength with DG an EE and hopefully a RS as well. Tate will hopefully put on several pounds and take his game up a notch.
Receiver - Stocked to the gills and I, for one, can't wait to see if Gallon can live up to his hype. Stonum, Roundtree, Koger, and Hemingway have all already shown flashes. We certainly stocked up nicely through recruiting as well.
RB - Plenty of talent here though low on proven commodities after V.Smith (may his surgery/recovery go smoothly). Shaw and Cox have had their moments and I think Fitz is going to be special.
DL - We seem to be in great shape as far as starters go. I would love to see RVB slide over into Graham's vacated DE spot and Will Campbell show his quality inside as a starter. Hopefully LaLota has progressed well as a RS and can provide useful depth. Sagasse played well in spot duty last year IIRC.
LB - The huge recruiting haul here was desperately needed but won't yield effective depth until 2011 IME. Here's to hoping that under GERG's tutelage, the likes of Ezeh and Mouton can turn a corner, or that JB Fitzgerald can take it up a notch. LB looks like the weak link once again for the 2010 team unfortunately. GERG needs to bring cohesion and make the LBs a unit, instead of the Stevie Brown w/2 lost sheep look of last season.
P/K - Welcome Mr. Hagerup, your arrival is indeed timely. Gibbons, just don't fuck this up, OK?
Looking Farther Ahead:
These three recruiting classes signed since Rich Rod took over have been solid and very good indeed considering the circumstances. The players signed do seem to fit into the type of team RR favors, now both on offense and on defense. This means there is no going back, really. Michigan no longer has the players for a Pro-Style offense shoehorned into the Spread Option and the defense has stockpiled players for GERG's gimmicky defense. If this team can continue to improve, make a bowl, and let RR and staff make it to 2011, this program is ready to explode. If we are forced to go looking for a new coaching staff however, it will take just the right one to be able to pick up these highly customized pieces and make them work.
Here's to a great 2010 season and an off-season filled with optimistic joy free from turmoil and controversy.