Okay, so I’ve watched the Michigan/Notre Dame game 4 times now (3 times too many on offense). I will admit that the first two were for enjoyment…obviously; the last two were to really get a feel for what exactly happen. Also, I wanted to try to figure out where we go from here. So here it goes…
DE: D+(I'm going to do my best not to rip Craig Roh so bad everyone hates me. Plus I know recruits parents read these board as well as some players. With that said...Craig must still be sick. I really wish he would've redshirted this year.
Can Koger play WDE? I'm serious. No really, I'm serious. I'd try him out; if he could play 15-20 plays and be effective it would help us SO much. I don't think he would be effective, but I'd try it...can't get any worse.
And with THAT said...can Roh catch? His brother is a possession WR. If HE could give us 15-20 plays at TE or H-Back it would help us SO much. I don't think he would be effective, but I'd try it...at least he'd be contributing.
I'm sorry this is mean, but the truth can hurt...and what hurt was watching Craig bear hug OTs all game. He may have gotten off 2 blocks, seriously. Something is wrong, he's sick, right? Or he need to get in the weight room...OR he should switch to offense. He doesn't even provide a pass rush even though he has moves and good technique...he can't get pass OTs. *sad face*
JiBreel Black IS the pass rusher, barring the other team doesn't run a lot of screens or draws. THAT kid can get to the QB, however he over runs the play a lot and can be schemed against easily because he has NO contain. So we'd be crazy to start him over Roh because teams would just read-option, screen, counter, draw and misdirection us to death and Black would be out of position every time. Black is the PERFECT pass rushing WDE. But be sure it’s a pass. Like REALLY sure, not "it could be a screen/draw, but we think it’s a pass" sure. Black still plays too high and struggles vs. the run. I’d run right at him or Roh every down if I had the chance. We’re going to have to move Campbell in, RVB out, and Heininger over in run situations.
Brian keeps saying we have no WLB, no Brian, we have no WDE! Just a hard worker and a situational pass rusher. Can Heininger or Brink play there? Don't think they're athletic enough to be better, but that would be my move.
Speaking of those two, they're average. Average in every sense of the word. We would be SO much better off if we had a DT that could play inside all game, move RVB to the SDE position and then play Heininger/Brink against the run at WDE and Black against the pass...SO much better. Heininger got BURIED on one play in the 1st quarter when ND was about to go up 14-0. He’s kind of just “there,” good enough to take advantage if teams try to cheat off him, but not good enough to make a play on his own.)
DT: A(Martin is a beast. 2nd or 3rd team All American, first team All-Big Ten. He did get caught dropping into a zone, they ran a draw and he was missing. Van Bergen works his behind off, he'd just be better holding down the edge. He's like Huyge of the defense when he plays DT...maybe a little better. Nothing too great, nothing horrendous. He needs to be on the outside where he can hold down the run and still make more plays pass rushing than Heininger or Brink can.
Mr. William Campbell, welcome. Will played a GREAT game. Sigh, finally. Hopefully he gets better because if he can move RVB to SDE and the to SDE's to WDE in run situations, we just got a lot better. I’ve said this like 5 times now, but Heininger/Brink v. run downs, Roh v. regular downs, Black v. passing down at WDE gets me tingly inside. Because I know we’re better at SDE with RVB there and we’re bigger at DT with Campbell there.
However, it's like a dream because BWC, Q and Ash can't play consistent enough to hold down that DT spot next to Martin. If only, if only...)
Q got knocked on his ass one play, .5 seconds into the play…shows what good technique can or can’t do. Hopefully he gets better and if 75% Will and 25% Q can equal a whole defensive tackle, we’ll be in good shape.)
LB: B+(Brandin Hawtorne, good work. Gold star. Did you make every play? No. Did you over run some plays? Yup. Were you out of position on some plays? Uh huh. Did you make every tackle? Nope. But what you did do is bring an effort and energy to this defense that was in desperate need of. Also, the speed. Hawthorne plays FAST. You know how you hear coaches say "if you miss, miss fast?” Well, that's what Brandin did...he was flying around and when he did mess up, it wasn't a lack of effort or him just standing there...(I'm looking at YOU Mr. Ezeh!) It was awesome to watch a LB actually move. Actually get across the line of scrimmage. Brandin has a lot to work on, but if he puts work in during practice and film, I think we have a starter at WLB. He made plays in pass coverage (more than I realized until I watched for the 4th time…he definitely got after the QB, and he helped stuff the run).
Demens still makes me mad. Not because he did anything wrong, seems like a great kid, parents should be proud. He's just so good and consistent that I still can't figure out why it took so long for him to play. So it’s a good mad. He DOES have to play better in pass coverage though, he just floats around a lot and doesn’t have a tight zone.
Cam Gordon must be really good if he's still over Jake Ryan at SLB. I truly believe he was at the beginning of the year, but like Hawthorne will get, Jake's now got experience. IMO, that position is now his. Move Cam to WLB and let him battle it out with Hawthorne. Then slide him to SLB in passing situations UNLESS you're rushing the passer, in that case, Ryan needs to be in. ORRRR play both on passing downs, Gordon at SLB and Ryan at WDE. He (Ryan) is better and stronger than Roh (sorry, another shot...won't happen again, it honestly hurts me cause I love Roh, I want him to play well as much as anyone).
Back to the LBs, they played pretty well as a unit; however they need tighter zones in pass coverage. Speaking of pass coverage? Where is Mike Jones? He was always a pretty good LB in passing situations.
I told everyone Desmond Morgan was gonna be a player when we got him, loved his film. However, I wasn't talking about in game #2 as a true freshman vs. Notre Dame - under the lights!!! He's not even close to ready and I don't think anyone thought he could've been. He's the most ready LB to contribute because he's smart and has the size. But that game was too fast for him. He should’ve started vs. EMU not Notre Dame. Poole has to get bigger, Beyer and Clark too for their roles. Morgan can hold up now...but he's simply not good enough yet. I was expecting him to be like Bobby Carpenter at OSU a few flashes and then boom, huge RS junior and senior years. Special teams NFL player.)
CB: C-(Floyd, sigh, same ol’ CB, just a different game...too cocky for my liking, too slow for CB, and can't tackle for SHIT so he's worthless at safety. Where do you play him? I'm not just talking about him going against one of the best 3 WRs in the country. To me Floyd is STRICTLY a zone CB. Do not let him play man! Ever! Play zone, let him get physical and jam a WR and fall back into his zone and read the QB, that's where he's actually pretty good. That’s how he got his interception. He’s a ZONE CB, hear me?! A ZONE CORNERBACK! Everything else? Not so much.
Woolfolk, dude, stay healthy!
Avery...I keep saying this, but Avery is not an outside CB. He's amazing in the slot, love the fluid hips. He's also great in man coverage. But he's too small to play on the outside. He goes from good/great to average when you put him outside.
Woolfolk should play wide-side CB and back off the WR. Floyd should play short-side CB and jam the WR. Avery should play the slot. They should never switch because seriously those are like the only spots at CB that any of them can play. (If anyone can change its T-Woolf, but the other two are locked in.)
We need to get Countess and Anderson on the field to give these guys a rest and to provide flexibility at CB.
Obviously Michael Floyd killed them, Riddick had a big day. But they weren't god awful, they just weren't good and they were playing roles I don't think puts them at their strengths.
Again, I would lock Woolfolk to that wide spot, lock Avery into the slot...even as a nickelback. I'd pay Floyd primarily in zone and then Countess/Anderson in his place primarily when we run man.)
S: B+(Not too many gigantic plays, Kyle Rudolph isn't still running down the field #camgordon@deepsafetyfail! Kovacs is still the man, he's such a smart player, we really have to stop talking about him as a walk-on and start talking about him as a potential late NFL pick (he'd be perfect with the Patriots)...he has no speed to keep up with even average college WRs, however is so smart that he's always in position, he reads the offense well and he makes sure the defense is set (assuming they can at least halfway lined up, unlike the first two drives of WMU)...he's got a shot. He played well against ND. I’m serious about the NFL, a late round or undrafted FA safety, special teams/practice squad player…commentating on BTN/ESPNU or coaching for a MAC school in 5-7 years.
Thomas Gordon is like Brandent Englemon 2.0, just a safe player, but not going to make many plays or get you killed. He's the exact opposite of Cam Gordon last year who was going to get a wild INT or give up a 95 yard pass.
I'd prefer Ed Reed, but whatever, I'll take it.
Marvin Robinson should only play if he's stopping the run or rushing the passer (which he doesn't do much, but I'd love to see him blitz) Using him as a 3rd safety and taking Ryan off the field was a fail. That last ND TD wasn't his fault, he was asked to do too much, even though it was his assignment.
Where is Carvin Johnson? He'd be better as the 3rd safety than M-Rob unless M-Rob was brought on in a linebacker’s type role like they did with Tommy Hendricks back in the day (see Rose Bowl vs. Wazzou). That would be a good fit for him actually.)
Overall: C+(Average night, would like to see less than 31 points…but some of that was playcalling rather than the players screwing up. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs aren’t walking through those doors.
Like many have said…we show blitzes too early and don’t make checks after the offense makes checks.
We do a good job of slanting and bringing blitzes behind it to stop the cut back. Also a solid job of making adjustments to the offense.
Tackling was “okay.” Some good sticks…some Desmond Morgan misses.
Cover 3 failed…I wrote this regarding it yesterday: “On the last TD, we ran Cover 3 and had Marvin Robinson up at the line disguising a blitz and dropping to the deep middle and he couldn't get back in time.
It was a smart call on 3rd and short because you drop 5 guys short and cover the quick out, hitch, slant, etc. However, you can't disguise the deep safety and expect him to get back...M-Rob was in a dead sprint and wasn't even close. Like one blogger said, Ed Reed is the ONLY person in football that can make that play. The ONLY one.
IMO you disguise it like it's Cover 2 or Cover 4 with 2 deep safeties...then you run one of them up into one of the short zones and have the other slide to the deep middle if you're playing Cover 3. You can still have 7 guys in the box and make it look like you're going man on all the WRs and sending the house. It's very possible Rees reads man or cover 2 and checks to a quick slant or hitch, you bail out at the snap and drop a LB right into his passing lane for the INT (see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et3_UXSHugc&feature=related (we didn't disguise shit on that play, but we rushed 3, dropped 8) ...it's the opening play).
And for the record, I don't like the play at ALL when it's 3rd and 9 like it was during the Kovacs INT. IMO we got away with one. The LT for ND was too busy trying to think of the 2nd line to the chorus of Katy Perry - Firework and totally didn't see Black or whoever that is coming off the edge. If he's even half blocked that's a potential touchdown.”)