The more times I hear that Taylor Lewan is bathing in the blood of opposing dlineman the better I can sleep at night.
Scrimmage Observations 4/10
[Ed: couple of first-hand observations posted on the message board that jive with those of a couple sources of mine who were also there. Those will be coming early next week.]
I was at today's scrimmage and noticed a couple of things:
-the final score was 59-53 offense... it was 53-42 when they went to a segment called last play from the 3 yard line with the defense up by 4. defense stuffed the offense twice then Denard ran in for the win.
-everyone played. walk on slot receiver #10 (not gallon) i think his name is Jordan Barpal had a terrific catch in the back of the endzone for a touchdown from Jack Lennedy.
-John McColgan looked good at FB.. even had a td reception.
-Stephen Hopkins is the real deal. He was running with the 1s has the "big back" and had some really tough runs. I love the way he finishes his runs and really punishes defenders.
-the QB competition is WIDE OPEN. All 3 played with all the lineman and WRs. ( it seemed like they were rotating the QBs with no regard as to which offensive teams were going in.)
-Taylor Lewan looked very good. he played LT with the first team and the second
-the defense looked phenomenal. There tackling was like night and day from last season. There was only one missed tackle that I saw, and it was on a great move by Mike Cox who looped back around and ended up being tackled for a loss by Thomas Gordon.
I was very impressed by today. The team seems to really be coming along.
Another Report Pulled From Lower In the Thread
I was there too and concur with the OP and was pleasantly surprised.
I would add:
Fitzy had a nice run. He was solid. Stephen looked the best on this particular day though.
Thomas Gordon seems to be the best fit for the Stevie Brown Spur/Bandit position for now. I would be curious to see if he will beat out Marvin, or even Cam, or JT Turner.I think they will have to move JT Turner to one of the safety spots when the other frosh get in. That young lad had himself a growth spurt. He is a big kid. It will be interesting to see what they do with him once they get depth this summer at CB
The LB's or secondary didn't suck. I was pleasantly surprised. Troy is pretty good at that CB spot. The defense as a whole was better against the run than I ever would have thought based on last year.
Devin was owning the 2 and 3rd team D. He is the real deal, I don't care what string he was playing against. He seems to have the best shot of us having a vertical game whenever he takes the reins. Denard has a cannon, but doesn't have the touch that Devin has. Devin had a long gainer to Gallon. When Devin played with the 1's he threw a TD to Roundtree.
Denard seemed to have the most success moving the ball against the first team D. He was carving up the D when running the zone read, has a cannon, lacks a little touch on the short and intermediate stuff. If they want to stay true to the West Virginia style O, then Denard has to be the guy this year. He reads it pretty well, and has the explosiveness necessary to get around the corner obviously.
Tate was pretty decent. Didn't get as much time with the 1's as Denard. Tate is Tate. Pretty accurate on the short and intermediate stuff, not as explosive as the others when running the zone read. He did okay though. He can win football games, they just have to tailor the play calling to his strengths.
I would guess that we see more of a rotation this year as opposed to last year when Tate was getting the majority of the snaps. Devin is the real deal, I would hate to be the coaches if they wanted to keep a redshirt on that kid. I wouldn't be able to do it.
Either way. Denard has to be on the field somewhere. You can tell he is putting it together. He is way too explosive to spend as much time on the sidelines as he did last year.
The Oline seems to be a lot better too. Taylor Lewan was getting a lot of time at LT and did really well. It wouldn't surprise me if he just didn't let that spot go.
Cam is a ball hawk. He is very much a see ball, hit ball kind of player, and seems to be just fine at that deep safety if he has to stay there. They tested him a little bit.
It wouldn't surprise me though that when the fall frosh comes in to see them work JT Turner in back there, and move Cam up to a Spur/Bandit position to get the best 11 out there. You can see the talent in JT, the sky is not falling with him, but he has outgrown corner and in my opinion is only there this spring because they don't have depth to move him. JT is big enough now to work into a spur/bandit type roll too.He looks to be in the 210-215ish range.
One fumble, but no turnovers up until the point I left. I had to jet a little early.
All in all I came out actually more impressed with the defense than the offense. Logic tells me that is a good thing, but with this team....who knows?
In Which Your Editor Provides A Short Addendum
I also heard that Hopkins was killing people today in a fashion similar to a squatter Minor, although I'm guessing with less speed since a 230-pound running back who's as fast as Minor is not a generic three star recruit. The quarterback situation seems utterly confused; depending on who you talk to any of the three is the likely starter against UConn. Running back is also a jumble.
One thing that is becoming more and more certain: Taylor Lewan is locking down the left tackle spot, which is great news.
It is so great to hear that the defense is looking good. The offense is gonna be solid no matter who the starting quarterback is. With an improved defense, Michigan will be in the hunt for the Big 10 championship. I believe in Rich Rodriguez and his staff more than ever!
really excited about going to the spring game next week. I am really psyched that our defense might be able to make some form tackles this year. When you look at it, our offense could be a little worse and still win plenty of games if the D can keep the other team under 21 points a game. See you guys there next week!!!
was the most uplifting article I have read on this blog.
did terrence robinson get much playing time at rb or slot? His hs videos are ridiculous I always thought he would become a big contributor
from what i saw he was practicing with the slots. i didn't see him at running back but that doesn't mean much. he is super explosive and looked really good. he's a small guy so that did concern me as i watched him.
Is it sad that January 1,1998 is the greatest day of my life instead of it being the day my son was born???
It can't be both?
will be the day you take your son to a Michigan Ohio State game and we win, and you can share it with him.
They overpursued VY and left him gaping holes to jog thru.
its that simple.
great news to hear from the scrimmage. I think Gardner will play some this year. There really is no need to redshirt him. RR has proven he can recruit, and with a winning season this will only get better. I mean, come on, you really think RR won't be able to recruit another top flite qb over the next 4 years? Any time you have your qb running around like this offense intends, you have an increased risk of injury. Remember how less effective tate was last year when he got banged up? I just don't think worrying about a redshirt for Gardner is necessary. I also think he will get some serious playing time if he continues to progress. Think of how much better he could be after summer camp and a few fall practices. But, whatever.
Not much fluff about the wide outs concerns me a bit tho. A vertical threat would really help this offense.
Can't wait until the spring game, and thanks everyone for your reports.
I think this gets it backwards. Freshmen (especially quarterbacks) should be redshirted unless you need to play them. It's very dangerous to just assume that you'll be able to recruit a good college quarterback. Even the best prospects are just that, prospects.
QB is one of the toughest positions to recruit when you have established guys in the program, especially established young guys.
I'm sure most recruits look at programs depth charts to see what the possibility of early playing time is. QB is one of the few positions on the field where only one, maybe two guys, see playing time. It's not that easy to recruit stud QB's when you've got a sophomore starter, especially if that sophomore starter is pretty good. Look at OSU with Pryor, they've struggled getting another good QB recruit because all the recruits knew barring an injury to Pryor they were going to sit for a few years. That will probably change with OSU's 2011 recruiting class, because recruits know that Pryor will be a senior after their freshmen year the starting job will be open.
I'm fine if they don't redshirt him this year. However, if they don't redshirt him he better see a lot of time. To burn a redshirt on Gardner getting on the field for maybe one or two offensive possessions a game seems a waste to me.
I would not mind seeing Gardner used like Denard was used last year. This would open up Denard to play all over the field no matter who was at QB.
I don't think Rich wants a top flite quarterback, necessarily.
Legendarily shitty feel around the greens.
Nice to hear that Lewan has solidified the LT spot. That OL line has been paying dividends so far, and hopefully Lewan can live up the Jake Long hype he received coming to UM.
As for the QBs, I still think this should be Tate's to lose. I know that Denard has been playing better this year, but I want to see how plays against a non-vanilla defense (though I did not see the game, the talk this week has been that the defense has not been showing its full array of formations). I know Tate has a lower ceiling, but I also know that he can make plays against good defenses and has proven it in the past. With Denard, it just sounds a bit like he has progressed somewhat but that he is also "new" - the backup who has limitless possibilities because people have not seen that much of him. If he beats Tate out of the starting QB position, then I'm fine with it. But there is a big difference between practice time and starting time, and breaking in a third first-time signal caller in 3 years is not going to instill much confidence in me.
I got a chance to see the guys practice over the last few days. I think that Cam Gordon is going to be a stud. He locates the ball really well and gets there in a hurry. He is going to be a big hitter. Reminiscent of Earnest Shazor, but a much better cover man. He covers ground well and gets to his spots. He is a big guy and has a physically intimidating presence. I'm looking forward to seeing him this fall. He's also a really nice kid as well. I think fans will be presently surprised by Gordon. Go Blue!
TO ME IT SOUNDS LIKE DEVIN MAY NOT BE THE FUTURE UNLESS THE FUTURE IS NOW! IF THERE IS NO SEPARATION FROM THE 1ST TO THE "3rd" THEN YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER PLAYING THE ONE WITH THE HIGHEST CEILING AND THE MOST TALENT AND SMARTS. TATE DID WELL THE FIRST 5 GAMES OR SO BUT WHEN HE GOT INJURED HE NEVER RECOVERED! PLUS HE'S SLOWER THAN THE 2 OTHER QB'S. I LIKE TATE MOXIE AND LOVE HIS HEART BUT HE TOO LITTLE COMPARED TO DEVIN AND HE DOES NOT COME CLOSE TO DENARD'S SPEED. THEY OBVIOUSLY WANT DENARD TO RUN THE OFFENSE AND THEY ARE GROOMING DEVIN FOR THE NOW, BUT IF THATS THE CASE THEN YOU REALLY HAVE TO CONSIDER PLAYING A FROSH FOR THE 3RD YR IN A ROW JUST CAUSE HE IS MORE ACCURATE THAN DENARD AND JUST AS FAST! IT SOUNDS CRAZY BUT I THINK DEVIN GIVES YOU THE BEST CHANCE TO NOT JUST COMPETE BUT WIN AND IF HE HAS A FALL, THEN YOU HAVE TWO EXPERIENCED AND CAPABLE QB'S IN THE WING! I'M LOVING THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE DEFENSE PERIOND! SHOUT OUT TO CAM! BUT WE HAD ONE OF THE HIGHEST SCORING OFFENSES IN THE BIG 10, SO IF THEIR COMPETING AND WINNING BATTLES THEN THAT BODES WELL FOR THE D! CAN'T WAIT TILL THE FALL, THEN WE WILL KNOW BETTER ABOUT THE DEPTH OF THE SECONDARY AND WHETHER OR NOT SOME OF THE MORE TALENTED RECRUITS WILL QUALIFY! ALL IN ALL I JUST WANT TO BEAT MICHIGAN STATE AND OHIO STATE AND IF GO 6-6 WITH THOSE WINS I WILL BE HAPPY! IM TIRED OF LOSING TO SWEATER VEST HA HA!
Cylons are terrible sports fans
That. Just. Happened.
I logged in specifically to see how much this post got negged.
I'm reading this in the library.
"the final score was 59-53 offense... it was 53-42 when they went to a segment called last play from the 3 yard line with the defense up by 4. defense stuffed the offense twice then Denard ran in for the win."
"-the defense looked phenomenal. There tackling was like night and day from last season. There was only one missed tackle that I saw, and it was on a great move by Mike Cox who looped back around and ended up being tackled for a loss by Thomas Gordon."
How much tackling was there? If the offenses are combining for 105 points before the goal line segment, can the defense really look phenomenal?
Is it maybe the first team defense looked good, but the 2nd and 3rd team defenses looked awful?
It seems like the scrimmage involved a lot of situational football, which would inflate the score quite a bit. It's like the difference between a internet poll (scrimmage) and a scientific poll (real game), the score doesn't reflect the overall play on both sides of the ball. Observing good tackling technique means a whole lot more than a random score.
I'm excited to hear that the tackling looked cause that's area that the UM defense has been pretty poor in for a while now. However, unless the offenses were consistently starting in the red zone, that seems like a lot of points to be given up. I guess I'd be more curios to know how the break down of points given up was distributed among the 1st team defense, 2nd team defense, etc.
I think the point is that the points scored is not the point. It is just a system created to incite competition and most likely doesn't "scientifically" reflect performance. The take-homes from the scrimmage lie in qualitative observations (as provided here) rather than in the score - which always simplifies what happens in a game, but to an extreme extent here.
This was an Offense vs. Defense Scrimmage
The coaches setup a scoring system to create competition between the offensive and defensive units. The scoring system could be a wide range of things but to give an example:
1st down = 3 pts
TD = 6 pts
FG = 3 pts
sack = 2 pts
Int = 3 pts
Fumble = 1 pts
Fumble recovery = 3 pts
loss of downs = 6 pts
So the end score really means nothing but bragging rights.
the only really egregious ones are on offense, where a FG and first down are badly overweighted. TOD for the D is also overweighted.
I was just giving an example of how the scoring system would work
but they looked pretty common and similar to what they used in the '08 (maybe '09? both?) spring game.
That makes a little more sense.
Jeremy Gallon was very impressive yesterday also. He is another player that they need to figure a way to get the ball in his hands as much as they can. He ran down the seam and caught a long gainer from Devin. That is one thing that I like about Devin more than Tate and Denard. He is willing to stay in the pocket longer, and is always looking down the field. The other two guys take off and freelance a little too early, and too often for my liking. It isn't as bad for Denard, because he is a big play waiting to happen with hit legs, but neither one of them really take a look down field all that much. The deep ball is there for them at times if they look for it.
willingness to stay in the pocket to his size. Tate and Denard are quite a bit shorter than Gardner and probably have trouble seeing receivers once the pocket starts to collapse.
a whole lot more when you're 5'11/180 than when you're 6'4/220
I also found Tate and Denard's unwillingness to stay in the pocket last year to be frustrating. I also recall one of the O-line men expressing frustration in this regard about Tate (Shilling, maybe?).
That said, I think that this is a common problem amongst many freshman QBs that are somewhat quick. In high school, if the play that they are looking for is not there, they are usually able - as a result of their own relative dominance and the generally crappy state of high school D - to create something with their legs. I think that with experience (and getting his ear chewed off by RR a few times last year), Tate will learn to hang out in the pocket and let plays develope. As for Denard, I think that when he was out there, teams brought a ton of pressure, and our line did not always hold up, so it was either risk a crappy throw into coverage (which he did do once or thrice) or take off. Again, experience, as well as some more diverse play-calling when he is in there should correct this problem. By all reports, Denard has a very strong arm.
i know GBMW is synonymous with death here, but they have a pretty good take on the scrimmage yesterday too
Some of you may not have heard of Michigan's Mad Magicians of the late '40s. If you are a Michigan fan look into who they were. They were a really cool portion of Michigan's past.
Anyway, based on what I'm hearing about the scrimmage and last year's offensive performance, Michigan's offensive may be on their way to being the new Mad Magicians. Execution and ball security will be key to accomplishing this.
Also I'm really looking forward to seeing Jeremy Gallon do his thing. He is very smooth in his moves.
Defense will be the key this year as always. Cam Gordon and his play is exciting to hear.
This year's play on the field is important because of recruiting. That is more important than "who" is Qb to me. I'm thinking about Michigan's long term issues. I'm tired of losing to mediocre Big Ten teams. Also this generation of buckeyes aren't that great either.
Yes I know I'm way ahead of things. It is just April, but I'm so excited!
Defense looks great & is tackling well.
Concerns with the LB's and secondary are being answered.
Real depth and intense competition at the QB spot.
AND BBB's avatar identity revealed....
I'm not sure what is happening but please, don't stop.
It's so nice to hear good things about Michigan football again. It's just too bad the only good news seems to be in the off-season every year.
I think this season we'll see more results from good practices to good play during the games. Last season this team's core talent on offense was just so young. This year the team will be more mature and disciplined!
I hope the defense can gel quick but if the offense scores plenty of points they may have some time to improve before playing the more physical and talented b10 teams.
Tough choice to red shirt Devin or keep him in the QB rotation. I think DROB and Tate will do well, so to keep Devin around longer I hope he does get the red shirt and in 2011 he will be free to compete for the starting spot and if he out duals Tate and DROB then so be it!
Wow, I'm getting all psyched up for the season in less than 5 months!
News couldn't be much better everywhere. One concern was missing those bowl practices but it sounds like there is enough positive here to move beyond that, and it won't happen again for a long, long time. Lewan winning the LT spot says very good things about the status of the line. There will be quality and depth.
Also appears the rumors about Robinson contending at QB were real. I'm sure Forcier will at least start the UConn game but having Robinson as replacement/change of pace/depth - call it whatever - will be large.
Reassuring to hear the reasons behind Turner's non-emergence at corner - 210-215 is getting pretty big.
Great stuff all around.
As I have said all along, the ability to run the read/option is pivotal in the Rodriguez West Virginia offense. If he wants to go back to that and Denard gives him that capability, Denard will start. Tate can't run the option even if he makes perfect reads because he's too slow and fragile. Now, to be fair, we don't know where Rodriguez wants to be offensively. He has run spreads before with more passing elements. But if he wants to maintain what he had a West Virginia, Denard will start if he can sustain his improvement.
This is really it for Rodriguez. He needs to succeed this year. If he's going all in with his vision, and it sure seems that way with the stack on defense, we will see Denard at QB. And if Denard succeeds, Forcier will probably transfer like his two brothers, which is not necessarily bad because there's an insurance now with Gardner.
If the season is not successful, then there's going to be a mess at QB.