Jay Hopson needs to do something. Anything.
Types of players needed on D, UM vs USC
The Eyeball Test
Pos USC Star UM Star
DE Wes Horton 6-5, 245 4* Brandon Graham 6-2, 263 5*
DE* Everson Griffen 6-3, 265 5* Craig Roh 6-4, 238 4*
NT Christian Tupou 6-2, 280 4* Mike Martin 6-2, 291 4*
DT Jurrell Casey 6-1, 295 4* Ryan Van Bergen 6-6, 261 4*
LB Michael Morgan 6-4, 220 4* Jonas Mouton 6-2, 218 4*
LB Malcolm Smith 6-1, 225 NR Stevie Brown 6-0, 211 4*
LB Chris Galippo 6-2, 255 5* Obi Ezeh 6-2, 243 3*
CB Josh Pinkard 6-2, 210 3* Donovan Warren 6-0, 187 5*
CB Kevin Thomas 6-1, 185 4* Boubacar Cissoko 5-9, 177 4*
S Will Harris 6-1, 200 4* Troy Woolfolk 6-0, 183 3*
S Taylor Mays 6-3, 230 5* Michael Williams 5-11, 190 4*
With a quick scan, we are fairly close with the exception of the entire secondary which just is what it is at this point and Roh who is a LB playing at DE. Some items of note.
- BG really should be playing like Griffen where he is able to stand up. Locking in with a Tackle in a 3/4-pt stance is less terrifying than having him bull rush every play. This is not rocket science, but we were talking about him breaking the sack record this year. However, he cannot move him because of dline depth which necessitates Roh as an early starter before putting on his 20 lbs of growth which gets his body type in the ballpark.
- MM is left pulling double teams due to RVBs lack of size which also puts him as a play making disadvantage. The dude is super athletic and his quickness would benefit from having a space eater next to him instead of having to be a space eater on most plays.
- The kick in the ass is really losing Graves and Jones last year since you needed the extra bodies and can't create a line of DE-Graham, Van Bergen, Banks, Patterson DT- Martin, Sagesse, Campbell. At this point, I wouldn't have minded seeing an attempt at this by moving Patterson down and playing Roh as a pass rusher to add depth. Not sure why this was not tried. We had Big Will for 9 months. I have a theory that is picked up at the end.
- The middle LB is a 5* LB who was a LB instead of a converted LB. Maybe that is trick I am not sure. But Galippo made a pick during the OSU game and I doubt if Obi could cover a elderly, asthmatic lady walking a crossing route. Again, this is addressed later.
Robinson is working with some unmatched parts and he had to take a system gamble with what he was able to determine based on his limited interactions with our players. I am concerned that the current recruiting class does not add the depth we need to make him successful. Maybe we can have the "talk" with a few guys (looking the direction of the slots) so we can add the numbers so our team starts looking physically like a USC lineup (maybe not as talented). The GERG still gets a pass, I see where he is going and understand why we are in this position.
On the other hand, our assistant coaches have had an extra year with the team and are the common pieces from the worst statistical unit and potentially the second worst statistical unit if this pace continues. My concerns are as follows:
Tall- You have an early enrolling DT that was considered by many people to follow football recruiting to be a monster (not just my opinion and yes that is as good a the coach's opinion). You needed to build these guys better to provide different dline options for GERG.
Hopson- You have 2 positions to worry about, both positions look lost. I can't add more than what has been said. I would be surprised if you are still in the same zip code next year.
Gibson- The NFL DB you inherited is playing pretty good. Too bad you are not doing more with the other pieces. Vlad was out a year with a leg, Kovacs was out a year with a leg, but the one who has 3 inches and 20 lbs on the other is on the sideline. I am sure Vlad could have taken a bad angle on the RB as well in the Indy game, maybe he would have made a play elsewhere. Speaking of which, I am sure Brandon Smith can run blitz like Kovacs. Maybe cover like Shazor, but has a better chance of sending a guy off in a stretcher. Gibson, get to work man because that guy is now a LB and you need to show some player development.
Depth/Recruiting- Really this about creating competition at this point. The walk-on program is a defensive feeder and I cannot believe that our guys are getting pushed the way they need to. I like Wilkins being able to come in with his body type, Talbott has a chance if he hangs out with Alex Mitchell all summer and the rest need to grow if you slot them into the prototypical sizes by position which means our recruiting class as it stands will provide little relief and we will be rolling the same D (minus graduation) next year unless we get some other fall surprises.
Unfortunately, I feel we will be outscoring teams even into next year. The one benefit being extra experience in the system and hopefully some assistant coaching turnover. I think GERG can get us there, he will need some tools to do so.
The problem is not only with player development especially at some of the linebacker positions, but in depth. It would be interesting to see what the second string USC defense looks like compared to ours. I would hazard a guess that our 2nd string has a severe dropoff in recruiting profile in comparison to USC's
See, I thought the exact same thing. However, when I looked into it, the USC backups average less than 2 years experience, and ours average almost 2.5.
I'm not talking about experience, I'm talking about talent.
Yes, this was the exact thought I had. It's one thing to be playing a 4* LBer but it's another when that 4* LBer had to beat out two 5* guys to win the job vs. beating a sleeper or converted player in UM's case. That's a generalization but I would guess that USC's second string is more highly rated than UM's second string.
I agree with everything you say, but it is also worth considering that even though our defensive starters have an average of ~3 years experience, they have also seen three different defensive coordinators during that time.
Regardless, I do agree that we should have seen improvement due simply to experience playing at the college level despite the constant coordinator shuffling.
A 5* freshman is not the same as a 5* Senior.
True, but if you look at the average years of experience between the two defenses, UM is at 2.9 and USC is at 3.
I just had a massive deja vu with these comments. It seems like someone should be asking why we are comparing ourselves to USC when we're in our current situation already.
Unless you are really a UM coach your post makes a lot of assumptions as to whether or not they tried a number of different schemes and players at various positions in the offseason. I would actually assume the opposite......Just sayin'.
"Unfortunately, I feel we will be outscoring teams even into next year."
So why is that unfortunate? I prefer to outscore teams, it tends to lead to wins.
I did not finish the thought in "having to" outscore teams as opposed to being able to shut them down.
With regards to who is and isn't playing (namely Vlad and Big Will not playing and Kovacs playing), I have to assume that the coaches aren't arbitrarily deciding who is and isn't going to play. I can pretty much guarantee that if GERG, RichRod, and the relevant position coaches thought playing Campbell and Vald was going to improve the team, then you'd have seen a whole lot of them. In the mean time I can do nothing but trust the judgement of the coaches because A) GERG has a hell of a track record as a defensive coach, and B) RichRod teams have a hell of a track record of winning alot of games.
Don't forget that USC also features 5* Nick Perry as a rusher, and an almost absurd amount of depth. Yes, UM has similar talent as starters, but after that the drop off is so precarious that you have 3 walk-ons playing meaningful minutes against IU. I think this team has a plan, and GERG still has this team playing well in the red zone and keeping the big play down (the IU 85-yard-run excluded). When given talent, Robinson has shown an ability to field a good defense; I think you have to give him 2-3 years before questioning if he is maximizing the talent on the field.