2010: RR, the defense, and why we win 9 next year.
My optimism is opposite of yours. I am optimistic because I don't think we start any true freshman at the onset of the season. I am hopeful Coach Robinson and crew have fully incorporated their D to our returning players
I think Dorsey starts at the safety position. While, I'm not as confident that the defense will be turned around the way the offense was in 2009, if Dorsey can perform better than last year's safeties (not really a tall order) the D will definitely improve as corners could line up closer to the line of scrimmage.
I think the coaches have said that they're going to start Dorsey off at corner. This is probably due to the lack of depth at the corner position and to help ease his transition into the college game, because I think its easier to learn corner in college rather than safety. Ultimately, however, I think he'll end up at safety.
i agree with each statement 'mjkaiser09', and i take 'uniqenam's optimism on defense a step further and believe at least two of the incoming freshman on defense will go pro early, due to their stellar play on a consistently improving top 10 defense. consider dorsey, robinson, furman for instance, others... i hope each one of them stay (and be champions) and give us multiple NC's, get their degree then go pro, etc.. GERG back. summary, the D is coming back this year, and stronger each year after that. 2010 = Bowl, 2011 = BCS Bowl, 2012 = NC...\ and Go Flyers!
I think it's a near certainty that one true freshman plays in the secondary, whether it's Dorsey or Christian.
plays or starts? b/c i don't think a true freshman will need to start. i do think a true freshman will have to come in on 3rd downs in obvious passing situations.
If we run a 4-2-5 as our base package, I don't think we'll need to bring in a nickel corner very much. I think it's more likely that Dorsey or Christian STARTS at corner than it is that they come in to cover the slot on third downs.
there are 3 spots, 1 filled by TW. Presumably Turner gets another. That leaves one to be filled by one of Floyd/Christian/Dorsey/Avery.
If we aren't starting a true freshman, it means either:
(a) Woolfolk is playing corner, leaving the combination of Vlad, Williams, and Kovaks at safety (which scares the bejeesus out of me), or
(b) Woolfolk is at safety, leaving JT and JT Floyd at the corners (which is not much less scary).
I think this is one of those rare times where the worst-case scenarios DON'T involve a true freshman on the field...
I think it's a near certainty that if our corners, whoever they may be, give 40 yard cushions again this year it's not going to make a bit of difference who plays. We'll still give up huge amounts of yards. Double this if we have no pressure.
...it's much more likely to happen at corner than at safety b/c safety is a lot harder to learn. The spring is huge, b/c the coaches need to find out if they can win with the players they have. Right now, the only guy I completely trust is Woolfolk. He's the only proven commodity. JT Turner is penciled in, so I guess we can count on him somewhat. Thing is, they're both playing corner this spring.
I think Cam Gordon at the weak side safety (LB/S hybrid) has a great opportunity this spring. I hope they move Kovacs back to that position as well. If they can't do it, Marvin Robinson has a real shot to start.
The biggest challenge for the coaching staff, in my opinion, is to find a strong side safety (almost always plays deep, either as a 1/2 safety or a center-fielder). This spot is wide open for Vlad Emilien to jump on. If he can't beat out freshly minted, 5'9" safety Teric Jones and others, look for one of two things (or maybe both) to happen. 1) Woolfolk moves back there in fall practice, and/or 2) Dorsey plays safety. Either way, Cullen Christian would then have a good shot to start at corner, provided he can beat out JT Floyd.
Now, it's not technically secondary, but don't forget that the Sam LB spot (aka spinner) is open. Brandin Hawthorne is there. However, don't forget that freakish Josh Furman will be coming in at that position. 6'3" 195 lbs. with a 4.37 40-yard dash and Barwis hasn't gotten ahold of him yet.
If no true freshmen start, then the veterans will have made a ton of improvement. Here's hoping they have.
From what I understand, there is no SAM anymore. Hawthorne is playing spur, Jones is playing weakside linebacker, and the SAM has been abolished for this year. This is according to Rivals.
tomato/tomato...wait, that's not as effective in print...er, you get the idea.
Our OLBs in G defense were called the spur position, btw. Some coaches call players in this alignment the "overhang player."
We'll see, I guess. It seems like the defense is being rejiggered, and The Wolverine made a point to say that players have been re-allocated to some different positions. So I think some changes are in order, but if nothing else, we'll find out what it looks like in the spring game.
Since I have two of the defensive specialists in this segment I want to ask you both a question:
Does the fact that our team seems to be changing systems to an extent (to this one without a spinner) does that negate the advantage of having a second season with the same DC?
It seemed everyone was happy that Gerg was still here and our guys would have two years in his system, but does this change that? I guess what I am asking is whether a change in scheme = a change in system?
Sorry if this is a dumb question, I love football but didn't have the opportunity to play growing up so these things are lost with me.
I don't think it's going to be much of a change in system. The only thing I think it really does is that it makes the two "overhang players" (as steve sharik mentioned) a little more versatile. If it's a true 4-2-5, either one could drop into a deep zone. Now, it does potentially make us a little smaller (for example, Steve Brown's 215 lbs. might be replaced by Jordan Kovacs's 200), but ultimately, the changes probably won't be extremely significant.
Thanks Magnus, that was reassuring. I was happy Gerg stayed for many reasons, but the biggest reason was for some continuity for the guys on that side of the ball.
I am really looking forward to this season and can't wait to see how the D plays. For the first time in a couple of seasons I am expecting something from them.
Thanks again, your insight is always appreciated. Especially by fans like me who don't know all the the finer aspects of the game.
Like Magnus said, the spring game will tell us a little, but the games in the fall is where and when we'll really be able to tell.
I think they're simply changing some position names to fit more of what the defense does as a base, in addition to changing the coaching roles a little.
They were pretty much a 1-high (meaning 1 deep safety, as opposed to two) team last year, they just used 4-3 position coaches and terminology. I think they've just changed coaching assignments and position names to fit with what they do.
I love the flexibility, however, of being able to play 1 or 2 deep safeties depending on the offensive formations and play call tendencies. Also, we could very well consider what we've been referring to as the weak side safety as the weak side spur. That way, as Magnus suggested, either spur could rotate back to deep safety.
These are 3-3 stack principles, by the way.
Optimism is warranted because the defense doesn't have to great for Michigan to have a good year. It needs to be competent. We should be able to make the improvement from "awful" to "competent" with the personnel we have.
Now if we have TEs sneaking into the flat for 45 yard gains again, then some tough questions need to start getting asked.
Just wait till 2011 when we return 8 starters on defense including our entire DL and all our starters on offense except 2-3 OL.
THis is why RR was hired. Building a PROGRAM. Once you get to the top, you stay on the top. We will have 3-4 yr starters in 2011, then after that its the upperclassmen first time starters ready to stepup every yr like OSUs defense.
And... Maybe some players counted on Warren/Brown/Graham too much and thought theyd be dominating EVERY play. Sometimes when you lose all-americans your team gets closer together and plays tougher because they all want to step up, so they all step up together.
The problem with the '08 offense was largely youth; we had talented players, but our talent was very young. Young players necessarily become older and more experienced.
The problems with the '09 defense were largely lack of depth and overabundance of suck. Our talent wasn't necessarily young; they just played badly (with a couple of exceptions), and were too few in number. The depth situation will theoretically improve this year, but the decrease in suck is not a given. Ezeh, Mouton, and [deep safety] in particular really need to step up and decrease their number of OH MY GOD WHERE WERE YOU GOING plays.
I do share your optimism overall, though, especially if the offense stays healthy (oh please, Benevolant 2010 God Who Feels Bad About How He Treated Michigan Last Year, let it be so...)
+1 for the abundance of suck line
would be a nice argument, until you see how the offense did against OSU, P-State and Wisky. It is fine scoring 63 points against D-state, but any offense can be good against bad defenses or outmatched teams.
I beleive you have a high powered offense once you actually start scoring against better defenses.
Yes, Mich's offense imporved last year, but against bad defenses.
But compared to '08, the '09 offense was remarkably competent, especially when it was healthy. We averaged 37 points over the first 7 games. Hell, we scored more points against Iowa than any team all year, and we did it at Iowa at night. Compare that to the yakety-sax efforts of '08, and I consider this year's offense pretty decent.
It was only when Tate's shoulder, Molk's foot/knee, Carlos Brown's ankle, and Brandon Minor's everything went on the fritz that the universe commenced the hundred-hand slap to the dong.
We did score a bit on Iowa, didn't we...I don't know.....I just felt like for the most part we scored well, until we played really good teams(with the exception of Iowa).
It just reminds me of those decent teams(like the Big East) who do well, until they play better teams outside their conference.
Look at Cinci...went 12-0 until Florida crushed them. Scored all over the place in the Big East...but couldn't do anything against a better defense.
Just my two cents
Cinci didn't have a head coach.
Do you really think that would have mattered?
If so, you must have extremely high regard for B Kelly
but again, the offense was handicapped by injuries by the time we got to the bigger games.
Besides, I'd consider Ohio State the biggest game of the year and the best team in the Big Ten last year. We moved the ball pretty damn well against them; they outgained us by a total of nine yards, and we outgained them in the air like 3-to-1.
If it wasn't for Tate's 5 (?) TO's, we would've put up at least 2 more touchdowns and it would have been a much better game. I don't see that happening again next year when he's (a) healthy and (b) has more experience. Our offense should be pretty potent next year.
We scored 24 points against Wisko, not exactly a barrage, but not an example of a poor offensive game. We were actually within 4 with a couple minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
That game ended up being pretty ugly, but it wasn't because of our offense. 24 points doesn't win every game, but you're usually in it with that many. However, allowing 45 points very rarely results in a win.
Offense wasn’t the problem last year.
Penn State Defense gave up and average of 14.9 ppg last year in the B10; Michigan scored 10 on them while turning the ball over twice in the red zone in addition to two other times.
Wisconsin Defense gave up and average of 24.3 ppg last year in the B10; Michigan scored 24 points.
Ohio State’s D gave up an average of 12.6 ppg in the B10; we scored 10 on them while committing 5 turnovers with 2 of those in scoring position.
Iowa’s D gave up 16.1 ppg in the B10; Michigan scored 28 on them while giving up 5 turn-overs with one being in scoring position. Michigan’s 28 points were the most allowed by Iowa all year.
The Michigan offense performed about as well as the average B10 offense did against those defenses with an injured true freshman QB playing behind an O-line missing its best player.
Defense and poor turnover margin are what killed M last season. The offense was fine for having those particular circumstances and stands to get significantly better.
Donovan Warren scored the other seven.
Otherwise I tend to agree.
Without eternal hope.
We Michigan fans are becoming like women who have children.
They forget the pain of the last one and think doing it again would be a great idea.
I'm a speculatin' M-EFFER myself--but now I'm in total "wait and see" mode.
I'll believe it when I see it.
is it depressing to be pessimistic all the time?
from Winnie the Pooh than the rest of us...
I hope you don't have kids. "Yeah, I guess you're alright, but you defintitely weren't worth the pain."
Win or lose I will booze.
I thought the same thing about UM basketball, we return 4 starters in 09 so we are bound for the ncaa again, right?
Valid argument, but there was no improvement with the BBall team. Hopefully that's not the case with the football program.
Remember the "Weapon of Choice" hype video last year? Forcier shredded an admittedly inexperienced D. A lot of those guys saw playing time during the season. We all thought it was just Tate being really good. Turned out (as much) to be a D that was baaaaaad.
If, in the Spring Game, we see the Defense (particularly the secondary) performing at something approaching "competent" against our returning QB, then I think we're okay. If not, it could be another long season ahead.
seems tough to judge your offense or defense as a whole based on the spring game. No matter what your conclusion is, it is all speculation because it is all depends on how good the opposite side of the ball actually is.
However, I do agree with you here. If the defense plays well against our offense it will definitely be a good sign. If our offense plays well against our defense, we don't know if it is because our offense is potent or because our D is below par.
It is much easier to judge individual performances from the spring game.
But again, its individual performances that will tell the tale. In last year's spring game, Forcier made Swiss cheese of the secondary. Five touchdowns? For a "true freshman"?
Many of the guys he and the receivers went up against were in the two-deep or below. But, as injuries during the season piled up, these same players often found themselves defending the field against veteran QBs like Daryll Clark.
Actually - that is exactly what I am going to look for: some great plays in the secondary during the spring game - particularly linebackers making tackles so safeties don't have to.
Tate must improve ball security.
Hopkins/Cox will hopefully turn 3rd and 3 into 1st and 10
RVB looks like he will play the BG role but I was holding out hope that JB steps up and Ezeh moves out of the middle.
The D will have a better idea whats going on out there which will hopefully enable them to add some wrinkles and add some blitz packages that will also make up for the loss of BG.
Hopkins could certainly convert some 3rd and short situations, and/or hurt some people trying to do so.
I'm looking forward to Denard turning 1st and 10 into "Holy Shit, did you see that?!?!?"
so maybe no more Illinois plays, four downs from the one because if so it would make me very very very happy
Has to be better this fall, or we'll see more 3rd-and-9s than 3rd-and 3s. Man, oh man, did we we miss Molk last year.
Look at Odoms coming around from the opposite side and blowing that dude up. Dammit I fucking love Odoms.
Far and away my favorite player. Plays full heart every play and puts as much effort into a block as he does a bubble screen. He's already been something special for this team.
We just need to win.
I really feel like people underestimate Tate's injury and its effect on our offense. Not only did his accuracy on short passes degrade, but the deep ball was pretty much taken out of the gameplan after that. When he did throw it, it was terribly underthrown (compare the perfect bomb he threw to Hemingway against western and the underthrown ball to Denard later in the season). That freak injury against Indiana really screwed us for the rest of the season, allowing teams to ignore any sort of deep threat and stack the box. I expect Tate to be back, healthier than ever and with that same accuracy we saw in those first four games.
The offense did show potential last year, but there were quite a few boneheaded mistakes by everyone and that was because of youth. That should change with an added year of maturity and if the O-Line stays healthy, there's a lot of weapons on offense and I'm confident they will be utilized properly.
On defense, an additional year traditionally helps (just look at Nebraska), but there are quite a few holes. No proven players in the secondary. Starting Woolfolk and Dorsey at corner are pretty much acts of desperation, although we're not facing any deep receivers this year (except maybe the ND receivers but I don't think their QB will get them the ball) so that weakness might be masked (not against SEC teams, Texas or USC, though). But the secondary is young and unproven. They might make some great plays but then give up an inexplicable touchdown, very much like the offense last year. There remains grave concerns at LB. The key will be up front. There's good depth and some talented players there with playing experience. If the run can be stopped and there's pressure on the QB, the team can reach 9-10 victories.
Other than that, barring injuries, just the natural progression from an offseason and experience will probably yield 8 victories.
Yes, a second year with the same D scheme helps--but Nebraska didn't lose Suh like we've lost Graham.
And Bo Pellini is ten times the defensive coach Gerg is.
--I am guessing that your day job is not "Motivational Speaker".
Didn't Pellini work for Supercoach Miles before?...yeah he must be 100 times better than Gerg - a proven NFL commodity. --- Don't forget the coach comparison scale is logarythmic (sp?).
For what its worth - I'd even accept a D this year best described as seviceable.
We will win 9+ games this year because our offense will average 45.0 points per game. With a season under Tate's belt, a healthy shoulder on Forcier, a healthy knee on Molk, who is probably the best and most important player on the offense, our offense will simply explode.
Also, Roundtree will win the Biletnikoff.
Simple as that.
The '09 offense was improved but you could see lots of evidence of that improvement late in '08. Michigan had 200 yards on the ground against Penn State, Minnesota, and Purdue. Basically you could tell that the offense would have a breakout year in 2009 with a good QB. In stark contrast, the '09 defense did not give any reason at all to be optimistic. They started off mediocre and they ended up the year terrible. Michigan gave up a whopping 200 rushing yards per game in conference play, last in the conference. Since then, the three best players (including the best defensive end in the history of the program) have left. I saw absolutely positively zero reason last year to think that the '10 defense will be anything other than terrible. I don't know that our offense will be good enough to overcome a bad defense. Most of the teams in the Big Ten now have been seeing the spread for years and they know how to defend it.
I dunno, I would argue that the defense played its best game against OSU. Turnovers lost that game for us.
We certainly have raw talent and lots of competition. Combining those two, we should be able to turn out a halfway decent defense this year with the potential to be really good in 2011.