The guy that I've heard little about that really has flown under the radar to me is Jerald Robinson. I know he only caught a couple passes during the game, but just watching him in warmups reminds me of a combination of a couple guys that had great careers at Michigan. The first guy that I see glimpses of in him is Super Mario. I watched all the receivers throughout the pregame warmups and the most fluid guy in both getting upfield and cutting on a dime was Jerald. These are two things that made Mario special. The second comparison I have for him is Jason Avant. The reason he comes to mind is his solid stature for the receiver position and the fact that at this point he looks like he's developing into a guy that could be a stud as a possession guy. Hopefully he can put it all together on Saturdays this fall and the next three seasons after.
On the defensive line, I was disappointed in what I saw from Ken Wilkins. He's a guy that I've really had high hopes for from the day he committed. My bias towards the Wolverines gave me the thought of him becoming a dominant big man coming off the edge, sort of in the mold of a LaMarr Woodley. That hope will not be happening. At this point, he is being pushed back because he is a Rich Rod type of player. He's a "tweener". Some parts to his game point to being on the end and others point to him being in the middle. Personally, I simply don't see the burst or athleticism for him to ever become a starting defensive end for us. He looks to almost, for lack of a better word, lumber forward in his initial strides from that position. As far as him being a D tackle, there is potential for growth there. We can basically count on not seeing much of him at all this season because the position he is better suited for is tackle and he just is not big enough yet. Eventually he could become solid though, so I'm still holding out hope that he can be a factor for this defense down the line.
On a positive note for the defensive line, we could have something special in the next few years. If Big Will, Richard Ash, and Q Wash can really understand and adjust their games to the great defensive coaching we now have on the staff then the line will put fear into every single opponent that walks onto the field knowing they are playing Michigan. In my opinion, we could easily see Will and Ash as the starting tackles. Those two could absolutely blow up a teams' running game. Add Washington to the mix coming off the bench and there will be many long days for teams trying to run on the Maize and Blue. We should all be very excited for the future of these guys.
Last position that I played close attention to are the safeties. The first thing that stuck out was the play of the safeties. Man o Man!! they looked light years ahead of what we've seen the last few years. We have ourselves two absolute sledge hammers developing in Carvin and Marvin. They can LAY YOUR SHIT OUT when they get a full head of steam. Right now, Carvin is further ahead because of his down field ability to read the quarterback and make a play on the ball (I think we saw that with his two picks). However, M Rob is a better run defender, and although it wasn't a smart decision, I can see why the previous staff moved him to linebacker. He's a beast when he's brought down in the box. Robinson is also more physically gifted and could possibly have a higher ceiling. If he can develop his skills in the passing game, this duo could be great. I didn't see too much of Kovacs yesterday and although he may begin the season as a starter, I think it's just a matter of time before the younger guys flip the switch and display their potential. (one more thing, Furman could be Shazor part II. That is all)
Few more quick opinions from the game:
- Jake Ryan is fast. Real fast. He coupled that with some great moves off the edge from his linebacker spot. He sets up the tackles real well before getting by them.
- I know Demens wasn't playing, but it really opens your eyes to the lack of development the previous staff had with the linebackers. Marell Evans comes back and immediately is the top dog. That is not supposed to be happening but I'm happy for him and excited to see him this fall.
- Both Denard and Devin have a lot of work to do this off season but they'll be alright.
- Toussaint is very quick but at this point I don't think he will see the field much this year. Cox is the most physically gifted but has issues with his vision that he still struggles with. I still think Shaw has the best ability to be THE GUY at RB this season. Hopkins is good but gets stuffed at the point of attack too often. I'm still very excited to watch him bulldoze over defenders a la Anthony Thomas.
- Right now, it's obvious that the O lineman were recruited for a spread attack. They will get bigger though, and develop the punch you in your mouth mentality over time.
Those are just a few observations I developed from the spring game. Can't wait for the season to begin. Start the march to Indy. Go Blue!!