I was recently on a flight to Texas and sat next to one of the lead national scouts for the San Diego Chargers. He had just completed a brief visit to some Michigan schools, including UM, MSU and Central Mich. We had a great conversation, and he was eager to get my take on future Michigan players worth keeping an eye on. This guy was also part of the Miami Dolphins and was involved with bringing Henne and Long to the Dolphins shortly before joining the Chargers. Here are some items of note from our discussion that afternoon(NOTE: I am not implying this is profound or unique insight, but I thought it was worth sharing):
- Aside from the seniors of the 2007 team, this year's team is the first he has seen in the last 2-3 years he would consider a "Michigan team". He said it was clear that there was nothing behind the seniors in 2007...he feels the ground work has been laid to bring Michigan back to where we should be
- He said Rich Rod was one of his favorite coaches, and he has a great relationship with pro scouts (unlike the HC from East Lansing who was more "closed off" and didn't seem "welcoming"). He has always been impressed with RRod's offenses and expects great things from Michigan in the near future. He said RRod is such a great guy, really fun to talk to, and even more fun to listen to.
- Robinson's defenses have always been a "bend don't break" style that simply count on the opposing offense to make enough mistakes for your offense to outscore them. He felt Robinson was very gifted at player development, even though his schemes are often too passive
- They are very interested in Denard, but not as a quarterback...he commented on his speed, but noted that his height is definitely exaggerated (surprise, surprise)
- He asked if I knew much about Mike Barwis (to which I responded he is the only person capable of beating Chuck Norris in a fight)...he said Barwis has done amazing things for this program, and Barwis' abilities/expertise is legendary even among the professional ranks
- He knew Steve Schilling personally and was keeping a very close eye on his progress. He also commented how Mike Martin looked like a beast (tell us something we don't know)
- He felt MSU didn't look like a solid program on the whole...there were some athletes who were on the radar, but nothing special.
To avoid becoming annoying, I turned the conversation to discuss his travel schedule, family, etc., but it was cool to see his notes about different players he had been scouting, and what he sees for their professional potential. It was also nice to speak with a qualified and unbiased spectator who sees the same potential and excitement that many of us are seeing with this team.