I was bored today and got caught up in a MGOBLOG link fest and ended up in 2005. I thought this sounded a little like a defense I know and love.
The only departing player who will get a serious look from the NFL is Watson, and that will be based more on his enormous, er, everything than anything unbelievable he did last year. We'll miss him, but teams tended to run at the gaping hole next to him this year and that--combined with his entry into the doghouse early in the year--limited his effectiveness. In terms of personnel, Michigan should be better next year. Other than Watson, Michigan lost its worst starter, a third-down edge rusher, and an adequate corner. There are still questions (who is the nickelback (and dimeback, for that matter)? Can we find effective outside linebackers? Who starts on the DL next to Branch and Woodley?) but Michigan has good players at at least seven defensive positions. There should be no excuses next year.
Of course, there's that whole coaching thing. Michigan's soft zone got downright ephemeral after the year of safeties who were anything but. Michigan avoided man coverage like it was the clap, sacrificing any element of surprise in favor of keeping someone (or three someones) behind the play. The end result was a hair-pulling, garment-rending extravaganza not seen since erroneous reports of Joseph's death reached Jacob. (BLAM! Ten years of Sunday School!) This year forcibly disabused me of the notion that Jim Herrmann will change or Lloyd Carr will pull ineffective players who are really swell people, so Michigan's underacheivement relative to talent will probably continue, but there will be more talent and more experience next year. That should count for something.
Just thought this was kind of similar to the beloved 2010 defense on steroids, with no man coverage and 3 deep everywhere with lots of guys coming back and losing your worst starter and a tealented but frustrating starter. Maybe 2011 defense=06. We can dream.
If anybody else has any good posts they remember it might be fun to look thru. I found a commit post on Carlos Brown that Brian almost got giddy over as it appeared to be Lloyd snake oil and a humourous look at our sleeper fb/lb recruit Obi Ezeh and hoping Jonas Mouton might leave USC behind.