I included kickoff returns in the Offense Every Snap video, but I know there are people who don't want to watch the whole thing just to see the returns, hence this:
VIDEO: Norfleet's Returns
I just get the feeling (I know others have said it before) we're going to see some special things out of this kid. When you watch his game footage from high school, he's on another level in terms of speed and acceleration. Very exciting.
he will be taking a couple to the house this year. nice seeing a threat back there again!
It looked like he missed some seams. I like that he secures the ball and heads straight upfield. Let's hope he never gets this many opportunities in a single game again in his career.
It's not really that he is missing seams so much as the seams fill so quickly with Alabama athletes. I'm excited to see what he can do against smaller, slower competition.
He looked great all night, one of the bright spots of that game. I just wish that Alabama didn't need to score in order for us to see him.
I think Musberger's trolling us.
Musberger was trolling us all game.
When he was the NSD surprise!
"He has some burst." "This kid will take one to the house before the Big Ten season starts." Those are the only things Musberger got right during that game.
Also, Id love to see him get some carries or maybe put him in the slot fot some quick passes. Hes by far the quickest guy on the team not counting #16.
It's hard not to phrase this where I sound cynical, but all I see are a bunch of returns to the 25 (minus one or two). He had a few nice ones, but he also had one where he got crushed because he stopped moving his feet.
Again, not trying to be cynical, just wondering what people see in him (in terms of vision, speed, etc.) to make us think he's our guy.
Did you see how fast he accelerates? I think that's the big thing. He gets upfield and he gets there quickly. One should take into account the level of competition; our kickoff return team was facing Alabama athletes. Decent returns (I think he averaged a little over 22 yards) against Alabama are suddenly very good returns against Air Force, UMass, Minnesota, etc. And I guess we'll see how Nebraska, Ohio State, and MSU measure up. He looked pretty darn promising to me.
Correct. He made eight returns for 177 yards, so an average of 22.1 with the longest being 33 yards. I would agree that the acceleration is key, but I think he's also potentially very elusive as a result of that. If you're doing this against a team like Alabama, then someone with Norfleet's size and speed could likely disappear altogether in coverage against some of the teams we have have on the schedule, which is very encouraging.
at the .38 mark, he baiscally stops to avoid a hit then pushes the turbo button and just accelerates for more yards...ridiculous. Like you said, this all against freak'o Bama athletes, we could see some fireworks soon.
Very excite (Borat voice)
I think that's his next added job. I would think acceleration is even more important for the extra hang time of a punt,
Are you mental? Do you not realize that this was against (OMG)ess-eee-cee speeeeeeeeeeed?
-only slightly serious, but you do have to admit that he did pretty well for a true freshman in his first game which happened to be against the best team in the country. Theres definitely some speed there that M's been lacking in its returners.
For one thing. On the return right after he got blown up around the 15 (was that the Dee Hart one?), he caught the ball, accelerated straight up the middle of the field, and crossed the 30. Pretty impressive. He definitely needs to get stronger, but that's to be expected given that he's a true freshman.
Don't compare this year to last year - remember the ball is being kicked off from the 35 instead of the 30 this year, so the kick off team is getting their 5 yards earlier. I'd say getting to the 25+ regularly is a big deal.
That kid is a very special player. Reminds of Steve Breaston with his speed and the fact he is out there as a young guy doing it.
So he's like Steve Breaston, but faster?
Fred is that you?
Norfleet stole Hayes's thunder because Norfleet is better.
Norfleet is a lot like the little scat backs at Oregon. Hayes is more of a Vince Smith meets Michael Shaw if you ask me. Maybe sprinkle a little Carlos Brown?
To me, Hayes would get more carries/catches...Norfleet is a big play guy/return man.
If Norfleet adds some more bulk I don't see why he can't get carries.
You are supposed to consider the play, not the result. You can't just say "he didn't get past the 35" -- there are many different ways to return a ball to the 25, and his was impressive and (to me) it seems evident that he will be very good at returning kicks.
Remember, they are also kicking from 5 yards closer, so it's harder to get the longer returns.
I agree with Rob. I'm really excited about this kid, but let's not get carried away- just yet. I'm sure he'll have a big game this weekend, but these highlights are downright depressing. I just watch as the score climbs... 7-0, 14-0.... etc.
He had a few nice moves but he didn't break anything loose (and the best run was called back.) I hope he becomes great, but to me, an impressive performance was Breaston a la Rose Bowl against Texas. (and really, Breaston throughout his career.)
Let's see more of that.
You're right, until we see Norfleet do well in the Rose Bowl I'm not going to give him any credit. The post was highlighting his potential. He looked good. He was fast, shifty and did break some tackles. I understand not naming him the next Steve Breaston, but the rufusal by a number of posters to acknowledge the potential doesn't make sense to me.
I am not getting some of these posts. The guy above mentioned penalities on the returns but how does that have to do anything with Dennis? If you dont see the potential then I dont even know what to say.
There are a lot of sparty trolls on mgoblog. Just sayin.
Penalties have nothing to do with Dennis, but certainly help runners advance the ball further than they would have, without say, an illegal block or a hold. I think I'm not being clear. I think Norfleet has crazy potential, that's why I said I'm very excited about him. I'm shocked with how poised he was against Alabama. A kid his size, taking those hits and also making a few wiff is amazing.
I'm betting he has an outstanding season, I'm just willing to wait a few games before crowning him breaston. A standout performance this game was not, however he obviously can be a stud. I hope he gets in the game as RB or in some package against air force and beyond.
That was an unfortunate reminder of how often Bama scored. Here's to hoping he gets one KR per game (1st half or 2nd half kickoffs) for the rest of the year. Exciting guy to watch.
This video is way too long! Hopefully we don't see as much of Norfleet against Air Force. I have a feeling hes going to be really fun to watch!
...but just once as a kickoff returner.
Before the B1G season is over he's taking one to the house. Heck the way he found seems against a solid unit in Alabama, I'd say he'll take at least 4 to the house. First one this weekend against Air Force. Mark it down.
Grammer...u haz it's.
but do we really need to relive that game again? I hope they find a place in the offense for him.
- Musberger is terrible, and maybe a bit senile
- It sucks that he had enough returns to fill 1:51 of tape
- Norfleet will indeed return one to the house before the Big Ten season is over (maybe several)
(Sorry) but we look ridiculous, especially since Alabama went with their traditional uniforms all the way. They outplayed us and we doubled down on looking bad with that Adidas crap. EVERY TIME we've done the uniform gimmicks over the past two seasons we've played an ugly game. UTL and the Sugar Bowl turned into these magical games that we had no business winning but somehow did. OBVIOUSLY uniforms have miniscule effect on performance and execution but it's still annoying. I hope the Clowniform Era that began with UTL ends with the Cowboy Classic.
I didn't think they looked too bad. They were the best alternate uniforms we've worn to date in my opinion, but it's all a matter of personal taste. It didn't look as gimmicky to me as the others.
I don't even think we have traditional away jerseys anymore FWIW.
What does our "traditional" road jersey look like? We've had a dozen over the recent years. As long as they don't mess with the home unis or make our guys look like bumble bees, I'm fine with it. I actually thought these were pretty good.
I'm also tired of the uni discussion. Regardless of what they wear there will always be a dissenting opinion on them. I'd rather focus on the play-on-the-field. As that continues to improve I don't think many of us will really care whether they are wearing Bumble-bee yellow or Bubble-gum pink.
Keep in mind how Alabama was kicking the ball, instead of drilling it through the back of the end zone like I'm sure their kicker was capable of doing they put as much air under the ball as possible and dropped it right at the goal line. That's usually tough sledding for the returner, but Norfleet did really well with most of them including one where he had just one man to beat to take it all the way (minus penalty).
This is a great observation. I don't know much about Alabama's kicker, but I suspect that kicking it from the 35, he could probably put it through the endzone most of the time, which implies he was intentionally kicking it short, knowing that their coverage team has a 5 yd head start and thinking that the returner has little chance of getting to the 25.
With that in mind, if Norfleet establishes himself as a talented or even elite return man, I think you'll just see more teams do their best to "kick it away from him" by putthing it through the endzone for a touchback.
Borges needs to draw up more bubble screen plays for this kid
Call him Northfeet for the way he gets his feet moving north-south in a hurry.
Also, I love that he didn't try to do too much fancy dancin' even though that stuff surely worked in HS. Seems to be transitioning well.
Although the reason Norfleet had so much activity was less-than-desirable, I am so glad he got all the reps. I can't imagine a Freshman on such a big stage against the #1 team doing much better. He looked stronger as the night went on and the experience he gained will pay dividends throughout the rest of the season.
Over under 2.5 TD's off returns this year?
I'm gonna say under, at what point will the opposing teams just stop letting him have a chance to return the ball.
Side note, :22 seconds in. I love the way his legs still trying to run while he's a good two feet off the ground.
I say he gets 2 return td's in just the air force game alone. Another in the UMASS game.
Excited to see how they can integrate him into the offense. He is too dynamic to just use on kickoffs. Maybe I missed it if so but during fall camp was there any talk of him working with the punt team?
Can't wait to see what Norfleet can do as a RB once he throws 20 pounds of good weight on. I'm not sure he'll ever be an every down back, but he will be a great change of pace guy with serious home-run ability.
i wonder if norfleet would get this kind of attention if brian didn't hype him up at every opportunity.
with that said, i was at the game and what excited me the most about norfleet wasnt so much his returns, but rather his...demeanor. i know this blog generally scoffs at unquantifiable qualities like "intangibles” but norfleet was the only one on that sideline who seemed pissed. I think he might have been one of the few players who generally wanted to get out there and…hit somebody. i wish he had an opportunity to get in some plays at RB.
i wonder if norfleet would get this kind of attention if brian didn't hype him up at every opportunity.
More than likely not, but given his acceleration it would be noticed soon enough. With a little better vision he would slip right through a hole in the coverage. A deadly kick return guy can change the game in about 10 seconds. Think about it, combined with -
- Gallon's elusive catches
- Gardner's length and speed
- Denard's legs
- Fitz's ability to find a crease
It just adds another weapon.
Short Answer: Yes
Long Answer: Oh my freaking gosh, yes. If it wasn't Brian, it would be someone else. Heck, even MAGNUS loves him. MAGNUS! I will honestly say that the few occurrences post-slaughterdome where I had a smile on my face involved Norfleet returning the ball. That was the only up-side to Alabama scoring A LOT. And Brian did very minimal to help with my giddyness over the kid. It's mostly due to my current fixation on recruiting and the fact that he was the one kid who was offered and committed on national signing day. He instantly became famous because he was "that guy" as well as the fact that he's a "local." AND that he's essentially Darren Sproles, who of course everyone loves.
False. I am incapable of love.
How's that for the torment of existence weighed against the horror of nonbeing?
Also, I would just like to add the following, which is the greatest picture ever.
that in his highlight video from his senior year, every play was a 100000 yard touchdown by him basically just out running the world.
I honestly don't know what to say to the posters saying they didn't see anything to get excited about or we should wait because he didn't have great returns. The mindset behind, "well, he didn't break one for a touchdown, so I didn't see anything to impress me" is ridiculous.
Nothing you can say. Opinions are opinions and the internet is full of them. Football fans usually aren't the most level headed bunch anyway.
He looks good. Great acceleration. Hopefully with more practice throughout the year we will start seeing him on more than just kickoff returns. He looks like a talent.
norfleet looks like he has the right instints plus the right kind of quickness. should be fun to watch him mature.
that said, watching alabama kick off again and again is like some kind of nightmare.
At the 23 second mark he observes at the end of the play "looks like he [Norfleet] has the first down." I guess he was right, but on a kickoff return (first down by rule) that's just an odd call.
At the 44 second mark Musberger describes Norfleet as "the redshirt freshman from Detroit". Uhm, Brent? He's a true freshman.
The broadcast was replete with similar Musberger nonsense, which made the Debacle in Dallas even a bit more nauseating to watch. Looking forward to Saturday.
(Thanks to Thorin for posting this - the kickoff return sample size was obviously larger than we'd hoped for, but Norfleet seems to have great acceleration and a fearless attitude.)
He needs to get some snaps at running back.
I think that in garbage time Norfleet will take a few snaps at running back and maybe even slotback, he has playmaker written all over him and could torch some of the lesser defenses on our schedule.
Make that zero to Norfleet in 0.5 seconds.
I for one am just really happy that we're talking about a guy potentially getting a KR for a TD. I remember in the not so distant past being nervous every time we had to recieve a punt or kickoff, since nobody seemed to be able to catch the ball.
Would love to seen this guy used like the lions use Logan sometimes. Bring him in for a down here and there throw a swing pass or run him on a sweep and get him to the edge in space. I don't think he can be a feature back. But Kr and PR plus a half dozen other misc touches hrncould be special
Norfleet showed good speed and shiftiness, but how many of his returns made it much past the 25? I could be wrong, but I was at the game and don't recall many going too far past the 25 which of course is the new touchback rule.
Of course I was also hammered in despair for most of the game so maybe my memory is not the best.
It was said before, but it is worth repeating.
1. This was his first college game ever.
2. It was against Alabama.
3. He was a cut away on a couple of those plays from being gone.
4. He accelerates like wow.
This is cause for excitement. While it is true that not every kickoff return looked great, watch the tape again and you will see the plays I'm referring to in #3.
Looks good. In the first half I saw a bit of hs kid used to playing against inferior athletes and expecting to run circles around everyone instead of making one cut, but that looked better later on.
Was that a legal tackle at the 1:00 mark? I know we'd already drawn a flag on the play, but that looked like a horsecollar that should have led to an offsetting penalty.
Just watched it again. A couple things I noticed -
- Hoke was standing right there looking at the play. He made no gestures towards the officials about the tackle. He either didn't see it or didn't think it warranted a penalty.
- It does appear that the Alabama player gets his left arm up near Norfleet's neck. Not sure about the rule and how it is applied, or how far around Norfleet's neck his arm was.
- The velocity of the play allowed him to throw Norfleet's small frame making the tackle look "worse" than it really was.
EDIT: Here is the rule from the NCAA rule book
Horse Collar Tackle ARTICLE 15. All players are prohibited from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the ball carrier down. This does not apply to a ball carrier, including a potential passer, who is inside the tackle box (Rule 2-34). Note that the tackle box disintegrates when the ball leaves it.
and undoubtedly this kid will break a couple during his career. I see other posters stating that with added weight, we could use him as a carrier, but I think his real value to this team will remain in the return game, and they should begin grooming his as a lot receiver, not unlike Steve Breason, who they never asked to gain weight but proved very productive at moving the chains duing his career from the slot. Also could prove valuable on reverses, no unlike Percy from Florida. Kid has wiggle and is difficult to get clean hit on.
has been busy.
Who else is now significantly disapointed kick offs were moved up 5 yards?
You say "none quicker!"
I say "Nor Fleeter!"
I'd love to see him catch some passes out of the backfield. We can haz Norfleet bubble screenz?
but i was depressingly focused on the score changing every time.
Looks promising. Better than gallon. They should use him as sproles in the passing game mismatching him up with slow line backers.
Not only that—he's a 19-year old pure freshman playing in his first freaking game for Michigan in a largely hostile road environment against the best team in the country. Complaining that he didn't get beyond the 35 seems a bit odd to me. We should be thankful he didn't shit his pants... have we forgotten how much trouble other UM kick returners have had in the recent past just catching the fucking kick cleanly?
Just think of him taking it to the house in the Big House, which will happen soon.
I doubt that we will face a more difficult kickoff team than Alabama all year.
Let's start this Saturday.
One great thing about college football is the abundance of undersized or awkward sized players that there are to root for. The pros weed out many of these athletes, but for four years we can root for them.