Spring Practice Presser 4-3-18: Greg Mattison

Spring Practice Presser 4-3-18: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on April 4th, 2018 at 8:03 AM

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

[Ed. A—Pick your poison if you’re wondering why there aren’t any MGoQuestions: is it the GI bug that has kept me up and…uh, occupied since 4 AM, or is it that my wife could go into labor at any time? I’ll be back at Schembechler Hall as soon as I can. Thanks to MGoFriend Isaiah Hole for the video.]

Do you have the deepest position?

“Well, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know, we haven’t looked at it. I think the linebackers got some good depth, some good talent. I think there’s some good young kids all over that defense that are working to make the depth that we need.

“But up front, you know we want to always have enough depth to be able to rotate, and really, that’s what the spring is for us. We want our first group to get better and come out every practice to get better, and guys behind them gotta earn the right so that you say, ‘Okay, when we get in games, this guy can go in right now. I think you’re getting that. I think you’re seeing that.”

Who’s starting to earn that right?

“Well, Kwity Paye is having a really, really good spring. Michael Dwumfour, I think, is having one of the best springs that I can remember. I mean, he’s really playing hard, and Aubrey’s [Solomon] playing hard, and Carlo, Carlo Kemp every day comes out an gets a little better, and he’s playing a couple positions. I think we’ve got a number of kids that are doing good to try and get that first group [to] feel like they’re there.”

What distinguishes Dwumfour?

“Dwumfour, it’s been he’s so quick off the football. He has a lot of Mo Hurst in him. There’s times when you see him come off the ball and you just go, ‘Whoa, that’s really good,’ and he’s a little bit thicker and a little bit bigger.

“The other thing, it’s probably Rashan [Gary] and Chase [Winovich] and Bryan Mone’s leadership that have really gotten him to step up. He’s always shown flashes, but now all of a sudden he’s getting more mature. Times when he’d play really good, really good, really good, and then all of a sudden try to take a play off or he wasn’t ready to take that next play. He’s not doing that now. He’s pushing himself way past where he usually would, and that’s a real good sign for us.”

[After THE JUMP, a 275-pound man is referred to as “little Phillip.” Football!]

Unverified Voracity Wonders About The Bearded Lady?

Unverified Voracity Wonders About The Bearded Lady?

Submitted by Brian on December 19th, 2017 at 12:16 PM

Last call for XMas tales. PEOPLE OF EARTH: FAILURE IS IMMINENT. No, this isn't about Dave Brandon. This is about YOU. If you order TODAY a copy of Hail To Old Blue will get to its proper location by Christmas.

DOUSW7BXcAAvD54

Or you can pick up a copy at Underground Printing, Literati, or Nicola's. All of them are fine establishments containing our book. Literati also has unauthorized copies of Crag Ross's books. (To be clear: they are unauthorized by Literati, because Craig just signs them and drops them off.)

The inscrutable crocodile. As the kind of person who sits in his bunker and plots various ways to destroy my mortal enemy Instagram whilst almost entirely ignoring the NFL, this insane thing has eluded my attention for far longer than anything that could cause this picture to exist should:

image

Tom Brady's slow descent into madness is now manifesting itself as a series of bizarre webcomics that involve centaur, jockey, and Captain Planet versions of Brady himself, some sort of pudgy leprechaun who is about to touch his nipples, Walker Space Ranger, a crocodile dressed like Captain Picard during a holodeck episode, several anime animals engaging in some sort of... activity, and—most bizarrely—Gronk in a lab coat pouring what I can only assume is trademarked, patented GronkJuice(tm) onto a chicken wing. 

That paragraph was one sentence.

Anyway. This clearly needs a crack investigative team breaking down the ins, outs, what-have-yous, and thoughtcrimes being committed. Charlotte Wilder was born for this job.

  • Speaking of lasers, the plans inside the Dolphins’ briefcase appear to be for some sort of giant, inter-galactic laser.
  • Oh my god, do you think that because I’ve been imagining that the social media room underneath a TB12 workout facility looks like a lair, they drew a lair?
  • Sorry, I know this isn’t about me.
  • Is that guy wearing a lab coat by the picture of Ben Steeler Gronk?
  • Yes, because in the comic after the Houston win, Gronk showed up wearing that same lab coat. He’s also wearing glasses and says, “the computer data is telling me...”
  • Get it? It’s funny because Gronk is not generally seen as a rocket scientist. They were in space then. Now they’re underwater. Or possibly underground.

I think that's a compliment? I don't know. She did a really good job analyzing this nonsense Tom Brady webcomic? Hell, I've covered the last 14 years of Michigan football. I have no room to criticize.

Speaking of NFL things that don't make any sense. This isn't a catch, people! Why are you mad about this?

Any player that hasn't clearly established themselves as a runner has to maintain control through contact through the ground and this dude certainly did not do that. Even the current 65-page version of the catch rule the NFL deploys isn't at fault here. This particular incident was even explained with poetic beauty!

“The receiver, in the end zone, did not survive the ground,” was the explanation on the field by referee Tony Corrente.

Damn, Tony Corrente.

The problem is nobody knows what a damn catch is. Here's a four part catch rule that is as unambiguous as is possible (for the NFL) and solves many many problems:

  • A receiver has to secure the ball and get both feet down in bounds to start the catch process.
  • Once he takes a step after both feet come down he is a runner and has caught the ball.
  • Receivers who do not take a step between possessing the ball and either going to ground or touching out of bounds must maintain possession through contact with the ground.
  • Maintaining possession means the ball does not touch the ground. If the receiver is now out of bounds and he bobbles the ball, forcing the catch process to start over, it's incomplete.

The end. The above-linked SBN article has a controversial Dez Bryant non-catch that this version of the rule makes crystal clear:

Catch, step, runner, complete. No controversy. Steelers' play above: no step, ball touches ground, incomplete, no controversy.

There will of course be edge cases where the situation at the moment of possession makes it unclear whether a catch is a catch, but those four steps are the clearest and least controversial a catch rule can be. If you wanted to go even farther towards clarity you could let a catch stand if 1) the WR got his feet in bounds and 2) the ball never hit the turf even if there was a bobble after the WR went out. I think that's not a catch but if you said it was then it's pretty simple: did you keep the ball off the ground after establishing a foot (or two) in bounds? Yes? Catch.

The quintessential Bush blitz. Blitzology—hey!—breaks it down.

Really interesting and effective pressure concept from Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown. The Wolverines are in a 3-3 nickel personnel package.

The Rush:
The front slides the 3 down linemen to the strong side and has all 3 LB's walked up to the weak side. The Mike is initially in a 3 point stance. 
The effect is a 4 man version of America's Blitz. The Will wraps around to the fill the role of the inside rusher in the America's blitz concept. Because the defense bluffs the weak side overload the protection doesn't identify the concept as America's blitz and pass it off. The RB is forced into a really difficult block, scanning all the way back across the formation to pick up the Will as he wraps around.

Frequently the "N" was actually Noah Furbush, but that wrap blitz was largely responsible for Bush's blazing start to the season. Teams did adapt, but then Michigan threw other stuff—largely Khaleke Hudson—at the opposition.

To be fair, this is correct about 20% of the time. Whoops, Tampa Bay Times:

StwBoG7

Although... that appears to be an ad, which means the Outback Bowl itself doesn't know who's in this year's game. Which is fine. I mean. It's the Outback Bowl. No1curr. Except MSU fans.

Good lord, dude. ASU AD Ray Anderson is rapidly charging up the ranks of Most Incompetent AD Ever, and he's got the bravura of a Wall Street trader to go with it:

"The athletic department there is perceived there as a cluster," Sun Devils athletic director Ray Anderson said. "Their athletic director, now Phil Fulmer, in the athletic director's world is a pariah. It is not a good situation."

Their AD is a cluster? Bruh.

Do I hear a senior season? ESPN's latest draft rankings have Mo Wagner #68 despite his clearly improved rebounding and... possibly improved defense. We've seen guys (GRIII most prominently) leave one year after they put their name in but withdrew, and that's always a possibility. But if Wagner's leaving after the year it's probably not for the lottery.

Don't expect Rashan Gary to fall in the same boat, though.

Some bad grades. Since all we get these day from PFF are glimpses you don't get a lot of negatives unless the situation—cough cough, OL—absolutely demands it. South Carolina's 24/7 site is looking for weaknesses in the Michigan D, though, and they came up with:

Defensive end Carlo Kemp (49.9) - A sophomore who is listed as a backup, Kemp has played 367 snaps on defense. He has graded out at 48.2 against the run and 55.6 in pass rush.

Linebacker Noah Furbush (50.6) - Furbush is also listed as a backup and has played 138 snaps this season. He’s performed much better against the run grading out at 64.6 and has struggled in coverage at 45.9.

Two backups. (I think they might have flipped those snap counts, FWIW. Furbush got way more snaps than Kemp this year.)  The conceit of this post is "three at the top and three at the bottom," but...

The “Three at the top” needed to be expanded to five as each player listed graded out as “elite,” a designation given to players who achieve an 85.0 or higher. The “Three near the bottom” was cut to two given that no other player with 75 or more snaps played had a grade below 70.

...ain't nobody else at the bottom. The five elite guys are Hurst, Winovich, Hudson, Bush, and Hill, all of whom are at 87 or better.

Yes, this means that PFF is also grading Michigan's safeties well. Metellus's rough OSU game had a lot of internet people waving Brian Smith goodbye happily because they thought Metellus and Kinnel were bad. They were not. They were good. A B+ unit.

Etc.: Ann Arbor average home price went up 8% this year; went up 11% last year. Again, I apologize to Juggalos for comparing them to Michigan State fans. Good luck at the Supreme Court, Juggalos. Harbaugh visits the tiny town of Garber, is greeted like movie star. Pioneer parking makes bank.

Preview 2017: Defensive End

Preview 2017: Defensive End

Submitted by Brian on August 30th, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Previously: Podcast 9.0A. Podcast 9.0B. Podcast 9.0C. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line.

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hello [Bryan Fuller]

Depth Chart

STRONG DE Yr. NOSE TACKLE Yr. 3-TECH Yr. WEAK DE Yr.
Rashan Gary So. Bryan Mone Jr.* Maurice Hurst Sr.* Chase Winovich Jr.*
Carlo Kemp Fr.* Aubrey Solomon Fr. Mike Dwumfour Fr.* Luiji Vilain Fr.
Ron Johnson Fr.* James Hudson Fr. Chase Jeter Fr. Kwity Paye Fr.

On this side of the ball mass departures are more concerning, but mostly when we start talking about how defensive line spots have somewhere between 1.5 and two starters depending on how enormous the person in question is. The starters should maintain, or even improve on, last year's production despite losing two early NFL draft picks.

This would be a bold assertion except they already proved, or at least suggested, that last year.

"Rebuild or reload" ain't even a question here, at least until the freshmen roll onto the field.

STRONGSIDE DEFENSIVE END: REPENT

Rating: 5

rashalien

the unearthly glow came and went seemingly at random
later we discovered it was the fibonacci sequence [Smoothitron]

Yea, we took the glowing babe from the heavenly pod and swaddled him and put him in the barn. Every fortnight we would provide him a cistern of water and an animal from the flock—at first chickens, then goats, and finally whole cows. Every time we'd open the door we dreaded the unspeakable gore we assumed we would find; instead only neatly folded hides and stacked, gleaming bones. Six months in he started arranging the bones into heartfelt notes of appreciation for the animals he was slowly turning into more of himself.

After a year, he asked to play football.

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[Bryan Fuller]

So! RASHAN GARY [recruiting profile] has completed his incubation period and will burst forth unto the world, writing very polite notes about how delicious opposing quarterbacks are and can he please have another. Last year Gary's impact was muted by the folks playing in front of him and the inevitable adaptation period as he tried to imbibe Don Brown's defense. Here he is vacating a gap because he didn't execute a stunt correctly:

Tsk, tsk, baby Godzilla. This wasn't exactly common but neither was it unheard of. Sometimes the entire defense would clearly be executing a line slant and Gary would go the wrong way or Gary would seemingly get a stunt/slant call that nobody else did, opening up a lane for the QB. That sort of thing made it hard to start him when Chris Wormley was wrecking tight ends and the defense as a whole was booting folks off the field in three snaps or fewer on the regular.

On the other hand, he did get just under 300 snaps. Here he is playing WDE at 290:

Gotdang, baby Godzilla. In the aftermath of the Colorado game this site marveled at what it had just seen:

That dip around the corner is not something many people have, let alone 290 pound guys. There's a certain depth at which your edge rush is effective and a certain depth where it's just opening up big lanes like we saw against UCF. Eight yards is about that cutoff, and Gary was productively getting around the corner at eight yards with frequency.

Gary's promise is that he is the man you get to do both. He can beef up and wreck a tight end or tackle as the anchor…

…and he can do that bend-around the corner thing as a weakside end. His physical package is not of this earth.

Gary followed up his absurd physical feats from high school—"He out-jumped a wide receiver, he out-shuttled a defensive back and he out-40'd a BCS safety commit" at the Opening, at 287 pounds, as a high school junior—with yet more this winter. Even DPJ's performance couldn't hold a candle to Gary:

image

He ran a 4.5 at 290 pounds and beat every cornerback in the L-drill. We don't have an updated bench number, but last year he put up 26 reps at 225, which is good at the NFL combine.

He began to turn that into production as well. Gary generated a pressure stat on 13% of his rushes a year ago, good for top 20 nationally and fifth in the league amongst returners.  PFF had him +13 for the season, which was a bit worse than Wormley on a per-snap basis. "True freshman is slightly worse than fifth year All Big Ten senior" is a good place to start from. If he improves as much as the average freshman he'll at least match Wormley.

If he lives up to the chatter he's shoot right past him. In addition to the obvious promise he showed as Wormley understudy is a veritable torrent of talk. Unreserved, rapturous talk. Mike McCray:

“He knows what he wants to do, and he wants to be the greatest defensive end to ever play the game. And you can see that every day when he comes to work. … Summer workouts, extra lifting, outside of practice doing extra work, he just wants to be great, and you can’t take that away from somebody if he wants it.” 

Harbaugh:

"There's some people that are just aspiring for greater things than just the adulation of somebody. And I think Rashan is that type of guy. You'd really like him. … He just works and I really think competing is his favorite thing to do. And he has the ability to be great. I don't know what more to say about that."

Allen Trieu talked to a source and returned saying that Gary is "just a machine with everything he does … always the first one there during film, workouts, what have you." Webb says the buzz is "palpable" and that "virtually every player and coach [he's] talked to has made mention of how dominant Gary has been."

None of this is a surprise. Gary is a #1 overall prospect. #1 prospects have a success rate of 100% when they don't malfease their way off the field:

Recruiting rankings are in fact gospel when it comes to the bluest of the blue chips. Aside from a few guys (Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Brown, Seantrel Henderson) who didn't make it for reasons other than their talent, every Rivals or Scout #1 player in the last decade has at least been good and has usually been excellent. And even Brown and Henderson stuck on NFL rosters, with Henderson starting every game as a rookie.

And Gary is not your average #1 recruit:

Whenever he showed up at a camp a trail of superlatives followed in his wake. Jamie Newberg said he was "the single most dominant player" he's seen in a decade of covering the UA game. Barton Simmons said his Opening appearance was "the best defensive line performance since the Opening's inception". Mike Farrell said he "as dominant as I've ever seen." Brian Dohn said he is "the most impressive prospect I've covered at the high school level."

Entering year two all systems are go. He's refined his body and gotten more familiar with the scheme; when the coaches reference him it is to marvel. Gary will immediately be one of the best defensive ends in the country. This isn't even controversial.

[After THE JUMP: i like him mostly for the sacks but also because i get to use my ten dollar word "ebullient"]

Spring Items: Defense

Spring Items: Defense

Submitted by Brian on April 12th, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Defensive line

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[Bryan Fuller]

Headline news is not at all surprising: Rashan Gary is like dang. Palpable excitement from the coaches about getting to line up Gary next to Maurice Hurst and God help anyone assigned to block those guys on a stunt. Or not on a stunt. Gary remains extremely coachable and is on track to deliver on that #1 overall recruit hype. The end. Gary talk this year == Peppers talk last year. Everyone knows he's coming so it's almost beside the point to mention it.

Carlo Kemp looks set to back Gary up at strongside end:

"Rashan's a great person to definitely model your game after and follow up," Kemp said. "Especially because he goes in there, sets the tempo. For me, backing him up, I want to be as close as I can that there's no dropoff. When Rashan's in, we already know what he can do, and then when I come in I try to mimic his game a lot, so that when he's in and I'm in, it looks the exact same."

That would be nice. Kemp has impressed the coaches after a rough start that was partially because he was being played out of position at linebacker. (Remember that Michigan had a crisis at LB before the emergence of McCray last year.) Kemp on his interactions with Don Brown:

"He said when we first started spring ball 'I don't even know who this guy is anymore, last year I'd have traded him away for two used footballs' " Kemp said. "So that felt good. Last year I might have done the same thing, traded me away for two used footballs.

"Maybe we're up to three this year."

Kemp has the bloodlines and good size (265 now, probably approaching 280 by fall) so backup snaps at the anchor should be relatively productive. Early-enrolled freshman Donovan Jeter is also impressing, and right now he and Kemp are both wearing #2. Winner gets to keep it, I guess?

At the other end, Chase Winovich has added another chunk of weight as he attempts to replace Taco Charlton; hopefully this will allow him to hold up against the run while not sapping his ability to get around the corner. All weight gain or loss is good in the spring. Haven't gotten anything about the folks pushing Winovich on the depth chart so that might be a spot of worry. Jeter is probably more of a SDE/3T than a weakside end.

DT starters are established and I cannot tell you anything about them that you don't already know. Mo Hurst should be an All-American with increased playing time and the shiny stats he racks up. Everyone is waiting for Bryan Mone to finally display the potential people have chattered about for years. Chatter remains the same on Mone, and he did flash talent late in the year. If he can stay healthy dot dot dot.

Very thin on the interior with few of the freshmen on campus yet and Michael Dwumfour frequently limited with minor issues. As a result Michigan is experimenting with redshirt freshman Ron Johnson on the interior, which is very much a work in progress. Johnson arrived as a 245-pound edge rush type. I would interpret that as distress about backup DTs. Lawrence Marshall is also on the interior and has not drawn much buzz.

Depth is a concern. Starters should be bonkers.

Linebacker

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[Fuller]

Mike McCray is an obvious starter and looks like you'd expect. Leader, thumper. Michigan's offense isn't of the variety that frequently tests McCray's main 2016 weakness—operating in space—so I assume you're going to get a lot of very positive reports on him that are about the stuff he was already excellent at, and we'll have to wait for live fire this fall to see if he's made progress on the downsides.

The other spot was presumed to be Devin Bush, but don't sleep on Mike Wroblewski, who keeps getting brought up by Don Brown for a reason. Wroblewski is an "A-gap player," which means he's a guy to take on fullbacks and hammer the interior run game but might be limited in sideline-to-sideline range. He's taken over some of the calls from McCray, which is quite a thing to do when you're taking them from a returning starter and fifth year senior who is presumably going to be a captain. He is on the two deep, legitimately.

Bush is also very much in the mix and will at least rotate through a la Gedeon when he was the third guy behind Morgan and Bolden. He could start, as well—he seems a much more natural fit for Michigan's forays against spread offenses.

FWIW, one report that Ben Mason "looks the part" at LB, so they are giving him his shot there and he may yet defy this site's oft-stated opinion that he's destined for fullback. Redshirt freshman Josh Uche Is "laying the wood" a lot and should get some playing time this year, possibly as a pass rush specialist, with a productive career in the offing.

The VIPER(!!!) spot is addressed in the next section because it should be.

Safety

Michigan looks set to go with a three safety look again—the defense is a bonafide 4-2-5 and we should get used to it—in a slightly different configuration than last year. This is not insider chatter but rather something the coaches have directly stated:

"We'll see in the Spring Game how those guys line up in live competition, but right now Tyree Kinnel and Josh Metellus, those guys are leaders of the pack [at safety] in my eyes," Smith said. "They've done a good job from a leadership standpoint. I think Tyree has done a good job with communication -- getting guys lined up and making checks. I feel comfortable with him in the game right now."

Tyree Kinnel is your free safety and will play the Dymonte Thomas role; Josh Metellus is the strong safety and will replace Delano Hill. Both are heady and "kind of going Jarrod Wilson," which is music to your author's ears. All hail boring safeties, with a side of Metellus thumping people in their earholes.

Meanwhile many reports have it that Khaleke Hudson is your leader at VIPER(!!!) and will seek to replicate Jabrill Peppers. Hudson was a bit slow picking up coverages per a couple people; he is physically capable of the slot coverage that Hill was so good at a year ago, and as he gets increasingly comfortable people in his vicinity have a tendency to get "jacked up," as the kids say. One report notes he's making a number of spectacular, freaky plays. As we've asserted about Hudson since he popped up on our radar, he's not Peppers but he's basically Peppers. The emergence of Metellus gives Michigan the opportunity to use him in that spacebacker spot he was born to man.

Meanwhile in news I find very important indeed, people think J'Marick Woods has a nickname but he does not.

This aggression against nicknames will not stand. That is just his name. Hockey nicknames that are "last name followed by -y" are bad enough. Come back when you've named him "Scooter" or "Booger" or "Dump Truck." Preferably all three.

Cornerback

All systems go for David Long and Lavert Hill, who have been gathering extensive praise as physical, sticky corners. Hill is currently stickier but Long isn't far off. When the projected starters are in it's been difficult for Michigan's receivers to get separation.

There is a significant dropoff after those two, with Brandon Watson and Ambry Thomas currently drawing the most mention. There's no such thing as a second unit yet, of course; those two guys are a nose ahead of the pack after the starters. Watson was meh as a slot corner a year ago and is past the age where rapid progress is likely; I assume he'll have a role similar to last year's unless he gets passed by Thomas right out of the gate. Survey says: possible.

Overall, practice insiders are positive about Michigan's ability to weather all the departures. Don Brown's said as much publicly, and privately he's saying basically the same things: there's no reason this defense shouldn't be in the same ballpark as last year's. #1 is a tough ask because of randomness and whatnot, but Don Brown has put together top end defenses without having a guy like Rashan Gary. He remains a hard-boiled cop one day from retirement in a candy store.

Spring Practice Presser 4-4-17: Greg Mattison

Spring Practice Presser 4-4-17: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on April 5th, 2017 at 10:34 AM

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[Fuller]

Newsy bits:

  • Mattison seems very confident that his starting four is Gary, Hurst, Mone, and Winovich. They’re working to find the group behind them that will earn the right to rotate
  • Carlo Kemp and Donovan Jeter were mentioned as young guys who’ve been very impressive this spring
  • The guys competing at the tackle positions are Lawrence Marshall, Ron Johnson, Carl Myers, and Michael Dwumfour
  • Dwumfour is being held out of contact drills but is participating in non-contact portions of practice
  • Winovich has gotten much stronger and is now capable of being an every-down player.

“Here we go. That’s four hours out there; my knees feel really good. I feel great.”

Do you do conditioning for this?

“It’s conditioning every day we’re out there for me. But it’s going good. It’s going good.”

What do you like about the depth of your guys? Obviously not as many proven guys.

“Yeah, and that’s something we really are working on and the depth’s gonna be a real key because, as you know, we have a real belief in rotating guys. That was a big positive for us last year and really that’s why the first unit we’re very optimistic about because they played so much last year. Now we’ve got to develop another group to be able to come behind that new first group. They’re working very hard, but that’s gonna be a big key for us.”

What have you noticed out Rashan mentality-wise and intelligence-wise?

“Rashan comes out every day like he’s a senior, and he’s done that throughout the winter conditioning. You know, he came out and came off this last season and I really think it had a lot to do with Taco and Chris Wormley [and] the way they mentored him, and they set a great example for what you have to do to be successful.

“Rashan is a tremendously talented young man. He’s got great character, and he just stepped forward from the start of conditioning to right into spring practice. Every day he comes out and tries to lead by example. You would never be able to tell that the young man is going into his sophomore year. He’s having a real good spring.”

He said that he was looking forward to nitpicking himself a little bit more. He said he was hitting the film a lot harder. What have you noticed about him in that aspect?

“No question, he has. That’s why I say he acts almost like he’s a senior. A lot of times when you’re a sophomore coming off a good season as a freshman you’re kind of ‘Okay, I got it, I got it’ but he’s really critical of himself. He listens to every coaching point. I mean, when that happens, you’ve got a special, special young man.

“And he leads the other guys by that. They see him doing some really, really athletic things on the field and watch him do it and all of a sudden that’s like somebody saying this is how you do it. He’s been a very good example for everybody.”

[After THE JUMP: Kemp hype! Winovich hype! Mone hype! Carl Myers hype!]

This Week's Obsession: 2020 Will Thank You

This Week's Obsession: 2020 Will Thank You

Submitted by Seth on September 1st, 2016 at 12:00 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

The question:

Which freshmen do you NOT want to see burn their redshirts on Saturday?

The responses:

BiSB: The blindingly obvious answer is Brandon Peters, so I'm assuming we won't spend much time on him.

As far as players who might actually play, I'll go with Josh Uche. Sure, Michigan needs to develop linebacker depth in a big damn hurry. And sure, Uche is a crazy athlete and has serious upside as an outside linebacker or weakside end. But he's skinny. Really skinny.  He's listed at 6'3", 217 pounds. Remember how we all thought James Ross was too small as a freshman? He was 6'1", 225 pounds. But if Michigan wants some depth at SAM behind Peppers that brings some of the same pass rush and above-average athleticism, Uche might be it.  He might be a fun toy to bring unholy brimstone off the edge, but I think an apprenticeship/eat-all-the-sandwiches year would be more valuable.

[Ace is typing]

[Hit THE JUMP to see who wants to redshirt Rashan Gary.]

Preview 2016: Defensive End

Preview 2016: Defensive End

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2016 at 11:38 AM

Previously: Podcast 8.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line.

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QB having a bad time [Bryan Fuller]

Depth Chart

STRONG DE Yr. NOSE TACKLE Yr. 3-TECH Yr. WEAK DE Yr.
Rashan Gary Fr. Ryan Glasgow Sr.* Chris Wormley Sr.* Taco Charlton Sr.
Lawrence Marshall So.* Bryan Mone So.* Maurice Hurst So.* Chase Winovich So.*
Carlo Kemp Fr. Michael Dwumfour Fr. Matt Godin Sr.* Reuben Jones Fr.*

Amongst other far more important things, DJ Durkin's departure means the end of the irritating "buck" terminology. Michigan spent all off-season talking about this crazy DE/LB hybrid who would do all sorts of things at the WDE spot. They tried that against Utah, discovered that Mario Ojemudia was as good a linebacker hybrid as Craig Roh, and settled into a completely standard 4-3 for the rest of the season. (Yes, Michigan was "multiple" as all defenses are; all non 4-3 sets were exotic changeups.)

Michigan will continue with a bog-standard 4-3 this year, especially after Taco Charlton officially moved to weakside end in fall camp. There's zero reason to drop any of Michigan's defensive ends into coverage except as a very rare curveball.

Because when they are in coverage they are not feasting on souls, as one does.

WEAKSIDE DEFENSIVE END: IN SOVIET RUSSIA, TACO EATS YOU

Ah, screw it.

Rating: 5

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a bad time [Eric Upchurch]

TACO CHARLTON doesn't have the kind of returning production that generally warrants a FIVE out of FIVE ranking in this here preview, but counting stats, man. Counting stats. Because of the "buck" dream, Charlton got locked behind Chris Wormley until late in the year despite performing excellently in limited opportunities. This persisted so deep into the season that James Ross was called on to play WDE against Minnesota. It went badly; Charlton finally got a run out at his destination this season in the aftermath.

So while Charlton acquired a modest 5.5 sacks and 8.5 TFLs, that was on just 43% of Michigan's snaps. A version of Charlton who gets 75% of Michigan's snaps instead of 43% has a 10 sack, 15 TFL season(!). And extrapolating those numbers linearly may actually understate his production: PFF has him the #1 returning end in pass-rush productivity. Number one. As in there are no better numbers to be:

After compiling only 11 pressures on 120 rushes in 2014, Charlton notched six sacks, nine QB hits, and 26 hurries (41 total pressures) on 229 rushes last season.

The #1 pass rush DE in the nation is almost certainly optimistic, but Charlton isn't an average player trying to get better. He's a very good player who is about to inherit a bunch more snaps.

In addition to already being pretty good, Charlton retains considerable upside. He didn't redshirt because reasons. He came to Michigan with a reputation as a sushi-raw moldable athlete, and despite making massive progress over the last three years the NFL still looks at him in the same way. Brugler:

Charlton certainly passes the eye test with a tall, long frame with a moldable body type to bulk up or slim down. … With his combination of strength, length and long-striding acceleration, there aren't many college offensive tackles who can control him, but scouts are looking for improved hand use at the top of his rush. Regardless, the traits make him a very attractive lump of clay that NFL teams will want to develop.

NFL.com listed Charlton amongst the top NFL prospects to watch going into this season because of his "freaky athletic traits and functional power to go with them".

Charlton can be capital-E Elite because his package of speed around the edge…

…and pocket-crushing strength…

…adds up to a tough handle for most OTs. Charlton's mostly a power rusher; the speed is more about getting to OL quickly and then using that power. He doesn't go around guys, but he's able to get upfield fast enough that a rip back inside is extremely viable.

He was also agile enough to deploy the occasional spin move in this situation. His combo of speed and power also made him a valuable bit of Michigan's stunt game a year ago. He was able to get to the point the drive man cleared out and power through an out of position OL with frequency.  Charlton brings raw power not far off Hurst and Wormley; many of his rushes last year featured him pushing the pocket closed.

ESPN has a good summary:

Power-based bass rusher that does a good job of using his long arms and explosive power to get into offensive linemen's pads, and then grinds through contact. Shows above average torso flexibility and strength to work through blockers while engaged. Keeps his feet and hands moving throughout. Flashes a quick inside move to cross the OT's face. Developing an effective push-pull move late in 2015. Lacks elite speed off the edge but shows above average closing burst. … Has some shock in hands. Should continue to improve array of pass rush moves because he has the required violent hands.

Brugler says he can "convert his edge speed to power before blockers are able to sink and anchor" and praises his overall strength and power before critiquing his hand usage. You can't teach the former. You can teach the latter.

The flip side of Charlton's remaining potential is the fact that he's not quite there yet. When we get to Ryan Glasgow in a bit I'll note that I didn't clip anything resembling a mental error from him over the course of the season. The same cannot be said for Charlton. Here he's to the top of the Michigan DL and seems to forget that he's part of a stunt and needs to contain Hackenberg:

He would occasionally hesitate, unsure of what to do, and get blocked as a result. He wasn't great at keeping smaller guys away from his knees. He was more prone to pick up a minus than Wormley or Glasgow. ESPN's profile notes that Charlton "needs to be more disciplined with gap assignments" and is "occasionally late locating the ball," and both of those critiques are on point. When NFL guys note his rawness they're not wrong.

Or at least they were not wrong when talking about Charlton's junior year. After a spring where he was close to unblockable and a fall camp that generated torrents of hype, it's clear everyone around the program expects him to blow up. That includes Charlton himself:

When you’re rushing against [Bredeson], not to say that he gives you problems, but is there anything that he does that maybe is a challenge for you, specifically?

[smiles wide]

I don’t want you to dog a guy, but what is it he does that’s good?

“He’s a guy who has good hands, strong hands. Once he latches on to you he does cause problems getting off. But for me…”

[smiles again]

Meanwhile the insiders are like dang. Lorenz says Charlton is "in line to blow up"; Webb has repeatedly referenced Charlton, not Wormley or Glasgow or Hurst or Mone, as Michigan's most impressive defensive lineman in fall camp. It's to the point where Webb is talking about Chris Wormley like this:

The newly crowned captain has taken his game up a notch, and after Charlton he has arguably been the top performing defensive lineman.

If Taco Charlton is better than Chris Wormley this year, quarterbacks might as well show up wearing a jersey that reads "MEAT PASTE."

It's tough to project Charlton's numbers since there are only so many counting stats to go around and Michigan's entire front seven will clamor for them. Really good DEs can get shut out through vagaries of circumstance—Bosa had just five sacks a year ago. Charlton should get a ton of pressures, many of which turn into numbers. Double digit sacks are a strong possibility, and those TFL numbers should easily crest double digits and approach 20. He won't last long in the draft.

[After THE JUMP: Some guy. Rashad? Something like that. ]

Mailbag: Brown Transition Costs, Let's Go Moo, Schedule Balance, Autobench As Cause

Mailbag: Brown Transition Costs, Let's Go Moo, Schedule Balance, Autobench As Cause

Submitted by Brian on August 4th, 2016 at 2:29 PM

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let me show you how we handle punks in the district, punk [Patrick Barron]

Hi Brian,

Everywhere I turn this offseason, it seems someone is writing another article lauding the aggression, complexity, blitzes, and disguises built into Don Brown's defense. These attributes have obvious upside, but are we overlooking what could be a very steep learning curve for this defense? Can we really expect these guys to flawlessly execute such a reportedly complex defense within the first year?

Best,

Stephen Bowie

There will be transition costs; there always are. When you're real good and have real good players those can be overcome. Last year's offense had a bunch of transition costs and still rocketed from 82nd in S&P+ to 30th; in FEI they went from 100th(!) to 33rd. This leap occurred despite weekly UFR diatribes about how various people on Michigan's offense still didn't really know what they were doing.

It going to be tougher for the defense to have anything similar since they were already very good. It's hard to improve much from 20th (FEI) or 2nd (S&P+). The leap from DJ Durkin to Don Brown is probably extant; it is certainly less grand than the leap from Brady Hoke to Jim Harbaugh. Meanwhile Brown's defenses have tended to tread water in year one:

Year TEAM YPP FEI S&P+
2008 Maryland 56 63 75
2009 Maryland 87 64 44
2010 Maryland 14 20 31
2011 Maryland 83 74 102
         
2010 UConn 40 40 63
2011 UConn 56 23 34
2012 UConn 8 22 38
2013 UConn 64 56 72
         
2012 Boston College 63 81 80
2013 Boston College 92 98 80
2014 Boston College 30 68 36
2015 Boston College 1 5 3

There's a ton of noise in that data since we're not accounting for returning starters and the like. It still suggests that a great leap forward should not be expected.

On the other hand, Don Brown has never been handed even half of the talent he's got this year and it's almost all very experienced. Michigan's starting D consists of eight seniors, a redshirt junior, Jabrill Peppers, and Rashan Gary. While these guys haven't worked on certain things Brown does, they've at least encountered them from time to time; they can also spend the bulk of their offseason working on that stuff since you can take it as read that they've got man free coverages down.

It is a concern, but the schedule is reassuring. I'll take a series of early biffs against teams Michigan beats by 21 instead of 28 if the payoff is a defense that is finally, finally, finally equipped with the state of the art in shutting down a spread n shred. The talent available should mitigate some of those hiccups—a coverage bust doesn't hurt you if the QB is running for his life—and once those get smoothed over, Michigan's ceiling is higher.

Let's go moo

Hello,

In my travels throughout the internet I came a cross a rather unique rendition of 'Let's Go Blue' that I thought should be shared. There is a man named Farmer Derek, a high level Bard no doubt, who serenades his cattle and posts the songs on YouTube. At the end of his version of Royals by Lorde he goes into Let's Go Blue and the cattle respond in kind. I don't know what should be done with this video, if anything, but I believe it should be shared and thought you should be notified. Cheers.

Sincerely yours in football,

PinballPete

This is a great service to the fandom, Pinball Pete:

[After THE JUMP: not cows responding to Let's Go Blue so why even bother]

2016 Recruiting: Carlo Kemp

2016 Recruiting: Carlo Kemp

Submitted by Brian on June 9th, 2016 at 1:41 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CB Lavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DE Ron Johnson, DT Michael Dwumfour, DT Rashan Gary.

       
Boulder, CO – 6'3", 250
       

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Scout 4*, NR overall
#42 DE, #1 CO
Rivals 4*, #215 overall
#11 WDE, #1 CO
ESPN 4*, NR overall
#42 DE, #1 CO
24/7 3*, #451 overall
#19 SDE, #2 CO
Other Suitors ND, UCLA, CU, Stanford
YMRMFSPA Jibreel Black
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Early enrollee.

Film

No senior highlights on HUDL. Junior:

You can't throw a rock in Carlo Kemp's family without irritating a guy who played or coached football, often at the highest level:

The four-star prospect's grandfather is Sam Pagano, the former longtime Fairview High, Colo., head football coach and Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame inductee. He also ran the prestigious Mile High Football Camp for 36 years.

In addition, Kemp's uncles are Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano.

"I pretty much have a connection to every college in America because my grandfather back at home knows everybody [in football] and everyone knows him," Kemp told HuskerOnline.com.

I mean, this is a dude Kemp lives with just hanging out on the sideline of an NFL game.

cigar.0[6]

Kemp's first words were probably an audible to a matchup zone. Pedigree doesn't quite cover it.

While having a bunch of hard-bitten football dudes around isn't a guarantee of success, it's a nice head start. Harbaugh noticed Kemp's readiness almost immediately upon his arrival this spring:

"He seems like he’s been here a couple years. I’m not talking from a football standpoint, but just a guy that being around him, he’s at ease with everything. Maybe a little bit of the Pagano background: grandfather a football coach, uncle a football coach. He’s very mature. Very smart; a 4.0 type of guy. He just looks like he’s in the groove.”

Around the same time Steve Lorenz was hearing that Kemp stood out as "someone who fits the Harbaugh culture." With his background and intelligence, Kemp is a heavy favorite to hit his ceiling.

That ceiling depends largely on finding a solid positional fit. Despite his size he played MLB last year; Michigan gave him a run at the spot in spring practice. That didn't last long. By the spring game he was back at end. If you watch his film, which is his junior year, you might wonder why Michigan bothered to try him out there—that is an end, and a relatively large one. The plan under Durkin was to play him at the "buck" spot, which is hypothetically a LB/DE hybrid but played much more like a standard weakside end even when a Kemp-sized guy was manning it. That might still be the plan. Mattison:

…fills two voids for us as he plays a linebacker position and outside rusher position in passing situations. He has great size and strength and his upside and we are excited about what he brings to the Michigan program.

Partridge:

Carlo is very versatile. He will be a guy who can line up on the edge and go, or drop into coverage, stand up and play linebacker or put his hand down and get the quarterback. Carlo is going to be able to do different things because of his size and his ability to move his feet and use his quickness. He’s a very smart, headsy football player.

On the other hand, Kemp was paired with Rueben Jones in the spring game. Jones, who also moonlit as a linebacker this spring, is a WDE all the way; Kemp was playing SDE. Kemp has reasonable size for a hybrid weakside end right now, which means that in a couple years he's probably outgrown the position. 247 projects him at SDE for this reason, and also issues him the sole three-star ranking he got. It's a concern: Kemp is a tweener who could end up too big for WDE and not big enough for SDE.

Unfortunately, much of the scouting about Kemp talks about BUCK and standing up and dropping back and etc., etc., etc. Buck doesn't exist anymore (and it never did) and your author thinks the extent of Kemp's hybrid role will be short drops on zone blitzes. Meanwhile Kemp avoided the camp scene—he had no need for exposure—and some of the other scouting is contradictory. ESPN says he does bring athleticism to go with the pedigree:

nice combination of size and bulk at this stage with some room to still develop his frame. Demonstrates very good playing strength and a good get-off. … Flashes good speed to power and can knock and drive blockers back when he keeps pads down. Can bring a hard up-field charge, but can lack a plan and needs to continue to develop his pass rush arsenal to fit his strengths. … Athletic player for size.

Clint Brewster's evaluation is in conflict with the get-off statement above; he doesn't seem to believe Kemp has a ton of pass rush upside in college:

…big, tough player that can rush the passer off the edge or drop into space. Kemp’s effort and want-to on the field really pop out at you when evaluating his film. He chases the ball downfield and doesn’t give up on plays. … When he makes contact with people they feel it. Has the leverage and strength to get under pads and bull rush tackles.

Kemp isn’t the most talented prospect as far as first-step quickness or explosiveness and from a frame standpoint he’s not a long and rangy player. … Kemp makes heady plays and is really good with his hands shedding blocks and scraping to the ball carrier. He can really anchor down the edge and control the line of scrimmage against the run.

Scout has "athleticism" as an area for improvement and "suddenness" as a positive, which… uh. Those are more or less the same thing when it comes to a DE. The evaluation itself

…physically very strong, and can overpower multiple blockers and make a play. He shows a quick first step and can beat an opposing lineman off the snap. He's a good athlete for a big man, can move laterally and covers a lot of ground. Depending on how much weight he puts on, we could see Kemp playing on the edge of even moving inside and playing as a tackle.

…says he's a good athlete. Scout doesn't have much else, but they did mention they believe he'll grow into a full time end or "even a tackle" when they put him at the tail end of their top 300 last April.

Rivals's Blair Angulo is enthusiastic—Rivals is an optimistic outlier amongst a bunch of evaluations that are right on the 3/4 star borderline—and helpfully dismisses the LB/BUCK talk to focus on a more realistic college deployment:

"I think he's really good. He's very physical at the point of attack and he's a really hard worker. He plays with a good pad level [ed: !!!] and is football sound as far as gaps are concerned. I think his work ethic is going to carry him to great places in college. … Looking at his film and his skill set I think, if he can keep the speed and keeps the aggression he has now, he doesn't have a lot of weaknesses… [he does need] to get better at getting off of blocks. … he does well to contain gaps, engage blockers, and recognize plays but if he's going to rush the passer almost exclusively, getting off of blocks is a big part of that.

Good pad level! I have been doing these forever and this may be the first time ever that a high school player has had his pad level mentioned as a positive. I mean… if this is not evidence that Carlo Kemp is from a football lineage nothing will convince you.

Anyway. Angulo's evaluation is another one that points to Kemp evolving into a good, maybe slightly boring starter. These reports contrast with Ron Johnson's. Johnson had all four services say something about his explosion and rawness. Kemp's evaluations occasionally mention something that should translate into pass rush; mostly they focus on the fact he's going to be in the right gap and play with good technique. That sounds like a high-floor, low-upside player.

There are a couple of evaluations that think Kemp could be a college star. One of them comes from the Michigan coaching staff. Lorenz:

Michigan pushed for [Kemp] very hard late in his process to beat Notre Dame for his services. Kemp had a solid offer sheet, but one that those around the Michigan program thought should have been even bigger. They believe he can become an elite pass-rusher in any (Don Brown) defense and could be one of the higher impact signees in the class.

Michigan was coming from behind in Kemp's recruitment. Kemp's grandfather played at ND and was indoctrinated young.

"With Notre Dame, it's been rooted in my family for such a long time," Kemp said. "My grandmother started me at a young age always wearing Notre Dame clothes."

The push there was a real thing. Notre Dame's involvement also spurred the other highly positive evaluation, this from former ND QB Evan Sharpley:

Kemp flashes brilliant athleticism, the versatility to play multiple positions, and potential to be developed into an elite collegiate player. Kemp shows ample speed as an edge rusher, the physicality to play inside, and coverage skills to matchup with hybrid tight ends. … Kemp is a smart pass rusher. Impeccable ability to read the quarterback’s eyes will moving upfield.

Sharpley is usually positive, as team-specific evaluations tend to be, but this evaluation is an effusive outlier. Kemp does have some moments on his highlight film where he absolutely wrecks a dude; it could happen.

Etc.: Commitment prompted Harbaugh cartwheel. Middle name is probably Devin. Not real familiar with wolverines:

image

Yo guy has picture of prestigious award.

Why Jibreel Black? Black was a 6'2" guy who came in as a WDE; he was pretty thick as a high school recruit and ended up a 280-pound defensive tackle. The DT bit was in large part because Michigan was desperate at the tail end of the Rodriguez regime; he infamously was forced to play nose tackle in an OSU game, and that went about as well as you might expect. His best fit was at SDE.

Kemp is probably going to be better than Black because of his background and the slightly better defensive coaching he'll receive. He's also a better-regarded recruit than Black, who was a late pickup and something of a flier. ND was not pounding Black's door down. 

Another couple guys who are potential comparisons: Brennen Beyer and Craig Roh. Both moved from LB to WDE to SDE over the course of their careers as they got bigger; both ended up undersized for SDE but managed to make it work with smarts and excellent technique.

Guru Reliability: Moderate-minus. Rankings mostly agree; significant conflict amongst scouting reports and some positional question marks.

Variance: Low-minus. 4.0 kid with football coaches out the wazoo who's already Harbaugh-approved. The only thing that'll disrupt his career is an injury.

Ceiling: Moderate. I think he'll end up like Beyer or Roh: a solid multi-year starter who grades out well in UFR and maybe gets an honorable mention All Big Ten.

General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. At the very least he's a guy who gives you a ton of quality snaps. Michigan is going to need bodies on the line in 2017 and 2018 and Kemp's high floor is important.

Projection: Unlikely to redshirt given the Pagano stuff and his early enrollment. Similarly unlikely to have a major role given the many persons on the DL this year.

Future will depend on his weight. If he sticks as a WDE he'll be in competition with Chase Winovich, Lawrence Marshall, and some other guys. If he moves over to SDE, which I think he will, he's going to spend his sophomore year backing up Gary before a two-year run as an upperclassman starter. Shelton Johnson is the only other guy currently on the roster who projects to SDE in 2018 and 2019.

Spring Practice Presser 3/29/16: Don Brown

Spring Practice Presser 3/29/16: Don Brown

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 30th, 2016 at 11:28 AM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

How much further along is your defense right now than when you started four weeks ago?

“We’ve come a long way. We are obviously 14 practices in. Starting from scratch really in essence for the third year in a row, so the challenges were there, you know, and obviously my hat’s off to our guys. I thought they approached it in a positive manner. I think they’ve got a pretty good handle on what we’re doing. We’ve got a number of pressures in. The bulk of our coverage concepts are in, and I was able to kind of at least get all the concepts in. Not all the patterns and so forth that accompany those, but there will be nothing now that’s brand new to the guys. It’ll be a concept that they can relate to as we move forward.”

Guys were talking about how most of the stuff’s the same [and] there’s just the one new coverage. Whatever new changes you are bringing to the system, how do you think they’re adjusting to them?

“Well, you know, one of those concepts is pretty involved and there’s a lot of moving pieces and the players have a lot of accountability because they have to handle all the checks and so forth, and I think we’ve done a really good job of handling the responsibility and accountability piece of it as well as functioning from a concept standpoint. So yeah, I’m pretty pleased. And it’s really—you know, football’s football. The reality is football’s football. But, you know, that concept’s pretty different and I think the guys have handled it really well.”

You talked about the linebackers earlier in Florida about some new guys and guys who hadn’t proven themselves. How have they progressed over the course of the month?

“Well, you know, I think Noah Furbush has done a good job at Sam. Obviously we’re doing a lot with Jabrill and he’s logging some minutes there and doing a very good job. Ben Gedeon has had an extremely positive spring, so I’m excited about his progress and where he’s at. Mike McCray has stayed healthy and continued to take steps moving forward, as has true freshman Devin Bush. And Mike Wroblewski, we moved him from defensive end to linebacker earlier on in the spring practice period and it seems to have been a good move for us. He’s still got some work ahead of him, but he’s doing a very, very good job.”

How much of Jabrill’s time is now spent at linebacker? How much are you dividing it?

“Eh, he’s probably 70/30, but he’s doing a lot of things. You won’t see it on display Friday, that’s for sure, but he’s doing enough stuff that keeps his plate full. There’s no question about that.”

Seventy [%] linebacker, thirty [%] other stuff?

“Yeah, I would say about that. But, you know, it’s not gonna stay that way. It’ll end up increasing as we move forward as we’re trying to do things package-wise to offset the other people.”

[After THE JUMP: D-line rotation, Jabrill, the art of the mustache. One of those things may not have actually come up.]

When he’s doing that and he’s at that position—you said you had a player last year that did the same thing. Can you see him pick it up that quickly?

“Yeah, he’s already picked it up. He’s playing at a high level there, so I’m happy with him. From a coverage standpoint it’s everything we expected. I think he’s picked up the linebacker pieces pretty well as well. So, you know, making good progress, but like everybody else he needs more time, more reps.”

Are you able to do more creative things or different things than what you’ve done in the past with a player like Jabrill?

“Yeah, we’ll be able to do some stuff but, you know, that position’s always been occupied—you know, the last three guys are all in the NFL that I’ve coached that have played that position so it’s a pretty—you expect a lot at that spot. We’re gonna get what we expect. There’s no question.”

Who else plays that spot? Is there another guy who can do what Jabrill does?

“We’re playing Noah there, Noah Furbush. He can’t do some of those things, but there’s a number of those things he can do and we can function as a defense with him being there if we had to.”

Will Devin Bush see the field this fall?

“Uh, yeah, I’m not really looking at—I mean, obviously that still remains to be seen, but I’m very happy with his progress at Will linebacker.”

Do you have a term for that position that Jabrill and Noah are playing?

“Sam.”

Jim said the quarterbacks will be live on Friday. What do you want to see from your defensive line now that they can hit them?

“Well, you know, we gotta rush the passer. The reality is you gotta get better against the same color jerseys. That’s the reality. We’ve done a good job, and obviously there’ll be some limitations from what we’re gonna be able to do from a defensive perspective. Which is fine, because you wanna find out who can win the one-on-ones and those kind of things. Gotta go get ‘em!”

MGoQuestion: With guys like Winovich and Kemp, do you see them sticking at End or do think they could also play a little bit at Backer* or Sam?

“I think Winovich and Kemp are both in the right spot. Obviously Carlo’s been here for a short period of time. We fooled around with him standing up a little bit. I think he’s in the right position now. Now it’s just a matter of, you know, like every other freshman he’s got to get his feet wet. He’s got to go through the learning process, and, you know, we’ll let that run its course.

Winovich is playing well at End. Obviously techniques, fundamentals he needs to get better at but we think we got him in the right spot.”

*[Ed-A: It might sound like I’m using a super cool abbreviation for linebacker, but Backer’s a spot in Brown’s defense. See Seth’s great Don Brown glossaries here and here.]

We’ve seen a lot in the last couple years about the defensive line and rotating because they said that they had depth and then by the end of last year there wasn’t as much. How many guys do you trust in that defensive line to rotate?

“Well, we’d like to be seven or eight guys. I mean, you certainly want to be a pair and a spare. You’d like to be up to seven or eight guys, eight if possible.”

What are you at now do you think? That you trust.

“You know, I think we’re approaching that number. I really do. Once we get through summer workouts and get everybody back healthy there plus the influx of the young guys, I think we’ll be just fine.”

Good to work with Brian [Smith] again?

“Yeah, Brian’s a great guy. He was a tremendous player, tremendous leader. Won a national championship as a player and helped me coach a team that went to the national championship game. I still lay awake thinking of Armanti Edwards from App State on occasion [Ed-A: same], but I’m glad to be back with him. He’s a great dude.”