Hokepoints: Carries for All

Hokepoints: Carries for All

Submitted by Seth on August 13th, 2013 at 10:55 AM


Running back carry splits: we went over them in last week's roundtable, argued them in the practice tweet post, and then Brian answered a question about it in his mailbag. This horse has been very bad; perhaps it needs one more lesson.

What I'd like to do is illustrate this point of Brian's from the mailbox:

Even if Fitzgerald Toussaint is 100% healthy, someone else is going to get a lot of carries. Michigan ran 502 times last year, and even carry-magnet LeVeon Bell only scooped up 382 for Michigan State. Meanwhile, Toussaint has 130 and 187 carries the last two years. There are going to be 200 to 300 carries, minimum, handed out to other players, and with the situation at quarterback only a handful will be Devin Gardner's.

Last year, yes, but last year was a weird one for rushing and I'd like to see what's really been out there. And here we go:

RB Sharing

(Blig enclickens)

[Jump for splits by depth and discussion]

Michigan Football Media Day 2013

Michigan Football Media Day 2013

Submitted by Eric on August 12th, 2013 at 2:05 PM

On Saturday the Michigan football team had it's annual media day. Bryan Fuller and I (Eric Upchurch) had the privilege of attending.  Here are some photos and galleries from the event. 



Yes indeed Taylor..


Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson


Big Jon Falk


Derrick Green

Here is a combined gallery of selected photos from Saturday. 



Here are links to our individual galleries if you would like to see all of the photos that we shot. 

Fuller - Upchurch

Mailbag: A Lot Of Running Back Stuff, Turning Five Star Recruits Into Five Star Players

Mailbag: A Lot Of Running Back Stuff, Turning Five Star Recruits Into Five Star Players

Submitted by Brian on August 12th, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Green redshirt? Er?


one dude is not enough


I was wondering what your take on Green getting a redshirt would be.
I know it's an unusual concept to redshirt a blue chip running back, or
an uncommon practice. But with Fitz Tousaint at 100%, who has proven his
abilities as a top tier back, and Michigan having a fully loaded stable of
RB's, is it a better practice to allow a player that is already this good
another year to develop before he is unleashed on the world for mayhem and destruction?

Is Michigan in THAT much need of another RB that Green should play immediately, or is offering him the redshirt the way to go? Will
offering him a redshirt cause atrophy in the competition between the backs
for the starting spot? Also, would Derrick Green transfer if he was
redshirted? Any insight you could give would be appreciated.

Even if Fitzgerald Toussaint is 100% healthy, someone else is going to get a lot of carries. Michigan ran 502 times last year, and even carry-magnet LeVeon Bell only scooped up 382 for Michigan State. Meanwhile, Toussaint has 130 and 187 carries the last two years. There are going to be 200 to 300 carries, minimum, handed out to other players, and with the situation at quarterback only a handful will be Devin Gardner's.

So someone's got to play. If Green is the second-best back on the roster it should be him, because:

  1. Michigan has a very legit shot to win their division
  2. Green is likely to start next year if he is the #2 back on the roster
  3. blue-chip freshman like to go places they play early
  4. with De'Veon Smith and Damien Harris waiting in the wings Michigan won't miss a hypothetical fifth year from Green much, and…
  5. if Green ends up being of interest to the NFL he will almost certainly not be around for year #5. Tailbacks have short shelf lives, especially when they're moosebacks.

Add in the uncertainty generated by Toussaint's miserable year and injury and there is absolutely no case to redshirt Derrick Green unless De'Veon Smith is obviously better.

What goes down at running back generally?

Hey guys,

With all of the weapons that Hoke is stockpiling, I was wondering if you guys know the plan going forward at the running back position.

Running back seems the most interesting to me with Borges' pro style making a big return. That said, how will the staff balance Fitz and Derrick Green? Has Rawls proven to the staff he can be a 3rd down bruiser that can get the 1 yard when we need it? Are there roles for Justice Hayes, Drake Johnson, and Norfleet in the backfield this season? With the full stable back there is there any chance any of them convert to other positions?

I've been dying to know anything about the running backs and would love some insight.


These are many questions. The last one is the easiest: yes. Dennis Norfleet has apparently already been moved to slot receiver, which is fine by me as long as they use him.


Hayes, too, is likely to end up in the slot at some point. That's not insider information, it's just a guy looking at the depth chart, thinking about what Michigan clearly wants to do, and extrapolating. Hayes was regarded a guy who could move to wideout coming out of high school, and Michigan is about to be short on slots. Johnson is pretty much RB-or-bust; he'll stay where he is.

Answering the last question answers the second to last: not really. Hayes was nominally at the top of the depth chart after spring and Johnson was getting some practice hype, but I expect both to be marginalized. Third down back is up for grabs—my advice to those guys is to get really good at pass blocking.

Apparently I'm going backwards: no, Rawls has not proven he can be a third down bruiser. If anything he's proven the opposite, repeatedly going down on contact on short yardage plays. It's likely that not only Derrick Green but De'Veon Smith, Wyatt Shallman, and Sione Houma are better options for short yardage this season.

The first question is pretty much the thing. I expect Green to immediately take over short yardage duties, where his power is welcome and his potentially iffy pass blocking (freshman) is not relevant. Fitz should be fully healthy and he is a damn good back when he gets a little blocking, so the bet here is he starts the year getting the plurality of the carries. As things move along Green should come more and more into the offense, like TJ Yeldon last year, until they're about splitting carries evenly.

Making elite players elite… uh… players?


Graham and Martin were indisputably elite.


I was wondering about Michigan and player development.  I completely understand the Heininger Certainty Principle, and how Mattison can take a average player and make him good.  I also know that they can take a good player and make him great. 

However, with getting Peppers and the possibility of getting Hand, is there any recent evidence from Mattison or Hoke that they can mold elite recruits into elite players.  Or should I change my definition of elite from first round draft and successful NFL career.


That's a pretty high bar to clear. Mike Martin was indisputably elite in his senior season but does not meet the criteria as a third round pick. After one year he's being touted as a potential breakout player by people who have obviously never seen Martin play. But is it on Mattison and Hoke that NFL teams are sometimes dumb? I say it is not.

The thing about evidence that Hoke and Mattison can take a guy like Hand and make him into an elite player is that I know for a fact Hoke has never had a Hand-level guy to mold. Mattison did have a number of five stars to deal with at Florida, and we'll get into that.

First, Hoke. He was Michigan's defensive line coach from 1995 to 2002. During that period Michigan had the following players drafted from the DL:

  • Will Carr (7th round, 1997)
  • Glen Steele (4th round, 1998)
  • Rob Renes (7th round, 2000)
  • Josh Williams (4th round, 2000)

That, uh, isn't great. But how much of that was on Hoke and how much was on the fact that Michigan was recruiting and playing guys like Dan Rumishek, Norman Heuer, and Shawn Lazarus in 2001? While those guys were all quality pluggers, Hoke wasn't exactly working with Brandon Graham and Lamarr Woodley there.

Michigan's defensive philosophy in the late 90s and early aughts was to hold up offensive linemen with RVB types and let their athletic linebackers wreak havoc. They recruited NFL linebackers and put many of them in the league for long periods of time: Dhani Jones, Ian Gold, Larry Foote, and Victor Hobson all launched long NFL careers in a four-year span in the early aughts. They recruited blue-collar guys out of the Midwest on the line without regard to their rush abilities or hugeness: all three of the DL mentioned above were 6'4" and around 290. No matter how technically adept they were, the NFL wasn't going to be interested because they don't fit anywhere in an NFL 4-3 under.

The much-traveled Greg Mattison had a similar track record until he tapped into a geyser of talent:

  • Renaldo Wynn (1st round, 1997, ND)
  • Anthony Weaver (2nd round, 2002, ND)
  • Justin Tuck (3rd round, 2005, which was the year Mattison left for Florida but he's worth mentioning.)
  • Joe Cohen (4th round, 2007, Florida)
  • Marcus Thomas (4th round, 2007, Florida)
  • Ray McDonald (3rd round, 2007, Florida)
  • Jarvis Moss (1st round, 2007, Florida)
  • Derrick Harvey (1st round, 2008, again Mattison had departed)

At Florida it went: nothing, nothing, entire defensive line off the board before the fourth round ended. That tells you that the level of talent he was working with took off—he's pretty much the same coach at that point. Instead of coaching up blue-collar pluggers he was teaching explosive large versions of same to do the same things the blue collar guys did. And lo, they wrecked things.

Despite the rankings, Michigan has very rarely brought in the kind of top-tier guys they have lined up the next couple years, and when they did sometimes they were crazy. The touted Germany/McKinney/Slocum/Taylor recruiting class turned out to have three guys in it that couldn't stay enrolled for whatever reason. But other than that, Michigan's track record with five-star-ish defensive linemen has been good: Woodley, Graham, Branch, and Taylor were all quality college players and high NFL draft picks. Gabe Watson, popularly derided a guy as who never lived up to the hype, was still two-time All Big Ten and a mid-round pick. Pure talent busts are limited to Will Campbell, who should have been an offensive lineman all along… and still got drafted.

Player development is inherently difficult. Every year half of the first round of the NFL draft is comprised of relatively unheralded players. Busts are inevitable, talent is talent, and you just have to get piles of it to have a Florida-type DL. Michigan is going to approach that level of talent in the next few years.

Annual Big Ten Network Practice Tweet Roundup

Annual Big Ten Network Practice Tweet Roundup

Submitted by Brian on August 12th, 2013 at 11:41 AM


Derrick Green is a large man.

As per the title. This year's batch of impressions is pretty interesting. As always, organized by topic and translated from the twitterese. Standard disclaimer: this is one practice that's not even in pads, so a lot of position groups are basically impossible to evaluate. In particular I'd take the OL stuff with a grain of salt.

Dienhart has a full article on the experience; it doesn't appear that Howard Griffith was there this year, and he gave an interesting glimpse into the depth chart:

Here is who was running with the “ones” on defense today: Line, Tom Strobel; Chris Wormley (who is a specimen); Quinton Washington; Frank Clark. Linebackers, Joe Bolden; James Ross; Secondary, Blake Countess; Thomas Gordon; Jarrod Wilson; Courtney Avery; Raymon Taylor.

So 1), that's a nickel package, 2) Dymonte Thomas wasn't at the top of the depth chart, 3) Strobel and Wormley were your Day X starters at SDE and three-tech, respectively, and 4) Bolden was ahead of Morgan. That's so many changes from expectation that I'm betting that rotation is more experiment than depth chart indicator.

Even so you do get an indicator of who is not being challenged for a starting spot at present: Clark, Washington, Ross, the safeties, and Countess. Anyway, more things:


Devin Gardner looked great - in total command of the offense. He needs to stay healthy more than any player in B1G - Morris struggled a bit. Morris has a live arm and runs well too - just seemed a step behind - late on a number of throws. Will be very, very good in time.  –Dave Revsine [part 2]

As mentioned in Morris's recruiting profile, early struggles are expected.

Al Borges told me Devin Gardner loves to study film more than Denard Robinson did. Borges says Gardner is more athletic than Jason Campbell. –Dienhart

Was Denard a noted film guy? I don't recall that being part of the things people said about him except when he was being compared to Tate. The Campbell thing is obvious. Campbell could move around a little bit but was almost strictly a pocket passer. Rushing yards by year at Auburn: 72, 206, 1, 30.


Derrick Green was dressed but not taking reps, FWIW.

Borges also said he needs a "war daddy" at RB, given that the run game now features the TB rather than QB. Not clear he has one yet. –Revsine

Fitz Toussaint showed no effects from his injury. Great burst through the line. –Revsine

Wyatt Shallman also got a lot of carries as a TB. Unclear if that's because Green wasn't involved in the reps. –Revsine

#Michigan true freshman Derrick Green has a body like Ironhead Heyward. –Dienhart

Heyward got huge in the NFL—like, may have pushed 300 pounds—but in college he was 240-260 and quite good at running: 1800 yards and a Heisman finalists from Pitt as a junior and a departure to the first round of the NFL draft.



Darboh impressed in a major way.

Da'Mario Jones had a nice one-handed catch as well. Lots of good young WR talent. Darboh has taken a particularly large leap. –Revsine

WR Amara Darboh looks primed for a breakout. Big, fast and physical –Dienhart

At #Michigan practice, WR Amara Darboh looked good. Al Borges marvels about how strong his hands are. He was running 1st team today. –Dienhart

Funchess is fantastic - serious match-up issue. They will use him well. –Revsine

Q: Who do you think will be the number one receiver for Gardner?

A: Gallon - but Darboh & Funchess right there. –Revsine

Offensive Line

As mentioned, a grain of salt here. There were no warning flags from this visit last year.

Little bit of a battle going on at C. Always give the caveat of it was just 1 practice on 1 day - but Glasgow delivered first snap. –Revsine

I asked Brady Hoke about interior of o-line; he told me all spots are still open. Lots of bodies. I have to think Kalis will get one spot. –Dienhart

Lewan is a very clear leader. Most of his leadership 2day was keeping young guys focused and loose. I observed a good exhange with DeVeon Smith –Revsine

Q: Does the interior of the OL look more athletic? Will the Gs be able to pull efficiently? [ed: almost certainly an mgoreader, right?]

A: Yes - OL looked good. –Revsine

Defensive Line

Taylor Lewan is really fun to be around - one of my favorite B1G interviews. He said Frank Clark reminds him of Clowney. As in Jadeveon. –Revsine

Fun to see Brady interact with DL (for me - not necessarily for DL) - really worked Ondre Pipkins hard. Clear they are counting on him. –Revsine

Q: Frank Clark warrant the off season hype?

A: Hard to say - they weren't in full pads. Teammates were raving, though. –Revsine

If there is a more impressive true freshman DE in the nation than Taco Charlton, I want to see him. Can't wait to see him in a year. –Dienhart

Chris Kiffin, the brother of Lane and Ole Miss defensive line coach/booster payment organizer, upheld the family honor by responding to this tweet with "Lol."


Nothing of note. Linebacker is another spot where no-pads means evaluation is hard, if not impossible. Bolden nominally running with the ones is interesting, but unless he's made a lot of progress at hitting people I don't think he's going to displace Morgan. Spell him for a few drives a game, sure. Start, no.


Mattison mentioned that Thomas Gordon has really emerged as a leader in the absence of Kovacs. –Revsine


This is really starting to look like a #Michigan football team - they are big, they're physical and they can really run. –Revsine

Defensive team can really run. I would say the validity of recruiting rankings was alive and well in AA today. –DiNardo

One of the most interesting things about the Chicago panel with myself, Sam Webb, and DiNardo was how DiNardo dismissed the usual coachspeak muttering about recruiting rankings. Instead he emphasized their importance and how the Big Ten's lag in that department was reflected on the field.

I love this coaching staff. There is a ton of teaching that goes on at their practices - giving constructive feedback after nearly ever rep. –Revsine

Assistant coaches do as good a job as anyone teaching technique. No music constantly playing helps staff teach. –DiNardo

The usual.

Once again got to watch one the the best D Line drills in college football. –DiNardo

I don't think he's referring to this one, but he might be?

Greg Mattison is really pleased with his defensive depth. Said there are several positions where he feels good going three deep. –Revsine

Um… WDE, SDE, CB(ish), maybe if you look at ILBs jointly.

Much like Ohio State, many of Michigan's freshmen look physically ready to play right now. Taco Charlton would be Exhibit A. Other true freshmen that stood out - De'Veon Smith, Dymonte Thomas, and Jourdan Lewis. Thomas had a nice diving pick, Lewis good PBU in the endzone. –Revsine. [Part 2]

I asked Hoke after practice which true freshmen who weren’t here in the spring who could impact. He mentioned Delano Hill and Jourdan Lewis in the secondary; Patrick Kugler on the o-line; Maurice Hurst on the d-line; Mike McCray at linebacker, among others. –Dienhart.

A little surprised it wasn't all-lifting, all-running Ben Gedeon that got a mention there instead of McCray. Also, Hurst is a bit of a surprise given how his weight has fluctuated (at least on paper): if he's really 270 instead of 302 I find it hard to believe he's going to push through to see playing time.

Q: The way UM/OSU have recruited, are you seeing a separation in talent?

A: Need to see everyone - but trending that way. –Revsine

I came away impressed with #Michigan. But most of best talent is young, so the Wolverines may be a year away. This is a well-coached team. –Dienhart


Fall Camp Presser Transcript 8-8-13: Brady Hoke

Fall Camp Presser Transcript 8-8-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on August 8th, 2013 at 8:12 PM


  • Brennen Beyer and Derrick Green have boo boos. They sound minor and are expected back as early as Saturday.
  • Allen Gant's move to SAM has been confirmed.
  • MGoLeadingQuestion reveals that Devin Gardner loves the pistol formation and that they are running read options out of it still.
  • Wooooooo.


Opening remarks:

"Day four, shoulder pads and helmets for the second day. Full pads tomorrow. Not doing any tackling or anything like that, but a lot of good competition. Hasn't changed much. Guys are competing, learning the system a little more, especially when you've got some guys who have only been here a year, so they're going through that process. Things happen fast, so they have to adjust. When you have to adjust on both sides, tracking the line of scrimmage as an offensive lineman, we have to do a better job of. Defensively, we have to make sure we're putting ourselves in position to feed the defense and leverage the defense. It's pretty easy against barrels when  you do that, but when you start doing it with live bodies, we have to do a better job of that and not give up any big plays. I think all the guys are competing very well. It's really been physical. We'll be in full pads tomorrow. The first doubles on Saturday will be good for us."

<More after the jump>

Fall Camp Presser Transcript 8-7-13: Al Borges

Fall Camp Presser Transcript 8-7-13: Al Borges

Submitted by Heiko on August 7th, 2013 at 3:29 PM

"Is that salmon?"


"Canteloupe? We use that as an audible color. How you guys doing?"


"It's been a while. Can't tell you how much I've missed you. You guys kind of sensed a hint of sarcasm, didn't you? Heiko! I made you a hero. Unbelievable."


Thoughts on Devin's maturity? 

"Yeah, he's doing a nice job. When you know that you've done it so long -- he's always been a pretty confident kid anyway, but now that he has a chance to kind of be the guy, I think he's taken the next step."

What's it like having two experienced tackles?

"Yeah, you know, when Taylor said he was coming back, that was a great, great day for Michigan and for our offense because breaking in a new left tackle is never fun. I don't care what level it is. But Mike Schofield, who doesn't get talked about as much but is really a good athlete. He can move. He was a hurdler in high school. He's got a lot of talent. Mike's played a lot. He's played guard, he's played tackle. I think he's kind of fit into a comfort zone a little bit with tackle, not to where he's complacent, but he's comfortable in the position now. He kind of had to relearn the position a little bit. He's been in the offense. He's been pretty consistent the first couple days and in the spring."

<Falsehoods galore after the jump>

This Week's Obsession: Percent Green

This Week's Obsession: Percent Green

Submitted by Seth on August 7th, 2013 at 2:58 PM



It's that freshman you've all be waiting for. Michigan's new 5-star back was the highlight of this week's padless practice video. There are plenty more exciting carries to come, but just how many this year, and what's the expectation for sharing with the current starter? We try to tackle that. The backfield:

  • Brian "Mike Hart except tall and hairy and into emo" Cook
  • Seth "Anthony Thomas except more like a high-speed monorail" Fisher
  • Ace "Tim Biakabutuka except better against Ohio State" Anbender
  • Heiko "Dennis Norfleet except more Norfleet" Yang
  • Blue "Brandon Minor in an alternate universe where he was forced to kick his way out of Charlie Weis's stomach" in South Bend
  • Math- "Tom Harmon except more perspicacious" –lete , and introducing:
  • Brandon "Like Jamie Morris if interviewed the linebackers as he ran by them" Brown

And the question:

Let's all make stupid predictions about running back carries this year. How many are there to go around? How many go to Toussaint, Green, guys down the batting order? Base expectations for YPC? Anybody cracking 1,000 yards this year? How about 10 TDs?

Seth: I believe Toussaint and the coaches that the senior RB who's proven he can torch defenses when given a reasonable amount of blocking will get the majority of carries this season. If I put us on a crappy graph (how do I make non-crappy graphs?) I'd be near the bullish Toussaint extreme and bearish on Green's yardage totals:

Safe Prediction: Brian's YMRMFSPA for
Deveon Smith will be Brandon Minor
2012 stats
Name Carries % Yds YPC TD
Fitzgerald Toussaint 130 53% 514 4.0 5
Thomas Rawls 57 23% 242 4.2 4
Vincent Smith 38 16% 94 2.5 2
Justice Hayes 18 7% 83 4.6 1
D. Norfleet 2 1% 13 6.5 0
Total 245 - 946 3.9 12
2013 Seth's prediction:
Name Carries % YDs YPC TD
Fitzgerald Toussaint 168 54% 778 4.6 7
Derrick Green 77 25% 417 5.4 6
Justice Hayes 31 10% 155 5.0 1
Deveon Smith 21 7% 112 5.3 2
Thomas Rawls 14 5% 51 3.6 1
TOTAL 311 - 1513 4.9 17

If the Green prediction in the above sound familiar you've been getting into the Chris Perry's freshman stats again. That year A-Train had a ludicrous 319 carries for 1733 yards and 18 TDs and Perry came on in the second half of the season as Thomas's No. 2 guy. They both got 5.4 YPC behind the best offensive line of my lifetime. No, this line won't be anywhere near that good; at best they're the 2000 line in 1997. That'll mean less to the No. 2 guy who gets the benefit of a softened defense and more trash time.

Regardless I'm going for a yard per carry better than last year thanks in part to more forgiving defenses, and a lot more attempts as QB carries (218 for 1455 yards with sacks removed last year) are halved in the world after Denard. When it's done Toussaint will emerge with a small majority of RB carries as he did last year, and increase his YPC to something under 5 but not that much.

I think Green will get more carries as the year progresses and he's worked into more two-back sets. In fact given the tight ends are still a developing thing, and Green's already 240 with reportedly advanced blocking techniques, and the fullbacks aren't anything special, why not make two-RB sets a regular feature in the Great Borgesian formation extravaganza? I was predicting something like that before Stephen Hopkins decided to transfer [edit: give up football] and it didn't look so bad when it happened. I digress.

Green will severely eat into Rawls's opportunities, and unless they plan to redshirt Deveon Smith, last year's No. 2 back will have a tough battle to repeat half of last year's 57 carries. I'm of the mind that running backs don't change all that much (compared to other positions) over years in the program, and that Rawls won't suddenly develop the vision he didn't have last year. He remains what he is: Kevin Grady 2.0, albeit minus two stars of hype and any whiff of misbehavior. Having seen what we have in him, I'd like to see Smith pass him, since that would say nice things about Smith and set Michigan up nicely for the future.

I expect Justice Hayes will move into that 3rd down back role evacuated by Vincent Smith's graduation, and act as designated recipient of those fun throwback screens Borges loves. Obligatory Drake Johnson is on the roster note goes here. Maybe one of you guys know different but exactly zero hype on him from this spring made it my ears to corroborate the pre-bowl practice murmurs. Until I hear otherwise I'm figuring him for a non-factor.

Brian: Dennis Norfleet 500 carries for 5000 yards.

[After the jump: RB opinions from people like bloggers except more interesting]

OFAAT: Derrick Green In One GIF

OFAAT: Derrick Green In One GIF

Submitted by Ace on August 5th, 2013 at 1:18 PM

26 days until a Central Michigan safety discovers exactly what a "pyrrhic victory in run support" means. Presumably, BiSB will regret not using spellcheck much sooner than that.

[EDIT: As pointed out in the comments, the poor soul being steamrolled is not some random high school freshman, but 2013 3.5-star Virginia signee Malcolm Cook. Cook is listed at 6'1" (measurement presumably taken before the above) and 194 pounds. Lawd.]

2013 Recruiting: Derrick Green

2013 Recruiting: Derrick Green

Submitted by Brian on August 5th, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton,DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler, OL David Dawson, OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, OL Kyle Bosch, OL Chris Fox, OL Dan Samuelson, TE Jake Butt, TE Khalid Hill, HB Wyatt Shallman, WR Da'Mario Jones, WR Csont'e York, WR Jaron Dukes.

Richmond, VA – 6'0", 220


Scout 5*, #6 overall
#1 RB, #1 VA
Rivals 5*, #8 overall
#1 RB, #1 VA
ESPN 4*, #38 overall
#5 RB, #3 VA
24/7 4*, #84 overall
#8 RB, #5 VA
Other Suitors Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, USC, Oklahoma, Miami, FSU, Oregon
YMRMFSPA Beanie Wells
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Army AA.


Senior highlights:

If you watch only one play of this reel make it the run that starts at 10:20.

Army game (actual play starts at 1:30):

It's not that Derrick Green breaks arm tackles. It's that he doesn't notice them. Go ahead, watch the highlight reel. On the high school level, an arm tackle may as well be an invitation marked endzone, party of one. So, yeah, he's not that elusive, but he doesn't have to be, because he's elusive enough not to take a head on shot and anything short of that… no sale.

But don't take it from me, take it from everybody.

  • Brian Dohn, Scout: "Green is a durable, physical runner who doesn't have elite speed, but that really isn't needed to be success. Just think Emmitt Smith. … He is big, strong, accelerates well and has very good vision and balance. He is creative and he is difficult to bring down. He has quick feet, and his change of direction is very good. He can make subtle cuts and turn a 3-yard gain into an 8-yard gain in a flash."
  • Various Rivals Analysts: "You can't build a better-looking high school running back if you tried as Green already looks like he's in college." "Green is a bowling ball of a runner who is very strong North-South but has quick feet and good balance. Once he decides to hit a hole, and he is a decisive runner, he is a load to handle. It would have been nice to see some full contact because you could tell he would have shrugged off linebackers." "Green showed why he is the No. 1 running back in the country by hitting all the right holes, showing off great vision and flashing his trademark burst." "In practices and in the game, Green ran with toughness and speed, cut very well and showed he has the vision to make an early impact at the next level."
  • ESPN: "Green is a load and a strong, physically imposing runner ready to make the college jump…. Green is quick to get downhill and attack the hole and he gains momentum fast. … lacks fluidity through the hips as a lateral runner but shows sharp, subtle cutbacks and deceptive pick-and-slide ability at times. While he can sidestep and avoid tacklers, he is at his best when squared up and given a heavy dose of Iso and Power plays. … Displays very good power to break tackles. … drags tacklers and finishes runs falling forward. … likes contact. Has good speed for his size, but not a home run threat in college or a player who is going to make you miss with elusiveness."
  • 247's Clint Brewster: "I compare Green to former Auburn tailback Ronnie Brown, who played under offensive coordinator Al Borges with the Tigers. Both Green and Brown are excellent catching the ball out of the backfield and are three-down running backs."

Green's combination of size, speed, and willingness to show out at camps saw him rise to the #1 RB spot on both Scout and Rivals; he wasn't far behind as a top 50 player and the #5 RB on ESPN, a decision that was apparently very narrow

This is arguably the most talented running back class we have seen in recent memory. The discrepancy in talent from our top-rated back Kelvin Taylor to our fifth-rated back Derrick Green is minimal on film and from a grade standpoint.

…and while 247 is the resident skeptic they still rate him inside their top 100. And, like, compare him to a first-round NFL draft pick.

Yet more scouting reports say he's "a bowling ball style back with a low center of gravity" with "burst and explosiveness," a "powerful running back who can blow through arm tackles," a "downhill runner who is decisive finding and hitting the hole" with "deceptive quickness" and is "far from just a North-South power back." You get it.

The Green hype is to the point that FRED JACKSON, yes, that FRED JACKSON, can say things and your first inclination is not to LOL and rush to the Fred Jackson Hyperbole Tracker but rather to pull out a bubble pipe, put on a tweed jacket, and disclaim "indeed, verily":

“He’s the same type of guy as a Yeldon or a Lacy or an Ingram. He’s the same kind of guy, like those guys are. It’s just matter of everything working for you.“

“Derrick can roll for a big man, now. He had been clocked at 4.4 and 220 pounds. That’s pretty good. … I don’t want to compare him to anybody. I think he is different than Anthony Thomas. But he is built more like Chris Perry. His style reminds me of Anthony’s."

I… I just agree. I don't have snark about this. Fred Jackson, I agree. Fred Jackson, this is the sort of back who would hang out at Alabama, eating tackles for lunch and grinding out five yards on third and two. Yes.

Other comparisons on offer are LeVeon Bell

While both are big, strong and proven load backs, the similarity that really strikes you when watching them both is their ability to withstand the first hit and keep downhill momentum. Both of these backs have very good balance, and while they can break initial contact with power through the hole, they also have enough agility and quickness to spin and slip their way out of tackles through tight seams.

…and Marshawn Lynch:

"Both are explosive and violent runners, so it is an easy comparison to make. What I think makes them so similar is the physicality in the hole and getting into the next level. Neither guy is really looking to shake tacklers rather than hitting them with a stiff arm or just straight running over them. It is a mean streak and an angry approach to carrying the football, and they both have it." -- Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Northeast analyst.

    So pick a large, mean future first- or second-round draft pick.
    Now, there is some disagreement on certain points. Some people think he has near-breakaway speed, some not so much. Some people think he's great out of the backfield, others not so much. But no one disagrees that this person is essentially two years into college, physically…

Green looks like a college freshman or sophomore running back already [ED: 2011, ie, before his junior year of high school] with a tremendous build and very powerful legs. He is built like a bowling ball and is simply a ball of muscle that explodes and gains speed after his first few strides. What was most surprising however was his ability to catch the ball with soft hands.

ready to go

"Green looks physically like a college junior," Farrell said. "If you put him in any college uniform right now and told someone who had never seen him that he was a 1,500-yard rusher, they wouldn't blink an eye. Plus he's shown  the ability to block and catch passes now, so he's gone from a two-down back to an every-down guy. He's the most physically impressive running back we've seen in awhile."

If you put him in a Wisconsin uniform and helmet, you'd think he was a college senior coming off a 2,000-yard season. His legs are beyond strong and thick and he looks like a human bowling ball, ready to knock down pin after pin heading to the end zone.

The one minor note of disagreement comes from a review of the Opening from Scout, which worried that Green might turn into a fullback if he's not careful:

1. Derrick Green There were some mixed reviews on Green among the staff. He is strikingly thick for a high school running back which can worry you some as to how he develops and projects but even at that size, he has outstanding feet. Because he is so quick with his cuts and so decisive, he has the skill set to really complement his size well.

That is rather positive for a negative take, since the 1 by his name signifies he was the best tailback at the first day of that camp. But it is a point to consider.

Sort of.  Green entered high school with the opposite problem that most kids have: he needed to lose weight. That he's here is testament to his desire. He was actually a 268-pound freshman(!) who was told to play on the line because obviously but wanted to play tailback, so he dropped weight and dropped weight until he became the guy he is today, like Michelangelo carving David out of himself. Is that comparison overblown? Ask me in four years. (Ok, probably, shut up.)

But here is that pattern again, both in the work and the kind of person that Michigan is adding to the program.

Sam Webb: So you clearly know him better than most people here, most of the media. What should people know about Derrick Green that isn’t immediately obvious just by walking in and seeing him?

Domonique Hargrove: “One thing you have to know about him is, man, he definitely is a man of character, and he definitely keeps God first. … that’s what he kept saying, ‘I’m going to keep God first, he’s going to be one – Jesus is going to be the one to help me get to the top’, and hey, the proof is in the pudding, look at him here today, all his supporters, I love him, I love his mom and his dad, and I’m proud of him.”

Etc.: Star RB: OSU Will Always Be No. 1. Nope. Excellent profile article from 247 that's free. FWIW, Green ran a 4.56 forty to win a Fastest Man award as an underclassman despite being 230 at the time.

Why Beanie Wells? Yeldon and Lacy and This Year's Bama Back are also good comparisons but in terms of guys Michigan fans have seen an awful lot of, Wells is the best comparison available. He's a bit taller but about as heavy, was also the #1-ish tailback in his class, and combined enormous muscled pounding with quick feet and enough speed to make people pay for missed tackles.

After a debut season in which he split carries with Antonio Pittman, he took over the main job for his final two years, then bolted towards the tail end of the first round of the NFL draft. He averaged just under 6.0 YPC his two seasons as the starter. I mean:

Extraordinary combination of size and natural running ability. Downhill runner who attacks the line of scrimmage when running inside. Shows the patience to pick and slide laterally. Good burst to and through the hole. … Rare size and leg drive to move the pile. Rare vision and lateral quickness for a back of his size. Anticipates the cutback lanes before they appear and capitalizes on them. Surprising acceleration to break through the first wave of the defense and get to the second level. Brutal stiff-arm when in the open field to bat away defenders attempting to drag him down. Despite his size, shows good breakaway speed.

Hello, MY NAME IS Derrick Green.

BONUS: Wells was reputedly a Michigan fan growing up; Green was reputedly an OSU fan growing up.

Guru Reliability: Exacting. All the camps, All Star, heavily scouted top end prospect.

Variance: Low. Already college size, playing position, exacting guru reliability.

Ceiling: Vast. First round type back.

General Excitement Level: BOOM. Brady Hoke can't recruit skill positions, don't you know.

Projection: Beanie Wells comparisons don't stop at the talent's edge. Green, too, should split carries with a quality senior option as a senior before emerging into the starter for a two-year run that's appealing enough to the NFL that they snatch him up as soon as he's eligible.

Hokepoints: Predicting the Numbers 134

Hokepoints: Predicting the Numbers 134

Submitted by Seth on June 4th, 2013 at 11:04 AM


hi bennie! /Upchurch

It's an annual rite of fan dorkiness each year to try to be the first to guess which numbers the incoming freshmen will be given by obsessively google stalking them. Sometimes I have some inside knowledge from a recruit who was promised his digit, or tweeted his preferences or something. Here's how I did last year:

Name Pos. # in HS 2012 Guess Actual
A.J. Williams TE 88 88 84
Allen Gant S 7 and 14 14 12
Amara Darboh WR 15 15 82
Ben Braden OL 51 51 71
Blake Bars OL 67 72 62
Chris Wormley DE 47 84 or 68 43
Dennis Norfleet RB/KR 21 21 if available, or 31 26
Devin Funchess TE 5 and 15 85 19
Drake Johnson RB 2 and 18 32 or 6 or 23 29
Erik Magnuson OL 77 78 78
James Ross LB 6 36 15
Jehu Chesson WR 5 82 86
Jeremy Clark S 2 29 34
Kyle Kalis OL 67 67 67
Mario Ojemudia DE 53 53 53
Matthew Godin DT 62 62 99
Ondre Pipkins NT 71 56 56
Royce Jenkins-Stone LB 10 10 52
Sione Houma FB 35 41 or 32 39
Terry Richardson CB 3 and 6 and 9 9 13
Tom Strobel DE 36 63 or 93 or 86 50
Willie Henry DT 74 74 or 68 69

Four out of 22 ain't…well yes it is. It was bad. This article is useless. Let's continue it anyway; I swear to do better.

Getting to know you. Each coach has his own tendencies with this so we'll get better at it in time. With Hoke, he seems to like having consecutive numbers in the same position group, perhaps for mentoring purposes because they sit next to each other in the locker room. It's far from a rule, but it's a trend. Carr rarely let a player share a specialist's digit, but Hoke doesn't seem to have a problem with it, for example Wormley and Hagerup share a number, and walk-on tight end Alex Mitropoulus-Rundus (I'm gonna just start calling him "Alex M-R") has the same digit as backup punter Kenny Allen. Rich Rodriguez was far more apt to share numbers, and the single digits were nearly always doubled up; Hoke has said in the past that he doesn't like doing that, and the practice has been limited—as of spring just 5, 12 and 34 had scholarship recruits in both numbers, adding 54 and 56 to those double-occupied by players on the two-deep.

The roster lies. The official MGoBlue.com roster still doesn't have DeAnthony Hardison, that nifty RB you saw in the Spring Game. He's #18. Also a practice insider told me Anthony Capatina is playing slot receiver, not "DB" as he's listed on the depth chart. Also weirdly missing from that roster is #79 right tackle Dan Gibbs (a Seaholm Mape!!!), a 2012 preferred walk-on whose twitter profile pic is him riding an oliphant:



Legends/Special #s: 1 because Braylon's scholarship killed the fun, unless Gallon gets it. It won't come as much of a surprise to you that 2 will probably be entering the Legends program this season. There will also be some push for 16, and I doubt it'll be assigned to an offensive player immediately. 11 for the Wisterts, 21 for Desmond, and 87 for Ron Kramer are currently open; it is likely they'll be assigned to veterans whose digits might then be made available if it happens before the season. Bennie's 47 and Jerry's 48 remain occupied by current players and there's no way a second guy will get them. And I've been told they're still working on the Harmon family with 98. Anyway they won't go to freshmen.

Already worn on both sides: 5 (Courtney Avery and Justice Hayes), 6 (Raymon Taylor and Brian Cleary), 12 (Gardner and Allen Gant), 13 (Terry Richardson and Alex Swieca), 15 (James Ross and Shaun Austin), 34 (Jeremy Clark and Brendan Gibbons), 43 (Chris Wormley and Will Hagerup), 54 (Richard Ash and Jareth Glanda), 56 (Ondre Pipkins and Joey Burzynski), 69 (Willie Henry and Erik Gunderson), and 95 (Anthony Capatina and Michael Jocz).

Available on offense only: 4, 7, 14, 18, 22, 24, 25, 30, 33, 35, 40, 50, 52, 53, 55, 57, 59, 66, 76, 92, 96, 97, 99

Available on defense only: 3, 8, 9, 10, 17, 19, 26, 27, 28, 29, 38, 39, 42, 45, 46, 49, 51, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 70, 71, 72, 75, 77, 78, 82, 84, 85, 86, 88, 94

1146879Walk-ons with soft claims: Every year there's a Jon Keizer on the roster who thinks his number is safe, then some top running back recruit in the country (right: from Scout) runs him over with star power (dadada, didda-da diddadidda…). Scout teamers without scholarships often have their numbers taken, for example Charlie Zeller was 19 on the 2012 spring roster and Paul Gyarmati was sitting on 99, but Devin Funchess and Matt Godin nabbed those digits last fall. This year they are 15 (Shaun Austin—note that Ross has it on D), 18 (DeAnthony Hardison—note that Countess has it on D), 27 (Jon Keizer), 36 (AJ Pearson—note that Kerridge has it on O), 42 (Dylan Esterline), 46 (Clark Grace), 49 (Brad Anlauf), 51 (Bobby Henderson), 59 (Mark Lawson), 63 (Ben Pliska), 66 (Dan Liesman), 70 (Kris Mateus), 79 (Dan Gibbs), (91 (Alex M-R, though Kenny Allen wears it too), and 95 (Anthony Capatina and Mike Jocz). The other walk-ons I didn't mention (Dever, Cleary, Glanda, Burzynski, Reynolds, Allen, Gunderson, Jocz and the Glasgows) are either on the two-deep already or in the mix.

Currently unused: 20, 23, 31, 32, 37, 41, 44, 64, 68, 73, 74, 80, 81, 83, 89, 90, 93, π

You just said Pi. We're Michigan fergodsakes. All the constants—φ, ζ(3), α and δ, Euler's e, γ, λ, K, r, and Ω—ought to be fair game, and if someone takes √-1 and uses the nickname "Impossible" he will be my favorite for ever and ever.


Name Pos. HS # Tea Leaves Best Guess
David Dawson OG 71 Wore 55 in Under Armour game, 33 in Army AA game. 55* - His Twitter acct is David Dawson 5⃣5⃣
Reon Dawson BCB 1 Wore 13, 24 and 1 in high school. 31 - seems to fit.
Jaron Dukes WR 8 Twitter handle is @Jaron_Dukes8 83* 80 - Is 8-like.
Chris Fox OL 73 Wore #13 (?) at Army AA game and #33 at Rivals 5-star challenge 73* - Guy likes #3
Greg Froelich OG 77 Wore that and 75 in high school (preferred walk-on) 76 - Not exactly Steve Hutchinson.
Ben Gedeon MLB 15 James Ross is already James Ross. 45 - David Harris's # but precludes punt coverage.
Derrick Green RB 27 Wore 27 in Army AA game. 27* - call it a hunch. Sorry Keizer.
Delano Hill Nk/FS 11 Looks like he's 40. 32 (Kovacs's other #) or 23
Khalid Hill FB/TE 32 Very Kevin Dudley of him. 32 or 23
Maurice Hurst NT 50 Wore #11 in Semper Fi Bowl. 68 - Mike Martin's #
Da'Mario Jones WR 11 Wore #7 in that photo of recruits in white M jerseys. #15 at MSU camp. Same school as Tony Boles, who wore 42 at Michigan but had 18 touchdowns so... 14* 18 - I admit this is thin.
Patrick Kugler OC 57 Wore 57 at UA game. Dad and bro wore 57. 57 - O'KUGLER RULES!
Jourdan Lewis CB 1 Also wore #17 at Cass Tech, #27 at Army AA game. 17 or 3 or 37.
Mike McCray SAM 9 Wore #9 at UA game. Father wore 99 at OSU 9* - He and Dileo both likely to be on special teams, but not the same groups.
J.J. McGrath K 13 preferred walk-on 35 - Or some kicker number.
Shane Morris QB 12 Gardner switched, so... 7 - he already tweeted it.
Henry Poggi 3T 7 Wore 17 at UA game. Was given #7 locker in May. Plays jazz flute. 70 - Ross Douglass already took 7.
Dan Samuelson OG 74 Photo out there of him wearing a Nebraska 74 jersey. Twitter handle is @dansamuelson74. 74 - it's available.
Wyatt Shallman FB 49 49 is available on defense. 33* for his DCC teammate who passed away. 49 - Sorry Brad Anlauf.
Deveon Smith RB 4 Is a 4-star? 4 - It's open.
Blaise Stearns WR 1 Townie: Can't find what he wore at Huron before transferred. Preferred walk-on 89 - Doesn't exactly get 1st pick.
Channing Stribling FS 8 #22 commit to the class. 8* - It's open
Scott Sypniewski LS 56 Wore #45 at his long-snapper camp. 41 - Who cares.
Jack Wangler WR 21 Dad wore #5 at Mich (preferred walk-on) 16* 25 - Like Kennedy.
Csont'e York WR 1 Was #667 at NFTC 81 - With an eye toward dropping the 8.

Go ahead and make your guesses. We'll have our answers in a few weeks.

* UPDATE: After I posted this Magnus alerted me to his post of numbers that have already been revealed. I had some good guesses. I crossed out my comments if the guess was wrong.