Spring Football Bits Defense: Thorns and Storms

Spring Football Bits Defense: Thorns and Storms

Submitted by Seth on April 18th, 2018 at 3:45 PM

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chomp chomp chomp chomp. [Fuller]

This is the defense section: I had to split these up for length which means the offense bits are here.

So Let’s Start With More on the Offense

Yeah so the McElwain presser on Monday opened up a bunch of questions about who’s in charge of the offense. Let’s clear that up with a bit of Bo knowledge and some CK2 references, because everybody who covers Michigan football must understand those at least.

I think Harbaugh told us how he’s going to do it when he said Bo didn’t have an OC, and everybody—or at least everybody who didn’t buy HTTV 2015—missed the reference. Indeed, when Harbaugh was playing here, Bo had a defensive coordinator (Gary Moeller) and more or less allowed Mo to run his duchy. But there was no like position on offense. Instead Bo had a “quarterbacks coach,” Jerry Hanlon, Bo’s right hand man going back to their Miami days. Hanlon coordinated the offensive staff, and called the plays from the box, but never got the title. They also had two offensive-minded former head coaches on staff in Alex Agase and Elliot Uzelac, not to mention Bo was an offensive (line) coach at heart. With all of those vassals with kingship claims, hierarchy was less important than council positions.

That’s how I think it’s going to work now. Pep is your Hanlon—he’s got his job and if he cares what you call it he won’t say so publicly. McElwain is Uzelac—he’ll contribute his thoughts while getting back to position coaching and waiting for an OC job. Warinner is Agase, the guy we know all too well from a long career on opposite sidelines, here because he became available and we need him. They’re not Pep’s vassals because Harbaugh holds the Duke of O title himself, but Pep is the Marshall, and leads the armies.

There. Now the offensive staff makes sense, or if it doesn’t make sense at least now you know it’s only because you don’t know enough about Bo and CK2, and you need to rectify that.

Oh, and Sam’s apologizing to anyone he sees for not being hype enough on Joe Milton, with the why at the link($).

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Defense in General

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Really would like to know how solving your problems with aggression works in baseball [Patrick Barron]

The thing about Michigan’s defense is they return all but two starters from an excellent unit, and the coordinator has put out three top five defenses in three years—one with Boston College talent—so sunshine is to be expected. At places used to such riches they’ve learned to ask more about strategies for using the varied abilities they’ve collected. We haven’t learned to do this yet, so this is going to be mostly chatter about backup battles.

What we want to hear: Now that some of Dr. Blitz’s weapons are coming into their second and third years, how are they being incorporated into the defense?

What we’re hearing: This week new linebackers coach Al Washington met with the press. Washington played at BC and later coached (running backs and special teams) with Don Brown there. He was part of Fickell’s staff at Cincy that gave Michigan fits by going to a 3-4/4-3 under front and gap-switching a ton. He has been put in charge of Brown’s Swiss army knife position: the Vipers, SAMs, Edges, and whatnot, right when third year Brown hybrids like Josh Uche and Khaleke Hudson are coming into their own. Adam, our presser guy, has a one-week-old so he wasn’t there to ask our questions, and now I’ve got a beef with the Michigan press corps for wasting this opportunity for knife talk to instead lob questions about Mt. Rushmore. But we got one thing out of it:

He said this might be his fastest defense ever. What have you seen of the talent level out there?

“Man, I’ll tell you what, I made the comparison of somebody dropping a steak in a tank of piranhas. You see the quarterback drop back and it’s like…man, it’s overwhelming. So, speed is lightning quick, they’re physical, and they’re smart. That, to me, is probably the biggest thing.

“These guys get it. This is a lot of—I think he had two new starters last year. Ten new starters, excuse me. So, a lot of these kids are coming back and they know it. They have a mastery of it and so that just makes them even faster. They’re tough. They take pride in what they do. It’s a great group. A special group.”

Piranhas it is.

What it means: If a Minnesota Twins fan complains ask him what state Ron Gardenhire collects a check in.

[After the JUMP: The Piranhas]

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 11th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

What do you say to Devin Bush when he gets caught retaliating after something that happened? Just you still can’t do that?

“Yeah, control your emotions. I mean, that’s unacceptable no matter what happens prior or what your frustrations are. You can’t do that. You can’t hurt the team like that, and he’s going to have to deal with that. He’s a phenomenal player and teams are going to try to do stuff to antagonize him. It’s a growing process in maturity. It’s unacceptable.”

Going up against Patrick Ramsey, the new quarterback at Indiana, what challenges do you see from Indiana’s offense?

“They’re very well coached. They do some good things to put you in binds. The quarterback can run, he can throw it. You’ve got big receivers on the outside. The running backs run hard. The line, they get after it. They obviously have a tempo to their offense where they’re going to hurry-hurry you. I mean, there’s a lot of challenges there.”

I guess Michigan State sent film in of Devin. Is that a concern? Do you talk to him about things like that?

“No, we just play football. Not going to get into them sending film. The officials are going to officiate the game. We’re going to play football and tackle like we tackle and it’s to keep our head out of it, that’s what we teach. But I’m not going to get into what they’re going to decide to do after the game.”

Your thoughts on how your group played in that game?

“You’re talking linebackers?”

Yeah.

“Um… I mean, we didn’t so… I don’t know. I mean, we were okay. Not our best performance, but, again, didn’t do things to win the game either. Think we’ve got to continue to get better week in and week out.”

[After THE JUMP: linebackers coming on recently, DPJ’s development, and hang time oh glorious hang time]

This Week’s Obsession: Most Desired Breakout Player

This Week’s Obsession: Most Desired Breakout Player

Submitted by Seth on May 8th, 2017 at 2:44 PM

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You break out or I will. [Bryan Fuller]

The Question:

You get a magic wand to anoint any Michigan player an instant all-Big Ten, except an offensive tackle else we'd all just be naming backup OTs.

Brian: This might be dumb.

Ace: We’re all gonna go with CBs, right?

Brian: I'm going with Quinn Nordin?

Ace: Never mind.

The Responses:

Brian: I mean, #collegekickers, right? And if Nordin can hit them straight you've got four years of NFL range and accuracy plus kickoff returns that amount to "lol no".

Is that crazy?

Adam: I was going with Ron Johnson because please someone anyone D-line depth. and it'd be nice to have a guy that can play SDE and 3T.

Brian: I feel Ron Johnson is an invalid selection since to be All Big Ten you have to have some opportunity to play and TBH he does not.

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An instantly playable James Hudson could give Michigan a solid two-deep at DL.

Adam: But who are the backups?

Brian: Dwumfour and Solomon.

Ace: In terms of value added over another position on the roster, Nordin isn’t crazy. Dropoff from his ceiling to the backups is bigger than most any other spot on the roster.

Brian: Yeah, I mean it would be nice if Devin Bush was ABT but I'm not stressed if he isn't.

Adam: I'm going more for the principle than a specific player but I really haven no idea who the backup 3T will be. Marshall? Hudson? DIB?

Ace: I’d guess Hudson. He’s outrageously strong.

David: Maybe Gary if they can find snaps for a freshman at anchor?

Ace: Gary might slide inside on some obvious passing downs but he’d be better utilized on the edge. I think that’s a last resort that won’t be needed.

Seth: Kemp is the backup at anchor. Of all the backup DL that’s the spot I’m least worried about.

[Hit THE JUMP for more of us ignoring the offense because you really cut our legs out with this tackle rule.]

Spring Game Presser 2017: Don Brown and Tim Drevno

Spring Game Presser 2017: Don Brown and Tim Drevno

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on April 17th, 2017 at 10:04 AM

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[Fuller/Upchurch]

Talk about the secondary, what with all the departures and the progression not only today but in the spring with the young guys.

Brown: “You know, I’m really happy with our young guys. I mean, they’re all young. Thought Brandon Watson did a good job today, but he’s done a good job all spring, so that’s not surprising. Lavert Hill’s been hurt a lot, so him getting back and getting repetitions was good. David Long made it for three quarters. Nothing serious, but he’s been fighting it as well so we really had to lean on the young guys: Ben St. Juste, Ambry Thomas, and a couple of our younger roster guys, Matt Mitchell.

“So, all those guys were well informed today. Thought we did a pretty good job for a good chunk of the time. Obviously there’s so much to learn as a young player the first time you come and play in front of an audience. It’s just different. I think it was an important task and we did it. Obviously we were challenged on both sides of the ball; I’m sure Drev would feel the same way. You know, neither of us unveiled our attacks, but at the same time, you just want to see your guys compete and play hard and see where we can go technique and fundamental-wise.”

I remember that Josh Uche wasn’t participating in bowl practices. He came pretty close to blocking a punt today, Devin was in the backfield a lot--

Brown: “Oh yeah, jeez. Josh has had some good days. We have a few things special for him, so when we let him do those things he’s been exceptional. But he’s got a long way to go. Again, he’s a guy who was a defensive end in high school who I absolutely loved because he was fast. Now we’re teaching him to play linebacker. That’s a huge challenge for him, so that’s a big deal.

“Devin Bush is exactly what we knew he’d be in this type of environment. You know, he played a year ago. He’s certainly right in form to stepping in to do a good job. Between him and Mike McCray and Robo helping out at times, I feel good about those three guys. We’re really looking for a fourth guy, and I’m not sure we know that yet. From a linebacker standpoint, that would be my huge task.”

Anything that jumps out at you as far as progression with Devin? Is he faster? Is he stronger?

Brown: “I mean, just look at him. You know, I teased him yesterday. He walked by me and didn’t have a shirt on; ‘Last year you were a short, pudgy guy,’ and he’s chiseled. He’s got a Division I body now. I’m asking him to play two positions. Played pretty much one today, and I’m very pleased with where he’s at, obviously.

“You know, this is a day about individual evaluation. Again, I think Drev would say the same thing. Guys are playing out of sorts in different units and spots and all that, but it’s about your performance individually and just see where you take it from that standpoint.”

[After THE JUMP: Don Brown’s Rome plans include scheming for Michigan’s week-three opponent]