Recruits In Retrospect: 2011 Offense

Recruits In Retrospect: 2011 Offense Comment Count

Ace June 1st, 2016 at 4:19 PM

Previously: 2008 Offense2008 Defense2009 Defense2009 Quarterbacks2009 Offense2010 Offense, 2010 Defense

Michigan's best offensive recruit of 2011 entered the program as a walk-on. [Barron]

It's that time of the offseason when I go back through the recruiting profiles for the class that just finished its five-year cycle, which brings us to...

Oh no. Ohhhhhhhh no. It's the 2011 hybrid RichRod/Hoke class, an underwhelming group at the time—ranked 26th in the composite—that didn't come close to living up to expectations. I promise this exercise will be less painful next year. Until then, let this serve as a painful reminder of how far the program has come in the last couple years.

This post on the offense will be mercifully short, at least; there were only seven scholarship players on that side of the ball in the class, and two didn't make it through their first fall camp.

Forcier Comparison = Accuracy

Michigan snake-oiled three-star dual-threat quarterback Russell Bellomy from Purdue shortly before signing day. By the time Brian got around to writing up Bellomy's profile, Shane Morris had already committed to the 2013 class, while Devin Gardner was waiting in the wings behind Denard Robinson. Bellomy's profile didn't exactly scream "future starter" regardless of the competition:

So what have they won? A developmental prospect. Bellomy's a bit like Justice Hayes in that he seems like a better fit for the offense Michigan just dumped. That might not be a big deal long term—unlike Hayes, Michigan actually got interested in Bellomy after the transition—but Bellomy is not Chad Henne. He's described as an "efficient spread offense QB" and completed only 58% of his passes on a run-heavy team. He rarely broke the 20 attempt barrier. Opposing coaches($) say stuff like "he was much more effective in the pocket than we expected" and "you have to respect his passing ability as well." He needs work.

Bellomy's YMRMFSPA was "pick a Forcier" due to his mobility and reputation as a "riverboat gambler." The comparison worked in that Bellomy flamed out of the program. You know the story well: Bellomy entered the 2012 Nebraska game over Devin Gardner, then moonlighting at receiver, when Denard Robinson hurt his elbow, had a disastrous three-interception performance, and never saw meaningful time again. He transferred to UT-San Antonio for his senior season, attempted ten passes as their backup quarterback, and left the program only a month into the 2015 season.

[Hit THE JUMP for, well, more pain.]


Justice Hayes Taking A Grad Transfer

Justice Hayes Taking A Grad Transfer Comment Count

Brian January 26th, 2015 at 1:04 PM


[Eric Upchurch]

Senior-to-be tailback Justice Hayes is seeking greener pastures:

The four years I have spent at this institution have brought some great memories that I will cherish forever. The fact that I will be graduating from the University of Michigan in April will be meritorious. I have earned team captain on numerous occasions, won respect from coaches and players, and most importantly played my heart out every Saturday. I truly appreciate the offer from Coach Harbaugh to allow me to return for my 5th year, but I have decided that I will choose another college to play football as a graduate student.

Hayes was a touted recruit who stuck with Michigan after Rich Rodriguez's departure despite being regarded as a spread back in the mold of a Theo Riddick. He was subsequently buried on the depth chart as the Hoke staff systematically ignored any tailback smaller than a moose.

Hayes never really got an opportunity despite the thoroughly mediocre performances of Michigan's tailbacks over the past couple years and probably doesn't see much more opportunity now what with Harbaugh's desire to manball all the live long day. It'll be interesting to see if he blows up in a fashion similar to Mike Cox and Thomas Rawls (when eligible) in a place that is not the purgatory of Brady Hoke offenses.

Michigan has three juniors-to-be (De'Veon Smith, Derrick Green, and Drake Johnson) on the roster plus USC transfer Ty Isaac, so they'll probably be fine this year. This shouldn't change recruiting approaches.

It does open up another slot. Michigan now has 13 or 14 depending on the status of Joe Kerridge—I have to assume both Glasgows are on scholarship now—and seems to be recruiting for 16, maybe 17 spots*. Hoke mentioned a few pending departures before his own exit, so I would expect Michigan to announce three or four more departures that are already known to them in the near future.

*[They have 9 and appear to be looking for two DEs, two CBs, and two TE/FB types plus a wildcard or two extra.]


Monday Presser 11-24-14: Doug Nussmeier

Monday Presser 11-24-14: Doug Nussmeier Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 25th, 2014 at 2:03 PM



Doug, one more game this season. The offense…was it what you expected? Are you disappointed? Can you talk about the progress of the offense and what your expectations were at the beginning of the season and now heading into Ohio State, where you guys are 13th of 14 in total offense?

“Obviously our expectations are a lot higher than where we’re at right now. As I’ve touched on throughout the season you talk about individual improvement [and it] hasn’t necessarily led to total group improvement. Do feel good about the things that we’re progressing in. You talk about the ability to run the football. I believe in the last three we’re averaging like 207 yards a game or something like that rushing in the last three games. Really feel like that line’s starting to gel together. You talk about protection and the fact that we gave up two this week; one was an assignment error and we gave up one true sack on a zero blitz. We got caught by surprise. We’ve got to have a better plan down there as far as getting the ball out of our hands, and then a week ago we didn’t give up any sacks. The week before we had one coverage sack, so you talk about protection [and] I believe we’re substantially better there in the things that we’re doing.

“Talk about individual accomplishments and the development of Amara Darboh. I think [he’s] a guy that you look at what he’s done over the course of the season. A true left tackle, Mason Cole [and] his individual growth. We lose Derrick Green and see DeVeon step up and Drake step and what they’ve been able to [do]. Jake Butt coming off the injury has been limited a little bit in what he can and can’t do, but you go across the board you see a lot of individual accomplishments. Guys that are getting better, groups that are getting better. We still need to bring it all together and get to a complete game. We haven’t had that yet.”

What about point production, because it’s been a couple weeks since Devin’s had a touchdown pass?

“Well, I wouldn’t look at you’ve got to have a touchdown pass to say you’re successful. That, to me, is not defining success. Obviously throwing touchdown passes is a part of the game but if we’re going to run it we’re going to run it. You look at- like you said, we’d like to score more points. We need to score more points.”


What are the toughest venues in which you’ve ever taken a team to run an offense, because most would say Ohio State sees Michigan coming in and that’s going to be one of them?

“Well, obviously to go to the Horseshow to play in this football game is something special. Any time you play on the road and in situations where it’s going to be loud, where you know it’s going to be a hostile environment you’ve got to be prepared very well and you’ve got to be focused in and you’ve got to execute, and everybody’s got to be on the same page. There’s no margin for error.”


After the game Brady Hoke mentioned it was the first time Devin’s been healthy in more than a month. At this point is he still getting healthier, or in what ways can you use him differently now that you can run?

“You get to this point in the season and I don’t know that anybody gets healthier at this point in the season, and that’s one of the hardest things about playing this sport is that when you play at this level and type of conference we have here in the Big Ten and week in and week out have to go out and do it every week against the physical style of play we see it’s challenging mentally. And then like coach said Devin from the standpoint of his physical health had some ailments there, and we’ve gotten him relatively healthy. Obviously I don’t think anybody’s as fresh as they are week 1 of the season.”

[More after THE JUMP]


Upon Further Review 2014: Offense vs Indiana

Upon Further Review 2014: Offense vs Indiana Comment Count

Brian November 7th, 2014 at 3:23 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan debuted a Stanford-esque formation on which the entire world lined up across the front:

Ace Errybody

This had three tight ends (Williams, Kerridge, and Erik Magnuson, usually) and Funchess. I called it "Ace Errybody" because I feel we've forgotten about Antoine Dodson's raconteur status.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: OL as per usual, with Magnuson donning 81 to moonlight as a blocking tight end. Bo Dever got some late run at WR, seemingly after Norfleet was injured. RB actually started out with Hayes and then mixed Smith in; when both Hayes and Smith ended up dinged Johnson got his shot.

[After THE JUMP: precisely calibrating how fast our Drake Johnson roll should be.]


Monday Presser 10-20-14: Doug Nussmeier

Monday Presser 10-20-14: Doug Nussmeier Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 21st, 2014 at 9:02 AM



What’s it like seeing this rivalry from the other side? Obviously you’ve coached at Michigan State. What’s the view when you had never been a part of it before [at Michigan]?

“Well, it’s one of the classic rivalries in all of college football and I’m very excited to get the opportunity to be a part of it and I know our kids are very, very excited about the opportunity.”

When you were at Michigan State what was it like?

“Any time you play in a game, whether it be an in-state rivalry game or a conference rivalry game and some of them are out-of-conference rivalry games, the important thing is the focus on the game itself and you can get caught up and lost in the things that surround the game. Any time you’re on either side it’s about the players preparing. It’s about preparing them the best you possibly can and giving them the opportunity to be in the right situations to play well.”

Any of those games stick out to you from when you were there?

“I think any time you’re a part of these games they all stick out to you. Obviously probably the one that was played right here [Ed.- he’s referring to Braylonfest] was one that goes down as a great, great football game. Really was.”


They obviously play pretty good defense. Without giving away what you want to do, what are the key things that they do that you have to combat?

“Well, I think when you look at them they’re an outstanding defensive football team. They do a really good job of stopping the run and they get guys and they commit to the box and they do a really good job of tackling. They tackle well. You don’t see a lot of missed tackles. And then when you do have a play you see their ability to make an adjustment and take that play away, so I think that the biggest thing about the game is we have to understand the plan very well. We have to understand how they’re going to line up in the different blitzes and things that they’re going to try and approach us with, and then we have to execute.”


In the past Michigan has had a problem with Michigan State bringing linebackers through the A gap. I wonder if there’s a standard way of dealing with that or is that a pre-snap read the quarterback has to make or-

“Well, when you look at their base defense that’s one of their base blitzes that they run against everybody that they play against. One of the things it does [is] it creates obviously pressure on the interior of your line and pressure within the quarterback’s line of vision. A lot of people that run that- I don’t know their exact philosophy but it’s to create problems and pressure in the quarterback’s lap so he doesn’t feel like he has a real pocket to step up into so obviously it’s a blitz that’s part of their base package and something that we’ll prepare for.”

[After THE JUMP: Why were the MSU coaches covered in glass after the ‘04 game and some strategy talk]


Upon Further Review 2014: Offense vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2014: Offense vs Penn State Comment Count

Brian October 20th, 2014 at 4:23 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Another very gun-heavy outing for Michigan, with nothing particularly unusual about the way they lined up. Penn State spent most of the game in a straight 4-3 of various varieties. Late they went to an eagle front for a couple plays:


Note that Miller has guys to both sides of him. That erases any chance Michigan can double on the interior and exposed Miller to a DT he could not deal with physically. Michigan responded to this with a pin and pull that worked on the next play.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: No Magnuson still, so line still Cole/Glasgow/Miller/Kalis/Braden. Jake Butt seems to be getting as much time as he would have without the knee injury by now; Williams still hanging on to quite a bit of PT in Hill's absence.

At RB it was all Hayes/Smith with Green sidelined; WRs were as per usual with a little bit of Canteen.

[After THE JUMP: struggling forward.]


Monday Presser 10-6-14: Doug Nussmeier

Monday Presser 10-6-14: Doug Nussmeier Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 7th, 2014 at 3:15 PM

nuss 9-15

file, but he had the same pullover on so not really

Can you talk about the loss of Derrick Green a little bit and how it impacts you? He looked like he had one of his best games. Two really good carries and then the clavicle injury.

“Well, obviously disappointing to lose Derrick and it was one of his better games. Felt like he was really dialed in focused, ran extremely hard. So we’ve got great expectations for the other guys. DeVeon’s done an outstanding job all season, as has Justice. Some other guys have got to step up. Drake’s got to step up and we’ll continue to move forward and we’ll feel good about those guys moving forward.”


When you look at Devin, what were the changes that you saw from, I guess, the benching until Saturday? Were there dramatic improvements in his play?

“The biggest thing I think, Devin- I’ve talked about it all season. His preparation has been second to none. He’s done an outstanding job each and every week of preparing himself to play, and I felt like he played extremely fast in this game. Made some really good decisions. Obviously he had the one interception, but other than that- and that was a matter of circumstance more than anything else, but he played I thought extremely fast and effective.”


With Drake and Justice, can you talk about- you’ve seen them a lot more than any of us. Talk about what they bring to the field when they’re on the field.

“Well, I think you’ve seen Justice has played a lot for us in third-down type situations to date. Outstanding protector. Really understands defense. Understands how to see blitzes, recognize, and does a really outstanding job in protection.

“Drake has done a really good job in practice, so it’s just been more a matter of numbers than anything for him. He’s a slashing-type back. Has really good vision, and looking forward to having an opportunity to get him out there.”


With DeVeon, he hasn’t ever had more than 10 carries in a game. With this opportunity, how do you see him taking that on his back. Can he be a 25, 30 carries a game guy?

“Well he’s been preparing to carry it as many times as need be all season long, and just a matter of circumstance at times. Derrick’s done a really nice job and he hasn’t gotten as many touches, but if you look at the productivity in his touches it’s been really good.”


I know that we talked about Devin’s health and you guys want to keep him health obviously, but at what point do you make it a priority to sort of get him more on the move and sort of let him do things with his legs? Is that something you look at here going forward?

“Well, I think I’ve said it all along. You never want to take the caliber of player that Devin is with his athletic ability and really restrict that. Tried to, from an offensive standpoint, let him let the system work for him, and then when things aren’t there make plays with his feet but obviously any time you can use the quarterback as an effective running weapon it creates another dimension the defense has to defend. On the same side of that you’ve also got to be conscious of protecting the quarterback and making sure he’s not taking undue shots.”

[After THE JUMP: the Cheshire Cat’s response to the Darboh catch]


Monday Presser 10-6-14: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser 10-6-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 6th, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Hoke presser 2


News bullets and other items:

  • Derrick Green broke his clavicle and is out for the season
  • No update on Jabrill Peppers or Desmond Morgan, which only means they haven’t been ruled out for the rest of the year /waves world’s tiniest flag
  • The coaches spoke to the Big Ten about Amara Darboh’s catch that was ruled an incompletion. Hoke doesn’t seem to agree with what they were told, but said there’s no reason to dwell on what can’t be changed
  • Shane Morris is practicing

Opening Remarks:

“Alright, thanks for coming out. Number one, on Saturday I thought our guys were united. I thought they played hard together. I thought they fought, and sometimes that doesn't guarantee you anything but their effort as a team was something I was proud of, and I was proud of those kids. I know I said that on Saturday, but that hasn't changed. Sometimes fighting alone doesn't get a victory, but I think we need to change those results and execute a little better, coach a little better. It always starts with me and us. There was some good progress that was made and we want to really emphasize those things.

“Yesterday we didn't practice and that was already determined we weren't going to. We got back at– I don't know. I got home at 4:15 so I'm sure they got home late. We wanted to give them rest because rest will help you heal. We had good meetings yesterday. I think from the standpoint of corrections and emphasizing the things we want to see repeated I think were important.

“You know I don't talk about injuries unless a guy is going to miss the year, and unfortunately that's what Derrick Green – he broke his clavicle late in the football game. Nice run on our sidelines, but Derrick's attitude is very good. He knows there’s an expectation of him to help coach those young guys and coach guys and be integral and what we’re trying to get done. And so we are going to miss him, but DeVeon and Justice Hayes and Drake Johnson are three guys who need to step up, and two of them are guys that have a lot of game experience and played a lot of plays, so [we] feel good about that. And we’ll miss Derrick, but this is like anything else in competition in sports; the next man's got to stand up.”

[After THE JUMP: try to read the tea leaves]


Mailbag: All The Coach Dissatisfaction You Can Muster

Mailbag: All The Coach Dissatisfaction You Can Muster Comment Count

Brian September 10th, 2014 at 11:31 AM






I kid you not, GIS for "looting" and this guy in an off-brand Michigan jersey shows up



Let me know when I should start panicking. I am ready at your command.


Okay this is where I'm at. I've got a go bag ready. Passports, about 10k in cash, various fake mustaches and sunglasses. I'm up do date on all my vaccines. Are you up to date on your vaccines? I can be in Laos in 15 hours, never to be seen again. Rumors of the white tiger of the jungle will flourish. I will become known only in song and legend.

BUT: note that I am not already in Laos. I am sticking around to see what this season has in store, because weird things happen against Notre Dame and—and bear with me here—this game actually felt much less bad than some hammerings from last year. There are some obvious problems at cornerback and Gardner has to play better but when things went wrong it was mostly one thing going wrong, not eight. So it might get fixed. There is no reason to demand a coaching change right now. Let the season play out and see what happens. If Michigan does catch fire in the crappy Big Ten this game will be a footnote.

Meanwhile, there's no reason to assume a coaching change is coming unless you're literally 75% of my inbox…

A true Michigan Man keeps his promises about the Austro-Hungarian Empire circa July 1914.


You may recall that I said I would never write to you about Michigan football again after the BW3 Bowl and my comparison of Michigan football to the Austro-Hungarian Empire circa July 1914.  Since the last part is still true, I won’t make this long.  But your entry today about coaching prospects caused me to think about my second school (the Syracuse Orange).

Here are a LOT of assumptions, but (a) assuming the tire fire rages, (b) Hoke is fired, (c) none of the few big names worth watching (i.e., Miles, the Harbros) is/are available, and (d) Syracuse goes 8-5 or better again this year with a mid to late-December victory, what about a guy like Scott Schafer?  He’s in his mid-40s.  He runs an attacking style defense.  He’s from the Midwest.  He favors an up-tempo offense.  He has to coach against Clemson, FSU, Louisville (and ND this year).  He picked up the pieces after Doug Marrone ran off to the NFL with half of his coaching staff last year.

Might he be someone to watch?  I know the experience as Rich Rod’s DC did not work out.  But given his success running the defense at SU (particularly following GROB), that seems like it was more an issue of Rodriguez trying to make him run a defense he didn’t want to run.  He left with grace and took the blame that may not have been 100% his.

Just a thought – I’m grasping at straws . . .

Dan G

UM ‘85

Syr. Law ‘88

I don't think Shafer has a track record to get excited about. He did improve the Syracuse defense upon his arrival but he hit a ceiling pretty quick. FEI rankings for his defenses at 'Cuse:

2009: 70th
2010: 38th
2011: 39th
2012: 39th
2013: 65th (as head coach)

In FEI there are a lot of schedule adjustments so 39th isn't nearly as good as it is in straight yardage rankings. Meanwhile he'd have two years of head coaching experience, the first a 7-6 season, and the second an 8-5 one. I liked Shafer and know for a fact he got a raw deal from Rodriguez's defensive assistants, and then Rodriguez himself. But even if you don't hold that against him his resume is thin.

He is a guy to track, since he is a poachable head coach not in the MAC. That he's worth tracking is a good summation of the available talent this year.



Monday Presser Transcript 8-25-14: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 8-25-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp August 25th, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Hoke presser 2


News bullets and other items:

  • Captains will be voted on after the Ohio State game, with seniors representing the team at each coin toss
  • The depth chart was released prior to the presser. Read Ace’s take on it here.
  • Injury update: Kyle Kalis is fully healthy, while Delano Hill is meeting with doctors this afternoon to determine whether he can play Saturday
  • Hoke raved about Devin Gardner’s progression on the field and as a team leader
  • Ty Isaac’s status is still uncertain; they’re waiting to hear back about the appeal
  • The freshman and sophomore classes have an edge to them. Hoke does not know that he has said edge.
  • Brady Hoke “Well,…” count: 12

[After THE JUMP: a mini scouting report on Appalachian State, Devin Gardner’s development, and the captain situation (or lack thereof) explained]