Spring Practice Presser Transcript 4-2-13: Brady Hoke

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 4-2-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on April 3rd, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Bullets:

  • RS Fr Brian Cleary is now the backup quarterback. Yes, he's a walk-on, but Al Borges talked him up at the NSD presser as someone who might contribute regardless. Said he "looks like a scholarship QB."
  • Hoke has not spoken to Shane Morris since Bellomy's injury, but Borges has.
  • With Bellomy out, a real spring game is looking less and less likely.
  • Justice Hayes is looking good at RB.
  • Jarrod Wilson is standing out at safety.
  • Will Hagerup is still suspended.
  • Brendan Gibbons has been kicking off a little bit in practice whenever Matt Wile can't make it on account of class.
  • When Brady Hoke says "Mitch McGary" five times really fast he gets "Rob Gronkowski." 
  • Brady Hoke has the hiccups from saying "Mitch McGary" too many times.

Opening remarks:

“We’ve had good practices. The tempo’s been good. I think the competition level has been good. We’ve got to play faster as a team. I think some of that is some young guys getting used to playing a lot, when you get a number of reps, but we’ve done a pretty good job of being competitive. We need to continue that.”

How has Russell Bellomy’s injury impacted the offense?

“I think the impact is how you feel, number one. You feel terrible for him. The impact as far as depth always hurts you when anyone gets out of the lineup. As far as that’s concerned, we’ll move forward and keep developing Brian Cleary and those guys who are behind Devin.”

How’s Bellomy doing?

“He’s doing fine. He’s disappointed, like we all are. We can all imagine how he’d feel, but he’s doing fine.”

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-16-12: Al Borges

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-16-12: Al Borges

Submitted by Heiko on October 16th, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Al Borges

file

“What’s up?”

MGo: Not much.

MGoActually: I have a technical question.

“Oh no.”

MGoAwComeOn: Would you rather me ask it now or later.

“You’re going to ask it one way or another, so ... shoot the moon.”

MGoQuestion: That play where the tight end blocks down and the two linemen pull and go outside of him. What’s that play called?

“… Oh. It’s just a horn scheme. Down and around type deal.”

MGoFollowup: Is there an advantage to doing that vs. running a zone stretch?

“Um, yeah, it’s just two different looks to give the defense based on how they’re playing, you know. They could be playing one style, and that’s a better way to block it. A lot of it is personnel, too. How well does your tight end handle the down blocks? If they’re playing another scheme you’re better off zoning. You really -- I’ve learned over the years you kind of have to have both. We have both. We have the ability ability to do both. In certain games one’s more prominent than the other.”

MGoThankYouThatWasAGreatAnswerBrianWillBePleasedButHereIsOneMore: Who would you say is your best blocker at tight end?

“I think they’re all pretty good at this point. I think Devin Funchess has improved the most. I don’t have any reservations about doing it with any of them. Now to be honest with you, that was a concern at the beginning, but I don’t know if I’d favor one over the other at this point.”

MGoO_o

Monday Presser Transcript 10-15-12: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 10-15-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on October 15th, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Bullets of informative information:

  • Michigan State. This is a rivalry game. Rivalries are important.
  • Vincent Smith getting held out for his hamstring was precautionary. May be back this week. Maybe not.
  • Hopkins is "back."
  • Frank Clark's decreased playing time was due to rotation, not due to injury.
  • Denard is fine.

Presser

“You know, obviously it was a great team win the other night. Played well as a team. Played together. Probably our most complete game when you look at the offense and defense. In the kicking game I thought we did some very good things. Had some penalties that we don’t want to have when you look at hitting the returner late and we had two defensive offsides penalties that we need to be a little more poised and a little more composed about that. A couple dropped passes. I think we were 9 of 14 on third downs, probably could have been 11 of 14. Missed assignments, I think we had 10 of them on offense. Defensively, early in the game I thought they ran the ball a little too well, so we have to do a better job with the integrity of gaps and getting off blocks. Best we’ve played, but a long way from playing championship football, so we have a lot of work to do. We’ll go back to work.

"This is a great week because it’s a rivalry game and those are always special, always fun. At the same time it’s another championship game, which we’ve started that run two weeks ago. We have to prepare like we have, and I think we will because we’ve done a nice job to this point and the maturity of our team – I think we are maturing, so we just have to keep going forward.”

Illinois Postgame Presser Transcript: Brady Hoke

Illinois Postgame Presser Transcript: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on October 14th, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Bullets:

  • Vincent Smith was held out due to a hamstring.
  • Kenny Demens jumped the route and got the interception because he knew it was coming based on film study and preparation.
  • Fitz's job isn't necessarily in danger; Hoke says he just wanted to get the other tailbacks some quality work.
  • Hoke made the decision to pick Desmond Morgan for No. 48 before realizing the Grand Rapids connection, but learning of it made it cooler.

Brady Hoke

File, because I forgot to bring my camera and I forgot to take a picture of Hoke with my phone because I was a little out of it because I wasn't feeling well because I was ... dehydrated. Yeah. Dehydrated. 

Opening remarks:

“It was good to win Homecoming. It’s good to win any time. And really thought complete game-wise, a lot of ways this was the most complete we played. Running the ball with the running backs, Denard obviously had some great runs in there. I thought defensively, after the second series, third series, we started playing Michigan defense. Played well against the run. And then I thought when we did that on first and second down it gave us an opportunity to try and put some pressure on the quarterback and helped the guys do a nice job. Some things in there -- we had some penalties, running the ball early, [penalties] against our defense we weren’t happy with, but overall it’s probably as complete as we’ve played, but it’s not near good enough.”

Both fronts look very solid. Your assessment?

“I think really up front defensively, I didn’t think we were playing with gap integrity and getting of blocks as well as we needed to. They were hitting in there and getting four or five yards, or five or six yards. That wasn’t stout enough at the line of scrimmage. I thought we had some more work to do there. I thought we played better as the game went on. I think at the same time there was a lot of improvement. From an offensive standpoint, as we continue to grow to some degree, I think we’re playing a little better when you look at pad level, I think we’re playing a little better with the speed we want to play with.”

There were a couple critical fourth down stops by your defense when the game was still in doubt. How important were those plays?

“Those were critical, but the one where they went for it on fourth down and our defense stepped up and did a nice job, we got the ball [with] two minutes, and we got nothing. That’s frustrating because we felt coming in the locker room after half time that we left some points on the board. You can’t do that when you play for championships.”

Quinton Washington and Kenny Demens?

“And I’ll tell you. Quinton has improved every game. It’s exciting as a coach when you see a guy who steps out there and gains confidence and plays better, and he’s a big part of our football team, and he’s a wonderful young man. Kenny, I tell you, the interception, he had seen the route. He was prepared. And that’s one thing we’ve done better as a team is the preparation. He knew formationally, he knew route-wise, he knew when they lined up what route was coming so he could jump the route. That’s the maturity that you like to see in your football team. Kenny being a senior, you expect that, but when it works out you’re excited about that.”

Can you assess how Russell Bellomy played, and how important is it to give him some good game experience?

“It always is, you know. Russ, we’re very excited about Russ Bellomy, and have been. He came in there with a lot of confidence. We had the one exchange problem alter in the game, and I think the ball slipped or we didn’t get it up enough, but he’s a guy that we think is a good quarterback. That’s why we recruited him. It was good to get him some work. Obviously meaningful work, but any work is good work.”

At what point do you start thinking about Michigan State?

“I don’t know. I mean I hope the guys enjoy this right now. I don’t know if you ever don’t think about rivalry games. I think that’s always part of what makes us special being Michigan.”

Why did you choose Desmond for the jersey, and did you lay any special expectations for him with Gerald Ford being a president and all that?

“Yeah. And I’ll tell you, it was very easy to choose Desmond because of his character and his integrity, because of how he comes every day in our building, I think in our classroom, in the community. He’s a great kid. It would really -- the grand rapids connection didn’t have a whole lot to do with it until I felt that I was going to do it with Desmond and then it kind of clicked in.”

What was the thought process behind using Justice Hayes and Thomas Rawls earlier in the game?

“Um, you know, we just wanted to give them both some more carries. I think competition is always healthy for everybody, so giving those guys out there some time. Vince, we didn’t play him at all becaues he had a little bit of a hamstring, and that’s where Justice got some more reps because of that. Giving Thomas more carries was part of it.”

Is it still Fitz’s job?

“Yes.”

When Denard went out, how confident were you that you could win with your defense?

“I’d like to tell you I was very confident. I felt good that our guys on defense, and then the other piece of it I thought our kicking game -- I thought we had kind of challenged that group, challenged ourselves as coaches. Our kicking game had to make improvements and has to continue to. At that part of it, I was comfortable if that’s the way it would have gone.”

Was Denard’s boo boo a hand injury?

“Just a boo boo.”

How relieved were you that it wasn’t that serious?

“Any time any guy gets dinged up with boo boos and stuff, you always worry about it.”

It’s two games in a row that Denard hasn’t thrown an interception. Is that comfort with the game plan or just maturity?

“I think it’s a combination of both. I think he obviously reassessed probably after Notre Dame a little bit. I think we all did. I think game plan-wise, we were bound and determined that we were going to run the football. In the passing game, the play-action part of it, the part of the passing offense that he felt most comfortable with.”

Can you assess Fitz’s play today? Did he get the jumpstart he needed? Second question is how much did you stress not peeking to Michigan State?

“I’ll answer the second question first. I didn’t even talk about it because our guys never even mentioned it, looked at it. I was really surprised, but I felt real confident about every week for us is a championship game no matter what. So they have to prepare for every opponent like a championship game. There was none of that in the locker room or anywhere else. It was Illinois and how we wanted to play and how we wanted to prepare. I thought Fitz ran the ball hard. I thought he got more north and south. Jump starting? I hope. But at the same time, I think there were two runs I didn’t really like, but other than that, I thought he really started getting vertical.”

Is it fair to say he needed a jump start?

“Eh, I don’t know. You gotta explain jump start. Is that when your battery dies and you -- ”

Yeah.

“Well we didn’t do that with him. But I just think, and I said this before -- it’s not always the back. There’s 10 other guys other there. If Denard doesn’t carry out fakes very well, then that’s not going to be effective. And I just saw that as a piece of coaching and how you put an offense together.”

You always preach relentless effort. Can you talk about Jake Ryan missing the quarterback, hitting the ground, and then coming back to force the fumble?

“You know, Greg and the defensive staff do a tremendous job when you talk about effort and the toughness that you need to play football at Michigan with, and defense at Michigan with. And the pride that, number one, the self-pride that Jake has and how this is a football player. It’s more of a Michigan pride than team pride and a defensive pride -- that’s not why he got off the ground and forced a fumble, but that’s part of who he is and who we want to represent.”

Dear Diary in Masterpiece Theater

Dear Diary in Masterpiece Theater

Submitted by Seth on September 21st, 2012 at 8:27 AM

ndimagesTOPPER

It's strange that Notre Dame is considering giving this up for more Syracuse and stuff. In the relatively short time since bringing this thing back, it accounts for some of the greatest moments of the season's first quarter. It's Remy Hamilton, and Desmond laying out for a 4th down dagger, and time running out at the 11, and Denard going DENNIS BERGKAMP! (compare to Wheatley with a crease), and several more increasingly preposterous ways to beat them by 4. Even when it's terrible, it's crazy-ass yakety-sax in a freshman quarterback terrible. And oh, TD Jesus knows this rivalry has seen its freshman quarterbacks, from Henne, to the stork-off of 2007, to The Jedi of Moxie, and now the Golson Show. So whether you're making the drive to South Bend or the walk to your living room, start off with a stroll through inthebluelot et al.'s special gallery of Great Images from the Battle of the Winningests. Bonus 2012 exhibit: first blood Michigan.

Since we're leading with Best of the Board, here's the rest of that:

WORST QB PERFORMANCE OF ALL TIME?

3kHMrPSU 1003 JRH

The first two episodes of that famous M-ND saxophonic trilogy were submitted along with Bauserman, Buffalo's Alex Zordich last week (4-22 with 2 INTs), and "any game where Lovie Smith said 'Rex is our quarterback.'" #loldabears. Then came the Mathlete:

Pulled the old database up and Brian Luke from Kansas gets the worst showing at -28 in a 2005 game against Oklahoma. 11/30 86 yards, 3 INT and -40 yards rushing

Henne's 11/34 against Ohio in 2007 is Michigan's worst showing (-20), although if you adjust for defense, Nick Sheridan's 2008 against NW (-15) takes the cake.

Juice Williams narrowly edges out Henne for worst B1G game, with a -20 in 2008 against Penn St

If my fist had ever stopped shaking at 2007 it would start shaking again. The opposite side of this coin is the Charles Woodson vs. All Time Best NFL DBs thread.

ETC. Mgrowold (who's spending time in the pony box for illegal use of avatar), apparently has the right tailgate spot, since both Hoke and now Mattison have stopped by it. Adidas, which is supposed to be a friggin' soccer company, manages to totally biff the soccer uniforms. Ultimate UFR experience: offense, defense.

The diaries, after THE JUMP

UMass Recap: Pleasantly Routine

UMass Recap: Pleasantly Routine

Submitted by Ace on September 15th, 2012 at 7:43 PM


Dave Reginek/Getty Images

A half-empty student section, a press box full of beat writers already finishing their game columns, a field littered with walk-ons and freshmen; with eight minutes remaining in the final stanza, Michigan Stadium exhibited all the telltale signs of a blowout. A one-yard touchdown run by Justice Hayes had just given the Wolverines a 63-13 lead, one that stood as the final margin.

After the last two weeks, this was a welcome sight indeed.

Denard Robinson overcame an ugly pick-six to complete 16-of-24 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns, adding another 105 yards and a touchdown on the ground to lead the way offensively. Robinson spread the ball around to nine different receivers, led by Drew Dileo's 91 yards on three receptions. The stars from last week, Devins Funchess and Gardner, each recorded a touchdown reception—Gardner's on a stellar effort to tightrope the sideline and dive for the pylon—and the enigmatic Roy Roundtree found paydirt for the first time this season.

It was a rebound performance for Fitzgerald Toussaint, as well, as he gained 85 yards on 15 carries, showing off the agility in tight quarters that made him so effective last season; after finding little room to operate against Air Force, Toussaint reached the edge on his 11-yard touchdown in the first quarter with help from an A.J. Williams block. Vincent Smith added a pair of touchdowns from inside the ten, Thomas Rawls doled out more punishment than he took, Justice Hayes recorded his first career score, and Dennis Norfleet made his offensive debut with a 15-yard jet sweep that surely made Brian one very happy blogger.

Michigan fans were even treated to a Fat Guy Touchdown, courtesy of a Taylor Lewan recovery after Denard fumbled into the end zone. Lewan, for his part, appeared more concerned about his quarterback's error than excited for his own fortune, sheepishly pointing his palms towards the sky when the officials belatedly signaled touchdown.

The defense limited UMass to 259 yards of total offense, though there was still reason for concern. The Minutemen doubled their offensive scoring output from their first two games—six points—and strung together three first downs in a drive for the first time this year. This should not cause PANIC, of course—six points, fergodsakes—but there are still issues to be resolved, especially on the interior of the D-line.

UMass got paid. Michigan got a chance to breathe easy and give their backups plenty of run. Now the team can look ahead to Saturday night's matchup with Notre Dame; for today, they can feel content about handling business as expected. With the baby seal emphatically clubbed, it's time to move on to the real season, not unscathed but with the ultimate goal—a Big Ten championship—still within reach.

Preview 2012: Backs Of All Varieties

Preview 2012: Backs Of All Varieties

Submitted by Brian on August 27th, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Previously: Podcast 4.0, the story, quarterback.

Rating: 4.5 of 5.

TAILBACK Yr. FULLBACK Yr. QUARKBACK YR.
Fitzgerald Toussaint Jr.* Stephen Hopkins Jr. Vincent Smith Sr.
Thomas Rawls So. Sione Houma Fr. Justice Hayes Fr.*
Drake Johnson Fr. Joe Kerridge Fr.* Dennis Norfleet Fr.
 
But for a DUI arrest charged to a friendly but still naughty Fitzgerald Toussaint, this would be the position with the fewest question marks on the offense (Denard Q: INTs). Michigan has its breakout starter back plus returning starters at fullback and third-down/space/quarkback. But, yeah, DUI. He's not likely to play against Alabama—Hoke is engaging in gamesmanship—but Toussaint is going to ascend back to the top of the depth chart immediately afterwards.
Still, the legal issue has opened a door for Thomas Rawls, who is Mike Hart but fast, Mark Ingram but better, and Obama except more likely to be elected president in 2008. He'll either start delivering on that promise this year or be filed under the Grady/Underwood wing of tailbacks who seem like a good idea but cannot change directions ever.
A more interesting Q may be what Michigan does with their non-tailbacks. Stephen Hopkins can run a little; incoming freshman Sione Houma is more tailback than fullback, and they've got a full complement of little space bastards. Can they use all these guys effectively? Will they try?

The Starter

fitz%2Btoussaint[1]

FITZ TOUSSAINT

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET THIS MAN A SLIPPERY JERSEY
dragged down
MAKES YOU MISS
jukes three Gophers
cuts all the way back
wut lol
stop and go six
ONE CUT AND GO
good cut
stretch slash
lol Zook
finds a gap on power
backside slash
EDGE SPEED
simply outruns Purdue
hits the edge vs UNL
zoom
NOT SMITH AS A BLOCKER
crappy cut block
find a man, man
WILL MISS A CUT OR TWO
wrong side of Schofield

Fitzgerald Toussaint spent his first couple years at Michigan as china in a bull shop, laid up with various injuries that prevented his considerable talent from seeing the field. This did not prevent Fred Jackson from calling him both "Mike Hart but fast" and "Chris Perry but fast." God bless Fred Jackson.

In 2011 his bones and joints mended as Thomas Rawls's failed him at an inopportune time and Toussaint was thrown into a three-way battle with Vincent Smith and Mike Shaw for the starting job, one that last year's edition of this post hoped (and predicted) he would win:

Toussaint seems to have that jittery short-range quickness that allows little guys to survive, even thrive, as they pick their way through the chaos.

I'm hoping he emerges as the guy. …  Anything from Mike Hart (except crappy :( ) to Mike Hart (except fast!) is possible.

Bumps and bruises continued to dog him (he missed the ND game and his inexplicable two carries against MSU almost has to be injury related) but Toussaint actually delivered on Jackson's hyperbole.

He kind of is Mike Hart, but fast:

"full on Hart déjà vu," I said

Juking in a phone booth was Hart's specialty. Toussaint has that and sprinter's speed. As a bonus, he didn't fumble in 187 carries last year. He only lacks Hart's pile-pushing doggedness.

After the inexplicable MSU game, he blew up. His first 20-carry game was the next week against Purdue; he smoked five different Boilers on his signature run of 2011…

…and ended up with 170 yards. The offense imploded the next week and took Toussaint with it, but after that he laid waste: 192 yards against Illinois, 138 against Nebraska, and 120 against Ohio State. (Then the offense imploded again.)

At season's end Toussaint had become Michigan's first 1,000 yard back since Hart and at 5.8 YPC its most efficient since Tim Biakabutuka was going ham on Ohio State in 1995. When he wasn't going off during his second half surge, it was because the walls were coming down around him and there was nowhere to go.

He is legit. He runs between the tackles, finding a crack and jetting straight upfield when it's there. He is a decisive cutter with good vision. When it's not there he can stutter-step and bounce outside. Once in the secondary his change of direction often leaves safeties flapping in his wake. If there's a downside it's a spotty blocking record and not much activity in the passing game (just six catches a year ago), but those are things that Michigan can fix as time goes by.

Toussaint would enter 2012 with a rock-solid lock on the job but for that offseason DUI, which should see him miss the Alabama game. (That assumption may be dubious given the depth chart, but I'm still guessing he gets the standard one game DUI suspension.) That gives Thomas Rawls a crack at the job, and the two subsequent games should be comfortable enough that Toussaint will get eased back into the lineup. By the time ND rolls around, he should resume his place as the feature back.

Toussaint's raw numbers won't reach Hart levels because of the suspension, the guy next to him in the backfield, and the potential emergence of Rawls, but a replica of last season beckons, plus 40 or 50 carries. He'll be All Big Ten caliber even if he doesn't get on the list.

[hit THE JUMP for the rest of the cast of characters.]

Spring Game Primer: Offense

Spring Game Primer: Offense

Submitted by Ace on April 12th, 2012 at 12:32 PM


Sophomore Thomas Rawls is making a push for more carries this fall.

This Saturday marks the Spring Game, when we all watch a glorified scrimmage and make snap judgments like "Mark Moundros is going to start at middle linebacker," and "Tate Forcier has the Heisman in his future." (Okay, I admit, I said both of those things, but luckily the evidence has been wiped from the internet.) Nevertheless, it's the only semi-competitive football we'll see until the fall, providing us our lone peek into the progress of the team and the various position battles.

Here's what I'll be hoping to see from the offense on Saturday:

Mediocrity. I know, right? This is actually more of a defensive point, but I want to put this here: in the spring, the defense should be ahead of the offense in terms of installing their schemes and playing cohesively. It's no coincidence that we saw the offense absolutely wreck the defense in the 2009 and 2010 games, then look downright ugly at times in last year's edition. I don't need to tell you how those respective seasons turned out. After just two weeks of practice, the offensive line won't have gelled like they will in the fall, the timing between quarterback and receiver is often a little off, and the playbook is still very much in the installation phase. This plea may fall on deaf ears, but don't freak out if the offense isn't marching up and down the field; in fact, feel free to be a bit encouraged.

Gardner Gardner Gardner. All eyes will be on Devin Gardner, though the odds of the coaches trotting him out at receiver for a nationally-televised scrimmage are somewhere between zero and zero. He will be playing quarterback, however, and it's time to see a big step forward from him in the passing game. Practice accounts have been positive in that regard and it sounds like he's the clear-cut #2 QB ahead of Russell Bellomy, though we'll see how big of a gap there is between those two. If Bellomy looks like a passable second-stringer, you can keep hope alive for some Denard-to-Devin connections in the fall. If not, the coaches may find it too risky to split Gardner out wide.

Bowling Ball Rawls. I was pretty high on Thomas Rawls when he came out of high school, and after a freshman year spent mostly on the bench, he's impressed practice observers with his power as a running back and is making a strong push for the backup job. Vincent Smith will inevitably see snaps on third down, but there's still room for a back to spell Fitzgerald Toussaint on occasion and provide a different look in the backfield. Though Rawls won't make many people miss, he can knock them over, and if he shows that against the first team defense we can start thinking of him as a change-of-pace/short-yardage back. Redshirt freshman Justice Hayes has also drawn praise in the spring, though he'll have to prove he's either a more effective runner than Rawls or a more explosive receiving option than Smith to carve out a role; neither is out of the question given his athleticism.

Number One Target? The general assumption is that Roy Roundtree will be the top receiver this year, but I'm not sold on that. His production dropped dramatically last season as he played more on the outside and was no longer the beneficiary of numerous QB OH NOES as a RichRod slot receiver. Jeremy Gallon flashed a lot of talent last season, and I think he'll be a very capable second option, but he's 5'8". Hope may come in the form of redshirt sophomore Jerald Robinson, who's been lauded as a potential go-to guy this spring despite never recording a collegiate catch. This may be your standard Johnny Sears-type spring hype, but let's withhold judgment until we see him on the field. If nobody looks like a solid #1 option, there's going to be a lot of pressure on Amara Darboh come fall.

My Kingdom for a Tight End. This is the scariest position group on the roster, and that's taking into account the fact that the offensive line has almost no depth. Redshirt senior Brandon Moore is the starter by default; he's had issues with drops in the past, so hope he holds onto the ball if it comes his way. Converted wideout Ricardo Miller will get time as an H-back (the "U" tight end in this offense), and he must prove he can hold up as a blocker if he wants to see much time. Behind them are redshirt senior walk-on Mike Kwiatkowski and converted DE Jordan Paskorz. If this unit isn't a total liability, I'll take it, especially with A.J. Williams and Devin Funchess providing reinforcements in the fall. If they are, Al Borges is going to have to get very creative with his schemes.

O-line Depth: Do We Have Any? The first-team offensive line should be just fine, with projected left guard starter Elliott Mealer the only unknown quantity. Mealer is a redshirt senior who's currently beating out a highly-touted (and massive) redshirt freshman in Chris Bryant, so I'm not too concerned about his ability to fit in. Ricky Barnum has reportedly adjusted well to his new role as starting center; again, I'm optimistic about the first team's ability. PANIC! will set in, however, if a starting lineman goes down, especially a tackle. The second-team line this spring features three(!) walk-ons, and while redshirt sophomore guard Joey Burzynski has impressed practice observers, color me skeptical of any 6'1", 284-pound walk-on being anything but a frightening liability in a game situation. The backup tackles are all walk-ons, at least until Kyle Kalis hits campus for the fall, so expect Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield to be encased in bubble wrap until September.

Kickers. Make your field goals, please and thank you. That is all.

Let's Overreact To: Spring Scrimmage #3

Let's Overreact To: Spring Scrimmage #3

Submitted by Brian on April 10th, 2012 at 2:38 PM

You know the drill. Video via MGoVideo. Had to repackage the sound because the RAWK music got matched on Youtube.

Play 1: Fitz bursts off right tackle and picks up 8-10 before Raymon Taylor grabs him. Fitz then pushes Taylor five or so yards before the cavalry rallies. No idea what happened on the line but you can see Hopkins get a nice sealing block as Fitz hits the hole.

Raymon Taylor should probably not tackle high if a guy as slight as Fitz is going to bull him back.

Play 2: Inside zone (probably) to Justice Hayes is eaten up by Antonio Poole (#40) and an active Will Campbell. Looks like Poole was unblocked for whatever reason.

Play 3: Inside zone to Fitz. Blitzing Morgan is kicked past the play by Barnum; Fitz takes a stutter step to let that get past him and then flows up behind Barnum. Roh comes in from the right side of the frame to tackle near the LOS. Looks like a stunt blitz specifically designed to get this to happen. Mattison cackles in his laboratory.

Play 4: Joined in progress. Denard WOOPs around the backfield and slings a dart to… I think it's Miller but can't quite make out the number. Moore would be a bigger guy, though.

Play 5: Inside zone run with H-back (Miller) flaring weakside that we've seen for years now. Roh(+1) drives his man—probably Schofield—way down the line and Fitz decides to cut behind that mess. Bolden(+1) is there to clean up on the cutback at the LOS with help from Ryan. Miller's block on Ryan… eh… not so good.

Play 6: Play action from a zone read look; Roh smokes Omameh and gets pressure up the middle. Ryan and Bolden are coming free as well, so Denard can't do much except go down. Washington is in on this play.

Play 7: Gardner makes a read, doesn't like it, and takes off. Kaleb Ringer can't quite get off a block fast enough to bring Gardner down. Then Gardner jukes Mike Jones to the outside and picks up 15-20. Marvin Robinson runs him out.

Play 8: Rawls gets a belly handoff from Gardner and goes straight north and south, cutting to the backside of the line and running through an ankle tackle from Campbell and an arm tackle from Cam Gordon without slowing at all. Marvin Robinson fills pretty well. Best clip of Rawls we've seen. If he can shrug tackles off like that he's got a role.

Play 9: Rawls gets an iso from the I. He has to cut away from his lead blocker—something that has been very frequent when these clips show isos—and gets chopped down by Campbell.

Play 10: Zone read PA into a slant to Gallon; Countess is in Woodsonesque coverage and breaks it up. Cover +2.

Play 11: Inside zone to Fitz, who roars through a crease into the endzone from about 40. Someone blew that gap. No idea who without a wider view.

image

This does not end well for Jordan Paskorz

Play 12: Gardner hits Paskorz on a rollout; Paskorz double-catches the ball and gets crushed by Robinson.

Play 13: Gardner hits Jackson on a deep comeback in front of... I don't know. Lots of time to survey; this was his second read.

Play 14: Vincent Smith finds an inside zone gap and takes it into the endzone. The nose got crushed and allowed an easy combo block on Bolden, but I don't think it was Campbell since the guy looks white. Thomas Gordon could have done a better job filling near the LOS to hold it down.

Play 15: Russell Bellomy flings an out to Mike Kwiatkowski. Ball takes a long time to get there. Kwiatkowski then jukes Al Backey, which will no doubt be used to razz Backey forever and ever in film session.

Play 16: Denard hands off to Rawls on an under center stretch(?). Odd. Rawls finds a crease as Barnum, who's flowed well down the line, latches on to and eliminates Bolden. Gyarmati gets enough of a block on Morgan to get Rawls the edge and a nice gain.

Play 17: Hopkins FB dive from under center. Good push by Jack Miller on Ash and Hopkins makes a few extra yards by breaking tackles.

Play 18: Denard lofts a screen to Smith, who gets 8 or 10 before Jarrod Wilson comes in to tackle.

Play 19: Gardner waggle finds Joe Kerridge wide open for a touchdown.

Play 20: Short yardage Vincent Smith iso is… a touchdown? I don't want to talk about this. Bolden got rocked by Gyarmati, probably because he didn't read the play quick enough. That contact is not happening near the LOS and that's all she wrote.

Play 21: What looks like it might be an inverted veer by Bellomy ends abruptly when Cam Gordon roars in to sack.

Play 22: Smith iso w/ Bellomy in is swallowed by Campbell and Ash. Second team OL kind of got owned there.

Play 23: Denard surveys, comes off a first read, and zings it to Dileo for a touchdown in front of Avery. 10-15 yard slant.

Play 24: Rawls iso. Burzynski gets a good block on Morgan and Unidentified FB deals with Probably Bolden, no linebacker level. Kovacs is hovering around the LOS and makes contact to slow Rawls; Thomas Gordon finishes the play with a solid thump. Five or six.

Play 25: Kennedy hands off to Justice Hayes on a power with Mealer pulling. Hayes manages to dash through a small hole, run through an ankle tackle from Probably Safety, keep his feet, juke Wilson, and carry a pursuing Brandin Hawthorne into the endzone. Impressive.

Play 26: Wrinkle. Michigan runs the zone with pulling H-back thing; Denard pulls, probably on a called play. Miller hits a hole backside instead of flaring out and the net effect is a QB iso that looks like a zone read keeper. Miller blocks an unprepared Bolden and Denard glides into the endzone.

--------------------------

Takeaways? Barnum can move. In each one of these Michigan picks up a big gain because Barnum shows excellent agility and an ability to seal a guy on the move. Here it's a stretch play; other times it was a pull. I think we're going to be just fine at center.

Fitz is Fitz; in this one Hayes and Rawls showed a bit more than they have in previous editions of these tapes. The Rawls run right north-south was Minor-esque. The featured Hayes run was Fitz-esque.

Also both quarterbacks will be 100% accurate this year and there will be no turnovers.

Elsewhere: takes from Maize and Blue Nation.

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-29-12: Brady Hoke

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-29-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on March 29th, 2012 at 3:35 PM

News bullets and other important things:

  • The team will have practice today, tomorrow, and Saturday mainly to show off for the high school coaching clinic and to work on fundamentals. 
  • Chris Bryant is practicing primarily at right guard.
  • Hoke seems high on Joey Burzynski. He's been mentioned several times throughout the spring now. 
  • Hopkins has put on some bad weight, but Hoke thinks he's done a nice job regardless. Thomas Rawls is also taking some snaps at fullback.
  • Justice Hayes was mentioned as a pleasant personnel surprise so far this spring.
  • Cam Gordon seems to be pushing Jake Ryan at SAM linebacker.

Brady Hoke

from file

Opening remarks:

“This will be our seventh practice, which is -- you start finding out a little more about your team. Anytime you can get in pads is a plus, so we’ll find out a little more as we go through it. It’s kind of a busy weekend because our coaches’ clinic will have over 500 coaches here sharing ideas, talking football, some tremendous guys who have been very successful at the high school level. That’s good, but it’ll be busy. It’ll be good. We’ll get a lot done from our perspective. Practicing Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will help us a little bit, the consistency we need to play with. I like the energy. I like the energy of how we’ve come in a meeting atmosphere and out there on the field.”

Are you feeling better about your defensive line?

“I feel better because I think each one of those guys is improving. Probably not at the rate that we’ll ever be satisfied because of the expectations, but I think Will has really matured, which is a big part of it. [He] understands the expectations of how we expect him to play. Jibreel inside and Craig at the strongside end or the 5-technique is a plus. The competition with Beyer and Clark. Competition with Jake Ryan and uh, daggone it -- Cam Gordon. All those things are real positive. You look at a guy like Richard Ash. He’s getting a little better every day. As coaches you want him to get better faster. Him and Quinton Washington and Kenny Wilkins are doing some better things. We’re not where we need to be. Glad it’s not September 1st, but I think they’re really motivated to try and play the position the way we’d like for them to play it.”

What has Elliott Mealer done that you like, and is Chris Bryant being looked at for either guard position?

“When you look at Elliott, I think his confidence level is better, and that’s a big part of it. I think guys feeling confident and guys being in the system obviously helps. I think Chris has mainly taken snaps at right guard, but that doesn’t mean we can’t flip flop him. For a young guys, you’d like to keep him on the same side, the same stance. I think Joey Burzynski is a guy who’s made some real movement in how he comes out every day either at center or guard. I think we’ve got a pretty good group of guys competing.”

(more after the jump)