Spring Football Bits Has Been Herbertized

Spring Football Bits Has Been Herbertized

Submitted by Seth on April 6th, 2018 at 1:25 PM

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true center. [Patrick Barron]

Congratulations everybody on breathing through two Final Fours. Meanwhile the football guys are doing football-like things while we wait for scraps to fashion into hope dolls for next season.

We should, then, step back for a moment here and try to enforce some kind of context. Spring football is an oasis of football practice with not the full team, months before the season, and mostly filtered down from coaches to media. Whatever the depth chart is by the end of it won’t be the depth chart in fall. Our feeble efforts to discern things about the team next September are hampered by a general lack of information and the coaches’ preference to keep everybody motivated. Like Harbaugh talked for several minutes on his Attack Each Day podcast this week on the offensive line and managed to name every single guy on it.

Anyway most of this is going to be about quarterback and the offensive line because that’s what we worry about the most and what we got the most about.

Quarterback

What we want to hear: No matter what, things won’t be as bad as last year.

What we’re hearing: Quarterback play should be improved if only because the floor right now is Brandon Peters plus an offseason of maturity. From several reports, regression is not a thing to worry about but challengers are. Depending on your source, McCaffrey is either neck and neck with Peters or slightly ahead. Having watched the Amazon special I think we can interpret that as competition will go into fall and neither young candidate should be counted out. It would be highly stupid to make a prediction right now.

Also Shea has really good ball placement.

What it means: Shea does appear to be the leader even though somebody seems to have shut off the hype valve. We’re going to have to wait until the NCAA committee on whatever reviews the case because Ole Miss is fighting it. My understanding of the Traitorous Losers (nice mascot)’s case is they told all these players there wouldn’t be significant sanctions because they honestly believed they had done nothing wrong because they had done nothing wrong. That defense would be facially ridiculous except hi, this the NCAA, have we met? An encouraging sign is that the NCAA has asked for more information:

Attorney Thomas Mars, who represents Patterson and several other erstwhile Ole Miss players, said the NCAA's request for more information is not uncommon and that he expects Patterson and Michigan will be able to respond in the next few days. Mars said there's no specific timetable for when they expect a final answer, but it's clear "the NCAA isn't dragging their feet on the waiver request and won't take any more time than is necessary."

"I'm encouraged by this particular request," Mars said. "From my perspective, the questions Shea's case manager asked are the right ones to be asking."

My completely unscientific guess is 69.314159% Patterson is cleared this year, and 51.3341% Michigan is fine at quarterback regardless.

[After THE JUMP: a lot to unpack about the offensive line, and who the coaches think is their best player on defense will surprise you and not surprise you]

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Wisconsin

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Brian on November 23rd, 2017 at 10:09 AM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. We're having a charity tailgate before the OSU game. Details:

MGoBlog and HomeSure Lending are having a tailgate before The Game at The North End Zone tailgate space, 1011 S. Main Street (map) from 9 a.m. to a little before noon, with food from Scratch Barbecue and beer donated from Wolverine State Brewing, and proceeds going to the T. Wall Foundation.

  • Tickets (food & beer included): $12 if you buy them ahead of time on EventBritegets you in, gets you a wrist band for the food.
  • Tickets (just beer at the door): $10 suggested donation just to come hang out on your way to the game.
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Scratch provided the BBQ at the season-opening event, if you were there. It's good.

FORMATION NOTES. THERE WERE DEFINITELY SOME FORMATIONS, BACK TO YOU JOHN.

vlcsnap-2017-11-21-19h17m13s422

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Same QB and OL as the previous few games until Peters was knocked out. Onwenu did get a couple snaps as a RG in a jumbo formation, with Ruiz popping out to a TE-ish spot. Still mostly Gentry/McKeon at TE, with a number of 3 TE formations that also had Bunting. DPJ the main WR, with Perry, Crawford, and McDoom filling out the snaps.

Evans, Higdon, and Walker at RB, with an Isaac cameo on which he got hurt again.

[After THE JUMP: meh]

Wednesday Presser 11-15-17: Tim Drevno

Wednesday Presser 11-15-17: Tim Drevno

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 16th, 2017 at 8:01 AM

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[Fuller]

Jim said this morning that Cesar [Ruiz] and Mike [Onwenu] might play together. How would that work?

“Well, you know Mike is working through some things, his back… gosh, there’s three more days of practice left so we’ll kind of see how it all shakes down and like every day, we’ll roll the balls out and see who the best guys are and the best guy for us to win. Could both share time. We’ll just see as we go. Still too early to tell.”

Even if Mike’s healthy, do you feel like Cesar’s one of your best five right now?

“Cesar does a nice job. His athleticism, his initial quickness, the way he can recover on a block. I mean, both of them bring great things to the party, but to say he’s one of the best five right now, that’s just a little too early to tell just because of where we are. He’s played two games. Did a nice job in there. There’s things that all of them need to work on, just as Cesar needs to work on some things, but he’s doing a good job.”

Enough to make you think about it, though?

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, you think about it. Every day you’re thinking about, hey, how can I change this lineup, how can I make it better? Every day is a day in here is—you want to make sure you’re working, that you’re unsettled. You don’t want to become content. Content becomes laziness, and that’s not a good thing, is it?”

Why are you looking at me?

“I’m not. My wife sometimes says that: ‘This isn’t the Marriott, pick up your stuff around here.’”

[After THE JUMP: scouting Wisconsin’s defense, why Drevno went back to coaching from the field, where Ruiz and Bredeson won’t play, and more evidence Drevno should always listen to his wife]

Wednesday Presser 11-8-17: Greg Frey

Wednesday Presser 11-8-17: Greg Frey

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 9th, 2017 at 6:58 AM

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[Chris Cook]

“How’s everybody doing?”

Good. How are you?

“Getting cold.”

What have you seen from some of the younger guys at tackle, Stueber, some of those guys?

“They’re doing really well. That transition of coming from high school to college is going really good. You’re seeing them move around do things more natural now than six weeks ago, seven weeks ago, so really excited about the young group. There’s a good group and it’s going to be fun to watch them continue to grow and compete and prepare and the whole nine yards.”

Is that typically a pretty big transition coming from high school to college as an offensive lineman?

“Oh yeah, absolutely.”

What’s been the difference for Juwann [Bushell-Beatty]? He started out no. 2, now he’s in there moving people.

“Juwann’s—he’s really maturing in just his outlook and how he goes and it’s been really fun to watch and interesting to see, like you said, overcome some adversity early on and continue to battle and continue to press. Certainly not where we want him to be or where he feels he can be but I think he’s on that road and it’s been really fun to watch.”

He’s been moving people. Is the pass pro part still where you’re really—

“Yeah, it’s always because every defense presents different challenges, and so as a group and watching these guys, they’re attacking those challenges. Still making some mistakes. There’s still some things we’ve got to get where maybe a guy gets anxious or something happens where we’ve got to calm him down a little bit but he’s solidly moving forward to become what we think he can become.”

[After THE JUMP: how Frey approaches TEs, updates on Hudson, Newsome the player/coach, and a Maryland scouting report of sorts]

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Rutgers

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2017 at 5:27 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. Man, it feels good to get something out of the way, like a Rutgers linebacker, or a Rutgers defensive end, or a Rutgers defensive back, or that mortgage refi you've been thinking about. HomeSure Lending can get that out of the way for you, and then it's smooth sailing until the endzone, or at least a safety.

FORMATION NOTES. Hello, manball. Michigan's approach in this game was downright neolithic, featuring 32 snaps with one or zero WRs. Feel the Harbaugh goodness as Michigan goes with a goal line set on first and ten on their own 34 (the "WR" is Gentry and he will motion to a TE spot presnap):

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Michigan did suffer to allow two wide receivers on the field 22 times; three WRs managed to get out there on 14 snaps.

Note that Michigan's formations were slightly less neolithic than the personnel: Michigan was happy to spread their TEs out as WRs for a half-dozen or so 2 WR snaps.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. OL was the usual until Onwenu got dinged late. Runyan got 7-8 plays in his place. Peters replaced O'Korn about halfway through the second. TE was the usual: mostly Gentry and McKeon with Wheatley emerging into a more prominent role but still third; Bunting snaps were scanty. Michigan did use a version of Spanellis wearing 97 as a bonus OL on a number of snaps.

WR was mostly nobody, but when it wasn't nobody it was Schoenle or DPJ on one-WR plays. Perry was always in when there were multiple WRs. Collins got a little run and a catch. Crawford was out after being spotted in a boot this week.

RB was a Higdon-Isaac-Evans-Walker production, in order of declining carries. Samuels burned his redshirt for good in the last few plays. I try to not get peeved about RB redshirts.

[After THE JUMP: hundreds of pounds of ground cable subscriber]

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs PSU

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs PSU

Submitted by Brian on October 26th, 2017 at 5:20 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. You know who'd never give you a mattress when you were expecting a mortgage quote? HomeSure Lending. They leave that stuff for the bloggers and their ilk, writing a whole piece about a mattress that people no doubt expect will pivot to football as so many pieces do but it never does because of obvious reasons.

No, at HomeSure Lending they just get your information and get you a mortgage, quickly and inexpensively. Because they're responsible citizens. Not bloggers.

FORMATION NOTES. Michigan was mainly big sets early, except when forced into passing downs. That pattern changed a bit as the game went on and Michigan put more WRs on the field, more in an effort to see if something else worked. Answer: not really.

Penn State, meanwhile, put their safeties in Michigan's face the whole game, except for passing downs.

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Michigan will have to get used to this unless they discover a passing game.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. QB, OL, RB, and TE were about as they've been. Gentry and McKeon get the large bulk of the TE snaps. Higdon is the main RB with Evans and Isaac getting run behind him. WR saw Schoenle return and the debut of Nico Collins, who played a half dozen snaps, none of which he had a target on. Crawford, DPJ, and Perry remained the main targets.

[After THE JUMP: one guy]

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Players

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 24th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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[Upchurch]

Grant Perry

Route-running wise, have you seen, do you anticipate, I know that’s been kind of a topic of discussion with the offense, drops, that sort of thing. Can you evaluate that?

“Every game you can evaluate a lot of things, whether it’s drops or wrong routes or route-running in general. We’re going to evaluate that today when we go over the film with coaches and get some feedback.”

To us maybe it seems like an easy fix [re: route-running]. Is that an easy fix?

“Route-running? Yeah, there can be fixes to it, whether its’ the timing with the quarterback or knowing zone versus man, which affects the route. Just little things that can be picked up on.”

Mood of the team coming out of that one more angry? More determined? How would you gauge it?

“Yeah, we were definitely disappointed we lost but if we all stayed disappointed it wouldn’t be good for this week, so we all agreed that we’re going to move on and take our frustrations out on Rutgers.”

What have you noticed out of Donovan through seven weeks of the season as far as getting acclimated, learning, and picking up on things?

“Donovan, he’s definitely maturing a lot. He’s doing really well in practice. He’s picking up on things that I wasn’t even picking up freshman year. He’s understanding the game like a veteran, and that’s going to come a long way throughout his career.”

Can you detail maybe sitting down and having a conversation or what are the Xs and Os like when you’re talking in practice?

“It’s just little things, whether it’s different routes, how to run this route, how to see this coverage, how to see this safety rolling. He’s seeing the whole field really well. Everyone knows that he was having trouble on punt return muffing balls and all that and he hasn’t muffed a ball since, so it just shows how mature and how comfortable he really is.”

[After THE JUMP: Isaac, Bushell-Beatty, and Poggi]

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 23rd, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Upchurch]

“Hello. Got any questions?”
Can you talk about Lavert Hill and his first half of the season, how he’s come along in his confidence and getting better?

“Uh, yeah, he’s been very good. We see where he’s addressed his inappropriate gesture and discussed it and feels bad about it. Positive it won’t happen again. On the field, he’s been very good.”

Can you assess John O’Korn’s play Saturday and if I could piggyback, where is Brandon Peters right now with getting backup snaps since Wilton’s injury?

“Yeah, Brandon’s getting backup snaps.”

How has he progressed? Have you seen a lot of improvement out of him since he started getting more snaps?

“Yeah, he’s readying himself to play. He’s one play away right now and every day readying himself to be out there playing.”

And O’Korn Saturday, his play?

“Yeah. Won’t go into everything, but managed the game very well. Got us—everything communicated. Ran the offense very well. There was some duress and some plays that we could have made, et cetera. Go back and look at it, that’s what we’re in the process of doing. He’s—yeah, some good—kind of the theme for our offense—and there’s some things we missed, some opportunities out there, as well.”

You mentioned Brandon’s one play away. Do you want to try and get him some snaps in? He hasn’t gotten snaps really. Are you guys trying to make an effort to get him in or is that not really a priority at this point?

“Just go along the process of readying him to play. Backup quarterback always needs to be ready to play.”

[After THE JUMP: the message from here on and why a cliché is a cliché]

Wednesday Presser 10-18-17: Tim Drevno

Wednesday Presser 10-18-17: Tim Drevno

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 18th, 2017 at 6:15 PM

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[Fuller]

How much improvement did you see from your guys up front in that Indiana game?

“I saw a lot of improvement. It was good. We still need to play better offensively and the guys up front, but when you rush for 271 yards there’s a lot of positivity. Guys are moving guys off the ball and protection was better, so it was a step forward as we prepare against Penn State this week.”

How much improvement have you seen out of Mike Onwenu?

“A lot, a lot of improvement. You can see that he’s moving his feet, he’s understanding it, he’s finishing. He could finish a little bit better, like all of them can, everybody on the offense. But you can see it. Light bulb’s going on, which is neat. He’s playing good football—really good football.”

How did Juwann Bushell-Beatty do in his first full contest?

“Juwann did a nice job. He competed well. There’s some thing we’ve got to clean up but he did a nice job for his first start here. He had a false start there at one point in time in the game but for the most part his protection was good. We’ve just got to clean up some of the run blocking things, but it was real positive.”

[After THE JUMP: Tim Drevno, an American Legion baseball field, a water pump, and a metaphor for the offense]

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Indiana

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Indiana

Submitted by Brian on October 18th, 2017 at 4:36 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. I mean the unfortunate thing is that president of US soccer isn't even a paid position right now so a guy like Matt, who is very organized and on top of everything and is clearly a talented manager and would probably listen to me when I told him that he shouldn't hire a muppet to be the coach, couldn't swing it and his current day job at the same time. Because he's got to get you those mortgage quotes lickety-split, you see, and if he's trying to determine who's a soccer muppet and who is a human you will not get them with the speed he is accustomed to.

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FORMATION NOTES. It was a manball outing, with 31 one-or-zero WR snaps. There were 23 two-WR snaps and 15 three-WR snaps, many of those on obvious passing downs. When not forced into WRs Michigan had an extreme preference for tight ends and fullbacks.

IU kept their safeties increasingly close to the LOS as the day progressed for obvious reasons. They did one weird thing with this gap in the line:

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Their front was multiple, as they like to say, bouncing between even, under, over, and even some 3-4 stuff. They also had a few plays with a five-man line when they were trying to slow down Michigan's heavy sets. Here's Indiana in an under front with the FLAG OF DOOM waving:

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SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Thin rotation. O'Korn went the whole way at QB. OL was the new usual with Bushell-Beatty playing the whole way at RT. Hill and Poggi split FB snaps; no Mason. TE was mostly Gentry and McKeon, with a healthy number of Wheatley and Bunting snaps. Eubanks didn't play.

RB was mostly Higdon with Evans and Isaac making cameos; Walker got two snaps and one carry. WR was DPJ, Crawford, Perry, and some Ways. DPJ seemed to get more snaps this week.

[After THE JUMP: a unicorn!]