Unverified Voracity Has Explored Time Travel

Unverified Voracity Has Explored Time Travel Comment Count

Brian July 22nd, 2015 at 12:30 PM

Hello Kip. Harbaugh Twitter Summer continues unabated.

This fall Gedeon answers press conference questions by saying things are getting pretty serious and stating that he loves technology. Bank on it.

Finally. #M00N makes Erase This Game. The Funchess butt fumble is not even mentioned. That's how #M00N #M00N was.

M00N is a sad game, and some of that tragedy comes from the advantage of hindsight. Winning didn't save Michigan's season or Brady Hoke's job, as they followed this with a home finale loss to Maryland. Losing didn't inspire Northwestern to a turnaround; even though they beat Notre Dame a week later, the Wildcats missed bowl eligibility by losing to a depleted Illinois team in their last game. That's the bad news.

The good news is every astronaut gets astronaut ice cream. Let's check out today's flavors.

I have been eating Cookies 'N Ennui for a long time now.

Okay. Former TE/DE Keith Heitzman is at Ohio for his final year of eligibility. The Dispatch has an article that's trying to rake up some muck on a standard practice in college:

Keith Heitzman understood that big changes were in order after Jim Harbaugh was hired to replace Brady Hoke as Michigan football coach just hours before the New Year.

What staggered Heitzman was that he might have been one of those changes. Every player going into his fifth year of eligibility, he was told, would have to audition for his job during spring practices.

Heitzman, degree in hand, opted out. That's fine for him and fine for Michigan.

The worst thing you can pin on Harbaugh is a lack of tact. We will put this evidence of Harbaugh's lack of tact in the extradimensional bag of holding. There it can mingle with its fellows and not fill the universe stem to stern.

For perspective, over the years I've read plenty of articles that reference Notre Dame's policy in this department. They come at it from the other direction, wondering not who might be departing but who might be coming back:

The future for the remaining 14 seniors on the roster, all of whom are eligible for a fifth year, is less certain. … At the most, half of them will return. Notre Dame’s 2015 recruiting class sits at 21 verbal commitments, which, if all 21 sign letters of intent in February, will give the Irish 78 scholarship players of the 85 the NCAA allows.

All of ND's seniors walk on senior day, even if they have another year of eligibility. That's how much of a non-story this is.

"It happens," said the jaded boat owner. SCUFFLE KERFUFFLE ON THE WATER

The Border Battle played a role in getting two people arrested and locked up at the Ottawa County Jail.

A Michigan-Ohio State football argument on the Jet Express allegedly prompted a fight that resulted in assault charges.

Witnesses say the rivalry argument turned physical between two couples with a woman pulling another woman’s hair and the two men throwing punches at each other.

1. The "Jet Express" is so well known in Ottawa County that there is no explanation of what it is. There is a picture of a boat.

Jet Express1[1]

I assume it's the boat. Ottawa County readers are boggling at my ignorance right now. The Jet Express is Ottawa County.

2. This was undoubtedly issued with a grim sigh.

"It happens,” says Todd Blumensaadt, owner of the Jet Express. “They get very passionate about their teams."

You see a lot of things when you own a boat. Most of them are stupid.

3. This man is either named "Larry Money" or "Larry Mahoney"—the article is uncertain—and has a hot take.

"Sports are good, but when it reaches that point, obviously it's way overboard."

Good point, Larry Money Mahoney. OR SHOULD I CALL YOU ADAM MONEY JACOBI?

4. Ace grabbed a "Money" Mahoney screenshot:


"sparty fan"

Is he Carl Monday's brother? That's not generally how names work but we've already established that Gary Money Mahoney is not beholden to your "rules" about nomenclature, man.

5. This reporter may have had to scrounge up quotes for this dumb story, wondering the whole time how she was ever going to pay off her Princeton J-school student loans, but at least she's not working for Gawker.

6. I may have spent too much time on this.

1977 pep rally. Featuring Bo! He guarantees a win! They burn an OSU player in effigy! They wear 70s clothes! The reporter's jacket!

Michigan won 14-6. Harbaugh was probably at the pep rally and knew Bo had zero basis for getting mad at him when he issued his guarantee.

Surprise. That CSG survey they did in the middle of the general admission fiasco makes the WSJ because it appears to be the first serious attempt to figure out what the kids actually want at football games. A company has just confirmed that with a much larger survey that somehow surprises the author:

The most recent support for this surprising result comes from a new survey by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators and Oregon’s sports marketing center. It asked almost 24,000 students across the country to rank the factors that influenced their decision to attend games. By far the most important was a student’s interest in that sport. By far the least important was a stadium’s cellular reception or wireless capability.

The study is so counterintuitive that it seems like it must be an outlier—except that it is supported by similar polls in places where college football is massively popular.

At Michigan, when the student government asked undergraduates why they go to football games, what they found clashed with conventional wisdom: Michigan’s students simply didn’t care that much about mobile connectivity. In-game Wi-Fi wasn’t as essential as lower ticket prices or better seat locations. Among the seven possible improvements to the game-day experience, in fact, students ranked cell reception last.

I'm not sure where that notion came from, other than the sort of gentleman who talks about social engagement and uses hashtags# like coffee dad. And it's not like they even fixed mobile connectivity at Michigan despite thinking that was the most important thing they could do.

Gonna get paid. I don't think Jim Delany has much to do with it, but Lost Letterman points out that the Big Ten is likely to get paid when their contract—the last to get renegotiated for a long time—comes up:

Since launching FOX Sports 1 two summers ago, FOX has been waiting for its chance to put a huge monkey wrench in ESPN’s world dominance of sports. This is that chance.

The Big 10’s 10-year, $1 billion contract with ESPN and six-year, $72 million deal with CBS for select basketball games and six-year, $145 million pact for the Big 10 Championship Game all expire after the 2016-17 season and a new, gargantuan deal will be struck within the next 12 months.

The only two legitimate TV players for the conference’s Tier 1 football rights (best games) are Disney (ABC/ESPN) and FOX, as CBS already has the Tier 1 rights to the SEC and NBC is content airing Notre Dame home games.

The only thing we know for certain is that the Big 10 is about to get paid.

Delany will get the credit for being the camel herder who sat down on this particular patch of oil again, when literally anyone could sit in a room and watch FOX and ESPN go blow for blow. The Big Ten will use this money to hire more MAC coaches.

Best make your money now, though: ESPN is 20th(!) on the list of a la carte channels people would pay for. Barking Carnival has an excellent article on the coming cord cutting that touches on points I've made and continues with them.

Etc.: Michigan's schmancy new dorm. When I was in college the dorms were made out of mildew and we liked it. Predicting Michigan's win total with SCIENCE. Extremely early Utah preview from SBN's Ian Boyd. Someone has to make the tough decisions like "let's play a game in Dubai." Harbaugh antics.


Keith Heitzman Also Transferring

Keith Heitzman Also Transferring Comment Count

Brian January 30th, 2015 at 2:06 PM


[Eric Upchurch]

Also via his instagram. Like Bellomy and Hayes, Heitzman has a degree and fifth year to play elsewhere. He moved to tight end last year in an effort to get some blocking at that position but didn't play much; with the rest of the TE corps returning plus one or two recruits and Bunting coming off a redshirt he didn't figure to get more playing time this year.

Current scholarship count remains fuzzy since there are a number of walk-ons who may or may not have earned a full-time gig. Our current assumption is that both Glasgows are on scholarship but Joe Kerridge and Kenny Allen are first-in-line types who aren't figuring in Michigan's recruiting plans. If that's the case, Michigan currently stands at 15 slots.


One Frame At A Time: Indiana

One Frame At A Time: Indiana Comment Count

Ace November 3rd, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Drake Johnson, Ann Arbor native and dual-sport star at the unparalleled Pioneer High School, broke the century mark and scored two touchdowns on Saturday. His second trip to the end zone looked pretty dang cool:

Even cooler was seeing his mother, longtime M cheerleading coach Pam St. John, allowing herself a moment to admire the TD and let it all soak in:

This season—and Saturday's weather—may have turned warm hearts to icy stone, but that'll reverse the process in a hurry.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the Indiana game in GIFs.]


Preview 2014: Tight End And Friends

Preview 2014: Tight End And Friends Comment Count

Brian August 26th, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Previously: Podcast 6.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running back. Wide Receiver.


Butt don't fail me now [Adam Glanzman]

Depth Chart

Fullback Yr. U-back Yr. Tight End Yr. Flex Yr.
Joe Kerridge Jr.* Khalid Hill Fr.* AJ Williams Jr. Jake Butt So.
Sione Houma Jr. Wyatt Shallman Fr.* Keith Heitzman Jr.* Ian Bunting Fr.
Bobby Henderson So.*     -- -- -- --

Just when we'd split out the various gradations in blocky-catchy guys into its own section of the preview, Al Borges had to go and get himself fired. Cumong, man.

They're all still on the roster and Michigan's going to try to use them so we're sticking with it. This section of the preview consists of everyone who isn't quite a skill position player and isn't quite an offensive linemen. Let's reprise last year's explanation of what is what to orient ourselves:

  • FULLBACK: a man with a steel plated head who runs into linebackers, gets two carries in his career, and has six catches. See: Kevin Dudley.
  • U-BACK: A "move" tight end who motions all about, rarely lines up on the actual line of scrimmage, often goes from fullback to a flared spot or vice versa, and operates as more of a receiver than the fullback. Must be a credible threat to LBs; ends career with 40 catches. See: Aaron Shea.
  • TIGHT END: Larger that the U-back, the tight end is a tight end who is actually tight to the end of the line. He comes out, lines up next to a tackle, helps him win blocks, and clobberates linebackers at the second level. He goes out into patterns as well, and may end his career with 40 catches himself. See: Tyler Ecker.
  • FLEX: Sort of like the U-back in that he rarely lines up on the line of scrimmage itself, but if he motions away from his spot near the line, it's not to fullback but wide receiver. They get a billion catches and break Jim Mandich's record eventually. See: every ND tight end ever.

And of course many of these people bleed into other categories. Think of these position designations as Gaussian distributions in close proximity to each other.



Kerridge hits his upperclass years, also linebackers [Maize and Blue News]


Same guys, potentially less of a role. Doug Nussmeier comes from a one-back coaching tree, and one-back guys are usually a lot more interested in putting two tight ends on the field than a fullback, because fullbacks don't threaten vertically. Given the situation at tight end and the need to bash out a yard or three on the regular, these guys will still be involved. Just maybe not quite as much.

JOE KERRIDGE remains the starter here and should hold on to that designation. It seems like he's been around forever already and he's still got a year left after this one; now is the time for him to start imposing himself on opponents. He did a fair job of doing so last year:

Opponent + - TOT Note
CMU 4.5 - 4.5 FBs did well.
Notre Dame 7.5 1 6.5 Isos were a high point.
Akron 2 - 2 Blocks got cut away from.
UConn 1.5 2 -0.5 Not heavily involved.
Minnesota 6 3.5 2.5 Let some guys under him.
Penn State 1 0.5 0.5 Blocks couldn't even become relevant.
Indiana 2.5 1 1.5  
MSU - - - DNC
Nebraska 6.5 3.5 3 Got good movement.
NW 3 1.5 1.5 Soon to be a WR.
Iowa 4.5 1 3.5 Good game, quasi third-down back.

When the blocking was good enough to make him relevant he did his job, and did it well. It was not all terrific, as he had some questionable plays against Minnesota:

But by the end of the year he was taking a bunch of snaps as a pass protector on throwing downs, acting as Gardner's lead back on occasion, and even catching things out of the backfield. I didn't chart the OSU game but I did review it and Kerridge had a quality day highlighted by this thunderous block:

My God man. I heard that this place's Heap of Smoked Linebacker was excellent, but the descriptions do not do it justice. That is Dudley-worthy there.

Nussmeier isn't likely to deviate from his belief that tight ends on or near the line of scrimmage are much more threatening to a defense than fullbacks, but when Michigan absolutely must scatter a linebacker's equipment across the field, Kerridge will be the weapon of choice.

[After THE JUMP: I googled Jake Butt's name so by god you are going to read the things I have to say about Jake Butt.]


Hokepoints: Spring Snapshot

Hokepoints: Spring Snapshot Comment Count

Seth April 9th, 2014 at 9:40 AM


Extremely tentative starters/base alignment

Michigan's spring game happened. As per usual, there were things to generate text about, e.g. Gardner going 2/8 with two interceptions was tailor-made for lazy columnists hoping to get some play from a false QB controversy. Actual information-like-substance is somewhat less available, and even the things that are trackable are not to be trusted.

But this is Spring(!), when we take the selective, incomplete microcosm that they deign to show us and extrapolate from it the meaning of the universe. So I decided to go one step further, choosing a single play to make sweeping judgments about Michigan's new offense, the 2014 defense, and the future of human civilization that hangs in the balance.

The screencap above was from the first play that was broadcast, following Gardner's interception, a play with Morris and the twos, and a run with the 3rd stringers. Let's pick it apart.

Offense: Houma lined up as a U-back and then motioned into an offset fullback or H-back position on the strongside, strongly suggesting a run to that side. They instead ran a quick curl to Funchess. The line pass-blocked, with just Deveon Smith staying in to help them.


Defense: The good ol' 4-3 under. When the U-back went in motion, Clark spread out a bit to give him better leverage for a supposed one-on-one battle with the RT—if Houma hadn't gone in motion Clark was going to be responsible for him. The play is zone blitz; Ryan is coming, Wilson comes down to a robber zone, and Clark dropped into a zone on the backside. The corners and FS are playing a Cover 3. This is "aggressive" defense only because the DL's gaps are not in front of them, and there's five guys coming. The frontside "C" gap will have Jarrod Wilson, and all other gaps are covered. Or should be…


What happened: You'll note that Glasgow and Ryan ended up in the same "A" gap. That wasn't by design; Jack Miller was looking for the 3-tech or a WLB blitz, even after it was clear Godin was stunting and Bolden wasn't coming. With the OL pass-blocking, Glasgow abandoned his gap and ran unblocked to the quarterback.

This means Miller was right where Glasgow was supposed to go, but blocking nobody. Since that is Glasgow it was enough time to get a quick pass off, but if that was Mike Martin (or Willie Henry) it would have been a spectacular sack. Cole handled Beyer, and Bosch actually got a good sideways kick at Ryan that knocked him into Glasgow, giving Garner just enough time to get rid of the football. Since the CBs were in cov 3, Funchess was open underneath.

Also: RJS was playing SAM right, setting up to take on a fullback block in case of a run, then attacking when Houma didn't seem interested in contact. De'Veon Smith was set up to block him, but the play was over before we got to see how that went.


Offensive line: As expected, just as frustrating as it was last year. Miller didn't adjust to what was in front of him and that gave the nose tackle (of all people) a clear path to the quarterback despite good blocks. This play is a good example of how a good offensive line's communication and experience could bail them out against weird things, and vice versa. The more snaps Miller and Bosch see together, the better they'll be able to wordlessly shift their pass blocking assignments when they see a blitz is coming at the gap between them.

Routes: The frontside was a triangle with Canteen squatting between zones, Heitzman running the seam, and Houma leaking into the flat. The backside curl was an outlet pass. The frontside guys ran good routes—notice how Houma broke a bit more to the sideline when he saw Raymon Taylor had his zone. That widened Taylor and provided a spot between his zone and Wilson's for Canteen to settle into. Funchess's route was an outlet

How'd they get the 1st down: Experienced senior quarterback Devin Gardner recognized he needed to get the ball off, saw his outlet open underneath, and got it to Funchess with time to turn; big Funchess versus a cornerback means there's gonna be YAC.

How Borges is this? If that personnel seems not very different than what Michigan did a lot of last year, that's because it isn't a very big departure from it. Having guys like Houma and Heitzman in there as opposed to NORFLEET!, or just about any receiver, was a constant complaint with Borges. It's more defendable given that Darboh (and Drake Harris) were unavailable, so after Chesson you're getting into the Jones/Dukes/York/Dever receivers who aren't any more of a matchup problem than the catchy-blocky dudes.

This Ace 2TE thing was the base formation. Often both TEs would have their hands down to make a truly balanced formation. Heitzman and A.J. Williams traded off first team duties, and your second-team catchy-runny-blocky guys were Khalid Hill at Y-tight end and Joe Kerridge at U-back. Almost every running play was zone blocked. If Nussmeier's plan is to go back to his Washington offense it wasn't evident here; this was the same offense Bama ran in its bowl game (my UFR of that).

A run look to a side with Heitzman/Cole/Bosch is going to be even less scary than it was last year with at least Lewan in there, but I was still encouraged by the show. For one, these guys are all doing something their skill set suggests they should, with the exceptions of Heitzman's unknown quality as a receiver and De'Veon Smith's as a blocker. And for once they decided to do something catchy-blocky with Houma. Putting him in motion effectively changed his matchup from the WDE to the SAM, which isn't much of a change against Michigan's 4-3, but could be a mismatch if the SAM, as is often the case these days, was more of a safety-like object. And it also changed a balanced Ace formation into an offset I-form, which screams a run in that direction.


Piles Of Position Moves

Piles Of Position Moves Comment Count

Brian February 25th, 2014 at 7:15 PM


ROTATE [Bryan Fuller]

Per first spring presser:

James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone to SAM. Probably inevitable once Ryan move was announced. Obviously Michigan thinking more along the lines of the Stevie Brown style LB/S hybrid there, as Allen Gant is your other SAM at the moment.

And with this shift comes another:

That means the line shifts towards the tight end and the linebackers away. Instead of this:


Last year 5 was Clark, 3 Black, 1 Washington/Pipkins, 5 Heitzman/Beyer, LB Ryan, W Ross, M Morgan.

Michigan will run more of this:


Upshot is the MLB gets significantly more protection, the WLB has to be able to take on more blocks (everyone has to take on blocks) and the SAM can be a lighter player as long as the three-tech and SDE create trouble when single-teamed.

This is a significant change, as you can see by everyone flopping about on the depth charts. While it's not switching to a 3-3-5 and back six times in three years, it does signal uncertainty.

A move to the over does make the Ryan move make a bit more sense but either DE spot is probably a better location for him unless he's suddenly a savant.

Heitzman to TE. With Henry seemingly locking down three-tech that potentially bounces out one of Strobel/Wormley/Godin to SDE, where Brennen Beyer is probably your starter anyway. Heitzman gives Michigan a shot at blocking someone, anyone, and won't be missed.

This would be a good time to remind you that Hoke told the gathered folks at the Detroit Athletic Club that Jake Butt would be back by game three; even if that's a weirdly specific prediction this far out given Jake Ryan's recovery timeine that would be about right.

Shallman to H-back. He wasn't already at H-back?

Ross Douglas to RB. Supposedly had been running there on the scout team and impressing. Michigan does need another bullet there with the loss of Rawls and Toussaint and no recruits filling in the gaps, and meanwhile Ross was at best sixth on the CB depth chart. Kind of doubt he makes much impact this year with Hayes presumably a lot like him and more experienced.

David Dawson to (left) tackle. I'd been telling people Dawson was likely to be the G/T tweener thrust outside by a lack of depth, but even I thought he'd be assigned right tackle duties since he's 6'4". Nope. According to Hoke, the current and incredibly nominal first team line reads Dawson-Bosch-Glasgow-Kalis-Braden.

Erik Magnuson is all but certain to side into that LT spot when he returns, leaving Bosch and Dawson to duke it out on the right. You can read Dawson on the left as an endorsement since that's the most important spot, or you can read Braden on the right as an endorsement since they may expect him to start and want to get him settled in at the position he'll play.

The other guy to watch out for is Patrick Kugler, who could bounce Glasgow out to one of the guard spots and give Michigan some depth.

Logan Tuley-Tillman is out right now, FWIW.


Monday Presser Transcript 11-4-13: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 11-4-13: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko November 4th, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Offense bullets: 

  • Devin Gardner is still "beat up." He'll probably practice tomorrow, though. 
  • The offensive line is young. Reacted poorly to the environment and didn't play their technique well in pass protection.
  • Running back needed to protect better, too. Fitz is the best pass protector on the team, so it looks like they're out of options. This-may-or-may-not-be-significant-alert: De'Veon Smith was removed from the travel squad for vague reasons.
  • AJ Williams will be back Saturday. Drew Dileo should be back as well.
  • Hoke doesn't think Taylor Lewan should be suspended for the facemask thing. Says it's "unacceptable" but if it were suspension-worthy he'd have suspended him already. 

Defense bullets:

  • Keith Heitzman injured his hand last week in practice, so he didn't travel. He may take a while to come back.
  • Willie Henry played a good game. He'll probably get more playing time moving forward.
  • The last two long busts were because of a mismatch in personnel, which got them run over.



Opening remarks:

“You know, coming off not the way you want to start the five-game stretch, the meat of your schedule, Saturday is something we’re all disappointed with and everything that we have to do from a coaching standpoint and a playing standpoint. Obviously it was evaluated and we all need to do a better job, and that’s just a part of it. We had some opportunities we didn’t take advantage of during the course of the football game, and that’s a credit to them. We’ve got to do a better job. Offensively, we have to get Devin a little more of an opportunity because there were plenty of them down the field. Execution’s a part of that. Always is. When you’re sliding protections or whatever it might be. Defensively, I think our defense kept us in the football game for a long time with bad field position. Needed to make some stops more in the second half. Didn’t get that accomplished. Some third downs. The score right before the half is never a good score. And then them taking the ball for six minutes or five minutes to start the second half even though they got the field goal. Again, it’s posessions. Trying to get possessions. We had a really good day yesterday, which is a really good thing. The attitude of our team, they came in and worked like heck on the evaluation part of it, and we’ll work like heck out in practice. That being said … ”


Hokepoints: Earning the Right to Rush Four

Hokepoints: Earning the Right to Rush Four Comment Count

Seth September 17th, 2013 at 10:45 AM

That's my compilation of all the Zips passing plays and check-downs. What you saw:

  • Lots of quick, dinky-dunky passes (not on the DL)
  • A handful of screens the DL didn't chase
  • Black consistently getting into the backfield but nobody else.

The first complaint of many from the near-disaster on Saturday was the front four's continued inability to get any pass rush, with the bonus problem this time of no contain. Many observers noted, and the coaches confirmed, that part of the problem was the pass rushers were often chasing the quarterback instead of keeping him boxed in so the rest of the rush could arrive. Other culprits mentioned: Akron was doing a lot of max protect, a lot of uncalled holding, and of course the biggie: our DL getting completely owned.

So let's look at some Akron passing plays and see who to blame:

While the Zips are mostly a dinky-dunk offense, when they do go long they tend to leave the running backs in to help with pass pro. Max protect is generally a win for the DL already since spending seven (or eight!) guys on four DL gives the DBs an easy time. You usually want to call it against blitzes, since defensive linemen who don't have to worry about the run will break through eventually. (Unless they don't).

They did this a lot in the first half. On Akron's first drive there were two long pass calls on 2nd and 10 and 3rd and 10 that give us a baseline.

All Day

Michigan was in their base 4-3 under and rushed four. Akron had the RB and both TEs both stay in to block. Both back and the TE to the strong side help the RT block Heitzman; he's not going anywhere. Washington gets off slowly and is doubled by the right guard and center; he gets no push on the center and the guard only has to help a little while watching to see if Bolden comes.

Clark is doubled by the weakside TE and the LT—he tried to bull rush the TE, got stood up, then ripped around him and was in the middle of trying to split the two when the pass got off. Black gets the only single-team, but he tried to go inside of the LG who ran him right into Washington's mess; Black tried the other side and got held but that wouldn't have mattered since the pass is already gone.

Blame:  Knock QWash for not even moving his center, and Clark and Heitzman can't split their double-teams.



Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs CMU

Upon Further Review 2013: Defense vs CMU Comment Count

Brian September 5th, 2013 at 3:09 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan played this one vanilla, opting for either their traditional 4-3 under…


…or a 4-2-5 nickel package…


Furman is offscreen on the right hash.

…with the occasional insertion of a 3-3-5 on passing downs. There was no okie stuff with seven guys at the line of scrimmage, and it was very rare to see a safety walk down. With the line ripping through Central's pass protection there was little need to do anything else. If Michigan could manage that against a tough opponent that would be nice.


Right. Seth has already covered this in exacting detail. In brief: the secondary was consistent, with Furman and Wilson at safety and Taylor and Countess the starting corners. When Michigan went to the nickel, Stribling and Hollowell were about even, with Stribling getting the first at-bats.

Inside linebacker was split almost evenly between Morgan, Ross, and Bolden, with Gedeon getting some reps later and RJS right at the end. SAM was about 50/50 Beyer/Gordon, except that a lot of that was at DE in nickel packages.

Okay. The line. Okay. Your nominal starters were Heitzman, Washington, Black, and Clark, except there was so much nickel that the nose was lifted half the time. Wormley, Pipkins, Glasgow, and Ojemudia got a large amount of time backing up the starters. Godin, Ash, Henry, and Charlton got in later. Godin actually split snaps almost equally with the other two SDEs; at the other three spots the third guy was definitively third.

[After THE JUMP: rotation, rotation, rotation. Pass rush! Safety assessments!]


Preview 2013: Defensive End

Preview 2013: Defensive End Comment Count

Brian August 28th, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Previously: Podcast 5.0, The Story, Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Friends, Offensive Line, Defensive Tackle.

A note before we start: this preview relies heavily on the defensive UFRs of last year because there’s a convenient numerical system that does a decent job of summing up a defensive player’s contributions. One caveat: the system is generous to defensive linemen and harsh to defensive backs, especially cornerbacks. A +4 for a defensive end is just okay; for a cornerback it’s outstanding.

Depth Chart
Keith Heitzman So.* Quinton Washington Sr.* Jibreel Black Sr. Frank Clark Jr.
Chris Wormley Fr.* Ondre Pipkins So. Willie Henry Fr.* Mario Ojemudia So.
Matt Godin Fr.* Richard Ash Jr.* Ryan Glasgow Fr.*# Taco Charlton Fr.

Strongside Defensive End

Rating: 2


This is a two-or-three-way battle that will last into the season. The tentative guy at the top of the depth chart is redshirt sophomore KEITH HEITZMAN [recruiting profile], who backed up Craig Roh last year and was… well, pretty blah. He got crushed inside too often to have done well, and did freshman things like blow up the QB on speed options instead of stringing out to make the quarterback make a tough decision. I didn't actually grab a positive highlight from him last year, and I usually make a point to clip out something from a player I haven't seen do thing X before. His only good game in UFR was against Minnesota; most of the rest of the year he was around –1.

That's not to write him off. Heitzman was a low-rated recruit (actually a Vandy decommit) scooped up in the first-year Hoke blitz who needed to bulk up from the 240 pounds he was listed at as a recruit. Those guys usually take time. Now at 280, Heitzman is better equipped to hold up against the pounding.

Now that he's older and larger, expect plugging. He is the platonic opposite of Jake Ryan. Hoke:

Tell us about Heitzman.

"Keith doesn't do anything flashy. He just gets his job done. He's just truly one of those lunch pail guys who goes to work every day. Doesn't say much. Doesn't talk much. Just goes out and plays."

I… I've got nothing else here. I scoured the site for something interesting someone might have said about him, came up with that quote and a couple near-identical ones from last season (Q: What is Heitzman doing to get more playing time? A: Getting better). Now I'm out. Heitzman remains something of a mystery.

The bet here is an unremarkable season with a lot of platooning. Heitzman will play a lot of running downs, get pulled on passing downs (Black will take over as another WDE moves into the lineup), hold up decently, and get a lot of half-points in UFR for constricting holes. The upside here is low—at least for this year.



Heitzman's main competition is CHRIS WORMLEY [recruiting profile], who was in line to receive snaps at three-tech last year when he blew out his ACL in fall camp. A year removed from that, Wormley is still shedding the injury tentativeness that comes with the territory. He is also growing out a ferociously ragged afro, because someone has to take over for Elliott Mealer's interesting hair. A salute to Chris Wormley!

What Wormley brings is hugeness. Ask Hoke:

"Number one, he's huge. He's a big guy," Hoke said. "He's done a nice job coming back from rehab, and probably a better job from the mental side of it. Chris has that potential to be an awfully good football player for us."

He has excellent athleticism attached to said hugeness. He's listed at 6'4", 289, and that looks to be almost all muscle. There was a lot of debate about him as a recruit, with a lack of high school production attributed to motor causing a split between "he's a top 100 kid" (24/7) to "he's a three-star" (Rivals). Ace was actually on the negative side of things:

Wormley's best way to get penetration was to simply run right around his blocker, and while this was nice to see in terms of evaluating his quickness, it brings up another point of concern—how is a 6'6", 270-pound Michigan-bound DE not completely flattening the 6'2", 225-pound offensive tackle across from him with malicious regularity? Again, motor wasn't the issue, but instead pad level; Wormley can get low on occasion, but several times he stood right up off the snap and let the tackle get right into him, turning him into a non-factor.

The fact that he was going to play early at a spot where Michigan had a couple of quality veterans in Black and Campbell is a step towards the top end of his evaluations. Mattison said he was "very talented" and "very smart" and is shedding the tentativeness brought on by the injury:

The thing that he's now showing that he didn't show in the spring is complete trust that he's 100%. So now he's back to turning it loose at different phases. He's got to do it every day. He's got to do it every play. But I don't think there's ever any thought in his mind anymore of, 'Oh, my knee.' "

Assuming Wormley's had a year to work out the kinks in his technique (Certainty Principle), he should be essentially a co-starter with Heitzman quickly. From there, performance will dictate playing time. You are rooting for Wormley to grab the job strongly, as he's the guy with large upside.

[After THE JUMP: Omar comin'? Depth! DEATH STARE 2013. TACO JUMPS OVER THINGS 2013]