Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs Utah

Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs Utah

Submitted by Brian on September 9th, 2015 at 3:06 PM

Upon Further Review has a sponsor!

homesure-lending-logo

UFR is the ur content of MGoBlog. We've had sponsor offers in the past, but they were never the right fit. This is the right fit. Longtime reader and MGoBlog supporter Matt Demorest started Homesure Lending on the same principles as Upon Further Review: chart the information that's out there, and try to turn it into sense.

As a mortgage broker he has the flexibility to get the right lender and right pricing structure, and as a small niche outfit for Southeast Michigan he doesn't have to charge much to get you the right deal. He refinanced my house and Seth's house, and I was really happy about my rate until I heard Seth's rate. He bought everyone drinks at Ashley's last week. This was an undertaking.

20150902_230137

He's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan spent the entire game in nickel save for scattered snaps in a dime package with three safeties (Hill, Thomas, Wilson) on it. Their first drive they came out in an odd front featuring the buck as a standup end:

30 nickel press

Either they weren't happy with the play there or it was just a stunt, because after the first drive Michigan spent most of the rest of the day with an even four-man front:

even

On occasion they'd do this or something similar with a standup end; this pinched formation saw a hard line slant that got Wormley through for one of his impressive penetration plays:

nickel even tight press

And that was about it. Michigan spent the entire game with one very deep safety—generally 15 or more yards off the LOS; sometimes they'd offer a two high look but they always came down with one or the other presnap.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Line was mostly Henry/Glasgow/Wormley/Ojemudia. Matt Godin got the most time of any backup, spotting both Wormley and Henry frequently and pretty effectively. Charlton played a reasonable number of snaps behind Henry as well. Maurice Hurst was mostly a passing down sub for Glasgow; he did get a few standard down snaps. RJS saw a little bit of time.

At linebacker it was mostly Morgan and Bolden. Gedeon got a drive; Ross got a couple. Secondary was Lewis/Peppers/Wilson/Hill 100% of the time and a mix of Stribling and Clark at the last spot. Thomas got some snaps in the dime package.

[After THE JUMP: battling a very spread out spread]

Preview 2015: Defensive End

Preview 2015: Defensive End

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2015 at 4:57 PM

Previously: Podcast 7.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive Tackle.

15234163374_2724c7ac28_z

[Bryan Fuller]

Depth Chart

STRONG DE Yr. NOSE TACKLE Yr. 3-TECH Yr. WEAK DE Yr.
Chris Wormley Jr.* Ryan Glasgow Jr.* Willie Henry Jr.* Mario Ojemudia Sr.
Taco Charlton Jr. Maurice Hurst So.* Matt Godin Jr.* Lawrence Marshall Fr.*
Tom Strobel Jr.* Brady Pallante Fr.* Jabrill Peppers Fr.* Royce Jenkins-Stone Sr.

Whether Michigan's DJ Durkin defense is a 3-4 or a 4-3 is in the eye of the beholder. This beholder says it's a 4-3 under again with a weakside end who is a bit more likely to line up in a two point stance or drop into coverage than before. But he's still Dante Fowler, who's a dang end.

Adam did yeoman work with Royce Jenkins-Stone to get some kind of confirmation of this. First:

In your words, describe the Buck position in coach Durkin’s defense.

“Uh…exciting. Exciting.”

Hmm. Not quite specific enough.

Is it fair to say that it’s essentially a stand-up defensive end who can also do the things a linebacker might do?

“Yeah.”

Okay.  Maybe we can get him to say more than one word at a time.

So you’re going to rush the passer and drop into coverage too?

“Yes, and I’m going to put my hand in the dirt, too. Just depends on the type of formation.”

/confetti drops from sky

So we'll leave these previews as they are. Michigan's running Mattison's defense from the first three years. It's not like any of the DTs are liable to be unmovable two-gap mountains anyway.

By the way, this is the most alarming bit of the defense, and it's not all that alarming.

WEAKSIDE DEFENSIVE END/"BUCK" LINEBACKER

Rating: 3

20351566095_c2013765fb_z

Ojemudia is still learning how to smile [Eric Upchurch]

Michigan has no proven options and only one guy who's got much touted-recruit upside left, but they should have someone who's at least solid. Prepare thyself for the last Ojemudia Death Stare Compilation.

9273142[1]4_27191[1]MARIOOJEMUDIA10MP150[1]TT Harrison Football 1images[1]f4f8f797-5598-e011-a486-001cc494a4ac_original[1]

OJEMUDIA DEATH STARE 2015

MARIO OJEMUDIA is now a senior and is nominally ahead of the pack at WDE. This is going to be a platoon unless someone emerges; the bet here is that Ojemudia drives his coaches less crazy, especially early, and gets the most at-bats. He's seen the field on the regular for three straight years now, ascending to a starting spot once Frank Clark got booted. In that time he established that he's not the kind of tailback-leaping, OL-discarding athlete Clark was, but he's got his share of assets.

Ojemudia's a smart, disciplined player. He's excellent at splitting the difference on zone reads; by doing that he prevents them from escaping outside and remains relevant.

Multiple times last year he was the guy the zone is supposed to read and he made the tackle. That's good eats. Against Maryland he was heady enough to make a critical fourth and short stop when the Terrapins rushed to the line for one of those catch-you-off-guard QB sneaks. In general, whenever Clark would do something that caused his coaches to pull their hair out they'd throw Ojemudia out there for a bit and he would get that particular assignment correct.

Pass rush is the thing everyone is worried about. I neither can or want to dispel that entirely. Ojemudia did not have the same kind of impact Frank Clark did. (As the NFL reaction to Clark indicates, his stats badly underrated his play. Clark was robbed of a ton of sacks by poor lanes from the DTs and bad coverage by Blake Countess.) On occasion last year his lack of size and strength saw him blown down the line or pancaked in a way that Clark never suffered, because Clark was 280.

But he's not a total non-entity. He had 3.5 sacks and 7.5 TFLs; not a bad total for a guy who spent much of the season locked behind a really good player. When he did emerge into a starter he made a reasonable impact:

He had another sack against Northwestern, and got a shout out from either Maryland or Ohio State in Mike Spath's annual Big Ten Media Day column:

On Michigan's defensive linemen: "The best kid they had was the kid that took over for Frank Clark [Mario Ojemudia]. We knew next to nothing about him because he was only getting 10-15 snaps per game and wasn't doing much but he was really hard to block and was in our backfield a lot. …

"I don't know what the plan is for him this year but [Ojemudia] is the guy that I think can be really good."

Chatter has actually focused on the two other guys competing for this spot, and both of them will play. The most likely outcome here is a platoon featuring Exciting Guy and Boring Guy; I don't know who Exciting Guy is. I do know who Boring Guy is.

And that's fine. Ojemudia's kind of like a defensive end version of Jake Rudock. That's a worse deal at DE, were a "game manager" is just a guy who doesn't pressure the QB much. But it's not the worst thing.

[After THE JUMP: Ghostly promise and a large man]

Fall Roster Overanalysis 2015!

Fall Roster Overanalysis 2015!

Submitted by Seth on August 28th, 2015 at 12:06 PM

They handed out the new phonebooks at yesterday's presser, and the internet managed to captured a shot of them before Steve Martin made off with the lot:

slack_for_ios_uploadslack_for_ios_upload(1)

You'll have to click for big. But I've already updated the master spreadsheet with all of it. Remember the rules: all weight gain is burley muscle that won't slow them down AT ALL, and all weight loss is a guy in the best shape of his life who's going to do crazy fast things as his new svelte self.

TO THE SPREADSHEETS!

Quarterbacks
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
Jake Rudock         203      
Shane Morris   201 204 209 208   +3 +4
Wilton Speight     234 235 239     +5
Zach Gentry       230 244      
Alex Malzone       218 222      
John O'Korn         209      
Running Backs
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
Drake Johnson 203 213 211 207 210 +10 -2 -1
De'Veon Smith   224 220 228 228   -4 +8
Derrick Green   240 220 234 225   -20 +5
Ty Isaac     225 240 228     +3
R.Taylor-Douglas     189 186 193     +4
Karan Higdon       190 189      
Joe Kerridge 244 238 244 249 248 -6 +6 +4
Sione Houma 221 231 242 243 242 +10 +11 -
Wyatt Shallman   237 239 244 245   +2 +6
Bobby Henderson   227 236 240 245   +9 +9
Receivers
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
Amara Darboh 218 212 211 216 215 -6 -1 +4
Jehu Chesson 183 196 197 207 200 +13 +1 +3
Jaron Dukes   190 197 204 204   +7 +7
Da'Mario Jones   192 196 199 195   +4 -1
Drake Harris     176 174 181     +5
Freddy Canteen     176 185 182     +6
Maurice Ways     195 205 210     +15
Brian Cole       200 207      
Grant Perry       185 184      
Tight Ends
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
A.J. Williams 282 265 260 285 275 -17 -5 +15
Jake Butt   237 249 248 250   +12 +1
Khalid Hill   258 252 252 263   -6 +11
Henry Poggi   260 270 273 266   +10 -4
Ian Bunting     227 243 252     +25
Chase Winovich     220 227 235     +15
Tyrone Wheatley Jr.       260 291      
Offensive Line
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
Graham Glasgow 305 303 311 303 301 -2 +8 -10
Kyle Kalis 292 302 298 292 305 +10 -4 +7
Erik Magnuson 290 285 294 296 305 -5 +9 +11
Ben Braden 319 318 322 331 322 -1 +4 -
Blake Bars 282 291 294 281 290 +9 +3 -4
Patrick Kugler   287 299 297 302   +12 +3
David Dawson   297 296 309 316   -1 +20
L. Tuley-Tillman   300 290 309 302   -10 +12
Mason Cole     292 287 305     +13
J. Bushell-Beatty     319 319 325     +6
Grant Newsome       280 300      
Jon Runyan Jr.       275 304      
Nolan Ulizio       293 291      
Defensive Line
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
Ryan Glasgow 285 300 296 297 300 +15 -4 +4
Willie Henry 302 306 293 311 307 +4 -13 +14
Mario Ojemudia 223 250 251 252 252 +27 +1 +1
Chris Wormley 268 289 295 300 303 +21 +6 +8
Matthew Godin 270 280 286 287 288 +10 +6 +2
Tom Strobel 250 265 268 270 282 +15 +3 +14
Taco Charlton   270 275 273 285   +5 +10
Maurice Hurst Jr.   270 282 281 282   +12 -
Lawrence Marshall     241 238 250     +9
Bryan Mone     312 325 320     +8
Brady Pallante     263 276 280     +17
Shelton Johnson       225 212      
Reuben Jones       225 222      
Linebackers
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
R. Jenkins-Stone 206 225 234 240 245 +19 +9 +11
Allen Gant 196 212 223 225 227 +16 +11 +4
Desmond Morgan 230 228 232 236 244 -2 +4 +12
James Ross III 225 220 227 232 241 -5 +7 +14
Joe Bolden 224 225 231 232 237 +1 +6 +6
Mike McCray   237 241 242 240   +4 -1
Ben Gedeon   236 240 241 248   +4 +8
Dan Liesman   215 229 233 228   +14 -1
Noah Furbush     210 217 242     +32
Jared Wangler     219 230 231     +12
Safeties
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
Jarrod Wilson 195 200 205 210 210 +5 +5 +5
Jeremy Clark 191 205 205 205 210 +14 - +5
Delano Hill   205 205 204 212   - +7
Dymonte Thomas   190 193 191 195   +3 +2
Jabrill Peppers     202 205 208     +6
Tyree Kinnel       200 201      
Cornerbacks
Player 2012 2013 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Fall 2015 12 to 13 13 to 14 14 to 15
Terry Richardson 154 167 170 174 175 +13 +3 +5
Wayne Lyons         197      
Jourdan Lewis   170 175 176 175   +5 -
C. Stribling   171 178 178 181   +7 +3
Reon Dawson   170 178 175 181   +8 +3
Brandon Watson     188 189 191     +3
Keith Washington       175 170      

[jump for items of interest and interest]

Annual Big Ten Network Practice Visit Tweet Dump

Annual Big Ten Network Practice Visit Tweet Dump

Submitted by Brian on August 19th, 2015 at 2:45 PM

latest[1]

this does not seem functional for several reasons I will now elucidate

For a while there it looked like Harbaugh had taken the Big Ten Network guys' phones and given them the Tom Brady treatment, but Dave Revsine must have a backup, because he's providing a rare glimpse inside Blue October.

In past years this has been something more than a post-length manual retweet of one guy; Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith also gave their thoughts. So far this is the only thing we've gotten from them:

Hopefully they'll poke their heads out at some point. Tom Dienhart skipped twitter for a couple of articles on the BTN website. One is for real. One is described as "fun notes":

[Graham] Glasgow also told me he is living with his grandmother for the semester. A good way to focus.

That is one way to make sure you don't trip up on your probation.

Following blockquotes are from Revsine's twitter feed unless otherwise noted. BTN will broadcast their react from Michigan practice at 6 PM.

GENERAL

Tom Dienhart had some general thoughts on twitter:

A very business-like practice at Michigan today. No music blared. A classroom environment with lots of teaching. Nobody walked or lingered.

Dressed in his uniform of a blue “M” cap, long-sleeve shirt and—what else?—khakis, Harbaugh spent most of time with QBs. Always instructing.

Staffers describe the Michigan camp as a “submarine.” It is all business with no distractions.

Glad to hear they got rid of the lingering. Hate lingering. Almost as bad as loitering. By the way, if you want to find lingerers and loiterers just check the replies to any Dienhart tweet.

Some non-position-specific stuff from Revsine:

Harbaugh is incredibly involved in the passing game at practice - gives a lot of feedback - very hands-on with that group

It's obvious they're really, really well coached. Practice was all business, drills were efficient, feedback was great

Update: Dinardo has a few general thoughts as well.

Much like in the past few years team has more talent than most B1G teams they play except for the 2 best.

As always starts w O/D lines no lack of talent in either area They've recruited well in both areas & r good enough

I would not be surprised if both QB played in opener against Utah. Game play sometimes is best way to decide

Defense very solid good depth & has good young players that will have time 2 develop. Off needs more dynamic skill

QUARTERBACK

QB - Morris consistently took 1st snap in drills - but no idea if that means anything - it does at some places, it doesn't at others

QB - if I had to guess, I'd say both Morris and Rudock would play against Utah - not sure there's clear separation

It's tough to say - both had their moments. Morris has a great arm. Rudock doesn't make many mistakes. Tough call

Asked about Morris:

His arm - he can really spin it. Issue will obviously be TO's - have to be dramatically better there as a team

Dienhart was more decisive about the QB battle:

1. Jake Rudock figures to win the quarterback spot. The Iowa senior transfer is the one signal-caller who gives Michigan the best chance to win out of the gate. … Rudock threw the ball well today and worked with the top units along with junior lefty Shane Morris. Rudock is a savvy vet with lots of starting experience.

FWIW. I'm betting that the quarterback battle will legitimately go until the day before the Utah game and that Rudock wins it decisively.

Zach Gentry looked "tall"; a fan asking about him was advised that this was a two-man race.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Other obvious trouble spot LY was OL. I think that group will be vastly improved.They have always had talent there - evident again 2day

No real surprises on OL - looked like Cole, Braden, Glasgow, Kalis, Magnuson. Drevno singled Blake Bars out as having had good camp

Even if we're nervous about Braden at guard, I'd be more nervous about guys flipping everywhere like we've seen the last few years.

They are really well coached on the OL - constant constructive feedback. Would be shocked if they're not better

Easy call to make with 5-ish returning starters and Tim Drevno running the show.

Dienhart noted the second team line:

The second unit had junior Logan Tuley-Tillman at left tackle; junior David Dawson at left guard; junior Patrick Kugler at center; sophomore Juwann Bushell-Beatty at right guard; senior Blake Bars at right tackle.

That's as expected until you get to JBB at guard and Bars at tackle.

RUNNING BACK

On the starter:

Hard to tell - I did notice Smith a few times. Guess would be by committee at 1st & see if someone emerges

RB - lots of good well-known options here - again, I think difference in OL will help immensely.

On Isaac:

Big - man he has great size for a RB. Because of the structure of practice, I didn't come away w great feel for RBs

Dienhart gave Smith the slight edge; Ross Taylor-Douglass is apparently a tailback this week.

WIDE RECEIVER & TIGHT END

Revsine literally shouted out everyone on the roster who was practicing at TE.

TE could be a real area of strength - obviously we know about Jake Butt, but Poggi, Winovich, Williams (nice TD grab) all look solid

Did I mention Hill and Bunting? They're good too. Lot of interesting options there.

Wheatley is probably on the shelf for a bit, so that's everybody. Apparently Hill is back at it?

I still think big-play explosiveness will be an issue for this team - no one totally jumps out on that front

Yeah. That contradicts this…

WR looks to be about what it was a year ago - issue will be whether a deep threat can emerge. Better OL play could obviously help there

…because last year they had one Devin Funchess, for all the good that did them. Remember when they just punted it to Funchess like six times a game because their offense was real bad and that was a good idea? I don't either.

The Grant Perry hype train continues unabated:

I'd be surprised if Grant Perry doesn't contribute some at WR. Tough to tell on Brian Cole - kind of up and down

Dienhart:

Some nice options at wideout, with senior Jehu Chesson and senior Amara Darboh. Freshman Brian Cole was running with the second unit. I like the kid. Sophomore Maurice Ways also saw lots of action. Grant Perry was another freshman who was active.

Drake Harris was a "young guy who could help"; Peppers did not get snaps on offense, but as Revsine points out that's a thing they would likely keep under wraps when BTN visits.

DEFENSE & SPECIAL TEAMS

Relatively little here. On the DL:

Good group - rotated a lot of guys through. I think they'll once again have a very solid defense

On the secondary:

A lot of known commodities, obviously, on defense. Looks like Lyons will definitely help in secondary.

Dienhart:

DE Taco Charlton was leading post-practice sprint drills among linemen. He is an impressive specimen.

Dienhart also provided looks at the two deep at linebacker…

The linebackers look good. One unit had senior James Ross; senior Desmond Morgan; senior Joe Bolden. Another had junior Ben Gedeon; sophomore Jared Wangler; senior Allen Gant.

…and DL:

One front lined up thusly today: Wormley at end; senior Ryan Glasgow at tackle; senior Willie Henry at tackle; Ojemudia at end. The other unit combo was Charlton at end; senior Tom Strobel; junior Maurice Hurst; senior Royce Jenkins-Stone, listed as a LB on the roster.

So Charlton is an SDE, which makes sense since all the other candidates to back up Wormley got moved to TE. Strobel lining up at nose(?!) would be a very, very strange thing. Would expect Godin to be the #4 DT without Mone. No mention of Marshall is odd.

Meanwhile, the secondary:

Stanford grad transfer Wayne Lyons could be a proverbial “cut-above.” The top unit today was Lewis and Clark on the edges with Peppers and Wilson at safety. The other unit had junior Channing Stribling and freshman Tyree Kinnel on the corners with junior Dymonte Thomas and Lyons at safety.

No Delano Hill or Watson mentioned; Clark pushing for the boundary spot will give me the heebie-jeebies until it doesn't.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Potential punt returners and some Peppers hype:

PR looks like it'll be Peppers and Chesson. Peppers looked great overall today and DJ Durkin said he's had an outstanding camp

An ominous note at kicker:

PK remains up in the air - still doesn't look like an area of strength. Aussie P Blake O'Neill got off some boomers – impressive

This from Dienhart on the three PK options:

Three kickers took turns at the uprights: freshman Andrew David; sophomore Kyle Seychel; senior Kenneth Allen.

Media Day Interviews: Greg Mattison

Media Day Interviews: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on August 14th, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Previously: Jim Harbaugh, DJ Durkin, Kyle Kalis, Brian Cole, Chase Winovich, Drake Harris,Jabrill Peppers, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Willie Henry, Jourdan Lewis, Wyatt Shallman, James Ross III

15088377292_43a3ac8067_z

[Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

Greg Mattison returns in 2015, and though he’ll be working in a different capacity he inherits a line of which he was one of the chief architects. He talked about the functional differences (and similarities) between the 4-3 and 3-4 and the progress his linemen have made over the summer at last week’s Media Day.

[I jumped into the scrum mid-response]

“You know, one thing [is] you don’t get around the kids much in the summer. I saw him [Lawrence Marshall] today [and] I said, ‘What do you weigh?’ He looks great. All our kids- Kevin [Tolbert] did a tremendous job in the weight program and all our kids worked extremely hard whenever I had a chance to pop my head in and take a look.”

DJ said you guys are going to be multiple. How much of a challenge is that for your defensive linemen?

“It’s not. It’s not. You know, when people talk about different schemes it really comes down to techniques. You can call it anything you want; one time you play a five-technique, one time you play a four, one time you play a three. You’ve got to learn them all.”

Do you like the depth and talent that you have up front?

“Yeah, I definitely do. These kids, we’ve been together for a long time. These guys have played a lot of football and maybe before they should’ve, but now they’re bigger, stronger, and older. Now it’s our job to get them to be as good as they can be.”

You guys have used Taco [Charlton] at a couple different spots his first couple years. He’s played some here and there. He’s a junior now. What does he have to do to really [inaudible]?

“I think he’s got to keep working on his technique. He’s a guy coming out of high school that really wasn’t a defensive lineman, so I think you’ve got to continue to take the technique with the strength. Add both of those together. And he makes flashy plays, [he] makes good plays. Now he’s got to do that consistently.”

[After THE JUMP: ways the 4-3 and 3-4 are the same]

This Week's Obsession: Spring Focus

This Week's Obsession: Spring Focus

Submitted by Seth on April 1st, 2015 at 2:20 PM

15089109525_1d5d22a1e4_k

Show me the Peppers! [Fuller]

The Question:

Ace: Aside from the quarterbacks, which position group and specific player will you be keeping the closest eye on during the Spring Game?

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

The Responses:

Seth: Safety, Peppers.

I have a pretty good idea of what the corners can do—Countess can zone like a boss but isn't sized or speedy enough for lockdown press man—and I can't really tell what happens on the OL or DL without video. Quarterback is missing one or two contenders. Where the slot side safety lines up will tell us how aggressive they think they can get, especially when it's Peppers in that spot.

recurring nightmare
My recurring nightmare

Also I'm anxious to see who among Dymonte, Clark, and Hill can play when Peppers comes down to nickel. Hill has a bad rap in my brain from getting so turned around against Lippett on the TD pass that debarked the end of the game and the beginning of Dantonio's Revenge for Imagined Slights Hour. I hate it when a bad play is what sticks out to me about a guy and I really want to start banking some nice thoughts. Same for Dymonte and Clark. One of those three or Stribling is going to be at least half a starter in the nickel, and if it's Stribling we are back to a nickel who's not a run defender (ie Countess). The floor on this defense is pretty okay; I want to see how high the cathedral can go.

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

Alex Cook: I feel like this is a somewhat obvious answer, but I'll be focused on our secondary, which projects to be the best unit on the team by a fair amount. The offensive line is compelling for an entirely different reason; I'd like to see some breakout performances on the D-Line; QB is a clear concern, of course; but I'm very excited about the secondary.

Jabrill Peppers is the headliner there and, after a freshman year ruined by injury, Michigan fans surely are going to be thrilled to see him out there. He's probably the best player on the team and -- depending on if he plays on offense / special teams units -- he could be the most important non-quarterback on the team. Beyond Peppers, there's Jourdan Lewis, who's very good in my opinion, locking down one of the corner spots; I'm most optimistic about he and Peppers of anyone on the squad this year. There's Jarrod Wilson, who's unremarkable in the best way possible; there's Blake Countess, who didn't play well after recovering from ACL surgery (but could be in for a rebound season); there's Channing Stribling, who stands out immediately because of his size; Wayne Lyons won't be there, but he could start. There's a lot of depth there and if you're looking for a group to get excited about, watch the secondary.

[After the jump: aggresssssssssssiveeeeeeeeeee]

H4: The Burned Redshirts in Order of Argh

H4: The Burned Redshirts in Order of Argh

Submitted by Seth on March 10th, 2015 at 12:53 PM

13655851055_5b682e5335_k

I realize Strobel got one. Find a better photo then, pickers of nits.

This has to be talked about. Hoke left a roster that was in relatively good shape considering all the highly rated players who had to stick through some awful program degradation. He signed good classes, and those classes have by and large stuck around and fulfilled their academic duties. But an inordinate amount of them inexplicably didn't redshirt, and because of this there are some holes on the horizon.

I'm sure there are explanations in many of these cases that we are not party to. It's only the sheer volume of head-scratching non-redshirts under Hoke that gives us reason to call all of them into question. Like how I'm sure there are legit medical hardship waivers that occur at Alabama but [graph].

Some guys the coaches were forced to play early, and there's no need to discuss them beyond a mention as such, e.g. Jabrill Peppers. Mason Cole outcompeted a pile of guys to start at left tackle last season. That sort of thing gets a full pass. Beyond that, I've broken each Hoke class into categories of increasing argh:

  • WTF. Wasting redshirts on special teams and dime back when last year's dime back is on the bench.
  • Pick ONE. Needed bodies at this position, but not all the bodies. Battles for 2nd on the depth chart should be resolved in time for the ultimate loser to have a 5th year as consolation.
  • Need the dudes (and other things I don't blame on the coaches). Immediate starters or guys who played because Michigan sorely needed his body and his pulse at that position.

Names that should have redshirted are in red.

Class of 2011

DEs

Did you really need both, 2011? [Upchurch]

Hoke arrived to an offensive machine with two years of eligibility remaining, and a nightmare defense of guys who couldn't displace recent departures like Jonas Mouton, Ray Vinopal, Adam Patterson, Greg Banks, and James Rogers. The immediate need was obvious and Hoke rightfully set about recruiting freshmen who could fill those roles. So I'll give him a pass for some of it.

SugarBowl_Hollowell-thumb-333x221-98980
Hollowell's 2011 contribution was more than scooping up a fumbled kickoff against VT, but it was also more than Ray Taylor's. [Melanie Maxwell|AnnArbor.com]

Wtf: None.

Pick ONE

Raymon Taylor and Delonte Hollowell. The year following the Never Forget defensive backfield, Hoke recruited five likely cornerbacks: Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor, Delonte Hollowell, Tamani Carter (redshirted, transferred before 2012), and Greg Brown (early enrollee, transferred before 2011 season). The roster still had J.T. Floyd, Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott (left program summer before 2012 season), available. In a pinch, Troy Woolfolk could have converted back when Thomas Gordon won the free safety job. At least one, and probably two true freshmen would have to play.

It immediately became apparent that one would be Countess. So to fill out the two deep they would need to burn Taylor or Hollowell's shirt. Hollowell arrived as the quintessential Cass Tech mite corner. The guy was 164 pounds, but saw some action at dime back vs. Nebraska, and recovered the fumble at the end of the first half. Taylor had two tackles and a personal foul.

Brennen Beyer and Frank Clark. Going into the season Beyer was a SAM and Clark a WDE. The difference between those positions in Michigan's 4-3 under was not very great, particularly because when Beyer was inserted it was for a 5-2 look. The WDE's depth chart was Craig Roh and Jibreel Black; SAM was Jake Ryan and Cam Gordon. The reason I say one would have played anyway is the rush end position has a lot rotation, and Black was already the starter in the nickel formation.

There wasn't much to differentiate the two in aggregate play; Beyer was the more consistent, Clark the more explosive. The coaches chose to have them compete through the year instead of preserving one. Had they done so Beyer was the obvious choice despite Clark's higher ceiling. Beyer was smaller and Michigan had Roh to be a more solid edge defender, but only Clark to be a merchant of chaos (remember the Sugar Bowl interception). On the other hand Frank had a rough history before Glenville, and could have used an adjustment season. Either way he would have been dismissed after last year's incident.

Needed dudes etc.

Blake Countess and Desmond Morgan won starting jobs on the 2011 defensive reclamation project. They also both would lose a season to injury so we have them back yay. Thomas Rawls I'm not broken up about, though he will be a pretty good MAC back this year. RBs usually have most of the "it" they ever will as freshmen, and if they do become long-term starters the toll it takes on their bodies means they're often better off moving through their careers early. A redshirt year can make a guy a better blocker, or put some distance between a good back and his heir, or let a smaller guy fill in. Matt Wile is a special pass even though they wasted his redshirt on kickoff duties (and punting during Hagerup's first suspension). I learned recently that Wile made it clear from the start he intended to graduate in four years and do engineering things.

[Save your anger for after the jump.]

Dear Diary Desires More Tacos for Effing Wall

Dear Diary Desires More Tacos for Effing Wall

Submitted by Seth on January 9th, 2015 at 4:50 PM

15513902132_33feab438e_z

Those Van Bergenian thighs. That Clarkian pass rush. That responsible chin…[Fuller]

Final reminder to settlers along Lake Erie: We're coming to your Cleveland on Monday to talk about…I dunno…basketball or kickers or something. We've now added "Big Ed" Muransky to the lineup. Here's some footage of Muransky (#72 right, sometimes left tackle) as a sophomore against MSU, courtesy of WH. The rest of "we" are Brian, John U. Bacon, [huge gap in how much you care] and myself.

We've got the area reserved behind the bar through 11, and there's about 100-120 people coming, which means when the Ohio State fans show up later to watch the national championship game there'll be this wall of Michigan fans to greet them. And a bearded blogger guy rooting loudly for Oregon…while  standing behind Big Ed Muransky.

Huge thanks to this lemon-eater for setting it up.

OT don't care SVG is boss: The Pistons cut their best player then ripped off a seven-game win streak. To win #6 they had to preserve a 1-point lead from the defending champions on the road, so Van Gundy used the last rasps of his weakening voice to demand the stones "Just form a [bleep]-ing wall." So I formed an effin' t-shirt.

 Form-a-Wall-SM_1024x1024

If you hate this one you're all fired. My "IT'S H4PPENING" shirt is gone now but we've got several other new offerings if you haven't been on the store lately:

Khaki_silhouette_Navy-SM_1024x1024OaklandinPlay_Maize-01_1024x1024It-Happened---Sunshine_1024x1024Quit-Drinking-Navy_1024x1024

Not this again! New coaches mean new schemes to learn and WMUKirk did an amazing job in two diaries of showing how Durkin likes to play chess. Part 1 got into the base stuff and Part 2 was about how he mixed those to stay one step ahead of Jameis Winston's reads. There's this from Part 1:

What I've noticed is he doesn't deviate from 4 basic coverages. Quarters, Cover 3 Press, Cover 1, and his favorite blitz is the Fire Blitz from the QB's blind side. He hardly ever runs Man Under, Tampa 2, or Cover 0. He values speed and isn't against running a 3-4 with 3-3-5 personnel.

Florida's 3-3-5 was lifting one of the middle linebackers for a safety/spur/hybrid space player dude, and looked thusly:

3-4overwithHSP

The WDE is a pass rusher type and is standing up. On 1st and 15 this is Xtreme speed.

That's a 3-3-5 but not a Casteel stack; it's more like one of Mattison's okies except the MLB is a LB, not Mike Martin.

[Cont. after the jump]

Monday Presser 11-17-14: Greg Mattison

Monday Presser 11-17-14: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 18th, 2014 at 9:00 AM

mattison

file

 

[I forgot to turn my recorder on right away because I’m a doofus but the question was about Northwestern]

“I was very, very pleased with our players in that game and I have been for a while, and you know that. Our kids, they went out and they executed the gameplan and they played extremely hard. Didn’t matter where. They had their backs to the wall and they stayed in there strong, and that’s just kind of how they’ve been and i was just really happy for them because they really believe, they really want to be good and they’re starting to get some reward from it.”

 

When did you hear about Frank’s arrest and what was your reaction to it?

“Well, I heard about it I guess yesterday but Brady handles all that. And my reaction is always when a young man that is in your program that you’re very, very close to when something happens like this you feel very, very disappointed and you feel sad for the people that are involved and that’s about it.”

 

Brady was just talking about all the adversity you guys have gone through this year and how maybe he’s grown a little bit and learned from it as a coach. You’ve known him for 30 years. Have you seen it affect him, or how has he grown from this season?

“You know, I mentioned it before and that’s a great question. When you believe so much in a program like he does and like our staff does and you give everything you have to the program like he does, when things don’t go exactly like you want them to that’s hard. That’s hard, man. And I haven’t seen him- he never wavers. He’s the same guy every morning when he comes in. He’s the same guy when he dresses the players. Like I said before, I think he's done a tremendous job as the head football coach with some of the things that have happened."

 

Jake's [Ryan] preparation is evident when you see him on the field. I understand that you guys watch a lot of film together. Talk about how you've watched him grow as a student of the game and talk about how he goes about that [preparation].

"Well, I was fortunate enough. I think the first year I was here I had Jake, and he met in our staff room together and I said, 'Okay, let's go ahead and sit down and we'll start on film' and I looked and he was sitting in Brady's chair and I said, 'What are you doing!? You can't sit in that chair!' Well from that day on he's always sat in that chair. And Jake Ryan is a pleasure to coach, just like Joe Bolden is, just like- I could name a lot of guys in all they years I've coached. When you have guys who come to work every day like they do, and they come in those meeting rooms and you start showing film and you start talking about your opponent and they react and they study and they start taking notes like our guys do; then you feel really good about coaching. Jake's just one of those guys that you think about it [and] outside linebacker, that's all he'd ever played and we talked about it and said, 'Hey, listen. We're going to put you in the middle because we want you around the football a lot more. We want you to make sure that you're involved in it; that they can't run away from you' and in his senior year he does it. And he plays hard and unselfish and does everything you ask him to do and that's Michigan. That's what we hope this program's all about and we think there's a lot of players like that in this program."

[After THE JUMP: Thoughts on Maryland and the defensive line]

Monday Presser 11-17-14: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser 11-17-14: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 17th, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Hoke presser 2

file

News bullets and other items:

  • Hoke said that domestic violence is one of the first things they talk about in team meetings at the beginning of the year and they talk to the team about it at least four times per year
  • Hoke said after they had received all the necessary information the decision to dismiss Frank Clark from the program essentially made itself
  • Hoke has not spoken with Clark but does plan to speak with him at some point
  • Mario Ojemudia will start at WDE with Taco Charlton behind him
  • Henry Poggi moves to SDE to back up Brennen Beyer

Opening remarks:

"Obviously you all know and we put a statement out, I put a statement out, let's put it that way, we had a situation during the bye week with a young man making a bad decision and after getting all the facts that we could get and I could get I made the decision to dismiss Frank Clark from the program. What was reported and all those things, and I'm sure you've been through it with a fine-tooth comb, was unacceptable and it was not what we want here associated with our program. I know in the statement I talked about it being tragic and domestic abuse is tragic. It's tragic on a national scale. It's tragic. Obviously it's somewhere in our society and we all need to do something about it, and being a husband and being a father [and] having two sisters it's a message that I send strongly to our football team about how we will handle ourselves with women.
"That being said we're excited about Saturday. We're excited about playing Maryland, and the biggest excitement is that we've got 12 kids who are going to play their last home football game here at Michigan. We have 12 seniors. Two of them will have graduated. One of them will have his masters. The others will graduate either this fall at the end of fall or at the end of winter and we're very proud of what they've done representing the University of Michigan, and hopefully people will be in the stadium early so they can be honored and then we've got a great football game with Maryland."

Maryland on film, especially defensively: what have you seen from them?
"Well, they do a lot and they've got a pretty big package, especially when you get into third downs. They've done a nice job of attacking the quarterback. I think they are one sack above us in the league when you look at it from a defensive standpoint. I think they run very well [and] I think they obviously if you watched Saturday night's game, which I know I did, that game was a heckuva game for a little while and then kind of got out of hand with the interception for a touchdown. But they're very impressive with what they can do. I think they've won three or four games on the road so they've played well on the road also."

In light of how big an issue domestic violence has been mostly in the NFL this year have you spoken to the team before this weekend about that issue specifically?
"We speak about it constantly. Believe me, at least four times a year. We have people from the University come in. I've told our guys since day one that it won't be tolerated. It won't be tolerated in this program. All you have to do is think about I have a daughter who's 29. I have a wife. I have two sisters, And so that's always been probably one of the first things I talk about with our team least a couple times a year."
You probably just answered that, but did the current climate with how big this issue has been influence how quickly you guys made a decision?
"No, it really didn't. The decision was made after getting all the information that we could and that I could, and in doing that there really was no decision to be made. I don't know if that sounded right but…"

[After THE JUMP: More on the Clark situation and young players who impressed in the intrasquad scrimmage]