Since it's a bye week, I had some time to post a summary of Michigan's attempts to reel in defensive ends in the 2007 class. Michigan scored with Ryan Van Bergen, who turned into a pretty solid player. They missed out on some other high-quality players who ended up hurting us on the field a little bit. I see some people crediting Rich Rodriguez recruits for Brady Hoke's 11-2 season in 2011, but it's important to remember (in that argument) that guys like Van Bergen were Lloyd Carr recruits. This was Carr's last full class before the Carr/Rodriguez combination that signed in February 2008.
Per his twitter
Draft Day! Woo-hoo! Time to make your predictions for where our beloved recently departed Wolverine heroes will be selected (round and team). Very unlikely any of our guys get selected in the first round tonight, but I figured might as well get the thread up now.
Here are my best guesses:
I will be shocked if Hulk Smash lasts beyond the 3rd round -- there must be at least a handful of teams who've fallen in love with his motor and measurables (and a Greg Mattison thumbs-up) and who will be willing to spend a third-rounder on him. A lot of mocks have him going to the Bears at #79, which sounds plausible. I could also see Cincinnati taking him at 83 -- he'd be a good fit in Mike Zimmer's 4-3. Saints at #89 is also a possibility. Denver at 87 or 108 (mid-4th round) could also use a 4-3 DT.
Someone's going to get a steal with Molk, because he'll drop due to his size -- he'll only fit a zone-based running scheme, and he's not big enough to backup at guard in a pinch.
Tennessee runs a zone-blocking scheme and needs a center -- Molk's a good fit for them at #155 in the 5th round. Green Bay is also a great fit at #163 -- they signed Jeff Saturday to replace Scott Wells, but Saturday's 36 and he could groom Molk as his eventual replacement. The Colts could also pick him up at the end of the round (#170) to replace Saturday.
His combine performance probably boosted him from a fringe late-round pick or UDFA into a mid-rounder. Still, this is a deep draft at WR, so I think Junior goes in the 5th at best, more likely the 6th -- New Orleans at #179 or Carolina at #180.
Ryan Van Bergen
RVB's probably a borderline 7th round/UDFA-type, but I can see a 3-4 team looking for depth at the 5-tech DE spot taking a flyer on him late in the 7th round -- perhaps Pittsburgh, which has a ton of picks at the end of that round. San Diego's also a possibility there at #250, or Arizona at #221.
I would've had Kevin Koger as a late (6-7th round) pick before the Achilles surgery.
Undrafted free agents who will at least get a shot at a camp:
All right, have at it everyone.
BRAND NEW CHARLIE
When we last left our story, Charlie Blockham awoke to the sounds of
his mother telling him to get ready for school. She also pointed out his hair,
which has grown to monumental proportions in the two months since the
strip has began. What's a full-headed boy to do?
(Click the image to view full size)
I'm very proud to announce that we're doing something very different and
special this week over at the Blockhams.com and @TheBlockhams on Twitter,
affectionately and not-so-eloquently titled...
That's right-- The Blockhams Goes Temporarily Daily!!
For one week only we'll be honoring the hair and style of Ryan Van Bergen and others with AN ENTIRE WEEK OF BLOCKHAMS STRIPS!! The young Blockham has embraced his new identity and the changes that have arrived with it... but what will happen when the new and imrpoved Charlie takes the act to East Pneumonia Elementary???
Join Michigan's only illustrated family as they explore the follicular exploits of Team 132 and beyond! Visit www.theblockhams.com every day to follow the story and celebrate the phenomenon known throughout Schembechler Hall as #Flow.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs every Tuesday here at MGoBlog, and at least every
Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out our newest
feature, Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
Follow THE BLOCKHAMS™ on Twitter at @theblockhams.
And do not forget to LIKE THE BLOCKHAMS™ on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theblockhams. Hurry up, because new exclusive
Blockhams content is coming to Facebook and ONLY Facebook-- Visit now!
Finally, follow the one and only Ryan Van Bergen on Twitter at @VanBergen53.
*programming note, got busy during the holidays, sorry if anyone was looking for scouting reports. Things have slowed down now, so expect a Nebraska game wrap next week, or the week after, depending on if I feel like writing anything about the SEC non-championship exhibition game.
Winners find a way to win.
It started as a joke, but now no one can deny the awesome power that is Brady Hoke's magical golden poop. Everything he touches turns into roses. When he walks through a forest, flowers bloom in his wake. Youtube is sadly lacking in good golden poop videos, so a unicorn farting rainbows of destruction was the best I could find. I hope it's not too disturbing.
Our ND friends gave us the wonderfully self-fulfilling cliche' "Winners find a way to win, losers find a way to lose." But we'll just focus on the first half of that, and they can focus on the 2nd half, thank you very much.
Was Brady Hoke lucky that Tressel was caught lying? Maybe. Maybe he pulled a Peter Wiggin and dropped a few well placed emails. Was it luck when we fumbled on the 1 yard line against ND and Denard scooped and scored a walk in? Maybe. Maybe Hoke used his secret telekinesis.
I don't know, I don't care. At this point I'm just happy to be along for the ride.
But how else can you explain what happened?
How does a sure INT on a fake FG where no receivers went into pass patterns end up in the arms of the long snapper for a first down? How does what looks like a TD to 80% of the twitterverse get reversed in OT? How have all the great things that have happened this year happen to one team, in one year? It boggles the mind.
They say you make your own luck. They say that "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." But whether it's luck, or karmic retribution, or a secret plot by an undercover invisible agency from the future, it can't be sustained at this high of a level. So let's just enjoy it while we can.
On to the pics.
Al. Al? ALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!
This week's love-hate relationship status with Al Borges is .... .... Love? That's odd, because during the game there were times when the needle was strongly tilted towards hate. But after a second look at the game film, the final analysis, just like the outcome of the game, is slightly positive.
Much like the Iowa game, the lack of production on offense wasn't really his fault so much as it was a combination of a lack of execution, personnel limitations, and a darn good defense.
Oh sure, there's plenty of things he could have done better and a few stinkers that make you want to pull out your hair... hmmm....nevermind. And I'll get to those in a moment, but overall, we did what we've done all year. And many of the plays should have worked.
I mean, Molk getting injured and having this
happen on two consecutive plays to kill the first drive can't really be blamed on Al. Maybe it would have been better to go under center with the backup playing, but after we've been crying all year for more shotgun, you can understand why he didn't. Luckily Molk came back in, but wasn't at 100% which probably put a dent in our selection of play calls.
And give VT credit. They played a lot of Man-Free forcing Denard to make tough passes to the outside, which frankly, we all know is not his comfort zone.
Yes, the manball mentality is frustrating especially when VT is putting 9 men in the box.
(It's 8 because Denard going backwards is not a threat to run.) But it's there to setup big plays.
With both safeties up like this, the thing you have to do is make them pay for it.
But with two defenders beating their blockers, Denard has pressure right up in his face resulting in this jump pass.
It's not Al's fault that Denard threw to the wrong guy. Roundtree had a step on his man and Jr. was getting interfered with. Despite the interception, you can't argue that it wasn't the right play call.
[ED: More after the jump.]
According to Mike Barwis, the following Michigan seniors will conduct their pre-NFL draft training at Barwis Methods in Plymouth:
David Molk, Mike Martin, Kevin Koger, Ryan Van Bergen, and Steve Watson
This exchange occurred after I modified a tweet by Kyle Bogenschutz of GoBlueWolverine.com.
MGoShoe MT KyleBogie Dave Molk plans to train with Mike Barwis at @barwismethods in Plymouth when he begins preparation for the NFL combine/draftBarwisMethods MGoShoe KyleBogie He is a great young man. We will train Molk, Martin, Koger, VanBergan, and Watson. Great guys, nice to work with my boys
No doubt they will all be as prepared as possible for the combine and/or the Michigan scout day.
I'm curious what the board thinks of some of our seniors' draft potential, but specifically RVB. I know it seems that Molk is highly rated, even though he is a little undersized, and Martin is a beast, although a bit on the small side for a DT as well. But what about Van Bergen? I feel like he could be a very solid NFL defensive lineman. He's got the size (6'6", 288), I think it's apparent he's got the smarts (as evidenced by him talking about the decisions he and Mike make on the field), yet CBS Sports has him ranked as the #25 DE in this class (LINK). I'm just curious why. Compared to other, more highly-rated prospects on their list, he's definitely not under-sized. His 40-time is a little slower than some of the fastest guys there, but those guys don't have the size that he does, and does one-tenth of a second really make that much of a difference? I haven't read a scouting report on him, so I don't know much more than what I've observed the last few years, but I feel like he could be a Kyle Vanden Bosch-type defensive end (and not just because they both have Van in their last name). What say the rest of you?
Finally! No,... FINALLY!!!!!
So that game was closer than it should have been. Raise your hand if you think the replay official had taken Ohio against the spread. A touchdown would have made it a 10 point game with Michigan covering the 9 point spread. But let's bitch about that later.
10-2 with wins against ND and OSU! It's beyond all expectations. If we hadn't laid an egg at Iowa and gotten screwed by the refs that game, we'd be sitting with just one loss, 3 close wins, and 8 curb stompings. You could say that I'm sold on this coaching staff. I had no idea the coordinators and position coaches would be this good. We still have a lot of issues with our WLB and our secondary, but we're light years ahead of where we were last season.
On to the pics!
I have to give him credit for coming out with an aggressive gameplan that put a lot of pressure on Braxton Miller's arm and Posey's ability to get separation. It almost worked. But the punt from the 36 yard line was a pure Zookian moment.
It's 4th and 4, the game is a high scoring affair, you've been moving the ball pretty well with your mobile QB and there's a strong possibility that you'd only be gaining 16 yards with a punt anyway. There's no debate. This was a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE decision. Their punter did a good job executing the coffin corner kick, but that still doesn't justify the thought process.
Add that to Fickell's continued clock mismanagement, and I doubt you'll find a single bucknut fan who is sad to see him go (or demoted, or whatever). Not forcing a punt at the end of the first half was not that bad with a one point lead, but wasting 16 seconds for a 3rd down spike on the last drive was just awful. You could even hear Spielman rolling his eyes at that.
F* That guy
Miller is going to be a problem going forward. He fits "Urban Meyer's offense" as Spielman called it during the game (so much for the two weeks of pretense) almost perfectly. He doesn't throw a very accurate ball but *cough*tebow*cough* that doesn't mean he can't be successful in that offense.
It is interesting to note that Miller had 9 TD's and only 3 picks. Yeah, he didn't have many yards or attempts and was under 50% passing, but that's still pretty remarkable for a true freshman. He's been missing his receivers in safe ways and pulling it to run if the coverage doesn't look right. That's pretty good ball security for someone you'd expect to misread coverages due to inexperience.
He started out the game doing what we expected, we just weren't ready for his speed on the first couple of plays. On this 2nd and long, Ryan is blitzing from a walked off OLB spot.
But his path is a little too much to the outside. I know he's thinking about contain, but he's got to aim more directly at Boren and then use his arms to stay off the block.
Instead, he gets pushed outside and the tackle is free to release onto Demens.
Morgan has to do a better job of reading that lineman crossing the LOS and react quicker to Miller. Ryan would adjust later, but this gave them an important early 1st down.
Mattison really sold out on stopping the run and stopping Miller's scrambling. On Kovacs' delayed blitz, you can see we did a much better job of filling the running lanes on the rush. Morgan is playing spy (which was kind of useless...) and the D-line is free to shoot the gaps away from the blitzer.
But Miller is very elusive and showed great leg strength in getting away not only from Kovacs, but also RVB. Fortunately Demens and Martin have followed the play allowing Kovacs a second shot at the sack. Meanwhile, Morgan is .... well I think Ohio watched a lot of film on Morgan and decided to go after him all game.
Martin and RVB were great all day (of course), and they were twisting on most passing downs. This is a pretty good idea when the O-line you're facing is known to have communication problems. On this play RVB is supposed to go around Martin, but Brewster gives Martin a pretty good pop.
That's no problem for the two seniors, RVB just decides to go first and Martin swings around.
The center and guard are so concerned with Mike, they let VanBergen go free for the easy TFL.
Miller picked up 1st downs with his legs all day. The early bombs really messed with our gameplan and gave him more room to run. On this 3rd and long, we've got Kovacs in the box in our crazy lineup with all the guys on the line and different people dropping out. Because of the earlier passing success, three people are dropping into coverage, even though Ohio LOVES to call the QB draw in this situation.
The result is that Morgan got caught with his weight going the wrong direction and Miller galloped over Kovacs for a big gainer.
But I think Mattison just decided he wasn't going to let Boom Herron beat us. I think Herron ended up with less than 40 yards because of plays like this. Here we've got Kovacs coming off the receiver to run blitz.
And again you can see the linemen shooting gaps away from him.
Kovacs gets in there so fast that both Boren and Posey are blocking air. Jordan gets the TFL and the Ohio is stuck in another 3rd and long.
Miller ran the speed option a lot the last few games and that continued against us. On this touchdown, he cuts against the grain and makes Roh miss in space. Spielman was babbling about how great a play call this was and how it was a counter speed option.
I call bullshit. They definitely do have a counter speed option, but this play wasn't it. You can tell because Roh is unblocked. On the designed counter, the tackle engages the end and tries to seal him inside or kick him outside.
This looks more like improvisation by Miller. I think they just tell Posey to block on the backside like he means it on every play. They got a TD here simply on Miller's talent, not on any blocking scheme. You can see he takes a hard jabstep upfield that fools Roh just enough so that he can get outside.
After that he makes an amazing jumpcut and his momentum carries him into the endzone.
THIS is the counter speed option, except it's a playaction pass. The tip off that it's a pass is that Miller turns away from the LOS instead of going nose towards it.
It's a well designed play that turns into a rollout to the right. They've got three layers with a deep corner, the intermediate cross, and Stonebrunner is going to release into the flat. If the Defense over pursues the rollout, there's even a throwback available to Herron.
But Stonebrunner doesn't hold his block long enough or Miller doesn't get enough depth and Roh is right up in his face.
A more experienced QB might have tried to hit #11 who is open, but like I said before, Miller has been very safe with the ball. Morgan does a good job of knowing who he's playing against and comes up expecting the run instead of uselessly trailing the TE.
He was wide open though. And Denard made a similar play that turned a sack into a short gain. Maybe Miller will be making those plays in the years ahead. Guh.
I'm just glad we'll have Mattison. Because when push came to shove and we needed a stop on the goal-line in the 4th quarter, Mattison basically declared that Miller wasn't going to run the ball in. And credit Kovacs for picking up the TE on playaction so that Miller didn't have an easy throw.
F* this guy too
With only one game of film to watch, our DB's were not prepared for Posey's talent.
But after a couple of short passes to him, they were very concerned about his presence. A little too concerned.
If Gordon hadn't screwed the pooch on this, the ball was not well thrown and he could have given Brown a harder time catching it since Miller threw it to the wrong shoulder and brown had to turn around to find it.
I'm going to give our DB's a tiny little bit of slack in saying they haven't faced anyone with Posey's skill except for Michael Floyd. And they had a lot of safety help against Floyd that they didnt' get for this game. Posey is as close to Mario Mannigham that I've seen on an oposing team. He does a great job of getting on the DB's toes and making them turn their hips. But still...
Even though this is a triple move, (headfake outside, cut inside, cut outside)...
You can't let a guy get that wide open. Lucky for us this duck was overthrown.
If you're going to put 8 men in the box and play man up against the WR, then freaking play man up. Troy has Posey one on one, but because he's lined up so far back, there's no chance for him to make a play on anything but a fly.
This deep cross was not a fly.
And it didn't help that Posey turned Troy around with an outside fake. Amazingly, Miller hit him in stride (no it wasn't a tight spiral).
Posey did it to all three of our DB's (Kovacs was essentially a LB this game). On the last drive he turns around Floyd. J.T. was thinking about getting an interception, and we almost paid dearly for it.
We were about a yard and a half from being down by a point. There would have still been 1:30+ left on the clock, but I was pretty happy to see this ball hit the ground. Our offense was pretty good, and Denard was pretty accurate, but no offense to Gibbons, I'm glad we didn't have to drive for a winning field goal.
[hit the jump for the remainder]
I am off to celebrate, but just wanted to share the photos I took in the last five minutes and during the post-game pandemonium. Best day ever? Best day ever.
I have no recruiting news to report except they all looked very happy (we're not allowed to talk in the tunnel), Bri'onte Dunn included. Mike Martin, RVB, and Will Heininger all came back out of the locker room with their phones to take pictures with the fans still on the field—those are the last few blurry photos. Couldn't be happier for the team, and especially the seniors.
Go Blue. Celebrate safe tonight, everyone.
I spent yesterday putting together a highlight video for the 2011 defense, because hot damn, defense as good as ours deserves it. This is my first highlight video, so let me know what you think.
In full disclosure, you might get really pumped up and break anything red in your home.