27 Tickets To Team 135: Post-Spring Edition

Submitted by Brian on April 8th, 2014 at 11:51 AM

What is this? Folks who cover the USMNT drop lists like this projecting the 23 guys who end up on the next World Cup team. I have appropriated it. Regarding the number of tickets: 22 starters on offense and defense + 2 kickers + nickelback + FLEX TE  + fullback.

THIS IS THE POST-SPRING UPDATE: changes! More than I'd like, actually. We've shifted some positions around with the over move and tried to pick through spring hype versus spring hope. Also "he played for 'Bama" hype versus hope.

PACK YOUR BAGS

bilde[1]1. QB Devin Gardner, Sr.* [Last time: 1]

No. No, there is not a quarterback controversy or competition or anything of the sort. No, the spring game means nothing in this regard. For the love of pants, please stop talking about this.

Jake-Ryan[1]2. MLB Jake Ryan, Sr.* [ Last time: 2]

Shift to over defense kind of makes Ryan a man without a country, so they're going to try to make his country MLB. Skepticism severe around these parts, but that doesn't mean he's going to drop out of the starting lineup. Worst case he ends up playing SAM or DE or something. He'll be on the field. Possibly wondering what he should be doing.

funchess-um-football-game[1]3. WR Devin Funchess, Jr. [Last time: 3]

Spring start was no surprise. Has been officially confirmed a wide receiver forever and ever amen. Matchup nightmare should be frequent motion guy to discombobulate defenses, leap over them to make catches, possibly wiggle a bit in endzone. Fade this man, please. I mean seriously throw him a fade like every sixth play.

Ld4vH[1]4. S Jarrod Wilson, Jr. [Last time: 4]

One look at the depth chart is enough to tell you he was too low last time. Michigan's only experienced safety, only upperclass safety, only guy who stayed back for most of the spring game as others were tasked with SS duties. He's going to start.

BFrajY8CUAAI2Uf11175. WDE Frank Clark, Sr. [Last time: 7]

Surprising second-team ABT selection last year did round into a pretty good player by year's end. Much better against the run and capable of providing some pass rush, which was more than anyone else could say. On the cusp of serious breakout.

image6. WLB Desmond Morgan, Sr. [Last time: 5]

I'm sticking to my guns. Morgan is the QB of the defense, hits harder than any other LB, and saved M's ass with the athletic INT pictured against UConn. Easily capable of moving to the over's WLB slot, which features a lot of head-banging against Gs. Ignore spring depth. Morgan starts.

bilde[2]7. SAM James Ross, Jr. [Last time: 6]

Slides to Stevie Brown-style space SAM that operates as quasi-nickel at times. May or may not be well-suited to that, but with line looking like penetrators instead of space eaters that move seems good for him. Gets swallowed by Gs; makes quick reads.

UNLESS SOMETHING STRANGE HAPPENS

13350471-standard[1]8. SDE Brennen Beyer, Sr. [Last time: 9]

Where he needs to be technically, now needs weight. Won't star, but pressure from behind is not severe. M moved Taco Charlton to this spot, which is odd, and moved Keith Heitzman away from it. Hopes to end his career Craig Roh 2.0. Over SDE less of a DT than under, so that helps.

9856114085_66cdeac232_b[1]9. FLEX Jake Butt, So. [Last time: 10]

Tore ACL but word is that he's going to be back after a few games so we'll leave him here, and leave him high because no one else is going to be able to do the things he can. Capable receiver was also best inline blocker for M last year despite being 230 pound freshman; stardom beckons if the knee is all right.

Willie Henry Michigan v Connecticut GVJN3qglVSsl[1]10. NT Willie Henry, So.* [Last time: 11]

Pipkins injury forced move to nose tackle, where he languishes on fake spring depth chart. That gets five fakes out of five from this site. Hugely strong; get a sword of Pad Level +5 and he will star. Heavy rotation likely to feature Henry first off, move into Pipkins and Bryan Mone.

wile_thumb[1]11. K Matt Wile, Sr. [Last Time: 12]

Gibbons graduates, leaving Wile the presumed starter at kicker. Has a bigger leg; does not have a track record of being automatic from within 42 yards give or take a shaky four-game sequence in his senior year. Will also handle kickoffs and at least pooch punting.

gif_74x89_07ca6112. SLOT Dennis Norfleet, Jr. [Last Time: 13]

You have one job, Doug Nussmeier. Okay you've got like 50, but one of those jobs is to get to ball to this dude in space and see what happens. Was targeted on wheel route in spring game, which is fine, but seriously just try to get some cheap yards here.

FAIRLY SAFE BET

10226222015_d3e1456eb3_b[1]13. CB Blake Countess, Jr* [Last time: 4]

Welcome to cornerback row. Generally the further down you get here the more nervous you are about the slot; in this situation it is the opposite: Michigan has so many good options that this space has bumped Jabrill Peppers in favor of…

13656129695_fbdf006687_z (1)14. NICKEL Jourdan Lewis, So. [Last time: NR]

…the sticky-fingered sophomore who started over Countess and picked off a couple passes in the spring game. Lewis was right there as a freshman and any increment was going to make him good; now suited to Michigan's press style he demands playing time, possibly from…

raymon-taylor-pick-thumb-646x429-122643[1]15. CB Raymon Taylor, Sr. [Last time: 14]

…a guy who has started for two years and turned in a number of big plays a year ago. Taylor seems most vulnerable because he has not played nickel; realistically everyone gets playing time. Oh, and Peppers. Can he play OL?

glasgow-cat-sweater[1]16. G Graham Glasgow, Jr* [Last time: 16]

Will miss opener after offseason driving incident. Was most recently playing RT(!), which says that Michigan is open to moving him around what with this Chad Lindsay fellow maybe arriving. Showed ability to play G last year; will be on field, but where is unknown.

385446_3012007678845_1455385026_n1_thumb[1]17. T Erik Magnuson, So.* [Last time: 17]

Spring absence did nothing to upset presumed death lock on left tackle job since by the spring scrimmage his replacement was true freshman Mason Cole. Hopefully can get up to 300 or so pounds despite the injury; M needs more POWER anywhere they can get it.

asoi[1]18. C Chad Lindsay, Sr.* [Last time: at Alabama]

Visited for spring, saw… that, has ton of experience with Nussmeier, started four games for 'Bama last year. Hard to say a fifth-year transfer is a lock, but… uh… he's not coming here to play cribbage. Unless he thinks that would help.

ICdzU[1]19. P Will Hagerup, Sr.* [Last time: 27]

Still on pace to return this fall so we're moving him up from the bottom. This is so the bottom can be, like, all offensive linemen. Because that is both objective and emotional reality. Anyway, Hagerup is once again booming punts off the Glick ceiling because he has a massive leg cannon. Consistency, as always, is the bugaboo.

IN A BATTLE

13654644975_62cfc6c5aa_z20. WR Freddy Canteen, Fr. [Last time: NR]

Avalanche of spring hype offset by fact he still has no idea what to do; EE helpful in that regard. Jungle beats. Quick feet, quick hands, quick person. Jungle beats. Manningham 2.0? Let's hope so. Passed Chesson to start spring but still has to hold both him and Amara Darboh off; blocking could be an issue for wisp-thin FR.

13655945333_633d3f19ec_b21. 3TECH Maurice Hurst, Fr*. [Last time: NR]

More prominent than Wormley/Strobel in spring, so let's give him the tentative nod in a platoon situation. Has been getting way more insider buzz than either competitor thanks to Mike Martin-esque first step; at three tech can go one on one more often.

heitzman22. TE Keith Heitzman, Jr.* [Last time: NR]

Moved immediately after bowl game and had apparently passed AJ Williams by spring. If he can block adequately will be large upgrade on that position's production from last year. Probably not useful in the receiving game; Michigan doesn't need him to be.

10132012_spt_um_illinois_football_djb_1198[1] 23. RB Justice Hayes, Jr. [Last time: NR]

Hayes leaps into this spot after taking the first and most effective snaps in the spring scrimmage. Sometimes running back is about more than who has the tree-trunkiest thighs. Ask Mike Hart. (Actually, don't. Thighs for days.) Catching out of backfield a strength Nussmeier might use.

UM-scrimmage-Cleary-Clark[1]24. S Jeremy Clark, So.* [Last time: 23]

Still giving Clark the spot here but by this point these are the spots on the depth chart at which the coaches could tell you honestly that they have no idea. Clark, Dymonte Thomas, and Hill are all in the mix, as they say, and no one has tried to climb out of the bowl yet.

Joe Kerridge in action during Michigan's annual Spring Football Game at Michigan Stadium, Saturday, April 15th. 25. FB/HB Joe Kerridge, Jr.* [Last Time: 24]

At this point Kerridge is a placeholder for what will be a diverse array of FB/HB back types ranging from pure FB Kerridge to FB/RB Shallman to FB/TE Hill, and then there's Sione Houma, who's kind of all of that plus amazing hair.

11290091[1]26. T Ben Braden, So.* [Last time: 26]

Still the presumed starter at right tackle but presence of Glasgow outside hints that Michigan may be looking at other options. Was too slow-footed to play guard; can he hold up in pass protection well enough to play tackle? Enormousness makes you hope so. Road grader if he works out.

7879940[1]27. G Kyle Bosch, So. [Last time: 25]

Under assumption that Lindsay comes in, Glasgow displaces one of Braden/Bosch/Kalis. Random guess here is that it's Kalis because Bosch should improve more as younger guy but your guess is as good as mine. So is Hoke's.

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

PUSHING FROM BEHIND

QB Shane Morris—Hosing hoser has cannon, occasionally uses it to throw things directly to Jourdan Lewis.
QB Wilton Speight—Navarre type wobbly in spring.

RB DeVeon Smith—occasionally looks like a promising grinder.
RB Derrick Green—lost the weight; had a nice bounce in spring game.
RB Drake Johnson—still recovering from ACL tear.

C Jack Miller—veteran presence provides options.
C Patrick Kugler—still behind Miller in spring.
G Kyle Kalis—battle for starting job will go to opening day.
G David Dawson—practiced at both tackle spots since arrival, now at guard. Likely to be one of top options should Michigan turn to bench.
T Logan Tuley-Tillman—looks part; still needs time to act it.
T Mason Cole—good for Cole that he was so prominent in spring as FR; bad for Michigan.

WR Jehu Chesson—had some promise in freshman season; punishing blocker for size.
WR Amara Darboh—still recovering from foot issue.
WR DaMario Jones—could push for some PT in slot.

NT Ondre Pipkins—hyped recruit got ACL tear at worst possible time. Could push through Henry. NT is platoon city, so not a huge distinction.
NT Bryan Mone—I've been waiting for a large Tongan DL my whole life.
SDE Henry Poggi—SDE now, still needs some time.
SDE Taco Charlton—Still adapting to new spot.
3T Tom Strobel—assume he plays SDE this year; buried as a 3T.
3T Chris Wormley—will at least platoon.
WDE Mario Ojemudia—will spot Clark.

SAM Royce Jenkins-Stone—over move very good for him as it makes his size an asset.
SAM Allen Gant—ditto Gant.
WLB Joe Bolden—nominal starter next to Ryan in spring, but has to hit/cover someone to hold that distinction.
WLB Ben Gedeon—freak athlete had some playing time late in the season.

CB Jabrill Peppers—you may have heard of this dude.
CB Channing Stribling—will be good if he just stops phasing out.
S Delano Hill—strong safety type has hitter's reputation, may be good fit w/ Wilson.
S Dymonte Thomas—burned redshirt to block that one punt; still raw.

Comments

eth2

April 8th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

Have to admit, I am surprised by this. Before Spring, I presumed Green. After, based on what I read/heard, Smith sounded like the #1.

GoBLUinTX

April 8th, 2014 at 1:09 PM ^

between Hayes and Smith.  I think everyone agrees that Hayes saw the holes early and hit them the quickest, but Smith was no slouch.  Hayes has the breakaway speed, as we saw him turn the corner.  OTOH, Smith apparently has developed a granny gear that allows him to keep moving the pile while carrying a couple of linebackers and the occasional DE.  When Smith isn't grinding out yards, given a hole, he also has enough speed to turn 1st and ten into 1st and ten.

Hannibal.

April 8th, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

Smith runs with more authority.  Green still went down too easy in the spring game.  The offseason improvement that he supposedly made to separate himself from the rest of the pack was not evident this past Saturday.

Mr. Yost

April 8th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

I think you talk QB controversy more than anyone on this board...I think we all agree with you. Hoke gon Hoke, it's okay man.

Now that doesn't mean we believe Devin is any better than last year, Morris didn't get better this offseason or Devin can't be replaced (unlike last year until the injury). But Devin is and will be the starter until he starts filling the W/L column, that's a given.

 

mgobaran

April 8th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

Outside of this blog/board, literally everyone is reporting (write like they actually believe) that the QB spot is open for business. 

When an article headline is "Shaky Performance by Gardner Leaves QB Battle Wide Open" then people truely believe that crap. When people Google "Is Shane Morris going to start for Michigan" the response people need to find is NO NO NO NO NO!

Brian is just doing his part to make sure that is the case.

Rabbit21

April 8th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

Agreed,  I have had FAR too many conversations with friends who are all adamant that Gardner's time has passed and they need Morris to start as he is THE FUTURE.  Appeals to logic such as, Morris' play hasn't been all that impressive yet, Gardner has a ton of talent and has delivered in some big moments when he has had something resembling an O-Line.  Have done nothing against this.  I full support Brian bringing this issue up constantly as I just don't understand why people are so fascinated by starting a guy who hasn;t proven anything over a good, if sometimes frustrating 5th year senior.

ssuarez

April 8th, 2014 at 1:21 PM ^

A majority of the people in my section at the 2011 Ohio game were thoroghly convinced that Devin should be starting over Denard, because you know, he does all of the things that Denard couldn't do...

I'm not sure if all fan bases are as critical of their QBs as we are, but the Denard hating always killed me. (Him being my favorite athlete of all time). 

CriticalFan

April 8th, 2014 at 10:44 PM ^

When I had student tickets, there were bros in my section yelling at Carr to put in Jason Kapsner over Tom frickin Brady AND Drew Henson.

The Coner phenomenon is an example of this, too.

CriticalFan

April 8th, 2014 at 10:44 PM ^

When I had student tickets, there were bros in my section yelling at Carr to put in Jason Kapsner over Tom frickin Brady AND Drew Henson.

The Coner phenomenon is an example of this, too.

MGoCombs

April 8th, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

I don't live in Michigan anymore, and have only had a couple of conversations on the topic of Michigan football with my friends back home. Is it really that much chatter? From a distance, it still seems absurd to me that anyone other than Gardner would start, but folks back home seem to think this is a coin toss, at least given the talk on the subject. Is this a talk radio effect? Boredom?

JTrain

April 8th, 2014 at 2:57 PM ^

In reality....it's really hard to judge any qb that played for us last year when our Oline was KILLING every other play. Not trying to dog the young guys. I know they were trying but, I'm guessing if you were the qb and got jumped on 10 times a game by big ten linemen and linebackers it may affect your ability to throw....and think straight in the heat of the moment. Not to mention every team in the B1G Ten knew we weren't going to be able to hand the ball off to a RB and gain an inch let alone a yard.

It would be one thing if Peyton manning was backing gardener up but he's not (and based on the coach-speak...Morris has a great arm but is FAR from ready).

FreddieMercuryHayes

April 8th, 2014 at 1:50 PM ^

I think Brian has the wrong QB controversy.  It's clear to anybody with eyes that Gardner is not a QB, but rather a punter.  Have you seen Gardner shank a punt?  I thought not.  He should be starting over Wile and Hagerup.  On the same token, it's Speight that should be the starting QB.  Unlike those other jokers at QB, Speight hasn't even thown and interception yet!  Why the hell isn't he starting?!  We need to cut down on the TOs and get a real QB back there in order to be successful.

turd ferguson

April 8th, 2014 at 1:38 PM ^

Then a seriously sad state of affairs for Oklahoma, too, right?  And how about for all of the schools that would want Mr. Lindsay but aren't even being considered?

Plus, it's not like Louisville has been Eastern Michigan lately.

I boo your comment.

WolvinLA2

April 8th, 2014 at 12:57 PM ^

This is true.  It seems like a minor thing to people who don't know, but it's not.  It's like calling a Guatemalan a Salvadorean, or vice versa. Or calling either of them Mexican.  

Think of it like someone from the coasts saying "Eh, MIchigan, Ohio, same thing." NOPE! Chuck Testa.

ontarioblue

April 8th, 2014 at 12:23 PM ^

Glad to see the Oline and the running backs so far down your list.  Our problems from last year seem to be addressed.  It is going to be another long year if this list holds up.

Erik_in_Dayton

April 8th, 2014 at 12:32 PM ^

These guys haven't had Nuss as OC for long, so some confusion is understandable at this point, and it's accordingly realistic to think that they'll have room to improve in the summer/fall camp.  They may also have been playing without two starters in Magnuson and (knock on wood) Lindsay.  Lindsay could make a big impact in getting everyone on the same page as a center with multiple years of experience w/ Nuss.

 

dragonchild

April 8th, 2014 at 1:12 PM ^

The obvious downside is that O-line is young AND thin.  Thin, because we have like a small army of O-linemen and darn near none of them are ready.  Having said that, this team has two key differences over last year:

1) The defense is more experienced.  It's basically the same guys as last year with much less of the rawness that necessitated soft coverages.

2) The O-line scheme is simplified.  This will make the offense raw AND predictable at first, but more likely to incrementally improve over the season compared to Borges' recipe of switching menus every time the meat was undercooked.  By midseason they should be reacting to defenses with, "Yeah, we've seen this before."

The most experienced position last year was WR and we're stocked there.  We can't replace Gallon or Dileo, but you never actually replace a player.  What you do is restructure your offense to the guys you have, and in that context WR is fine.

I honestly don't get why Brian is so paranoid about JMFR's move to MLB; yes it's a change but he's the team's playmaker and at SLB he's too easy to option off.  It also is pessimistic of JMFR's ability to learn a new position (other guys who moved around seemed to do OK) and also kind of assumes they're making no other changes.

That's a bad habit I see around here -- everyone assumes the coaches always change ONE THING and that makes everything fall apart.  They didn't move JMFR and switch to an over defense in two different reality bubbles.  The two changes work in concert, and this isn't to say that they aren't going to try to use his best qualities anyway.  Some teams coach their linebackers to be aggressive; it can get them burned over the middle but just because Mattison's 4-3 under called for read-and-react from the MLB doesn't mean the plan is to make JMFR passive.  Look at how ND utilized T'eo.

MVictors97

April 8th, 2014 at 2:48 PM ^

I re watched almost all the run plays. And I don't think its as bad as people think. They still have a lot of work to do but I actually saw some nice things across the board. It only takes one missed assigment, blown block, or bad read by RB to kill these plays. And most of the bad plays were just one of these things. I know people are sick of hearing that but its true.

Most of the bad plays were 2-3 yard gains and not  2 yard losses. So they did a better job of securing their initial assigment at the LOS. From there I saw some confusion on combo blocks, a bad read by a back, and not finishing blocks. These stopped a lot plays at 3 yards but you could see it had big potential.

Cole held his own but Magnuson will be an upgrade for sure. LTT did a nice job on zone combos getting to level 2. He also showed nice footwork sealing the backside on power.

Bosch and Kalis did some really nice things and each had 1 or 2 duh moments. Bosch whiffed on a LB bad. Kalis burried his head in the combo and let Ryan run thru un touched. Both got a little lazy with their steps at times on zone. But both also showed some really nice feet and leverage against a slanting defender a few times. I remember Kalis doing a real nice job against Mone. Bosch had a nice pull on one of the succesful power plays. Dawson had a rough day. He was slow with his zone step against the slanting lineman and constantly gave penetration on his playside gap. He missed a LB on a power play that would have been a 50 yard TD had he picked him up.

Miller did a pretty nice job for the most part. One zone play he got to the playside shoulder of the nose and sealed him off with no help.  Kugler didn't embarass himself either.

Braden and Glasgow were pretty even but I'd give the slight edge to Glasgow as one time Braden blantantly went the wrong way and caused a TFL. Another time I couldn't tell if him or Kalis messed up but he left his man early and Kalis was already gone to the LB. But when Braden did know what he was doing he wasn't bad. Glasgow didnt seem to have any mental errors.

Obviously as I said this is just run plays. So its only half the equation. But after a second watch I came away feeling better than the first time I saw it on Saturday. Also consider how vanilla the offense was. That put them at a disadvantage as well.

alum96

April 8th, 2014 at 12:26 PM ^

Hope that by game 3 this combination moves into the top 27

  • Smith OR Green  (reliant on OL to be some level above frightening)
  • Wormley (made splash plays in limited time)
  • Thomas (no longer have high hopes though at least for this year)
  • Gedeon  (teased us very late last year)
  • Kalis (yes still young but 5 star all everything - MSU had a no star at left tackle from the same 2012 class win freshman All American)
  • Darboh OR Jones
  • Charlton

This line is a bit hilarious "it's Kalis because Bosch should improve more as younger guy but your guess is as good as mine"

Says a lot about (a) how quickly Kalis stock has dropped from when he arrived and (b) I know you used youngER but says something when RS SO is not a younger guy on the OL.

Snow Sucks

April 8th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

I was perusing 11W and, of course, there was a thread about Michigan's spring game, but some of the posters said DG should just be a WR instead and they should develop Shane. Well, one problem with that. DG is a fucking QB. I think Michigan haters only look at the INTs that he had last year and fail to look at his other (pretty good) stats. It isn't like he lost all of those games for Michigan. The defense didn't help in some games.

Also, regarding Shane, they ARE developing him. He likely still isn't anywhere near being ready to start. He should be in 2015 though, assuming the coaches do their jobs and Shane learns, which I assume will happen. You can't replace a RS senior QB with a sophomore, unless said RS senior is bad, which isn't the case for Gardner.