A Grim Start

Submitted by Brian on August 11th, 2010 at 12:20 PM

092609_SPT_UN v IU_MRMIt's a plot device so well-worn it's hackneyed in even real life: kid on team mouths off publicly about something or another. The coach threatens castration privately; publicly he downplays the loose lips and denies the veracity of whatever claim has got the media atwitter. Hugs are shared, unity declared, and the incident forgotten.

So when Troy Woolfolk sort of called Tate Forcier a leper, but not really, to the point where he had to issue a twitter retraction, Rodriguez immediately leapt to his quarterback's defense:

"I'm glad our seniors are taking some ownership and leadership in this team. They want everyone to work as hard as they have."

And by "leapt to his quarterback's defense" I mean "obliquely agreed with Woolfolk." That's the blockquote equivalent of scratching a record, especially since he followed that up with "Tate has a lot of work to do to prove himself, and not just on the field but off the field" and deviated from his years-long obsession with finding "two guys you can win with" at quarterback, instead suggesting that if someone separates himself from the rest of the competition he will be The Guy. So much for this blog's Tate/Denard QB Voltron fever dreams, I guess.

Having one half of your hopes for a competent non-freshman quarterback damaged by that guy's seeming disinterest is bad. Worse: Rodriguez was moved to publicly declare a "handful" of players "not ready to play Division 1 football" after the first day of practice. The identities of the folk in this handful are largely unknown—please no corners please no corners—but today's premium internet chatter fingers Justin Turner—GODDAMMIT—as the most prominent member of the group. [Update: Greg Robinson on Turner: "I don't know what's going on there."] The trepidation that's built up the last year as Turner first failed to crack the worst Michigan secondary ever and then failed to beat out a guy who lost his spot in the worst Michigan secondary ever has now broken through the last frayed tendrils of hope born of his recruiting rankings; he's now solidly en route to epic bust status. "Dann O'Neill or Shawn Crable?" is a much less pleasant question to answer than "Charles Woodson or just Marlin Jackson?"

With Turner apparently 0/2 when it comes to showing up to camp with the ability to outrun Rod Smith, Michigan's corner depth chart now looks like this:

  1. Troy Woolfolk and JT Floyd
  2. Freshmen
  3. Doom

If you're looking for damage mitigation, cornerback is a spot at which a freshman can hypothetically cope, but after so much hammering to one position group something's got to give touchdowns in bunches.

And since today's Turner PANIC is late-breaking, it doesn't even figure in Doctor Saturday's fair and totally depressing evaluation of the state of Michigan's defense:

michigan-d-2000s So… yeah. The feeling today is a grim one.



August 11th, 2010 at 12:29 PM ^

Well shit. Turner's really still a freshman, so that gives me some hope. But again, this is the worst secondary Michigan has had in a very long time. Hopefully he stays, gets in shape, and takes a spot on the first team later this season. We can't afford to have our best guy in a class be a bust. The same goes for Mr. Campbell. I'm much more optimistic about him, but he needs to be in shape. Hopefully some of our lesser rated guys can step it up.


August 11th, 2010 at 12:27 PM ^

Though it doesn't look good at moment, JT Turner may or may not live up to the hype, here or elsewhere, but one thing is for sure--he certainly can throw 5 star worthy dong punches!


August 11th, 2010 at 12:32 PM ^

...at his just completed presser, GERG never mentioned the word "transfer."

varsityblue Robinson on JT Turner: "I don't know what's going on there." Maybe there's something to transfer rumors?

mikerothstein Robinson didn't say transfer. That's background provided by me. Said when asked about Turner "he needs to get on the field first."

MVictors @varsityblue re: Turner, hopefully Ablauf will clarify that comment and gaze.

I'm sure Tim will have more very soon.


August 11th, 2010 at 12:40 PM ^

Sure, would prefer we not to lose a top recruit at a position of need.  That said, if he's showing up out of shape, doesn't want to put in the work and can't beat out the current starters (whoever they may be), I don't know how much we're losing here.  Without a work ethic and/or a desire to compete, not sure he would be a world beater for us anyway. 

E.L. blue fan

August 11th, 2010 at 12:31 PM ^

Didn't Floyd only lose his job because he was injured and then he came back and did pretty well against Ohio State? Or is that just my mind modifying my recollection of history so that I think there is some glimmer of hope for the secondary next year? 


August 11th, 2010 at 12:33 PM ^

assessment will find it hard to imagine any remotely competent Michigan outfit giving up an Indiana-like 33 points per game in Big Ten play for the third year in a row."

We'll be better.  I'm not going to let even Brian dampen my August enthusiasm. 


August 11th, 2010 at 12:34 PM ^

This is some clever ploy by the coaching staff to use Angry Michigan Motivational God and appease Angry Michigan Secondary Hating God... and light a fire under the ass of Turner to bring out his full potential...

...these are the types of things I think about in August while at work so I don't go insane with all this news...


August 11th, 2010 at 12:34 PM ^

is not a word I like hearing, but its probably aprapos.  Even NFL-caliber studs like Woodson and Jackson struggled against good teams when they were true freshman.  The most optimistic view possible for a true freshman starting at CB is "not terrible against bad teams".


August 11th, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

I saw the headline and then the picture and immediately thought Tate got injured... heart fell through my shoes. Although with the issues surrounding his situation, things are looking a bit grim indeed, not to mention Justin Turner's ongoing motivation issues. Damn it, this is the time of the year for optimism. Hopefully there will be more time for that later in the year... 


August 11th, 2010 at 12:43 PM ^

Given the developing Turner news, I am trying to determine the impact that this will have on the upcoming season.  Assuming that T-Wolf is our "lock down corner" who will be tasked with shutting down opposing teams' top receivers, this will hurt us the most against teams that have multiple good receivers.  If we face teams with average receivers, our incoming freshman may be able to be servicable options.  If, however, we face teams with multiple good receivers (see ND last year), our young corners will struggle. 

So, based upon our schedule, other than OSU, who do we face with multiple strong receivers?


August 11th, 2010 at 12:43 PM ^

What we're concerned about is losing potential. Turner, for whatever reason, had failed to show so far that he was going to be an impact player at any time soon. Losing a good-quality starter is another thing entirely. It's bizarre, since there can't be many programs in the country with greater opportunity for young DBs than Michigan. Those who stay....


August 11th, 2010 at 12:49 PM ^

All I wanted was warm bodies on the depth chart.  While he wasnt going to play meaningful minutes it was still good to have him there just in case....

Michigan football continues to ruin my life.


August 11th, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

While this sucks, that just means that Big Will, RVB, Martin, Death Roh, Mouton, Ezeh, and the backups will have to really bring it this year to give the shallow secondary a better chance. I agree with above posts though, he was unproven so we don't know what we lost. All we can do is stay optimistic and get prepared for Sept. 4. GO BLUE!


August 11th, 2010 at 12:59 PM ^

here is some perspective.  It is likely that JT Turner is either transfering, or is just not good and will not be a contributor to the secondary.  That being said, "a handful of players not ready to play D1 football" could very well be vague-polite coach speak for "JT Turner isn't good so expect some news there" or it could mean that many of our freshman who we didn't think were ready to play are in fact not ready to play, in either case, the sum total is that we found out today that a guy we had very serious doubts about given last year in fact is very unlikely to contribute.  This does suck, but it is not related to the Quarterback situation, where Tate not improving and growing can easily mean that D Robinson is just a lot better for this offense and just needed some time (that Tate already had) to grasp it.

All in all, Turner is bad news, but some shoes are going to drop.  OK, cornerback was not ideal, but did anybody really think that Turner was lock-down in the making. 

The ship is still on-course, just a little wave to contend with.

Icehole Woody

August 11th, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

What is the point of Doctor Saturday's evaluation?  It tells us that Michigan's defense was totally shitty last year and in 2008.  We already know that.   We all know about the problems at LB and DB last year.  We know Michigan's defense is short on depth.  What we don't know is how the players and coaches will turn this around this year.  Doctor Saturday's review is just a rehash of Chicken Little.



August 11th, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

Hinton's bread and butter is pretty much stealing his humor from Spencer Hall and linking to various write ups by local bloggers.  He's basically an aggregator.  I've never seen him really generate his own content, just link to and paraphrase Smart Football articles, etc.


August 11th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

Pointless to us, perhaps, who follow Michigan Football regularly. Dr Saturday, however, writes for a national audience that may not be clued in to the minutia of Michigan's fall from perennial defensive power to Big Ten cellar. My impression is this was written to fill in the blanks for people who don't follow us regularly and might be curious why our defense has fallen the way it has. I think this is about as fair and balanced a report as we can hope for (as opposed to the standard mainstream media reports, which tend to sound something like "blah blah Rich Rod blah blah lots of talent blah but they still suck why is that blah *thinly veiled insinuation that RR can't cut it in the Big Ten* blah blah).


August 11th, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

Has anyone considered switching Tacopants to corner? Moundros saw a need and volunteered his services at LB. I just wonder about Tacopants' commitment to the team - he gets a lot of balls on O and has ungodly range. Think of the team, Tacopants, the team!

Blue in Seattle

August 11th, 2010 at 1:36 PM ^

between Turner and Floyd.  Too many J's and T's fogged my brain.

But based on the emotional response in the comments I thought we lost our starting corner back, not the back up.  This certainly is a loss of a scholarship for the moment, but this is football, not checkers.  It requires quite a bit of work, it's the first time 18 year olds are separated from everything they used to know, and sometimes it doesn't work out.

Ok, back to the pulling of hair and rending of clothes, 23 days to go.