Mailbag: Height As Destiny, Woodson v Floyd, OSU v M "Bronies"

Submitted by Brian on August 1st, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Hey Brian,

Sometimes I make my girlfriend read me MGoblog articles while I'm doing something else.  That way, she learns a little more about football, and I get to multitask.

Today when she was reading to me the Hello: Ross Douglas post, she came up with a pretty good question. She wanted to know: does Douglas project to nickle-corner, vs. boundary or field-corner only because of his size?  Her rationale was that with gurus praising his technique and reliability, but not labeling him a star because of his lack of big play risk-taking, wouldn't it serve better to put a CB who is more of a gunslinger risk-taker in the nickel role where he has safety help at all times, and line Douglas up outside at either field or boundary corner?

Don't worry, I know I have a keeper on my hands if she was able to come up with a question like that. :)

Thanks,
Alex

Size is a suggestive but not determining factor. When we do these things we're peering at the roster and seeing where player X fits in and trying to figure out how the coaches see their players, but often the coaches are surprised when the kid shows up and they figure out what they actually have. If Douglas is the best guy to play on the outside, he'll play on the outside.

With bigger and more touted corners in the same class it would be an upset if he's the guy tasked with running down the Michael Floyds of the world. Insert mental image of Boubacar Cissoko trying to do that here. Sometimes this happens: Desmond Morgan isn't the ideal size for WLB, Craig Roh is probably going to be a little light for SDE, etc. In an ideal world it seems like Michigan wants six-foot-plus guys on the outside.

That's easier said than done. Michigan is swinging for the fences with Conley and Stribling, hoping they can be 6'2" cover corners the NFL has a riot about. If that doesn't work out, Lewis and Douglas are less risky prospects with lower upside.

In re: wanting more of a gambler underneath with the solid and unspectacular guys outside: I don't think defensive coaches think like that. They give you an assignment and they want you to execute it, and not executing it is always very bad. If player X comes to college doing this thing a coach doesn't want, the coach will try to stop it. In Douglas's case that may be taking advantage of his athleticism and being more aggressive. In hypothetical gambler's case that would be not giving up big plays. Whether a corner is on the inside or outside, I bet they prefer the former.

Hey guys,

I'm watching the a rerun of Under the Lights game on ESPN and watching some highlights of the 97 defense on my computer…

…and I can't stop thinking about what would happen in a matchup between Floyd and Woodson. Woodson has the speed and size to keep up with Floyd but then again Floyd looks so much bigger and stronger than CW. I know it's a huge hypothetical but what do you think would happen there?

And what size should we be looking for at corner to stop big receivers like Floyd in the future?

Also, I notice Mattison has a tendency to slant the DL pretty often in the 97 highlights and honestly, it's working. Is this the style of slants Mattison we should expect to see this season?

Thanks for the time and Go Blue!
- AJ, UM 2014

Woodson took on a huge, elite outside receiver in 1997: David Boston. He is 6'2" and went 8th overall in the next NFL draft. Floyd is 6'3" and went 13th overall. Boston had a body-building/roid freakout at the next level, but in college he was at Floyd's level. What happened in the 1997 game between the two was one Woodson slip and fall leading to an OSU touchdown and nothing else. Michigan won with 189 yards of offense.

Woodson's gone on to prove himself an NFL hall of famer (7 times all pro). Let's not forget how ridiculously good he was and is. Woodson probably would have fared a little worse than he did in 1997 since the personnel surrounding him wouldn't have been as good, but you can pick a college receiver in the past 20 years and I'm taking Woodson and the points.

In re: cornerback size, see above. Woodson is listed at 6'1", and Michigan is hoping to put out a steady stream of 6-foot-ish cover corners. Again, easier said than done.

In re: DL slants. Yeah, one of the advantages of the under is that you can have the line go one way, drop the WDE into coverage, and send the SLB. By doing this you've flipped your defense at the snap, and this is often confusing to opposing OL. I don't think it'll be much of a problem for Bama and its veteran, All-American-laden line; others may have a bear of a time trying to figure out exactly who they're supposed to block on any given play.

The upside of having a couple of undersized guys at the five and three is that Michigan will be much better able to play games that shoot guys into the backfield unblocked. The downside is when that doesn't work and someone gets manhandled one-on-one. The linebackers are going to have to take on a lot of blocks this year.

If only.

I spotted this graffiti on the back of a stop sign near my office in Los Angeles. Could Taco Pants be considering a transfer to USC?

tacopantz

cheers,

Zach

A "these are my readers" moment.

A little something I made for you guys

UkocE[1]

Made it for my dad, who lurks on your blog. Thought I would share. You can use it if you like. There are definitely bronies reading the blog.

Cheers,

-Anonymous Brony

I have no idea.

Comments

stephenrjking

August 1st, 2012 at 12:43 PM ^

Woodson basically eliminated one side of the field for the entire year in '97. Northwestern didn't throw in his direction the entire game, until it was late and they were desperate. Woodson promptly intercepted the pass.

Big receivers often succeed because they have superior ball-in-air adjustment skills and pay less for mistakes because of their height. Note that Braylon Edwards destroyed MSU in '04 because he was much better adjusting to the ball than his defenders. When a rare true lock-down corner plays against such a receiver, his positioning cuts off that advantage. The only real advantage the tall receiver has in that scenario is that they can get the ball a bit higher, but throwing jump balls against lock-down corners is not a sustainable strategy. 

To see how this works now watch film of Darrell Revis. Like Woodson, he closes all of the "windows" that QBs want to throw to. 

Broken Brilliance

August 1st, 2012 at 10:40 PM ^

Word so far out of camp is that Chuck is moving to safety full time. In actuality, Charles hasn't played corner regularly in the three years that Capers has been the DC. He's been what many would describe as a rover,moving all over the field to disguise coverages and blitzes.

chitownblue2

August 1st, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

I generally have my wife conduct menial tasks for me, as they open up time for me to do my important things - but it's good, because maybe she'll learn something, you know?

Of course, I assume the letter is lie.

GoWings2008

August 1st, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

And by saying more than once that it "was her idea" to pose the question, he has an easy out if someone says, "Well, that's a DUMB question..." and he can claim it was all her.  BUT, if Brian replies with, "Hmmm, you pose an interesting question..." he could always respond with, "Well you know, I taught her everything she knows." 

Its a no-lose situation for him

bronxblue

August 1st, 2012 at 12:56 PM ^

 

Sometimes I make my girlfriend read me MGoblog articles while I'm doing something else. That way, she learns a little more about football, and I get to multitask.

+

There are definitely bronies reading the blog.

+

= Totally new outlook on the composition of the MGoCommunity.

chunkums

August 1st, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

Hey Brian,
Sometimes I make my [android voice app] read me MGoblog articles [in a woman's voice] while I'm doing something else [such as weeping about being a fat and smelly virgin with a neck beard]. That way,[I can pretend I have a girlfriend].

Today when she [I call my phone a she, lol] was reading to me the Hello: Ross Douglas post, she came up with a pretty good question. She wanted to know: does Douglas project to nickle-corner, vs. boundary or field-corner only because of his size? Her rationale was that with gurus praising his technique and reliability, but not labeling him a star because of his lack of big play risk-taking, wouldn't it serve better to put a CB who is more of a gunslinger risk-taker in the nickel role where he has safety help at all times, and line Douglas up outside at either field or boundary corner?

Don't worry, I know I have a keeper [in my pocket] if she was able to come up with a question like that. :)
Thanks,
Alex

WolvinLA2

August 1st, 2012 at 2:19 PM ^

Agreed, and no disrespect to Woodson, I just think that when you have a WR and a CB of equal quality, the WR wins, based on the nature of the game. Woodson shut down Boston because whereas Boston was a very good WR, Woodson was a once in a generation CB. David Boston was more of a Leon Hall or Marlin Jackson level WR, not Woodson level. Fact is, there just aren't many Woodson level WRs. CJ would qualify, though.

Benoit Balls

August 1st, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

if we are talking about recievers "in college" then you have to consider CJ with what he had at QB at Georgia Tech. They had CJ and still ran the option. No option QB ever could beat Charles Woodson. They'd be afraid to throw the ball on his side of the field.

In my lifetime, its Mr. Woodson and Deion Sanders, in some order. Champ Bailey is up there, but I hope as time goes by those who called him the best CB in the NFL since 1998 realize how mistaken they are.

Oh, and this-

 

bronxblue

August 1st, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

I can't think of a covercorner with the size, speed, and technique to really "shut down" Johnson without help.  Deion was too small and would have trouble disrupting Johnson off the line, Lott is my height and was a thumper-sort in his day but is relatively average by today's standards, Green was all speed but could get pushed around, and Rod Woodson played on such good defenses that it's difficult to divorce his own greatness from some of those Pittsburgh and Ravens teams. 

I mean, Jerry Rice was never really shut down, and Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss were only shut down by age and temperment.  Heck, even T.O. was pretty unstoppable a couple of years ago.  Johnson is at least as gifted as all but Rice, and seems to be coming into his own.  So yeah, as much as I love Charles, I have a hard time there is a corner in history who could shut down Johnson one-on-one.

M-Wolverine

August 1st, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

you're playing under. It's hard to stop any receiver nowadays because you basically can't do anything to them till they touch the ball. It's almost closer to arena football than what most of those defenders played under. Consistently you're going to have a hard time stopping any great player. But I'm not exactly ready to make Calvin Johnson the best receiver of all time yet either.

bronxblue

August 1st, 2012 at 9:57 PM ^

This I agree with.  In the current era, guys like Brett Periman and Carl Pickens would be equally hard to stop.  And I would never designate Johnson as the greatest WR in history - that will always be Rice to me, and I'm not sure Johnson will ever be better than Randy Moss, who is probably the second/third best in this era depending on how you feel about T.O.  And years ago, he'd have been horsecollared a couple of times and that would be it.  But with the current rules and his numbers, I just don't know who could stop him one-on-one.  I mean, this guy destroyed some pretty decent corners in college with freaking Reggie Ball duck-bombing him passes.