Mailbag: NCAA Reform #1, DL Moves, Coaching Evaluation, Bo Pelini's Secret Twin Comment Count

Brian September 24th, 2013 at 10:55 AM

jerry-maguire[1]md19[1]

SHOW ME THE HENRY

How to resolve the NCAA being terrible thing.

Brian,

My friend and I were having a discussion about the best way to compensate college players, and he came up with the idea of paying players based on performance, sort of how incentive laden contracts work in the NFL, with the stipulation that the players will not receive the money until they graduate or go pro. I thought his idea was awful and unrealistic, because the “student athletes” would now become paid employees of the university and we essentially would have a semi-pro league on our hands. BUT, that got me thinking about a possible solution…

The issue we have here is the balance of compensation between stars and bench-warmers, large schools and small schools, men’s sports and women’s sports (which could also very well be a legal issue), revenue-generating and non-revenue-generating sports, etc. Instead of trying to figure out that mess, let’s take the decision of compensation out of the universities’ hands.

The solution: allow the student athletes to sign endorsement deals. If a corporation is willing to pay for a player’s likeness, he deserves that money. However, the stipulation here is that all money earned by a student athlete through endorsements would have to be held in an escrow account, and the release of the money would be contingent upon the completion of the player’s eligibility or his/her declaration to go pro, whichever comes first. Now if a player is caught accepting benefits beforehand, the NCAA would not look hypocritical when laying down punishments. Student athletes get compensated, legal issues are avoided, and you won't have a bunch of teenagers running around campus with millions of dollars to blow/get into mischief with.  What do you think? So crazy it just might work?

Go Blue,
Stephen Y

That's fine. It's a little paternalistic to tell the kids they can't have money until they get their degree, and that will be less effective at legitimizing the stuff under the table, because poor college kids will still want walking-around money. It's still fine.

I'm not sure why there's this widespread opposition to giving people money in exchange for services, but whatever middle ground you want to stake out that gives the kids their image rights and avoids Title IX issues is fine by me. Sign whatever you want, get whatever money you can acquire, and everything will be the same except compliance folk will have to find less mindlessly pedantic jobs. Worries about booster involvement are naïve—they're already involved.

The other major thing that the NCAA could do is get rid of their inane opposition to agents. If you're a legit agent with X number of current pro clients you can sign players regarded as prospects, and give them some advance on whatever they're going to make in the pros. (If you don't make the pros, that's just tough luck for the agent.) The NCAA doesn't even have to redirect any of the buckets of cash they're currently making to make the system

  • less impossible to manage
  • a more even playing field
  • fairer to the players
    Yeah: a more even playing field. Right now no one is going to MAC schools over major offers, but schools willing to do under the table stuff—or just not stop it—have an advantage over schools that don't. And it's tough to figure out what the more moral position is there these days.
    DL moves?

Hey Brian,

Sometimes in football, it seems that you just want to get the best guys on the field right?  Do you think we might see a DL consisting of Beyer, Henry, Qwash, Black?

I would think Black could flip back out to SDE pretty easily and could fold back in to 3 tech occasionally depending on the substitution patterns.  To me that gets your best pass rushers on the field more regularly and is the most likely combo to soak up OL in the run game too.

You mentioned that you expect Beyer to take Clark's job when Ryan comes back, but why not just make that switch now?  Wouldn't you rather get Gordon out there with Beyer than Clark at this point?

Thanks,
Daniel

(This was sent before Clark played well against UConn.)

If Michigan was going to put out its best line for one particular play against an I-formation that might well be it, but with opponents running out all kinds of spread packages and Michigan responding by lifting their nose tackle, Black's snaps are mostly going to be spent as an interior rush-type against shotgun formations. It's probably not worth moving him midseason to get a marginal improvement. While I like what I've seen from Henry so far, there was a play against UConn where he got obliterated. (Michigan was fortunate that UConn didn't block the second level well and held the gain down.) He's a work in progress.

Meanwhile on Cam Gordon: for whatever reason they're not playing him, and it's to the point that his lack of playing time speaks to a lack of performance. Beyer's been good, but mostly as a guy with his hand in the dirt. When Beyer's been put in coverage he's shown some flaws. Gordon's not getting more time is probably just his fate at this point.

I don't get it, either. They've been giving him seemingly genuine praise for years now and when it comes down to it they just don't put him on the field.

[After THE JUMP: evaluating Michigan's coaching staff, plus Bo Pelini axe murder.]

Subbing side effects.

Given Mattison's preference for subbing regularly in the front seven, could the coaches be doing this in part to mitigate the dropoff after guys graduate? I was surprised when a preview said Michigan lost 4 starters in the front 7 coming into this season (Campbell, Roh, Demens, Ryan) because their backups got a lot of run in '12, especially late in the season. Obviously Mattison mainly likes to sub to keep guys fresh, but could it have ancillary benefits for a college program by grooming the younger players for when they start, at which point they'll rotate with still more young guys? Could this an intentional part of player development?

Andrew S.

That is a salutary side effect, yes. If you know you're going to get at least a few snaps it's a lot more likely you are focused in practice than if you know the only way you're getting in the game is through injury typhoon. That helps development. It also helps with recruiting when you can point to players X and Y getting time as freshmen.

At some point—probably this point—there will be a time to cut down on that rotation and focus on the guys who are giving you quality time. I think we've seen that process start, as Glasgow hardly got a snap against UConn.

The obligatory coaching Q.

Brian,

Out of all the post-game analysis I have read or heard, your comment that there is nothing that the Michigan line does particularly well scares me the most. I was feeling that DB made a great hire, that this staff could recruit at a high level, teach and develop talent well and had great football minds in Borges and Mattison. I know it is just one game, but  I am now questioning the latter two points. I am worried about Hoke's ability to keep up with Urban Meyer. What is your overall opinion about this staff?

Peter

The defensive staff is unimpeachable. They immediately turned around GERG's clownfraudshow and have maintained a high level of performance without having anything resembling a player the NFL is highly interested in except Mike Martin. (I'm not counting Will Campbell, who is now an OL.) They developed JT Floyd from one of the worst corners to ever see the field at Michigan into a guy who got the maximum out of his ability.

Even now they're dealing with a talent level far below the one they'll have in the near future. Michigan's starters-plus-nickelback on defense are still mostly unheralded recruits. Only Quinton Washington, James Ross, Blake Countess, and Jarrod Wilson are consensus four-star types (Black and Taylor got one four star rating apiece from 3 and 4 services, respectively), and Washington was supposed to be an offensive lineman. They're still very young: they bring back all but five guys on their two-deep next year. And they pulled in Jabrill Peppers and are likely to grab Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell. The trajectory here is looking excellent.

On the other side of the ball the jury is still out. Hecklinski seems to have done a fine job with Gallon and Dileo. Chesson is still a work in progress, and his other charges are Reynolds and Jackson. Running back coach is usually a place you stash a recruiter because playing running back is something you do or do not. Fred Jackson's probably retiring in the near future anyway. Ferrigno is the TEs guy, and he is going to get an incomplete for at least another two years. Funchess and AJ Williams both would have redshirted on a team that had any other scholarship tight ends, and Michigan would be gingerly working them both into the lineup behind Jerame Tuman types in any normal situation.

But this entire question is probably about two guys: Darrell Funk and Al Borges.

I still think Funk is in a similar situation as Ferrigno is: he's still trying to dig out of the bomb shelter. In retrospect the Braden-as-guard thing this spring was a major warning sign. Bryant can't stay healthy so your collection of non-freshman, scholarship options on the interior line is Jack Miller and Jack Miller. You know, the guy they were trying to replace. He's hamstrung by Borges's desire to run pretty much the opposite kind of system as they did last year and the lack of coherence in Michigan's running offense, but more importantly he's still in a situation in which he pretty much has to play three and only three guys on the interior OL. Bars is obviously not ready, Bryant is in and out of the lineup, and past that it's Joey Burzynski and true freshmen. When that's your fate sometimes you get stuck with guys who can't play.

In that vein: Funk should be given major points for acquiring and developing Glasgow, who I think is Michigan's best interior OL right now and will be a three-year starter. Where's Michigan without that? Starting Kyle Bosch, probably.

Next year is the real test for Funk. He'll get both guards back, but he will be replacing both tackles with guys he recruited and possibly the center. If there's not significant progress then, caterwauling should begin in earnest.

As for Borges, I find him maddening a lot but when I go check things out I often find that the stuff he called was open but his players biffed it. Still, you never know if you're going to get something like 40 points on Notre Dame or an inexplicable fart. I watch opponents tee off on Michigan's run game without getting punished for it. One of the fun things about breaking down Rodriguez games was waiting for the knockout punch when RR figured out what you were doing to his run game and tweaked something that left you holding your guts and choking on his dust. I got how that system worked.

Borges… I don't know, man. Half the time I think he's great, half the time I think he's a goober. He, too, is stuck with one and only one quarterback.

Whoah.

I can't believe I never noticed this before, but I think Bo Pelini has a long lost twin.  

Sincerely,
Chris Banish '96

HungrynowPelini

Whoah. (Also you know that Pelini has killed someone with an axe and put them in a woodchipper.)

Comments

MGlobules

September 24th, 2013 at 11:06 AM ^

we can keep a close watch on him, tossing gasoline on his little tire fire in Lincoln. 

P.S. Borges is the sexy shit, and the next few games/years will prove it. If the players don't execute (if Gardner doesn't GET too cute) it isn't Borges's fault. His IQ is twenty points higher than Mattison's, and I love Mattison; even if I worry he's a tad predictable, the aging warrior-hero-as-inspiration-effect is too right on to sacrifice. I'll put up money to bet on that right now, btw, if someone cares to test them. 

Space Coyote

September 24th, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

OCs, in general, are strange people, but obnoxiously smart and they know it. They sit in their little box and act all maniacal but are like quiet, evil masterminds.

DCs, in general, are loud and boisterous. They tend to like to have a bit more fun, be a bit more free wheeling. And at the end of the day they aren't so behind the scenes evil as they are just outwardly evil and they don't care who knows it.

To summarize, offensive coordinators are antisocial plotting nerds, defensive coordinators are out-going free-wheeling bullies.

El Jeffe

September 24th, 2013 at 11:09 AM ^

Pellini Grimsrud: Where is pancakes house?

Frazier Showalter: What?

Pellini Grimsrud: We stop at pancakes house.

Frazier Showalter: ...what're you nuts? We had pancakes for breakfast. Gotta go to a place I can get a shot and a beer, steak, maybe, not more fuckin' pancakes, c'mon.

 [Pellini stares at Frazier]

Frazier Showalter: Oh, come on, man! Okay, here's an idea; we can stop outside of Brainerd, I know a place there we can get laid. Whaddya think?

Pellini Grimsrud: I'm fucking hungry now, you know!

Frazier Showalter: Yeah yeah Jesus, I'm sayin' - we can... stop, get pancakes and then we'll get laid, alright?

ScruffyTheJanitor

September 24th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

I wonder: is this coaching staff good at developing mid-season or are they better in the off-season (relative to expectations; assuming, of course, that most development is done in the offseason)? 

chitownblue2

September 24th, 2013 at 11:32 AM ^

Well, it seems like both sides of the ball were much better at the end of 2011 than they were at the start. Offensively, their 3 best games were the final 3 Big 10 games - Nebraska, Illinois, OSU. Defensively, they also got much, much better - going from barely hanging on against ND to completely skunking Nebraska.

Last year, I remember being really discourage at the defense early - getting carved up by Air Force, and even looking shaky against UMASS. They rounded into a solid unit by the end. Offensively, I think, we started to pick things up, but the injury to Fitz really messed things up. We had really struggled to run (non-Denard) early in the year, but check this:

Fitz's first 71 carries (up to the MSU game): 231 yards, 3.3 ypc.

Fitz's last 59 carries (MSU through getting injured): 283 yards, 4.8 ypc.

Once Denard was hurt (Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa) he had 34 for 193 (5.7 ypc).

Once he went out, we didn't have a plausible RB, and we can argue about how Borges balanced having to play a Gardner at QB (thus not having a running game) or Denard at QB (who was physically incapable of throwing) and how janky an offense that gave us - but the arc is clear - the offense was in the process of solving it's major problem outside of turnovers - we were starting to run the ball.

So, in other words, I think we have a track record over the two years of both units improving throughout the year.

 

M-Wolverine

September 24th, 2013 at 1:48 PM ^

For me to really judge how the offense trended (and the first year with more of a system change than the defense just institutiong a system).  But the first couple of games I couldn't help feeling like "Don't we complain about the defense at the start of the year EVERY year?"  It'd be great when we're at the level where we have most things in place, but it seems like there's usually a game in the middle of the season where the defense really "gets it." 

247Hinsdale

September 24th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

So here's my question:  How much can we expect out of the bye week?  On this board, I have seen numerous references to changes that can be made in the bye week, typically centering around changing the starting offensive line personnel.  And really, my question has two parts.  First, does having that extra week without an opponent make that big a difference?  Certainly, I would expect a bye week to help with minor injuries and the like, but does one extra week of practice as a starter make that much differenc?  Guys replace injured players all the time with a week or less of practice.

Second, these players have already gone through spring camp and fall camp, and, in the coaches estimation, the lineup we have was the best lineup available.  What do people think has changed that would lead to a lineup adjustment?

I'm just trying to get a little insight into the behind the scenes decision making process.

ScruffyTheJanitor

September 24th, 2013 at 11:17 AM ^

boils down to Miller being replaced by Glasgow. The assumption is that IF they are going to make a change at center, the coaching staff might feel better about Glasgow learning the line calls with two weeks to prepare instead of one. Also, I think there are a few obvious scheme adjustments to be made, and it seems like an extra week in practice might help here too. Its not that we are replacing one position, but that there are a number of easy but imporatant changes that will occur and an extra week in practice might help firm up the players understading. 

Space Coyote

September 24th, 2013 at 11:28 AM ^

But the practice will focus more on Michigan rather than upcoming oppenents, so there's that. Nothing major will be overhauled, but they may go back to the drawing board and try a few things. It won't be an extended look, but if it is very apparent, they can make the change and get some decent reps before they get ready to prepare for Minnesota next week.

reshp1

September 24th, 2013 at 1:22 PM ^

Second, these players have already gone through spring camp and fall camp, and, in the coaches estimation, the lineup we have was the best lineup available. What do people think has changed that would lead to a lineup adjustment?

I think one thing that's different is Bryant may be healthy and available for the first time. The other option that is being discussed, Schofield moving to guard, was probably considered too drastic during camp without seeing how bad we've actually been in real games. That said, I don't think that option is going to happen, way too much change midseason. You'd have 2 of 5 guys on the line playing new positions and 1 guy starting for the first time at RT.

Bryant starting at LG and Glasgow moving to C seems plausible. Glasgow should be taking reps there the whole time since he's the #1 back-up at the position, and guard is Bryant's natural position and where he's been practicing as well. I'd still be surprised if they changed though. OL isn't a place to tinker midseason lightly, my guess is they spend the bye week tuning their scheme to paper over the current starters' deficiencies.

rpmi

September 24th, 2013 at 11:14 AM ^

There is already an academic need-based financial aid system. Universities could give poor student-athletes more money than they give someone from a wealthy family. Sure, there is the argument that little colleges couldn't afford this. At least Arian Foster could get transparent pizza money while he is a hungry college student.

bringthewood

September 24th, 2013 at 11:16 AM ^

I understand how a candid picture might make you look bad, but how in the world does that Pelini picture see the light of day?  Same with the Paul P picture last week.  Both pictures look like they were taken post opt from a prefrontal lobotomy (less the scars and bandages) - glazed vacant looks.

imafreak1

September 24th, 2013 at 11:41 AM ^

I assumed Brain was referencing how the RichRod offense worked in theory as opposed to in practice at Michigan.

Because, against good opponents RichRod tended to do most of his damage early in the game. Which doesn't really match figuring out how they are stopping you and then delivering a knockout adjustment. My recollection is the wheels were generally falling off by the time the 4th quarter rolled around.

gwkrlghl

September 24th, 2013 at 12:19 PM ^

Obvously glorious touchdowns were not raining from the sky in the 4th quarter of Richrod games, but since Brian is a guy pouring of each play watching what every single guy does on every single play multiple times, I'm guessing it's fascinating to see a play get blown up several times only to see them add a slight-wrinkle in later that probably netted a decent gain (like 8-20 yards or something) by switching one little thing and taking advantage of how the D was playing.

It's probably why Brian tears his hair out when we don't have a counter to anything all day long because Richrod was (apparently, I do not know myself) good at identifying defensive tendancies and taking advantage of it.

Space Coyote

September 24th, 2013 at 11:21 AM ^

I think a reason a lot of people, including Brian, like the spread, is because the tweaks and concepts are clearer and easier to see. That's not a bad thing, and it's not a slight against Rich Rod. But Borges's offense has them too. They are more minor and nuanced, and he uses them differently that Rich Rod did, but they do still exist. There is still a play that works off every play. There is still a counter off every concept.

Part of the problem is, though, that sometimes those changes are more difficult for players to execute, because they are more nuanced and minor. They aren't necessarily, "Alright, TE, go block the backside end now". At the same time, if the offense can pick up on the execution, often times the changes are better than the changes Rich Rod made.

What it comes down to is being able to execute. Rich Rod's offense, to a degree, was simpler to execute. It was also simpler in general. That's good and bad. Borges's offense is a bit more difficult to execute but a bit more difficult to defend if executed properly. There are certainly things that I'd like Borges to do a bit differently, but hell, Brian Kelly just laid an egg against MSU and I was shocked by his lack of adjustments of things that even I saw. It happens man...

Space Coyote

September 24th, 2013 at 11:45 AM ^

And a lot of it is just my personal philosophy on things. But I'd like more misdirection. I actually agree with using Norfleet as a decoy on the end around. Do exactly what Wisconsin just did with White and Gordon, there really isn't any changes to what's going on elsewhere in the offense by doing that (there will be a post by me on Land-Grant Holy Land later this week if your interested on what they're doing).

Frankly, what I really want to see more of is bunched formations where Gardner can do a half roll into. It means he's rolling to his targets, has easy vision so his vision shouldn't escape his target, and he can run if he's uncomfortable. Michigan ran a counter draw off it as well, but only ran a half roll to the bunch once against UConn. But I'm pretty crazy about using bunch formations in the pass offense, that's my thing.

I'd like to see them establish a run identity. If they are going to be outside zone as their bread and butter, that's perfectly fine, but develop the inside zone and develop the counter. If you're going to be Iso, develop Power O and use stretch as a change up, but do one or the other.

I'd like to see him get to his plays off of plays earlier. I showed a while ago how Michigan used Z-snag against ND, and then on their last TD used a play that initially looked like Z-snag but was the opposite. There are plays like this for every concept, whether they are implemented or not I don't know. But Michigan ran Y-stick about 5 or 6 times against UConn, because DG is very comfortable with his reads on that play, but UConn started defending it well and Borges never went to the play off of it.

FWIW, there are multiple plays off of it. Simply, with the same timing, you just have the TE run an out and the RB run a angle instead of a flare. Attack the same two zones but you switch which player attacks what with the same look. More aggressively, bring in another RB, run a hitch and go with the TE, run the angle from the RB behind it (or you can run a wheel if your comfortable with the blocking), and the backside WR runs a slant and go. Same initial look, completely different play. But like I said, I don't know if he's comfrotable or even has those plays installed right now.

Those are all bigger concept things. There are more nuanced things as well, but that's mostly either trivial or really just comes down to my knowledge or personal preference.

Bodogblog

September 24th, 2013 at 11:53 AM ^

These are very helpful, thanks

As a total newb, I've always wondered... what's the fascination with Y-stick?  I play Madden with the Patriots and they suggest a seemingly never-ending series of Y-sticks.  It just seems like a "everybody go out 3-5 yards and turn around" play

Space Coyote

September 24th, 2013 at 12:05 PM ^

Y-stick, in general, is a route. There is a concept off of it, they utilizes the Y-stick route with a flat receiver coming underneath it, which is a fairly common concept that many teams use.

As far as any stick route, snag route, whatever, it's simply overloading anything underneath. It's short, easy, passes with fairly easy reads that will kill any zone coverage if executed and read properly. It's why Borges went to it so often against UConn, because Gardner was comfortable with the reads, it's a simple pass, and hopefully it would get Gardner in a rhythm and some confidence.

It can have some struggles against man if the defense properly switches between the stick/swing combination, which is why you typically have a quick double slant or ins on the backside. Against UConn, UConn mostly stuck in zone when Michigan ran the concept, but the CB stopped following the stick inside and the LB started jumping underneath and outside on the TE. On the backside, Dileo will run his slant then sit between zones. The timing and Gardner's reads were off, so they often weren't completed, but the idea is that you are overloading the defense everywhere underneath.

gbdub

September 24th, 2013 at 12:17 PM ^

I think you identified something that's nagged me for awhile about Borges but your deeper knowledge of the plays let you articulate it much better.

Basically, it seems like Borges has installed a ton of different looks and sets for the offense, but hasn't really fully installed (or isn't running) the counters and counter-counters that go with each look. As a result, once the defense catches on to the one or two plays we run from a given look, those plays are effectively dead. Rather than punish the defense with a counter from that look, Borges deploys a totally new look.

Long term with the right players I think the Borges approach could be more deadly - basically bring so many weapons that the defense can't possibly be well prepared for everything. But short term I wonder if we wouldn't be better, as you said, "establishing an identity" with something. That might make things easier on the inexperienced players as well - rather than ask them to do a lot of different things from play to play (and keep all those looks straight in their head), have them (or most of them) do basically the same thing with small changes to confuse the defense.

That last bit seemed to be the strength of RRs simplicity - just a couple looks, but a lot of things were possible from each look and it was hard to defend all of them on a given play. There's risk in simplicity, but RR's system could compensate to some degree with the use of no-huddle and play calls from the sideline to keep the defense guessing.

APBlue

September 24th, 2013 at 12:22 PM ^

I'm in.  I've read your posts on MGoBlog for a long time, but this one really struck a chord with me.  There's a ton of great ideas in that post.  

Thanks!

I just clicked on your link and bookmarked your page too.  Nice read!

Bring back the +1 Insightful!!!

Maize and Blue…

September 24th, 2013 at 1:16 PM ^

for two years Borges had players that were recruited for zone blocking and he didn't use the play.  Now he has got nasty maulers that were primarily recruited for "manball" and the stretch has become one of our base plays.  Makes absolutely no sense.  Also, I believe we are one of the only teams in the country that hardly ever takes advantage of DBs playing off the WRs.  Why not just toss it out there and take the five yards instead of another no gain or negative yard run by the tailback.

Blue in Seattle

September 24th, 2013 at 2:25 PM ^

To me there is Taylor, and then an inexperienced Kalis. Miller is small but non-Molkian, Glasgow is an inexperienced walkon, and Schofield is the serviceable Generic RT. compared to last year we've only added Kalis as the true Hoke prodigy. Why are we running outside zone? Maybe, just maybe it leverages our most experienced OL?!? And it is in response to last years weak interior line issues?

What I see is that all teams have a much greater ability to prepare than in years past. Hell recruiting stats don't even go back ten years. So now you have poor talent teams able to review everything a team did in the last game. It takes a lot more experience than Michigan has now on offense to continually add new things when last weeks new things were execution failures. I think what we have seen is a team that ignored CMU and took two weeks to prepare for ND. Then all the emphasis on being unorthodox to defeat talent hit a panic button in the team and inexperience melted down and Senior playmakers stopped trusting and took high risk paths to try and mitigate.

At the end of UConn, it looked to me that Fitz was finally trusting the holes would be there and stopped immediately looking for the cutbacks and alternates. By doing that he is going to give the OL confidence they are doing it correct immediately, instead of waiting for the film on Sunday.

This team lacks confidence, and it starts with Gardner. He was playing to not screw up at UConn.

Or Dr. Evil stole his MoJo.

UMaD

September 24th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

It would seem that experience would be more important in a "difficult to execute" scheme.  Experience is in rare supply at the college level since turnover, attrition and (recruiting) uncertainty are high.  Some years you have to start a freshman QB, some years you have to start 3 interior linemen that haven't played a meaningful down.  Almost EVERY year, you'll have some sort of experience deficiency.  That's just college football.  Even well-oiled machines like Oregon and Wisconsin have to deal with that stuff.

The part I don't get is "often times the changes are better than the changes Rich Rod made" and "more difficult to defend if executed properly"  Can you expand on that?  I'm not thinking so much of Rich Rod in particular as spread offenses in general.  They seem simpler, true, but I don't have the sense of lower floor or ceiling compared to pro-style offenses.

funkywolve

September 24th, 2013 at 11:58 AM ^

Agree that there's always going to be turnover and new starters that you have to mix in every year.  However, in regards to the oline you're hoping that the new starters are upperclassmen who have been in the program 3 or 4 years.  Their comfort level with the offense and assignments is hopefully good and maybe they've actually gotten some game experience whether it's mop up duty or subbing for an injured starter.  UM's 3 interior oline had never even seen the field on a saturday before this year.

UMaD

September 24th, 2013 at 12:12 PM ^

I don't know how 'normal' that expectation can be.  Notre Dame is starting a true freshman at OT.  Oregon plays RS Freshman.  Teams without coaching turnover will still have to start young players.

WRT to never having seen the field - that's not really an excuse in Miller's case.  He could have played last year but he was behind a bunch of guys who were not and even Burzynski.  Kalis - OK, still young.  Glasgow - he's a year older than these highly regarded RS freshman.  A walk-on starting over them is not a good sign.

I think the issue here is talent and coaching, not just inexperience.  I don't think it's going to be better next year.

UMaD

September 24th, 2013 at 12:30 PM ^

Blake Bars - was a well regarded 3/4 star with offers from Florida, LSU, PSU etc.

Also - Ben Braden and Eric Magnuson.  Yes they are tackles - so was Schofield, Huyge, etc.

Also, also - Chris Bryant, who is not a redshirt freshman technically but missed a full year to injury, so he might as well be.

 

Sten Carlson

September 24th, 2013 at 12:36 PM ^

Mat,

I think you need to look into just how hard playing OL is.  OL takes the mind of a QB, quick feet of a RB, and then brute strength.  Developing an elite OL is something that takes a great deal of time, and depth to accomplish. 

UMaD

September 24th, 2013 at 1:13 PM ^

Historically, there's been a lot of flexibility in OL.  There are a few guys who are too short (OC only) or too tall (OT only), but generally if you can block you can block and the best 5 are going to play.

Braden and Magnuson aren't in the best 5.  That doesn't spell doom for them, but given the competion and how poorly Miller especially is doing, it's a sign we don't have the next Lewan/Long/Backus in the pipeline just yet.