Possibly Useful Scrimmage Bits

Submitted by Brian on August 22nd, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Michigan had their first scrimmage over the weekend, and the internet was alive with reports. I've gotten a couple emails and the board had a few things I'm attempting to follow up on to determine if they're independent reports or just regurgitation. For now, a few items that seem to be reliable across the spectrum.


Will Campbell is not happening. The Nathan Brink hype was an early indication of that and reports from the scrimmage talk about him more than Campbell. It seems highly likely Ryan Van Bergen starts the year at three tech with Brink the starting SDE. According to one source Campbell is "barely playing with the twos." Maybe Rodriguez and company weren't wrong to move Campbell to offensive line last year.

Obviously, that's bad. The DL was paper thin even when Campbell was supposed to start. Now you've got a walk-on in the starting lineup and Campbell may not even be a plausible backup. At least Van Bergen is somewhere around 290—just fine for three-tech—and Brink is a redshirt sophomore. At 265 he's light for a strongside DE and as a walk-on he's probably not going to do much, but for now we can close our eyes real tight and imagine JJ Watt in a winged helmet.


Yeah… that's the stuff.

Brink appears to have beaten out a healthy, senior Will Heininger, so he's got that going for him. Van Bergen, meanwhile, often spent entire games on the field last year. He's going to have to play ironman again this year.

Fitzgerald Toussaint might be happening. The constant refrain from all practices until the Saturday scrimmage was "there is no running back, Shaw by default, Smith on third downs." Saturday the internet lit up with Toussaint-related exclamation marks.

Could this be a real thing? I think so. Toussaint had a pretty good recruiting rep and his struggles so far have been injury-related. It would be one thing if he was just buried on the depth chart behind meh competition. It's not. Even skeptics have to admit Tousssaint's high school highlights are pretty sweet:

Though his competition level was not good he has the track chops to prove that speed you see is not an illusion. He was the 60M Ohio state champ as senior in high school and put up a 10.59 100 meter. The guy can go.

He's more of a slashing zone runner than a horse to run power with, but I don't see any horses to run power with who aren't conspicuously omitted from all reports except dark mutterings about being in the doghouse and missing the WMU game via suspension. If Toussaint is the guy Borges might shrug and run a crapton of zone—it's not like the media will notice.

Roh skepticism ominous. I hope Craig Roh's sickness is the main reason he's come in for a round of "is that all there is?" from the internet, because Michigan needs him. There was one weird report that Roh was playing a three-tech in certain situations—passing downs, I'd hope. That might have been a bit garbled—possibly a three-man front with a very technical linebacker for deployment against the spread.

That's something I am 100% in favor of, BTW. Michigan never got a handle on spread teams under Herrmann and it might be a little worrying if Mattison wasn't reacting to the great trend in college football lo these many years.

Hype magnets. Freshman and new faces getting buzz include:

  • WDE Frank Clark, who has been getting some first-team snaps in the passing down package. Seems like he'll be deployed as a situational rusher this year.
  • WLBs Brandin Hawthorne and Desmond Morgan(?!). Hawthorne's been running with the ones in practice glimpses and there are scattered reports Morgan is also getting time there. If those are accurate, just moving Morgan to WLB when he seems much better suited for the middle is an indication neither Mike Jones or Brandon Herron is impressing and they are scrambling to fill the spot with someone, anyone. Aaigh Kellen Jones.
  • WR Jeremy Gallon has made a move. I'm not sure how much room there is for him at WR since there are already two 5'9" guys ahead of him on the depth chart, though. And putting him back to return punts seems like asking for it after whatever that was last year.
  • More Kenny Demens.

Other items.

  • Michigan's using Steve Watson as an H-back.
  • Thomas Rawls has a shoulder injury.
  • Courtney Avery seems to be maintaining his lead in the race to start opposite Woolfolk.
  • I haven't been able to confirm this so no names, but a linebacker is reportedly not in camp and hasn't been all fall. That might be a prelude to a departure

Insider scuttlebutt espectacular scheduled Saturday. They'll have another one this weekend. This one is open to Motts donors and premium seat holders, which I'm sure Hoke loathes but sometimes dollah dollah bill y'all works in the fan's favor.

    If last year is any indication there will be a flood of often-contradictory reports here and elsewhere; I'll pick through them and add impressions from the email.



August 22nd, 2011 at 4:44 PM ^

After reading some Twitter feeds, I would guess that Isaiah Bell is the departure. He appears to be living in Toledo currently, and plans to delete his Twitter account within two weeks. In response to a female asking why he isn't at camp, he said, "Because I came in 15 pounds under weight."


August 22nd, 2011 at 3:47 PM ^

i'm guessing that LB is isiah bell.

[edit] - it seems like people are indicating it is a freshman.  if that's the case, it only can be antonio poole.  other than morgan and clark, he's the only freshman LB.


August 22nd, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

He has an interview up on Rivals dated Aug. 21 entitled "Antonio Poole Getting Acclimated."

"Freshman linebacker Antonio Poole continues to learn the playbook in preparation for his first season at Michigan, but he's comfortable in Ann Arbor.

"It's been great so far. I've gotten to meet all my teammates ? I love Ann Arbor, and I love Michigan," he said. "Meeting all the new people, all the guys ? we've been coming closer during camp, so it's been good."

Contradicts Brian's intel stating the departing LB hasn't been in camp all fall.


August 22nd, 2011 at 3:41 PM ^

that the M coaches know reports like this are going to come out and put out an LOL WUT!?! defense to throw competitors off? Its just a scrimmage and they're getting reps for everyone still so I don't see how it's that detrimental. If Will can't get on the 2 deep as a junior with this D-Line then...wow, there goes basing a recruits pro potential on physical measurables 


August 22nd, 2011 at 7:11 PM ^

I'm totally in favor of that for walk-ons, and I'm sure they are too.  If I was paying my own way and the coach told me

"WolvinLA2, you've been doing great as a walk-on, in fact you've passed a number of scholarship players so I'm giving you a scholarship for this year since we have one open.  We're going to try and fill that spot in our recruiting class, but if there's a spot open again next year, it's possible we have this talk again.  Sound good?"

I'd be pretty happy about that, as would my parents. 


August 22nd, 2011 at 7:17 PM ^

It's definitely a feel-good story when a kid has the desire to play badly enough to pay his way (especially considering OoS tuition and that most walkons here had at least MAC level interest) ends up "making it". Great for him if that's the case.

Also, I would be more than happy, as would the parents.


August 22nd, 2011 at 3:47 PM ^

iirc, Rawls' injury is very minor, and he just had to sit out the scrimmage. Also, Gallon moved from WR? I heard that he tore it up as WR. Maybe that was a confused report and Stokes was the one playing well, that would be more in line with other reports, too.


August 22nd, 2011 at 3:55 PM ^

What is a 'very technical linebacker'? Does he handle all the math or something?

While HS highlight videos are traditionally very irritating, that Fitz one is in a class of its own will all the slo-mo and field level perspective. Since they keep sllllloooooowwwwwing the video down it is hard not to assume they also speed it up when Fitz is running around guys that sometimes don't even appear to be trying to tackle him.

Naked Bootlegger

August 22nd, 2011 at 3:55 PM ^

Does Fitz remind anyone of Jon Vaughn?   For those with short-term memory, (you're excused if born after 1985 or so), Vaughn burst on the scene in 1990 and kind of came outta nowhere (was he Ricky Powers replacement after Ricky's unfortunate injury?).  He shredded ND for 22/201, then UCLA for 32/290.  Also had 150+ yds against State.   He was a burner.   There's something about Fitz that reminds me of Vaughn, and the comparisons will be especially apt if FItz grabs control by Opening Day and runs roughshod over WMU. 

Vaughn was a one-year wonder, as he fled to the NFL after his break-out year.   The following year's backfield of Powers, Johnson, and Wheatley didn't exactly suffer, though.



Naked Bootlegger

August 22nd, 2011 at 4:29 PM ^

...you may be right.   His season stats tailed off dramatically at the end of 1990, but i think it was due to the re-emergence of Ricky Powers.   But I do know that he declared for the NFL draft after the season.   I was a UM student at the time, and it was a very perplexing decision. 


OK...I just "verified" with Vaughn's Wikipedia entry, and it parallels my hazy memory:

Since Vaughn started the season with two 200-yard efforts, he was atop the rushing charts well into the season. He entered Michigan's seventh game the weekend of October 28, 1990 as the nation's leading rusher. Entering the eighth week he was averaging over 144 yards per game and was still second in the nation and first in the Big Ten. He only gained a total of 94 yards in his ninth, tenth and eleventh games combined and entered Michigan's bowl game as #11 in the nation. He ran for 128 yards in his final game and ended the season as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He also ended the season eleventh in the nation in rushing and second in the Big Ten with 112.4 yards per game.



August 22nd, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

I think he was hurt at the end of 1990, but he rebounded by the Gator Bowl (15 carries for 128 yards). He was a backup for a couple of years at New England before bouncing around a bit.

Looking at his pro stats, he didn't have much of a career, but in addition to a small number of rushing and receiving TDs he had a kickoff return for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass.

Naked Bootlegger

August 22nd, 2011 at 5:09 PM ^

Yeah, he did perform some KO magic for NE in the pros, and I think he carried the ball a fair amount in 1992 for New England.   I was just so incredibly bummed when he left after his redshirt sophomore year, though.   The 1990 Notre Dame and UCLA games were epic.  He was a definite Heisman candidate through 3/4 of the year. 


August 22nd, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

Glad to see another fan give Vaughn some air time. He was great, remember watching the games and thinking "where has Moeller been hiding this guy?"

He had a decent career with Kickoffs his wiki page speaks to his nice stats. Too bad we didn't get him for a second year.

Moeller had some great talent...