Spring Practice Catchup Comment Count

Brian March 24th, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Normally the start of spring practice would have been a bigger deal around here, but the basketball team's late season push and 21st-century tourney debut relegated the football team to the back burner, which is a first for this blog.

Yes, spring practice has started. Get a load of our new savior at the gun show:


Vernon Gholston's got nothing on Tate Forcier. At some point this year when Michigan is flailing about in a fashion reminiscent of well, last year, keep this image in mind and think "he's just a freshman" to yourself over and over again. Apparently Forcier spent 100% of his time getting quarterback tutoring and 0% of it picking things up and putting them down, which is all well and good until someone snaps him in half.

But, hey, the news isn't all bad. Friend of blog and practice attendee Craig Ross:

Forcier’s arm is stronger than I thought it would be. Most of the balls he threw looked pretty crisp. He looked terrific in the drills. Running right or left he puts the ball on the money. I didn’t see him throw a poor ball.

And of course there's the other guy:

I felt Nick Sheridan looked better than last year at this time.

Woo! A roundup of other items:

Actual facts

  • Toney Clemons is gonzo. See the previous post.
  • So is Andre Criswell. He'll be a grad assistant. He was a fifth year senior, so that doesn't change your scholarship projections for the 2010 class.
  • Adam Patterson got his redshirt. He is now a junior, which removes a scholarship from the 2010 class and reduces the urgency at DT and DE. Michigan is still waiting on word about Kenny Demens. That should be a formality
  • Mouton and Shaw aren't participating. Also, Tim McAvoy has been out with an ankle issue. Ricky Barnum has a wrist issue he's playing through.
  • Steve Schilling is probably moving to guard and Patrick Omameh is legit. Intermittent friend of blog and general correspondent Craig Ross has attended some of the sections of practice open to the media and reports that the apparent first-team offensive line reads like so from left to right, with changes from last year bolded: Ortmann, Schilling, Molk, Moosman, Omameh.

    Ross elaborates: "I was told by one media guy that Schilling asked for the move and so far it has worked out. RR talked briefly to the media and said that it seems likely "Schilling will stay at guard." Barnum is running at LG with the second team---or was this AM at least."

    That fits with the practice buzz over the last year that had Barnum and Omameh closest to the field amongst the freshmen; you can pencil Omameh in at RG in 2010 if you want to get seriously premature.

Things That Are As Factual As Rosters Ever Get

Touch The Banner went over the spring roster for position switches and unexpected height/weight deviations, coming up with a few items of interest.

  • Anthony LaLota is pretty small. He's listed at 6'4", 235, which is not ready for primetime on the defensive line. Redshirt beckons.
  • Junior Hemingway is crushing your head. 6'1", 226. Dang, man, hope you can still run.
  • Vince Helmuth is on the Gabe Watson diet. Helmuth got up to 299, which probably bodes unwell for his shot at playing time. VB noted he looked "tiny for a DT," which means he'd be better served being quick instead of flabtacular. Rodriguez made a comment about his conditioning at the press conference. Sounds like he's unlikely to see the field.
  • Kenny Demens seems field-ready. The roster has him at 237; at 6'1" that's pretty hefty.
  • Smith: quarkback. We got ourselves another kid who can do a credible impression of Paper Mario: 5'6", 158 pound Vincent Smith. Hopefully this one doesn't get concussed into oblivion.

Position switches, or not position switches, or things that may or may not be position switches

  • Brandon Hawthorne is running with the defensive backs. I said he was safety-sized, but I didn't actually expect he would be a safety. Blip or serious "what?" moment? Eh… survey says blip. Varsity Blue attended a Rodriguez presser at which the headman said Hawthorne is expected to be an outside linebacker.

    This is more fuel for the fire of this spread-combating LB/S hybrid sort, FWIW.

  • Ferrara is still on the OL. Given the sudden reversal in depth on the two lines—the defense has seen two starters depart and two recruits fail to sign while the offense gets six-count-em-six redshirt freshmen to play with—this may not last. But word is the coaching staff likes Ferrara's potential on offense more than they do on defense; a switch back would be an ominous indicator about the defensive line.
  • Stevie Brown is sort of a linebacker. This will meet widespread joy, I'm sure, though it does beg the question "who the hell is going to play safety?"
  • Steve Watson is doing okay at DE. I still think he's a longshot to contribute what with the move and all, but he's a high motor individual.

Something Not Particularly Fact-Like

You might remember defensive ends like James Hall and Juaquin Feazell—who should be referenced whenever the opportunity arises just so you can say "Juaquin Feazell" as mellifluously as possible—being listed as the "RLB" or "rush linebacker" during the heyday of Jim Herrmann's tenure at defensive coordinator. These folks were no more linebackers than your average defensive end. That nomenclature was a holdover from days when Michigan did actually have a "rush linebacker" that lived on long after Michigan had departed from the land of the hybrid 3-4.

This style of defense has worked in the Big Ten recently. You may remember Penn State deploying one of its many, many talented linebackers as a standup DE in a year when injury and malfeasance had robbed them of their standard complement of edge-rushing terrors. I think it was 2006. Though it was an ad-hoc solution to a severe personnel deficiency, at the end of the year Penn State's defense occupied its customary position near the top of the Big Ten rankings.

Word around practice is that Michigan is going to adopt something similar, with a lighter DE dubbed the "spinner" who can move around and play with his hand down or up. Or at least they're practicing it to see if it's a good idea.

Persons you might see do this: Steve Watson is practicing there along with a couple of the thicker linebackers—Evans and LaLota have been mentioned. This corresponds with other rumors to the effect that Adam Patterson and Ryan Van Bergen may end up as three-tech (i.e., penetrating) DT sorts, if not permanently than on an occasional basis.

Of course, this could all be declared a bad idea and shelved before fall until the Purdue game. But it's worth knowing.




March 24th, 2009 at 1:07 PM ^

about that lalota redshirt. and i'm also not sure why people equate size with inability to get injured. they have absolutely nothing to do each other. injuries are freak occurences.


March 24th, 2009 at 1:29 PM ^

You don't think, generally speaking, that a guy with more muscle is less likely to get injured? I ask that as a real question, not a rhetorical one.

Re: Omameh, I'm excited about him. In photos he looks both muscular and lean, like Chris Webber in football pads.


March 24th, 2009 at 5:12 PM ^

doesn't make you less injury prone. it just doesn't. i'm by no means saying tate shouldn't be working out to get stronger (and by the way we're still 6 months away from gameday, it's not like he's gonna hit the field at his current size) but his size isn't gonna determine whether or not he gets injured.


March 24th, 2009 at 10:28 PM ^

...you're right.

If you're saying MUSCLE STRENGTH doesn't prevent injuries, then you couldn't be wronger. In that case, I would advise you to go ask a personal trainer or a strength and conditioning coach or a doctor.


March 24th, 2009 at 2:21 PM ^

Force = mass*acceleration (Newton's 2nd law of motion)

For example, Terry Tate, Office Linebacker, hits Wendy, hot and juicy redhead, with a force of 1000 N. There are 2 scenarios.

Newton's 3rd law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so for the 1000 N force applied by Terry Tate, there will be a 1000 N force on Wendy.

a) Wendy has a mass of 50 kg. Her acceleration from Terry Tate's hit will be 20 m/s/s.

b) Wendy has a mass of 100 kg. Her acceleration from Terry Tate's hit will be 10 m/s/s.

A more massive player, when hit by a player, will accelerate more slowly. As an example, a quicker acceleration to the torso of a player can cause sprains and dislocations because the body parts to which the acceleration is not applied tend to stay in their expected state of motion.

So maybe this might have something to do with smaller, underdeveloped players getting hurt more. Or it might not.


March 24th, 2009 at 6:21 PM ^

Close, but not exactly right. You need to use conservation of momentum and make a good deal of assumptions. Then after you determine momentum changes you can calculate the appropriate decelerations using F=MA.

Let's say I weigh 100kg. Terry Tate weights 100kg. I'm standing still, and he hits me at 10m/s. Say the collison is inelastic (a solid wrap up tackle). Total system momentum before is 10m/s * 100kg = 1000 kg * m/s. After the collision, we have a 200kg object that has momentum of 1000, meaning I am now traveling at 1000kg*m/s / 200kg = 5m/s.

If I weigh 50kg then we have 1000kg*m/s / 150kg = 6.66 m/s.

In case A my impulse is 100kg*5m/s = 500kg*m/s
In case B my impulse is 50kg*6.66m/s = 333kg*m/s

Let's assume the impulse acts over a time of 1s.
Therefore, when I weight 100kg, I experience a force of 500N.
If I weight 50kg, I experience a force of 333N.

So what we see here is that when I weigh less I experience less force from being hit. HOWEVA, the acceleration I experience is higher (6.66 m/s^2 vs 5.00 m/s^2). This means I'm more likely the thwack my brain against my skull and suffer a concussion, but less likely to suffer most other injuries.


March 24th, 2009 at 7:08 PM ^

What about the added muscle around joints and such that a bigger qb might have that would help prevent those joints from being twisted/bent in improper ways preventing injuries? The whole situation is much more complex than bigger=less injury prone. There are pluses and minuses to being bigger and that added weight has to be the right type as well.


March 24th, 2009 at 7:25 PM ^

(Edit: I know you don't think there is muscle around the joints like I stupidly implied here.)
Ehh, muscle is typically not around joints. Look at your elbow, knee, wrist, etc. A huge thigh muscle might prevent a broken femur, but rather than muscle size, I think you mean stability and strength overall. I'm not a doctor, but I believe that's not exactly correlated with big muscles; people on steroids suffer increased joint injuries from not working stabilizer muscles.

I probably shouldn't have said "less likely to suffer other injuries" as that's not really correct. For some reason I can't edit my post or I would remove that part. I meant you would take less force related injuries, but I forgot about the whole fact that muscle could mitigate some extra force, which makes my blanket statement incorrect. Oops.


March 24th, 2009 at 8:05 PM ^

Yea, by around I meant near or above/below that would provide the stability you are talking about. I'm sure that is some of the training Barwis(and most football strength coaches probably) implements to help keep players from injuries. Obviously it can't guarantee the players don't get injured but it can help.


March 24th, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

While I don't know if Tate will be likely to get injured, and certainly avoiding contact is important, how often does a QB have the ability to avoid it? Often they get blindsided while throwing, and cannot take the hit properly because it will take their focus off downfield. I don't buy that muscle and weight is irrelevant to injuries. One of the foundation theories of the benefits of weight training, espoused by Barwis and others, is reduction in injury.

Mountaineers Fanatic

March 25th, 2009 at 10:48 AM ^

How often does a QB really get hit hard? Bigger, stronger players and QBs are less flexible than the smaller more limber players. A big strong QB can get hit from behind and because he isn't as flexible can get injured due to the twist while the smaller more flexible QB is able to twist slightly more thus have less of a chance to get injured.

As far as a hit to the back of the head, it doesn't matter how big or strong you are, nothing will lessen that hit.

Forcier definately needs to add some weight and strength, but what everyone needs to realize is that he isn't going to get hit hard by the OL and LBs. Sure he may get hit often and that could wear him down, I just don't see him getting hit hard. How often did Pat White really get hit hard? I can't think of any. DL and LBs will make tacklers, but its usually after just fighting off an OL therefore they won't have much power behind their tackles. Add in that Forcier won't be a still target, defenders have to concentrate on the tackle rather than the hit.

Six Zero

March 24th, 2009 at 1:41 PM ^

Hats off to the basketball team and all that, but I'll be the first to admit it's just not my sport. And I didn't want to jump on the wagon-- just because they wear a block M doesn't give me the instant right to suddenly care.

But things are officially back to Shembechler Hall, and likely much to the chagrin of Mrs. Six Zero, this entry has me back in perpetual UM football mode. This entry essentially summarizes why I come to this place, so thank you Brian.

If my dad knew anything at all about the Internet, this might incline him to say "Great frickin' post."


March 24th, 2009 at 1:53 PM ^

Recruiting rankings don't matter because Omameh was a 2 star. There, I'm the first to say it. I also just copyrighted it. The next person to say, print, or otherwise replicate said sentiment owes me $500.


March 24th, 2009 at 4:28 PM ^

after all the evidence, that rankings are irrelevant or don't matter. We can agree that they are not the "holy grail", but it's factually correct, and not open to opinion any longer, that they matter and thus are legitimate to discuss.


March 24th, 2009 at 2:31 PM ^

didn't get much of a chance to carry the ball. He wasn't bad at the HS level, and if he's so big he might be of some use on short-yardage/goal line situations. And how is anyone who's 299 "tiny?"

J. Lichty

March 24th, 2009 at 3:42 PM ^

soft tissue and joint injuries. size can help with impact injuries i.e. less likely to be thrown down if you weigh more. Strength can help lessen impact as well.


March 24th, 2009 at 5:25 PM ^

I'm sure strength has a factor in injuries, but randomness, genes and toughness are a little more important. Daunte Culpepper can't stay healthy, but Jeff Garcia keeps surviving. Garcia is hurt every week, but manages to stay out there. Favre and Manning never missed a game and they don't exactly look like roid freaks. I was a big Nebraska fan back in the option days, Crouch looked no bigger than Tate and he was a stud, Frazier was freaky athletic man and he was never healthy. I'd put Tate at 35% to make 12 starts this year. Here's my breakdown.

Strength/Flexibility 15%-Jake Long
Genes- 20% Clay Matthews
Toughness 25% Brett Favre
Michigan Hating Fuck You Randomness 40% Antonio Bass, Corey Zirbel, Matt Guttierez, Chad Henne


March 24th, 2009 at 7:51 PM ^

Forcier should be OK for a few reasons.

First: if the offense is competent and unpredictable this year, opponents won't have direct angles to hit him as often as they would with a predictable offense.

Second: his mobility and shiftiness should allow him to further avoid direct contact.

Third: This probably matters the least of any of my reasons, but Anthony Carter, Jamie Morris, and BC's Doug Flutie were all small and managed to avoid a lot of injuries.

Being small does not guarantee injuries; I see it as neutral. McGuffie took too many direct hits last year because he wasn't smart enough to avoid them; he thought he was Superman and didn't realize that he wasn't until it was too late.

After the first concussion, he wasn't quick enough to avoid them anymore; after subsequent concussions, he was even less able to avoid them. That is why I wish he would have just taken a medical scholarship and gotten a degree.

Anyway, Forcier should be fine. If he isn't, Robinson could be the real deal and Sheridan could actually improve from last year to this year. I know he looked a lot more like Nicolette Sheridan last year, but he could have improved like most players do between their first and second years of seeing the field. If Sheridan is like he was last year, though, and has to play, UM is in big trouble.

I am hoping Forcier will be fine. I still think the Wolverines are in better shape at QB than OSUcks is with "Pryor and Prayer."


March 24th, 2009 at 7:54 PM ^

"Being small does not guarantee injuries; I see it as neutral. McGuffie took too many direct hits last year because he wasn't smart enough to avoid them; he thought he was Superman and didn't realize that he wasn't until it was too late."

Dude, go to hell.


March 24th, 2009 at 8:06 PM ^

First, you are a huge dick for blaming McGuffie's concussions on "thinking he is superman" vs. "getting hit really hard in the head".

Second, one concussion makes you more susceptible to a second. It wasn't because he "was too slow".

Third, classy, with the Nicolette comment. Nice.

Fourth, how many hours did you spend coming up with "OSUcks"? Did you chuckle to yourself when you finally struck gold? You really SHOWED THEM!

R Kelly

March 25th, 2009 at 10:38 AM ^

Exactly how are we in better shape at QB than OSU? You're delusional, they have a 6'6" freak athlete, with a year of experience under his belt coming back. We have Tate (please, please, please live up to our unrealistic expectations), Denard (a cornerback with a decent arm), and umm ya not even gonna go into further detail about that last option. Best case scenario is that the O-line makes drastic improvements, no injuries, and Tate has a season similar to what Colt McCoy had at Texas his freshman year, which I hate to say it, but is probably still not gonna be as good as Pryor's next year.

** please don't accuse me of being an OSU fan, I promise I'm really not; I'm just trying to be realistic.