Michigan Scrimmage Notes

Submitted by pullin4blue on August 21st, 2010 at 6:12 PM

I just got back from the scrimmage today and wanted to pass on a little information. The scrimmage was open to suite holders and club seat ticket holders. It started at 3pm and ran until 5:00. It was structured much like the spring game, where they began with special teams, and exchanges, punting, kicking, punt blocks, and punt/kick returns. Lastly, was the Blue against white scrimmage starting at the 30, then the 2, then the 50.

Prior to seeing this scrimmage I was a fan of Tate and would tell anyone who asked, that Tate would be the starter. After watching the scrimmage, D-Rob will be the starter. He was much better in the pocket, made good decisions when faced with getting rid of the ball or being sacked with loss of yards, and his exchanges were very good. Think about some of the ball fakes that Juice Williams had. D-Rob isn't there yet, but he will be. I also think there is NO WAY that Gardner will redshirt. He played very well and almost as good as Tate in every phase of the game. 

With passing, D-Rob led his receivers well and his completion rate was astronomic as compared to last season. Both Tate and Devin had throws that were routinely behind the receivers or not catchable.

The most pleasant surprise for me was Stephen Hopkins. This is a guy who has a chance to be a 1,000 yd rusher. He hit the holes well and was a load to take down. Smith, Cox and Shaw also did well, but in my mind, not as good as Hopkins.

Kelvin Grady played VERY WELL today and was probably responsible for the most yards of any player.

On the defensive side of the ball, M-R0b had a nice pick that he took for 50 yards. I love it when I see someone who can walk the walk and talk the talk. There was solid play by T. Talbott, Ryan, Jones, Gordon, Herron, Hawthorne,Van Bergen, Roh, Avery, Johnson, and Demens. I do not mean to leave anyone out, but they all looked good.

The O-Line was great and it was nice to see that we truly are 2-deep with linemen. The D-line looked good and will definitely cause some problems for teams.

Special teams will be better this year, watching Broekhuizen kick 40 yard field goals on a regular basis. There were no fumbles on kick returns and although there were some turnovers during play. They were few, and not by the "first string". We are going to have a much better team than people think. 

Rich Rod was having fun. He was smiling, meeting with fans and player's families, and didn't appear to be stressed at all. I walked into the stadium with Hagerup and had a nice talk with him. What a great guy. After talking with him it is very clear that this team is out to prove something. I can't wait until the 4th.

I don't think I have revealed anything about the team that would aid scouting by UConn, but if Brian or Tim think so, delete this post. There's no way I want to do anything to hurt the team.



August 22nd, 2010 at 2:03 AM ^

I had a hard time keeping track.  There was a lot of movement among the players.

I will say this: there were a couple of *really* good hits by Moundrous on the day.  They were tackles where he was in position, wrapped up, and drove through the O player to make a powerful hit.  I thought he had two of the best sticks on the day.


August 21st, 2010 at 8:05 PM ^

....that is bad news.  Not that Gardner couldn't play...I think he is easily talented enough.  I think it would mean, however, something terrible for DRob and Tate, which would mean bad things for the team.  I RRod feels comfortable leaving Gardner out, that spells good things for the team. 


August 21st, 2010 at 11:45 PM ^

I think that's a valid point. If we expect him to be dynamite by year three of being a significant contributor, why not get him some of that experience now? I wouldn't be surprised if the coaches discuss that at some point with Gardner to see where his head is at with the whole thing. If he's telling them, "Look, if draft advisors are telling me I'm a first round pick, I don't think I can pass that up." then maybe they're more likely to give him a shot this year and get as much as possible from him while he's here. If he's as good as we expect him to be, I don't think heading to the draft early is going to be out of the question.

ND Sux

August 22nd, 2010 at 11:39 AM ^

period.  If we need him in situations, he plays.  He was promised a chance to compete, and the coaches should always keep their word. 

Not ripping anyone's opinion here, but why so worried about burning his redshirt?  RRod will be recruiting more stud QB's in the future, in fact, letting a true frosh see the field helps in recruiting top-ranked guys. 

Thanks for all the information on the practice, guys.  I'm not surprised about Grady because he's been shown in the clips a lot during this fall camp. 


August 21st, 2010 at 8:11 PM ^

Who was playing with the first string?  Was it all three of them?  How much pressure was being put on the QB's?  Some of Denard's passes in the spring game were due to the fact that there were only about two second-string D-lineman making a token effort to rush him.  Not saying that he isn't better right now, but on a team this young there is a pretty big difference between taking snaps with the 1's or 2's.


August 22nd, 2010 at 2:06 AM ^

I think it was a mix.  You had 3 QBs rotating against 2 offense groups:

QB1 O1

QB2 O2

QB3 O1

QB1 O2

QB2 O1

QB3 O2

So, after six reps, each QB had played with both the ones and twos.  I think RR is trying to get DG as many reps as possible NOW in case there's an emergency later.


August 21st, 2010 at 8:18 PM ^

...scrimmage impressions post is up.  Lots to chew on there. Some excerts.

  • Unless something crazy happens between now and September 4, Denard Robinson is your clear starter at quarterback.
  • Devin Gardner, running mostly with the twos, looked at times like a seasoned veteran, but he had a couple throws — including an ugly interception to Marvin Robinson — that reminded everyone he is just a freshman.
  • Tate Forcier started with the threes but saw snaps with the ones and twos as well — he looked solid throwing the ball, but made a couple poor reads on zone running plays.
  • It was great to see Vincent Smith out there running with the first-team offense, and he looks 100% healthy. The most impressive back, however, may have been Stephen Hopkins.
  • Kelvin Grady had a very impressive day, making some great catches on seam routes from the slot, getting a lot of yards after the catch on screen plays, and scoring a touchdown on an end-around.
  • On defense, I was most impressed with the play of Mark Moundros, who showed good instincts in the run game and had a couple really nice hits — he was playing alongside Obi Ezeh with the ones, with Jonas Mouton sitting out in a green jersey.
  • J.T. Floyd and James Rogers were the cornerbacks on the first-team defense. Floyd looked solid, but Rogers got picked on a couple times and got hit with a pass interference flag after getting beat deep by Jerald Robinson. The secondary in general looked very suspect.
  • From the few kicks we were able to see, Brendan Gibbons looked like the best kicker, but he still has to get more consistent from inside 40 yards — just can’t afford to miss those kicks. Will Hagerup had an up-and-down day punting the ball.


August 21st, 2010 at 8:18 PM ^

2 questions, 

was the scrimmage 1s vs 1s or 1s vs 2s that you could tell?

And did the defense run any man coverage or was it all zone?


August 21st, 2010 at 8:28 PM ^

1s vs 2s the whole time, though some of the personnel moved between the first and second teams (especially receivers). Defense ran zone almost exclusively ... only remember them running man when the D brought the house on a blitz.


August 22nd, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

How do we know he isn't actually one of our spies who is playing the role so well that he's actually pretending to be Irish to us as well, so he can go over there and trade bogus information to spy for us?  He seems very level-headed, which is kind of a giveaway...


August 21st, 2010 at 8:27 PM ^

DG might not get a redshirt, 1. being that he was promised the chance to compete when he was recruited, and if he competes his way to play, then he should play..........If he is good enough and the media (or us at mgoblog) make it sound like he is good enough to play but will redshirt just because we want to keep him for an extra year, then we probably will have a tough time selling the "chance to compete" to future recruits. And 2. maybe i need to l need to look up the rules for declaring for the NFL draft, but if he's as good as people are making him sound, we might want just want to get him on the field while we actually have a chance. This is a tough decision for a coach , but something tells me RR doesn't see too much talent at QB as much of a problem as us on this board.

Lil Michigan Man 7

August 21st, 2010 at 9:46 PM ^

As good as I think DG will be in our offense I dont think that pro scouts like run first QB's like Vince Young, Pat White and JaMarcus Russell.  Pat White for example dominated in the spread offense in college (arguably the best QB in the class) but he wasn't drafted in the frist round because no pro team runs a spread offense like RichRod's. And up till then neither Vince Young or JaMarcus Russell had preformed up to hype. So in summary I don't think DG will leave for the draft until after he graduates (either his fourth or fifth year).


August 21st, 2010 at 10:43 PM ^

i don't know where to start.

1. Scouts do like Vince Young (3rd overall pick) Jamarcus Russell (1st overall) and Pat White (44th overall) Note Chad Henne 57th overall. If they didn't like them why are they selected high?

2. Do you mean run-first or black?

3. Jamarcus Russell has 40 carries in 31 NFL games and 1 TD. He is 6'6 260+ lbs. He ran a 4.83. He is NOT a run first QB (though he is black)

4. VY or Jamarcus haven't performed to hype. Have Alex Smith, JP Losman, Brady Quinn or Matt Leinart? Its not just the 'run-first' QBs, its all of them. It is a difficult position to project in the NFL and being selected high doesn't guarantee anything.

5. So in summary your post has so many incongruencies sp? and flat out incorrect assumptions, as well as racial undertones, that it makes it difficult to get behind your wacky statements.


August 22nd, 2010 at 1:23 AM ^

Draft position for White is kind of meaningless actually because he was never drafted to be a starting QB.  The dolphins only took him as high as they did to add another dimension to the wildcat.  Henne was clearly the next in line at that point.  White was in no way taken to supplant or even challenge Henne for the starting spot.


August 22nd, 2010 at 1:21 AM ^

Jamarcus Russell wasn't a run first QB.  His best comparison in college right now is Ryan Mallett.  He was never a running QB.

Pat White wasn't selected in the first round because he's like 6'0 tall and didn't look all that great at the senior bowl when he had to run an actual pro style offense and take snaps from under center (his passing was all right, but his footwork, center exchange, etc were a mess.) 

And I'm sorry, Pat White was never "arguably the best QB in the class.)  He was perhaps the most successful college QB in his class.  As a draft prospect?  At 6'0" tall, with a decent, not great arm, who's rarely taken a snap from under center and had never seen the full route tree?  I'm sorry, Stafford, Sanchez, and Freeman were clearly ahead of him as prospects and it wasn't close, regardless of running ability.


August 21st, 2010 at 8:32 PM ^

the bottom line regarding the qb's (specifically tate and denard) is that they will both be playing against UConn. I expect towards the beginning of the season it will be relatively close to a 50/50 split, unless one guy is just absolutely rolling. As the season progresses, one guy might establish himself. But that is only going to happen on the field, in the games, when it matters.


As excited as I, and everyone else is for denards development, we have to keep in mind that certain defenses struggle against certain types of quartbacks. It's obviously nice to hear that denard's passing was crisp and accurate, but we haven't seen him pass this offseason against a top-notch secondary. And we haven't seen him face, since his recent progression, a defense with a proven pass-rush.


on a different subjct, did anyone mention/know how will campbell looked? was he able to play successive downs? did he get pushed around by a center who he has 50lbs on?


August 21st, 2010 at 8:32 PM ^

It sounds like the offense and the front 7 of the defense should be quite good this year.  As long as there is a good pass rush, the secondary may turn out better than expected, as well.  After a pretty rough week, I am starting to feel more hopeful about our prospects for this season again.


August 21st, 2010 at 8:40 PM ^

Sounds like there are some positive things happening out there.  We should probably interpret performances from the fall scrimmage cautiously, given that our offense is working against a somewhat suspect defense.


August 21st, 2010 at 10:19 PM ^

I call BS: Rich Rod, out there smiling having fun. Whatever. I read on the intertewbs that he was in WVA all day, so it must be true and this diary false.

LOL.....thanks for the update, pullin4blue

Sounds like the Denarding is happening, yo!


August 22nd, 2010 at 2:10 AM ^

RR had plenty of frustrated moments.  It wasn't clear if he was pissed at the QBs or the running backs, but there were numerous times where he was quite agitated.

He did start the scrimmage portion of the practice, however, by telling the players that they should, "go out there and have some fun!"


August 21st, 2010 at 10:39 PM ^

Thanks for the recap. I was hoping to hear if denard threw any deep passes. I can complete five yard passes against our dbs all day... I read Tate's deep passes were off, but didn't read if 'lace threw anything down field. Just imagining a team with athletic dbs going man on the outside taking away short routes with 9 in the box.  RR couldn't score on USF at WV and they had 3 future pro dbs who could lock down reynaud, jalloh and co. And last year's denard makes pat white look like montana...

I visit the site about 100x a day, first post, go blue.


August 22nd, 2010 at 1:51 AM ^

Yeah I watched a lot of WVU before RR came to Michigan and I always attributed their issues with USF to them having NFL-caliber CBs. It's probably easier to cope with a spread attack when your DB's can win 1 on 1 with the guys they're spreading you out with. That sort of talent is thankfully absent on the schedule, but against a team I don't recall (relatively small, talent deficient one), they actually put 10 in the box and it worked for more than a quarter against WVU but then pat white threw some bombs and they still won by 20 or something. They sincerely dared them to throw, and WVU did and still won but pat white was still a viable QB in college so hopefully denard can be too. we know tate is.


August 21st, 2010 at 11:17 PM ^

The amazing thing about Ben Franklin is that he was also a huge college football fan, and he also said "if ye saveth a red shirt, ye banke a kick-asse fifth year to lay waste your opponents."

Sporchek El Basha

August 21st, 2010 at 11:49 PM ^

This kind of informational dynamic just can't be found anywhere. I am extremely impressed by the way Rodriguez has landed so many talented recruits and appears to have a team so deep and talented that this thing is about to explode like a hydrogen bomb of blue fury.

I am very anxious for the season to start so I can watch the Wolverines tear it up on the field. Practice reports like this are refreshing because we haven't had this much astronomic enthusiastic for a few years now. You can just feel a different feel this year. I know I can!


August 22nd, 2010 at 12:32 AM ^

If the defensive secondary can survive the first five games this team can go on to some very good things.  I realize that is a big if but it is not out of the question - they are inexperienced but have enough talent that by game six they will be veterans and ready for the tough part of the season.  The important thing is to win these first games regardless of how ugly it looks because we will get better as we go.


August 22nd, 2010 at 12:34 AM ^

Interesting that Grady had a big day.  Assuming we start three wideouts (counting slot receivers), who do you think they'll be?  Roundtree's a safe bet, but beyond that it seems like a tough call to determine the other two.   


August 22nd, 2010 at 1:33 AM ^

Tay, as a Junior, should start, he his such a good blocker too, and that cannot be taken for granted.

From what the other practice reports say, Stonum is having a killer off-season, so I'd expect Stonum opposite either Roundtree or Odoms, the remaining player would go to the slot. The beauty of having all these great receivers is that we can just plug them in when they're fresh and wear down the opposing secondary.


August 22nd, 2010 at 1:41 AM ^

I was at the scrimmage, too.  I got home later (I live in Midland) then went to a poker game, so am just on the computer now.  I agree with most of the OP comments and have a couple differences of opinion.  I will also go back in and address some of the specific posts down below.

Key caveat -- I'm just a stupid fan.  I don't know much about football.

#1 I think RR is trying to push Tate every way he can.  He was a little hard on Tate at first, but it was clear to me that Tate has a *much* better understanding of the offense than Devin.  As the scrimmage went on, RR was more and more on DG about mistakes, and had less and less to criticize Tate about.

I do agree, however, that Denard is your leader right now.  He was *very* impressive, both in his decision making, his pass reads, and the quality of his throws.  What a difference a year makes.

Biggest negatives for me:

Michael Shaw had a fumble (recovered by the O) on the first series.

Vincent Smith had a fumble (recovered by the D after an EXCELLENT hit) on the second series.

The middle of the defense looked porous. The front stopped the inside run very well, but any sort of short pass beyond the line of scrimmage was money.  I don't know if this was the offense moving very well, or the D playing badly.  (Remember, I'm just a stupid fan).

Especially in warmups, Will Hagerup was BOOMING punts.  Some where he started at the back of the endzone, kicking from about the middle of the EZ going to the opposite 47 or 45 yardline.

*REALLY* agree on Hopkins and Grady.  Grady had a LOT of catches.  I was surprised to see Odoms not getting more.  After the fumbles on the first two series, Shaw and Smith were both consistently good when they weren't trying to run in the middle.  Even with the O-line playing better there was no room in there.

Molk still had on a green limited contact jersey.

Dilithium actually had TWO amazing runs.  The one the OP talked about where he made it to the 1 and ANOTHER where he scored without a single member of the defense ever getting close.  He is in a completely different category than anybody else in terms of moves  and the ability to make players miss.

Devin is bigger than I realized.  Denard and Devin were often together talking about stuff, and Devin dwarfs Denard.  

In the post game calisthenics, one of the activities is sorting the players by position and then having them run a lap around the field (then rest, then repeat).  Among the QBs, Tate was running the hardest.  He still has the fire in the belly.  There was one scrambling play with an ensuing pass to the back of the endzone that was really great.

Sac Fly

August 22nd, 2010 at 2:55 PM ^

... Just yet, it's just like the spring game. The defense is going to come out in a base package that won't change very much, just incase "someone" is watching. It's very easy to beat a D when you know what they are going to do.


August 22nd, 2010 at 9:33 PM ^

Which D was looking bad?  Was the 1st string D against the 2nd string O looking bad?  Because if so that's... unfortunate.  If the 1st string D looked good and only the 2nd string D looked bad then that's much more acceptable.

Since you're mostly focusing on players that are probably working mostly with the 1st string O, I'm hoping that it's just our second string D that looks poor.