I have reading comments about player development and how the coaching staff has failed to do that. The largest amount of noise I have heard was the lack of supposed development from the QB's. I would really love for someone to please tell me how in the hell you can have QB development when you have 3 different players starting at QB and have to change starters 4 different times due to injury as well as poor play, and on top of that the OL has 5 new starters (position wise) and both WR and TE graduated. Speight lost 50% of his run offense and 90% of the receptions from last year, and there are people who think the QB's regressed. So before getting into the details of player development lets look at some numbers
|Rushing yards/ per game||3072/212.9||2592/186.3|
|Passing yards/ per gme||2756/212||2023/168.5|
|Points per game||40.31 (including 80 on Rutgers)||25.75|
|Fumbles - Lost||13-5||15-8|
|Total TO +-||+7||-2|
So we are a net -9 in turnovers and offense down about 80 yards a game, and all of this after replacing 9 starters on offense and 90% of the skill positions. So on to the QB Development elephant that seems to be walking around the Big House.
The UM QB's this year Speight(Injury) - O'Korn (Poor Play)-Peters (Injury)-O'Korn...
There is not a NFL team that can do that Just look at the Houston Texans and you can see how average to poor the offense was for the first 3 years Bill O'Brein has been the coach there.
From a development standpoint here is where I see things. I may be wrong but this is what I see
Defense A- Replacing 10 Starters and still having a defense that was still a top 10 defense in total yards, Passing yards, Sacks, and TFL. And thanks to the defense we were in every game with the exception of 1.
Corner Backs - A, would have been an A+ but they still get not looking for the ball enough to avoid PI calls (consider they replaced an All-american and all Big10 CB)
Safties - B+ Again getting pulled out of position on run fakes when they should be covering the deep middle.
LB's A Bush, Hudson and we are solid and we have depth. We lose McCray but gain some more side to side speed.
DL- A- Gary was doubled all year but still was an impact player. Hurst proved he is NFL caliber and was a force in the middle. Thor(Winnovich) solid pass rushing and got better at setting the edge all year. Saw flashes from Solomon and Kemp and the others.
Offense -overall C because of injuries at QB and WR
TE's A- Became the best blocking group and all of them showed good hands and better route running as the year went along
RB's B Injuries kept this from being an A, If everyone had stayed healthy we could have been able to cover up more QB issues. Pass Protection got better from Higdon and Evans as the year went along. Especially Higdon since it was his missed block that caused Speight to get hurt against Purdue
WR's B- Run blocking very good, pass routes needs improvement. Losing Black to injury and Crawford doing his best Ian (Skillet Hands Bunting) impression for most of the season left us to have to rely on 2 slot recievers (Perry and McDoom) and a bunch of TE's for passing downs. DPJ showed flashes but seemed to run into DB's when running routes,instead of force them to adjust to him and his speed and size, especially when the defense would play off coverage. No reason to run straight at the DB and let him get into your body and control your path.
QB Inc 4 different starters over the season with 3 different players and the starters changing as much for injury as play on field.
Finally OL C+ going to break this down into 2 groups Interior (Bredeson, Kugler, and Onwenu/Ruiz) and Tackles (Cole and the rotation at RT). If Ruiz had shown earlier in the season what he did in the final 3 games I think the OL would have been different and probably much more stable. That being said the interior of the OL improved over the season, you could see it simply by their ability to better adjust to games on the interior of the plays (T-E and T-LB) games that were designed to free up a late rusher up the middle. Also the number of runs between the tackles that were negative plays also went down.
Tackle play get a C- and almost a D. The RT was a circus as the coaches tried to find someone to take ownership of the position like Onwenu did at RG. Moving Cole to LT was done because of Newsome's injury, he was playing out of position and for the most part held his own. He did get beat a couple of times on delayed OLB/CB blitzes off the edge whene he would block down but played solid.
Looking forward, like I said before if Ruiz had shown what he did in the last 2 games over fall camp your OL would probably been something like this (LT- Cole, LG Ruiz, C- Kugler, RG-Onwenu, RT-Bredeson) and that is a line I would like to have seen play. For next year the biggest questions are LT- Does Newsome come back and play at the same level after that horrible knee injury, and RT- Will one of hte young tackles make enough improvement to replace JBB who once he got consistant pt was fair. So looking forward there is plenty of talent there just need to see who steps up. Because I like the middle of our OL next year. Also giving the team another 15 bowl practices and with young talent replacing the 6 Sr starters (Cole, Kugler, Hill/Poggi, Hurst,Winovich, McCray) things are not as horrible as everyone says,
Projected lineup for Sept 1 2018 vs ND
RT (Stubner,Filiaga,Hall) Leaning towards Filiaga