My belated Saturday scrimmage notes

Submitted by Bodogblog on August 23rd, 2010 at 6:53 AM

Sorry I know there are several other threads, but given our junkie nature I thought many would still want to see.  Plus I disagree w/ some of the other scrimmage updates.  Pardon any spelling errors, have to post this and get to work

- Nothing original on Denard: looks comfortable, made some nice throws, seems in charge of the O.  Wouldn't want to have to tackle him
- It doesn't look like they have any intention of redshirting DG. Looked great, made one very poor decision. He can't have the O down yet, can he?
- Tate ran with the 3's, but later with the 1's and 2's.  He has the best touch of the three, though the least zip.  Still feel most comfortable with him at the helm, though Denard did nothing to lessen my confidence in him.  Tate did NOT overthrow any fades: on 3 pass plays from the 2 yard line, he threw the ball away (the one running play was stuffed).  Great because 1) this was the first string D, and they had everyone covered, 2) Tate did not try to shoehorn the ball in.  He's taking care of the ball.  Rejoice.  He had one classic improvised TD pass where he motioned the receiver over, and the lone long pass of the scrimmage was on the money.  The receiver dropped it / pass interference. 
- Unfortunately, it still looks to me like none of the 3 are naturals at the zone read.
- At the end of the scrimmage, RR has them run laps around the field.  Denard first every time by a wide margin.  Tate working hard, but last nearly every time (sometimes getting in front of DG).  In an offense when the QB is expected to run, this explains the wings thing.  Denard is in outstanding shape.

RB's - Also differ here, I didn't think Hopkins looked as great as everyone else did.  Not a diss (dis? sp?) on his play - he ran very hard - but I didn't see the world beater others did.  Much like the other scrimmages, all the RBs looked good, but none really stood out.  We have options in Cox and Shaw.  Though V. Smith, as reported, looks great - no noticeable effects from the injury.

Yes, Kelvin Grady everywhere.  He looks calm, matter-of-fact and natural.  WTF after being nearly invisible in the spring.  We have lots and lots and lots of slots

Huyge and D'stein are your starting tackles at the moment.  And I'm fine with that.  Omameh is gd beast, and Schilling looks all-conference.

Defense: They look more smash-mouth in the Front 7.  Moundros starts in the middle, looks like he's been playing there for a while.  A run stuffer certainly.  Middle zone coverage?  Not enough data.  Ezeh also stuffed the run and took on blocks at Mouton's spot.  Roh will be a beast, but given almost all of the throws were short, his pass rush didn't have time to get home.

Vlad will hit you, but we all knew that.  Cam Gordon is going to be very good, I think.  Big boy.  He was in position to make two great tackles, but unfortunately didn't wrapup and was pulled off the field.  Later returned with the 1's.  Going to take some time

JT Floyd looks good, Rogers looks big.  Teric Jones and Christian are your 2's.  Talbott and Avery don't look undersized, and don't look overwhelmed.  Again, hard to judge corner play given the nature of the throws.  But Christian has a way of moving that reminds one of Woodson.  He moves like he knows he's good.  I think Marvin Robinson will be helping the team very soon.

We look Bend But Don't Break, which we all knew, and we'll have to be at least early

Field goals looked a bit worse than average.  Hagerup boomed one, short-legged two

Based on pathetically little evidence: It did appear that Big Will was running with the 3's, but he also looks very tough to block.  Don't know if he's turned the corner to actually making plays yet.  Davion Rogers is skinnier than you imagine.  Open that time capsule up in 2011 at least if you're hoping to see him play.   Jake Ryan looks like a good MLB at some point.  Josh Furman passes the eyeball test.  Didn't see Carvin Johnson on the field, and was looking for him (may have been banged up).  Noticed a #67 jersery (Nathan Brink?) more often than I noticed LaLota in the second and third teams.  Shook RR's hand, seems like a good man.

Overall, O looks great and D not bad.  I am beyond excited for this season.



August 23rd, 2010 at 7:22 AM ^

Great summary, thanks.  I think that we need to petition for this to be the new mgoblog tag line: "We have lots and lots and lots of slots"  100% pure Colombian awesome.


August 23rd, 2010 at 7:32 AM ^

Thanks for the summary! I appreciate the analysis on Tate. Everyone seems to think he is OMG terrible now. I still think he will be seeing the field plenty this year. He did have some amazing moments as a true freshman QB. He just had some growing up to do but it seems he may be improving in that respect. I look forward to this one two punch. And please redshirt DG!


August 23rd, 2010 at 8:26 AM ^

I find it interesting that they said after this scrimmage they'd probably have 1st and second teams set, which I'm sure they do, but said in the post scrimmage presser that the QB battle wouldn't be decided in the next few days. I guess that's the one position that's NOT set yet. Probably just that. Wants to see who can handle the larger amount of plays better.


August 23rd, 2010 at 9:45 AM ^

I agree - I think we enter UConn with an "A" or "B" kind of thing. If A or B is Denard and Devin, then we'll still see a lot of Tate as well. If "A" or "B" is Denard and Tate, then Devin's  playing time will be based on how tight the game is, but I still expect to see him.

When asked about taking the first snap against UConn, Denard said something to the effect of that would be great, but taking the first snap against Notre Dame is more important. I think that is very telling ...


August 23rd, 2010 at 10:31 AM ^

In the warm-ups, when the QB's throw, it was Denard first, DG second, Tate third.  Perhaps this is all part of the wings thing.  But DG throws a very nice ball, and he's quite accurate.  Again I think Tate is the most accurate, but I didn't see any of the mechanics problems noted in DG's recruitment. 

DG actually came out first with the offense when the scrimmage portion began, but that was 1st team D vs. 2nd team O.  A guy in front of me started yelling, "yeah, DG is the starter, just like I said!"  I wanted to tell him to go back to 97.1.  Perhaps it didn't mean anything.  He looks good though.  Like I said, I feel most comfortable with Tate.  But if I were RR, it's hard to look at DG and not think he's good enough to play now.  FormerWolv may have said it best: I think they all look roughly equivalent in terms of the production they can bring, why not RS DG?  That, and I can't imagine he has this offense down.  Remember Roundtree said it took him 2 years before he understood it (more plaudits for Tate's performance last year, IMO)

I'd like to RS DG as well, don't get me wrong.  On the pick he threw, there was actually another defender behind Robinson.  If he didn't get it, the other guy would have.  The receiver wasn't anywhere near open.  I don't think RR can't take that this year. 

It's just based on how they played the QB's in the scrimmage, it didn't appear they had plans to RS DG.  Maybe it's true they just want to give him as many reps as they can now.  In any case, we've got 3 really good QBs, all of whom can be great.  I'm a Denard fan as well, don't take my lack of his mention as faint praise.  Others have already covered it - he looks confident, deadly at times.  The QB cupboard at Michigan looks to be full once again

Blue in Seattle

August 23rd, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

RR repeats that he wants two people he can win with at every position, and that there is no way to measure people without putting them in a real game situation.

Watching the Spring Game, and hearing RR call it "scripted" rather than a true scrimmage, and then everyone stating Denard ran the 1st string O against the 2nd string D, it is my conclusion that RR is excellent at marketing the Michigan Experience as he wants to present it.  With so many potential recruits observing the scrimmage, wouldn't you want to make sure the performance looked good, and left everyone with an image of what the offense is supposed to look like?

Denard had a lot of catching up to do to close the gap between him and Tate.  Part was knowledge, the other was experience performing the reads.  The only place to improve that through Spring and Summer was through the voluntary 7 on 7.

Clearly Tate did take an attitude of, "I was trained to do this from birth, there's nothing for me to learn from the spring."  Add on the fact that Denard was practicing with the indoor track team through the winter, and the scales have tipped to Denard, but only slightly.

I say unless Tate dramatically improved his run option reads, we see Denard start the game and establish some running.  Then if Denard can't shift over to success at passing we see Tate come in.

either way, I think we see both in the first game, and if through some miracle we have a "safe" margin or an injury, then we see what DG can do with a springs worth of playbook knowledge.

RR seems to emphasize brains/experience over talent.  As long as he keeps recruiting 5 star QB's every other year, he only needs DG as a leader for two years.  Even without the redshirt those two years could be two years away.


August 23rd, 2010 at 7:37 AM ^

It's very promising to hear that Tate is taking care of the ball. Last year people started to overlook him for Denard because of Denard's big plays at practive but we know Tate can show up and make it happen during games. His biggest problem was protecting the ball and if he can do that plus have a shoulder that isn't blown up then he can be a great qb for us.


August 23rd, 2010 at 7:45 AM ^

is getting better on run stuffing. We may still have big problems with the pass, but even if teams game plan to pass all the time, it wouldn't be as bad as when we couldn't stop the pass or rush.


August 23rd, 2010 at 7:59 AM ^

thanks for the summary. 

Is anyone else getting crazy excited about this O-line?  I keep hearing nothing but positive things and hard competition.  In an offense that asks the linemen to run a whole bunch, our biggest strength could be our depth (at least for part of the line).  Hopefully the coaches are seeing only a small drop off from the 1's to 2's and are completely comfortable rotating them in and out through the course of a series.  If that's the case, I see some nice long, one end to the other, touchdown drives in our future. 

That is of course, if D-Rob doesn't break one for an 75+-yard TD.  I guess I won't complain if that happens. 

12 DAYS, BITCHES!!!!!!!!!  12 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!

STW P. Brabbs

August 23rd, 2010 at 8:04 AM ^

We all know Obi can take on blocks.  Many times, I've seen him take on blocks for the sheer pleasure of it, while the RB runs past him a couple of yards to his side.

I want to see Obi tackle.


August 23rd, 2010 at 8:26 AM ^

...that just having to chase Denard all over the field like a rabbit has only make our defense better, stronger, faster.

I pity any immobile pocket quarterback we play this season, as he will have his ass handed to him the whole afternoon.

When our D finds its confidence, and that confidence starts to build upon itself throughout the season, there will be no looking back. I love racking up points like the next guy, but everyone knows that DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!

Patience is a virtue that many of us don't have much of these days. This program is being rebuilt into something beyond our wildest expectations.

These kids believe in the program - believe in themselves - and they really have something to prove to the world.

What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve - and those who stay will be Champions!

We are Michigan! The Big House is OUR House - and pity the team that thinks they can walk in there and steal a victory from us!

That place had BETTER BE ROCKIN' on September 4th - and every single Saturday after that, that we come to gather there!

We need a God Thundering voice of 110,000 screaming down upon that field that will lift our men's spirits and crush those that dare take the field against them. That place needs to be deafening like it was for Notre Dame last year whenever our defense takes the field. As soon as their offense starts to huddle up, they need to lose the ability to communicate effectively. We need to be that immoveable 12th man for our team. Imagine if we left nothing in the stands, as much as we desire our young men to leave nothing on the field at the end of the day.

I cannot FREAKING WAIT for this season to start!


August 23rd, 2010 at 8:46 AM ^

I feel like the Hopkins hype has been a little out of control.  I don't think many people have suggested he'll be the starter or anything, but it seems that some people are overrating his impact this year.  I think he'll have a very defined job this year: short yardage.  The other backs have more experience and more big-play ability.

I'm also glad you brought up the Forcier thing.  He has reportedly been looking good in practices, despite the fact that he didn't come to many workouts all summer.  If he and Denard are neck-and-neck, I'd prefer to have the guy out there that the team will rally around more (Denard, most likely).  But the fact is that Forcier has been there and done that, as far as late-game heroics and leading the team to victory.

Good for James Rogers.  If he's the best guy, I hope he can keep that #2 cornerback job.  He's bounced around in his ~4 years and I'd like to see him get a shot at seeing the field before he graduates.


August 23rd, 2010 at 9:28 AM ^

... about a Tate/Denard "sharing" model for the start of the season.  I still think Denard will separate over the course of the season.  Sharing, as long as you can win a majority of the first six games, has another benefit.

You don't have to show all of the playbook too soon.

When we get into the meat of the Big Ten season, I want the Revenge Tour to open things up, big-time.  Given the state of the D, it's going to be critical to get out ahead of most teams, forcing their O to be more impatient...

... or something like that...


August 23rd, 2010 at 9:15 AM ^

It doesn't look like they have any intention of redshirting DG.

I don’t know if he’ll redshirt, but getting snaps in a practice scrimmage has nothing to do with redshirting — unless, of course, he is in line to start, which does not appear to be the case.

By practically all accounts, Gardner is very good, but he is still the #3 QB at the moment. I realize that Forcier worked part-time with the third-string, but I think that was just motivation. No one has suggested that Forcier is actually the #3 right now.

Rodriguez has already said that he wouldn’t burn Gardner’s redshirt, just to give him occasional game snaps in mop-up duty. Barring injury or poor performance by both Forcier and Robinson, Gardner will not see the field this year.

Blue in Seattle

August 23rd, 2010 at 4:06 PM ^

Isn't it more of a challenge to try and be the QB for the lest experienced team?

and on the flip side, if you wanted to rapidly train an inexperienced QB, wouldn't that be easier with everyone else being highly experienced, thus most of the mistakes coming from the QB you are trying to train?  Thus able to point them out and have him learn?

One part of me thinks that in addition to Tate's attitude needing some correcting, that RR actually knows how to coach.  On top of that, he's secretly enjoying the fact that the media can't figure out which QB he's going to start at all.



August 23rd, 2010 at 9:35 AM ^

Thanks for the good summary.

I hope that most of what's been happening with Tate is RR trying to motivate him to be better.  If teams have to prepare for both a running QB that can throw and a throwing QB that can run, it will be that much harder for them.

If both Denard and Tate can run the offense efficiently, and they can install plays that play to their respective strengths, we could have something going on.

My sense is that they're trying to do everything they can to get Devin reps in case they need him, but are hoping that they don't.


August 23rd, 2010 at 10:11 AM ^

How about a QB that can both run and throw (meaning full package)?  I think in our qb gang bangin' (The Tate's on the left with the red rags vs. the Denard's on the right rockin' the blue) we tend to denote one qb's ability to boost our favorite qb for the job.

The reality is that we now have two good qb's on this team that we can win with.  I'm confident that both Denard and Tate can lead this team and bring us W's.  Be sure of this:  Our quarterback battle will not be decided on the first snap of the U-Conn game.

Oh, I have to be honest...I'm with the grey rags that are bangin' "Gardner to redshirt".  I just don't want to do the freshman qb thing all over again and I don't care how much you state, "but Henne was a freshman".


August 23rd, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

Perhaps either Tate or Denard will pull well ahead and become "the guy," but what really gets my heart racing is the prospect of opponents having to prepare for two slightly different, very dangerous QB's.

If they're both stepping up, we've got a two-headed monster that will let M scheme around D's like mad and give opposing coaches fits.

Did anyone see Gallon out there? Kick return maybe? Slot? Haven't heard a thing.


August 23rd, 2010 at 9:53 AM ^

Gallon was one of those kids who needed to "earn his wings" (which he has done).  He was supposed to be our punt returner this season, but apparently that job has gone back to Odoms due to Gallon's offseason habits.


August 23rd, 2010 at 1:15 PM ^

Not only will we have a two-headed monster, having 3 solid QB's allows for more aggressive play-calling, because you aren't terrified of injury. RR has already shown a tendency to go for broke and play aggressively. I like this. But if Tate or Denard were only option, and the backup QB was Sheridanesque, you would think twice about exposing your starting QB to any more danger / hits than necessary. Knowing that you won't be crippled if either goes down, the play-calling should definitely be more attacking and out there. Even though there is a slightly higher risk of injury, there is also a higher probability of burning your opponent. I continue to be thrilled at all the weapons on the offensive side of the ball, and also expect to see BOTH Tate and Denard on the field at the same time, in order to foil those who will defense for one or the other.

I haven't been following OSU too closely, but IIRC, they don't have much backing up Pryor at QB, and would be hurt greatly by an injury to him. Tressel is conservative by nature, but not having a solid stable of QB's causes him to be more cautious and conservative yet. This, I believe, will play into U of M's favor.


August 23rd, 2010 at 9:51 AM ^

Thanks for the detailed update.  Of course, I've seen nothing personally, but your account seems a bit more realistic than other versions I've seen (with some edit of "Hopkins is the greatest", "Tate sucks", etc.).  I'm hoping we (at least) start with Tate at QB.  If he falters, I've got no problem moving down the list, but  we need experience on the field.


August 23rd, 2010 at 10:29 AM ^

1. Brendan Gibbons has a really cool Maize kicking shoe

2. Both Terry and Terrence Talbott's jerseys say "T.Talbott"

Oh and the OP is not kidding about Davion Rogers, he has Roy Roundtree's size but he is 6'6'' --> (over the loudspeaker) paging Mike Barwis, there is a freshman in need of 20 lbs of muscle, repeat, Mike Barwis to the weight room.


August 23rd, 2010 at 10:43 AM ^

I posted just after the btn preview the other night that I thought it looked like tate had significantly better touch on the balls than denard has. Denard definitely had more arm than tate, but I would rather see better touch.
Now... If Denard develops the touch that it looked like Tate has...