My Takeaways from the Spring Game

Submitted by WichitanWolverine on April 17th, 2010 at 4:42 PM

I have very mixed emotions about today's game.  I'm more of an offensive guy so this is definitely biased in that direction, but here are a few of my takeaways:

Gardner will win the Heisman during his Michigan tenure.  For a high schooler (you know what I mean) he looked like someone that Vince Young or Troy Smith wishes he were at that age.  He has the most pocket presence and patience out of the three.

Forcier was lost on the field.  I know he had to play against the #1s and Denard didn't, but overall I was disappointed with his play.  I think Denard will start against UConn and as a result Tate will possibly transfer.

Denard looked solid; he was checking down before taking off and lighting the turf on fire.  He looked great on his downfield passes.  On his RB wheel route/flat passes, he looked pretty bad.  I think (or maybe just hope) this can be cleaned up before September.  Overall, I think he gives us the true dual threat angle we're looking for.

Our offensive line is BIG.  Taylor Lewan is a spitting image of Jake Long; the number is no coincidence.  I think the coaches were giving him a ton of reps today because they know he is legit.  People that are talking about Michigan being too small are in for a big surprise this fall.

There were a lot of bobbled balls today.  I think much of this was due to freshman jitters (as many of these mistakes seemed to be made by freshmen) and can be cleaned up by UConn time.

The RBs didn't impress me, nor did they disappoint.  They did their jobs efficiently.  That is all.

Our slot receivers, despite being the best duo (Roundtree, Odoms) in the country, had a couple drops.  This is the least of my worries.  I hope I feel the same way in November.


Emilien was completely out of position on the 97-yd Roundtree TD.  It was very, very, very nice to see Roundtree make that play after the Illinois debacle but I can't help but think this bodes poorly for our defense.  (Quote stolen from member romeowolv)

Mouton looked great.  He was flowing to the ball well and did that much better than he did last year.

JT Floyd lacks athleticism.  Yes, we all knew this, but it seemed apparent today.  I'm not overly concerned about this since we had some guy nicknamed D-Dub last year who was a shutdown corner despite having BG speed (which isn't something to scoff at).

Kovacs did what Kovacs does: punish runningbacks.  He tackled very well, as he always does, but wasn't tested deep (I don't think).  On one play, he squared up, met Hopkins with a full head of steam, and made the tackle.  Beautiful.

Big Will is the real deal.  He is showing that he is worth the 5 stars.

We need Woolfolk.  Hopefully our fall-incoming young DBs can help our defensive backfield, but I'm not banking on it.  Woolfolk is crucial.


We need "Hang-er-up-there" Hagerup.  The Rivas diet is not working out for Gibbons.

Our long snapper was bad (Pomarico I believe).


Again, mixed emotions.  It's hard to gauge our team when it's Michigan v. Michigan.  I was disappointed by the defense (which was eerily reminiscent of last year) but I hope this was simply because our offensive is insanely athletic.

Whoever our coach is in '11, whether it's RR or Harbaugh, he's in for a real treat with DG.  I think he is truly a special player that can revive the halcyon days.

Let's open this up for debate.  I can't wait for Magnus to rip this post to shreds.

Also, I just saw our men's gymnastic team won a NC.  HAIL.
EDIT: Apparently I somehow missed a bad Gardner interception during the game.  That may knock him down to the Davey O'Brien (though I doubt it).



April 17th, 2010 at 5:27 PM ^

this summer! I agree that DROB is playing well and may end up starting the UCONN game. Hopefully, Tate will remain competitive and battle DROB and not want to transfer.

Our defense will not be good, as far as UM standards, for another few years. Pour it on offense if we want a good record this season! Though the defense should improve through the season barring injuries! IMO...RR should be given through 2012 before a decision is made on his future.


April 17th, 2010 at 6:17 PM ^

Our offense, which was "good" last year, has nowhere to go but up.

We were electric against our non-con opponents. Most people that break down our offense pull DSU out of the equation before crunching the numbers, but if you split it up simply B10 against non-con, our B10 play was pretty awful.

I think a lot of this was due to Molk/Tate/Minor being injured as well as our QB inexperience (our QBs couldnt handle the talent of B10 play). I truly believe that with playing through last year, even though it was only 1 year, we will vastly improve. I also think that we will have to score 25+ ppg in the B10 to keep RR around. With the athleticism we have, I don't think that's infeasible.


April 17th, 2010 at 10:47 PM ^

Speaking of the Big 10 this year, how's Penn State looking? I haven't heard too much, but they lost Clark and some other key guys, right? I think a win in Happy Valley would be absolutely huge for Rich Rod and the program this year; combine that with a bowl berth and a win over Sparty,and I'd say his job is definitely secure. I left out OSU because, realistically....:(


April 17th, 2010 at 5:33 PM ^

I agree with alot of what you said, what is up with Forcier? Is he nursing an injury? Hope he gets rested up and ready. I missed a bit of the game though, we took kids and they wanted to get out of the cold. Went to souvenir shop and bought t-shirts. Ten bucks was a great deal. Cant wait to see what Devin and Denard do this fall. I still miss Minor rage.
It will kick ass if Justice Hayes comes to Mich, he is from my town, I've gotten to see him play a few games and he's quite impressive.


April 17th, 2010 at 6:04 PM ^

About the Minor Rage: I agree that Minor was a special breed. If he weren't plagued with injury, he'd be in the A^2 Valhalla with the likes of Perry, Hart, Biakabatuka, etc.

Having said that, I have no reason to believe one of our young steeds can't also fit the bill. I didn't see anything spectacular today, but I think Shaw, Cox, Toussaint, Smith, and Big-Bruiser Hopkins all have the potential to get it done, especially with the phenomenal line we'll display this fall.

Space Coyote

April 18th, 2010 at 11:59 AM ^

were doing commentary at the actual game, like actually doing it while the players were running plays. Shephard and Campbell did the same thing on the BTN. Neither were very good...


April 17th, 2010 at 6:08 PM ^

Let's not get ahead of ourselves and declare DG a future Heisman winner when he hasn't played a single real down in college. You may be right, and I think he'll be great, but let's not get carried away.


April 17th, 2010 at 6:10 PM ^

Can we please stop all this chatter about Forcier transferring? Please? He's given no indication that it will happen, and he's the incumbent starter. Furthermore, Denard STILL hasn't put together a solid game against an FBS team.

I'm glad Denard looked great against the second-string squad of our porous defense, but the Forcier transfer chatter should stop. It does no one any good but stir up unnecessary controversy/speculation.


April 17th, 2010 at 6:24 PM ^

I'm a bit disappointed that this is the only qualm you bring to the table. I'm sorry, but with the Forcier surname pedigree, can you honestly say it's pure speculation?

I'm sure you read the post last season that talked about Tate's FB status wherein he considered transferring. I admit Facebook is not the most legitimate source of information, but that honestly scared me. At this point, with the progress Denard has made, I think the odds of Tate graduating from Michigan are less than 50/50. I am also not worried anymore.


April 17th, 2010 at 6:51 PM ^

...about anything you said in the above post.

IT DOES NO GOOD to stir up online controversy. You did nothing with this post but attempt to further your point about something that should not be said. the interest of fewer distractions, less controversy, and decency itself, leave it alone.


April 17th, 2010 at 7:09 PM ^

Ok, while I just wanted to give my opinion about the situation and don't think I will influence anyone or cause mass hysteria, I will leave the Forcier transfer issue alone.

But you really think right now that Tate will be the starter in game 1? I think Denard is definitely the biggest threat at the QB spot.


April 18th, 2010 at 3:34 PM ^

then he's 50-50 to start the season! if not starting = immediate transfer, then i guess he could make that claim. but that's a ridiculously huge "if". tate isn't a pro prospect, so he'd be transferring to achieve what exactly? any answer to that question is pure speculation since there's been no real evidence toward the point. magnus and friends are right on.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:54 PM ^

1) Tate is still not 100% healthy.
2) He didn't have healthy WRs.
3) He was playing with a ragtag 2nd/3rd team offense.
4) He was playing against the 1st defense.
5) Conversely, DR was with the 1st team offense, and
6) DR was playing against a lesser defense.

I believe that this was designed by the coaches to light a fire under Tate, so he grows up. It also gives DR hope so DR doesn't transfer. I believe they both play significant reps next year.

I also believe that in Fall practice, when both are getting reps with 1st team offense, with a full complement of WRs, against 1st team defense, we will have a much more useful comparison.


April 18th, 2010 at 6:02 AM ^

Denard seems to love Ann Arbor. Given that Rich Rod's system is the only one he can really excel in as a QB, I don't see there being any reason for him to consider going elsewhere. Denard knows he is in a good situation, and the future is bright whether he stays at QB or changes to another position.


April 17th, 2010 at 8:24 PM ^

the Tate bashing. Denard looked better but this was a controlled practice where they were not subject to the same conditions. I would have like to have seen them switch places at some point.

On the long drive scenarios Tate did a pretty good job of marching his mash unit down the field. He didn't move the O as quickly as Denard and he didn't end up scoring on those long drives but, again, conditions..... He was flushed out of the pocket and he was elusive. When the play broke down, I didn't see him make any mistakes, except a ball that should have been picked but ended up tipped and caught for a first down.

He was shouting directions to his young WRs and backfield and it appeared he might have even called a couple of audibles. He might not have been as flashy, but he looked like a leader.

Whoever starts between those two, I am willing to wager that the other is sure to get significant PT.

No matter what, this talk about Denard being the certain starter and Tate transferring is absolutely ridiculous and uncalled for.

And Gardner? You can see his potential, but I sure am glad that we aren't counting on him to be the starter. As for his Heisman potential? You can tell that from today's performance? Right...... tell Dion Warwick, I said hi.


April 17th, 2010 at 10:37 PM ^

Tate sure didn't look happy coming out of the locker room after today's game. Seems like the type of kid that needs his ego stroked and rich Rod isn't about doing that. The first thing I thought when I saw him come out of the locker room, talking on the cell phone, practically running away from his girlfriend, was he won't be sticking around.


April 18th, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

that sat next to me at the game. ragging on tate for being a prima donna or egotistical or some shit when there's zero evidence for it and even if there were, this is a 19 year old kid with way more on his shoulders than those bros driving daddy's BMW. he's allowed some slack.


April 17th, 2010 at 6:17 PM ^

I think you left out some solid play from a few guys. Cam Gordon is the real deal. Kenny Demens was a stud. The biggest surprise for me was Denard. Last year he was looking to run first and the pass was always a last option. Today, he seemed to use the run as a last option. He checked off his receivers and didn't telegraph his passes. His mechanics were significantly improved and his confidence has improved greatly perhaps due to more familiarity with the playbook and the system. Devin Gardner certainly may win a Heisman, but I won't hold anyone responsible if he doesn't. It was great to see the height difference between he and Tate and Denard.
There is really a QB battle going on and it will only serve to improve everyone involved.
Too bad the weather wasn't nicer for the recruits that were there. They all looked cold!! That's not good when we have to compete against USC and Florida.


April 17th, 2010 at 9:23 PM ^

and I've spent the last four years looking at the way forests are advancing northward toward the North pole. I'm hoping you're being facetious and if not that you can clue yourself in enough to know that that the world as a whole definitely is--now beyond a shadow of any doubt--much much warmer (see the advance of the Sahara south in Africa) but that it may mean all kinds of things in different places. More snow, for example, DOES come from warmer weather because (as I know you must know) snow doesn't come so much when it's very cold. The volatility of weather patterns, short term, will be harder on us than the rising temps. P.S. If you don't believe in global warming--really don't believe in it--definitely do not move to any Pacific islands. Or get into scuba diving, because all of the reefs will be dead in 20 years (I've seen them up close in Grenada and Jamaica). Over and out.


April 17th, 2010 at 9:45 PM ^

but I can certainly recognize a butthole when I see one.

c'mon, man. we're talking about the spring game, not whether a spring game is actually a spring game if it takes place in winter-ish weather occurring contrary to pop media expectations grounded in anthropogenic (and catastrophic) global warming theory.

whew. Anyone find a justintv link for the game?


April 18th, 2010 at 7:35 AM ^

Its called the mgoboard. Scroll down a tad. There is a thread called "spring game open thread". If this post belongs anywhere, that's where it needs to be. Just one question: what did you get Devin for his birthday Mrs. Gardner? We must not have been watching the same game.


April 17th, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

Are you Beano Cook's nephew? Devin Gardner may well turn out to be a great QB down the line for us, but he didn't do a damn thing out there today to justify your ludicrous Heisman talk.


April 17th, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

Let's not suggest that players on our team might transfer. Unless you have evidence to back it up (and "his brothers did it" does not qualify), it's irresponsible and unfair to the player.