Scrimmage Observations 4/10

Submitted by michWolves2580 on April 10th, 2010 at 7:25 PM

[Ed: couple of first-hand observations posted on the message board that jive with those of a couple sources of mine who were also there. Those will be coming early next week.]

I was at today's scrimmage and noticed a couple of things:

-the final score was 59-53 offense... it was 53-42 when they went to a segment called last play from the 3 yard line with the defense up by 4. defense stuffed the offense twice then Denard ran in for the win.

-everyone played. walk on slot receiver #10 (not gallon) i think his name is Jordan Barpal had a terrific catch in the back of the endzone for a touchdown from Jack Lennedy.

-John McColgan looked good at FB.. even had a td reception.

-Stephen Hopkins is the real deal. He was running with the 1s has the "big back" and had some really tough runs. I love the way he finishes his runs and really punishes defenders.

-the QB competition is WIDE OPEN. All 3 played with all the lineman and WRs. ( it seemed like they were rotating the QBs with no regard as to which offensive teams were going in.)

-Taylor Lewan looked very good. he played LT with the first team and the second

-the defense looked phenomenal. There tackling was like night and day from last season. There was only one missed tackle that I saw, and it was on a great move by Mike Cox who looped back around and ended up being tackled for a loss by Thomas Gordon.

I was very impressed by today. The team seems to really be coming along.

GO BLUE

Another Report Pulled From Lower In the Thread

I was there too and concur with the OP and was pleasantly surprised.

I would add:

Fitzy had a nice run. He was solid. Stephen looked the best on this particular day though.

Thomas Gordon seems to be the best fit for the Stevie Brown Spur/Bandit position for now. I would be curious to see if he will beat out Marvin, or even Cam, or JT Turner.I think they will have to move JT Turner to one of the safety spots when the other frosh get in. That young lad had himself a growth spurt. He is a big kid. It will be interesting to see what they do with him once they get depth this summer at CB

The LB's or secondary didn't suck. I was pleasantly surprised. Troy is pretty good at that CB spot. The defense as a whole was better against the run than I ever would have thought based on last year.

Devin was owning the 2 and 3rd team D. He is the real deal, I don't care what string he was playing against. He seems to have the best shot of us having a vertical game whenever he takes the reins. Denard has a cannon, but doesn't have the touch that Devin has. Devin had a long gainer to Gallon. When Devin played with the 1's he threw a TD to Roundtree.

Denard seemed to have the most success moving the ball against the first team D. He was carving up the D when running the zone read, has a cannon, lacks a little touch on the short and intermediate stuff. If they want to stay true to the West Virginia style O, then Denard has to be the guy this year. He reads it pretty well, and has the explosiveness necessary to get around the corner obviously.

Tate was pretty decent. Didn't get as much time with the 1's as Denard. Tate is Tate. Pretty accurate on the short and intermediate stuff, not as explosive as the others when running the zone read. He did okay though. He can win football games, they just have to tailor the play calling to his strengths.

I would guess that we see more of a rotation this year as opposed to last year when Tate was getting the majority of the snaps. Devin is the real deal, I would hate to be the coaches if they wanted to keep a redshirt on that kid. I wouldn't be able to do it.

Either way. Denard has to be on the field somewhere. You can tell he is putting it together. He is way too explosive to spend as much time on the sidelines as he did last year.

The Oline seems to be a lot better too. Taylor Lewan was getting a lot of time at LT and did really well. It wouldn't surprise me if he just didn't let that spot go.

Cam is a ball hawk. He is very much a see ball, hit ball kind of player, and seems to be just fine at that deep safety if he has to stay there. They tested him a little bit.

It wouldn't surprise me though that when the fall frosh comes in to see them work JT Turner in back there, and move Cam up to a Spur/Bandit position to get the best 11 out there. You can see the talent in JT, the sky is not falling with him, but he has outgrown corner and in my opinion is only there this spring because they don't have depth to move him. JT is big enough now to work into a spur/bandit type roll too.He looks to be in the 210-215ish range.

One fumble, but no turnovers up until the point I left. I had to jet a little early.

All in all I came out actually more impressed with the defense than the offense. Logic tells me that is a good thing, but with this team....who knows?

In Which Your Editor Provides A Short Addendum

I also heard that Hopkins was killing people today in a fashion similar to a squatter Minor, although I'm guessing with less speed since a 230-pound running back who's as fast as Minor is not a generic three star recruit. The quarterback situation seems utterly confused; depending on who you talk to any of the three is the likely starter against UConn. Running back is also a jumble.

One thing that is becoming more and more certain: Taylor Lewan is locking down the left tackle spot, which is great news.

Comments

Castle

April 10th, 2010 at 3:06 PM ^

and where did myself or anyone else say that Devin is going to be the starter? You said Tate will start with Drob getting a % of the snaps. What if Drob starts and DG and Tate get a % of the snaps. Because it's starting to look that way. Plus, our system is better suited for someone like Drob.

mgowin

April 10th, 2010 at 7:08 PM ^

"What qb skill do you think Devin is better than Tate or Denard at??

Experience?
Accuarcy?
Speed?
Running ability?
Reading defenses?

The answer would be zero.

To think D. Gardner will start at qb this year barring injuries is ridiculous."

If you think that his ceiling is not higher than either Tate or D. Rob, your kidding yourself. How else will he get the experience to be a total ninja-bad ass if he doesn't play?

colin

April 11th, 2010 at 7:10 PM ^

though i don't doubt he's faster. but let's say he's got a chance to be as accurate as Forcier, but bigger and faster. Tate was an average D1 QB as a freshman. that almost has to be Devin's floor. let's say it's his floor outside of attrition outcomes (injury/off-field stuff). in the very least, it's hard to see the QB situation getting somehow worse over the next couple years. thank God for that.

wiscwood

April 10th, 2010 at 11:23 PM ^

The one thing I really enjoy about college football is that these kids will always surprise you. Their potential is unknown. I've learned to never write-off anyone. Remember Brian Griese, Braylon Edwards, David Baas or Mike Hart? All of these players surpassed everyone's expectations.

Fans must stop wanting things their way, and then complaining about it when they don't work out as predicted.

My motto now is "Surprise Me, Baby!" It is easier that way, and you don't get disappointed. Devin's time will come soon enough.

DoctorSherwin

April 10th, 2010 at 2:18 PM ^

To whoever said that Tate will start.... thanks for giving us that little bit of information Coach Rodriguez.

Nobody knows who will start. Period. Except for the coaches. And like it or not, they have made it clear that there is, in fact, a quarterback competition.

To say otherwise is simply giving an opinion devoid of the facts as they exist today.

NFZ

April 10th, 2010 at 1:25 PM ^

The best part about that post to read was that the defense looked phenomenal. Especially the tackling being good. If our defense is able to tackle all of the speedy ninjas on our offense, we will be able to tackle anyone. Go Blue!

Red_Lee

April 10th, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

at least hockey playoffs are around the corner, because after I get teased with Michigan football next Saturday I might go crazy waiting until football starts back up.

I just want the best QB to be out on the field for the given situation, and if that means rotating between 2 or 3 QBs that's fine with me. But with all the hub bub, it sounds like the 80% running calls when Denard is out there is over. I'd love to see UConn put 8 in the box with Denard out there and he just airs one out to JR or whomever.

UMICH1606

April 10th, 2010 at 2:12 PM ^

I was there too and concur with the OP and was pleasantly surprised.

I would add:

Fitzy had a nice run. He was solid. Stephen looked the best on this particular day though.

Thomas Gordon seems to be the best fit for the Stevie Brown Spur/Bandit position for now. I would be curious to see if he will beat out Marvin, or even Cam, or JT Turner.I think they will have to move JT Turner to one of the safety spots when the other frosh get in. That young lad had himself a growth spurt. He is a big kid. It will be interesting to see what they do with him once they get depth this summer at CB

The LB's or secondary didn't suck. I was pleasantly surprised.Troy is pretty good at that CB spot.
The defense as a whole was better against the run than I ever would have thought based on last year.

Devin was owning the 2 and 3rd team D. He is the real deal, I don't care what string he was playing against. He seems to have the best shot of us having a vertical game whenever he takes the reigns. Denard has a cannon, but doesn't have the touch that Devin has. Devin had a long gainer to Gallon. When Devin played with the 1's he threw a TD to Roundtree.

Denard seemed to have the most success moving the ball against the first team D. He was carving up the D when running the zone read, has a cannon, lacks a little touch on the short and intermediate stuff. If they want to stay true to the West Virginia style O, then Denard has to be the guy this year. He reads it pretty well, and has the explosiveness necessary to get around the corner obviously.

Tate was pretty decent.Didn't get as much time with the 1's as Denard. Tate is Tate. Pretty accurate on the short and intermediate stuff, not as explosive as the others when running the zone read. He did okay though. He can win football games, they just have to tailor the play calling to his strengths.

I would guess that we see more of a rotation this year as opposed to last year when Tate was getting the majority of the snaps. Devin is the real deal, I would hate to be the coaches if they wanted to keep a redshirt on that kid. I wouldn't be able to do it.

Either way. Denard has to be on the field somewhere. You can tell he is putting it together. He is way too explosive to spend as much time on the sidelines as he did last year.

The Oline seems to be a lot better too. Taylor Lewan was getting a lot of time at LT and did really well. It wouldn't surprise me if he just didn't let that spot go.

Cam is a ball hawk. He is very much a see ball, hit ball kind of player, and seems to be just fine at that deep safety if he has to stay there. They tested him a little bit.

It wouldn't surprise me though that when the fall frosh comes in to see them work JT Turner in back there, and move Cam up to a Spur/Bandit position to get the best 11 out there. You can see the talent in JT, the sky is not falling with him, but he has outgrown corner and in my opinion is only there this spring because they don't have depth to move him. JT is big enough now to work into a spur/bandit type roll too.He looks to be in the 210-215ish range.

One fumble,but no turnovers up until the point I left. I had to jet a little early.

All in all I came out actually more impressed with the defense than the offense. Logic tells me that is a good thing, but with this team....who knows?

MaizeAndBlueManGroup

April 10th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

Glad to hear the defense is looking this good without Mike Martin.
Assuming JT really has outgrown the CB position, I really like your idea of moving him to Saftey, Cam at the Spur, and Dorsey/Christian/Talbott taking the other CB spot. IME that is getting our best talent on the field.
I'm really excited to this defense flying around, and hopefully this 3-3-5 "tweak" facilitates that.

OHbornUMfan

April 11th, 2010 at 7:29 AM ^

I just realized I hadn't thought about him recently when picturing our defense. How sweet will it be to watch him take up sufficient residence in opposing backfields to receive his mail there? It will be sweet like the nectar of the gods.

And it's geat that Big Will is doing well on the nose, too. Fresher, better-rested manbeasts on the field equals awesome.

UMICH1606

April 10th, 2010 at 3:14 PM ^

If I was judging the outside WR as of now seeing it up close and personal, I would say that is solid but not earth shattering. Stonum is solid, and Roundtree is solid, and can play out there if needed.Roy isn't going to get deep consistently though. I don't think the true potential of the outside WR position can't be judged until the fall when Junior and Stokes are back into the swing of things. I donated the 250 for the fall scrimmage passes so I will it then. I was only around the past few days because of the coaching clinics that were going on.

papabear16

April 10th, 2010 at 3:26 PM ^

I was there, too, and agree with the other guests.

Just from what I could see, I would rank the QBs based on TODAY'S PERFORMANCE ALONE as 1) Gardner, 2) Robinson, 3) Forcier. That should tell everyone absolutely nothing about the season, however - it's just reflective about how each did today the plays called and against different defensive strings. All looked very good. I expected Gardner to be more raw and unschooled, but he even read the inside-keep (veer or midline, I think) correctly a few times to great effect. I was impressed.

I really, really hope they keep a redshirt on him, as I don't trust that he is at all ready to read a Big Ten defense in mid-season form.

I was also very impressed with Robinson. He looks like a QB and a team leader out there. He also looks like a real quarterback.

That said, I think Forcier is the starter until proven otherwise. He has a way of walking around the team as if it's his team, and the others seem to respond to that.

jmblue

April 10th, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

How did the scoring work in the scrimmage? I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around a good defensive performance when it gave up 59 points.

papabear16

April 10th, 2010 at 3:50 PM ^

I did not hear it completely explained, but it seemed like that used in the NCAA video game - a few points for a first down, a few for a defensive stop, a few for a tackle for loss, etc. Even when the offense would have a TD drive, the defense would acquire some points.

Zone Left

April 10th, 2010 at 9:47 PM ^

Teams often have convoluted scoring systems for Spring Games because you can't typically do a traditional offense vs defense game. I think you really need to be there to determine if the sides are evenly matched--which is why the scores aren't widely broadcasted on ESPN.

BiSB

April 10th, 2010 at 3:47 PM ^

If the defense was tackling, that means our offense isn't as shifty as last year. They are no longer slot ninjas... OMG PANIC!!!

[/sarcasm]

But seriously folks, the news about tackling is excellent. I'd be curious how some key personnel looked in the 3-3-5, especially Obi, Demens, and Roh.

UMICH1606

April 11th, 2010 at 1:08 AM ^

Roh did very well. He is a beast. Troy is the best player on D, with Roh and Big Will not far behind. Will still has some technique issues to work out, but the kid is a freaking animal. The whole defense just looks a lot bigger, and plays with a lot more confidence. I don't think they will be great, but they will be decent/good enough.