Who will be #1?

Submitted by michiganfanforlife on May 28th, 2009 at 9:56 AM

There are a few spots on the defense that are up for grabs this fall. I would like to know who you think will win the starting job and why. Here are the positions - weakside defensive end, both outside linebackers, and both D-tackle spots.

Many things will happen between now and September, but here's how I think it will play out at DE. Even though Van Bergen looks like he's in the lead for the DE spot, I really think Craig Roh will impress. That kid showed a relentless motor in the All-American game that reminds me of Brandon Graham. He wasn't going against chopped liver in that game either.

Because Mike Martin flashed in the backfield all year last year, I really think he earns the #1 spot at DT. Second string will be a battle, but I'm not going to give Big Will the nod just yet. I think Sagesse will use his experience to beat him out for the second spot.

As far as outside linebacker, this one is tough because there are a few frosh safeties who project at this position that could push for PT. If the spring game is any indication, Jonas Mouton and Marell Evans will start at Will and Sam. (For those of you who don't know, "Will"=Weakside Linebacker, "Mike"=Middle Linebacker, and "Sam"=Strongside Linebacker. The strength of the defense is determined by either the wide side of the field or the strength of the offensive formation. Each team does things differently, and last year the field determined the strength for the UM defense. If the ball is on the left hash, the right is the strong side, and vice versa. Determining the formation strength can get complicated, but here is a simple version: if there is one tight end and he is lined up on the left side, that is the strong side.) If I had to bet, I think J.B. Fitzgerald wins out the weakside spot because of speed. Mouton stays at Sam.

What do you think??



May 28th, 2009 at 10:19 AM ^

I agree that the numerous undetermined defensive positions are a very interesting topic. Few thoughts:

* I think on most plays Mike Martin is our only DT.

* I would be very surprised if Van Bergen did not hold his spot. Particularly in a 3-DL front, his size is helpful and is what Roh lacks. If Roh plays--and I hope he does--I think he has to be the guy farthest outside on the line. I do hope we see him on some obvious passing downs.

* I believe Mouton played Will last year, and will remain there. He is our best speed at LB.

* How Mike and Sam work out will be interesting. Forgive the heresy here, but I thought Ezeh look awful last year. He gets lost in traffic and is easily blocked. That's not ideal in the middle. If our focus is on having a defense that is not awful, ensuring mediocre play at MLB may be desirable. If we're swinging for the fences I think Ezeh may be put at Sam or spinner.

* Safeties. You didn't mention these spots, but I think they are completely up for grabs. I have no idea how it will shake out because I have not seen the incoming freshman play much and they are in the mix. Would love to see Turner on the field.


May 29th, 2009 at 3:42 PM ^

i think robinson is impressed with stevie brown (though, i do not share that confidence in him). i am not sure if he will be a traditional starting safety, because i've been reading about this s/olb hybrid they want to put him in.

either way, i'd like to see vlad emilien out there.

Double Nickel BG

May 28th, 2009 at 1:45 PM ^

need time to develope. Campbell will get cleanup minutes early in the season and maybe challenge for backup/ split PT towards the end. As for Roh, it all depends on how Roh looks when he gets in. He wont play more than a situational pass rusher this year and hopefully we can find a pass rusher so he can redshirt.