Angelique's (Det News) starting lineup

Submitted by massblue on April 13th, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Angelique Chengelis from Detroit News predicts this lineup for the Fall.  Since she seems to have a good relationship with the coaches, I assume there might be some inside information here. There are two minor surprises: Smith at RB and Hurst at DT.

QB Gardner

RB Smith

FB Kerridge

WR Funchess, Darboh, Canteen

TE Heitzman

OL Magnuson, Bosch, Glasgow, Kalis, Braden

DE Clark, Beyer

DT Henry, Hurst

LB Morgan, Ryan, Ross

DB Countess, Taylor, Wilson, Thomas, Peppers (Nickle)





April 13th, 2014 at 9:49 AM ^

I think Heitzman at TE is a minor surprise, too. Not because he isn't good or anything, but because Williams has been playing the position for the past two years.


April 13th, 2014 at 10:46 AM ^

I think where Lewis could struggle is in run support, although I wasn't specifically watching him when we ran, since I wanted to see the Oline. He's still pretty small for a corner. Peppers on the other hand is a beast, so where his coverage and defensive knowledge could lag Lewis, he might be better in run support and so might be out there more on first and second down as opposed to maybe just 3rd and long.

Lewis sure looked fantastic though in coverage.


April 13th, 2014 at 11:25 AM ^

The size excuse for UM corners has become legendary.  Darqueze dennard as a NFL prospect is 5'11  196 lbs.  He has been playing for 3 years as a starter so there was no way he was 196 earlier, he probably was 180ish 3 years ago when he was Lewis age.  Jason Verret and LaMarcus Joyner are 1st 2nd round draft prospects in the 180s and 5'11 and less as seniors.

Only here where we make excuses for our players can 5'10 185 lb guys not handle the role of a corner.  Not every team has a pair of 6'1 198 lb guys in college - in fact I doubt any.  Generally you are going to be content with two guys 5'11 185 lbs.

I am not speaking of Lewis specifically but the general consensus that we should excuse all our issues at corner because they are so tiny.... how dare could they provide run support or play press.  They are munchkins!  Antonio Winfield was a pretty damn good corner in all facets - he had the will and the coaching.  I will allow Richardson is overwhlemed in size but most corners in college are not Woodson's size.  And most WRs are not physical specimens of 6'4 220 lbs, esp in the Big 10.


Mr. Yost

April 13th, 2014 at 11:31 AM ^

Because he should be on the wide side of the field with Countess anyway. Taylor and Stribling should be your short side guys that you need in run support. They're plenty big.

Even without Peppers and when we go to nickel, Countess moves inside and Lewis stays on the outside.

I'm not worried about tackling for Lewis, I'm worried about him going up against big WRs on the outside...he held up just fine against Funchess so I'm really not worried about that either.

We're fine at CB. We should be worried about finding a safety combo that can attack in run support and not get beat deep.

IMO the defense will be just find if we can find 2 solid safeties...and I think we will. We have 4 guys for 2 spots and an entire summer and fall to get better and lock down those positions.

Hell we could have 5 or 6 guys if we move one 1-2 of the CBs to FS. It wouldn't shock me at all if Peppers came in and was the real deal that we move Countess to FS. If Peppers is legit, you have him at nickel, Lewis and Taylor as your starting CBs and Stribling as your first CB off the bench. Then Countess at FS and a bunch of other guys fighting for that SS spot. Not saying that happens, just saying I wouldn't be shocked. It was all depend on Peppers and the Lewis hype being true.


April 13th, 2014 at 11:49 AM ^

OK I get that but the excuse making here is relentless.   It makes it sound like we have 8 Terry Richardsons and the other team's have 8 Calvin Johnsons.  I picked a random Big 10 team (Iowa) and their 3 leading receivers from last year are 6'2 200, 6'1 205 and 5'11 180.  That's a pretty typical group of college WRs.  By nature due to need to be fluid as a corner you don't get many corners over 6'0 or over 200 lbs and certainly not as college sophomores or juniors.  Most are 5'10 5'11ish and in the upper 170s to 180s as underclassmen and 180s to 190s as upperclassmen.  Most of the corners at the NFL combine are in the 190s and those are the elite ones who are 22-23 year not the 100s upon 100s who play in the NCAA and are 19, 20, 21 year olds.  Teams find a way to make it work.

We have very typical NCAA size for corners. 6-7 lbs should not be the difference between being able to play corner or not.   These kids need to be coached up - we seem to have a technique problem and that falls on position coaches.  I watched a ton of MSU games last year being a Michigan resident and they soundly tackle people in their back 7.  They body tackle - not arm tackle.  And not just this year but the same group of last year's seniors were sophomores in 2011 and they had a top 10 defense.  They don't field a team of giants in their secondary.

p.s. I am glad Lewis is potentially beating out someone - competition is good and we need more of it. Still a big fan of Stribling - he was in the right position 80% of the time last year as a wide eyed freshman, he just didn't make the physical play on the ball in important moments.  But for a CB being in position is most of the battle.


April 13th, 2014 at 12:29 PM ^

Yes we are generally. 

I think CB is the most promising position out of LBs on this squad (and I think the NTs could be very good a year from now if Hurst develops).   The main thing I don't agree with is so many peeps saying we don't have guys who can play corner like a corner should and we are running a bunch of MAC size guys out there who can't be dared to be asked to play run support or press.  And we can only ask such things from 5 star recruits over 6 foot. 

These are our players.  They are very typical of size/speed of most college corners with a lot higher rankings out of HS than 90% of teams get.   If they cant play run support  or tackle soundly or's on the coaches. 

Mr. Yost

April 13th, 2014 at 11:02 AM ^

Lewis could be the 3rd CB and Peppers could be the "starting" NB...

Your 3rd CB doesn't always have to be your Nickel.

Mattison talked about how he thought moving Thomas around to 3 positions last year hurt his development. I wouldn't be shocked if the coaches just said "Peppers, you're the nickel, and that's it...period. If Countess or Taylor need to come out on the outside, Lewis is the first up, Stribling is the next guy after that."


April 13th, 2014 at 11:33 AM ^

Our player development at almost every position has been terrible.  This is really concerning, especially at the OL position where it seems none of our super highly touted lineman are improving at all.  The tight end position has been a tire fire.  Funchess never learned to block and Williams never learned to catch and forgot how to block.  I bet Peppers ends up as a good/solid corner instead of the superstar he should become.

blue in dc

April 13th, 2014 at 1:24 PM ^

Because at TE
- that Jake Butts just sucks and didn't develop as the year progressed
- Funchess is a horrible wide reciever, it's just a shame we had to move him there cause we couldn't develop him as a tight end

- since Magnuson played out of position and with an injury, he's clearly not developing
- we should just throw in the towel on bosch cause he looked overmatched as a true freshman
- Kugler can't possibly get any better once he's actually a red-shirt freshman
- oh yeah, I forgot, that three star Braden couldn't take the spot of two likely NFL tackles.
glasgow hasn't improved at all

None of our other players have improved either
- that Chesson guy was pathetic for a redshirt freshman and don't get me started on Darboh - that injury eas a clear sign of poor player development
- and on defense, don't even get me started on Henry and it certainly doesn't look like that Lewis guy is gonna pan out either and that three star late pickup Frank Clark - please.

Why the hell am I even reading a Michigan sports blog. The football team sucks and it will always suck. There is less than zero chance that bringing in a new offensive coordinator who has been successful everywhere he's coached could possibly succeed here. That Mattison, totally washed up, 2011 was definately a fluke. None of our players are possibly going to improve over last year.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the recruiting. We've already seen that Cole and Canteen just suck and that Peppers guy - way over-rated.

I gotta go find a good Indiana football blog that I can spend time on.


April 13th, 2014 at 2:16 PM ^

1. Jake Butt defintely improved and has been an exception.  The coaches insisted they wanted Funch at TE and he hasn't improved at all in terms of his blocking.  He was a great receiver when he stepped on campus.  They forced him to play out of position for about 1.5 years and I'm not really sure his hands, route running or speed have necessarily improved.  I guess we disagree on this but as opposed to you, I can repect dissenting opinions.



2. Yes because the only linemen we've have are the freshman from last year.  Let's forget Kalis, one of the best linemen we've ever recruited, who couldn't block anyone.  Let's also forget Glasgow who was a below average center despite being in the system for 3 years, or how our upperclassmen lineman performed in Hoke's 2nd year when they looked completely lost on the field and almost always lost 1 on 1 battles including those against underclass linemen from Akron!  I really don't think you need to be an upperclassmen if you're highly touted with great coaching to block probably some of the worst defensive linemen in D1 football. Honestly on this point, it's not even worth arguing to say that our oline coaching has been terrible.  If you disagree, then I doubt you watched any games last year.


3. Chesson was a solid player.  We have no idea about Darboh but the fact that he's losing in summer practices to a RS freshman is a really bad sign. 


4. Lol this is probably the funniest part of your silly (and angry) post.  I like how you named 3 players out of the defense.  Only 3 could suggest that the coaching staff was doing a solid job.  Let's go through our most highly recruited players who have shown few signs of improvement or have obviously not performed well enough in spring practice to garner any possibility of PT, an ominous sign.  Dymonte didn't play last yr because supposedly his position is too difficult to learn unless you're a super experienced 4th or 5th year senior.  However Delano Hill may start over him this upcoming year.  Pipkins has performed poorly and has shown few signs of improvement so far.  Frank Clark, the super athletic beast that's supposed to lead our defense, has only had a few good games in his career and has underwhelmed most of all outside of the D line. 


Either way, you're clearly taking my post too personally.  I really hope I'm wrong this year but I wouldn't be surprised if the trend continues.  Hoke is an amazing recruiter but he hasn't shown too much in the development department.  We may never find out how good he is if the team continues to lose and he ends up getting fired.  Either way, do some yoga, take a walk, just chill out.  This is a sports blog and not your life.  Don't get so beat up about it.


April 13th, 2014 at 2:36 PM ^

So you don't think being an upperclassmen is important for offensive lineman? I'm not saying our offensive line coaching has been spectacular by any means, but you realize that we don't have a single senior or junior at tackle or guard this year, right? Which means last year every one of these guys was a freshman or redshirt freshman. You think they should be fully developed by then?


April 13th, 2014 at 3:03 PM ^

Of course it is and like I said, in 2012, our "experienced" oline got worse throughout the year.  For 2013, Kalis was described as one of the most college ready highschool lineman in the country.  In his second year, he looked like he was still in highschool and showed no improvement through the last play of the regular season.  Also, I don't care if it's your 2nd, 3rd or 4th year in a program, you should prbly be able to block an akron DE once in a while if the your coaching as great as you suggest. 


April 13th, 2014 at 9:27 PM ^

I didn't suggest the coaching was great. But thank you for saying I did.

But I agree, Kalis was supposed to be really good and by his redshirt freshmen year, he wasn't....Time to look elsewhere.

You are also correct. Freshmen lineman who can't block another D1 defensive line like Akron should probably be cut. I'm glad they weren't though, because we probably wouldn't have put up 41 points on OSU at the end of the year if we cut all our lineman.

blue in dc

April 13th, 2014 at 9:33 PM ^

Then explain to me how Much better you are than me at repsecting dissenting opinions.

Then, read your entire post and wonder who is taking who's post to personally.

My dissenting opinion - which you are obviosly free to disagree with, is that on offense, the biggest issue has not been player development, it has been an offensive coordinator who did not know how to get the most out of his players.

Frank Clark was a three star who we picked up on signing day, not some super highly rated recruit. Dymonte was a true freshman. Pupkins was another guy who probably would have done well with a redshirt

The "failures" in terms of player development are so glaring because for this team to succeed, these players have to succeed. They are generally not being forced to beat out upperclassmen who are better, because particularly on the o-line and d-line, there are no upperclassmen (better or not).


April 13th, 2014 at 1:20 PM ^

I know, right?  Our coaches should develop players into superstars before their Junior year in high school or they should get fired.  I mean, c'mon.  Funchess totally hasn't learned to block.  What an idiot!!  He's played college football for two years already; what's wrong with him???  By the end of my sophomore year, I had developed into a Supreme Court Justice.  No excuses, bitches!  And our o-line...don't even get more started.  If you aren't an all-american by the end of your freshman year, then we should just yank your scholarship. 


April 13th, 2014 at 9:54 AM ^

Also, this is just my own personal opinion, but Houma is a better athlete than Kerridge. I can't speak to whether Houma knows the playbook as well as Kerridge or whatever, but if we're talking pure athleticism, I'd want Houma out there.

Mr. Yost

April 13th, 2014 at 11:08 AM ^

I don't see why either would get significant minutes.

I'd prefer another WR on the field to either guy.

IMO, we should almost always be in 3 WR and 1 TE (or FB) sets.

Certainly there are times where you have to go big or empty it out, but that should be the majority of our personnel if you asked me. Guys like Canteen and Norfleet should be on the field over a FB or 2nd TE. Then you have Funchess, Chesson and Darboh rotating the majority of the snaps for the 2 outside WR spots.

It's always bothered me that Hoke always says he wants to get his best 5 OL on the field, but he doesn't do the same for the entire offense. Sure he may have his best FB on the field, but that FB may not be as good as your 3rd best WR.

I also wonder if we'll ever see Smith and Green in together at all. 


April 13th, 2014 at 11:44 AM ^

imho the thing to do with our team is to spread out four wide all the time.  Why?  we aren't blocking anyone anyway so why not take care of the defense by spreading them out.  We have a fifth year senior quarterback, I would like to think he could figure out blitzes and dump down/hot read to the wide outs.  

Think Arizona with Warner at the helm...

bonus with green or smith in the backfield you can still hand off efficiently.


like I said, just my opinion.




April 13th, 2014 at 11:56 AM ^

I am at the point we play with 3 OL and sent 6 out wide... surely we can find 3 OL to block properly?  And if not ,,,field a 1 OL or a 2 OL.  We can hide it under the guise of innovative....


April 13th, 2014 at 10:01 AM ^

By the way, can we continue to shake our heads at the people who thought Williams should immediately be an offensive tackle? Not only can he not block well enough to lock into his starting job, but he has 1 catch in his career (IIRC) and we would be freaking out even more if he was an OT and Butt tore his ACL. At this point we would be relying on position-changer Heitzman and redshirt freshman Khalid Hill, plus people like Ian Bunting and maybe Wyatt Shallman. Yikes. And Hill looked BAD in the spring game.


April 13th, 2014 at 10:08 AM ^

I remember Sam Webb talking about how he would destroy DEs in high school. You would think he'd be able to to do that some after two years in college. He's got the size, I wonder if he just can't understand the technique. I hope he can put it together for his final two years. A sixth OL would be great for the run game. Passing too.


April 13th, 2014 at 11:26 AM ^

We cannot get our 4/5 star 300 lb natural OL to block properly and we are talking about converting our 260 lb TE to do so?   They couldnt teach Funchess to block either.   There seems to be a general issue here - can't teach almost anyone in the last 3 classes to block.