BWC: 2011 improvement?

Submitted by J.Swift on January 10th, 2012 at 1:27 PM

In your opinion, how much improvement did BWC make this year? 

Do you expect him to step into Mike Martin's role in 2012? 

Do you expect him to become --finally -- a dominant force on the defensive line?



January 10th, 2012 at 1:35 PM ^

I'm hoping that the combo of Hoke/Mattison/Montgomery with more confidence/experience will get him to the level he needs to on for Michigan to have a good year in 2012.  I think his impact or lack thereof will be the difference between a good season and another great one.


January 10th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

Minor nitpick, but his star rating is irrelevant at this point. Whether he was a 5-star or a 2-star out of high school, the reality is that we need him to step up big in 2012.

As to the OP's question regarding his improvement, I can't say. To me, it seemed like he struggled with the same things he's struggled his entire career: consistently maintaining good leverage, and giving 100% effort on every play. Now, whether or not there were fewer instances of those things, or if he came up with more positive plays to balance that out, it seems like he did, but I don't know one way or the other. One way to get an idea would be to compare his UFR ratings from last year to this year.


January 10th, 2012 at 1:41 PM ^

I don't think he'll become a dominant force, not until he gets into the NFL (if he's fortunate to get that far), I just think the poor coaching for the majority of his career combined with a lack of hardcore dedication has made it impossible for him to become great here.

However he basically has 3 DL coaches working with him, I think he should have a pretty good season next year


January 10th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

Between the following guys:

Roh, Black, Clark, Washington, Campbell, Pipkins, Wormley, Brink, Ryan (as rush DE)

I think the team will be just fine on the D-line.


January 10th, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

Eh. I'm sure all of the above will improve. But I'm not sure any of these players will adequately replace Martin or RVB. The d-line will get worse before it gets better. The improvement will come only after the freshmen gain a year or two of strength and experience; it's a mistake to assume they will contribute a lot next season. And Ryan is an LB.

Wolverine 73

January 10th, 2012 at 1:44 PM ^

I would be astonished if BWC became a "dominant force" on the DL. I hope to see a decent player who doesn't get embarassed and takes most of the snaps.  After three years, it is unrealistic to expect sudden stardom for a guy who has underachieved his rankings.  Hope to be proven wrong on this one.


January 10th, 2012 at 1:46 PM ^

Given that BWC only received spot duty, it's really impossible to know much. That he saw any PT is somewhat encouraging, I guess. But it's asking a lot to expect a major transformation at this point. He's not going to suddenly become a tireless, technique-sound Mike Martin. I think most of us would be thrilled if he just turns out to be a halfway serviceable placeholder for the incoming freshmen. Anything above that would be gravy.

Son of Lloyd Brady

January 10th, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

How quick Lion's fans are to forget that Nick Fairley was a one season wonder at Auburn. True, he was a JC transfer, but if he was good enough to make that type of impact before his junior year he would have done so. Anything can happen in one year and I for one, have faith in BWC.


January 10th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

I think he made a substantial improvement. Yes he still has a long way to go, but he went from being a guy who got so absolutely dominated that he wasn't a viable option to a quality backup spot guy this year.

Blue boy johnson

January 10th, 2012 at 2:17 PM ^

Roh, Martin, Van Bergen, Heininger, BWC, Black, Clark, all were much better players at the end of season. I expect more of the same next year with the returning players and the noobs.


January 10th, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

.....and that Campbell becomes the "monster" in the middle of the line, for several reasons;

-One, he is, or will be, the best hope for UM to have a solid DL next year. That means that all three contributing coaches for the DL will be pushing him harder than he has been pushed thus far. If BWC responds positively, and I think he will, he will become much better by next season's first game.

-Two, BWC will have the players around him, on the DL, and particularly the LB's, who will demand the attention of the opposing offenses leaving BWC to plug up the middle with the double teams, or bull into the backfield if left one-on-one. Assuming the first point happens, and I do, this point is almost certain to happen.

-Three, desire. While he has lacked desire in the past, his possible future(NFL) will force him to want to be as good as he can be. I don't see many, if any, plays being "taken off" for him, especially if it means he won't be able to show what he can do by sitting on the sidelines. Desire will be the motivation that allows him to thrive from the extra attention given by the coaches, allowing point one to happen.

-Four, I like the idea that BWC becomes the premier DL in the country his senior year after spending his previous years either buried in the depth chart or as the backup. While this isn't a reason that can be quantified or measured or even justified by solid reasoning, the simple fact that this idea is mentioned can lead to it burning through the fanbase, allowing the sheer will of wanting to see it happen by the UM fanbase cause it to become reality.


January 10th, 2012 at 2:40 PM ^

To answer each question:

- Meh.  He did go from nonexistent DL, to nonexistent OL, to spot play (and a few decent plays sprinkled in).  So, I would consider that an upgrade, albeit a small one.

- No.  No beef with Will, but I don't think it is possible to match Martin's strength, speed, intelligence, leadership, and motor in one offseason.

- Probably not.  I think we would gladly trade all that NFL hype for just a decent starter out of Will, this season.  Is it possible that he truly reach his potential?  Yes...but usually you see this potential early on, coupled with mental gaffes that are corrected over the course of consistent improvement in a collegiate career. 


Will he improve this offseason?  I would hope that given more coaching, ANY player could improve.  The one knock on him has been is effort and coachability, and I will say the fact that acknowledged this in a recent interview is important.  If we can get him motivated to reach his potential, we could be in for a pleasant surprise.


January 10th, 2012 at 3:27 PM ^

I actually expect great things.  My reasons:

1.  BWC actually admitted in a recent interview (sorry, no link bc on iPhone) that one of the things holding him back has been lack of effort and dedication.  It has always been my experience that once someone atmits something liek they, they have taken a huge step and the lack of effort tends to go away.  BWC has to recognize that with all of his potential, his college career to date has been a bust, and he only has 1 season left to take his physical gifts and turn them into a multi-million $ NFL career.  That's some pretty heavy motivation.

2.  Coaching.  BWC is the prototypical example of a kid with tons of physical gifts who never lived up to the hype because of bad coaching.  This is not a shot at RR at all - it is a shot at the D assistants and GERG who, for whatever reason, could not take the 300 pound beast that is BWC and teach him a lick of technique or motivate him to succeed.  I would bet that by the beginning of next season, we are going to see a BWC that is stronger, leaner, faster and ready to play, both because I believe that Hoke, Mattison and Montgomery (the 3 DL coaches) are awesome motivators and teachers, and because of point #1 above.



January 10th, 2012 at 3:39 PM ^

I say there is no chance Campbell steps into a role similar to Martin and RVB.  He's a different sort of player.  I think indications are good that he will be able to plug holes and absorb blockers so the LBs can make plays, but RVB and Martin were both very good at shedding blockers and disrupting the path of the back or just tackling him right there.

Campbell didn't seem like a liability this year, but he didn't show much when it came to explosiveness or getting into the backfield.


January 10th, 2012 at 6:10 PM ^

I think Campbell will do what he is supposed to do at that position, e.g. take on double teams and blow some runs up in the back field. I don't think he is going to be the leader that RVB and Martin were. I think next year's defense will be Kovacs' defense.