A case for Cam Gordon

Submitted by bluefrombirth on November 29th, 2010 at 10:14 PM

I think it's time to take a break from the endless coaching debate. There are individuals under the illusion that there is no one talented on this defense at all. To that I take objection, there are many players( besides Mike Martin) that i believe will be great. One of those players is Cam Gordon. While many of you may chuckle at this assertion, i sometimes wonder if we are watching the same games. I see a player that is making plays, but does make mistakes. I mean this is to be expected out of a freshmen position switch guy. Believe Cam is indicative of the defense in general, very talented, but prone to the mistakes of inexperience.

     I have previously stated my disdain for stats, I believe that stats often present logical fallacies. The numbers point to an outcome, but then are confounded by a different outcome altogether. However, because statistics are the coin of the realm I shall expose my coin purse ( pun intended ). All of my stats are compiled  by cfbstats.com .

I am using Cam Gordon as factoid, and for purposes i will be comparing him to Linebackers, most notably to OLB. This is do to the lack of comparable nomenclature to the position that he plays currently in the 335, and most common 3-4, 4-3 defenses ( I believe that his ultimate position will be OLB at some point anyways, he has the frame to grow into that position).

The consensus pick for best big ten linebacker is greg jones. So i took a look at Greg Jones' Freshmen year stats. http://www.cfbstats.com/2007/player/416/1009826/index.html now lets look at Cam Gordons http://www.cfbstats.com/2010/player/418/1024821/index.html Jones comes in with 78 tackles, and 4.5 sacks. While Cam Gordon comes in at 73 tackles, and 2 picks ( with 1 game left to play). Now lets look directly at the OLB position. According to Espn the number one OLB that will be drafted is Akeem ayers of UCLA. Let's take a look at his Freshmen numbers. http://www.cfbstats.com/2008/player/110/1008517/index.html he comes in with 43 tackles and 5 sacks. 

 With this data in hand, i would draw the following conclusion: For a freshmen season, Cam Gordon seems to be on par with the best at his position, and likewise if we only analyzed these players in their freshmen years under the lens of having no potential for growth, then might these players get the same aspersions cast against them that Cam Has? I believe the future for Mr. Gordon like this defense in general is bright, they are just a young team, and They are likely to get better. Is this a logical Fallacy? You be the judge, but the evidence is there to point out otherwise.

P.S. I forgot to mention that these players started all games of their freshmen seasons just like Cam Gordon.



November 29th, 2010 at 10:21 PM ^

Thanks for bringing up something about the team and not RRs future. Just curious, I wonder how his stats compare after he made the transition to OLB. I think this was the correct move and I think Cam has the potential to be a good LB next year while playing next to Demens a whole season. Under a new system, Cam could be really effective and blossom into an All-Conference type.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:23 PM ^

Regardless of the coach next year heres my opinion. The 6 true freshman that played considerablly this year will be much stronger and have better fundamentals. Throw in the injured players including TWolf and Mike Jones... Who? and we got a better than decent defense. The only thing that is stopping the offense from being dominant is a running back threat and D. Hart will certaily bring that.

Come on guys this is Michigan... Believe!

Go Blue!


November 29th, 2010 at 10:46 PM ^

Don't forget that JT is coming back, who I think might make a slightly below average (which would be a step up from this years secondary) to a slightly above average 2nd corner.  Throw in the 3 true freshman this year with a year experience and a spring practice and another fall camp, the secondary might not be too shabby next year.

Born Blue

November 30th, 2010 at 12:44 AM ^

As blasphemous as it might be to say this, I point out the fact that sparty's horrendous secondary from 2009, produced FOUR, count them, FOUR All Big Ten Selections for 2010. It not only CAN happen, it HAS happened.  As for the case with Cam, I like it, and the numbers will get better when the defense is more consistent in carrying out responsiblities and funneling specific plays to specific players to button down and bottle up! I for one, look forward to what the D will do in the coming year!! Go Blue!

you know it

November 29th, 2010 at 11:32 PM ^

A small part of that may be because our defense BLOWS ASS.  If you are on the field for twice as long you are going to have many more opportunites to make plays.  I haven't heard anyone (credible) claim Mouton is in the same conversation as Jones


November 29th, 2010 at 10:26 PM ^


you have a disdain for stats or not? Regardless I hope you are right. I do think he has major potential. He has laid some nice hits. With a little coaching and Barwis Bataan Death March Training, he is going to be a beast.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:26 PM ^

I think Cam has the highest upsides of any of the freshmen out there on defense (provided he stays at OLB). He's got prototypical size, is a very nasty hitter, and seems to be improving as the season goes on. The future is definitely bright for this kid. 


November 29th, 2010 at 11:49 PM ^

reminds me of crable a little bit.  but cam is another example of our clueless D coaches.  he played much better near the line of scrimmage vs the deep safety.  roh is another example.  it seemed obvious from the start that these guys weren't placed in a position to maximize their talents, yet it took half the season to move them to their proper position.  this is the most disturbing fact, imo.


November 30th, 2010 at 10:16 AM ^

Well, I'm not a Big Ten coach...

But it took me looking at their recruiting videos to figure out that Cam Gordon should be a linebacker (not a WR, not a DB) and Craig Roh should be a weakside DE (not a LB).  And I'm not the only one who realized that.

So...yeah...there have been some shortcomings in personnel deployment.


November 30th, 2010 at 10:52 AM ^

Not only did Magnus realize it but the recruiting sites during Cam Gordon and Craig Roh's junior years in high school were saying Gordon was best at OLB and Roh at WDE. The only reason Gordon started at WR was he was demanding it. Safety was only because Vinopal wasn't ready and the injuries, transfers. Roh at LB was only because he was too small to play DE in a 3 man front and our defensive coordinator didn't think we had enough depth on the defensive line to play a 4 man front.

Basically, I think the coaches knew where the players would be ideally but felt they couldn't put them there because of depth and talent issues at other positions.


November 30th, 2010 at 10:58 AM ^

Keep in mind, it took starting Vinopal to move Cam to LB and Roh to DE.  It very well could have taken half a season to be comfortable putting Vinopal back there. Not justifying the coaches capability at all. There is still the whole Ezeh vs. Demens issue, etc., etc., etc. But often times there are other factors behind the scenes that influence what is happening.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:27 PM ^

Cam has gotten a bad rap as far as his performance. I do feel the switch to spur was a good one because he was lost a time at safety. I feel he will grown into the spur position well. 

p.s. i do hope the defensive staff is reviewed by DB and replaced and if that happens i can see Cam growing into a Solid OLB in a 34 or 43 scheme


November 29th, 2010 at 10:30 PM ^

I love Cam and his potential at LB, but he needs to seriously work on his tackling (which, of course, could be said about everyone on our D except Martin and Demens). He too consistently went for the big hit as opposed to actually wrapping up the tackle, leading to unnecessary big plays.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:33 PM ^

Just remember that he's only a RS Freshmen. Were he to have played for us in the early 2000s (or, well, any other time in our D's history, for that matter) he wouldn't be seeing the field for another two or so years. He has areas he needs to work on, but the potential he flashed this year is undeniable. 


November 29th, 2010 at 10:48 PM ^

I understand many fundamentals can be taught (tackling in space, ball security, etc). Wrapping up seems like a pretty basic thing to me though.  Like one of those things the coaches should be able to say "Hey big lug, wrap up when you tackle or you'll ride the pine".  I really don't understand why wrapping up is something that has to be "taught".


November 29th, 2010 at 11:22 PM ^

It is something that has to be retaught. A year ago these guys were lowering the boom on high school kids and they went down every time. Now they are playing against men 4 years older and that shit no longer works. It takes a little while to get that through their heads and at times they revert back to old habits.

Born Blue

November 30th, 2010 at 12:54 AM ^

Many case in points could be lifted up in support of this assertion, but just a look at "Boo" Herron's performance this last week: when he was bottled up, he was being hit and wrapped up by some of our larger and more experienced players, but once he broke through to the secondary, he was much more confident with his runs...and it was easy to see on television why...he knew he only needed to break arm tackles which, unfortunately, he did with relative easy.


November 30th, 2010 at 8:59 AM ^

Agreed. One thing to think about though is experience and strength. I played safety, and as a freshman (in high school) I missed tackles because I wasn't strong enough to wrap up the much stronger seniors, so I tried to hit them as hard as I could and wrap up at the same time. Admittedly, my coaches weren't much help (we were 0-6-4, with three of the ties scoreless ones, and they were all fired at the end of the season), but I wonder if that's why some of the secondary players miss tackles.

Of course, I also played long before SC made crushing people a way to get on TV.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:34 PM ^

The unit and scheme are very important. If they continue to play without any rhyme or reason than they will never mature or develop (Ezeh). If the next coach brings in solid fundamentals, we will see the development match the potential. But, the chain is as strong as the weakest link, great players go unnoticed because of poor defenses. If Brandon Graham played on a top 25 defense he would of been a 1st tm AA and possibly and award winner.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:35 PM ^

example with all our freshman/sophomore players and compare them to B10 best at other schools and what you will see is that our guys are very good/ but very young. This experience for all of them will payoff big time next year and fir sure in 2012 when we are in the top 5 with a senior dominated team.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:41 PM ^

but do you think he could play OLB in our scheme? Im pretty sure the staff was high on Mike Jones before he broke his leg and he is listed as 6-2 208lb vs Jordan at 6ft 195lbs


November 29th, 2010 at 10:53 PM ^

Hard to say who will play what position next year because of the log jam at that tweener position. Could be Jones, Robinson, or either of the Gordon's. I do believe that he will be the favorite going into spring training, at whatever position he is playing. Of course this is also dependent on the defense that they deploy. I am of the opinion that they would llike to do a 4-2-5, just not enough dline personnel to pull it off. And it also depends on how much weight he gains.If he gains 10 lbs he probably stays put in a 3-3-5, but if gains 15 or more all bets are off, and probably mike joneses starting job. So to sum up, who knows what will be next year.


November 30th, 2010 at 12:20 AM ^

i'm hoping for this too.  except, i think we have the most depth at Dline than anywhere else.  Roh and Black at DE.  Martin and VanBergen at DT.  Wilkins/Paskorz backup at DE.  QWash/Ash/Talbott backup at DT.

i'm more worried about depth for true experienced LBs.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:45 PM ^

I did not exclude Kovacs. I just chose to not use him because the numbers would have been to lopsided in his favor. Also Gordon has been deemed a goat many times. I just thought it would be nice to illustrate the potential that is there. I completely believe that the young guys that weathered this storm of a season, will be the core of a dominant defense in the future. We may not be able to implement the no fly zone next year. I would however like to see a strategic missile defense sheild.

Zone Left

November 29th, 2010 at 11:04 PM ^

Couldn't you look at total tackles and argue that Kovacs is going number 1 overall based on the last two years or that Tate Forcier is going to be a first round pick?
<br>I'm not knocking either guy, but 74% of statisticians say raw numbers can be easily manipulated to serve whatever purpose you want them to serve.


November 29th, 2010 at 11:16 PM ^

If Kovacs could mange to put on 30 LBS before graduation, dollars to donuts would have him as a lock for the first round pick, Taterbug....not so much, his interception to touchdown ratio these last couple years has been brutal. Though im sure he'll clean that up.