Class of 2014 to Play This Year - Thoughts

Submitted by alum96 on August 23rd, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Who is going to play, who is going to redshirt?  Feel free to throw spears at it and disagree... or not.

My general thoughts below, assuming no new boo boos.  Put a random incredibly scientific % next to each name for potential to play.  Surprisingly I only came up with 3 "for sures" and 5 "most likelies".  Although I think it will be 6 with Ferns out on ST.  Depth? Yes it's nice.

Hell, yes.

  • Peppers (117%) - starter at nickel, potential displacement of a veteran at corner.  The #Truth
  • Canteen (100%) - don't think will match the hype machine currently generated but a decent freshman campaign with 15-17 catches.  This would be a solid year - keep in mind Dileo had 16 catches and Chesson 15, and if Norfleet hype is true he is going to get some playing time.
  • Cole (100%) - best case, LT starter.  Worst case, first OT off the bench.

Hell, most likely.

  • Mone (84%) - lots of camp hype.  Has a lot of competition in his way but with coach speak and precedent seems like he will see the field.
  • Watson (74%) - some talk of getting 1st team reps here and there.  Incredible variability at S this year.  Health of Hill, Clark moved from behind Wilson to aside him, any potential play out of Thomas.  All of the above unproven.  Probably the "5th" S right now right now which is one injury away from 2nd string.  This position seems like the one of all on defense that someone could go from 3rd string to 1st in a few weeks.

Hell, maybe.

  • Ferns (50%) - Approximately the 8th LB.  Top candidate for "why did we spend a redshirt year on him playing special teams?"
  • Ways (36%) - Scrimmage hype but against some 3rd string types from all indications.  Currently behind Funchess, Darboh, Chesson and most likely Jones.  Would he or Dukes be next man up?

Break in case of emergency.

  • Bunting (33%) - currently 3rd TE until Butt gets back.  Assuming Butt is back by game 4ish, we can survive with AJ Williams/Heitzman for 2 baby seals and ND.  If OL is a major issue and 2 TE sets become norm early could shoot up probability.
  • Harris (9%) - Hamstrung for 2014.  Folks, I'll be here all week.  Multiple WR injuries necessary to even think of it late in year as missed time in spring and fall.
  • Speight (7%) - If there is an injury, would be 3rd string.  A lot of very bad things would need to happen to see the field.

Hell, no.

  • Bushell-Beatty (0%) - see you in 3 years when you try to get your chance after dominant 2015/2016 OL players graduate.
  • Furbush (0%) - was supposed to be bulky oversized LB with potential to be DE in 2 years, instead was a scrawny S body who needs to bulk up to play LB.  Call us in 2016.
  • Marshall (6%) - only due to lack of depth at DE.  Currently is "6th DE".  If injuries mount could still push a Wormley out from DT to DE instead of  Marshall.  Have heard no camp hype.
  • Pallante (0%) - see you in 3 years.
  • Wangler (0%) - see you in 2 years.
  • Winovich (0%) - literally have not heard one word about him in past 3 months.



August 23rd, 2014 at 9:08 PM ^

I hate seeing guys burn their redshirt when they don't or didn't need to.

There will be a couple more this year I'm sure.

I can see your Top 5 playing and 1 or 2 wasting a year on special teams.

Wolverine Devotee

August 23rd, 2014 at 9:12 PM ^

I hope Michigan can redshirt everyone but 3 guys. Peppers, Canteen and Cole (I really wish we didn't have to start a true freshman on OL).

Sounds like Mone may play, though. 

I wouldn't be surprised if they play an additional freshman on special teams, just because the staff does this. 

This class is gonna be something special when it's all said and done. In fact, all of us '14s are gonna do great things. 


August 23rd, 2014 at 9:19 PM ^

I would probably agree with your "Hell, yes" category here - among the newcomers to Michigan football, I would probably tage those three as likely to start soon if not in the first game just based on what we've seen and heard around here. Actually, I would not flinch at the possibility of Peppers and Canteen in particular being out there, and I believe we've heard Cole may very well start  as well. 

EDIT: To provide context to the comment below, I did fix my typo but I also faked my way through a semester of typing classes back in the day, so yeah...


August 23rd, 2014 at 9:21 PM ^

Ways and Harris as R-Fr. Cole as a true freshmen next year.

Practice against those DB's would be pretty fun to watch.

Sam Webb made it sound like Malzone's WR teammate would join if offered. Said he was Dileo-like but faster. (Not trying to sound like Fred Jackson but probably did)


August 23rd, 2014 at 9:27 PM ^

Not only redshirts, but he doesn't travel either.  At this point, with his ever injury prone hammies, in an emergency it might be smarter to have Peppers play both ways rather than burn Harris' redshirt.

They are all "In case of emergency" but as you have it broken down, I'd put Speight in the "Hell NO" catagory.  Yes, we all understand that the best QB is actually the one buried on the depth chart, but with three scholarship players with 1+ years experience and a well regarded walk-on with three years in the program, I think it safe to say Speight will never see the field this year.

Wolverine Devotee

August 23rd, 2014 at 9:27 PM ^

Potentially redshirting Morris this year was mentioned on the MGoPodcast. Let's just hope Devin Gardner stays healthy all year. That would be freaking amazing if we could redshirt Morris.

We wouldn't even have to worry about this if we took a QB in 2012. Why didn't we, again?

Wasn't Borges after Maty Mauk?


August 23rd, 2014 at 9:36 PM ^

Hoke is not in a good position here.  If DG gets hurt and Shane has zero playing time - even in blowouts where "all he does is hand the ball off and throw 3 yard passes" he will get crucified by the same cast who saw what happened vs Nebraska in 2012 when you throw in a QB with zero snaps up to that point.

I just see zero chance Shane does not get into games early this year - ASSUMING we don't pull an Akron and instead pull two CMUs.  Miami of OH is truly one of the worst teams in Division 1 so I don't see DG playing more than 3 quarters in that one.  So I guess this is where people say "then play Bellomy in the 4th".

I don't forsee a coach who is on any seat other than ice cold not preparing a 2nd QB to play in case of 1st string injury.  The calls from this fan base and the media for not being prepared if DG gets injured would be through the roof.  Throw in the fact it is "this OL" and DG is a QB who runs 10-17x a game... well he is going to get hit way more than "NCAA 2014 QB ABC".

IMO, Hoke's job is to put THIS team in the best position to win.  That means getting a 2nd QB ready to go in at a moment's notice and win a game.  Not to worry about 2017 today.

Wolverine Devotee

August 23rd, 2014 at 9:49 PM ^

Not preparing a QB would be like DG supposedly barely taking snaps at QB in 2012 up until the debacle at Nebraska. 

What significant playing time did Morris have before his first start in the bowl game?

All of it was in garbage time. 9 passing attempts in two games and one game where he handed off after DG's helmet came off at PSU. 



August 23rd, 2014 at 11:52 PM ^

You're talking about moving a guy to WR fulltime and taking zero QB reps vs basically no change for Morris except for garbage time and or handoffs in real games.

Those game snaps aren't significantly affecting a backup's preparation.Morris can "prepare to play" in practice. He can take second string reps and do all the things a backup does...except play in blowouts.  He has already started a bowlgame.  Playing against App State and Miami's second stringers isn't going to prepare him for MSU, PSU, or anybody else in the Big 10.

Also, Hoke isn't on the hot seat unless we lose a bunch of games we shouldn't.

...I don't expect it to happen, but red-shirting Morris is absolutely something Michigan SHOULD do.



August 24th, 2014 at 11:35 AM ^

Why is 2017 more important than 2014?

If the 2nd QB is to appear in a game this season, it will - and should - be Morris.

The 3rd QB gets so few reps during the week that having him appear in a game is not a good idea. He will take snaps from the starting center and handoff to the starting RB roughly 0 times this season.

Want to get fired? Skip your 2nd QB (that people love so much they campaign for him to start over your senior QB) and have the next guy fumble the snap or drop a handoff.

Coaches do not think like we do. If a kid earns snaps, he gets them. If he is the 2nd best guy in practice, he'll be the 2nd guy into the game. And I think that's the way it ought to be.


August 24th, 2014 at 3:18 PM ^

Next to winning a bunch of games this year, my biggest wish is that Shane gets a lot of snaps. I do not want to start 2015 with a loaded roster and a QB with no game experience. I don't want a platoon system, but I hope Nuss finds a way to get Shane into a lot of games.


August 24th, 2014 at 6:19 PM ^

Mat, I understand your POV. I just don't think it is feasible. These are people we are dealing with, not just roster spots.

Earlier, you said that wasting a red shirt on a broken chinstrap is no good. But the chinstrap play is probably more important than the garbage time snaps against Miami. If the backup comes in for the 4th quarter of the Miami game, Michigan probably had a huge lead and Miami has given up. But if Gardner's chinstrap breaks in the middle of a tightly contested game, that one snap is potentially crucial.

Your chinstrap example is actually support for having the #2 guy come in. Yeah, it would suck to burn a red shirt on one snap, but if that snap means a damn, you want the best option in there for it.


August 24th, 2014 at 6:37 PM ^

And I agree - they are people.  But Shane seems like an intelligent guy.  He knows he's Devin's backup.  He knows the value of a red-shirt and what it could mean for him.  So, if you phrase it as "you're first man in, but if we don't need you we're going to try to get you the option of coming back in 2017 as a senior.  It means skipping some snaps in the 4th quarter of Miami. You OK with that?" -- I'd like to think Shane would be OK with that. 

The chinstrap argument was not mine, but I agree with it.  I think it depends. Is it one or two plays where you are handing it off?  If so, keep the red-shirt.  Is it an entire drive against MSU? Burn it.


August 24th, 2014 at 3:27 PM ^

since Lloyd Carr when the options were usually the starter and his chief backup. I mean I can remember when the backups were Tom Brady and Jason Kapsner to Brian Griese, but Griese played and took most of the snaps in 1997, when Michigan had a lights-out defense and a rather less than explosive offense. 

The point is, I haven't seen any indication that if something happened to DG, that Shane is prepared to take his place. He's getting the practice reps. If that's what your worry is, then you deal with it. 

I mean in Columbus, their backups were taking all the snaps in practice but nobody had any doubts about who would start and play fulltime, until Braxton Miller couldn't. And now that the unexpected has happened there, they are grateful for the fact that Barrett and Jones were getting all the reps in the spring and fall camp. You prepare for the worst, if your No. 1 is missing, and deal with the consequences as need requires. 

Worrying about injury and running your system based on it, means preparation is better, but it doesn't guarantee your results will not be impacted. You play  the guys that give you the best chance to win, and then it's next man up when events change the circumstances and you go from there and eveeryone adjusts. Michigan played Shane last year in mop-up situations and then he played the bowl game. The kid is poised and can handle the duty, no doubt. And then you have Bellomy backing him up in emergency. 


August 24th, 2014 at 12:01 AM ^

We are loaded at QB for the future and your #2 needs reps.   See Braxton.    When is the last time we started 3 Frosh?   This could really happen and IMO not because we are weak at those spots.  Bunting could very well have a Jake Butt type of year.   Drake Harris has unique skills that if he is healthy will likely be used for the long ball down the field.


August 24th, 2014 at 1:32 PM ^

Speight redshirt?  Yes, please.  Absolutely.

Morris redshirt?  No Way.  If all goes well, he needs to get nearly as many snaps as Devin.  Not just to be ready for this year, but to be ready for next year.

This team is going to be loaded in 2015 . . . as long as we don't have a fatal weak link with an inexperienced QB.




August 24th, 2014 at 12:15 AM ^

I don't think anybody suggested otherwise.  However, there is going down as in injury, and coming out because of an equipment failure.  If the former, of course Morris goes in.  If the latter, of course Belomy or Cleary go in.  It would be incredibly stupid, if not totally irresponsible, to throw away an entire year of eligibility because of a broken chinstrap.


August 24th, 2014 at 6:41 PM ^

The players are trying harder in a close game.  The coaches are trying harder too - you can tell because their 1st stringers aren't in anymore.

Michigan's second stringers are better than Miami's. Especially when Miami's second stringers want the game to end just as badly as Brady Hoke. "Justice Hayes dives forward for two yards" - that ain't getting Shane ready for 2015.


August 23rd, 2014 at 9:37 PM ^

I wouldn't put Watson and Ways in the 0% category right now, but I think they're less likely to get on the field than you have them at. Ways I'd put way down because we're deep at receiver and the scrimmage performance wasn't against top-level opposition. Watson I'd put around 50%, especially because of special teams. I don't buy the talk of him getting 1st team reps.

Ferns, sigh, yeah that's probably about right. Sure wish they'd redshirt him.

Mone - I guess if I believed the hype I'd have him where you have him. But I just don't know about this coaching staff. I remember them talking up Nathan Brink on the DL, fergodsakes, and I think, who is this year's Nathan Brink?


August 24th, 2014 at 10:19 AM ^

As Magnus pointed out, Ryan Glasgow had two tackles last year, and a quick look at the season stats at MGoBlue indicates that he appeared in 11 games.

Nathan Brink appeared in all of 4 games in his final season in 2012, and he also had two tackles, plus 1.5 sacks. In Brink's junior season, he played in 11 games, and started one. He had one tackle, and one sack.

Glasgow is only a RS Sophomore, while Brink was a senior in 2012, so the comparison isn't apples-to-apples. However, as of right now, they're similar in that they are walkons who've displayed great determination and work ethic, and have received open accolades from Hoke out of proportion to their actual in-game production. If Glasgow does start and can be a disruptive force, that's obviously a tremendous plus for the DL.

Mr. Yost

August 23rd, 2014 at 11:26 PM ^

To me, Bunting/Ways/Ferns are the 3 guys that are toss-ups...the other guys you have playing will play, the guys you have out are out.

Doesn't mean they should play...but they will.

Ways will probably get the Da'Mario Jones treatment, Bunting and Ferns on special teams...

That said, there's no reason Jones/Dukes, Hill/Shallman, Gant/McCray can't play any snaps that those guys would play.


August 24th, 2014 at 12:18 AM ^

Hell, yes.

Mone - We have one other true NT with legit size and he's coming off an injury. Physically mature. He's going to play.

Hell, most likely.

Bunting - IF OL is a major issue??? hahahahahahaha.  The question is if they will use H-backs instead of the 2nd TE, or try to go 4-wide often.  If so Bunting might get a red-shirt.  If not, he could be a mini-freshman Funchess, even if he can't block yet -- the defense doesn't know it.  With Clark on the way in the next class (and maybe Wheatley) there's no reason to hold back if he can help -- and he probably can. I'd ALMOST say he's as likely to red-shirt as he is to start, because Williams and Heitzman are unproven, but I think Williams will step up.

Marshall - coaches have clearly said they want to stop using LBs as nickel DEs.  That means we need more DE this year than before.  I'd be pretty surprised if Marshall, who is a legit talent doesn't get action as a pass rusher. Charlton and Ojemudia did and their offer lists weren't nearly as impressive as Marshalls.  This is a kid with offers from OSU, Oklahoma, MSU, and 2nd-tier SEC schools. One of the most under-hyped guys in the the class IMO.

Break in case of INJURY

Ways- Seems to be solid depth at WR, but if a guy goes down Ways may enter. Seems way ahead of Dukes and maybe Jones too. 

Ferns - Probably an injury away from entering the rotation at Mike.

Winovich - An injury away from special teams burned red-shirt. Happens every year for LBs.

Hell, no.

Watson -  they'll move a CB to safety before they play Watson there.  I find it hard to believe Peppers is at CB while he is at safety.  Just makes no sense.  I think they put him at safety to educate him, and make the depth chart look reasonable and minimize flight risks.  Next year he'll be back at corner and fighting for a rotation spot.

Mr. Yost

August 24th, 2014 at 1:00 AM ^

Watson has already practiced with the safeties and when you count special's not uncommon to play your 4th or 5th safety. Hill is hurt and Watson is an EE. He's gotten reps at safety alongside Wilson with the FIRST team.

None if that means he's a lock to play...but your "hell no" is just flat wrong.

Ferns also isn't an injury from being in the MLB rotation. Morgan or Bolden would just slide over from WLB and you still have Gedeon. If Ferns is playing on defense it's because the game is out of hand...that's not a rotational player. That's Dakich clean up minutes.

The Marshall comment made me laugh just because he IS the size of a LB. McCray, Gedeon, Ryan, and Ferns are all the same size. You have Clark, Beyer, Ojemudia, and Taco...all 4 are weakside DEs or former weakside DEs...there's no need to situational nickel package anyone. Even if you did...Gedeon and Bolden are ahead of Marshall. You're much better off dropping Ryan down to DE and subbing one of those 2 in. Yes that's a LB, but there are certainly options unless Marshall is too good to keep off the field. And I didn't even mention have 5 DEs who should be able to rush the passer and play in nickel situations.


August 24th, 2014 at 11:26 AM ^

Watson - well, he has to practice somewhere.  If the coaches are sure he is going to red-shirt and there is overwhelming depth at CB...why not safety? It offers emergency depth/insurance. Also, tt wouldn't be the first time they worked a guy at one position to focus on specific elements at another position (e.g., Brandon Graham at DT). 

As for special teams - Watson is cb sized. We have a ton of LBs and CBs, we have a ton of FB/H-backs. Your 5th or 6th Safety does not have to be on special teams.

Obviously the chances are more than zero (for everyone) but he fits that category better than any other.

Ferns - I agree that a WLB would slide over to MLB if Ryan goes down, but what if it's just Gedeon.  Ryan needs a backup.  The coaches like to rotate LB positionally, and they have NOT been shy about playing LBs.  Ferns is an EE as well. There are 3 other LBs who will (probably) red-shirt.

Marshall - He is probably too small for DE, is our starter! He is 6'4/240.  You don't need more size than that to be a situational pass-rusher.  I think the staff's concerns re: LBs at DE are more about clear rotations than about getting more size.

More importantly, we have 4 guys right now.  That's never been enough. None of them are serious pass-rush threats off the edge.  Neither is Bolden. Marshall very well could be.

Charlton is a former WDE like he's a former DT.  He always projected to a SDE.

Poggi is biding his time until either the D returns to the Under or he's big enough to move to DT. He's not scaring any QB off the edge and probably won't play a single meaningful down all year,especially not on 3rd down.

You can call bull-shit on what the coaches said about ending the subbing LBs for DEs, but I'm taking them at their word.  And DE is a position where freshman can come in and play right away because it doesn't require much knowledge or experience to go get the QB.

Mr. Yost

August 24th, 2014 at 1:05 AM ^

Won't be 3 years...he's had some camp hype already. Wouldn't shock me if he's in the rotation as a RS So. after getting snaps next year. Just a bit of a log jam with Glasgow, Hurst, Pipkins and Mone.


August 24th, 2014 at 7:06 AM ^

I think there's a good chance that Lawrence Marshall will play this year. Michigan is pretty thin at defensive end, particularly weakside end. The only options there are Clark and Ojemudia.