Darboh looking good in practice

Submitted by MilkSteak on August 7th, 2012 at 1:29 PM

AnnArbor.com reports Amara Darboh is looking good in his first few practices as a Wolverine.

Featuring quotes from Roy Roundtree such as:


"He's really fast and strong. Amara, he just showed out today. I feel like he's really being comfortable. I told him, 'It's football, man. It's just a faster pace.' And he did it."


"I quizzed him last night to make sure he was on his Ps and Qs. He asks a lot of questions, but he did a great job.His head is spinnin', just like all the other freshman. Asking questions. But he's a great kid."



August 7th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

I agree with that, but I meant it's the position group on our current roster that needed the help, not the position group where freshmen can most easily contribute, although they're both true.  It's nice that one of the position groups that was neglected the last couple years won't take such a step back.  We'll see what happens with the OL.


August 7th, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

Not sure if Darboh brings that exactly, but it's encouraging to think he might.  Some are already tagging him with the dreaded 'possession receiver' tag. 

I think that, overall, the need for WR is being badly overblown.  I expect Gallon to continue to improve and challenge for all-conference selection, and I expect Roundtree to bounce back.  That's 2 receivers who should be above average Big 10 starters.  The depth guys aren't bad either.  While it's true that there are no game-breaking threats returning, Gardner could bring something to the table there. 

But do we really need a game-breaking WR?  I say not, considering it's a run-oriented offense that frequently utilizes two TEs, has a good 3rd down receiving back in Smith, and has a decent threat at FB in Hopkins.  We have Toussaint and Robinson as offensive game-breakers, that's enough to win.

The big issue for our passing game isn't the WR personnel, it's Denard being a consistent passer.  Our WRs are going to get 1 on 1 coverage.  They don't have to be great players to get open - they just have to do their job.

So...I'm not worried about WR at all.

The OL should be excellent in 2012 as long as people stay healthy.  An injury to Barnum or one of the tackles and I'll worry.  My concern with the OL was and remains in 2013.


August 7th, 2012 at 2:02 PM ^

are we already discounting that Lewan will NOT be back? I would think that as close as Hoke has brought these Teams/Recruiting Classes, many players are opting to stay +1 more year than leaving early... Especially the guys who you see (at least the general ann arbor public) around town together... I'm not really worried about OL or DL from 2013 on, assuming guys like Pipkins, Magnuson get some game action this season between depth during series or mop up duty...

I'm hoping Hoke eventually has a roll-over every year liek the Bama's, LSU's, Wisconsin's in terms on OL/DL lines....


August 7th, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

With a likely 1st Round spot, I think chances are better that Lewan is not back than he is.  But Barnum, Mealer, and Omameh are going to be gone for sure and there is no experience returning.  I'm more negative than most regarding freshman contributions and I have some doubts about Miller too. 

So, the way I see it, Schofield and Bryant are the only players I'm counting on to start next year.  I'm sure a couple of this year's freshman will step up, but it's going to be a very inexperienced line, most likely.  The best case scenario is good (Lewan, Kalis, Miller, Bryant, Schofield) but if things don't work out perfectly you're putting a lot of faith in OL recruiting rankings.

Long term, the OL should be fine, but next year is where the light OL recruiting in the '10 and '11 will be felt.


August 7th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

I think you're right that the 2013 OL will be the worst we'll have for a while, but if Lewan stays, we're fine. If he doesn't, we'll have the most important spot, LT, sewn up with 5th yr SR Schofield at least. I expect Miller to star at C, and he got some good reviews at the end of last year. The other three spots will be comprised of Bryant, Kalis, Bars, Magnuson, Braden, and maybe even Burzinski, Bosch(EE) or Dawson. It will be a step back, but it won't be terrible, and it sets us up for a killer 2014.


August 7th, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

Again, that's a best case scenario.  It could happen, but more likely there is some attrition and there are some busts -- that's normally how it works, even for highly recruited players.

If Lewan is gone, there would be 7 non-true-freshman in '13, at best, even if we count Burzynski (which we probably should). Your starting RT probably hasn't played a down of college football yet.  Schofield is the only one with starting experience (unless Mealer gets beaten out at LG or someone gets hurt)

I do think that once the '12 and '13 recruiting classes are seniors, we'll have a very strong on the OL, but that's not till 2016.

By no means will this be an '08-bad OL because the freshman are talented, but it'll be a team weakness for a couple years, is my guess.  If some of these recruits turn out to be NFL-caliber players that can come in and be effective as young players - like Long, Lewan, Omameh, Molk, and others have done - then I'll be very happy.  But we need a lot of them to do it to be good in '13 and '14.


August 7th, 2012 at 3:33 PM ^

OL is a place where continuity, experience, and physical maturity matter more than perhaps anywhere else.  That's why I don't trust freshman, red-shirt freshman, and first time starters.  In '13 there will be a lot of those, most likely.  Losing 80% of your starters is never good, replacing them with inexperienced players makes it even worse.

There are obviously many exceptions - examples where freshman stepped in and did very well, but those were typically NFL-caliber players.  Even though our OL recruiting looks great, there's a great deal of uncertainty in recruiting.

We'll survive, but I don't expect the '13 offense to be nearly as good as the these Denard-led offenses have been and will be be.


August 7th, 2012 at 3:36 PM ^

Ii agree about 2013, but not 2014. In 2014, we'll have four returning starters, the talents 2012 guys will be in their third year, our super talented 2013 class will be in their second, and we'll still have Miller and Bryant in their fourth years. An OL of Magnuson-Kalis-Miller-Bosch-Braden would be very good, with a second unit of LTT-Bryant-Kugler-Dawson-Fox that could probably start too. I didn't even list Blake Bars or walk-ons Glasgow or Gibbs at all.

Point is, of all th talent we'll have in 2014, whoevers wins the starting jobs will be very good.


August 7th, 2012 at 3:51 PM ^

Hard to say how many return, but if Lewan goes pro, four could be right.

Since Magnuson-Kalis-Miller-Bosch-Braden haven't played a single down of college football yet, I don't feel comfortable calling them 'very good' yet.  Actually, the same goes for Bryant and Miller, but at least Bryant has the size and recruiting pedigree and he's been around the program for a year already, so he's got at least a firm baseline with which to project from.

I think a lot hinges on Miller stabilizing the unit at OC.  If he proves a starter-caliber player, I'll feel much better.

In 2011 I could have told you the 2013 OL would look great with Lewan-Schofield-Pace-Bryant-Fisher, especially with Dee Hart running behind em.  These things don't always work out as planned, even if there aren't coaching changes.

I do agree that the recruiting classes have been excellent, on paper.  There is strength in numbers with 9 scholarship players coming in just 2 classes.  But no matter what, they'll be young an inexperienced. I hope most will get a chance to red-shirt.


August 7th, 2012 at 4:00 PM ^

I get hat you're saying, but my point isn't that I'm relying on one guy like Fisher being good (who wasn't even ranked that highly anyway) it's that we'll have so many highly rated guys that some of them are bound to be good. There are always busts, but when you recruit a lot of highly rated guys, it's very unlikely that most of them are busts.

I'm not saying it's guaranteed, but based on what we know it's likely that 2014 is a good year for the OL.


August 7th, 2012 at 4:09 PM ^

wasn't highly ranked but had an impressive offer list and was treated like a 5-star by spread schools.

I'm not arguing this isn't the way to go, but having highly rated guys doesn't guarantee anything.  The 2002 and 2005 OL classes were mostly busts.  The lowest rated guy in the 2008 class turned out to be the best while the highest rated guy transferred.  Our best OL since Long was lowely rated Molk.

Some of these recruits will be good.  Not only are they highly related, but everything you read about their backstory and how the classes as a whole have come together make me optimistic.  I don't dispute that we'll produce some good players, but we need MANY of them to be.  And we need many of them to be ready right away.  That's where my concerns lie.  Even accounting for normal attrition and busts, some guys take a few years to become high level players.  Long and Lewan are the exceptional talents.  I'm not assuming we have another one of those guys in the '12 or '13 class just yet.


August 7th, 2012 at 4:14 PM ^

Agreed, 2013 will be mostly compromised of underclassmen on the O-Line...plus all new skill positions-

EXIT: Robinson, Roundtree, Smith, Gardner(WR)

ENTER: Gardner(QB), Darboh??, Rawls (as 3rd down back)

with the line being 'fresh' in 2013, we may experience some growing pains that year due to the transition, but with Hoke at the Helm, I'd be alright with our floor being a 7-8 win season.

Sure as hell beats losing to TOLEDO(?!) and 90% of the B1G...

rob f

August 7th, 2012 at 10:36 PM ^

WolvinLA2, did you mean to type "start" rather than "star"?  You posted:

"I think you're right that the 2013 OL will be the worst we'll have for a while, but if Lewan stays, we're fine. If he doesn't, we'll have the most important spot, LT, sewn up with 5th yr SR Schofield at least. I expect Miller to star at C, and he got some good reviews at the end of last year..."  

Just wonderin...


August 7th, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

It is a run-oriented offense, but I highly doubt we will frequently utlize two TEs given our lack of talent and depth there.  I would assume that we are in more receiver-heavy sets rather than double TE sets, and therefore it's crucial to have qualtiy receiver depth.

I'm not disagreeing with you on most of your points, but I do think that we probably won't emphasize TEs in this years offense making the need for receivers more crucial.


August 7th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

Despite having a much deeper pool of WR talent and experience, Borges used a ton of 2-TE formations.  Watson blocked a lot - I think we can agree he is replaceable.  Koger will be missed, but his loss isn't going to change the  offensive scheme or play calling much. 

TEs caught less than 15% of passes last year.  They were TARGATED 3 times a game.  I think they can find willing and able blockers who occassionaly get balls thrown their way.


August 7th, 2012 at 8:04 PM ^

I wasn't talking about last year, I'm talking about this year.  Last year's talent at TE was much better than this year; Koger was a proven player (and could easily have been a decent NFL prospect had his development been different) and Watson was at least somewhat competant.  Compare that to Brandon Moore, who has basically done nothing yet, and everyone behind him, who actually have done nothing yet.

I would only expect to see a lot of two TE sets if A.J. Williams comes in ready to play right away.

Wolverine 73

August 7th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

Do we really need a game-breaking WR?  Well, Carter played in a run-oriented offense, probably even more run-oriented than what we will see in 2012.  And having him was a huge element in the success of those teams, and meant the difference between winning and losing some games.  So, yes, if we want to beat the really good teams, we sure could use a game-breaking WR.


August 7th, 2012 at 4:00 PM ^

With a receiver like Carter this offense would be all but unstoppable.  But we already have 2 game-breaking offensive talents.  We can beat really good teams without an elite WR - we did it last year.  Hemingway did make big plays, but I don't think he's entirely unreplaceable.  The rest of the offense is back all but in-tact, so the running game should be even better than last year.



August 7th, 2012 at 2:21 PM ^

I agree that freshman WRs can contribute substantially which is interesting, because in the NFL wide receiver is generally regarded as a position where rookies struggle in their first year. Only six rookie WRs in the past 20 years have topped 1000 yards, and no one since Colston in 2006, even as the NFL's become a league dominated by passing. Maybe it speaks to the complicated nature of NFL passing games or to the regular turnover mandated by college football.


August 7th, 2012 at 3:18 PM ^

Probably the NFL depends more on precise timing, technique, and reliability.  The college game more about physical ability for WRs.  But yeah, it's also different competing against 10 year NFL veterans who play football fulltime than other college kids.


August 7th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

Great to hear Darboh is looking good so far. Like to hear that he is asking lots of questions and it sounds like Roundtree is stepping in a leadership role as well. 


August 7th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

Everybody looks good without pads.

I'll say this until I'm blue in the face: Football without pads isn't really relevant.

I'm not saying Darboh will be a bust or anything.  I just think a practice report from day one or day two is pretty much useless for evaluating how advanced players are.


August 7th, 2012 at 1:44 PM ^

Other than as a blocker where we don't really need him to make much of an impact (have experienced guys), I would think most of what he can do can be shown without pads.  Can you think of a guy who could get open and catch the ball in shorts but couldn't do it on the field?


August 7th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

It's not all about that.  It's about getting off of press coverage, running after the catch, etc.

And yes, I've seen guys who could get open without pads...and they disappeared somewhat once they put pads on.  Now those are high school kids (since I don't get to see many unpadded practices for college teams), but there's still a difference.

Again, this is nothing specific about Darboh.  It's just a general idea that we shouldn't read too much into unpadded practice reports.