Defensive Outlook 2010

Submitted by steve sharik on October 31st, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Here's what I'd like to see happen:
1. JT Turner back to safety (perhaps already happened and that's why the RS; I don't see him not picking up enough corner scheme to not play at least situationally), play him at strong side safety
2. If Marvin Robinson runs a legit 4.6, then he needs to be the weak side safety, who is the safety/LB hybrid; he should not play Stevie Brown's spot as that could be filled by BSmith/Hawthorne/etc.
3. Pray that DWarren stays, but if not, pray that Cullen Christian isn't scared off by this mess and commits. Then put him at one corner and Woolfolk at the other.
4. Kick Gibson upstairs (asst. head coach or whatever b/c RR isn't firing his boy) bring back Vance Bedford.
5. Let Hopson go back to the south, where he wants to be a DC, and bring in a technical genius to coach the LBs
6. Wilkins at the Quick and Roh to End, BG's position; MM and RVB stay put, they're both sophs playing well
7. Open competition at ILB (Mike, Will spots)
8. Ditto for Sam (Stevie Brown's position)



October 31st, 2009 at 9:36 PM ^

I think I pretty much agree with all of these points. It really just boils to our recruited talent panning out the way it's supposed to. No more busts for now please. Here's to Will Campbell becoming the beast we think he is.


November 1st, 2009 at 12:30 AM ^ it's understandable that he isn't starting. Meanwhile, Turner hasn't even played.

I would rather have Turner at CB because we are going to lose Warren soon (he may come back next year, he may not) and we already lost Cissoko. After them, we've got Woolfolk (who's gone after next year) and Floyd. I know that we'll probably pick up a few more corners this year, but at the same time, we don't have any guarantee that they'll be ready to play as Freshman.

Here's what I would do. Next year, if Warren leaves, put Woolfolk and Turner at CB, and put Vlad at one safety position, giving the other to either Williams (not ideal), Kovacs (still not ideal), Robinson (if he's good enough as a freshman, he could play at SS), or any of the other safeties on our roster. Also, you could have Floyd compete there too.

If Warren stays, put Turner at the other CB spot and move Woolfolk back to Free Safety and have a general competition for the SS spot. This is nice because then we could use Floyd as a nickleback, although the coaching staff thus far has been reluctant to do so.

This all assumes that Turner turns out to be good next year, which is by no means guaranteed.

West Texas Blue

October 31st, 2009 at 9:39 PM ^

2) The problem with that is some analysts are reporting that Marvin is slower than they thought. I know Rivals came away unimpressed with Marvin at a camp earlier this year and knocked down his rankings accordingly. If he doesn't have the speed, the only position I can see him at is Stevie B's position.

3) D Warren is going to bolt, but I don't think he's ready. It's more that no one knows what is going to go down in the NFL after next year with the CBA, and rookie pay scale could be severely affected. Expect to see alot of juniors jump to the NFL even though they prolly need another year. Hopefully the coaches can sell him on staying another year and proving his stock, like Graham has done this year.

5) Agree. Hopson has doing nothing that warrants keeping him. Poor ILB play and zero recruiting catches in the South.

8) Boy, there is going to be a big dropoff at the SLB position. Landing a stud OLB prospect to compete at this position is a must. With GRob coaching this position and Stevie B's good play this year, hopefully we'll be okay.


October 31st, 2009 at 9:40 PM ^

We knew about the holes in the defense. We knew about the Freshmen QB's. We knew that the OL wasn't experienced. Early on, Brian opined that the defense was a disaster waiting for an injury or two to happen. With Cissoko kicked off, plus Molk's injury and Minor's lingering high sprain, we simply didn't have the depth and the experience to weather a game like this.

However, I'm still not discouraged. I'm still drinking the RR Koolaid. I'm still waiting for a couple more recruiting classes. I'm still ok with Gerg. I'm especially glad that Michigan is a strong enough school and program to take the long perspective. Were we to panic and start firing people, it would be much, much, much worse.

Shalom Lansky

October 31st, 2009 at 10:03 PM ^

Even if your scenario comes true Michigan will still be relying on MULTIPLE players seeing their first collegiate football action, inexperienced talent is still scary. I can't see the D being THAT much better next year. I hope that I am wrong.

steve sharik

October 31st, 2009 at 10:16 PM ^

I'm not saying that the OP is what needs to happen for us to be *good* on defense. I am saying that's what needs to happen for us to be *our* best on defense. If we do those things I think we'll be much better on defense, but still be average at best.


October 31st, 2009 at 11:30 PM ^

In a normal year there would be a good chance of Warren staying - I don't think he is ready for the NFL - but with the NFL rookie salary cap looming it almost a certainty he goes.


November 1st, 2009 at 8:39 PM ^

There is doubt about that statement. We will return eight or nine starters (and pretty much all the reserves) and our DC. Granted, most of these guys aren't very good, but with another year in the system (and an offseason hitting the weights) I do think we'll see some of them improve.


November 1st, 2009 at 12:06 AM ^

We switch to a more conventional 4-3 look because Will Campbell becomes a stud and we'd have to have Martin, Campbell, VB, and Roh on the field. Strong against the run, but we'd have to sub on passing downs.Mouton improves, Ezeh or Fitz take command of the middle, and one of the current freshmen takes the Will spot. Warren stays, Woolfork moves back to safety, a freshman starts at corner, and Williams, Kovaks, and Vlad battle for the other safety spot. Even if all that happens, that would still be just an average Big 10 defense.


November 1st, 2009 at 1:10 AM ^

There's a pretty good chance that every talented veteran player on defense won't be back next year -- Graham and Brown are gone and Warren could bolt for the NFL. Leaving us with a whole lot of nothing.

Yes, all of the returning players will be one year older and have more experience, but all that really means is that they'll be graduating from crap to crap+. Counting on a bunch of freshman that aren't even on campus yet to turn things around AND replace what we're losing is a really, really tall order.

Personally, I think the defense will actually be worse next season, and we're years away from being a top of the Big Ten defense.


November 1st, 2009 at 2:35 PM ^

They are definitely not a good defense now, but they've shown a lot of potential. They have come up with some big stops when they needed to. Indiana, MSU & Iowa to give us chances to get back in the game. I think a lot of it is confidence. The losing takes a big toll on a team. No matter what Illinois record was they didn't lose much from last year. Juice absolutely shredded us a year ago and he is the most inconsistent player in NCAA, but when he plays well he's pretty damn good. B Graham will be a huge loss, but I think as the offense continues to make strides and the defense doesn't have to go through another coaching change we will be ok.


November 2nd, 2009 at 12:21 AM ^

I'd describe Michigan's defense right now as "dodging bullets." Nearly ever time they stopped someone, I've felt it was because of an offensive screw up instead of good defense. I think we've been dodging bullets up to this point and teams are starting to figure that out and scheme against (for?) it.

Like I said above, couple all of this in with our best players on D leaving at the end of the season, and I think we might need to invest in some bullet proof vests for next season.


November 1st, 2009 at 8:56 PM ^

Scheme change?

No way.

Firstly, we need some continuity in defensive scheme just so our players can progress in a system rather than starting from square 1 every year.

Secondly, the current scheme is what best fits our personnel. A 4-3 would not be a good idea b/c we currently have 3 DTs on the roster - not even enough for a 2 deep!

The system we're running now is linebacker heavy which is actually where we have the most depth. Furthermore, with the "hybrid" positions, it's adaptable and can be adjusted to help feature certain players strengths. The current scheme is going to be our best option at least for next year.


November 1st, 2009 at 12:51 AM ^

i doubt a change in rookie pay would affect warren, who looks like a 3rd round pick to me.

RR might beable to sell warren on having his draft stock jump by staying one more year. but the shitstorm that is our d has to be a scary prospect for him.

either way, i dont see any reason to be optimistic about this defense going forward. we've got exactly one thing going for us and he's graduating this year.

i know people hope that having consistency from the dc will help, but thats overblown. its not like theres going to be some sudden sea change between coordinators.


November 1st, 2009 at 12:51 AM ^

i doubt a change in rookie pay would affect warren, who looks like a 3rd round pick to me.

RR might beable to sell warren on having his draft stock jump by staying one more year. but the shitstorm that is our d has to be a scary prospect for him.

either way, i dont see any reason to be optimistic about this defense going forward. we've got exactly one thing going for us and he's graduating this year.

i know people hope that having consistency from the dc will help, but thats overblown. its not like theres going to be some sudden sea change between coordinators.


November 1st, 2009 at 1:09 AM ^

Robinson or Vlad at safety with Woofolk.

Warren, Turner and the incoming top two freshman at corner.

Campbell and Lalota added up front.

Roh plus 20 solid pounds at Graham's position.

Linebacker, oh linebacker, I wish I could see a clear plan there.

On offense, I sure hope Gallon can add something shifty to the slot mix.


November 1st, 2009 at 1:25 AM ^

Why would Vance Bedford come back? He's on Florida's staff coaching the DBs. This would be a move down (sorry to say) plus RichRod fired him.
I thought he should have been one of the coaches retained during the transition, even over Fred Jackson (the cynic in me always thought he was only kept on to maintain McGuffie's commitment). In one off season, Bedford was able to make Jamaar Adams and Brandent Englemon serviceable safeties.
As for replacing Hopson w/ a technical genius, are there any legit candidates out there? I don't know enough about college assistant coaches to know who would consider making the jump to Michigan.


November 1st, 2009 at 4:30 PM ^

Well I know that for Christmas I am asking Santa for Cullen Christian, Tony Grimes, Tony Jefferson, Aramide Olanyian, Josh Furman, and another LB and DT / DE. I think I've been pretty good this year so maybe he'll fill my list. Then again God hates Michigan this year so maybe not.


November 1st, 2009 at 8:51 PM ^

How could our defense possibly see a huge dropoff next year?

We'll lose Graham and Brown and possibly Warren. Granted, those are probably our three best defenders, but everybody else SHOULD be one year better and there will be an influx of talented sophomores (Emilien, Turner) and freshmen (Marvin Robinson, perhaps Cullen Christian and Josh Furman).

Also, we're bad right now. So a huge dropoff might not even be possible. If my math is correct, we've given up 258 points to 8 FBS opponents: that's over 32 points per game.


November 1st, 2009 at 9:05 PM ^

Graham is obviously a big loss for any defense, but he and Brown are the only two players on the defense who graduate. All of the thirty-some-odd other players are back, plus any and all incoming recruits Coach Rod brings in. If all of those guys are just a little stronger, faster, smarter, or otherwise improved, the defense will be much better. We should also see a big boost in talent if guys like Vlad, Turner, and Campbell (plus a bunch of young linebackers) are mentally ready to contribute on a regular basis. This will decrease the likelihood that we see multiple walk-ons on the field next year (unless of course they are good enough to beat out other viable options at their position).

And yeah, it isn't like they could get much worse.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 2nd, 2009 at 9:01 AM ^

From where we are now you can't possibly have a "big dropoff". From the bottom, there is nowhere to go but up.

For the first time in ages our defence should have a second consecutive year with the same DC. We will be returning all but 2 (or possibly three) players on our defence who will have an entire offseason to become even more familiar with Gerg's defence. They will be a year older, wiser and bigger/stronger. Our freshman will have a year of experienc eunder their belt (maybe not game experience, but experience with the scheme anyway).

I have a hard job believing we won't be significantly better than this year.