Did you ever worry about the return of experienced starting LBs?

Submitted by iawolve on October 27th, 2009 at 12:07 PM

I am trying to remember the last time I was not at least "set" with the idea of returning very experienced LBs for their senior year (maybe with Chris Graham). This is the first time I actually have a sinking feeling about it and I really find that mind boggling when I try to comprehend that notion. Maybe we take that big jump, but wow, I am mid-season with my eyes rolling back in my head at the thought of next year. Young guys, inexperienced guys, yes you wonder what they will develop into. This is a different animal altogether. Maybe Hopson is replaced by a miracle worker.



October 27th, 2009 at 12:38 PM ^

Yes, Mouton and Ezeh have not played well this year.

However, let's not forget that these guys are playing under either their third defensive coordinator in three years, or their fourth in fourth years. In that time, EVERY YEAR, they've had to learn a new scheme, new techniques, and then take all that, along with Ezeh calling a defense, and play against some pretty solid Big Ten offenses.

Why do you think Iowa, PSU, OSU have such great defenses? Largely, it's because of stability and continuity - the upperclassmen become the teachers of the scheme for the new kids, and the coordinators can perfect technique instead of teaching. GERG and Hopson could not do that this year - they had to install a scheme this year. In 2010, they will be able to focus upon getting the underclassmen up to speed, and they will have Ezeh and Mouton to help with that process, which will also enhance their understanding of the scheme.

The biggest thing that can improve the defense from 2009 to 2010 is.......having the coordinators and coaches stay. It is important that in 2010 Ezeh and Mouton are allowed to play, instead of think how GERG wants them to play. By 2010 their play should be proactive instead of reactive, and the team's defense should improve as a result.


October 27th, 2009 at 1:51 PM ^

Notice how in the UFRs sometimes Brian will mention that the LBs seem to be ordered to play in a certain way - at Iowa, for example, they crashed the line and the gaps without hesitation as if that was the week's coaching, which left Moaki (sp) and other WRs wide open.

No matter what those LBs say, they don't look comfortable in the scheme yet. I don't blame them. In that sense they are in their freshman year. There is bound to be a significant mental improvement in 2010 just through GERG continuity.


October 27th, 2009 at 1:52 PM ^

I was worried about the entire defense last year. The pundits were saying UM would be fine because they returned most of their defense from 2007, and I wondered why. That was the defense that allowed The Horror and the Oregon Debacle. It was like good news, bad news:

"The good news is that you have almost your entire defense coming back. The bad news is that they really aren't all that good."

I don't feel nearly as bad about next year's defense as I did about '07's, especially in retrospect. I think the program is on the right track and will continue to improve. Most of all, though, by 2011 or even next year, the program will be further along than it would have been under either Carr or an in-house hire to replace him.

As a 49-year UM fan (first game in 1960), I am used to a yearly ritual of focusing on the current year and how great it is going to be. Now, like many, I find myself in the unfamiliar position of having to be patient. Does it really suck sometimes? Of course it does.

But I have decided that since I can do nothing about it either way, I might as well try to enjoy watching the program being rebuilt in RR's image. The growing pains definitely hurt sometimes, but I think it will be worth it in a year or two.

But I am definitely with many of you on the difficulty of being patient: it would be a lot more fun if they just started beating everyone right now.


October 27th, 2009 at 2:03 PM ^

This defense really isn't that bad. Yes, we allowed 396 yards to Penn State, but a lot of that is because our offense sucked.

The mistakes we've had in previous years (poor safety play) were made by upperclassmen, and now they're being made by redshirt freshmen and sophomores. The linebackers aren't taking great angles, but they're tackling better than last year. The deep TD pass to Quarless was on a redshirt sophomore (Herron) who failed to jam the tight end, not so much Ezeh.

I don't see this as a failure of a defense. Last year was a failure. This year it's growing pains.