Duh-Fense

Submitted by IBleedMaizeNBlue on July 1st, 2008 at 11:18 PM

Are the days of the terrorizing Michigan defenses over? It certainly appears so on the recruiting trail for linebacker and DE, where Michigan has had much success in the past. Is anybody else concerned that the heart of our defense for 2009+ is a little 3 star guy? And that there's a noticeable dearth of ANY defensive end recruits? We can have 4 star defensive backs all we like, but if we can't generate any semblance of a pass rush or anchor our defense against heavy running games (see annual foes such as Wisconsin or Ohio State), we're going to be toast.

RR's defenses at WVU were actually quite good (#15 Rush defense, #14 Pass defense, #7 total defense all for 2007, all ranked above M... in the Big East take that for what you will). I don't know what this Shafer guy is cooking up with his newfangled blitz-happy defense (*gulp*), but if this is the personnel he's satisfied to recruit, I think we're in trouble. Any comments on the future of the Michigan defense?

Comments

Anonymous Coward (not verified)

July 2nd, 2008 at 12:01 AM ^

I think some of the 3*s we are looking at and recruiting are players who are well suited to Shafer's defense and are likely under ranked by scout/rivals or are not necessarily the exact build often looked for in their positions but have everything else needed. And Shafer is the defensive coordinator who was able to hold USC to 23 points allowing Stanford to beat them last year. So he seems to be the perfect fit for this team, in getting more performance out of players than their star ratings might predict. According to the coaches after spring practice they said that the part of the team they thought would be the best in the fall was the LBs so I'm not sure that is a position that we should be worried about recruiting as much this year. I will admit that DEs may be a slight concern, however we have a few 4*s interested and I am sure there are other players out there who people haven't really looked at yet or are going to have break out senior seasons this fall. If we end up not getting what we want, there are certain players on the team who can be converted to DEs, because they have either outgrown their other position, or have shifted from offense to defense.

chitownblue (not verified)

July 2nd, 2008 at 1:16 AM ^

First, your post ignores the 4 4-star linebackers that will be freshmen this year. Second, RR has had better defenses at WVU with worse players than Michigan has has with 4-star players. Finally, wait to freak out about his recruiting until he actually has recruited a single full class.

k bizzle

July 2nd, 2008 at 10:16 AM ^

Don't hit the panick button just yet. Look what RR has been able to do this year with such a short period of time coming to Michigan. I was also going to point out the great LBs that are coming in this year.

I think that actually will help RR to focus more on the defensive line with his LB corp already together. He will be able to use big Will as a good recruiting tool and tell players how they will dominate if they come here and are down fighting in the trenches with him.

The thing about RR doing so good without the great 4 or 5 star recruits is also getting old to me quick, because in the next sentence (not you chitownblue, just an example) its just as easy to say oh we need to have big guys in the trenches this is the Big Ten. I do agree that Barwis is able to get the most out of the players, why else would he be my avatar? 

Daniel L

July 2nd, 2008 at 2:03 AM ^

Let's break this post down. "Are the days of the terrorizing Michigan defenses over?" I'm assuming you're referring to the 2006 squad that stopped all but the spread and the 1997 squad that stopped everyone; as opposed to the other (much more common) versions of the defense that gave up 34 points to a 1-AA team, or 50+ to Northwestern. In that case, I'd wager that we'll have an awesome defense at least every 10 years under RichRod as well.

"It certainly appears so on the recruiting trail for linebacker and DE, where Michigan has had much success in the past." Completely ignoring the fact we had FOUR 4* linebackers in the 2008 class, the fact that we haven't landed a 5* DE in 2 years means our defense will never be good again. If only the NCAA would change the rules that required 6 players rated as DEs by Rivals and 5 players rated as LBs by Scout.

"Is anybody else concerned that the heart of our defense for 2009+ is a little 3 star guy?" Seeing as the HART of the offense for the last 4 years had been a little 3 star guy, no, I'm not concerned.

"And that there's a noticeable dearth of ANY defensive end recruits? We can have 4 star defensive backs all we like, but if we can't generate any semblance of a pass rush or anchor our defense against heavy running games (see annual foes such as Wisconsin or Ohio State), we're going to be toast." Because the problems Michigan has had the last 5-10 years has been power running teams, not spread teams that exploit, ohh, say Johnny Sears or having to put Chris Graham on a wide receiver. Clearly Michigan shouldn't play five 4* DBs on every play just because they are 4*, and the Dline guys are only 3*. As everyone that plays NCAA 2008 knows, if the guy isn't 5*, he sucks balls.  Also, we do not play Wisconsin every year.

"RR's defenses at WVU were actually quite good (#15 Rush defense, #14 Pass defense, #7 total defense all for 2007, all ranked above M... in the Big East take that for what you will)." His defenses with 2* and 3* players, including the teams that beat Oklaholma and Georgia in bowl games, were quite good. But that's in the Big East, where they don't actually play football, but play catch and tag for points. Sometimes they play two hand touch if they can't find the flags for the belts.

"I don't know what this Shafer guy is cooking up with his newfangled blitz-happy defense (*gulp*), but if this is the personnel he's satisfied to recruit, I think we're in trouble. Any comments on the future of the Michigan defense?" I have no idea what he defense will look like, but it's different from what I'm used to (side note, the 1997 defense was a ZONE BLITZING SCHEME) so I need to go hyperventilate for a bit. Clearly, after being on the job for 6 months, he's totally satisfied NOT recruiting 4 or 5 stars. Fuck the players he feels fit his scheme and will help him win - if Rivals or Scout doesn't give them 4 or 5 stars, they must suck. I'm really glad you pointed that out for us.

I think I'm going to have to just stop reading this blog, or at least the comments. Either that or I can just practice my FJM style comedy. Looks like there will be no shortage of material.

ts

July 2nd, 2008 at 8:32 AM ^

I believe the OP was referring to the '69-'07 defense-first mentality (except maybe the Mo years) rather than the defenses of the last 10 years or so.  But since you can't seem to remember anything before '97, one thing the defense that year and the '06 defense had in common was DeBord at OC.  Under Carr/DeBord, there were two offenses, the primary one was the ball control "offense" which was supposed to protect the defense when we had any sort of lead (a field goal in the first quarter sufficed). Then there was the scoring offense which was like an actual offense that went into effect when we were losing or when Tiller pissed Lloyd off or when it was Lloyd's last game or a similar occasion.  While this strategy probably wasn't the best as far as scoring points and stuff, it did seem to help the defenses. 

I can understand why some people are concerned that Rich Rod's offense-first mentality will mean that he will try to outscore opponents with a very young and inexperienced offense made up of Lloyd-recruited talent which doesn't really fit with what he would ideally like to do. That may lead to the defense, which looks on paper to be a solid unit and certainly the strength of the team, getting worn down (I'm pretty sure other teams have access to chocolate milk too). Add to that Shafer's high risk/reward blitz happy scheme and I can see how this year's defense might live up to the preseason hype about as well as last year's offense did. With all of the unresolved questions going into this season and even Rich Rod himself probably not knowing what kind of a team he has yet, the one thing I feel like you can take to the bank is that Shafer will replace Debord as Joe six pack Michigan fan's whipping boy. On the bright side, we may be surprised to suddenly have a productive, hurry-up, (short) pass happy spread similar to what we saw in the bowl game except with Threet instead of Henne and a bunch of tiny fast guys instead of MM and AA. 

Daniel L

July 2nd, 2008 at 1:42 PM ^

"Rich Rod's offense-first mentality will mean that he will try to outscore opponents"

 

Ignoring the fact that his mentality is to win football games (coincidently that's why he makes $2.4M a year, because he's good at winning football games), how else would you propose he win football games if not by outscoring opponents?

ts

July 2nd, 2008 at 2:31 PM ^

Dude, finish the sentence. I said he might "try to outscore opponents with a very young and inexperienced offense made up of Lloyd-recruited talent which doesn't really fit with what he would ideally like to do."

When I said outscore, I was thinking of WVU/Louisville shootouts rather than just having more points on the scoreboard at the end of the game.

 

mjv

July 2nd, 2008 at 10:35 AM ^

Recruiting is not a switch that gets turned on. It takes time to cultivate relationships with players and coaches. That will need to be rebuilt. RR did a fantastic job in closing his first class. Landing a bunch of quality guys in the 11th hour. He appears to be putting together a solid class for 2009. He only has commitments from half of the class. There is a lot of time between now and Feb to add some key guys. Offense is going to be easier at this time for RR to recruit because he is a very well known commodity on offense. Recruits have seen him at WVU and what to expect. Shafer is less well known. Having moved from Western Michigan to Stanford and now to Ann Arbor in the course of two years. his stats at places with lesser talent have been good, but recruits don't know him anywhere as well as RR. I believe that we will land recruits of equal talent than we had in the past, but it isn't going to happen immediately (by which I mean this summer).

IBleedMaizeNBlue

July 2nd, 2008 at 2:57 PM ^

yes, I was referring to the defenses of the Bo era and his "Defense wins championships philosophy." I was merely concerned when none of the linebackers in the 2008 class were recruited by RR (with the possible exception of Taylor Hill, who flip flopped on his oral to Oklahoma), and that in 2009 there seems to be an apparent lack of focus on acquiring a good (or any, for that matter) DE or LB. I'm sure RR and SS are aware of this fact, though, so we'll see what they decide to do.

All that aside, I'm very excited to see the mettle that the defense is made of in the coming years. Our 2008 class is very strong defensively (a trademark of the "defensive specialist" Lloyd), and should provide good tools for Shafer to work with. If we can beef up our defense to rival the talent of our offense under RR, we should be a very impressive team.

Jay

July 2nd, 2008 at 3:42 PM ^

Since when has our defense been "terrorizing?" Our epic collapses on defense the last few years have probably been the most frustrating thing about this program. Even more frustrating then our inability to consistently move the ball on offense. I will say that it is imperative that RR and Co. get some good D-line recruits in this class, but, seeing as though we're around 7 and a half months away from signing day, I refuse to get worked up over it right now. I'm sure recruits would like to see exactly what Schaffer and RR do with the defense this year (formations, etc..) before committing to play here.

dex

July 2nd, 2008 at 3:49 PM ^

1997 man, 1997. And when Bo coached. Which is totally relevant. Totally.

I hope someone gets some face time with Schaffer and RR to explain this whole "de-fense" thing before the season starts, or we will be in trouble.

Jay

July 3rd, 2008 at 1:24 PM ^

TS,

That was kind of my point. We feasted on the garbage that was (and currently is) the Big Ten and then got waxed by the only real competition we had that year in Ohio St. and USC. Face it. We padded our stats on garbage football teams those first 11 games in '06.

dex

July 2nd, 2008 at 3:50 PM ^

When someone says Bo's "Defense wins Championships" philosophy, they better be referring strictly to regular season Big Ten titles and not, you know, national titles and Rose Bowl wins.

ts

July 2nd, 2008 at 7:27 PM ^

It's all fun and games until someone pokes Bo's eye out. Then it's fisticuffs for me and the vapid twit with no sense of history. If it weren't for Bo, Brian would probably be an well-paid engineer right now.

Jay

July 2nd, 2008 at 4:07 PM ^

Watching our defense under Bo get systematically picked apart through the air by a Pac-10 team in the Rose Bowl was good times. REALLY brought enjoyment to my New Years Day.

chitownblue (not verified)

July 2nd, 2008 at 7:24 PM ^

Because any rational accounting of Bo's career (like pointing out he was like 2-9,762 in Bowl Games) means you hate Michigan. TOTALLY. Texas Tech is going DOWN.

ts

July 2nd, 2008 at 7:47 PM ^

My cat and I are well aware of his bowl record and heart disease. Anything else? Not winning a national championship? That was Harbaugh's fault for blowing the Minnesota game in '86.

Ninja Football

July 2nd, 2008 at 7:48 PM ^

I was leaning toward the like side, but then you made the cat comment and totally ruined it. Cats are like children- cute for about three minutes, and then they should go play in traffic.

dex

July 2nd, 2008 at 7:58 PM ^

between being honest about the pros and cons of Bo and "disrespecting" him. And the real thrust of it all is that Bo isn't coming back, and if Bo did come back, we'd go 6-6 till he left.

ts

July 2nd, 2008 at 8:18 PM ^

Isn't Zombie Bo's hypothetical 6-6 about what most impartial observers are predicting this year for Comrade Rodriguez? I wasn't actually arguing that we should hire the dead coach. I think maybe the problem is too many young UM fans only know Bo vis-a-vis Lloyd.

dex

July 2nd, 2008 at 8:33 PM ^

Yes, the difference being hypothetical zombie Bo would not improve and Comrade Rodriguez will.

Nobody is saying Bo sucked or they hate Bo or anything, dude. Just saying it's time to move on a little bit and stop comparing everything in Michigan football to Bo. It's not healthy, and times change. Bo was great for his era. You can't tell me that Bo would be good today if he used the same methods. 

Ninja Football

July 2nd, 2008 at 8:04 PM ^

You are correct sir! Though one of the two women I'm moving in with has a cat, so I'll have to be nice. Ah well, one cat, two women- I think that works out okay.

Ninja Football

July 2nd, 2008 at 9:13 PM ^

@Daniel L: ...Clearly, after being on the job for 6 months, he's totally satisfied NOT recruiting 4 or 5 stars.... What?! Where are you getting that he's NOT recruiting 4 and 5* guys? Here are a few examples of why you guys are freaking out for no reason: 1. Dre Kirkpatrick, Rivals #13 ranked player- #1 CB in the nation and a 5* is visiting this month. 2. Darius Winston, #20 -#2 CB in nation, 5*- we're his leader. 3. Craig Roh, 4* DE- we're in his top 3. 4. Sam Montgomery, 4* DE- we're in serious contention. 5. Keenan Grhama, 4* DE- we're in his final 5. And we'e already got commits from Big Will (5*)and Justin Turner (4*). And we're on some lists but it's not thought we have a good shot so I left them out. There are 8 months left until signing day people. RELAX.

big gay heart

July 2nd, 2008 at 10:16 PM ^

First of all, we recruit "little 3 star guy"s as DEs to guard against Jap Plays. You know; they're short, they're quick, they're shifty. No offense to the orientals. Second of all, shut up. The recruiting season isn't close to being finished. Just because OSU has 35 verbals doesn't mean anything. Rankings right now, in general, mean very little. Consider the fact that a lot of these kids won't be featured players on their teams until this upcoming season. Accurately evaluating 17 year old seniors is tough, but evaluating 16 year old juniors [some with limited playing time] is even harder. The sample size on a lot of kids is so small and their performance this senior year can change everything. But all that is besides the point; Michigan did very well defensively last year and there is no reason to think otherwise this year. (a) As Ninja pointed out, tons of top-tier prospects are looking at us hard (b) big time recruits William Campbell and Justin Turner and lessor-recruited guys like Bell and Barnes form a solid core for the class, especially in early July (c) RE: DEs, with the run of top-notch linebackers last year and the new SC program, I've got a feeling we'll see one the LBs move over and be successful. I understand anxiety about the future. But Christ on a cracker, they play the games for a reason. RR has proven he's competent enough to let the right guy run his defense and he hand picked Schafer. So stop jumping to every possible negative conclusion. Your tone makes it sound like you don't even want to give Schafer a chance.

Ninja Football

July 2nd, 2008 at 10:17 PM ^

Longest sarcastic response ever. And no I'm stone cold sober- I've just heard so many N fans screaming "We're all gonna die!" lately I can't separate the idiots from the non-idiots. And I thought yopu might be joking- it was more of a response to the guy who made the initial entry.

Daniel L

July 2nd, 2008 at 10:51 PM ^

This didn't tip you off?

"I think I'm going to have to just stop reading this blog, or at least the comments. Either that or I can just practice my FJM style comedy. Looks like there will be no shortage of material."

 

We almost need a private forum for the 10 of us that aren't batshit insane/retarded.

formerlyanonymous

July 2nd, 2008 at 10:26 PM ^

am drunk and totally missed the sarcasm. then again i was not able to read through bgh's post. wine is an amazing substance. an alum by the name of david upton (grandson of the uptons who started whirlpool appliances) runs a great winery on the west side of michigan by the name of tabor hill. it is a shame his restaurant in ann arbor closed in 2004. i would have been a wino in college rather than just another beer guy.