Fall Preview Bullets: Sherrone Moore and Jay Harbaugh

Submitted by Ron Utah on July 31st, 2018 at 2:47 PM

Quick takeaways from Sam Webb's interview with these two gents:

Sherrone Moore - Tight Ends Coach

  • Depth chart sounds like what you'd expect: McKeon and Gentry at the top (both are bigger and faster, and Gentry's strength gains have also positively affected his confidence); Eubanks (we'll have to see how he is now that he's healthy); and Wheatley (another guy who has not been able to shine due to injury).
  • Both freshmen--Schoonmaker and Muhamman, are physical freaks with the chance to be special players.
  • Biggest area of improvement/emphasis was on clean releases off the line vs. man coverage.  Taking this news with McElwain's comments from the spring, it's obvious that the coaches felt this was an area that needed drastic improvement from the entire receiving corps.

Jay Harbaugh - RBs and Special Teams

  • Higdon and Evans are primed for special seasons.  We're likely to see Evans used more in isolation schemes and in the passing game.  Higdon has improved strength, flexibility, and lateral quickness.  Evans is even stronger is working on using his off hand more effectively for stiff arms and to protect himself and the ball.
  • Samuels, Wilson, and the incoming guys (Turner and Haskins) have the clearest path to RB3.
  • Pass-blocking improvement from the OL trickles down to the RBs.
  • Did not hear a mention of Kurt Taylor.  Does anyone have any info on him?
  • Offensive coaching staff is really clicking.
  • Special teams has an electric returner in Ambry Thomas and some bigger, stronger options that will be used depending on the situation.  Did not hear DPJ mentioned.



July 31st, 2018 at 3:01 PM ^

Ambry Thomas is the electric returner, eh?  I assumed that accolade would belong to DPJ, so I'm thrilled to hear that the coaches think someone else is 'electric' - thus making DPJ just a plain person.

Some things should make us smile...

Watching From Afar

July 31st, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

He had a couple that it looked like he might be able to turn a corner or slip though a hole, but it seemed like there were too many where the kick would be left and the return would be allllllllll the way back to the right. No matter how fast he is, he couldn't get to the alley before it closed up. Or he had the ball in the wrong hand and couldn't stiff arm the 1 or 2 guys that cut him down.

Better coaching/planning and a more college ready body should do wonders.

Winchester Wolverine

July 31st, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

Great info, OP. Maybe taking DPJ off of special teams will allow him to focus better and feel more comfortable at WR. A lot of his returner mistakes last season were expected but infuriating nonetheless.


July 31st, 2018 at 3:45 PM ^

Info on Kurt Taylor is just the obvious that has been true since he signed: he's not a P5 talent. The staff tried to get him to flip to Hawaii (his father's alma mater) by not communicating much and encouraging him to take that visit. He was behind two walk-ons and O'Maury Samuels after spring ball, before 2-3 more scholarship RBs got here. He'll be (at best) the 10th RB on the depth chart when Charbonnet and Gray arrive on campus next year. He's a good kid with a great attitude - my hope for him is that he gets his degree in 3 years and transfers to a small school where he can play. He ain't playing at Michigan.


July 31st, 2018 at 4:47 PM ^

It seems like Taylor's most likely path to the field is if he could become some kind of short-yardage specialist.  Like, if he could get really good at pass protection, become an effective receiver, and develop the ability to burrow out tough yards against stacked fronts.  Sort of a Vincent Smith 2.0. Or the old man version of Leroy Hoard (who said "if you need one yard, I'll get you three--if you need five yards, I'll get you three").  

He's not going to play ahead of guys like Higdon and Evans, because--especially as a redshirt freshman--he's not going to offer any combination of skills that's better than what M can get out of Higdon or Evans in any conceivable situation.. But Higdon and Evans won't be here forever, and Taylor should improve as the years go by.  He could potentially have a role later on if he presents a combination of skills that exceeds what the other backs can offer in any particular scenario. 

For example, maybe in a couple years M might have backs who can grind out tough yards but are lousy blockers and receivers, and then backs who can block & catch but can't get a tough yard between the tackles. If Taylor can do all those things, maybe he's the guy who comes in to bang out the first down on 3rd & 1 or score the vulture TD or catch the throwback screen.  

Could happen. Maybe.



July 31st, 2018 at 5:03 PM ^

Higdon is gone after this year, but Evans will return. Then O’Maury is the same age as Taylor. Haskins and Turner are a class younger than Taylor. Charbonnet and Gray are two classes younger than Taylor. That’s only scholarship guys, not counting Tru Wilson or Joe Hewlett. There’s too many skilled bodies for available RB “roles” to put Taylor’s chances of carving out a role at anything significant or above. He’s now competing with a bevy if younger and more highly evaluated guys than him - that’s generally the omen of death.


July 31st, 2018 at 4:53 PM ^

He was always an odd take, especially in what was a pretty loaded class. Just from a talent standpoint, there was zero justification for preferring him as an RB over AJ Dillon (who as I recall, the staff wanted to switch positions). From my mostly untrained eyes, his film pretty much showed a guy who should be an FB, but he's obviously too small for that role. I get not straight up processing a guy from a talent-rich school in a talent-rich state, but as you stated, it was always obvious he would never play here.


July 31st, 2018 at 6:36 PM ^

He and his dad are both great guys and they love A2 and UM. Sr. was the PG on UH's BB team. He's got an entrepreneurial spirit and did a pretty good sales job to get Jr. at UM. He really wanted his son to have the benefit of the UM degree and network. I have a lot of respect for him and hope Jr. finds a way to contribute -- the kid is built like a slab of marble.


July 31st, 2018 at 4:30 PM ^

From Zach Shaw about DPJ and Ambry.
I have a hunch that both players are penciled in as starters by the staff entering the fall, and Chris Partridge defended both players’ showings as true freshmen when meeting with reporters this spring, but Oliver Martin, Chris Evans, David Long and Grant Perry all took reps this spring, while newcomers like Michael Barrett, Christian Turner, Hassan Haskins, Ronnie Bell and even walk-on Berkeley Edwards