Freshman play assessment

Submitted by Dilla Dude on September 8th, 2012 at 7:28 PM

I'm sure that this game was stress-inducing for everyone, but I have to say I like what a saw from a few of the freshmen today.

TE Devin Funchess had a good day with 4 catches for 106 yards, and looks to be a nice go-to threat for Denard.. Joe Bolden finished the game with 10 tackles, and James Ross had that big tackle to force 4th down.

Not perfect by any means, and we have a lot to work on. But i'm excited to see more from these guys and others going forward to the BIG season. What say you?

Comments

Erik_in_Dayton

September 8th, 2012 at 7:33 PM ^

They look experienced if you just look at the starting line-up.  Look at the two-deep, though, and suddenly you have a bunch of eighteen year olds...I think we'll see more and more playing time as the year goes on for a number of the freshman, especially in the defensive front seven. 

BayWolves

September 8th, 2012 at 7:33 PM ^

The future is bright. Some young guys have proved they deserve playing time over upper classmen - and  in key situations and they came through. How can you not like that? Concerns about this year, but for future years we will be back to our old dominant ways.

 

Logan88

September 8th, 2012 at 7:38 PM ^

Concerns about this year, but for future years we will be back to our old dominant ways.

How many years have we (UM fans) been saying this now? 3? 4? I'm starting to get a little concerned that we may be one of those teams that just won't ever get back to the level we were used to and keep looking to the future with next year being yet another, "Return to Glory" (registered trademark of Notre Dame).

FreddieMercuryHayes

September 8th, 2012 at 7:47 PM ^

You say this after 3 coaches in 6 years, 4 different D coordinators, one of the worst stretches in UM football history, and an 11 win season last year?  You say this because a 2/3 star true sophomore with MAC offers (but yes a lot of heart) and the athletisicm to match gets replaced by a top 150ish ture freshman at LB?  (Ross replacing Morgan in case you were wondering).  Me thinks you need some patience.

Erik_in_Dayton

September 8th, 2012 at 7:49 PM ^

We know that this staff can win when they have the right players.  They've also got two top-five recruiting classes going, as we all know.  I am far from a blind optimist, but I don't see why Michigan isn't on the way back...I'm not ready to give up on this year, either.  Many a Michigan defense has improved a good amount as the season wore on.

Logan88

September 8th, 2012 at 8:18 PM ^

UM has had plenty of highly touted recruiting classes(i.e. top 10 classes) in the past 12 years and hasn't really been a "player" on the national stage but once (2006) during that time. Personally, I think a lot of UM fans are still stuck in the 80's and 90's when UM was a great program.

Personally, I have accepted that UM will probably not be a dominant team (I define dominant as a team that wins 10+ games just about every year, wins its conference at least 4 times a decade and wins at least half of its big games) again any time soon, perhaps in my lifetime.

Yeoman

September 8th, 2012 at 8:35 PM ^

Not Alabama, not by a long shot--they've only won three conference championships in the last 20 years. Ohio State's barely averaged ten wins a season and that's before they vacated them all. Hardly anyone's averaged over ten over the last decade, almost nobody wins ten "just about every year".

I think the only schools clearly fitting the definition are Oklahoma and Boise State--and I don't think Boise State is what you're thinking.

If you set the bar high enough you can always be disappointed.

Purkinje

September 8th, 2012 at 7:49 PM ^

Know why we're still shaky? Because of lackluster recruiting through coaching transitions and Rich Rod's preferences. Back to back top five recruiting classes are a change from what led to the subpar football of the recent past, so why shouldn't we be playing like a top 5 team when those players have some experience?

Wolverine Devotee

September 8th, 2012 at 7:36 PM ^

Since Rom Kramer is going to become a Michigan Football Legend next weekend and his #87 will be given out, I think Funchess deserves it. Kramer was an end, Funchess is a tight end.

Perfect combo. I love this Legends program.

BlueSpiceIn SEC.hell

September 8th, 2012 at 7:41 PM ^

     ...I think we are in good shape -- with time, great coaching, Wellman, talented kids- who are sold on the staff and the program - the freshman playing now will be leading the next class of talented freshman - if there is competition for every position and the freshman are pushing the players in front of them it can only get better moving forward

1464

September 8th, 2012 at 8:05 PM ^

Norfleet straight up wants it.  I laughed when he stole the ball from Dileo, cringed when he was stopped immediately, then shook my head approvingly when he bounced back 8 yards to gain another 20 or so...

So my votes are for Norfleet and Funchess.  Funchess is a dead ringer for Tacopants.

rockydude

September 8th, 2012 at 9:33 PM ^

Funchess rang up a hundred yards of receptions in the blink of an eye, and then in the second half, I did not see his number called once. Strange indeed. Does anyone know a site that gives a breakdown of where the throws went each quarter?

Also, it seems like we are seeing a sort of feeling out process in front of our eyes. Several, really.

On offense, the WR corps is definitely a work in progress. It looks as if Borges is finding some tall targets. Gardner seems to be on the verge of figuring out how to be a major college receiver, and also some of the other taller targets are getting looks. It would seem that Funchess is also about to wrap up the pass catching TE position.

On defense, the LB positions are open ended as well. Bolden doesn't look like he is going to give up the starting spot, and James Ross may not either. I don't know that the secondary has the same feel to me. There are some shifts going on, but that is due to injury and not choice. Optimus Pee Wee Prime also is starting to get his feet wet and may be one to watch.

On special teams, Norfleet looks special. Not Special K, not special ed. Like Special Forces kind of special. I may need to look up our KR and PR return records, because Norfleet might be writing his name in there if he plays that role for all four years.

Question for other boardies - do you want to see what Norfleet can do at RB? I'm not sure it matters who takes the ball if they are going to get met in the backfield. I might just sit tight on the RB situation and see what we can do in order to address the OL. I have no idea how a line anchored by the great donkey hater can be struggling so much.

Other question - did anyone else breathe a sigh of relief when the clock ran out and we had all of our d-line healthy? That cut blocking that Air Force does is serious weaselball. Major cheap stuff. I was always thinking that BWC or someone was going to tear an ACL at any minute. That can't be easy on a big guy.

rockydude

September 8th, 2012 at 10:33 PM ^

Not you at all. He totally ate Dileo's lunch, if I am thinking of the one that I believe you are referring to. He's got some nerve, you've gotta say that. Time will tell if he needs to throttle back a little in the name of good judgement, or if his aggressive decision making is pure win.

Section 1

September 9th, 2012 at 12:17 AM ^

Dileo stayed on the field as part of the offense.  Norfleet started to run off the field with the rest of the kick return team (which includes Jenkins-Stone and Ross!?!), got halfway off the field, then turned to go back to tell Dileo he was sorry for swiping the ball.  I thought it was funny; Dileo didn't seem real happy, but it's not like I was in the huddle so I don't know. 

Nobody on the whole team looks like they want to play harder than Dennis Norfleet.

switch26

September 9th, 2012 at 12:34 AM ^

id have to agree..  He was waiting to return the kick in our endzone and he was amped.. everyone else was just kind of standing there...  He was pounding his chest asking for the ball..   then he returned it for like 40 yards.. nearly breaking it.

 

This kid needs, no he HAS to be in our offense at some point this year

Wolvermarine

September 8th, 2012 at 7:50 PM ^

I'd be pretty surprised if Bolden and Ross aren't the new starters going forward.  Bolden is almost a guarantee.  Probably only a matter of time before Pipkins is as well.  I focused on him when he was in the game and I think he played pretty well.    AJ Williams was in a lot but I didn't notice his play one way or the other.  Funchess obviously played great.  Jarrod Wilson got a lot of run in the 2nd half but I can't say whether he was good or bad.  Ojemudia had a few good plays, especially the 3rd down stop in the red zone that led to the failed fake field goal attempt.  Norfleet obviously looks dangerous and is going to break one soon IMO.  They need to work him into the regular offense as well, he is too dangerous not to touch the ball at least a few times a game.  

Magnum P.I.

September 8th, 2012 at 7:49 PM ^

Funchess was awesome.

On defense, the freshmen played okay. The played like talented freshmen. Some good plays, a lot of mistakes. That's not exactly what you're looking for out of your starters. Well oh well.

It's exciting to see guys like Ross and Bolden make some plays, but I hate that we have to count on them in the most important minutes of a close game. I'd feel better if they were playing situatlonally just to get experience.

MGoStrength

September 8th, 2012 at 7:50 PM ^

I have no idea why Funchess isn't in there more, he looked great...really tall, good speed, and good ball skills.  You can go big with him as a reciever, or small as a TE.  Ross and Bolden both look good to me.  I don't think Demens will hold onto his job much longer and although Morgan looks better than Demens, neither look as good as the freshman IMO.  Our best LBs in order from what I see are Ryan, Ross, Bolden, Morgan, Demens.  I think Pipkins looks like he's getting a good push in there too and should take over for Washington by mid-seson.  Norfleet continues to look good.  Although he stepped in front of Dileo on one play that I didn't like he made a good return out of it.  And, although not a freshman, Ramon Taylor looks good to me too.  And, Gardner is also looking better and better at reciever.  I didn't realize how athletic this kid really is.  This class looks really good...duh.  I think we will have a lot of freshman, redshirt freshman, and sophmores playing next year.  We should be sick in 2014 and on.

no joke its hoke

September 8th, 2012 at 8:15 PM ^

this year and next are going to have some growing pains but the future looks bright. i still want to see Norfleet on offense some. the oline looks average but hopefully they will get it together.

morepete

September 8th, 2012 at 8:22 PM ^

Was very impressive on a couple of possessions. Blew up the interior of the line and then got in on a gang-tackle at the edge -- I love his speed for a guy his size. Not sure why he and Funchess were absent on a couple of key third downs...