Future of the D-line

Submitted by Erik_in_Dayton on October 17th, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Saturday got me thinking about the future of Michigan in the trenches (for obvious reasons).  I'm also tired of thinking about Michigan State (it's probably bad for the soul), so I'll put this out there (and note that I'm not giving up on this season at all): 

The D-line looks next year to be:

WDE: Roh/Black (Will either bulk up enough to play SDE?)

DT: Campbell/Pipkins/Washington/Ash?  

3-tech: Campbell/Washington?   

SDE: Brink/Rock/Wormley/Strobel/Godin?

Will Wormley, Strobel, or Godin play any 3-tech?  Will any of them contribute as freshman at any position?  It seems like one or two of them will have to try. Can Brink put on enough weight to be an every-down player? Finally, is it reasonable to expect Pipkins to contribute right away? 




October 17th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

I think the most likely to contribute right away would be Pipkins. I also hope that after another full year learning under Mattison and company that Campbell can fully hold down the DT position as a starter. As for the ends, especially SDE, I have no clue who we will see and if we see any freshmen contributors right away.


October 17th, 2011 at 12:02 PM ^

I think we will be set at safety with Kovac and Gordon.  Corner should be ok with JT Floyd (i think he has another year) and Countess, with Avery at the Nickel.  Linebackers are all returning. 

So the defensive line may be a work in progress, but the other units should be solid with experienced returning starters. 

Does that make any of us feel any better?

Wolverine 73

October 17th, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

Demens seems to have regressed this year.  Hawthorne is a non-factor in games.  Ryan is a freshman, and there is hope for his future.  I guess you can say the same about Morgan, who seems to have earned some PT.  I would not be surprised to see Poole get a shot next year, or even one or two of the true freshmen.


October 17th, 2011 at 12:19 PM ^

The only major losses on the whole team next year are Molk and our two starting d-tackles. Sadly we only have one player who might be able to fill VanBergen's and Martin's shoes in Campbell, at least based on what we have seen on the field. I think Washington or Ash have to step up. I also think Pipkins plays a lot. As far as SDE, I think either Roh ends up there or one of the freshman by the time Big Ten roles around and it will hurt us all year. That being said, our defense might still be ok with another year of Mattison and 9 returning starters ( I am calling Countess= or > Woolfolk, at least 2011 Woolfolk)


October 17th, 2011 at 6:59 PM ^

that Molk and Martin are the emotional leaders of this team.  RVB and Koger also serve in these roles. 

It will be harder than you think to replace Koger.  And the fact that we "might" have someone to maybe fill 1 of the 2 interior spots is a huge problem. At this point we are counting on Pipkins to roll in and be serviceable at one of the few spots on teh field that notoriously needs time to develop.

Webber's Pimp

October 17th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

Outside of QB, the guys on the OL and  DLine are the most important building blocks for our program going forward.  The OLine appears to be in decent shape especially if we can wrap up another lineman in this class. The DLine though is of some concern to me because I'm not convinced that we have enough girth up front w/ MM graduating this year. Will is only around for another year and he's a player that comes w/ lots of questions marks though admitedly he's getting better. That leaves us w/ Ash, Q, and the incoming freshmen to pick up the slack on the interior DLine. The lack of experience and lack of weight of those frosh should be a concern because in all likelihood they will be called upon to make a contribution. My guess is Strobel/Wormley/Pipkins all see lots of action next year. The Spring/Summer of '13 will be a crucial growth period for the defensive unit. 


October 17th, 2011 at 12:38 PM ^

I'm guessing the OP is right to be worried about the replacements for MM and RVB. Guys like Ash, Quinton, and BWC have seen precious little playing time. So they'll be starting with basically no experience. If the coaches had more confidence in them, they'd be getting some time already.


October 17th, 2011 at 12:38 PM ^

of the MSU game and you choose next year's D-line as a temporary salve?  Uggghhhh.  Next years D Line will be the worst unit on our team.  We lose our 2 best interior lineman and replace them with...bleech. 


Next year is the year the RR recuiting failings in the trenches really take hold with zero depth on either side of the ball and little hope that the interior of either line won't get destroyed for most of the year.


October 17th, 2011 at 6:09 PM ^

I think once Lewan and Scholfield get stronger in the offseason and get up to the 310 range we will be great at the tackle position. There will probably be a battle between Khoury and Miller for the center position.  OG is the position where there will be potential for a freshman to come in and win a starting spot.  Omameh has been getting handled so far this year and Barnum has been hurt alot.  Kalis is already pretty close to college lineman size and he might be the guy for one of these guard spots next year.


October 17th, 2011 at 12:46 PM ^

Honestly, it's not like our d-line has been soo great this year,  Martin has not been the animal we all hoped him to be and Van Bergen is who he is at this point.  The guys we have coming in are higher rated.  It's also possible that guys like Ash are getting the teaching campbell never got and will come in much more prepared.  I feel fine about our d-line next year. 


October 17th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

 Exactly ! thank you. RVB and Mike Martin are both good kids but their far from dominating football players. I think we'll see 1-2 freshman d linemen play and probably out play the linemen we have this year. That's one of the main problems on this Team is we have 1 star and he plays on offense everyone else is seriously average. Being as dissapointed as I am in D play the last 2 years how can playing talented freshman be any worse. Whats the worse that could happen Ondre gets knocked off the line and driven 3-5 yards back or wormsley only shows up for 1-2 plays a game? I got news for you thats whats happening now. I'm excited about the future recruiting class if half of them (only half) we're good.


October 17th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

I don't think it is reasonable to expect FR to outplay upperclassmen at such a physical position.  The advantage of game time experience, multiple years of weight training and having time with the current coaching staff is far too much to overcome. 

If we are seeing any FR on the Dline, I would be very very worried about our D next year and, in fact, I am very very worried about our D next year.


October 18th, 2011 at 3:02 AM ^

 I don't think it's reasonable for a freshman to out play an upperclassmen. I don't think it's reasonable to think a walk on will start over a scholarship player. Taylor lewan started as a true freshman over upperclassmen and did a pretty good job last year minus penaltys. We're bringing in a lot of Defensive ends next year and i'm sure pipkins knows what he he is signing up for. I'm 100% positive 1-2 of those d line recruits will be effective starters or effective back ups. I'd be more worried about our current Seniors and juniors getting man handled by redshirt  freshman and walk ons then next years D line crop


October 17th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

I agree with you, it's not like our D line is getting such crazy penetration this year that next year we are doomed without them.  But at the same time, I don't feel comfortable with our D line next year at all.

Maybe it's because Mattison doens't really like running a 4-3 under?  Maybe he feels much more comfortable with a 3-4 and that switch is coming.  3 Linemen are supposed to eat up the blocks and leave room for the outside linebackers to turn into quarterback seeking missiles.

Past 2 years, true DTs recruited looks like it'll stay with just Pipkins.  (I'm still hopping for Shittu, but we'll see)

Past 2 years, linebackers recruited are at 9, with us losing Kellen Jones, and Frank Clark kind of being a DE-LB hybrid.

This leaves us with 7 linebackers, 1 DT.  Seems like a switch to a 3-4 to me.

"But John, what about all the DE's we have, some of them are probably going to turn into tackles!"

They very well could, we have 5 recruited this year and 3 recruited last year.  However, a ton of players would be great for a 3-4 OLB, like Beyer, Clark, or Ojemudia.  


October 18th, 2011 at 12:21 AM ^

It may be a bummer of a post, but it most certainly needs to be said.  We're losing RVB, MM, and Heininger.  That's 75% of our starting line.  If we're replacing them with people down the depth chart, and we're worried about our starters, that's what makes me worried about next year a lot.

Granted, the only reason I think Heininger is starting over BWC is because I feel Hoke is trying to send a message to his players, "if your practice your hardest, you will earn a starting spot", we're still losing valuable depth.

Side Note: makes me so happy with how our recruiting is going this year.  To me, our trenches seem like they are our weakest points right now in terms of talent and depth.  5 OL and 6 DL in the 2012 recruiting class.  Hoke will correct the problems, we just need a year or two more.


October 17th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

I might argue that Van Bergen has been our best defensive lineman throughout the year.  Martin has been good in stretches, but I think his lack of production has been the biggest defensive disappointment this year.


October 17th, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

I'm hoping that Roh can switch to SDE next year, with Black locking down the WDE spot. Campbell should be decent at one DT spot, with Pipkins, Ash, and Washington hopefully being good enough to fill the other role and provide decent backup minutes.

I think if Roh plays SDE and Campbell continues to progress, our line next year could be just fine. Frankly, I'm more worried about our LBs.


October 17th, 2011 at 1:28 PM ^

Roh and Black are not an ideal pair of DEs, but they will be the only ones we have with any experience who could plausibly start there. Roh is bigger, so he will probably have to bulk up and play SDE. Campbell should be an ok space-eater as long as he rotates out on passing downs. The other DT spot is the obvious weak link, but we at least have some numbers there. That will be the only position on the whole defense where will have to rely on unproven players.

It's possible that someone else will beat out Roh or Black at DE, but unlikely given that everyone else is either out of the current rotation or in high school.  


October 17th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

the person who hacked or keeps changing my avatar on my account is a bitch ass fag who hides behind a computer.


has no balls


sand in his vag though he has


and is a keyboard princess who sucks major aids infested buckeye and sparty cock !

Fuck you


no fuckin balls

getting a new account, thought i'd leave with those words


if he was a real man, which he isnt cuz he is a fucking coward we would meet face to face, but he knows he is apiece of shit who would get his ass beat,but this bitch is gonna keep hiding behind his precious computer and keep fucking with ym avatar

no prob, i'll set up a new account

At least you know you won't reveal who you are, cowards die a thousand deaths , bitch


hide behind the keyboard, fuckin nerd


GO Blue


October 17th, 2011 at 2:24 PM ^

1st sentence:  - no capital letter to start (-1).  Use of bitch ass fag (RPS -3) typically a bitch is female and an ass fag would be male.  very confusing call there)

2nd through 6th sentences: - repetitive plays here. You have to change it up.  (RPS - 5)

Paragraph: - nice call out (+1), then again, calling out somone on the internets (RPS -2).  You can't hit what you can't see.

9th sentence - at least you know you won't reveal who you are.  I like the reference to the Hooneymooners (+1) (for those too new school, I know, that you know, that I know...)

Final play: hide behind the keyboard.  That would have to be a really small person or a really large keyboard.  I'm going to call this a push.

Sign off of fairy princesses (I'm going to +1 that)


Overall -8 on the post.  Good time for a bye week to work on that. 


October 17th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

Agreed. How many good teams get much out of -- let alone rely on -- true freshman D-linemen? Every once in a while, one surprises you. Mostly, though, they need a year or two of seasoning and training. Best bet for Michigan is that things get worse (2012) before they get better (2013). The good news is, they will get much, much better.


October 17th, 2011 at 5:33 PM ^

Between the players that will still be here next year and the incoming class, it would be intriguing to see if they perhaps keep the 4-3 but offer the 3-4 option in certain situations. In reality, just because of the mix they'll have, I would bet they try both against different offenses just to see what works and what doesn't. Part of the transition back to a 4-3 like we used to have might be something like this. 


October 17th, 2011 at 5:35 PM ^

will be the first year in 4 years where the defense won't have to learn a new system.  Just that alone should make a positive difference in their performance.  Everyone gets to build from this year instead of starting ALL OVER AGAIN.

As for the D-line group, let's hope another year under the same system + increased strength and bulk proves to make the difference.  The recruiting pattern must indicate the coaches have a plan and some faith in the players they are carrying over to next year.  I don't think they are just sitting back, crossing their fingers, and painting wonderful mental fantasies about next year's line.  [That's what GERG would do]]   I agree that we need to get some 4/5 star rainmakers that can dominate a game.  Would be great to have some guys like that back again in the maize and blue.