Linebacker fluff from WN

Submitted by Moleskyn on September 16th, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Over at Wolverine Nation, Rothstein wrote up a fluff piece on the improvement of our linebacker corps. 

CliffNotes version: he points to the new scheme and improved depth and experience as the main reasons for the overall on-field improvement. Which, like, duh.

Some interesting quotes:

"It's different," linebacker J.B. Fitzgerald said. "Everything is a little bit changed up when you change coaching staffs and all that. However, I think our comfort level this year is really good."
"We don't have to just count on our first string," cornerback Troy Woolfolk said. "If they go down or they get tired, our young set of linebackers will go in and do the job. It's not the man, it's the position."

Nothing really new or earth-shattering, but our linebackers haven't been terrible, and overall I'd say they've definitely been better than last year's group. Hopefully Cam can stay healthy the rest of the year. I am really excited for Jake Ryan's potential, the kid has looked pretty good in the first couple of games, especially if you consider the fact that he's just a redshirt freshman.

Comments

ken725

September 16th, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

What do you think the coaching staff will do once Cam Gordon gets healthy?  Jake Ryan has been preforming well at SLB, I'm not sure if it will be an upgrade to have Gordon start over Ryan. 

Could Gordon play at WLB or is his skill set not suited to play that position?

freernnur5

September 16th, 2011 at 4:52 PM ^

While Magnus can probably supply more information, especially with regards as to whether or not Gordon could play the WLB, here is some thoughts on the matter.

It might not be an upgrade to have Gordon start over Ryan, given that he is returning from injury, however if Gordon can play at the level of Ryan, if not better, then that gives us solid depth at the position. That in turn will allow us to rotate SLB out and keep them both fresh the whole game, thus fulfilling Mattison's wish to have 22 guys he can use all the time.

Also there is this chart from the latest DD. If you notice it has both Ryan and Gordon in at the same time on passing downs, as Ryan seemed to show some ability to rush the passer the times when he has had his hand in the dirt.

Position Base Run Pass
NT Martin Martin Martin
DT (3-tech) Campbell Campbell RVB
SDE (5-tech) RVB RVB Black
WDE (rush) Roh/Black Heininger Ryan
WLB Hawthorne C.Gordon/Hawthorne Hawthorne/Jones
MLB Demens Demens Demens/Jones
SLB C.Gordon/Ryan Ryan Gordon

So when Gordon comes back, it will be interesting to see who gets the start and how the both play, but adding Gordon back into the mix will be a good thing, even if it only provides depth.

Elmer

September 16th, 2011 at 12:19 PM ^

I watched the ND game again focusing on Hawthorne.  It will be really interesting to see how good he can become with a little bit of experience. To go with his good speed, but he seems to play with more aggression than most of the other linebackers.  I hope we've found another quality starter.