October 25th, 2017 at 9:10 AM ^

as a return man with Ambry. I guess all the young guys with potential will play from here on out. I'm cool with it. Get them as much experience and play time as possible. It can only help with depth next year and beyond.


October 25th, 2017 at 9:45 AM ^

you play the players who can play, period! I don't know when our fanbase got so enamored with the 5th year and redshirting, is this still because of Hoke....?  We literally can play the "this guy should have redshirted" game every season. Harbaugh tells guys to seek employment elsewhere if they aren't contributing in a meaningful way by the time their 5th year rolls around. Anybody that is good enough to play (meaning they can crack the two deep and be impactful) from Day 1, should play.


October 25th, 2017 at 9:54 AM ^

I agree that the best players should play.

Dymonte Thomas had no business playing when he was a freshman. He was a middle linebacker in high school, and they tried playing him at nickel corner.

In order to let the best players play, you have to be adept at figuring out who those guys are. Thomas wasn't one of them.


October 25th, 2017 at 10:42 AM ^

Magnus! Dymonte blocked a punt in his first game as a true freshman against some MAC school!

In all seriousness, Dymonte was a near 5* recruit and an explosive athlete coming out of high school. I get throwing him out there in situations where you can ask him to go be an athlete without asking him to worry too much about assignments or reading and reacting. However, by game 4 or so, once it was clear he wasnt going to be a contributor on defense, he should have come down with some undisclosed lower body injury for the remainder of his freshman season to preserve the possibility of that 5th year.


October 25th, 2017 at 12:01 PM ^

Is that you?  I know we are having a tough year, but wasn't expecting you guys to help us with advice on roster "management"

Anyways, since you are feeling open to sharing....any advice on how to run the bagman scheme effectively?



October 25th, 2017 at 12:41 PM ^

Come on.

Saban's roster management is all about "How can I bring in 28 guys every single class and find ways to get guys off scholarship as soon as it's clear they aren't NFL players?"

As much as I dislike Urban, his sins have far more to do with too much tolerance of bad behavior or lying to get recruits than processing players with roster fuckery.

Guys getting "injured" a third of the way through their freshman season isn't slimey roster management. It is common practice and it is in the best interest of the program and the best interest of those players. It happened with Devin Gardner in 2010. He backed up Denard for a few games before he magically got a boo boo and Tate was the backup for the remainder of the season. Remember how surprised we were to see McKeon out there early as a true freshman? He's now a redshirt freshman.

There was a segment in Brian's game columns last year dedicated to silly burned redshirts that by midseason had turned into "okay, looks like these guys will preserve their redshirts despite playing some already." McKeon sticks out to me but someone with a better memory or willing to go back and find those columns can provide a more comprehensive list.


October 26th, 2017 at 11:07 AM ^

I'm not familiar with their specific cases to say whether they should have played one way or the other. I trust you as someone who is knowledgable about the game, so I will take your word for it. I just hate the clamoring for redshirting every time someone isn't All B1G their freshman season and then end up a 4th year senior playing lights out and hindsight crew is yelling "WHY DIDNT THEY REDSHIRT....rabble, rabble, rabble...." Even redshirt Freshmen generally have a learning curve, so most of the time it ends up playing out how it should anyway.


October 25th, 2017 at 10:26 AM ^

I'm all for playing the best players. And I don't think redshirting should be the rule. But playing meaningless special teams snaps where there is most likely little margin of difference between players is a waste. 

My two examples, as well as Gedeon, I don't believe cracked the two deep and were impactful during their true frosh seasons.

Giving a firm handshake to a potential 5th year is one thing when you have a 3rd year player with higher near and long term potential waiting, and a whole other thing when its a 1st/2nd year player that hasn't seasoned physically or within the playbook. 


October 25th, 2017 at 10:59 AM ^

Special teams snaps aren't meaningless, they can have a huge impact on games.  Bama has damien harris on their punt blocking unit because having your best athletes on the field is something you should do.  If dymonte was a better player on special teams than some random jr who wasn't contributing either than putting him on special teams makes sense. You put your best players on the field when you can, because guys can't play every snap sometimes you have to go with a backup on special teams but you still put the best available option out there, not worry about if they will be your starting safety in 4 years. 


October 25th, 2017 at 11:25 AM ^

I agree only when there is a significant difference in their ability. Which I don't think there is will be on many special team's positions.

In your example, you have starters playing special teams which actually preserves redshirts for depth players.

From UMBig, I believe, DMac is actually ahead of Peters on the depth chart, but they will play Peters if OKorn gets hurt. That's to let him redshirt. I think there is significant value to managing the roster for the long term.


October 25th, 2017 at 10:41 AM ^

I think that's an oversimplification.  There is a benefit to getting a 5th year out of a guy and there is a balance and decision that must be made if his contributions in year one will outweigh them in year 5.  Yes, if they are good enough to be in the 2 deep then sure play them.  But, what if they are the 5th best WR/LB/etc. and are only slightly better than the 6th best who is a non-freshman?  I don't think it's wise to play guy in a handful of snaps that aren't super meaningful and waste the potential 5th year, just because he may be slightly better than the next best option at that time.  


October 25th, 2017 at 9:47 AM ^

elite teams rarely have rs seniors playing because top talent is usually in the draft by then and not top talent is getting passed by younger more talented sophmores or juniors. Bama is starting 2 non kicker redshirt seniors and has about 2 more on the two deep total and one of the redshirt seniors is a center.  So one non-lineman non-kicker redshirt senior is playing.

Yes its nice to have redshirt seniors when specific things break the right way, but in general the top teams are actually not senior laden. 


October 25th, 2017 at 10:30 AM ^

Not a complaint on our safeties at all. They've been better than I expected. But without a doubt they are not as good as Hill and Thomas would have been, especially in man coverage against PSU #5. When Mettellus and Kinnel are your depth/rotation players, you're elite. 


October 25th, 2017 at 7:15 PM ^

I don’t think Metellus is that good, but Hill and Thomas had games where they were just as bad. I don’t honk you redshirt players that contribute, period. Trying to wax nostalgia about old teams doesn’t make sense. If, if, if. Perhaps those players would’ve transferred if redshirted. Or gotten hurt this year. A coach should make decisions based on the present. Not playing Walker may end up hurting UM if he decides that he’s been fooled by. Jay and Jim. I cannot believe that Higdon blocks better than him, and that he’s only earned 1 carry. How lazy is Walker?

The team has disappointed in its performance so now people are rationalizing how many buts the squirrels should’ve saved for winter and spring.


October 25th, 2017 at 11:25 AM ^

That should only an issue when you have a failing coaching staff that pulls 2 Rank 25-50 recruiting classes. The Bama and OSUs have pretty well shown that elite recruiting and coaching will put you in a place where your players that have the skills to play early are almost always going to want to head to the NFL by the time their eligibility runs out anyway. 


October 25th, 2017 at 6:25 PM ^

Comparing Hoke's roster (mis)mangement with Harbaugh's is like comparing a bone-in ribeye with a hunk of dead racoon on the side of the road. Look what Harbaugh has done in his career. Now see where Brady Hoke (and all of his staff, save Mattison) is.. 


October 25th, 2017 at 9:56 AM ^

Yeah, this is nothing new. He usually plays on the left, because right-footed kickers usually kick to our right returner. When it was Kekoa Crawford back there, you might as well let him do his best and return it 14 yards. Ambry Thomas has more big-play ability, though, which might make teams kick it to Hawkins more often.

Regardless, I don't like Hawkins being out there, because he doesn't have big-play ability.