Obi at MLB is like having a red carded player

Submitted by iawolve on October 9th, 2010 at 9:23 PM

I have no idea what keys he reads and what happens in practice every week to keep him starting. David Harris must die a little bit every time he watches one of our games since it is like we only have 10 guys on the field due to the horrible MLB play. I was at the Iowa/PSU game and watched James Morris a third string, true freshman, 3* recruit step into the game due to injuries in the second quarter with a score 10-0 and execute. The guy made better reads than our 3 year starter. At this point, what harm could Demens do? Let people run past him and dive at their ankles, run himself out of the play? Hell, at least see what potential we have, if any at the position. It just feels like groundhog day at this point.



October 10th, 2010 at 12:05 AM ^

As frustrating as Obi & the entire defense's play has been I think we need to keep a few things in perspective:

1. As bad as we want Michigan to win the coaches want it worse.  It's their JOB for God's sake and they're smart enough to know what the stakes are this season.  Nobody wants to get fired - ever.

2. They see what each player is cabable of every day in practice.  Trust me they arent starting players they think aren't as good as the players backing them up.

When I coached high school ball parents would ALWAYS complain after every loss that we didn't play the right kids (usually their son) enough.  And my response was always the same "why don't you come to a few practices and see if you still feel the same way about who we are starting."

I honestly  think we're going to be ok.  I said we needed to win two of the next three games and I still think we will.  We played about as bad as we can play on both sides of the ball and a good team beat us - period.   Iowa week starts now.  Go blue!


October 9th, 2010 at 9:27 PM ^

to stand by my opinion that we should move Kovacs to MLB. At least he would try to be in the right spot. Put whoever you want at safety. I don't care. Ezeh was terrible against the run. The UFR will show it.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:31 PM ^

There is no way a 6'0 200 safety can be an effective MLB in the Big Ten. No way. Even if he's in the right position, he's still going to be thrown out of plays by OL 100 pounds heavier than him. I don't mean to be a dick, but I'd sooner throw someone like Will Campbell at MLB than Kovacs, at least he'd plug some running holes. 

ND Sux

October 9th, 2010 at 11:59 PM ^

as anyone except Martin.  He doesn't overrun near as many tackles as Ezeh.  Watch BG's long TD again and you'll see Kovacs is as fast as Cam, if not faster.  Cam was pretty clueless today IMO, and I believe the UFR will show that too.  I'd try Demens and leave Kovacs where he is.  RVB had a great game today, I thought.

OT - after the game, those fuckin' Sparty fans were wearing my nerves thin with that "go green / go white" chant.  Walked up to Grizzly Peak for dinner, and every time I heard "Go green" I yelled "Go HOME!!!"  Fuck Sparty, seriously.   


October 9th, 2010 at 10:33 PM ^

that would take more effort the the air and simple misdirection washing him out. At leasthe would eat a blocker. Kovacs tackles and reads better than Ezeh therefor he's an improvement. The problem is, if no one else can beat Ezeh out, the future looks terrible there. I can give Gordan a pass because he is inexperienced and I can also give other young guys a pass but Ezeh gets no pass. He is just plain terrible. Mouton wasn't a whole lot better this game either.


October 10th, 2010 at 12:03 AM ^

are totally different from Kovac's position than LB position.  From LB, the read has to be very quick and react quicker according to the reads.  S, the reads are a bit easier when you're farther away from the LOS as opposed to 5 yards off the LOS and have to face the OL in front of you.

In addition to bulking up Kovacs to 20-25 lbs more, he has to learn the responsibilities all over again and have to read different keys.  This is why I don't like Kovacs at MIKE.


October 10th, 2010 at 12:39 AM ^

But he does have the football instincts to get to the ball.  It's been stated by many people on this site that Kovacs doesn't have the kind of speed to play safety in the B10 - so OK - put him on Barwis Extreme and have him put on 10-20 lbs of muscle and move him to LB.

Brian has suggested it on this site and if LB is that glaring of a weakness - why not?


October 9th, 2010 at 9:35 PM ^

When was the last time you saw our middle linebacker make an outstanding play?   He would be much better off to just stand in one spot and not move.  At least he would not run himself out of the play.  He never fights the pressure and goes with the flow!  Maybe some of the non-starters don't show much in practice but they can't be any worse in the game.  The guy is just not a mlb.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:50 PM ^

He made a good tackle four yards into the endzone after Sparty's last score. He wrapped up, kept his feet and drove through him, big on big. I know it was a TD, but at our house, we all applauded perhaps his best 'technique' tackle of the day.

McFarlin 2.0

October 9th, 2010 at 9:36 PM ^

Yeah the coaches are never wrong. We should never question a coaching staff that clearly was out-coached today by Sparty and appeared to make no efforts in adjusting to MSU's gameplan. We shouldn't question bullshit laws because after all, lawmakers know more about laws then we do.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:31 PM ^

Played a little bit in high school, watch a lot of football on the weekends, but my football knowledge is nowhere near someone like Steve Sharik or Magnus. It is incredibly frustrating though to watch this team and see (what seems to me) the same mistakes made again and again by our LB's. Mouton seems to be playing a bit better, but man whether it's Ezeh, Mouton, or anybody else I can not for the life of me figure out how we can't have SOMEONE step up at LB and play even average. Kovacs is a great example. He rarely seems to miss a tackle, and yet Ezeh who is basically a 4 year starter constantly seems to be in position to tackle a guy at the LOS or even for a loss and ends up either missing it or getting blown back and letting them pick up 4-5 yards. No idea if this is coaching/talent/scheme whatever, but by far the most frustrating part of watching this team is the LB play and tackling.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:57 PM ^

have the natural instincts to play LB.  Both never played LB before enrolling at Michigan(I think Ezeh played a few snaps in high school but was mostly a RB).  RR's recruits, Jake Ryan and Kellen Jones are true LB who have the instincts to play LB.


October 9th, 2010 at 10:05 PM ^

I agree, our LBs instincts appear to well.... not excist.  Why not throw Jake Ryan out there in Obi's spot and see what he does.... What could happen: not make tackles, stand still and get blocked.  I cant imagine things being worst with him in per say.  I know some will say that he is still to small, to take on O-lineman.  I argue it doesnt matter, Obi doesnt get off those blocks anyway.


October 10th, 2010 at 12:33 AM ^

I agree that I look forward to Ryan and Jones as linebackers, but I hope they are not the answer for a couple years. I don't think parading a set of new freshman out there every year is the answer. Hopefully Demens (and maybe Isaiah Bell, where is he?) can be the MLB that we so desperately need over the next couple years. Then we can turn to Ryan and Jones.


October 10th, 2010 at 10:49 AM ^

one would think that some type of learning would take place game to game and year to year to make them better players.  It simply astonishes me that mistakes are made over and over on basic fundamentals of the game (angles, tackels, filling up correct running lanes).


October 9th, 2010 at 9:38 PM ^

Obi is the best this team has, and that reality falls more on RR than Obi.  He can only play as well as possible - he didn't make any promises about being better.  RR needs to recruit more LBs and put some real depth in the lineup so that a clearly-overmatched kid is not going out there and missing tackles.  That might be a little negative, but this is how Obi has played since he arrived at UM, and expecting any real maturation is just not reasonable.

Maize and Blue…

October 10th, 2010 at 12:30 AM ^

but this is as much about LC who should have left some upperclass LBs.  His DB and LB recruiting toward the end wasn't very good despite the glaring weaknesses.  RR closed strong last year on the D and will need to do so again. 

Remember that this team consist of primarily freshman and sophomores when it comes to eligibility.  The team left 17 points on the field with two picks in the end zone and the blocked FG and that was the difference in the game.


October 10th, 2010 at 12:59 AM ^

I hate all this blame it on Carr talk that is all too frequent on here. Lets look at some of Carr's final recruits:

2008 class that committed to Carr b/f RR took over: CB Cissoko (4/5*), LB Fitzgerald (4*), LB Demens (3/4*) - you could also argue that S Smith (4*) was heavily a LC recruit

2007 class: DB Rogers (3/4*), CB Warren (5*), CB Woolfolk (3*), LB Herron (3/4*), S Williams (4*), LB Panter (4*, granted he was a JC transfer)

2006 class: LB Graham (5*, yes he was projected at LB coming out of HS), S Mouton (5/4*), DB Brown (4*)

I see 4 guys rated 5* by at least 1 recruiting service with a bunch more guys rated around a 4*. A number of these guys played in the Army AA game.

I realize stars are not always indicative of how a player performs in college, but a player's actual performance in college is based a lot on how well he is coached, so I used stars as a pre-coaching estimate of a players potential.

I don't think we should be blaming Carr for our performance. A number of these guys didn't work out or had to change positions (I didn't even list Ezeh since he came out of HS listed at RB).

Having a different coordinator for each of the 2007-2009 seasons and then having a new scheme this year as well as losing players early (DB's - Cissoko, Witty, Dorsey, Warren,Turner, B. Smith, Emilien as well as injuries this year to Woolfolk and Williams; losses at LB - Wilson (decommit to UNC), Witherspoon, Mixon, Graham moved to DL although that worked out pretty well for the DL) are to blame for our current defensive problems at DB and LB.

I realize not all these guys worked out as we would have liked, but that is a lot of potential lost that is not Lloyd Carr's fault.

At least we are running the same offense for the 3rd year in a row and look how that is working out. Now RR is an offensive minded coach, so the D may never be as dominant as the O, but I have to imagine with a little more consistency of defensive scheme and retention of players our D will be drastically improved.


October 10th, 2010 at 2:19 AM ^

The fact that RR is an offensive-minded coach does not necessarily mean that he can't field strong defenses.  Kirk Ferentz and Jim Tressel are offensive guys, but they've found excellent DCs to handle that side of the ball.  I hope GERG is that guy, but I'm not sure.

On recruiting, I agree that you can't really blame Lloyd in the sense that the classes he signed were highly-touted . . .  but I think we can safely conclude (even given the fact that we've gone through a few DCs) that those classes were seriously overrated.  There is no way that some of those guys listed above have that kind of talent.  They must have been guys who physically matured early and fell behind when everyone else bulked up in college. 


October 10th, 2010 at 8:45 AM ^

"I used stars as a pre-coaching estimate of a players potential."


I'm of the opinion that starts go by the wayside when August practices start.  How'd all those stars work out for Kevin Grady?

Yes, I'd take a class of 4-stars over a class of 3-stars.  That doesn't mean the coaches can get lazy with their talent evaluation.

Yay Tony Boles

October 9th, 2010 at 9:40 PM ^

The essential Obi Ezeh play was on Caper's nine yard TD run.  He lines up at the 4 yard line, ball is snapped, he jumps in place, accepts the blocker, gets blocked a yard deep into the end zone, then tries to act like a big man in the end zone.

I can't imagine a worse play honestly.


October 9th, 2010 at 10:09 PM ^

On sparty's 40 yard td run, Obi basically sprinted to the sideline, opening up that huge gap. On the replay, you can see the sparty lineman lift Obi up by the back of the jersey and escort him out of bounds. It was blatant holding, but Obi was so far out of the play that the officials really couldn't call it. What I want to see from him is to stand up a ballcarrier and drive them back. It seems he's always getting dragged for another couple yards.

In the postgame comments, RR or RVB said they missed some assignments on the big plays. The Obi play came to mind when I read that. But Cam's got to come over and cover up for Obi on that. I'm trying to remain optimistic about the defense, but it's hard. J.T. Floyd had 13 tackles today. It's not a good sign when your CB is leading you in tackles. What I can't figure out is why Floyd had 13 tackles and Rogers only had 2. Are they avoiding Rogers and picking on Floyd? or is Rogers just never near the action?

Magnum P.I.

October 9th, 2010 at 10:27 PM ^

I didn't think they played badly today, to be honest. Floyd had a few nice plays. The play where he came up on the short check down to Bell to make a tackle for no gain stands out. As does Rogers' PBU on one of Cousins many MARTIN PANIC throws that he miraculously got away with every time today.

Cam took some bad angles on the long runs and is generally slow.


October 9th, 2010 at 11:10 PM ^

Obi shies away from blocks like a normal person would shift their shoulders so they wouldn't run into someone while walking on the street. It was mind boggling watching Obi on that long TD run. Obi sprints outside for some reason instead of flowing with the play, then shies away from the block with his left shoulder so that his back is now to the runner and he's completely out of the play. What the hell was he doing? 

It's gotten to the point where I just watch Obi most of the time just to see what strange thing he'll do next. 


October 9th, 2010 at 9:40 PM ^

I am officially in favor of his being replaced.  It's hard to imagine that one of Demens, Fitzgerald or Bell couldn't give us more at that position.  Our problems in the secondary would be easier to scheme away if we didn't also have a big hole in the middle of our defense.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:49 PM ^

Obi out, Demens in.  Or move Mouton to MLB and let Demens play his position.  Something needs to give.  I would rather see someone developing in that position who will be around the next couple of years, then let this poor LB play go on.  I think the coaches are being "too nice" and giving the starting nod to Obi, because he is a senior.  Nice kid, hard worker, but does not have the necessary "natural" LB instincts, to be effective.  If he doesn't have them now, he is not going to find them under his pillow before the Iowa game.  Time to give another guy a shot....