Perspective time - our top 6 players on D out or recovering this week

Submitted by Captain Obvious on November 24th, 2010 at 3:07 PM

I know this post won't mean jack shit for those of you that have made up your mind about this team/coach/whatever, but I want to preserve this for the hell of it.  Our top 6 players on this young defense are either out or recovering from significant injuries this week, prior to playing a top 5 team on the road.  In no particular order:

  1. Mike Martin - beast NT and most important player on D by a long shot.  Big ankle injuries that have kept him out or at 25% effectiveness since MSU cheap-shotted him.
  2. Troy Woolfolk - as we all know, big ankle injury, out for the season.  Very good and likely fringe All-B10 type of player this year.
  3. Kenny Demens - This guy has come on strong as a good to great MLB.  He also has a concussion and will be out for OSU.
  4. Roh - Excellent on the DL as a DE.  He is recovering from a concussion.
  5. Mouton - streaky but experienced OLB that is able to make some plays.  Good size.  Recovering from torn pectoral muscle.
  6. Floyd - Other starting CB and only other member of the CB corps with any experience

Rogers, the other CB, has also gone down several times in games with injuries.  So what's left of the starters?  RVB, Fitz, a former walk-on, and 2-4 true/RS freshmen.  Oh, and a ton of their backups are injured, too.

Oh what the hell, let's do the offense too, shall we?

  1. QB - Denard is not 100% and hasn't been for a while.  Gardner is also either injured or "injured."
  2. RB - Shaw has been injured most of the year and would have been option 1 or 2.
  3. RB - VSmith is coming off a bad concussion and would have been option 1 or 2.
  4. RB - Fitz is perpetually injured and has the potential to be a top back for us.
  5. WR/Slot - Odoms is out for the year.  He is a great, tough, experienced receiver.
  6. WR Hemingway - Concussion, out.  YAC wizard, big play guy.
  7. WR/KR Stonum - Injured, out.  Deep threat and great KR.
  8. WR/KR/PR Gallon - Injured, out.
  9. LT Lewan - coming off injury.  Young Jake Long.
  10. RT Dorrestein - coming off injury, not 100%.  Reliable, experienced guy.

Look, I know some of you will say this is an excuse.  Honestly, though, you are just kidding yourselves.  Injuries clearly matter.  There is a point at which any reasonable person will concede that a team has a greatly reduced chance at winning tough games due to injuries.  If these lists don't do it for you, fine, but ask yourself - at what point do the injuries matter?  Do we have to lose the entire fucking 2 deep on both sides of the ball before we can admit that injuries are a valid point/excuse/whatever?

Or just look at this the other way - where would OSU be if their top 6 defenders were either injured or coming off injuries?  What if they lost their top 3 RBs, top 4 WRs, and top 2-3 choices for KR/PR?  I bet you would then admit that OSU would be easier to beat.  Some of you might even dismiss our victory as hollow or less meaningful if we did beat this injured OSU squad.

Meh.  Either way I'm going to watch and cheer this weekend.  I'm going to be proud of our players for gutting it out all year in difficult circumstances.  Like always, you won't find me melting down after a loss if it happens.  Perspective, people.


Ed Shuttlesworth

November 24th, 2010 at 3:15 PM ^

They stunk when all those guys (save T-Wolf) were healthy.  Neither Rod nor GERG was sharp enough to realize how much better Demens was than the guys playing ahead of him.

The defense is a disaster of cosmic dimension, from scheme, tactics, player deployment, high school talent evaluation and multi-year planning to all the rest.  Injuries have essentially nothing to do with that very unfortunate reality.

True Blue in CO

November 24th, 2010 at 3:13 PM ^

We can talk about points per drive, field position, and stops but we need to continue to develop depth to get through injuries.  These guys have given their all this year and can do it again.  Some of the injured will play even if not 100%.  Greatness will come from their effort and the players deserve our 100% support.


November 24th, 2010 at 3:15 PM ^

I hate MSU for that chop block on Martin. Why isn't there a larger punishment for cheap shot chop blocks? So they get 15 yards, and the guy they chopped is out for basically the season. If I were a coach, I would just order chop blocks because the penalties are basically nothing.


November 24th, 2010 at 3:17 PM ^

this is where depth comes into play. in a few years, Michigan will have enough depth to replace the starters, without a huge dropoff in production, when they get hurt.


November 24th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

One would think that injuries that decimate a team's two-deep is an obvious reason for that team's performance to trail initial expectations; however, according to the "fire RR" crowd, this is just an excuse. Srsly?  The first AND second stringers at some positions are not playing, yet we should expect the guys who didn't beat them out for the two-deep and true freshmen to perform as well or better? I'm not knocking those players, they're all part of the team. That's thinking along the lines of Brian's main post yesterday.  Backfilling a conclusion you've already reached.


November 24th, 2010 at 4:07 PM ^

I don't agree that Floyd is one of our top six players defensively.  I think Avery is an upgrade over him in coverage and not much different against the run (they're both below-average).

The injury toll sucks.  But that's football.  OSU is not entirely healthy, either.  Really, at this point in the season almost everyone is playing hurt - it's just matter of degrees.

Captain Obvious

November 24th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

after I wrote it I realized I left out RVB in the "top 6" equation, which would push Floyd to 7th, probably.  Didn't feel like editing.

As long as you recognize that our "degrees of injury" are about 200 degrees more than OSU and that this is a legitimate, non-coaching reason that we have a greatly reduced chance to win football games, that's fine.  I really only take issue with those that say "that's football, injuries shouldn't be a factor, WE'RE MICHIGAN and we should win regardless" or those that want to make this game make-or-break for RR.  Those 2 things are idiotic.

Captain Obvious

November 24th, 2010 at 4:39 PM ^

make the title any clearer?  The top 6 (IMO, though I forgot RVB initially) players on our defense are in fact out this week against OSU or are coming off of actual, reported, significant injuries.  It's not designed to be news - most breaking news titles don't begin with "Perspective time."  It's clearly an opinion piece in response to those that downplay the extent of our injuries and want to make this game make or break for RR.


November 24th, 2010 at 4:51 PM ^

this post is another, "how can you be mad if we lose to X team" thread? The injuries are a problem just like they are with every other team, but if we get blown away on Saturday, you better believe I'm gonna be pissed off.

Captain Obvious

November 24th, 2010 at 5:05 PM ^

what I was talking about.

Clearly, at some point injuries DO excuse a defeat.  If we had so many injuries that we were forced to forfeit, to make an obvious point, you would clearly excuse the loss due to injuries.  Apparently the injury level on the team as it stands is not enough to excuse poor performance (if this occurs) in your opinion.

My question - what would it take for you to excuse a loss due to injuries?  Where do you draw the line?  How many more people would have to be injured before you would concede that bad luck greatly reduced our chances to win?


November 24th, 2010 at 8:28 PM ^

Are you 100% that all of these players on offense are out?  Pretty sure two of those guys are already cleared and a few of the others are just waiting on the "good to go" from the doc.  Still not saying it's not an excuse, but I don't make excuses until they're warranted.  We haven't lost yet.

IIRC, Smith, Roh, Shaw and Fitz are all cleared and I'd wager a Brett Bielema Undergrad Lover that Hemmingway will be cleared, too.  Yeah, no Stonum sucks, but I won't miss Gallon for the OSU game (no offense, just too many mistakes).  I have not read yet that Demens is def. out.  For that matter, the article that most of this is pulled from on Rivals has RR saying that he wouldn't count Gallon OR Stonum totally out for Saturday.


That being said, even IF we didn't have them, we'd still have the following above-par players left on offense:

Roundtree - Should be #1 next year, one of the best WRs in the Big Ten

Denard - Should be Offensive Player of the Year

The O-Line - All quality guys who want to run all over OSU more than anything.

Koger - Massive non-use this year, sadly...(outside of great blocking)


I won't go into detail on the defense because it's truly just sad, but I'm still cautiously optimistic about our offense's chances against the Bucks.  Illinois gave them fits, we can too.


The point is, I know you were trying to defend RR, which is admirable.  I'm in the camp who thinks we give him another two years and actually pay for a decent DC, letting him run the D however he wants.  I just hate all the negative attitudes.  Maybe I'm just a stupid homer, or maybe I shouldn't have just watched the 1995 and 1996 games back to back.  Either way, I think we'll do better than the pessimists on this board.


God Bless Michigan and Go Blue, beat the Bucks!

Captain Obvious

November 24th, 2010 at 10:51 PM ^

that all were out for sure - see "out or recovering."  Even if those players are cleared they won't be all there mentally (and probably physically) and will have missed significant practice time.  These things often get overlooked in the relief of having a player cleared to play and is part of the injury disadvantage the thread is all about.


November 24th, 2010 at 10:40 PM ^

I've been impressed with receiver Grady. I think he can step in and do a good job in place of Stonum. With all these injuries the offense has to step up even more and hopefully score t.d's on every possible possession.