Please God, let me be dead RIGHT about Michigan football 2010...

Submitted by uniqenam on March 21st, 2010 at 10:44 PM

I have a premonition that we win 9 games in the fall. Call me crazy, but here's why:

QBs: Forcier, a twelve game starter, has more experience than many RS Juniors that will start this year for teams, having already started 12 games. Before injury, he was playing on (literally) a Heisman place, in his first four games as a TRUE FROSH.

RB: Minor==awesome, but he was never healthy last year, and Carlos Brown went down when a fly landed on him. Even if our running backs only produce at a Brown/Minor clip (which shouldn't be too hard, considering injuries of the 2), that's still a decent position.

OL: We lose two underperforming seniors, and get back EVERYONE else. Heralded recruits and proven players fill this position.

WR: Stonum is a fast, productive player, who will be backed by either Hemingway who has great hands or Stokes, another burner.

Slot: Could be the strength of the offense. Beastly-ness abounds in Martavius Odoms (who's basically another OL split wide that can also pass catches and run the ball like nobody's business) and Roy Roundtree, who (while obviously not the fastest) has ungodly hands.

The defense:

DL: This unit will MARK MY WORDS be better than last year's. Though BG was extremely productive even while being doubled, with Campbell coming in everyone can shift to their natural positions, and the line should gain about 30 lbs over last years, which should be better for some pounding B10 play.

LB: No possible way to step back here. Mouton and Ezeh are talented, yet extremely underperforming seniors. Given another year in a system to learn responsibilities, they should decrease the lag time between decision and action, making for at least a little increase in ability. If not, JB Fitzgerald will be in to push for PT.

Box Safety: Jordan Kovacs is by far the most underrated player on the defense. Ask yourself this, when it was 1-on-1 with any defensive player and the RB of the opposing offense, who did you want in front of him? Kovacs. The guy can flat out tackle, and comes in quick in run support. This is what you want your box to do. Other unproven talent abounds here, but Kovacs figures to be a decent contributor, and if not Emilien/others can step up.

Deep Safety: Hopefully Woolfolk can step back into this in the fall; if not we could be in deep doo-doo. This is the only position that should really scare people, as it is arguably most important in the defense. If not, possibly Dorsey/other touted freshman can step in here.

Corner: JT Turner is a stud. Let me repeat that. He's such a stud you could use him to bolt tires onto a car. The only reason he didn't crack the lineup last year was because of enrolling late, but rest assured he will live up to hype. Across from JT you'll probably see Cullen Christian, who is extremely ready for college ball. Though Dorsey is faster, being a corner is more about ability, experience, and talent than blazing speed.

Spinner: Replacing Stevie Brown could be hard, but Mike Williams actually fits this position nicely. If not, a plethora of other tweeners can step right in, Marvin Robinson most hyped among them.

At every position, we are STACKED with talent. Though some of it is young, with such a large class of highly talented recruits coming in, only a small percentage need to step up for an excellent defense and offense this year.

Tl;DR : We lookin' good.

Comments

jam706

March 21st, 2010 at 10:56 PM ^

Minor/Brown = 982 yds 12 TDs 5.55 yds/attempt

I loved Minor, but injuries prevented him from becoming the back he should have been. The same goes for Brown. Those numbers are replaceable, and their average was good but Smith's was 5.8 yds/attempt last year. If healthy our team of RBs should be as good or better than last year's output

Troy MiIler

March 21st, 2010 at 11:46 PM ^

I think RR already said that Woolfolk will stay at CB. I think Turner starts at the other CB position and Dorsey will be at Deep Safety. He won't get burned by the Big10 WR's. None of them are near as fast as this kid.

I see Woolfolk starting out at FS with JT Floyd in at CB and a couple of games in when Dorsey gets more experience Woolfolk will move back to CB and Dorsey will step in at Deep Safety.

WolvinLA2

March 22nd, 2010 at 1:11 AM ^

RR only said Woolfolk will stay at CB for the spring, but many think he'll be at safety come Sept. RR won't make a decision about that until the true frosh get to campus and start showing how ready they are. If none of the new corners are ready, maybe TW stays at CB, but I doubt that since there are 4 of them, a couple of whom are studs.

Also, it takes more than speed to play deep safety. It's a difficult position to learn, and I doubt a guy who will have been on campus for a couple months will be starting there for us. If Dorsey starts this year, it will be at CB.

Muttley

March 22nd, 2010 at 12:06 AM ^

and then tried to save three or four yards throwing the ball away on 4th down while exposing his shoulder to a pile-driver tackle.

It's often said that the hardest pass to learn is the throw-away.

4godkingandwol…

March 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 AM ^

I'm just going to enjoy the ride, watch every practice highlight, and hope that all the fluff turns out to be legitimate and that no serious injuries occur. I love Michigan football and put no weight in my uneducated opinion about their chance for success, I will simply enjoy the ride.

Bando Calrissian

March 22nd, 2010 at 12:33 AM ^

I hope I'm not alone in not worrying about this stuff for another, oh, 5 months and change. I'm just willing to wait and see what happens. No expectations, no worrying. Easier on the heart.

Tamburlaine

March 22nd, 2010 at 1:26 AM ^

Tate Forcier: I love this kid, and have been singing his praises since day one. But mathematically speaking, how does a guy entering his second season have more experience than "many RS Juniors"? Aren't RS juniors in their FOURTH seasons with their teams? Fail

"Even if our running backs only produce at a Brown?Minor clip (which shouldn't be too hard)": Vincent Smith is coming off an ACL injury. Michael Shaw is more delicate than Carlos Brown's sister and hasn't done jack sheet; Fitzgerald Toussaint broke his colarbone last year in practice; There are simply NO RUNNING BACKS on this roster who have proven a thing.

OL: Um, Molk: see V Smith. Small, undersized, got injured against Indiana first. Broken foot. THEn Penn State with the ACL. The two "underachiveing seniors"? One of them was Mooseman, who "underachieved" because he had to switch to center in midseason, but was pretty good before that. I'll grant you the "heralded recruits" part--but again, "heralded recruits" haven't proven anything. But yeah, it's probable the offensive line can't get worse.

WR: Stonum IS a talent. Hemmingway? Think: M*A*S*H* As for Stokes: we have it on good authority that he is hobbling around South Quad in a cast.

Slot: The only position that seems set, deep, and healthy. Oh, the waggles are a comin'!

The defense:

Yes, lose your three best players and get better. That happens all the time.

Cullen is "extremely ready" for college football? An 18 yeard old freshman who isn't that fast? Yes, he is. IN THE NAIA.

Jordan Kovacs:Our last line of defense. Well, like someone said: We have nothing to fear but Kovacs being our last line of defense.

Here is the all time FanTalk Quote of the Day: "Other unproven talent abounds here."

If oxymorons,rationalizations and minimizations are what a team needs to rebound from two absolutely shitty seasons, Michigan should win the national championship this year.

4godkingandwol…

March 22nd, 2010 at 1:40 AM ^

... I must say, I feel sorry for you. Your joy is achieved by upsetting others with what you perceive as logic, but in reality is only pessimism. With your attitude you will surely succeed at nothing, your every aspiration shot down by your own cowardice. You will muddle along always bemoaning every obstacle in your path until you will die feeling life never gave you a fair shake. Bravo, what an accomplished fellow you must think you are.

OHbornUMfan

March 22nd, 2010 at 8:20 AM ^

Tom Brady, Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel are a few names that spring to mind when thinking of QBs that had little experience prior to starting as a Junior, Senior, or NFL player. They all did fairly well in that first year.

Since you mention being National Champions, Alabama's Greg McElroy threw a total of 20 passes prior to his first season as a starter.

MinorRage

March 22nd, 2010 at 8:21 AM ^

realize the expectations on Stevie Brown preseason last year?? Yes he ended up being one of our best players on D. However, I think GERG is a great teacher and preseason that position is no bigger of a question mark than it was last year.

Firstbase

March 22nd, 2010 at 10:09 AM ^

...that other CF programs are dynamically changing, too. Some programs wax while others wane.

Michigan's program is certainly in a rebuilding mode, but I think other top-notch programs have greater personnel challenges in front of them than we do. Our young guys are pretty talented and they'll be pressing the juniors and seniors to really excel.

At West Virginia, RR was fairly successful, but didn't have anywhere near the recruiting platform that Michigan offers. As I suggested in another post, RR's attitude seems much more confident this year. You can sense it. He knows his team, and now he knows the proclivities of the competition in the conference better than ever.

I also think RR believes he has assembled what can arguably be described as the fastest, best conditioned team in the conference. I also think he's chomping at the bit with that "revenge is sweet" motto as driving motivation.

Looking at the schedule, I think there's a very realistic possibility of going 6-1 or, with a little luck, 7-0 going into the Penn State game. If an idiot like me can prognosticate that, RR & company certainly know it, too.

Tha Stunna

March 22nd, 2010 at 1:46 AM ^

QB - I do expect Tate to be notably improved, but he may not turn out to be the QB we all want. His issues later in the Iowa/OSU games could be problematic. I don't think they will repeat themselves, but they are a potential stumbling block.

OL - Huh? We lost starters and useful contributors. Unless you project redshirt freshmen to start and be superior replacements for whoever's spot they take, it would be a step back.
The exception is having Molk start for the whole season, but you didn't mention that specifically.

WR - Stonum is fast. I have not seen consistent production out of him, and this is at least partially due to his hands. Our WRs will improve, but how much remains to be seen.

Slot - The great strength of the offense, and I'd put Roundtree ahead of Odoms. I dunno if what you wrote was ordered or not.

I dunno why people are so against pessimism. It's a lot more fun to win 8 games when you expect 6, than it is to win 8 games when you expect ten. This is even more true when there's some basis for pessimism.

I'd predict 6-7 wins myself, with 8 more likely than 5.

4godkingandwol…

March 22nd, 2010 at 1:59 AM ^

because it's a horrible attitude in life in general... No battle or war was ever won with pessimism (I think Ike said that).

It's the coward's solace, his retreat from the risk and courage it takes to hope and believe that things can get better. I don't buy the "expect the worst, so nothing can disappoint you" school of thought. What a horrible way to go through life. No progress has ever come from men of that ilk, because these men do not dare to dream.

Tamburlaine

March 22nd, 2010 at 8:22 AM ^

But "realism" is often perceived as "pessimism"--mostly by sports fans who just want everyone to root, root, root for the home team.

It's certainly not cowardice to look at a sports team and say, "Wow. I've got to see the product on the field before I jump in there with expectations of X amount of wins."

But I certainly think it's cowardly to judge people based on their looking back at the last two years, assessing (in their OPINIONS) how things look for this year, and disagreeing with a post that projects all kinds of wonderful for a team with all kinds of question marks.

Sports is a completely different animal than real life. I for one can totally separate sports from my other life. Michigan wins and losses have no bearing on my overall happiness, even for the few moments right after a great win or tough loss.

I guess I just don't know what's so cowardly or pessimistic about looking at this team and thinking this year might very well not turn out so great and poor lil Rich Rodriguez is going to be looking for another job (albeit with about $6 Mill in the bank).

I also don't think that scenario spells any kind of doom for Michigan, unlike many who seem to think if UM and RR part ways, Michigan football will go into the terlet for another 5 years or so. How's that for "pessimism"?

Will things get better? I have no idea, and no one else does, either. Just ask Notre Dame if "getting better" is a guarantee.

TIMMMAAY

March 22nd, 2010 at 10:07 PM ^

You are right in that realism is often perceived as pessimism, and I somewhat agree with what you're saying here. I was going to respond in a lot more detail, but I'm beat. Tone, intent, and context go a long way toward determining peoples reactions.

Blue in Yarmouth

March 22nd, 2010 at 8:21 AM ^

between pessimism, being realistic and optimism. We see all types here on the blog.

There are a lot of people who are simply very optimistic and will tell you we are going to win 10+ games year in and year out.

Others are more realistic and will give a more cautious estimation as to what our record will be and in trying to keep hope in check, may under estimate the win total. These people are not pessimists but realist, who after 2 years of consistent heartbreak from the football team have lowered their expectations.

Then we have the pessimists who will always say UM is going to be terrible. No matter how bright the future looks they are too scared and hurt by the losses that piled up over the past two years that they can't bring themselves to dream a little bit and have some faith that RR and this team can pull us out of this tailspin.

My point is just that there is a distinct difference. Just give RR and this team until 2011 so he can show everyone what he can do when his first class are seniors. It will be special.

Tater

March 22nd, 2010 at 6:46 AM ^

Stunna said:

"QB - I do expect Tate to be notably improved, but he may not turn out to be the QB we all want."

Before he was injured, he sure looked like the QB I want, especially after Threet-idan.

He continued:
"His issues later in the Iowa/OSU games could be problematic."

"His issues" might have been caused by playing with a concussion and a torn labrum. Even with the concussion, he almost beat top ten team Iowa on the road, and he kept Michigan in the game against OSU with the torn labrum. Forcier might not be as big, tall, or fast as you would like, but neither was Doug Flutie.

Forcier deserves undying gratitude for what he did last year: not nit-picking.

Tha Stunna

March 22nd, 2010 at 5:35 PM ^

"Before he was injured, he sure looked like the QB I want, especially after Threet-idan."

Sure, and that's no guarantee of future performance. Reasonable, right?

""His issues" might have been caused by playing with a concussion and a torn labrum. Even with the concussion, he almost beat top ten team Iowa on the road, and he kept Michigan in the game against OSU with the torn labrum. Forcier might not be as big, tall, or fast as you would like, but neither was Doug Flutie."

Yeah, I liked his performance against OSU and I understand Iowa was a tough environment. My concern comes from the fact that he did not lead the last drive against OSU. Everyone knew that Tate was the best QB on the team, yet he did not have enough confidence in himself to lead the last drive against OSU. There are a lot of mitigating factors for this and it probably won't be an issue next year - but we have to consider it.

"Forcier deserves undying gratitude for what he did last year: not nit-picking."

Threet and Sheridan have my undying gratitude for trying their best in 2008. That doesn't affect my opinion of them for the future. And yes, Tate is much better than they are, etc.

And it's not nit-picking. Tate's best moment, to me, was his implausible comeback to tie the game against MSU, where he was injured and not playing his best against a bigger deficit than we had against Iowa or OSU. Yet, he managed to give us all hope. When Tate does not even attempt the same comeback against OSU, interceptions or no, that is something I worry about.

As for the pessimism debate, I think it's been blown out of proportion and misinterpreted. I'll just say that we aren't generals or soldiers, and that it's silly to pretend our outlook affects the game - as long as we root for Michigan until the end.

learmanj

March 22nd, 2010 at 7:54 AM ^

better if for nothing else, he cuts back on mistakes (miscommunications with WRs, trying to fit passes in to players who aren't open, etc). Those sort of freshman mistakes should be out of the equation this year.

Rasmus

March 22nd, 2010 at 8:42 AM ^

Even if our running backs only produce at a Brown/Minor clip (which shouldn't be too hard, considering injuries of the 2), that's still a decent position.

They need to do better than that. Rich's offense needs the running game to click, and not sporadically. The pressure on the opposing defense from the threat to run has to be a constant.