Potential Position Battles for the Sugar Bowl

Submitted by Marley Nowell on December 18th, 2011 at 8:55 PM


Schofield v. Barnum

The way Hoke spoke in the presser made it sound like he was happy with the O-Line configuration so I expect Schofield to hang on to his position.


Roh v. Black

They seemed to split time in The Game and it will be interesting to see which starts the bowl game and beyond.


Morgan v. Hawthorne

Hawthrone really played well in the beginning of the season but Morgan came on late and took the starting job.  After time to rest and more bowl practices this position could change hands again.


Woolfolk v. Gordon

Gordon played well throughout the season and I'm not really sure why Woolfolk took the starting job from him.  With ample time to rest and this being Woolfolk's last game, chances are he gets the starting nod.


Hagerup v. Wile

Hagerup had some booming punts in 2010 but has not shown the same aptitude this year.  Wile also did a good job filling this year.  I think the extra practice will get Hagerup back on track and see him hold onto the punting duties.





December 18th, 2011 at 9:20 PM ^

It's been solidly Floyd/Countess for the past month or so. Especially with Woolfolk moving to safety and Avery locking down the nickel, it looks like it will stay that way. There should be a bit of competition next year, especially if we can nab Yuri Wright, but it will probably stay Floyd/Countess until Floyd graduates.


December 18th, 2011 at 9:53 PM ^

Its the karma system in the comments here. Basically, if your posts are consistently unvoted, each posts have 2 points by default. If you are consistently downvoted, each of your posts have 0 points by default. Its meant to do the same thing as the points system, which is to make good posts more visible and bad posts less so.


December 18th, 2011 at 10:00 PM ^

Cam Gordon does not have the body type or the skill set to be a weakside (a.k.a. inside linebacker).  You don't take a wiry 6'3" kid who used to play WR and FS and turn him into a dude who takes on lead blocks from fullbacks on the regular.  If you look at the way Michigan's defense was run in the past and who they've got at WILL right now (Morgan, Hawthorne, Herron, Poole, etc.), who they're recruiting (the short-ish and light-ish Kaleb Ringer and James Ross), and who they've chosen to start (Morgan), Cam Gordon doesn't fit the mold.


December 18th, 2011 at 9:03 PM ^

I would say Roh, Morgan, Schofield, and Woolfolk are all locks.  Roh and Morgan have separated themselves during the season.  Schofield has come on to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if Omaneh dropped out of the starting lineup before him.  And there is something about Woolfolk that these coaches just like.  He has been getting the nod over Gordon for reasons I can't determine for a while now, and I wouldn't expect it to stop.

That leaves Hagerup/Wile.  That's the punter spot being fought between a true freshman and a guy who has been an unsympathetic disappointment.  I give that one a yawn.


December 18th, 2011 at 9:33 PM ^

And there is something about Woolfolk that these coaches just like.  He has been getting the nod over Gordon for reasons I can't determine for a while now, and I wouldn't expect it to stop.

If you can't determine the reasons, I'm going to need someone else to. Senior loyalty / legacy player isn't a good enough reason but I don't think another plausible answer exists.


December 18th, 2011 at 9:07 PM ^

Hoke gave every indication that Wile is a very real possibility to replace Hagerup.  I don't know if that's a motivating tool or a coach who is frustrated with inconsistency following the suspension and the almost fatal error against Ohio. 



December 19th, 2011 at 9:55 AM ^

He was very opportunistic but not all of his takeaways were because he just happened to be there.  Off the top of my head I can think of at least 3 times where he was the turnover creator.  But always being around the ball for a safety is kinda the job description.  Be around the ball and don't get beat deep, are generally the basic rules for a safety.  Except for Nebraksa I don't remember him getting beat deep, and the fact that he lead the team in FR shows that he is always around the ball.    


December 18th, 2011 at 9:14 PM ^

Just think a few short weeks ago (like right after the Iowa game) there was a fairly vocal group on the board that would've included Quarterback as one of the "position battles" they would like to see.

I'm glad that nonsense is over.  Even my idiot brother now says that perhaps Denard makes a better QB than a slot reciever.


December 18th, 2011 at 9:29 PM ^

it's easy to play the hindsight game...with the 'staph' situation being under wraps, literally and figuratively it was real easy to say that Denard was struggling to adjust to this new offensive system...there were a number of points early on I questioned the ability for him to make it work like the same magic of before...he certainly stepped up and i'd guess there were a lot of forces at play no less the injury situation having time to heal and a team REALLY starting to gel as positons were solidified...going into the Sugar Bowl we should be pretty stout all around and have a great chance against VT...I also acknowledge the idea that you MUST have 16 on the field in whatever capacity allows him to handle the football for that ONE seam...and Gardner is a young kid coming through the system who showed development as well...it's not all 'dur what were we thinking'...but it's also nice to arrive at a point we can have this reflection =)


as to DBs..really anxious to see this Countess kid continue to grow as a young man and talent...his Sundays will likely be lucrative in the future. It's been a long time since we've had a cover corner who can not only run with recievers but make a play on the ball and open field tackle...


December 18th, 2011 at 9:44 PM ^

This actually brought up a different question for me -

Generally speaking, is it possible for an ordinarily-healthy, perfectly normal player to receive a redshirt in a year other than his freshman year?

Specific example: If Brendan Gibbons were to take over kickoff duties next year and Hagerup were to lock down punting, would Wile be able to redshirt?

Other way of putting it: Is Stonum an exception due to his circumstances, or is this a common occurrence?


December 18th, 2011 at 10:01 PM ^

Is there really any question whether Roh will start the bowl game?  I don't think that's really a position battle any more than left tackle, running back, or tight end.


December 18th, 2011 at 10:13 PM ^

TGordon seemed like the only person on the defense really apt to giving up a huge play every once in a while. I seem to recall him getting burned / getting caught way out of position a few times over the last 4-5 games


December 18th, 2011 at 10:37 PM ^

As noted previously, Hawthorne had the strong start (looked v good vs ND) but Morgan won the job later and held it. Had his ups and downs but was there all the way through, relegating Hawthorne to end of decided games.

However I kept thinking during ohio that Hawthorne's speed and athleticism might be a perfect foil to 'spy' against Miller's running ability, where it was obvious Morgan couldn't keep up with him.

Does Hawthorne not read plays well enough? Is Morgan that much better reading the play and hitting the spots? Or is the staff just determined to go with someone they'll be able to teach 4 years as opposed to a couple of years with a guy too full of bad habits?