Preseason Hot Takes/Predictions/Questions

Submitted by Mr. Yost on August 26th, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Football is here! Kickoff is one week away.

That being said, let's talk football! What are some of your hot takes, predictions, and/or questions going into the year?

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Mr. Yost

August 26th, 2017 at 1:11 PM ^

As I've done in past years, every fall camp I chat with a member of the athletics administration about the team. Rumors, predictions, etc. from fall camp.

This is the first year I really don't have any "nuggets" to share...everything has been reported and there aren't many surprises this year (which I think is a good thing).

That said:
QB - From what I'm gathering Speight is still Speight, there hasn't been a huge improvement and what we saw in the spring game wasn't anything to worry about either. O'Korn seems to be the "model QB" when it comes to saying the right thing. You know how the NFL has this thing of what an "NFL QB" is supposed to be behavior wise? O'Korn is that. Speight just puts his head down and works and is really only focused about what's on the field. Neither is ahead of the other because of personality, just some insight on them. In terms of play, Speight's consistency over O'Korn and his experience from last year EARNED him the #1 job.

As for Peters, I was told we shouldn't be alarmed, but it wasn't a shocker that UMBig11 said McCaffrey would be ahead of him. Coaches are really frustrated with Peters inability to command the huddle, project his voice, and "be a quarterback." Physically it's all there. He just has to be a leader. I actually just watched clips from the BTN Bus Tour and O'Korn mentions how Harbaugh is always stressing and telling stories of cadence, making guys jump offsides, etc. - Peters won't see the field until he masters that part of the game, period.

RB - *HOT TAKE* This group is better than last year's group.

No inside info, we know Evans/Higdon are 1A and 1B, Issac is a #3 who finally matured and got his shit together and Walker is finally coming around.

FB - No news.

WR - By all accounts DPJ has brought it up a notch and is basically a 3rd starter now. It took him a little longer, but he's right there with Crawford and Black from what I'm told. All 3 will play A LOT. At SLOT Grant Perry is still the man and the depth behind him is "probably the best in school history at that position. And they're so versatile!"

*HOT TAKE* Chemistry and experience will keep this group from being great early in the year, but stay healthy and they're going to give Wisconsin and OSU fits.

TE - This group has been the quietest of all position groups in my opinion. Think they just kind of "are what they are." A steady group of workers that isn't going to WOW us this year but they're not going to be a disaster either. I personally expect we'll only play 1 TE at a time depending on the situation (excluding short yardage of course).

OL - The left side is solidified and better than the LT-LG-C combo at ANY point last year. I expect us to be left run heavy ala the days of Jake Long. On the right side Onwenu and JBB have all but locked up their spots. Ruiz, Runyan...and yes, Ulizio are your 3 backups. I don't expect to see any freshman (other than Ruiz) get major PT. We've got the backup Center, Guard, and Tackle spots covered. I'll be interested to see if they play a freshman (other than Ruiz) in backup minutes in blowouts. No major takes or predictions on the OL, but an observation...Rashan Gary has made Mason Cole noticably better, I thought that was interesting.

The Baughz

August 26th, 2017 at 1:30 PM ^

Not sure why you capitalized hot take when regarding this years RBs being better. That's not really saying much. Deveon and the oline were average. Evans, Higdon and Isaac are all more explosive than Smith and even if the oline is marginally better it should produce a better run game. Saying someone rushing for a 1,000 yards would be more of a hot take.


August 26th, 2017 at 2:08 PM ^

Thanks for posting these. This is what I was afraid of with Speight, that he'd be pretty much the same player as last year. It seems like a lot of people were expecting a jump from last year, but that doesn't sound like it's happened. While he wasn't bad last year, he certainly wasn't great, and outside of his outrageous pocket presence the biggest thing I remember from last year was him being inaccurate (both missing guys deep as well as giving up YAC by not hitting guys in stride).

I had been hoping Peters would win the job because he seems to have the higher ceiling, so hopefully he gets the leadership thing together going forward. If Speight is still having accuracy problems, I hope that our new WRs are better at adjusting to the ball than Chesson (not good) and Darboh (not always great) were last year, as that might mitigate some of the issues.

On another note, any insight on whether O'Korn is doing better with pressure, as that seemed to be his biggest problem and why his often great practice performances didn't translate to playing time?


August 26th, 2017 at 4:23 PM ^

(which, who knows?)  I'd be ok with only a marginally better Speight.

Sure he was a factor in in our losses last year (Interceptions, missed reads, bad overthrows) but he was also crucial in our wins (great pocket presence, few really bad ints, decent accuracy)

We only need a little bit better play from our QB to get to 10+ wins again.  I think the RB & O-line will be an upgrade if everyone stays healthy.  The WR will start out a minus due  to youth but by the end of the season (assuming no QB issues) they will be a big + over last year.

We'd all love Peters (or anybody) to be setting the world on fire, but that's just not going to happen.


August 26th, 2017 at 1:13 PM ^

Michigan goes undefeated. gets Florida State in the semi, Alabama in the final. my desire from the thread the other day (who you'd like to beat) comes true. changing of the guard. harbaugh has officially marked college football as his territory by pissing all over urban, saban, and jimbo.


August 27th, 2017 at 10:37 AM ^

I think my hot take would be that this is finally the year that the Big Ten East is decided by a coin flip. 

  • Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State all finish the non-conference season 3-0. 
  • Michigan loses to PSU in Happy Valley. 
  • PSU loses to OSU in Columbus. 
  • Ohio State loses to Michigan in Ann Arbor. 

Random draw decides who goes to Indy. 


August 26th, 2017 at 1:28 PM ^

If Oliver Martin can't see the field as a "Wes Welker" type WR due to the depth at that position, then they will switch him to defense where he can be a "Jason Seahorn" type CB.  ;-)

Mr. Yost

August 26th, 2017 at 2:37 PM ^

I know you're joking, but Harbaugh raves about this kid.

IMO, Crawford/Black/DPJ/Perry/Martin are your WRs. Schoenle and McDoom after those 5, Collins as a redzone target, but primarily backup snaps this year.

I honestly think Martin leaves Michigan as the best slot WR in school history over Breaston and co.

Mr. Yost

August 26th, 2017 at 1:28 PM ^

DL - It's a hot take, but it's everyone's hot it doesn't get a *HOT TAKE*. This starting DL will be better than last year's - which is fucking crazy to say. Depth is coming along and I'm told "they'll be fine." Don Brown continues to call Gary the best DE he's ever coached. Winovich is becoming Wormley/Ryan Van Bergan...the WDE version (that's a good thing). In other words, he doesn't mess up and he's what I like to call a "Greg Mattison special." Mone does have some bad weight and right now the biggest worry is how will he hold up against spread teams...we're going to have to develop some NG depth to sub him out. But when he's in there? Good luck OL. 

LB - *HOT TAKE* Here's one I feel more comfortable...this group is going to be noticably BETTER than last year...even if you count Peppers as a LB.

The biggest upgrade IMO is Devin Bush Jr. - that kid is a monster and a menace. I was told "he's basically that inside LB Alabama has had under Saban for the last 6-7 years - that guy who's always in the hunt for the Butkus. He'll learn and grow this year, but next year he'll win it. He's ceiling is NFL 1st Round. He'll get drafted by the Steelers or Ravens in the 20s and have a 10+ year career...just watch." McCray seems to be Mr. Steady and a lot of been made of him becoming a leader on this defense. The Hudson hype seems to be warranted. I don't think he makes the freak plays Peppers makes - but I think he can make the big plays Peppers made and he may be better against the run.

CB - No takes, but I will say that I'm worried. Lavert Hill has locked up his starting spot, but it took too long for my liking. He played in the Orange Bowl, that should've been his starting spot the day after, IMO. I haven't heard this to be true, but piecing together comments and notes all fall camp I feel like Long's got to get tougher. I could be way off, but it just feel like he's got to get rid of some of that Cali and get a little more of that blue collar midwest in him. Charles Woodson around to speak to the young man?

Zordich's comments on Watson being around for awhile and not having a starting spot locked down makes me think he's basically what he's always been (and that's not terrible). I just think he's your ideal #3 or Dime CB. I love Harbaugh's comments on Ambry's toughness, but is he good at football? I'm joking, but toughness only carries you but so far. That said, I think Hill and Long are your starters, period. Watson is the #3 and will sub in if either of those guys starts fucking up. Thomas, Harris, St.-Juste will fight for that 4th CB spot. No surprise of the Nate Johnson move - I predicted that the day Washington left.

QUESTION: Does anyone actually know WHY Washington left? Everyone assumes PT, but has that news been posted anywhere?

S - I love Kinnel, I think he's going to be a great safety. I think he's still a year away from being the leader at S that the coaches want him to be. Metellus is a pleasent surprise and all news says he can actually cover - that was my biggest question in the spring. I know he can hit, but can he cover? Delano Hill was a revelation last year in coverage. We need Metellus to be able to stay with WRs.

Depth is also an issue here. For me? I like this safety group...but I'll LOVE them next year. Everyone seems like he's 1 year away in this unit.