Question for the Board Regarding BWC

Submitted by ManBalls on August 29th, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Can 5* Will Campbell suddenly get it?  The fact that he didn't become that guy in the middle this off season was definitely a disappointment for me.

Basically, we have all heard about the poor fundamentals and crap coaching he had under RR/GERG.  My question is, is he simply a 5* bust with the wrong body-mass distribution and poor leverage, or with the correct coaching and technique under Mattison and Co. will everything suddently click?

Not sure how it works in football, but I was hoping it is like a coding or mathematics problem, where you can struggle through it and do it, but not consistently...but then one day it suddenly clicks and it is easy and you just "get it."  I know QBs often talk about this, especially the successful NFL they start seeing the field and everything slows down.  Can this happen for 300lbs defensive linemen too?  Is there a matrix moment for BWC?



August 29th, 2011 at 9:06 AM ^

Campbell probably isn't going to be a superstar this year, but I think he'll improve.  If players don't "play low", that's a very hard skill to learn.  That's something that has to be taught at a very young age, and frankly, I don't think he got the greatest coaching as a high schooler in Detroit.  Now he's 6'5", 320 lbs. and used to playing high.  He can still be solid, but I don't think he's ever going to live up to the 5-star hype.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:29 AM ^

an effort issue there?

I always remember thinking that Gabe Watson could have been a lot better that he was if it did not look like he always wanted to take a nap.  He seemed to take plays off and sometimes kind of just drift for long period of time and often became a non-factor.

In the limited time Campbell has been on the field, I kind of got the same impression.  Just doesn't seem to be that fiery of a guy and I don't know if that maybe translates to poor consistent effort.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:44 AM ^

LOL!  No offense Magnus, but "playing low" is not a difficult skill to learn.  Taught at a very young age?  Are you serious?  I hope BWC pans out, but odds are he just isn't that aggressive of a person, or isn't that hungry.  Utilizing a low pad level just has to do w/ following simple instructions, not "being taught at a very young age."  


August 29th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

Actually, it is a pretty difficult skill to learn when you've been playing high for 18-20 years of your life.  It's a question of balance more than anything.  If you feel uncomfortable playing low, then your first instinct is going to be to stand up straight.


August 29th, 2011 at 11:22 AM ^

If so, I'm not sure how he can assert that the reason BWC isn't playing is b/c pad level is so difficult to learn.  It's not.  It could be true that the reason he may not start is because he isnp't playing w/ the correct pad level, but that's on him.  It's not because he wasn't taught it at a young age.  I just don't want the mgocommunity thinking he's not playing b/c of a failure of his coaches when he was 10 years old.  That's ridiculous.  


August 29th, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

Football is really easy to learn? When the main knock on him coming out of high school was that he stood straight up and wasn't low, why would you think it was all on BWC? I am going to guess his coaches didn't really give a shit how low he was as he could dominate by standing straight up. He was 300 pounds in high school, he could play with awful technique and do whatever he wanted, which has been the case his entire life.

Also, I would trust Magnus on anything to do with coaching and developing talent at a young age before anyone on this board. Also also, you haven't really said anything of value. At all. All you have said is that "football technique is easy to learn....duh." But I am sure you know more about coaching high school football than Magnus.


August 29th, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^

I have to agree with Magnus on this one in that it is a difficult skill to learn. Playing low involves a good deal of kinesthetic awareness and hip flexibility (which you do not accomplish in a short-time). I have found that kids have a tendency to want to keep their weight on top of their thighs rather than allowing it to be distributed between them (if that makes sense). Kids think they are playing low but the aren't, or they are merely bent over and off balance with legs that have very little bend in them. The same is true when they squat...and think they are parallel but aren't even close, they simply lack body awareness. Playing low and with balance is one of the most difficult skills to teach, and some kids will not learn it no matter what because their natural tendency, the range of motion they feel strongest at is not nearly low enough. I don't think this needs to be taught specifically at a young age, I didn't play football until my freshman year of high school, and my technique was my strength, but I think the good hip flexibility and body awareness I had from playing multiple sports throughout my youth is a big reason why.


August 29th, 2011 at 6:55 PM ^

New video...

This one you can see it better.

Now watch what Molk does to BWC in the Spring Game:

Molk held, but the important part is you see Will's butt come forward and this makes him lose his leverage. But everything in his body is saying "stand or that's gonna break my back"


August 29th, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

I am sticking up for Campbell for what seems to be the 100th time, but I'll do it again:

I'm 6'6". Getting in a low stance is uncomfortable and very difficult to get used to. If he hasn't been coached on the technique (and he really hadn't until this March), I don't blame him one bit for having issues. Now couple that with having to go up against Molk, Omameh and Barnum while in this low stance, and we should all understand that BWC is still learning and stop with the "bust" talk.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:46 AM ^

Dude.  Fottball is not that difficult.  They don't want him to have lower pad level than someone w/ his height should naturally have.  Problem is, he doesn't seem to want to stay at the correct pad level for his height.  

Seriously, if you guys think the reason BWC isn't playing now b/c he's incapable of having the correct pad level, you are pretty off base.  


August 29th, 2011 at 10:51 AM ^

that the best (maybe only) defensive coach on Rich Rodriguez's staff was the line coach Bruce Tall. This is the guy that coached Mike Martin and Brandon Graham. Watching all the practice video through those years, there was plenty with linemen drilling under training aids (canopies and cages) that were designed to teach players to play low. At the same time, there was plenty of word out there from scouting reports, UFRs, etc., that BWC consistently had issues keeping his pad level low, to the point that Rich's staff decided to try moving him to O-line (which confuses me, because O-linemen need to fire out low as well).

My point - I don't think BWC's issues stem from Bruce Tall's coaching. I think the stem from BWC's comfort level in staying low. And after 3 years of hearing this is the problem, it would seem this problem is not going to go away.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

When you're 6'4" 300+lbs in high school, you don't need to rely on technique too much.  You can basically get away with any maneuver you deploy because you're bigger than 99.9% of your opponents and are just about unstoppable.  That doesn't work at the college level.  Hoefully Will continues to work hard to improve his pad level.

IT's unfair to consider a kid who is just starting the second half of his collegiate career a bust.  I smell a troll, but maybe that's just me.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:19 AM ^

Ok, Chill out MGoboard Bully.  Congrats on your 4000+ points.

It's a fair question if somebody can just "get it" or if it is indeed a slow process.

Being upset that a walk-on beat out a 5* at an important position is a fair reason for concern.

Being hopeful that BWC can just "get it" may be unrealistic, but it is not a trollish question.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:26 AM ^

Did someone say, "Chill out?"

Relax, I wasn't calling you a troll, per se.  I felt a disturbance in the force while reading a thread by a new user who throws around "BWC",  "5*", and "bust".  It sounds an awful lot like Sparty trying to cloak themselves in fandom while expressing their inner obsession.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:13 AM ^

Sam Webb interviewed Wilcher live on-air last week in the runup to last weekend's game with Farmington Harrison. Unprompted, Wilcher basically said that Campbell's real strength was as an offensive lineman, but that UM "needed him on the defensive line." I think Magnus might have made the same point over a year ago about Campbell's abilities on either side of the line. I agree that he's not likely to ever live up the hype about him. It was a criminal and idiotic waste of a year's eligibility for RR and staff to use him in his true freshman year on special teams and occasional spot duty on defense.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:15 AM ^

If I remember correctly, there were a couple of schools that recruited WC that thought he was a better fit on the offensive line.  That should have been a sign to everyone that he wasn't going to have an immediate impact early in his career.


August 29th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

Cass Techs previous stud 5 (?) star DL is a prime example of this fact, he went to LSU as M told him he fit better @ OL but he wanted to play defense and within something like 5 games was the starting right tackle.

Looks like we got this one wrong but I wont lie with the talent coming in on OLine...just leave BWC where he is at, jerking him around to 20 different positions is not going to help him at all. 


August 29th, 2011 at 9:20 AM ^

You are right on Magnus, that is something taught at a very young level in the sport.  Anyone who is taught properply at a young age has a huge advantage.  I am hoping BWC can and will be the superstar he has the potential to be, but like you I don't see it happening.  I just don't see him learning to keep the pad level down.  However, the talk about Brink taking over as a leader on the DL, could end up being just the incentive BWC needs to work even harder to become that Superstar.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:33 AM ^

It sounds like a frustratingly easy thing to understand and begin doing.  I'm sure that Big Will understands it just fine.  It's another thing entirely, though, to do it consistently.  The moment between the snap of the ball and impact between an offensive and defensive lineman is a fraction of a second.  BWC presumably does not have the muscle memory to do the right thing every time in that split second. 


August 29th, 2011 at 9:34 AM ^

He can learn to play low, but he may not have the time left in his career at michigan to ever be able to become an impact player. him not getting a redshirt was a real shame. ideally if we had more d-line depth he could just take that redshirt this season and just work technique all fall and hopefully come back in 2012 ready to make some waves. i think bust might be a bit unfair but i'd say the chances are slim and none that he ever lives up to even half of what the hopes for him were. 


August 29th, 2011 at 9:36 AM ^

I think Hoke will salvage Will Campbell.  All his background with O/D line is invaluable in this situation....  Campbell can be saved, just depends if the time is allocated for it.


August 29th, 2011 at 9:55 AM ^

Isn't playing low the first thing you learn on the football field? I remember playing Livonia football league as a kid and my coach was always"lower".  Maybe he needs yoga to get a bit more limber. 

True Blue Grit

August 29th, 2011 at 10:03 AM ^

He still has two full seasons left, he's been jerked back and forth position-wise, and probably hasn't gotten the best of coaching up until now.  Now that he's getting better coaching,  let's just wait and see how he does when he gets enough playing time.  It's too early and unfair  to use the "b word" with him IMO. 


August 29th, 2011 at 11:03 AM ^

Ok I got a quick question that may squash this "not been coached properly " nonsense. Did Joe barksdale play on the d line wit BWC anytime at Cass? Cause he was a 3rd round pick at DT by the raiders and his pad level was great against the saints yesterday so did they only coach Joe and told will jus go over power people?


August 29th, 2011 at 12:48 PM ^


Haven't we all learned by now? Don't tell Joseph Barksdale he's an offensive tackle!

Miles only managed to get this far by switching around what LSU calls "offense" and "defense" and doing something crazy (eating grass, yelling madeup words like "Woeojuwejhdjwe") to distract Joe whenever he's about to figure out the ruse.


August 29th, 2011 at 12:26 PM ^

I'm not going to give up on BWC at this point because he has two full seasons left in the Maize and Blue. 

He may not ever live up to his 5* Hype, but if he can just become a solid player for us over the two seasons I'll be happy.

Now, I don't pretend to know a ton about this, but hasn't there been players on the d-line who are relatively unknown that just explode in one of their last two seasons?

As the OP said, it happens with QBs. I have also seen it happen with tons of RBs. But I feel like it happens on the line as well.

I know this is in no way on the same planet as BWC, but Nick Fairley was a JUCO transfer that only started two games in his first (and junior) year at Aurburn. Then he exploded in 2010.

So all I am saying is that if BWC can just show some signs of a spark, even as a backup, it could be an indication that he can make some things happen for us in 2011 or 2012. 


August 29th, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^

I'm no expert on blocking, believe me. But I can't help but wonder: If the key is to stay low, why wouldn't a blocker just stay low? Seriously. This doesn't seem as if it should be so difficult to execute.


August 29th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

I don't remember what game it was last year but we had a field goal blocked or tipped. On the reply it showed BWC basically standing straight up as soon as the ball was snapped. The man he was supposed to be blocking tipped/blocked the kick. Don't remember seeing him on the field much after that. Why did Joe end up being a 3rd round pick and BWC can't keep his pad level down. Same coaching staff at Cass am I right? Did rr's staff drop the ball on coaching up this 5* talent? I remember being elated when he choose us instead of lsu on signing day this kid has been under coached by the time he leaves a2 he will be on a NFL roster we have the best DC in college football what a feather in the Michigan fitted cap it would be recruiting wise if Greg Matty gets this kid to the league