SI releases All-American team

Submitted by jaggs on August 9th, 2012 at 1:10 PM

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/ncaa/08/09/preseason-all-america-team/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t13_a0

SI releases it's All-SEC  errr... All-American teams. 3 B1G players on first team (Ball, Wagner, Short) and three on second team (T. Gholston, Burkhead, and Wisc OL Frederick). Lewan not featured on first or second teams.

Alabama places 3 OL on first or second team.

Comments

ChiCityWolverine

August 9th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

I know the topic's been beaten to death, but I'm worried about BWC and Jibreel Black taking on Alabama's massive, experience O-line. Three members of that group make SI's first or second teams.

unWavering

August 9th, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

While I agree that 3/4 of our secondary probably won't get serious NFL looks, we fielded a unit that was 36th in pass efficiency* rating last year under a new system.  I think the fact that we don't lose anyone (ignoring Woolfolk) from that unit and the fact that they will be in the 2nd year of the system will probably allow us to break the top 25 this year in that category.  Now, it really just depends on what you consider a 'great' college secondary.  While we don't have any super studs or pure shutdown corners right now, I would argue that anyone in the top 20-ish in pass efficiency D should be considered in the 'great' range.   I think that's attainable.

*I also realize that there are more factors that go into defensive pass efficiency, including schedule, rush defense, etc, but I think it is a good indicator of the approximate effectiveness of your pass D. 

ChiCityWolverine

August 9th, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

I agree. Shockingly enough, our secondary probably has the edge in that matchup. I think Kovacs, Gordon, and Demens will need to have big games for our D to hold against Bama though. They need to tackle Lacy before he gets too far up field and force a turnover or two.

My main worry is what happens if we fall behind. Saban will turn to the run game and grind out long drives in the second half if they have the lead. If we can jump out in front in the first half, we may be able to pull this one out.

CLord

August 9th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

Always prefer to fly under the radar before the season.  But as for Bama, we cannot expect our line to neutralize their O line.  Our only hope really is for (a) a strong effort by our backers to minimize the gains past the LoS, (b) moderate success floating CBs on islands so we can crowd the box, and (c) at least a +2 turn over margin.

I will be shocked if we win, and call it the greatest upset by Michigan in decades, but end of day, as long as we don't get blown out, this will be a net sum positive for our guys by exposing them to the barometer program against which to measure their growth.

PurpleStuff

August 9th, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

5-star, 300+ pound senior

4-star, 300+ pound RS junior

4-star, 300+ pound RS sophomore

5-star, 300+ pound freshman

Three of whom have playing experience and only didn't start because they were playing behind a 4-star, 300+ pound all-conference performer and 3rd round draft pick.

What a nightmarish scenario!

PurpleStuff

August 9th, 2012 at 2:05 PM ^

Campbell and the others played just fine when they got an opportunity last year.  Assuming they are going to get mauled because they happened to be behind a very good player in Mike Martin on the depth chart is not rationalism, it is an insane hyper-criticism that assumes anyone who isn't a returning all-American will never be any good, as long as they are playing for your team, of course.

Half of the guys who will be starting for Bama on defense haven't done much of anything in a game either, but people seem to be making the opposite assumption about all of them.  It is irrational pessimism, not hard-eyed rationality.

Richard75

August 9th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

There's a reason Black and Roh are playing 3-tech and SDE despite being undersized. If the coaches had faith in the DL depth, they wouldn't have rearranged the line to avoid relying on it. And if the coaches lack faith, fans should as well.

colin

August 9th, 2012 at 3:09 PM ^

The assumption shouldn't be that because they didn't see playing time they aren't any good.  For WC, it's because he looked okay at best as a junior.  Not exactly news that we're praying he turns out to be more than a contributor.  Q and Ash aren't getting much hype and when they've been in (because, let's recall, Mattison rotates the hell out of the DL) they didn't look like much either.

Worrying about them going up against the ridiculous athletes Bama has in the trenches is not hypercritical.  It's pretty reasonable.

PurpleStuff

August 9th, 2012 at 3:17 PM ^

Campbell had as many sacks last year as Branch did in 2006 (and twice as many as Taylor did that year).  There aren't a lot of opportunities for a guy at that position to shine.  When a guy is getting limited PT those chances are fewer and farther between. 

colin

August 9th, 2012 at 4:43 PM ^

Based on having watched him play compared to the good defensive linemen we've had since 2005.  The comparison to Branch is silly.  If he takes a great leap forward, then terrific.  There's no especially compelling reason to expect that kind of production.

Also, there are effectively 3 tackle positions on this team.  There was room for Campbell or Ash or Washington to see extensive action if it were merited.  Instead, Heininger played a ton and RVB and Martin could barely get off the field despite Mattison's desire to rotate.  

Meanwhile, Alabama's guys are clearly in the vicinity of top 100 players.  Saban has established a history of churning out top draft picks.  We're still recovering from RR and GERG.  It is obvious that our athleticism on defense does not match theirs offensively.  The same is largely true on the other side of the ball.  Which is why Vegas is giving us a 20% chance to win. 

BigBlue02

August 9th, 2012 at 5:48 PM ^

It's amazing one of the best defenses in the Big 10 from last year, which brings back the majority of contributors from last year, somehow becomes obviously less athletic than an Alabama team returning very few starters. Funny how all their guys who haven't seen the field much are automatically more athletic and better than our guys simply because it is Alabama.

colin

August 9th, 2012 at 6:55 PM ^

Did you read Chris Brown's article in HTTV?  The defense was not great nor exceptionally talented.  It was smart, fundamentally sound and well coached.  Which is why there was a relative dearth of draft picks.  Great is the '06 defense.  That's the kind of talent Bama has been putting out for a little while now.

This might sound snotty, but: have you watched Alabama play much?  The difference in athleticism is obvious if you compare us side by side.  Which is what you would expect from an oversigning team whose recruits are among the best in the nation and are coached by one of the best in the country.

There's no shame in being worse than Bama, particularly given the program strife that afflicted the program.  E.g. 12 of the 27 recruits from the 2010 have left the program.  They'd all be in their third year in the program had they stayed.  Instead, we either don't even have a player to fill that spot, or they're a year or two younger than they might be otherwise.  That's a huge deal.

So it's very likely true that we're dealing with a talent deficit right now.  Oh well.  We're still set up nicely in the B1G and we're obviously growing as a program.  If Hoke had brought in two 30 recruit classes the two chances he got, we'd be farther along.  But we couldn't, so here we are.  I'm more than happy.

Needs

August 9th, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

You know what, you're right. We've got talent there. Hopefully they can harness it against a big test.

And on a slightly different note. In the days before recruiting hype, we wouldn't expect to see players getting lots of time until their third years and we wouldn't view players who didn't play much until then as potential weaknesses or disappointments.  I'm going to assume until I see otherwise that Ash and Washington will benefit from the past three years of weight training and the past year of seemingly excellent interior line coaching and will play well, even against one of the best offensive lines in the country.

PurpleStuff

August 9th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

We only lose two guys who started in the Sugar Bowl, a game in which our defense held a 1st round draft pick to less than 3.5 yards per carry and held Va Tech to 20 points, the lowest total for a Michigan defense in a bowl since the 1997 season (28 is the next lowest total). 

One of those guys is being replaced by a 4 year starter who was honorable mention all-conference last year.  The other guy is being replaced by the depth chart outlined above.  With the normal assumption that players improve with age and that some unknown quantities will emerge to positive results (guys like Ash, Washington, Pipkins, Furman, Robinson, FRESHMEN), this is the best a Michigan defense has looked going into the season in a long time.  Not to mention the offense looks just as good.

Bama is going to be a difficult test, but the level of panic is dramatically overblown. 

colin

August 9th, 2012 at 4:46 PM ^

What panic?  It's likely that we're going to lose and it's tough to come up with scenarios that don't involve a lot of luck in which we win.  That's more of a reflection on just how good Bama is than that we're bad or something.  We're not yet an NFL minor league team.  

corundum

August 9th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

Lewan should have at least made the second team. And I might be a homer, but if you include running ability, Denard should be there over Geno Smith.

corundum

August 9th, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

I agree with you on the too many picks, but this is for the upcomming 2012 season and he is undoubtedly the most electrifying player in college football. With that said, past season play definitely does come into account unfortunately and I think that is the main reason Burkhead and Barner got second team over Knile Davis.

corundum

August 9th, 2012 at 2:01 PM ^

Bolivia? And I'm just glad I made it back before they banned Coca-Cola in December to protest capitalism. They also don't have a single McDonald's, which isn't necessarily bad but interesting nonetheless.