Woolfolk Debate

Submitted by Ziff72 on January 31st, 2010 at 3:18 PM

So where do we think Little Butch will end up? I have thought all along we would need him to play deep safety to play clean up for the youngsters, but looking at the CB depth and experience compared to safety I think he stays at CB. I'm really torn on what I think it's best. The only thing I'm certain of is RR has to think himself, well that was another lucky break I got here at Michigan not getting back my 2 starting corners back before their eligibility was up.



January 31st, 2010 at 3:21 PM ^

Athleticism can make up for inexperience at cornerback.

At safety, being out of position spells certain death.

Woolfolk will be a safety. There's no doubt in my mind.


January 31st, 2010 at 3:56 PM ^

I thought for sure safety as well, but Williams, Kovacks actually started last year and Vlad at least got on the field last year and will have went thru 2 springs with us where at CB due to the circumstances with Warren, Witty and Boo Boo are only experienced player would be JT Floyd and Turners hype. I would think some of it depends on Turners and Emiliens development, if the coaches are convinced 1 or the other will be a star they probably would feel better moving him. As nice as it is having a stud safety I 'm not sure you can be an effective defense with zero corners that have a chance of loking down a WR.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:26 PM ^

I agree with Magnus. The main goal of Michigan's secondary in 2010 is going to be to avoid giving up the big plays. For that reason, we need Woolfolk at safety even if Emilien and Williams are further along in their development than Turner, Floyd, and Christian. But this is an interesting point to dscuss.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

Kovacs didn't play until the Notre Dame game, when Williams got hurt. They were both originally free safeties. AFAIK, Emilien only played special teams; if he did play defense, it was probably only against DSU. Woolfolk only moved to corner when they were scraping the bottom of the barrel and didn't want to burn Turner's redshirt.

After Woolfolk moved, the defense took a nose dive. With the failures of both Williams and Kovacs at the deep safety position - and the notion that both were better at free safety in the first place - that doesn't leave many choices at strong safety.

Cornerback will have a lot of bodies without much experience, but Woolfolk should be able to alleviate some of those issues with his speed and positioning. He played well at cornerback last year, and the only time he really got burned at safety was that one play against WMU in the first game. (He also failed to tackle Larry Caper on that GW touchdown run, but he had a bum shoulder at the time.)

Zone Left

January 31st, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

Ideally, probably at safety...but with Boo Boo definitely out, I don't know. Secondary depth is going to be a key factor for next year's success or failure--and perhaps the current staff's future at Michigan.

Man, I never thought I'd write that.


January 31st, 2010 at 3:30 PM ^

I think (as Magnus convinced me in a related thread a couple weeks ago) that he starts at SS. However, that the final decision will not come until we find out if Christian can start at CB and/or M.Robinson can start at FS. We need at least one of those guys to step in right away and secure their spot... otherwise it's going to be musical chairs back there again until we find the right combination along side Turner at CB and Woolfolk at either.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:43 PM ^

I'm not worried about the FS position. Kovacs played well there, Mike Williams has potential, and we have a couple young guys like Emilien, Robinson, and Carvin Johnson. I think one of the five will step up to play well enough. Honestly, other than one option play against Indiana, Kovacs didn't hurt us too badly from the FS position. He was a liability at the SS position, but that's not a position he should be playing in the first place.


January 31st, 2010 at 5:56 PM ^

GERG is a complicated mad scientist: Free Safeties that play in the box, Strong safeties that are responsible for the deep middle, OLB-Quicks that play exactly where DEs usually play, SLBs that look and play like SS shifted to the strong side.


January 31st, 2010 at 3:47 PM ^

Jon Chait compiled the stats of how the defense performed with him at safety and with him at CB (sorry, I'm too lazy to find the link) and the defense went from bad to absolutely awful when he went from safety to CB...The only satisfying answer to this situation involves a clone or replicant of Woolfolk playing along side the original.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:07 PM ^

Speaking of JT Turner, has anyone heard anything about his development? In the end it will probably be a good thing that he red-shirted, but is the fact that he didnt see the field last season despite terrible lack of depth (and talent) a bad sign.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:18 PM ^

He was great on the scout team. He red-shirted b/c of the academic issue that didn't allow him to join the team on time. The coaches (wisely, in my view) didn't want to use up a year of eligilibity when he may have only been ready to play in the 2nd half of the season...So, no, I wouldn't worry about him being red-shirted.

Victory Collins

January 31st, 2010 at 4:24 PM ^

Maybe let's look at is as we want our four best DBs to play. Let's also assume that Woolfolk, Turner, and Kovacs are currently our best three, at least as of the end of last year. So who joins them? It comes down to whether the coaching staff wants Vlad or Cullen out there -- are we better with Vlad at safety and Woolfolk at corner, or Cullen at corner and Woolfolk at safety? This depends on which of Vlad or Cullen develop and look like being able to contribute the fastest. Vlad has a year in the system (and another year removed from blown ACL) so that is a plus for him. But Cullen comes in at a position where true freshmen can contribute, unlike safety, which for a variety of reasons favors experience over raw talent. So I say it is a toss up now.

Blue in Yarmouth

February 1st, 2010 at 9:06 AM ^

I don't like any scenario that comes to the conclusion (or assupmtion) that Kovacs is one of our three best DB's. No offense to him whatsoever, but we should have a handful of scholarship safeties on the teams in a couple of days and I am hoping that at least one of them (hopefully all of them) blow Kovacs off the depth chart (again, not that I don't like him, I just don't like UM having to play walk-on safeties....ever).

I realize that you are basing your post on "as of the end of last year" but I am going to remain hopeful that our FS will come from one of our Freshmen being miles ahead of the curve or VE realizing the potential we all saw for him.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:42 PM ^

I'm guessing we will see Woolfolk and Emilien in the Safety spots, with Turner holding down a CB position while Floyd and Cullen fight it out for the other starting spot.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:54 PM ^

create a logjam behind Vladimir and Woolfolk (assuming Sean Parker commits, you've got Parker, Carvin, Vinopal, Williams, Marvin Robinson and Kovacs behind the starters.)

However, this situation would only leave the loser of Christian/Floyd, Avery and Talbott as CB backups.

If Parker / Emilien can play deep safety, Woolfolk will be at CB.


January 31st, 2010 at 10:36 PM ^

With Woolfolks' speed, why not look at him to move to Browns' position and play SLB. This is all dependant upon what surprises we are all in store for on NSD. That is if everyone that verbally committed to us still signs with us, as well as, who else comes on board that we are not already throwing in the mix. With the last two seasons of recruits there has to be at least some talent out there we can play and be competetive with. These kids (minus the new recruits) have at one year under their belts now, playing in this D system rather on the scout team or in game situation. I strongly feel that will pay dividends this year on the field.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:49 PM ^

about someone who hasn't been mentioned at all here:

Sean Parker.

I think a rational way to look at the defensive secondary situation is how can the coaches adequately cover the positions. Taking into account experience (despite what most posters seem to think, players DO get better when they're developed, experienced and not true freshmen).

Most everyone is operating under the assumption that Justin Turner plays one of the CB positions, and that Cullen Christian would be most effective initially as the third corner.

A combination of Marvin Robinson / Jordan Kovacs would probably be effective at the close safety position (despite what most people tend to believe, Kovacs will be better than last year and plays that close position well).

A combination of Vlad Emilien / Sean Parker may very well play the deep safety position effectively. Of course we won't know that until the games start, but that seems a rational situation.

Backup safeties beyond the two deep: Vinopal, Carvin, M. Williams (and who is to say Williams won't dramatically improve in his junior year?).

I think that there are enough bodies at the safety spots to allow Woolfolk to join Turner at the CB spots, with Christian, Avery, JT Floyd and Talbott as backups. That's the only rational way I look at the depth charts and take that Teric Jones was switched back to the offense - that Woolfolk and Turner are the CBs.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:53 PM ^

There's no way that our top two strong safeties will be a redshirt freshman who never played defense last year (Emilien) and a true freshman who won't get to Ann Arbor until summer (Parker). They'll put Mike Williams there before they let that happen.


January 31st, 2010 at 4:51 PM ^

I'm going to bet the coaches aren't sure of the answer to this one right now. I think there will be some good competition in spring and fall practice and Woolfolk is going to go where we need him the most. I do think Kovaks and Turner will probably start so it probably depends on whether a CB or SS recruit steps up into a starting role.


January 31st, 2010 at 5:33 PM ^

Now that we're all aware of how horribly inexperienced our defensive backfield will be, let me ask this question:
Who starts at SLB (S. Brown's post) in 2010... basically the same issue... someone with zero game experience at that position (considering Brown took almost every snap at SLB last year).

Besides Jones and Hawthorne, is there anyone else on the roster or in this recruiting class fit for SLB?


January 31st, 2010 at 9:34 PM ^

He has been recruited as a FS but I have the feeling that he will be in the discussion at SAM before the season starts if we land Parker and Dorsey (looking decent there). Mike Jones was already practicing with Hopson and the ILBs during the second half of the season so I doubt you see him move back to SAM once Carvin, Marvin, and Furman make it on to campus.


January 31st, 2010 at 10:01 PM ^

They are working with dated information, I watched him practice with Hopson and the ILBs from the DSU game onward (he was with the SAMs before then). He is still skinny for the WILL spot (under 210lbs according the latest info) but I think an offseason of S&C and practice will see him strongly challenging Mouton for the starting spot if Mouton doesn't really step up his game. I can see he and Bell growing into MIKES but they aren't there yet.


January 31st, 2010 at 6:45 PM ^

I got to believe Jones and Hawthorne are going to slip into the SAM role, unless Marvin Robinson blows their socks off and they can convince him to move there like Stevie Brown did from safety before. I gotta believe Marvin Robinson would be awesome in that position.

That said, in the backfield, I just don't see how we don't keep Woolfork at CB. We have NO EXPERIENCE THERE. I can't imagine that they would like Floyd and Turner be the CB starters. This assumes someone doesn't come in and look like an absolute stud.


January 31st, 2010 at 7:16 PM ^

Safety is a more pivotal position than Corner. If your Safeties are bad the entire defense falls apart, if your Corners are patchy you can cover that up with certain types of coverage packages. Which is why I would be stunned by Woolfolk being anywhere but deep Safety in the Fall.