Saturday, February 28, 2009

Michigan Hockey Tidbits: Michigan beat Ferris State and news

Saturday night, the game at Yost Ice Arena will be Senior Night. One special senior who'll be back is Mark Mitera who made his return Friday night against Ferris State to help Michigan beat the bulldogs 6-1. Bryan Hogan also had an impressive game on Friday with 22 saves.

Michigan faces Ferris State Saturday night to finish the regular season at Yost. The game will be televised on CBSC.

Coach Berenson and Mark Mitera quotes from

Michigan Head Coach Red Berenson --

Opening comment... "We knew the first period would be important. To score the first goal and take the lead again and have a two-goal lead after one period was huge. I thought our penalty killing held up and [FSU] put good pressure on us. For the most part we got good goalkeeping, we got balanced scoring -- we had goals from several lines. Overall, it was a good road effort. Ferris is a tough team and this is a tough place to play. I don't think it was a 6-1 game, but I feel good about the game."

On the first period... "I thought it was a good start. When you score on the second shift of the game, obviously, that's a big goal. You're talking about a sold out, little arena here, but still when they get going -- and I've been here when they've gotten going and last year's game didn't end up well and their crowd was in it big time. They never really got in it tonight."

On the return of Mark Mitera... "It was great to have Mitera in the locker room, great to have him on the bench and great to have him on the ice. He made his presence felt -- I knew he would. We had a good feeling for him. It's good to have him come back and win that first game."

U-M Defenseman Mark Mitera --

On playing in his first game since Oct. 10, 2008... "I felt pretty good out there. I think the first couple of shifts were a little shaky -- I felt a little out of place out there getting back to game speed. Other than that I felt pretty good for the rest of the game."

On his emotion heading out for the pregame warmup... "It was definitely great. I think that's the first time I've worn the blue jersey this year, so it's kind of exciting to get back out there, be in the locker room with all the guys, get back into warmups and then the game. It was great."
On what he needs to improve upon... "I think it's just confidence. I noticed I started backing off the blue line a little too early when I should have stayed up.

It will take a little while to get my mindset back into those situations where I feel confident holding the blue line, stepping up on a guy. Little things like that I need to get back, but it will take a little time I think."

On his overall play tonight... "It was a good night for me personally. I think I ended up even (plus/minus), so that's always a good thing -- my first game back I was a little nervous. Other than that, the team had a good effort. It's great to be back and be a part of it."

On how he feels stamina-wise... "I feel good. I almost feel better than after a practice when the coaches are skating you a little bit harder, a little bit longer."

Also in the news this week, the Michigan hockey program has been asked to participate in an outdoor hockey event Wisconsin next season (February 6, 2010) at Camp Randall stadium which seats 80,321!

They are trying to break the previous record set at Spartan stadium when Michigan and Michigan State had the “Cold War” where 74,644 fans attended the game back in 2001.

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Written by ErocWolverine

Michigan Hockey on TV Tonight

Michigan Hockey

Ferris State at Michigan

8:00pm EST. - 10:30pm EST.

DirecTV Channel 613


Coaches Corner: A little rant about Agendas

Coaches' Corner: A little rant about Agendas

For some reason, every time we write a post that Coach Rod's "Mafia" disagrees with, we get accused of having an "agenda." Therefore, to give this "mob" even more reason to get their panties in a bunch, here's our take on Coach Rod and the 2008 season. I also wanted to get it off my to-do list. (Doh! I guess I do have an agenda.)

Assistant Coaches:
As head coach, Coach Rod has every right to hire any one he wants. In fact, we support him 100% in this vein. Head coaches, be it Coach Carr or Coach Rod, need to have assistants around them they totally respect and are comfortable with.

Consequently, he is 100% responsible for what these assistants do, same as Coach Carr, Coach Bo, or any other coach, even Coach George Halas.

What assistants do ends up totally on the head coach, for better or worse. That is why we had problems with some of the comments posted and why we were quick to defend Coach Shafer.

Many wanted to dump on Coach Shafer while giving Coach Rod a pass from any responsibility over happened on the defensive side of the ball. If Coach Shafer was not a correct fit, he needed to go. Coach Rod did right parting ways with him. Having said that, I am somewhat disgusted with how the firing/resignation was handled.

And I'm not saying this because I have any ulterior motives. So those who disagree with me, just take my opinion at face value, and let's move on.

The 2008 season:

Defections: Michigan lost a ton of players including some talented ones. This by itself was not surprising. The surprise came from who some of the defectors were, not how many.

Also surprising was attitude of some of the comments on the message boards who thought that no matter who, left it was no big loss to the program. Then as the season went on, these very same people complained more and more about the lack of talent on the team.

Regardless of the head coach, losing as many quality players as Michigan did last year would have hurt ANY program in the short term.

During recent Threet-defection debate, I went out of my way never to mention Coach Rod, because this was a loss no matter who was coaching. Yet, once again, the "agenda" accusations began to fly.

Dismal Win Record: Nobody, not Coach Rod, Coach Carr, Coach Bo, nor CoachVince Lombardi-on-steroids could've gone 13-0 with this group of players. There was not enough talent, nor depth at any position, for this to happen. However, in saying that there is no way this team could have gone 13-0 and won a National Championship, doesn't mean I look kindly on going 3-9 either. While there was not enough talent to be 13-0, there was too much talent to justify a 3-9 season. For this, Coach Rod needs to be held accountable. The buck, but unfortunately not yet The Buckeyes, stops with him.

Holding Coach Rod accountable for a dismal season, does not a Hidden-Agenda Hound make. It's just being realistic to have certain expectations for Michigan's season and holding the team -- and the head coach -- responsible for underachieving.

The Loses:

Losing to Toledo, Purdue, and Northwestern -- without their best player -- was unacceptable. Michigan had more talent and should never have lost to these teams.

Same thought with respect to Appalachian State -- losing was simply unacceptable. This has nothing to do with who was head coach.

Come on, Michigan without a proper quarterback still should've had enough talent to beat a three-win MAC school. Holding the staff accountable for losing these games that we should have won was proper, no part of some evil propoganda campaign.

How Michigan lost:

No head coach with this group of players was going to beat Ohio State. It wasn't so much the loss, as HOW Michigan lost that PISSED people off. Michigan showed no fight. They just shrugged their shoulder and benover. That was an unacceptable showing for players and coaches alike. We saw the same think when OSU beat us in 2007. It stunk then. It stunk last year. There's no reason to keep quite about it.

The most discouraging aspect was that not one player stepped up to say "Enough is enough" and went out ro rip a Buckeye's head off. What's going here? Is someone putting Prozac in the Gatorade? This was inexcusable. Are we The Wolverines or the Wooly Lambs? Did the whole team develop acute testoserone-deficiency syndrome?

No, don't have an agenda. JUST PISSED AND WASN'T GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE! Sooner or later, the head coach has to take the heat.

Some of us wanted to hold Coach Rod, and the team, accountable for their part of what happened in 2008. When "the other side" saw this, they came out and with a vengeance. They let loose the hounds on us. Went into attack mode. Why? I do not see how wanting to hold the coaching staff accountable for what happened on field means I bleed any lesser Blue than the next guy.

Let's just all agree to disagree.

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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Big Ten Championships: Swimming & Diving on BTN

Big Ten Championships: Swimming & Diving on BTN

8:00pm EST. - 10:00pm EST.

DirecTV Channel 610


Jeremy Jackson: 2010 Michigan Wolverine Commit

Jeremy Jackson

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 175 lbs.
High School: Huron High School (Michigan)
High School Coach: Joel Przygodski
Position: Wide Receiver
Class: 2010 Recruiting Class (Verbal Commit)

Jeremy Jackson:

Overview: He is a tall smooth split end who is a very good athlete. He has a very nice frame and should be able to add weight as he matures physically. He is strictly an offensive player. There is no film showing him playing defense or special teams. Good get for Coach Rod and staff.

Strengths: Has a big body with long arms and uses those assets very well. He shields opponents away from the ball and uses his long arms and jumping ability to catch the fades. Catches the ball with his hands and makes nice cuts.

Needs Work: He is not overly explosive and does not separate as well as we would like to see at this point in his career. He also needs to get stronger. After the catch, he shown nothing special. He is very young and, with maturity, should overcome many of his weaknesses.

Jeremy Jackson Highlight Videos:

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Michigan Basketball: Hope is still alive

Just when we thought we were out, the Purdue game comes around to suck the us Michigan fans back in, once again. Our hopes that Michigan might make the NCAA tournament are lit once again. After the Iowa loss, a lot of Michigan fans stuck the fork into this basketball team and declared, "It's done," Michigan would not have a chance to get into the “Big Dance,” (for the third or fourth time this season). This team seems to always surprise people. When they need a win they find a way to up their level of play, but, of course, on the other hand, when you think they will win (Iowa) they somehow do not come ready to play.

Since there is hope once again for this team what should we expect playing at Wisconsin and at Minnesota? Honestly, who knows anymore with this team? Especially on the road. Will they come out with the effort like they have against Illinois, Duke, UCLA, Purdue and even UConn or will they bring the first Wisconsin game, the second Iowa game, and the two Ohio State games effort?

Will that Iowa loss be the one that hurts Michigan’s chances of getting in or was that the spark to get this team headed in the right direction? Time will tell. We have been on a rollercoaster ride this year with this team. The loss to Iowa hurt because Michigan would have been in 4th place by themselves right now. Instead there is a battle for the 4th through 8th positions in the Big Ten conference is getting interesting with all those teams either 8-7 or 8-8 right now.

One thing to keep in mind. Several teams have some key match-ups that Michigan fans will want to keep an eye on:

2/28 Indiana at Penn State ... Go Indiana
2/28 Ohio State at Purdue ... Go Purdue.
3/1 Michigan at Wisconsin ... Go Blue.
3/3 Ohio State at Iowa ... Go Iowa.
3/4 Wisconsin at Minnesota ... Push ... depends on what we do against Wisconsin.
3/5 Illinois at Penn State ... Go Illinois.
3/7 Michigan at Minnesota ... Go Blue.
3/7 Penn State at Iowa ... Go Iowa.
3/8 Northwestern at Ohio State ... Go Northwestern.
3/8 Indiana at Wisconsin ... Go Indiana.

In addition, depending on how the mess in the middle finishes up at the end of the season. The first Big Ten tournament games could be huge regarding who might get in and who might be left off the Big Dance.

I am not sure how many teams from the Big Ten will get into the Big Dance, but I believe when all is said and done, unless there are several mid-majors upsets in the conference tournaments this year , the Big Ten will at least get that 7th team in this year. Who knows, maybe they get that 8th one in as well this year. You have to think right now that 6 teams are safe right now.

Minnesota still has to play Wisconsin, as well as those several key games that I pointed out above.

We are battling several teams, but one that we are competing with for a tournament spot is team Minnesota. Minnesota has to face Wisconsin and Michigan yet. Another thing to point out about the selection committeeis that they look at everything, especially what a team has done in the last 10 games, so that could swing into Michigan's favor, since Minnesota has been slumping lately.

The easy thing to do is to win out the remaining games, then fans would know Michigan would be in the NCAA tournament, but as we followed this team this year we all know they do not like to do things the easy way.

All those games throughout the year and it boils down to the last two games. Nothing like testing the patience of the fans.

The Big Ten tournament could be huge, especially if this logjam continues from 4th through 8th position. Michigan needs to win that first game to help their chances. The battle for the first day bye will be another thing to look for since this is a four-day tournament.

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Wolverine Sports Magazine on BTN

Wolverine Sports Magazine on BTN

4:30pm EST. - 5:00pm EST.

DirecTV Channel 663


Michigan Football Tidbits: About the Team

Michigan Tidbits: About the Team

He is looking forward to taking some snaps at offensive guard this spring. If not at offensive guard, then it looks like he might take snaps at left guard, but Coach Frey has said that he was going to look at many options early in spring. He could play offensive guard or move back to right tackle. Our interpretation is that Schilling's position will not be determined by where he plays best, but who steps up and grabs a starting position at one of the other offensive line positions.

Ferrara is still working with the offensive line group, but that, of course, could change.

Besides the offensive line, the wide receivers are going to be the most competitive position group on the team. Like the offensive line, there could be some big surprises on who ends up playing.

The good news is that Matthews has finally bought in and is healthy. He is putting in some extra work with the quarterbacks, but his ability, in terms of speed and as a deep-threat, is limited. After Mathews, the wide receiver position is a huge question mark (or many little ones):

Can Hemingway stay healthy? Can Stonum gain the necessary maturity? Is Clemons a split end? What will be his role this year if he sticks around? What about Roundtree? At least we know he can catch the ball (in practices). Will his speed get Rogers some playing time? Coach Rod and Coach Dews decide Stokes is just too good?

Sometimes you wonder why Michigan is recruiting so many wide receivers. Maybe it is because they are just not sold on the ones who are here, at least not now, or they are not sure what recruits will make it in. Will the 2010 commits actually sign their name on the line for Michigan next February?

Of course, an improved quarterback situation may increase our wide receivers' confidence that they will actually get the ball, but based on last year, the ones who decide to run routes properly and block may be the ones who get the most snaps.

Rumored injury (don’t usually talk about injuries to much, but don’t consider this a real injury) is a nagging groin. He is working out, but not running. Coaches expect Shaw to practice in spring. That is some very good news.

We have not talked about linebacker’s much, but they're going to be fun to watch in spring practice.

Ezeh is telling people he fully expects to play inside linebacker, but he also thinks he will be tried on the outside. With Mouton being out this spring and Demens really making a statement (Barwis likes his development) our depth at inside linebacker may be better than people think. If they play the best players, someone will have to move outside.

There is some talk that Evans may be gettin some snaps on the inside since his biggest challenge is speed, but he is a smart player.

Fitzgerald is, of course, someone to watch and it is not inconceivable that Fitzgerald and Demens are get significant playing time, together, time next year. (Demens is really a great kid and, we think, a future captain at Michigan, possibly when he is a senior.)

Jones has mostly been playing with the linebacker group.

He starts up where he left off a year ago in terms of having a good off-season. We think RVB becomes our run-stopping defensive end this year and could maybe even be a strong side defensive end in a 3-4 set at times.

Remember RVB is still only a sophomore and hopefully, if opposing teams have to game plan for Graham and others, it could free up RVB to go one-on-one against the opponents' offensive line.

Do not forget that Banks is still at Michigan, and along with Patterson, could see some snaps at defensive tackle in spring. Remember Banks has had more snaps than either Sagesse or Patterson.

Just an opinion, but we think if Barwis was asked he'd say the off-season is going very well. The players had almost six weeks off (workouts during that time were not official) and they seem to have come back from break with renewed enthusiasm. Again, all the stuff that happened last year is now behind Michigan.

We're xcited about the athletic potential of this defense. We're not overly excited about the depth, but if we can get one of our linebackers to learn how to defend the run, and if we can finally get a big safety (like Smith) who can tackle, things will be looking up.

We have enough first-team talent to be good this year. Of course, we all ASSume our offense will be much-improved (or at least hope it will). We're hoping our defense will be able to force our opponents into playing one-dimensionally, some games.

There is not a lot going on for the kids right now. It is the most boring part of the off-season. They have been at it for a while now and have until March 14th to go before they get to have a real practices.

The excitement for the incoming freshmen will start to wear off and they are getting used to college life. Sometimes we forget just how young some of these kids are, though most are the same age, maturity levels will vary.

Hawthorne is a kid who really seems to have his head on straight. He just seems to have that extra maturity level you do not normally see in freshman.

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Written by MaizeMan, CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Inside Michigan Basketball on BTN

Inside Michigan Basketball on BTN

4:00pm EST. - 4:30pm EST.

DirecTV Channel 610


Ricardo Miller: 2010 Michigan Wolverine Commit

Ricardo Miller

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 203 lbs.
High School: Dr. Phillips High School (Florida)
High School Coach: Dale Salapa
Position: Wide Receiver
Recruiter: Coach Rod Smith
Class: 2010 Recruiting Class (Verbal Commit)

Ricardo Miller:

Overview: He is an excellent athlete who plays a physical game. He is also capable of playing multiple positions and is a very good special teams player. Has very good potential and is a good get for Coach Rod and the Michigan coaching staff.

He is a very physical player who is a nice package of size and speed. Plays hard and is physical. Outstanding quick feet that help at stalk blocking. Shows a nice burst and takes the fight to defenders.

Needs work:
Despite the apparent skills to do so, he has not shown an ability to create in space. He needs to work on his cutting and making his first man miss.

Ricardo Miller Highlight Videos:

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Michigan Men's Basketball on TV Tonight

Michigan Men's Basketball

Purdue at Michigan

9:00pm EST. - 11:00pm EST.

DirecTV Channel 206


Inside Michigan Basketball on FSN Detroit

Inside Michigan Basketball on FSN Detroit

6:30pm EST. - 7:00pm EST.

DirecTV Channel 663

FSN Detroit

Coach Barwis: "Teaching" with Recruits

Coaches Corner: Eleven questions -- Part 2 of 2

Coaches Corner: Eleven questions...

Concerning the DEFENSE...

7) Can the defense prevent Big Plays?

There were so many reasons for the defense giving up big plays, the list would almost fill a book. Take your pick: safety play, terrible angles, collapsed containment, missed tackles, all and more played into this.

Coach Bo used to say, you would never be successful if you give up big plays on defense and turnover the ball on offense. Guess what? Michigan did both. I don't care where you line them up, it all comes down to execution -- last year execution was horrible.

8) Will Michigan improve on fundamentals?

See above, Michigan's fundamentals have been slipping for years. This has to reverse or Michigan will never be a good, let alone elite, defense.

Again, it does not matter where you line them up, or who is running the defense. If you do not tackle, pursue to the ball, take the proper angles, etc, your defense will not dominate.

This is another area we will focus on this spring. If they do not improve, Michigan is in for long season. I'm not sure the offense will be able to score enough to cover up this defense if the fundamentals aren't there. This will not be super-talented defense, but you can still be solid if you are fundamentally sound.

9) Can Michigan develop a consistent pass rush?

The best way to compensate for weak safety, or generally weak secondary, play is to get to the opposing quarterback. Do not allow him to get comfortable in the pocket. Make him get rid of the ball early. Sacks are great, but you can be very effective just by pressuring the quarterback out of his comfort zone.

10) Will Michigan be better against mobile quarterbacks?

Michigan actually played fairly well against most quarterbacks who did not have that escape ability. It was guys like Juice who gave us nightmares. In addition, this is once again not a new problem, and it isn't just a Michigan problem, but Michigan has to figure out way to keep these guys in the pocket and not let them break our defense down.


Yes, the all-caps is intential -- am SCREAMING it!

This team has not had a true take-no-prisoners defensive attitude for much too long! As opponents, we are just too damn nice and laid back. You want to keep the quarterback in the pocket, TEAR HIS DAMN HEAD OFF when he leaves.

You want to slow down those stupid short passes that seem to kill us. START BRUISING THE RIBS of the wide receivers who catch them: wide receivers who are play with a head-on-a-swivel trying to keep tabs on the crazy wide-eyed SOBs in the secondary are less likely to make plays.

If Michigan defense can do just two things, improve fundamentals, and play with this type of intensity and ferocity, we will be much improved.

We want Michigan to be a physically intimidating team again, bad-ass, not nice, guys. I have fond memories of teams literally fearing coming into the Big House, because they knew it was going to be one tough game. It's time the Maize & Blue gave out souvenirs of maize and blue bruises to opposing teams.

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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Wolverine Sports Magazine on FSN Detroit

Wolverine Sports Magazine on FSN Detroit

12:30pm EST. - 1:00pm EST.

DirecTV Channel 663

FSN Detroit

*** Replay at 6:00pm EST - 6:30pm EST.

Denard Robinson: Meet your new Michigan Wolverine

Denard Robinson

Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180 lbs.
High School: Deerfield Beach High School (Florida)
High School Coach Art Taylor
Position: Quarterback
Recruiter: Coach Tony Gibson
Class: 2009 Recruiting Class (Signed)

Denard Robinson:

Overview: He is a super athlete who, if he does not make it at quarterback, can help at other positions. A flat out playmaker who is scary in the open field.

Strengths: He has surprising arm strength for a player his size. He throws the short and middle pass routes very well and does excellent on rolls and boots. Changes direction on a dime, and shows great combination of quick feet, burst, and acceleration.

Needs Work: His less-than-ideal height could cause problems seeing out from the pocket with the passing game and he does not the exceptional arm strength of anideal quarterback.

Denard Robinson Highlight Videos:;_ylt=AlNmrJ42MJfXCaUnptuCO1PxyZ94

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BTN: C.J. Lee interview

Coach Rod: "Pep Talk" with Recruits

Coaches Corner: Eleven questions -- Part 1 of 2

Coaches Corner: Eleven questions...

Concerning the OFFENSE...

1) Has the offensive line peaked or will it continue to improve?

The offensive line improved drastically from spring practice, and then, from game one through to the last game. It was the most improved area on the team.

But has it topped out? Even though it improved, it was not good. Has Coach Frey wringed out as much as possible out of this group? Can Ortmann, Molk, etc… raise their game to new level, or this all they have?

If this team is going to compete on a high level, the offensive line needs to be the most improved group again. In addition, if we have to play with some red-shirt freshmen or true freshmen that will slow the short-term progress, at least early in the season. Michigan's offensive line has to play better than last season or it is probably going to be a dismally long season, regardless of who the quarterback might be.

2) Can Michigan reduce the turnovers?

If Michigan had turned over the ball less last season, they would have gotten six or seven wins with the personnel they had. The Notre Dame, Utah, Toledo, Purdue, and Northwestern, games all had Michigan giving killer turnovers. Ball security has to be a priority. When a team is struggling on both offense and defense, you cannot turn the ball over and win.

3) Will Michigan show a vertical passing game?

After re-watching a few films from last season, I was amazed at how as the season went along the opposing safeties crowded the line of scrimmage more and more. If they are allowed to do so again, it will make life extremely difficult for Michigan. Vertical pass plays are one thing I will personally be watching for at spring ball. Michigan has to stretch the field this year.

4) How much does quarterback play improve?

I'm not going to get into who plays, who we're better off with mess. That will work itself out regardless, for better or worse. Michigan has to have better play at quarterback, period. In this offense, the quarterback has to be a threat, or the backside DE/OLB will eat you alive. He is not accounted for by the offensive line. The quarterback has to read the defense correctly and make the right decision or the offense gets shut down. Throws in the short game need to be on time and accurate. Problems were not 100% the quarterbacks fault, as other areas were sub-par also, but quarterback play has to vastly improve or Michigan is in for a long, long season.

5) Can the offense reduce the number of negative plays?

This is simple: no offense will be very successful if 40% of your plays are for no gain or get negative yardage. This is a team issue with all the team's positions being responsible for the final results.


6) Will team attitude improve?

I can honestly say that the team's attitude last season was probably the worst I've seen in my lifetime. Players pouting, showing lack of effort, giving up...whatever, this has got to change. In addition, it was the defense guilty of this as much as the offense. Hopefully, defections will have taken care of ridding the team of malcontents. Whether on offense or defense, the guys have to accept that Coach Rod is their coach and either get on board or leave.

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DirecTV Subscribers: Today some MPEG2 HD Channels are gone.

On Wednesday February 25th at 6:00am EST., the MPEG2 versions of Showtime (Channel 71), Universal HD (Channel 74) and HDNet Movies (Channel 78) will be removed from broadcast.

These channels are already available in their MPEG4 format -- Showtime (Channel 537), Universal HD (Channel 259), and HDNet Movies (Channel 552).

Since January 8, there have been on-screen crawls on each of the channels telling customers to check their set-up via instructions on viewer channel 77.

*** More to come in the next few months as well.

The MPEG2 HD Channels that are left are HBO (CH 70), ESPN2 (CH. 72), ESPN (CH. 73), TNT (CH. 75), HD Theater (CH. 76), HDNet (CH. 79). Along with the Distant local channels for anybody able to receive them CBS (CH. 80), NBC (CH. 82), ABC (CH. 86) and Fox (CH. 88).

Adrian Witty: Meet your new Michigan Wolverine

Adrian Witty

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 170 lbs.
High School: Deerfield Beach High School (Florida)
High School Coach Art Taylor
Position: Defensive Back
Recruiter: Coach Tony Gibson
Class: 2009 Recruiting Class (Signed)

Adrian Witty:

Overview: This is a tough evaluation. With Witty missing so much time with injuries, there is limited film available on him. Of all the new Michigan recruits, he is the toughest to call: he could be very pleasant surprise or a total bust. At this point, it's very hard to tell.

Strengths: He has good size for a defensive back. He's an aggressive defender who plays very hard. He shows good quickness and plays a physical game. Looks like he might have some quickness to him, as well.

Needs Work: His tackling is average, and he has a tendency to overrun plays and take poor angles. His hands need major work. We think he is an average player at best. We watched as much film on him as possible and have only seen one or two solid tackles, and no good hits. He is consistently out of position when tackling and either reaching back, arm tackling, or grabbing jerseys. He shows some quickness, but no real burst or explosion, and no extra gear at all. He has trouble catching a freaking cold (poor hands). This might be a situation where the kid was hurt and they are counting on him improving a lot.

His recruitment was most likely a two-for-one deal, with Denard Robinson being THE ONE. We have no problem with that, especially with all the scholarships available that late in the recruiting cycle. We hope he surprises us and becomes a contributor on defense in a couple of years, because we lack depth right now. He can always help out on special teams.

Adrian Witty Highlight Videos:

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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Maibag question: Cornerback safety responsibilty

Hi guys, great site!!

The cornerback and safety positions have always baffled me a bit. They both come up to stop the run, they both cover receivers, so what are the differences? What makes a good cornerback or safety? Are they interchangeable in times of low recruitment or injuries? What do coaches look for when recruiting? Please tell me about these positions.




Thanks for the comment and questions.

Much depends on your system: in Ohio State's zone blitz, the safeties and cornerbacks are interchangeable in many packages. Differences arise from what you ask each to do.

In man, or three-deep zone, coverages you are asking the cornerbacks to cover the fastest, and arguably the best, athletes on the field. The free safety will be responsible for either #2 to the wide side, or the area between the hashes. The strong safety will be responsible for #2 to the short side, or flat coverage in many zone coverages.

Therefore, the skills needed to play are different:

Cornerbacks need to be faster and must able to support in flats -- both in running and passing plays. The free safety will generally not have line of scrimmage responsibility, so he is not taking on the pulling offensive linemen nor the lead fullbacks, frequent cornerback assignments.

The strong safety can be used as a fourth linebacker in the box, and be primarily run-stoppers. Therefore, they need to be bigger and stronger and able to handle tight ends and full backs.

When you get to Cover 2 this changes. In this scheme, the cornerbacks are responsible for the flats, so must be strong enough to funnel wide receivers into the middle of field. They must defend the boundary and allow wide receivers to release outside. Safeties need to have the speed to cover half the field. In this scheme, speed and coverage skills are essential in safeties.

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Michigan Football Tidbits: Odds and ends

Michigan Football Tidbits: Odds and ends

1) Kenny Demens is a player who has recently been placed on the "player-on-the-rise" list. Under Barwis, there is really no way any player can just go through the motions, but still, there are players who are more driven than others and therefore get a reputation of being an extra-hard worker.

Demens has impressed everyone, and with his strong freshmen year on the scout team is now in a position to be, at the very least, on the two-deep, with an outside shot of being in the starting line-up. This is an educated guess because of the uncertainties surrounding the new defensive coordinator and schemes he will choose to run, but Demens offers something we need -- toughness and quickness at inside linebacker.

2) There has been a Sagesse sighting, and it looks like he finally will participate fully in spring practices this year. There has never been a question on Sagesse's talent. Its always been a question of him getting healthy enough to allow himself to get in top shape. Maybe, just maybe, this is his year.

3) Has everyone actually put together a possible two-deep going into 2009. Do this -- just for fun -- put a two-deep together based on experience and what you know coming off 2008. Then put a two-deep together based on the info you have received based on who are the most talented. When you do, we think you will be shocked to see just how young the 2009 Michigan team is going to be.

Probably the youngest team Michigan has ever had. The good news is that the future looks bright --- especially if the quarterbacks are as good as advertised. The bad news is that 2009 could be tough to watch because of the inexperience.

4) We cannot remember going into a spring with so many unanswered questions. In the past -- especially in the Carr era -- you could go to spring practice and know exactly who 90% of starters were going to be, even though they used to claim spring was for competition -- it rarely happened.

Even last year, under Coach Rod, it was pretty obvious after watching a couple practices who was going to start and that our depth was terrible. The gap between first and second teams was painfully noticeable. This year, there could be someone starting one practice and not be in the two-deep the next.

5) Big Will, of course, has already been singled out as the incoming freshmen (those already on campus) as having the most athletic talent for his size.

Surprisingly, another name who Barwis has singled out is Mike Jones, commenting on his vertical jump. Mike Jones -- seems strange that of all the incoming players, he had probably the most disappointing senior year in high school. The question is why? Lack of interest, nagging injury, played out of position? Don't know, but his stock sure fell. It's a good sign that his current performance in early workouts show a vastly improved player.

6) Roh is an interesting player to watch next fall. He has the reputation of being a tireless worker and coaches think he may show up in Ann Arbor around 250 lbs.

Coach Rod, of course, wants all the incoming freshmen to be in Ann Arbor to enroll in summer school and go through the entire summer workout. Roh, in a normal year, would be a definite candidate to red-shirt, but he offers something Michigan may really need next fall -- a pass-rushing defensive end.

Right now, we have Graham, and all of the other potential defensive ends, who are better more run-stopping types. So could Roh be a specialized type of contributor next year?

7) We are constantly asked about Helmuth. Not much to report, except he has moved to defensive tackle and, although very small for the position, he seems to really enjoys the position change.

Not sure how much he will play (he reminds us of a kid like Criswell, who does everything asked of him, the ultimate team guy. You need kids like this on the team.)

8) Every recruit was recruited by Magee, Smith , Gibson, Frey, and Dews. All Coach Rod guys. Even Schofield who could be put in Shafer's camp was recruited by Frey. Notice no Jackson, no Hopson and no Tall recruits.

Do not like wishing life away, but March 14 (first day of spring practice) cannot get here fast enough.

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Written by MaizeMan, CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Coach Rod: "In the Locker Room" with Recruits

Je'Ron Stokes: Meet your new Michigan Wolverine

Je'Ron Stokes

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 178 lbs.
High School: Philadelphia Northeast (Pennsylvania)
High School Coach Mel Hinton
Position: Wide Receiver
Recruiter: Coach Tony Dews
Class: 2009 Recruiting Class (Signed)

Je'Ron Stokes:

Overview: A silky smooth and fluid, excellent overall athlete. Despite his less-than -deal size, he plays a very physical game. He's one aggressive football player.

Video Posted from Je'Ron's Gallery on

Strength: He has super quick feet and shows exceptional skill changing directions. He makes up for not being true "burner" with excellent burst and acceleration out of his cuts. He has soft hands as well.

Needs Work: He will need to add some strength and weight to help against press coverage, so Barwis will have to work his mojo on this one. Stokes also needs to work on the sharpness of cuts when running routes.

Je'Ron Stokes Highlight Videos:

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Mailbag question: future defensive prospects?


I would like to further the conversation we were having about defense in the commentary on the Greg Robinson post. I had a few more questions; perhaps you can enlighten me a bit.

First off, as we discussed, the last two recruiting classes have been heavily offense-based. Though Coach Rod had a highly ranked defense at West Virginia, the fact stands that he is widely considered an offensively minded coach (whereas Coach Carr came from a more defensive background -- as hilarious as that might sound). One glaring position of need, I think, is at the middle linebacker spot.

My question to you is, who are the big prospects that we can go out and get on defense for the next recruiting class? What is being done to address the obvious need at linebacker? Do you think Coach Robinson is going to provide a much needed boost to our defense in recruiting (I understand game play and philosophy is a wait-and-see approach)? Will the tradition of great, tough Michigan defenses of the past fall by the wayside under Coach Rod?




Thanks for the question.

We hope that Michigan gets back to being an intimidating defensive team. We believe this is best way to build a football program.

Coach Rod has a different approach that has been very successful for him. We hope it works here at Michigan. Most of the names being mentioned as early Michigan offers and leans are defensive backs and skilled position players.

We are not saying that Michigan is only recruiting defensive backs and speed positions. Just that at this time the emphasis appears to be on skilled position players. Some of those names on defense that we have been hearing about is Marvin Robinson who has visited Michigan for a summer camp the old regime offered him. Along with Ohio safety Latwan Anderson from St. Edwards.

You have cornerbacks Lo Wood from Apoka, FL who is Gallon's teammate and Dior Mathis who comes from Detroit Cass Tech program.

They seem to be hitting defensive ends early this year and that is a good thing. That was the one thing we had a problem with last year with the late start. These type of positions do not grow on trees and a lot harder to find than say slot guys that we believe are a dime a dozen.

William Gholston (Detroit--Southeastern), Derrick Bryant (Columbus--Brookhaven), and Darryl Baldwin (Solon, OH) are good prospects to get a jump on.

One name that pops up in particular, who we like at middle linebacker, is Caleb Lavey from Celina, TX. His father is a Michigan alumni and was the equipment manager at Michigan. An outside linebacker we like is Jordan Hicks (Lakota West) in Ohio.

We will have a better idea about potential recruits after some of the spring combines and camps happen. Right now it's too early to accurately determine if a kid really likes your program or not. A lot of fans / posters get excited and locked in on a kid just because his name is mentioned or the kid says he likes their school.

The number one way we think Coach Robinson can help Michigan recruiting is to establish a scheme and stick to it. Players want to know where they can fit into a program. Ambiguity within a football program is a killer when recruiting top talent.

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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Michigan Football Tidbits: Position Group -- Safeties -- Part 3 of 3

Michigan Football Tidbits: Position Group -- Safeties -- Part 3 of 3

The biggest question, and mystery, concerning the Michigan football team is why Michigan cannot, either recruit quality safeties or get the safeties to perform.

The number of big plays in recent years (especially on running plays) against our defense can almost exclusively be blamed on our safety play. We are sure there will be a major focus on this position by the new defensive coordinator Coach Robinson.

A couple of notes:

1) With our depth concerns, it is possible that all of the previous players mentioned in the "Safety Tidbits" could play there, at least for one year.

2) We're pretty sure that in 2010, recruiting safeties will be high on the list of priorities.

3) Having small numbers at safety also hurts special teams. In addition, of the six potential safeties listed, four of them are either redshirt- or true freshman.

4) The only other player I can see playing safety is Floyd.

We will get a better handle on things after we see spring practices. Therefore, as always, we reserve the right to change our opinions.

With new defensive coordinator Coach Robinson, it is much more difficult to predict where kids will end up. Based on just athletic ability and early workouts, this looks ,at least initially, to be the way they will start.

Let's see what happens in spring. Coach Rod, just like Coach Carr, allows every player to start out where the player's want -- and Jones wants to try safety. It is easy to say a certain kid would be a better linebacker (Jones, Bell, Smith, Williams, etc), but it is easier to have a safety move to linebacker in passing situations such as in a dime packages.

Could someone like Warren move to safety? Not a total impossibility, but the more likely scenario would be Turner getting a shot at safety. They really want to try to get him on the field somewhere.

This spring, the onus is on the defense, which will hinge on safety play more than anything else.

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Written by MaizeMan, CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Quinton Washington: Meet your new Michigan Wolverine

Quinton Washington

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 315 lbs.
High School: Timberland (South Carolina)
High School Coach Art Craig
Position: Offensive Line
Recruiter: Coach Tony Gibson
Class: 2009 Recruiting Class (Signed)

Quinton Washington:

Overview: He is a big, strong, physical interior offensive lineman, who plays the game with a wonderfully nasty edge. He moves very well for his size and his outstanding potential.

Video Posted from Quinton's Gallery on

Strengths: He has very quick feet that allows him to step and cover defenders. He uses his legs to drive defenders five yards off the line of scrimmage and then buries them. Gets to the second level and shows ability to pull and lead. His pad level is very good coming out of his stance. This kid just crushes defenders.

Needs work: He need work on pass protection, and has not shown much "punch" on film.

Quinton Washington Highlight Videos:

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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mailbag question: Can you talk about the defensive position groups?

Please post an explanation of something I have been confused about:

It seems like if I am small, then I am a cornerback. If I grow, then I become a safety. If I grow more, I am moved to OLB. If I grow more, then I move to DE. If I grow more, then I move to DT. Noticeably missing is MLB. Who are these guys? Can you describe a little bit about each position group.




Thanks for the question.

CBs (cornerbacks) are generally some of fastest defenders. You can play either man or zone coverage with them. In zone, there are a number of different schemes.

Safeties: In general, there are two different positions --SS (strong safety) and FS (free safety).

In Cover 3, or 3-deep coverage, your FS is sometimes called the" centerfielder" of the defense. His main task is to keep 21 players in front of him. He is the last line of defense, and prevents big plays both on run and pass plays.

The SS can also be used as a fourth Linebacker in many schemes. When you hear that the defense is adding an 8th man to the box, generally the SS will be crowding the line of scrimmage.

In Cover 2, both safeties will have similar responsibilities. They both are responsible for covering 1/2 the field in the passing game. SS can line up either by strength of formation, or on the wide side of field.

The OLBs (outside Linebackers) are usually categorized in one of two ways: either WLB (weak-side, "Will," or quick-side linebacker, where you use either strength of formation, or short side of field to define weak or quick side) or SLB (strong-side or "Sam" who will be found opposite the WLB, and use the opposite rule to line up go either to wide side, or strength of formation.)

The MLB (middle linebacker) lines up, as name indicates, directly in the middle over the offensive center. In some defenses -- the 4-2 and 3-4 -- you use two ILBs (inside linebackers).

DTs (defensive tackles): Some teams will, in a 4-3 defense, use one DT and one NT (nose tackle) Others will use two DTs. It really does not matter. It is where you line them up, and the techniques used by them that truly counts.

DEs (defensive ends): Most defenses will use two DEs. You can line them up by side -- right DE and Left DE -- or you can flip them, or switch sides similar to the outside LB's.

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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

BTN: Michigan Hockey Highlights against Ohio State from Saturday

Michigan Football Tidbits: Position Group -- Safeties -- Part 2 of 3

Michigan Football Tidbits: Position Group -- Safeties -- Part 2 of 3


This is a stretch, and it is simply speculation, but one thing Turner can do is be effective in pass coverage. In addition, he has the size and speed to play either cornerback or safety.

Hypothetically, let us say S. Brown struggles again early next year. In addition, let us assume B. Smith is a starter. That leaves Michigan with a choice of either play Williams (which they probably will early on) or move Turner to safety.

Our overall depth is so much better at cornerback that it is possible Turner, because of his ability, is asked to fill in at safety. Of all the other possibilities, this makes the most sense to me. They like Turner a lot and want him on the field.


While Bell played mostly linebacker in the all-star game, he thinks, at least early on, he is going to get a shot at safety. But between Jones and Bel,l right now Bell may be the Williams of a year ago and get some snaps at practice at outside linebacker.

He's nother kid who is going to gain a lot of weight in the next couple of years, so his position is hard to project right now. Bell's strength is his ability to play in pass coverage, so it's possible the competition between Bell and Jones will determine who moves to linebacker.


He has made a good first impression and early analysis indicates he is a more athletic Mike Williams. He is a very smart kid, but the big question is, will his knee hold up or does he need more time? So far, he is going through most of the drills, so expectations are he will play.

Besides S. Brown at safety, Vlad is probably the player who shows the type of speed that classifies him as a "true safety". He could probably play either position. Good pick-up by Michigan. Versatile kids like Vlad will probably see game time early on.


He is going to start the spring at safety. A big kid who is more of a physical player, strong safety seems to be his position, as of now. This means he will compete directly against B. Smith. We sure need depth here, and we also need some of our safety prospects to contribute on special teams. Barwis, by the way, likes Jones's size and athletic ability. He thinks Jones is going to develop into a very good athlete with the the big question being where he will eventually end up.

Jones may well end up at linebacker, but he was told he would also go through drills with the safeties in spring. However, if Vlad is healthy enough, and if they move Turner for next year to safety, and if Williams plays safety full time, and if it is decided Bell is a better safety prospect than Jones, then I think Jones moves.

Does it make sense to move both Bell and Jones? In either case, Jones, to me, seems like a redshirt candidate. That gives the staff a year to determine the best position for him.

Jones may be working with the linebacker group. Barwis puts kids in groups during workouts, but last summer B. Smith worked out with the linebacker group too.
We're not saying he won't play linebacker, we just think it will not be decided until spring or maybe after.

Note: Michigan has so many hybrid safety / linebacker type players (B. Smith, Jones, Bell, Williams, etc.) that some of them will have to stay at safety. Jones may be the one.

>>> (Tomorrow we will be talking about Position Group -- Safeties -- Part 3 of 3. Notes, questions and what will Coach Robinson do.)

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Written by MaizeMan, CoachBt and ErocWolverine

BTN: Michigan Hockey Highlights against Ohio State from Friday

Michigan Men's Basketball on BTN:

Michigan Men's Basketball

Michigan at Iowa

5:00pm EST. - 7:00pm EST.

DirecTV Channel 610


BTN: Michigan Women's Basketball Highlights against Michigan State

Will Campbell: Meet your new Michigan Wolverine

Will Campbell

Height: 6'5"
Weight: 317 lbs.
High School: Cass Tech (Michigan)
High School Coach Thomas Wilcher
Position: Defensive Line
Recruiter: Coach Tony Dews
Class: 2009 Recruiting Class (Signed and Enrolled)

Will Campbell:

Overview: Big Will definitely passes the sight test. He does not appear too being carrying any extra baggage around the middle that many high school linemen do. He has the ability to play on either side of ball. However, people who can play on the defensive line are at a premium. He fits into Michigan's new defense at either defensive tackle position in the 4-3. He could play either nose tackle or strong side defensive end in 3-4 defenses.

William Campbell Interview

Strengths: Big Will shows a nasty physical side to his game. He hits hard and is not scared to mix it up. Very quick off the ball, when he plays low with leverage almost impossible to move. One of the best bull rushes I have seen from a high school defensive tackles. Will has the skills to be an elite defender.

ScoutTV: WIlliam Campbell

Needs Work: He is definitely raw and needs to work on his technique. He relies too much on his bull rush and needs to start working on "swim" and other speed-rush moves. His hand control needs work -- he allows offensive linemen to get their hands inside and does not shed them well yet. He also needs to be more consistent with playing low.

Will Campbell Highlight Videos:

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