Michigan Football Tidbits: Spring Thoughts
Brandon Smith: Decision has been made that Smith will move to linebacker. Not "hybrid" linebacker--linebacker. He will be working out with Mouton, Fitzgerald, Ezeh, and Demens this fall. Not sure how Brandon feels about this, but it looks like a done deal. You have to think this is a transition for the kid and it might take awhile for him to adjust. Knowing that Woolfolk and Vlad both moved ahead of him might help his decision to accept the new position.
Regarding why some defensive players are moved: Coaches will tell you that defensive players are the hardest to judge in high school. Unless a kid has a true position such as a defensive end or if he is a true linebacker, most of the time high school coaches put their best athletes at safety, and most high school teams defend against predominantly running teams.
B. Smith is a great athlete, but there have always been questions about whether he could adjust to defending the more sophisticated passing games in college. If, and of course this is a big if, B. Smith dedicates himself to Barwis, there is no telling just how good he can be. He tackles very well and he is physical. We think he will do just fine at linebacker.
Rocko Khoury: He was with the second team at offensive center. Coach Rod has mentioned him several times as one of the offensive linemen who has had a good spring. Khoury seems to be one of those kids who, as Barwis likes to say, "Loves football."
Vlad Emilien: Played with second group today while Williams played with the first team. Vlad says he is about 85%. Do not worry too much about Vlad, he will be a player.
Field Goal Kicking: Kicking looked horrible during the spring scrimmage. We gave them major props last week, as last Saturday they made every field goal. Coach Rod commented how he was impressed with Olesnavage's ability to get the ball up quickly, but he had a bad day for the public scrimmage. It could have been nervousness caused by his first taste of kicking inside Michigan Stadium along with 50,000 fans looking on, although it might be something that will help him this fall. Remember as well, Michigan has Brendan Gibbons coming in this summer, and he might be in the thick of the battle for the position judging by Saturday's kicking game's performance.
Now we hope everyone understands why MaizeMan, CoachBt and ErocWolverine have been harping on defensive recruiting. We know coaches realize the situation, but sometimes it is just hard not to offer a kid that has so much ability. I am sure they will start hitting defensive recruiting hard. I just hope they get top rated kids---because we need them badly.
Recruiting: Would keep an eye on Dior Mathis. I think he may be one who will eventually commit, especially the way many of the recruits were talking at the spring scrimmage. Anyone who was there Saturday had to see our lack of depth at defensive back, and the recruits there were probably told about it several times as well. Remember, we look good right now with the cornerback from Pennsylvania, Cullen Christian. He could also play safety. We look good with Lo Wood as well, so our cornerback recruiting looks to be improving so far. Fully expect Michigan to sign at least five, maybe six defensive backs, and with Brandon Smith moving to linebacker, Marvin Robinson will get his shot at safety. If, of course, he signs with Michigan.
Defense has a long way to go, but consider these few things.
1) This was mostly the first team offense against the second team defense, and they played a lot of new kids and walk-ons on the second group.
2) We have a ton of kids who are going to be playing regularly for their first time and most are very young and inexperienced.
3) They get another summer with Barwis (can only help).
4) This is the third year in a row kids have had to learn a new system.
5) Recruiting will get better on defense.
Therefore, while offense hit bottom last year with the 109th total offense ranking, the improvement is obvious. Conversely, the defense hit bottom this spring; it will only go up from here.
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Written by MaizeMan and ErocWolverine