Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mailbag question: Warren on special teams scares me

Mailbag question: Warren on special teams scares me

I see that Donovan Warren is among the players working as a punt returner in practice. Given our lack of depth at cornerback (and safety), doesn't it seem like a mistake to even consider using Warren in that role? With all of the small, shifty, guys on the team, there should be several other guys who can do that. If Warren were to get injured, the impact on the season could potentially be devastating.



Thanks for the question.

The number one necessary skill for a punt returner is catching the ball and D. Warren is very good at catching punts.

This spring, the only player who consistently caught punts was G. Mathews. So even if he acts as only a back up, we can 100% understand giving Warren reps in practice.

The bigger issue with us is the attitude of not using starters for special teams. In our opinion "saving" players, or saying they are too important for special teams, is a terrible philosophy. Special teams are such a vital part of the game, some ancient football theorists say up to 1/3 of the game, and not putting your best out there is the same as not giving a full effort for winning.

Coaching out of fear is a losing proposition. Remember, three of Michigan 's greatest players, C. Woodson, D. Howard, and AC were special teams stars.

Thanks for stopping by Go Blue Michigan Wolverine
If you have any questions please E-Mail

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine


JB said...

I too have concerns with Warren handling punts. Michigan has little depth behind the starting DB's and the possibility of losing Warren so we can avg. 8 yards per punt return instead of 5 is not sufficient reasoning for him to be catching punts. I think in years past the 5'10" 4.4 guy was more of an anomaly and depth was sufficient so Michigan was more apt to have a high profile punt man that was a significant starter. Now we have an entire team of 5’10” 4.4 guys so I think a change in philosophy may be warranted. It hopefully keeps these FL kids from getting homesick as they contribute on special teams while they are waiting for their opportunity to become a starter. I would also think that it would allow the special team’s ninjas more reps practicing and fine tuning their ability and hands, then if a starter is put in the same spot.

Your blog brings some great additional info that you don’t find any other place so thank you, and good day.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you two: coaching out of fear IS a losing proposition. From my experience playing sports, the times you start playing scared or safe is the times you get hurt -- some sort of Murphy's Law, I think. If you think you'll get hurt, you will.

As you mention, Woodson, Howard, and AC played special teams and did pretty well.

Get the best players out on the field, get 'em to play with no fear, and good things will happen.

Go Blue!

Anonymous said...

coaching out of fear is one thing, coaching to survive is another. UM has zero depth on defense. If UM loses a single starter, this team is toast. I would rather see Cone returning punts before Warren. IMFHO.

coachbt said...

How many games did UM lose last season because of poor special teams play? Id DWarren any more important to 2009 UM than Woodson was to 1997. Would UM won the NC without Woodson playing on special teams? Florida State won many a game using guys like Deon Sanders and Terrell Buckley on special teams.

Anonymous said...

yeah, but the '97 defense was outstanding all around.

Anonymous said...

Love the blog. I agree that Special Teams is a HUGE part of the game. Joe Gibbs always emphasized special teams in his first stint with the Redskins when he went to 4 SBs and won 3 in a 10 year span.

But, I gotta respectfully disagree with you on this. As JB said we have more of the types of athletes to handle this role now. Our depth is a major concern which you have raised and I think is very valid. If depth was not a concern as it wasn't at FSU during Bowdens 13 year run of top 4 or better finishes, I would have no qualms.

Ask the NY Giants if they think having Jason Sehorn return kicks was a good idea.

Love the blog... Thanks and keep up the phenomenal work!

ErocWolverine said...

Anonymous: Agree about losing players such as Sehorn from the Giants, but also remember the players just like that who have turned games around and won games on their own.

Remember the "Rocket" and the Michigan game, Woodson and the Ohio State punt return, Desmond and the Ohio State punt return. Devin Hester who changes how team actually play because of being worried of punting to him.

Also agree that Michigan has a lot of other weapons than Warren to do kick return and punt return, but with all the problem Michigan had last year with special teams they need to fix the problems and a lot of times coaches do not like to throw freshmen back there right away if they do not have to.

The coaches have to trust those guys and the coaches do not know how a player will react in a new situation until they are out there and sometimes being in front of 110,000 people and on national tv gets to these young players.

So the argument will continue on and on and frankly nobody is wrong. It is an opinion and depends on how you feel about it.

For every player that gets hurt on special teams, that same player could just as easily get hurt on the practice field, in the game playing their normal position you have probably have ten times as many players that turn a game around because of them being the best out there for your team.

That is why college coaches are making 2.5 mil to make those decisions.

coachbt said...

Yes the 97 defense had excellent overall talent. but the star, difference maker was CWoodson. His ability to basically takeaway 1/2 the field allowed UMs defense to cover up other problems.

GBMWolverine Counter

Total Pageviews