Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mailbag question: WOW our defense is bad


Mailbag question: WOW our defense is bad

WOW is our defense this bad or did the offense not help the defense (like last year).

Seems like we are giving up a lot of yards this year and yesterday we gave up some big plays, a lot of points, and also seems like bad tackling and bad pursuit angles has returned?

Any thoughts? I know you guys have tried to warn people about this defense.

Gregory G.

--------------------------

Thanks for the question.

The defense has played about like we expected. They have shown some improvement under Coach Robinson's guidance. The UM defense is just not as talented or as deep as necessary to be more than average.

This is why we have been hounding the efforts of getting more talent on the defensive side of the ball for almost two years now. We started that debate during the 2008 spring clinic we attended, when so many people were telling us we were wrong and were (even as a collection of ardent life-long UM football supporters) haters. Now everybody is saying, "we need defensive recruits," now.

Still all of us (readers and contributors) must give some props. Even with the big plays and the glut of yardage given up, the defense essentially won the game by holding the Hoosiers to field goals after sudden changes of possession and Michigan punts caused by the Michigan offense. The resulting damage control was the key to Michigan 's victory. And given one last opportunity to score Indiana was stopped by the defense again.

People will complain about the yards given up along with the amount of points scored by Indiana. But the defense for the most part except for Boo Boo's long pass play and the long run, where the defense was not set and not in the right spots, played fairly well.

Look at it this way the defense held Indiana to a lot of field goals attempts (the kicker was 4-5) and the result could have easily been touchdowns, especially with some of those turnovers the offense had that resulted in a very short field. But the defense played tough when it needed to and helped Michigan get the win.

In our opinion the offense looked more out of sink then the defense did Saturday, and at times it seemed like the offense went away from what was working.

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

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine


Going back to Spring Practices and what we saw -- Part 4


With all the debate about certain positions, certain sides of the ball and also recruiting in the past with what we have said I thought it would be interesting to bring some of our past articles back to life.

Here are a few spring practice comments and also e-mail questions we got during the spring practices. Thought it would be fun to bring them up again so people can remember what we said back then. It seems like most of our e-mails revolve around the defense and recruiting. So here are a few e-mails to share.

----------------------------
4/26/2009

Hey dude,

Apparently, Coach Rod and company have done a good job recruiting for our secondary. However, I am almost beginning to believe that he does not think that big strong guys that play in the trenches and are the heart and soul of any football team are worth anything.

It almost seems as though he wants to make everyone on our defense a linebacker, including even his safety recruits. I know that you have mentioned on your blog that many high school recruits usually play safety and have to be moved once they are in college, but seriously, it is getting a little ridiculous. We have a major surplus of linebackers now, when what we really need are safeties and d-linemen.

Like I said, they have done a pretty good job recruiting for the secondary now, but I'm still extremely concerned about our d-line. So my question is, where do we stand with our major d-line recruits? Are we in pretty good shape with guys like Gholston (who apparently Coach Rod is also thinking about for linebacker) and Gabe King, or are we going to end up just recruiting a couple three star d-linemen?

-Nate

----------------------------------

Thanks for the question.

First off, we are concerned about defensive depth at every position for this season. Last recruiting season our defense took several hits, especially when it was obvious that Coach Shafer was not going to be retained, and then we had a period where recruits did not know what or who was going to be coaching the defense. Then throw in the distance factor for some of these recruits, which only made things worse. The 2010 recruiting year needs to bring kids in on defense that can play right away or at least bring better depth than what we have right now.

In fact, Michigan 2009 might be thinnest at safety and there were only three scholarship cornerbacks playing this spring. If people watched the spring game and noticed all the new players that just came in, or all the walk-ons in the second group, they'd have not trouble noticing how thin this defense is right now. Health will be a primary concern this season.

As for defensive line recruiting, Michigan is actively involved with a few quality defensive ends such as Easley from New York and Bryant from Ohio; we have a shot with them.

Defensive Tackles are a different matter. We are not hearing about many defensive tackles at this time. This could change in a hurry, though. It is looking like Michigan is transitioning from a big strong defense to more of a smaller, quicker, more athletic defense.

GBMW: Grade Card -- Indiana versus Michigan


THE GRADE CARD- IU VERSUS MICHIGAN

Some assignments are easy for instructors to grade, namely a 50 question multiple-choice test that can even be scanned, or a math test where there is one and only one answer. Some assignments take great time and precision to grade, such as the open ended, higher- level assignments typical of graduate work. The IU game was not easy to grade collectively, as things ebbed and flowed, and ebbed and flowed some more. I would not be surprised if the coaches had difficulty grading out the players.

So, without the precision of a math test here are the grades.

Grading scale:

A- Outstanding accomplishment in this area, a factor that decided the outcome or controlled the destiny of the game.

B- A solid effort marked by strong contribution, clearly on the positive side.

C- A wash, the unit broke even with the opponent.

D- The opponent clearly held an advantage that impacted the game.

F- The unit essentially made it possible for the opponent to win, in the entirety of the game, not just a selected play, a clear mismatch that was repeatedly exploited by the opposition.

Offensive Line- B

This group was getting the job done much of the day and got the job done when it counted. Michigan pounded the ball in the fourth quarter when everyone on both sides knew what was coming. Tate was rushed severely at times. But on the money plays the guys got it done. Should the sins of the one (center snaps) count among the sins of the many? There were some penalties on the O-line that contributed to the near suicide of the Michigan offense in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. Ortmann, who is as big as a house, was called for not being within 1 yard of the ball and therefore in the backfield. These guys are big, and therefore this is one of my least favorite rules in football, ticky-tacky, period. This call started the offensive funk by negating a long out pass. This line is good, we will find out how good in the next several weeks.

Quarterbacks-B

Moose was trying to get cute and get an offsides call by snapping it early now and then. But the qb’s frequently had their heads way out of position to see the ball. At other times the snaps were not that bad and better focus should have eliminated one or two mess-ups. Unlike the snap under center, where a team loses 1 yard or so, a mis-snap here pretty much kills a drive for a spread team. Tate tried to play Superman, sometimes he was successful and sometimes he was not. Numerous times he was trying to make plays out of absolutely nothing in a dangerous environ, and finally the interception came after a couple of near mistakes. Denard, showed again that he should have a danger label attached to his forehead. Get him as strong as Carlos next year and some of those near misses will not be misses. Tate just loves to compete and win, this guy loves to play. He has the attitude all qb’s should have. But the freshman brain will have to advance in decision-making. Big plays count for plenty and the big plays boosted a C to a B. The coachingstaff knows what it has in both qb’s and is not guilty of micromanaging, but instead letting the talent do its thing.

Receivers- B-

I was very glad to see Webb haul a big one in after previously dropping two big passes (1 EMU, 1 IU). I think all the guy needs is confidence. The lateral blocking was decent and Carlos got the crack he needed twice. Odoms also receives credit for a big play, obviously, and Grady, while not having the wow effect, is not hurting this team in any manner whatsoever.

Defense- the defense saved the day (to be repeated later)

Defensive Line- C

Unfortunately, this group got kicked around, more than a little. Teams know what UM can and cannot do with every group of Michigan defenders. It is a matter of what valves do the coaches choose to close to stopped the leaking. Again, this group came up with a few big plays providing enough contributions to help eek out the win. Van Bergen, I believe, played very well. He needs to with the double teaming going on regarding his fellow linemen. Indiana’s line was pretty well coordinated and far from inferior. But UM will see o-lines this good or better most of the remaining games.

Linebackers- C-

Stevie Brown is playing at an all-conference level. Obi and Jonas were isolated in the short passing game and sliced up. These guys had to chase crosses or sit downs that had too much time to develop. The pass rush is the answer.

Defensive Backs- C-

This grade may be kind. One back got pulled and another grabbed a few times with no calls; fortunate, very fortunate. There is enough blame to go around for the 85 yard run to the boundary side. But the safeties are fill and contain. No one caught the IU running back with two safeties and an opposite side corner pursuing. This is a bad sign. Again, the flags were a little bizarre, but that is life on the island.

Special Teams- B

The crack that was close to forming on kickoff coverage finally emerged on a long return. The kickoff-return team must do better or the big one is just a matter of time. Zoltan was Zoltan and every other part of special teams was solid. Stonum is the answer at kick returner. Every time he returns a ball, it is like Michigan getting a free first down. That adds up over the game.

Coaching- A

I thought this team was very prepared on offense and the fact of the matter is Coach Robinson is working with what he has on board. There are corrections that can be made, but there are also corrections that can be made only with experience and more athletic/bigger players. I am agreeing with the play calling, which means little since any offense that can gain 400 yards and score 36 points while attempting suicide for two quarters is pretty good. Coach Rob saved his best for last again by dialing up the right calls at the right time.

Intangibles-B
There was no panic and there are players on the team who relish the opportunity for glory. This is good. Michigan earned the points on the last two drives and a skinny freshman took the team on his shoulders and gladly made it happen. And another not so skinny freshman stepped right in and showed he is a force waiting to be unleashed. The defense saved the day by limiting the points IU got on the great opportunities presented by Michigan offensive misfires. The stats looked ugly but the team won. Last year, UM would have lost this game by 10-14 points.

Pass/fail option = pass

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

Written by Doc4Blu


Going back to Spring Practices and what we saw -- Part 3


With all the debate about certain positions, certain sides of the ball and also recruiting in the past with what we have said I thought it would be interesting to bring some of our past articles back to life.

Here are a few spring practice comments and also e-mail questions we got during the spring practices. Thought it would be fun to bring them up again so people can remember what we said back then. It seems like most of our e-mails revolve around the defense and recruiting. So here are a few e-mails to share.

-------------------------
4/24/09

Hey Guys,

Love the blog and the spring tidbits.

I have a question regarding the depth of our defense so far:

If Michigan is sitting on three more scholarships, why not use them on some more bodies for the defense, or perhaps mining some of the JUCO talent for another body to play DT, NT, or DE or perhaps, even LB?

In your opinion, will the defense be at all improved, or are we going to be completely dependent on a developing offense?

Best,

Rob
DIEHARDUMGUY

-------------------------------------------

Thanks for the question and comments.

We can sum up our feelings about the defense in one word: Frightening.

We are counting on so many players with limited experience, and need so many young players to step up and play big roles; the defense is a huge question mark.

There is very little depth, and most of the depth will be from untested true freshmen or sophomores. There were times when Michigan had four or more walk-ons with the second group.

If the defense can stay healthy they have a chance to be okay. One thing to keep in mind is it is a very small defense. It is also a much quicker, more athletic defense. What concerns us is when Michigan plays a team that lines up in a power formation and starts hammering them between the offensive tackles such as Wisconsin, or even like Ohio State did at times last year.

As for the offense, they looked good last week in the coach’s clinic. Just like in the spring scrimmage, Michigan practiced with the first group offense vs. second group defense (keep that in mind when assessing performance).

As far as bringing in a Juco kid right now, the biggest problem is getting him into Michigan, which is the tough because most of the kid's classes will not transfer. Usually the only time a kid can be a Juco and transfer in is if he went that route because he was not athletically ready for college and went Juco instead of the prep school route.

Mailbag question: Did not realize how important the center was


Mailbag question: Did not realize how important the center was

WOW, the center position is in trouble. Did not realize how important this position is and how you never talk about it until something goes wrong.

Were all the bad snaps the center’s fault or did the quarterbacks do something wrong.

Dave D.

----------------------------

Thanks for the question.

A former major college quarterbacks coach once told me that the quarterback and the offensive center can share any blame for a bad exchange.

Anytime a team is forced to change part of the exchange there is a possibility of problems. There were snaps yesterday that were not good, there were others where the quarterback either took his eye off the ball, or started running before he had the ball.

Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson both experienced snap difficulties on Saturday.

It is part of the growing process. With reps and experience we expect the problem to be fixed.

Now everyone can appreciate the consistency and skill of David Molk. But it is up to Moos to hold down the fort for a few weeks.

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

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine


Going back to Spring Practices and what we saw -- Part 2


With all the debate about certain positions, certain sides of the ball and also recruiting in the past with what we have said I thought it would be interesting to bring some of our past articles back to life.

Here are a few spring practice comments and also e-mail questions we got during the spring practices. Thought it would be fun to bring them up again so people can remember what we said back then. It seems like most of our e-mails revolve around the defense and recruiting. So here are a few e-mails to share.

-------------------------

4/10/2009

Best

1) B. Graham: Best player on team. What impressive was his effort and leadership. He could of coasted or acted bored, but was 100% all the time.

2) Boo Boo: Tough physical and fearless, but taller split ends will always be challenge, but not for lack of effort.

3) Offensive line: Will put them as group, because that was most impressive part. The way they worked together, big improvement was ability to go eight or even nine deep. Not an All-American level yet, but huge improvement.

4) C. Brown: Wow what a difference, quick and burst, looked like different player. Did whatever necessary to get reps, even caught passes with slots at one point and looked good doing it.

5) Tight Ends: Especially Koger and Webb -- Both are difference level athletes that can make defensive coordinators do different things. They must be big part of offense and make them a weapon. If that happens then you will open up everything else on the offense.

6) Defense becoming more athletic and quick. Lots to worry about on defense, but some of the youngsters are starting to show.

7) B. Minor: Would have been higher without fumble and being pulled from scrimmage, not sure reason (we are ASSuming it was his ankle they were worried about). He was definitely bigger and faster and he must stay healthy.

8) Specialists: Mesko, enough said, but Olesnavage is upgrade from last year.

9) Forcier: Again keep expectation in line with true freshmen, there will be times this kid makes you cheer and other when he makes you throw the remote, but an upgrade.

10) Team attitude: There were upper classmen mentoring kids, first and second group cheering for third group. It is important to get off to fast start to keep this attitude and believe the attitude suffered once the season started the way it did.

10a) team is in best shape since Mo days of no huddle

Concerns:

1) Depth on defense has been kicked around a ton (or the new thing to bring up), but still #1 in our book and have been that way since last spring.

2) Starting true freshman quarterback: Always a concern no way to sugarcoat.

3) Split end play: Too many drops and only Stonum with speed to stretch offense, and he looked frustrated. This position needs a boost.

4) Slots: Again too many drops, and not much depth. Top two still learning position.

5) Fumbles: Ball was on the ground way too much again.

6) Big plays given up by defense: C. Brown had three long runs, Webb had two (mostly against the second group defense), and even #2 offense had big plays against #1 defense. This has to change.

7) New Scheme on defense: Not saying it is bad or anything, but there is always a learning curve and you are never 100% certain until you play a game with new stuff.

8) Michigan is counting on too many true freshmen. Would not be surprised to see ten or so in top two on the depth charts before season is done. Old saying, only good thing about freshmen is they become sophomores.

9) Lack of vertical stretch by offense: Michigan needs to back those safeties off.

10) Defense in general: Depth is issue, but so is overall quality at this point. Example, when sophomore defensive tackle who was not starter last season is almost irreplaceable you have some issues.

Links of Interest for Michigan


News:

Chad takes over
Week 5 picks
Not as smug
Gift call
467 yards allowed
Media banned
Brandon G transcript
Sparty Sunday practice
B10 power poll
Forcier will face MSU
The suspension train rolls
150 points
Blood bowl
2011 RB Jeremy Hill would like UM Offer
Dantonio on UM spread
Week 5 picks
Week 5 odds
all in for state?
Griese deal
John L syndrome
Evaluating the top
Week 5 predictions
Tate expected to be fine
Mario trend
NCAA power ranking
IU way to close
Power poll
Lessons
The pick call
The most impressive frosh
UM rallies
MSU hopes on Offense
2011 WR Kris Frost favors UM
Top 25 round-up
Leaving the Big House
MSU extra practice
Foote’s hometown roots
D shredded
Emotions make for tough pick
Contender
IU struggles in red zone
Take away
MSU no room for err
Sparty record misleading
Top spot
A look at the B10
Polls no game
No polls till October
Sparty practicing
What sparty needs to do
Midmajor flavor
Any good teams?
Brady’s team carrying him for a change
3 views of ranking
Should their be a explanation of the pick call
Fear of UM
Blue back
Survivors
CBS 120
Power ranking
Thumbs up
Warren: I caught the ball first
A quick look
No change till they lose
Then there were 3
Game preview
Chad’s time is now
Henne era not voluntary
Sliding do to ugly win
Wolverine arrogance
Jedi mind trick on D
Closed practice
Week 4 awards
Week 4 power poll
Lopsided rivalries
Most underrated
Games live on demand
Tate will play
Leaving the Big House
Not tipping our hand
Tate rests
Mario making strides
Tate still in Heisman discussion
Tate in pain
Tate expected
Return to Glory
Changed fortune
Conference call
More respect
Wermers says he messed up
UM not to be taken lightly
Nothing fluky
Early stock
Too early to judge state
State playing both QBs
Big for both
Blair White discusses UM
Grady happy to be UM
Not about the state
RR grateful for support
UM is the rival
Dantonio discusses rivalry
IU game breakdown
No tea and crumpets
Road debut

Links by Steve

Going back to Spring Practices and what we saw -- Part 1


With all the debate about certain positions, certain sides of the ball and also recruiting in the past with what we have said I thought it would be interesting to bring some of our past articles back to life.

Here are a few spring practice comments and also e-mail questions we got during the spring practices. Thought it would be fun to bring them up again so people can remember what we said back then. It seems like most of our e-mails revolve around the defense and recruiting. So here are a few e-mails to share.

from 5/13/2009
Mailbag question: What is the biggest improvement from last years team

What is the biggest improvement from last years team that you have seen or think we will see this fall and also what is one thing that you believe needs the most work on for this team to be a lot better than last year.

Dan B.

------------------------------------

Thanks for the question.

In our opinion biggest improvement we saw has in the offensive line. The improvement was in both performance and in depth. Michigan can legitimately go two deep without a huge drop off and there is actually some good competition at a number of positions.

Khoury is pushing Molk at offensive center and a starting offensive guard from last season is now the third offensive center.

Michigan was solid enough at offensive tackle to be able to move a starting left tackle to his better position left guard. This is such a change from last season when Michigan had only seven division one caliber offensive linemen to choose from.

Area that concerns us the most is defense, quality and depth.

Michigan had only three scholarship inside linebackers and cornerbacks available. Also only had three scholarship safeties and two nose tackles. We were also concerned with the success the second group offense had against the #1 group defense.

Mailbag question: Defense is really thin.


Mailbag question: Defense is really thin.

Wow, are they really thin and the problem with all the walk-ons playing has hurt this defense.

What do you guys think?

Defensive recruiting really needs to pick up I believe. You?

We are going to struggle against some of these more powerful teams -- your thoughts?

Jim T.

-----------------------------

Thanks for the question.

We think it is great that Coach Rod has an excellent walk on program. Coach Rod, a former walk-on himself, knows that having these additional players on the roster will help. Right now they are helping with depth and hopefully in the future they will help on the practice squads.

We also like how he treats the guys down on the depth chart, including the walk-ons. He gives almost everybody snaps in practice. This is accomplished by how many snaps a practice the team organization allows for. The team routine is to try and get three snaps off in one minute. We have witnessed this first hand with some of UM’s practices and scrimmages, where everything is upbeat which gives the first team, second team and even the third team snaps so the subs are ready in case they are called upon in a game situation.

We have also been very vocal and taken some heat for our stance on lack of talent and depth on the defense. We have been hammering that point since the spring clinic in 2008 when we first brought it up and seeing the second group defense perform even back then.

We also have been concerned about the lack of size on the defense. We agree 100% that recruiting on defense needs to improve. We also share your concern about how the defense will hold up against some of the power teams left on the schedule.

If teams such as Eastern Michigan, Notre Dame and Indiana can get so many yards on the ground, we are concerned what will happen when Michigan plays more powerful teams like Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State.

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

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mailbag question: Where did the offense go


Mailbag question: Where did the offense go

Where did all the "explosion and imagination" in this offense go from the Indiana game.

I guess a win is a win, but it was an ugly win.

Fred T.

------------------------------

Thanks for the question.

It is tough to be explosive when the offensive line is having problems blocking people.

It is also tough when the quarterbacks are having problems catching the shotgun snap.

An offense’s ability to be explosive and creative is always limited by its ability to execute the basic fundamentals. When the fundamentals return, so likely will the offensive production.

Most fans take for granted snapping the ball and catching the snap. But Saturday showed how the most basic fundamental in football, the snap, could be devastating if not executed well. Not all the snap problems were of Moosman's doing. The quarterbacks need to watch for and handle the ball better. We saw this a few times during spring practice with Forcier. We also saw, two years ago, where the centers were having all kinds of problems snapping the ball to the quarterbacks.

It did seem like the offense went away from what was working early on and was also not attacking or using weapons such as Kevin Koger, who seemed to be open on several passing plays.

We have noticed, lately, it seems like Tate Forcier is holding on to the ball longer than is needed. We are not sure if he is not finding the receivers open or is looking at something else. There were several times that he had a player open, but instead scrambled around and then could not find an open receiver.

It does seem that Forcier is still looking to run when he had some receivers open as well. He really needs to find his receivers and not take some unnecessary hits. Also, Forcier needs to read the defense better, especially in the read option of the defensive end. Several times he kept the ball and tried to run, which likely was the incorrect read.

Coach Rod, it seemed obvious, was telling Tate to get rid of the ball and give it to the running backs. Also, one time Coach Rod appeared to demonstrate to Tate which receiver he missed when going back to throw the ball.

Denard Robinson was having this problem (waiting too long) earlier in the past few games when the coaches did have him try and throw the ball.

Such is the life of freshman quarterbacks and offensive coaches.

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

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine


Michigan Football: Video Highlights against Indiana



YouTube
by WolverineHistorian

Mailbag question: About Boo Boo?


Mailbag question: About Boo Boo?

So what has happened to him this year?

Can it really be an injury causing him all these "burnt toast" on his back?

Seems like he is not doing well this year and has really struggled in this defense where he is counted on "being on a island" compared to last year is that accurate and is that why they played so much zone last year.

How do you think Floyd did yesterday?

Thank you guys, Jim F.

-------------------------------

Thanks for the question.

Yes, an injury like Boo Boo’s can cause a ton of problems (domino effect) for a defense that depends on corners to be the rock and the course of last resort. Add to this dilemma the unfortunate reality that Michigan needed to load the box with eight or even nine defenders to stop the run game of the Hoosiers. This is akin to rolling the dice, where the defense is taking a calculated gamble that necessitates the defensive backs to step up big and come through. In other words the burden and expectations are both heavy for the corner on the island who knows he will not be getting help. That is why great cover corners are a premium and a luxury at any level.

Do we think an injury is the only reason for Boo Boo's playing “subpar?” No, not at all, there are likely other factors. He has not played well almost the entire year and in the Notre Dame game, even if Boo Boo was injured, he was abused more than Chris Brown's girlfriend, Rihanna.

His confidence seems to be lacking and some poor fundamentals that have been stubborn to disappear have compounded the situation. During the long pass completed against Boo Boo in the Indiana game, he did not even get a hand on the wide receiver, allowing the receiver to blow right by him in man to man coverage.

Boo Boo, like many on the defensive unit, is young and very inexperienced. He is also very aggressive and takes a ton of chances.

Floyd played a solid, but not spectacular, cornerback against Indiana in our opinion. He made a bad choice in breaking late on the ball that helped set up an Indiana score. He did not get beat deep and that was extremely important to the win. Floyd is the safer of the two cornerbacks, when comparing Floyd and Boo Boo, but a coordinator may not be able to dial up man to man as much with Floyd in the game. Bottom line, Floyd held in and did not give up the knife blow to UM’s chances.

The two problems GBMW has with Boo Boo is, first, his recent trash talking incidents. For a guy who has been abused as much as he has been lately, it might be better to prove it on the field before trying to bark how good you are after a quarterback throws a terrible pass. How can anyone bark like that during the Notre Dame game?

The second is how Boo Boo acted after the he was pulled out of the Indiana game. He took off his helmet and for most of the rest of the game he was sitting on the bench, not really being the model of team support. When the defense gathered on the sidelines (where usually you can see 11-17 players in the timeout huddle) before going on the field, Boo Boo was nowhere to be seen. It is one thing to be upset that you were taken out of the game, but a player should also show teammates support, just as the teammates do when you are in the game.

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

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine


Links of Interest for Michigan


Recruiting:

Devin Gardner: UM Commit – Solid in win --- Trash talk trumped --- leads vikings triumph
Munchie Legaux: Cut wing --- 116 yards passing
Austin White: UM Commit – 68 yard dash
Lache Seastrunk: Pass catching skills --- Best in state --- UCLA interest --- and
Codey Ellenwood: Hard luck --- hit hard --- missed extra point
Dietrich Riley: Versatile --- 85 yards
Andre' Dawson: 235 yards
Bishop Sankey: 243 yards --- unstoppable
James Spencer: limited
Jamaal Jackson: Defense
Brandon Gainer: pair of TDs
Tiger Powell: runs for 2 TDs
James White: 106 yards
Tony Drake: UM Commit – 219 yards
Drew Dileo: UM Commit – Fake punt
Chris Dunkley: Talks a lot w/ Dorsey
Ivan McCartney: Doing well on ST --- Bama on him
B.J. Chitty: Gave up the ball
Baquer Sayed: Out for the game
O.J. Ross: Out for game
Nick Jones: Visited SC
Christian Pace: UM Commit – Back on track
Skyler Schofner: UK visit
Jake Kaufman: Big guy
Jeffrey Whitaker: No final 5 yet --- star DT --- Outstanding DT pair
Tim Jernigan: yet to pick up UGA offer
Carl Davis: doing a great job
Owamagbe Odighizuwa: HI visit
Lyden Trail: Top 5 all south
Gabe King: NC prospect moves to Oregon
Sam Bergen: 26 yards
Matt Rea: tore up on kick off
Josh Furman: Pointing skyward
Zac Rosenbauer: Great player
Aramide Olaniyan: NC State offers --- fumble recovery --- highly sought after --- led team w/ 40 tackles
Preston Brown: TD run --- 75 yards rushing --- 9 yard score
Justin Wilson: 28 stops
Courtney Avery: UM Commit – Team has lost him
Dior Mathis: Lopsided loss
Blake Johnson: TD fumble recovery
Troy Hill: 10 yard TD
Joshua Shaw: UCLA visit
Demar Dorsey: Firming up pledge
Marquis Flowers: Multipurpose player
Miles Simpson: 5 TDs
Jeremy Deering: 3 TDs
Will Hagerup: UM commit --- UM lands specialist

Basketball:

Ray McCallum: Team to visit Bloomington
SF Carlton Brundidge: UM Commit – Super 60 picks UM --- and
C Amir Williams: Ready for hoops to start
SG Spencer Turner: Butler visit
C Marshall Plumlee: Finding a way
SF Michael Gilchrist: UM visit

Other Sports:

Field hockey opener
Soccer team loses to PSU
UM wins home golf tourney

Written by Steve

Coach’s Corner: Michigan Defense


Coach’s Corner: Michigan Defense

As most of you already know Michigan is playing what is sometimes referred to as a hybrid defense. They line up in a three front, but very seldom play what would be considered a true odd front defense. Through angles, stunts and blitzes and usually the end playing what I call an off set four defense, Michigan is basically a combination of the four and three man fronts.

Defensive Line:

This group is undersized, no doubt about it, and is having trouble holding the point of attack. Coach Robinson is constantly trying and adjusting things to make up for this lack of size. He (per the player assignments) is angling, twisting, playing a four front, playing a three front, and Coach Robinson has pulled safeties to within seven yards of the line, sometimes even closer.

The defense’s lack of size and ability to hold up at the point of attack has allowed teams to get linemen up on the linebackers too many times. The defensive line has also been lacking at getting penetration, both Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame were able to pull offensive guards and offensive tackles and get them through to the second level. Only a few times were they picked off by good defensive penetration. Expect this to be a continuing problem.

In some of the schemes, Ryan Van Bergen has the contain assignment on boots and even sprint outs. Renaldo Sagesse does not have the feet or overall athletic ability to play contain in my opinion. Will Campbell has the ability; his problem is technique, specifically pad level. Until he learns to keep his pads low and not stand up I doubt we see much of him.

In my opinion the defensive line is going to be okay/solid. With Mike Martin, Craig Roh, Will Campbell, and I still have hope for Anthony LaLota. I think Michigan will be solid up front.

It may be worthwhile to try substituting Renaldo Sagesse for Brandon Herron and play a standard 4-3 with Renaldo Sagesse and Mike Martin at defensive tackles, and Brandon Graham and Ryan Van Bergen at defensive ends.

With Steve Brown playing as a factor UM could play a 4-2-5 or even a 4-4, depending on how the secondary rolls up and plays the safeties. Virginia Tech has been very successful playing an eight-man line out of a four-man front for years. In fact, West Virginia in Coach Rod's early years before Coach Casteel took over as defensive coordinator, played against a Virginia Tech eight man front.

Linebackers:

There is a misconception: Michigan linebackers are NOT coached to fill or get downhill immediately. Coach Hopson talked about using two shuffle steps and then leveraging the gap. This is basically a “defending the zones” philosophy.

This philosophy keeps the linebackers from getting out of position and beat by the cutbacks in the zone packages. It does make them more vulnerable to power games or lead offenses. This type of philosophy/scheme uses smaller, quicker, more athletic linebackers, which is why Steve Brown is so successful this year.

My biggest complaint with the linebackers regards pass coverage. Indiana and Eastern Michigan hurt Michigan with the d*MN short controlled passes, passes requiring linebackers to provide help. Watch Indiana’s last offensive play. A linebacker getting underneath and taking away the passing lane, finally!

A concern is that linebackers Kenny Demens and J.B. Fitzgerald have shown some promise, but counting on safeties to blow up and learn to play in close quarters at the line of scrimmage makes me a bit nervous. Fitzgerald shows signs of being a player at practice, but still is missing some of the instincts and natural reactions linebackers need. I am, and all of us are, hoping something clicks and soon.

I do not mind if a staff takes two, or so, players who outgrow the safety position and shift them to linebacker. It just seems that all of UM’s future linebackers are high school safeties learning new positions.

Cornerbacks:

So far this has been a much-maligned group, but holy cow what should fans expect? Between the lack of pressure and being left on an island, it is amazing the corners have done as well as they have. My only complaint is there is no excuse for getting beat deep. Regardless of how good the wide receivers are defensive backs must keep everything in front and maintain proper deep leverage.

In my opinion, with Boubacar Cissoko, it is not skills, but technique and inexperience. I still have high hopes for him.

Safeties:

Because of the deficiencies noted above, the safeties have been used as run defenders and this use has caused some problems. Some long passes and long runs have been given up due to the fact that safeties, at times, are only seven yards off the ball. Watch closely and you will see some teams playing 12 or more yards off of the ball. This technique is part of the old bend but never break setup. So the deep safety scenario has its own difficulties.

On the 85 yard run Saturday, Indiana caught the safety in a terrible angle and he could not make the play. The long passes vs. Notre Dame had little safety help with Troy Woolfolk and Mike Williams being used as run defenders.

The overall tackling by the safeties this year has been noticeably improved in my opinion. In past years, if Michigan had to rely on safeties to stop the run and make tackles, it would not have been pretty.

Bottom Line:

Defensive staff, Coach Robinson and staff are doing the best that can be expected with the talent level on hand. Complete disclosure: I am personally not a big fan of hybrid defenses. This is not to say they are bad or you cannot be successful with them, you certainly can. In my opinion it is easy to cause mismatches when attacking hybrid defenses, but that is just my opinion.

Michigan, at this time, does not have top-level players who are explosive, good athletes that coordinators need to defend today's high-powered offenses. Michigan just does not have the horses to line up and play with most teams.

They will need to stem, stunt and take risks to stop any good offense. So take your Maalox or other stomach medications, watch your blood pressure, keep the Valium handy; this is not going to be easy. But it should be exciting and fun to watch.

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

Written by CoachBt


Monday, September 28, 2009

Will Hagerup: 2010 Michigan Commit -- Punter

Will Hagerup:

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 210 lbs.
High School: Whitefish Bay (Wisconsin)
High School Coach: Jim Tietjen
Position: Punter
Recruiter:
Class: 2010 Recruiting Class (Verbal Commit)


Punters are tough but GBMW will try and give an evaluation of Hagerup because of limited film and also most times the kids are tough to judge because they will have to learn to kick quicker at the college level. Taking shorter and not as many steps and usually do not have the time like they do in high school.

Overview:

Big strong player who is solid overall athlete. Not only punts, but also handles kicking duties and even plays tight end. Kick off make it into the end zone, but remember high school kick off's are from the forty yard line in most cases.



Strengths:

He is the perfect build for a punter. Punts show excellent hang time. Also does nice job on pooch punts. Would not be surprised to see him handle punting and kick off duties at Michigan.

Needs Work:

Needs to get punts off a tad quicker. Film shows some punts almost getting blocked. At the college level this is a must of getting the ball off quicker.



Reminds us of former Michigan punter Monte Robbins.

Will Hagerup Highlights:

YouTube: by whagerup -- Dec. 13, 2008

YouTube: by whagerup -- May 2, 2009

Rivals

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If you have any questions please E-Mail

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine


Poll Results: Indiana at Michigan


Michigan Football Poll: Who Wins -- Indiana at Michigan

Indiana .... 033 (04.5%)

Michigan .. 702 (95.5%)

Votes so far: 735

Poll closed

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Written by ErocWolverine


Coach Rod Press Conference Notes:


Coach Rod Press Conference Notes:

Press conference at 3:00pm Wednesday ... no press access. The team needs more focused on this week with the rivalry game. Quite a bit of work with crowd noise and get these young guys ready for it. Wanting the players to be more focused and not let distractions this year.

Tate:
Sore shoulder, limited today and tomorrow should be okay. He is a tough guy and loves to compete and play.

Denard:
So much to learn and he gets more comfortable every week with the offense. He will get more and more each week.

Huyge:
Looked good at guard.

Molk:
Still out -- He says he will be back in four weeks, but Coach Rod not so sure.

Moosman:
Some snaps were off, but some were catch able. Second game should get easier. He was making the right calls and played well.

Kevin Grady:
Outstanding leader of the team and has done a lot of things very well for our program.

Khoury:
Gets better each and everyday.

Defense missed assignments, was thinking to much and the defense played well at times. We are going to challenge a few guys this week and try some new players. Cornerback is one of them. Warren is one, but the other one is open. JT Turner gets better every week.

This game will have the same type of intensity no matter what the record are or what the predictions.

Regarding the Polls:
The polls shouldn't be out till October. There are good players everywhere and not sure a lot of those are upsets until the end of the year to see if they truly are.

I know Coach Dantonio from when we played each other. We are friendly, but not sharing tea and crumpets. The in-state recruiting is overblown between the two schools because of the system. Just like we compete against Ohio State and others. Coach Rod doesn't think there is negative recruiting between the two schools.

We are scoring a few more points, getting a few more first downs, but sometimes are offense needs to get better.

As season goes on the practices schedules will get shorter and shorter the longer the year goes on because of wanting them to stay fresh for Saturday.

Relish the rival games and closing the ranks. Wants to narrow the focus for the players. With the rivalry you live with it for a whole year compare to the other games. It was not fun.

Players Press conference:

Kevin Grady:

Favorite moment against Michigan State ... when Perry carried the ball for 51 times and I could relate to it when I was in high school. Came out with a victory.

Grand Rapids area seems to be more Michigan fans, but it is close to being split. I fear from friends, family members that are Michigan State fans. We are trying to get ready for this week. One is my grandmother so I cannot cut her out.

Me being an in-state kid the rivalry is a little different for me compared to other players. When you come to Michigan you know about the three rivalries Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan State.

We have a hunger and a lot to prove this year, not only to Michigan State, but every game. Michigan State is a big game and you better bring your hard hat so you better be ready to play because they will bring their best game against us. I am having fun with playing fullback and doing whatever I can to help the team win.

Tate seems really poised and I think he will be fine at Spartan Stadium.

Carlos Brown:

Indiana fought us down to the end and we have confidence to play from behind, but hopefully we aren't behind a lot. I think we can be physical just like Michigan State.

From Georgia we have the Georgia / Georgia Tech game so I know about the in-state game. I remember watching the overtime game and how intense that game was.

We always want to run the ball and me being a running back we always want to run it.

Kevin Grady is doing great this year.

Tate will be just fine this week on the road.

Obi Ezeh:

Michigan State game means to me is the bragging right for the whole year. They got it last year and the trophy.

The first game I played at Michigan State I really understood how big of a game this is and what the rivalry means.

I got a lot riding on this game because I am from in-state.

The first time I met Coach Carr I had a Michigan State shirt on and he gave me that "Stare" and I was like I wanted to take the shirt off. So it went into the trash can.

We got some young guys and we have gave up some big plays, but we are continuing to grow and get better.

Every week we go out is a statement game for the defense.

Assignment wise we are starting to understand where we need to be and we need to talk more.

Don't mind being on the field as much when we are scoring. We are not on the field anymore than we were last year that is for sure.

Donovan Warren:

I didn't know to much about the rivalry. Shawn Crable and those guys that this was a big week. You got to bring your a game. My freshman year we had a tough game at Spartan Stadium, very physical game and we had Mario make that great endzone catch.

We have to be prepared for whatever they bring to us.

The defensive system we are still working hard on it.

They have three good wide receivers, all big play guys, good hands, decent speed. We have to be prepared to stop those guys.

We have to communicate better and in the heat of the battle we need to talk more for what the call should be and what we are suppose to be running.

We have to come to play.

The rivalry between USC/UCLA is what I remember the most when I was young. I remember waking up early in the morning watching Michigan.

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

Written by ErocWolverine


Mailbag question: Moving the offensive line around


Mailbag question: Moving the offensive line around

Do you guys think changing the entire line or most of the line is the right thing to do or do you think we should have just replaced one position for one player?

What I mean is should they have just put Rocko Khoury in there and not move Moosman from right guard to center, Huyge from right tackle to right guard, and move Perry Dorrestein in at right tackle?

Would it have been better to bring in Khoury at center and leave Moosman at right guard, and leave Huyge at right tackle?

Thanks guys for all you do and letting you know that being a female your site has really helped me enjoy and understand football better. Keep it up.

Kim F.

------------------------------------------------

Thanks for the question and please keep reading.

This is a great question, but one that does not have a simple answer.

There are two basic philosophies regarding moving offensive linemen around.

1-Get the five top Linemen on the field, regardless of how they need be shuffled 9position changes). This is generally the philosophy with most zone teams. One of the benefits of zoning is all the positions have the same basic fundamentals and techniques, meaning that in theory the linemen should be able to shuffle positions and not have a negative effect.

2-The less personnel shuffling the better and simply plug the second team player into the position for the first team player that is hurt. Backers of this philosophy will argue that just filling in for the injured player helps maintain cohesion and timing in the line.

Another factor to consider is how long the injured player will be out. If the change is for one game we prefer to just insert a back up for the injured player. If it is going to be for four weeks or longer, we believe it is best to get the top five linemen on the field.

Neither is necessarily right or wrong, just different philosophies.

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

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine


Watch Coach Rod Presser at 11:00am EDT.

Here is the link:
Coach Rod Press Conference Live

Links of Interest for Michigan


Out:
D.J. Lynch: Commits Bowling Green
Fre'Shad Hunter: Commits NC St.

News:
B10 week 4
Greatest play
Is this the Hoosier’s year to beat UM?
UM takes a shot at the pistol
Have to run the table
B10 digs
RR interview
UM takes unbeaten record into opener
Conference call
Silencing the pistol
Stadiums react --- and
Woodson inspires
UM bullies
Breaking down the B10
IU vs UM odds
Back on track
Fearless predictions
For arguments sake
One day and counting
Looking at week 4
Game tracker stats
Still outback bowl prediction
Breaking down top 25
1st road game
Controversial win
Realistic top 25
The day after
Why Tate has been the most impressive frosh
4-0
Close but no cigar
Status the investigation
Top 25 round up
To close
Leaping TD
Comeback victory
IU stood up
IU falls short
Warren wraps up
UM/MSU not what you expect
Forcier leads #23
Questionable pick
UM holds its spot
Holding steady
Living dangerously
Dodging upset
UM ready for hostile environment
IU refuses to blame call
Fans adjust to security
2 minute drill
October games
D has major issues
Deciding play
UM survives
Carlos another big day
Vulnerable
Tate leads
D a concern Tate is not
Moose a rough day
Coverage guide
O gets the marks
IU misery continues
Warren discusses pick
Nail biter
Questions remain
Failed communications
That last pass
Late drive again
Feeling blue
Final score
Talk of the town
View from the press box
Band plays on

Written by Steve

Mailbag question: Basketball recruiting?


Mailbag question: Basketball recruiting?

Not sure if you guys take basketball recruiting questions or not so here it is just in case and if not just delete it.

Do you guys know anything about Michael Gilchrist and how his visit went at Michigan?

What does this say for the Michigan basketball program?

What does this do for the other kids Michigan is looking at right now?

Fred B.

---------------------------

Thanks for the question and yes we will try to answer any question related to Michigan if we can.

Michael Gilchrist is by most or all accounts regarded as one of the best players in the 2011 recruiting class. He is a small forward and some talent evaluators rate him as an elite, that is, one of the very best high school players in the country, period. This evaluation includes the seniors who are one year ahead of Michael.

What does it mean to be able to get a player like this on the Michigan campus? This is HUGE, that is, it demonstrates that the criticism of Coach B. is, at this time, invalid. Coach B has now had several elites or near elites on campus. More importantly though, Coach B. has the quality of outstanding perception; he can visualize how players will fit in and succeed within his unique system. Those with basketball knowledge, who closely observed Coach Beilein at West Virginia, would give a different type of reaction, the opposite of criticism. Critics stated his "slow Princeton offense" would not work at Michigan; his zone defense would not work at Michigan; he could not recruit the state of Michigan and get top kids, and the high school coaches in the state of Michigan would not like how he uses kids in his offensive/defensive schemes which would fail to get players ready for the next level.

And continuing on, the other week UM received a verbal commitment from Carlton Brundidge, so this recruiting accomplishment refutes somewhat the underlying assumptions about in-state recruiting.

The basketball practice facility is being moved forward, so another strike on the Beilein cannot get it done crusade. Most of us remember when people said Michigan did not care about the basketball program, or treated it like a third world country. So, concluding this initial discussion we go back to the original premise, getting a kid like Michael Gilchrist on campus, no matter what happens later, clearly demonstrates how Coach Beilein has turned this program around from the Ellerbe and Amaker days.

Recruits have described Coach Beilein as being relentless. Yet he is honorable and a model for coaching integrity (actions within a set of rules and unofficial actions that all could agree as being ethical). Coach B identifies which recruits can fit in, is very selective in his total number of offers, and then will stay right on top of every recruiting situation.

As with all successful college hoops programs, Coach B has gathered some great assistant coaches that really recruit hard and make obvious to recruits that the Michigan program is (or maybe even has) turning around. All the coaches go out of the way to convince recruits that UM really wants them. The coaching staff has shown what they can do on the court (game management), in practice (great teaching) and clearly makes incoming recruits better overall basketball players.

So, the opinion that getting Gilchrist on campus is great has been expressed. Next let us examine some possible side-benefits. It is now established elites will visit, so expect others to follow in the future. Elites can handpick from numerous offers making the final sign on the dotted line written commitment a tough commodity to obtain. But in basketball, one or two elites can make a phenomenal difference, unlike football where some teams stack up elites by the dozens. The Michigan offer is not yet cherished throughout the country like a Duke or North Carolina offer is. Still, good players who are now considering Michigan for 2010 and 2011 know that the window is closing. Michigan’s 2010 recruiting class players Casey Prather and Trey Ziegler, and 2011 recruiting class Amir Williams can choose from numerous universities. But the UM window is closing and first come, first serve may apply to even players of this caliber.

The above window closing is also reinforced by Carlton Brundidge’s commitment. Again, the scholarships are now getting tighter. Recruits have to be thinking UM is a serious program now and wonder what other recruits may be waiting in the wings for a later UM offer. The result is: if a player is really serious about accepting a Michigan offer, the time schedule for decision making better be on a faster pace.

An opinion: a player like Brandon Kearney, who is a very good basketball player, might be left out, because of how many elite, or near elite, basketball players are currently looking at Michigan. He is very good and many readers would like to have him at Michigan. But the reality is that with the limited scholarships GBMW would take a commitment from Prather, Zeigler, and Williams before Kearney. Of course if a player like Gilchrist wants to commit the staff would immediately take his commitment.

Michigan has not had this luxury in quite a long time, where the program actually has high-level recruits seriously inquiring, wanting to visit UM, and talking so highly of the coaches and the recent quick turnaround that culminated in an unexpected trip to the NCAA Basketball tournament. Now throw in the icing where UM won a game a played pretty well against an Oklahoma team that had great physical advantages.

This is where it starts getting fun again to watch Michigan basketball. UM should be a better team, but they also play a tough schedule, one that some early predictors value as one of the toughest schedules in the country, perhaps even top ten.

Thanks for stopping by Go Blue Michigan Wolverine
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Written by ErocWolverine


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