Posted at 8:00am -- 1/29/2010
Coach's Corner: The Defense -- Part 2
With the annual letter of intent day fast approaching, spring practice is now right around the corner. Coach Rod and the staff, on top of organizing and managing the spring coach's clinic, are having three open practices for high school coaches and chalk talks afterwards. I am planning on attending two practices, March 18th and April 1st, along with the coach’s clinic. This is a great move by the staff. Opening, mending, and building relations with high school coaches will pay dividends.
What are the four personnel questions on offense and defense that will determine the team’s success? In this part we will tackle the defense.
1) Who replaces Brandon Graham's in Michigan’s pass rush?
The obvious choice is Craig Roh. Of all the players on the roster, he has shown the best ability to get to the passer. But can he be effective at defensive end, or will he have to stay at Quick/Death-backer and be used as a situational pass rusher?
More than likely, it will take a group effort to replace B. Graham. Mike Martin, Will Campbell, and others need to step up their games to help make up for the loss of B. Graham.
2) Who plays cornerback? Does Troy Woolfolk play cornerback or safety?
If Woolfolk does not play cornerback, then who does?
Will J.T. Turner play up to his talent and potential? Will Michigan have two completely inexperienced players at the cornerback position in 2010? Only J.T. Floyd and T. Woolfolk have any playing time on the cornerback island.
If Michigan has to pull the safeties up again to help with the run, the cornerbacks are then on an island and become very vulnerable. Cover corner is a tough place for rookies or players with very limited playing time to quickly make a positive impact.
3) Who replaces Stevie Brown?
Does Jordan Kovacs or Mike Williams move to strong-side linebacker, or how about Jonas Mouton?
Or could one of the young guns, Isaiah Bell or Brandin Hawthorne, get the job done? Or, maybe one of the true rookies like Marvin Robinson gets the nod.
In Coach Robinson's zone blitz schemes the strong-side linebacker (S. Brown's position) is a real key. He must be able to cover and actually have some deep responsibility in some packages, be strong against the run, and provide some pass rush.
4) Ouch, how do I pick between inside linebacker and safety? Lol. Oh well, since I cannot pick, how about going with will W. Campbell to give Michigan the size on defense they need. If UM can successfully play with M. Martin and W. Campbell inside on defense, this will be a huge lift in defending the run.
If Will can fit into the middle, this will make it easier to play with a C. Roh at defensive end. Two big defensive tackles playing well also can take some of the pressure off the linebackers. If a team has to double one or both of the defensive tackles it is very difficult to block the linebackers.
It sure appears this will be a very young defense at some very key positions. This can result in a combination of excitement in watching the youngsters grow and mature, and fear, because watching this young group could be painful.
Written by GBMW Staff
Go Blue -- Wear Maize!