Posted at 8:00am -- 1/28/2010
Coach's Corner: The Offense -- Part 1
With the letter of intent day fast approaching, spring practice is right around the corner. Coach Rod and his staff, on top of spring coach's clinic, are having three open practices for high school coaches and chalk talks afterwards. I am planning to attend two practices, March 18th and April 1st, along with the clinic. This is simply a great move by the staff in my opinion. Opening, building, and repairing relations with high school coaches will pay dividends.
With that bit of information passed on, the topic of this article is what are the four personnel questions on offense and defense that will determine the team’s success? In this part GBMW will tackle the offense.
1) Who plays quarterback? This question on the surface seems easy, but the question has nested within it ramifications that will likely be important to the future of the program.
If Tate Forcier is the starter, does that mean the staff is going to tweak the offense to take advantage of T. Forcier’s skills?
Or, instead, does Denard Robinson win the starting job and Michigan continues to be primarily a read-option team?
Or, consider this possibility, one that at this time seems a long shot, but things are fluid and change is constant. Do the coaches take the really risky choice and go with the superior athlete, D. Gardner and trade short-term for long-term benefits? This is a situation worthy of keen observation, now and in the future.
2) Who replaces Brandon Minor at running back?
The offense was noticeably less effective without Minor in the game. Adding to the dilemma, the big play capability of the offense almost completely disappeared when Carlos Brown went out with injury.
With early favorite Vincent Smith recovering from knee surgery, there is a great opportunity for someone to step up and be the "MAN". If no one does, this will have a big negative effect on the season.
3) Who replaces Mark Ortmann at left tackle?
We can debate all day about how good, or bad, M. Ortmann was. He still started over 20 games at left tackle over the last two seasons. That is a lot of experience to replace.
Left Tackle is second highest paid position player in the NFL for a reason, they are that important. Not only do they keep your quarterback alive and healthy, they also have the backside cut off block in zone schemes.
I have no doubt we have better athletes than M. Ortmann to play at left tackle. The question is will someone be ready and better next year.
4) Vertical threat, which player, or players, among the receivers will provide it?
This can be a split end, like Darryl Stonum or Je'Ron Stokes, or a slot like Jeremy Gallon.
In my opinion someone needs to provide a vertical threat to back those safeties up and make space. The Michigan spread offense relies on making space and then taking advantage of it.
If there is not adequate space, then the outside linebackers do not have to widen, and the safeties can crowd the line of scrimmage. As a result of these defensive advantages, the offense is usually not as effective. So, this offense must find home run hitters and open up every other part of the playbook.
Next, will be Part 2, questions concerning the defense.
Written by GBMW Staff
Go Blue -- Wear Maize!