Monday, March 29, 2010

Mailbag question: Haven't seen any reports on practice lately from you guys

Posted at 8:00am -- 3/29/2010

Mailbag question: Haven't seen any reports on practice lately from you guys


I haven't seen a report from you guys in a little while on how spring practice is going and I am wondering what you guys think so far.

It seems like most reports are going well, but we have heard that before and we saw what happened in the fall.

What can you take out of spring practices and translate it to what the fall might bring?

Keep up the good work.

Greg P.


Thanks for the question.

Spring practice is a valuable period when the coaching staff can evaluate the improvement players have made since last season. It is a time to experiment with and implement new schemes and packages. Also, spring is a time to get a look at how the young guns hold up against major college competition.

For most coaches, spring is a time when coaches can stress and work on game fundamentals. And, after winter film critique, spring is a chance to emphasize and improve on aspects that are in clear need of improvement. We look at spring as the equivalent of the NFL's preseason, but still spring is not the ultimate gauge of how the team will perform next year.

As for this spring, we are hearing good reports with regards to: (1) the team’s work ethic and attitude; (2) the team showed up in very good shape; (3) the depth problems at some positions are showing signs of improving, and (4) the overall athletic ability of the team, (especially on offense) is improving.

The biggest disappointment to GBMW is not overall player performance, but that Vlad is injured. He is a player that Michigan needed to stay healthy this spring to learn the position and provide the coaches with an opportunity to determine his possible starting status.

On offense, Mike Cox and Michael Shaw really seem to be improved over last year. The quarterbacks have had their moments both good and bad, but that is what spring practice is all about, and also to what must be worked on during the summer to prepare for the fall.

The offensive line seems to continue to build depth, along with getting some of the younger players more seasoning, allowing them to be in a position to help the team this year.

The receivers, especially at the slot position, also seem to be taking the next step. The young split ends still need some work and improvement should come via experience. With Junior Hemingway out for the spring, the younger players will receive more time and reps.

The biggest problem on offense right now, in our opinion, is the offensive center position. Michigan needs a healthy David Molk leading the offensive line group. GBMW has seen the centers really struggle this year with snaps, as last year when Molk went down. Molk won the center spot early on at Michigan because he is the most consistent snapper. Michigan needs another center to become more consistent as insurance if something again happens to Molk.

GBMW is taking a wait and see approach regarding the defensive side of the ball. Last year the linebackers seemed to take a small step forward, but then in the fall everybody saw what happened. All of us need to consider that this group may have been trying to do too much. But again, this group is in a similar situation as last spring, and like last spring we will all have to wait and see if the linebacker group is an asset or liability.

The defensive backs are looking good so far, but the true test for this young group will be in the fall, when the freshman defensive backs join the team this summer. The defensive backs have not been tested deep.

The defensive line could be the strong front for this team and we have as well seen progress in the depth that will be needed this fall. With Mike Martin out it might actually be a good thing to see what others can do and who wants to step up.

The biggest problem on defense in GBMW’s opinion is just learning the defense. Right now it is too tough for us to judge the defense or give an opinion on how they are progressing. It seems to us that the linebackers are still not as athletic/quick as a defense based on speed needs and clearly the safety positions will remain a mystery for the near future.

The biggest individual improvement this year we believe on the defensive side of the ball is Greg Banks. Again it is early, but with Mike Martin out, this has given Banks a chance with the first group and demonstrate to the coaching staff what he can do. So far he has done very well.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

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