Monday, April 12, 2010

Michigan Football Tidbits: Defensive Depth Chart -- Updated 4/10/2010


Posted at 8:00am -- 4/12/2010

Michigan Football Tidbits: Defensive Depth Chart

Defense: First Series Depth Chart

DT: Greg Banks
NT: Will Campbell
DE: Ryan Van Bergen

WLB: Jonas Mouton
MLB: Obi Ezeh
SLB: Craig Roh

BC = J.T. Floyd
FC = Troy Woolfolk

SS: Thomas Gordon (Bandit)
SS: Jordan Kovacs (Spur)

FS: Cam Gordon (Deep Safety)

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*** Renaldo Sagesse (Red Jersey)
*** Kenny Demens (Red Jersey)
*** Mike Martin (Red Jersey) out for spring.
*** Brandon Herron (Red Jersey) out for spring.

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Defense: Second Series Depth Chart

DT: Steve Watson
NT: Adam Patterson
DE: Anthony LaLota

WLB: Kevin Leach
MLB: Mark Moundros
SLB: J.B. Fitzgerald

BC = J.T. Turner
FC = Tony Anderson

SS: Floyd Simmons (Bandit)
SS: Teric Jones (Spur)

FS: Vlad Emilien (Deep Safety)

Defensive Tidbits:

Defensive notes:

Overall the Saturday scrimmage was a decent effort by the first group, especially early on. The second group was outclassed with less talent and bodies compared to the offense.

It was almost unfair when Denard Robinson was on the second group offense going against the second group defense. So most of our breakdown will be based on the first group against the first group. Yes, indeed, depth is still a concern. Some reinforcements are coming this summer, but more are needed.

The defense seemed to handle the offense, except for the dreaded broken plays where a player like Denard Robinson would take off and just make improvised plays. Devin had a few nice plays as well against the first group, even with the limited playing time against the first unit

Defensive line:

Will Campbell is looking like a good defensive linemen, who with a little more conditioning and a little more technique work could be a top-notch defensive linemen. It will be interesting to see this group’s overall performance with Mike Martin back in the fall. Renaldo Sagesse and Greg Banks are getting extra reps with the first group which should only help this team in the fall, especially with the much needed rotation of the defensive personnel. Ryan Van Bergen is just his steady, old self whereas he just keeps a low profile, but keeps getting the job done.

As we talked about the other day it is really hard to judge how good the defensive line can be since they are going up against a good but not great UM offensive line. Neither side is dominating or standing out over the other, -- so pretty an even match up right now.

Linebackers:

The linebackers started out very well and looked like they had made progress. But then later on in the scrimmage we started to see the linebackers that we have seen in the past with players missing tackles, taking the wrong pursuit angles and not finding the ball and filling the wrong hole.

This defense is only going to be as good as the linebacker play. When thinking of good defenses, most envision great linebacker play. When the question is asked about who is making the most tackles in a good defense the response is usually one or more linebackers.

At the beginning of the scrimmage, the defense really seemed to understand what Coach Robinson wanted and was controlling the offense for the most part. We are not remotely aware of why. Did the offense later figure out what the defense was doing and then adjusted, or was the reason as simple as the defense just got tired and worn chasing Denard Robinson?

Craig Roh seems to have taken well to his new role, He is being moved around quite a bit and the staff is having him do all kinds of stuff, a lot like Shawn Crable did while at Michigan, playing linebacker and also once in awhile putting his hand down. The only item of any concern at this time (might be a little nitpicky) is how Craig is taking on the blockers when the run is coming directly towards him. He has improved this aspect of his game from last year, certainly in part due to the added weight and strength he has put on since last season. That might be his only “weakness” at this time and we can see him continuing to get bigger and stronger, which will allow him to fight off the bigger blockers.

Obi Ezeh: we are not really sure what else is to say at this point in time. Just like last spring Obi looked good at times but also bad. He started out well on Saturday coming up, filling the hole, and making plays. As the scrimmage went on it appeared Coach Robinson was not very happy with his senior linebacker and replaced him several times. While Obi was coming off the field he once asked other players "why am I coming out." So if he didn't see the misreads, bad angles and just not being in the right place after these many years –what is left to be said? Again, please do not read this as an indictment or proclamation that Obi’s play was terrible on Saturday, but he just seems to be making the same mistakes as in past years and as a senior the staff certainly is justified in expecting improvement.

Jonas Mouton seems to be a lot like Obi, where you see good plays and bad plays. Again, many are really hoping to see a big improvement over last year, but we are just not sure he is there yet. He did have a couple of good sticks. It is a good thing the linebacker group still has the summer and fall to keep getting better and become ready for a tough football season. Jonas was making some good hits throughout spring practice and making plays, but he also made quite a few mistakes as well -- again that is what spring is for to correct mistakes.

Here are some observations about Coach Robinson: he is very patient, seems to enjoy drilling (working with) the linebackers, and is by nature very positive. It is very likely the current players love his approach. Coach has been around the block and he “does not get too nervous.” Coach’s message from the sideline, to several of his players on the field was phrased this way “we need you to make the play, it is up to you to make the play.” This is coach speak for you know what to do, you must now do it.

Defensive backs:

This group is probably the most difficult to accurately assess at this early stage because they are not threatened by the deep ball and are just sitting on the routes the receivers are running. One medium seam route was completed and several 5-10 yard patterns as well, but the backs are not being challenged deep. We fear a false sense of security since the cornerbacks aren't being tested deep, the only real deep threat at this point in time is Darryl Stonum on the outside. Both JT Floyd and Troy Woolfolk have looked good this spring and on Saturday they continued to play well, but as we have been saying all spring long take this with a grain of salt because we might not know for several games into the season how good these guys are against top level deep threats.

Cam Gordon has impressed just about everybody with his play and he seems to be able to cover ground in the passing game as well as coming up and making plays in the running game. The ultimate test will be in the fall when the safeties go against a team that has a good running game that can successfully set up the play action pass.

Jordan Kovacs and Thomas Gordon have played solid this spring and Saturday at the scrimmage. Both have taken the lead at their positions and it will be tough to get the spot away from them with anybody on the current roster. It is difficult to project how players coming in this summer would fare against Kovacs and T. Gordon since we have not seen them go up against college players. So we will all have to wait until fall practices. Thomas Gordon is not there yet, but it is not hard imagining Thomas to someday be a solid player.

Again, not getting too high or too low with this group until this fall. At the very least there is hope, at the most this group could surprise. But there is much riding on this group’s fall performance and much to do before the performance is sufficient, let alone dominating, against a quality opponent.


Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I realize that you guys mostly focused on the 1st groups against each other but is J.B Fitzgerald any closer to taking the next step and becoming a consistent LB? If Obi isn't getting the job done shouldn't J.B be next in line?

Joseph said...

I appreciate the information on the current depth chart, but I have to say I am confused with the Second team's depth chart. This is supposed to be made of people who are in the 2 deep, and yet we have Steve Watson at DT? Adam Patterson at Nose tackle? RS freshman Anthony Lalota at DE? A recently converted fullback at MLB? Tony Anderson at corner? Perhaps the reason the second team offense was running all over the second team defense is because they were actually playing the third team defense. Are injuries the only explanation for this weird depth chart?

GBMW Blog said...

Anonymous:

For JB Fitzgerald it seems like he is getting closer, but just not there yet and that is a little disappointing.

Early last week when Roh was out for the da, JB was playing with the first group in his position.

It seems like he is the 5th linebacker right now. He is battling Leach right now as the first linebacker in. Sometimes it is JB and sometimes it is Leach.

Demems is probably Obi's pure back-up, but he was being held out and wearing a red jersey.

GBMW Blog said...

Joseph,

Injuries are part of the game.

First off with Martin out that has moved several people around. Than last week Renaldo Sagesse got hurt and that threw another thing out there.

Patterson was always on the 2nd group, but was playing DT before and now he is taking snaps at NT. Watson is probably a 3rd teamer like you suggest.

With Demens out that moves Moundros into the MLB position in the 2nd group.

With Sagesse and Martin out that moved Lalota into a position on the second group, but he has actually been playing fairly decent. In fact when Heininger? went out he took over in the 2nd group a few weeks back and has looked good.

Tony Anderson and James Rogers were sharing duties, but put Anderson out there first since he was the one that started at CB with the 2nd group.

We don't throw out groups or report what or where people should be playing with no injuries -- we just base it on what we see and who is out there along with report who is not and who is injuried.

Will Watson, Anderson, be on the 2nd group if everybody is healthy -- probably not. But like anything else we put out there what we see.

This is one thing we have been talking about for a couple of year and that is the quality depth on the defensive side of the ball.

Other places are still calling positions by last years name and some dont even have the guys at the right position yet ... maybe if they keep being a "Stealer Monkey" they will get it right soon enough. Been seeing some are starting to get it so they must be looking at our blog enough to finally get it.

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