Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mailbag question: Big Man's Game

Posted at 8:00am -- 5/18/2010

Mailbag question: Big Man's Game

Hello fellow Wolverines, great job of keeping us informed, thanks, I look forward to a better and interesting year of Michigan football.

Now the question, over my many years of watching Football, pro and college, I have always known that it is a big man's game. It seems to me that Michigan was always good with a big team, true it is ok to have some little guys at certain positions, but I believe that DL, OL, RB's to a certain extent, and LB's, in most cases, need some natural size.

Many top level teams bring in kids at their natural position and usually with good size, adding 10 to 15 lbs is not bad, but when you need to add 20 to 40 lbs just to see the field that could be a problem. With all of that said why does Michigan/Coach Rod continue to look at smaller athletic guys rather than bigger talented players? This recent trend could be even more of an issue since Michigan is in the tough B10.

I sure hope that Coach Rod's strategy works out for us all and that we can stop the run and compete against the strong power running teams of the NCAA (Tex, Wisc, Penn St., OSU, Mich. St., LSU etc.)

It will be super interesting to see how the DL develops, mainly watching Big Will, Ash, Black and Talbott grow into monsters on the field

Gary C.


Thanks for the question and the comments.

It should indeed be an interesting, albeit drama-laden year for Michigan football, especially with all the current speculation related to the Michigan “situation.” Pundits, sideliners, experts, etc. predict anywhere from 5-7, again, to 9-3 for this coming year. This is a very critical year; not only for Michigan football but also for Coach Rod and the direction he is taking the program. Yes, indeed, the obvious has once again been restated above.

Now let us go on to your question. Members of the GBMW staff are affirmed believers in big, physical offensive linemen that can move the line of scrimmage backwards, combined with super athletes at running back.

We have seen a tweak in the Michigan coaches’ approach to the size of the offensive linemen. When the coaching staff first took over, the stated strategy was recruiting smaller, quicker type linemen that can execute a quick, first step. Recently, over the past six months, we all have been hearing from the coaches a change in course, somewhat, by proclaiming a need for the O-line to get bigger. It appears that this has indeed happened as many look (from very up close) at least 10-15 pounds bigger than last April. Frankly, it is nice to be able to see a distinct difference between the offensive linemen and the linebackers/tight ends. Some of the offensive linemen on the roster currently are not much different than what was typical for past rosters, leading to our belief that most of the offensive linemen could now play in any scheme.

GBMW also likes a combination of big, strong wide receivers, combined with smaller, more nimble slot receivers. What we would like to see on the Michigan roster are, at the very least, a couple of players that are true deep threat receivers. This assumes that the offensive design and quarterback play could get them the ball on a consistent basis to back up the defense. Devin Gardner is probably the best choice as regards being able to move the safeties and linebackers back into deeper pass coverage by hitting passes downfield.

On defense our staff are all true believers in having strength up the middle, that is, being strong between the hashes, with tackle, linebacker, and safety play.

The staff likes defensive tackles that can command double teams, combined with long and explosive defensive ends capable of getting up field. The defensive line shows some promise and possibly depth, but the soon to be arriving freshmen may or may not provide help for finding true edge rushers needed to help out the defensive backs.

There still remains doubt that has not really been alleviated by some standard, operational window dressing, regarding linebacker play and depth. Great, contending defenses are built first from the linebacker spot.

The final simplified summary goes thusly: size is needed in the trenches and our preference is a combination of size and athletic ability at skill positions.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!


Joe said...

I think it needs to be pointed out that it is not the case that Rod and his staff favor smaller guys over bigger guys. What they favor are particular guys with a particular skill set irregardless of size. I don't think Rod and his staff sit in recruiting meetings asking each other how can they get as small as possible.

I don't see a deliberate attempt attempt by this staff to get smaller, I see a deliberate attempt by this staff to get faster and more athletic. I see a deliberate attempt to get guys on the O-line who can step, slide, and climb to the 2nd level. If that guy is 275lbs so be it, if that guy is 310 so be it. This staff had no qualms about taking Q. Washington and he was a VERY big boy coming out.

Same goes for the defense. I don't think the staff wants smaller LBs, I think they want LBs who can run, cover, and tackle in space. It just so happens that a lot of guys with that skill set aren't 230lbs coming out of high school. This staff doesn't shy away from 230lb LB, they shy away from LBs who can run, cover, or tackle in space.

One thing I have noticed is what appears to be a deliberate attempt to take guys with big frames. Lewan or Mike Schofield may not have been 290lbs coming out of HS but they were 6'5-6'6 with big frames. The same goes on the defensive side with Furman, LaLota, Isiah Bell, Jake Ryan, Davion Rogers, Ash, etc.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that people still listen to this propoganda.

The oline averages over 300lbs

Campbell and Martin are small on the dl??

The Miami Hurricanes pioneered the thought of taking safeties and turning them into Lb's in the 80's, they were so dominant Nebraska decided that to compete with Miami they adopted it and it lead to their dominant defenses in the 90's. Those teams had the most NC's in the last 30 years. Florida and USC do the same currently.

Most kids have to gain weight when they get to college.

Stop reading the newspaper and do some research for yourself.

GBMW BLOG said...

We think UMs O line is average size, lewan at 285 or so is bit smaller than most LTs and Molk at 280 is also bit small by OC statndards.

Neither Campbell or Martin is a big DT and we stood a few fet from them.

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