You said that Michigan "could afford to take a solid but unspectacular recruit this season". I could not possibly disagree more. Michigan desperately needs a stud running back. Losing Demetrius Hart was devastating. There is no talent at that position and last year it cost us dearly. And in the past, we have seen it over and over again how badly it hurts the team when there is nobody there to carry the football. We already have a roster that is badly overloaded with mediocre tailbacks. I see absolutely no value whatsoever in taking another "solid" 3* guy. It should be 5* or bust this year at RB. Either that, or we should take a chance on a "project" type guy with big upside.
@ Anonymous 10:12 a.m.I guess we disagree on the current talent of the running backs. I think the running backs on the current roster have some potential, but have either been injured (Shaw, Toussaint) or misused (Cox).Also, no offense, but I don't really know what a "project" running back is. It's more of an instinctual position, so "projects" at running back don't really seem to exist. A "project" usually refers to a more technique-oriented position like QB, OL, DL, or LB.
Good because what Michigan fans need right now is more optimism about how the recruiting class will look. People already think we're in a position to turn down players like Ross and Jenkins-Stone.I kid// It's a good post for a 'best reasonable case' scenario.-Lank
Re: RBI think Cox has ended up being a bit of a project.-Lank
@ Anonymous 11:23 a.m.Yeah, I'm typically a bit of a pessimist or just a realist, so this was a struggle. I do think we have a chance with all these guys, but I'm not really expecting to get guys like Green-Beckham, Dodson, and Banner. But it would be swell if we did.
@ Lankownia 11:25 a.m.I think Cox got in the doghouse with Rodriguez (for whatever reason) and couldn't get out. To me that's not a project. That's a clash of personalities. I don't think it's a coincidence that as soon as one coach leaves, the 5th string running back suddenly jumps to #1 or #2 on the depth chart when #1-4 from last year are still on the roster.Of course, the spring game isn't here yet, so it's possible that Cox could fall back down the depth chart by September. But most practice reports have Cox and Hopkins running with the 1st team.
Thunder,I see your point. Despite all our arguments about Smith, I've been almost as high on Cox as you have (I just think more of Smith). I put more faith in RR's opinion (on offense at least). Don't think we'll ever know for sure if Cox just took 2 years to 'get it' or if there was some personality conflicts that kept the (reportedly) most talented RB off the field.I'm a guy who believes in underclassmen generally having to go through a significant learning curve and for some that can be pretty steep. Especially given Cox's background (low level of HS competition, plus I believe his team didn't run a spread) -- it seems plausible that he would take a couple years to figure things out. Kind of like Chris Perry (but faster! - signed FJ).Either way, I'm encouraged by the spring reports on Cox. I'd be pretty excited if Cox/Hopkins made up the 1-2 punch with Smith or some of the other smaller backs being used as 3rd and long or change-of-pace backs. That seems pretty ideal for this group of backs.-Lank
@ Lankownia 12:44 p.m.I generally believe in that learning curve as well. I just don't think it applies to the skill positions that rely on speed, agility, etc. Most of the good Michigan running backs (and running backs all over the country) are good from Year 1, such as Mike Hart, Ricky Powers, Tyrone Wheatley, Anthony Thomas, etc.
Agreed, the curve is less significant at some positions and its far more common for guys to make an instant impact there. But there are exceptions like Perry.In your opinion, does it seem like the spread offense asks a little more out of the RB's than the pro-style? Maybe I'm wrong in assuming so, but it seemed that RR's offense places a higher premium on blocking and reading than a get-the-ball-and-hit-the-hole style of play. Plus it had more no-huddle and fewer substitutions so it seemed like more of a mental challenge to me.-Lank
@ Lankownia 1:10 p.m.I do think the spread required a little bit more than a typical pro-style offense. The running backs are heavily involved in each play, even if it's just taking a playfake. In pro-style offenses, you often see running backs run lazy flare routes, step up to the weakside and make a lazy chip on a DE, etc. I also think the playcalling is a little bit easier in a pro-style offense......however, guys like LaMichael James, Noel Devine, and Steve Slaton all made impacts very early in their careers. McGuffie and Smith were both deemed "ready" as true freshmen (whether I liked that or not). So while I think a spread offense might be a little more difficult to learn, it doesn't seem to be THAT much harder.