Monday, July 22, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #38 Brennen Beyer

Brennen Beyer (#97)
Name: Brennen Beyer
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 254 lbs.
High school: Plymouth (MI) Plymouth
Position: Linebacker
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #97
Last year: I ranked Beyer #24 and said he would be the starting weakside end. He started eight games and had 19 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble.

Beyer moved from SAM linebacker in 2011 to weakside end in 2012, where he started the majority of the season after Frank Clark checked into the doghouse. After a freshman season that saw him make 11 tackles, Beyer upped that production to 19 tackles in 2012. Unfortunately, very few of those plays happened in the backfield and he was not much of a threat to rush the passer. In essence, he was a very mediocre player at a position that should  produce some big plays. Clark and then freshman Mario Ojemudia were the ones who made those big plays, though. After starting SAM Jake Ryan tore his ACL this spring, Beyer was moved back to SAM and appears entrenched there until Ryan returns (projected to be in October). Beyer showed little in the spring game.

My opinion of Beyer's skills has been sullied over the past couple seasons. I expected him to be a little more athletic than he has shown, but even in his lighter days, he hasn't shown the ability to be explosive. He has added almost 30 pounds since he arrived, and that probably doesn't bode well for his athleticism. Meanwhile, he has moved back to linebacker, where such stiffness is an even bigger detriment. All evidence to this point suggests that Beyer will begin the year as the starting SAM: he played there as a freshman over then redshirt junior Cam Gordon, he started over Clark, and he started at outside linebacker in the spring game over Gordon once again. For whatever reason, the coaches want him on the field. However, this is my blog where I sometimes disagree with the coaches, and this would be one of those instances. While Beyer might hold up a tiny bit better against the run, the more athletic Gordon would be a better choice to start at SAM. The coaches might make situational substitutions until Ryan can return, at which point Beyer might find himself bumped back over to weakside end. In this one man's opinion, Beyer should be no higher than #2 at either spot. I don't think this team can afford to have an edge player starting who can only muster half a tackle for loss in two seasons.

Prediction: Part-time starting SAM

19 comments:

  1. The description of Beyer here reminds me of the darker days of the Carr regime, where high-floor-low-ceiling (or even really low ceiling, as in the case of Pat Massey) were favored over low-floor-high-ceiling guys like Pierre Woods.

    I'm generalizing, but you probably get the idea ...

    Beyer must bring some intangibles (leadership?) to the table.

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    1. Bo and Mo did that too. I don't think it's indicative of "darker days". Some guys are just role players - they don't make highlight plays, but they also don't give them up. Not necessarily a terrible thing. For example, I would guess a kid like Pallantine (the gray-shirt NT) will end up playing ahead of some high 4-star/5 star type linemen, and I don't think Hoke will mind.

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    2. If the defense turns out to be great, then I'm okay with it. You can deal with having one or two guys on the defense who do their jobs but don't make plays. The fact that Michigan had a good defense last year despite having a lack of playmakers (Beyer, Campbell, Floyd, Roh, etc.) shows how good Mattison is as a coordinator.

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    3. Can't make plays? Please. Beyer just broke the NCAA record for sacks in a single season in my season of NCAA '14. The experts at EA must see big things on the horizon for him.

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    4. 1000 TTB points for you!

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    5. 1000 TTB points for you!

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  2. I'm with you on this, Thunder. Gordon may have a few flaws, but the guy gets into the backfield and makes plays. Beyer doesn't.

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  3. Good post. I agree that Beyer's elevated view in Mattison's eyes is a bit puzzling. He probably works his tail off and looks good in drills. Clark is not the most disciplined player, so maybe they like using Beyer as an example for him.

    But as you point out, Beyer has absolutely no ability to get by an OT. He just latches onto the lineman, tries to bull rush him, and then pursues after the ball is handed off or thrown. Even against back-ups in the spring game, he could not get free.

    Hoping that Cam Gordon comes around. He has the talent to make some plays behind the LOS. But if the interior run defense is as good as expected with the big interior DL, maybe Mattison plays a bunch of nickel anyway. Beyer definitely has no role in the nickel. Clark, Ojemudia, and Taco will all be better edge rushers this year.

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  4. I have never been as high on Beyer as a lot of people were. I watched him play in HS and while he was good, he never really excelled beyond just being bigger than everyone else. He had the physical tools beyond everyone else, but I suspected that college would level that playing field and he would be average. Even during the state title game he spent a lot of time standing around in the backfield watching the play develop and then end rather than getting involved. His motor is no where near a Jake Ryan level. Too bad as he has had great opportunities with the talent being so much lower his first two years.

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  5. Another thing I was thinking about... had Beyer played TE from the start, he would have been a heavy contributor in 2011 and starter in 2012. The guy may be a bit stiff on defense, but he is still physical and athletic. I did like Beyer's HS film as a TE. Probably would have been an above-average blocker. Not having a solid TE last year really had a significant, negative impact on the offense, particularly RB-based running game. AJ Williams was brutal on that inverted veer that became a staple as the year went on.

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    1. I was around to watch his Plymouth career and also thought he had more upside as a TE. Looks now that he was miscast.

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    2. I agree that he could have been a decent tight end. If Michigan had more depth, they might be able to move him. Unfortunately, they really need him at SAM, even if he doesn't start.

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  6. Seems to me that Beyer is a specialized role player - a run-stopper who won't see the field much against spread teams or quicker/lighter offenses but will play a significant role against teams who want to pound it. At least on running downs, he's almost surely going to be pulled whenever a passing situation comes up.

    I think your criticism is mostly fair. He came in with a rep for athleticism but when he bulked up he seemed to lose it. His path continues to mirror Roh's although not quite as successfully. All that said, he's clearly been a useful player in the coach's eyes. He's just limited, it seems.

    While I agree with the ranking it seems like a bit of a strawman argument here. Nearly every pundit thinks Gordon will start and the coaches have praised him extensively. You're the only one I've seen arguing that Beyer is the starter. Your reasons for doing so may be valid, but I'm not sure you're necessarily "disagreeing with the coaches" on this one. The spring game is a glorified practice.

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    1. Beyer didn't show great athleticism even before bulking up. He was woefully overrated coming out of high school. A classic tweener who isn't big enough to be an effective every down DE or athletic enough to be an effective every down OLB.

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    2. @Anon 5:37

      I think that's a bit harsh. He supposedly ran a 4.5 40, which is obviously fake, but probably indicative of being at least fast for a bigger kid. He drew offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA, and a bunch of other regional schools so a lot of coaches saw some potential. Not like he was a 5-star kid. He's a 4-star who has proven to be a useful Big 10 player and sometimes starter through 2 seasons. I wouldn't call that woefully overrated. Most 4-star players aren't every-down starters. Plus, he's moved around position to help the team, which we should give him some credit for. Beyers been contributing for 2 years and has 2 more seasons to step his game up.

      I don't expect him to be a star, but he's far from a bust.

      Not only that, but he won some team award for most-improved last spring.

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    3. Idk Beyer never got beat on the edge last year

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  7. What do you think of Hyde and Roby's arrests?

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    1. I don't have a whole lot of thoughts. It's just a matter of time until more Michigan guys get arrested, too. I do think Meyer's record of questionable characters at Florida is relevant, but ultimately, winning cures all. If he wins the Big Ten championship or goes to the BCS title game, not many people will care about Roby, Hyde, Vonn Bell, etc.

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  8. From season 1 Beyer looked like his position should be SDE, although I do not know if he can add the bulk to be one. I hope he does well as a Sam, however I am skeptical.

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