Friday, July 12, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #48 Josh Furman

Josh Furman
Name: Josh Furman
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 197 lbs.
High school: Annapolis (MD) Old Mill
Position: Safety
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #14
Last year: I ranked Furman #50 and said he would be a special teamer and backup safety. He had 8 tackles as a special teamer and backup safety.

For the second consecutive season, Furman was valuable on special teams and mostly absent on actual defense. Thomas Gordon and Jordan Kovacs took the vast majority of the snaps at safety last year, and the third safety in the game was always then-freshman Jarrod Wilson. Meanwhile, Furman and the now departed Marvin Robinson - both two years older than Wilson - watched from the sideline. Furman is a pretty ideal special teams player because he has good size and speed, and he's not afraid of contact. Unfortunately, his instincts as a safety are somewhat lacking.

With strong safety Kovacs now graduated, it looks like Gordon will move from free safety to strong; Wilson should earn the starting free safety job. The backup safeties are pretty darn questionable, though. Robinson is headed to Ferris State to play ball, and Furman has those questionable instincts. Redshirt freshman Allen Gant moved to outside linebacker. Outside of that top three, there's literally nothing other than true freshmen. I imagine the coaches see something in Furman that makes them comfortable with that depth chart, but someone else to keep in mind is Dymonte Thomas. The freshman enrolled early and has reportedly won the starting nickel corner job, so if something happens to one of the starting safeties, we might see Thomas move over and keep Furman on the sideline. Much like the last couple seasons, I expect Furman to be a backup and help out on coverage units.

Prediction: Backup safety, special teamer


  1. Question regarding the depth chart and the different safety spots: Is one safety position easier to learn and step into than the other?

    I was just thinking that if Thomas is the 3rd safety on the depth chart, would it be best to slide him in at strong safety if he has to go in; let Gordon go back to free safety if something happens to Wilson.

    I've always kind of assumed that free safety was the more difficult of the two positions to play, but I don't actually know if that's necessarily true. They require different skill sets, but I guess I don't actually know if one is easier to step into than the other. Maybe years of hearing about Kovacs' coverage skills (or lack thereof) has made me incorrectly assume playing deep is inherently more difficult.

    1. I think it comes down to a kid's physical skills and maybe even more importantly mindset.

      Years ago on one of my kid's soccer teams we had a kid who was just a great little defender, but because this was Rec soccer you wanted to move kids around and let them play at every position, so we would move this kid on top and try to get him a goal. This kid was a sweetheart and a real stout little player so we were trying twice as hard to get him a goal ..... fair or not.

      It was a real lesson watching this kid play from the top. Every time the ball would swing from east to west, he's angle back maybe four yards in an effort to keep the ball in front of him. If you didn't keep an eye on the kid and stay in his head about attacking the ball or the net, he's take five defensive angles back until he was five yards in front of the defense ..... where he would finally stick. You'd be looking for him on top, but he'd be gone. The kid had a natural born center fielder's mindset, and there wasn't a damn thing we were gonna be able to do about it. We finally just gave up and put him where he wanted to be. He's a pretty high level center back to this day.

    2. Strong safety is an easier position to play. You're not as responsible for deep coverage, so you don't have to understand the weaknesses of the entire defense. Strong safeties usually have flat coverage or man coverage rather than having to cover the deep middle. I also think playing free safety can be quite damaging to a young kid's psyche, because if there's a big play and he's the last line of defense, he might take it too hard.

      I also think it makes sense for Dymonte Thomas to play SS, because he doesn't have much experience in coverage, since he was basically a linebacker in high school. If something were to happen to Wilson, I would expect Thomas Gordon to move back to FS and somebody else to step in at SS (Dymonte Thomas, Furman, Clark, etc.).

    3. I think the free safety position demands a player who values 'protection' of the entire field.

      A good example would be Stevie Brown. Just too aggressive for a free safety position and they moved him to strong safety?...and boom he was very good. I think the FS position needs a more type B personality. These kids are hyped up and want to hit someone and the free safety is there for 'insurance' and help support. It is a position that requires a selfless mindset because they are not looking for the glory (big hit, etc.)

      The FS is there on some level to confuse the qb and force everything underneath for the lb's to clean up. It takes a unique person to excel at the position whereas a kid who may be exceptionally talented may undermine the team by being aggressive.

      Call it instincts if you want. Call it positional i.q. I call it the right mindset. Talent doesn't hurt either. I'd rather have my FS never make a tackle and confuse the qb on intermediate and deep routes..keep the qb guessing.

  2. Could you see Furman playing any positions on offense?

    It's amazing to me that some guys (like Frank Clark) can gain fifty pounds in a relative heartbeat and others stay about the same weight as their recruiting profile. I sometimes wonder if coaches can predict those arcs.

    1. I think Furman could be a running back, but he's not a smooth enough athlete to play wide receiver. At this point it's probably too late to move him, and we don't have the numbers at safety to do so.

  3. I can't believe this guy can't find his way to the field. He's such a freak athlete. I guess it goes to show you need more than a genetic lottery ticket to play in the big leagues

    1. I wouldn't really define him as a freak athlete. He has borderline track speed, but he's not particularly powerful or good at changing direction. And I really don't think he's as fast as a lot of Michigan fans think.

    2. I usually think of athleticism as body control (moving in three-dimensional space, etc.). So, agreed on that. Didn't Furman have off-the-charts "electronically" timed 40s, though?

    3. I think he claimed a 4.37 at one point.