Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #17 Chris Wormley

Chris Wormley got beat on a wheel route by UConn, but won't have to defend the pass as much at DT.
Name: Chris Wormley
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 295 lbs.
High school: Toledo (OH) Whitmer
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #43
Last year: I ranked Wormley #47 and said he would be a backup defensive tackle. He made 19 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 pass breakup.

Wormley redshirt during his freshman season when he tore his ACL, and last year was a bit of a recovery year. He spent some time as a defensive end, but due to his bulk - or his bum knee - he seemed a little out of place. It seemed to me that he emerged in the Penn State game, when he made 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. As the year went along, he seemed to move inside more and was a heavily rotated player, despite not earning any starts.

That looks like it will change in 2014. Now that he is 295 lbs. and seemingly beyond the size of a feasible defensive end, Wormley looks like a good bet to earn at least a few starts. In my opinion, the three interior starters on the defensive line should come down to some combination of Ondre Pipkins, Willie Henry, and Wormley. None are certainties - Pipkins is coming off his own ACL tear, and Henry did not have a great offseason. Wormley never put together a great stretch of football last year, but he seems like a coach favorite (they have said that he would have played as a true freshman if not for the knee injury) and he has some tantalizing athleticism for an interior lineman. My guess is that he starts at least half the games at the 3-tech tackle position, and I think Michigan fans will be excited about him going into 2015.

Prediction: Starting defensive tackle; 35 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks

18 comments:

  1. Do DE cover RBs in a wheel route? I've never given it much thought, but it seems odd that a DE would ever have coverage responsibilities. Maybe if there was a situation in which the play call was for a DLinemen to drop back into a LB position while another defender blitzed or something. Are DEs responsible for coverage often?

    I am getting really excited for the defensive line (well, both lines, to be fair, but the offense I think is still at least a year away from being good) to be a real force on the field.

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    1. It doesn't happen often, but they do occasionally cover running backs out of the backfield. That's when Wormley was playing the "rush end/rush linebacker" position, which is kind of a hybrid DE/OLB.

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    2. Agreed, this team will only go as far as our D will carry it. The O will at times be horrid, no doubt about it and the D will be the only thing that keeps us in games or pulls out some close one's. Mattison has a lot to prove, that last year was a fluke. He needs to make amends!

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    3. Mattison has nothing to prove to anybody. Last year was no fluke, last year is what happens when 13 or so of your top 22 defenders are freshmen and sophomores playing major conference D1 football because your program puked up 2 1/2 recruiting classes back to back to back. It could have been significantly worse, and likely would have been with a less adept DC.

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    4. Isn't have "13 of 22 top defenders" as sophomores or freshman pretty standard in the NCAA?

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    5. 2013's defense was no huge failure where we should be saving face by calling it a fluke. If you consider that UM's best playmaker by far, along with their second best guy were both coming off of ACL injuries, I'm not sure how you could have expected a ton from this group. Teams like Iowa, Wisconsin, MSU, and Ohio State returned more experienced talent than UM. And UM's defense was paired with an offense that had a lot of 3-and-outs and turnovers, which constantly put them in bad spots. Contrast that with OSU's defense, which had the benefit of almost always playing against teams in desperation mode, trying to keep up w/ OSU's offense. GMatt did not work any miracles in 2013, but the defense wound up about where we should have expected, roughly 5th best in the conference. Nothing flukey about it. Of course, the 2014 defense is a completely different story.

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    6. Last year was one of the worst years our defense has ever had, and we've had young teams before. Yes, Mattison has some proving to do...or at the very least, some IMproving.

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    7. "Last year was one of the worst years our defense has ever had..."

      Oh, how soon we forget.

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  2. Wormley came out of Whitmer, if I recall correctly.

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    1. Yeah, you're right...I was thinking Whitmer was the school that changed its name, but it's not.

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  3. I look at Hurst and think to myself, "Wouldn't it be fun to have some Billy Harris quickness in there and start attacking gaps, Then I consider Pipkins and Wormley and sadly come to my senses.

    Still, we will finally have honest to God, Big 10 size and athletic ability inside for the first time in what feels to me like an eternity, even though it's only been three years. This alone will make us significantly better on Defense.

    Now if we can just find a real big, real fast, real athletic kid to play box safety or maybe nickel .....

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  4. If I remember that UConn, Wormley recognized the play pre snap and was trying to signal for help. I don't think that was his assignment. Easy easy touchdown.

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    1. I do think it was his assignment, but he realized that he needed help based on the formation and defensive call. It's not really his fault, though, because you can't expect a 290 lb. defensive end to stick with a running back in space.

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  5. How do you know Henry did not have a great offseason??

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    1. The coaches hinted at it, and he dropped to third string in the spring.

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  6. I have followed Wormley ever since at one point he was the #1 rated player in Ohio. He has simce dropped and was a mid 4* recruit that had a knack for some great plays which were followed by stretches of thinking, was he even on the field that last quarter?
    My hope is that he becomes solid and holds the line at least, making the occasional big stop. Too many times last year our interior line caved like a badly prepared soufflé.

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  7. Good post. I agree with the rank. Wormley hasn't shown us much shine yet, but he's played consistently, the coaches like him, and he has very good size.

    Between Pipkins, Mone, and Wormley, I'm starting to think DL size may be a concern of the past. Henry has good size for a DT as well.

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