Thursday, April 30, 2009
Drew Dileo, Wolverine
However, in the meantime, Dileo had picked up offers from Stanford, Rice, Tulane, Virginia, and Northwestern.
In regards to the rest of the class, Rich Rodriguez and Co. have to be nearing the end of their wide receiver recruiting. This gives Michigan six potential wide receivers in the class of 2010, which is an astronomical number, especially considering that the class currently should hold only about 19 players. However, Michigan has recently sent out offers to outside wide receivers such as Andrew Carswell and Adrian Coxson, so I wouldn't bet any considerable amount of money that Michigan is done recruiting WRs.
A quick run-through of the six current commits:
1. Jeremy Jackson - At 6'4", he's destined for outside WR . . . or TE. However, he would probably take his talents elsewhere if the coaches put him at TE, so he's either a WR or gone.
2. Ricardo Miller - At 6'2" and 205 lbs., I think Miller is headed for outside WR. There's been some talk that he could move to tight end, but I just don't see it.
3. Jerald Robinson - He's 6'2" and 175 lbs. but could play safety. I honestly think there's a very good chance he'll end up on defense . . . or he'll decommit, much like Dewayne Peace last year.
4. D.J. Williamson - Williamson is 6'1" and 172 lbs. He could play outside or in the slot. He could potentially add depth at CB, too, but he won't make an impact there. I think Williamson is the most likely to decommit of the aforementioned group.
5. Tony Drake - Drake is headed for slot or running back. He reminds me of Odoms, which makes me think he'll be a slot.
6. Drew Dileo - Dileo has good hands and normally I'd say he's headed for slot receiver. However, with the increasing number of wide receivers in this class, maybe the coaching staff is liking his potential at RB more and more. That's pure speculation and I doubt its voracity, but it's possible. I think his biggest contribution will be as a kick/punt returner.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Bengals release Chris Perry
Monday, April 27, 2009
2009 NFL Draft Review: Michigan
Prediction: 4th round
Where he went: Trent went to the Bengals with the sixth pick in the 6th round. It looks like I overvalued him a little bit. The current Wolverine players have hinted that some of the outgoing players never bought into the new regime, and I've heard rumors that Trent was one of those. Perhaps some NFL teams heard those same rumors and dropped him down a bit for attitude issues. Or maybe nobody thought he was very good.
Prediction: 5th round
Where he went: Taylor went to the Colts with the last pick of the 4th round. While my prediction was off, it was as close to being correct as I could possibly be . . . without actually being correct.
Prediction: 7th round
Where he went: Jamison ended up signing as an undrafted free agent (UFA) with the Houston Texans.
Where he went: Harrison signed with the Indianapolis Colts. They already have a 5'9" strong safety in Bob Sanders, but here's a clone. I honestly think Harrison might be able to stick on a team like the Colts. His strength is in playing close to the line of scrimmage, and the Colts defense would potentially give him that opportunity.
Where he went: Massey signed with the Browns. I'm pretty sure this is nothing more than the Browns saying, "Hey, you're from Cleveland - let's make the hometown fans happy about seeing a local product on the roster!"
Where he went: Butler went to the Green Bay Packers. They have a history of thuggish tight ends (Mark Chmura liked 16-year-old girls a little too much, for example), but I think Butler's on-field attitude will get him shooed away faster than his off-the-field behavior.
2009 NFL Draft Results: The Free Agents
Defensive end/outside linebacker Tim Jamison has signed with the Houston Texans.
Long snapper Sean Griffin has signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
Tight end Carson Butler has signed with the Green Bay Packers.
Tight end Mike Massey has signed with the Cleveland Browns.
Brandon Harrison has signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
More updates to come.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
2009 NFL Draft Preview: Michigan
Morgan Trent came to Michigan as a wide receiver but moved to defensive back during bowl practices of his true freshman season. He played pretty well in 2007 but took a lot of blame for Michigan's defensive woes in 2008. Scouts - and fans - think Trent lacks the fluid hips to be a corner in the NFL. Because of this, I think Trent projects as a free safety at the NFL level. He's a decent tackler who has improved in that area over the last couple years; he doesn't match up well against running backs at times, but he's willing and able to hit receivers. And roaming centerfield doesn't require the same fluidity as cornerback. He could also fit into a defense that plays a lot of zone coverages as a cornerback.
Projection: 4th round
Terrence Taylor - DT
At the end of Taylor's junior season, there were some who thought Taylor could have been a first round pick. I disagreed. It's not often that you see undersized DTs (he's 6'0" and 306 lbs.) go in the first round, so that was overly optimistic. A year later, Taylor looks likely to go in the fourth round or so. He rarely made big plays at Michigan and while he's fairly adept at holding up against double teams, that job gets more difficult in the NFL. He reminds me of William Carr, who was an All-American (Taylor wasn't) and a seventh round draft pick by the Bengals. Still...
Projection: 5th round
Tim Jamison - DE
Michigan fans (including me) kept expecting Jamison to break out in a Wolverine uniform, but he never really did. He mostly played right defensive end and suffered from weight issues early in his career. He measured in at 6'2 1/2" and 256 lbs. before the draft, which is probably a good weight for him. Some suggest that he would make a good outside linebacker in a 3-4, but with his 5.09 time in the forty yard dash, I disagree. I think he's purely a defensive end. He holds up decently against the run, but he's not much of a pass rusher.
Projection: 7th round
Will Johnson - DT
Despite Johnson's eye-popping 47 reps at 225 lbs. on the bench press, he never produced much in college. He's a little stiiff and doesn't do much more than holding his own against double teams. I have a very hard time believing that a team will spend a draft pick on Johnson. He reminds me of Baltimore Ravens nosetackle Kelly Gregg, but Gregg was All-Big 12 for two years. Johnson doesn't hold equivalent accolades. Johnson could stick as a nosetackle, but I doubt it.
Brandon Harrison - CB/S
Harrison is 5'9", 205 lbs., and fast. Unfortunately, he's never been a great football player. He's a solid tackler but not a big playmaker in the passing game. He played safety as a freshman, slot corner as a sophomore and junior, and strong safety as a senior. He never really found a position. Harrison's best chance is to contribute on special teams and be a backup strong safety, but I doubt he'll hang around in the league.
Carson Butler - TE
I'm not going to lie - Butler seems like an asshole. He participated in the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, punched random people on the field, and pissed off the coaches non-stop. I wouldn't want him on my team. But he's 6'5" and runs the forty in the 4.5-4.6 range, so some GM/coach will give him a shot. Once they see him false start/hold/whiff on a block on the same play, they'll send him packing.
Sean Griffin - LS
Griffin is a very good long snapper and while he probably won't get drafted (long snappers rarely do), I do expect that Griffin will hang around the NFL for a while.
John Thompson - LB
I don't think anyone ever thought Thompson would be effective in pass coverage, but I didn't expect him to be so bad at tackling, too. He wasn't a horrible tackler, but for someone nicknamed "Machete" I expected a more solid tackler. If Thompson plays in the NFL, I would think it would be as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense; he's too slow to run sideline to sideline like a 4-3 middle linebacker would have to do. However, regardless of the defensive scheme, Thompson very probably isn't an NFLer.
Mike Massey - TE
Uh . . . no.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Taylor Hill, ex-Wolverine
If the 2008 class were still intact, Hill would probably be battling Brandon Herron, Marell Evans, Steve Watson, and fellow immediate transfer Marcus Witherspoon for the starting job as hybrid DE/OLB.
WARNING: View the video below at your own risk, as you will be forced to listen to Scott Stapp vomit into a microphone.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Scouting Report: William Gholston, DE - Detroit, MI
Weight: 237 lbs.
Jersey number: #2
School: Southeastern High School in Detroit, MI
40 Yard Dash: 4.5 seconds (reported)
Notes: Holds offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Miami, Michigan, MSU, Notre Dame, Oregon, Purdue, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among others . . . 101 tackles, 22 TFLs, 15 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 fumbles recovered as a junior in 2008 . . . 108 tackles, 19 sacks as a sophomore in 2007 at Detroit Mumford. . . 75 tackles, 9 sacks as a freshman in 2006 at Detroit Mumford. . . 55 catches for 970 yards and 14 TDs in high school career so far . . . Plays LB and TE . . . #44 in initial Rivals 100 . . . #57 on Scout
Scouting report: Keeps his shoulders square when scraping down the line . . . Plays downhill and fills the hole well . . . Maintains good knee bend and balance, which is difficult for someone who's 6'7" . . . Has excellent speed for his size . . . Has speed and motor to play sideline to sideline . . . Does a good job of pursuing from the backside . . . Runs with good body lean . . . Plays with good pad level from the linebacker position . . . Willing to lay out and put his body on the line to make plays . . . Listed at 6'7" but plays like a smaller, more agile linebacker . . . Needs to improve upper body strength . . . Does a poor job of disengaging from blockers, attacking them head up rather than shedding with one forearm/shoulder . . . As a down lineman, stands up too high and needs to play with a lower pad level
Projection: Gholston will end up at defensive end in a 4-3 defense, but could play outside linebacker in a 3-4. He will be a very good player in a "Big Six" program and could play at a high level as early as his sophomore year. However, he may need to adjust to playing with his hand down, which might slow his development.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Marvin Robinson, Wolverine
Regardless, Robinson is the ninth player to commit to Michigan in the 2010 recruiting class - and the best, at least according to Rivals, which ranks him #99 overall. He also plans to enroll in January, meaning his prison abs (see above) will be even more impressive, what with Mike Barwis's magic concoction of chocolate milk and wolf blood.
If you want a rundown of Robinson's accomplishments and other people's scouting reports, feel free to visit MGoBlog. Brian has a nice write-up and, as far as I know, is a full-time blogger and therefore has the time and inclination to do a great amount of research.
However, Brian @ MGoBlog seems to think that Robinson will end up at linebacker. I think otherwise. Regardless of what I heard when Robinson was a sophomore (that he's a 6'3", 220 lb. man-child), he is listed at 6'1" and 190 lbs. And while he still has over a year before he first steps on the field for Michigan, it's no guarantee that he'll be big enough to be a linebacker. Even if he packs on twenty pounds by then, he'll still be small-ish. By comparison, safety-turned-linebacker Jonas Mouton is currently 218 lbs. Witness Brandin Hawthorne as a counterpoint to my argument, but I still think Robinson is a safety. Here's why:
Michigan's safety position has been a black hole for years and years. The Wolverines have had adequate players there, but spectacular play has been hard to find. Robinson could help to change that. He has incredible ball skills for a safety and has the instincts to make up for other players' mistakes. And while he doesn't hit like Craig Loston, he is a sure tackler. Frankly, I don't care if our safeties lay people out - I just want them to be able to take a man down in the open field. And according to Robinson, he's being recruited as a free safety, so there's that.
By the time Robinson gets here, these are the players who will be manning the safety positions (barring any further position switches or additions to the 2010 class):
1. Troy Woolfolk - A senior in 2010, Woolfolk moved from cornerback this spring and is vying to start at FS in 2009.
2. Vladimir Emilien - A sophomore-to-be in 2010, Emilien is currently coming off of ACL surgery. He has moved quickly up the ranks during spring practice, but he is obviously lacking experience.
3. Thomas Gordon - A redshirt-freshman-to-be in 2010, Gordon is considered a project and I think Robinson's talent would help him leapfrog Gordon.
4. Michael Williams - He'll be a redshirt junior in 2010 and might be locking up the strong safety job this year.
5. Isaiah Bell - I think Bell will stick as a safety, but many think he's destined for a linebacker position. He'll either be a redshirt freshman or a sophomore in 2010.
Out of those players, I think Woolfolk and Williams would probably be our starting safeties in 2010. But after that, Woolfolk will be gone and the FS job would be up for grabs. There isn't a ton of depth at safety, and that depth gets even thinner if Bell kicks down to LB. In my opinion, Robinson will be roaming centerfield from 2011 onward.
(Please disregard the ugly T-shirt on the gentleman to Marvin's left. I have it on good authority that said gentleman lost a bet.)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Greg Paulus, Wolverine
Not just rumors, but news reports have surfaced over the past couple days that Duke point guard Greg Paulus wants to play football in college. In case you didn't know, "point guard" is a basketball position. Paulus has stated before that he wants to be a basketball coach . . . but he probably can't be a pro basketball player, since he was benched at times when he was a senior at Duke.
He was good enough in high school that the Green Bay Packers worked him out recently, and he visited Michigan yesterday to talk to Rich Rodriguez about the potential to play quarterback for the Wolverines. Here are some clips from Rivals:
Stephen Hopkins, Wolverine
Hopkins ran 343 times for 1,663 yards and 16 TDs as a sophomore. In 2008 he ran for slightly more yards (1,689) and more TDs (22) on seventy fewer carries (273 for the math-deficient). Apparently his coach thinks he's Jamal Anderson, which is bad for Michigan, because Jamal Anderson came up with annoying dances and then snorted cocaine off of a toilet.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Spring Game Visitors
Scouting Report: Skyler Schofner, OT - Johnstown, OH
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Penn State coaches clinic: Saturday scrimmage
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Penn State coaches clinic: Saturday morning
Monday, April 6, 2009
Penn State coaches clinic: Friday evening
Anyway, Paterno's speech talked about how all coaches are trying to make young men into good men and that only coaches truly understand the importance and purpose of sports. At one point, he said, "Your principals don't understand. Maybe you should buy them some flowers or a box of candy...if it's a woman." Then he paused a minute and said, "Well, nowadays, maybe if it's a man, too." The entire place exploded.
The other funny thing he talked about was recruiting:
You got guys out there like Dick Vitale going blahblahplublahgahbuppywuppy [sic]
telling us who to recruit. I got coaches who have been coaching for 200 years.
We spend nine hours in the film room. We know who to recruit. But people still
try to tell us what to do.
After Paterno was done speaking, we broke off into question-and-answer sessions. I went to McQueary's session, where he talked about different ways to beat Cover 0, Cover 1, Cover 2, and Cover 3. McQueary's a great communicator, but when his receivers screw up on the practice field, they get the Look of Death.
I saw safeties coach Kermit Buggs so one of the other coaches and I went over to ask him how he defends the wheel route out of Cover 3. He said the key is communication and in a straight Cover 3 (in which the two CBs and the FS have deep thirds while the linebackers split the short zones into fourths), the ILB has to cover the flat while the OLB runs with the deep man.
After that, we saw Larry Johnson walking around and we stopped him to ask how he teaches kids to beat reach blocks. Basically, he maintains his strategy that defensive linemen need to get off the ball fast and hard. Their first steps need to replace their down hand so they cross the line of scrimmage instead of bringing that back foot even with the other; he doesn't care if his tackles get reach blocked, as long as it's one or two yards deep in the backfield and not at the LOS.
After that, we saw cheese fries at Outback.
Penn State coaches clinic: Friday afternoon
An interesting connection was made at the next session. Strength coach John Thomas brought a graduate assistant and some weight equipment into Holuba Hall. They did a session of manual resistance training, in which the GA did various exercises while Thomas used his strength and body weight to work him to failure. For example, the GA did pushups while Thomas pushed down on his back; the kid looked like he hated him for it.
The funny thing was that Thomas mentioned four or five times that he had learned some of these techniques "from a guy who's probably going to hate me saying his name, and that's Mike Gittleson." He looked over toward the opposite corner from me, as if Gittleson were over there somewhere. Of course, most of the coaches at the clinic were from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, so I don't know if anyone else recognized the name. But I immediately started looking for someone who might be Gittleson. I couldn't find him initially, but I eventually saw him. I spoke to him for a minute about resistance training, but I didn't mention anything about Michigan, since I thought that might bring up bad memories. Interestingly enough, when I got home and Googled John Duncan, one of the first hits I came across was this article in which ex-PSU players suggested that players were actually getting fatter and weaker under Duncan; those are the exact same criticisms that Gittleson suffered from fans, although I'm sure many S&C coaches face the same questions.
After Duncan's presentation, the team came out for spring practice. I immediately scoped out some players of interest for Michigan fans, players like Kevin Newsome, Devon Still, Chris Colasanti, etc. I was concentrating on defensive line and linebacker drills, since those are the positions I coach, but I also spent some time watching Newsome throw. I'll have a more in-depth analysis later, but Newsome completed 3 out of 15 passes in one-on-ones that I saw.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Penn State coaches clinic: Friday morning
The clinic was held at Holuba Hall, PSU's indoor practice facility. The building is nothing spectacular, but it has two fields adjacent to each other, each one about 70 yards long. There were chairs and makeshift video screens in two corners of the facility. The offensive coaches (WR coach Mike McQueary, QB coach Jay Paterno, offensive coordinator/RB coach Galen Hall, and OL coach Dick Anderson) were going to talk in one corner, and the defensive coaches (LB coach Ron Vanderlinden, defensive coordinator/CB coach Tom Bradley, DL coach Larry Johnson, S coach Kermit Buggs) in the other. I stuck mainly with the defense.
Ron Vanderlinden - linebackers
I was interested in hearing Vanderlinden speak, not only because PSU always produces good linebackers, but because there were rumors that he might become Michigan's defensive coordinator before Greg Robinson arrived. He clearly knows what he's talking about, but he's not a very dynamic speaker. Luckily, he demonstrated some of the drills he does with his linebackers and had highlights of his former star linebackers, such as Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor. He really emphasized the linebacker stance and remaining in that position - knees over toes, almost in a squat position - throughout a running play. He also talked extensively about teaching his linebackers to shuffle while remaining square to the line, saying he doesn't use carioca drills (where players cross their feet) because the legs cross over naturally, but the shuffle is an unnatural movement. He doesn't believe in doing a lot of different drills, just doing the same drills over and over.
Tom Bradley - defensive coordinator/cornerbacks
Bradley reminded me somewhat of Tobin Bell (Jigsaw from the Saw movies), slightly because of his looks and slightly because of his voice. He went through his defensive philosophy and stressed tackling; he said that for every 10 yards gained, there's at least one missed tackle. To add on to that, he talked about "explosion plays" which are plays that gain 25+ yards. Teams that have zero explosion plays average 6.8 points per game. Two explosion plays give you 14.8 points per game. But if you give up three explosion plays, opposing teams will score 28.7 points per game.
Larry Johnson - defensive line
Larry Johnson is the father of the former 2,000 yard rusher and current Kansas City Chief running back of the same name. Johnson sounds like a preacher. If I were a recruit, this guy could make me want to run through a brick wall. A brick wall covered in bee stingers. He talked about being a good person and a good coach, and he wants to start a "new generation of coaching" in which coaches don't swear at their players. He said that's not how you teach young men. And it's hard to argue with his coaching methods, considering the success he's had at producing first round talent on the defensive line. He had some very interesting things to say about defensive line play, especially the first step. He also had video of some superb defensive line drills that I'll talk about in more detail when I get to the recap of Saturday morning's session. He was the best presenter I saw.
Dick Anderson - offensive line
After sitting through three consecutive defensive presentations, I thought I'd go over to the offensive corner. Jay Paterno was scheduled to speak at the last session, and even though I coach OL, DL, and LBs, it's hard to understand the game if you don't understand quarterback play. Unfortunately, the schedule had been rejiggered and instead of seeing JayPa, I observed the monotonous skeleton named Dick Anderson. Anderson is approximately 700 years old and was the head coach at Rutgers from 1984 until 1990. A fellow coach on my high school's staff began counting the number of times he said "all right?" He repeated that phrase 95 times in 25 minutes. But it was more like, "Okay, on the snap of the ball, awwright, our playside guard, awwright, takes a reach step and reads the strongside linebacker, awwright . . . ." From what I've seen of PSU's offensive line, I've never been impressed. His linemen don't finish their blocks and don't exactly blow people off the ball, so I spent more time thinking about what we were going to have for lunch than listening to Anderson.
In case you were wondering, they served us cold cut sandwiches, bags of chips, macaroni salad, and Pepsi products.
Friday, April 3, 2009
The reason I like this video so much, though, is that it includes the only good play Chris Graham ever made for Michigan. Which is exactly one more good play than I made for the Wolverines, so good for him.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Go get in the way of someone*
There's no blocking system out there in which a play calls for an offensive lineman to block a particular defender; "man" blocking is a misnomer. A wham/iso play doesn't require the "offensive tackle to block the defensive end" because what if there's no defensive end? What if the defensive end is lined up over the guard and a strong safety is walked up and playing as an edge rusher?
Zone blocking asks the offensive linemen to create a screen. For those of you who have played intramural flag football, some leagues ask you to "shadow block" (i.e. no contact); that's essentially what zone blocking is. Zone coaches want their offensive linemen to get in the way of a defender and then let the running back choose whichever hole has the fewest obstructions.
Regardless, this is an excellent post by Rocky Top Talk. It's not entirely applicable to Michigan's blocking scheme because it's mainly talking about running the zone play from a single-back set with the quarterback under center, but most of the basics still hold true.
*Unfortunately, I've given this bit of advice to several players who suddenly forget their plays when it's game time.
Bad news for Penn State
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
A little something for the ladies...
In the picture you see above, Sam McGuffie is preparing to leap over
Steve Brown a Seattle Seahawk Rice Owl football player.
Okay, not really.
Instead, he's in the process of gaining 30 yards in Rice's spring game that was held this past Saturday. Since he just transferred there this semester and he'll be ineligible to play in 2009, the coaching staff apparently wanted to torture themselves by showing off a player they can't use for another year and a half.
I guess it's kind of like me looking at pictures of Sofia Vergara. I mean, she's away on a photo shoot right now. But when she comes back, I have big plans for us.