GBMWolverine: Mailbag Question -- Michigan Football -- Special Teams

Posted at 12:00pm — 10/7/2011

GBMWolverine: Mailbag Question — Michigan Football — Special Teams

Hey guys,

I know your site has not been happy with the special teams play this year, just by looking at the grades you have given, but we have seen some improvement over the past few games, haven’t we?
The kick coverage team does seem to be out of place and certainly is one thing that could come back to bite us in a game.

What seems to be the biggest problem? Is the actual kick-off not high enough or deep enough? Is it the players on the field? I do not know all of the kick team players but it seems like a lot of younger players, except for Troy Woolfolk, are on this unit. It also seems as if there is always a big hole which means players are not staying in their lanes.

How did Marvin Robinson just run past the ball carrier on that one kick-off? He flat out didn’t even see the returner with the ball. I realize he has struggled somewhat on the defensive side of the ball missing plays, but he just ran right by the player and that is the one that was taken back for a score, which thankfully was called back because of a penalty.

There have been a few bright spots hasn’t there? The field goals, extra points, and punting all seem to be satisfactory ( a big jump from last year).

Thanks guys,
Greg G.

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GBMWolverine Response:

We think the biggest problem on special teams (especially the kick-off team) right now is the personnel issues that we have talked about in the past in regards to the roster talent at key positions that usually represents special teams.

Michigan’s roster at this time lacks the athletic safeties and linebackers that typically make up the heart and soul of coverage teams.

For example, Ohio State has made a living recruiting and developing this type of athlete. Not only do they cycle through important positions, but also provide a higher level of special team talent.

In regards to Marvin’s play on special teams, he might be losing a little focus because of his playing time status. Since Notre Dame Marvin hasn’t seen the field as much on defense and Carvin Johnson seems to be on the field a lot more. For some players it is tough to go from playing quite a bit, back to just special teams. We agree that Marvin needs to pick it up along with every member of that coverage team.

As far as the positive, we would like to be perfect in the field goal category this season, especially concerning the distances that have been attempted. But 4 for 5 on field goals is solid. The punting average of 40.6 yards per punt is acceptable as well especially when you consider Michigan was using a freshman (good skill level) back-up for the first four games.

In our opinion the kick-off return team with Jeremy Gallon is showing good signs. They have had a couple of returns Gallon was close to breaking.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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