January 1, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg Mattison prior of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Lets Talk Football -- Defense 2013

Posted at 12:00pm — 2/17/2013

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Lets Talk Football — Defense 2013

We have had a lot of conversations about the offense and how it could change with Coach Borges starting to get the personal he needs. That has been fun, no doubt. (IMO) it is what Coach Mattison does with the defense that will determine the success of the 2013 team. With 5 starters graduating we will start to get an idea what his long term vision for the defense is. I would not be surprised if the eleven who start vs. Central Michigan in August are different from those who start vs Ohio State in November. As they get experience, the talented youngster could very easily take playing time from the vets. Lets look at the position groups. For the record, (IMO) Coach Mattison manipulates personnel as well as any defensive coordinator in college football.

Defensive Line:

Michigan loses two starters, Campbell and Roh. Returns three major contributors, Clark, Q-Wash, J-Black. Also return Pipkins and Mario O. Will be interesting to see what happens with Beyer, Sam or DE.

Everyone here knows how I feel about this, It all starts upfront. What will worth watching for is if Coach Mattison and Coach Montgomery go big or more athletic. (IMO) Q-Wash and Pipkins will be fine at 1-tech and combination of Mario and Clark will be okay at RDE.

#1 question (IMO) is SDE/5-tech. Michigan has gotten by with RVB and Roh. Both played well, but neither was ideal fit. Top candidates (IMO) are Strobel and Wormley. How they mature will go along way in determining how good this defense is.

January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Frank Clark (57) against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Michigan Wolverines 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Next Question is 3-tech. Can Black improve enough against power running teams to not platoon. Does Henry step up and with athletic ability and push for playing time? Or does a Poggi have the maturity to help? I would not be surprised in Michigan starts Pipkins and Q-Wash on early downs with Black at defensive end and then uses situational subbing to get the more athletic youngsters, Mario or Clark, involved on passing downs.


Lose Demens, return Ryan, Bolden, Morgan, Ross, and Gordon.

All starts upfront, but Linebackers are the Heart and Soul of Great Defense. As our friend MaizeMan states, Michigan linebackers needs an infusion of athletic ability. Michigan has to tackle better in space, period. With Ryan anchored at Sam, question is what happens at Will and Mike. I do think Michigan will miss Demens size and toughness more than we think. He played between the offensive tackles better than most give him credit for.

January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines linebacker Joe Bolden (35) against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the first half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So does Bolden become starting middle linebacker with Morgan and Ross platooning at Will? Does Morgan move inside to Mike and Michigan gets the more athletic Ross at Will full time? Will C-Gordon step up and become more than a classic RR tweener? I think it is going to be difficult to keep Ross off the field. Guessing, but I think McCray and Geodon get groomed to step in for Ryan with on who loses that competition backing up at middle linebacker.

Defensive Backs:

Loses Kovac and Floyd. Returns Avery, Taylor, Wilson, T-Gordan, T-Rich and hopefully Countess.

Secondary gets measurably better just by getting Countess back and moving Avery back to his natural nickle position.

#1 thing I am watching is does T-Gordon move to Kovacs box safety position with Wilson playing the deep position. Or does T-Gordon’s experience win out. Or does the best freshmen/most talented defender D-Thomas win a starting position with Gordon and Wilson fighting for the position opposite him? Also would not be surprised if one of the other true freshmen pushes for time at nickle or dime. They are an upgrade athletically, and that is what this defense needs.

Would love to hear everyone else thoughts.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — CoachBT

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