Posted at 6:00am -- 11/13/2007 Michigan Football: Mailbag Question -- About..."/> Posted at 6:00am -- 11/13/2007 Michigan Football: Mailbag Question -- About..."/>

Michigan Football: Mailbag Question — About the Special Teams?


Posted at 6:00am — 11/13/2007

Michigan Football: Mailbag Question — About the Special Teams?

What seems to be the problem with our kick return units?

Are we not blocking it well or are the run back guys too tentative? We shoot ourselves in the foot and lose field position on every exchange. Watching Stevie Breaston, fly around against the Lions Sunday made me long for the good old days. Is Cameron Saddler the guy to get? Help me understand.

Joan and Larry Gray — M, Class of 56.


GBMWolverine Response:
Good call, blocking on entire team is sub par and that includes special teams. Our kick off return also suffers from not having a quality returner.

One key is timing between the wedge and return man. Our returners are not helping themselves by 1st catching the ball, way too many KO’s and punts are either hitting ground or being fumbled and dropped. This kills the timing and gives defense time to close the lanes. National average is teams lose 17 yards of field position every time punt is not caught.

Returners are also just not hitting the wedge fast enough. If you do not hit that wedge fast and hard the holes and seams that originally are there will either close or you are too far back to get into them. Either is sure death to return.

The whole thing goes back to poor recruiting. Not enough LB’s, safety and TE’s that are heart and soul of special teams are on our roster. That is why Michigan has taken six or so LB’s in the last two classes and four TE’s. Also why so many freshmen are losing their red shirt to play special teams.

Michigan is woefully missing the type of player needed to have successful special teams. Same with return men. We do not have that smallish, quick, athlete to hit that wedge and get through it. I hope Michigan recruiting of more special teams type players will help fix this problem. Because you are 100% correct, field position has been a huge minus most of the year.

Regarding Saddler I think he has the “wiggle” to be a great ST’s player like Breaston was at Michigan. Will he come to Michigan that is the big question right now. The signs are there, but Michigan and Michigan fans have to be leery since the kid is from Gateway where Justin King came from and Michigan thought they had him and his step-dad (Gateway Coach) who was a former PSU guy kind of put it to Michigan when King picked PSU. Also Cameron wants to be more than just a ST’s player so we will have to wait and see where he goes.

That is the thing Michigan is lacking is a “game breaker” type kid on ST’s and there is not one guy that scares you when Michigan has their ST’s out on the field. To many people expected too much out of Breaston and at Michigan he should have only been a Return guy and possible a 3-4 WR nothing more, but he was forced into being the 1-2 WR.

Michigan definitely needs a ST’s player on returns, but Michigan might have a few guys that could possible be back there next year already on the team likes Avery Horn, Donovan Warren and Troy Woolfolk. Kids coming in next year that might get a chance as well is Boubacar Cissoko or Sam I hope.

Thanks for the question!

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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