Michigan Tidbits: Part II


Michigan Tidbits (Part II):


Coach Rod’s first year had several bright spots:

1) We like the improved strength and conditioning program. Accountability in this area was one thing we had a problem with regarding previous years at Michigan. We don’t care, nor know diddly about, which specific strength and conditioning techniques or philosophies is used, but we want to see players actually putting the work in and getting in shape during the off-season. We are all for this new emphasis on physical conditioning and making off-season workouts a mandatory prerequisite for playing time.

2) We like the hitting and intensity of spring practices (all practices for that matter). We also like the organization and amount accomplished while at practice.

3) We like how much special teams were practiced, which we see paying nice dividends in the long term. Hopefully they can work on it a little more this spring outside on the new field-turf practice field and drill areas.

4) We like the fact that practices and scrimmages are open to high school coaches and that the Michigan coaches are willing to have coaches’ clinics during practices and scrimmages to give the high school coaches a first-hand look.

5) We like that all the players, including the starters, were made available for special teams — no sacred cows!

6) We like the competition for starting positions. This made spring practices more interesting and upgraded the intensity of practices. This year should be better, especially with so many freshmen coming in.

It seems like many Michigan fans have lowered their expectations for next year, not wanting to get their hopes up. Many are wishing for a 6-6 season and a possible bowl game — not us!

We think this Michigan team will be bowl-bound and, at least, be 7-5 next year — AT LEAST! Miami proved they could be decent with a true freshman quarterback, so we do not understand why Michigan can’t do as well, or better, especially with an incoming freshman that is rated higher as a dual-threat quarterback, combined with having a quarterback (Threet) back with the game experience from the past year.

We have, possibly, all eleven starters back on offense. We have some younger guys coming in who could beat out the veterans for starting positions, such as Branum and also Forcier. Michigan will have many formidable weapons at slot: Odoms, T-Rob, Gallon, Clemons and Feagin with incoming freshman T-Jones. At wide receiver, we have Mathews, Stonum, Hemingway, Rogers, Roundtree and incoming freshman Peace. At running back, there’s Minor, C. Brown, Shaw and possibly look for Cox to get some reps, with incoming freshman Toussaint and V. Smith to round out the depth chart. The offensive line will greatly improve with no departures and the competition and depth the freshmen arriving in the fall will provide.

As for the defense, we believe that even though they will be young, the defense will have the potential to be a better defense then what they were this past season. Last season, the key players on defense just didn’t live up to their promise despite being year older, more experienced, and showing the results of the new strenth and conditioning program. The biggest concern for the defense might be the depth chart, but our defensive backs could be very good though young with S-Brown and B-Smith at safety along with M-Williams, depending on who the defensive coordinator is and what scheme he decides to run. There will be several freshmen coming in with Vlad, Bell, and Gordon. At cornerback, Warren and Boo Boo with Turner, Floyd and Woolfolk will bring good depth. The linebacker position might be the weakest position right now, but Fitzgerald, Mouton and Demens are a good young linebacking group. It will be interesting to see what happens to Ezeh, will he move to defensive end? The defensive line should be solid with Graham, RVB, Banks, Patterson and incoming freshmen Roh (and possibly Lalota, if he plays defense). It will be interesting to see if Banks or Patterson will be moved to defensive tackle this spring because of depth issues. Then at the defensive tackle Michigan has Martin, Sagesse and incoming freshmen Campbell and Graves.

This team is young, but athletic and should improve in a rebuilding Big Ten conference this upcoming year. Spring ball will be fun to watch.

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine