Michigan Football: Practice Report Tidbits — Offense

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Posted at 6:00am — 4/2/2010

Michigan Football: Practice Report Tidbits — Offense

It was one day, one practice, some musings and some rumblings. But here dear GBMWolverine readers are some tidbits, for those who thirst, about a recent Michigan practice.

Denard Robinson ran about a 3-1 ratio with the first group and looked the best of the quarterback derby today. It was one practice on one day to be sure. Denard had a couple of bad reads, was yanked, and Tate was brought in. On Tate’s one throw to the outside (a 10 yard out) to the split end, JT Floyd jumped the route (smart since the UM patterns were mostly of that nature, but perhaps not helpful for preparing for a tough, heady receiver) and took the interception back 70 plus yards for a touchdown. Some may be thinking that Coach Rod might be sending a message, but maybe Tate has not been quite up to snuff lately.

Denard looks ahead, at least based on the early and very premature results.

Devin Gardner is the best dual threat quarterback on the team. He was the only one that threw a pass over 15 yards today. He had a nice run today where he went back for a pass, tucked the ball and broke a tackle or two for a 40-plus yard touchdown.

Every throw that Denard or Tate made was a screen to the slot, a flare pass to a running back, or a quick slant/out to one of the split ends Denard and Tate appeared to focus heavily on getting rid of the ball quick, whereas Devin, believe it or not, seemed to better look over the field and locate an open man. Devin also seems, more than Denard or Tate, to be looking deep right now on a consistent basis.

The team ran first group vs. first group again and the offense at times looked good. But clearly at this early juncture the offense is still struggling with the passing game. When the offense was moving the ball, it was mainly as a result of Denard pulling the ball down and running.

The running game had it moments as well. But moments only, it was not a good day for consistent ball moving. And this begs an important question: is the defense getting better or is the offense struggling. Last year at this time, the offense was running roughshod (the running game) over the defense.

Cox is still the leader, at least from this crow’s nest, in the running back derby and probably has put some distance on Shaw, who looked a little dinged. Both Shaw and Cox ran with the first group and looked good at times.

The second group was mainly Fitzgerald Toussaint, with Hopkins in once in awhile. Both seem like they might be a year away, but one or both may have to play because of the real possibility of others ahead of them becoming injured.

The split ends seem to do really well on one-on-one drills, or even 7 on 7 drills. But once this group entered 11 on 11 they almost seemed lost, perhaps in part, and only speculative, because not many balls get thrown their way. Why so does this pattern keep appearing? Is it (1) the quarterbacks are not confident enough to throw the ball, or (2) the split ends are not working hard enough/not physical enough to shed the jam, or (3) like in the past there may be a little give in knowing they are likely not going to get the ball.

The slot receivers seemed to have a better day, but still had several dropped balls, enough for clear concern. Indeed the slots are thrown the ball more than the other receivers, so it follows that one should expect a few balls to be laid on the turf. Odoms and Stokes both spent the day with red jerseys As a result, Terrence Robinson, along with Gallon, spent an increased amount of time with the first group.

The fine tight ends sometimes seem out of place in this offense, at least in this practice, and have been the last two years. Essentially the only qb that threw to the tight ends was Devin Gardner, who hit Kevin Koger down the seam twice, both for about 20-25 yard plays. The tight ends had a few drops today as well, but the quarterbacks, as a unit, are not helping in making the tight end status any loftier. In some cases the ball was well overthrown, out of reach, or just not on target, due perhaps to timing. But let it be stated that in many instances the tight ends were open and the quarterbacks just did not hit them.

The offensive line had a solid day today — nothing great, but nothing bad either. Again, it is hard to react to how this group executed with injuries to the defensive line. Also, factor in normal practice conditions of the quarterbacks being off limits and not much blitzing of the defense is taking place.

Overall, an accurate statement is that it was a solid day from the offense. One thing that still appears actual and factual: the offense has a lot more talent than the defense especially when comparing the two second groups, especially when Denard is working with the second group and takes off, leaving some guys in the dust.

Offense Depth Chart — First Group

Two Running Back Formation:

SE: Roy Roundtree
SL: Jeremy Gallon
LT: Mark Huyge
LG: Steve Schilling
OC: Rocko Khoury
RG: Patrick Omameh
RT: Perry Dorrestein
SE: Darryl Stonum
QB: Denard Robinson
RB: Michael Cox
RB: Michael Shaw

One Back — 2 Slot Receivers formation

This seems to be the second favorite formation.

SE: Roy Roundtree
SL: Kelvin Grady or Terrence Robinson
LT: Mark Huyge
LG: Steve Schilling
OC: Rocko Khoury
RG: Patrick Omameh
RT: Perry Dorrestein
SL: Jeremy Gallon
SE: Darryl Stonum
QB: Denard Robinson
RB: Michael Cox or Michael Shaw

One Back — 1 Tight End / 1 Slot Receiver formation

They use this formation along with taking the tight end and using him in trips formation.

SE: Roy Roundtree
SL: Jeremy Gallon
LT: Mark Huyge
LG: Steve Schilling
OC: Rocko Khoury
RG: Patrick Omameh
RT: Perry Dorrestein
TE: Kevin Koger or Martell Webb
SE: Darryl Stonum
QB: Denard Robinson
RB: Michael Cox or Michael Shaw

QB: Tate Forcier saw limited snaps with the first group as well.

Remember as well these players were held out at this time (Red Jersey) with a roll in the first group:
OC: David Molk (Out for Spring)
RB: Vincent Smith (Out for Spring)
SE: Junior Hemingway
SL: Je’Ron Stokes
SL: Martavious Odoms

Stay tuned for Defensive tidbits.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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