Mailbag question: Big Man’s Game

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Posted at 8:00am — 5/18/2010

Mailbag question: Big Man’s Game

Hello fellow Wolverines, great job of keeping us informed, thanks, I look forward to a better and interesting year of Michigan football.

Now the question, over my many years of watching Football, pro and college, I have always known that it is a big man’s game. It seems to me that Michigan was always good with a big team, true it is ok to have some little guys at certain positions, but I believe that DL, OL, RB’s to a certain extent, and LB’s, in most cases, need some natural size.

Many top level teams bring in kids at their natural position and usually with good size, adding 10 to 15 lbs is not bad, but when you need to add 20 to 40 lbs just to see the field that could be a problem. With all of that said why does Michigan/Coach Rod continue to look at smaller athletic guys rather than bigger talented players? This recent trend could be even more of an issue since Michigan is in the tough B10.

I sure hope that Coach Rod’s strategy works out for us all and that we can stop the run and compete against the strong power running teams of the NCAA (Tex, Wisc, Penn St., OSU, Mich. St., LSU etc.)

It will be super interesting to see how the DL develops, mainly watching Big Will, Ash, Black and Talbott grow into monsters on the field

Gary C.
WolverTITANbeast

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Thanks for the question and the comments.

It should indeed be an interesting, albeit drama-laden year for Michigan football, especially with all the current speculation related to the Michigan “situation.” Pundits, sideliners, experts, etc. predict anywhere from 5-7, again, to 9-3 for this coming year. This is a very critical year; not only for Michigan football but also for Coach Rod and the direction he is taking the program. Yes, indeed, the obvious has once again been restated above.

Now let us go on to your question. Members of the GBMW staff are affirmed believers in big, physical offensive linemen that can move the line of scrimmage backwards, combined with super athletes at running back.

We have seen a tweak in the Michigan coaches’ approach to the size of the offensive linemen. When the coaching staff first took over, the stated strategy was recruiting smaller, quicker type linemen that can execute a quick, first step. Recently, over the past six months, we all have been hearing from the coaches a change in course, somewhat, by proclaiming a need for the O-line to get bigger. It appears that this has indeed happened as many look (from very up close) at least 10-15 pounds bigger than last April. Frankly, it is nice to be able to see a distinct difference between the offensive linemen and the linebackers/tight ends. Some of the offensive linemen on the roster currently are not much different than what was typical for past rosters, leading to our belief that most of the offensive linemen could now play in any scheme.

GBMW also likes a combination of big, strong wide receivers, combined with smaller, more nimble slot receivers. What we would like to see on the Michigan roster are, at the very least, a couple of players that are true deep threat receivers. This assumes that the offensive design and quarterback play could get them the ball on a consistent basis to back up the defense. Devin Gardner is probably the best choice as regards being able to move the safeties and linebackers back into deeper pass coverage by hitting passes downfield.

On defense our staff are all true believers in having strength up the middle, that is, being strong between the hashes, with tackle, linebacker, and safety play.

The staff likes defensive tackles that can command double teams, combined with long and explosive defensive ends capable of getting up field. The defensive line shows some promise and possibly depth, but the soon to be arriving freshmen may or may not provide help for finding true edge rushers needed to help out the defensive backs.

There still remains doubt that has not really been alleviated by some standard, operational window dressing, regarding linebacker play and depth. Great, contending defenses are built first from the linebacker spot.

The final simplified summary goes thusly: size is needed in the trenches and our preference is a combination of size and athletic ability at skill positions.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue — Wear Maize!