>Michigan Wolverine Football: Spring Game Review — Part III


GBMWolverine Michigan Football TidbitsPosted at 4:00pm — 4/7/2015

Michigan Wolverine Football: Spring Game Review — Part III

Factor Seven:
The defense is in a position of advantage. That is for certain, unless, as happens in some spring games and scrimmages, the defense is not allowed to blitz and the corners and safeties must play straight zones that provide simple holes for receivers to go to and receive an easy pitch and catch.

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The defense has more depth and experience, and it appears more talent than the offensive group. When all of the elements are in place and healthy, the defense should be very good against the run. If an inside push and an outside rush factor emerges, this unit could be excellent. Depth at cornerback and speed at linebacker remain a concern, as does stopping the big play in the deep secondary.

Joe Bolden and Desmond Morgan had solid days and Lawrence Marshall had one shining moment that demonstrated how fast he can get into a backfield if he beats his block. It was difficult to evaluate the defensive backs due to Michigan’s receivers not being blazers and dropping several well-thrown balls. One thing to take to the bank, even when including the lack of offensive production, the safeties looked much better.

Yes, the most obvious change is the addition of Jabrill Peppers, but Jarrod Wilson, Dymonte Thomas, and Delano Hill looked very comfortable (and not confused) in the defensive backfield. Jourdan Lewis lost a few small gambles and Blake Countess had one or two flashes of speed to the ball.

Michigan Wolverines
Michigan Wolverines /

Michigan Wolverines

So, anyone expecting an offensive exhibition was misguided, the factors above were indicators that nearly guaranteed this would not occur. The defense does indeed see the base plays and the adjustments are made daily, but still the coaches had to be disappointed in the overall ball movement ability of the offense.

Expression Number Two:

Well, they have the same old problems and I see nothing different.

This collective team group, for many reasons, has limitations of talent and performance. The coaching staff has a real challenge to get this team past an eight-win threshold. That is why this coaching group was brought to Ann Arbor, to win more than seven or eight games.

Some may be offended by the thought of Michigan only winning seven or eight games this year, but the wins will be tough when most of the opponents have clearly better offenses, at least as of Spring 2015. And the magic of going from five wins to a total turnaround of league champion with the lack of difference makers currently on the roster is most unlikely, even in the best of circumstances.

As mentioned, there are two cures:
(1) to create parts that function or
(2) get new parts.

The view here is that Jim Harbaugh will tolerate the first approach this year as a mandatory Band-Aid, then proceed in replacing parts as soon as scholarship numbers allow. Getting a transfer cornerback will help, and getting a transfer receiver having the ability of someone like Amara Darboh or better would be welcomed.

Three months are insufficient for a transformation from a team with severe offensive limitations and assets to ascend. With the current offensive situation, the ascension will not be light speed. But as in past years the hope is for ascension, not further regression.

Expression Number Three:

Looks like those young hot shot quarterbacks may not be that good after all. That is a conclusion ahead of the process and is very premature. The quarterbacks worked out early and for a significant amount of time. The receivers ran a drill up the field where the quarterbacks had to hit them full stride while the receivers turned the shoulders to secure the catch through positioning.

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  • The receivers caught everything and the quarterbacks put the ball on target. Granted this is a common drill and expectation, but even in this short amount of time this spring, Shane Morris looks better. He was consciously working on his release and touch angle, an improvement Coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged. Shane threw one flamethrower that ended up in an interception. He made several good throws that were dropped or the receivers could not find a way to make a difficult play.

    Shane had some opportunities to complete deep passes but overthrew the target, a better result than under-throwing. The possibility of Shane and his receivers hitting some deep routes next season is clearly present.

    Alex Malzone has a stronger arm than some suspect. His release has sufficient quickness to throw the quick outs and short angle flag patterns. His scrambling once outside the pocket is also sufficient. Where Shane Morris and Alex Malzone differed the most was in reacting to pressure up the middle: Shane held more poise and used his footwork to at least have a chance downfield. Alex got a case of some premature happy feet. Hear this: Alex Malzone has potential at the quarterback position, no doubt.

    Come back later today to keep reading the Spring Game Review.

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    Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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