What I’ve Been Reading: The Perfect Pass

Posts by: Thunder

12Jul 2018
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What I’ve Been Reading: The Perfect Pass

Not many books make me want to spring into action, but reading The Perfect Pass by S.C. Gwynne made me immediately want to start watching some videos, doing some research, and drawing up plays. That’s because it concentrates on the development of the forward pass in football, but in particular the Air Raid offense, which was originated by Hal Mumme. Mumme had some influences (LaVell Edwards at BYU, Bill Walsh of the 49ers, etc.), but he synthesized a lot of different passing concepts into what has proliferated across college football. Even though Mumme couldn’t keep his own success going, Mike Leach (currently at Washington State) coached with Mumme and a lot of successful teams (Oklahoma, West Virginia, the New England Patriots, etc.) run Air Raid concepts.

Hal Mumme is such a strange case study. I knew of him back when he was coaching at Kentucky, but even his record-setting offenses didn’t win a ton of games. Despite his influence on the game of football and allusions to his system constantly, he has faded into obscurity. Even after reading a book about him, I don’t really know what the guy looks like (I’m about to Google it). But based on some of the things I read, I’m interested to tweak some of our concepts and practice techniques, because they make a lot of sense.

I also recommend:

  • Swing Your Sword by Bruce Feldman and Mike Leach: This is a great resource on Leach, though it concentrates heavily on the troubles he encountered at Texas Tech.
  • Talking Football podcast with Coach McKie: I’ll be honest that I find Coach McKie to be a little bit annoying, but I like the subject of his discussions. He’s a high school offensive coordinator who loves and runs the Air Raid, but he talks to a lot of different coaches about various offensive (and some defensive) philosophies.
11Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #54 Nick Eubanks

Nick Eubanks (image via ClickOnDetroit)

Name: Nick Eubanks
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 236 lbs.
High school: Ft. Lauderdale (FL) American Heritage
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #18
Last year: I ranked Eubanks #55 and said he would be a backup tight end (LINK). He made 2 catches for 61 yards.
TTB Rating: 44

Eubanks started off last season with a bang. He caught passes of 48 and 13 yards against Florida, even as a backup. Then he suffered a couple injuries after the first month of the season and his year quickly came to an end.

This year the tight end position is still crowded, even though Michigan has lost Jake Butt, Devin Asiasi, and Ian Bunting over the past two off-seasons. Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry are the two front-runners at tight end, McKeon as an in-line guy and Zach Gentry as more of a flex threat. Michigan has other options with Tyrone Wheatley, Jr., Mustapha Muhammad, and others. Eubanks was fourth in catches among tight ends last season (behind McKeon, Gentry, and Wheatley), but his usage in the opener implied more if he had been able to stay healthy. There’s a chance he will move ahead of Wheatley, but McKeon and Gentry are pretty strongly entrenched. Eubanks will probably have to wait his turn until those guys graduate or leave for the NFL.

Prediction: Backup tight end

11Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #55 Drew Singleton

Drew Singleton

Name: Drew Singleton
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 219 lbs.
High school: Paramus (NJ) Catholic
Position: Linebacker
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #8
Last year: I ranked Singleton #78 and said he would be a backup linebacker (LINK). He redshirted.
TTB Rating: 83

Singleton was a very highly touted linebacker, but he tore his ACL as a senior in high school. Cameron McGrone seemed to heal from his ACL injury very quickly, but Singleton took a little bit longer, which impacted his ability to play last season. Now Singleton has a chance this season to spell Devin Bush, Jr. at middle linebacker. Bush rarely came off the field last season, but this year maybe he’ll get a little bit of a break. Plus Michael Wroblewski was his primary backup last season, and Wroblewski graduated. I expect to see Singleton gets his feet wet this year and perhaps get prepared to succeed Bush, who could potentially leave for the NFL in the 2019 draft.

Prediction: Backup middle linebacker

11Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #56 Luiji Vilain

Luiji Vilain (image via Hudl)

Name: Luiji Vilain
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 242 lbs.
High school: Alexandria (VA) Episcopal
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #18
Last year: I ranked Vilain #30 and said he would be a backup defensive end with 20 tackles and 2 sacks (LINK). He redshirted.
TTB Rating: 90

Kwity Paye was more raw than Vilain coming out of high school, but Paye got the jump when it comes to playing time. Maybe I overrated Vilain, but he dealt with a couple injuries. Michigan thought about burning his redshirt late in the season, but it didn’t happen.

Now that Paye has a year of experience, I have him slotted ahead of Vilain. Will that pecking order continue? It’s tough to say. I still think Vilain will be a good player, and I’ve heard good things coming out of practice. But Michigan did just fine on defense last year with Chase Winovich playing the majority of the snaps, along with Paye and others playing some weakside end. Vilain should strengthen that position, but he won’t pass Winovich. Everybody else is vying for backup snaps.

Prediction: Backup weakside end

11Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #57 Brad Hawkins

Brad Hawkins (image via MWolverine)

Name: Brad Hawkins
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 204 lbs.
High school: Suffield (CT) Suffield Academy
Position: Safety
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #20
Last year: I ranked Hawkins #75b and said he would redshirt (LINK). He made 2 tackles and 3 kickoff returns for 42 yards.
TTB Rating: 79

Hawkins has had an odd journey to this point in his career at Michigan. He was a wide receiver and safety in high school at Camden (NJ) Camden, but he didn’t qualify in 2016 and ended up in the 2017 class after spending a year at Suffield Academy. He played wide receiver at Suffield, which I thought would ensure his becoming a receiver at Michigan . . . except Michigan brought in four other receivers in 2017, too, several of whom were higher rated (Tarik Black, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins, Oliver Martin). So after taking a year off from playing safety, Hawkins played safety.

I thought that inexperience would necessitate a year redshirting, but instead Michigan played him in a spot where explosiveness – something that’s not exactly his forte – is valued: kickoff return. Hawkins returned 3 kickoffs for an average of 14.0 yards/return, which is not good. What will Michigan do with him in 2018? If they played him on kickoff return in 2017, I see no reason why they’ll stop in 2018. So there’s that. Otherwise, Hawkins has been playing safety and Viper. He shouldn’t play much at either position this season, considering who’s coming back, but I do expect him to do get a few snaps on defense and continue to play on special teams.

Prediction: Backup safety/Viper, special teamer

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