Who might not return on defense in 2018?

Tag: Chase Winovich


11Dec 2017
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Who might not return on defense in 2018?

Bryan Mone and Chase Winovich (image via iSportsWeb)

I addressed potential offensive attrition last week (LINK), and here’s the defensive edition. As I mentioned in that previous post, this is about the depth chart and opportunity for playing time; these posts are not about rumors or talent judgments.

DEFENSIVE LINE: First of all, it’s important to note that there are few places in the country where defensive linemen get better coaching than Michigan. If you want to be good and have the ability, Michigan gives you as good of a chance as anyone. It’s not like Alabama or Clemson, where elite recruits simply continue to be elite. It’s a place where walk-ons (Ryan Glasgow) and lowly 3-stars (Frank Clark, Maurice Hurst) can be turned into high draft picks. But if you’re not on their level, you won’t get on the field. In that regard, there are a few guys who are buried on the depth chart. One is defensive end Reuben Jones (RS Jr.), who has been passed by younger guys, and another is Ron Johnson (RS So.), who has bounced between defensive end and defensive tackle. Both are finding it difficult to find the field. Meanwhile, interior players Lawrence Marshall (RS Sr.) and Bryan Mone (RS Sr.) have both been passed by younger guys, most notably Aubrey Solomon, a 2017 signee. Michigan rotates defensive linemen quite a bit, so there’s playing time available for both, but becoming a starter would be a tall order. Most importantly of all, there’s a chance that Chase Winovich (RS Sr.) might enter the NFL Draft.

Hit the jump for a discussion of the linebackers and defensive backs.

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23Sep 2017
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Michigan 28, Purdue 10

John O’Korn (image via Sporting News)

Hopefully Wilton Speight is okay. It sucks when your starting quarterback gets hurt, especially a high-quality character like Speight. It happened early in the game, and Speight was 2/4 for 10 yards, while also taking 2 sacks. He was crushed on a play that looked like it could have been flagged for targeting, since he was already in the grasp of another defender and got hit forcefully to the head. Jim Harbaugh says it’s a “soft tissue” injury, so that leaves something to the imagination.

Hit the jump for more on Saturday’s win.

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5Sep 2017
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Michigan vs. Florida Awards

Chase Winovich and Noah Furbush (image via GBMWolverine)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Ty Isaac. Isaac averaged 10.4 yards per carry on 11 carries, giving him 114 yards on the day. He had 50% as many carries as starter Chris Evans, who averaged just 3.5 yards/carry, and Karan Higdon averaged 4.0 yards/carry on 7 chances. Isaac had the hot hand on Saturday, and some observers have said he’s in better shape now than he ever has been. I’m done expecting Isaac to be a breakout star, but I sure wouldn’t mind a few more performances like this.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Grant Perry. This has less to do with his performance on the field than his behavior on and off the field. The guy faced felony charges in the off-season, and on his first time touching the ball during the year, he spun the ball and earned his team a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Did he learn his lesson? Nope. He spun the ball again later in the game. I’m not saying the off-the-field and on-the-field things are related, but maybe he needs some more tough love to help the messages sink in.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . David Long. It’s too early to call Long injury-prone, but he was injured and redshirted in 2016. Then he missed some time this spring with a nagging injury. And he exited this game early with a leg injury. He seems like a guy who’s in need of a steady diet of steak and whole milk.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Brandon Watson. Directly related to the Long situation, I don’t think Watson is a starting-caliber cornerback and he could be taken advantage of by teams who game plan for him and have the right athletes. He’s a stop-gap guy, and I think it’s concerning if he’s a long-term starter. It helps greatly that Michigan has a very good pass rush, which mitigates some issues on the back end.

Play of the game . . . Chase Winovich’s strip sack for a Noah Furbush touchdown. There are a few options for this honor, such as a couple Ty Isaac runs, a Brandon Watson pass breakup, a Josh Metellus tackle in the open field, a Wilton Speight deep ball to Nick Eubanks, etc. But the Winovich sack of Florida QB Malik Zaire sealed the game for the Wolverines, and Furbush did a great job of corralling the ball before it could trickle out of the back of the end zone.

MVP of the game . . . Ty Isaac and Devin Bush, Jr. I can’t really choose between the two. The offense struggled to move the ball through the air, and Isaac averaged a first down every time he touched the ball. He also made a couple clutch plays to keep drives alive. On the other side of the ball, Bush made 7 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. He was all over the field and did a great job in his first game as a starting middle linebacker. He almost got booted from the game on the first defensive play when he was investigated for targeting, but luckily he stayed in the game to help Michigan win.

1Sep 2017
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2017 Season Predictions

Tarik Black (image via MLive)

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LEADING RUSHER
There has been talk over the past few months that there’s a race for the #1 running back spot, but so far I have yet to see evidence of that. Chris Evans and Karan Higdon are thought to be the top two by most, and some have said that Ty Isaac looks to be in the mix for #2, as well. Until I see otherwise, I’m going with the front-runner.
Prediction: Chris Evans, 900 yards

LEADING RECEIVER
This one is really a crapshoot with no returning yardage producers to speak of and a bunch of freshmen in the running to play. The top returning receiver is Grant Perry, who had some off-the-field troubles and lost jersey #9 to freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones. Peoples-Jones, Kekoa Crawford, and Tarik Black also seem likely to play a bunch. I’m going with the guy who looked best in the spring, and that was Black.
Prediction: Tarik Black, 830 yards

Hit the jump for the rest of the season predictions.

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