2018 Season Countdown: #35 Noah Furbush

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24Jul 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #35 Noah Furbush

Noah Furbush (#59, image via MGoBlue)

Name: Noah Furbush
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 238 lbs.
High school: Kenton (OH) Kenton
Position: Linebacker
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #59
Last year: I ranked Furbush #37 and said he would be a backup SAM/WDE and special teamer (LINK). He made 30 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception returned for 27 yards.
TTB Rating: 64

In the year 2018, Furbush seems like a very odd player. Why? Because he’s still at Michigan. He’s a part-time starter, but due to Michigan’s defensive personnel choices, he’s limited in how many snaps he sees per game. It seems to me that a lot of fifth year seniors around the country would grad transfer if they were in his situation and try to go somewhere to be a full-time starter. Defensive coordinator Don Brown figured out last season that he could move Furbush around to a bunch of different places and use him as a weakside end on passing downs, stand him up to use him as a blitzer, or even drop him back into coverage. Realistically, Furbush might be Michigan’s most versatile player, but he rarely gets discussed because of the star power of Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Devin Bush, Jr., Khaleke Hudson, Lavert Hill, David Long, and others.

This year I expect more of the same from Furbush. He has developed into a very effective player and a key guy for Don Brown. Michigan lost weakside linebacker Mike McCray II to graduation, but Furbush has not been mentioned as potentially sliding over to WILL. He’s still a utility guy who will be deployed all over the field. It’s crazy that Michigan has three quasi-starter, fifth-year-seniors in Furbush, Brandon Watson, and Bryan Mone who will be coming off the bench but could start at Michigan, not to mention a bunch of other schools. There’s a glut of talent on the defensive side of the ball in Ann Arbor, and I expect Furbush to take another step forward this year. I could see him earning an NFL opportunity after this season, even though he’s not a full-time player for the Wolverines.

Prediction: Backup SAM, weakside end, special teamer

16Oct 2017
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Michigan vs. Indiana Awards

Karan Higdon

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Ty Isaac, Chris Evans, and Lavert Hill. WTF? Yeah, I listed two running backs and a cornerback. Michigan needs to think outside the box as they game plan moving forward. Hill was a productive receiver and special teams player in high school, and Michigan should try to get the ball in his hands in limited ways. Put together a package with him as a slot receiver, which would offer a different dimension than running out three or four tight ends. As for Isaac and Evans, they’re better players than guys like Maurice Ways and Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. A couple years ago against Maryland, Michigan trotted out a full house backfield for a stretch. Maybe having Isaac, Evans, and Karan Higdon in the game at the same time isn’t a perfect trio, but two of those guys with Khalid Hill and/or Ben Mason might make for an interesting combination.

Hit the jump for more awards from Saturday’s game.

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3Sep 2017
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Michigan 33, Florida 17

(image via MGoBlue)

The elephant in the room. Wilton Speight doesn’t look any better than he did in the spring. He was 11/25 for 181 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. He threw more touchdowns to Florida (2) than he did to his own guys. I don’t believe this is a Jim Harbaugh thing. Harbaugh has shown elsewhere that he’s capable of coaching the quarterback position. Speight is the lone guy in Harbaugh’s history who has regressed. I hope Florida was just really good defensively – despite having 10 players suspended and a starting safety out with a torn Achilles – but I have no faith in that being the case. Speight consistently overthrows balls, a frustrating thing when guys are wide open, and a dangerous thing when guys are in traffic. I’ve seen people insisting that the first pick-six was on Kekoa Crawford, whose hands it bounced off of, but that throw was high and a tough catch. The second pick-six in the general vicinity of Grant Perry was wildly overthrown.

The hippo in the room. John O’Korn looked about the same as he did last year, too. I don’t understand yanking Speight in order to have O’Korn hand off the ball three times before punting, either. You don’t need a backup QB to hand off the ball. Speight is better with the ball handling, anyway, so that first O’Korn series was a waste, and the draw play on third down was awkward.

The armadillo in the room. I sure hope Brandon Peters gets some playing time this year.

Hit the jump for more on the game.

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27Jul 2017
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2017 Season Countdown: #37 Noah Furbush

Noah Furbush (image via Twitter)

Name: Noah Furbush
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 238 lbs.
High school: Kenton (OH) Kenton
Position: Linebacker
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #59
Last year: I ranked Furbush #39 and said he would be the backup SAM linebacker. He made 15 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.
TTB Rating: 64

Furbush did a good job on special teams in 2015 and worked his way into the good graces of the coaching staff. Going into 2016 he was in line for a more prominent role. He was slated to be the backup SAM linebacker, with Jabrill Peppers as the starter. After missing the first few games due to injury, he returned to make 15 total tackles throughout the year. In Don Brown’s defensive scheme, he’s not the type of player who gets a ton of snaps at SAM unless a team is using a tight end and fullback regularly.

This year there are rumors that Brown might line up Furbush as a weakside end, along with having him play SAM. The depth at weakside end is thin, with Chase Winovich being the only player with any noteworthy experience. Jabrill Peppers is gone, but a similar player in Khaleke Hudson has been inserted in his place. Furbush is still the best option as a traditional SAM linebacker, but Brown’s blitz-heavy scheme may lean more toward fellow backup Joshua Uche on passing downs. Furbush has several roles he can fill – SAM, WDE, special teams – but he’s unlikely to break out at any spot.

Prediction: Backup SAM linebacker, backup WDE, special teamer

31Oct 2016
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Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

eddie-mcdoom-559x

Eddie McDoom

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Eddie McDoom. Freshman backup wide receiver McDoom actually led the team in rushing with 53 yards on just 2 carries (33 yards, 20 yards). He’s the fifth leading rusher on the team, behind the four primary running backs (Chris Evans, De’Veon Smith, Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon) and ahead of Jabrill Peppers and Jehu Chesson. I wouldn’t recommend running more jet sweeps, but I do think the offensive staff could afford to spread the field a little more at times and use McDoom in the passing game. He has the speed to threaten teams deep, and he could also be used on bubble screens, crack screens, and such. Michigan has sprung Amara Darboh for some deep throws this year, but the short and intermediate zones can get clogged with all the tight ends and fullbacks. I would like to see some formations with Darboh, Chesson, and McDoom, which might cause some defensive coordinators and defensive backs some consternation.

Hit the jump for more on the game vs. MSU.

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