2010 Countdown: #31 Rocko Khoury

2010 Countdown: #31 Rocko Khoury

August 3, 2010

Name: Ryan Jordan (Rocko) Khoury
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 291 lbs.
High school: Traverse City West High School in Traverse City, MI
Position: Center/guard
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #63
Last year: I ranked Khoury #63 and said he’d struggle to be on the two-deep. He played in three games (2 at center, 1 at guard) but his place on the two-deep was nominal, as guard David Moosman slid over to center when starter David Molk was injured.

Khoury was a lightly regarded recruit coming out of high school. As a redshirt freshman in 2009, he reportedly struggled with snapping the ball in practice. Spring reports from pre-2009 hinted that Michigan would be in serious trouble if Molk were injured, and Murphy’s Law seized its opportunity. Molk went down with a broken bone and then a torn ACL, but Khoury was nowhere to be found. Offensive line coach Greg Frey deemed starting right guard David Moosman as a more capable replacement, which is scary considering the number of errant snaps sent hurtling towards the quarterbacks for the remainder of the season. This is not to speak badly of Moosman, who was a very solid guard prior to the change. Perhaps it’s more indicative of how difficult the center’s job is in Rodriguez’s offense.

Shotgun snaps aren’t anything to take lightly. If you’ve ever played quarterback in backyard football, you know how annoying a bad snap can be. Now take that center; put a bunch of pads on him; implant a drooling, stinky, 320 lb. ogre across from him; have him identify the blocking schemes; tell him to snap the ball in rhythm; and, oh yeah, make a quick sideways step while simultaneously snapping the ball in order to block that ogre. Now you almost feel sorry for the center, don’t you?

Anyway, Khoury has reportedly improved his snaps significantly over the past year. He’s an extremely important backup, but not simply because of the center’s involvement in the play. Remember that Molk tore his ACL on October 24, 2009, against Penn State. When September rolls around, Molk will be less than a year removed from surgery. He’s in the same boat that running back Vincent Smith inhabits, although Smith plays a position where knee mobility is of great import. Many Michigan fans think Smith should redshirt in 2010, but assume that Molk will be ready to start on Day 1. Molk will be able to wear a brace, but he might not be 100%. I would surmise that Khoury will get a heavy dose of playing time this season, especially if Michigan opens up a wide lead in the first five games of the season.

Prediction for 2010: Backup center/guard


  1. Comments: 21386
    Aug 03, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    Love the countdown. Always gives me something to waste time with at work. But one question with this one. Who are these "most" Michigan fans who would like V. Smith to redshirt? Maybe I am wrong, but a majority of fans see him as the feature back in the cluttered wolverine backfield.

  2. Comments: 21386
    Aug 03, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    @ Drew

    Thanks for the compliment. I didn't say "most" fans would like to see Smith redshirt. I said "many." It's a small difference, but I'm comfortable with the statement. Assuming Michael Shaw isn't ineligible, we have plenty of running backs (Shaw, Cox, Toussaint, Hopkins) to carry the ball, in addition to a couple slot receivers who might be getting carries out of the backfield (Robinson, Grady).

  3. Comments: 21386
    Aug 03, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Ahh that is true and does make a difference. Mea culpa. Although it is true that there is a stable of capable backs that can contribute, seeing as this year is nearly a make or break year for the system, Smith could be vital in making this season a step in the right direction. He may lack some of the burners that the other backs have, but at the end of the season he showed glimpses of being a dangerous threat catching the ball out of the backfield.

  4. Comments: 21386
    Aug 03, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    @ Drew

    While I agree that Smith "showed glimpses of being a dangerous threat catching the ball out of the backfield," that is ALWAYS the emphasis when it comes to Smith. Every analysis of Smith comes down to, "Well, he catches the ball well."

    Since he catches the ball well, play him at slot receiver. Play him on obvious passing downs. But he doesn't need to be on the field as an every-down running back. I want running backs who can run first.

    A starting running back should get the ball 200 times a year. Would you rather have a good runner carry the ball 200 times and make 10 catches, or would you rather have a subpar runner carry the ball 200 times and make 20 catches?

    I'm not knocking Smith here. Like I said, I think he can play a role on this team. But I think many Michigan fans are overestimating how valuable he is at this juncture, especially with a bum knee.

  5. Comments: 21386
    Aug 03, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    I could not agree with you more on this one. I don't think I said that I, personally want/expect him to get a majority of the carries, however, that does seem to be the perception of a vast amount of Wolverine fans. Although, I don't think since he catches the ball well the solution is to just play him at slot. Running routes out of the backfield where you are for the most part working in space and aren't engaged quickly after the snap and working out of the slot are completely different. However, being a passing down back is a perfect role that Smith could fulfill for this team.

  6. Comments: 21386
    Aug 03, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    @ Thunder. I was one who assumed Vincent was the answer and I've read your comments here and elsewhere. Very persuasive and insightful. Thank you. Unfortunately, it's only more sobering and not more reassuring about our situation at RB. Here's to hoping that Toussaint can demonstrate that brilliance from his HS tapes and Cox can be the B.Minor replacement (I'm going to miss MINOR rage.)

  7. Comments: 21386
    Aug 03, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Who's number 9 on the d-line?

  8. Comments: 21386
    Aug 03, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    I'm really diggin' this Countdown. As a non-CFB expert, it provides me a solid source (the anti-CFN) to help me watch the game when the season actually arrives (C'mon, season, arrive!).

    A suggestion: I think your viewers would feel more involved and help them guess/anticipate your next choice if you included a pool of players broken down by: a) players already counted; and b) players remaining. I've done this on my own (with last year's roster) and it's interesting to try to anticipate your next choice.

  9. Comments: 21386
    Aug 04, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    @ Anonymous 1:02 p.m.

    That was Marell Evans. The picture is a couple years old.

  10. Comments: 21386
    Aug 04, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    @ Anonymous 1:16 p.m.

    Thanks for the compliments and suggestions. I might do a top 10 like that, where I list the top players and tick them off one by one. Otherwise, I think those lists would get a bit unwieldy. But like I said, thanks for the idea and the feedback.

  11. Comments: 21386
    Aug 05, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    I think and hope that Turner/Christian, whoever shakes out as the third CB, will be more important than Khoury. If this team is going to do well, Molk has to be healthy.

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