2017 Spring Game Thoughts: Offense

2017 Spring Game Thoughts: Offense


April 17, 2017
Brandon Peters

Brandon Peters (#18) with Michael Onwenu (#50) and Ty Isaac (#32)

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The Maize team won Saturday’s spring game by a score of 31-29 with a last-second field goal by Kyle Seychel. You can find videos and highlights here (LINK).

Hit the jump for some position-by-position thoughts on what we all saw. (Note: not every player will be mentioned.)

QUARTERBACK

Believe the hype: The obvious standout was redshirt freshman Brandon Peters, who has filled out and looks like a tantalizing athlete. He went 9/17 for 160 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. He also added a 12-yard touchdown scramble on which he looked pretty damn athletic. His offensive line helped by giving him more time than Wilton Speight had (see below), but Peters definitely looked the part of a future star. His arm strength is apparent, and while he doesn’t throw the prettiest ball, he was mostly accurate. He did throw a pick-six to Brandon Watson, and I think the game is still moving a tad too quickly for Peters. He needs some seasoning, but I think he’s close.

Jury’s still out: Redshirt junior Wilton Speight went 9/26 for 78 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs, one of which was returned over 100 yards by Jordan Glasgow for a TD. Here’s a passing chart, thanks to umbig11:

Screen behind LOS to Evans complete 1-1
Quick out to McKeon off his hands incomplete 1-2
Intentionally threw ball out of bounds 1-3
Under thrown to McKeon complete 2-4
Intentionally threw ball out of bounds 2-5
Threw behind McKeon on slant incomplete 2-6
Speight to Black complete 3-7
Speight sacked
Intentionally threw ball out of bounds 3-8
Speight sacked
Under thrown to black incomplete 3-9
Intentionally grounds ball under pressure 3-10
Speight to DPJ dropped 3-11
Complete to McKeon short gain 4-12
Complete to DPJ short gain 5-13
Complete to DPJ short gain 6-14
Incomplete knocked down 6-15
Free play over thrown
Over thrown to an open DPJ 6-16
Short pass to Black complete 7-17
Speight interception into coverage 7-18
Speight to Hill short pass 8-19
Almost picked into coverage DB Hudson should have caught it 8-20
Short Curl to 29 complete 9-21
Speight incomplete should have been sack in real game 9-22
Pass to Black over thrown in end zone 9-23
Speight sacked
Halftime
Speight over thrown screen to Higdon 9-24
Incomplete to McDoom over the middle off hands 9-25
Speight under thrown to DPJ, pass interference
Speight interception to Glasgow 103 yard TD return 9-26

Speight saw pressure almost every time he dropped back, and his offensive line was – for lack of a more accurate word – bad. Regardless, his performance was pretty terrible, and he did not seem to be in sync with his receivers. Michigan may be more talented overall at the receiver position, but Speight doesn’t have the same chemistry as he did with Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, and Jake Butt. Meanwhile, fifth year senior John O’Korn also didn’t have quality protection, but he looks like the #3 guy to me. It seems like O’Korn’s confidence has dropped, and he’s just not decisive.

RUNNING BACK

Believe the hype: It’s a sign of respect when you get yanked early from a competition like this, and sophomore Chris Evans (3 carries for 10 yards, 1 catch for 6 yards) didn’t see much action. He does look a little bigger than last year (he’s reportedly up 7 lbs.), but I think we already have a good idea of what he is. Meanwhile, Karan Higdon had the most carries (12 carries, 81 yards, 2 TD), and he looks to have taken a step forward. He’s up over 200 lbs. now and looks faster, and he did a good job of reading his blocks. Fifth year senior fullback Henry Poggi was crushing people, and classmate Khalid Hill looks quicker; the broadcasters said Hill lost some weight this offseason. I’ll also throw out that sophomore walk-on Tru Wilson (3 carries, 25 yards) looks like a guy who can actually play a little bit. I liked him coming out of high school, and he was a Semper Fi All-American; he runs tough.

Jury’s still out: Fifth year senior Ty Isaac (5 carries, 47 yards, 1 TD) had the longest run of the day (28 yards), but I don’t know if he’ll be any good or not. I don’t even know if he’ll play. I saw some people pick out redshirt freshman Kareem Walker (6 carries, 7 yards) as a standout performer, but I didn’t see anything especially good or bad for him, except when he tried to reverse field and got tackled for a good-sized loss. He’s not fast enough to run laterally against good defenses, and Michigan’s D falls in that category.

WIDE RECEIVER

Believe the hype: We didn’t get a chance to see much from the receivers, because a) the defense was good and b) the quarterbacks didn’t have a ton of time. However, these young guys have way more talent than we’ve seen at the wide receiver position for Michigan in years. Physically, this wide receiver corps’ baseline talent is the most impressive I think I’ve seen in the winged helmet, and that’s without Brad Hawkins, Nico Collins, and Oliver Martin in uniform. Freshmen Tarik Black (4 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (2 catches, 7 yards) both look the part, but they have some technical things to work on when it comes to route running, tracking the ball, etc. I also haven’t been high on former walk-on receivers like Bo Dever and Jack Wangler, even when they’ve had some spring success, but I think sophomore Nate Schoenle (2 catches, 58 yards) can play. There’s only one football to go around, so it will be interesting to see how the depth chart plays out over the next few years.

Jury’s still out: Sophomore Nate Johnson (1 catch, 14 yards) has earned some spring hype, but he muffed a punt and fumbled his only reception while trying to fight for extra yardage.

TIGHT END

Believe the hype: Presumed starter Ian Bunting wasn’t participating due to injury, so we got a good look at several of the other guys. I still think the best blocker at the position is redshirt sophomore Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. He needs to play a lot this year, but he still needs to work on his pad level, and I think he failed to identify the right guy to block a couple times. Redshirt sophomore Zach Gentry only caught 1 pass, but it was for a 55-yard touchdown where he made walk-on safety Louis Grodman look silly. That may not be a huge accomplishment in itself, but the biggest thing to take away is that Gentry is pretty agile and has some very good straight-line speed for a guy who’s 6’7″ and 240+ pounds. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but NFL coaches should be keeping an eye on him over the next couple seasons.

Jury’s still out: Redshirt freshman Nick Eubanks (2 catches, 18 yards) looked okay, but I didn’t think he stood out as an athlete and he struggled with blocking a couple times.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Believe the hype: Ummm . . .

Jury’s still out: The whole thing was a bit of a crapshow, to be honest. On the plus side, offensive line is the one unit on the team that really needs to work together, and they didn’t get much of a chance to do that. Based on the spring game, I think fifth year senior Patrick Kugler has to be the guy at center. Physically, he looks stronger than in past seasons (shoulder injuries early in his career negatively affected him), and he also did a good job of identifying protections. Everyone wants to jump on the Cesar Ruiz hype train as an early enrollee freshman, and I like him, too. His body is ready for the college game, but when he was at center, the group consistently failed to slide protections in the right direction, and he was slow to identify blitzers. I hope freshman Chuck Filiaga is working hard on his body and technique this off-season, because he might be the best option at right tackle as a freshman. I think the left side of the line should be solid with senior Mason Cole, sophomore Ben Bredeson, and Kugler at LT, LG, and C, respectively; sophomore right guard Michael Onwenu is decent, and the right tackle situation is unclear. Another positive nugget (I guess) is that Juwann Bushell-Beatty is penciled in for the right tackle spot, but he missed the spring game, so perhaps he can shore up the right tackle spot when he’s healthy. I think this group has a chance to be not terrible, but there’s not much room for error. Redshirt freshman walk-on Andrew Vastardis acquitted himself fairly well at right guard, and while he’s probably not athletic enough to help at tackle, he could potentially contribute down the road.

OFFENSIVE SCHEME AND PERSONNEL

I have no statistics to back this up, but Michigan ran a lot empty sets, seemingly more so than in the past couple spring games. I’m guessing this is the influence of new passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, who spent the last several years in the NFL. If Michigan’s going to struggle on the offensive line, I think it’s a great idea to spread defenses out. When you spread the defense horizontally pre-snap, you limit the defense’s options to blitz and make things a little simpler for your offensive line and quarterback. It also makes some sense from an athletic standpoint, because the Wolverines have so much speed and size at the receiver positions.

41 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1359
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Apr 17, 2017 at 6:49 AM

    Agree that it would be nice to run more empty sets with 4 WRs (or anything else that helps minimize the impact of a shaky Oline), but for that you need a QB who can consistently make quick reads, and quick, accurate throws. Not sure that we have that guy on our roster yet.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3785
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 17, 2017 at 9:41 AM

      I think Speight can be that guy. In fact, I think he’s better off being that guy than a guy who has to wait a long time to get rid of the ball and try to push things downfield. People use the Roethlisberger comparison with him – at least when it comes to mobility for a big guy – but Roethlisberger can fling it downfield with the best of them. What makes Speight dangerous as a scrambler is that he finds guys short or in the flat to dump the ball to.

      • Painter Smurf
        Comments: 261
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        Painter Smurf
        Apr 17, 2017 at 1:14 PM

        Agree. Would not be surprised to see more shot-gun this year. I think it plays to the strengths of Speight, Evans, and all of the flex TE’s on the roster. Also could help take pressure off of the OL.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1332
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Apr 17, 2017 at 7:28 AM

    I don’t think Speight is right physically. He was consistently throwing ducks, especially when throwing it away. Two of his throws out of bounds made me think of myself playing catch and protecting my 63 year old shoulder. I only saw one toss that looked like Speight’s true, somewhat strange natural motion. I think Peters wins this job and we hear about Speight having a back or something.

    Bush blew Ruiz’s doors off at least twice. I’m not sophisticated enough to talk about shifting assignments. I think Ruiz might be an alternative at guard as he looked strong when he found his guy.

    Dunno about JBB, I’d be thinking about Bredeson at RT.

    Cole, Ruiz Kugler, Onwenu, Bredeson from the guys that are here.

    Hopefully Filiaga is a full grown man when he shows up.

    Yes Vastardis!!!

    I wasn’t knocked out by Eubanks coming in. I remain not knocked out about his hands in particular. Hands ain’t easy to fix.

    You really don’t want to blow coverage on anybody, but Gentry in space can make the next guy look really bad.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6182
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Apr 17, 2017 at 12:37 PM

      If they bump Bredeson to RT (and I wouldn’t rule it out entirely) it would be a sign of desperation and panic. We should all be rooting hard for this NOT to be the case. Even if Ruiz is better than JBB, Ulizio, Runyan, and Filiaga. The 2018 OL is going to be in much stronger position if Bredeson can just stick at LG and the projected interior group can solidify without too much shuffling.

    • fullhouse
      Comments: 2
      Joined: 4/18/2017
      fullhouse
      Apr 18, 2017 at 7:04 PM

      I’m with you on Speight. It looked like he had trouble on the short throws like the out routes. I was very impressed with Peters. Some have mentioned the wind when it in regards to some of Speight’s throws but I didn’t see any trouble with Peters’ throws downfield

  3. JC
    Comments: 303
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Apr 17, 2017 at 8:49 AM

    Watched the game live then watched again on TV at home.

    Eubanks I thought was pretty athletic and could be a contributor down the road, biggest flaw this game was not fighting for the ball that Watson intercepted for a touchdown. His lack of effort was partially to blame for that interception.

    Even though the stats don’t back it up, Kareem was doing everything he could for those 7 yards on 6 carries. He made good reads excluding reversing field once, but he was not getting much help and tried to make something out of nothing.

    OL is concerning.
    Speight is concerning.
    Nose tackle depth is concerning.
    I’m excited for fall.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3785
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 17, 2017 at 9:37 AM

      That’s been my knock on Eubanks since he was in high school. He’s a decent athlete, but he doesn’t have great instincts for the game of football. He has to improve at the little things. But he’s only just now finishing his freshman year of college, so there’s time for him to get there.

      I agree that Walker ran hard. I just saw some people predicting greatness after the spring game, and I didn’t really see that.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6182
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 17, 2017 at 12:34 PM

        I’m a Walker skeptic. I think people kind of see what they want to see with the hyped recruits sometimes. We’ve heard the “looks to be improving in practice” stuff too many times.

        That all said, the transition to college sounds like it was a bumpy one, so that does make a leap plausible. Still, it’s a leap to solid starter, not impact performer.

      • Painter Smurf
        Comments: 261
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        Painter Smurf
        Apr 17, 2017 at 1:49 PM

        I think if greatness was in Walker’s future, chances are we would have heard about it by now. Walker is just finishing his third semester and there haven’t been any wimpers. RB’s show their talent right away, which is why Harbaugh was beaming about Evans after his first week on campus. Not saying that Walker will never develop into a good RB, but UM is searching for the type of talent that turns heads immediately.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 1359
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Apr 17, 2017 at 8:57 AM

    It did look that way sometimes, but it’s hard to figure. If it were an injury that could be made better by not throwing for a while, why isn’t he being held out? If it’s essentially permanent damage that he suffered at some point last year and that can’t be made any better, you’d think that information would be out there by now. In either case, he has still apparently been the clear #1 QB all through spring practice, so he must have been capable of performing much better than he showed Saturday.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1332
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Apr 17, 2017 at 9:45 AM

      See, now that’s playing nice. And a reasonable comment/borderline disagreement. We all know you can do it if you want to.

      I know that this might not read as such, but I mean it sincerely.

      I up voted you.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Apr 17, 2017 at 9:04 AM

    Thanks Thunder. Even more bearish on the OL than I was on Saturday. Cole isn’t a true LT; kugler is (at best) jack Miller 2014; I was NOT impressed with onwenu; and we have no RT…

    I don’t want to be negative, but between our recent history at OL, and either speight or a RSFr QB, I’m not as optimistic as I hoped I’d be

    GO BLUE

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3785
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 17, 2017 at 9:35 AM

      Cole isn’t a true LT, you’re right, but he’s the next best thing we have to what Grant Newsome was at the beginning of 2016. I do think Kugler might be a bit better than Jack Miller. Onwenu’s going to struggle in space; I’ve always thought he was better suited for NT. As an offensive guard, he needs to be in a downhill running offense, IMO.

      I’ve said for the last couple months that I expect roughly a 9-3 or 8-4 season in 2016. I wasn’t expecting a great team prior to the spring game, and I’m still not expecting one. Our best chance for a better season is for the defense to carry the team and pull out a couple wins on their own.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1359
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Apr 17, 2017 at 10:12 AM

        Our offense will probably not be as efficient as last year, at least not to start. I expect it to be more boom or bust. Fewer sustained drives, more TFLs, and more dependence on big plays. I think we have the skill players for that, but it will be a question whether our QB can be effective in the deep passing game.

        At this point, hope to squeeze one win out of Florida/Penn State, and hope our Oline starts to gel by the last two games. I think we’re about 9-3 right now, +/- 1, with the minus being a bit more likely.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 6182
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Apr 17, 2017 at 12:00 PM

          The other question is if the supposed ‘matchup nightmares’ we have at TE are actually beating the LBs who are covering them or not.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1359
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Apr 17, 2017 at 12:49 PM

            I tend to put “matchup nightmares” in the same category as “unblockable” Dlinemen. They exist mainly in the imaginations of certain segments of the fanbase, but rarely are so nice when playing a real, talented opponent. People were saying last year that it would be impossible for any defense to cover Butt AND Bunting AND Wheatley, but of course it wasn’t.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 6182
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Apr 17, 2017 at 1:04 PM

              Agreed. Hence the quotation marks. I think in reality Wheatley and Bunting will be covered by LBs without too much issue. Height tends to get very overrated for effectiveness of receiving targets.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1359
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Apr 17, 2017 at 1:13 PM

                Yep, if you’ve got a 6’7″ TE and a 6’3″ LB, it looks like a mis-match, but only if the QB’s throw and the TE’s leap/stretch are perfectly timed, and if the QB hits that 4″ window that is above the LB’s reach but within the TE’s, and if the TE has the hands to hold on. Not nearly as easy in real life as in theory

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3785
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Apr 17, 2017 at 1:26 PM

                  I think this is a bit of an oversimplification of the mismatch concept. It’s not just a 4″ difference in height (and, roughly, wingspan). The QB is throwing to the 6’7″ guy with whom he has developed timing and chemistry, and who has practiced those routes and throws over and over again; furthermore, the TE knows when and where to look for the ball, has made a career of catching the football, and was (usually) recruited because of his hands/ball skills. The 6’3″ linebacker plays defense, isn’t as used to tracking balls in the air, has to worry about pass interference and/or making a tackle if the ball is caught, etc.

                  I don’t often use the term “matchup nightmare,” so I agree that it’s overused, but there aren’t a ton of linebackers who can run with Zach Gentry, for example.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 6182
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Apr 17, 2017 at 1:35 PM

                Right – it’s about separation. You can get that vertically or horizontally. Vertical speration is limited, horizontal not.

                You can get it vertically by being taller, jumping faster, with better timing, or by using strength. You can get it horizontally by running faster, cutting quicker (running crisper routes), body control (route running fakes), or ummm…pushing off.

                Jerry Rice wasn’t the fastest, tallest, or strongest but the man worked endlessly on body control route running and was arguably the GOAT.

                OTOH the guy who is perhaps the strongest contender to him was just fast as hell and tall as hell – Randy Moss.

                Different ways to be effective, but there’s a reason WRs don’t look like basketball centers and effective blocking isn’t why.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 6182
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Apr 17, 2017 at 1:38 PM

                You don’t have to be 6’7 to work on timing with your QB or to have an advantage against TEs.

                The point is that fans will salivate at the big tall targets catching jump balls but in reality this does not matter very often, and it only comes to fruition if those guys get good at all the other WR stuff.

                It’s more like a “potential differentiator” than anything else. If you can ball and you’re 6’6 — that’s awesome. But you gotta be able to ball first.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1863
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Apr 17, 2017 at 11:28 AM

        Agree on Cole being the best we have for LT, and I even thought the move would be made after Rutgers last year (he moved there when JBB went down)
        Also agree on onwenu… OL depth is just a mess!

        *cue Lanknows rant on OL recruiting

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 6182
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Apr 17, 2017 at 11:59 AM

          I don’t need to rant. The point I’ve been making repeatedly for 4 years now is too obvious to get fired up about.

          The only debate is how to fix it. Is the answer “the expectation is for the position” – coaching edition? Or is the answer to pair better coaching with enough players that we’re not relying on true freshman or walk-ons every year?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6182
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 17, 2017 at 12:23 PM

        Too early to talk about records when we have the OL situation to sort out, but it’s nice that we appear to have an answer at Viper and Glasgow is a solid option to provide depth to Metellus/Hudson. Everyone is feeling good about the defense which is amazing given what we lost.

        9-3 is reasonable. 8-4 rather pessimistic, moreso than 10-2 is optimistic IMO.

        I’m a lot more bullish on our chances against PSU than most. I like how our early schedule sets us up with tough but winnable games including 3 away from AA and the always physical game with MSU at home this. If we can stay healthy that just about the time the team should be starting to gel.

        I also like that we might catch PSU looking ahead to OSU the following week.

    • Painter Smurf
      Comments: 261
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Painter Smurf
      Apr 17, 2017 at 1:18 PM

      The good news is that the OL picture will be drastically different in the fall. I think they only had like six scholarhip OL available for the scrimmage Saturday.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6182
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 17, 2017 at 1:40 PM

        You think freshman arriving is going to drastically change the OL picture? I would argue it’s going to be almost exactly the same. Sure they’ll have a couple other guys in the mix at OT, but they’re very likely to be well behind Ulizio and Runyan, let alone JBB.

        • Painter Smurf
          Comments: 261
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          Painter Smurf
          Apr 17, 2017 at 1:56 PM

          Not just freshmen. Ulizio and JBB did not play in the spring game either. That meant you had guys like Runyan and Spanellis playing out of position on Saturday just due to the lack of bodies. So yes, I do believe the picture will be much different in the fall than it was for this spring scrimmage.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 6182
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Apr 17, 2017 at 5:25 PM

            When you say “OL Picture” I assume you mean the what the team looks like. Of course when you split them in half you are obviously going to have a different “picture” than if they are one team. This is like saying Ohio State will have to play a better team than Maize or Blue did.

            As for injuries, they happen during the season too. That’s why people care about depth. “Guys like Runyan” and even Runyan himself may have to play out of position and in a pinch during the regular season. If JBB turns an ankle against UF who is coming in for him?

            Spring is a snapshot but it’s an instructive one.

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 10
    Joined: 4/6/2017
    Night_King
    Apr 17, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Good point on running those empty sets. It will be interesting to see who takes over the slot position moving forward. I want to see what Oliver Martin can do. McDoom made a very impressive catch on the sideline when he got injured towards the end of the game. Nate Johnson’s fumbles seem to be a major issue.

    Side note – I’d love to see Pep/Drevno spread the field out with a jumbo package (Gentry and Bunting split on each side. They’re just enormous)

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6182
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Apr 17, 2017 at 11:55 AM

      I like this idea too. Jumbo 2 TE set with Hill in the backfield, flipped to a 5-out empty backfield.

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 6182
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Apr 17, 2017 at 11:52 AM

    These are some very reasonable opinions and this is a very well done post with good perspective.

    Have to be honest that I thought I’d come on here and read all about how Peters was clearly going to beat out Speight and Ty Isaac was a touchdown machine and Gentry the next great TE, and Glasgow is a playmaker, but people seem to be pretty aware that beating up on walk-ons isn’t that meaningful.

    Good to hear about the progress being made with the younger players. The big question on OL is still there and it’s mildly concerning we aren’t seeing more break-throughs (Runyan? Ulizio?). Worth remembering that Frey isn’t going to turn this ship around over night, there’s a lot of practices and development that will take place between now and September, etc. Will focus on the fact that Kugler seems to be rounding into a near-lock to start meaning we only have 1 real sore spot, depending on what happens with JBB.

    The point about empty sets is an interesting one. I think it’s a good idea.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Apr 17, 2017 at 12:08 PM

      Which reminds me. What happened with Ulizio? He was supposed to be competing for RT, but we’ve heard zilch about him… Did he even play on Saturday?

      • Avatar
        Comments: 10
        Joined: 4/6/2017
        Night_King
        Apr 17, 2017 at 12:54 PM

        Appears he’s banged up. I thought I saw him in street clothes on the sidelines a few times. He’s still with the team but didn’t play Sat.

        Perhaps umbig11 can shed more light.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3785
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Apr 17, 2017 at 1:42 PM

        I didn’t see Ulizio on the field at all. I’m guessing he was dinged up.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 6182
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Apr 17, 2017 at 1:00 PM

    Outstanding Roster Concerns:

    QB: None. Speight’s solid at a minimum. Peters pushing past O’Korn can only be seen as good news.

    RB: None. Evans is the man and we have 2 or 3 solid options to pair with him even before frosh reinforcements.

    FB: None. Though I guess developing a backup would be nice.

    WR: None. Sounds like it’ll be a good competition through the fall but is anyone actually worried this won’t turn out nicely?

    TE: Someone needs to step up. Gentry and Eubanks sound like nice prospects but clearly aren’t ready to every-down duty. Is it Bunting? Is Wheatley pushing past him? By now I would like to hear that one of these guys is really asserting themselves on a consistent basis.

    OL: Still ugh. Somewhere between in shambles and vague hopes.

    DL. Depth concerns exist, as evidenced by Carl Meyers emergence into the 2 deep but it sounds like Michigan has 5 guys it is very comfortable with and just needs to find a couple more from a wealth of options. File under Trust in Mattison and ‘plenty of time till September’.

    LB. Serious concern. The top backup at both spots is walk-on and they are “looking for a 4th”. Yikes. Bush and McCray are going to deserve higher spots on the TTB countdown than any LBs I can remember in recent years.

    CB. Mild concern. Watson is a nice insurance policy but doubts about Long and Hill’s ability to stay healthy are starting to bubble up. Freshman playing a critical role here is not ideal.

    S&Viper. Another UGH spot. I’m with mgoblog that we should just go ahead and admit we have a 4-2-5 defense. The Viper is just an in-the-box safety. The starters look to be all but set. Glasgow looks like a top backup. But, so do JKP and Woods by default. I don’t like “by default”. Michigan is kind of screwed if Kinnel goes down this year at any point.

    K: Wooooo Nordin!

  9. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Apr 17, 2017 at 1:43 PM

    I don’t consider LB as a serious concern. I doubt the starters rotate out much (didn’t last year). Both look good, and between Uche, Furbush and a few talented freshmen, we’ve got (some) depth

    • Avatar
      Comments: 10
      Joined: 4/6/2017
      Night_King
      Apr 17, 2017 at 2:03 PM

      I’m not very concerned with LB, either. McCray is going to be a stud. Bush Jr. continues to impress… Guys like Furbush, Wroblewski and Uche provide some depth. Glasgow can get some time behind Hudson at Viper.

      We also have a stockpile of incoming recruits coming in this summer. If we stay healthy, maybe we can redshirt a couple. Not sure if Ben Mason will stick at LB or migrate to fullback as we need a successor to Poggi/Hill next season.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6182
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Apr 17, 2017 at 5:12 PM

      Not questioning the starters, but the depth. Typically some substitution is needed. You’re putting a walk-on in if one of the starters is dinged or injured long-term.

      Now what if both are unavailable (lets say a twisted ankle and stupid targeting penalty) against UF…

      Most positions have more to offer if the top guy goes down. Even the secondary we can at least say the freshman are early enrollees. Worries are somewhat mitigated by the possibility of Furbush moving back but it doesn’t sound like that’s what Brown is thinking right now. Its Wrobeleski at both spots and then…waiting for freshman?

      I think it’ll be OK in the long run but it’s a spot where an early season injury would really sting.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6182
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 17, 2017 at 5:18 PM

        We have seen multiple injuries at the same position group kill us before. In 2015 it was the flurry to DT: Mone, Glasgow, Godin – even having Hurst and Henry left wasn’t enough. In 2016 it was Clark and Peppers going down – leaving us to rotate Metellus and Glasgow against FSU.

        I like the LBs we have coming but they’re likely not going to be ready for the bright lights yet.

  10. Lanknows
    Comments: 6182
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Apr 18, 2017 at 12:53 PM

    I appreciate that Nate Schoenle is doing good work and is a nice find for a walk-on but does anyone in their right mind think the kid is going to see a meaningful snap this season? Even if you discard Hawkins, Ways, Perry and Harris (probably a mistake) you still have Crawford, McDoom, DPJ, Black, Collins, Oliver, and Johnson to contend with. In an offense that loves FBs and TEs. No disrespect, but the kid will be lucky to get special teams snaps. Maybe he earns a scholarship down the line but for now he’s getting more attention than I think is warranted.

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