Self-Indulgent Post of the Week: Take Your Eye Off the Ball

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18Jul 2019
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Self-Indulgent Post of the Week: Take Your Eye Off the Ball

What I’ve been reading: I just finished reading Take Your Eye Off the Ball by Pat Kirwan. Kirwan is a former NFL coach and staffer who worked with, among others, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. I’ve been asked before what a good book is for beginners, and this is probably the best one I’ve read for that purpose. It’s a little elementary if you’re a hardcore fan or an experienced player/coach, but there are still some good stories in there, even if they’re spread out a little bit. If you’re getting into football or don’t really understand offense, defense, roster movement, the scouting process, etc., I highly recommend it.

What I’ve been watching: Black Mirror on Netflix. I just finished season two. This isn’t a new show or anything, so you’ve probably heard of it if you have Netflix, but it’s a very thought-provoking look at the future of technology use and the direction our society is headed.

What I’m looking forward to: Going to the gym. The off-season is a great time for me to get into shape. (Conversely, the season is a great time for me to get out of shape.) Now that I have time to work out between football meetings, workouts, etc., I’m in better shape than I have been in a long time. I used to do a lot of cardio, but right now I’m just eating healthfully and lifting a lot of weights. Exercise has always been a big part of my life, but it’s hard to get in a good workout when you’re supervising a football team and doing other football-related tasks. Naturally, I do a variety of exercises, but I’ve been doing a lot of deadlifts lately.

What are your answers to these questions?

17Jul 2019
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Nightly Roundup: July 17, 2019

George Johnson III (image via 247 Sports)

Nick Baumgardner profiles George Johnson III (LINK).

Shea Patterson was named to the Davey O’Brien Award Watch List:

Hit the jump for more.

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17Jul 2019
Blog, homepage 19 comments

2019 Season Countdown: #48 Ben VanSumeren

Ben VanSumeren (image via Twitter)

Name: Ben VanSumeren
Height:
6’2″
Weight:
236 lbs.
High school:
Essexville (MI) Garber
Position:
Running back
Class:
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number:
#40
Last year:
I ranked VanSumeren #39 and said he would be a backup fullback (LINK). He played in four games and redshirted.
TTB Rating:
78

There’s one thing I can say about myself that I can be proud of:

I’m no Skip Bayless.

The thing about these countdowns – and my review posts – is that I hold myself accountable and make it plain to see when I’m wrong. And I was very wrong about VanSumeren and, to an extent, Michigan’s offense last year. With Khalid Hill and Henry Poggi having graduated after the 2017 season, I thought Michigan would go right back to the fullback well with a heavy dose of Ben Mason and the next most fullback-y guy, VanSumeren.

That turned out not to be the case. Mason got some pretty good playing time, fifth year senior Jared Wangler played some, and VanSumeren redshirted while playing very little in four games.

Oops.

This spring VanSumeren saw some playing time at tailback, partly because there were a bunch of injuries and the suspension of Chris Evans. VanSumeren isn’t a classic running back, and it’s somewhat concerning that he was forced into such a prominent role, even if it was just practice. I think he will be relatively low on the depth chart, but I do think he will start to get some carries and perhaps some receptions in 2019.

Prediction: Backup running back

17Jul 2019
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Morning Roundup: July 17, 2019

Here’s Nick Baumgardner’s preview take on freshman safety Quinten Johnson (LINK).

Shea Patterson is on the Maxwell Award Watch List (LINK).

Lavert Hill and Josh Metellus are on the Bednarik Award Watch List (LINK).

16Jul 2019
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2019 Season Countdown: #49 Julius Welschof

Julius Welschof (image via Wolverines Wire)

Today is the last day of Amazon Prime Day (LINK):

Name: Julius Welschof
Height:
6’6″
Weight:
275 lbs.
High schoool:
Miesbach (Germany) FOS Altoetting
Position:
Defensive end
Class:
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number:
#96
Last year:
I ranked Welscholf #82 and said he would be a backup defensive end (LINK). He redshirted.
TTB Rating:
78

Welschof is one of the more intriguing prospects in recent years. It’s not often you land a football prospect from another country – and when you do, it’s normally Canada. But in the 2018 class, Welschof came out of nowhere to end up signing with the Wolverines. I thought he would get a few snaps against the likes of Rutgers just to show that Michigan can pull guys from non-football-playing countries and still be better than them, but he ended up redshirting.

He was listed at 253 lbs. last year, and this year he’s reportedly up to 275 lbs. Bruce Feldman detailed his athletic abilities in the 2019 “freaks” list for 2019 (LINK). Michigan lost a bunch of defensive line pieces in the past year, particularly at defensive end (Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Reuben Jones, Ron Johnson), so that catapults some guys up the list, including Welschof. I don’t think Welschof will go from redshirting to actually being a good Big Ten player, but I think he will almost be forced into action due to the inexperience on the depth chart. Aidan Hutchinson, Kwity Paye, and Mike Danna should be the big pieces of the rotation, but Michigan needs one or two other defensive ends to step up, whether it’s Welschof, Luiji Vilain, or someone else. Vilain’s injury history says to me that Welschof needs to be ranked here in the top 50 when he should ideally be somewhere in the 60s.

Prediction: Backup defensive end