Michigan Football Spring Update

Michigan Football Spring Update


April 5, 2017

Brandon Peters (image via MLive)

[This is the first official post from a new contributor to the site, umbig11. Thanks to him for his insights!  -Thunder] 

I thought I would stop by and pass along some updates for all of you diehard Michigan football fans:

Let’s  start with a few minor bumps and bruises and an update on Grant Newsome. Spotted on the sidelines yesterday were Ja’Raymond Hall, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Nolan Ulizio. None of them were in full pads. Lavert Hill and Drake Harris were also out. None of the injuries are serious and you could say that they are dinged up a bit. As for Grant, he was on crutches, but getting around pretty well. I would say that he is 50/50 for a fall return at this point.

The QB competition continues, but it looks like Wilton Speight is the clear leader in the clubhouse followed by John O’Korn and Brandon Peters. Collecting reps at QB #4 was Michael Sessa. For the avid followers I think it is common knowledge that Alex Malzone will graduate early and transfer after the spring.

The QB’s struggled a bit in yesterday’s practice. Lots of balls batted down or pressure caused them to tuck and run all too often. The defense is solid and I do not expect a drop off from last year.

There are some minor developments at RB that I would consider to be very positive. After yesterday’s practice I would say the depth chart looks like this: Evans, Walker, Isaac, and Higdon. Keep your erasers out as I think this could change many times until the second week of fall camp.

Evans looks solid and is in the neighborhood of 212-215 lbs. Isaac ripped off a 75-yard TD right up the gut yesterday much to the delight of Jim Harbaugh! The inside running game between the tackles appears to be Higdon and Isaac. Furthermore, it looks like the light has come on for Walker. He is performing well this spring.

As for the receivers, all I can say is wow! What a talented bunch. Early leaders are Crawford, Harris, McDoom, and Bunting. Gentry had one hell of a practice yesterday and the previous Sunday. He creates a mismatch and he has performed well from the TE Flex. He had several catches yesterday.

DPJ is special! I will say it is again, he is a Frisbee catching dog! He will move up the charts once he is healthy and likely start once he learns the offense. Nate Johnson has played well inside while backing up McDoom. I would not expect Perry to return at this point due to legal troubles. Black has shown enough to see the field.

Ah, the OL? This will be a work in progress. Right now you have Cole, Bredeson, Kugler, Onwenu, and Juwann Bushell-Beatty. Lots of moving parts. Ruiz and Runyan are making noise and will be solid contributors. Ruiz at C and G and Runyan at G and T. We need to find 2-3 more and a couple may arrive in the fall. Ruiz is very special and he will play early, if not crack the first five by conference play.

I think I will cut this short and cover the defense later today or in the morning. That group is going to be special despite the losses to graduation and the NFL.

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28 comments

  1. GKblue
    Comments: 347
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Apr 05, 2017 at 5:34 PM

    Is this the continued work of umbig11?

    Thank you and please keep the pipeline going here.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 70
      Joined: 4/4/2017
      umbig11
      Apr 05, 2017 at 5:37 PM

      Yes sir, I have joined forces with Magnus.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1252
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Apr 05, 2017 at 6:03 PM

        Who is Magnus?

        • Avatar
          Comments: 70
          Joined: 4/4/2017
          umbig11
          Apr 05, 2017 at 6:56 PM

          A respected contributor.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1252
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Apr 05, 2017 at 7:21 PM

            Ahhhhh.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 2
            Joined: 4/6/2017
            Death2Mr.Yost
            Apr 06, 2017 at 2:18 PM

            little fast and loose with that word huh

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3544
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Apr 06, 2017 at 2:26 PM

              I see that you’re new. Thanks for signing up. We have discussions here that generally stick to sports, and we try to respect each other. Feisty arguments about football happen sometimes. Random insults and such are not welcome. Hopefully you can judge the tenor of this site and interact appropriately. Thanks.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 70
      Joined: 4/4/2017
      umbig11
      Apr 05, 2017 at 9:03 PM

      Two points for clarity. Newsome will return to practice in the fall. That is 50/50. That does not mean he will play in 2017. Possible, not probable.

      Question on whether he was on crutches or not? Absolutely! 100%! Other sites can relay what they want, but I doubt they were at practice like one of our readers was yesterday.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 272
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Apr 05, 2017 at 9:06 PM

    Wonder twin powers… ACTIVATE!

    Form of… Recruiting ANALyst.

    Form of… an iceberg watching Michigan football practices.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3544
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 05, 2017 at 9:48 PM

      LOL. This ran through my head, too. Seriously, with recruiting well covered, inside info on the current team, and Michael doing interviews and columns, this is a pretty lethal crew. And best of all, it’s original content. If this trio were to stay consistent, I don’t think any other free site offers this solid of coverage.

      • MgoDude
        Comments: 9
        Joined: 4/5/2017
        MgoDude
        Apr 05, 2017 at 10:11 PM

        I’m really excited with this group of writers you’ve assembled Thunder! I’ve been a frequent reader of your blog for the past 6 or so years. But with the new additions I registered an account so I can join the discussions with all the additional content!

        Thanks for the update Umbig11!

        • Avatar
          Comments: 70
          Joined: 4/4/2017
          umbig11
          Apr 06, 2017 at 8:13 AM

          Most welcome!

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3544
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Apr 06, 2017 at 8:54 AM

          Thanks for reading, and for signing up. I’m glad you’re here. (And I like your avatar.)

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 1785
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Apr 05, 2017 at 10:59 PM

    Wow, really good stuff!

    For umbig, welcome! Nice little set up Thunder has assembled here, glad to see it grow

    GO BLUE

    • Avatar
      Comments: 70
      Joined: 4/4/2017
      umbig11
      Apr 06, 2017 at 8:12 AM

      Thank you. Happy to be here.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5873
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Apr 05, 2017 at 11:12 PM

    Whoa. Great stuff to read. What a coup for TTB!

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 1252
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Apr 06, 2017 at 8:50 AM

    Nice to see Khaleke Hudson collecting “Dude Of The Day” honors. In my mind, he’s right at the top of a long list of guys we need to step up and be men, now.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3544
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 06, 2017 at 8:53 AM

      I think Hudson is a very good fit for that Viper position. He’s not great in coverage, but if Michigan employs some of the same schemes they did in 2016, he doesn’t really need to be for them to be effective.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1785
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Apr 06, 2017 at 10:20 AM

        Not questioning your opinion of Hudson in coverage, but where do these struggles come from? IIRC, he was a Safety in HS, and a good one at that
        Just wondering what it’ll take to overcome this

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3544
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Apr 06, 2017 at 10:39 AM

          Viper is a different animal. He was mostly a zone coverage safety in high school, and his superior speed helped him cover a lot of ground. But he’s not as comparatively fast as he was in high school, and there’s more man coverage at Viper. He needs to be more disciplined with his eyes. That type of thing comes with repetition and experience. It’s why safety is more difficult to transition to in college than cornerback. There are more formations, patterns, etc. to recognize.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1252
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Apr 06, 2017 at 12:44 PM

            Watch his HS film and you will see a kid that was such a fierce hitter that he was given a lot of opportunity to play simple “find ball, hit ball”. I can’t blame the coach for it frankly as when you have a kid that quick relative to the rest of the field and that eager to hit, I’m turning him loose too.

            Life is a little different for him now.

            I think this is rather a universal issue for kids coming in on defense, probably more for safeties and linebackers. But at the high school level the great kids, regardless of position, frequently get the freedom to run and hit. Because mostly it wins.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1785
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Apr 06, 2017 at 5:43 PM

            Thanks! Where’s the upvote button?

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3544
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Apr 06, 2017 at 8:22 PM

              We’ve had a glitch that I’m working on. Hopefully the voting buttons are back soon.

        • Blue in NC
          Comments: 45
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Blue in NC
          Apr 06, 2017 at 10:40 AM

          Based on absolutely no knowledge, I suspect that Hudson’s issues in coverage are in terms of reading plays and anticipating. Often great athletes are so good in HS that they don’t need to be perfect on fundamentals and schemes to shine. Also, I suspect that Brown’s defense is much more complex than anything to which Hudson played in HS.

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 34
    Joined: 2/24/2017
    Mike Knapp
    Apr 06, 2017 at 10:58 AM

    I know coaching turnover never helps depth, but it feels like it has been a decade since we had more than 5 or 6 OL that we could really count on for quality starts. There are so many injuries in the trenches. I wish we had a little bit more ability to handle a setback in that position group without having to reach for a true freshman.

  7. Avatar
    Comments: 2
    Joined: 4/6/2017
    Death2Mr.Yost
    Apr 06, 2017 at 2:27 PM

    Any details on how Harris is looking? Ive read on several sites now that he seems to be the front runner for the #2 outside spot with the expectation that DPJ eventualy takes it. Im curious as to what he’s actually doing well? Is he actually showing true promise like he had coming out of high school beating guys with long stride speed and great ball skills or is it just kind of a case of “the other guys are young” . There seemed to be a handfull of times last season when they went away from the offense to give him a chance to make a play on a 50/50 jumpball type scenerio but they never really worked.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 70
      Joined: 4/4/2017
      umbig11
      Apr 06, 2017 at 4:23 PM

      He is doing very well. There are concerns for his durability as he sat out on Tuesday.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 70
      Joined: 4/4/2017
      umbig11
      Apr 06, 2017 at 4:23 PM

      By the way, he runs very crisp routes.

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