Nightly Roundup: April 6, 2019

Nightly Roundup: April 6, 2019


April 6, 2019
Ben Mason (image via 247 Sports)

Angelique Chengelis has a piece on Ben Mason’s move to the defensive line (LINK).

Aaron McMann shares his observations from Michigan’s open spring practice this afternoon (LINK).

Blitzology breaks down a Georgia Cover 1 pressure (LINK).

18 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1564
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Apr 06, 2019 at 10:11 PM

    I’ve read Pea has moved back to DT. Coaches see the lack of depth the rest of us are overreacting to

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1231
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Apr 06, 2019 at 11:06 PM

      Not really overreacting when you basically have 3 scholarship DTs on the whole roster (Kemp, Jeter and Dwumfour), with two of them undersized, at a position where you really like to have 4 guys to rotate in actual games.

  2. DonAZ
    Comments: 469
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Apr 06, 2019 at 11:04 PM

    I’m hoping Ben Mason does a good job on the defensive line. But I can’t really tell from these articles if he’s *effective* on the DL, or just *enthusiastic.* It’s a fun story to read about him screaming and being crazy and all that, but can he go up against our starting OL and get penetration? That’s what I’m waiting to read about.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1231
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Apr 06, 2019 at 11:08 PM

      He’s 260 lbs. Enthusiasm only gets you so far when you’re outweighed by 40-50 lbs. And he would need to make an impact on better offensive lines than ours.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 469
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Apr 07, 2019 at 1:52 PM

        Yeah, sure — would love for him to be disruptive against the better offensive lines, but we won’t know about that until the season starts. But we can get a sense for his effectiveness by how he does in practice against our OL. I’m worried that the stories are mostly hype. He may be okay, but only okay.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1231
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Apr 09, 2019 at 6:56 AM

          At this point, any contribution he makes on D is gravy. Personally, I thought it might have been worthwhile to try him out as a run-stuffing MLB type, but there’s certainly nothing to LOSE by trying him at DT, if his role at FB is going to be de-emphasized. But I’ll remain skeptical about whether he will make regular rotation impact.

  3. UM_1973
    Comments: 88
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    UM_1973
    Apr 07, 2019 at 1:57 PM

    Anyone has an idea if Don Brown had undersized DT (like 40 lbs undersized) during his time in BC?

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5334
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Apr 08, 2019 at 2:14 PM

      The #3 ranked 2015 BC defense’s DL depth chart is below.

      Connor Wujchek started at NT and weighed 300, listed now at 290 in the NFL. The guys rotating with him and beside him (at DT) were mostly in the 280s. Some of the backup DTs were in the 260s.

      DE
      Harold Landry 6-3 245 So.
      Mehdi Abdesmad 6-7 286 Sr. or Zach Allen 6-5 265 Fr.

      DT
      Truman Gutapfel 6-3 281 Jr.
      Ray Smith 6-1 264 Fr. or Noa Merritt 6-0 268 So.

      NT
      Connor Wujciak 6-3 304 Sr.
      Evan Kelly 6-1 285 Gr.

      DE
      Kevin Kavalec 6-2 256 So.
      Malachi Moore 6-4 274 Jr. or Wyatt Ray 6-3 230 Fr

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5334
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Apr 08, 2019 at 1:05 PM

    DT is the biggest question on the roster and it’s not even close. It’s a critical position – one that could submarine the entire season for the team, even if every other position group is improved (hypothetically).

    They need 4 or 5 guys to rotate and they only have 3 returning contributors. That’s a concern to anyone paying attention. Is it Armageddon? Not in April – No.

    There’s really two issues – depth and performance of the 3 returning contributors. These three ‘starters’: Kemp, Dwumfour, and Jeter all come with their own questions, but there’s generally more concern expressed about the depth.

    On depth:

    The move of a deep bench player between OL and DL probably doesn’t mean very much one way or the other. He moved before and could move again. Nor is it a significant problem that a converted FB is spending some of his practice time at a position hit by a few injuries on top of the depth concerns.

    There are at least four ways to resolve concern over DT depth:

    1. Help from DE
    Two of the 3 DTs where recruited as DEs. It’s not a stretch to think there could be more moves to come. It doesn’t even have to be full-time – Paye was already playing a bunch of DT snaps last year. Perhaps someone like Villain or Mason can chip in as a situational pass-rusher from the inside.

    2. Freshman
    There are 2 very good recruits coming in. No one knows if they are ready and it shouldn’t be expected they will be. But freshman have helped on the DL before and can again.

    3. Tighten the rotation.
    The 2011 defense did pretty well with Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen hardly ever leaving the field. Walk-ons and position-switches from made up the rest of the rotation.

    4. Strategy/Scheme
    Don Brown’s track record is very strong. He’s done well with undersized lines, he’s used 3-man lines, he’s blitzed teams into oblivion. The number of teams that have crushed a Brown defense by running it up the gut are…none AFAIK. Michigan has a potentially strong DE situation to lean on.

    So yeah, there’s a ton of concern at DT. Nothing is very solid but there are options. Don’t lock yourself into the fallout shelter just yet.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1231
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Apr 09, 2019 at 7:02 AM

      Yeah, DT is a concern, but not a disaster. We’ll have guys out there, and they’ll make some plays, the question is how many, especially against the best opponents? You have to remember, we’re looking for the kind of differences in talent that will take us from being a 9 win lose-to-OSU again team to an 11 win, division champion, andI’m not sure we have that on the roster. Yeah, you can scheme, and I like the way our DEs look, especially with Hinton added to the mix, but we don’t really have a true (and effective) NT on the team to let us run a 3-4, and we’re also not awash in fast, athletic LBs.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5334
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 09, 2019 at 12:20 PM

        I agree with that perspective. The hunt for depth behind the top 3 is interesting but not a big concern relative to how/if those 3 move forward – and be healthy. There’s a huge range of potential outcomes at DT. Things COULD be much better. They also COULD be a disaster. We don’t know yet.

        To get an elite defense we probably need our DTs to make big strides:

        >Jeter to emerge as a reliable run stuffer. Something between Mone and Marshall at least.

        >Dwumfour to maintain his pass rush abilities while reaching competency against the run. Something like a poor man’s Hurst, continuing on that career arc.

        >Kemp being an iron man – a stout pest who can do a bit of everything and rarely needs to sub out. Something like a poor man’s Martin.

        Here’s the thing that makes me a little more optimistic — it’s not that hard to match or exceed the DT performance we saw last year. Mone was a quality player but never made the next step and was one-dimensional. Solomon was either not healthy or not himself – we rarely saw glimpses of the performance he had shown he was capable of in 2017. That opened up the door for Marshall to get more snaps – and he was just a guy.

        They can be replaced. I’m not concerned about size either — these guys will add weight and something in the ballpark of 285 / 290 / 305 is going to be fine.

        Still, it can’t be ignored that Mattison is gone. That Jeter mostly sat the bench. That Dwumfour didn’t come close to the preseason hype. That Kemp’s probably better suited for DT than NT. Nobody is a lock to be even above average.

        But opportunity tends to be a motivator. 2 of our top 4 DTs are back and will likely be better. Jeter has the pedigree and buzz to expect a Marshall-level contributor at worst. Probably one of the freshman will be good enough to help. We’ll see what the new DL coach can do. A new voice can sometimes turbo-charge development.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5334
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Apr 09, 2019 at 12:28 PM

          In regard to Spring News. My take is that not much has changed and the bits we’ve gotten have been mixed.

          Bad news: Dwumfour isn’t practicing.

          Bad-to-neutral news: Smith isn’t knocking anybody’s socks off like, say, Sainstril. But at least he’s there.

          Neutral news: Trying to find a role for guys like Mason and Paea. It probably won’t matter, but worth a shot.

          Neutral-to-good news: Kemp working at another new position at least makes some sense. It might be a better a fit for him. At worst he’s a more versatile player who can flip around as needed.

          Good news: Jeter is getting the buzz that is necessary (though not sufficient) to indicate he is making a leap forward.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 1564
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Apr 09, 2019 at 10:13 PM

    Wisconsin, sparty & even ND can run on this DL, keeping our O off the field. That spells trouble. If we can’t generate a passrush (again), ohio will have a field day with us. I think PennSt is a W, but then again it’s a road game…

    9 wins might be a stretch. Shame, considering how hopeful most are about the O

  6. UM_1973
    Comments: 88
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    UM_1973
    Apr 10, 2019 at 12:57 PM

    It baffles me that given the holes we have at DT, RB and Defense, Vegas is installing us as favourite against everyone we are playing. Sure there are tons of Michigan fans who will bet on Michigan but most probably, the bookmakers must think that Gattis is a real difference maker on offense and that the concerns we have at DT are not that big a deal.

    https://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/2019/03/19/michigan-wolverines-football-early-favorite-every-game-next-season/3210956002/

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1231
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Apr 10, 2019 at 1:22 PM

      Or they may just think that those other teams have concerns of their own that outweigh ours. Having a quality starting QB back is no small factor when comparing us to teams that don’t. Still, those seem like improbably large margins. Were I a betting man, I could probably make money wagering on the underdog in every one of those games.

      And remember too that being favored in every game doesn’t mean that our most likely outcome is 12-0.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5334
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Apr 10, 2019 at 4:30 PM

      The offense looks loaded. RB doesn’t matter.

      Don Brown still here. So is the talent advantage they’ll maintain over everyone save OSU.

      Every team has issues to resolve. Our top rival lost their head coach, DC, and QB. MSU has to figure out how to get more than 94 yards, in Ann Arbor this time.

      I wouldn’t take all of those lines but I’d expect Michigan to cover about half of them. Vegas’ track record is great.

      All that said, there’s probably an assumption that the DT situation will resolve somehow. Not unreasonable but also no sure thing.

      The lines will move. If you are certain you know which way you should be making some bets…

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5334
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Apr 10, 2019 at 5:21 PM

        Best offense in the Big Ten — Whose got it better than us?

        Maybe OSU, but there’s a ton of turnover to overcome. They have better skill position talent but Michigan brings back the top returning starter at QB a veteran OL. The WR crew can go toe-to-toe.

        PSU has to reload personnel and coaching.
        Wisconsin loses 4 of their 5 OLmen and Hornibrook. Who wants to bet Johnathon Taylors YPC (7.1 last year) drops a couple yards?
        Purdue?

  7. UM_1973
    Comments: 88
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    UM_1973
    Apr 11, 2019 at 1:35 AM

    I see the Vegas odds as a positive on the Gattis hire. That Vegas thinks our offense is indeed going to be better than our rivals. That Vegas thinks Don Brown can work his magic to replace 1st team All Big Ten players in Winovich, Gary, Bush and Long.

    I have my doubts. But if I am a gambling man, I would take Ohio as underdog against Michigan. Results in the past few years back that up.

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