Projected 2011 Depth Chart

Projected 2011 Depth Chart

March 31, 2011
Safety Josh Furman has been creating
some buzz this spring.

There have been a lot of questions about where Michigan’s players fit in the new defensive system.  Offensive positions are a little easier to understand, since some position changes have been announced.  I’ll attempt to clarify how the team looks right now, but keep in mind that it’s early in spring practice and only one freshman is in town.  The order of the listed players is a guesstimate at the depth chart based on practice reports, video clips, and common sense.

QB: Denard Robinson (Jr.), Devin Gardner (So.), Russell Bellomy (Fr.)
RB: Michael Cox (RS Jr.), Stephen Hopkins (So.), Fitzgerald Toussaint (RS So.), Vincent Smith (Jr.), Michael Shaw (Sr.), Teric Jones (Jr. – injured), Thomas Rawls (Fr.), Justice Hayes (Fr.)
FB: John McColgan (RS Sr.), Stephen Hopkins (So.)
WR: Darryl Stonum (Sr.), Junior Hemingway (RS Sr.), Je’ron Stokes (Jr.), Jeremy Jackson (So.), Jerald Robinson (RS Fr.)
SR: Roy Roundtree (RS Jr.), Martavious Odoms (Sr.), Jeremy Gallon (RS So.), Kelvin Grady (RS Sr.), Terrence Robinson (RS Jr.), D.J. Williamson (RS Fr.), Drew Dileo (So.)
TE: Kevin Koger (Sr.), Brandon Moore (RS Jr.), Ricardo Miller (RS Fr.), Steve Watson (RS Sr.), Chris Barnett (Fr.)
LT: Taylor Lewan (RS So.)
LG: Ricky Barnum (RS Jr.), Elliott Mealer (RS Jr.), Tony Posada (Fr.)
C: David Molk (RS Sr.), Rocko Khoury (RS Jr.), Jack Miller (Fr.)
RG: Patrick Omameh (RS Jr.), Christian Pace (RS Fr.), Chris Bryant (Fr.)
RT: Mark Huyge (RS Sr.), Michael Schofield (RS So.)

5-tech DT: Ryan Van Bergen (RS Sr.), Ken Wilkins (RS Fr.), Keith Heitzman (Fr.), Chris Rock (Fr.)
1-tech DT: Mike Martin (Sr.), Quinton Washington (RS So.), Richard Ash (RS Fr.)
3-tech DT: William Campbell (Jr.), Richard Ash (RS Fr.), Will Heininger (RS Sr.)
WDE: Craig Roh (Jr.), Jibreel Black (So.), Brennen Beyer (Fr.)
SAM: Brandon Herron (RS Sr.), Cam Gordon (RS So.), J.B. Fitzgerald (Sr.), Jake Ryan (RS Fr.), Jordan Paskorz (RS Fr.), Frank Clark (Fr.)
MIKE: Kenny Demens (RS Jr.), Isaiah Bell (RS So.), Kellen Jones (Fr.), Desmond Morgan (Fr.)
WILL: Mike Jones (RS So.), Marell Evans (RS Sr.), Brandin Hawthorne (Jr.), Antonio Poole (Fr.)
CB: Troy Woolfolk (RS Sr.), Courtney Avery (So.), Terrence Talbott (RS Fr.), Blake Countess (Fr.), Raymon Taylor (Fr.)
CB: J.T. Floyd (RS Jr.), Cullen Christian (So.), Greg Brown (Fr.), Delonte Hollowell (Fr.)
FS: Carvin Johnson (So.), Thomas Gordon (RS So.), Tamani Carter (Fr.)
SS: Jordan Kovacs (RS Jr.), Josh Furman (RS Fr.), Marvin Robinson (So.)


  • I have seen Hawthorne playing both safety and WILL.
  • Greg Mattison stated that the safeties must know both positions (FS and SS) and the defensive tackles must know both positions (3-tech and 1-tech)
  • Michael Shaw, Teric Jones, Troy Woolfolk, and J.T. Floyd have missed all or most of practice so far, so their statuses are a little up in the air.  Shaw might even be the starter at running back, but it’s impossible to tell where he’ll fit right now.


  1. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    This is awesome. Thanks so much. You do a great job. Are we far enough into spring practice to hear about anyone not being happy with their role? Is there any talk of who may want out? It would be unbelievable if everyone stayed. Is that feasible? Thanks again.

  2. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    @ LW 8:50 a.m.

    I have heard a couple rumors about people being unhappy, but I wouldn't feel comfortable reporting them here. I don't think we're going to see much attrition, though. Maybe just 1 or 2 guys, if that.

    Thanks for the compliments.

  3. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    If you're right about Jordan Kovacs being our free safety, we're completely fucked.

  4. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    @ Anonymous 9:12 a.m.

    Sorry, I meant to put Kovacs as SS and Carvin at FS. It has been fixed.

  5. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    even if its a very small number, I think that speaks to what everyone thinks and feels about this staff. I still cant find anything that I dont like about Hoke and the people he has surrounding him. I cant wait for the next couple of years. I think he will do very well.

  6. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Ah OK. You almost gave me a heart attack. The thought of watching an undersized I-AA caliber safety try to chase down opposing ball carriers with his 4.9 speed was not a pleasant one.

    What about moving Woolfolk to free safety and letting Avery start at CB? He's supposedly the fastest guy on the defense and he has demonstrated competence at the position before. We've got some depth at CB, albeit with guys who aren't very good.

  7. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    @ Anonymous 9:24 a.m.

    I wrote a post not too long ago about why I think Woolfolk should play cornerback. However, I would not be completely opposed to him playing FS. I am a fan of Avery, but the other veteran cornerbacks (Floyd, Talobott, Christian) are underwhelming.

  8. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    I apprecaite this, Magnus. Some random thoughts:

    No QWash? I though he would be somewhere competing with BWC for that middle spot.

    Cullen Christian @ CB? I thought he was destined for one of the safety spots.

    Kovacs at FS??? I thought he SS played near the LOS and required good tackling (Kovacs's strength) and FS played centerfield and required speed (Kovacs's weakness)

    Courtney Avery not starting? I was thinking that he was doing well enough to start, including over JT Floyd, although I thought Floyd is injured and not practicing.

    Any word on the use of TEs? My unskilled eye did not see much from the videos.

    Isiaih Bell at Mike? I though Bell was really tall (6'3" – 6'4"-ish), and my unskilled football knowledge tells me that tall people can't play Mike.

    Lastly, meta, can you explain why you don't put the biggest guy closest to to the middle (i.e., 1-Tech) and have him more to the outside (3-Tech); whereas, I would have thought you have the biggest in the middle [to congest and take up more blockers down the middle] and get smaller and faster as you fan out [the same as you do with LBers].

    end of line

  9. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    @ TriFloyd 9:44 a.m.

    The lack of QWash was an oversight on my part. I will fix that shortly.

    I heard that Christian was playing FS early on, but they probably saw his lack of tackling skills and moved him back to CB. He's been playing CB in the recent practice videos.

    The Kovacs/FS thing was a typo on my part and has been fixed.

    You're going to see the tight ends used on crossing routes like in the old days. You'll also see them used as H-backs, backed a yard off the LOS or motioning into the backfield. The coaches really like Ricardo Miller as an H-back, but Koger is probably your starting TE this year.

    Bell is playing MIKE (although it's somewhat interchangeable with WILL). He's only about 6'1".

    The bigger guy will often play 1-tech, but Mike Martin's just good like that. He can take on double teams and not get blown off the ball, because he's strong and knows how to use leverage. With this particular unit, Campbell has a hard time staying low, which means double teams are a nightmare for him to combat. If he's playing 3-tech, he should only have to deal with a single blocker, which is better for him.

    Ideally, our nose tackles will be thick guys who are 6'3" or shorter. Think Terrance Taylor, William Carr, etc. Martin's a little bit of an exception, because he doesn't carry much extra weight. A 330 lb. nose tackle isn't out of the question, as long as he's not 6'5" or 6'6" with a habit of standing straight up.

  10. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    I noticed the omission of Jake Ryan on the depth chart, though he's been making some noise this spring.

  11. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Sorry about that mistake, I missed his name.

  12. Comments: 21384
    Painter Smurf
    Mar 31, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Good read.

    I think this staff is as enamored with Cam Gordon as the previous staff. So I would be surprised if Herron starts over him. Herron could be solid, but he is a 5th year guy with no playmaking ability. Not sure if he makes strategic sense.

    I would also be surprised if JT Floyd holds on at CB, especially if Woolfolk and Avery are healthy. He just does not have it in my opinion and being hurt is not going to help him. Moving Woolfolk to safety would not make sense to me either.

    Looking at the safeties, I bet this could turn into a good group. Kovacs is steady. I like Gordon and Johnson, and Robinson and Furman have some physical talent. Hope Mattison and company can make quick progress with their mental development.

  13. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    What is the difference (in role or prototypical size/skills) between a 5-tech DT and a SDE?

    No Heininger on the depth chart? I had him pegged as RVB's backup. He was pretty solid as Graham's backup before he got hurt.

    Could Marv Robinson really be passed over by Furman?


  14. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    @ Painter Smurf 2:30 p.m.

    I would also be a little surprised if Herron ends up starting, but I've heard he's a first-teamer. Cam Gordon is good, but Mattison mentioned that he's got to get significantly bigger. Herron is only 220, but he's very strong.

  15. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    @ Lankownia 2:49 p.m.

    Heininger's on the depth chart. He's at 3-tech DT.

    Furman has been getting a lot of playing time in practice, and he looks pretty good, from what I've seen.

    There's virtually no difference between a 5-tech DT and a SDE. It's just a difference in terminology. All it really indicates is that this is going to be more of a 5-2 look with the SAM walked up toward the line of scrimmage. Gap responsibilities are essentially the same.

  16. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    oops, missed that. Thanks for explaining.

    I've maintained all along that I wanted to see Carvin Johnson stick at FS. I know there are speed concerns but he seems like a player who will get the job done wherever he plays. He was a FS in high school FWIW (not much, I know.)


  17. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Thanks for the summary. A few observations:
    1) As we will not be using the slot receiver position that much I suggest that Roundtree, Odoms and Williamson will all be switched to the outside. The other short receivers (other than Tay) will battle for spots on the return teams and when we (rarely) go four wide.
    2) OL: You still think Huyge will beat out a beefed up Schofield? It would not surprise me to see Khoury start at LG. How about moving one of the reserve guards to tackle for depth (Mealer has the size). Sounds like Pace is relatively healthy which is a relief.
    3) The logjam at SAM seems overdone – I thought Ryan was more of a WILL and Paskorz was supposed to grow into a DE – Would love to see some current weights for these guys.
    Thanks again – keep the info flowing as best you can from Fort Schem… oops… Hoke.

  18. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    @ jbibiza 4:52 p.m.

    Well, I know those guys have been playing in the slot. I think you're underestimating how much we're going to run the spread. Three- and four-wide sets will not be uncommon.

    I just think Huyge is ahead of Schofield. Schofield couldn't take the job last year, so I'm not sure he will this year, either. The guy I've heard talk about at tackle is walk-on Erik Gunderson. He might be able to fill in if necessary, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Omameh move to tackle and have Mealer (or Khoury) inserted at guard if the situation became dire.

    Ryan has been playing SAM in film, and he's been getting some reps there with the #1's, too. I don't think he'll start, but he's a SAM. Paskorz is listed on the official roster as a "LB" and I don't think he's a MIKE or a WILL, so I'm assuming he's playing SAM. I have heard virtually nothing about him, and I don't think he's in danger of seeing the field anytime soon.

  19. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Yes I expect that Omameh to tackle is the emergency fallback plan. Also, Mattison mentioned Heininger rotating with RVB so that makes him a 5 tech.

  20. Comments: 21384
    Mar 31, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    @ jbibiza 6:30 p.m.

    Heininger has been playing both 5-tech and 3-tech.

  21. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 12:22 AM


    Has Cox been taking the most snaps at RB or has the rotation been fairly equal?

  22. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    @ Anonymous 8:22 p.m.

    I'm not positive. It seems like Cox and Hopkins might be splitting snaps with the first team, but to be honest…I haven't seen or heard of any good Hopkins runs this spring. Toussaint is up there, too.

  23. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 1:43 AM


    What's the situation with special teams? Hagerup's probably fine and kicking in practice has never been the problem, but who's on return duties at the moment?

    Have you seen Hopkins at the fullback spot at all? He himself spoke a bit about playing fullback, but it was unclear whether it would be split between him and McColgan or what.

  24. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Sometime can you go over the difference between 5-3-1 technique? I know the count is up from the center (so 1 is between C and G, 3 between G and T, and 5 is outside of T) but can you explain what they look for in each position, the main goal(s) of that player, and the ideal size of that player?

    Just as someone who never played (wasn't allowed to by my mom yet she found water polo to be fine) I don't know all the ins and outs of those terms.


  25. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    I like Kovacs but if this team has a goal of winning the Big 10 Kovacs can't start. He is a great example of a team player and hard worker but one of Furman/Robinson/Johnson need to win the starters job . I really, really would love to have Furman, Robinson, and Johnson equal rotate in for the 2 safety spots. That would let us role Kovacs in for situation defenses only and let Woolfolk stay at CB. I think having competition between Floyd and Avery is the best thing for that other job. I think Floyd will start but Avery will take it over. But that gives us 3 CBs better than anything we had last year.

    If Quinton Washington nor Big Will fail to impress inside is their any chance RVB moves inside to the 3 and Black kicks out to the 5? Would you expect this happen on 3rd and long anyway?

    I would love to see us sometimes go with 3 WR, 1 TE and 1 H-Back if the coaches really love Ricardo as an H-Back. This formation allows us to spread the field and still let Denard do his thing if he wants. Is Ricardo an H-Back because of his size (positive) or lack of speed for WR (negative)?


  26. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 4:05 AM

    It could be a case of Cox/Hopkins when the team goes to split backs.

  27. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    On Mgoblog someone (Due) updated that VSmith was getting most reps at RB. Argh!! Is this a case of VSmith being a great practice player, or our other RBs [in which we have higher hopes] just not meeting coaches expectations? ???

    He also said that BWC has been getting lots of special attention from coaches. This makes sense as he is a possible difference maker and a big cog to future success. Isn't there some magical drill (e.g., walking a mile under a 5'8" canopy keeping back straight) that he could do? I need you BWC!! I'm rooting for you!!

  28. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    @ TriFloyd 10:58 a.m.

    He was also talking about them running single back sets, which probably means they were working on a) zone running and b) pass sets. I'm somewhat okay with that, because Smith is a good receiver and blocker. But when we run the "I", I fully expect someone else to take most of those snaps.

    If I knew of a magical drill like that, then I wouldn't be selling my mom's jewelry to pay my rent.

    (Just kidding.)

  29. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    @ David 9:43 p.m.

    I'm not sure about special teams. Hagerup is the punter, I'm sure. The kicking situation is still up in the air. I've heard that Stonum and Gallon are returning kickoffs, and Odoms and Dileo are returning punts. It's always tricky when choosing returners, though.

  30. Comments: 21384
    Apr 01, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    @ KB 10:25 p.m.

    I'll try to work up a post on the qualifications/expectations for the defensive linemen.

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