Suspected Position Changes Confirmed

Suspected Position Changes Confirmed

February 25, 2011
Tight end-turned defensive end-turned tight end Steve Watson

A couple position changes have been confirmed by a paywalled article on Rivals:

1. William Campbell has moved back to defense.  Rich Rodriguez toyed with him on offense, which seemed silly in light of the considerable depth at the offensive guard position.  But unlike Rodriguez and his clunky defensive staff, Campbell will actually be playing the 3-tech defensive tackle position.  I can’t imagine the conversations in the former defensive staff’s meeting rooms.  “Well, we’ve got this 6’5” behemoth with loads of talent, but his one problem is that he can’t stay low and get leverage.  We just can’t figure out what to do with him.  What to do, what to do.  Oh.  My.  God.  I have an awesome idea!  Let’s put him at nose tackle, the defensive line position where leverage is most important.  Surely our 6’2″ center won’t make him look like a fool on a daily basis!”  Perhaps that’s reason #238 why Rich Rodriguez forcing a 3-3-5 on a bewildered defensive coordinator was a bad idea.

2. Steve Watson has once again become a tight end.  This is a good move for Watson and for the team.  He was buried on the depth chart as an outside linebacker and defensive end the past couple seasons, notching a total of 6 tackles in that span.  He’ll probably still be sitting behind starter Kevin Koger and redshirt junior Brandon Moore, but this will allow Michigan to run some sets with three tight ends in short yardage and near the goalline.  The Wolverines pulled in a talented tight end, Chris Barnett, in the 2011 class.  However, Barnett is coming off a serious knee injury, needs to work on his body, and won’t arrive on campus until this summer.  This move may allow the freshman to redshirt.


  1. Comments: 21383
    Feb 25, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Thanks, TTB. Watson is particularly interesting because, prior to RR's firing, he was (I believe) thought to be someone who wouldn't get a 5th year. He surely loves him some Brady Hoke.

  2. Comments: 21383
    Feb 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    If you include Heitzman and Clark, we've got a lot of (potential) tight ends on the team now.

  3. Comments: 21383
    Feb 25, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    @ Anonymous 5:10 a.m.

    Well, hopefully he's rewarded with a little bit of playing time. Watson seems to have been a good soldier.

  4. Comments: 21383
    Feb 25, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    @ Anonymous 10:19 a.m.

    That's true, although even when the coaches knew we would be short on tight ends, they said that Clark would be a LB and Heitzman would be a DE. They could be used on offense if there were injury issues, but Clark is even less physically ready than Barnett. There is potential there, though.

  5. Comments: 21383
    Feb 25, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    I can see Clark staying at LB, but Heitzman will never see the field as on defense. I would love to be proven wrong, but that looks like a complete waste of a scholarship to me. He's the defense's version of Teric Jones.

  6. Comments: 21383
    Feb 25, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    @ Anonymous 12:07 p.m.

    We'll see about Heitzman. I don't think he's a superstar, but he could contribute later in his career. Defensive end isn't a really talented group right now, so depending on who Michigan recruits in the next couple years, Heitzman could be there when Jibreel Black leaves.

  7. Comments: 21383
    Painter Smurf
    Feb 25, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    I tend to agree with anonymous and suspect that Heitzman may move to TE at some point. In his film, I thought he looked athletic but may not have the defensive mentality. UM is not super talented at DE, but they are quickly developing numbers at least. And UM is positioned to recruit a couple studs in 2012, so any 2011 DE's could get buried quickly.

    This is speculation, but Moore and Barnett strike me as more receiving TE's. So there could be PT available for a TE/H-Back who has a knack for blocking. More than most positions, I think TE is a spot where a player can be effective without ridiculous measurables.

    There will probably be other OLB/DE's who could transition to TE/HB. I would prefer that UM move a young DE who is not showing starter potential over to TE this fall. That would allow them to recruit only one TE for 2012. With so many needs, I would hate to see them take two TE's next class.

  8. Comments: 21383
    Feb 25, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    I guess the Campbell move makes sense, but now I'm even more confused as to the depth chart. Campbell behind Martin at 3-tech? Seems slightly goofy to me, but I know dick about football.

    At the very least, as an offensive lineman, I can't imagine it would be too fun to block The Incredible Hulk one play followed by a dude 25 pounds heavier on the very next play regardless of technique.

  9. Comments: 21383
    Feb 25, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    Both moves make sense. I wouldn't be surprised to see Watson make some contribution, but I still don't expect Barnett to red-shirt. Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems like a pro-style offense will typically go through more than 3 TEs in a season. That should be particularly true for where there's only 1 viable fullback.

    A typical roster will eventually have at least 5-6. So even if you move Heitzman (or Clark) to TE you still have plenty of need in the 2012 class. I'd be surprised if they didn't take 2 TEs and the way they're throwing out offers for TE seems to support that notion.


  10. Comments: 21383
    Feb 26, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    No way will we have 6 tight ends at any point.

  11. Comments: 21383
    Feb 26, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    MSU and USC have 6. LSU has 7. Isn't 5 or6 fairly typical for a pro-style offense? Some teams get by with using some walk-on's, particularly for blocking specialists, but in a more west-coast style TE's tend to be used as passing threats fairly regularly.

    What makes you so sure?


  12. Comments: 21383
    Feb 26, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    @ Lankownia 12:54 p.m.

    MSU has six? They don't have six, unless you're counting walk-ons. And if you're counting walk-ons, then sure, we might have six. But we won't be using 6 scholarships on tight ends at any given time.

    LSU has seven…if you count the two walk-ons.

    Maybe five. But six is overkill. It's a position where you can get contributions from walk-ons and position changers, because the guys lower on the depth chart can contribute in goal line situations just by blocking.

  13. Comments: 21383
    Feb 26, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Yeah, I wasn't checking walk-on status. So you're probably right that 4 would be more typical. I stand corrected.


  14. Comments: 21383
    Mar 01, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    @David –
    Campbell at 3tech instead of nose indicates to me that Martin may be staying in the middle. 🙁 Unless Washington or Ash emerges as a serviceable nose, I suspect Martin plays that role (with Ash behind him), the DT/3-Tech will be Q Washington/Big Will/Talbott (hope for 1 of them to make an impact), which allows RVB to go to SDE with Roh on the weak side. If none of those 3-Techs work out, RVB would move inside and Black would have to be the SDE.

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