As I started the 2010 Season Countdown, I assumed (wrongly) that people would remember the series from last year. But after fielding several questions on the topic, I realized that . . . well . . . nobody really read my blog last year. This still isn’t an extremely popular destination, but hey, 1,700+ hits for a full-time teacher and coach isn’t bad.
On to the explanation . . .
The countdown is designed to highlight each player and offer some opinions and analysis on each one. They are listed in order of “Least Important” to “Most Important” for the 2010 season. In other words, Christian Pace is at the bottom of the list because he’s the most likely to redshirt. Therefore, his impact on Michigan’s 2010 performance will be almost nil.
Last year’s 2009 Season Countdown had the following players in the top five:
1. Brandon Graham
2. Tate Forcier
3. Donovan Warren
4. Obi Ezeh
5. Brandon Minor
Now imagine if Brandon Graham had been lost to injury – Michigan would have lost 10.5 sacks and its defensive leader, and perhaps former walk-on Will Heininger would have drawn into the lineup. More likely, Ryan Van Bergen would have moved to defensive end full-time and Renaldo Sagesse, Greg Banks, or Will Campbell would have played 3-tech defensive tackle. Yeah . . . trading in Brandon Graham for Renaldo Sagesse – albeit a serviceable player – scares me, too.
Think about this: if Tate Forcier had been lost to injury and Denard Robinson had made the same number of passing attempts (281), Robinson’s 12% interception rate would have translated to approximately thirty-three (33!) interceptions. Michigan fans would have been clamoring for Nick Sheridan.
Without Warren (and Boubacar Cissoko, who got booted off the team), imagine potentially having J.T. Floyd and Teric Jones as your starting corners. Yikes!
It turns out, Obi Ezeh was injured in 2009, which partly caused him to have his worst season as a starter. In his stead, Michigan played redshirt sophomore, 206 lb. Kevin Leach.
I probably overestimated Brandon Minor’s importance to the team, since there were other running backs to pick up the slack. I still maintain that Minor was Michigan’s best back for the past two seasons, but the drop-off between Minor and Carlos Brown isn’t nearly as significant as, say, Brandon Graham to Will Heininger or from Forcier’s 13 interceptions to Robinson’s estimated 33 picks.
So I’m presenting the 2010 Season Countdown. On average, one player will be revealed each day until the beginning of the season, and the #1 guy is – in my estimation – the most important player for Michigan’s success this coming season.