Michigan 40, Ohio State 34

Tag: Braxton Miller

27Nov 2011
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Michigan 40, Ohio State 34

Denard Robinson made people look silly on this 41-yard touchdown run.
(image via CBS)

This was Denard’s best game.  Ever.  I take back all the negative things I ever said about Denard Robinson.  He’s spectacular.  I want to have his children.  In all seriousness, though, the guy was 14-for-17 for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns with zero interceptions; he also carried the ball 26 times for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The only flaw in his game was the fumble (put the ball in your outside hand!), but he made throws in this game that he hasn’t made consistently in his entire career – his 28-yard pass to Drew Dileo was thrown perfectly.  That was a great way to cap the regular season.

The replay official was Woody Hayes, Jr.  There was no way in hell that Fitzgerald Toussaint’s touchdown run late in the fourth quarter should have been reversed.  It was called a touchdown on the field and, at worst, there was no good angle to reverse the call.  Officials are supposed to have “indisputable evidence” to overturn calls, and if it takes 10 minutes to review the play, then it’s obviously disputable.  That’s not the fault of the officials on the field – it’s the anonymous guy in the booth.  That guy needs to be reprimanded by the league.  Anyway, that play would have put Michigan up by 9 points (presumably 10 after the extra point) with about two minutes remaining, and Ohio State only had one timeout left.  It would have taken a miracle for OSU to score 10+ points in under two minutes; all it would have taken is a little bit of luck for them to overcome the six-point deficit that resulted.  Luckily, Courtney Avery saved the day.

What happened to Michigan’s defense?  I absolutely did not expect Ohio State to have that much success offensively.  I figured Braxton Miller would get a good chunk of yards by scrambling or on designed runs, and he did (16 carries, 100 yards, 1 touchdown).  Michigan shut down running back Dan Herron (15 carries, 37 yards, 1 touchdown).  But there were wide open receivers running all over the place, and Miller actually hit some of them nicely.  I can’t even just pick on one guy – Blake Countess, J.T. Floyd, Thomas Gordon, Jordan Kovacs, and Troy Woolfolk all got beat on deep passes.  Miller finished with 14 completions in 25 attempts for 2 touchdowns and just the 1 interception at the end of the game.  I was high on Miller when Rich Rodriguez was recruiting him out of Wayne High School in Huber Heights, OH, and he’s going to be tough to deal with for the next few seasons.

The game experience was awesome.  It was great weather for being the end of November.  The tailgaters and frat houses were partying hard.  (Thanks to the tailgaters who let me join them, by the way.)  I only saw one classless encounter between a Michigan fan and an Ohio State fan, and both of them were drunk and stumbling.  The only downer the entire day was that the Union hockey team was sitting near me and kept complaining that people in front of them were standing.  Usually “down in front!” is reserved for old people, but these 19- to 22-year-old kids were trying to rest their legs for this afternoon’s game against the Wolverines, I guess.

Fitzgerald Toussaint made dudes look silly.  If you are one-on-one with Toussaint in open space, you might as well lay down and take a nap.  He had 20 carries for 120 yards and 1 nullified touchdown, and that was a pretty solid defense he was up against.  Between Robinson and Toussaint, Michigan had 46 carries for 290 yards.  Yowzers.

Ten wins.  I expected the offense to be pretty good, and they’ve put some points on the board.  I expected the defense to be solid but unspectacular, and they’ve been on the verge of spectacular.  Aside from giving up 34 points to a mediocre Ohio State offense, the defense has been awesome this year.  I did not expect Michigan to end up with ten wins on the season, and they still have a chance for an eleventh.  The coaches and the players have done an excellent job overall and have played with a lot of hustle and intensity.  It’s been a great season, and Michigan seems to be on the upswing after a few down years.

Go Blue!

30Jun 2010
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Kevin Sousa, Wolverine

Kevin Sousa, a 6’2″, 213 lb. quarterback from Orlando, FL, committed to the Wolverines on Tuesday. He received an offer just over a week ago and immediately scheduled a trip to Ann Arbor. Sousa has been on the recruitment radar for several months, but the coaches admitted to him that their higher valued targets (Braxton Miller, Christian LeMay, Everett Golson, Kiehl Frazier, etc.) were headed elsewhere and they were expanding their recruitment of the position.

Sousa’s actual size is a bit of a mystery, since he’s listed in various places to be somewhere between the above height/weight and 6’4″, 235. Six-feet-four and 235 lbs. sounds a little big to me, despite the fact that his arms in the above picture look like WIFFLE ball bats. But however tall and broad he stands betweens those ranges, Little Tate Forcier this is not.

Sousa just started playing football as a sophomore, after being a soccer player in his earlier days. Furthermore, Lake Nona High School’s program was in its first year when Sousa was a junior, so there’s plenty of room to improve, both for him and his team. In two seasons as a varsity quarterback, he’s thrown for 2,636 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 1,775 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also missed three games of his sophomore year due to a knee injury, so those numbers are slightly deflated. Also, all accounts point to Sousa being a highly coachable kid who’s ready and willing to learn (video interview here).

Watching Sousa’s highlight film, I see a lot of great things and several things that he’ll need to improve. He’s a great physical specimen with excellent size, good speed, and good vision. He has an above average arm to get the ball downfield. For being new to the sport, he’s got a good head on his shoulders. He keeps his eyes downfield when he’s scrambling and tries to find the open man. When he does tuck the ball and run, he can run around or through defenders. In fact, there are times where he tries to run over smaller kids rather than leaving them in the dust.

Mechanically, he has plenty to improve. He needs to hold the ball higher when dropping back, which will quicken his release. His windup is a little long, especially when scrambling. I also noticed that there were several times where he tried to escape pressure with the ball dangling from his right hand only; if you watched Tate Forcier at the beginning of the 2009 Ohio State game, you know that’s not a good idea. I’d also like to see Sousa hop a little bit less. Most of his snaps seem to come out of the shotgun, and instead of taking steps to drop back, he hops up and down. Not only does it put him in a poor position to throw, but it also affects a quarterback’s vision – the receivers and defenders are suddenly bobbing up and down in his sightline, as if he’s standing on a dinghy. That was a problem in his junior season film (the first video) but seems to have been corrected by the spring game (second), so hopefully that problem has been fixed permanently.

Luckily for Michigan, Sousa should have plenty of time to improve. Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson, and/or Devin Gardner should be able to hold down the fort at quarterback through at least 2013. Sousa can redshirt in 2011 and continue to work on the little things. He’s exactly the kind of quarterback that Michigan should be getting in this class, and realistically, Rodriguez and Co. couldn’t have expected a much better outcome with QB recruiting. There are a few guys out there who are more polished, but not many with better physical talent. However, very few elite prospects would have wanted to come in a year after Devin Gardner and two years after Forcier/Robinson. Sousa is a great addition to the recruiting class.

Junior year:

Spring game before senior season:

5Jun 2010
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2011 Offer Board update

Outside linebacker prospect Ryan Shazier
The 2011 Offer Board has been updated:

Braxton Miller (QB) committed to Ohio State.

Added Ray Drew (DE).

Added Remound Wright (SB).

Kiehl Frazier (QB) committed to Auburn.

Chris Rock (DE) committed to Michigan.

Added Taques Franklin (DE).

Added Ryan Shazier (OLB).

14Feb 2010
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Scouting Report: Braxton Miller, QB – Huber Heights, OH

Height: 6’2″
Weight: 185 lbs.
Position: Quarterback
School: Wayne High School in Huber Heights, OH
40 Yard Dash: 4.47 (reported)
Vertical: 32″

Notes: Holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and West Virginia (among others) . . . His varsity stats (9th, 10th, and 11th grades) to this point: 15 games, 259 rushing attempts, 1,004 rushing yards, 29 touchdowns, 240/432 passing, 2781 passing yards, 23 touchdowns . . . Teammate of 2010 Michigan commitments Terrence and Terry Talbott . . . Wears jersey #5 . . . Widely considered to be Ohio State lock

Strengths: Great speed . . . Strong runner . . . Drives legs through contact . . . Will not be brought down by arm tackles . . . Ability to change directions quickly . . . Stays low in and out of cuts . . . Not susceptible to knockout blows . . . Sudden twitch athlete . . . Not afraid of contact, whether running or blocking . . . Good throwing mechanics from the pocket . . . Steps into throws . . . Keeps a good knee bend throughout throwing motion . . . Good arm strength for short to intermediate passing game

Weaknesses: Trusts athleticism too much . . . Poor mechanics when scrambling to left . . . Much better athlete moving to right and planting with right foot . . . Arm strength lacking for downfield passing game . . . Carries ball loosely when scrambling in backfield

Projection: Miller has all-conference potential in a BCS league as an upperclassman

Reminds me of: Tyrod Taylor with a weaker arm

Image via maxpreps.com

16Aug 2009
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Terrence Talbott, Wolverine

Huber Heights, OH, cornerback Terrence Talbott committed to Michigan on Friday, along with his brother, Terry. He chose Michigan over offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, among others.

Terrence is a 3-star CB at Rivals and listed as 5’10” and 172 lbs. He reportedly ran a 4.47 forty yard dash, but he doesn’t look that fast on film. His coach sates that Terrence has a 38- or 39-inch vertical. All stats considered, Terrence is a very good high school athlete . . .

. . . but I remain less impressed with this commitment than all but Drew Dileo’s in the 2010 class. Terrence does some things well but doesn’t seem to do anything great. He has good speed, but not great. He’s a decent tackler, but not great. He has good ball skills, but not great. The best thing I can say for him, from what I’ve seen, is that he’s largely fundamentally sound. You can tell that he’s not much of a freelancer, which is always nice to see from star high school athletes.

Some Michigan fans have intimated that Terrence only received a Michigan offer so the Wolverines could get a commitment from Terry, his older brother. I don’t think that’s true. Michigan’s depth at cornerback is dangerously thin at this point and that needs to be shored up immediately. Even if Adrian Witty qualifies to play this year, that only gives Michigan five scholarship cornerbacks (not including Teric Jones, who will probably end up at slot eventually). There are some cornerbacks of higher quality still remaining on Michigan’s board (Tony Grimes, Rashad Knight, and Cullen Christian, to name three), but both Knight and Christian could play safety at the next level. Terrence Talbott is a true cornerback prospect.

Fun fact #1: The Talbotts are teammates of 2011 QB prospect Braxton Miller, for whom both Michigan and OSU will be aiming. It’s probably not necessary that Michigan gains an elite QB commitment in the class of 2011, but it would be a luxury.

Fun fact #2: The Talbotts aren’t twins. Terrence is a year younger than Terry, but they’re both on the same grade level.

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