Michigan 30, Connecticut 10

Tag: Carvin Johnson

5Sep 2010
Uncategorized 13 comments

Michigan 30, Connecticut 10

I was only able to watch the last two-and-a-half quarters of the game due to my football obligations, but here are some thoughts on what I saw.

  • Denard Robinson has improved exponentially. He took advantage of a weak defense, but he still completed 19/22 passes (86.3%) and didn’t turn the ball over. Oh by the way, he rushed for 197 yards and one touchdown on 6.8 yards per carry.
  • The offensive line looked excellent in pass protection, but only so-so in run blocking. It makes things much easier for Robinson if he doesn’t have to run for his life. However . . .
  • . . . Michigan’s running backs looked only average. Between Vincent Smith and Mike Shaw, they got only 3.4 yards per carry against a weak defense. Both failed to hit the line of scrimmage full speed at times, and neither showed an ability to be “special.”
  • There’s no excuse (unless there was an undisclosed injury to Tate Forcier) for the way that Devin Gardner burned his redshirt. When Robinson left the game momentarily with a minor injury in the third quarter, Rich Rodriguez inserted true freshman Gardner instead of apparent third-stringer Tate Forcier, who started all 12 games in 2009.
  • Robinson had way too many carries (29). Yes, he was successful carrying the ball (6.8 yards per carry, 1 touchdown), but that would give him 377 carries over a 13-game season. The NFL record over a 16-game season is 416, by running back Larry Johnson. The coaches and Robinson himself need to be smart about how he’s deployed and get the ball out of his hands once the game is safely out of reach.
  • Too many redshirts were burned today. Not only Devin Gardner’s, but also Drew Dileo’s (to hold for extra points!) and Ray Vinopal’s (for special teams!). Some freshmen were obviously needed to play, but with those three, what’s the point?

Some thoughts on the defense:

  • Even though Michigan only allowed 10 points, I’m certainly not satisfied. UConn helped out the defense with several dropped passes, and UConn quarterback Zach Frazer completed just 18/37 passes (48.6%) despite the fact that only 4 were deflected by Michigan players.
  • The tackling is suspect, although UConn has a solid running game.
  • Obi Ezeh seemed to play solidly for most of the game and led the team in tackles with 9, although as a senior, his play recognition should be better. On third-and-long, there’s no reason to bite on a play action fake and not get the proper depth in your drop. That left an open receiver in the seam and allowed UConn a first down.
  • When a 195 lb. freshman linebacker (Carvin Johnson) is taking on a 6’7″, 325 lb. offensive guard on the interior of the line on a goal line play, something is wrong with your defensive scheme. Hopefully Johnson’s knee isn’t hurt too badly, but the replay showed his lower leg twisting in a direction it shouldn’t.
  • J.T. Floyd should be praised for forcing a fumble near his own goal line, but he’s lucky the crown of his helmet hit the ball being carried by D.J. Shoemate rather than Shoemate himself. Nobody wants to see another Zia Combs moment.
  • Zero sacks on 37 pass attempts? UConn has a large, veteran offensive line, but the pass rush needs to improve in the coming weeks.
  • Cameron Gordon took some poor angles at free safety, but he’s also a head hunter back there. If he can get a bead on receivers and running backs, he’s going to give some offensive players some headaches . . . literally.
1Jul 2010
Uncategorized 2 comments

2010 Countdown: #67 Carvin Johnson

Carvin Johnson (#1) makes a tackle

Name: Carvin Johnson
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 185 lbs.
High school: Rummel High School in Metairie, LA
Position: Strong safety
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Prediction for 2010: Redshirt

As a high schooler, Johnson led his team to a second place finish in the state playoffs. He played free safety and wide receiver, although he was mainly a decoy on offense. Johnson is a prototypical strong safety in my mind, although Cameron Gordon seems like a strong safety to me, too, so what do I know? For now I’ll stick with that assessment, although it looks like Greg Robinson is tweaking this defense in ways we can’t fully grasp yet. We went from having a former cornerback and Big Ten sprinter (Troy Woolfolk) playing center field to a slow-ish wide receiver who many projected as a college linebacker (Cameron Gordon) playing free safety.

I think there’s a fair chance that we’ll see Carvin Johnson playing defense this year. The depth in the defensive backfield is thin, and walk-ons litter the depth chart (Floyd Simmons, Jared Van Slyke, Jordan Kovacs). I don’t expect Johnson to earn a starting job this year, and he’ll most likely redshirt. But I don’t think Rich Rodriguez can afford to throw too many former walk-ons out there this fall and expect to win a bunch of games. Either Johnson or Marvin Robinson will play this fall, and I give Robinson the edge due to superior athleticism.

16Feb 2010
Uncategorized no comments

Position Switch: Cameron Gordon to Safety

Wide receiver Cameron Gordon has switched to safety
AnnArbor.com published an article yesterday about wide receiver Cameron Gordon making the switch to safety. A former 4-star wide receiver, he came to Michigan in part because the coaches told him he could compete at wideout. He spent his freshman season redshirting. Reports from practice indicated that he had good hands and, at 6’2″ and 210 lbs., was willing to go over the middle. Unfortunately for him, Rodriguez’s offense at Michigan hasn’t shown a propensity for using wide receivers in the middle of the field. That would be practically the equivalent of having a rifle-armed defensive tackle. The offense predicates itself on getting athletes in space, and Gordon doesn’t have the speed or quickness to shake free from cornerbacks.

The article doesn’t identify which safety position Gordon will play, but one can assume that he’ll play the weak safety position, where he’ll likely compete with freshmen Marvin Robinson and Carvin Johnson, redshirt sophomore Jordan Kovacs, and redshirt junior Mike Williams. This position requires less speed and a more physically imposing presence than the strong safety position. As the article illustrates, Gordon displayed some good hitting ability during special teams practice, so much so that the defensive coaches hinted constantly that he should move to defense.

This switch is far from surprising. In last season’s preview profile of Gordon, I suggested that he would be better off on defense. I still think he’s best suited for linebacker, particularly the weak inside linebacker position held tenuously by Jonas Mouton. Perhaps this is the next step in a slow transition to WILL, because I don’t foresee Gordon having the speed to play weak safety, either. There are times in this defense where the strong safety has to roll over to play man coverage on the strong side, meaning the weak safety has to back up to play the deep middle or a deep half. In my opinion, this would expose Gordon, as it did Jordan Kovacs at times last year.

11Feb 2010
Uncategorized 2 comments

Statistical Analysis of 2010 Recruiting: Part III

As I was keeping track of Michigan’s recruiting efforts throughout the 2010 cycle, I began to wonder where Michigan has the most success in recruiting. The obvious answers would be “in state” and “near home” and those answers held true, to no one’s surprise.

You can see in the above chart (click to enlarge) that Michigan got the best bang for its buck in contiguous states like Wisconsin and Ohio. Pennsylvania is #5 on the list.

Sitting there at #4, though, is Louisiana. Michigan got two of the six prospects who were offered, slot receiver Drew Dileo and safety Carvin Johnson. The other four were WR Trovon Reed (Auburn), QB Munchie Legaux (Cincinnati), DE Jordan Allen (LSU), and CB Ronnie Vinson (LSU). Of those four, only Legaux didn’t have an LSU offer. As I said in yesterday’s post, kids in the deep south tend to stay in the deep south if a decent local program offers. Reed spurned LSU for a school in neighboring Alabama, but Allen and Vinson jumped at the opportunity to play in the Bayou.

Moving on to Florida, that percentage might be a bit alarming. The Wolverines extended more offers to Florida than any other individual state by far – 46 offers in all, beating Ohio by 16 – but Michigan’s success rate in the Sunshine State was just below 7%. With all three commitments from Florida being 4-stars (Demar Dorsey, Marvin Robinson, Richard Ash), the kids Michigan has stolen have been elite talents. But this is something to watch in the coming years. If Rich Rodriguez continues to offer a high volume of kids from Florida, hopefully the commitments he gets remain elite players. I would hate to see the coaching staff spend such significant time and effort on Florida only to get middling recruits from the state. That being said, the coaches have done a good job there over the past couple years. They’ve established a pipeline from Pahokee (Martavious Odoms, Brandin Hawthorne, Vincent Smith, Richard Ash) and could be in the process of building a pipeline from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando (Ricardo Miller transferred from Dr. Phillips to Ann Arbor Pioneer after committing, and 2011 prospects Demetrius Hart and Hasean Clinton-Dix have both been offered).

Rodriguez knows what side his bread is buttered on. He’ll continue to get a high volume of recruits from Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and he’ll try to pluck a few elite talents out of Florida. Those efforts will be complemented by an occasional commitment from various other states.

4Nov 2009
Uncategorized no comments

Carvin Johnson, Wolverine

Carvin Johnson, a safety from Metairie, LA, has committed to play at Michigan. Johnson was recruited by running backs coach Fred Jackson and officially visited for the Penn State game on October 24th.

I don’t know a lot about Johnson. He was offered back in August, but his name didn’t really pop up anywhere. He’s unranked by Rivals and when I went to Archbishop Rummel High School’s athletics page, it went straight to a fundraising page without offering any information on statistics or records.

From what I’ve read, Johnson was recruited as a safety and will probably play the weak safety position inhabited mostly by Jordan Kovacs at this time. He’s 6’1″ and 195 lbs. and supposedly a big hitter, which seems to fit the mold of that position.

Johnson is Michigan’s 20th commitment in the 2010 class, which edges the Wolverines closer to the normal 25-scholarship limit. However, due to mass amounts of attrition, Michigan could sign a few January early enrollees back to the 2009 class, giving the program perhaps 28 scholarships to give. Michigan still needs at least one inside linebacker to go along with a few more defensive backs, an offensive lineman or two, and perhaps a tight end.