East-West Shrine Game rosters

Tag: Jake Ryan

17Jan 2015
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East-West Shrine Game rosters

Jake Ryan

The East-West Shrine Game will be played today at Tropicana Field. It will be broadcast at 4:00 p.m. EST on the NFL Network. The annual game is an all-star game and a showcase for seniors trying to make it at the next level. Here are some notable players to watch going forward, including Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner . . . who is listed as a wide receiver:

Devin Gardner – WR – Michigan*
Deon Long – WR – Maryland
Keith Mumphery – WR – Michigan State
Devin Smith – WR – Ohio State*
Anthony Chickillo – DE – Miami*
Darius Kilgo – DT – Maryland
Cole Farrand – LB – Maryland
Jake Ryan – LB – Michigan*

Brandon Vitabile – OL – Northwestern
A.J. Derby – TE – Arkansas*
Kenny Bell – WR – Nebraska
Henry Anderson – DE – Stanford*
Ryan Russell – DE – Purdue
Taiwan Jones – LB – Michigan State
Corey Cooper – S – Nebraska

*Offered by Michigan out of high school

9Dec 2014
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2014 Football Team Award Winners

Jake Ryan

Michigan held its annual Football Bust on Monday evening, and here are the award winners from the event:

Bo Schembechler Team MVP: Jake Ryan, LB (5th)

Captains: Jake Ryan, LB (5th) and Devin Gardner, QB (5th)

Hugh J. Rader, Jr. Award (best lineman): Jack Miller, OC (RS Jr.)

Dick Katcher Award (best defensive end/outside linebacker): Brennen Beyer, DE (Sr.)

Roger Zatkoff Award (best linebacker): Jake Ryan, LB (5th)

Robert P. Ufer Award (senior who demonstrates love and enthusiasm for the program): Brennen Beyer, DE (Sr.)

Dr Arthur Robinson Scholarship Award (senior scholar): Joey Burzynski, OG (5th)

I don’t think any of these awards would surprise anyone except perhaps the Rader Award. Miller took a lot of heat during the 2013 season for his performance, and he was eventually replaced by Graham Glasgow last year. But he turned into a solid lineman in 2014, which I think is simply proof that experience is key on the offensive line. Michigan improved with two new starters at the offensive tackles, and the interior included two redshirt juniors and a redshirt sophomore. Assuming all five players return in 2015, Michigan will be starting (from left to right) a sophomore, a fifth year senior, a fifth year senior, a redshirt junior, and a redshirt junior. The 2016 season could see a junior, a redshirt senior (Erik Magnuson?), a redshirt junior (Patrick Kugler?), a redshirt senior, and a redshirt senior. Michigan is on its way to having some age and experience across the offensive line once again.

6Dec 2014
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The All-Hoke Team: Defense, Special Teams

Jake Ryan (image via MGoBlog)

I posted the offense yesterday (LINK), so here are the defenders and specialists. Since Michigan ran a 4-3 Under for three of Hoke’s four years, I’m going with that look for my all-star team.

SDE: Ryan Van Bergen (2011)

45 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries, 4 pass breakups
Van Bergen was a stalwart defensive end for Michigan as a senior, earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention but helping the entire defense by getting consistent penetration and having a great game in the win against Ohio State.

NT: Ryan Glasgow (2014)
24 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Glasgow made huge strides from his redshirt freshman to redshirt sophomore season, which propelled him past Quinton Washington for this spot. Glasgow was mostly able to hold his ground against double teams.

DT: Mike Martin (2011)
64 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks
Martin was named Second Team All-Big Ten for his performance in 2011, and he was consistently in the opponent’s backfield. Opposing centers couldn’t handle him one-on-one as a nose tackle, which allowed some young and/or mediocre linebackers behind him to make plays.

WDE: Frank Clark (2014)
42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 pass breakups
I hesitated to put Clark on here because he was kicked off the team for an (alleged) domestic violence transgression. But just looking at the on-field results, Clark was a force. He achieved the above numbers in just ten games before being booted, and they would have been higher if Michigan’s coverage in the secondary hadn’t been so poor in the early part of the season.

Hit the jump for linebackers, defensive backs, and specialists.

SLB: Jake Ryan (2012)
88 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 pass breakups
Ryan was a huge playmaker for the Wolverines coming off the edge, and he had an ability to keep faster players from breaking contain. He was a capable pass rusher who sometimes played defensive end or blitzed from the interior of the defense.

MLB: Desmond Morgan (2012)
81 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 2 pass breakups
Pick any year from 2011 to 2013, and Morgan was basically the same guy in each. Other than a superb one-handed interception against UConn in 2013, I thought he peaked as a sophomore (he has one year remaining after redshirting this past season). Just a steady presence in the middle of the field.

WLB: Joe Bolden (2014)
102 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup
This was a tough choice between Bolden and Kenny Demens, but I think Bolden has developed into a better tackler than Demens. Bolden looked a little out of place in his first two years, but he emerged as a junior under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who took over the linebacker position.

CB: Blake Countess (2013)
46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions (1 touchdown), and 4 pass breakups
Playing a lot of nickel corner in 2013, Countess was outstanding. He was named First Team All-Big Ten and tied for the conference lead in interceptions.

CB: Jourdan Lewis (2014)
39 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 6 pass breakups
Lewis got called for a few pass interference penalties, but he almost never got cleanly beaten by defenders. He was the only defensive back to record an interception in 2014, and his hustle plays against Utah and Maryland saved a couple potential touchdowns.

S: Thomas Gordon (2011)
67 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 pass breakups
Surely it was a run of good luck, but Gordon was always around the ball as a redshirt sophomore in 2011. From his one-handed interception against Eastern Michigan to his four recoveries, he was a takeaway machine.

S: Jordan Kovacs (2011)
75 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass breakup
Kovacs was a revelation for Michigan fans who were used to predictable defense from 2008-2010. Often used as a blitzer, Kovacs would stunt off the edge and was very adept at keeping outside contain despite average speed.

PR: Jeremy Gallon (2011)
19 returns, 192 yards, 10.1 yards/return
In general, the returners were not good during Hoke’s tenure. Gallon was the only one able to manage over 10 yards/return, nobody returned a punt for a touchdown (blocked punts notwithstanding), and Hoke generally went for safety over big-play ability.

KR: Dennis Norfleet (2013)
40 kickoff returns, 938 yards, 23.5 yards/return
Norfleet is #1 all-time at Michigan in career returns (94) and return yardage (2,203). I thought his patience and vision were best in 2013, but all three seasons have seen him with between a 23.05 and 23.63 yard average with a long return of 38-44 yards, so his seasons are mostly indistinguishable from each other.

P: Will Hagerup (2012)
45.0 yards/punt, 3 inside the 20-yard line, 4 touchbacks, 4 fair catches, 13 punts of 50+ yards
It’s tough to pick a season for Hagerup. He was the Big Ten Punter of the Year in 2012, but the coaches in the conference voted him as Honorable Mention All-Big Ten. He showed a big leg, but he only pinned teams inside their own 20-yard line 3 times while having 4 touchbacks (by contrast, he landed 16 inside the 20-yard line in 2014 but also had 9 touchbacks while averaging 42.9 yards/attempt).

K: Brendan Gibbons (2012)
16/18 on field goals (88.9%) with a long of 52, 45/45 on extra points
Gibbons had some memorable kicks in each of his final three years, but he was clutch in 2012. He hit his career long of 52 against Nebraska, he knocked one through to send the Northwestern game to overtime, and he hit the game-winner against Michigan State.

LS: Jareth Glanda (2011)
1 catch for 11 yards
Glanda was only the short snapper (field goals, extra points) in 2011, leaving the long snapping duties (punts) to Tom Pomarico. But Pomarico never caught a pass like Glanda did in the Sugar Bowl. Neither one had a bad snap, and Glanda would go on to be the long snapper in 2012 and 2013, but I’m picking 2011 because it’s my blog, dammit.

H: Drew Dileo (2011 and 2013)
Once again, I’m breaking the rules because you can’t stop me. In 2011 Dileo converted three fake field goals – a 3-yard run against Michigan State, a 4-yard run against Nebraska, and a pass (which was tipped and ended up in the hands of Glanda). Then again, in 2013 he slid into the holding position for Brendan Gibbons’s game-tying field goal at the end of regulation, which helped turn a loss into an eventual victory.

2Dec 2014
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2014 All-Big Ten teams announced

Jake Ryan

A few All-Big Ten teams have been announced. As you might expect from a 5-7 team with several players who underperformed, Michigan doesn’t have many representatives.

1st team: Jake Ryan, LB
2nd team: Devin Funchess, WR

1st team: Jake Ryan, LB

Jake Ryan, LB

Honorable Mention
Brennen Beyer, DE
Blake Countess, CB
Will Hagerup, P
Raymon Taylor, CB

I am completely behind the selection of #47. During the regular season, Jake Ryan was #2 in the conference in tackles (112) and tackles per game (9.33); he was also #4 in tackles for loss (14.0) and #5 in tackles for loss per game (1.17). He also had 2 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and 5 quarterback hurries.

I am less convinced by the selection of Devin Funchess. He was #3 in receptions (62), #5 in yardage (733), #24 in yards/catch (11.82), and tied for #12 in touchdowns (4). Congratulations to him, but here’s a list of players I would rank above him:

Tony Lippett, Michigan State: 60 catches, 1124 yards, 11 touchdowns
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers: 53 catches, 1043 yards, 10 touchdowns
Kenny Allen, Nebraska: 40 catches, 717 yards, 5 touchdowns
Devin Smith, Ohio State: 26 catches, 662 yards, 8 touchdowns
Michael Thomas, Ohio State: 40 catches, 639 yards, 8 touchdowns
Stefon Diggs, Maryland: 52 catches, 654 yards, 5 touchdowns

As for the guys named Honorable Mention, Blake Countess has no business being on that team. He had a very rough season, made 24 tackles, and broke up 3 passes. No interceptions, no big plays, and he got picked on rather often. Beyer had a decent year (35 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks), but the best defensive lineman on the team was Frank Clark, who may not have been included since he was kicked off the team. Taylor had 0 interceptions and 6 pass breakups; not a terrible season, but nothing special, either. Hagerup averaged 42.9 yards/kick (#3 in the conference) and pinned teams deep fairly often.

The biggest exclusion I see is sophomore cornerback Jourdan Lewis (39 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 6 pass breakups), who was the best player in the secondary for Michigan. I wouldn’t have minded seeing junior linebacker Joe Bolden selected for Honorable Mention, either; he ended the year with 102 tackles (#11 in the conference), 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 pass breakup.

10Nov 2014
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Michigan vs. Northwestern Awards

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Dennis Norfleet. Norfleet injured his shoulder against Indiana, and he did not appear in this game. It was no surprise when Michigan couldn’t find a big-play threat even once during the Northwestern game. Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier tried an end around to Devin Funchess – which was an utter failure – and the Wolverines have no speed on the outside. Add that to the gimpy Devin Gardner and a gimpy De’Veon Smith, and things look bleak for big plays. Norfleet hasn’t been able to make huge plays, but he does have the ability to make 10-20 yard gains on the occasional run or reception. Hopefully he can get healthy by the next game in two weeks.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Devin Funchess as the go-to receiver. The more reliable target this year has been Amara Darboh. Darboh is pretty slow and runs poor routes at times, but he makes both the easy and the tough catches. Funchess hasn’t consistently made either. Michigan needs to spread the ball around, but when they need  a play to be made, I think Darboh has to be the guy.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . James Ross III. Ross has been playing better than the third corner. Against some packages, I guess it’s necessary to put a fifth defensive back in the game, but you have to put your best eleven guys out there on defense. That actually probably would involve removing the free safety, but we’ve been over that before. Anytime Delonte Hollowell is out there on defense, I’d rather have Ross in the game.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Delonte Hollowell. As I mentioned in the game recap, it seems like opposing coordinators and quarterbacks are aware of his presence. If they watch game tape from earlier in the season, he’s the guy they should realize they can pick on. He hasn’t played a great deal on defense, but he has allowed at least three touchdowns this season on out routes near the left sideline (against Notre Dame, Utah, and now Northwestern). The kid is a decent special teams contributor, but he’s a liability in coverage.

Play of the game . . . Matt Godin’s interception on Frank Clark’s tip. Late in the second quarter, Michigan ran a zone blitz that dropped defensive end Brennen Beyer into a short zone. On a three-man rush, defensive end Frank Clark bulled Northwestern offensive tackle Jason Konopka backward, getting a hand up to knock down a Trevor Siemian pass attempt. The ball was knocked up in the air, and defensive tackle Godin reeled it in as he was falling backward to the ground. There are several options – the thwarted two-point conversion, Jake Ryan’s interception, several of the 6 Michigan sacks, etc. – but I’ll give it to Godin (and Clark) because it involved multiple players.

MVP of the game . . . tie between Jake Ryan and Frank Clark. Both had stellar games, particularly in the first half. Ryan finished with 11 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, 1 interception (returned for 2 yards), and 1 other pass breakup. Clark had 8 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 3 batted balls, one of which was intercepted; he also sniffed out a reverse and made a very nice tackle in the backfield. This game was won by the defense, and those two really stood out.