2013 Season Countdown: #48 Josh Furman

Tag: Josh Furman

12Jul 2013
Uncategorized 10 comments

2013 Season Countdown: #48 Josh Furman

Josh Furman

Name: Josh Furman
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 197 lbs.
High school: Annapolis (MD) Old Mill
Position: Safety
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #14
Last year: I ranked Furman #50 and said he would be a special teamer and backup safety. He had 8 tackles as a special teamer and backup safety.

For the second consecutive season, Furman was valuable on special teams and mostly absent on actual defense. Thomas Gordon and Jordan Kovacs took the vast majority of the snaps at safety last year, and the third safety in the game was always then-freshman Jarrod Wilson. Meanwhile, Furman and the now departed Marvin Robinson – both two years older than Wilson – watched from the sideline. Furman is a pretty ideal special teams player because he has good size and speed, and he’s not afraid of contact. Unfortunately, his instincts as a safety are somewhat lacking.

With strong safety Kovacs now graduated, it looks like Gordon will move from free safety to strong; Wilson should earn the starting free safety job. The backup safeties are pretty darn questionable, though. Robinson is headed to Ferris State to play ball, and Furman has those questionable instincts. Redshirt freshman Allen Gant moved to outside linebacker. Outside of that top three, there’s literally nothing other than true freshmen. I imagine the coaches see something in Furman that makes them comfortable with that depth chart, but someone else to keep in mind is Dymonte Thomas. The freshman enrolled early and has reportedly won the starting nickel corner job, so if something happens to one of the starting safeties, we might see Thomas move over and keep Furman on the sideline. Much like the last couple seasons, I expect Furman to be a backup and help out on coverage units.

Prediction: Backup safety, special teamer

30Dec 2012
Uncategorized 1 comment

Defensive Backs Preview: Michigan vs. South Carolina

Jordan Kovacs was the team’s MVP this season

 Michigan will be missing its two starting cornerbacks from the beginning of the year; sophomore Blake Countess tore his ACL in the opener, and fifth year senior J.T. Floyd has been suspended for the Outback Bowl for breaking team rules.  Sophomore Raymon Taylor (5’10”, 182 lbs.), who replaced Countess for most of the year, will likely slide over to Floyd’s boundary corner position.  Taylor had his share of ups and downs on the season, but did a fair job overall and ended the regular season with 42 tackles, 2 interceptions (1 returned for a TD), 1 fumble recovery, and 1 pass breakup.  Junior Courtney Avery (5’11”, 173 lbs.), who normally starts at nickel corner, will probably step in at Taylor’s regular field corner spot.  Avery struggled there in some limited time early in the season, but he’ll have more reps this time around; playing a new position against Alabama is an extremely difficult task.  This year Avery has 16 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 1 fumble forced, and 1 fumble recovery.  Fifth year senior strong safety Jordan Kovacs (6’0″, 202 lbs.) has actually seen his statistics decline a little bit this year, but he was named the team’s MVP by his teammates; he has 65 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble.  Redshirt junior Thomas Gordon (5’11”, 207 lbs.) is more of a strong safety masquerading, but he has shown a knack for creating turnovers in the past; he has 75 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 2 pass breakups.  This is not a great group individually, but along with Floyd, they had the #2 passing yardage defense in the country.
Backups: Freshman safety Jarrod Wilson (6’2″, 194 lbs.) has played more extensively than any other backup, but he hasn’t had a signature positive play.  The game is moving too fast for him, as it often does with young safeties.  He could play a little bit at the nickel corner and has made 7 tackles and 1 fumble recovery on the year.  Another candidate for slot corner is sophomore Delonte Hollowell (5’9″, 176 lbs.), who has 4 tackles and 1 fumble recovery but is more of a special teams player.  The most interesting candidate for playing time is freshman Dennis Norfleet (5’7″, 161 lbs.), who returns kicks and ran the ball occasionally; he has now moved to defense in an attempt to shore up the depleted cornerback position.  Junior safety Marvin Robinson (6’2″, 200 lbs.) is a run stuffer who has played sparingly on defense and made 7 tackles and 1 fumble recovery.  Redshirt sophomore Josh Furman (6’2″, 203 lbs.) plays a lot on special teams but is a liability on defense; he has 10 tackles.

 Redshirt sophomore Victor Hampton (5’10”, 197 lbs.) starts at one cornerback spot; he has made 34 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, and is tied for the team lead with 6 pass breakups.  The other starter is senior Akeem Auguste (5’9″, 188 lbs.), who was injured early in the season and returned to start the last couple games; he has 15 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup, and 1 fumble recovery on the year. Senior D.J. Swearinger (6’0″, 210 lbs.) is the free safety and has 70 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble, and 5 pass breakups.  Sophomore Brison Williams (6’0″, 205 lbs.) starts at strong safety and has made 48 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and 4 pass breakups this season.
Backups: Redshirt junior Jimmy Legree (6’0″, 189 lbs.), the other starting corner when Auguste was hurt, did a solid job.  Legree is a converted free safety and has 43 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 interceptions.  Redshirt freshman Ahmad Christian (5’10”, 189 lbs.) has 8 tackles and 2 pass breakups as the backup to Hampton.  Sophomore Kadetrix Marcus (6’1″, 185 lbs.) backs up the strong safety position and has made 5 tackles.

The Wolverines have the #2 pass defense and #35 pass efficiency defense in the country, but quarterback play in the Big Ten has been woeful and they’ll be down a starting corner (or two, if you include Countess).  Meanwhile, the Gamecocks have the #16 pass defense and the #34 pass efficiency defense in a schedule that included Georgia’s Aaron Murray, Tennessee’s Tyler Bray, Arkansas’s Tyler Wilson, and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, not to mention East Carolina and UAB teams that put up pretty decent numbers through the air.  The Wolverines have played a steady diet of teams that rank in the 70’s or lower in passing offense, and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron – whose team blew out Michigan – was the only decent passer on the docket.  I don’t think South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw will shred the secondary, but the edge in defensive back play goes to the Gamecocks.

Advantage: South Carolina

19Nov 2012
Uncategorized 29 comments

Michigan vs. Iowa Awards

Captains Denard Robinson and Jordan Kovacs (image via AnnArbor.com)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Dennis Norfleet.  Now that Fitzgerald Toussaint is done for the season, I would like to see the coaches find a role for Norfleet.  Toussaint had some big-play capabilities due to his strength and good speed, and Norfleet is the only other guy who can take it to the house on any given play.  Thomas Rawls has been unimpressive, Justice Hayes hasn’t done much, and Vincent Smith is a third down back.  I don’t want or expect Norfleet to be a starter, but I would like him to get 3-5 touches out of the backfield.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Thomas Rawls.  Rawls appears to be a guy who’s just not quite good enough at any one thing to be a major player.  He wasn’t quite coordinated enough to tiptoe the sideline for a touchdown, he’s not quite fast enough to get to the outside, he’s not quite big and powerful enough to run over linebackers in the hole, and he doesn’t have great vision.  I do think he’ll get better at sticking with the play and finding the hole, but not necessarily in one week.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Marvin Robinson.  Robinson hasn’t played a ton of defense this year, but he has been a capable tackler.  He’ll never light the world on fire in pass coverage, but he looks like a capable replacement for Jordan Kovacs next year.  I would have liked to have seen him a little more on Saturday, although the Ohio State game might not be the best time to trot out projects.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Josh Furman.  I really just don’t see a future for Furman at safety.  The kid has good speed and does an excellent job on special teams coverage, but he gets caught flat-footed whenever he’s not attacking downhill.  He might end up like a Darnell Hood or Anton Campbell, a guy who’s a special teams demon his entire career but rarely sees meaningful time on defense.

Play of the game . . . Denard Robinson’s option pitch to Fitzgerald Toussaint.  There were longer plays, plays that scored, and perhaps more athletic plays.  But I’m choosing this one because of the creativity behind it and its success.  Out of basically a wishbone formation, quarterback Devin Gardner took the snap from under center and handed it off to Denard Robinson going right; Robinson then pitched the ball to Fitzgerald Toussaint, who gained 14 yards before getting tackled.  It was an exciting play to watch because it seemed to open up all kinds of possible plays for Robinson out of the backfield.  Unfortunately, it ended with an ugly injury to Toussaint.

MVP of the game . . . Devin Gardner once again.  He finished the game 18/23 for 314 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception; he also ran 9 times for 37 yards and 3 touchdowns.  It was a Micah Hyde interception away from being a game with virtually no faults.  Of course, it helped that Iowa’s defense had no clue how to play football, so thanks, Iowa!

18Nov 2012
Uncategorized 36 comments

Michigan 42, Iowa 17

Devin Gardner was responsible for 6 touchdowns on Saturday (image via AnnArbor.com)

Devin Gardner is awesome.  Prior to the game, I didn’t realize how terrible Iowa’s secondary is.  In the game preview, I predicted that Gardner would play his worst game as a quarterback.  That wasn’t close to being true.  The Hawkeyes blew coverages repeatedly, and Gardner completed 18/23 passes for 314 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception; he also ran 9 times for 37 yards and 3 touchdowns.  He makes some questionable passes at times, and frankly, he has been lucky several times.  Both Northwestern and Iowa have had defensive backs misjudge passes that have allowed for long completions to receivers Jeremy Gallon and Roy Roundtree; better defensive backs pick off or knock down some of these passes, but I’ll take it.

That Fitzgerald Toussaint injury hurts.  I didn’t see it on the initial play, but the replay was nasty.  Toussaint is obviously done for the year and I would be surprised if he returns in time for spring ball.  There were rumors that he was considering leaving for the NFL after this season, but combined with his mediocre performance thus far, that seems like it won’t be an option.  Hopefully he can return healthy next year, get back to his 2011 form, and raise his draft stock for 2014.  In the meantime, that hurts the Wolverines for the Ohio State game and beyond, because he was improving over the past couple weeks and the backup running backs are just so-so.

I do not like the usage of Denard Robinson.  Michigan could have won this game without playing Denard Robinson.  He’s obviously not fully healthy, and he tweaked his elbow injury in the second quarter.  The coaches obviously don’t trust him to throw the ball, and tweaking the injury probably means he won’t be able to throw against Ohio State, either.  Yes, it was fun to watch and it gives Ohio State some other formations and plays for which to prepare, but it also potentially cost the team Robinson’s throwing ability, however mediocre.  I don’t understand the need to unleash those plays and formations on Iowa if Michigan could have surprised the Buckeyes with those things next week.

James Ross, welcome to the Big Ten.  Ross got his first career start at WILL in place of Desmond Morgan, and he did a pretty good job.  There were a couple issues in pass coverage and he got pushed around when offensive linemen were able to latch onto him, but the kid led the team with 12 tackles  That’s a pretty good beginning, though he has played plenty throughout the year.  My expectation for next year is that Morgan will move to MIKE to make room for Ross to play WILL full-time.

Cover the tight end!  Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg didn’t really try the outside, but he did repeatedly attack the middle of the field by hitting tight ends.  I don’t blame him for attacking the middle of the field due to Ross’s inexperience, but Iowa has decent receivers and Michigan has so-so cornerbacks.  Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz had 8 catches for 99 yards, and Coble Krieger had 3 catches for 24 yards and 1 touchdown.  It was a good day for those guys, but it’s tough to keep up a good scoring pace by dinking and dunking your way down the field with 5-yard passes to the tight ends.  Kevonte Martin-Manley was the only Iowa wideout to catch a pass, and he finished with 2 receptions for 7 yards.

Josh Furman isn’t a safety.  Let me mention once again how out of place Furman is at safety.  Furman is a good special teams player, but playing safety just isn’t his thing.  He entered the game late and failed to make a couple plays that were right there.  When he’s not attacking downhill, he’s lost.  The kid played rush linebacker in high school, and you just can’t move guys back in a defense and expect them to be successful.  You can move a kid from corner to safety or safety to linebacker or linebacker to defensive end or defensive end to defensive tackle, but you can’t go the other way.  If he can hold some additional weight, the coaches ought to bulk him up to play SAM.

Good for the seniors.  Twenty-three seniors played their final game at Michigan Stadium yesterday, and they were undefeated at home over the past two seasons.  It’s a pretty amazing turnaround, because these fifth-year guys were the first Rich Rodriguez class from 2008 that saw Michigan lose on their home turf to Toledo.  A bunch of guys got in the stat book in their final home game, including Steve Wilson and Floyd Simmons.  Jack Kennedy took the final snap.  And Vincent Smith caught a screen pass for a touchdown for old time’s sake.  Those who stay will be . . . undefeated at home.

15Oct 2012
Uncategorized 41 comments

Michigan vs. Illinois Awards

Thomas Rawls (#38)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Thomas Rawls.  Rawls had 9 carries for 90 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown run late in the game.  Granted, it was late in the game and Illinois had given up, but he still showed some nice speed when he got to the sideline.  Fitzgerald Toussaint just can’t seem to get going, and while I’m not sure that Toussaint should be benched, Rawls is looking more and more deserving of a chance to earn carries.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Russell Bellomy.  The offense really seemed to be limited when he entered the game early.  Here’s hoping that Denard Robinson can heal from that hand injury and stay healthy for the rest of the season.  I’d prefer not to see Bellomy until Michigan is blowing out the opponent.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Marvin Robinson.  Jordan Kovacs seems to be nursing a bit of an injury, and Robinson was flying around the field when he entered the game.  Kovacs played well and Illinois never really tested the safeties, but Robinson seems quite capable of supporting the run.  Hopefully Robinson is to the point where he can spell Kovacs a little bit, because someone needs to be groomed for the starting spot once Kovacs graduates.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody.  The defense allowed 134 yards and gave up zero points.  The only thing that really bugged me on “defense” was Josh Furman’s moronic personal foul when he ran into the punt returner way too early, but Furman rarely plays defense, anyway.

Play of the game . . . Denard Robinson’s 49-yard touchdown run.  It was a thing of beauty.  He danced around the tackles of about four guys and then exploded down the left sideline.  It was especially fun to watch Illinois defensive tackle Glenn Foster “fall” while chasing him because he knew that chasing Denard would be a waste of energy.

MVP of the game . . . Denard Robinson once again.  He was 7/11 passing for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He also ran the ball 11 times for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Most importantly, he didn’t turn over the ball.  When he temporarily got hurt early in the game, the offense bogged down and the entire fan base got scared, including me.  This team will really struggle if he’s unavailable.