Troy Woolfolk has an Ouchie

Troy Woolfolk has an Ouchie

August 18, 2010
I hope this makes you feel better.

Reports and statements after practice today strongly suggest that senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk dislocated an ankle today. If that rumored prognosis is accurate, Woolfolk will most likely miss the entire 2010 season.

Who will take Woolfolk’s spot at cornerback?
This practically cements the starting cornerbacks as redshirt sophomore J.T. Floyd and true freshman Cullen Christian. Floyd was probably set to be the #2 cornerback. Christian is the most talented of three incoming freshmen at the position, with more talent and potential than Terrence Talbott and Courtney Avery. Senior cornerback-turned-wideout-turned-cornerback James Rogers will also be in the mix.

Will any position changes occur to fill the void at cornerback?
Michigan doesn’t have the talent or depth at other positions to move many guys. Sophomore Teric Jones played cornerback last year but moved to Bandit in the spring. When redshirt freshman J.T. Turner decided to transfer last week, head coach Rich Rodriguez stated that Jones would get practice reps at Bandit and cornerback. I imagine that Jones will make a full-scale move to cornerback now. Another option is true freshman D.J. Williamson, a 6’1″, 170 lb. receiver who played a little defense in high school. Longshots to move include true freshman safety Ray Vinopal and redshirt junior safety Michael Williams, who has seemingly been squeezed out of the competition at Spur. None of these players should be considered as challengers for the starting cornerback job, however.

How did the depth at cornerback get so . . . shallow?
From the Class of 2007, wide receiver/cornerback Zion Babb ran off after Rodriguez arrived in Ann Arbor. Five-star cornerback recruit Donovan Warren entered the 2010 NFL Draft early, only to go undrafted. Cornerback/safety recruit Michael Williams suffered a knee injury and moved to safety full-time after Ron English was let go.

From the Class of 2008, Boubacar Cissoko took stupid pills once he arrived on campus and was booted from the team in mid-2009.

From the Class of 2009, athlete recruit Denard Robinson was pegged by some teams as a cornerback; he came to Michigan as a quarterback and has seemingly taken the lead in the race to be behind center in 2010. J.T. Turner arrived on campus out of shape and remained out of shape; he decided he’d had enough of Mike Barwis and his crazy “stay in shape” demands, so he received his transfer papers last week. Robinson’s high school teammate Adrian Witty failed to qualify initially, and then once he qualified, Michigan’s Admissions department failed to admit him for January 2010.

From the Class of 2010, prized defensive back recruit Demar Dorsey failed to meet Michigan’s admissions standards (and apparently Louisville’s, too). The late pursuit of Dorsey may have curtailed Michigan’s chase for a couple potential mid-level cornerback recruits, particularly Rashad Knight and Tony Grimes. Athlete recruit Conelius Jones failed to qualify.

Overall, that’s nine potential cornerbacks who are either playing other positions (Michael Williams, Denard Robinson) or no longer on the team. I can’t blame Lloyd Carr or Rodriguez for most of those position changes and such. However, the handling of the cases of Adrian Witty, Demar Dorsey, and Conelius Jones should come into question now. Why were those three allowed to sign Letters of Intent if they weren’t qualified? At such an important position – and one in such dire need – Rodriguez couldn’t afford to hand out scholarships to kids who would never play a down for Michigan. He did anyway. I hope I’m wrong, but this could be a major failure of the Rodriguez regime at Michigan.

Are there any positives that could come of this?
Well . . . uhhh . . . since Woolfolk played as a true freshman in 2007 (a waste of a redshirt at the time), he’s only a fourth year senior this season. He could possibly regain his health enough to play as a redshirt senior in 2011.

How much does this impair Michigan on the field in 2010?
Significantly. The likely starter at free safety is a true freshman who changed positions from wide receiver in the spring. One starting cornerback is a guy who many (including me) believed should be a safety . . . that is, if Michigan had enough depth at cornerback to move him. The other starting cornerback is either James Rogers, a senior who has barely seen the field in three years, or a true freshman. Michigan’s defense was going to be bad in 2010, anyway. The loss of Woolfolk not only affects the passing game negatively, but also exchanges a solid tackler for an 18-year-old kid who admittedly needs to improve his tackling (Christian). This injury probably lowers Michigan’s win total by one or two games.


  1. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:24 AM

    Is Mike Williams fast enough?

  2. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:37 AM

    @ Anonymous 10:24 p.m.

    Probably not now. It seems that he's bulked up and got a little bit slower since he got to college. He probably was fast enough prior to his knee injury and when he was still 181 lbs., but now he's 200 lbs. and seems to be stiffer. That's why I said he's a longshot. But Ron English did bring him in to play slot corner, so he at least HAD some potential at the position…

  3. Comments: 21381
    Michael S
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    Quick, install a Cover 2 defense…

  4. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    Maybe we'll get really lucky and a backup junior/senior CB at USC will decide he wants to get playing time and transfer to Michigan.

    Latwaan Anderson walking on to Miami seems like a bigger missed opportunity now. JT Turner should be kicking himself because he'd definitely see the field now, even out of shape.

    Any chance Grady or Robinson move to CB? They could just come on in nickel/dime situations only and just cover the slot.

  5. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:02 AM

    Hate to be a downer about this, but it's scary to think how little depth we've actually built up in the three years Rodriguez has coached here. A lot of it has been because of extenuating circumstances but it's still pretty shocking to realize how devastating this loss is because of who we have left to replace him.

  6. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    @ Michael S

    The problem is…who's going to play a deep half? We have no speed at the safety positions, either. Between Kovacs, Gordon, Emilien, etc., we're SLOW back there.

  7. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    @ KB

    Yeah, I imagine JT Turner is kicking himself right now. We've lost 2 of our top 3 cornerbacks within a week. That's ridamndiculous.

  8. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:07 AM

    @ aqua

    There's no excuse for how Rodriguez has recruited/coached cornerbacks in his 2+ years at Michigan. He failed to recruit enough cornerbacks, and the top three recruits at the position (Cissoko, Warren, Turner) all left early for various reasons.

    I still support Rodriguez and want him to be the coach at Michigan, but this has been a giant shortcoming.

  9. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    The good news is, I definitely know who to vote for next on the countdown, as I think the other 15 guys are more likely to contribute than TWolf at this point.

    Such sad news for the kid. Pretty depressing quotes from Butch on Angelique's twitter right now.

  10. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:27 AM

    @ gpsimms

    I won't be lowering Woolfolk's ranking to #16. The rankings have already been set, and it would be pointless to change them now.

  11. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:27 AM

    ah damn, just saw the programming note. now my vote is definitely wrong. there goes my streak of correctness.

  12. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:53 AM

    Was Denard really an "athlete" recruit? I remember reading somewhere that the main reason he came to UM was that RichRod promised him a shot at QB.

  13. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 4:38 AM

    @ Anonymous 11:53 p.m.

    Denard was an "athlete" as in he had potential at several positions (QB, RB, WR, SR, CB). Some teams thought he was a CB. He did come to Michigan because he was promised a shot at CB, but he's still a player who could be at CB right now who's playing elsewhere. Again, it's not a knock on Rodriguez that he's playing QB. Quarterback is the most important position on the field.

  14. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    How about T-Rob? Fast, fluid, possibly suspect hands. Isn't that the prototype?

  15. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    Are there any receivers that could be pressed into service at corner? Last time I remember that happening was 1999 when David Terrell played some corner. Stonum? Ricardo Miller? Anyone?

  16. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    I'm surprised to hear that Christian is "cemented" as a starting CB based on the argument of talent. Hasn't the Turner situation been (just the latest) example of talent not necessarily manifesting into success? Are there practice rumblings that say Christian is worthy of the hype? I'd be no less surprised to see Rogers, Williams, Avery come out as the starting CB. Not that it matters. All of our guys are going to get burnt and then pulled…everyone on the depth chart will get a shot out there.

    As for 2011, I think we all might be undervaluing the benefits of this unfortunate situation. The CB depth situation was pretty bad next year – not quite as bad as this year of course, but having Woolfolk on the 2011 roster is a major addition. 2011 was the year when this team could feasibly challenge for a big 10 title. Woolfolks contributions might have turned a 6 win team into an 8 win team in 2010, but perhaps in 2011 he helps turn an 8 win team into a 10 win team…trying to stay positive.

  17. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    TTB, I think you should have included the '06 recruiting class ( which contained, at most, one CB (Stevie Brown, who I believe was considered a safety), in your analysis here.

    It would be pleasant to have one/two CBs who'd be the Greg Banks equivalent in the secondary.

  18. Comments: 21381
    Michael S
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Here's hoping James Rogers is the Greg Banks of the secondary.

  19. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    If I'm forced to put my irrational hopes onto a position switch I think Mike Williams would be the guy. At the very least, he should be a competent tackler… The guy has talent, just seems to make poor decisions. Perhaps CB is a better fit, even if he doesn't possess ideal quickness and speed.

  20. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    @ Anonymous 8:27 a.m.

    I don't think Rodriguez would want to put a starting WR like Stonum at cornerback. Remember, David Terrell was a superb athlete and still didn't fare well at cornerback…

  21. Comments: 21381
    Aug 18, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    @ Lankownia

    When I say that Christian is probably cemented as the starting cornerback opposite Floyd, I'm referring to MY thoughts on the position. That's not based on what the coaches have said or inside info. I just don't see Rogers or especially Avery starting there.

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