HD's Octagon--Are you ready for Spring ball?

  Hello everyone, welcome back to the 5th edition of HD's Octagon...There have been several things on my mind lately and I feel I need to share it..Please feel free to opine on any subject we cover..We would like to hear your thoughts on our work and your thoughts on Michigan as well...You ready? Here goes---

  News--- I just thought I would share with everyone(in case you haven't heard yet) that Michigan and Notre Dame have come to an agreement and the 2011 game in the BIG HOUSE will be the first game ever played under lights at Michigan Stadium, game time is set for 8pm... Excited? I know I am...I can't help but think of all the positive exposure this will give Michigan...Can you imagine being 1-0 going into this game and having College Game Day there all day talking about this match-up? The publicity Michigan will get will be very beneficial leading into a year that some think(myself included) will be VERY SPECIAL.. This WILL prove to be one of the best things the new AD David Brandon has done in his first month on the job..UM won't be the "punching-bag" for Espn or other mis-informed media outlets IF we win this game, start 2-0 and look to challenge or win the Big 10..Did I mention yet that 2011 was going to be special?

  More news--Players banged up for now but expected to be fine by fall...WR's--Je'ron Stokes and Junior Hemingway, Center--Dave Molk..Safety--Vlad Emilien, DL--Mike Martin...I am waiting to hear back from a few people to see if there are anymore..I will update you all as soon as I hear...(not read)

  Notes---Everyone on the O-line has added some much needed weight and muscle...The difference between last year and this years group is unbelievable...Everyone is 285 or more and they added good weight to their frames..I have heard from a couple different people that if we start our veterans of the bunch this year, that we will have 4 of 5 guys who weigh at least 300 lbs and are agile and strong...Compare that to the "make-shift" line we went with last year(due to injuries and depth) where I believe ONLY one guy was tipping the 300 mark.. Don't mistake this for me saying, " we need all beef up front"..We needed some good weight to go with the agility and abilities..This will prove to be a solid "addition" to Michigan's O-line and the foundation for this year..This may be the most solid, co-hesive group this year...We need them to perform very well to be successful and I think they will..
  Opinion on how the 2011 OL might look---  Left Tackle-Taylor Lewan, Left Guard-Patrick Omameh, Center-Dave Molk, Right Guard-Quinton Washington, Right Tackle-Michael Shchofield

   More notes---A few players that I have been told(not read) that have been performing well so far after the first 3 practices in Spring..

1..Craig "death" Roh---He has added about 15 lbs of muscle/strength in the off-season and that will pay dividends this year when having to deal with tight-ends who come off the line to block him..He has the size and now strength to take them on at the point of attack and play with more physicality...He will be a very special player before his UM journey is done..Look for him to blitz A LOT this year

2. Obi Ezeh---A guy who has the potential to be an All-American but just hasn't put it all together yet..There are sevearal reasons why in my opinion but I won't get into those...I've been TOLD that he is going to be used as a blitzer a lot more this year..I expect to see him lined up on the Weakside DE at times throughout game situations to help the pass rush on passing downs...

3. Will Campbell---I am glad I've been told that he is a beast in practice.Let's hope that translates on the field in the Fall..I have a feeling teams are going to need to double-team him this year..Although, with blitzers coming from different directions all the time, I'm not sure they will be able to..Good new for the good guys!

4. Mike Cox--I have said for a year now and will continue to say it until I see/hear otherwise...This kid impressed me at practices last year and their are only 2 reasons why he didn't see the field more..One being he needed to learn the playbook better, the other one being we had 2 Seniors that deserved the PT..I think you will see a lot of him this year as well as the next kid I mention..

5.Fitzgerald Touissant---Again, I have been beating the FT drum for quite some time now..The kid has it all except for actual college playing time...However, with FT I say, "No experience, no problem" this kid will be a force to reckon with very soon, 2010 soon...

6. M Schofield and Taylor Lewan---These guys will be UM's tackles for the future..They are actually pushing very hard for playing time against the veterans in front of them..The coaches will have a tough decision to make by fall---Do they start the more experienced but less agile veterans at a couple positions or do they throw the inexperienced but agile and very mobile young guys? This is not a shot at either group for pointing out their flaws, just stating reality for the case of discussion..For THIS year my money is on the vets but, don't be surprised if hard work or unfortunately an injury expedites this process..

7. Renaldo Sagesse---Glad to hear this because we need some talented depth on the DL this year...There will be a need because of the constant rotations and the loss of Brandon Graham..Have I said how much I wish he had one more year? One of my all time favorites and will be missed tremendously..TRUE UM MAN

8. Mark Huyge---He has put on some weight this off-season and appears to be around 300-310 lbs this year and still keeping his movement...I would love to see him be ABLE to hold up the LT spot this year..I will be watching the O-line developments the most this off-season followed closely by the DB's and LB's..

9. Austin White---Has all the tools and catches the ball well...I think we will see him get a few reps this year..

10. Devin Gardner--He is most definately making freshmen mistakes but he is also delivering a pin-point deep ball and continuing to learn...The potential is there and he will be special before his time is done..

   There are a few more but I don't want to write a book here..I will update everyone on the others in my next blog and I will have more to add by then because they will have had more practices by then..

     A few morsels to chew on until a few more practices are finished...

1. Both Fitz T and M Shaw broke a big run during practice...I was told that M Shaw's was a 74 yard TD and FT's was a 57 yard run and TD...

2. Stephen Hopkins is a LOAD and tough to bring down..The same goes for Mike Cox, I have been TOLD that he is very difficult to bring down..

3. JB Fitzgerald and Kenny Demens look to be pushing for PT this fall at the LB positions..So far the jobs are Obi's and Mouton's to lose but I for one WON'T be surprised if someone else steps-up and steps-in....There are eyes watching this batttle exclusively..Remember, they are looking for the most speed along with "football" players...OE and JM have to step it up if they don't want to lose their jobs..

  The Defense--- Has been running a lot of different looks this Spring ...A lot of people/places are saying that we are switching to a 3-3-5 for a base but, that's not true..The coaches have stated that they will still use the 4-3 as a base but, we should expect to see a lot of movement, variety within packages and personel and an aggressive blitzing defense.. Basically, what I am trying to say is---Look for more of an athletic, fast and aggressive defense rather than the "traditional" D's we have been used to, designed to stop the run..If I had to pick one team that I think UM's future D will resemble, I would compare this future D to Virginia Tech..

  The Offense---Will be tough to defend this year...They are running a lot of 2 back and also 4 wide sets so we are going to see a lof of playmakers doing what they do best, make plays..I truly believe we will lead most offensive categories this year in big10 play and if we minimize turnover's, we will have a very good year..This offense is very close to being "un-stopable" and they could show a lot of that this year but, next year is when this offense is going to be one of the best in the COUNTRY...Did I say 2011 was going to be special? Question-- Has anyone ever built an entire product from scratch? I have, and it's not easy..I empathize with RR and all that he has accomplished(sans the record)

   Thoughts---After thinking and re-thinking about every aspect of this football TEAM... I have come to the conclusion that we could/should be anywhere between 8 and 10 wins in 2010...I think it will lean more toward the 8 wins mark but I will be more than happy if it ends up being 10(small miracle if this happens)..I firmly believe we are one season away from being dominant for a very long time..We will show more than glimpses of it this year and I for one can't wait until the season starts(which is 166 days away)..

   I truly believe that UM hired the PERFECT coach for the TASK at hand and very, very soon, we shall see the "800 lb gorilla" get released onto the football World straight out of Ann Arbor...I know some might be asking themselves if I really said that after an 8-16 start in RR's first 2 years? All I will say to that is, "My eyes/ears reach areas no-one knew existed"..I have a new found respect for coach Rod after everything he has endured and has been through since his ARRIVAL in Ann Arbor.. Yes, unfortunately, it has been that bad..

   Request---I ask that all of you Michigan fans stand tall and support your coaches..Whether it's by going to the games, emails, donations, whatever avenue you choose to travel--Just let your voice be heard.. We are embarking on something special here and RIGHT NOW is the time to be "ALL-IN"..Is anyone ready for football? I know I am............

Thanks for stopping by HD's Octagon



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