HD's Octagon----Let's revisit the Spring game, shall we?

                                                           Sunday April 18th 2010

               Welcome back to Willis' World fellow Wolverine fans...The Michigansportszone staff had an outstanding weekend in Ann Arbor...We met a lot of wonderful UM people while working and during leisure time as well...I would like to share some information I received as well as give you an educated opinion on the Michigan football team from my perspective...

  The TEAM---- I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a "team" mentality when taking the field with one another, counting on the other 10 guys to execute their assignments..You can see the team starting lean on each other and expect each other to "hold the rope"...This team will probably not be contending for the Rose Bowl THIS year but,  it is on the horizon..Dare I say, 2011 anyone?

  The Coaches---You can see a sense of "calming" on the sidelines this year compared to the previous two..The demeanor RR showed was opposite of what we have previously witnessed..I have a "gut feeling" that this is due to the growth of this team compared to this time last year...This is the first year that RR has the luxury of having a returning starter at QB(whether it be TF or DR)..This staff is second-to-none in regards to competition and work ethic and it will show very soon...If you think you don't like to lose, you should see/be around them when it happens..

  The QB talk mentioned above should pay huge dividends for the future of this team and the upcoming year...I personally think you can add 2-3 more wins this year due to that factor alone..Then, if you just cut our turnover's in half you can add 2-3 more wins to the win column as well..Possibility this year of adding 4-6 wins to the total last year...Probably more toward the 4 but that's why they play the game..The magic number for me continues to be 9....I believe they will be at a floor of 7 wins and a ceiling of 9...I have been known as an eternal optimist regarding UM and I think we are the 800 lb gorilla waiting to pounce so, I will shoot for the ceiliing..How about you?

              Now, on to the game and my observations/ opinions...........

      Speial Teams----

   Kick return and Punt return---I think we have some very fast and athletic guys returning these kicks and I would expect us to return a few "to the house" this year..My only concern is if they can consistantly catch the ball or not...That was the only glaring issue (IMO)

   Kickoff and Puting------I believe we have a solid field goal kicker this year...Not great but not bad either...There were 4 guys doing the fieldgoal attempts Saturday but, I fully expect RS Frosh Brendan Gibbons to get the nod..

   The kickoff coverage was good overall and should not be an area of concern this year...There are a lot of athletes that can fly down the field and make the play..

  Punting---------This area has to step up for us in a big way this year..We don't have the "luxury" of Mr. Zoltan Mesko...Crossing my collective fingers on this one..I believe Freshman Will Hagerup will be doing the punting this year..


     The starting Defense looked really good Saturday...They were playing fast and physical and you could see a big difference as far as team speed and co-hesiveness...There was gang-tackling and players flying to the ball..There will always be mistakes, nobody is perfect but, I believe you will see the big plays held to a minimum...I cannot stress that opinion enough..Those are what have killed us in several games for several years and it would be nice to throw a wrench in the plans of opposing offenses..We have some experience and depth on the DL finally and that will be a huge asset as the season progresses..

  Side note---Don't forget that we have some very talented Defensive players coming in this fall...Yes, they are young and inexperienced but there are a few that I am told will probably see some playing time..The few that will probably not Red-shirt are as follows---

   DT/DE  Jibreel Black
   DE/LB  Kenny Wilkins
   CB/S   Demar Dorsey


     The offense for the most part was hitting on all cylinders..We witnessed a nice compliment of passing and running throughout the scrimmage and came away very impressed...The size in the OL was amazing and I truly think they are the perfect size for this season...We should see some gaping holes this year and we will need to, seeing as how the RB position is still uncertain, although talented....I still want to see a little more downfield passing but some of it is due to the QB not seeing that specific receiver...That will come in time with perfect repetition..The coaches are definitely trying to get the vertical game going, they know it's a neccessity for this offense to be running on all 12 cylinders and use all areas of the field...

  Here is a look at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd team depth chart on Offense from Saturday-----

   1st team was as follows;  
 LT---Taylor Lewan
 LG---Stehen Schilling
 C-----Rocko Khoury(Dave Molk will start when he returns from injury)
 RG---Patrick Omameh
 RT---Mark Huyge
 TE---Kevin Koger
 Slot--Roy Roundtree, Martavious Odoms
 SE----Stonum and Roy Roundtree(depending on formation)
 RB----Mainly Fitzgerald Touissant with  Mike Cox and Mike Shaw rotating some as well
 QB--- Denard Robinson

   2nd team:  Set up differently so you as a fan can visualize from 2 different looks---

  LT---John Ferrara  LG---Ricky Barnum    C--Christian Pace  RG---Quinton Washington  RT--Michael Schofield

                 RB---Mike Cox and Michael Shaw   QB--Tate Forcier     TE--Brandon Moore
               Slot---Terrance Robinson and Jeremy Gallon     SE---Jerald Robinson and Ricardo Miller

 3rd team: Same as 2nd team on OL and WR's

LT---John Ferrara LG---Ricky Barnum C--Christian Pace RG---Quinton Washington RT--Michael Schofield

  Slot---Terrance Robinson and Jeremy Gallon      SE---Jerald Robinson and Ricardo Miller

                            RB---Stephen Hopkins    QB--Devin Gardner    TE---Brandon Moore(2nd and 3rd )

  Some of the same guys rotated throughout the day doing 1st and 2nd team but, this gives you an idea of what was done most of the time during the Spring game...

   Here is a look at the 2-deep on Defense:

  1st team Defense:

 DT---Will Campbell(Mike Martin is injured but expected back before fall)
 DE--- Vanbergen, Banks(Mike Martin could also play here, will know more in fall)
 LB----Mouton, Ezeh, Roh, T Gordon
 CB----Floyd and Rogers(Woolfolk will replace Rogers when he is back from injury)
 Safeties--Cam Gordon and Jordan Kovacs

 2nd team Defense:

  DE's---Lalota, Sagasse
  LB's---Fitzgerald, Leach, Demens, Mike Jones
  CB----Turner, Tony Anderson
  Safeties--Emilien, Simmons

    Well, there is a quick "snap-shot" of what the Spring game looked like...I hope you enjoyed the read and also the Spring game if you attended....Check back soon for HD's player evalutation/analysis of EVERYONE who participated in the Spring game...Please feel free to ask any questions or opine on any of the subjects as well....GO BLUE

 HD's Octagon
 Willis' World




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