5) Sleeper picks for spring of 2009
Brandon Herron: If they can just find a position for him—"Hybrid" seems perfect. Physically, he looks ready to go, but we're convinced he simply cannot play a traditional linebacker position.
J.T. Floyd: Another kid who does well in agility drills and may just be one of those players who is not as talented as others, but is more productive. He can play either safety or cornerback, but we think he starts out at cornerback.
Rocko Khoury: Love this kid and think he's a perfect offensive center in this system. The biggest question is, will he push David Molk?
Roy Roundtree: He's a long shot, but we just can't get over the fact he is simply our best wide receiver in terms of catching the ball, especially in traffic. Unlike the others, he does not seem to need an attitude adjustment.
Kenny Demens: We're not sure he's a long shot anymore. But as good of an offseason as Demens has had, we'd still like to see a healthy Jonas Mouton step forth to let Demens develop slowly.
Brandon Moore: He could be one play away from becoming a starter. Unless Martell Webb really shows a willingness to compete, he will be the backup tight end.
6) Brandon Smith
We list him as someone to watch because we really believe he has the ability to win a starting position. How he can defend in pass coverage could be the difference between having an average defense and having a good defense. Yes, it all depends on this one kid.
Why, you ask? Because he brings something Michigan has not had in too many years—a physical safety. Also, he has become one of those younger leaders on the team I've referred to. Kids gravitate to him. He is the type of kid you just want to root for. Michigan needs him to succeed this year.
Note: Stevie Brown is back at it. A year ago he was the MVP of spring on defense. Judging from offseason workouts, he is going to be tough for someone to beat out. He's one of the most athletic kids, at least in agility drills. The big question is whether he can translate that athleticism onto the football field. We have beaten this question to death.
Maybe he simply cannot play consistent enough, but there's no disputing Brown is the best natural athlete on the defensive side of the ball.
Another comment on safeties: Some of you may already know this—Vlad Emilien is not only an impressive-looking athlete, but also one of the smartest kids on the team. He pays very close attention to details and looks to be one of those players who will always be found in the right place at the right time.
7) Offensive Line
Who plays offensive tackle? Stephen Schilling is like Obi Ezeh—his position will be determined by others, not him. It is obvious to most that Schilling would be more effective as an offensive guard—probably at left guard—but unless someone can show they can play offensive tackle, coach Greg Frey will probably keep him there. For Spring Practice, he is expected to play mostly offensive guard to start.
Ricky Barnum: He will practice but may need to have his wrist taken care of after spring practice.
Coach Frey has sent a clear message to all offensive linemen—improve your agility or be benched. The offensive line’s inability to block anyone in the open field last year kept Michigan from making significant plays, let alone making big plays. The offensive linemen who show the ability to block at the second level will play.
Terrence Robinson is just a great kid and is the standard for quickness on the team. He is healthy and will push Martavious Odoms hard this spring, though Odoms is a competitor and one of coach Calvin Magee's favorites.
We're curious to watch the corners not so much to determine the starters, but to try and determine who will be the backups whether they play tough enough to allow coach Greg Robinson to go to press man coverage. We weren't able to last year for various reasons.
What changes will we see in the schemes? Will the passing scheme be upgraded? What role will Coach Robinson play in practice? Will we have a defensive coach on the field during scrimmages? Will Coach Rod tone things down?
Historically, the first two or three practices are just shorts and pads. They usually do not scrimmage until practice four. We're not sure what the schedule is this year.
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Written by ErocWolverine and MaizeMan