What are your feelings going into summer and what should we expect as far as what the team does or allowed to do. Also do you think the team will be better prepared than a lot of people believe with a new system and staff at the start of the season?
Thanks ... Warren
Thanks for the question. We expect Michigan to go through some growing pains this year. Installing a new offense and defense is tough to begin with.
Then you add not having ideal personnel at key positions and you have additional issues. To expect freshmen to come in and play key positions is a lot to ask. We feel however, that is exactly what is going to happen. Some questions need to be answered before we will know what to expect from our team this year.
Once we get these answers, things will get much clearer. Once you see these issues, you may have additional questions that we can deal with at later date.
We started thinking about ten issues that we will be watching this fall. These will most determine not only how good Michigan is, but also what types of schemes and packages Michigan will play. There are five on each side of the ball. Special teams are a separate issue for later date.
1) Who, and how well our centers play. The number one concern coming out of spring was the snap. To be frank, it was awful. For this offense to be effective, the snap has to be both consistent and accurate. Either Mooseman, or Molk needs to get this right. In perfect world, Molk does job, because Mooseman is much better fit at Offensive Guard.
2) Quarterback: Who steps up wins the job, Threet or Feagin. Lets start by saying Michigan can win, be successful with either, but which one wins job will determine where offense goes. If Threet is the starting Quarterback, the goal would be for him to get 30 to 35 yards rushing. Those are needed to keep defenses honest, especially backside defenders and to pick up first downs. If Feagin starts, the new goal would be 50 to 55 yards rushing. 20 yards game may not sound like much, but it puts an entire different stress on a defense. Troy Smith’s senior year he did not have a ton of yards rushing, something 350 if I remember correctly, but that threat of him picking big yards on the scramble made Defensive Coordinators scheme differently. When you spy or use other packages to stop Quarterback vacate the pocket, you open up something else. Defensive Coordinators now have to scheme differently just like the teams who faced Dixon last year.
3) Slots: At least one of three freshmen or Carlos Brown needs to step and play position preferably two. Clemons played Okay in spring, but he is not the threat in space, or running ball this offense needs. In addition, Clemons skill set would be great addition to Split Ends or the back-up role of Butler. Along with that is Butler. This guy has elite level skills. If he puts it all together, the difference he could make in this offense is scary. What mismatches he causes in the secondary. However, he cannot continue to jump off sides and drop the damn ball.
4) Split Ends: Michigan is just fine at possession Wide Receivers with Mathews and Hemingway. They need Stonum or Clemens to provide a deep stretch. Both have plenty of speed, what will determine who plays are who blocks. Split Ends in this offense need to pin Cornerback to the boundary. This allows Running Backs to attack outside 1/3 after breaking into second level. This takes plays from 5 yards to 50 yards.
5) Running Backs: Can Carlos Brown or one of the freshmen give Michigan a speed dimension that Minor and Grady do not. You can be very successful with Grady/Minor types, but a DeVine type speed element can make this offense scary. Could easily see Minor being Michigan’s version of Slaton this year. What I am talking about is some one like Carlos Brown or one of the freshmen being the change of pace back that Noel Devine was for West Virginia.
1) Middle Linebacker: Someone needs to step up, Thompson or Ezeh and be a presence in the middle. You will never be more than okay 4-3 defense without having a good Middle Linebacker.
2) Defensive Tackles: Either Slocum, Kates, or a certain freshmen need to provide an inside push or pass rush. Avoiding edge rusher is not difficult if you cannot get a push from the Defensive Tackles. Being strong up the middle is must to be anything other that average defense.
3) Safety: Can Stewart or Chambers start at safety so Harrison can play his natural nickel position. Neither Dutch nor anyone else was very good at nickel. In addition, Coach Shafer loves to nickel in many different situations.
4) Defensive Ends: Two things here, first is Michigan needs to develop a fourth competent one. This is huge for nickel, we start the three Defensive Ends, must have fourth Defensive linemen to make this work. Michigan also needs to get tougher against the run. They were average at best last season.
5) Outside Linebackers: Probably my number one concern. Outside Linebacker, play has been not very good lately. This has to change in big hurry. With athletes on outside who can blitz, stuff the run, and play in space. Until this happens, Michigan defenses will not be anything but average defense.
Ok, I love defense, so here is a sixth … LOL … Some freshmen or otherwise needs to provide depth at Cornerback. The chances (IMO) of Morgan and Warren playing every down are slim and none. Woolfolk, Boo Boo, Dutch or Floyd I do not care. Some one need to step and get job done.
written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine
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