Michigan Football Mailbag Question: Regarding Shafer and English
In regards to your Shafer stuff what is the big differences between what English did and what Shafer wants to do. Also you have talked about several times that certain players like Turner would play safety for English, but under Shafer is likely to play corner ... why is that?
They both said they want to play fast, aggressive defense, but what is the difference between the two and from what you people saw in the spring do you think there will be a difference between the defense this year and last year.
What about the fundamental stuff like pursuit angles, tackling and playing smart under Shafer?
Thanks for taking my question and hope you can answer some of my questions, but I understand if you can't or don't want too.
Thanks for the question and we have NEVER refused to answer a question. If we know the answer, or have information that will help, we are more than happy to help people who ask. We have a motto here “Tell the truth no matter how much it hurts somebody’s feelings … as long as it is true you can say it … even if that means we will not be handing out lollipops and roses.”
Yes, both Coach English and Coach Shafer have talked about playing fast. Talking about playing fast is the easy part. Putting in schemes and packages that allow you to play fast, recruiting players who have the skills and mind set to play fast, to actually practice playing fast, and having the accountability in place demanding that players do play fast and benching those who do not, that is the difference.
Things like playing press coverage, demanding that all the players run to the football, and having the coach be the first person in the end zone to congratulate defensive touchdowns. Using a fast practice pace that teaches athletes the amount of energy it takes to play fast and benching players who do not fly to the football every play is what it takes to get team to play fast.
As for strong fundamental play, there were sessions during individual and group time that was 100% dedicated to strong fundamental play. Players who gave up contain, missed assignments, took improper angles were sat down immediately.
The two other things that Coach Shafer is emphasizing that are different from what old Michigan did, is creating turnovers and negative plays. These negative plays can be sacks or other plays dropped for negative yards. These will have great effect on the entire Michigan team, negative plays change what an offense can and will use. Turnovers create short field for your offense. Both areas Michigan has been lacking for most part last few yards.
The reason Justin Turner is now a fit for Cornerback is twofold.
1) Michigan is now using press coverage, in press coverage size and ability to jam and get your hands on the Wide Receivers is necessary. Turner has the combination of size and skill set that is perfect for press corner in Coach Shafer's defense.
2) Michigan is now playing mostly cover 2 and 4 in the secondary. This puts a big premium on movement skills from the Safeties and the ability to cover 1/2 the field. Also in cover 2 you need bigger corners who can reroute Wide Receivers into the middle of the field and protect the boundary. They also must be physical enough to fill the alley against the run and take on pulling linemen. All things Turner does well.
written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine
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