Michigan Wolverines Weekend: Some Spring Game Answers

Big House BobSenior Analyst IIApril 18, 2010
I'm sure many of you watched the BTN replay or was there live in the Big House. I know the weather wasn't exactly 84 degrees like it was a few days before, but here are some of my observations from the game.

Field goal and punting practice was not only boring but very scary. It seems Michigan has a serious problems at both. The punters could barley get the ball past 10 yards. I'm not sure I can remember a true freshman having a job locked up before they hit campus in the summer, but it's crystal clear that Will Hagerup has this job. Right now, Tate Forcier is the best punter on the team.

Now I try to answer the questions I had on Friday:

1. Does the defense show any improvements? Do they tackle better and have fewer blown assignments.
I would say I saw some improvements, but this unit has a long way to go to see the improvements that we are expecting. I thought the D-Line played pretty well, the linebackers seemed to be better, but the defensive backfield looked slow and pretty bad.

2.Who should be the starter at QB? Is Denard really taking steps on getting the No. 1 job?
Denard was the MVP of the entire spring game. He showed he was a real QB, passing and running the ball. The highlight of the day was his 97-yard strike to Roy Roundtree for a TD. Denard is a defensive coordinator's nightmare if he is accurate passing the ball.
The defenders don't know what to do, because he can throw over you or run by you. Tate was Tate...He looked good sometimes, but he was also too fast to leave the pocket and made some poor throws other times. I give the UConn first snap edge to Denard right now. Tate was in against Michigan's first defense and Denard was in against the No. 2s.


3. Is Justin Turner a five-star cornerback or should he be playing safety?

The concern over Turner is accurate. He was a non-factor at CB and it seems he will be moved to safety in the fall. Let's hope he is a play maker there.

4. Has Big Will improved and will he be a force on the defensive line?

I would say yes, Big Will was running with the ones and seemed to be making an impact and pushing the pile.

5. Who will step up at the running back position?

Nobody. This continues to be a wide open position battle going into the fall. Each guy showed promise but I didn't see anyone grab the position.

6. Is the buzz on the Gordon's accurate?

Cam won a spring award but I didn't see him make too many plays. He did have a nice hit on the sideline. I did see Thomas making a few tackles. The jury's still out on both of them for now.

7. Should Devin redshirt or is he an option to help in the fall?

Devin looked like a high school senior on many plays but looked very promising on others. The future is still very bright for Devin. If I had to make a call today, it would be to redshirt.

8. How does the offensive line look? Is Taylor Lewan the real deal?

I thought they looked pretty good without Molk in there. (Got Molk?) I have high expectations for Taylor Lewan, he did look like Pro Bowler Jake Long out there (in his uniform) and I expect him to start or play a lot early and often this year. My excitement meter has Denard No. 1 and Taylor No. 2.


9. Does Michigan have any wide receivers that are game-breakers?

If the USFL was still around I would think Roy Roundtree would be a star in that league. Why, you ask? Because, he loves playing in the spring. This guy has had two solid spring games in a row.

Odoms also looks like a legit WR now (even though he dropped a perfect bomb that Devin threw) and Gallon made some plays as well. Stokes and Miller also made some catches. There were some drops, but Michigan seems pretty loaded at the WR position and hopefully a few of these guys will be really good.


10. Does this look like a program with seven-plus wins in them next season?

Wow, that is a tough question to answer right now. I think the Michigan offense is again improved and will have a lot of weapons when healthy. My biggest concerns are the special teams and defensive secondary.

Troy Woolfolk was out due to a finger injury and he will be Michigan's best corner. Speed at safety continues to be a concern as does the non-Woolfolk corner spot. The defense looked better against the run and was putting pressure on Tate and Devin. Michigan will need "some help from above" if games are decided by a field goal of any distance. I also wonder who will be returning punts this fall.


Other side notes:

• It seems D. Hart's visit to Michigan this weekend is going well. TomVH from Mgoblog interviews his mom. MRS HART: The amount of support from everyone, the coaches, academics, and fans is amazing. The environment, everything that Michigan has to offer has been really great. Michigan seems to be the total package in my mind. This is my first time at Michigan, so I was overwhelmed. I’m looking for the total package for my son, and that seems to be here.

The Big Ten could be meeting on expansion today in Washington DC.


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