Showing posts with label brady hoke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brady hoke. Show all posts

Friday, November 23, 2012

Preview And Prediction: Ohio State

"The Game" is here. We've waited so long so one of the greatest rivalries in sports to kick off once again, and the wait is finally over.

This chapter of Michigan - Ohio State takes place in Columbus, and that is bad news for a Michigan team that hasn't traveled particularly well this season. But, as Brady Hoke put it, "it's almost personal," talking about what this game means to him. In other words, it's not your average hop-on-a-bus-to-play-football kind of game. It's hop-on-a-bus-to-play-Ohio.

Here are the keys to the game.


The Wolverines have looked like a completely different team these past few weeks, compared to what we were seeing earlier in the season, and it all has to do with the play of Devin Gardner. He has revived the Michigan offense into something to be feared. Couple with that with the play-making ability of Denard Robinson, and you have one of the most electric offenses in the Big Ten.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Team 133 And Senior Day

This Saturday will be my last game in the Big House as a student.  It's shocking to write and even more shocking to think about.  After four years of making the trek to the Big House, my journey as a student will end with a game against Iowa.  It's been an interesting 4 years to say the least.  When I arrived on campus, Michigan was trying to recover from a 3-9 season and accusations of NCAA violations.  I can clearly remember being heckled by many people in the weeks prior to my freshman year about these facts.

Things of course got better.  Michigan limped to a 5-7 record in my freshman year, but they improved to 7-6 in 2010, won the Sugar Bowl in 2011, and still have the slight potential for a Big Ten Championship game this year.  To say I've grown with the football program would be cliche  but to an extent, it's probably true.  With Senior Day this Saturday, one can't help but looking back at how this team has went from offseason disaster to legitimate conference and national contender.

What's been even better have been the incredible moments that have came along the way.  My first game in the Big House was the Western Michigan game in 2009 when everybody got to see the first game of the high profile Tate Forcier and the incredible first play of Denard Robinson.  The next week we got to see an exciting upset of Notre Dame.  Sure, there were some depressing times later in the year, but I had the pleasure to come back for the re-dedication of the Big House for the opening game of 2010 along with the record-breaking performances of Denard in 2010.  Add in the 2010 Illinois game and there was more than enough excitement from most fans.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Notre Dame Players to Watch

Entering week 4, Michigan has yet another tough contest against Notre Dame. Notre Dame is looking for it's first 4-0 record since 2002, and Michigan is after a 3-1 start before the conference schedule begins. Notre Dame has only allowed 30 points thus far in the season, including a great defensive performance against Michigan State in which they won 20-3. ND is also ranked 8th in the nation in points allowed, but are in the middle of the pecking order when it comes to the other major stats: passing yards, rushing yards, and points scored. That all boils down to how stingy their defense is and how Michigan can score on them. Right now, Michigan is ranked 33rd in points scored, and will need to score on every opportunity come Saturday in South Bend. Michigan has won 5 out of the last 6 meetings, with the last 3 being decided by a touchdown in the waning minutes of the game. This year figures to be no different, but Michigan has a much tougher task than usual. Here are a few players Michigan needs to keep contained:

1. Manti Te'o--Since this season there has been such an emphasis on defense for the Fighting Irish, then their defense begins with Te'o. A consensus first team preseason All-American,  Te'o has recorded 28 tackles so far this season, with one interception, one forced fumble and fumble return, and one tackle for loss. That might not sound like much to some people, but that is only over a span of 3 games so far. He is a stud inside linebacker that will probably go in the first round of the NFL draft. A 2011 finalist for the Butkus and Lott awards, he will roam all over the defense as Ray Lewis does for the Ravens. Michigan will need to run a no-huddle offense at times to wear him out and keep him from blitzing against the pass. It will be a difficult task for Michigan to contain him. Denard Robinson will not only need to not telegraph his passing reads, but also stay mobile enough out of the pocket to avoid him.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 2 Notes With Updates On Tweeting MSU Players And Blake Countess

We are officially headed into Week 2 of the college football season. We have an idea on some teams, and others we're still wondering about. Here's a few things to keep in perspective:

1. Fitzgerald Toussaint and Frank Clark are back. I don't want the importance of this action to be overlooked. There were many Michigan fans who cried out when Fitz was suspended initially, and even more when Brady announced that he would be also suspended for the Alabama game. Now, did he make the right call? Absolutely. Even with the presence and skill of having Fitz on the field would not have changed the outcome of the game. If he had played one of two things might have happened. We might have had better field position of a couple of series, but still no points from it. Two, he might have been injured. Fitz comes into the Air Force game with a set of fresh legs, ready to take on their defense.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Week 1 Notes With Updates on Fitz Toussaint And Frank Clark

I have waited as long as I could to post this column, waiting to find out the final decision on Fitzgerald Toussaint and Frank Clark.
Now I have learned that Toussaint and Clark are both continuing their respective suspensions thru the Alabama game. "The decision was not easy, but I feel it is in the best interest of this program and for these kids, and those always will be my priorities," Hoke said in a statement. "We have choices every day, and you have to be accountable to this program, your teammates, your family and the University of Michigan." I don't like Hoke's decision. I think Fitz gives Michigan a better chance of winning. Yet, while I don't like his decision, I do respect it. Hoke has rarely made a decision so far that I don't like, and he absolutely has not made one decision that has been detrimental towards the team. I applaud Hoke for making what is one of the toughest decisions so far this early in the season.

The eighth-ranked Wolverines will likely use running backs Thomas Rawls, Vincent Smith, Justice Hayes perhaps along with newcomers Dennis Norfleet and Drake Johnson against the defending national champion Crimson Tide.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hoke's Recruiting Impact...On MSU?

A lot has been made of the turnaround by Brady Hoke.  Michigan's 11-2 season, its Sugar Bowl victory, finally beating Ohio State.  The list seems like it go on for days.  One specific area that has received a lot of coverage is on the recruiting trail, where Hoke saved a class in 2011, built a very good class in 2012, and could potentially have the best class in the country in 2013.  This massive improvement has changed numerous things, but one thing that has largely been effected is the recruiting battle between Michigan and Michigan State.

Typically, I don't like to post too extensively on other teams, even if they are one of Michigan's rivals, but this has been a topic that has intrigued me, starting with the rumors of Rich Rod's recruiting strategy.  I had always thought Rich Rod did a pretty good job recruiting for Michigan, but there seemed to be a large faction that felt he "ignored" the state of Michigan.  In a post earlier this summer, I wasn't able to prove Rich Rod "ignored" the state of Michigan, but I was able to show that MSU drastically increased their success recruiting the state and probably had better hauls in the state than Michigan during Rich Rod's tenure.

Monday, July 30, 2012

National Title Contenders?

I know it seems crazy to be talking about Michigan competing for a national title only two years into the Brady Hoke era. After all, it hasn't been done since 1997. But over the past couple weeks, the most famous question in college football is starting to pop up amongst fans and analysts: Is Michigan a national title contender?

There are actually a number of reasons why I do believe the Wolverines can compete for a national title this year.

When Brady Hoke took this job on January 11th, 2011, he promised to compete locally for recruiting. Of course, by locally, he meant beating in-state rival Michigan State in the recruiting battle. For two years in a row now, Hoke has left the Spartans in the dust.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fitz Toussaint Arrested, Suspended, And Leaving Questions For Michigan

Michigan runningback Fitzgerald Toussaint was arrested Saturday evening in Saline, Michigan on a DUI charge.

Toussaint rushed onto the scene a year ago for the Wolverines in the backfield in the middle of the season, becoming the team's second leading rusher behind Denard Robinson with 1,041 yards and nine TDs on 187 carries.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hot Topics: Can The 'Ten Year War' Be Repeated With Hoke And Meyer?

On a regular basis, our writers will break down a "Hot Topic" among the Michigan fans and express their personal opinions regarding the issue. Topics cover everything from major athletic department decisions to team apparel. Writers have their own opinions and readers and their views may not necessarily represent Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity.  Readers are welcome to comment below or contact our writers via Twitter with their own thoughts.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Does Winning Your State's Recruiting Really Matter?

Tyler is off this week so I'll be picking up the slack on the recruiting front for now.  I wanted to do something interesting and something that really shows the importance of recruiting on the football field.  I've already seen some posts analyzing Michigan vs Ohio State in terms of recruiting, so I wanted to take a look at how Michigan and MSU have compared.  Along with this, how has their recruiting timed up with performance on the field.

MSU has won the last four games against Michigan and next year is a big game, but how much of that can be linked to recruiting?  Since there are thousands of recruits in the country, I thought the best way to look at this is through a comparison of recruiting performance within the borders of Michigan.  A lot has been made of Lloyd Carr's "empty" closet and Rich Rodriguez's "failure" to recruit locally.  First, did these things actually exist and did they impact Michigan's in-state recruiting?  If they did, there's no doubt that it probably helped Mark Dantonio and MSU in their four game win streak.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2014 Prospect Drake Harris Chooses MSU Over Michigan

Michigan's most interesting 2014 prospect has decided he will attend MSU over his other finalists, Michigan and Notre Dame.  Harris announced these finalists earlier in the week along with his desire to play both college football and basketball.  He is one of the few athletes in the nation that is planning to play both sports at the next level, which made him extremely intriguing to college coaches and fans alike.  We actually debated his ability at both football and basketball before his decision, which is something that I'm sure Spartan fans will now engage in before Harris arrives on campus.

In some ways, this is a major loss for Michigan. The ability to have a 4* recruit on your basketball team without using a scholarship is a pretty major advantage.  Tom Izzo is probably getting the most talented walk-on in the nation for 2014.  That's a pretty big advantage for MSU and Michigan missed out on that chance.  Michigan's basketball recruiting is in fine shape, but I don't think anybody out there will deny that adding a 4* walk-on will probably help the Spartans pretty significantly.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2014 WR/SG Drake Harris To Decide Wednesday

One of the key 2014 recruits in the state will announce his decision this Wednesday.  He's from Grand Rapids and is one of the most interesting recruits you will see anywhere in the nation.  Not only has he received major offers for football, but he's also received major offers for basketball.  Now, whether he will play both sports in college is still up in the air, but that is still extremely impressive.  Plus, it really changes up the way in which schools recruit him.

Instead of having to offer him two scholarships, a school can get away with giving him one scholarship and having him walk-on the basketball team.  Michigan and MSU have taken this route with Harris, which could potentially save them one scholarship.  This means that if Harris goes to MSU or Michigan and decides to play both sports, he would have to walk-on the basketball team, but it's doubtful he would miss it since he's rated as a 4* recruit in basketball.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Living Up To Expectations

In the world of sports, the toughest part of putting together an incredible season is coming back the next year to back it up with everyone expecting the same results. The world of Wolverine fans will be expecting nothing less than a BCS bowl win this season, plain and simple.

But before expectations can be met, expectations have to be established. For example, how many Michigan fans would say their number one goal for this season is a Big Ten Championship? That is exactly what Brady Hoke is saying, though. He has made it very clear from day one that his teams will strive for Big Ten Championship trophies before focusing on anything that comes after that, like a National Championship. Some reporters at Hoke's first press conference had a very hard time understanding that logic, so it is very easy to see where fan and coach expectations are colliding.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recent Struggles With the Spartans

Is anybody else getting sick and tired of losing to Michigan State? It has now been 4 years since the Wolverines got a win against the Spartans, and, especially after stopping a skid against Ohio State, this is a wound that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Besides winning the Big Ten, beating Michigan State is the only major accomplishment not under the belt of Brady Hoke. He knocked off Notre Dame, ended a 7-year slump against "Ohio", completely turned around the Michigan defense, and won a BCS bowl. Remember, that was all in his first year. A Big Ten Championship is not looking likely unless Michigan can finally beat their "little brother": the Spartans.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sound Mind Sound Body Recap

As we all know, the Detroit Sound Mind/Sound Body Camp was this past weekend and was loaded with top Midwest prospects, which included many Michigan commits.  Among the participants were Shane Morris, David Dawson, Logan Tuley-Tillman, Khalid Hill, Jourdan Lewis, and Csont'e York.  This camp was specially unique because coaches were actually able to be there and coach the prospects.  Coach Hoke and his full staff were present, along with Ohio State, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan's staffs.  It was a good chance for the coaches to get an extra look at commits and actually coach them up.

Shane Morris 
Well not much that we need to go in depth as far as Shane goes.  From what I'm hearing and reading he was the best quarterback there as was expected.  Coach Borges coached him the whole day and clearly liked what he saw.  As always, Shane threw hard, but ever since the Elite 11 in Dallas, he has improved significantly on his touch passes.  This is a great sign with the national Elite 11 competiton coming at the end of the summer in Los Angeles.

David Dawson
Yet again Mr. Dawson shows up and dominates at camp.  Easily the best offensive lineman on site and he showed why.  He did get beat a few times, but he was spectacular for the most part.  On the outside is where he got beat when he did but when the coaches moved him inside to guard, which is where he is expected to play in college, he won the matchups with ease.  His technique was top notch, displaying great footwork and hand placement. 

Logan Tuley-Tillman
Logan seemed to play well, but definitely not as well as Dawson.  He weighed in at 315 so he's dropped some weight, but still needing to lose a bit more.  Still has plenty of time before he arrives in Ann Arbor so he will without a doubt have time to get into better college shape.  He got beat a few times in drills but Coach Funk was on site to help him out with footwork and technique.  Logan will most likely play tackle at Michigan because of his size and it's definitely exciting to imagine Dawson and Logan playing alongside one another.

Jourdan Lewis
Jourdan's stock has began to rise with his recent dominance in camps.  He has been playing very well on both sides of the ball, but the coaches have let him know he will play CB at Michigan.  Lewis is 5'11" and has very good recovery speed.  He also has phenomenal ball skills, which is what helps him to excel at WR.  There's nothing wrong with a great two-way player, but I definitely think he's better on the defensive side of the ball and that's where we should all look to see him in Ann Arbor.

Khalid Hill
Khalid is rated as a 3* across the board, but is one of the lower rated players in Michigan's 2013 recruiting class.  Khalid has good size and good skills when it comes to going up and getting the ball.  As he showed at camp, he runs good routes and uses his body very well when it comes to going after the football.  As he continues to play well in camps he may move up the rankings and get some more love from the scouting services.  I'm not sure if he'll become a 4* by time he gets on campus, but he could be a decent pick-up for Michigan.

Csont'e York
C'sonte showed up late, so he didn't get a ton of time at the camp.  When he did play he showed why he is largely considered the most underrated recruit in Michigan's class.


The biggest story coming out of the day to me was 2014 Cass Tech WR/CB Damon Webb who received an Michigan offer.  A couple weeks ago, he literally shut down touted 2013 WR Laquon Treadwell (who Michigan is recruiting hard).  Now, I know Damon is very young and is just finishing up sophomore year, but he does go to Cass Tech and we know the quality of player that comes out of that school.  Along with that, the school is essentially a Michigan pipeline.  He's got great size, athletic ability and good speed.

Can't forget about 2015 Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell.  Kid is very good and already has some offers, but most notably received an offer from Alabama after his performance at the camp.  Another Cass Tech player, Jayru did throw 3 interceptions, but all were off of drops so can't really blame him for those.  He has been blowing up as of late and Michigan hasn't offered yet, but I expect they will very soon.  At only finishing up freshmen year some argue its way too early to evaluate a kid and extend an offer but he is very good.  He's definitely not the prototypical pocket passer and we know Michigan is looking to go back into the more pro style of offense so we will see how that plays into his recruitment.  Jayru is very good and you should all get to know him because he will only improve as time comes.

Not only were the players there, but as I mentioned, all of the coaches.  Brady Hoke got to speak to campers as well as evaluate top prospects, targets, and commits.  Pretty neat to see the coaches get to be at the camp and with the recent restrictions on basketball recruiting being lifted as far as texting recruits 24/7, I think that football will begin to follow suit.

It was definitely a great showing at this camp from Michigan commits and prospects.  The coaches extending an offer to Damon Webb shows a lot about him and how good he could be in the future.  I'll be trying to get in contact with Damon to talk about his offer and where Michigan stands with him.  Be sure to keep track on all of these prospects and pay attention to the Elite 11 next month to see how good Shane Morris performs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bringing Back Gerald Ford's #48 Jersey - Bad For Michigan

I woke up today to find out that in a few brief comments to the radio, Brady Hoke seemed to "spill the beans" regarding the newest addition to the Legends Patch jerseys.  Over the past few weeks, we've actually debated several players, including Anthony Carter, William Cunningham, and Jim Harbaugh, on whether or not they should receive the Legends Patch honor.

The jersey number discussed was #48, the jersey worn by former Michigan player and former President Gerald Ford.  The number's current status with the football program is retired.  No player has been allowed to wear the jersey for years.  However, if the hints given by Hoke are true, the jersey's status will soon change and a player will begin wearing the jersey next season.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Make Chris Mays a Victor

Chris Mays has one goal for his foreseeable future: play football for the University of Michigan. A sophomore who has always had a deep passion for football, Mays has a truly inspiring story that is still writing itself to this day.

Chris has always loved Michigan football. He remembers being in school in 1997 with maize and blue banners and shirts flying in the halls because of Michigan's perfect season. That's when it really hit him that he wanted to play in that winged helmet. Unfortunately, critics took their tole. Mays never really expressed this dream to anyone in fear of what others would say. After all, he was not as strong as other football players, not as quick as other football players, and not as tall as other football players. But during his sophomore year of high school, he decided that wouldn't be in the way anymore, and he went out for his high school football team as a safety. That is what started this epic journey for one student who is following his dreams.

Mays was first going to attempt to tryout for the team in the final days of Rich Rodriguez. As he tells me, though, they were really only looking for kickers, so it wasn't exactly his fit or best shot to make the team. His real first chance came January 31, 2012. But the try-out did not end well for Mays.

"I felt like I did really well and made some improvement, but, unfortunately, it wasn't enough."

That would have probably sent most packing in the other direction, either thinking they gave it their all and were happy at that, or that they had been cheated. Chris Mays felt neither of those. He wants to play football for the University of Michigan and won't stop until he wass wearing that winged helmet.

 Taking his goals him to his friends, teammates, and coaches in high school was one step, but he has since taken his story to Twitter and Facebook.

"I was really shocked at how many people picked up on the story. My twitter account literally went from having under 300 followers to having 2000. The tweets of encouragement that I get from friends and complete strangers is outstanding! I don't go a day without reading some encouraging tweets and replying back. That's what keeps me going. People sharing stories saying that I am an inspiration and I didn't even know it. I still don't feel it, it's incredible. I've never gotten this much encouragement from family, friends, peers and strangers like this ever!"
Currently, Mays is looking for a second opportunity to tryout. He's been contacting different coaches and players to see what kind of strings can be pulled, and you can't help but wish for the best with this kid. He has such a deep passion for Michigan; he is a Michigan Man.

You can help support Chris Mays and his dream to play in the Big House by using the hashtag on Twitter: make Chris Mays a Victor (#VictorsProject) or following him on Twitter: @imchrismays. Words of encouragement on either Twitter of Facebook is always greatly appreciated by the aspiring athlete, so be sure to help a true Wolverine!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Should We Worry About Will Campbell?

I've decided to give the subject of Will Campbell's arrest and arraignment a couple days before I addressed the issue. One, because I didn't know the full extent of what happened, and two, because there are always more details that emerge days after this type of incident, not right after. OK, so basically here's the legal verbage of what occurred:

Records show Campbell was arraigned Thursday by a Washtenaw County magistrate on the felony charge — malicious destruction of property worth more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 — and misdemeanor charge — malicious destruction of property worth more than $200 but less than $1,000. He was given a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

So there are two vandalism charges, one of them a felony. Yet, what actually happened? From what I've read he caused damage to the hood of a car by sliding over it. Yes, that's right. A Dukes of Hazzard move. Now, I'm not a physics expert or anything, but when a man of Campbell's size, which is 322 pounds, attempts to slide over a car hood...that hood is not going to come out of it unscathed. The other fact that he was intoxicated at the time, I believe, shows a severe lack of judgment.

The problem as I see it is this: Campbell was set to take over Mike Martin's spot as nose tackle on the interior defensive line. He was more than likely supposed to have stepped up and show some of those leadership skills like we were all hoping to see. Maybe even he thought he might've tried to show our DL will not lose a step with him in charge. Now, I have less faith in that. I do believe he'll be able to showcase more of the skills we've been waiting to see since he was a 5* player coming out of high school. Will Hoke show some mercy on him and not punish him very hard through his own measures? I'd like to think so.

Bottom line, Campbell did screw up. Now, sliding across some other guy's hood and causing "malicious" damage is overstating it a bit. Now drinking while doing that, that's a whole other issue. I do think Campbell will be thoroughly chastised for this, as he should be. I just hope in the upcoming season I see more maturity from him as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The New Michigan Defense

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Does anybody remember what the Michigan defense from 2008-2011 looked like? Let me rephrase that. Does anybody want to remember what they looked like?

A win for the Wolverines usually meant reaching up into the 40’s, and it would still be a tight game. If teams wanted to run the ball, they ran the ball with ease. If teams wanted to go through the air, they went through the air with ease. If the opposing coach wanted to play his 7-year old son, he could have done it and probably would have been successful. There was simply no resistance.

Now, let me ask this question: who is still shocked at the Wolverines' defense in 2011? Teams had a tough time doing anything to get points up on the board. The defensive line, led by Mike Martin, consistently came up with huge stops throughout the season, and, while it does still need some work, the secondary progressed in leaps. Of course, this was all with the same players who could only prove they played defense by the little position letter next to their name. So what changed?

We can talk technique and talent until the start of next season, but it all begins with heart, desire, and passion. When Brady Hoke came to Michigan in early 2011, he installed a new mind set before a new defense. Greg Mattison did the exact same thing when he was hired as Michigan’s Defensive Coordinator.

The very best part of Michigan’s defense in 2011 was their ability to make adjustments. I can’t remember a game when the 2nd half was not better than the 1st. Take the game against Northwestern for example. The Wildcats walked into the locker room at half time with a 10-point lead, 24-14. The final score of that game: Michigan won 42-24. Northwestern did not score a single point in the second half.

Situational defense was another huge part of the success in 2011. In the Sugar Bowl, Virginia Tech had a number of opportunities to bust the game wide open, especially with a seemingly handicapped Michigan offense. However, guys like Mike Martin and Ryan Van Burgen shut the door on the Hokies when it was most needed. Michigan does not win the Allstate Sugar Bowl without the stellar performance from Michigan's defense.

The Wolverines have some holes to fill on defense this off-season, but there is a lot to build off for next season with one of college football's best stories from last year.  Michigan's defense is finally back.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Game Questions? How Will Michigan Be In The Fall?

Yesterday, I was among the 20,000-25,000 fans who attended the annual Mott's Spring Game. It raised a hefty amount for the hospital, which half was matched by the Bean family of Brighton. Great thanks to that family because they do more than some of us wish we could do.

Ok, so 1 short paragraph about the alumni game. Granted, it was raining for most of it but that didn't diminish the enthusiasm that all of the alumni players had. The Blue team clearly outshone the Maize squad, and even when the Maize squad tried to make a comeback, they were uniformly answered by the Blue team. I was unaware Cato June could still move like that!

Onto the major topic at hand. While some of the things I saw yesterday defined progress, I was left with some questions that hopefully will be solved by summer and fall.

1. I'm sure everyone was aware of Denard's lack of playing time and production in the game. Part of this was done on purpose, with Hoke telling him earlier in the spring that if he fumbled one snap, or threw one interception, he would be benched for the rest of the game. Key is he said fumble. Not to say that's a prediction or a prophecy of the upcoming season, but it is worrisome. I, just like everyone else, have heard the rumors of Denard having great spring practices, and working hard on not throwing off his front foot (which we all know leads to disaster almost every time). However, I still am leery. Denard looks to be in great shape and seems to have added muscle onto his wiry frame so hopefully that will help him absorb punishment in the season ahead. Devin Gardner is another story--an enigma really. The incumbent backup to Denard was not on time with his throws yesterday, and seemed uncomfortable being rushed out of the pocket. Last year Russell Bellomy was a freshman, and I honestly have to say that I was impressed with most of his throws. Now granted, he doesn't have the experience that Gardner has yet, but he looked very much in command. He even showed a little bit of skill escaping a collapsing pocket. Overall, I think Bellomy had the better game but I think it's going to take a lot more than that to supplant Gardner as Denard's backup.

2. Defense! Just some musings about the impressions I was left with. I said in a previous article that Floyd and Countess needed to step up. They appeared to do just that, especially with the interception that Countess caught. I was intrigued by Will Campbell, Craig Roh, and Jibreel Black. If they're able to continue the pressure on the quarterback, and cut through the blocks to get there as I saw, I really don't see much of a downward spiral from Martin, Van Bergen, and Heininger leaving.

3. I wasn't excited by Gibbons as our kicker. Yes, he was our de facto hero from the Sugar Bowl, but Matt Wile looked much more impressive with his leg on kicks before the game, and the lone field goal he attempted during it. The kicking game has been somewhat cringing in recent years and I don't think Gibbons will be the full time kicker. Wile needs more experience sure, but as a freshman last year he had some highlights. We need that kickrr to be able to stay close in games against tougher opponents i.e. Alabama.

4. Ah the receivers. Roundtree looked superb, as did Gallon. I saw nothing to separate one TE from another. Maybe Moore can make a go of it, maybe not but that is one position that gives me the willies this season.

5. The offensive line. OK, this one is a head scratcher. What we all saw yesterday was missed assignments and blocks. Quarterback pocket consistently collapsing. Hopefully with our incoming freshman, especially Magnuson and Kalis, we won't see as much penetration as we did on Saturday.
Bottom line, the Sping Game was nice. If they were always a sure indication of how the regular season would go, I'd be one of the best prognosticators around. Things are sure to improve over the summer with the incoming freshman class, and with more time. I will say this...with the rain stopping just before the game started yesterday, it was almost an omen. I'm going to call it the Schembechler effect. I know Bo would not want rain on such an important day for the fans. Feel free to send your feedback, for it is with your comments that we are all more dedicated fans.

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