Grading The Performance: Central Michigan

The GoodJibreel Black 3

Defensive Front Seven– Losing Jake Ryan was a definite blow to the defense but front 7 looked no worse for wear without the presence of #47. The front seven was as fast as the unit has been since 2006. Good pursuit is always preached by defensive coaches but the group of Saturday went above and beyond, often getting to their spots well ahead of their offensive counterparts. The LBers flowed to the ball with exceptional speed and quickness and were solid in their open field tackling. The line didn’t get quick as consistent a push or rush early as Greg Mattison probably would have liked, but they rebounded nicely in the second half and were active throughout. Jibreel Black and Mario Ojemudia flashed the ability to beat one on one blocks that the coaches have been pushing for since in the end of last season.

The Bad

Turnovers – Cutting down the number of turnovers has been a major point of emphasis that has been preached by both Brady Hoke and Al Borges. The first game often has its share of hiccups but the Wolverines did an average job of taking care of the football. The two interceptions have been a major point of discussion since Saturday, but there was also a muffed punt by Dennis Norfleet early in the 1st half.

The Ugly

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Central Michigan Game Prediction

Finally the incredibly long off season is over, and Team 134 is ready to take the field. While many have been saying the 2014 season will be the one where Brady Hoke has a full compliment of "his" players and will finally be removed from the speed bump known as the Rich Rod era, this team should hardly be discounted. Devin Gardner - 11

There has been a continual building of talent since Brady took over in January 2011. With only 15 seniors, the talent on this team is obviously young but it’s top notch.

While Michigan is replacing 3 OL, with all due respect to Team 133, it will be an upgrade, at least at some point in the season. Jack Miller, Graham Glasglow and Kyle Kalis, look to bolster subpar line play, and bookend tackles Lewan and Schofield might just be the best tandem in the country.

The stable of running backs harken back to the days of Bo stomping the sidelines, with several potential great backs toting the leather this fall. Fitz Touissant will be the first, and if OC AL Borges has his way, will carry the lion share of the load. Drake Johnson, fresh off his redshirt, comes in after impressive bowl practices and spring camp, looking for carries, as do true freshman Derrick Green and Deveon Smith, both among the nations top tailbacks.

Jeremy Gallon has grown into QB Devin Gardner’s favorite target, and with the fall camp injury to likely #2 Amara Darboh, there are some questions as to who will step up. I believe RS Freshman Jehu Chesson will be that guy . He has the talent, but is still somewhat raw. Speed is one of his strengths however, so stretching the field at 6’3 is a good thing.

While QB is a position of strength for Team 134, depth isn’t there. Many close to the program have raved about Devin Gardner’s ability to make plays. He has great talent, but still only has 5 career starts under his belt. Shane Morris coming in as a true freshman has obvious 5* talent, but needs to learn the offense, and hasn’t played much in a year since missing a large part of his senior year of HS with mono.

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2013 Offensive Depth Chart Preview

With the 2012 season wrapping up this weekend, it’s time to take a way too early look at the 2013 projected depth chart for the Wolverines with some analysis. Note: The only iDevin Gardner - UMGoBlue.comncoming freshmen that I will include in the depth chart are Shane Morris and Jake Butt.

QB: 1. Devin Gardner – Senior

2. Shane Morris – Freshman

3. Russell Bellomy – RS Sophomore

Analysis: Gardner returns for his fourth season as a Wolverine after starting the second half of 2012 at the QB spot following Denard Robinson’s injury. Gardner’s skill set opens up a more vertical passing game that the Wolverines became accustomed to with Robinson at the helm. Gardner has also shown the ability to make teams pay with his feet and should be the future of the position if he is granted a fifth season, something Coach Brady Hoke seems optimistic about. Shane Morris will be the second best quarterback on the roster talent wise, but don’t expect to see him in mop-up duty– that role will fall on Bellomy’s shoulders. However, should Gardner get hurt, expect to see Morris step in as the starter, ready or not.

RB: 1. Fitzgerald Toussaint – RS Senior

2. Thomas Rawls – Junior

3. Justice Hayes – RS Sophomore

4. Dennis Norfleet – Sophomore

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2012 Michigan Football Backfield Preview

Depth Chart:

 

3rd Down BackV. Smith4Justice Hayes AP Image
 Vincent SmithJustice Hayes

Freshmen likely to redshirt: Drake Johnson

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2011/2012 Offensive Recruiting Update

Michigan Football Offensive Recruiting Update

With Michigan now targeting a class of 18 to 20 commits the staff is starting to narrow down their targets. Here we will focus on the recruiting of the offensive side of the ball. This week a lot of news came out regarding Demetrius Hart: Demetrius Hart: A Decision ...two players from the Orlando area. Kevin Sousa, a three star rated quarterback out of Orlando Lake Nona, decommitted from Michigan and verbally committed  to Wake Forest. Although this was not a surprise, it is still a loss for the Wolverines as Sousa had great upside on his 6’4” 230 pound frame. Also causing a stir was Orlando Dr. Phillips RB Demetrius Hart. First rumored by Orlando ABC Channel 9 was a possible post-game announcement from Hart. Most anticipated a decommitment from Michigan and a commitment to Alabama. With Nick Saban and other Alabama staff members at the game this made sense, especially when it was confirmed a post-game announcement was to take place. However no post-game announcement was made outside of a short ceremony honoring  his selection to the Army All American bowl. 

With the loss of Sousa, Michigan could turn up the heat on Cardale Jones. Outside of Jones, Michigan is really left without an option. With the potential of a medical redshirt being granted to Devin Gardner a quarterback is not a huge position of need as the staff looks to keep scholarship numbers higher in 2012. 

Projection at the QB position – Zero commits

The running back position is a position of need. Denard Robinson was left alone for most of the season as Michigan lacked the explosive back to keep the defense honest. Dee Hart is the perfect option for this class. He possesses a skill set that is very rare and that is evident of his 3,000+ all purpose yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior. He is still committed to Michigan and barring a coaching change I expect him to remain firm to his commitment. It is unknown whether Hart will take the three hour trip to Jacksonville for Michigan’s bowl game. With the Orlando Sentinel reporting that Hart has dropped Alabama and now adding Florida he could make the choice between the Outback (Tampa, UF), Capitol One (Orlando, UA) and Gator (Jacksonville, UM) bowls. He simply may just stay at home. 

Michigan’s other option at the running back position includes Flint, MI Northern HS’s Thomas Rawls. Rawls is a bruising back much like Stephen Hopkins. With that said don’t underestimate his speed. He has great breakaway speed and runs with great power and leverage. He is definitely an under-the-radar type of player. Iowa and Michigan are holding back at this point due to grade issues, however if the grades come through expect him to get offered by both Big 10 teams.

A decommitment from Dee Hart would be absolutely devastating to this class. However if that were to happen look for Michigan to get on Chevelle Buie (Cocoa, FL), Tre Mason (Lake Worth, FL), Devondrick Nealy (Monicello, FL) and even Utah commit Jarrell Oliver (Sugar Land, TX). 

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Projection at the RB position – Dee Hart, Thomas Rawls

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