Battle for the Jug Prediction

As Michigan and Minnesota prepare to meet for the 100th time Saturday in Ann Arbor, questions still surround the Michigan program and the direction Team 134 is heading. After two less than stellar performances against a couple of the more putrid teams in college football, a bye week couldn’t have come at a better time.

The same Devin Gardner who showed absolute brilliance Under the lights against Notre Dame, sans an ill advised pick 6 while being pressured, has turned the ball over 7 times total the past two weeks. Part can be attributed to inexperience, part due to sub par performance in the interior of the offensive line, but most importantly, Devin has played like a player that feels like he has to do it all. There were times scattered throughout the game at UCONN, where Devin just looked scared. He was aiming the ball, instead of throwing it. He looked quite simply like a quarterback who felt like he had to make the perfect pass.

Up front it appears that there will be a shakeup , with Graham Glasgow sliding over from guard to center, and RS Sophomore Chris Bryant entering the lineup at guard. Many reports coming in fall camp had Bryant starting before an injury slowed him. Michigan will likely give up some of the stretch runs, and try to pound between the tackles a bit more. There is no doubt that it may take some time to get acclimated but it gives Michigan a much better chance to keep Devin out of the 3rd and long situations which have resulted many of his turnovers. There is non doubt that this offense has potential to be explosive, if it can gain positive yards on first and second down and reduce their turnovers significantly.

On the defensive side of the ball, there have been some bright spots, even with the offense putting them in sudden change situations time and time again. It’s a fast and aggressive team, and while they seem to play more of a bend but don’t break style, they tighten up when the field is tilted to their side. It’s got playmakers, albeit inexperienced ones, and needs reps. It will also greatly benefit when Jake Ryan returns at some point this month. I think at some point Mattison will take them back to basics, and try more to keep it simple. Some of the inexperience in the secondary have limited his ability to dial up blitzes from all over, and when teams play max protect and have 6-7 guys staying in to block, generating pass rush has been difficult when they rush 4. Some of that will change when Ryan returns.

At the end of the day, Michigan should do a better job of running the football this week after the change in the OL, and much of the pressure should be off the shoulders of Devin Gardner.

A long ways to go, but Michigan gets it done this week. Michigan 34, Minnesota, 20.

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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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Impact Redshirt Freshmen Countdown: 3rd – Russell Bellomy

Russell Bellomy - AnnArbor

Russell Bellomy was originally ranked 5th on our countdown. After Tamani Carter left the team and Chris Bryant suffered a season-ending injury he has moved up to 3rd. This can be viewed as both a good thing and a bad. No team wants to put in a young QB if they don’t have to but the growth of Bellomy in his second year, with the program, has allowed Devin Gardner to put in time at receiver. After the spring game Al Borges said, “Russ has been steady and solid. When the guy is open, he hits him. He makes very few mistakes. He’s just one of those kinds of guys. He’s very athletic. He can get himself out of some messes. He’s a solid guy.”

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Michigan Recruiting Player Interest

Following any player’s recruitment is due to have its ups and downs. There will be rumors of visits and alleged family members saying so and so is leaning a certain way or another. Or a YouTube video will come out that everyone has to see. Or a play will commit, decommit, commit, then decommit again. We all understand this, so evaluate the following chart with that in mind:

YEARPOSITIONPLAYERPAGE VIEWS
2011RBDemetrius Hart23,544
2012LBJoe Bolden15,391
2012RBBri’onte Dunn15,309
2012CBTerry Richardson11,477
2012DTDanny O’Brien10,417
2012QBGunner Kiel10,342
2012OLJordan Diamond9,497
2012DEChris Wormley9,105
2012OLKyle Kalis8,790
2012LBRoyce Jenkins-Stone8,345
2013QBShane Morris7,837
2011OLJake Fisher7,638
2012LBJames Ross6,880
2012DTOndre Pipkins6,861
2011ATHKris Frost6,529
2012WRAaron Burbridge6,456
2011OLChris Bryant5,394
2011DTDarian Cooper5,283
2011DEAdolphus Washington5,194

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Recruiting Update (1/20)

Hello all. I just wanted to give a quick update on recruiting. It’s been rather crazy since late last week in the Michigan recruiting world. First off, I want to welcome all of the new coaches to the program and wish them well. Recruiting got a huge boost last evening when Coach Brady Hoke named Greg Mattison the new defensive coordinator. He is not only one of the best defensive coaches in all of football, he is the ultimate closer in the recruiting world. I look for defensive recruiting to pick up soon, but especially next season.

On to recruiting. There has been a bunch of bad news over the past couple of weeks, in the form of de-commitments. Dallas Crawford, Matt Goudis and Antonio Kinard (was he ever a true commit?) all decided to commit to Miami. Meanwhile Jake Fisher, Kellen Jones, Brennen Beyer, Jack Miller, Blake Countess and Tony Posada are either contemplating or taking more visits. All but Fisher seem likely to be Blue at this point, but Coach Hoke still has work to do. The Wolverines are also looking pretty good for Chris Bryant and Hakeem Flowers, so the news is getting much better.

Coach wasted little time getting some new offers out there, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Cornerbacks Stefan McClure (Army All-American) and Floyd Raven will both be visiting Ann Arbor over the coming few weekends.

With Michigan lacking in the kicking game, Hoke recently offered Californian Matt Wile. It is still unsure at this point if Michigan is looking to snag a last minute quarterback, but a few names to remember are Max Shortell (rumors are he has an offer), Tanner McAvoy and Christian Suntrup. Two more kids to keep an eye on: OT Patrick Flavin and CB Darren Kitchen is still in the mix. I’m sure we will learn of more offers in the coming days before LOI day is here. We will also have a few profiles up in the next couple of days.

Look for the upcoming weekends to be big visiting weekends. So far this weekend UM has Frank Clark, Stefan McClure, Tony Posada, Raymon Taylor and Matt Wile coming in to visit. And Floyd Raven will be coming in on the weekend of the 28th. I expect the 28th list to grow as well.

Finally a few prospects to add to the Halo List from the past few weeks. Kris Frost, ugh. Michigan was his clear leader for a long time until the coaching change. Then he decided on Auburn, who decided to take his commitment over a week later. A day after I posted Devin Lucien’s profile, he of course drops Michigan because they wanted him as a defensive back. He is not a d-back, so we’re out. Jack Tabb picked UNC and Deion Barnes is picking either PSU or Georgia.

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