Great Heisman Campaign: Odoms v. Martin

Martavious Odoms was Michigan’s most used receiver last year, grabbing 49 passes for 443 yards. Since he performed so well as a freshman, there’s good reason to hope he does the same as a sophomore – if not better. Competent quarterbacking and a more effective overall offense should give Odoms the chance to make a lot of plays. He’ll also be used in the kicking game, and he returned one punt for touchdown last year.

Mike Martin was inserted into heavy rotation at defensive line, which is rare for a true freshman. He performed well, including a crushing of Allan Evridge that helped seal the victory over Wisconsin.

Martin finished the year with 20 tackle (4.5 for loss and 2 sacks).

Martavious Odoms v. Mike Martin

  • 3 Mike Martin (57%, 284 Votes)
  • 2 Martavious Odoms (43%, 215 Votes)

Total Voters: 499

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For the second round each poll will only be open for 3 days, so make sure you vote early in order to be counted. For the updated bracket, click here.

Open Polls:
Forcier v. Stonum.
Graham v. Robinson.

Completed 2nd Round Polls:
Minor v. Van Bergen.
Warren v. Schilling.
Mesko v. Cissoko.

Posted under Football, Personnel

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Great Heisman Campaign: Graham v. Robinson

Brandon Graham is likely Michigan’s best shot (outside of the venerable Professor Mesko) to land a player on a first-team All-American squad as a defensive end. He finished last year with 46 tackles, including 20 for loss (2nd in the nation) and 10 sacks (2nd in the conference), all despite missing one entire game and parts of others with injury. The Detroit Crockett star looks for another big year before he moves along to the NFL.

Terrence Robinson was expected to compete alongside Martavious Odoms last year at the slot position, but ended up missing the entire year with injury. He should be fully healthy this year, and will give Michigan another option with a little shake to him:

If Robinson can contribute in 2009, it will go a long way towards helping cure the offensive woes of 2008.

Brandon Graham v. Terrence Robinson

  • 1 Brandon Graham (94%, 513 Votes)
  • 4 Terrence Robinson (6%, 31 Votes)

Total Voters: 544

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For the second round each poll will only be open for 3 days, so make sure you vote early in order to be counted. For the updated bracket, click here.

Other Open Polls:
Forcier v. Stonum.
Mesko v. Cissoko.

Completed 2nd Round Polls:
Minor v. Van Bergen
Warren v. Schilling

Posted under Football, Personnel

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NCAA Football 2010 Review

I picked this up the afternoon it came out (this past Tuesday for the non obsessed).  I have to admit that I wasn’t as excited for this year’s version as I had been in the past.  I wasn’t even planning on buying it Monday afternoon, but then I hopped online to see what people’s impressions were.

To my surprise, a lot of people seemed to really like the changes. No one even had posted their extended descent into madness and meditated as to why they always drop $60 when nothing ever changes and everything is wrong in the world and what is the point of it all anyway?  Well, considering I’ve been buying this game since 2002 came, it didn’t take too much to convince me to get it.

So I ran out, picked up and threw it in the XBox360 (Paul VBlue is my gamertag in case anyone cares). My friend came over and we did an exhibition on Heisman difficulty between a couple ACC teams (I can’t quite remember at this point).

I could have really done without the marching bands at the beginning of the game. I doubt any band is actually going to form the EA Sports logo. Once we got into the game play I started to notice the differences right away.  The movements are all much smoother and more realistic feeling. While there are some animations that don’t always quite work, most of the gameplay looks and feels very good.  A big change is your QB’s throws as he’s being hit. My offense in 2009 involved sitting in the pocket, stepping up and launching a perfect pass 40 yards downfield just before getting leveled. Try to do that in 2010 and it barely gets to the offensive line. More realistic, sure, but a little tough for me to get used to. Another thing is that the CPU defense actually takes rational pursuit angles that you can’t throw off with a wiggle of the control stick. I could shake almost any defender just by running slightly towards the post and then cutting hard to the sideline.

The defenses are pretty similar, but your defensive AI doesn’t seem quite as incompetent as last year and you can even get a bit of a pass rush at times (!). I freely admit that I generally SuperSim (best feature ever) the defense, so I may not be the best judge.

The game was going fairly well until midway through the third quarter. The game just up and froze. Alright, maybe this is a bad sign, but it happens right? It could just be a freak chance.

We restart the XBox and start the Michigan dynasty. I try to download rosters, but unfortunately, EA shipped beta rosters with the retail version of the game, so the standard people who get the game 2 weeks early weren’t able to put together rosters by the release day, and there likely won’t be a complete one for another few weeks or so.  We decided to just with number, since HB #4 seems more like Minor than have him be called Darius Simmons or something.

First thing I saw when we got started was “Add a new pipeline state.” This is new so I click it, and apparently you can now buy “Dynasty Accelerators” which give you benefits in recruiting and whatnot. These cost points/money. Will people actually buy these? I hope none of you do. I mean, really. Just don’t do it.

Anyway, I like the new recruiting lay out (grid vs. list is generally a good UI choice if you have quite a few options). You can also numerically and graphically see how much your pitch is affecting a recruit which is nice. I always got frustrated when it would take 90 minutes to pitch a guy and you really don’t know if it’s doing anything.  Besides that and the new lay out, recruiting seems fairly similar to last year.

The last big, new thing is the inclusion of Erin Andrews.  I started a Road to Glory, but got bored pretty quickly, since it’s just a repackaged Campus Legend mode (which I knew, but was hopeful for something more). The injury reports, which happen with much more frequently*, are a nice break to the standard Nessler, Corso, Herbstreet booth, and aren’t even quite as generic as I would have thought.

Overall, I really enjoy most of the changes made to the game. The more aesthetic things (marching band, 3d “dorm room” in RtG, etc.) I could have lived without, but overall, they fixed a lot of things that were really annoying, and the game play is much, much better.

The bad parts:

  • The menus are slow – I move really quickly in the play selection menu, but  sometimes it doesn’t load a submenu by the time I try to select something.
  • No full rosters – It seems really weird to me that a mistake that huge could make it through, but it is EA. You can get the updated rosters here.
  • The game crashes all the damn time – This is the big one. I tried loading it to my HDD, I’ve wiped the disc, but no matter what I do, it will usually end up freezing before I decide I want to turn it off. This has caused some annoyances and lost data, and I have to assume there’ll be a patch for it, but for right now it just really makes me want to write EA strongly worded letter. They get so much right in the gameplay, but a lot of the time I can’t even get to it.

I’m sure the more I play, I’ll find things that are annoying, but it’s definitely one of the best versions I’ve played in a while. Hopefully, EA will add some patches to make this game as good as it can be. What do you guys think?

*4 games into the 2009 and my QB #5 has been knocked out of the game on 3 separate occasions.

Posted under Media, Misc.

Great Heisman Campaign: Forcier v. Stonum

You may have heard of this Tate Forcier fellow. He’s been heralded as a savior of Michigan football, and his performance in the Michigan spring game was indeed something to get excited over:

Tate will likely be Michigan’s starter from day 1, and Wolverine fans are hoping he’s able to repeat that performance against starting defenses across the country.

Darryl Stonum is one of three Wolverines from Fort Bend Dulles High School in Texas, and perhaps the most physically talented of the three. The deep-threat wideout, however, struggled last season, partially because there was nobody who could get him the ball. Despite that, he was Michigan’s 3rd-leading receiver(!!!) with 176 yards, including a 51-yarder against Purdue for his only touchdown of the year.

Tate Forcier v. Darryl Stonum

  • 2 Tate Forcier (87%, 429 Votes)
  • 3 Darryl Stonum (14%, 67 Votes)

Total Voters: 495

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For the second round each poll will only be open for 3 days, so make sure you vote early in order to be counted. For the updated bracket, click here.

Other open polls:
Warren v. Schilling.
Mesko v. Cissoko.

Completed poll:
Minor def. Van Bergen.

Posted under Football, Personnel

Recruiting Update 7-16-09

2010 Michigan Wolverine Austin White

Moved to committed: MI RB Austin White, who announced for the Wolverines yesterday. Commitment post. Sam Webb had an interview with Austin on WTKA.

SC QB Commit Cornelius Jones has been shining on the 7-on-7 circuit:

“Conelius [sic] made some phenomenal throws,” Brown said. “Defensively, Coach (Mark) Razzano made some good calls in tight situations, and the kids made some big plays with games on the line.”

The Spartanburg team finished second to Byrnes, the powerhouse school with such Division-1 prospects as Marcus Lattimore, Nick Jones, Brandon Willis, and others. Local news provided a bit of video:

Hopefully, the success for the 7-on-7 team bodes well for Spartanburg’s season (though the vikings finished second to Byrnes last summer as well, and still only managed 5 victories in the fall), and eventually Jones’s ability to move up in the rankings. By the way – there seems to be mounting evidence that there’s no “r” in Jones’s first name.

Speaking of studly QB commits, MI QB Devin Gardner has been named to the Elite 11 camp. Gardner headlines the list of 3(!) players from the Great Lakes State participating, joining MSU’s Joe Boisture and PSU’s Robert Bolden.

Removed TX QB Aaron Johnson, as his favorites are OU, TCU, and Houston. It doesn’t appear Michigan is interested, and he clearly wants to stay closer to home.

Removed AL QB Trett Hardman. He’s listed as a pro-style QB by the recruiting services, and I’m really stretching for reasons to get some of these guys off the board who quite obviously aren’t going to end up in Blue.

Super fluff on LA Slot Commit Drew Dileo. Highlights:

“Of all the coaches that came through,” Parkview assistant David Simoneaux said, “Michigan was the most aggressive. They said they just had to have him.”

This likely means that Michigan’s coaches see something in Dileo that the recruiting sites may not. That would continue a trend of the Wolverines’2010 Michigan Wolverine Drew Dileocoaching staff valuing different things than Rivals and Scout, leading to possibly underrated class rankings.

Slot receivers in a spread offense are usually matched against linebackers or safeties. They receive the ball in a variety of ways, including handoffs and lateral passes.

In their evaluation of Dileo, Michigan’s coaches saw the perfect fit.

They saw a tough player with sure hands who could make catches over the middle. They saw a versatile, explosive player who could make defenders miss, as a runner or receiver.

“He ([RB coach Fred] Jackson) told us Drew reminds them of Wes Welker,” Simoneaux said.

Brief scouting reort that is basically what we’ve come to expect from these guys. For added fun, insert “white” prior to every use of the word “player!” Also, obligatory white-slot-to-Wes-Welker comparison.

“I know my profile isn’t as great as a lot of other kids’ around the country,” he said. “I know (Michigan) reached out there a little bit to get me. It’s not about proving anybody wrong. I just don’t want people up there to feel like I wasted a scholarship.”

That’s a pretty tame quote, considering the context. I’d much rather have him say something along the lines of “It’s not about proving anybody wrong, it’s about kicking ass and taking names.” There’s also mention that Dileo has always worn #3, which Justin Feagin currently rocks for Michigan.

Removed PA WR Alex Kenney, who committed to Penn State.

MN OL Seantrel Henderson doesn’t have a visit to Michigan in his plans. The recruitment of Henderson is starting to get weird, as there is alternating “Michigan and USC lead” talk interspersed with “Michigan is in his top 10, but not any higher than that”-type speak. Henderson has already visited Ann Arbor once, so perhaps he’s using the officials as a way to see places he’s never been? As a side note, Seantrel himself has said he’s no longer interested in Notre Dame, but his father says they’re right near the top. Maybe his dad just isn’t attuned to the evolving list of favorites.

Removed OH OL Andrew Donnal, who will become a Hawkeye.

In the ongoing search for at least one defensive tackle in this class, GA DT Michael Thornton will give the Michigan coaches a chance to woo him. Thornton plans to officially visit Michigan sometime this fall (info in header).

Removed OH DT Josh Davis, who committed to Purdue.

Removed CA DE Ronald Powell, who will pick between USC and Florida sometime in January.

Removed SC DE Dexter Morant, who committed to Georgia.

Fluff on FL LB Jeff Luc, who has only recently started lifting weights. Stats:

Luc registered 119 tackles, nine sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles and had four pass break-ups in 2008.

He says location does not matter in his college choice, and is in no hurry to make a decision – though he does plan to enroll in January.

Removed TX LB Corey Nelson. He briefly had Michigan as a leader, then said he would visit Ann Arbor despite not having the Wolverines in his top 5, but now the teammate of RB Commit Tony Drake has committed to Texas A&M. If he continues talking about taking visits to school’s he’s not interested in, Nelson may be able to find his way back onto the list.

OH S Latwan Anderson has Michigan State and West Virginia in his top 2. Michigan is not far behind, but it seems as though the Mountaineers are a pretty heavy favorite. Might a year of PAIN under inept headman Bill Stewart sour him on Morgantown?

ESPN’s Bill Kurelic predicts that Michigan will land both PA S Brandon Ifill and PA CB/S Cullen Christian, teammates at Penn Hills High. Christian has been an assumed Michigan lock for quite some time, and Ifill has had Michigan near the top of his list, though perhaps not in the leader’s position. Ifill will visit Ann Arbor at the end of this month, and if he enjoys himself, it’s conceivable that he could verbal to Michigan.

FL CB Spencer Boyd is deciding Friday between Notre Dame, Michigan, and Georgia. He hasn’t been at the forefront of Michigan’s recruiting effort lately, so expect him to pick one of the other options (I believe Notre Dame is the leader). Looks like things are heading towards a removal from the board in the next update.

Posted under Football

Great Heisman Campaign: Mesko v. Cissoko

Zoltan Mesko is a space emperor, a punter, and a scholar. Last year, he averaged over 42 yards per punt, with plenty of hangtime, as Michigan finished 5th in the nation in net punting yardage. Zoltan enters his 5th year in the Michigan program as a Playboy All-American and a serious contender for the Ray Guy Award. In 2008, he also ran twice on fake punts, earning a first down each time. Thrilling punt workout video goes here:

Boubacar Cissoko is a sophomore corner that the Michigan coaching staff will rely on to start in the defensive backfield this year. He got some playing time in 2008, but the graduation of Morgan Trent will force him the take a role in the spotlight. In limited playing time last year, he made 15 tackles (1 for loss) and broke up 3 passes. Ha also played a role in the kick return game, where he figures to make a repeat performance.

Zoltan Mesko v. Boubacar Cissoko

  • 1 Zoltan Mesko (63%, 378 Votes)
  • 4 Boubacar Cissoko (37%, 221 Votes)

Total Voters: 599

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For the second round each poll will only be open for 3 days, so make sure you vote early in order to be counted. For the updated bracket, click here.

Other open polls:
Minor v. Van Bergen.
Warren v. Schilling.

Posted under Football, Personnel

Austin White Goes Blue

2010 Michigan Football Recruit Austin WhiteMI RB Austin White has committed to the Michigan Wolverines, according to the premium recruiting sites. White, who hails from Livonia Stevenson, is one of the top prospects from the Great Lakes State. White weighs in at 6-0, 186lbs, and has been timed at 4.44 in the 40-yard dash.

Recruiting Notes
The commitment of White completes the in-state switcheroo between Michigan State and the Wolverines, which saw Nick Hill commit to the Spartans. Coming into the recruiting season, Hill had been considered a strong Michigan lean, while White has serious family ties in East Lansing and was expected to end up there. However, as the recruitments got underway, White became more and more interested in the Wolverines. Throughout the spring, he started leaning towards Michigan, and enjoyed his visit for Michigan’s summer camp. Last week, he announced a press conference for today, at which he made his college choice. He selected Michigan, and becomes the Wolverines’ 16th commit in the class.

Player Notes
Scout is a bit higher on Austin than Rivals, ranking him as a 4-star prospect and the #17 RB in the class (Rivals has him at 3 stars and #32). He has good vision, quick feet, and surprising abilty to catch the ball out of the backfield for a high school prospect. He’s an upright runner who needs to get lower to avoid injury, though adding bulk in the weight room will help in that regard as well. White may not be coming in strictly as a running back, however. This summer, he played in the defensive backfield in 7-on-7 competitions, where he reportedly impressed. If he doesn’t foresee immediate playing time on offense, he may opt to try his hand on the other side of the ball.


Posted under Football, Recruiting

Great Heisman Campaign: Warren v. Schilling

Donovan Warren was a 4/5-star cornerback out of high school, and it’s apparent why from his highlight video:

Warren had an exception freshman season, but a number of minor injuries teamed up with some philosophical disagreements with defensive coordinator Scott Shafer teamed up to undermine his sophomore campaign. Still, he is expected to be healthy and happy once more in Ann Arbor, and should have a successful junior year.

Stephen Schilling was a highly-regarded offensive lineman coming of of Bellevue, Washington, but needed a year to redshirt before he was able to contribute. As a redshirt freshman, he started every game, mostly at right tackle. He also played right tackle on last year’s line, but improved depth at the position has allowed him to move to guard, his more natural position. Schilling is expected one of the most important pieces on what looks to be a strong Michigan o-line in 2009.

Donovan Warren v. Stephen Schilling

  • 2 Donovan Warren (80%, 485 Votes)
  • 3 Stephen Schilling (20%, 119 Votes)

Total Voters: 604

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For the second round each poll will only be open for 3 days, so make sure you vote early in order to be counted. For the updated bracket, click here.

Other open poll:
Minor v. Van Bergen.

Posted under Football, Personnel

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2009 Big Ten Preview: Northwestern

Northwestern Offense


CJ Bacher exits, opening the door for 5th-year senior Mike Kafka. Backing up Kafka will likely be redshirt sophomore Dan Persa, who played on special teams in 2008.

Northwestern QBs Passing 2008
Name Comp Att % Yds TD Int Yds/Att
CJ Bacher 245 408 60.05 2432 17 15 5.96
Mike Kafka 32 46 69.57 330 2 3 7.17
Northwestern QBs Rushing 2008
Name Rush Yds TD Yds/Rush
Mike Kafka 68 321 1 4.72
CJ Bacher 84 230 3 2.74
Dan Persa 2 -2 0 -1.00


Kafka got penty of playing time last year when Bacher missed time, and has plenty of practice experience in the system. He’s more of a running threat than Bacher was, though perhaps not quite the passer. The backups are all inexperienced in game situations.


Redshirt junior Stephen Simmons, who has played plenty over the past couple years when the starters were injured, will be the starter. Behind him, walkon Jacob Schmidt is the only player with a carry to his name. Jeravin Matthews, one of two true freshmen to play last year, is a likely candidate to be the primary backup.

Northwestern RBs Rushing 2008
Name Rush Yds TD Yds/Rush
Tyrell Sutton 184 890 6 4.84
Omar Conteh 73 235 3 3.22
Stephen Simmons 62 178 2 2.87
Jacob Schmidt 2 4 0 2.00
Northwestern RBs Receiving 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rec
Tyrell Sutton 35 305 2 8.71
Omar Conteh 10 61 0 6.10
Stephen Simmons 1 11 0 11.00


Tyrell Sutton and Omar Conteh have been carrying this team over the past couple years, so losing them will be a big hit. Even worse is the fact that Simmons had a horrific (sub 3 YPC) average last year. Still, he’s a fast guy, and if Northwestern can get him into open space, there is big-pplay potential.


Northwestern’s top 3 receivers from last year depart, taking with them 73% of the position group’s receptions from last year. Stepping up are two notably white (not unlike Peterman and Lane) players in true sophomore Jeremy Ebert and former quarterback 5th-year Andrew Brewer (who may be back for a 6th year if he desires to seek a medical redshirt for his sophomore season). Junior Sidney Stewart, former Michigan safety Charles’s little brother, will probably be third wideout. Tight ends Josh Rooks and Brendan Mitchell both return.

Northwestern Receivers Receiving 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rec
Eric Peterman 59 737 6 12.49
Ross Lane 60 640 3 10.67
Rasheed Ward 51 526 3 10.31
Jeremy Ebert 15 161 2 10.73
Andrew Brewer 18 145 0 8.06
Sidney Stewart 17 134 1 7.88
Josh Rooks (TE) 7 46 2 6.57
Charles Brown 2 14 0 7.00
Brendan Mitchell (TE) 2 6 1 3.00
Zeke Markshausen 1 6 0 6.00
Northwestern Receivers Rushing 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rush
Eric Peterman 5 4 0 0.80
Andrew Brewer 1 0 0 0.00


The Wildcats will have to basically start over in the receiving corps, as the returning players accounted for very little production last year (od for a team running a spread set). The lost players were also the best in terms of average per reception, so with a new quarterback and seemingly no deep threat, there could be trouble for the Northwestern passing game.

Offensive Line

Left guard Keegan Kennedy is gone after starting all of last year, but the rest of the Wildcat OL should still be around. Redshirt sophomore (and former walkon) Doug Bartels should start at one of the guard spots, redshirt sophomore Ben Burkett will return after starting all of last year at center, redshirt sophomore Al Netter will return after playing left tackle all of last year, and 5th-year Desmond Taylor will return at right tackle. That leaves just one guard position open, and primary backup Joel Belding is no longer around to fill in. 5th-year Kurt Mattes, who is a tackle by trade, may be called upon to fill in. Mike Boyle will be the key backup at tackle, and Keegan Grant, who was hampered by an ankle injury last year, is the main backup on the interior.


The offensive line returns almost entirely intact, and perhaps more impressively, the Wildcats started 3 redshirt freshmen last year, giving them a young but experienced group. They’ll need it, with a ton of uncertainty at the skill positions. The group allowed very few sacks last year, but were below-average in paving the way for the run. With a more mobile quarterback this year, they could be doing a lot more run blocking.

Offensive Analysis

Northwestern has a pretty experienced offensive line, but the lack of talent and depth at the skill positions is rather frightening. Unless Simmons can improve by leaps and bounds from his performance last year, and Kafka can become a more well-rounded player, the Wildcats should have a pretty anemic offense. Look for some serious steps back from this group unless the offensive line just blows teams away.

Northwestern Defense

Defensive Line

5th-year Corey Wootton is a legitimate All-American candidate at one of the defensive end positions, and redshirt sophomore Vince Browne will probably man the other spot. At defensive tackle, Corbin Bryant is expected to slide inside from defensive end and fill a starting role. Seniors Marshall Thomas and Adam Hahn will rotate at the other spot. Sophomores Jack DiNardo and Kevin Watt are reserve defensive ends.

Northwestern Defensive Line 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack Int
Kevin Mims 46 7 3.5 0
Jon Gill 44 9.5 4 0
Corey Wootton 42 16 10 1
Corbin Bryant 28 5.5 1 0
Vince Browne 26 7.5 4 1
Marshall Thomas 12 1 0 0
Adam Hahn 11 1 1 0
Jack DiNardo 3 0 0 0
Rejale Johnson 2 1 1 0
Kevin Watt 1 0 0 0


Outside of Wootton, this defensive line is nothing to really fear. Starting a 280-lb former DE at tackle might be a problem in terms of run defense, as Corbin Bryant may not have the strength and size required to hold the point of attack. Losing the top two performers on the defensive line (Wootton was hurt for a portion of the year) invariably is a bad thing, and I expect a step back from the Wildcats’ defense.


Prince Kwateng is gone, and Nate Williams and Quentin Davie are the only known commodities in the linebacking corps. An otherwise inexperienced and unheralded player will have to step up in the third spot, perhaps Ben Johnson or Bryce McNaul.

Northwestern Linebackers 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack
Prince Kwateng 106 5 2.5
Nate Williams 66 3.5 1
Quentin Davie 57 9.5 3.5
Malcolm Arrington 52 6.5 1.5
Mike Dinard 23 0 0
Ben Johnson 6 0 0
Bryce McNaul 2 0 0


Kwateng left with the most tackles on the team, and without him (and with NO experienced players to step in), the linebacker group will take a serious step back. An unproven player will ave to either be a pleasant surprise or a liability at the second level for Northwestern.

Defensive Backs

The entire starting secondary from last year’s team returns, with seniors Brad Phillips and Brendan Smith at the safety positions, senior Sherrick McManis at one corner position, and redshirt sophomore Jordan Mabin (a freshman All-American last year) at the other. Plenty of depth also returns, with Brian Peters, Mike Bolden, and Justan Vaughn ready to fill in if needed.

Northwestern Defensive Backs 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack Int Fum
Brad Phillips 109 6 1.5 3 0
Brendan Smith 82 3 0 2 0
Sherrick McManis 67 0 0 2 0
Jordan Mabin 51 2 0 3 0
Brian Peters 35 2 0 1 1
Mike Bolden 10 0 0 0 0
Justan Vaughn 9 0 0 0 0
David Arnold 9 0 0 0 0
David Oredugba 5 0 0 0 0
Todd Dockery 2 0 0 0 0
James Nussbaum 1 0 0 0 0


The secondary should be a serious strength for Northwestern. Last year’s top-25 pass efficiency defense returns every starter and all the key backups. The DBs were pretty good playmakers last year, recording 10 interceptions among the starters. If they can build on that season, they may be able to be the strength of the NU defense.

Defensive Analysis

The first two levels are a little weak (primarily linebackers), but the secondary should be pretty rockin’. With good pressure on the opposing QBs from the likes of Wootton, the playmaking secondary, with all its experience, should be able to get their fair share of turnovers in 2009. The main problems with the defense look to be the rush D, with the undersized d-line, and the offense’s potential inability to stay on the field.

Special Teams

Amado Villareal and Kyle Daley both depart. Stefan Demos, a junior, will continue punting duties, and may take over placekicking resposbility as well.

Northwestern Kicking 2008
Name XPM XPA % FGM FGA % Long
Amado Villareal 30 34 88.24 20 25 80.00 46
Kyle Daley 1 1 100.00 0 0
Northwesten Punting 2008
Name Rush Yds Avg
Stefan Demos 64 2499 39.05
Kyle Daley 1 33 33.00


Demos was a subpar punter last year, and likely doesn’t have the strongest leg in the world. Even if an unknown player can step in and take care of field goals, this unit will probably be a weakness in 2009.

Overall Analysis

Offense: bad, defense: mediocre to good. Northwestern probably won’t be as good a team as they were last year, and they likely won’t face as easy a schedule (top 20 easiest in the nation) as they did last year. Taking that all into account, it looks like there’s probably a precipitous slide down the Big Ten standings in order for the Wildcats. Pat Fitzgerald is a pretty good coach, so hopefully for Northwestern, it will be a rebuilding year for a strong 2010.

Posted under Football

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The Great Heisman Campaign: Minor v. Van Bergen

Brandon Minor looks to be Michigan’s top running back in 2009. Though he’s had a number of injuries in his career, Brandon hopes to be fully healthy for his senior year, and lead Michigan to a big turnaround. Hopefully, Brandon will be doing a lot of this:

Ryan Van Bergen was the winner of the only upset in the first round of the competition, defeating 4-seed Brendan Gibbons. He’ll start on the defensive line, and looks to anchor the run defense as a strongside defensive end. Last year, backing up Tim Jamison, Van Bergen collected 13 total tackles and 1 pass breakup.

Brandon Minor v. Ryan Van Bergen

  • 1 Brandon Minor (96%, 605 Votes)
  • 5 Ryan Van Bergen (4%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 628

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For the second round each poll will only be open for 3 days, so make sure you vote early in order to be counted. For the updated bracket, click here.

Posted under Football, Personnel