Free Press FAIL

I’m not going to pin this on Mark Snyder, because if he wrote the headline, I’d be surprised, but “Ex-quarterback Threet gives starting nod to Sheridan in spread offense” is really, really not what’s going on in this article:

“I feel like Tate has a good opportunity coming in early with the extra reps in the spring and that should be beneficial,” he said. “But Nick does a good job of executing the offense the way they want it to be run. People may point out the physical things Tate or Denard may have at a physical advantage, but a lot of time at quarterback in this system comes down to decision-making.”

Is it just me, or does that quote have a whole lot more “Hey, I’ll be impartial and not endorse anyone. Now leave me alone and let me go to Arizona State” than “I decree that Nick Sheridan shall be the starter” ? I’d have to go with a lot more of Option B. Before the internets go crazy on this, look at what Threet actually said, and not so much the headline of the article.

Of course, most Michigan fans at this point are willing to endorse Tate Forcier for obvious reasons:

But honestly, whichever quarterback wins the job, be it Forcier, Sheridan, or Denard Robinson, that’s my guy. Primarily because I don’t have a say. People criticized Rich Rodriguez (and perhaps rightly so) for starting Sheridan over Threet last year, and while Threet may have been better, he certainly wasn’t head and shoulders above Sheridan.

All that’s left is the waiting…

Posted under Football, Media

Harris, Sims to Return in ’09-10

John Beilein announced today that Manny and DeShawn will return for next year. This was a foregone conclusion of sorts, but confirmation is nice.

More later, because iPhone is not the optimal blogging device.

Posted under Photo Album

Spring Notes

I’m not sure why this became such big news on the internet last week, since it’s been known for like 2 months, but Michigan’s spring practice does indeed start this weekend, and the spring game will indeed be on April 11th. For said spring game, I’m certainly interested in a VB tailgate or even a Michigan blogosphere-wide tailgate. More on that as the date gets closer, I presume. My actual spring coverage should commence once spring practice is underway and there’s Actual News to report.

The beginning of spring practice always brings with it a host of junior visitors hitting campus, and this year is no exception. The first official junior day of the year is scheduled to be this weekend (more on that later this week).

Of course, it wouldn’t be spring without a preliminary injury report: Both Michael Shaw and Jonas Mouton are expected to miss the entire spring with injuries, and Mouton’s may be serious enough to keep him out this fall as well. As of now, those are the only two guys who are reportedly injured, but as actual drills commence, that number is certain to increase.

Speaking of spring injuries, last year, Corey Zirbel suffered one of the career-0ending variety. However, Zirbel is still hanging around Schembechler Hall, now serving as a student assistant to OL coach Greg Frey.

Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims were named first- and second-team all-conference, respectively, by the media (Sims dropped to third team by the coaches).

The long-awaited announcement about an outdoor game at Camp Randall Stadium finally came out last week. The new buzz has Michigan hosting an outdoor contest of their own in December 2010. Candidates for an opponent would be Michigan State or a rematch with the Badgers.

FormerlyAnonymous should be out of commission for a couple more days, but will be back with a vengeance when he returns. Expect a flurry of baseball updates, especially with a huge series looming this weekend at Arizona.

I apologize for the quick-hit style of this post, but that’s life sometimes, I guess.

Posted under Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Spring Coverage

Steven Threet Leaves the Michigan Football Program

After being the subject of rumor for the past week-plus, Steven Threet has officially told the press that he plans to transfer from Michigan. Threet was the starting quarterback for large portions of 2008, and was actually quite successful when healthy. It’s a shame to see the young man leave, but you really can’t blame the kid, as he really wants to play, and do so in a scheme that fits his skill set.

The Threet transfer probably does mean one positive thing for Michigan fans: that Tate Forcier has looked good enough in the training program and volunatary QB-WR workouts as to pose a significant threat to Threet’s starting position. Of course, it also means bad things, like “Michigan only has 2 quarterbacks between safety and Nick Sheridan.” The QB depth situation becomes almost as bad as it was last year, though the second option (likely to be Denard Robinson) is a step up from either Sheridan or Justin Feagin.

This clears out the depth chart somewhat for a class of 2010 prospect to find it quite appealing (Devin Gardner, come on down!), but harms Michigan in the short term. Wherever Threet ends up (rumors have said Eastern Michigan, under former Michigan DC Ron English), I certainly wish him the best of luck.

Posted under Football, Personnel, Recruiting, Spring Coverage

Eligibility Chart Update

With the news that J.R. Hemingway has been granted a medical hardship redshirt, and the season well in the rear-view mirror, it’s as good a time as any to update the scholarship count. I finally got around to removing Sam McGuffie, Carson Butler, and Avery Horn. All the freshmen who were able to redshirt (to the best of my recollection) have been moved back a year in eligibility, and the seven early-enrolled freshmen have been added as well.

There are still a couple possible changes pending on the basis of Andre Criswell and LaTerryal Savoy’s 5th year scholarships, Brandon Graham’s final decision on the NFL, and any other possible attrition.

As of now, the Michigan roster breaks down like this:
13 Seniors
18 Juniors
16 Sophomores
19 Freshmen
19 scholarships remaining for the 2009 class.

Visit the Eligibility Chart to see all the details.

Posted under Football

More Possible Attrition

At the annual football bust, according to every media outlet with a UM beat writer, Sam McGuffie, Carson Butler, and Avery Horn were not present. Butler’s (as-yet-still-unofficial) departure from the team may be the worst-kept secret in America, and Horn wasn’t expected to ever contribute.

McGuffie, on the other hand, had a transfer rumor circulating a few weeks back, and until now, it had appeared that everything was back on track for him to remain in Ann Arbor. Of course, his absence from one event is not a sure sign either way that he is on his way out, but certainly something to keep in mind.

Eligibility Chart as yet not updated, but certainly on notice for official word on any of these guys.

Posted under Football, Personnel

Midweek News

After John Ferrara moved to the offensive line, there were questions about why it was necessary. The reason? Corey Zirbel appears to be out for (at least) the season:

The position move comes on the heels of the realization that guard Cory Zirbel likely will miss the season with a knee injury.
“It’s pretty significant,” Rodriguez said. “We’re not even hopeful he’ll be able to return this year.”

Though it was known that Zirbel and redshirt freshman Mark Huyge were injured, the extent of Zirbel’s injury is more severe than Michigan can really afford. Huyge is week-to-week with a high ankle sprain.

In other injury news, Freshman slot receiver Terrance Robinson will also miss a couple weeks with injury. This likely means that Michael Shaw, Sam McGuffie, Toney Clemons, and Very Horn will get more playing time at the position than was expected.

On a lighter note, the Bowling for Brock event to aid Elliot Mealer’s brother was last night, and the Free Press has a photo gallery.

Mixed reports out of Utah camp on whether the offense is struggling
or doing as well as expected.

Just over a week away from the season, time to start getting really excited.

Posted under Personnel

2008 Michigan Preview: Secondary

Projected Depth Chart

CB FS SS Nickel CB
Warren (So) S. Brown (Jr) Stewart (rSr)
Harrison (Sr)
Harrison (Sr) Trent (rSr)
Dutch (rSr) Williams (rFr) Chambers (So) Williams (rFr) Woolfolk (So)
Cissoko (Fr) Smith (Fr) JT Floyd (Fr)

Safeties and Nickels
Safeties Jamar Adams and Brandent Englemon are gone, but Junior Stevie Brown will be given another chance to start at safety, and the other spot will likely be manned by senior Brandon Harrison or 5th-year senior Charles Stewart. At nickel, redshirt freshman Michael Williams may get some playing time, or he could even move into the safety rotation.


Michigan Safeties and Nickels 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sacks Int
Jamar Adams 92 2.5 1 3
Brandent Englemon 86 2 0 3
Brandon Harrison 42 6.5 0.5 1
Stevie Brown 28 0 0 1
Charles Stewart 14 1 0 0
Anton Campbell 11 0 0 0
Artis Chambers 7 0 0 0
Shakir Edwards 1 0 0 0

5th-year senior Morgan Trent and sophomore sensation Donovan Warren are back to man the corner positions. Trent is blessed with speed, and Waren is a pure cover man. Woolfolk may be one of the first backups, along with Nickelman Brandon Harrison. Freshman Boubacar Cissoko will likely contribute as well.


Michigan Corners 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sacks Int
Donovan Warren 52 1.5 0 1
Morgan Trent 41 2 0 2
James Rogers 6 0 0 0
Troy Woolfolk 5 0 0 0
Doug Dutch 1 0 0 0

Notes: Rogers is expected to move to offense this year.

After the implosions of the App State and Oregon games, Johnny Sears was booted from the team, Stevie Brown was relegated to backup duty, and the Michigan secondary quietly became one of the best in the country. Trent and Warren comprise one of the best cornerback duos in the conference if not the nation. Stevie Brown is a good athlete and big hitter, and if he has taken the time to grasp the mental aspects of the position, should become a great safety down the line. Brandon Harrison is little and speedy, but most known for whiffing on sacks in nickel blitz situations. Several of Michigan’s backup DBs have had injury issues in the past, which are hopefully gone with the reign of Mike Barwis. The freshmen will contribute some, but mainly to get playing time for future years, not because their services are absolutely required.

Posted under Analysis, Personnel

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John Ferrara Moves to the Offensive Line

On the Big Ten Network’s Michigan special last night, head coach Rich Rodriguez revealed that defensive tackle John Ferrara has moved to the offensive line. What does this mean?

For the defense, the dpeth at tackle is probably developing well. Despite the loss of Marques Slocum, the unit could clearly afford the loss of a depth player who was decent, but nothing special. Renaldo Sagesse and Jason Kates are likely turning into capable backups, meaning that Ferrara was free to move elsewhere.

For the offense, this adds another body to a unit that sorely needs some depth. With both Corey Zirbel (a projected starter) and Mark Huyge (a key backup) out of the time being with injuries (a minor ligament issue and a high ankle sprain, respectively), he can help make sure there are enough players to have backups. Also making up for Zirbel’s loss, David Molk will move in as the starter at center, and David Moosman will move to guard.

Ferrara will likely get a better shot at playing time than he would have on the other side of the ball, and his reported strong summer in the weight room can help him become a contributor.

Posted under Personnel

2008 Michigan Preview: Linebackers

Projected Depth Chart

Mouton (rSo)
OR Panter (Sr)
Thompson (rSr)
OR Ezeh (rSo)
Ezeh (rSo)
OR Evans (So)
Logan (Sr) Panter (Sr) Patilla (rSo)
OR Herron (rFr)
Demens (Fr)
OR Witherspoon (Fr)
Fitzgerald (Fr) Hill (Fr)

Obi Ezeh was the starter in the middle last year as a redshirt freshman. The outside linebackers, Shawn Crable and Cris Graham are gone, but not necessarily lamented. On the strong side, expect redshirt freshman Marell Evans to work his way into a starting role. On the weakside, redshirt sophomore Jonas Mouton is a good athlete, but has been plagued by injuries during his firs two years at Michigan, and hasn’t been able to master the mental aspect of linebacking. He will battle senior Austin Panter, the former junior college defensive player of the year, for a starting role. 5th-year senior Johnny Thompson and redshirt freshman Brandon Herron provide some depth. Michigan also brought in a big freshman class of LBs, and a couple, such as Kenny Demens or JB Fitzgerald, may be asked to contribute.


Michigan Linebackers 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sacks Int
Shawn Crable 90 28.5 7.5 0
Chris Graham 90 7 1 0
Obi Ezeh 67 4 2 1
Johnny Thompson 30 2 0 1
Austin Panter 7 0 0 0
Jonas Mouton 5 0 0 0
Max Pollock 3 0 0 0

Graham’s departure isn’t quite addition by subtraction, but it’s pretty close. A lot of Michigan fans feel the same way about Crable, but I personally believe that he was just misused. Bad football players do not get drafted by the Best Team Ever Until They Lost in the third round. Ezeh should be improved from last year, and he is getting to be a big boy for linebacker. Marell Evans is a good athlete who is known for his work ethic. Johnny Thompson has never done anything to stick out to me, I think he would be a depth player if this team had a linebacking corps that you might expect from Michigan. A couple of the freshmen may be expected to contribute, but the coaching staff would prefer to play the upperclassmen.

Posted under Analysis, Personnel