April 15, 2000 following Spring game


Overall, we'll be pretty good, but not awesome! At quarterback, Drew Henson will be good, but not great. He won't be able to bring us from behind like Tom Brady. He is a great scrambler. It is disappointing that he will continue to play baseball in the Spring and Summer rather than working out with his receivers and the rest of the team here. His selfishness will cost the team in the Fall.

John Navarre and Andy Mignery will be good backups and I'm sure that Jermaine Gonzalez and Sean Cassidy (lefty) will develop. Navarre has a slight lead for backup. He is big, stands in the pocket well, and throws a nice ball. It will give both of them a big edge in working out with the receivers over the Summer. I wouldn't be surprised to see Navarre enter some games late if Henson can't lead the team from behind (hopefully we won't be in that position too much).

At running back, we'll be tough! Thomas is solid and will be drafted in the first two or three rounds as a pro. He can catch and run well in the open field. He is a load to bring down. Hopefully, Fargas will help, but too much is unknown. Everyone says he is bigger and stronger, and almost as fast. Who knows! Only time will tell. Walter Cross looks good! He'll definitely contribute more. He is a little bigger and stronger. He reminds me a little bit of Chris Howard; he is getting better as he matures. After those backs, I think Chris Perry and Reggie Benton will possibly contribute. If Perry is as good as everyone is saying (George), he should contribute as a frosh. I wasn't particularly impressed with Ryan Beard. It isn't that he doesn't have potential because he does, but unfortunately he may get caught up in a "numbers" game. Look for him to transfer unless he is a "True Blue" commitment, and will patiently wait for his turn.

B.J. Askew will be a solid fullback. Unfortunately, he has no real solid backup. Dave Armstrong is thick, but not particularly fast or quick. He can log some minutes to help keep Askew fresh, but a fullback in our system can get real tired with all that is asked (blocking, blocking, blocking). I think teams will continue to converge on Thomas; thus, trying to take away our running game. We must be ready to run the fullback on more traps and draws. Askew can do a great job! Hopefully, he can stay healthy. He is also a threat on short passes and screens. Moundros is a great walk-on addition!
I don't know if Dudley is good enough to help out right away.

At wide receiver, David Terrell is certainly one of the best offensive threats of any Division I team in the nation. He could make a run for the Heisman. Unfortunately, for that reason, teams will double him and take away the threat. Also, I don't believe Henson can get him the ball as well as Brady; I hope I'm wrong because I'd like nothing better than to see Terrell re-write the Michigan record book for receivers. Marquis Walker must "step up" this season. He must become such a threat that teams won't be doubling Terrell. I also really like Tyrece Butler, Ron Bellamy and Brent Cummings. Henson is correct: we have much talent in the skill positions. We must find a way to utilize this talent. All five of these receivers would be "go to" guys on other teams. We can't let Terrell be our only "go to" guy! Taylor may also be able to contribute in the Fall. Rudy Smith was our most impressive walk-on. He also could start for most any MAC school.

At Tight End, virtually everyone was injured: Shawn Thompson, Ben Joppru, Bill Seymour and Deitan DeBuc. Eric Rosel is really impressive as an athlete. He can catch and run. I've been watching him for 4 years now and even though he hasn't played much, he is a really great athlete. He could start at linebacker and/or safety for virtually any Division I program. He has had trouble with injuries and being in a program with great players ahead of him. I can see him and Henson hooking up on some long plays despite his status as being destined for 3rd or 4th string. We should be solid at this position with Thompson and Joppru, both can block, catch and run. Seymour and/or DeBuc may be shifted to defense if coaches agree that Rosel should see action, and with the possibility of Ecker and Fisher emerging.

Our offensive line should be very good and possibly solid. Everyone will return (except Ziemann)! Backus and Hutchison will definitely be playing on Sundays. We are very fortunate that they will return. It looks like Jon Goodwin will backup both at Center and Right Guard. Brandt will start at Center (but didn't play in the Spring), Williams at Right Tackle, Ben Mast or Tony Pape at Right Guard with Hutch and Backus on the Left Side. Joe Denay looks good at Right Guard as well as does Demetrius Solomon at Right Tackle. Kurt Anderson will backup Hutch at Left Guard and Pape will backup at both Left Tackle and Right Guard. Don't look for Courtney Morgan to play much, I wasn't that impressed with him. He is short and possibly misplaced at Left Tackle. Look for him to move to guard in 2001. Don't look for any freshman to contribute! This is a veteran line. Todd Mossa was injured and didn't play, but I don't even know if he'll contribute at all in the Fall. Andy Brown was also injured. Eric Warner (walk-on) looked o.k.

Our placekicking is excellent with Epstein and Del Verne on extra points and field goals. We'll definitely be helped by their game experience. Unfortunately, all of our long snappers are walk-ons. Sgroi is so tiny, he may get crunched by some hungry defense as what happened in 1999. Ditto with Jeremy Miller (broken arm). Cyle Young is also snapping.


I'm very worried about our defensive line. I like Frysinger and Wilson, but losing Renes in the middle is going to hurt badly. Frysinger can be decent on the pass rush; he is pretty strong and fairly mobile. Wilson is about an "average" pass rusher and fairly mobile. Boebert and Rumishek are o.k., but they really don't impress me as much as the coaches that rave about them. They both have potential and are bigger and stronger than previously, but no match for some of these huge offensive linemen they'll encounter for 770 minutes (11 games times 60 minutes). I hate to sound pessimistic, but all the web hype about Pearson was ridiculous. At best, he'll be 3rd or 4th string. He is not nearly big enough to play Nose Tackle. I didn't see Bowman out there or Coleman, perhaps they were injured. Hopefully, they can help because I watched the linemen closely in practice, then the scrimmage. They were not impressive enough to spell Renes, Hall, Williams, etc. Actually, I was the most impressed with Shawn Lazarus. He is very strong, quick and I think he'll eventually be the starter at DT. Also, John Wood (walk-on) has great technique and can beat a lot of good offensive linemen.

Our linebacking will not be as good as last year! We had three Pro linebackers: Jones, Gold and Hall. It will take a long time to replace them. I really like Shantee Orr and Victor Hobson, though. They are both solid, tough outside linebackers. Their names and numbers will be called a lot (53 and 6). Brackins (Eric) and Foote will probably be the starters, but Diggs and Jordan will contribute a lot. I don't know if Kolby Wells or Larry Stevens will be able to contribute as freshman, but I do think we'll see a lot of players playing the 4 linebacker positions. Don't be surprised if both Brackins' brothers are even playing at the same time! Phil Brackins is very fast and is a good hitter. Spytek may also see action! Some of our walk-ons are good, but I don't see them playing much except for perhaps Bowling Green. Mosely, Cwayna, Sechler and Fraumann could have started for 4 years for a lot of MAC schools!

Look for teams to attack us up the middle! We are vulnerable at Nose Tackle and Inside Linebacker as compared to last year. When we cheat in to plug up the middle, watch for teams to mix it up and go outside.

Our defensive backfield should be much improved. We will have more depth and some real quality athletes. Todd Howard and James Whitley didn't play in the Spring, but both showed their value last year. Both are solid, quality defensive backs. Howard is better on cover than Whitley, but Whitley has the potential physically (speed and quickness) to be a great cover. I think Whitley's biggest problem is attitude; he thinks he is better than he actually demonstrates on the field. Patmon is a good safety and June could be a great safety. June is strong physically and is a "heady," intuitive player. These should be our four starters. Jeremy LeSueur, Brandon Williams, both Curry brothers and Jon Shaw will contribute. Shaw was very impressive during the Spring scrimmage. He should log significant playing time. I didn't see Charles Drake play in the scrimmage, maybe he was injured. He should also play with his great speed, quickness and athletic ability. I really like Drake's attitude. Possibly, Calvin Bell and Zia Combs can contribute, but we may need one or both at wide receiver because our depth there is suspect. Brian Smalls was really an impressive walk-on along with Dan Williams and Mike Manning.

Our punting game is solid with Epstein and Sargent. Sargent can really boom them when he is in a rhythm. Again, our long-snappers may be a problem as previously stated. Our return game on punts should feature Terrell, June and LeSueur (possibly Patmon and/or Whitley). Our return game on kickoffs should feature Cross, Thomas and possibly Terrell. Brent Cummings, Charles Drake and Ron Bellamy are also dangerous on the returns, but all of these returners showed suspect hands in practice and the scrimmage. Our plus/minus game in turnovers could really be impacted here if we don't cover the ball better. Our punt rush and kickoff return facet of special teams really needs "big-time" work!


We will need to gain confidence with Bowling Green and Rice prior to traveling to UCLA. We must go on the road early and beat UCLA. Henson will need to show what he can do in this game, and he must lead the team to a tough road win.

ILLINOIS will be a super-tough Big Ten opener! Their program really gained confidence last year, especially after beating us. They have a great quarterback (Kittner) and great coaching (Turner). Their defense (Wakefield) will be solid and they'll contend all season.

Wisconsin is always tough and their quarterback (Bollinger) is really solid, luckily we have them here. PURDUE will be looking for revenge big-time! Drew Brees will not have double-digit dropped passes in October like 1999. Purdue will also challenge for the title next year. You can bet their coach (Tiller) will have an answer for our superior game plan executed against them last October. Indiana will be tough because of their stellar senior quarterback (Randle El), and they took us to the game's final play last year, luckily again it'll be here and that should help.

We must take our revenge on Michigan State next year. They will be a terrific team with their great defense (Thornhill) and running back (Duckett). This is a "must win" game for our program!!! (especially for in-state recruiting)

Luckily, we get a breather on the road with Northwestern before closing with Penn State at home and Ohio State in Columbus. Both teams are looking for revenge in the worst way! Ohio State will have less talent than Penn State, but both teams are always tough.

It would be totally unrealistic to predict an undefeated season; it would take a naïve optimist to predict such as season for the Wolverines. We have 8 tough games schedule and at least 5 super-tough games: Illinois, Purdue, MSU, Penn St. and Ohio St. However, we will have a competitive team that should compete for the Big Ten title with several other solid Big Ten teams. The Big Ten was by far the top conference last season from top to bottom, and should be solid again. Hopefully, we will improve and rise to the occasion. Like always, the best defense will win the Big Ten title!

For 2001, we are going to have huge losses on our offensive line, but we must use our 14 or so scholarships wisely to add to our defensive line which was our biggest need for this season, but we struck out. We will have some good ones to fill our offensive line gaps, but Pape, Baas, Denay, Solomon, Morgan, Christopfel, Gaston and others will develop by then.

On paper, Big Ten looks like:

Purdue (Sugar)
Michigan (Citrus)
Illinois (Outback)
Penn State (Alamo)
Michigan State (Motor City)
Ohio State (Sun)
Minnesota (Independence)

Rose Bowl: Alabama vs. Miami-FL