MICHIGAN FOOTBALL SPRING GAME SUMMARY
Here is "my take" on the
Spring game and the Michigan football team in general after the
The defense will be solid, but the
offense will be mediocre at best!
I left with about 5 minutes to go and
the score was 21-7 for the "visitors." Navarre led the
Offensively, Navarre looks to be a
strong-armed drop back type quarterback, but isn't very mobile.
He will be susceptible to the rush and blitz. He still hasn't
learned to "look away" from where he is throwing. Expect
more mistakes from the quarterback position. Gonzalez shows signs
of explosiveness, but also makes a lot of mistakes. He can run
and is very mobile; there were many misdirection plays put in
for him. He runs the option well. There were at least 5 interceptions
that I saw on the day which speaks well for our defense, but not
so well for our quarterbacking.
In practice, I liked the arms of Shawn
Cassidy and Andy Mingery, but neither are ready to challenge Navarre
or Gonzalez. My guess is that Spencer Brinton may see significant
playing time after he learn Michigan's "system" and
plays. I also believe that Gonzalez will log significant playing
time behind Navarre unless Brinton beats him out for the backup
position. Quarterbacking will be adequate, but not nearly as strong
as we've become used to with Henson, Brady, Griese, Driesbach,
Collins, Grbac and Harbaugh.
At tailback, Perry looks like a "cadillac
player." He is surprisingly fast when he gets around the
corner. He has a powerful lower body especially his hips and quads.
He had a knee injury in the 4th quarter, but it doesn't look to
be serious as he was walking around later. We can't expect him
to be as good as Thomas, but he can run. He must prove he can
be an all-around player especially in blocking.
Tim Bracken looks solid as Perry's
backup along with Walter Cross. Bracken is surprisingly strong
and elusive. He breaks away when you think he is tackled. Ryan
Beard wasn't playing so one came surmise he has quit or transferred.
David Underwood will have to be very, very good to see playing
time here; if anything, look for the possibility for Underwood
to back up Askew.
BJ Askew looks bigger and will be a
combination tailback and fullback. He is a good "one"
back player. He can block, too. He is very good in the open field
after he catches the screen pass.
Askew and Perry will be the starters
with Bracken and Cross backing up. Armstrong will probably continue
to back up Askew, but there is a big drop-off there in quality.
Actually, Moundros looks to be at least as good as Armstrong if
not better. Dudley is a non-factor here, but new recruits like
Scott McClintock or Scott Sanderson may see some time if they
are as fast as their times show.
At wide receiver, the starters will
be Marquise Walker and Ron Bellamy. We won't have the threat of
a David Terrell in either of those two or with our backups so
defenses can concentrate more on stopping our running game.
The backups will come from Calvin Bell,
Zia Combs, Brent Cummings, Tyrece Butler (who didn't play) or
one of the new frosh (Massaquoi or Edwards). I wouldn't be surprised
to see Massaquoi given a lot of time especially if he can get
here early in the Summer for workouts. He is long like Terrell
as is Edwards. Rudy Smith is another walk-on player who is about
as good as any of the backups.
None of the wide receivers stood out,
but that was mainly due to our defensive backs and linebackers
on cover. They were excellent and made our receivers look back
(Did I mention 5 picks?).
Our tight ends looked mediocre. Jim
Fisher caught one TD pass on a nice, timed throw from Navarre.
Ecker played but was unimpressive, and I believe he's going on
his two-year mission next month anyways. This position will depend
on Shawn Thompson's recovery. Seymour didn't play. Rosel and Joppru
caught one nice pass each and Phil Brackins/Dietan Dubuc played,
but none of them impressed. I'm sure Kyle Ealey will redshirt
or be moved over to offensive line.
On the offensive line, it did not particularly
impress. Some of them looked good at times, but there was no consistency.
The defensive pass rush wasn't contained well and the running
game didn't have too many holes to run through. It looks like
sure starters will be Pape at one tackle with Solomon at the other.
Goodwin will obviously start somewhere, too. So, that is three
starters of five positions.
The last two positions will come from
Petruziello, Anderson, Mast, Baas, Denay, Gaston and Morgan. Christofel
didn't participate in Spring drills, but could also contend in
the Fall. I will guess that Goodwin will stay at Center unless
Christofel win the job. This would mean that Petruziello, Mast,
Anderson and Baas would probably rotate at the guard positions.
Overall, I'm not impressed with the offensive line. There is a
huge drop-off from Backus, Williams and Hutchinson. My guess is
that we'll struggle most of the season here until things gell
(hopefully by Ohio State). I don't think Stenavich, Simelis, Henige
or other frosh could compete here until they have a year of weight
On defense, did I mention 5 picks?
They were pretty impressive especially the defensive backs and
Shantee Orr didn't play because he's
accused of rape, but Roy Manning did well in his place. Manning
is very impressive as is Emmanuel Casseus (who had a pick almost
in for a TD). Stevens, Kashama and Coleman also impressed. All
look much, much bigger and more intimidating. Stevens really looks
like a brute! Coleman is so stocky, he could never play fullback
again; he looks to be 280. I think our defensive ends and outside
linebackers will be strong, quick and fresh because we can rotate
them and not reduce our level of play. I don't think Spytek played
and I'm not sure why because I didn't hear about any injury, but
he must be injured otherwise he'd have played.
As we all remember, Victor Hobson contributed
to ending TJ Duckett's season last year. He will be the strength
of our defense and a definite future pro linebacker. The question
is will Carr rotate him with Orr as he did last year (or will
Orr even be on the team)? Will Spytek back them up or will Manning
or Casseus? This is a real strong position!
Our defensive line looks strong. It
looks like Lazarus was moved inside over center to Nose Tackle.
If he stays there, he'll start. My guess is that Frysinger will
start at Anchor-Defensive End if his foot is o.k. (he didn't play
in the Spring game). Otherwise, Rumishek will start there. Kashama,
Coleman and Steven will rotate at the Rush-Defensive End position.
This would leave Norm Heuer to start at Defensive Tackle (formerly
known as Norm Boebert). If Lazarus goes back to DT, then Bowman
becomes the starter at Nose Tackle. Walk-on John Wood logged significant
playing time at DT as well. Dave Pearson will also see action
at Nose Tackle, but will be behind Bowman. Walk-on Gary Rose is
probably our 4th string NT behind Pearson. I didn't see Andy Brown
on offense or on defense so I don't know if he's still on the
team, but if he is on the team, he won't be a factor at any lineman
Massey, Spytek, Ofili or other frosh
are going to have a hard time competing against this veteran group
for playing time so look for redshirt years here.
At inside linebacker, we are exceptionally
strong. Foote and Brackins will start with Jordan and Diggs being
the backups. I was surprised I didn't see Zach Kauffman or Kolby
Wells play (like Spytek), but both were also probably injured.
Mostly, I saw walk-ons here like Cwayna and Killian. New recruits
like Sarantos, Reid and McClintock will probably have to redshirt
with this veteran group returning. Also, if needed, Hobson, Orr
or Stevens could come inside.
Our defensive backs really look exceptional.
Howard will start; he is great on cover. Surprisingly, Brandon
Williams was also impressive as was Jeremy LeSueur. Either could
start unless Marlin Jackson beats them both out. At Safety, Cato
June will stay and NOT move to linebacker. He and Charles Drake
will contend for the one position; Julius Curry will man the other.
Ernest Shazor may be a factor here, but it would be surprising
since they are all solid. Others who looked good in practice and
in the game include Jon Shaw and Markus Curry. Both should see
playing time and rotate in with 5 and 6-back situations. Mike
Manning and Blake Nasif are both pretty good walk-ons players,
but probably won't see much action because of the depth here.
Epstein wasn't called on for any field
goals today, but he will obviously be one of the best punters
and field goal kickers in the nation. He should also be drafted
and will be playing for some professional team in 2002.
I watched the punters and placekickers
in practice and there doesn't appear to be much in terms of backups
and/or future kickers. Luke Perl, a walk-on, hit the post on one
of his automatics. Adam Finley doesn't look all that consistent
or strong-legged. Joe Ghannam punted one just before they started
at 1 p.m. that looked like something any 11 year old kid could
do (it barely made it over the line of scrimmage). Finley will
probably backup both positions but is hardly a quality college
Looking at what I say on the field
today, I would say we have a lot of work to do especially in the
weight room (offensive line) and in throwing drills (quarterbacks
The Washington game will be a tough
early test especially out there even though they have lost many
good senior leaders. The three Big Ten road games at Penn State,
Michigan State and Wisconsin will all be tough. The four home
games with Illinois (Kittner), Purdue, Minnesota (Brown Jug) and
Ohio State will also be tough. We will still be in the "thick
of things" without Drew, but most of our games will be low-scoring
and defensive struggles. I don't think we will be a good come
from behind team; we will need to take a lead and let our defense