Final Spring Football Practice 2007

I arrived inside the stadium at 12:05 p.m. The Northeast end was under repair and rennovation due to construction. Weather was cold ranging between 30 to 40 with the wind chill factor. I kept my hood up, and wore gloves. It was difficult to take notes on my index cards. I would guesstimate about 15,000 people were in attendance, but most were moving around to stay warm rather than sitting.

Let me start with my analysis on offense! The most telling tale of the day was Carlos Brown not in uniform. This tells me that he's definitely transferring somewhere, and won't be with the team. What this means is a thin backfield that can't afford any injuries with Grady tearing his ACL. Chad Henne, Ryan Mallett and David Cone all looked good. Quarterback will be a solid position for us. Forcier was still on the roster so his transfer to Stanford may just be a rumor. Minor practiced with the fullbacks so I think both he and Hart will be the starters. Helmuth was quite impressive, and will definitely be a factor on this year's team. He'll back up Minor at fullback, but he'll also be able to run as a "big back" tailback in red zone situations. Moundros also carried quite a few time, but Milano didn't carry at all. Matt Hornaday is another walk-on who moved over to tailback in the Spring. My prediction is that new recruit Horn will see action as a true frosh because we definitely are hurting depthwise at this position. I also think Patilla sees action as a blocker; he looks very athletic and capable. I see us using a lot of "one back" situations with Hart, Minor and/or Helmuth used to pass block or utilized on a draw when needed. I was disappointed in how Andre Criswell looked at tight end, and my prediction is that he returns to blocking back in the Fall. Greg Mathews looks to be the starter opposite Manningham; he looked much faster and more polished as a wide out than did Savoy. I was quite impressed with walk-on, David Middleton, who caught a TD pass. Savoy and the four outstanding freshman wide outs: Hemingway, Cleamons, Webb and Babb will see action. Offensive line will be solid! Probable starters will be Boren at Center with Moosman as backup, Kraus and Long at Left Guard and Tackle, Mitchell at Right Guard with Schilling at Right Tackle and Zirbel backing up. Ciulla and Schifano will probably see some action as will Ortmann. Tight end is a real problem area with Massey pencilled in for starter. McLaurin dropped some passes as did Criswell. It looks like the true frosh, Webb and Watson, have a good chance for playing time with a strong Summer camp.

On defense, we are going to rotate a lot of 3-4 or 4-3 schemes depending on pass coverage. Our top down linemen didn't play much in the Spirng, but they will be Taylor at Nose Tackle, Will Johnson at Tackle, Brandon Graham and Adam Patterson at a combo End/Tackle depending on where they line up, and of course Tim Jamison at End. The White Team prevailed 41-40 in a come from behind effort, and they did force several sacks and hurries on our quarterbacks. Shawn Crable may be utilized at a linebacker or End depending on the defensive scheme, but I don't see him lining up over center on obvious passing situations like he did last year. I think our defensive line will be fast and quick, but not overpowering. The two most overpowering players are Jamison and Taylor; the others rely on speed and quickness. I was impressed with John Ferrara, but Jason Kates is still too heavy. Since the status of Slocum and McKinney are still in doubt, and it is doubtful that Sagesse will play as a true frosh; I think we plan on a smaller, quicker line and our linebacking corps. Speaking of linebacking, I'm very impressed, as Lloyd has stated in public interviews, with Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton. I don't see how Ron English will be able to keep those two off the field. They are fast, quick, strong and they are both hitters. Chris Graham and John Thompson didn't participate in the Spring practice today, and they are the two projected starters at inside linebacker. After what I saw today from Austin Panter, Jonas Mouton and Obi Ezeh, I would feel comfortable starting the year with those three and utilizing the veterans, Graham, Thompson and Crable as well. I didn't see Brandon Logan at all, and Cobrini Mixon played some along with returning 5th year player Max Pollack. I can see why the coaches moved Patilla to fullback; we have an outstanding linebacking corps. The defensive backfield starts Stevie Brown and Jamar Adams at the safeties with Morgan Trent and Johnny Sears at the corners; Brandon Harrison stays at the nickel position moving from safety to corner depending on the scheme. Charles Stewart will back Stevie Brown and Brandent Engelmon will back up Jamar Adams. Stewart limped off after an early play, but returned later. Certainly, there will be opportunities for playing time for the outstanding true frosh: Donovan Warren, Michael Williams and Troy Wolfolk; however, Doug Dutch did a nice job overall. Artis Chambers played at safety, but he looks a little thin and may look at redshirting since we are deep at safety. Anton Campbell will probably also back up, and he was returning kickoffs, too.

On special teams, Bryan Wright is definitely our best placekicker and kickoff specialist, but he didn't have a great day. Lopata also has an accurate leg, but not much distance. Certainly, Mesko is our punter and graduate student, Ankit Kachhal backs him up. Our snapper is Sean Griffin. On kickoff returns, we had Brandon Minor, Stevie Brown, Brandon Harrison, Johnny Sears and walk-ons Bryan Wright and Matt Hornaday. I would expect true frosh Michael Williams to also be a return specialist, and possibly Manningham. On punt returns, Greg Mathews appears to have the inside track, but Sears and Harrison are possibilities along with Williams and Manningham. It will be interesting who wins the flyer job on punts amongst the true frosh.

Our offense will definitely need to carry the defense early in the season until the defense matures. Replacing Harris, Branch, Woodley, Hall, Burgess and Biggs will not be easy, and it will be a slow process for our new starters like Jamison, Brandon Graham, Mouton, Johnson, Sears, Ezeh and others to mature and adapt.

Lloyd Carr


Henne wins Morton, Johnson wins Matthaei, Mathews wins Maultbetsch

Detroit News

Detroit Free Press

MLive/Ann Arbor News

Michigan Daily


Toledo Blade (Obi Oluigbo=David Harris)

Yet Another Michigan Sports Blog

ESPN Spring Football 2007

Big Ten Spring Notebook

Spring Practice Summary 2006

Spring Scrimmage 2005

Spring Scrimmage 2004

Spring Scrimmage 2003-cancelled due to turf/weather

Spring Scrimmage 2002

Spring Scrimmage 2001

Spring Scrimmage 2000