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.
Henne wins Morton, Johnson wins Matthaei, Mathews wins
Detroit Free Press
MLive/Ann Arbor News
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