In The Books: Week One

“In the books” will be my weekly piece on all of the CFB action that I caught over the past week (Not just Michigan). Normally I would like to publish this earlier in the week but we can all thank Ohio for that not happening this week. I am going to start things off with national tid-bits then finishing up with the Wolverines.

– I had the privilege of attending a game in South Bend for the first time this past weekend, and while its no Ann Arbor I was pleasantly surprised. I wore burnt orange all day (As a kid the Longhorns were my second favorite team and my buddy I went with is from Austin) and only one single person ran their mouth to me. Incredibly respectful environment, beautiful campus.

– I dont think there needs to be anything said about the Texas offense, as it was absolutely abysmal and in the news all week. Notre Dame looks like a legit playoff contender, as they dominated up front on both sides of the ball. Malike Zaire showed the nation while Everett Golson transferred, and their skill players on offense are exceptional. Jaylon Smith might be the best defender in the country, and DE Sheldon Day is very underrated. For the Longhorns, Malik Jefferson might not only be a freshman all american, but a legit all american. Kid is a stud.

– Ohio State will not be tested until November when they play MSU and U of M back to back, and even then, I think they showed monday night that the only team that can beat them is themselves.

– SMU quarterback Matt Davis is a very under the radar stud. He kept the Mustangs to within a score of Baylor at halftime.

Now for the Wolverines!!

Offnese: I absolutely loved the formations and game plan that Drevno, Fisch and Harbaugh came up with for the Utes. The power run formations used throughout the night were exactly what I saw at spring practice a few months back. I was very surprised to see Ross Taylor-Douglass take the field before Derrick Green, as it seems he will be the third down back. Receiver wise, how awesome was it to finally see Drake Harris on the field!? I dont believe he was targeted but he was the fourth receiver on the field. No Moe Ways or Da’mario Jones to my knowledge. Grant Perry started the game and came off the field sparingly. Chesson and Darboh have stepped up in a big way and were open all night. Brian Cole played on most special teams and logged a few snaps on offense, even getting the ball on a screen on third down in the red zone in the first half. It goes without saying that Jake Butt is a stud, and his week one performance is a great start to what I predict will be an All American season. The Oline was hot and cold, doing some things very well and some things not so well. Run Blocking needs to be more consistent, but we need to remember that Utah is one of the top three defenses we will see this season. I was disappointed to see Rudock get the start, but I was even more disappointed to see him throw three picks after everyone touted his as a starter due to his effectiveness of keeping the ball out of the defenses hands. Those three interceptions completely changed the game and it cannot happen again.

Defense: The front four played exceptionally well all night, taking care of Deovante Booker inside the tackles and flushing QB Travis Wilson out of the pocket routinely. With that being said, I thought the linebackers struggled all night. Most of Wilson’s runs could/should have been stopped by the backers. A position unit that was thought to be the strength of the Defense in the pre season, needs to step up for week two. Jabrill Peppers played lights out most of the night, dominating in the run game from the slot corner spot. And while he never had the chance to run one back, he is also returning kicks which is a surprise to no one. Overall the Defense played well, being on the field more than they should have been with the offense turning it over three times.

Overall, the differences between the Hoke and Harbaugh regimes could not be more apparent. This team fought until the very end and were physical from the start. The little things hurt the Wolverines all night, and all week we have heard the team address their own issues. Good things are on the horizon folks, and I think we’ll see some major improvements from week one to two. Go Blue.

@bleedbluecoacht

Week 1 Takeaways

Michigan headed into Utah with high hopes and great aspirations but fell 24-17 in a game that was very winnable by any measure.

With a coup of unknowns, Michigan fought and looked good at times but ultimately it wasn’t enough in the defeat.

We could go good news or bad news, but let’s start with the negatives.

Rudock

We all knew coming into this season that Rudock was merely a game manager. 

All of last season he had 5 interceptions. In week 1, he threw three. 

One of them was indeed on a miscommunication between he and Grant Perry. The other two, however, were truly putrid. The key note; all three were with plays where Perry was the target.

The second came on a terrible throw where he stared down Perry. Easy pick.

The third was on a comeback route that Rudock stared down Perry in, while Ty Isaac was wide open on the other side of the field. This ultimately was the game winning touchdown on a pick six.

These mistakes simply cannot happen. Rudock also missed three deep throws (two of which were intended for Chesson; the other, Darboh) where he showed no touch with a wide open receiver. The positive? The two minute drive at the end of the game was gorgeous.

Jim has ten days to fix this and surely Rudock will be pissed when he sees this.

LB Play

This will be short and sweet. Bolden was a tackling machine but for most of the game the coverage was poor.  

The LBs looked worn out and must improve heading into next week. Film will show the holes that were open and ultimately the schemes must be better.

Ben Braden

Horrible.

Whiffed multiple times on blocks.

It appears to be a consensus that his job could be up for grabs with Dawson seeing time. This cannot happen as a junior.

Positives

Chris Wormley

Chris had three TFL in the first half yet disappeared in the second half.

He showed the promise we all expected four years ago when he was recruited.

Deveon Smith

He showed great burst at times and offered a hard nose play making ability.

The one problem was on a key play in the fourth quarter where he completely missed an open hole on an easy cut. Much of the same

Jake Butt/Amara Darboh

These two were the stars tonight. Butt made a great grab in double coverage for a TD and showed he is a leading contender for the Mackey award. The TE spot plays a huge role in a Harbaugh offense.

Darboh was the best receiver on the field going for 102 yards and a TD. Now that he’s finally healthy, he seems to be the #1 WR. Was a little disappointed that Drake Harris saw no targets.

All in all, this season will be a learning curve and I still think Michigan can be an 8 win team.

Next Saturday, Michigan hosts Oregon State in the home opener.

CoachT’s Predictions: @ Utah

The time for talk and speculation is ALMOST over folks. Kickoff is just over twenty-four hours, and wheels are down in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, I have my own game to coach tomorrow night and will be watching the game on tape delay. Here are just a few of my predictions for tomorrow night.

1. The offense will not throw more than twenty times.
– Harbaugh will look to establish the run early and often, and we’ll probably see him force the issue if necessary. The only way the Wolverines throw more than twnety time is if they are down in the fourth quarter.

2. No back will carry the ball more than ten times.
– De’veon Smith is listed as the starter and will see the first few carries of the night, but after that I expect to see Derrick Green, Ty Isaac and potentially Karan Higdon in certain packages and personal groupings throughout the night.

3. The offensive line will only give up one sack.
– I believe this retooled offensive line under Tim Drevno will shore up ALL of the faults we saw under Brady Hoke and Darrell Funk.

Defense

1. Jabrill Peppers had eight total tackles, two TFL and one pass defended.
– I anticipate the defense will be in either a 4-2-5 or 3-3-5 alignment most of the night to defend Utah’s spread offense, which will put Jabrill all over the field. On the line of scrimmage, twelve yards off ball and in the nickel corner slot.

2. The defense gives up only one play of 40+ yards
– This defense is incredibly athletic and fast and will rally to the ball on everything underneath or outside. However, this is a new scheme for these players and it would be silly to think there wont be at least one coverage breakdown.

3. Three sacks between the D-Line and line backers.
– The new scheme will be an advantage here, as Durkin will be able to dial up some blitzes in zone and man coverage that the Utes have never seen before.

Final Prediction: Michigan-28 Utah-24

I firmly believe the defense will hold the Utes to under four scores (the fourth obviously being a field goal) and if that happens, all the Offense has to do is match or overtake by a few points to be in the game at the start of the fourth quarter. Kyle Wittingham himself has said he doesn’t know what to expect from the Wolverines, and if they can capitalize early in the first half, the only way the Utes will catch up is if their staff can make effective half time adjustments.

@bleedbluecoacht

The Hoosier State was the Wolverine State Last Night

Each week throughout the football season, we will be posting the stat lines of current Michigan commits. 

This week the games were at a minimum as many schools do not begin their seasons until next week, but for the three headed trio from Indiana of Chris Evans, Kiante Enis, and Brandon Peters, the season began and boy did it start with a bang.

Brandon Peters

14 for 19, 234 yards, 5 TDs

Brandon Peters was invited to the U.S Army All American Game earlier today and it appears the momentum carried over to his first game of the season.

Peters seemed to thrive early and demonstrate an even better arm than last season per Jake Thompson of the Hendricks County Flyer.

  
Peters may be the top quarterback in state of Indiana and showed in week 1 just why the hype has been so real.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans may be the best athlete in the 2016 class for Michigan.

His speed has been clocked at a sub 4.45 level and in his first week of play, he showed just how dynamic he is.

With only 4 carries, he amassed 112 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding 12 yards on two receptions.

Evans is another contender for the Mr. Football award in the Hoosier state and could see early playing time when he gets to Ann Arbor thanks to his game changing abilities with the ball in his hands.

Evans projects as a Slot WR/CB at the next level.

Kiante Enis

23 carries for 341 yards, 4 TD’s, and a 69yard INT return for a TD

Enis is the smallest of the three, and is the main competition of Evans for the best athlete in the Michigan class as it stands.

Last season he amassed 49 TDs and really blew up on the scene.

He wasted no time tonight in starting up his senior campaign while going for 341!!! yards and 4 TD’s. He also added a pick six to end the first half.

Much like Evans, Enis could project on both sides of the ball but it is my belief that he could be primarily seen on the offensive side of the ball.

After the game, GoBlueWolverine staff writer Josh Newkirk caught up with Enis and Enis mentioned that Michigan wants him to come in as a RB.

  

It’s pretty easy to see why after the record setting performance..

His coach Mike Jones added, “Easy, Kiante makes our job easy.”
Michigan may have landed the top three prospects in the state of Indiana for 2016, and in Game 1, these three young men proved me, and the coaches to be correct.

Look out for the next weekly stat lines in 7 days.

Go Blue!

Coach T’s Take: Starting XI- Utah

 

We are almost there!! In less than two weeks this will no longer be speculation but straight facts. We all know that no one outside of Jimmy and Timmy have an idea of what the starting offense will look like at Utah next month, but here is my best guess at what the starting eleven will look like. I am going to base these predictions off of what I saw at spring practice in March and my own evaluations of the talent on the roster more so than the murmurs and rumors coming out of the submarine. As an added bonus, I am going to give the two deep depth chart a shot as well. Here goes nothing!

 

QB

  1. Shane Morris- I’ve been saying that Sugar Shane will be the Wolverines starting quarterback since last december. After seeing his performance at spring practice and in the spring game, I became more confident in my prediction. Morris simply has more talent and ability than Rudock, and there has been a largely publicized precedent for this situation under Harbaugh already. RE: Colin Kaepernick starting over Alex Smith. Smith got the job done and won games, but Kaep made plays and took the 49ers to the super bowl. Morris is an exceptional athlete and is a surprising runner. Couple that with his NFL level arm strength, and you have a starting QB.

2. Jake Rudock- Jake will be one of the most experience back ups in the country and will provide invaluable mentoring to Morris throughout the season.

FB

  1. Joe Kerridge- Should be a captain as one of the most veteran players on the team.

2. Sione Houma

 

HB

  1. Wyatt Shallman- Not quite a fullback, not quite a tailback and not quite a tight end. Shallman can do a little bit of everything and is a good enough athlete that it will be hard to keep him off the field. If not here then I see a switch to defense in line for Wyatt

2. Khalid Hill

 

RB

  1. Derrick Green- DG is a monster. While he has some flaws to his game, he has busted his butt coming back from injury and looked pretty good before he got hurt last season. I have faith that he’ll seperate himself from the pack.

2. Every and anyone else- Michigan will have at LEAST two backs with 500+ yards this season, with the potential to be 750+ with two or three other guys earning meaningful carries. De’veon Smith is a stud but is a limited athlete. Ty Isaac is a freak athlete but hasn’t done much since getting to Ann Arbor. Drake Johnson is all heart and one of my favorite players on the team. Karan Higdon is a dark horse and would have to pass all of the aforementioned backs ahead of him on the depth chart to avoid a red shirt.

 

TE

  1. Jake Butt- Enough said here. I believe Butt has All American potential this season and could be the Wolverines leading receiver.

2. Ian Bunting- Bunting’s body has responded wonderfully to U of M’s strength and conditioning program and he now has the body of an NFL tight end. I expect good things from him this season.

 

LT

  1. Mason Cole- This kid is an animal that will end up on a few post season accolade lists this year.

2. Logan Tuley-Tillman

LG

  1. Blake Bars- I thought Bars was the sixth lineman while observing spring practice. I have heard nothing but praise from Drevno thus far and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes away a starting spot from “Incumbent” Erik Magnuson, who was a jack of all trades and a master of none for the Hoke staff.

2. Dave Dawson

C

  1. Graham Glasgow- As long as he can keep his nose clean, Glasgow will be the anchor of this line from start to finish.

2. Patrick Kugler

RG

  1. Kyle Kalis- Another mainstay on the oline and no surprise here.

2. Erik Magnuson

 

RT

  1. Ben Braden- A Freak athlete, I really don’t see Drevno uprooting Braden from his spot on what will now be the blind side with Morris under center.

2. Juwann Bushell-Beatty

 

X

  1. Drake Harris- IF healthy, Drake will be a breath of fresh air for the Wolverines. Finally a play maker that can do it all. Again, IF healthy.

2. Amara Darboh

 

Z

  1. Brian Cole II- Cole is a stud athlete that I have been watching film on since his sophomore year of high school, growing up less than thirty minutes north of me on I-75. Cole was swimming with the offense in the spring but there is no question that he is physically ready. Cole and Harris could be a special tandem for a long time.

2. Jehu Chesson II

 

Slot

  1. Freddy Canteen- Rumors of Freddy playing corner at practice are hard for me to fathom. I have to stick to what I saw in the spring and pencil Canteen into the slot spot with Norfleet gone.

2. Grant Perry

Get at me on twitter for any clarification or anymore questions. Thanks for the read and as always, GO BLUE!!!

 

@BleedBlueCoachT

 

 

 

QB Commit Brandon Peters Invited to US Army All American Game

Earlier today, just before he prepped himself for his first game, Avon (IN) QB, and Michigan commit, Brandon Peters was invited to the Army All American Game, per Steve Wiltfong.

  
The Army All American Game is composed of 75 of the top seniors in the country in partnership with Rivals.com and the United States Army. 

Peters has really risen in rankings thanks to a strong camp season and could very well end up being a 5* prospect by the time all things are said and done.

Peters has hopes of enrolling early.

CODY’S TAKE: STARTING XI- UTAH

13 more days…13 more long excruciating days…

After what has been a thrill ride of an offseason for Michigan fans everywhere, The Wolverines will finally kick off their 2015-2016 season on September 3rd, on the road against the Utah Utes. With Harbaugh and company still operating mostly in stealth mode to the media, the debates of depth progression and final starting roles have the internet going mad, and the rumors are spreading like wildfire.

In a new series here at BleedBlue called “Starting XI” each of the staff will analyze what we know, what new information has leaked out, and compile it into our starting predictions for the upcoming games of the season. Kyle released an awesome article earlier this week with his take against Utah, and now you’ll have mine! So without further delay, here are my predicted offensive starters against Utah. Cheers!

QB: Shane Morris

I’m taking Shane as the starter for the season opener. Why him over Rudock you ask? Well, I did an entire article on it earlier this week, but to make it short and sweet… Morris’ potential in my eyes, will outweigh Rudock’s almost 2 to 1. Shane has spent every practice with the bulk of the snaps prior to and after Rudock’s arrival and I think Harbaugh used the presence of Rudock to light a fire under the ass of Shane Morris. To me, it seems the coaching staff really sees something special with this kid. Shane has practiced as the starter all offseason, his grading in practices has been solid, he performed decent in the spring game and has shown the courage to be the captain of the ship thus far. With the presence of Harbaugh and Fisch in his ear, I have confidence that Shane could be a tremendous asset to this team. Michigan is not a roll over type of program and while we know Rudock can perform at a decent level, we also know Morris could perform at a great level. While I’ll take Morris to take the field as the starter for game one, I think it’s very plausible that we could and probably would still see some action from Rudock based on the performance of Morris through the first few possessions. Rudock didn’t come all the way from Iowa to sit on the bench.

RB: Ty Isaac

I have to go with my gut here. I like Green, I like Smith, but I just feel like Isaac will be the one touting the ball the majority this season, providing that he can stay healthy. Smith and Green have experience, but Isaac is the biggest option, a 6’3, 240 lb back that is built like a linebacker but can run the ball smoothly, with vision and with feet that stay moving. There is a lot of talent on the depth of this position so I see Smith, and Green getting the ball as well in complimentary roles throughout the season’s progression.

WR: Amara Darboh (X), Jehu Chesson (Z ), Brian Cole II (Slot)

Darboh has earned his spot, and should be no surprise as a standout receiver for the passing game. He makes the plays, and he’s got the seniority. From there, statistically Chesson seems to be the number two option and makes the most sense in my mind, with his main competition being Maurice Ways. Lastly, i’m taking Brian Cole edging out Freddy Canteen on the slot option. That is a tough call for me, but I like what I see out of Cole and I think he could be a monster as he progresses. There’s a reason he was so sought after, and I think Cole could show us why that is this season.

TE: Jake Butt

Easy peasy here, Jake Butt WILL start game 1. Down the field, sideline, wherever you need him, Butt is a standout option and will be a staple to this offense. I expect a lot of good things out of him this year, and you should too.

OL: Mason Cole (LT), Ben Braden (LG), Graham Glasgow (C), Kyle Kalis (RG), Erik Magnuson (RT)

The offensive line is one thing everyone on the inside has claimed has made a very solid improvement this off-season. With a Drevno/Harbaugh staff that has spent a ton of time over the shoulder of these guys day in and day out. I expect Glasgow to be the standout OL man. Cole will be the youngest of the bunch, but as Kyle said in his take, he could also be the best and help us solidify an O-Line to buy more time for the QB and RB’s that we haven’t been able to see out of our Wolverines in some time now.

As always, if you enjoyed this article or would like to discuss things with me, leave a comment below and follow me on twitter at @BleedBlue_CG

13 more days. #GoBlue

David Cutcliffe Speaks On Brandt Report

Back when Brady Hoke was fired, esteemed NFL writer, Gil Brandt, wrote on Twitter that Michigan offered its head coaching job to current Duke coach, David Cutcliffe and Cutcliffe turned down the job mentioning how,”The times have changed in college football.”

Amidst scrutiny and rage in the fan base, Michigan fans spoke out and highly disputed this to ever be the case to the extent where fans were blocked by Brandt, himself, on social media after the enraged backlash.

Today in Washington D.C, Cutcliffe brought his team to the Redskins game against the Lions to watch former OL and first round pick of the Lions, Laken Tomlinson.

When asked about the report from Brandt, Cutcliffe noted, “The university gauged back channel interest on me leaving and once I stated that I loved Duke and the University as a whole, it was just left at inquiries and nobody went further than that.”

He also added, “Inquiries don’t mean you have been offered a job, I have the best job in America.”

It is nice to put to rest, now, that Michigan never offered him the job, as Jim Harbaugh eventually was offered and agreed to become the team’s 20th football coach.

The full article from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press can be found here.

5* 2017 QB Tate Martell Set to Decide at 7pm

Arguably the top QB in the 2017 class, Tate Martell is set to decide tonight at 7 p.m and his choices are down to Michigan, Texas A&M, USC, Alabama and Washington.

If I was a betting man I would expect the choice to be USC or Texas A&M as A&M has a slight edge currently in the 247 Crystall Ball.

Martell mentioned Michigan in his Top 5 because of who else, but Jim Harbaugh.

He has mentioned in the past that Harbaugh is very appealing as a coach and he loves that he has such a strong NFL pedigree and feels that Harbaugh has the ability to get a QB to the NFL.

With Martell coming off the board, the presumed top target for QB for Michigan in 2017 is Dylan McCaffery.

Tony Butler Down to 3

For quite a long time it was presumed that Michigan would eventually flip CB Tony Butler from Pittsburgh.

 After he decommitted from Pitt, he took a visit to Ann Arbor and loved it, but a month later he has trimmed his list down to three schools, one of which is not Michigan.

Butler announced today per Bill Greene that he is down to Clemson, West Virginia, and Arizona State with a decision set for September.

It had been a belief by some that Butler never held a commitable offer from JH and staff.

It now appears all sights at the CB position are set on Penn State commit and Detroit MLK CB Lavert Hill.

For those of you that may not know, Lavert Hill is the younger brother of current Michigan safety, Delano Hill. He also recently visited for the BBQ and had glowing remarks about Michigan per Scout. 

We wish Tony Butler all the best in his college endeavors.