Another highly experienced Coach has replaced Coach Drevno as master of the OL. Ed Warinner, seems appreciated by a struggling offense line position group. They are understandably tired of fingers being pointed at them. He says his first job is to classify each player into his best OL position fit and then master that position. While injuries cause the need for multiple position players, players should get one position down first.
This may mean more instant confidence in knowing and doing their job. There are already some players that know multiple positions, but it looks like everybody will know their own position well. In a recent interview, Coach Warriner expressed confidence that the OL would be solid this year. I don’t know of a single Coach that would not express that, but I still found it a bit reassuring. Man sounds like he knows the job ahead of him, and how to attack it.
THE SHEA PATTERSON MICHIGAN STORY IS STILL TO BE WRITTEN, BUT IT IS IN PROGRESS NOW: Whether that story will be written in games played this year, or playing deferred to next year, the ‘Ole Miss transfer is practicing with the team this spring. Ole Miss has reported their opinion regarding the immediate eligibility of Shea to the NCAA by disapproving.
Shea feels he was not treated honestly by the now departed Ole Miss coaching regime of Hugh Freeze, regarding the status of Ole Miss after application of NCAA penalties last year. Shea’s contention is that he was misinformed by the staff of the extent applicability of the NCAA punishment. Ole Miss denied this. He has appealed to the NCAA for 2018 eligibility through his attorney.
While it would be unusual for the NCAA to grant this kind of exception to a non-graduate player wanting to transfer and play without sitting out a year, it seems to me it would be an equitable action in this case.
The Wolverines staff is expressing quiet optimism. We can only wait and see. In any case Shea is going to become a familiar and most welcome presence in Michigan Stadium, over his two years of remaining eligibility
The QB room is going to be filled with competitors, making the Wolverines’ offensive future brighter. We should be careful not to anoint Shea too soon, although all indications are that he is Number One now. At Michigan, he has a more complex system to master then at Ole Miss, and there could a leap by the QBs competing. Besides Shea, Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffery and Freshman Joe Milton are in the mix. All will give their best in the battle.
New Michigan Coach Sherrone Moore has a large position group of 15 to fill his TE room. Lately at Central Michigan in a similar capacity, he was very much appreciated there. He has never had as large and talented group to mold elsewhere, but coaching talented tight ends is not a new experience for him. He has coached some remarkable tight ends. Now Zack Gentry and Sean McKeon are his to educate and guide. They were the top receivers on the team this year. Nick Eubanks will compete, but Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. is dinged.
The running backs will be led by the big three. Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, and Kareem Walker (if he can get it going), are the top three. Freshman Hassan Hankins, and Christian Turner will have to claw their way into playing time. It will help them if they can pass block.
THIS DEFENSE NEVER RESTS: Last year’s defense lost many talented players and was very young. How could Don Brown fill the defensive slots effectively with so many inexperienced players was the question last year. That is not a problem this year. While Mo Hurst loomed large in Michigan’s 2017 defense, and Mike McCray was a solid player, the horses to replace them appear to be on the roster.
The defense this year should continue as the best of the three phases of Michigan Football. This year they return the entire starting defensive unit with the exception of DT Mo Hurst. and LB Mike McCray, who has exhausted his eligibility.
It may be understatement to say that the defense has not exhausted their capability to field the personnel needed to be one of the nation’s finest defenses again this season. They remain a study in Brown as Don remains the molder and mentor of stellar defense. He will tweak it to his satisfation.
Also, nobody builds a defensive line like Greg Mattison. Bryan Mone is in shape to be a force this year. Appears to be in better shape this year, and he is honing concentration. Lawrence Marshall, now a Senior, is a well-developed pass rusher. Aubrey Soloman showed continuing ability to draw attention at the nose.
DE Rashan Gary, may be primed for his best year. Paired with Chase Winovich at the other defensive end, they ought to present a very effective, maybe great, pass rush.
Good depth, that is healthy, more experienced, and hopefully better conditioned is present. For example, promising DL Donovan Jeter is back on the field, having recovered from last season’s injury, and some say he is having a great spring. Phillip Paea is there, and also doing well. There are others also.
The Line Backer corps ought to be outstanding under the tutelage of new Coach Al Washington. Viper Kaleke Hudson, and Devin Bush, Jr. give him two extraordinary talents with which to work. There is only Mike McCray to replace in the line backing corps. Jordan Anthony, Devin Gil, and Josh Ross are among the contenders.I have heard good words about both Ross and Gil this year
Last year the Corner Back positions were assumed to be the defensive weak link. Instead it was a significant strength. For example, they ended up 4th in the nation at pass efficiency. The corner backs, David Long and Lavert Hill were great. And if uninjured, should be even better his year. Lavert Hill has a hard to define nagging injury currently. That is giving Ambry Thomas, who excelled at Special Teams last year with occasional shots at DB, a chance to show his wares at CB now. Ben Ste Juste has been remarkable at times but has been injured. Jaylan Kelly-Powell is doing well. They will likely all help somewhere in the defensive backfield this season.
Safety was manned by Josh Metellus and Tyree Kinnel. They did not earn the 2017 accolades of the corners, but they were not always bad, if sometimes inconsistent. With another year under their belts they should improve this season. Some of the group above may be able to strengthen the position, and a Utah Grad Transfer, Casey Hughes, might help shore up Safety play.
THIS FOURTH YEAR IS A BIG ONE FOR COACH HARBAUGH: He has been more enthused again, as in the two years prior to last year. He has changed some of his tactics interfacing the players, changed some coaching personnel, among other things. I am hopeful that his offensive scheme will be modernized, but that probably depends a lot on which quarterback is available to win the position.
I believe the Wolverines will trend up this season, and that’s no Kool Ade. The Wolverines need to get into the Big Ten Championship game, and advance. It won’t be easy, but the game never is. It is the time for success.