So, since watching recruiting has literally been like watching paint dry the past week or so, I figured that now would be the best time to reach out to my homies in Ann Arbor and get the lowdown on how the team is progressing this summer. As I have stated before, summer was not an area where Michigan teams have shined in the past. The last 2 summers under RichRod were very underwhelming when it came to star player attendance
Tate Forcier and others. In addition, 2004-2007 summers left a tad to be desired . . especially for teams on the cusp of greatness like those group were.
But, here is the good news: All seems to be well in AA these days and the Michigan team under Hoke is taking an “us against the world attitude” in preparing to unleash hell this fall.
My first article on Michigan football rumors
Rumor: Al Borges is planning to run a hybrid pro-style/spread-option offense this fall. I spoke to a pal that is friendly with a number of players on the U-M team regarding the usage of Denard and Devin under coach Al Borges this season and beyond. The message back is that we will not see Denard under center as much as many people have predicted.
The goal for the Michigan offense, this season, is to not reinvent the wheel. The coaches have see when Denard can do in the open field and plan to call plays that exploit his abilities. The sources was able to get a glimpse in the the off season training and playbook that the coaches gave to the QB’s and WR and the contents look more like Oklahoma under Stoops and less like a traditional pro-style.
The game plan for now is:
* At least 1/2 of the snaps out of shotgun
* Use Denard ISO running plays to set up the run foward and throw play that we all love from last year (its here to stay and look for a boatload of schools to copycat that play this year) – as seen in ND, Purdue etc games
* Misdirection. The 1997 Griese waggle is a play that Denard is working on extensively this summer. First, he is practicing the sell on his fake hand offs, which clearly needed to improve. The way this play will differ from what Michigan fans have seen in the past is that Denard will come off the fake rolling right with three options: Hit Koger dragging left to right, hit Odoms/Roundtree on a quick out or take off. Look for a lineman to pull to the right after the fake to block for ‘Lace and prevent against teams overloading the right side.
* Throw the deep ball. Denard is working daily with receivers to improve his deep ball. Borges made it clear to him that he must improve he abilities to hit a man down the sidelines. Word right now is that he is improving, but still not great.
* Bring in the Harbaugh stack running play. Another play that many schools, including Michigan, will be running this fall is the play Stanford made famous in the Orange Bowl vs. VTech – bringing in 7-8 o-lineman and the big body TE/Rb’s. Michigan has 3+ plays ready for this fall that bring in 7 O-lineman, 2 tight ends, and a big back (Rawls or Hopkins). Not only will this beat down defenses in running plays, Koger and the Michigan TE’s will pose a significant threat for a deep ball when the teams stack the box on this. Borges is going to send the QB this play with the option to run or pass based on what the defense is showing.
* Find a starting RB and stick with him. Someone will win the job, maybe by default, in out of conference games. By big ten season, you will see one back getting 15-20 carries a games and the remainder of the ‘backs sharing 12-15 carries a game.
* Option. Not the spread option as we have seen, but some of the Tommie Frazier Nebraska option. This will not be a large part of the playbook, but look to see Michigan run some old-school veer 2-3 times each game. Vincent Smith is working with the QB’s to fill the role as RB on these plays. Early reports is that these guys are in sync and this wrinkle will lead to big gains.
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Rumor: Several of the slot receivers will be asked to move positions this fall. We all know the likely candidates: Terrence Robinson, Jeremy Gallon and Kelvin Grady. CB and RB look like the likely landing spots for these guys if they choose to switch. If not, playing time doesn’t look to be very plentiful. Just my opinion, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see a transfer from the WR position group prior to the season.
Rumor: Drew Dileo, a name that many thought would be a career backup/returner, has been turning heads, Dileo is said to have a world class work ethic and has been a go-to player for the QB’s in off-season workouts. One person I know who got access to a couple informal players-only 7 on 7′s said Dileo was the best player on the field for long stretches. The thing that separates him is his incredible route running and that he never drops a ball. Know this: Michigan QB’s lost confidence in Roundtree down the stretch last season and have seen how Dileo’s glue-hands can keep drives alive. It sounds like Dileo will see A LOT of playing time this season.
Rumor: Darryl Stonum to be suspended for 4 games and then be evaluated by the coaches. Stonum has made it clear to teammates and coaches that he knows he messed up, but still wants to be part of the rebirth in Ann Arbor. The coaches have also privately discussed suspending him for the year and allowing him to come back in 2012 as a 5th year senior with a 1-2 game suspension. The final decision hasn’t been made, but at minimum he will not be in the lineup on 9/3/11.
Rumor: Players are getting JACKED up in the weight room. The problem with Mike Barwis’ methods is that he didn’t prep guys to take on a 335lb Wisconsin o-lineman. The prior training regimen was all based on being lean and fast. The new S&C staff has brought back the beef. Some players that have seen noticeable gains: Courtney Avery, Jibreel Black, Will Campbell, Craig Roh, Taylor Lewsn and Mike Jones. No more Mr. Nice Guys.
Rumor: Tom Brady plans to come back for a game this fall and stand on the sideline. Former players are using the RichRod debacle as an excuse to re-energize their live for M. Players like Aaron Shea are leading the way for Michigan games to be a player reunion every Saturday. There was some bad luck on schedules in 2011, with Michigan and the Pats having a bye the same weekend, but that won’t stop Tom. Look for Brady to pop into Ann Arbor for the Nebraska game since New England has a home game on MNF that week and it won’t interfere with his game prep.