Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Wolverine Wednesday: Time to Talk Michigan's Defense

If Michigan is going to make a turnaround this season, it has to be with a very strong defense.   Under Don Brown the defense got so predictable every team that parked at Michigan Stadium knew how to beat it.  Michigan's offense will be better with a healthy offensive line and a stable of great RB's, but they're not built for shoot outs.  

So lets take a look at each position and a give them a Pre-Season grade:

Michigan is expected to have multiple looks on defense but should be in a base 3-4. 


Starters: Smith, Jeter, and Hinton

First in: Transfer Whittley,  Welschof, and Speight 

Preseason Grade B-   Plenty of upside here but hasn't had a ton of success to date.  The freshman are most likely going to redshirt but may need to play if there're  injuries.  

Inside LB

Starters: Ross and Hill-Green 

First in: Colson, Barrett, Solomon 

Preseason grade B+ - This unit needs to stay healthy and be impactful.  Has talent and the biggest ceiling. 

Outside LB

Starters: Hutchinson and Ojabo

First in: Upshaw, Morris, McGregor 

Preseason grade A-   Hutch is an All American and high NFL prospect, he and Dax are the superstars on defense.  This unit needs to be elite if Ojabo is ready.  Look out for McGregor. 


Starters: Hill and Hawkins 

First in:  Paige and Moten 

Preseason Grade B+  Hill can be a superstar and will probably will play nickel and some CB, Hawkins has been in Ann Arbor for 15 years and had a poor 2020.   Time for experience to kick in and be better. 


Starters: Green and Gray/Turner 

First in: Perry and Seldon 

Preseason Grade: C-   This unit was awful in 2020 and needs big improvement if this defense is going to stop teams.   Their best friends are going to be a consistent pass rush from DL and OLB's.   Jimmy said that Green, Gray, and Turner are the starters.   Lets hope the new scheme helps protect this group some. 

Vincent Gray thinks there are some major changes on defense:

“It’s night and day, for real,” Gray said on Tuesday night after practice. “I feel like this defense allows us to create more plays and create more plays on the ball. And that’s gonna be good for us going forward this year.

He later continued: “I’m very excited to show that I can do more than just stand in front of a guy, press him and run around with a guy. We learned a lot this offseason conceptually and it’s gonna show on Saturdays.”

“It’s more than just lining up and studying a guy’s release and just chasing one guy around the field,” Gray said. “I learned a lot about route concepts, offenses schematically, formations, what are they looking for certain down and distances, and certain areas of the field that they’re targeting. Just learning how to play different positions on the field.”

“I played zero coverage my whole life, so coming from high school to college, originally, was the same,” Gray said. “The exact same – I didn’t really learn much new. But over this offseason, being around Coach Macdonald and Coach Clink – and even Coach Mo in the spring – we just learned so much more about what the offenses would bring to us.”


Chowman said...

Doesn't bode well. Any time you're changing defensive schemes there are bound to be issues, but switching to a 3-4 it'll be exacerbated. Very few if any of the players on the roster were recruited to play a 3-4 defense. Now some might be versatile enough to make the transition, but how many? A handful? It could be ugly!

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