Michigan Football Primary Offensive Personnel Grades – Bowling Green Game

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Posted on 29th September 2010 by Ben Krasner in Sports Commentary | University of Michigan Sports

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Just went slo-mo through the BG game to put a coach’s eye on everyone to see where we were great, good and not so good on Saturday. Here’s what I saw from Saturday’s primary offensive lineup.

The Great/Good:

Denard – obvious, of course.  The accuracy of his throwing continued to be impressive, especially because of the amount of it that happens on the run.  The running is impressive as always.  And the tough part about telling him to go out of bounds more often… the second touchdown run (47 yarder) would not have happened by ‘playing smart’.  The last thing you want the defense to be able to do is just funnel him to the sideline so he feels compelled to shuffle out of bounds.  It’s just going to have to be a balancing act and he’s going to have to pick his poison while remaining tough.  The reality is he’s taken (and will take in the future) bigger hits both in bounds and out of bounds than the one where he got injured falling out of bounds with a player around his legs.  The key to keeping him healthy is letting the running backs take most of the hits and DR taking a couple of plays out of bounds if he has to (which he DID do against BG – by the way).   Grade: A

Omameh – Lots of good two-level action from Omameh.  He’s best when he’s on the move, not when there’s a single, heads-up assignment that he needs to move down field.  Was better and better as the day progressed.  Pancakes started to pile up in the 3rd quarter.  Mostly low and strong… Seemed to have the least problems with BG’s D-line. Grade: A-

Roundtree – deceptively good routes albeit some of them are shallower than one would like – I attribute this solely to speed – timing is more important than speed in the big picture, but with more speed would come more passing combination flexibility and pressure on the opposing DBs.  Tough to tackle, too.  Wiggly, wormy guy with great hands.  As dangerous as you can be while lacking speed.  Snatches the ball well.  Grade: A-

McClogan – some good iso blocking and gotta love the TD catch on the play action roll-out.  Missed one blocking opportunity on a lead at the goal line by taking a false step and seemingly hesitating which allowed BG to string out the play and force both he and Smith out wider than originally designed.  Also had 3 tackles on special teams.  Doesn’t get a lot of snaps but made a heck of a lot out of what he got today.    Grade: A-

Shaw – first off, this guy’s blocking has to be acknowledged.  Whether it’s a lead block, a kickout, a helper or in pass pro, this kid did a great job.  His running game is tougher than Smith’s but he is more hesitant and less opportunistic than smith. Too many hops and skips and adjustments. He seems to be a cerebral runner and his feet follow that as well.  But when he just gets after it and runs hard he looks very, very dangerous and much tougher to bring down.  Overall he ran well, but blocked even better. Grade: B+

Lewan – Lewan is often the quickest guy off the line.  I counted three plays where he left ahead of the snap and did not get called on any.  Lewan just wants to hit people.  Sometimes he’s too eager, it seems, and doesn’t let the combo block between he and schilling develop enough – that’s where one of the chop block penalties came from.  He is one guy who you can count on to move the man across from him, down the field.  Couple of missed assignments – but not much in the negative department.  Just things he can probably get better at (footwork, pad level and working within the combo blocks/ scheme).  End of the 3rd quarter and into the 4th, Lewan was becoming dominant and mentioned, in his interview with me after the game, that he saw the other guys sucking wind big time.  With improvement, Lewan will start to dominate even when his opponents are fresh. Grade: B+

Webb – the more punishing of the TE blocking combo, rarely misses a block.  If and when he does, he quickly tries to make up for it.  On Denard’s 47 yarder, he missed his first block completely but headed down field and made a couple of nice blocks to make up for his miss.  It’s actually enjoyable for me to watch him block.  Grade: B+

Odoms – again, excellent blocking.  Good routes, good hands.  That ‘illegal block below the waist’ was flat ridiculous.  I have no idea what BG’s coach was screaming about whatsoever during that play.  Lewan went low on a guy, I’m assuming it was something along those lines.  Would like him to be utilized a bit more but didn’t seem to get open like Roundtree did, at least not on the shorter routes and on the outside. Grade: B

Grady – very quick and very sly.  He’s the guy the defense has to try not to forget about.  Leaving him in single coverage situations or loose in underneath routes is a major mistake.  Few opportunities but did well.  Grade: B

Koger – The other part of a straight up deadly blocking combo.  You can count on Koger to get out into space and take a guy out of the play.  When he lined up tight, on the line, he’s just not as good.  Fortunately he spent most of the game in the twin H-back look with Webb and did well out of it.  Grade: B

Smith – This was the toughest running Smith has done since he came to Michigan and it was nice to see.  Arm tackles were broken more often.  He even lowered the gear and tried to run over a tackler (didn’t work, but good to see the ol’ college try).  His opportunities came with traffic and he generally did something with them.  Coming off knee surgery, hopefully this is a sign his getting stronger and more confident in his running into and through people.  Grade: B-

The “pretty good but probably would admit they could play better”:

Molk – Regardless of the illegal hit on a defenseless player (which the TV never did show but that I remember was correctly called from the game) Molk also struggled some with BG’s front.  BG was giving a lot of jab steps for false movement which was throwing off the timing of our linemen a bit and this seemed to cause Molk to be reaching and out of sync on his blocks a lot.  Getting driven back into the backfield on the play where Hopkins fumbled was probably his ugliest.  Credit BG for the strategy and also for working to get into Molk’s pads when he did look to make contact – something he probably always will struggle with.  Couple of low snaps from Molk during the game time that mattered, also.  Grade: B-

Dorrestein – PD can more than hold his own at RT.  If he struggled anywhere it was getting out on the BG backers and especially so when he was on the back-side of the play and he definitely did struggle there.  His assignments made a number of plays – albeit 6-8 yards down the field, not in the backfield.  He’s also not going to overpower a lot of people and that showed up today, even against an undersized front.  But he plays well within the scheme and did especially well on the play-side today.  Grade: B-

Gallon – Looks good with the ball in his hands and I think we’ll see more of just that.  Looks like he has quite a ways to go when he does not have the ball (routes, blocking, attentive to the play, and of course… punt returning (if you’re going to let the punt drop, get away from it… and get well away from it.  Don’t follow it over to the sideline where it and BG players are).  Caught another punt on the 4 while running towards the goal line and then turned to the sideline and got tripped and went out at the 11.  Grade: C+

Stonum – wasn’t featured much today, so I don’t really want to put him down here.  As always, seems to run routes pretty well when he knows there’s a pretty good chance of the ball heading his way.  Other times he just disappears.  Caught him ending his block while the play was still going too often to keep him in the “good” ones.  We kept things pretty vanilla today and I think he knew that.  Still wish he would just play ball every snap.   Grade: C

Those Who Struggled:

Schilling – Actually… a lot of this should be credit to #91 on BG – Chris Jones.  Jones was a full time starter as a freshman last year and resumes his work this year.  Schilling had a tough time with Jones all day.  Jones actually controlled Schilling, didn’t give much ground and even tracked down several plays in the first half.  He was often too high, a step behind and simply kept at arms length a lot.  Jones also bothered Molk on a few plays, especially close to the goal line.  However, Schilling needs to be ready to play substantially better tackles than Jones in the future.  Grade: C-

Hopkins – he’s here because he was playing early and so was a primary player by that measure alone.  He’s a true freshman and had a true freshman type roller coaster ride with his most memorable play being the fumble.  He simply wasn’t ready to protect the football.  It’s not all on him – Molk was taken back into the backfield which started the whole mess – but a runner’s first responsibility is that ball and so… there you go.  Good on-field learning experience for him.  I also felt he sold himself short on a couple of runs where he went with a short gain rather than being patient and finding the alley.  This is pretty assuming on my part – it could easily be that the coaches have him running a certain way – but it seems clear it will come up in coaching and film review that he left yards on the field.  Grade: C-

Hemmingway – yikes.  Still has to get his season going after missing the early portion.  Missed the sure TD by getting distracted by the DB falling down, missed some blocks and didn’t hold some others.  He also doesn’t seem to have all his gas in the tank yet.  Lots of coaching points sent his way, this week, I’m sure.  Grade: C-

Nothing I saw from our primary lineup was worthy of a “D” and … heck… 721 yards while playing 3 different QBs.  Lots of good things on film.  I disagree with the ESPN talking heads, though, that we “dominated” with our offensive line (they were spewing this even in the first and second quarter).  That greatly undersells what I felt BG was able to do. Our runners found lanes, but I guarantee our coaches aren’t praising our guys for dominating BG’s front 4 except for very late in the game.