Monday, August 27, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 8/27/2012

Just wrapping up some loose ends here before the college football season starts...ON THURSDAY. I can hardly believe it either. 

Goodbye, offseason.

Captains. They are, as expected, Denard Robinson and Jordan Kovacs. As Michigan's most prominent senior warrior football poets, you can expect a lot about them in this space throughout the coming months.

Also, this goes without saying but I'll say it anyway: Jordan Kovacs is Rudy...if Rudy was actually good and had an NFL future. Seriously. The guy didn't make the team in 2008 due to a knee injury and then turned around and started in '09. The rest, as they say, is history. Competence is good. /Henne'd

Deciding time. This is just about the time when schools are announcing who their starter at QB will be going into the coming season. Some guys won by default, some after a long and arduous battle throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

The notable winners: Kiehl Frazier (Auburn), Josh Nunes (Stanford), Everret Golson (Notre Dame), David Ash (Texas), and Joe Southwick (Boise State), Marcus Mariota (Oregon). So, there you go. Arm yourselves with this arsenal of useless information (which I guess basically defines sports fandom as a whole, but whatever). Nunes and Southwick have the unenviable task of replacing Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore*, whereas the other three guys are trying to be better (Ash, Frazier) or better than the guy that started last year (Golson).

*Mariota has to replace a productive, successful college QB in Darron Thomas, but, as I mentioned in the Pac 12 preview, he's just the next cog in the Oregon offensive machine. At this point, I'm convinced that Chip Kelly could coach an orange with pencils for appendages to run for 100+ and pass for 250+ against your team.

Speaking of Golson. You've probably heard this already, but ND has suspended tailback Cierre Wood for a minimum of two games...that's not a good thing if your name is Everett Golson. The Irish start the season in Dublin (not the one in Ohio) against Navy. I'm not quite ready to sound the upset alert siren here, but a young QB without his top tailback, no Michael Floyd (plus, Theo Riddick is now a running back), doesn't sound like a promising thing for the ND offense. Whereas Rees managed to move the ball last season only to eventually turn it over, ND might find it difficult to move the ball at all with Golson.

Basically, you can expect approximately 842 passes thrown in Tyler Eifert's direction against Navy.

Meanwhile, in Knoxville. Also on the suspension front, Tennessee had suspended star wideout Da'Rick Rogers (he has since transferred to Tennessee Tech), which significantly puts a dent in my increasingly positive (for some reason) feelings about the Vols' 2012 team. This is a tough blow for Tennessee, especially after getting their other star receiver Justin Hunter back from injury (he missed most of the 2011 season).

From where I stand, Tennessee looks like a team with a solid but not spectacular defense that is moving to the 3-4 and an offense with a gunslinger of a QB and a not very established running game. Unless Bray is ultra-efficient--which is unlikely given that's he's going to be throwing it as if UT  had somehow relocated to the Pacific coast--then seven wins might be as far as UT can go in Dooley's third season. Is that enough? I'm honestly not sure.

Ah, there's the beef. So things had been progressing fairly normally this fall; that is, until some things about the defensive line started to leak out of fall camp. By this I am mostly referring to #76 Quinton Washington, former O-lineman, starting on the DL next to BWC.

If the Black-QW-BWC-Roh lineup is the one that gets rolled out to start, that pretty much confirms the sneaking suspicion that the coaches aren't that comfortable with Black's ability to hold up on the inside, even with the weight he's added (up to 276 from 260, as of this post). Either that, or they're attempting to compensate for Clark's suspension by slotting Black back at his original position (WDE), hopefully precluding the need to play Ojemudia at all against Alabama, which I think would mostly end in disaster. Washington is pretty big, and if there was a game to roll with QW and Campbell in the middle, it's against Alabama. Now, being big doesn't mean that you can hold up (see: "Will Campbell's first three seasons at Michigan"), but the coaching staff is in a bit of a bind. Sadly, these sorts of moves when you're about to face an offensive line like Alabama's is kind of like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Also. Devin Gardner: is the transformation to wideout complete? It certainly seems that way based on recent rumblings. Two things:

  • Whatever arcane magical rituals you've been performing in order to keep Denard healthy, DOUBLE DOWN on them right now and all the way through early January. No offense to Russell Bellomy, but if he is the QB2 in earnest, then 
  • At this point, however, I've come to terms with the fact that wide receiver might end up being Devin Gardner's calling. For whatever reason, his mechanics and overall QB "it having-ness" hasn't progressed as expected, and that's unfortunate but far from presages the end of the world or DG's career. We all know he can be an exceptional talent [insert that camp highlight tape where he does his best Marquise Walker impression here], but it's one thing to be a guy running out there for the occasional snap and being a starting guy. Either way, the coaches have done a great job generally keeping DG's role under wraps..I can guarantee that Saban is thinking about this. 
See, look: interesting football things to talk about. Football must be near. *Checks calendar* WOOOO!

More? Florida's 2012 QB situation is going to mirror 1998/99 Michigan's...if Brady and Henson were both not very good. Check the "ETC" section...Spencer with a zinger regarding UofM research and Greg Robinson. 

Lake The Post agrees with me, putting Michigan at #11 to start. 

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