Friday, December 3, 2010

On Dee Hart and other random thoughts

So Twitter was abuzz last night about the probably decommit of running back Demetrius Hart. Hart was a big pull for Michigan, despite his status as a heavy Michigan lean for his entire recruiting process. He was a high four-star, near five-star running back that seemed prefect for Michigan's attack. On Hart's potential, MGoBlog writes:
Hart's talent may be too much to keep off the field. He will probably get shuffled in during his true freshman year, become a big part of the rotation as a sophomore, and then have the opportunity to star as a junior and senior. As with Steve Slaton before him, Hart could become a Heisman contender before leaving Rich Rodriguez's program.
That's not-so-subtle praise from a source that doesn't joke around with these things. Hart is a wonderful player who seems to fit the mold for Rodriguez's system. Excitement was warranted.

With his decommit, however, I don't think anyone needs to panic. Plainly put, one or two players like Hart come along every year. This is not a Devin Gardner/Terrelle Pryor situation, where you have an incredible and elusive combination of raw talent and amazing physical attributes. The presence of Hart in Michigan's backfield would be a wonderful addition, but not something that will make Michigan a substantially better team.

If the offense merely holds serve next year, Michigan will be fine. Let's not forget that what's holding this team back is its defense. With expected improvements on that side of the ball next year, the loss of Hart will seem like an afterthought. Not to mention that Michigan's stable of running backs was largely injured this year. A healthier crew would probably force Hart into a supporting role at best. And, mark my words, there will be another player like Hart next year that Michigan will have a chance with, though maybe not quite as strong.

Speaking of depth charts and injuries...
Troy Woolfolk. I had a chance to sit down and discuss Michigan's defensive depth chart for next year, and things look practically, well, decent. Woolfolk's return next year could turn this secondary into an average or slightly above average unit. Upon his return, Woolfolk could end up either at free safety or cornerback, but given the depth chart, chances are he'll be a safety. Michigan's secondary would then approximately look like:

StarterJT FloydTroy WoolfolkCourtney Avery
2nd StringTerrence TalbottCullen ChristianDallas Crawford
3rd StringDelonte HollowellRay VinopalGreg Brown

This assumes a few things. First, that Courtney Avery will be in the starting lineup next year. He's shown marked improvement this year and looks poised to become a decent-to-good Big Ten cornerback. Unless we see drastic improvement from one of the other freshmen corners over the offseason, I think Avery is solidifying himself as the starter opposite Floyd.

This also assumes that Vinopal doesn't show significant improvement. I'm actually pretty high on Vinopal, despite the fact that he's a tiny freshman. I think he's got a lot more speed than people realize and appears to have a good nose for the ball. But given the depth chart as it is, I feel like Woolfolk would be better used as a safety, adding more depth to that position. Also, it seems like Christian will move to the free safety position with the influx of cornerbacks in the 2011 recruiting class, his inability to see the field, and his size making him look more like a safety than corner.

But when Michigan's recruiting class is finally complete and we approach next season, we'll all know more about this. Regardless, your starters next year in the secondary project to be a redshirt junior, fifth year senior, and true sophomore with playing experience. It's still a wildly young secondary, but it's getting to the point where the starters have some experience and the backups are either talented or have experience of their own, unlike this year.

Starting next week, I should be back to a regular posting schedule. I may take a peek back at the Ohio State game and see what we can glean. Plus we'll know our bowl opponent that we can discuss.


Jeff said...

thanks for talking me off the ledge last night via twitter.

also, agree on woolfolk to FS. i like vinopal too and sort of see him taking over kovacs role in a few years. and not just because they are both white. well, maybe.

Anonymous said...

Next year we'll be 8-4, maybe 9-3 primarily because we have a ridiculously easy schedule (I think we're playing against 6 schools for the blind to start the season), and we have Nebraska and Ohio at home (we'll still lose those games though). That will give the powers that be just enough impetus to re-sign RichRod only to discover that the following season we'll go 7-5 and drop to 6-6 by 2013... We're never going to improve unless we get new coaching...

Chris Gaerig said...

I was thinking about records, RR, etc. earlier today. If Brandon keeps RR for another year (and I think he will), a loss to OSU, regardless of the team's record, might be the final nail in his coffin.

Harbaugh won't be at Standford much longer, and he'll either be in the NFL or Ann Arbor. Keeping RR this year means 2011 is all or nothing. Because I can understand Harbaugh staying in Stanford for one more year before deciding to go elsewhere (assuming his #1 choice is Michigan), but not two.

So calm your fears, the cards are stacked against RR.

Chris Gaerig said...

Jeff, I totally understand the sentiment last night. Hart is a big time recruit and getting him would be a big deal. But Michigan is pretty stocked at running back and Hart doesn't appear to be a once-in-a-decade player, just another good running back.

Anonymous said...

JT Floyd is a wonderful kid but he is not good at football. I can't get the Penn State game out of my head. That is JT Floyd for you. If he is a starting CB next year that means the secondary is still terrible.

I'd prefer Woolfolk and Avery at CB. Vinopal at FS.

Chris Gaerig said...

Floyd is still only a redshirt sophomore. He's functional now and could very easily improve in the coming years.

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