Q: Very difficult balancing act by the basketball coaches with a number of very-highly touted prospects having U-M in serious contention for their services, but also a limited number of available slots and some of the higher ranked ones deciding later in the game...how do the coaches handle it from here and do you really think they'd freeze out someone like Leaf/Thornton/Winston if someone else wants that spot first? Admittedly it also makes me uncomfortable that our scholarship projections for years going forth are built upon LeVert/Walton/Irvin, even some incoming freshmen, only being in the program for 2 years...what if they want to stay?
A: First of all, I wouldn’t say the scholarship projections are built on players only staying two years. Caris LeVert is a first round pick in the 2015 NBA draft, assuming he’s healthy and follows last year up with a strong junior season, LeVert will very likely be leaving Ann Arbor. With Walton and Irvin, we’ll find out moving forward but I expect both to be around for three years plus. As far as how that effects Michigan’s current recruiting and the scholarship breakdown, Max Bielfeldt won’t be back for a fifth year, Spike Albrecht will graduate after four years as well. Right now it looks like Ricky Doyle and Mark Donnal are four-year players too. Beyond that, there isn’t a plan for Kameron Chatman, Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, time will just tell. How this effects recruiting? The fact that these kids are waiting longer to make decisions actually helps Michigan because every spring they’re wondering who’s going to the NBA and who isn’t anyway. At this point, it doesn’t look like Michigan would have to slow play anyone, especially since it looks like they’ll only take one or zero 2015 prospects.
Q: Do you think this mid-camp open scrimmage will become an annual event? And will the new autonomy given to the conferences and schools give Michigan an opportunity to possibly scrimmage schools from other FBS conference or FCS schools in the future?
A: Just from a professional standpoint and attempting to do as good and thorough job as possible, I certainly hope the scrimmage is an annual event! I thought it allowed us to be even more insightful with just two weeks left until the first game. The way major college football is trending right now, engaging the fans and giving them value or unique opportunities lets me know this could be something that’s done every year. This is the 21st century, several other schools are very open with practices and scrimmages so why not? I think eventually we do see a situation where teams are allowed to scrimmage someone in the preseason. When? That remains unclear.
Q: Ok there has been a lot of information and hard to follow info regarding the starting OL. We heard that Miller is neck and neck with Kugler but a head of Glasgow (not at the same time). We also heard Hoke say Kalis is the starter when he is healthy. Pretty confusing. Who is the starter Game 1 on the OL? Who starts against ND?
The information been put out there was that Peppers the first 2 weeks of camp was exclusively at nickel. We then heard that they were starting to give Peppers a look at CB. Is it really possible that Peppers took over the starting CB in 3 days of practice?
A: Right here, right now, my guess for the starters on the offensive line against Appalachian State are as follows: Cole, Magnuson, Miller, Kalis, Braden. Against Notre Dame and following Glasgow’s suspension (assuming each perform well in the first game): Cole, Magnuson, Glasgow, Kalis, Braden.
Part two of that question, one thing to remember is Peppers was working out at cornerback with his team all summer so the transition from the nickel back to cornerback specifically isn’t as much of a learning curve as it may seem. Peppers is clearly one of the two best corners Michigan has and yes I do believe, over that first week, that was made clear with his play.
Q: 1. Where do Hoke and company hope that Graham Glasgow plays? and 2. Where do you think Graham Glasgow ends up playing?
A: 1. My take is that Michigan would like to play Glasgow anywhere else but center. Glasgow could fill a hole at right tackle assuming Kyle Kalis is strong enough at right guard so if Jack Miller or Pat Kugler can lock down the job at center, that’s what I think the coaches might like best. 2. I believe Glasgow will be at center.
Q: Given the competition for playing time between young DB's, RB's, WR's, and OL, do you think the coaches fear that those who 'lose' the competition might be hard to motivate?
A: I was actually thinking about this earlier this week. If I were a high school prospect that was very talented but not necessarily one of those elite types, I’d head to a smaller school in order to ensure (or give a better chance to) a major role throughout my four years. There’s a lot of tremendous athletes that are never allowed to showcase their skill because they get lost on a depth chart somewhere. For me, if I was going to put my body through all of that hard work for years I’m certainly going to make sure I get something out of it aside from a degree. Anyway, when you go to a place like Michigan you know there’s going to be competition. If the coaching staff is being honest and the proof is in production and all film based, the players behind on the depth chart can’t necessarily complain, only work harder. While in high school these kids egos are built up quite a bit, as soon as they arrive on campus, at least most of them, a humbling process takes place and makes kids more patient than most might understand.
Q: Where do you see this defense ranking nationally? Top 10? Top 20? Top 50?
A: Hard to say because I’m not in practices at Michigan nor allowed into practices of some of the top defenses in the country. I think right now it’s reasonable to believe Michigan will be capable of putting together a top 50 defense. For me, in order for Michigan to move into that top 20 range, the offense will need to develop a running game and be able to manage the clock better. Either way, I think there is more depth defensively and a lot of young talent ready to break out.
Q: Attempting to view into the looking glass as best you can, what do you think Michigan does similar and/or differently this year to come out with a victory at both Spartan and Ohio stadiums?
A: Well for starters, I picked Michigan to lose to Michigan State once again and picked Michigan to beat Ohio State. In order to keep the game close with the Spartans and possibly even win, the short, quick passing game will be key and Michigan will need to hit a few big plays down the field to back the defense off a bit. The running game would certainly help and by mid-season you would expect that could help as well but Michigan State is my pick to win the Big Ten again. As for Ohio State, clearly their defense is susceptible to a strong passing attack with several off balance plays. The reason I think Michigan beats Ohio State this year is because they’re replacing four starters along the offensive line and Michigan’s defensive line could be very good by the end of the season. Also, if a 7-6 Michigan team lost by one point to a 12-2 Ohio State team a year ago, I’d assume they’d have a good chance at beating them this season.
Q: Do you think we get a 1K rusher this year? If so, who?
A: Personally I just can’t envision a scenario in which Michigan has a 1,000-yard rusher this season. This is based on what I saw out of the offense line in Saturday’s scrimmage. Again, it could’ve been a bad night; the defense could’ve just gotten the best of the offense over that two-hour span. But from what I saw, that offensive line is a long way from being good enough to the point where a Derrick Green or De’Veon Smith or anyone can accumulate that many yards.
Q: Maybe more a question for Trieu, but do you see Josh Alabi sticking with OSU? Or, more candidly, OSU sticking with him? I could see them trying to find a soft landing for him elsewhere, now that we have Weber.
A: I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ohio State coaching staff cooled on Alabi moving forward but at the same time their staff has made it a huge point to recruit Detroit and compete for kids in the state of Michigan so to get one that was as wanted as Alabi makes me think they’ll stick with him and hope it leads to others in the future too.
Q: If you had to name one (and one only)...big name national basketball recruit that will sign with Michigan.....what player would you name?
A: Derryck Thornton Jr.
Q: Assuming a healthy Countess, what do you think the secondary looks like for ND?
A: Countess is a backup at this point. Your secondary looks like what it did in Saturday’s scrimmage with Jabrill Peppers and Jourdan Lewis at corner, Jarrod Wilson and Jeremy Clark at safety. That could obviously change based on the final practices and first game.
Q: Lots of information coming out of camp, but nothing about the initial impressions of our young linebackers (who will most likely redshirt). Was very excited about Ferns, Furbush, Winovich, and company, but haven't heard much, any information?
A: Given Michigan’s depth at linebacker right now it’s not surprising you or we haven’t heard much else. Winovich needs to add a lot of weight, Ferns has a chance on special teams and I believe Furbush is a perfect redshirt candidate. Really, if Michigan can afford to redshirt all of them it’s not a bad thing given the solid two deep.
Q: Is D Hill the answer at one of the safety spots and when do we expect him back at full speed?
A: I’m still intrigued to find out what happens with Delano Hill. Missing significant time in camp should hurt but with his physicality and speed I expect Hill to be a contributor down the line and depending on how Clark performs at safety, he’ll get some reps at that other safety spot
Q: With Hatch playing in Italy, does that mean he will not receive a medical?
A: As you can imagine this is a very sensitive subject right now for the basketball program and specifically John Beilein. My feeling on this is as follows: I believe Austin Hatch will be on Michigan’s active roster and play this entire season for Michigan. The goal from the beginning has been for Hatch to get to Michigan, go to school and play for the basketball team. I think Hatch will be an incredible inspiration and a crowd favorite as he has the opportunity to enter games late this upcoming season. Beyond that, I would expect him to become a medical candidate but still be a part of the program in a major capacity.
Q: Considering the night scrimmage play, do you see any possibility of Kugler starting at center for the first game?
A: I really thought Kugler did a nice job Saturday night. Assuming he has a full understanding of the offense and checks at the line I think Kugler is still very much in the mix because I don’t believe Jack Miller stood out enough to undoubtedly be the guy at center. On a couple of occasions Kugler was pushed back but for the most part Shane Morris had plenty of time and Kugler was able to get some push up front. This one is interesting to watch.