Turel Scouts the Northwestern Defense

It's a totally different story on the defensive side of the ball for Northwestern. It may not be as bad as the stats show (they give up 495 yards per game) … the defense has some things going for them, like leading the Big Ten in interceptions and turnover margin, but overall this is not a sound unit.

The Northwestern Defense


Defensive End
95 Kevin Mims 6-3, 250, Fr.
91 Mark Koehn 6-3, 260, So.

Defensive End
91 Mark Koehn 6-3, 260, So.
72 David Ngene 6-3, 270, So.

Defensive Tackle
67 Barry Cofield 6-4, 305, Sr.
92 Keegan Kennedy 6-3, 250, Fr.

Defensive Tackle
70 John Gill 6-3, 285, Fr.
53 Trevor Schultz 6-2, 285, Jr.

Will Linebacker
38 Nick Roach 6-2, 230, Jr.
40 Eddie Simpson 6-0, 220, So.

Sam Linebacker
43 Adam Kadela 6-2, 235, Jr.
37 Campbell Black 6-3, 225, Jr.

Middle Linebacker
41 Tim McGarigle 6-1, 235, Sr.
42 Demetrius Eaton 6-2, 235, Jr.
31 Mike Dinard 6-2, 230, Fr.

20 Marquice Cole 5-9, 185, Jr.
6 Cory Dious 5-9, 165, Jr.
34 Andre Butler 5-11, 180, Fr.

22 Deante Battle 5-10, 180, So.
6 Cory Dious 5-9, 165, Jr.

Strong Safety
25 Frederic Tarver 6-2, 215, Sr.
27 Reggie McPherson 6-1, 190, So.

Free Safety
24 Herschel Henderson 6-3, 195, Sr.
27 Reggie McPherson 6-1, 190, So.

Injury Report (OUT):
Defensive lineman Corey Wootton (neck)
Linebacker Chris Jeske (back)
Defensive back Bryan Heinz (undisclosed)

TEAM STATS: Michigan Offense vs. Northwestern Defense

Scoring Offense: Michigan 9th at 24.8 points per game
Scoring Defense: Northwestern 6th at 31.2 points per game

Total Offense: U-M 8th at 371.0 yards per game
Total Defense: NW 9th at 495.0 yards per game

Passing Offense: U-M 7th at 220.2 yards per game
Passing Defense: NW 10th at 316.5 yards per game

Rushing Offense: U-M 8th at 150.8 yards per game
Rushing Defense: NW 7th at 178.5 yards per game

3rd Down Conversions: U-M 9th at 34.7%
3rd Down Conversions Allowed: NW 7th at 43.9%

Red Zone Offense: U-M 6th at 78.9% (47.3% TD's)
Red Zone Defense: NW 1st at 63.6% (50% TD's)

1st Downs: U-M 6th with 19.4 per game
1st Downs Allowed: NW 9th with 26.5 allowed per game

Sacks Against: U-M 7th with 10 allowed in 5 games
Sacks by: NW has 3 in 4 games

Kickoff Returns: U-M 3rd at 23.9 yards per kickoff
Kickoff Returns Allowed: NW 11th at 33.2 yards per kickoff allowed

Misc. Team Stats:

Turnover Margin: NW 1st at +2 per game
Turnover Margin: U-M 5th at +.2 per game

Time of Possession: NW 4th at 31:09
Time of Possession: U-M 9th at 28:25


Totally different story on this side of the ball. It may not be as bad as the stats show; the defense has some things going for them but this is not a sound unit. The only player I'm impressed with up front is defensive tackle Barry Cofield. Cofield plays the inside gaps well, he's a big body who can be hard to move, and he can anchor against the run. Cofield is the only defensive lineman to record a sack as well (Trevor Schultz assisted on one). He has a future at the next level. Next to him will be John Gill who doesn't have much experience or Trevor Schultz from nearby Battle Creek Harper Creek (U-M recruit Rocky Weaver's school) has seen time as well. They are mixing it up across the front to find a good combination. Neither defensive end has recorded a sack or rushed the passer much at all. Kevin Mims lacks athleticism despite steadily improving his reads and technique. Mark Koehn isn't where he should be physically speaking and he hasn't rushed the passer all that consistently either. The defensive line in general hasn't impressed me a bit.

The linebackers are led by tackle machine Tim McGarigle who is 3rd in the conference in tackles, averaging 13.0 per game. McGarigle has an absolute knack for the ball, he reacts to action very well and he has decent range a middle linebacker. He's outstanding tackler and has all the intangibles. He's as fine a linebacker as the stats show. He has 88 tackles on the year (team high) and leads the team in tackles for loss (6.5) and sacks (2). Nick Roach is a decent player on the weakside. He has pretty good athletic ability, strength and tackling ability. I've been a bit surprised they haven't blitzed him as much but watch for him on the pass rush. Strongside linebacker Adam Kadela has a sack, which is like a trophy on this defense. Kadela has the skills to play each of the linebacker spots but I like his size and range at SAM linebacker. This is a decent unit for the Wildcats.

The secondary is sporadic. They are one of the worst pass defenses in the nation but the defensive backs have picked off 10 passes, the most in the conference. The Wildcats give up an average of 315 yards through the air at a 59% completion percentage. Marquice Cole is developing as a cornerback. He is very, very fast but his problems stem from route recognition and overall feel for the position. He's improving in those areas but he won't be special until he fully develops those instincts. On the other side Deante Battle is pretty much the same story: an athletic, undersized player who just needs to prevent mental errors. Herschel Henderson is coming off Defensive Player of the Week honors after picking off two Drew Stanton passes, not surprising considering he's more of a range player than a guy who can support the run. Frederic Tarver has improved his instincts and is now starting his senior year. He's not a great player but he's playing decent football as of late.


Well the kicking game isn't that special. Joel Howells is pretty decent inside 40, he's 6 of 7 inside it but 2 for 8 past 40 yards. His longest is 46 yards and he hasn't made a field goal in two weeks. The kickoff-defense team is also dead last in the Big Ten, averaging only 36 net yards a kickoff and only eight touchbacks. They also have had a touchdown against them on a kickoff. Punter Ryan Pederson is averaging 39.9 yards a punt but only has put five of his 28 punts inside the 20. On the other hand, the punt return unit is electric with Marquice Cole in there. He's averaging 27 yards a return (eight returns thus far) and he's taken an 81 yarder for a touchdown. The kick return unit is solid with Gerard Hamlett; he's averaging 24.5 yards a return, and he's busted an 81 yarder.

Note: since the game isn't until 7 PM EDT tomorrow night, we will wait and print Josh's last word and game prediction, and Michael Taylor's last word as well, tomorrow morning.

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