So what should we call Avery's position? We've got some suggestions. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Ever since Rich Rodriguez arrived on campus there's been a lot of uncertainty on defense for the Michigan Wolverines. And it hasn't just been who's playing where and "Why in God's name are we giving up so many points!?" It's been who's playing where and what are you supposed to call each position. There are approximately 17 hybrid positions on this defense and I have no idea what the hell to call them. Spur. Bandit. El Mariachi. Helmut. Sally. Frankly I don't have a clue what these positions entail or what they actually do.
So. In order to bring a order, and a little common sense to the naming of these positions, I thought Maize n Brew would completely re-name every position on Michigan's Defense. This way there will be no confusion as to who is playing what and what their responsibilities are.
Old Name: Defensive Tackle - New Name: Gozer - I find this to be a traditional name for a position that goes back to Sumarian times. The creator the destructor. Choose and perish. Gozer fits this position to a tee. Let Mike Martin, Alan Branch, et al. through and you've brought about the end of the world. However, they are susceptible to crossing the streams or a nasty chop-block.
Mike Martin (pictured above) Goes Christmas Shopping.
Old Name: Defensive End - New Name: Ripper - It has to be this after thinking about so many happy memories of Lamarr Woodley and Brandon Graham just disemboweling unwary offensive tackles. Michigan's defensive ends have alwasy been where highly touted offensive tackles draft stocks went to die an unpleasant, very public death. Happily, we may be finally watching the emergence of Ryan Van Bergen as the next in a long line great Rippers from Michigan. As an added plus, Craig Roh may finally be stable enough at this position to do the same. Lastly, Jibreel Black looks like he'll be the next one to take up that great mantle as well.
Old Name: Defensive End/Nose Tackle Hybrid - New Name: Canyonero - When you've created a position that expects a player to not only be as strong and large as a locomotive, but as quick as a point guard, you're in for a lot of problems. Actually, you're asking for a player that's not going to be particularly effective as either thing and will explode into a thousand fiery pieces. Canyonerooooooooo. Michigan's largely played undersized DE's or plodding and undersized DT's at this position all season. Thankfully, by moving Craig Roh to full time DE this position may finally be dying the well deserved death it should. Up until this point in the season, Robinson has been intent on playing Roh at LB, a position he is ill suited for, and playing a slew of players who can't do both things well, if at all. I think this position is gone, but if if re-emerges, you know what to call it. Canyoneroooooooooo!
Linebacker Type Positions
Old Name: Outside Linebacker/Defensive End Hybrid - New Name: SAW - Let's face it, since this position came to Michigan's defense the results have been pretty gruesome. No one knows what they're doing, why they're there, why everyone's watchign them die on the field, or what to do to make it all stop. It's made even really good players like Craig Roh seem incompetent and insufficient. Then throw in the play of J.B. Fitzgerald, Brandon Herron and (until Purdue) Obi Ezeh, and you're talking about a vertiable sea of pain and suffering for Michigan fans. In theory this position should be awesome and eventually earn the "DEATHBACKER" title that it was originally given. But until the gore on the field is resolved, SAW fits perfectly. (I also considered naming it: Rainman, Ralph Wiggum, The Man Who Knew Too Little, and Sue. It shouldn't be hard to come up with your own jokes for any of those.)
More fun after the jump......
Old Name: Middle Linebacker - New Name: Jeffe - Thank God we can call it this again. Ever since
Chris [Dammit. Stupid memory getting... err... old or something - Ed.] David Harris left for the pros there's been a disturbing lack of control at the MLB position. But with Demens cemented in the starting roll it appears we've finally got someone capable of calling the defenses and actually executing them. I reserve the right to rename this position "AHHHH GOD! WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT!??!?!?" should Demens play deteriorate.
Old Name: Outside Linebacker - New Name: Turnstile - Nothing says outside linebacker in GERG's system more than watching your OLB sprint to the wrong side of a play only to watch the running back sprint to the proper place the OLB should've been, and then watch him turn around and follow him. It was once said that the Chicago Bulls' Toni Kukoc, the Croatian Sensation, was named "the Waiter" by him teammates due to his propensity to serve up easy lanes to the hoop for opposing players. It's basically the same thing here. Michigan's "Turnsile" position are apt to be little more than a minor slowdown for an opposing runningback or tight end en route to the end zone. Watching their heads, and sometimes bodies, spin around as they miss a tackle or assignment just seals the deal.
Old Name: "Spur" or The Stevie Brown Memorial Career Saving Safety/Linebacker Hybrid Position - New Name: The Honda CRV - It's not really fast. It's not really big. It's not really good at any one thing, but it can do all kinds of things in theory. It just can't do them well. The Honda CRV position on the Michigan defense calls for a player the size of a cement mixer with the speed and agility of a Ducati. However, since those players don't exist on Michigan's current roster, the Wolverines are happy to player a smaller and slower version of what the position calls for. Hey! It can go off road and it's faster than a Lineman. But just because it can do all those things, doesn't mean it can do them well. It may be able to go off road or play linebacker, but it can't stand up to the point of attack or get there fast enough.
Old Names: Corner 1 and Corner 2 - New Name: FEMA - Michigan's Secondary has been a distaster of biblical proportions all year. With all the transfers and injuries, Job would look at Michigan and say, "Man, you guys got it baaaaaad." In this case the Lord mostly taketh away. Disaster relief this year has come in the form of James Rogers and a slew of freshmen cornerbacks that really, really, really should've red-shirted. Just with the federal government's response to a large hurricane, said relief has been slow, small and underpowered. Granted, FEMA's response time and effectiveness has improved, but they're still a fill in until things return to normal.
Old Name: Free Safety or "Bandit" - New Name: Pirate - Agressive. Angry. Sometimes plays like he has only one eye. Seems to fit pretty well, yes?
Old Name: Strong Safety or "Hero" - New Name: Speed Bump - Sadly just about every Michigan safety since Jamar Adams patrolled Michigan's outfield has been a teeeeny, not particularly fast, not particularly good minor impediment to opposing offenses on their way to the endzone. To borrow from Robin Williams, it's been like putting gauze in front of a semi and saying "Come on through." In the case of the Wisconsin game it was like France installing speed bumps to slow down the Panzers. While we are encouraged by the current Speed Bump's coverage skills and think Ray Vinopal might actually turn into a pretty good safety, rightnow in run support he's just another teeeeeny dude in pads attempting to slow down the oncoming dump truck.
So these new names should clear up any confusion as to the positions on the field and provide Michigan fans with a more accurate description of the players on the field. Did I miss anything?