Back like we never left, Jared and I have returned to discuss some spring football storylines heading into the Michigan spring game on April 15th.
Andrew: Firstly, have you recovered from the Oregon loss?
Jared: Believe it or not I actually have. Although I may never understand how that final shot from Walton didn’t drop, this year's team went much further than anyone thought they could and I enjoyed the ride as much as I possibly could. Now my mind has fully shifted to enjoying spring football before the sports dead period begins, and I am forced to go outside and interact with others.
So on that note, what is one storyline you would love to hear coming out of spring ball?
Andrew: I want to hear that Coach Frey is making a real impact with this offensive line. No doubt they will have their hands full with our talented defensive line, but this is an opportunity for them to play physical; move the chains and close out games which KILLED us last season.
Frey also brings a mix of the spread offense so I am expecting some diversification in the traditional pro-style offense. What are you looking for from a defensive perspective?
Jared: If we are talking dream scenarios, I would love to hear that both Lavert Hill and David Long are the greatest cornerbacks to ever grace this planet. We are in desperate need of a serviceable cornerback, and if we can get one of those guys playing at a level above serviceable, I will sleep much easier going into the season.
I am also always a huge fan of hearing about young guys living up to their hype as well, so anything regarding notable progress of the young guys will be encouraging. Any player in particular you have your eye on this spring?
Andrew: Wilton Speight. After the finish to last season, there are several questions to be answered surrounding our second year starter. More than anything, I want to see if his confidence is back. If those end of the year performances follow him around like an ex-girlfriend, this season could be very inconsistent and frustrating offense to watch. Beyond that, I just want to examine his mechanics and chemistry with his new receivers, mostly Donovan Peoples-Jones. For yourself?
Jared: Speight is a good choice for all of the reasons you listed. I will be keeping a close eye on Khaleke Hudson because I am camped out in the first-class car on board his hype train. I think he locks down the Viper position and holds it down until his time is done in AA.
I am also incredibly interested to see what Kareem Walker can bring to the running backs group. He looks the part, and there is some talk that he could jump some guys on the depth chart. A 1-2-3 punch of Evans, Walker, and Higdon could be seriously good, perhaps even elite depending on what happens with the offensive line.
Speaking of the big fellas; who do you think emerges this spring and locks down a spot on the line?
Andrew: Cesar Ruiz. Not that bold of a prediction, but I see him becoming the starting center and Cole moving to tackle or wherever we need him the most on the offensive line. I am interested to see what 5 we line up out there and how well they play together. At least your house is safe from any flying objects (for now) since Kalis has left. What do you think is going to be your biggest overreaction after the spring game?
Jared: Maybe not a bold pick, but a good pick. I think our best bet for success is if Ruiz locks down center and we bump Cole outside. My house is never safe from flying objects though, not so long as there are Michigan sports to watch.
I think that my overreaction will (again) be about the ineffectiveness of the offensive line. The defense is usually ahead of the offense at this point and it can get a little frustrating to watch 2nd and 3rd string defenders burst through the line like a half-hearted game of red rover. I could also see myself making crazy claims about Brandon Peters being the answer at quarterback as soon as Speight throws an incompletion, but that’s just because I want to see Peters. Same question to you?
Andrew: I agree 100% with the offensive line. If one guy misses a block, I'll probably react like he just blew the Ohio State game on that single play. Same with the defensive backs, DPJ will probably make an incredible play and I'll commend him and blame the defensive backs for some reason. Just trying to woosah as much as possible before the game.
So, are you heading up to the spring game?
Jared: Yeah the secondary will have a great deal of my attention as well. I will not be attending this year unfortunately, but I am hoping for a good turnout. Unrelated, but I would also love to see the results of one of these spring game drafts that Harbaugh likes to do. Would be really cool to see how the coaching staff views the talent on the team. Will you be making it up for the game? Any final thoughts on spring ball?
Andrew: That draft would be largely revealing and great for us covering it. Also it could send us into a panic if a player we’re high on gets past over a few times. But I will be attending! My fiancé and I are driving up morning of so needless to say we will be mainlining Red Bull. Which brings me to my next point, “Don't smoke crack.” I'm sorry The Waterboy is on Netflix and that's the most college football I get until this game. Real closing thoughts, I'm super excited just to see where our team currently is. They will undoubtedly progress, but this will be a nice snapshot.
Also, can't wait to see the force Rashan Gary has become and the aesthetically pleasing sight of Amber Thomas wearing #1. Any closing thoughts for you, man?
Jared: The long football famine is nearly upon us, but in the meantime I am just really excited to see the winged helmet flying around for an afternoon. A few other things I’ll be looking for; Harbaugh completely losing it on a spring game ref for no good reason, who gets some run returning kicks/punts, the progress of the young pass catchers, and the battle for the backup quarterback spot. Very excited to get a sneak peek of what should be a young, but dangerous team. Enjoy the game my man, and as always, Go Blue!
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on the spring game? Join the convo below, and as always, don’t smoke crack.