Andrew: 2 five hours drives, 40 Timbits, 2 Moe’s burritos, and 1 Michigan Spring Game, yesterday was a busy day. My cholesterol may be through the roof, but so are my expectations for this young defense. More specifically, Devin FREAKIN’ Bush!
Jared: There can be no mistaking it, Devin Bush is the most ferocious being on the planet. I have seen Tomahawk missiles move slower. I am obviously biased, but that was the most entertaining Spring Game I have ever seen. Also, I for one welcome Brandon Peters as our new quarterback overlord. So let’s get into some hot takes my wise and benevolent friend. What are you thinking after our first glimpse of (most of) the 2017 team?
Andrew: Several things stand out, but let’s begin with our overlord, Mr. Peters, and the entire quarterback picture. It was only one day, but my God, did Brandon Peters look good. Besides his one interception, caused by relentless pressure from the defensive line, he looked fantastic. Reminded me of Rudock (especially in frame) the way he threw and even ran for scores. If I had not known anything about football, I would have presumed he was the starter. Just look at the comparison:
-Peters: 9/17, 160 yards,1 touchdown (1 rushing) and 1 interception
-Speight: 9/26, 78 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions
Moreover, John O’Korn (whom I like to refer to as Michigan’s Alex Moran for no plausible explanation besides it makes everything he does golden) came in and delivered in Speight’s relief. I don’t know, man. Is it time to sell our Speight stock while it’s high?
Jared: I anticipate we are only scratching the surface of what is about to become the hottest off-season debate in years. Make no mistake, this is now a very real conversation going into next season; if only amongst the fans.
Don’t know if I like the Rudock comparison (we are allowed to disagree once in awhile) only because the ceiling that was on display with Peters is WAY higher than Rudock’s. I get what you are saying in that he looked poised and comfortable, but Peters can flat out spin the ball. I do love the Alex Moran comparison, because I don’t think O'Korn sees the field this year and that is a way underrated show.
As far as Peters, check out the ball placement here.
This is next level stuff. He anticipates where his receiver is going to be 50 yards down the field and drops it in perfectly. Not even Chad Henne could pick his spot like that. There was another incomplete 25-yard sideline pass intended for Nick Eubanks that was put in a spot where only the receiver could have possibly done anything with it.
We honestly haven’t seen anyone with that kind of ability since, maybe Brady? It is entirely possible I am getting way ahead of myself, and I can live with that, but it is impossible not to get excited about what this kid brings to the table as a redshirt freshman. Now the question is, is he ready to challenge Speight this year, or is this just Spring Game overreactions on our part?
Andrew: I think there has to be some truth to this. Speight BADLY missed a free play throw (defense was offside and the defensive line elected to stand there and watch) in the second quarter that I could not understand. HOW?! No pressure, wide open receiver, and he overthrows him, seriously? If this were a real game it would feel like he was shaving points or something. Most of his throws were overthrown and the ones that weren’t overthrown were mostly dump-down, small West Coast offense completions. That is all well and good, but Peters was dropping dimes at all three levels. Let us not forget O’Korn throwing some beautiful passes either (that fade to Black was simply beautiful).
In short, it seemed like Speight was playing the day after the Florida State loss, while the other two have had undergone several years of progression. I think we are justified to an extent to worry, but in the end, it was only one showcase.
If your life’s on the line, who do you predict starts against Florida?
Jared: My life is on the line, I am still picking Speight. There is a reason the coaches have reiterated time and time again he is the starter. He still probably gives us the best chance to win today, but that gap is closing quickly. I fully agree that for as solid as Peters looked, Speight looked more like an investment broker brought in from the stands to haphazardly lob balls in various directions. It wasn’t that bad, but I reserve my right as an American to overreact.
Those small mistakes that we dealt with last year because he was still growing in the position, now look to be real deficiencies with his game, and patience will be razor thin if he struggles against Florida. Coaches don’t think like fans do, but as a fan I have to start to wonder if it isn’t wiser to just hand the reins to the future quarterback of this team and let him have his chance? We could (and likely will) talk about the QB competition ad nauseam, but what else was noteworthy for you yesterday; good, bad, or otherwise?
Andrew: Now that we have had a good ‘Speighting’ (a word I invented to describe rants over the aforementioned QB), let’s look at the defense. Our defensive line may lack some depth, but they are as advertised. Mo Hurst was an absolute bully on the interior with Mone, while Winovich and Gary flew off the edge. Rashan Gary’s motor still amazes me and the fact that Aubrey Solomon will be joining this group in a few months, the Michigan defensive line will be ELITE.
At the next level, our boy Bush was all over the field and the linebacker we have wanted for several years. Ben Gedeon will play be drafted in two weeks, but we just upgraded at that position. His vision and patience on blitzes were that of a savvy veteran and his precision and minimization of mistakes has me all aboard the hype train. Viper Khaleke Hudson was outstanding as well. The hit he delivered on O’Korn was Harbaugh intensity personified and my favorite part of the game because the kids were competing.
Lastly, one of the biggest issues facing the team, the secondary, was slightly put to ease for myself. Although J’Marick Woods and LaVert Hill did not play, Benjamin St.-Juste, Ambry Thomas, Tyree Kinnell, and Josh Metellus, have me excited. The speed they play with is what stood out to me as well as their willingness to hit and play the run. Last season, Channing Stribling (who will also be drafted) played run defense as if he were watching the plastic bag float in American Beauty. This season, we won’t have that issue. After all of that, I haven’t even mentioned Jordan Glasgow! I could not have been more impressed, man! Defensively, what stood out to you?
Jared: We would need another day and a half to talk about how excited I am about the Bush, Hudson, Metellus trio. Those dudes are ready to go, and should probably be under police investigation for how hard they hit other living men.
We are in agreement that some concerns with the secondary have been slightly alleviated, but I disagree with the reason. We, the armchair quarterbacks, have not been giving any due to Brandon Watson or Keith Washington in the slightest, but I actually think those two guys are your day one starters at corner. I was especially impressed with Watson, who looks like a ballhawk. St. Juste and Thomas will be good players, but they are not ready. David Long did not really flash. We already knew Kinnell was ready to roll. Jordan Glasgow looked like a young Sammy Hagar trucking down the field (surprisingly quickly), and I think he plays a lot.
Some of the other guys that get glossed over also looked ready to steal some playing time. Noah Furbush looked pretty solid and will crack the two-deep. Donovan Jeter and Carlo Kemp are both going to be really good players and probably provide rotational depth this year. Josh Uche is still another year away probably, but I liked what I saw from him. Did we bring up Devin Bush yet? Better mention how lethal he is going to be in Don Brown’s blitz happy defense just to be sure. Overall, I am not worried about this defense. So long as Rashan Gary and Hurst keep things rolling up front, everyone else will settle in. Anyone on offense catch your eye?
Andrew: Oh, I agree with Watson starting (can’t believe I didn’t mention him, Harbaugh forgive me), but BSJ and Thomas really impressed me with their intense effort. I think Hill is the other corner, however. But dude, everyone you just named just shows how deep the team is. Carlo Kemp was all over the field and his move back to defensive end was monumental to his improvement. Damn, our defense could do something this year!
Offensively, let’s begin with running backs. Chris Evans caught my eye in the limited time he saw. That first possession, his increased size and quickness which made him so electric last season were on full display. The sample size was small, but I still think he is a lock to be the guy. What do you think of Ty Isaac? I couldn’t believe he remembered how to run any plays that weren’t tosses.
Jared: Captain America looked good, and you’re right, we finally have a premier running back. We actually might have a few. That running back group is as good and as deep as it has been in over a decade. Ty Isaac is 33 years old, how is he making such a jump in ability at this point? He looked like the number 2 guy yesterday. Higdon continues improving, and Kareem Walker might be the most balanced of them all. I am in no way concerned about that position.
How about Zach Gentry putting his own teammates on skates to get the scoring rolling? I am really pulling for him to see the field this year, because athletically, he is a matchup nightmare. The wide receivers are about what we expected; young but full of talent and improving. Tarik Black was the dude yesterday, but DPJ, Crawford, and McDoom (hope he is alright) can all play in the Big Ten for sure. Nick Eubanks got a bunch of looks and reminds me a lot of Devin Funchess.
Mike Onwenu is going to be a stud, and I will be spending a large part of the next few months figuring out how you grow to that size on a diet primarily consisting of grapes. We need to figure out a right tackle situation still-- which might honestly still be my greatest worry headed into the season, but I think the guys in line to take over are a HUGE leap in talent and potential over the departing group. All in all, I am incredibly excited about this team. I only pray we are not saddle by inconsistent quarterback play and plateau at 8 or 9 wins this year because of it.
Andrew: Alright, my friend, let’s end this with 5 rapid fire takes a piece.
- Brandon Peters starts 3+ games this season.
- Quinn Nordin could have hit that field goal from 60.
- Pass protection will be a bigger problem than run blocking.
- This team is more diverse than last year’s. In basketball, you can play small ball, defensive, or big lineups, for example. This team seems equipped to play AND win several different ways.
- Devin Bush (did we mention him already?) was the best player on the field/ planet yesterday.
Jared: These takes are so hot, I’m having to type in oven mitts, so forgive any spelling errors. (Quinn Nordin could have hit that field goal from Toledo, by the way).
- Michigan fields yet another top 5 defense.
- Chris Evans is the first Michigan back since Fitz Toussaint to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark and the other backs combine for another 1,500.
- The team leader in receiving touchdowns is a freshman.
- Devin Bush hits a quarterback so hard that he is relegated to a retirement home, where he lives out his days in fear of “the blue flash”.
- Brandon Peters is the starting quarterback by the Ohio State game.
As always, a pleasure talking Michigan football with you my friend. I cannot wait to see how this all plays out, and now resign myself to watching baseball and re-watching the Spring Game until September. Go Blue!
Biggest takeaway from the spring game
This poll is closed
Brandon Peters gaining ground on Speight
The development of the young secondary
The fact that Andrew ate 40 Timbits