Early Guess at the Football Depth Chart: Now Updated for Spring

Mike Williams could get a shot to start at the new "spur" position.

Back in February, I took an early stab at projecting the offensive and defensive depth charts for the fall. Now that spring practice is underway and the new roster has been released, there’s a lot more information available about how Michigan will line up and who will be lining up where. So, I’ve taken another opportunity to make myself look really foolish in the fall, and updated my projected depth chart to reflect these changes. Here are a few notes on the changes:

OFFENSE

One player who has a lot of buzz surrounding him so far in spring is running back Mike Cox, whose running skills seem to be catching up to his outstanding athleticism and frame. For now, I’ve moved Cox up to second on the depth chart with Michael Shaw, behind the injured Vincent Smith. With all the talented players the Wolverines have at running back, I expect to see a fair amount of running back by committee come fall, and Cox should be one of the backs in the mix for carries.

At receiver, Roy Roundtree has been practicing at outside receiver, but I expect him to move back into the slot when Junior Hemingway returns healthy in the fall. Word from practice is that Roundtree and Martavious Odoms have become a dangerous combination when both see the field at the same time, so it would not be a surprise to see Michigan start two slot receivers next season. We’ll have to wait and see if that has any effect on the tight end position, but for now I’m keeping Roundtree as the top slot in my depth chart along with Odoms — down the road, I may split the slots into two positions.

On the line, it sounds like Mark Huyge, Perry Dorrestein, Taylor Lewan, and Michael Schofield are the players battling for the two tackle positions, so I’ve changed the depth chart to reflect that competition. Patrick Omameh, who some (including myself) originally thought would move out to tackle this season, has been playing (and impressing) at guard. I have him projected as the starter at right guard, with the experienced Huyge and Dorrestein at tackle — I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewan grabs one of the tackle spots, but he’s a redshirt freshman who is still filling out his massive frame, so for now I have him backing up Huyge.

DEFENSE

The big change here is the alignment — I recommend checking out this helpful post from Touch the Banner to get more familiar with the slight move to more of a 4-2-5 look:

From left to right along the line should be Ryan Van Bergen, Will Campbell, Mike Martin (injured for spring practice, so Greg Banks is playing there right now), and Craig Roh. The two interior linebackers are Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton, if they hold on to their positions. The weak side safety in the above graph is what Michigan is calling the “spur” position — right now, Mike Williams and Brandin Hawthorne appear to be the most likely players to start there, with Mike Jones, Thomas Gordon and probably Josh Furman (when he arrives in the fall) also competing at the position. The strong safety — Touch the Banner calls it the “boundary” safety, but I’ll use the more common term to save confusion — appears to be Jordan Kovacs’ position to lose, although Marvin Robinson could compete for time there when he enrolls in the fall. Vlad Emilien has received the first-team reps so far at free — deep — safety, although Cameron Gordon impressed when Emilien sat out with a minor injury this week. If Troy Woolfolk were to move back to safety, this would likely be his spot.

At cornerback, Woolfolk is obviously holding down one spot, and I’ll place him there in the depth chart until he moves (if he moves) to safety. J.T. Floyd has been getting the first-team reps at the other corner spot, and has impressed so far, although J.T. Turner will make a strong push for that starting role. Of course, the competition at corner will not be fully settled until the fall, when Demar Dorsey, Cullen Christian, Terrence Talbott, and Courtney Avery arrive on campus.

For the full, updated depth chart, hit the “Football Depth Chart” tab at the top of the screen, or simply click here.

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3 comments
  1. Keith said:

    I hope Schofield gets the other Tackle spot (opposite Lewan). He deserves good news after 3 years on the run. Sorry for the bad joke, couldn’t help myself.

    I think an ideal line would be Lewan, Schilling, Molk, Omameh, and Schofield. It’s young (apart from Schilling) and talented and big.

    I think Dorsey as the back end FS (I like deep better) makes the most sense with his speed. Coming out of HS Emilien’s strengths were coming up and making tackles and his weaknesses were closing speed and coverage awareness (http://michigan.scout.com/a.z?s=162&p=8&c=1&nid=3659381). Why would you put that as your last line of defense. The deep safety is more or less in a Cover 1 and is just roaming to the deep pass. Putting Dorsey deep covers the back end, moving Emilien to the weak side safety where he can cover slower WR/TE and come into the play on running cut backs. Even better, this allows Robinson to play the SS position, ideally fitting his safety/LB combo. He’s big, strong and can tackle, yet is fast enough to drop into coverage. Doesn’t that fit this SS position perfectly? I know having 3 inexperienced safeties is scary but I’d rather have Woolfolk playing the #1 WR (instead of roaming the center), Emilien over Williams and Furman (why is he not playing at the bigger safety spot or LB?), and Robinson over Kovacs. Kovacs is too small (5’10 — he didn’t grow 2 inches now that he’s on the team), too slow, and doesn’t have the instinct a box safety needs. This guy should be the #1 tackler on the team since he’s on the strong side and the defense wants to funnel the runner to him. Do you want that guy to be a walk on or a 4 star safety that runs a 4.6 40 and benches 335!? Williams has had 2 years and has regressed. He got yanked last year and replaced by a walk on and the only he’s mentioned for a starting spot is the change to 5 DB.

    Turner better beat out Floyd. I keep hearing everywhere that he isn’t living up the 5 star status and I hope this isn’t true. I really wish Dorsey, Christian, Robinson and Furman had made it this spring. That really hurts the defense, where we need them most. The nice thing about having Woolfolk at corner is that next year Christian could step in and replace him not changing anything else if the go with 3 young safeties and Turner.

    This might sound insane but is there a way to go with 2 slot WR and just 1 outside WR? I assume the name slot comes more from the position (between outside WR and the TE) and the routes rather than having a WR to the outside of them. Maybe you need the outside WR to draw the defense out but I’d rather see them try going with 2 slots (Odoms and Roundtree) and 1 outside WR (Stonum) then 1 slot and 2 outside. Too bad our 2 best WRs play the same position.

    Besides creating a half slot spot for Roundtree what about putting Koger out wide? He’s got good hands, he can run (as fast as Hemingway at least), he can go up and catch the ball, and he lets us have our 3 best catching threats (Roundtree, Odoms, and Koger) out there at the same time. Split Stonum out to the opposite side and those 4 are dangerous! Can you imagine having Koger and Roundtree out left and then Odoms and Stonum out right? Put those 4 with a shifty RB (Smith) or a power RB (Cox) and then add a QB that can throw or run, yikes! That offense should put up more points than anyone else in the Big 10.

  2. This might sound insane but is there a way to go with 2 slot WR and just 1 outside WR? I assume the name slot comes more from the position (between outside WR and the TE) and the routes rather than having a WR to the outside of them. Maybe you need the outside WR to draw the defense out but I’d rather see them try going with 2 slots (Odoms and Roundtree) and 1 outside WR (Stonum) then 1 slot and 2 outside. Too bad our 2 best WRs play the same position.

    • Ace Anbender said:

      Not sure if that would work or not, but Roundtree has been working at both outside and slot receiver, so it looks like Michigan is looking for ways to get their best personnel on the field. Don’t underestimate guys like Hemingway and Stokes, either — those guys could both step up and be big contributors.

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