Look, even during the season I don’t always get Michigan Monday done on Mondays, so you can’t fault me for being two days late while I’m on vacation. And yes, this is just a Mailbag full of submissions that I requested a few days ago in hopes that I could actually get it done on Monday. And yes, it is now Tuesday night as I start this. And yes, it will probably be Wednesday morning when I finish it. (Note: Actually, Wednesday early evening.)
But like Hall & Oates said, “It’s still Monday in my heart.”
(Hall & Oates never said that to my knowledge, but doesn’t it sound like something they would say?)
So getting back to the Mailbag, it’s mostly submissions from Buckeye fans about the Wolverines. I’ve weeded out the ones that were just being mean for the sake of being mean. I’ve left in the ones that were mean for the sake of being funny.
Let’s get started.
Will Rashan Gary be as good as the Jabrill Peppers-type hype he will garner? — tGW
Yes, because the hype will at least be contained by the theoretical bounds of what a defensive end can do. Whereas last season, people didn’t apply Jabrill Peppers’ ability to the existing space-time plane that we are on. To be honest, however, Ohio State fans are hyping up Gary almost as much as Michigan fans. You can’t be part of creating something and then complain about what has been created. You aren’t Jay Bilas, after all.
How do you weigh: positive of ttun defense in 2nd season of Brown’s system vs. negative of replacing almost everybody. — Salt Lake City Buck
I don’t think the defensive roster was as talented as the numbers said last year, so that makes me want to give most of the credit to defensive coordinator Don Brown. The players were good…and good enough to run the system. If above average players are being replaced by above average players, the only drop off should be early in the season. Even though there are 10 starters or whatever being replaced, everybody doing the replacing will now be in their second year in this defensive system. Any drop off in talent should be helped out by a better understanding of the defense. The cornerbacks could throw a big, fat wrench into all of this, however. I don’t have much confidence in what they have there, especially compared to what they lost.
I will worry about ttun when they can line up and run the ball vs. a defense with a pulse. When do you think this will happen? It looks like addition by subtraction (re: Deveon Smith) for ttun RB this season. Will the younger backs be able to carry the load? Bonus: Why did Smith get so many carries behind a weak OLine last year? — Salt Lake City Buck
The season opener against Florida is going to tell us a lot. The Gators are already looking at Michigan tape, so this will be a very prepared Florida defense. If Michigan can run it on them, then that will be a pretty good indicator for the rest of the season. If they can’t, then that doesn’t necessarily mean it will just be more of the same, but it does mean more of the same is kind of likely. I agree that it is addition by subtraction when it comes to De’Veon Smith. He limited the potential of the Michigan offense. As long as he was the guy carrying the ball in big games, there was no home-run threat running the ball. That will change this season with Chris Evans and Karan Higdon and Kareem Walker. I don’t know if any of them can run as hard as Smith, but I know they can average 4.5 yards per carry just like he did over his career. And they’ll at least bring a threat of a big play while doing it. Why did he get so many carries? Because he probably did everything he was asked to do. He was just limited while doing it.
What offense will they run this season? More passing than running? — Glandorf Buck
They’re still going to be a pro-style, run-first offense. You know, like a poor-man’s Wisconsin.
Who is the leading candidate for the September Heisman? — Razorbuck
I honestly have no idea. I don’t see it happening on offense. The freshman receivers might make it difficult for Wilton Speight to look great. Also, Wilton Speight might make it difficult for Wilton Speight to look great. I would say linebacker Khaleke Hudson, who will be playing Peppersbacker. But if he looks even better than Peppers, then that will diminish the hype that Peppers received last season, and that’s not cool. I don’t think there is a September Heisman candidate on the team, sorry to say. Maybe Chris Evans can step up with some big plays and surprise us all.
Last year they rotated 8 along DL. Similar this year?
— Kyle Morgan (@NoHuddleScouts) July 17, 2017
That’s the plan. They could be similar to Ohio State last year, using a number of first and second-year players up front. Defensive end Rashan Gary and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst are as good a start as you can have in a front four. Defensive end Chase Winovich is a nice change-of-pace pass rusher, but if there is only one speed coming from his side then he’ll get slowed down. They need more defensive ends in the rotation to make Winovich more effective. Freshmen Donovan Jeter and Carlo Kemp were both impressive in the spring, if I’m remembering my memory correctly. The interior has talented recruits, but we need to see them become players pretty quickly.
What Game of Thrones character most resembles Jim Harbaugh
— Rich Rogers (@rrogers44) July 17, 2017
Those who hold the door will be champions.
On game day, how many times do you think they'll show JT cross the line for a first?
— Joseph A. Venturella (@JAVenturella) July 17, 2017
Maybe once just to remind everybody how easily he reached the marker for the first down.
How well positioned is Michigan to add quality to their 2018 recruiting class that currently stands at only 10 players
— Buckeye SloopCast (@SloopCast) July 17, 2017
Very well positioned. This is still Michigan. Though I am concerned about their slow start. I think back to Ohio State under Jim Tressel, however, and there were some low-rated classes because of small numbers. The Buckeyes didn’t start signing 23 guys a year until Urban Meyer came along. I don’t know how much room Michigan has in 2018, but I wouldn’t expect them to be more than half full by this point. And if they did have more commits than they want at this point, Jim Harbaugh has already shown that a June or July commitment doesn’t always mean a February letter of intent. Right now their 2018 recruiting class is ranked fourth in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State, Penn State, and Maryland. The Wolverines should eventually pass the Terps because there are still plenty of top targets leaning Maize and Blue.
#MichiganMonday What is GoT? Over/Under: Regular season Wolvie wins – 9.5? Where will M take a step back/forward?
— Phil Schoch (@osuphil95) July 17, 2017
If I have to choose one or the other, the smart money is under, but my money is probably on the over. I expect them to take a step forward on offense. They have a more versatile running game with more potential. There are four toss-up games on the schedule — vs Florida, at Penn State, at Wisconsin, and Ohio State in Ann Arbor. They may eventually be favored to lose all four of these games, but I don’t think a split is out of the question. The unfortunate part is that only one of the four toss-ups takes place in Michigan Stadium.
How does Michigan replace such a talented defensive backfield?
Could Michigan beat the Cubs?#IWillHangUpAndListen
— The Sons of Schmidt (@SonsOfSchmidt) July 17, 2017
Through recruiting. More specifically, Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting. I don’t really like much of what Michigan is going to be relying on this season, but I’ve only seen them in one spring game and sparingly in the regular season. The lack of experience is definitely a concern, and I wonder how many weeks and games it will take until there is a starting unit. How much mix-and-match will there be? Can the secondary ever gel if there is a constant changing of the depth chart? A talented defensive line will make this entire unit better, however, and will give them some time to figure things out. There are a lot of young players to like, but getting the type of experience that will eventually make them great doesn’t usually come without some cost.
When will I overcome the trauma inflicted by the Cooper years? No matter how good we look going into the game, why do I still feel sick?
— Amy (@ALR_LBG) July 17, 2017
This is a completely common affliction known as “Coopershock”. It has been successfully treated with a medication called “Tresselnefrin”, which is a fine mist sprayed into the nasal passages. Do not confuse this with Carrzipal, which was sprayed directly into the eyes and caused maize and blue rashes on the skin. Carrzipal was removed from the shelves in 2007, but there are still people out there who hold onto it for some reason. Carrzipal was then replaced by Richrodinol, which was actually an addictive placebo that made people like shiny objects for a couple of years. For those still dealing with Coopershock, you can get Tresselnefrin over the counter or via YouTube. Unfortunately, Tresselnefrin doesn’t cure Coopershock, it only addresses the symptoms. There have been some exciting studies with an experimental drug known as Urbanidol, however. The good news for all involved is that Coopershock cannot be passed down to children. In fact, it hasn’t been seen in a child in over 15 years.
Will the butthurt over the spot ever end?
— Jeremy Hurt (@GoBucks45177) July 17, 2017
I do not know this hurt of which you speak. The Michigan fans that I have talked to about last year’s game have always made it a point to let me know how great the game was to watch, and how they believe — to a man — that it was made even greater by a group of referees who made their best calls in the game’s toughest moments. I’ve never been more impressed with a fan base following a call that could have been controversial had it not been so obvious.
Most hated player in the history of the rivalry?
— Dane Brunswick (@dbrunswick83) July 17, 2017
Dane wanted to know the most-hated Michigan player in the history of the rivalry. I don’t really go back too far in time, only to the late 80’s or so. I don’t know who the most-hated Michigan player is, but I think Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson would comprise half of OSU’s Mount Rushmore of Hate. Who should fill out the other two spots? Let me know.