Tag Archives: Michigan Wolverines

Michigan vs. Ohio State, 11-24-18: In-game report

Michigan and Ohio State met on Saturday at the “Horseshoe” with a spot in the Big Ten Championship and possibly a spot in the College Football Playoff on the line. Ohio State capitalized on Michigan’s special teams errors in the second half and rode its offensive and defensive lines to a 62-39 victory.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

9 Donovan Peoples-Jones (6’2, 208) Michigan wide receiver-Sophomore 

Peoples-Jones made all types of grabs on Saturday and when his team needed plays on late down situations, he was the man targeted. The sophomore wide receiver finished with seven catches for 64 yards against the Buckeyes.  Peoples-Jones isn’t afraid to make catches over the middle but will be a problem at the next level on the outside because of his quick feet and his ability to accelerate and de-celerate to relieve himself of tight coverage.  For the season, the sophomore has caught 39 passes for 541 yards and seven touchdowns.   The sophomore is also a threat as a punt returner (two career punt return touchdowns and averages 9 yards a return). 

Ohio State offensive and defensive lines

Chase Young (No. 2 pictured) has 5.5 quarterback sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss for the Buckeyes entering the 2018 Big Ten Championship game.

Michigan came into Columbus with the nation's top-ranked defense and a huge reason why was because of their ability to pressure the quarterback with four men.  However, by games end, Ohio State’s offensive and defensive line had stolen the show. The Buckeyes didn’t give up a sack and sacked Michigan junior quarterback Shea Patterson (6’2, 205) three times.  In the fourth quarter on 3rd and 12, Buckeyes defensive end Chase Young (6’5, 265) flushed Patterson from the pocket and made him throw off-balance, which led to an interception by junior safety Jordan Fuller (6’2 204). Defensive linemen Robert Landers (6’1 283) and Jonathon Cooper (6’4 257) also contributed with sacks. Offensively, the Buckeyes rushed for 249 yards and passed for 318 yards.  

"They slowly devastated us throughout the game. Knowing all the yards they were putting up and how easily they were scoring, it was tough. It was very tough," Michigan senior defensive back Tyree Kinnel said in a post game press conference. "They completely beat us everywhere. Run game, pass game, everyone is to blame."

7 Dwayne Haskins (6’3, 220) Ohio State QB-Sophomore
Haskins has set Big Ten passing marks for passing yards (4.081) and touchdown passes (42) in 2018.

Haskins seems to be getting more and more comfortable as the season goes on. The Potomac, Maryland, native completed 19-of-30 passes for 318 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday.  Despite the big game atmosphere, Haskins never forced any throws against a stout Michigan defense.  Aided by a strong running game and a clean pocket, he picked the Wolverines apart.  Haskins has the arm to make all the throws and is big enough to shake defenders off.  If the sophomore can continue to play with the poise he showed on Saturday, look for him to continue to move up future NFL Draft boards.

39 Malik Harrison (6’3, 245) Ohio State LB-Junior 
Harrison has contributed 8.5 tackles for losses for the Buckeyes in 2018 (as of 11/27/18).

Harrison impressed with his form tackling ability against the Wolverines. The junior linebacker used his eyes well and was able to make tackles on Michigan senior running back Karan Higdon (5’10 202) by being patient and meeting Higdon in his running lanes. Harrison can also be used in blitz packages.   He sacked Patterson on the second play of the game when he came into the backfield untouched.  For a player his size, Harrison has excellent sideline-to- sideline ability  yet is strong enough to take on interior linemen in the running game.  Harrison projects best as a 4-3 outside linebacker. 

Bredeson a key factor for Wolverines

It doesn't take long when watching Michigan junior left guard Ben Bredeson to see why he was named a team captain for 2018.  Along with junior star linebacker Devin Bush, Bredeson is just the second non-senior with eligibility remaining to be named a captain in the Jim Harbaugh-era (https://247sports.com/college/michigan/Article/Offensive-lines-work-ethic-makes-life-easy-for-Ben-Bredeson-121097213/).

Bush, for one, thinks Bredeson has created somewhat of a change for an offense that played second-fiddle to the Wolverines elite defensive unit in 2017 (3rd nationally).

"I want to say Ben Bredeson was a huge asset to that,” Bush said. “Shea coming in, being the person he is, he also created that bond. I think the offense is just a lot closer and a lot more on the same page than it was last year.” (https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/2018/08/27/michigan-football-ben-bredeson-simpler-offense/1113569002/).

Bredeson (No. 74 pictured at left guard) earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2017.

Bredeson slides his feet well versus interior movement; particularly when handling stunts coming from left-to-right.  His hand placement is normally attached in-between the defender's numbers in pass protection, which alleviates an occasional tendency to lean over his toes.  On gap-schemed runs where he is asked to pull on inside powers, linebackers can stack-and-shed him when his helmet location dips at the point of attack.  For a player who doesn't have elite length, he tends to rely on his quick-set to win early in downs.  This is why he has to stay active if he can achieve extension quickly versus defensive linemen.  Perhaps most evident is his ability to slide his feet while his arms are locked-out.   Once he's been challenged vertically, the Wolverines left guard sinks his low back into the chair to re-anchor effectively.  Additionally, his ability to wheel interior three-technique defensive tackles can open up passing lanes for a quarterback in Shea Patterson -who stands 6-foot-1- to look down the field (vs. Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery (No. 99), 52-yard completion, 3rd QTR, ND '18).

As a run blocker, his hands tend to slide upward into the neck and chest area on some of his reach blocks.  At this stage, he probably uses his frame to engulf more than win with his first couple of steps off the snap going laterally.  His lateral quickness is efficient but not exceptional.  This becomes evident when handling inside line spikes from opponents (from his left to his right).  Although he's a tad higher with his hand in the dirt (pre-snap stance) on passing plays, Bredeson does not give away many pre-snap indicators by being too light on his fingertips.  His 'nasty' play demeanor shows up down-to-down.  If he doesn't have work, he will look to clean-up defensive ends to help his tackles.  When doing so, he rocks the opposition (3rd QTR, smacks No. 91 Ogundeji, Notre Dame '18).

The addition of new offensive line coach Ed Warinner has helped the former four-star recruit and entire offensive line when it comes to technique.   A year after giving up 36 quarterback sacks to rank 13th in the Big Ten, the team is on pace to drop the total (if projected throughout the entire season).  If the unit is going to continue to improve, Bredeson's leadership and playing style will be a big key factor.

2018 Preview: Wisconsin Badgers

Season outlook

Wisconsin was a touchdown away from representing the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff a season ago.  With sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor and junior quarterback Alex Hornibrook (6'4, 218) back in the fold, there's reason for optimism in Madison.  With roster turnover and coaching changes in the conference, Wisconsin is a safe pick to win the Big Ten in 2018.  On defense, the Badgers have to replace seven starters from a season ago but will return linebacker T.J. Edwards (6'1, 244) for his senior season.  Edwards was a first- team All-American a season ago and recorded four interceptions.  On the back end, safety D'Cota Dixon (5'10, 198) has started 23 games and will be the elder statesman in a secondary which welcomes three new starters around him. If Wisconsin has a spot of concern it could be the inexperience at defensive back. However, the Badgers had the nation's second-best total defense last season and with its offensive playmakers having another year of experience under their belts, look for Wisconsin to compete again for a College Football Playoff spot.

Troy's player to watch

23 Jonathan Taylor 5'11 214 RB-Sophomore
Taylor, a former state champion in track and field with 10.49 100-meter speed, burst onto the college football scene last season, rushing for 1,997 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Wisconsin running back will enter 2018 as one of the best players in the nation and a Heisman candidate.  Head coach Paul Chryst has prided himself on running the football early and often.  He will once again rely on Taylor to shoulder the load.  Expect Taylor to get anywhere from 275- to-300 touches in 2018 and to lead the conference in rushing yards.

Game of the season

October 13th at Michigan
The Badgers will get their first test of the season when they go on the road to the Big House.  Wisconsin won't have to play Michigan State and Ohio State until a potential conference championship game. The Badgers defeated the Wolverines last year, 24-10, in Madison.  It's a good chance the only two ranked teams Wisconsin will face during the regular season are Michigan and Penn State, which means they could run the table to an undefeated season.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

63 Michael Dieter 6'6 329 OC-Senior

Where will Dieter line up this fall?  After all, he's earned starts at center, left guard and left tackle.  The position he may be best suited to play on a regular basis is left guard.  As a left tackle, there could be next level question marks regarding his foot speed.  While at that position, however, he takes the correct hinge steps on the backside and locks out his arms favorably in pass pro.  His tenacity as a run blocker is most evident on trap blocks.  In these instances, he has shown the ability to throw defensive linemen around (see Nebraska '16).  Perhaps even more exciting for NFL scouts is the fact that he's displayed an adequate ability to snap and pull from the center position.  Dieter's value for the NFL-level is his positional flexibility.

Prediction:  11-1 overall

The Wisconsin Badgers will win the Big Ten West division but will not go undefeated. Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson is predicting a road loss in November to Penn State. 

2018 Season Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

Season outlook

As fall camp kicks off, Ohio State will have to navigate life without Urban Meyer, who is currently on administrative leave.  Not only will they have to make up for Meyer's absence, but also the departures of numerous NFL draft picks.  However, if anyone is equipped to handle change it's the Ohio State Buckeyes, who will have talent across the board.  Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (6'3, 220) was impressive in spot duty last year and will take over at quarterback for J.T. Barrett.  The sophomore quarterback completed six of his seven passes against Michigan and for the season threw four touchdowns against just one interception.  Haskins can rely on sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins (5'10, 214) and sophomore tight end Luke Farrell (6'6, 250) to take some of the pressure off of his shoulders.  On defense, the Buckeyes will control the trenches with junior defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Dre'mont Jones (6'3 286).  The Buckeyes have all the talent in the world and should once again be in the running for a College Football Playoff appearance.

Troy's player to watch

97 Nick Bosa 6'4 263 DE-Junior
Bosa comes from NFL genes but he is an NFL-caliber player in his own right.  He was named the conference's lineman of the year and led the Buckeyes with eight sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2017. The junior defensive lineman has the tools to be a top five draft pick and if he turns in another stellar season, look for him to enter the NFL Draft after his junior season.

Game of the season

September 29th at Penn State
The Buckeyes squeaked past the Nittany Lions last year, 39-38, in Columbus. This year's renewal of the rivalry could be just as close a contest.  The last two years the battle has had major conference and bowl game implications, and this year it has the makings to be the same.  Look for Ohio State to play one of their most competitive games of the season on September 29th in Happy Valley.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

83 Terry McLaurin 6'1 205 WR-Senior
The last time a wide receiver stood out wearing No. 83 at Ohio State was the late Terry Glenn, one of the best players in school history.  Despite catching just 29 passes in 2017, McLaurin -a 4.4 speedster- put six of those receptions in the end zone.  Dating back to his freshman campaign, he has also shown up on special teams (7 tackles in 2015).  While his speed is a factor, he has to demonstrate more of an ability running the route tree to get looks from NFL scouts as an outside the numbers threat.  He's actually shown an ability to work the sidelines and settle into soft zones versus zone coverage.  His strength and balance are perhaps his most impressive attributes.  McLaurin will test well for NFL scouts.

Prediction:  12-0

Even with some uncertainty at head coach, Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson is predicting an undefeated regular season and another appearance in the College Football Playoff for the Buckeyes. Contests against Penn State and Michigan State on the road could be problematic, but the Buckeyes have the personnel to beat everyone in the Big Ten. 

2018 Season Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

 Season outlook 

Scott Frost will attempt to complete his second redemption story in as many seasons.  Last year, Frost led UCF to a 13-0 record and a bowl game victory against Auburn following a 6-7 season in 2016.  The former Cornhuskers quarterback will guide a Nebraska squad which finished 4-8 in 2017.  The Cornhuskers aren't as talented as they were in the eighties, but they do have a few skill position players to rely on in Frost's spread offense. Junior running back Tre Bryant (5'11, 201) and senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. (6'1, 201) will be counted on to serve as gamechangers.  Bryant returns to the Cornhuskers after missing 10 games last season with a knee injury.  However, in just two games of action, Bryant totaled 299 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Oregon and Arkansas State.  Defensively, sophomore defensive lineman Ben Stille (6'5, 290) will be counted on to stuff the run and rush the passer after making an impact in his freshman season. Stille finished with 3.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in 2017. Frost doesn't have the talent that he had last year at UCF and the Cornhuskers face a tough schedule, but the new head coach does have enough pieces to lay the foundation for the future. 

Troy's player to watch

8 Stanley Morgan, Jr.  6'1 200 WR-Senior
Morgan, Jr. enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, posting 986 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.  The senior wide receiver recorded 259 yards against Penn State and Iowa, two of the best pass defenses in the Big Ten, to end the season.  Morgan, Jr. is able to make catches in traffic, reminiscent of Odell Beckham Jr., another New Orleans native.  He has the size and speed that will make him a candidate to go in the first three rounds of the draft after the season.

Game of the season

September 15 against Troy
The Troy Trojans are coming off an 11-2 season and a 7-1 conference record in the Sun Belt. Scott Frost will have to navigate an early non-conference slip-up against the Trojans, who will be prepared for FBS competition. In Week 1, Troy will play Boise State.  Don't expect the Trojans to come into Lincoln wide-eyed, and this Week 3 matchup should provide a close contest for the Cornhuskers.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

24 Aaron Williams 5'11 195 DB-Senior

Williams has shown an ability to come under control to make inside-out sideline tackles.  He has also shown requisite skill when it comes

Williams has notched five interceptions and one touchdown during his three-year stint in Lincoln.

to filling on as an eighth man in the box.  His overall thump as a tackler is just adequate and some of this has to do with average size.  For him to get looks from NFL scouts next spring, he has to improve in coverage.  Quicker wide receivers have given him problems in man-to-man coverage.

Prediction: 4-8

Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson is projecting a tough season for Scott Frost in Year 1. The Cornhuskers may be improved on the field from last year but the schedule doesn't do Nebraska any favors. Jefferson is predicting losses against Troy, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa.

2018 Season Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Season outlook

Brian Kelly has won at least 10 games in four of his eight seasons as the head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and 2018 has the chance to be the fifth 10-win campaign.  There are reasons for optimism in South Bend because the  Fighting Irish have playmakers on each level of the defense and a returning 12-game starter at quarterback.  Offensively, junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush (6'1, 228) will resume his position as the top signal-caller for the Fighting Irish.  Last season, Wimbush finished with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.  However, he was sacked 25 times and completed just 48-percent of his passes.  In losses to Georgia, Miami and Stanford, Wimbush combined to throw three touchdowns and four interceptions.  If Wimbush can get in concert with his offensive line and get the ball away sooner, then he -along with his defensive playmakers- have the ability to go far this season.  Defensively, senior linebacker Te'Von Coney and senior defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (6'7, 304) dominate in the run game and on the back end junior cornerback Julian Love (5'11, 194) is emerging as one of the best defensive backs in the nation.  The talent and coaching experience is there in South Bend for a memorable season.

Troy's player to watch

4 Te'Von Coney 6'1 235 LB-Senior
Coney (No. 4 pictured) registered 17 tackles versus LSU in the 2018 Citrus Bowl.

Coney fits the mold of a sideline-to-sideline inside linebacker and his skills are reminiscent of the Jaguars' Telvin Smith.  Coney also has enough strength to absorb contact with running backs and drive them backwards.  Last year, the senior linebacker finished with 116 tackles, three quarterback sacks and11.5 tackles for losses.  If he can sharpen his skills in pass coverage, he has all the makings to be a potential Day 2 NFL prospect.

Game of the season 

September 1st against Michigan
The season opener will set the tone for the Fighting Irish.  Michigan hasn't played Notre Dame since 2014 and in that game, the Wolverines, lost 31-0. Notre Dame and Michigan both have College Football Playoff aspirations and a week one victory in South Bend would be a big boost to either team.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

53 Sam Mustipher 6'2 306 OC-Senior
Mustipher has been a contributor since 2015 and a starter the last two seasons for an impressive offensive line.  His 'nasty' in sending messages to defensive linemen stands out on film.  He can sink his frame in both pass protection and as a run blocker.  Aside from

Mustipher (No. 53 pictured) will perform as a graduate student in 2018.

getting to his spot on angle blocks, his quickness aids him effectively on combination blocks.  For him to improve his draft stock, Mustipher needs to improve his latch-and-sustain.  His size -while adequate- has gotten him into trouble versus leverage players at the point of attack in short yardage (Phillips, Stanford '17).   Over the course of the last three years, he has rounded himself into much better shape than he was earlier in his career.

Prediction: 11-1

Notre Dame has the potential to run the table like they did during the 2012 season. Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish will finish with its lone loss coming against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, according to DraftNasty's Troy Jefferson.

Q&A with former Michigan OL Mason Cole: ‘Stone Cole’

Cole (No. 52 pictured at LT in the 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Florida Citrus Bowl) started 51 games for the Wolverines. He was the first true freshman to start on the offensive line in Michigan history.

‘Stone Cole’

DN: You’ve been playing a lot of left tackle this year (2017) and you’ve moved around a little bit all over the place while in school. How has it been getting back to that natural position (center during 2018 Senior Bowl) or a position that at least you’ve had some reps at before?

Cole: Yeah. It felt good. Obviously, at the next level I’ll play wherever I’m needed. But it felt good to be back at center. Something new again, but not really. It just felt good.

DN: In terms of some of your teammates that last year that went through the experience. You had so many of them that actually played down here. How many of those guys have you talked to about some of the thing that they had gone through in the pre-draft process?

Cole: Yeah, almost all of them. Just trying to gather as much intel as possible about this whole process. And they’ve all been helpful. It’s been really good for me to reach out to them and them be really helpful for me.

DN: What was one game you’d want an NFL scout to take a look at in your career?

Cole: I think any of the games against Ohio State.   They’ve had a great defensive line the whole four years I’ve been there. Florida State had a great D-line when we played them last year (2016 Orange Bowl). And Florida both years. Anytime you go against a good defense you’d like to have a scout watch that and see what you do against higher-level talent.

DN: What would you say is your biggest strength and maybe the one thing you want to work on too?

Cole: Strengths. Just being versatile. Like I said, I think I can play wherever the team needs me on the line. My weakness. Probably just need to get stronger overall.

DN: Thanks a lot for your time.

Cole: Thank you.

----DN Staff reports, 2018 Reese's Senior Bowl practices, Day 3

UPDATE: Cole was drafted with the 97th pick of the third round by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2018 NFL Draft.