Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Jesse Williams Problem

After a Spring Football season that yielded some unexpected results, Michigan’s eyes are now on ‘Jerryworld,’ where they will face the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide’s dominance is no secret, but they also have to replace a number of superstars on the defensive side of the ball, which may not be too difficult since they seem to have a stockpile of 4/5 Stars at every position. One of Michigan’s greatest areas of concern heading into the fall is the interior OL. Ricky Barnum, a 5th Year Senior seems to have taken well to his switch to C, but the LG spot seems wide open.
The candidates:
Joey Burzynski, 6-1 284, RS Soph
Elliot Mealer, 6-5 310, RS Senior
Kyle Kalis, 6-5 305, Freshman
Between these three players, Michigan should be able to come up with a viable option at LG, but each player also has their own respective question mark. How can a short, light walk-on be a good sign for our offense? Why hasn’t a 5th year senior been able to really make his mark? Will a true freshman be mentally prepared to play football on the big stage?  These are the questions coaches will need to ask while preparing for the Tide and the nightmare that anchors their defense…. 6’4”, 320lb behemoth NT, Jesse Williams
Williams is a JUCO transfer that originally hails from Australia. He is supposedly Bama's strongest guy in the weight room, and it really shows on the field as
well. Williams is very quick off the snap and has impressive speed for someone his size. Williams is extremely versatile and actually played a 5 tech DE (Craig Roh's position, for reference...uh oh) in Bama's 3-4 last year when Josh Chapman lined up at NT. On passing downs, he moved inside when Alabama employed a 4 man front.

Our fear is that Mr. Williams is able to not only take on Ricky Barnum, but that he will be able to disrupt double teams against a shaky LG, allowing a LB corps of 6-3 245 Nico Johnson, 6-3 240 Xzavier Dickson, 6-2 242 Trey DePriest, and 6-6 237 Adrian Hubbard to wreak havoc in the backfield, limiting Fitz and Denard's effectiveness up the middle.

What can the Wolverines do? Here at Fergodsakes, we think that the most important player to the success of our run game is.... wait for it....... Stephen Hopkins.

Why? Williams will command double teams on almost every single play. He is a relentless player that has the ability to disrupt the run and the pass... Stephen Hopkins will HAVE to make key blocks on LB's in the gaps and on the second level. We will not have the luxury of simply chipping Jesse Williams with Mr. Burzynski all game. Hopkins will be absolutely essential to our run game up the middle, because if he misses his block, a very large LB will be waiting in the hole to clean up. It has been a few years since a Fullback had an extremely large importance in our offense, but with a team as physical as Alabama, we think its necessary. 

As we all know, Al Borges will have to get creative against Alabama. Alabama lost 3/4 DB's from last year, so I assume we will try to exploit some of their potential inexperience while testing the edge on the run. Our line will have their hands full with Jesse Williams up the middle, and Stephen Hopkins will be essential to our success.


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