What the Deuce: Mike DeBord on WDFN

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mike DeBord on WDFN

Earlier today, Mike DeBord, offensive coordinator for the Michigan Wolverines, appeared as a guest on The Stoney and Wojo Show (WDFN - The Fan Detroit). In typical Michigan football coach fashion, DeBord was bland and evasive with his answers. I don't think there is much to be gleaned from the interview, but some of his answers did stick out. I attempted to transcribe the interview the best I could. Everything that follows is paraphrased:

Wojo: How excited are you about the offense? Is it going to as explosive as everyone predicts it will be?

DeBord: You never really know until you get into games. We face some good defenses and it's not going to be as easy as everyone thinks. I'm happy with our progress in camp. It's been one of the better offensive camps in terms of execution that I have been a part of. [DeBord went on to specifically mention route running, blocking up front, and running back play]

Chengelis: What is going on with the right side of the line?

DeBord: I'm pleased with the play of Justin Boren at center. Schilling and Ortmann are competing for the right guard spot. Steve has started to step up. (emphasis mine). Cuilla is playing right guard now. We're happy that Alex Mitchell will be able to come back. (emphasis is mine). We just can't lose guys up front because it makes us thinner up front.

Wojo: What different things are we going to see from Chad Henne?

DeBord: Henne is a dependable quarterback. He's gotten better from his freshman year to now. We're going to give him help in the shotgun...give him more time.

Wojo: Who is behind Mike Hart at running back? Who's the fullback

DeBord: Brandon Minor is behind Mike Hart. He's had a great camp and brings speed to the backfield[DeBord talked about last year Minor "showing what he could do."] Mondrous is the fullback but we will be using multiple personnel and not just the Pro [Debord specifically mentioned the Ace and 2 TE]

Chengelis: Talk a little about Ryan Mallett. Will he play this year?

DeBord: We haven't talked much about how much Mallett will play this year. Today was the last day of camp and we will talk about it when we meet Sunday. The best way to describe him is that he's learning. He needs to learn what Chad knows. He knows some of the playbook but not all of it. [Debord compared Mallett's situation to when Henne the coaches scaled the playbook back to help Henne as a starter during Henne's freshman year]

Chengelis: Any concerns on offense?

DeBord: Depth. We can't afford to lose guys. We need to make the younger guys and even older guys that are backups better so they are ready.

Wojo: What have you seen from the defense? Will they be able to fill the holes left by Woodley and Branch?

DeBord: I think the holes will be filled quickly. We've had our moments and they have had their's. My experience shows that when one side of the ball dominates camp, it's usually not a good season.

Wojo: Will be seeing more of the TE going across the middle?

DeBord: [DeBord began by saying that the impression the tight ends aren't being used in the passing game as much as in the past is incorrect]. We put in the passes last year ("naked passes" because the offense fakes the run to one side and both the QB and TE go in the opposite direction). Sometimes the TE is not open and the ball goes into the flat but people just notice the ball going into the flat and not the fact the TE was covered. It's a good counter to our running game especially when the defense gets to the point of attack against the run.

As mentioned before, there were no revelations. I think the most telling answer given came in response to the offensive line question. Reading between the lines, it doesn't appear as if the coaches are happy with the options behind Mitchell at RG - "Cuilla is playing the right guard right now. We are happy that Alex Mitchell will be able to come back." Hopefully, it's not as bad as I've interpreted it to be.

Other than that, maybe DeBord will open up the offense against Appalachian State, Eastern, etc. (HA!) so that the younger guys and backups actually get some meaningful playing time during the year instead of having to runMike Hart into the line deep because the Wolverines are only up 10 in the middle of the 4th.

This can only help - fresh bodies that can contribute late in the season, especially against Wisconsin and Ohio State in consecutive weeks, are an important factor in whether Michigan competes for the National Championship.


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