Fred Jackson Previews the Wolverines: The Offense

The WLA recently had an opportunity to sit down with Michigan Running Backs Coach Fred Jackson in order to get an early look at what Michigan fans can expec to see from the Wolverines in the upcoming season. The ebullient Jackson delivered – and then some, providing us with an in-depth, position-by-position breakdown of the team. Jackson also held court on a number of peripheral issues like Drew Rosenberg (“By far the greatest hatchet job I’ve ever seen in print”) and the NCAA violations (“Just an outstanding stretching”). We shall turn the site over to Coach Jackson.

Offensive Line

I’ve coached running backs for 22 years, and I’ve seen my share of all-Americans. I’ve also seen my share of incompetent linemen blocking for them. There was Steve Hutchinson, who couldn’t pull anything but pork. There was Jake Long, whose tattoos were as sloppy as his pass-blocking. But I have to say that after years of searching, I’ve finally found a lineup worthy of my running backs’ talents.

Taylor Lewan doesn’t just pave roads, he drafts them and negotiates the city contract, then hires the day laborers and manages the site. His strength is impetuous, his trapping is impregnable, and he’s playing like a bigger Anthony Muñoz – if Anthony Muñoz weren’t an underachieving journeyman who never earned any hardware.

But if Taylor’s stepped up his game, Pat Omameh is making Lewan and Huyge (like Lewan crossed with Usain Bolt) look like they’re playing badminton. Pat’s engineering degree is going to prove useful – when he needs to line the cage of the white tiger he buys with his First Overall money. This kid runs a 4.0 forty, at 300 pounds, and gets down the field to fetch blocks quicker than my backs get there to use them.

An outside observer might think we’re in trouble at the center of the line, what with only a redshirt senior who was benched after 3 games in 2009 (David Molk) to give Denard the ball, but luckily an influx of Ohio talent has left the cupboard well-stocked at center. Christian Pace, an absolutely enormous cannonball with a mean-streak wider than his tree-trunk thighs, is somebody I’m expecting big things out of.

And if the monstrous starting five weren’t enough, here’s something that ought to raise expectations even further: we’ve got kids in the two-deep like Quinton Washington (think Orlando Pace, but with the size and potential to become a pro player some day) and Michael Schofield (from Arizona!) just ready to make those all-Conference teams with the way they put hats on hats. I think that this is a position of GREAT STRENGTH for my Wolverines, and that’s long experience talking.

Wide Receivers

Let me tell you about some of the fine young men we have here at Michigan to play the Wide Receiver position.  Now, most of you know that Soup Campbell is no longer with us, and we have Tony Dews coaching these fine men.  Coach Dews has taken the fine men from Soup, added some more fine young men of his own, and now has made them into some of the most handsome, fine young men I’ve ever encountered on a football field.  Except my son, he just might be the finest, most handsomest young man in the world.
Let’s talk about those excellent slot receivers we have here.  Gallon, he’s so fast and shifty, if you miss him he’ll jump one orbital.  Robinson, he’ll dream shake you and move so fast, if you miss him he’ll jump two orbitals.  Odoms, he spent so much time chasing rascally rabbits, that if you miss keeping an ion him, he’ll just up and atom away to the end zone.  Grady, he’s by far the most superb, athletic basketball player I’ve ever seen on a football field.  Just tremendous.  The other day he had 15 assists while playing football.  I don’t know if that was good or not, but it was by far the highest total I’ve ever seen from a WR.
Lemme tell you all about the fine young men at outside receiver.  Junior Hemingway, simply can’t say enough about this fine young man.  The reason I can’t say enough is I’ve never seen him play.  He’s a physical specimen like Terrell Owens with the fragility of Greg Oden’s knees.  Simply stunning what that fine young man can do while able to walk properly.  Darryl Stonum, he’s like Braylon Edwards if Braylon was faster.  Ricardo Miller, he’s Jason Avant if Jason was TE sized.  Je’Ron Stokes, I’m very high on that fine young man.  In fact, you can consider him the heir apparent to Super Mario, if Mario has awesome dreadlocks and an apostrophed first name.  I’d love to talk about Roy Roundtree, that very fine, handsome young man, but I can’t because I haven’t seen him since the Illinois game.  Barwis has been making him run away from wolves for the past 9 months.  I expect great results from this, and an even more fine young man to return at any day.  Or he’ll be turned into human jerky, 50/50.  I’d love to talk about the finest young man of all, but my son now plays TE, so I’ll just say he’s just like Antonio Gates if Antonio Gates played for Michigan.

Running Back

I’ve coached some of the all time greats at MICH during my career.  Tim Biakabutuka.  Mike Hart.  Chris Perry.  Anthony Thomas.  Jim Potempa.  One thing I can say without equivocation:  The guys I talk about below are better than any of them.

What Vincent Smith lacks in size, he makes up for in being the best sub 5′ 8″ running back to have ever played the game.  He’s like Mike Hart, but fast.  He’s like Barry Sanders, but without the negative yardage.  He’s like Warrick Dunn, but more durable.  He’s like Napoleon, but with a better sense of military tactics.  He’s like Prince, but a better musician.  I think Vinny’s really going to benefit this year from all the time he’s spent playing NCAA 2011.

As part of an NCAA outreach program, I spent the summers of 2000, 2001 and 2002 helping corch the Kingston Boy’s Track Club.  Just a great experience and I ate so much Pepper Pot soupt.  Anyway, I watched Usain Bolt run the 100 meters time after time on a gravelly track behind a local community center.  Dude’s fast.  But not as fast as Mike Shaw.  When we went to recruit Shaw down in Dayton, we left the stop watch at home and brought our radar gun.  Shaw’s speed will be on full display this year as we’ve designed some plays where he runs through a loop like Sonic The Hedgehog.

I would call Mike Cox a “runaway beer truck,” but that would be underrepresenting his ability to steer through traffic like Dale Earnhart and pump the brakes like an Ice Road Trucker.  I see a little bit of Bo Jackson in Cox.  Cox took BP with the baseball team last season and hit fourteen straight homers before dropping the bat on homeplate and saying “Fuck this shit.”  I’m excited to see him break a would be tackler’s entire rib cage this season.

What can I say about Fitzgerald Toussaint?  In this case, I’m going to take a page out of Corch Carr’s book and let my silence speak volumes.  This isn’t regular silence either.  This is wearing noise cancelling headphones while sitting in an acoustically baffled room floating in space silence.  The complete absence of sound.  And since the silence is inversely proportional to the volumes I want to speak about Toussaint, it would be like infinity decibels worth of praise.  Like I’m that creepy monster thing in that one Aphex Twin video and I’m just screaming in your face about how awesome Toussaint is going to be.  Something like that.

So, as a group, I’d give this position an A+, maybe an A++.  Once Smith shows he’s fully healthy, that’ll probably go up to an A+++.  If Austin White gets on campus and he’s ready to contribute, it’s an A++++.  With the improvements to Michigan Stadium, I can see it being closer to an A+++++.  Probably round that up to an A++++++.


Little known fact, I, MICH RB Coach Fred Jackson, coached QBs at Vanderbilt in 1991 after having similar responsibilities at Purdue in 1989-1990. The success of quarterbacks like Jay Cutler (Vandy), Drew Brees (Purdue), and Kyle Orton (Purdue) can all be traced back to corching techniques I implemented at those universities. I am constantly striving to find a quarterback with the mouth of Cutler, the accuracy of Brees, and the facial hair of Orton. But before we get into the amazing qualities of the MICH quarterbacks, let me say that I treat my quarterbacks like men; I let them wear earrings. You can never not look too good as a quarterback. The quarterbacks now, might be some of the best looking, most well accessorized quarterbacks we have had since Elvis. Body hair remains an underrated, but important characteristic of a quarterback. Our quarterbacks have the important body hair categories covered: dreadlocks, peach fuzz, and pencil thin moustaches. The length of dreadlocks is directly proportional to football speed. This comes more naturally to Black African hair like Denard’s, though the style has been increasingly adopted by White Caucasians. Peach fuzz on the chin is directly related to grit which comes more naturally to White Caucasians, like Tate. Devin, he is growing the thinnest pencil moustache possible; the thickness of moustaches is inversely proportional to accuracy so he will be the most accurate passer here since Brady. But, to be honest, as long as they don’t have that scruffy look, which is associated with inability to drive a motorcycle and prima donna status the quarterbacks here should be fine. If there is one thing I worry about, however, it is that the opposing defenses we face will become enamored of  our quarterbacks who look so good I have begun to question my own heterosexuality.

(thanks to Seth, shockfx, MRG, and Max for the writing)

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