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Saw this over on MGoBlog:
"He's supposedly going back to offense," Blackwell [ed: Norfleet's 7-on-7 coach] said. "They will use him in the slot and in the return game, and some as a running back. Coach [Greg] Mattison is saying he can still use him on defense and is making an argument to keep him there, but Dennis' passion is for the offense. That's where he wants to play, and from talking to Dennis it appears that's where he's going to play.
I'm happy with this. He's beyond explosive with the ball in his hands. I want to see what he can do to defenders in the open field, as we've only really seen him go up against special team's units.
Does anyone else ever wonder what song he is always singing and dancin to?
Got to love that kids attitude. Big things from him in the return game next year!
I think this is best for him and the team. WE've all been saying all year how'd we like to see him on bubble screens and quick passes and I think that's where we will see a big advantage of having him. Keep him returning kicks also he was close to breaking a few last year
Not surprised, especially with the talent we have at defense.
Haha that's funny.
So happy this happened. He adds another weapon to the offense. I really think he can help us RIGHT now. Another weapon a defense has to prepare for.
Hopefully he's our Ace Sanders
"Those Who Stay...Will be Champions"
I think we'll see him mixed into the offense a bit more this season. I'd take my chances getting the ball in his hands a few times a game on offense that he can make a big play.
I'm not surprised, he'll take over Vincent Smith's little role in the offense (although I can only hope that he works on his pass-blocking to get to a level close to Smith). The whole shift to defense was just because we were dangerously low on available CBs for the bowl game.
That would be nice. He is capable, though I don't know if he has the same subtle change of direction that Ace is capable of, but he isn't too far behind in a lot of other categories talent wise.
I think Justice Hayes will take over Smith's role, especially if Norfleet is moving to slot WR, instead of back to RB..
I keep waiting for Justice Hayes to do something, but he's just had so many chances and hasn't really shown anything. He's also not very good in pass protection. If anything, I would've expected Hayes to slide out to a slot WR position, but the fact that Norfleet's already ahead of him there says all you need to know. I've been rooting for Hayes for years, but I think he and Rawls have just surpassed the point of potential breakouts and are now looking at being leapfrogged by younger, more talented RBs.
What year is hayes this year?
RS SO, and I disagree with the other guy completely. Justice has gotten minimal PT thus far and when he has he has done solid or better.
He had one good game in garbage time against Illinois. He was ok on a few carries against UMass, but other than that, he's been non-existent. Any touches he saw against better teams didn't result in anything. His stats for the entire second half of the season? 5 carries, -2 yards. His pass blocking also leaves much to be desired.
I think he still has a chance to do something and still has time to do it. Obviously his talents fit better in RR system. His best chance is to move to the slot or take over the role that V. Smith had. Like others said though, if he is gonna take over that spot he has to improve his run blocking. A lot of people didn't like Smith but I loved that guy. He was very under appreciated in his time at UofM. He gave all he had on every play which isn't much weight wise.
Every practice you have a chance to prove yourself. Sure some people who have experience will get the first looks (Fitz) but if day in and day out you are better you will find the field. I know coaches like to reward seniority but this is also a business. No hard feelings, the best man will play.
I really do not put much blame on any of our RB's for doing so poorly last year. Our line missed tons of blocks, we had a QB that could not throw, and the RB's went up against D's that always stacked the box and played the run. Under the 2012 conditions I have a hard time writing any of the RB's off.
As for Norfleet what a late pick up we got with him. I do not think he was ever really mentioned on any recruiting sites. Most everyone had a "Who is he?" attitude when he signed his LOI and now the coaches are fighting over him. I hope we can find more like that.
...yeah, because every time he came on the field it was for a jet sweep that the defense saw coming from a mile away ("Oh look, #5's in the game, wonder what play they're gonna run dotdotdot") and that we utterly failed at blocking. He's used one year of eligibility, maybe we wait another one before we bury him?
Norfleet was actually a consensus 4-star, but I do agree that he wasn't really on anyone's radar, simply because we expected his spot to be filled with one of any of the OLs we missed out on.
I'm not completely burying him, but like I said, if the coaches are prioritizing Norfleet over him, I just don't see how he'll really have a good chance to contribute. Even at the end of last year, all we were hearing from the coaches was how impressive Drake Johnson was, nothing about Hayes. He doesn't fit the mold of the bellcow back that we want going forward, and his 3DRB/slot WR status has already been usurped by Norfleet, so it's just hard to see how he could contribute.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love for him to explode and become another offensive weapon for us, but I'm not holding my breath.
You originally said "he has had so many chances and hasnt really shown anything"
He was a RS FR last year behind Fitz an incumbent starter and returning 1,000 yard rusher, we had Denard (another returning 1,000 yard rusher) and he was behind the Vince and Rawls on the depth chart. He has had what, under 20 career carries and was a RS FR last year. How exactly is that "had so many chances"? He had a number of games where he got 2 or 3 carries or less, the games you mentioned late in the season where he didn't do much (but a small sample size in terms of carries), likewise he had games where he had 2 or 3 carries or less and done well (but again, small sample size). The one game where he did get a good number of carries, he did very well running the ball and despite Illinois not being great, they still are a conference opponent (its not like he had those #'s against a crappy FCS opponent or something). Were you expecting him to be a superstar as a RS FR or something?
7v7 national tournament MVP, pretty talented unknown
All the backs should get plenty of time in the spring to show something as we will only have Hayes, Rawls, and Johnson as pure RB (with Norfleet as a slot) with Fitz out and the freshman not on campus yet.
When I said "chances," I wasn't merely referring to carries. When he came on campus as a highly recruited freshman, Michigan was searching for a RB. While we eventually settled on Fitz, the competition was wide open right when he hit campus. He then had a year to establish himself as the heir-apparent to Vincent Smith. Everyone knew that he wasn't going to be the bellcow (given the style of RB Hoke was looking for) but he had time to work himself into consideration as, at the very least, the backup.
He then had another chance this year as Fitz and Rawls played poorly. I think we can all agree that Fitz and Rawls need the OL to open big holes for them to be successful, but Hayes is a smaller and shiftier back than either of them, so he had an opportunity to step in take some carries. Then, when Fitz went down in the OSU game, he had a month to step up and demonstrate his effectiveness in time for the bowl game, but instead, all we heard about was how well Drake Johnson played.
Finally, he had an opportunity this offseason to step up and take over Vincent Smith's role as a 3DRB/slot WR. Instead, Norfleet gets the nod.
By my count, that's at least 4 major opportunities that he had to earn playing time. He's been in the program for 2 years, and he's repeatedly getting passed over for younger players. How many chances do you want to give him? Look at the best RB programs - mid 2000s USC, Bama today: you get 1, maybe 2 real chances to prove your worth as a RB and work your way into the rotation. If you can't perform, you're done. There's too much talent above and below you to justify more chances.
Maybe I'm being cruel about it, but if he hasn't done enough to justify seeing the field yet, I'm not very confident that he'll be able to pick it up in the future, especially with the quality of the RBs we're bringing in behind him.
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