The loss of Troy Woolfolk hurts. But it's certainly not the first blow to Michigan's defensive backfield. Let's just take a look back at the revolving door of Michigan secondary defenders over this past year.
• Boubacar Cissoko, who began the 2009 season at starting CB (and showed multiple times why he wasn't the best option for that role) is kicked off the team midway through the year for violating team rules and is now in jail.
• Donovan Warren, Michigan's most talented CB over the last 3 seasons declares eligible for the NFL draft after his junior year.
• Michigan's #1 recruit for 2010 Demar Dorsey is ruled academically ineligible and refused entrance into UM.
• The top recruit in Ohio in 2009, JT Turner is granted a transfer after an off-season of not working out and preparing for a potential starting role in 2010.
• Recruit Adrian Witty never materialized due to academic issues.
So the latest blow to Michigan's defense, the leg injury to Troy Woolfolk, which we now know is a broken fibula and dislocated right ankle, is going to effect the depth of an already young and inexperienced secondary, but it's not going to determine or drastically influence the outcome of the season. I will go on record in saying that the loss of Woolfolk's leadership on this defense is going to be a factor in the success of failures of the unit this fall.
The good news is, it looks like Woolfolk is going to be able to red-shirt this year. He never used his red-shirt when he got to Michigan.
So if we take Woolfolk out of the equation, our cornerback position looks like this...
Starting or revolving at CB would be JT Floyd on one side and probably freshman Courtney Avery and Cullen Christian, Teric Jones, converted WR James Rogers and maybe walk-on Tony Anderson. Teric Jones played mostly at safety, but could move over to CB due to the sudden need.
Safety is looking a bit more stable, but not that much. The Gordon brothers, Cameron and Thomas have looked good. Former walk-on Jordan Kovacs has emerged as the sudden leader of this position...which is scary. Michael Williams has moved from safety to the "spur" position, and Thomas Gordon also spent some time there in the spring game.
One of the big bright spots for Michigan's secondary is Vladimir Emilien. He looked really good in the spring game and could easily move himself up the depth chart quickly before the UCONN game. Also in the mix at safety, and maybe elsewhere is Marvin Robinson. He showed very good ability in the spring.
Also noteworthy are Mike Jones and Brandin Hawthorne, who will could split time at spur and safety.
Easily...without and doubt, the biggest vulnerability on our defense has been the secondary. And now with the sudden loss of Troy Woolfolk, we're going to be relying on inexperienced backups and true freshmen.
No question, if you're going to have youth on your team, it's best to have it at the corners where youth can be mitigated by better coverage packages and solid linebacker/safety play. But this is going to be the focus for any team looking to put up points quickly against us. They will attack the corners early and often. It's going to be tough to watch at times. But hopefully our young players can step up. We have 16 days to figure it out.