News is breaking today that Michigan sophomore safety Vladimir Emilien has decided to leave the Wolverines football program. That makes another departure from a secondary that’s already been plundered by injury and attrition.
“Vlady has decided to transfer and look for other opportunities,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said today. “He’s a good man and we wish him well.”
Since the end of last season, the Wolverine’s depth chart has been ravaged. Former cornerback Boubacar Cissoko was kicked off the team and sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to multiple robberies this summer. Fellow cornerback Justin Turner decided to transfer to West Virginia and senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk suffered a season-ending leg injury all before fall camp.
Safety depth has also been hit, with free safety Jared Van Slyke breaking a collarbone that could cost him the season, while Rodriguez mentioned that safety Carvin Johnson also is “very doubtful” for the game this weekend with a injury to his MCL. Add to that the loss of uber-prospect Demar Dorsey, who couldn’t qualify academically this summer, and the Woverines are incredibly thin at every position in the defensive backfield.
I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how the Wolverines can stop the Irish passing game, and they’ll likely have to rely on a wonderful blend of pressure and zone coverage, something that is far less likely to work in the friendly confines of Notre Dame Stadium than if this game were taking place in the Big House.
While we’ll spend some time talking about the pressure that’s going to be on the backs of the Irish defense, the play of cornerbacks James Rogers, J.T. Floyd, and safeties Jordan Kovacs and Cameron Gordon will be the biggest storyline of the afternoon.
(You know the situation is dire when Greg Robinson’s playing a 3-3-5 defense, and the Michigan Rivals’ website has a secondary depth chart that only has four active players on it.)