The Michigan Wolverines‘ defensive secondary was very average last season. 11 interceptions and 20 pass break-ups looks okay on paper, but opponents were able to connect on the home run often and there were occasionally times when coverage simply looked horrible. One of the few bright spots for the entire Michigan team last season was cornerback Blake Countess, who tallied six interceptions. This season, Countess will be leading the charge for a Wolverines secondary that has the potential to be a team strength.
While Countess was busy breaking up passes and picking off quarterbacks, he was dealing with lower abdominal pain that left him feeling subpar as a player for much of the season. He has since undergone surgery and made a full recovery, so it naturally begs the question: What can Countess do when completely healthy?
So much attention has been paid to incoming freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers, the coveted five-star recruit who can pretty do it all on a football field, and even though he does have the most talent and potential in that secondary, you can’t put a price on experience and leadership. This is what Countess is able to bring to the table.
For example, expect to see some patchwork done in the secondary when it comes to opponents converting deep down field. Michigan’s defense allowed way too many big plays in 2013, and some of that falls on Countess. He is naturally at a disadvantage against many wide receivers because of his height at 5-foot-10, but he clearly showed the ability to match up with some very talented receivers, which is what he’ll need to be doing this season.
As a whole, Michigan’s secondary in 2014 is going to be a sound one. With Raymon Taylor returning at the other cornerback position and Peppers making his highly anticipated debut, expect to see some very noticeable improvements from a season ago. The secondary has the potential to be a serious strength for Michigan this year, starting with Countess who will finally be healthy for an entire season.