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Posted on Mon, May 3, 2010 : 4:27 p.m.

J.T. Floyd wants to 'make plays' in secondary for Michigan football team

By Dave Birkett

J.T. Floyd’s motto as cornerback is simple.

“Make plays,” Floyd said last month after the Michigan football team's spring game. “That’s all you got to do to be successful out here.”


J.T. Floyd had a solid spring for the Michigan football team and is in the hunt for a starting role in the 2010 season. (File photo)

Lon Horwedel |

Floyd did enough of that this spring to emerge as the frontrunner for the starting right cornerback job, opposite Troy Woolfolk.

He played in nine games and made two starts last year as a redshirt freshman, and said his performance down the stretch - he made three tackles and held his own in pass coverage in the Wolverines’ season-ending loss to Ohio State - bolstered his belief that he could be a starting cornerback in the Big Ten.

“I learned just to trust my instincts,” Floyd said. “Just go out there, just believe in my eyes, trust in what I’m seeing and go after it.”

Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said Floyd, one of Michigan’s most physical cornerbacks, made gains in the weight room that helped him approach spring “like an experienced football player.”

“He looks better, he looks thicker in his uniform,” Robinson said.

Teammates said they noticed a new air about Floyd, too.

“He came out being more confident than ever,” safety Vladimir Emilien said. “He started picking things off. That was a person that really surprised me.”

Floyd is far from guaranteed a starting job. Incoming freshmen Cullen Christian and Demar Dorsey (if he makes it to campus) will challenge for playing time, and backup cornerback J.T. Turner, a redshirt freshman, has some of the highest upside on the team.

But if he can lock down the right side, Michigan's young and inexperienced secondary could turn from huge question mark into a surprising strength.

“I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Floyda said. “We’re not there yet, but we got this summer to work with (strength coach) Mike Barwis, who’s the best in the country, and we’re looking for a real productive season this fall.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Robbie Webb

Sat, May 8, 2010 : 10:46 a.m.

Most people seem to get it but you. No one is writes or talks or posts worries about Michigan's offense. No one. It was defense, defense, defense. NO ONE is worried about their offense. The only hot topic on that side of the ball is who will start at quarterback, not, ''Will Michigan be able to score.'' We proved that last year. Now the defense has to step up and make stops.

Robbie Webb

Sat, May 8, 2010 : 10:41 a.m.

You have a lot to learn. I know what I wrote, and they were 1st and they kept that lead until the last couple of games and fell to third. That was my point this whole time. I thought it was easy to realize where I didn't have to explain it. And yes you can have that lead. You know why? Because, again, it was not an offense problem, it was defense, we put points up on the board. I don't know how many different languages you want me to say it in. We put up quite a few points with the exeption of PSU and OSU.


Sat, May 8, 2010 : 6:32 a.m.

Robbie: Your statement was they were 1st in offense in the B10. Thanks for correcting yourself. Now if you want to talk just B10 games? I believe they were 5 or 6. You can't have the number 1 scoring offense in the B10 and only win 2 games. Go back to grammar school boy.


Sat, May 8, 2010 : 1:03 a.m.

They were also Given the Indiana game. I cant remember the last time refs played such a pivotal role in the end of a game. Remember the Indiana coach almost Crapped an Egg on the sideline from the blown calls, I thought he was going to have a heart attack.

Robbie Webb

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:46 a.m.

They ended up number three in scoring in 2009. Not 5th or 6th.

Robbie Webb

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

Wrong, they lead up until around the end of the season. Offense was not the problem in 2009 and everyone knows that. They put points up on the board. Rich Rod is not to blame, nor is any coach, even though some bad decisions were made, but that happens with every coach. It's defense, defense, defense, and defense only. Particularly the secondary, the line and the linebackers are solid. Even the corner back spot should be much better with Woolfolk who is a veteran and has improved and with competition at the other cornerback spot. The safeties are the ones who need to be able to stop passes and make plays in open space.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:16 a.m.

The offense did not lead the B10 in scoring. I believe in B10 games they were in the middle somewhere around 5 or 6.

Robbie Webb

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 7:44 p.m.

And this isn't Rich Rod's fault, he deals with the offense. Greg Robinson is in charge of the defense, but he didn't have much to work with. Rich Rod's offense lead the big ten in scoring, his playbook was not a problem. Did he make great decisions all the time? No he did not. But no coach is perfect. If Michigan would have had at least a good amount of talent in the back field, we would have been 8-4 with a bowl game. Iowa, lost by two, Purdue, lost by two, MSU, lost in overtime. It wasn't offense, it was not making many stops on defense. If we would have made some stops, they wouldn't have had the margin to win over us and the stops would have given the offense a chance to put more points up.

Robbie Webb

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

Again, last year they didn't have the talent in the back field to make any plays, so why would they have thought about looking into a formation that requires speed and athleticism in the backfield when they didn't have much?


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 4:29 p.m.

Robbie, When has rich rod or any of his coaches ever been able to make adjustments at any point during a game? Rodriguez cant even make an adjustment when he has 20 mins, a tv, and in a locker room full of help.

Robbie Webb

Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

Michigan wont play the 3-3-5 all day and night. They will lineup according to the offense.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:25 p.m.

Robbie: I appreciate your optimism, but the only conference that talks about playing the 3-3-5 is the wac. This is the B10. The problem is he is trying to get as much talent and speed on the field as he can. Its obviously not in the linebackers and d-lineman.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 11:06 a.m.

Unfortunately clay never makes it off the sideline this year. He was injured in practice this year and the chronic ankle injuries will prevent him from playing this year. Probably a good thing, there is life after college football, which clay probably would have limped through, had he made the Michigan game. 'Make plays', nice motto, but Michigan this year will adapt to the 'Make great plays' philosophy.

Robbie Webb

Wed, May 5, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

Yes! Exactly! I know the 4-3 is best against the run, and guess what? That's what they're going to use against it! They have said multiple times that they have not given their defense a title because they'll line up according to the offense. If they run there will be four down linemen alot of the time. Guys like Craig Roh, who played on the line last year, will be on the line some if needs be. There have also been two articles on this particular site explaining that. The line has not been the problem. And what do you mean they have trouble finding three? They have no such problem. Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergan (second in sacks last year) Greg Banks, Crraig Roh, William Campbelle, Sagesse. They are not weak at the line by any means, it's the secondary that needs to step up.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

Robbie: Obviously a 4-3 defense is best against the run, but you need 4 d-lineman. This team is struggling to find 3. If you think the loss of Graham is minimal wait until UConn.You could play a 3-4 defense, but you need 4 linebackers. This team hasn't found 4 guys to play linebacker in 3 years. A 3-3-5 is what used to be referred to as a prevent defense. Designed to prevent the homerun ball. When your safeties are too slow and can't cover the pass you line them up in the endzone and hope to break up the deep pass. If you haven't noticed, they are still starting a walk on at safety. He couldn't cover the pass to save his life. Its a good thing RR recruited lots of db's because he will need them if he thinks he can stop the run in the B10 with a 3-3-5. Wait until Clay gets into your backfield. All you will see is Maize, Blue and db blood everywhere.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 10:40 p.m.

I be thinking that UM play the 3-3-3 and leave 2 men on bench vs's secondary B10 schools like msu, psu, and osu. This to be making game much more interesting for UM fan in bleacher. Quarterbacks like pryer and cousines not be able to turn back on defense after ball snap, or land face down on turf with sod clumps in ears, nose.

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 3:55 p.m.

You just don't understand. Yes, Graham was a huge loss, but our line was not and is not the issue, it never has been. It was the secondary, not the line. And I say this once again, they wont always line up with three down linemen, they have said over again that they are not running the 3-3-5 all day and night. Let me ask you, what defense would you think is best to stop the run?


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

Robbie, with a 3 man front, I could get past that line. Do you think Grahm is coming back for another year? because you dont have a replacement for that guy. 5 offensive linemen against 3 defensive linemen, Thats a mismatch all day long. Bring help in from the secondary and open up the long ball.

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 12:22 p.m.

Osubebetter, that's if any team can get past the front lines.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

This JT Floyd guy with the Woolfolk kid on the other side is a bit frightening for offenses and may change the way B10 run plays at the UM. People might just see a lot of old fashioned runs up the middle - like the old days for the visitors at the Big House, minus two yards and a cloud of dust. Mr. Floyd and Woolfolk may just have to take a lounge chair out on the field to relax.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 11:21 a.m.

Thats great that he wants to make plays in the secondary, Because most running plays this year will make it in to the secondary.

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 11:02 a.m.

Nobowlforblue, they'll win more than six games.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 11 a.m.

Oh Yes... it's going to be Floyd and Woolfolk, the corner bookends that 'no one gets by' this year. The msu game is here this year, yes unfortunately UM will have to look at their backs briefly, as they come out of tunnel first - but then it's All UM... All The Time! Early predictions are calling for a 100% chance of 13 Michigan wins this fall, a storm of UM offense, a devastating ice shield of defense, and a flood that swepts dantonio and pryor clean out of the big Ten.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 10:19 a.m.

Michboy40 I too would like to see some plays.Timely interceptions,big hits that cause fumbles,lock down corner covrage on big time WRs, safties that can help stop long passes, in short,playing like all good DBs do when they understand what their role is and have the skills to carry that out.Our guys have looked lost the last 5 years


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 12:20 a.m.

Kubrick 66 typical of the arrogance that pervades Wolverine Nation. Ask yourself this when the final horn blew who had the most points?Sparty or Rod Heads boys? Sparty did.they won.That's all that counts. So shut up and stand on you head on the 50 yard line of the "Big House." Can't do any harm and it might make u smarter and less arrogant. 6-6 at best for the mighty Wolves this year.


Mon, May 3, 2010 : 9:46 p.m.

If Floyd "makes plays" in the Michigan secondary that will be one step better than last year...when they made none. I'm tired of the talk. Show me the product on the field. Show me a coach that does not freak out under pressure. Show me a class act on and off the field, players and coaches. That's what I want!


Mon, May 3, 2010 : 9:42 p.m.

clarklaker this team is projected at best to finish middle of the pack but then again they were last, last year. 6 wins tops


Mon, May 3, 2010 : 8:12 p.m.

Rich rod can be blamed for sparty bumping his chest. All i want to know is how many wins and how is this team going to play this year? Does rich rod know how to make halftime adjustments, i shure havent seen it in two years.

Terry Star21

Mon, May 3, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

This is going to be a breakthrough year for the two maize and blue # 12's. J.T. Floyd will garner 72 tackles and have 14 interceptions and Roy Roundtree will garner 61 catches, 17 of them for touchdowns, and the king will have 13 games to plays and 13 of them victories, the last one a 'crystal' of a gem! @ Kubrick66... good point, some msu fans may be two young to remember before the last two years, they were 3-11 in that span, and we didn't hear a peep from them.


Mon, May 3, 2010 : 4:39 p.m.

Continuity, hard work and patience... Good things to come for Michigan football 2010. And if I were Sparty I'd be a bit more humble... Seeing that it took a late 4th quarter td, and an over time interception to squeak past the two worst Michigan Football teams in over 40 years.