Jan. 31, 2012
First-year University of Michigan men's lacrosse assistant coach Judd Lattimore has been entrusted with structuring the Maize and Blue offense. Among his assets are captains Trevor Yealy, a fifth-year senior who led U-M with 63 goals in 19 club games in 2011; Thomas Paras, a junior who had 38 goals and led U-M with 28 assists last year; and Alexander Vasileff, a senior who posted 18 goals and 15 assists a season ago.
MGoBlue.com: What can people expect to see out of your offense from a style standpoint?
Judd Lattimore: We run a motion offense with a lot of passing and a lot of cutting. The guys are given a lot of freedom to make decisions and choices. That's the basis of our offense. That's kind of the fundamentals. We work a lot on stick work and being fundamentally sound. We think that gives our guys a lot of freedom to improvise and do a lot of different things with our offense. I like to think it's a fun offense to watch. It moves. It takes a lot of skill to run. From a fan's perspective, I think it's a lot of fun to watch and I think the fans will see the skill level it takes to operate it and have it work.
MGB: In what aspects has the team showed the most improvement?
JL: We've progressed with our stick work. We've really emphasized as a staff raising our standards in terms of stick work. We want to see fewer balls on the ground, so to speak, more skill-typed plays, keeping the ball off of the ground basically. We have definitely improved there. I'd say that's been our biggest improvement.
MGB: Who are the players you expect to contribute right away this season?
JL: Trevor Yealy is a captain for us. He does a fantastic job as a captain. He's a fifth-year senior, so he's a great leader. He's also a great player. He's a very skilled inside player, he makes incredible plays inside. If you give him the ball in there, there's a good chance it'll end up in the net. He can have guys all over him and still score. He's tremendous on ground balls as well. We use him on the wings for faceoffs, so you'll see him do that. He makes some incredible plays that even the common fan would be impressed with.
I think in the midfield right now, Doug Bryant is our strongest middie -- he's playing extremely well. He's got a very hard shot on the run, quick release. He can score in dramatic fashion, particularly on the run. He shoots the ball hard. It's definitely something that's obvious to see. We've got some other guys that have filled in and played well. We've got some younger guys.
Alex Vasileff is a strong midfielder for us, very strong physically. He's got a strong shot, both right handed and left handed. His knowledge of the offense is very good. His lacrosse IQ is high. Jeff Chu is another guy who is a very skilled player; arguably our smartest player. Willie Steenlend is a tremendous midfielder for us right now. He's got very good skills, very high IQ, and puts a lot of pressure on the defense. He'll be a guy that will contribute a lot. He'll be one of our key guys on offense. He had an injury this fall, so he's a little slow coming back from that right now. Might not see a ton of time in the first game, but he'll come on and probably play a lot more after that.
MGB: Are there any players that are injured who could return and contribute?
JL: Tom (Paras) has tremendous potential. He's been out for a while now, so it's been hard to assess him. The other guys have progressed rapidly. Tom has potential to be one of the best players on the team. He's a guy that can add a lot, potentially.
MGB: How about some freshmen that could earn playing time as the season progresses?
JL: I think Will Meter will have an effect right away. He's one of our top six offensive players right now. He's going to have a big impact and I think he's going to develop. Dave McCormack is a freshman walk-on from Ohio. He's going to have an immediate impact as well. Right now he's playing as well as anybody on the team. Ryan Dutton-O'Hara is a guy that can help us at the attack position. He's a great man-up guy as well. Andrew Mosko is a guy that has a hard right shot as a freshman from Georgetown Prep. He is going to help us on man-up as well. I could see him develop as the year goes on. Zach Dauch is a guy with a ton of potential. He's very athletic and he's been injured for a good portion of the year. He has the ability to help a lot as well. Ryan Snyder is a guy that adds depth to our attack. He's been working very hard. Andrew Portnoy is another guy that gives us depth on attack. Steve Levitt is a veteran guy that gives us some depth at the midfield position. He's a solid middie.