I decided to re-watch the defense's performance in slow motion and then post my observations. This is not meant as a replacement for Brian's UFR. You’ll notice a lack of statistics. The information below is just what stood out to me.
Three disclaimers: First, I am not a football coach. Second, I may have confused Nathan Brink and Brennen Beyer on a few plays. Both are tall, skinny white guys whose numbers end in 7. The TV I watched the game on is not that big. Third, everything below is written in the present tense. The observations are only meant to apply to the play or drive that is being discussed (unless otherwise noted).
I’ve put general observations at the end if you want to skip ahead.
· Mike Martin (“MM”) nearly sacks Carder on the first play despite the fact that it’s a bubble screen.
· MM and Ryan Van Bergen (“RVB”) get a good push throughout the drive and game.
· Brennen Beyer (“BB”) plays. He seems quick but too thin.
· Jibreel Black (“Black”) rushes from a standing position on at least one play.
· There is mass confusion before several plays for the DL and, to a lesser degree, the LBs.
· The LBs are not particularly quick to react to bubble screens.
· Nathan Brink (“NB”) plays and is unremarkable.
· The DBs are better coordinated than the front seven but still seem confused before some plays.
· Coverages seem well conceived. Michigan just lacks play-makers at DB.
· Michigan uses a three-man line on some plays. They are gashed on a draw in which no LBs line up over the center or guards.
· The team swarms to the ball.
· Will Heininger (“WH”) plays some NT. He’s not bad.
· Jake Ryan (“JR”) makes a creative spin move to get to an RB that Demens has by the ankle on one play.
· Brandon Herron (“BH”) generally looks a little lost before and during plays.
· RVB does a good job of dropping into coverage on one play.
· Blitzers come free on a play near the goal line, but it is for naught as a blown coverage by Carvin Johnson (“CJ”) allows for a completion.
· WH is the extra DT on goal line, not Will Campbell (“WC”).
· There were blitzes by the LBs and Thomas Gordon (“TG”) throughout the drive.
· Carder was very quick to make accurate passes to his receivers throughout the drive.
· The DEs tend to crash down on WMU’s RBs on what look like read plays.
· WMU runs quick-hitting play after quick-hitting play.
· Beyer seems to get himself out of position on a big run.
· BH seems to only duplicate what Kenny Demens (“KD”) does.
· TG personally blows up a WR screen.
· A delayed blitz by KD results in an incompletion in the end zone. JT Floyd (“JT”) has good coverage (possible interference), but a better receiver would have caught the ball.
· A blitz forces a quick third down throw for a minimal gain.
· The field temp is 120 degrees.
· WC appears at NT. He wins the initial burst of contact on his first play but then is pushed back for three yards (apparently due to poor leverage).
· JB Fitzgerald (“JB”) enters the game.
· WC is overcome by a double team on one play and is pushed back. He is too high to hold his ground (only in the most literal sense of the term, I assume).
· There is mass confusion among the DBs on third-and-inches play.
· The DL recognizes a RB screen pretty quickly. The LBs do not, and it results in a good gain for WMU.
· Jordan Kovacs (“JK”) blitzes from deep on 2nd and 3. The play is a draw that the LBs are slow to recognize. The play is blown dead.
· KD blitzes several times during the drive.
· The DLs run twists (“stunts”?) several times during the drive.
· NB cannot hold the point of attack on a draw.
· Black is more noticeable than Roh, but he overruns plays at times.
· WH and BB get a good push on a draw.
· JB and BH don’t seem to know where to be before some plays and during some plays.
· Courtney Avery (“CA”) blitzed on a play that ABC only partially caught on camera.
· JR lines up between a guard and and tackle, gets between them quickly, and bats the pass that BH returns.
· WH is stout on a run play while lining up at NT.
· WH holds the middle and bats down a pass.
· Only two DLs line up in three-point stances on a 3rd and 10 (WMU has four wideouts in the game). Van Slyke is in the game at safety on this play.
· Black times the snap count perfectly and helps force an incompletion with his pressure.
· The kicking game is killing Michigan’s defense.
· There are only 3 DLs on the first play but five men rush. This pattern is repeated later.
· Michigan rushes only three (all DLs) on one play, and the pressure is not bad. Carder threads the needle for a completion, though.
· A missed tackle by CJ allows for a big gain.
· The D blitzes in a cover zero scheme. They almost get Carder, who throws an incompletion into the end zone. CA has good coverage on the play, but a better WR would have made the catch.
· KD blitzes and almost gets Carder on the next play. Carder throws an incompletion to a WR who is blanketed by TG.
· Mattison sends seven men on the next play. Carder throws the ball out of the back of the end zone.
· WMU kicks a field goal, and the half ends not long after.
· BB starts the half at SLB.
· The SLB often lines up in a three-point stance throughout the rest of the half, essentially as the fourth DL.
· JT makes a nice play to stop a bubble screen for minimal gain.
· Carder threads the needle again for a completion when BH and CJ were in pretty good coverage.
· WC drops into zone coverage on a play that is blown dead.
· Only two DLs line up in a three-point stance on a 2nd and 12 play.
· A KD blitz on the 2nd and 12 play forces Carder to run. RVB and MM nearly take his head off. Carder protests this treatment, but MM is unmoved.
· Carder yet again completes a throw into good coverage with CA on his man.
· A DL of Black, WH, NB, and Roh is used.
· JK blitzes from deep in a sign of things to come on 1st and 15.
· WH drops into coverage on the JK forced-fumble/BH touchdown play.
· The D has to play two consecutive series for the second time.
· WC comes in, as does BB (as he does for much of the 2nd half).
· WMU runs a WR sweep on the first play. All OLs but RVB’s make it to the second level to block LBs and DBs. The play goes for 10. WC chases the WR all the way through the play and appears to be gassed afterward.
· JR comes in for second play. He nicely diagnoses of a misdirection play that is blown dead.
· JK sacks Carder. MM may have got to Carder if JK didn’t.
· Mike Jones appears and makes a tackle on a screen.
· MM drops into coverage on 3rd down when JK tips the pass.
· WC is in. He pushes his man back about a yard on a pass play. JR hits Carder in the face on the same play. Incompletion.
· WMU’s TE seems to think that Roh cannot move before the snap. He is wrong and is penalized.
· Beyer’s inability on 2nd and 15 to take on a FB allows for a four yard gain.
· BH lines up in a two-point stance between the center and guard on 3rd and 11 and gets a good push to the QB. The pocket rolls away from a blitzing JK on the play, and Carder makes another completion.
· JB is in for KD.
· Marvin Robinson gets a good hit when given the chance on a long WMU gain.
· WMU runs out of the I for a 15 yard gain. NB, JB, and BH are all cleared out of the way by WMU’s line.
· The DL is not lined up properly on the QB-center fumble play.
· WMU never gets the ball back.
On WMU: I think, fwiw, that Carder will be in the top 25% of passers that Michigan plays all year. Bill Cubit’s offense spreads you out and hits you quickly, making it hard to get sacks. Carder is an excellent decision-maker and he is very accurate…Carder needs to tighten his chin strap. He is going to get a broken jaw and/or severe concussion before this season is over if he does not.
On the DL: RVB and Martin were easily Michigan’s best (you’re shocked, I’m sure). I noticed Black much more than Roh. Heininger was strong at the point of attack. It would be hard to argue that he was not one of Michigan’s best four linemen. Brink was unimpressive. Campbell was neither good nor terrible. I did not see Ash or Quinton Washington.
On the LBs: There is Kenny Demens and then everyone else when it comes to MLB and WLB. An effort to clone him should be made immediately. I did not see Hawthorne or Morgan. Mike Jones only played a little. Herron had a wildly inconsistent day. He often looked lost when he wasn’t snatching loose balls and running them into the endzone.
Michigan appears to have depth at SLB, especially given that Cam Gordon was hurt. Ryan is a guy who just seems to do good things. Beyer was neither good nor bad, which is fairly impressive for a true freshman in his first game.
Michigan’s LBs were the least impressive defensive unit to me. Herron’s touchdowns masked some pretty weak play from the non-Demenses.
On the DBs: They looked like they knew what they were doing more than any other unit. No one could blanket a receiver on Saturday, but they were in the right places at the right times generally. Thomas Gordon did some nice things. Kovacs’ day doesn’t need to be described.
On blitzing: I think that Michigan blitzed more effectively as the game wore on but not necessarily more often, or at least not by much.
On tackling: It was good! Carvin Johnson (sorry to pick on you, old bean) had the only missed tackle that stood out to me all game.
Here is the offense, I will probably do defense sometime tomorrow. Wrote the majority of this friday night, so it was kind of funny to see how some of the stuff manifested on the field saturday. Post USF game reflections on some of the more, how you would say "memorable" moments are at the end.
QB: Jr Dayne Crist (LY 174 of 294 15 TD, 7 INT), So Tommy Rees (LY 100 of 164 12 TD, 8 INT) So Andrew Hendrix, Fr Everett Golson
Crist went down for the year during the Tulsa game last season with his 2nd knee injury since coming to ND. After rehab and spring ball was announced the starter about 2 weeks ago, expected to be the starter as long as he is healthy (err uh the first half of game 1….., well actual announcement will be made Monday but just look at the drive chart: http://espn.go.com/ncf/drivechart?gameId=312460087). Has been very business like when it comes to practice and camp this year, had done a lot to win back his position. The problem with Crist as a starter is that he isn’t the steadiest guy on the field, letting a play go, getting the offense refocused it just doesn’t always happen. Rees came in as a true freshman in 2010 and finished with a 4-0 record, though ND is 0-3 when he has had to come in to replace Dayne. Strong depth at QB this year, Golson is the guy of the future but it isn’t clear where he and Hendrix shake out at this point. Either one could see a special package this season which is more in line with their running ability.
RB: So Cierre Wood (LY 119 for 603yds, 3TD), Sr Jonas Gray (LY 20 for 100yds, 0TD), Fr Cam McDaniel, Fr George Atkinson
Wood grew through the year along with ND’s run game, the staff is expecting him to be a workhorse but this isn’t a position of great depth. Gray didn’t see much time last year because he wouldn’t play the role the staff asked of him, ie he wasn’t playing the power back his body is equipped for. If he were reliable it would add much needed depth to a position lacking a lot of it, the early returns aren’t very good for his future. The running game was emphasized much more this year through the spring and summer camp.
WR (X): Sr. Michael Floyd (LY 79 for 1025yds, 12TD), Jr John Goodman (LY 15 for 146, 0TD)
Floyd’s off field stupidity has been discussed pretty thoroughly and what he can do on the field is nothing new either. Goodman is not Floyd, he has similar size but saw the majority of his play on special teams as a sure-handed punt returner. Not so much the return part though, I believe his average return was in the 1-2 foot range, he was reliable though. I am sure his touches will go up this year, the staff is relying on him to be a solid contributor.
WR (Y): So. TJ Jones (LY 23 for 352yds, 3TD), Fr DaVaris Daniels
Jones did pretty well as a freshman last year, he wasn’t targeted nearly as much as Floyd or whichever TE was in at the time. Daniels is a bit of an unknown, supposed to be fast but every kid in the preseason is fast, it does mean something to see him in the 2 deep to start the season though.
WR(Z): Jr. Theo Riddick (LY 40 for 414, 3 TD), Jr. Roby Toma (LY 14 for 187, 0TD)
Riddick the converted RB (sound familiar) was still learning the WR position last season, expected to be the #2 WR behind Floyd. Toma hasn’t seen many snaps, mostly last year as the backup to the slot. Not a ton of top end speed but he is quick enough to get open underneath.
TE So. Tyler Eifert (LY 27 for 352, 2 TD) Sr. Mike Ragone (LY 3 for 32, 0TD)
Eifert was a bit of revelation once Rudolph was knocked out for the year in week 6. The way he played to end the season, he is expected to be a big part of the offense going forward. Ragone has battled multiple injuries through his career, he saw most of his time in protection when on the field last year.
LT Jr. Zach Martin, Fr. Nick Martin
Zach earned his spot last year and has held onto it since then. His backup is actually his brother. I am not yet sold that Nick would be Zach’s first backup as every lineman has cross trained at other positions.
LG So. Chris Watt, Sr. Andrew Nuss
This was the only battle on the Oline coming into summer camp. It is likely there will be a rotation to some degree at the position. One has been talked about as more of a run blocker while the other a pass blocker
C Jr. Braxston Cave, Jr. Mike Golic
Cave held this position all of last year to my knowledge, not much new to really tell. Oh the first Golic sighting. Not a lot has been said about Cave or Golic, it a position of good depth and not really a concern.
RG Sr. Trevor Robinson, Fr. Conor Hanratty
Another returning starter from last season Robinson is a 5th year senior and one of the leaders on the Oline. The offense will not shy away from running in his direction. Hanratty is another freshman Olineman. This one has received quite a bit of praise through camp while putting a lot of time in the weight room from high school.
RT Sr. Taylor Dever, So. Christian Lombard
Dever did well last season, another returning 5th year. He has seen a lot of coaches but really helped the run game develop at the end of the year. Lombard, his backup saw sometime as a freshman last year, he is the heir apparent at the position going forward
The oline needs to show they can be a cohesive unit as they were at the end of the year last year if the running and passing games are going to be effective this year. It all starts on the Oline and with 4 returning starters it should be decent at least. ND has one of the best receiving corps in the country on paper, the WRs themselves along with the TE and RB out of the backfield are all capable receivers. The QBs need to trust their WRs enough to put a few of them out there for them to go and get, but at the same time they need to take care of the ball. Crist has gone through camp this year with actual competition, he sounds to have learned a great deal as well, so we’ll have to see what happens. The running game right now is going to come down to depth, both freshman are likely to play at some point but how much will come down to Gray. If he can be dependable in his role it will take a ton of pressure off the freshman and the offense itself.
USF Game Reflections (NOTE: I did miss the rest of the game past the 2nd weather delay):
Crist threw a horrible pick in the end zone, it was late it was to a covered guy, plus he had floyd, of all people!, open underneath that would have gotten a first down if not a TD. He was supposed to be past this, but his timing is still late, and was really one of the first pieces of the team to crumble. Playing at home, he was playing scared, it really doesn’t get much worse than that.
Gray, opening drive, 3 yards from the goal line, this is what we have a big back for, hand him the ball he fumbles on the 1 its returned for 6. He had 2 more touches during the game. (which surprised me a bit to see him get in at all, probably a reflection on the freshman to be honest)
TJ Jones, 2 drops and one deflection off his head (in the red zone of course) which resulted in the 4th TO. I am not a position coach but I would expect my WR to be ready to receive a ball when on a crossing route just beyond the line of scrimmage. The best part was after he felt himself get hit by the ball, he turned around like who ran into me? Like he was looking for a flag or something.
Riddick, oh man. Well his biggest impact was on the muffed punt, that should be TO #3 I believe, that USF recovered, Mayock was great “he just handed the ball to him” man he is good at this. I was in full ROFL mode at this point. After that he had 2 more muffed-ish punts where he basically would just fall directly onto the ball after catching it. Paging John Goodman, John Goodman into the starting lineup please? Thanks. After that he had a least a couple drops, 1 in particular was just memory inducing. After missing his whole “receiving” role in the offense on this play, he stood up looking to blame the drop on someone, he was wiiiiiiiiide open, ball hit him on both arms it was perfect. Another mayock moment, “not sure who he thinks he can blame that one on but himself”.
Eifert, had a couple drops, 1 was behind him but still the QB is hitting him in the hands with the ball unless he has a broken hand there isn’t an excuse that works.
Wood and Floyd were the only dependable skill positions during the game. Oline did what they needed to. The QB doesn’t need to be a world-beater for the offense to have success but he cannot be the weakest link on the field, in the first half it was absolutely true. Crist had soooooo much confidence in the preseason; everyone wants to know where that was coming from at this point.
This is my first time to do the diary thing because I figure I never have enough content that anyone would want or that deserved it's own space. Not gonna lie - little nervous. If this does not really fit into the diary parameters then I would not be offended by it's deletion. I'm also grown up enough to take the criticism often found on the MGoBoard.
Now to the point. Many of you are familiar with monuMental and his amazing artwork that can be found over at theartthearttheartdotcom. Most of you also know he will not be able to provide wallpaper this season because he has too much on his plate.
I'd like to say that I am by no means as creative as many others on this board and not anywhere near worthy enough to even touch monuMental's magnetic lasso tool. However, I was asked by a couple friends if I had any UofM wallpaper so I decided to give it an amateurish try.
This is what I came up with for the Under The Lights game. I wanted to keep it slick and simple so I imediately considered stadium lights. I recall the day Addidas previewed the throwback uniforms and went searching for those. Once I found them I thought of combining them and the lights idea. After many different attempts and changes I simply came back to the clean look I landed on and added the UTL official logo. Thoughts?
The latest week in recruiting sees Notre Dame pick up their highest-ranked recruit in DT Jarron Jones while Purdue and Northwestern each add some lower-ranked players to their classes. Other than that, nothing really happened. Action since last rankings:
8-28-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Jaylen Prater.
8-29-11 Notre Dame gains commitment from Jarron Jones. Purdue gains commitment from Carlos Carvajal.
8-30-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Terrance Brown.
9-3-11 Purdue gains commitment from Aloyis Gray.
9-4-11 Purdue gains commitment from Devin Smith.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte (Minnesota), Darius Stroud (Indiana), Steffon Martin and Devin Smith (Purdue) are exluded from their respective team averages.
On to the full data, after the jump.
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
Michigan maintains their stranglehold at the top of the rankings. Sione Houma moves from two to three stars on Rivals, and he's now ranked as their #5 fullback in the country.
|#2 Notre Dame - 14 Commits|
The Irish land Jarron Jones, their highest-rated recruit across the board to date. They still have some ground to cover to catch Michigan, going by pure numbers, but in terms of quality of commits this class is right up there.
|#3 Penn State - 17 Commits|
J.P. Holtz earns a three-star ranking from Rivals.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
Kodi Keiler is upgraded from unranked to three stars on Rivals. Interesting, but completely irrelevant, sidenote: Rivals and Scout are in complete lockstep when it comes to ranking the Spartan commits (requisite dig: because they're almost all three-stars—but, you know, national three-stars).
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
No change for the Badgers.
|#7 Indiana - 17 Commits|
Shawn Heffern gets a three-star ranking from Rivals, while Alex Todd picks up three stars from 24/7. I'm still keeping them just a hair below Wisconsin, but if the average rankings get any closer or the Hoosiers pick up another commit that'll probably change.
|#8 Northwestern - 16 Commits|
The Wildcats pick up a pair of unheralded recruits in LB Jaylen Prater and S Terrance Brown. This drags down their averages considerably, but I won't punish a team for picking up commits. Iowa is hot on their heels, though.
|#9 Iowa - 10 Commits|
No change for the Hawkeyes.
|#10 Minnesota - 18 Commits|
Nick Rallis, Maxx Williams, and Rodrick Williams each pick up three stars from Rivals after being unrated. 24/7 does the same for Scott Ekpe and R. Williams.
|#11 Purdue - 15 Commits|
The Boilermakers land ATH Aloyis Gray, OL Devin Smith, and TE Carlos Carvajal. Jimmy Herman picks up three stars from Rivals. By the power of sheer volume, Purdue moves ahead of Nebraska. File that under: 'Things I Never Thought I'd Write About Football and/or Recruiting'.
|#12 Nebraska - 6 Commits|
No change for the Huskers. Still. Bo Pelini isn't expecting some sort of Big Ten Expansion Draft, is he?
|#13 Illinois - 8 Commits|
No new commits for the Illini. Joseph Spencer picks up three stars and Joey Warburg two from Rivals.
Dan Wetzel's background piece offers interesting perspectives on Les Miles' approach to defending Oregon's high-tempo spread offense.
While acknowledging Miles' eccentricities, including game-management, grass-eating, etc., Wetzel brings out the exhaustive detail Miles brings to daily practice and game preparation, a side of Miles not covered in much depth by most writers. Most interesting to me is LSU's prep for facing the Oregon spread. Here is an excerpt from Wetzel:
LSU began preparing its defense to handle Oregon’s fast-break offensive timing just days after last year’s victory in the Cotton Bowl. Throughout spring practice, and then into fall camp, Miles and his staff dreamed up a drill called “tempo” that would condition the Tigers for the challenge.
It featured one defense facing two offenses. One offensive unit would line up and run a play while the other huddled. When the play ended, the second offense would sprint into formation and snap the ball as fast as possible and the defense would have to scramble into position. Then the first offense would huddle and repeat the cycle.
It caused defenders minds to spin and their muscles to burn. It also got them ready to stuff the Oregon offense and negate the Ducks’ usual schematic advantage.
Whatever odd impulses pulse through his brain during critical game situations, Les Miles clearly is much shrewder than appearances sometimes suggest.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
So here we are again at the beginning of a new era in Michigan Football, not nearly far enough removed from the last “beginning of a new era”, and once again I find myself seated in front of the computer trying to sort out my feelings on the matter. In truth I had planned on not doing these this year. Most of my impetus for spilling my thoughts here for the past three seasons stemmed from the completely foreign sensation a Rich Rodriguez led Michigan team left me with on fall Saturdays – an out-of-sorts feeling of not really knowing what to expect going forward. While Bo/Mo/Carr teams had a character that evolved so slowly that year-to-year change was almost undetectable, Rich Rod’s first tilt against Utah flipped my perceptions of Michigan completely and it seemed each successive game of the past three seasons distorted my outlook further. Michigan football went from being a solid thing I could count on and often take for granted, to a crapshoot of strangeness that forced me to question my unhealthy obsession with Michigan Football each and every week.
I thought Brady Hoke’s hiring would make things easy again and give me that cock-sure attitude back that said “I don’t need to worry about the details; I can just turn on the TV on Saturday and feel assured that Michigan will most probably win.” My cousin who played DE as a walk on under Hoke assured me that there was no better hire to be had, and that the past would become the future. Hell, maybe it will eventually, but for now the trials of the past few seasons compel me to question what the future has in store.
Learn from yesterday…
What did the game against Western Michigan teach us, and what is left unclear?
· Just because your name is Greg doesn’t mean you can’t coordinate a defense. Seriously, raise your hand if the thought of starting out the season against a very-good, veteran QB didn’t worry you a bit. After last year I was braced for the worst and Carder was every bit the accurate and composed passer he was advertised to be. He shredded our secondary at will until Greg Mattison made adjustments and started getting blitzers through. In truth our defense never truly broke; the longest play allowed was a 24 yard run and the longest reception only netted 20 yards for WMU. I waited all game for the play that would torch us, but the defense did a good enough job of keeping the play in front of them and got aggressive when it was well suited. The end result was something bordering on mediocrity, which felt like competency, and is a win for Mattison for sure. Two defensive touchdowns is a nice start to the season as well.
· Will the Al Borges offense work? Not enough data here really, what with Michigan’s offense having only 6 meaningful drives to look at. The data we have is surely encouraging though. Michigan’s first drive showed a degree of composure and demonstrated an ability to take control of the game tempo. The long runs seemed to be set up for success, especially coming practically back-to-back. We probably would have scored on 4 of 6 drives had the game not been halted, though the other two were 3andouts. Will it work for Denard? I am not so sure of this. The first offensive play from scrimmage looked very familiar indeed. In fact most of the first drive looked much like last year, right down to the amount of punishment Denard was being exposed to. If the defense hadn’t spotted Michigan two touchdowns, I wonder if run-hard Denard would have continued to be the go-to play if the score had remained closer. Denard’s comfort level overall was encouraging though, and he looked much better playing under center than last year.
· +3 on turnovers will make a fairly evenly matched game into a lopsided one. This is obviously true and was on full display in this game. Two of WMU’s three were of the most back-breaking variety imaginable, while the third almost assuredly took points off the board for them. Even the most conservative estimate would have a 20 point swing from turnovers alone. We should all keep in mind that this could have easily been a dogfight to the finish.
Live for Today…
Several Michigan players should bask in the glow of their accomplishments:
1. Jordan Kovacs– KOVACS!!! KOVACS SMASH!!! KOVACS, KOVACS, KOVACS!!! (I had my four year old son chanting this with me. Kovacs is now the first Michigan player he knows by name.) Seriously, it is insane that this guy came from open tryouts. He is my favorite player.
2. Brandon Herron – Talk about johnny-on-the-spot! The best part though was that neither of those were gimmee TDs. Herron showed great agility and stamina to stay in bounds and truck 94 yards in that heat and scooping up the fumble instead of falling on it was a heady play as well.
3. Fitzgerald Toussaint and Mike Shaw – Big runs by these two led to the touchdown that finally blew the game wide open. If the damned commentator had been right, and the first of the two runs had indeed been Shaw, there wouldn’t have been need of a second because Shaw == Fast. Fitz still looks somewhat slow, but manballed two TDs in from close which is admirable.
4. Kevin Koger – Koger
only had one grab but it had two receptions and one was a doozy. Stretched out and snagging the ball with his fingertips, he still managed to put a hurting on the safety that hit him with a full head of steam. Gets up like no prob, first down converted. Nails.
5. Denard Robinson – No particular statistics are amazing, but he seems to have handled the transition pretty well and had several encouraging plays. Of note: the pull-down-and-scramble move for 12 yards and a first down just prior to Michigan’s third TD. Also the long pass completed on the money (I think at least, TV commentator be damned) to Hemingway. Denard probably doesn’t need to be listed here as he is always awesome and steadfastly refuses to bask in his own glow (making him even more awesome of course).
Also of note was the play of Jeremy Gallon, Jake Ryan, Mike Martin, Courtney Avery, and Kenny Demens. Oh, and Woolfolk before his injury – here's to a speed recovery.
Hope for Tomorrow
Next week brings a matchup with a Notre Dame team that just choked on its season opener, losing to a South Florida team that it exactly doubled in total yardage in South Bend. The Irish seem to have settled back on the QB that led them to 4 straight victories to end last season, Tommy Rees. They also have Michael Floyd. After watching Carder to White shred us yesterday, it is safe to say that Rees/Floyd is going to be bad news indeed.
Then again, Rees did throw two picks, so maybe karma will continue to be on Michigan’s side and we will score multiple defensive touchdowns, and Denard will gain 500+ yards of offense again, and all will be just swell. In reality though, ND is good and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing and the game is in our house and we may even be favored despite not outplaying a MAC school by all that much. Add it up and history dictates a heart-wrenching loss. I continue to be braced for the worst.
PS - I realize that the quantity and quality of the posting on MGoBlog has increased by leaps and bounds the past three years, and that my posts tend to be more emo/rah-rah than actually, you know, useful. So if the obvious consensus is that my posts are no longer a welcome addition to the blog, then by all means let me know so that I can ride off into the sunset and trouble you all no more.