Michigan vs Utah
In the aftermath of Michigan's 25-23 loss to Utah on Saturday, a lot of armchair quarterbacks blasted Nick Sheridan. A redshirt sophomore quarterback, Sheridan beat out most people's favorite, Steven Threet, to start the first game of the Rich Rodriguez era. Sheridan is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship during summer practices.
The complaints were numerous. Sheridan made poor decisions by throwing into coverage. He messed up a read option play by trying to take the ball back from running back Sam McGuffie after he had already handed it to him. He had poor arm strength. Etc.
Every single one of us Michigan fans would love to have a Vince Young or a Pat White or, yes, even a Troy Smith at our disposal. But that guy doesn't attend Michigan right now. Maybe next year. But until then Michigan followers have to do the best with what we have.
Steven Threet didn't exactly light the world on fire when he came on in relief during the third quarter. Threet made several poor decisions, including taking a couple sacks and a monstrous hit when he could have thrown the ball away or run out of bounds. He did make a nice throw on a 33-yard TD pass to Junior Hemingway, but other than that, many of his throws were off target. Even his second-best play - a short pass to Carson Butler near the sideline - was a throw that required every iota of Butler's 6'5" frame and freak athleticism to catch.
Threet deserves to start next Saturday against Miami (OH). He led two touchdown drives (as opposed to Sheridan's one) and had a little more success at moving the football than Sheridan did. Overall, Michigan played better in the second half than they did in the first. Whether that's because Threet brought new life to the team or it's because the defense made halftime adjustments and regained the momentum, it's hard to say. Regardless, the offense played better when he was in, so he deserves another shot.
Still, Sheridan played okay for being a former walk-on in his first significant minutes ever. He was 11-for-13 early and looked sharp on short to intermediate throws. His last six passes were incomplete, but he was obviously pressing, which is understandable for the underdog in front of 106,000 people and national TV. Toward the end of the game, when Threet badly overthrew a leaping Darryl Stonum on a 4th-and-5, I thought to myself, "Sheridan could have made that throw." Each player has his positives and negatives.
But I wonder: If fortunes were reversed and Threet was the walk-on while Sheridan was the former four-star recruit, would we be so quick to throw Sheridan under the bus? Sheridan didn't play poorly enough to be torched for his performance, and Threet didn't play well enough to be anointed the full-time starter. To me, this quarterback battle is still far from over.
WS.DVD by midnight EST, HD mp4 tomorrow.
My impressions of the game. Proviso: I am not an ultra details guy. I am a big picture, vision guy. I don’t do audits. Don’t copy edit. I don’t break down tape. I am a big picture, “feel,” guy. This is why I do not play bridge as partner to my accountant father who can remember every card played and deduce which cards are in everyone’s hand. With that in mind, these are my thoughts about this afternoon’s game against Utah.
The offence looked terrible. It was bad. There were only flashes something resembling the spread offence. We did not have a single sustained drive the entire game. Thankfully our offence was handed the ball inside the 35 enough times to make it look almost respectable on the scoreboard. They looked lost and confused like they really did not know what they were doing. One or two nice runs. A couple of good passes. But too many runs that did not happen. Too many balls thrown behind or over the receiver [think two point conversion!!!!]. Threet looked better than Sheridan. If the offence does not drastically improve it will be a long season.
Did we have a defense for the first 30 minutes? There were guys in uniforms out there, but they were not playing defense. Someone must have read them the riot act during half time. If they play the way they did in the last 30 minutes, and improve on that, we might have a chance to win a couple of games. Ezeh seemed to have steped up. Even though we brought pressure and shut down the run in the second half, we still have trouble tackling in space. The first half was awful, the second half was just bad. Can you teach guys to tackle? There were way too many plays where guys had too much space to run and made too many yards after contact.
Special teams were the only bright light, except the punting game which was underwhelming. Blocked kicks, a forced turnover…they looked great.
Another plus was that we did not take stupid penalties.
Coach Rodriguez looked pissed most of the game. I would not have wanted to be in the locker room at the half.
I am optimistic [blind faith] that we will be better. Threet took a step to earning the starting job.
Another plus...my two year old looked seriously cute in her cheer leader uniform we picked up at the MDen this summer, my wife made block M cookies, and sorted out a whole bowl of Maize and Blue M&M's for the game.
I know this has been posted before but for anyone out there that hasn't seen it check it out: http://s266.photobucket.com/albums/ii259/mpkthecpa/?action=view¤t=mikebarwis-pregamespeechsugarbowlwv.flv
I am pretty sure that if he does another speech like like this before the Utah game, they are gonna need a lot more stretchers and ambulances at the game for all of the decimated Utes on the field.