Sept. 4 is going to be a very good day.
Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
This is a personnel-oriented look at the season's opponents. The game-week previews will be more matchup based. Last year's stats are presented with projected starters in bold and departed players in italics.
UConn's QB situation was fluid last year, with both opening day starter Zach Frazer (formerly of Notre Dame) and Cody Endres going down with injuries during the year. Though Endres's final stats were far more impressive, Frazer's strong run to end the year saw him named the starter for spring. Both guys are experienced (Frazer's in his fifthth year, Endres is a redshirt junior) and battle-tested.
|UConn QBs 2009|
|UConn QBs Rushing 2009|
As you can see, both are pure pocket guys. Frazer may be experienced but he looks like one of the less threatening QBs Michigan will go up against. A comparable from last year: Frazer was 12 of 25 for 141 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT against the Notre Dame team that Forcier shredded (23/23, 240 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 70 rushing yards).
Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon split carries last year, with Todman having slightly more success. Both earned secondteam all-conference honors. Todman's back this year as a junior. Dixon has departed. With little experience behind him, Todman should get the lion's share of the carries. Robbie Frey should get a few touches himself, as he's shown his speed on kickoff returns and a 54-yard TD run against Rhode Island last year.
|UConn RBs 2009|
|Anthony Sherman (FB)||1||3||3.00||0|
UConn did pick up USC transfer DJ Shoemate, who is immediately eligible and may get a dozen carries as a power back. UConn runs it a lot: last year almost 60% of their plays were on the ground.
UConn returns the vast majority of its receiving corps, but loses the top two performers in Marcus Easley and Brad Kanuch. Easley had an outstanding senior year, and was responsible for a ton of the success Connecticut QBs had - which helped him go in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Kashif Moore will probably replace him as the team's deep threat, but his loss should be substantial. If there's to be a significant step back from UConn's offense, it will probably be because they can't stretch the field as well as last year.
|UConn WRs 2009|
|Ryan Griffin (TE)||23||272||11.83||0|
|UConn WRs Rushing 2009|
UConn's offensive line returns intact except for the tackles, depending on whether you consider LT Dan Ryan a starter (he started the first few games for UConn before going down with injury). The Huskies were 39th in rushing last year and improved over the year with some lineup changes, but were only 64th—essentially average—in YPC. They were 45th in sacks allowed.
The interior of the line should be impressive. The starters, from left to right, should be mostly the same as last year, going Mike Ryan—Olivier or Kuraczea—Petrus—Hurd—Masters. Zach Hurd was first team All-Big East last year.
Lindsey Witten was by far UConn's best player in the front four, racking up as many sacks as the rest of his linemates combined and earning first team All-Conference honors. He's gone, but sophomore Trevardo Williams should be ready to step into a starting role. Sophomore Jesse Joseph returns as the other bookend. In the middle, redshirt juniors Kendall Reyes and Tywon Martin return. UConn's rushing defense was slightly above average last year, and it should improve this season with their line starters maturing into upperclassmen.
For the record, they held mobile quarterbacks (Boo Jackson of Ohio, Robert Griffin of Baylor, Jarrett Brown of West Virginia depending on how you classify him) to meager rushing totals early in the year, but Zach Collaros of Cincy and BJ Daniels of South Florida had decent (or ridiculous, in the case of Collaros) days against them. Season-long fatigue? Opponents seeing something on film?
|UConn Defensive Line 2009|
Senior Greg Lloyd is considered a DE on the spring roster, though he started last season at MLB before getting injured at the end of the year (he missed the final two games, but still made second team all-conference ). He may step up into the DE role vacated by Witten, allowing others to step up. Scott Lutrus moved from strongside linebacker to middle linebacker in Lloyd's absence, and will start spring of his redshirt senior year in the middle. Lawrence Wilson led the team in tackles from his weakside spot, and returns as a redshirt senior. He was first Team All Big East. Jory Johnson started at strongside backer when Lutrus moved, and will probably start there.
|UConn Linebackers 2009|
|Mike Cox (DE)||10||0||0|
The Huskies were subpar in pass defense (#85 in efficiency, #88 in yardage), but what do you expect when they're dealing with the untimely death of one of their best DBs halfway through the year? Sophomore safety Jerome Junior returns, as does redshirt sophomore corner and tongue-twister Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Classmate Dwayne Gratz will probably step into the starting role vacated by Robert McClain (a second-team all-conference selection, drafted in the 7th round of the NFL draft), and redshirt junior Harris Agbor will probably start at the other safety spot.
|UConn Defensive Backs 2009|
|Jonathan Jean-Louis (RB)||3||0||0||0|
MGoUser lfj75 put together a diary looking at UConn's performance against spread offenses last year. The takeaway: UConn was shredded on the ground by spread offenses (Baylor, WVU, Cincinnati, and South Florida) and excellent against conventional teams. Some of that has to do with the opposition. Other than Pitt all the conventional rushing attacks on the schedule are terrible. Meanwhile, Dion Lewis and his backup combined to average 6.6. YPC on 32 attempts. Since all the good rushing teams on UConn's schedule put up big numbers, the moral of the story may be that UConn's rush defense (45th nationally) is a mirage based on poor competition.
Sept. 4 is going to be a very good day.
Check out tate's statline from the Notre Dame game. It was even better than I remembered.
Not to say he didn't have a great game, but Tate was actually 23/33, not 23/23. That would have been insane.
Next time i will write HEY WAIT A MINUTE I AM ABOUT TO TELL A JOKE before my jokes.
You could have been talking about Tate's passing and rushing yards or his 2 TD's as being better than you remembered. It wasn't immediately obvious that you were making a joke about the typo on his completions/attempts numbers. So yeah, in the future a disclaimer would be helpful if you are gonna make a joke
I thought it was immediately obvious.
The first thing in the stat line reads 23/23. If you read from left to right this is pretty obvious, pretty quickly.
It wasn't immediately obvious that you were making a joke about the typo on his completions/attempts numbers.
Yes it was.
many, many times on mgoblog, and I never tire of it. I watch it every time it's posted, without fail. And I always enjoy it, +1
Hmmmmm....4th and 3 at the ND 32...up by 4....and RR...GOES FOR IT!
Carr probably had a heart attack.
Just let the legend and Michigan's last National Champion head coach retire in peace. Instead of this sort of crap I'm willing to thank him for the Cooper beat down years.
UConn will be a good first game. We should beat them, but they aren't a cupcake or MAC-level team. It'll be a good game to get us ready for ND. I say we win 34-24.
Great write up. Here's a video of UCONN going up against the spread offense last year against Cincinatti:
At the 2:00 mark was so wide open it was sick. If that's Forcier to Rountree, its "Good Night, Irene" for UCONN.
This is still the game I worry about most. The wait for the season to start is getting to be too much!
I was so happy to see this preview on the blog. GO BLUE!
This is the first non-NCAA violation, non-expansion, non-jihad, non-recruiting post of the season. To me, this means one thing - the season is getting closer! Very exciting.
On a related note, when does the team report back for practices?
is the last week of unofficial summer work outs. They have next week (8/1-8/7) off.
Then they report back on Sunday 8/8. I think it is just a meeting on Sunday although I could be wrong. First week of fall camp starts Monday or Tuesday of that week (8/9 or 8/10).
should put up a good fight, but I have a feeling that Sept. 4, 2010 will be remebered as the beginning of RichRod's redemption.
Hopefully it will be even sweeter than your avatar's redemption.
"My name is Indigo Rodriguez. You kill my football team. Prepare to die."
"STOP SAYING THAT!"
Rod to Redemption Tour 2010
UConn will play like Michigan used to with a plodding ball control offense (except for their lack of gunslinging quarterbacks with legit deep threats) that will necessitate box safety efficacy for Michigan. Once Michigan controls the UConn run, and they will, after losing respect for UConn's deep passing game (or lack thereof) then it's go time. Tate and Denard open it up, RichRod uses more than the first three pages of the playbook and Michigan prevails 42 - 17 in the opener of the Rich Rodriguez Angry Redemption Tour 2010.
will keep it interesting until halftime. Then Rich Rod will yell "AVENGE ME, BOYS......AVENGE ME!" Then our guys will collectively yell "WOLVERINES!". Then someone on UConn's sideline will scream out "DRAGO!", but it won't matter because we'll house 'em by 32.
Has Endres not fully recovered from his injury? It seems very odd that Frazer would be the starter given his much higher interception rate and much lower completion percentage and yards per attempt.
Thats why you have to watch the games, not follow stats.
Agreed, but when you have two guys who play the same position on the same team, there has to be some special reason to start the guy with weaker stats. I looked over their schedule and it wasn't the case that Endres faced weaker defenses: he played the road games at Pitt and WVU. From the linked article, the only thing the coach said was that Frazer played well in the last few games when Endres was hurt. (Frazer was terrible in the first two games before he got hurt, when he went back in after Endres got hurt he was much better but his stats were still weaker than Endres'.) Given the circumstances, you'd think that the give them both an equal chance going into spring practice instead of making Frazer the presumptive starter.
is this appraisal of the other team's quarterback(s):
As you can see, both are pure pocket guys.
The team and the crowd will have so much energy when Brock Mealer comes out with the team. I wouldn't be sursprised to either see a kickoff return touchdown or we lay out their returner!
for all Brock Mealer recovery references.
"For the record, they held mobile quarterbacks (Boo Jackson of the notorious RAWRCATZ! of Athens, Robert Griffin of Baylor, Jarrett Brown of West Virginia depending on how you classify him) to meager rushing totals early in the year..."
from what I've been told by the players whom I have gotten to know at Michigan. They think Frazier is a player and he played really well toward the end of the season. They do think that they can handle UConn but it won't be as easy as many people think they will be.
What I like to hear:
If there's to be a significant step back from UConn's offense, it will probably be because they can't stretch the field as well as last year.
We don't need anybody stretching our secondary. I'd like to have our DBs keep everything in front of them, and feel like that is a minimum standard. (Picking off a pass or 2 = a good day or 3-4 coverage sacks or some combination of the two...)
What causes me (a little) concern:
The UConn RB situation. Is the USC transfer strictly a pounder? (They only had about 10000 RBs on scholarship there, and all of them seemed pretty good...well good enough to get recruited by USC anyway.) Is our DL's first post-BG adventure going to be a success? (I sure hope so!)
What I like to hear:
Below average pass defense (last season). We ought to be able to throw on these guys. And lfj75 tells us that we should be able to spread 'n shred them too.
What causes me (a little) concern:
That lfj75's effect was due to "conventional rushing teams" being teams that weren't that great rushing teams anyway. I don't know...take a look at their 2009 schedule and you be the judge.
Michigan 63 - UConn 6 with Jimmy B talking about Rich Rod's obligation to keep substituting...
Ok, for real. I'm not scared of these guys. Maybe 35-17 is more accurate. I really think that the Offense will be able to score, and the Defense should be able to stop them with some regularity. I'd really like to see the D hold them to <10 points...but there aren't many teams that Michigan's offense won't score more than 10 against so I'm not sure how important it is that the Defense is world beating for right now
but UConn held 7 of the 8 conventional rush attacks at or below the yards per carry they averaged vs. other FBS opponents. So while it's true that the conventional teams were not rushing juggernauts, they did even worse against UConn than they did on average, while spread teams did better than they did on average.
UConn doesn't stack up well against the sheer number of mustaches that will be grown for Michigan. Don't have the exact stats but it's pretty heavily skewed in our favor.
Fist games are always tough, unless they're against baby seals. UCONN is no baby seal but I think UM should be able to take the at the big house. I could see either a close UM win or a big UM blow out!!!
extremely sad, nothing in between.
for this game going into the summer, but previews like this just keep making me more and more optimistic. I'm so jealous of everyone who gets to be there for the opener.
There is officially light at the end of the tunnel. Brian better get that OSU UFR out quick!
I will be flying in from Las Vegas to witness the beat down of UConn... I can not wait!
By all means, neg this opinion. God forbid anybody should predict anything other than overwhelming victory for Michigan.
I'm on it.
Can you smell it? Can you smell victory?
I'm curious to see how our defensive line matches up against their O-line. If we can come out with a couple of big sacks in the first quarter, I think it could shake up their quarterback. Not to mention them playing in the Big House at our first game of the year. A lot of this game will boil down to intimidating them mentally.
Dude that is a GREAT point. You know our house will be jacked up big time for the completed renovations, and because this year's expectations are much higher.
Slightly OT...I LOVE the way the stadium turned out. All the brick and the deep blue upper suites sections look awesome. No longer can you drive by the stadium without hardly noticing it. Now you KNOW you've arrived at TBH. Martin & co. did a perfect job on this project. Add in the extra noise, and no more "ho hum" crowds in AA.
While I try to remain cautious in my expectations for this game I'm encouraged by the way RR seems to prepare the team for the opening game - we almost knocked off Utah in his first year and they went undefeated. Then we hammered Western (projected MAC champ) before the wheels fell off later in the season.
I'm also encouraged by the prospect of relatively untested LTs trying to stop Craig Roh coming off the edge. I also thought their secondary looked shaky in their tackling which bodes well for us also.
It leaves me expecting a hard fought but comfortable win.