Don't Slit Your Wrists: Pretape Thoughts
- Chad Henne threw a number of balls behind his receivers (though the ones behind Avant got caught anyway) but overall had a great day. No Husky got a hand on a pass all day. Every read, except one were he sold Breaston out on a flare route that he stared down and another to a doubled Breaston deep, was correct. No interceptions or anything approximating one. Nearly threw two long touchdowns to Breaston but was a foot off on both.
- Jason Avant being the focus of the offense means that dropped balls on third down no longer occur. Ever.
- Grady looked very good save for the fumble. Hart won't have to grind himself into the ground this year.
- Pass protection was incredible. No sacks for NIU and I can't remember Henne even getting hurried.
- Breaston was clearly the deep option in place of Braylon and got wiiiide open a few times, but couldn't make the catch. One was out of bounds, the other just a tiny bit too long. I think the long ball will be an effective weapon, but maybe Braylon hauls one of those in (and, yes, drops a critical third down ball).
- Hart. Never loses yards, had 4 or 5 yards on 75% of his carries. His low variance best, plus more solid receiving: a 34 yard touchdown on a screen type thing.
- That spreading the ball around thing.
- Um... Woodley did have a good day.
- Maybe Joey appreciates Marlin Jackson's run support now after watching Grant Mason get wasted by Garrett Wolfe time and again.
- That defensive line thing? What was that? It sucked, despite serious rotating to keep Watson from gasping. Were all those practice reports just crap?
- Okay, okay, Herrmann. You sure as hell simplified the defense (more on that later), but maybe there's a happy middle ground between the coloring book and theoretical astrophsyics we can mine.
- We got 40-50 Yards After Mundy and he was in for approximately five plays! Can we put a moratorium on the "Ron English is a great coach" blithering until he proves that he can teach someone, anyone, to take a proper angle? Is it a coincidence that said blithering continually comes from the same people who talk about how "Amaker is a great coach"? Seems clear that they mean "English is a black coach," and therefore will receive their support no matter the evidence.
- In general. Again, more later.
- Ross Ryan had more touchbacks in his first game as the kickoff dude than Troy Neinberg had his entire career. Ryan also showed some of Neinberg's Pop Warner All Star Linebacker qualities by running down and recovering a fumble on his only punt, which was a 41-yarder with good hangtime.
- Nothing of note.
- Rivas: solid from short range (FGs from 38 and 23), not great from long range (missed a 48-yarder) and extra-point allergic early in the year (had one blocked).
- Breaston. Only was punted to once and had no opportunity to return that. Returned a single kick.
- Punt coverage. One punt isn't much to draw conclusions from, though Hood really popped the Husky returner.
But don't slit your wrists yet...
Yes, we forced exactly one punt and the turnovers that held NIU's offense down were in large part luck. Yes, our offense outgained the Huskies by like 11 yards. But... contempt doesn't even begin to describe the way Michigan regarded the Husky offense despite the evidence that it should be respected. I swear to God that 80% of the defense's calls were straight 4-3 zone against a three-wide offense with Burgess lined up over the slot wide receiver--the Husky quarterback hardly had to make a read the entire game. Michigan employed exactly one blitz package, which was used sparingly.
There's no excuse for what happened today and I'll be dropping Michigan several spots in the BlogPoll because of it, but Michigan's main goal today was to show Notre Dame precisely nothing, no matter the expense. Insane, yes. Disheartening results despite the vanilla, yes. Very worried about ND, yes. But let's not overreact.