He is very slow for a running back. I like him too but green really has a nice jump-cut and more speed
Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14
Coverage is irrelevant. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
There was Devin Funchess, galloping through and leaping over the Appalachian State secondary. There were Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith, bursting through holes opened up by Ben Braden and Kyle Kalis. There was Devin Gardner, completing all but one pass. There was Dennis Norfleet, catching bubble screens and darting past defenders.
There was offense, making sense at last.
Sure, Michigan's 560 yards on 55 plays came against an Appalachian State team that went 4-8 as an FCS program in 2013, but the coherence and explosiveness of Doug Nussmeier's offense proved undeniable. Funchess more than earned his new #1 jersey, scoring on three of his seven receptions, including a spectacular leaping grab over two defenders in the back of the end zone. Gardner had no difficulty finding open receivers, connecting on 12/13 passes for 173 yards and those three TDs to Funchess before giving way to Shane Morris in the third quarter as the blowout continued unabated.
Green (15 carries, 170 yards, 1 TD) and Smith (8, 115, 2) became the first pair of Michigan running backs to crack the century mark in the same game since Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor accomplished the feat against a hapless Minnesota team in 2007. They found running room. This was to be expected against an undersized, overmatched ASU squad, but this was not to be expected because last year happened. The offensive line held their ground and then some, giving up just one sack and paving the way for 350 yards on 36 carries.
The production excited, but more than that it was the fashion in which Michigan got that production. Screens to Funchess and Norfleet* opened up both the running game and downfield passing. The emphasis on inside zone allowed the line to find their rhythm; after some early stuffed runs, they started opening up big creases, especially when Kalis entered the game at right guard in place of starter Joey Burzynski. Michigan got explosive plays—ten of their first 30 went for ten yards or more—and also showed that they could move the ball methodically; the first scoring drive, capped by a nine-yard touchdown to Funchess, covered 63 yards in nine plays.
De'Veon Smith displayed power and balance on his way to 115 rushing yards. [Fuller]
On the other side of the ball, the defense played up to their lofty expectations, forcing punts on each of ASU's first seven drives, including five three-and-outs. 171 of the Mountaineers' 280 total yards came on two second-half drives with the game well out of reach, as Greg Mattison liberally rotated through defenders. They came through on their promise to be more aggressive, playing lots of tight man coverage and putting ASU QB Kam Bryant under consistent pressure—Michigan's two sacks and four QB hurries don't tell the whole story.
The special teams even managed to chip in a scoring play, as Ben Gedeon caught a punt blocked by Mike McCray and managed to extend the ball just past the pylon to put U-M up 35-0 just prior to halftime.
Only two things came up as real concerns during the game. Jabrill Peppers missed the second half with an ankle injury; Brady Hoke confirmed after the game that his absence was precautionary, and he'll be back on the field next week for Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Jake Ryan looked uncomfortable at times at middle linebacker, getting overaggressive on run defense and allowing a big gain through the air when he didn't get enough depth on a zone drop. If your biggest defensive concern is Jake Ryan, however, your defense is in a very good place.
"We weren't competing against the score, we were competing against our abilities," Hoke said. At the very least, Michigan showed their ability to dominate inferior competition. They certainly drew up the blueprint for how they'd like this team to operate the rest of the year, too. Next week, we'll learn a lot more about just how far they've come.
For now, it's nice to sit back and enjoy a stress-free Saturday.
*Or "Little Fleetwood" as Hoke (accidentally?) called him in the postgame presser.
The speed difference between the two is the main reason I think you see Green starting. Smith seems to have the better instincts and YAC potential..but boy did he look slow compared to Green on the long runs.
its called coaching...
wanted to start with run, but passing to set up run certainly worked. Thought Smith looked more polished as a runner than Green, but 100+ rushing yards x 2 running backs! Would have liked to see Smith get Johnson's touches, but that's a pretty small point. Receivers looked great, and Funchess looked like a guy who should be wearing #1. Defensively, looked like lots of guys got reps and we did pretty well. Didn't hear Ryan's number called a lot; will be interesting to see how guys grade out in the UFR.
All Hail #1 and two 100 yard rushers.
Does anyone know what happened on the defensive series deep in their half of the field, mid 2nd QTR? We had 3 consecutive tackles for no gain, then they went to commerial break, but then it was like they replayed 3rd down again (where Wormley got a sack). Was there offsetting penalties or something?
App State was granted a timeout before the snap, but the officials didn't stop play in time.
thank you, I thought I had miscounted the downs and was feeling stupid
was called before that play. so instead of a Wormley TFL, it was a Taco sack
9 kickoffs and 1 punt. I like that ratio.
I realize that there is big, "yeah but it was just App. St." caveat, as the OP said, there was last year so seeing our RB's breaking big run after big run was so refreshing.
I was very impressed with Gardner, his decision-making, and the way he looked completely in control of the offense. It's obvious to me that Nuss was a great hire and that DG is going to really benefit from his teaching.
The screens were awesome to see, especially to Funchess. Obviously they wanted to gain yards with those plays (and did) but they are so integral in setting up the offense against better defenses. Now that DC's will have film on Nuss' offense (at least some of it) I think they're going to over play Funchess, and that will open up something else.
Is there anyone who wasn't excited about seeing our RB's running for daylight over and over? I know, I know, App. St. but we could do anything remotely close to that against Akron and UConn last season, so there is obvious improvement.
The defense look like what Mattison calls a, "Michigan Defense" -- finally. There were a few little mix-ups (which are to be expected early) which gave App. St. some gains, but I love the aggressive bump-and-run look in the secondary -- we've got the talent, let's let them line up and play.
All in all, happy with what I saw and especially what I saw from the OL -- they're going to be good by the end of the season.
I agree. That is the main thing I watched all game was oline and runs. I was getting worried when greens first two runs went for 1 and -1.
It drove me nuts when I saw Kalis take a step to his right creating a hole between him and the center when we were running a play to the left. Their dlineman ran through that huge hole and got green from behind for a tfl. To be fair he also blocked someone 12 yards and pushed him into the end zone before smith completed his 12 yard td.
Overall it was a solid performance that we needed to get. Now let's see how it works against a ranked opponent next week.
On the BTN post game show Howard Griffith highlighted Kalis, Miller, and the WR's blocking all the way downfield on those big runs. He commented on the effort for the OL and how they looked significantly better.
Didn't McCray burn his RS shirt? That's a head scratcher, imo.
He redshirted last year
Redshirted last year. RS Freshman this year. Pretty respectable day for him.
I see this version of the Horror as Brandon trying to delete and repeat the last seven years. It's almost as if this is the start of what should've happened after '06.
I always thought that was the basic idea.
The Horror basically signaled Michigan's decline for most of the last decade.
This was their way of saying no more of that and trying to start a new era on the right foot by playing (and crushing) the team that started the slope before.
It was awesome to see a big, physical Michigan WR wearing #1 again. It's been too long. Funchess is perfect for it.
Nice to watch the offense, but I already hate the waggle again. Both QBs faced unblocked defenders while running away. Put that shitty play away for the rest of the season plz.
Yeah, maybe I missed something but it seems like you need to run the stretch play to make it worth using the waggle as a constraint play. Again, I could be forgetting but did they run the stretch much?
I don't remember them running it at all.
i don't remember seeing Pipkins much until the 4th quarter. I wasn't counting, but it looked like Mone got more snaps. Henry was a beast. I like the attacking defense that doesn't let the other team dink and dunk the shit out of us. Jarrod Wilson was completely invisible as we would hope and it looked like Jeremy Clark had a good game.
So this is what sports feels like. I CERTAINLY MISSED IT.
Megatron: Johnson :: Optimus Prime : Funchess?
Funchess isn't "mini," he is the same size as CJ. What about Optimus Prime instead of Minitron?
Dude's got cat like reflexes, so I'm calling him Voltron from now on.
There is a ton of talent on this team, I feel that our O-line can shape up to become a real solid line and it will be interesting how Glasgow will affect the line. I was at the game and I saw that our defense does get to the ball quickly. But the main thing I took away from the game was how dominant our wide recievers were. Our WR were fast and big. I think our Wideouts are special.
One DL observation. our DL vs msu DL. is it me or does our DL seem slow to the initial punch? seems like MSUs jumps on the OL immed whereas ours seems a step slow. Am I delusional? Is this MSUs M O along with P I ? I'm being serious
The Clarks, Frank and Jeremy, had an excellent day on defense.
I would expect DG to take more chances next week although I hope receivers continue to get wide open.
i saw jack miller have a sweet block. He hooked the man then released and blocked another and iirc smith had a huge gain solely due to miller. but then another play saw miller not get feet down first and pushed back
Yeah, suspect he'll do quite well on the UFR. There was another nice play where he released into a LB and rode him 20 yards down field. He consistently handled their big NT or successfully passed him off to a guard.
Did anyone figure out why there were 2 3rd downs in the first half? Taco had the massive sack on what appeared to be a repeat of the down. No explanation on the TV but it appeared that the previous play was nullified
I noticed that too. Rewound back & forth trying to figure out why it was 3rd down twice (& UM got the sack both times). Anyone who knows what happened?
The first one was called back due to penalty if I'm thinking of the right play.
App State apparently called timeout beforehand, so the first third-down play didn't count (although it seemed like no one on the field was aware of this).
Today's game was against a crappy team. Non the less, we looked good, real good at times. I'm excited to see what we bring next week against ND. If our O line holds, watch out.
I saw Funchess blocking downfield nicely on a few plays. Chesson too.
I am starting to think that we have a real gem on our hands with Jeff Hecklinski.
I thought he should've taken over playcalling duties last year. Let Borges design them and Heck call them in games.
We've got some REALLY good coaches, then we've also got a few guys that I wouldn't cry about if they moved on/retired. Jackson, Ferrigno, Funk and Smith.
They're our coaches for this year and this team, and we're 1-0, so they have my support 100% - no question. But going into the season if those 4 would've been replaced with another RB, TE and Special Teams/OL/DL coaches...I wouldn't have cried. But it's who we have and I hope they lead this team back to elite and to greatness.
Definitely don't want to lose either coordinator, Heck, Manning or Mallory.
My (realistic) dream staff:
OC/QB: Doug Nussmeier
DC: Greg Mattison
RB: Mike Hart
WR/TE: Jeff Hecklinski
OL/TE: Tom Manning
DL/Special Teams: Mike Mallory
LB: Roy Manning
CB: Curt Mallory
S: Marcus Ray
I especially like splitting the TE duties with Kevin Koger on the staff as a GA...But this staff gives you youth and experience. College and NFL experience. Michigan ties and guys with no ties to the maize and blue. And it frees up Mattison to work with the DL and LBs.
How much do you know about Hart and Ray as football coaches? Yeah, I enjoyed watching them play, but are they actually good at coaching, much less better than the guys we currently have?
Small sample size, of course, but today in his first game at WMU, they rushed for 250 yards. I'm excited to see his career progress.
We're still talking about coaching changes and dream coaches? why don't you just put Harbaugh in there for head coach then.
We played great today. The defense looked every bit as aggressive and dominant as we would want. The offensive line opened up some big holes and were great in pass pro. Devin is playing Funchess and everyone else is playing funcheckers.
But, and it's a big but (there's a good joke there somewhere), there was one thing that was really concerning. Did Jake Ryan even play in this game? I know it was his first game at mike but he was almost non-existent out there. That means against a 4-8 FBS team from last year we hardly heard his name called. We know he can be a terror and an absolute beast on the outside. We have a very deep LB corps (not to mention a 3 year starter at mike in Morgan), so if JMFR doesn't seem to be comfortable or grasping the mike position why not move him back outside to flow free and wreak havoc?
Must've missed it as I was paying more attention to the new cheerleader and dance team uniforms. When I pointed them out to my wife, she shrugged and said that Brandon's got to give fans what they want.
maybe App State doesn't call for victory muppets, i was just confused.
I have been looking forward to them all night..