The coaches won't admit this, of course, but I doubt they spent a ton of time last week gameplanning for UMass. Our defensive schemes looked pretty vanilla yesterday and I felt like we could have done more to shut down their pretty limited playbook if we wanted to, but we didn't want to tip our hand before ND. We do need to improve our tackling, though. There were too many sloppy arm-tackles.
Hoke for Tomorrow Works Out the Kinks
- Denard will throw the "d'oh!" pick. It is frustrating to see it, but this isn't going away. It is great consolation to see 67% completions with 12.1 YPA, but "UMass" and all that. Michigan really needs next Saturday to be an outlier here.
- The Devins create a bit of a problem for the opposing defense. Maybe this isn't really a trend yet, but both Devins looked great on their respective TD catches, with Gardner's displaying the athleticism we have heard so much about.
- Toussaint is shifty and will burn you in space. After a slow start to the game, 2011 Fitz showed up and made several defenders look silly. Again, "UMass" and all that, but Michigan will need Toussaint to build on this performance.
- Michigan's Defense is "Bend But Don't Break". UMass couldn't bend it much, but they did have two 60ish yard drives in the first half and another that went for 11 plays in the third quarter. The middle looked soft again, allowing Cox to make some strong runs.
- The Devins - These two have completely changed the outlook for the Michigan passing attack. Now up to 5 combined TDs, I'd put the over/under for these two at 20.
- Roy Roundtree - Breaks through finally with his first TD of 2012. Kudos also to Fitz Toussaint for his first of the year and to Vincent Smith for punching two in from inside the 10.
- Taylor Lewan - Swam 5 yards through bodies to recover a fumble on the goal line for his first career TD. I can't imagine how that play must have looked from his point of view. Congrats also to Justice Hayes for his first career TD.
- Denard - 3 TDs through the air and one long one with his feet. 106 yards rushing keeps him on pace to top Pat White. I love that he doesn't tie his shoes but cringe every time an announcer has to point out how well he cuts in his socks. "D'oh" picks will continue, and must be accepted by fans, but hopefully a lesson was learned about when to reach out at the goal line.
- Will Hagerup - This guy is back and better than ever. I must have re-watched the 70-yard-in-the-air blast off the facemask of befuddled UMass return man 7 times minimum. Punts like that could be game-changers going forward.
I thought Fitz was a little too shifty, and apparently Coach Hoke thought so, too. Go north, asap. I got a kick out of the replays of Lewan, as he stayed on his tippytoes to keep his knees off the ground as he pushed the ball over the goal line. I wonder how life would be different if Michigan could have played these 3 games in reverse order. Last year at this time our lines had not "gelled" ( I assume everyone using this word means jelled), nor had Fitz emerged as a threat yet, and the season turned out ok.
is actually shaping up nicely. It's pretty clear to me that Roundtree is a second stringer at best. The coaches are giving him a lot of BOD (Benefit of Doubt) because he is a senior and leader but its time to move on......
Also I liked the sportsmanship and class act al around regarding Michael Cox.
They're good, no doubt, but they have some serious weaknesses in their secondary. You wouldn't know that because Maxwell can't pass the ball, but if we can establish a solid passing game, the running lanes will open. Hope Denard torches em for another 87 yard TD run.
If you remember last year about is time, we looked similar... Fitz wasn't a threat and our defense didn't click until about the 4th game in.