I have too many thoughts on my mind after enjoying the thrilling win at ND, I decided to try to plot them down in one diary entry.
It is so enjoyable for me to watch Michigan play this season because of many things but none more important than our offense and the predictability of our defense. This team really reminds me of the 2000-2001 team under Lloyd Carr and quarterbacked by Drew Henson and starring A-Train. That team had a great high powered offense and a very generous defense, it got so bad that we gave around 50 some points to NorthWestern, but in return scored 50 some points against them (no need to bring back memories of unnecessary fumbles and the nightmares after that game). That team though was not supposed to be bad on defense but it was (it had flashes of brilliance with 2 shutouts and 2 near shutouts against bad offenses), this team on the other hand is actually expected to be miserable on defense, but is actually more than half decent up to this point.
If you think about it, denard had 500 + yards against Notre Dame accounting for most of the offense but we ended up with 28 points, add to that 3 turnovers created by the defense and a couple of critical stops and voilà, we have a W.
Just to draw some statistical comparisons between this year’s team and that 2000-2001 team:
The 2000-2001 team had the following averages:
Points scored per game = 33.7
Points against per game = 19.08 (note that they had 2 shutouts against IU and MSU and 2 near shutouts against Bowling Green and Rice)
Turnover Margin = +1.08 (Big Ten Leaders)
Passing Efficiency = 155.3 (Big Ten Leader and Michigan Record)
(I looked around and couldn’t find historical data for yards per game on offense and defense online, please help with this)
just to refresh your memory that offense had Drew Henson, A-Train, David Terrel, Jeff Backus and Steve Huchinson. And the defense had a star in Victor Hobson.
This year’s 2010 stats 2 games in:
Yards per game = 502.5 (14th nationally)
Yards against = 439 (101st nationally)
Points scored per game = 29 (62nd nationally)
Points against per game = 17 (39th nationally)
Turnover Margin = + 2
I know that the current season stats are not really representative of much considering they were just 2 games against probably average teams, but they are the only indication we have for the rest of the season. The alarming number is actually the points per game which is low compared to yards per game, that means we’re getting a lot of yards but not scoring. 14th nationally in yards but 62nd nationally in scoring, which is with a positive turnover margin, although missed FG kicks will have to contribute to that statistic. On a positive note though we are 39th nationally in points against for now, a sign of a bend but don’t break defense.
In the past my fear with Michigan was actually the part where Michigan had the ball, I was always scared of fumbles, interceptions, and a 3 and out. I used to feel more comfortable when the defense was on the field. Today, it's a different story, Michigan has a pretty dependable offense that is actually aiming to run up the score and hoping to score on every drive (contrary to most of Lloyd Carr's offenses, 'btw I love Carr') and has a defense that is supposed to give up scores, but in general they hope to do so on long drives rather than short ones so they give their offense some time to rest up and get ready for the next attack. (Just to clarify this point, it's much more comfortable for me to watch this offense play than many of the offenses of the past 10 seasons. Exceptions on offense would be the 2000 team and the 2006 team) I finally feel the feeling that UCLA fans in 1998 had, big offense, no defense! This really plays into the rule that 'the best defense is a good offense'.
As for watching the defense, it's actually kind of fun, 2 games, the same outcome, the defense has proven that they have a bend but don't break quickly mentality. They don't mind giving up 500000 yards a game as long as they don't give up more than 25 to 28 points a game. The offense has to pick up from there and score 30 to 35 points a game (the more the better). For this season at least we can't look at the game as a win if we score anywhere less than 21 points if not more. Which is great for us, the fans, that means the offense's plan is to score on each drive and not really slow down until they are up by 50 late in the fourth quarter, because a young defense can give up so many points in a 10 minute span, it's crazy!!
Only 2 games have passed and we are all optimistic now, and that is ok, I love to be optimistic for Michigan actually. The team actually deserves national respect. If we can pull off big wins in the next 3 games, Michigan could be in a much better position to deal with the Big Ten teams than last season. I hope they do and I hope we win the close ones this season. I love this offense, this coach and even the attitude of the fans this year, it is the best start of a season for me since 1997, because its unexpected. In general, its fun to have a dependable offense and predictable defense, that way there isn’t much frustration for the fans. So this team has a similar offense to the 2000 team, but doesn’t have the expectations on defense that that team had.
All I can say right now to all the fans out there is simply Go Blue and Hail to the Victors. Good luck Maize and Blue, and keep the W's coming.