I'm ecstatic that UM is 4-0, but as we've all seen in the first four weeks there are questions about the performance of this team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. I think today will she some light on the following issues (in no particular order):1. The UM secondary
- this group has been giving up big plays all season, oftentimes playing far off receivers. Is this because of the scheme Greg Robinson has been using, or is this because he lacks trust in the ability of the defensive backs to defense the long pass? Other than the Warren interception, this group has been more reactive than proactive. They rarely get a good enough read on the QB to step into a passing lane to make a play; instead, they wait for the catch to be made and then react. I can't help but notice that other teams do a better job of this. My guess is this is part inexperience, part scheme. We'll see how they respond to the MSU passing game today, but if the defense is truly progressing each and every week, we should see a few more plays being made.2. The UM Defensive Line
- While solid at times, this unit has had much difficulty putting pressure on the QB. A few more sacks could go a long way for the defense. The other issue has been with the rush defense. Half of the time they stop the running back for little to no gain, the other half they seem to get gashed by a big run. While the MSU run game has struggled, this is the second chance to go against a Big Ten offensive line. If the MSU run game has success, I don't think this bodes well for future games this year. If they put in a solid performance, it's a step in the right direction. No doubt that the problem with the D-Line is, in part related to the first.
3. Freshman on the Road
- This is the first true test for the youngsters we have on offense and defense. While Tate has shown poise under pressure, you have to wonder how the rest of the group will respond. Denard is likely to have issues if he decides to pass. The defensive backs are likely to find themselves lost at times. Nevertheless, it's probably better to have MSU for the first road game than a better team like Iowa.
What will we see today - time will tell. WIn or lose, it's still fun to watch this team play and we should sit back and enjoy the maturation of the team.