Both "The Ozone" and "Eleven Warriors" have their take on the Akron game up respectively attheir websites. Here are the links:
Sun & Bluesday (Eleven Warriors)
Here are a few choice quotes.
Re: Devin Gardner
When he's dialed in, he's very good. When he's not, you don't know know he's not until he makes a mistake that should never have been made.
Gardner almost single-handedly lost the game for Michigan . . . his decision making under duress remains terrible.
Gardner threw three interceptions to an Akron defense that gave up 310 yards passing and three touchdowns to James Madison. One of those interceptions was a terrible pick six on a screen pass where Gardner never saw the defender in relation to his receiver. He has now thrown six interceptions on the season. That's as many interceptions as Braxton Miller threw all season last year.
Toussaint struggled again, as 15 of his 19 carries went for four yards or less. It gets worse from there, however, as 12 of his 19 carries went for two yards or less and eight of his 19 carries went for no gain or less. In other words, his eighth-longest carry of the day went for no gain.
Fitz Toussaint will never create for himself, ever. If the hole is there, he'll hit it and do okay. If it isn't, automatic two yard loss.
Center Jack Miller was pushed around like a shopping cart by Akron's defensive line, and he wasn't the only one. At one point, the BTN sideline reporter was talking to former Wolverine offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson about left tackle Taylor Lewan, and at that same moment, Lewan was being pushed into the backfield right to where the ball was for a loss of a couple of yards.
Akron's defensive line was just good enough to wreck havoc on a generally really bad Michigan offensive line, and that led to problems all over the field on the offensive side.
Last week I talked a bit about how open the middle of the field was against Notre Dame, and it was exploited again this past week by the Zips.
Defensively the secondary is a mess. Akron should not be throwing for 300 plus yards on anyone (they didn't even get that against James Madison), but the middle of the field is almost always open in Michigan's defense when teams feel like exploiting it. Countess has been opportunistic, but aside from him there's really no one to fear too much in the backfield at this point.
Speaking of Mattison, he didn't seem all that happy on Saturday. His defense was getting pushed around. There was very little pass rush and there was no penetration. Michigan's starting defensive tackles Quinton Washington and Jibreel Black failed to record any tackles. They were too easily blocked in this game.
The lack of a pass rush is a concern. James Madison sacked Akron four times, which is four more times than Michigan sacked the Zips. Defensive end Mario Ojemudia continues to be the only Michigan defensive lineman with a sack. Frank Clark came in with big expectations, but to this point has just one tackle for loss.
Michigan has a ton of gigantic, glaring holes in their team that need to be addressed ASAP or Big Ten season will be very difficult for them.
I'm waiting for the UFR's from Brian, but I'm feeling a bit glum about what this season portends. There are a few reasons I still have some hope.
- The schedule. We have six weeks (four games plus two byes, one before Big 10 and one before MSU.) This will allow our extremely young team time to learn, and in the case of the lines, to gel. Hopefully Chesson gets more of a rhythm.
- Jake Ryan. Whether he plays on the line as an end, or as a LB, he has to improve what the defensive line is doing, and the soft middle.
- Courtney Avery. Now we know why he was moved. We need Avery in the secondary, to allow Countess to always play corner.
- Williams. While having Williams in the game telegraphs "run," that's ok. Butt has promise, but we need a TE who can help block, and Williams appears to be option A, B, & C.