With Purdue falling to the Thundering Herd the Big 10 posted a stellar 3-6 record vs the FBS pending OSU. Two of those were over MAC teams.
Did a search and didn't find anything about his original tryout signing in May, but today Jacksonville announced DT Richard Ash would be on their practice squad. Ash graduated with a General Studies degree in 2013 and played at WMU last season, starting twelve games and recording forty-two tackles.
There's a TomVH sighting in the Hello: post.
Congrats to Ash, not many people ever get to list "professional athlete" on their tax forms.
Preseason predictions are fraught with adventure.... and hard line views after 1 week are similarly difficult. But egg on face is fun so let's have at it.
I did season previews on most UM opponents - I skipped UNLV and Rutgers out of boredom, and OSU out of fear. The rest are below
First - a look back at Utah
Here was my overall view:
It may seem strange that I fear BYU more than Utah but if this game was in Michigan Stadium and game 5 rather than 1 I'd feel like Michigan should be favored and not by a tiny amount. Utah does all the small things right. Utah is well coached. Utah's kicking game is real good. Utah is greater than the sum of the parts. But UM matches up better with this type of offense than BYU's offense. A steady QB with a very good RB is the type of offense UM's defense should do "well" (not great but well) against. As for Utah's defense, I don't expect fireworks from Michigan's run game early so I Rudock needs to carry the offense a bit early in the year. This is the type of defense that he can do it against. Baxter's impact will be interesting to see here as Utah has a heck of a kicking game.
First game for both teams. Both teams should be a lot better later in the year and a lot of open questions for both teams. Utah is a fun venue to play at, night game, both teams are going to be hyped, probably a messy first half. Two very good coaches, Utah has our # of late This is a good coin flip game that should go down to the wire in relatively low scoring fashion.
Generally I am happy with my views. If we played Utah in game 5, and at home I'd feel like we could run the ball a bit more, and Rudock would not play like Devin Gardner's ghost. Utah would be better too but I think UM would have more upside because of the new staff from top to bottom and lack of coaching in prior years that Utah players were getting.
Utah was indeed well coached, and did the small things right. They didnt drop INTs as many teams do. They play better as a group than the individual parts may show - it's a team full of 3 stars that competes like hell.
Utah's punting was solid but field goal kicker ("best in the nation") derped. So I was wrong on half of that but so was the entire nation.
I said a steady QB with a good RB is the type of offense UM's defense should do well against. I said it would be a good not great performance by the D. That generally held up. The upside surprise was Wilson was a better runner than anticipated - the previews said he could run but he didn't show it much last year. This year he did and he was a focus esp early as a runner.
I said I didn't expect fireworks early from UM's run offense - uhh, yeah that was on. But it was even worse than I thought. I said Rudock needed to carry the offense. He did indeed need to as the run offense was lost at sea. And until the last minute drive we had a grand total of 10 pts. Not good. Opportunities were there (Utah's pass D had holes) - they were not taken advantage of by Rudock.
Here were my advantages v disadvantages
UM rush off v Utah rush def - Adv: Utah. Michigan is meh running until proven otherwise. I don't expect miracles in game 1 - hopefully by game 6-7 that running game is working well. As for Utah if you have a spread option they can be run on - if you don't, it is difficult.
UM pass off v Utah pass def - Adv: Even. The wildcard here is Utah pass rush and UM pass protect. While I expect Utah to be well coached, the loss of both starting corners and 1 of this year's presumed starters SHOULD be an advantage to UM. Especially if the OL can give Rudock time. Can UM's OL figure out Utah's stunts? Will Dimick be able to star without Orchard taking so much attention?
Utah rush off v UM rush def - Adv: Even. Strength on strength. Very good RB vs in theory very good run defense. How UM's newbie starting ends contain and play the run will be key.
Utah pass off v UM pass def - Adv: UM. Senior QB who is efficient but not someone who is going to strife you all day with 1 proven possession receiver. I'd expect a lot of passes to Booker out of the backfield.
I said Michigan has a meh running game until proven otherwise. Unfortunately it was worse than meh. I said the pass off would be a wash with Utah's pass D. Well with 3 INT Utah's D won that battle despite Butt being what he thought he was and Darboh (save for a drop) playing well and looking dangerous. Secondary receiving was suspect as Chesson was open a bit but didn't do much and Perry running a few bad routes. But it should not have been that bad, that was a very not 2014 like Rudock who showed up. 8 less throwns and 2 less INTs and it would have been a very Rudock 2014 game. But when you can't run you have to throw more - an issue that will hurt all year until improved.
I opined Utah's rush off vs UM's rush def was even - I'd call that close to correct. We contained Booker well but flailed at the mobile QB as has been a UM tradition for 25 years. I gave UM's pass D an advantage over Utah's pass off - it was probably even. Wilson was better through the air than I thought esp in the 1st half but they did not strife us and the pass D was sufficient. Main issue was the linebackers in space more than the secondary players - at least in that game. Seeing Peppers whipped around by a freshman was troubling - the hope is that improves over time as he cannot just be a run destroyer or "pass to the flat" destroyer.
All in all it was as expected at the 40,000 foot view. A team UM matched up with well and with their low octane offense a team UM could play close to. But UM's passing offense made bad turnovers and the run offense was worse than expected. On the other side of the ball the rush D was it's usual good self while there were some holes in the pass D but nothing that should have led to a loss. Both teams had issues with field goal kicking - both punters were good.
Looking ahead, and basing games on WHEN they are played and WHERE this was my general view on degree of difficulty for each opponent coming into the year. And now my adjusted views (that will be adjusted again!) after week 2.
|11||Oregon State||Oregon State|
- Minn (+2) - I moved Minn up only partly on their performance but as much about other teams performances ahead of them (and injuries). I am still not a believer in that offense and Mitch Leidner had a very Mitch Leidnery day but the defensive performance was impressive. Usually 450 yards given up is not impressive but this is vs TCU. Did Minn find a running back to replace Cobb in Rodney Smith (16 car, 88 yds) or is this just like Wisconsin where you can plug and play any running back (sigh). We'll see in the coming weeks. Minn, much like Utah, matches up well for UM to beat with a run based offense, that will keep it close... but Wilson >> Leidner. If @Minn does indeed prove to be UM's 4th toughest opponent I expect a good W-L record.
- Utah (+1) - By default. Utah looks like what Utah always is. Solid, tough, well coached, and not explosive on offense.
- OSU - they have yet to play. I don't care what the result is, with that coaching staff they will be revving on all cyilnders by November. UM's linebackers - if they don't make large strides - are going to be strifed by the speed of OSU's skill players and UM's offense is going to struggle to score anywhere near the amount of points necessary to make this interesting if the run game is this impotent. (Come back to us Drake Johnson)
- MSU - If not for awful special teams that game would have started 27-0. WMU has some very good skill players at QB, WR, and RB. The RB was completely nullified - as usual when MSU plays. The QB was under constant duress from MSU's front 7, and played great respective to that duress. WMU basically ran Notre Dame's 2013 game plan - bomb away, and forget running. Also Baylor's 2014 game plan. There was some damage done in the second half but by then one can assume MSU mentally relaxed and was thinking of Ducks. MSU's strengths do not align well with UM's. Rudock might need to throw 70x that game.
- BYU - If PSU had not been such a joke I'd probably have moved BYU down 1 slot due to the injury to all everything Taysom Hill. It is huge and it removes the zombie apocalypse that is UM football - a top end mobile QB - from the equation. BYU was what we thought they were - until the injury. Scarily explosive on offense, good in rush defense, putrid in pass defense. This is still a problem game for UM in terms of matchups IF their new QB continues to look decent. We can't run well and BYU has a good rush defense. So we need to throw. Our back 7 is not the fastest and BYU can strife you through the air. We do get an advantage in rush D vs their rush O, as Hill was their top rusher. BYU also lost a key nose tackle which (in theory) helps Ben Braden look competent in a few weeks? BYU plays Boise State and UCLA the next 2 weeks so let's watch how their new QB plays - while he is a "freshman" he was the 3rd overall QB in 2012 and was on a 2 year mission and looked like he had a cannon.
- Northwestern - Why you no move up Northwestern after beating Stanford impressively at home? Hey man have you ever tried to beat Northwestern in that raucous Ryan field?? No seriously - let's see what Stanford is before we get giddy. Kevin Hogan (remember that guy) looked worse than Jake Rudock with his 4.4 yards per attempt. Talk about check down football. Northwestern's rush defense was quite good and combined with Hogan sucking - well there you have it. Northwestern is breaking in a new QB and he was... well Big 10ish. 50% completion rate and 4.4 yards per attempt. Sad. But his first game. Justin Jackson was what Justin Jackson is - very very good. But UM has a good rush defense so matches up well with Northwestern.
- @Maryland, Rutgers, @Indiana, Oregon State - no reason to break these 4 out. They all played teams you might see in the NCAA basketball tournament as a mid major once every 4-5 years. Nothing much could be taken from these performances. The one comment I will make is the top thing I stressed in the Maryland preview was DO NOT KICK TO WILL LIKELY!!! What did Richmond do? Kick to him. Often. He set a Big 10 record with 233 punt return yards (29.1 ave, with 1 TD). Dear John Baxter, DO NOT KICK TO WILL LIKELY!!!!!!!!!!!!! The other surprise in this game was Caleb Rowe did not win the job at QB; Perry Hill did. And Hill was not that impressive despite the opponent.
- PSU (-3) - Coming into the year all PSU's OL had to do was make a UM 2013 to 2014 leap from putrid to meh. That was not achieved in week 1. PSU is the opposite of UM's current line - they can run block decently but can't pass block at all. Hackenberg thus played awful as he looked like David Carr circa Houston Texans. Shockingly bad - Andre Ware with the Detroit Lions bad. While the Owls have a very good defense for a non P5 this was still a joke. And the normally stout PSU defense looked like they threw in the towel in frustratin in the closing quarter. The only saving grace for PSU is the next 5 games on their schedule which is full of tomato cans. If they had a few real teams on there this season could have been over by week 4. Again, we cannot read too much into week 1 and with the baby seals approaching on the schedule PSU's offense should improve but it's going to be really difficult to tell what PSU is until late October when they play a team sort of in their range like Maryland.
My fear for UM in 2015 is explosive offenses. While the defense should be solid it still looks like a defense better equipped to deal with run based offenses than dynamic QBs, especially with our LB core. Coming into the year the only teams I thought would have those offeses are OSU, MSU, and BYU. PSU was a maybe IF the OL advanced. That looks less likely after week 1. And BYU just got a little less scary even if the new QB is good - he is still a drop back guy which is easier to prepare for then Hurricane Hill. Indiana is a friggin wildcard from week to week in terms of offense but their HS defense negates that fear factor a degree.
All other offenses don't have much potential to blow the doors off anyone so UM can play the slug it out style it will be stuck with in 2015 and not worry about a team going ahead of them by 2+ TDs which might be a death knell unless we find a run game at some point. Maryland was the one team I actually expected their QB to potentially be dangerous and cause UM problems but he didn't even win the job in week 1 but might win it back in week 2. The rest of these QBs look incredibly meager.
My view is Oregon State is the worst or 2nd worst Pac 12 team and is being served on a silver platter to UM. They are going through an offensive transition that mimicks UM 2008 - going from pro style to spread concepts without spread players. Their hastily put together class has a freshman QB dual threat they are going to throw out to UM. It should be similar to what happened when Indiana tried that last year. And Indiana and Oregon State's defenses probably won't be too dissimilar. Oregon State stood head to head with a 2-10 FCS level team in week 1 thru the 3rd quarter before pulling ahead. If UM does not show a competent offense in this one I'd be worried about a lot more M00N games the rest of the year. I expect our defense to maul the Beavers and hold them to mid teens.
Purdue is a
14 7 point dog at Marshall.
Sunday college football! Love it!
Game is on FS1 Steve Hutchinson makes his broadcasting debut.
A few observations:
Our safety's (outside of Peppers) are complete non factors. Durkin has them frequently playing nearly 20 yards off the LOS pre snap. It's very odd and I would say a reason we didn't turn Utah over.
Re soft coverage, way too much of it. Our corners did a great job when playing press and really frustrated the Utah recievers. When they were allowed free releases they found seams in the defense. Peppers really covered up for some of the defencies in the scheme in the 2nd half. Jourdan Lewis is a flat out stud. Why Durkin played him off his man half the game I have no idea. The kid is great press corner.
Linebackers were absolutely lost in zone coverage. They had no idea who to cover or how deep to make their drops. The answer might be to play more man? I'm not sure. Utah's running back was able to leak out way too frequently. James Ross needs to see more snaps. Our Bucks were terrible. This is Durkin's position group, so I'm concerned.
Very few blitzes. Not sure what to make of that.
Tackling could have been better. There were a few times we could have really put them in a long down and distance but missed the chance. I'm sure that will get better as the season goes on.
Overall not a bad effort, but not an exceptional one either. Utah has a solid offense but I expected more from the defense based on where we were last year. 17 points is right in the range we want to be but quite frankly Michigan was lucky Utah missed those two field goals. I want to see more aggressiveness going forward. We need to generate more sacks and turnovers. Better passing offenses are going to have their way with us I'm afraid if we don't.
No one has started a thread yet so I thought I would, the previous thread has too many comments in it.
Texas @ ND on NBC
ASU vs. TAMU on espn
Wisc vs. 'Bama on ABC
He called his final timeout when the official stated there would be no run off! Still one of the biggest jokes in College Football.