Yesterday's game showed me just how different it can feel to be a college football fan. It was strange to question whether Michigan was legit, to wonder if we might be embarrassed by a blowout loss in our own Bigger and Newly Redecorated House. Every turn in our favor filled me with relief more than excitement. In the end I felt calm, with none of the jubilant, happy-dancing, shake my ass celebration that followed last year's blowout opener. It seems that the last two seasons, and especially last year's collapse, have allowed my brain to be more detached from the game emotionally. I am happy and relieved that we won, but I am afraid to jump on the wagon that could be heading for another cliff.
I do think this year will be different though, because I learned some things yesterday...
- Denard Robinson is so awesome, he deserves to have his name spelled out in its entirety whenever it is written or spoken.
- Michigan is capable of good turnover Karma after all, what with recovering all three bad fumbles/muffed punts committed. (Gallon, really? WTF?)
- Michael Shaw is possibly the best compliment to Denard Robinson at tailback because of speed. When the two of them come together for the exchange the defense almost has to commit before they know who has the ball in order to have a chance at stopping the play.
- UConn showed what happens when the defense does not commit. The combined speed of Shaw and Denard Robinson tears the defense asunder.
- We are spoiled at Michigan when it comes to sure handed receivers.
- GERG has installed the first defense I can recall that seems to actually "bend" but not "break." The lack of big, game-changing plays was refreshing.
- Giving up yards while making the other team sustain a drive can actually be a recipe for success. The one turnover of the game seemed almost scripted to illustrate the virtues of this defensive approach.
- Ipso-facto, I guess GERG is actually a good coach that maybe we can all have a little faith in.
- Craig Roh is going to be a huge factor in this defense's success. When left unmarked (or marked by a TB) he creates big problems in the backfield. Marking him leaves less beef to stop Mike Martin and Co.
- Jonas Mouton and Obi Ezeh are good at some things at least. Mouton can really deliver the wood, and Ezeh is a sure tackler. Hopefully they can show continued improvement. Our run D up the middle still looks pretty bad at times.
So the opener is a win once again (YAY!). ND may expose our defense more with their spread attack, but after watching them some yesterday I feel good about our chances. If Charlie was still their coach I would be penciling in a win. I think we should be ready for some regression on offense though. Studying the film from the UConn game will no doubt give the ND coaches an edge that UConn couldn't have. Can a defense focused on stopping Denard Robinson actually slow down this offense? There is still much to learn...
Shout out to Kovacs who looked even better than last year. Dude is still way undersized and gets dragged at times, but he was no doubt in great position to make plays.
Also let's all try to keep away from the Tate bashing. That is a 19yo that played his heart out for this team a year ago, only to be sitting at 3rd string now. I could plainly make out that he was simply trying to hide from the cameras at the end of the game and we should all try to have some respect for what he is going through. For all sorts of reasons this team needs him and I hope he feels that and stays.
Edit: I forgot to mention our lack of penalties. One personal foul at the very beginning and that was all she wrote. The discipline of this team, should it hold going forward, may be what keeps the results mostly positive.