Hoke for Tomorrow Works Out the Kinks

Submitted by Lordfoul on September 16th, 2012 at 10:40 AM




“Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.”
-Tom Peters
A refreshing, low-stress Saturday was had by all Michigan fans yesterday as the Wolverines actually covered a 45 point spread(!) against a woefully overmatched UMass squad.  It was perfect timing for a functional bye week and Michigan made the most of it, getting all potential reserves a good bit of action.  
Learn from yesterday...
Maybe not much can be taken away from such a beat-down, but I'd rather have the question marks for this team linger than have their problems confirmed.  Several trends continued however:
  • Denard will throw the "d'oh!" pick.  It is frustrating to see it, but this isn't going away.  It is great consolation to see 67% completions with 12.1 YPA, but "UMass" and all that.  Michigan really needs next Saturday to be an outlier here.
  • The Devins create a bit of a problem for the opposing defense.  Maybe this isn't really a trend yet, but both Devins looked great on their respective TD catches, with Gardner's displaying the athleticism we have heard so much about.
  • Toussaint is shifty and will burn you in space.  After a slow start to the game, 2011 Fitz showed up and made several defenders look silly.  Again, "UMass" and all that, but Michigan will need Toussaint to build on this performance.
  • Michigan's Defense is "Bend But Don't Break".  UMass couldn't bend it much, but they did have two 60ish yard drives in the first half and another that went for 11 plays in the third quarter.  The middle looked soft again, allowing Cox to make some strong runs.
Live for Today…
Several notables:
  • The Devins - These two have completely changed the outlook for the Michigan passing attack.  Now up to 5 combined TDs, I'd put the over/under for these two at 20.
  • Roy Roundtree - Breaks through finally with his first TD of 2012.  Kudos also to Fitz Toussaint for his first of the year and to Vincent Smith for punching two in from inside the 10.
  • Taylor Lewan - Swam 5 yards through bodies to recover a fumble on the goal line for his first career TD.  I can't imagine how that play must have looked from his point of view.  Congrats also to Justice Hayes for his first career TD.
  • Denard - 3 TDs through the air and one long one with his feet.  106 yards rushing keeps him on pace to top Pat White.  I love that he doesn't tie his shoes but cringe every time an announcer has to point out how well he cuts in his socks.  "D'oh" picks will continue, and must be accepted by fans, but hopefully a lesson was learned about when to reach out at the goal line.
  • Will Hagerup - This guy is back and better than ever.  I must have re-watched the 70-yard-in-the-air blast off the facemask of befuddled UMass return man 7 times minimum.  Punts like that could be game-changers going forward.
Hope for Tomorrow
It is difficult to see considering the teams Michigan has faced, but I think progress is being made across the board and this team will be ready for the BIG slate.  The passing offense is now dangerous with the Devins providing big targets and Gallon, Dileo, and Roundtree supporting.  Fitz showed that he still has moves.  The defense is getting better I think, if for no other reason than I have blind faith in Hoke/Mattison.  Hagerup is booming punts again.  Norfleet is a threat on offense now too, and possibly the double-secret weapon going forward.
The Alabama drubbing might just prove to be the best thing for this Michigan team, in that it clearly displayed their deficiencies and allowed for meaningful adjustments ASAP.  Besides, after Arkansas was taken behind the woodshed we can't really be too down about the loss.  
Notre Dame will bring their "A" game to ND Stadium next week.  Win or lose, Michigan coahes will have some great film to work off of to prepare for the BIG season.  
Seriously though, I am ready for Denard to tear their hearts out again.  
Onward Warrior Poets!
Till then, stay safe everyone.


snarling wolverine

September 16th, 2012 at 1:00 PM ^

The coaches won't admit this, of course, but I doubt they spent a ton of time last week gameplanning for UMass.  Our defensive schemes looked pretty vanilla yesterday and I felt like we could have done more to shut down their pretty limited playbook if we wanted to, but we didn't want to tip our hand before ND.  We do need to improve our tackling, though.  There were too many sloppy arm-tackles.  

Smash Lampjaw

September 16th, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

I thought Fitz was a little too shifty, and apparently Coach Hoke thought so, too. Go north, asap. I got a kick out of the replays of Lewan, as he stayed on his tippytoes to keep his knees off the ground as he pushed the ball over the goal line. I wonder how life would be different if Michigan could have played these 3 games in reverse order. Last year at this time our lines had not "gelled" ( I assume everyone using this word means jelled), nor had Fitz emerged as a threat yet, and the season turned out ok.



September 16th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

is actually shaping up nicely. It's pretty clear to me that Roundtree is a second stringer at best. The coaches are giving him a lot of BOD (Benefit of Doubt) because he is a senior and leader but its time to move on......

Also I liked the sportsmanship and class act al around regarding Michael Cox.

Waters Demos

September 16th, 2012 at 6:11 PM ^

Interesting stuff - I'll be interested to see how M fares against a tough and defensively sound Irish team.  I'm not very optimistic - I think DR will have to be even better than he has been against them. 


September 16th, 2012 at 6:27 PM ^

They're good, no doubt, but they have some serious weaknesses in their secondary. You wouldn't know that because Maxwell can't pass the ball, but if we can establish a solid passing game, the running lanes will open. Hope Denard torches em for another 87 yard TD run.

If you remember last year about is time, we looked similar... Fitz wasn't a threat and our defense didn't click until about the 4th game in.

Waters Demos

September 16th, 2012 at 7:22 PM ^

My opinion is that Maxwell can pass and will be very good.  However, when Fuonoti went down on Thurs last week, we had to string together a patchwork OL with some guys moved around to positions they don't play usually, and then with Skyler Burkland who clearly was not prepared to play.

Maxwell had no time to let routes develop and his receivers did him no favors (for the most part - Mumphreys and Sims looked good).  I think the OL is much better prepared going forward and Maxwell's talents slowly begin to show.  Kind of like Cousins during his first year; in fact I think Maxwell has a stronger arm than Cousins (and could be a better QB) by his senior year.

As for you guys, I think you're still a year or two away, and are kind of doing what we're doing with Fuonoti out - patching things together.  I hope for the best with M against ND but that front 7 is good, and Golson/Wood are no jokes either.  I'm a bit worried about your DL trying to deal with those guys.