Looking Back, Hats Off, Looking Forward - MiaOH

Submitted by Lordfoul on September 7th, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Well that was rather uninspiring.  All I can say is that it was a much needed win and not much else.  It was also a welcome change in terms of stomach acid production over last week.  That may also have something to do with my staying dead sober for the entire game.  Our level of play did produce some new thoughts on the team though. 

Looking Back - Some thoughts looking back on the game after sleeping on it:

Did our offense turn a corner?  Bullets:

  • Sam McGuffie sure did.  Getting him outside during the last scoring drive really showed the extra gear he has to gain the corner.  I am really getting excited about this kid.  He was tough after contact and protected the ball as if Mike Hart was coaching him how.
  • Sheridan seemed to "get it" on that last scoring drive as well.  He was decisive and getting the ball to the target much quicker, which gave the defense less time to react.  He needs to try falling forward on scrambles/keepers and use his 6' frame to gain that extra yard or two instead of trying to juke linebackers. 
  • Threet is still a big step up above Sheridan at QB.  His running was more productive IMO because he took what was available without trying fancy moves to get more.  Much better arm than Sheridan (Mr. Noodle) as well.
  • We need Mathews back badly.  Odoms was good, but seems to be little more than a checkdown option/screen guy.  That is important in its own right but a sure handed receiver with some savvy in getting open downfield would really help Threet shine I think.
  • This was a better game plan I think.  RR obviously is a great coach, but this gameplan demonstrated to me that he is up to the challenges this young team will present.  Great first drive with plays designed to score first and take that edge.  Much more conservative to help ensure the win (needed so badly as it was).  That last scoring drive was genius I thought, sweeping McGuffie outside after pounding inside most of the game really worked.
  • I think it was a good idea to switch in Sheridan as much as possible.  RR might reap the rewards from this if Threet goes down to injury (or meltdown).

I wasn't very impressed by the defense this week.  Giving up only 6 points was great, but they seemed always on the edge of breaking.  Bullets:

  • Our coverage is not nearly as good as advertised.  I seemed obvious to me that a Brian Johnson level QB would have caused a lot of damage in this game as he did in the last.  Stevie Brown...
  • ...is bad.  He seems to just make poor decisions in coverage.  I have no specific examples but his name came up on a lot of plays that made our defense look bad I thought.
  • Trent and Warren are not the lockdown corners I was really expecting to carry this defense.  This may change and honestly really needs to.
  • Gut runs are killing us.  With all the emphasis Shafer seems to put on sacks and pass rush, I wonder if it is affecting our ability to effectively stuff the run.
  • Mouton looked really good to me.  He really stuck a few guys and seemed generally in good position.  Dunno if he was in for Evans or Panter?
  • D-line was solid again IMO.

Hats Off Awards:

  1. McGuffie! - Dude finally got to show off his jets and looked strong as well.  Really bulled through some would-be tacklers for extra yardage several times.  Can't say enough about how impressed I was both in his progression from the first game and RR's ability to create plays getting the McGuffinator in the open.  Hats Off!!!
  2. RR - I can't really say what exactly felt different, but this team was more sure of itself.  I think he has big things up his sleeve for ND.  Hats Off!!! on your first win Coach.
  3. MiaOH QB - Can't remember his name, but then he might not either.  Still, he tried to get up which is more than we can say for Morelli.  Hats Off!!! brother, cause the doctor needs to take a look.
  4. MiaOH coach - I really respect how well this guy prepared his team to play this game.  I thought their offense made our D look silly and just bad at times.  MiaOH will win several MAC games to be sure.  Hats Off!!! for staying with us.
  5. UMTailgate - I made these: http://umtailgate.com/2008/09/04/make-your-own-damn-ribs, and they were delicioius.  Hats Off!!!

Looking Forward:

With everyone seemingly calling a ND win next Saturday I have to say NSFMF.  ND looked certainly less than intimidating in their narrow win over SDSU.  I would say that their offense is better than ours at this point, but their defense is much worse.  This should lead to a fairly even contest I think as far as players are concerned.  I really expect RR to coach circles around Fatty Weis though.  I think Threet will play much more of the game unless we jump out to a huge lead.  I further predict that huge leads won't happen for either team as the offenses struggle to score points. 

I was pleased with how close the MiaOH game turned out to what I was predicting http://mgoblog.com/content/preview-miami-not-miami#comments (comment #7) and would like to make another stab at it for this week.  I am seeing a win where Michigan special teams will make the difference and KC Lopata provides the winning margin.  Very close score...  I'd say Michigan 20, ND and the Fat Man - 17

Go Blue!

Comments

Magnus

September 7th, 2008 at 5:54 PM ^

How is Threet a big step up from Sheridan? Threet got most of his passing yards on one play, and that was just a quick pass to Odoms that let Odoms do all the work. Threet was 6 out of 13 and Sheridan was 4 out of 5.

Anyway, Mouton was in for Evans at WILL. Thompson started for Panter at SAM.

Lordfoul

September 7th, 2008 at 6:49 PM ^

I just thought Threet looked more confident and did little things like ball fakes better.  Sheridan had the one good drive, and hopefully he can build on that in the future.  I would rather have Threet in there from what I saw though.  I really think we will see him start against ND and probably see the majority of the snaps in the game.

Lordfoul

September 7th, 2008 at 10:25 PM ^

That is just my opinion, in my opinion.  Sheridan has been erratic and we score much less with him in the game.  Threet was a highly regarded recruit that can actually throw the football.  I think Threet starts and I consider him a "big step up" when compared to Sheridan.

formerlyanonymous

September 7th, 2008 at 6:13 PM ^

He had 2 of them on one play. Then he had a spin move on another. After those two productive plays, Miami began to actually defend against them as compared to the first two where they appeared to think "oh this guy is slow, no way he's running."

Lordfoul

September 7th, 2008 at 6:53 PM ^

Threet's moves were in space (and of questionable need) but I like how he seems to take what is there and not try to make so much more out of plays.  I didn't notice much of a difference in their speed or elusiveness and Threet ran better IMO.  His arm is better too, and if he could stop throwing to Tacopants, it would be even more apparent.  Threet just has more upside and therefore should start.

Skapanza

September 8th, 2008 at 9:58 AM ^

I'd rather have tosses to Tacopants than see any more "Hail Sheri's" where he looks like he's tossing a potato masher at a French trench. I worry that if the route is more than 10 yards out, Sheridan wouldn;t even be able to hit Tacopants, making an off-target pass easy pickings for the defensive secondary. Threet showed slightly-better-than-Navarre dinosaur mobility and, more importantly, much improved decision-making from last week.

dex

September 8th, 2008 at 9:56 AM ^

I'm with you on this one. I don't think ND is as bad as they appeared against SDSU, and I don't think we've been anything approaching impressive. The turn to "we'll kill ND" is a little misguided, I think. Our offense is going to struggle mightily in their first road game against a surely heavy blitzing ND defense.

Not to say we can't win, because I think it's well-within the realm of possibility, but the improvement needs to continue and not fall off in the first road test. That's far from a sure thing in my mind.

imafreak1

September 8th, 2008 at 9:52 AM ^

Watch the first TD and look for the Miami backside DE. Zone read, his job is QB contain. He never even looks at Threet and flows slowly down the line. After Threet has run past him the DE looks confusedly up and around as he is sealed. He never had a chance of making a pursuit play and just wandered uselessly away from his responsibility.

I think the criticism of the D is overly harsh and caused by complete offensive incompetence. The D always seemed on edge because one missed tackle could lead to a Miami victory. That is the offense's problem. Michigan cannot expect to win games 6-3.

Lordfoul

September 8th, 2008 at 4:56 PM ^

that is their own fault.  To play effectively they need to ignore the game situation (except when coached not to) and pin their ears back.  I think the D is going to get better but is already fairly solid.  Shafer may be holding back on some looks for the defense as well, as Brian noted in his recap.  But if any team needs to win (but obviously not expect to) a 6-3 type game, it is us.

jamiemac

September 8th, 2008 at 9:57 AM ^

We might not win a game by the exact 6-3 score, but I am pretty sure we will win at least one game this year where we kick nothing but field goals and we'll also lose a game this year where we allow only field goals.

Its going to be an uneasy season.

Thought the D played safe all game not wanting to tip their hand any further to the ND's scouts and coaches. I do expect a effort like the second half vs Utah.

mjv

September 10th, 2008 at 1:08 AM ^

I highly doubt that any of our coaches have been holding anything for ND. We aren't good enough to keep a significant portion of our playbook under wraps, offense or defense.

My two cents is that anything is possible. These are two teams that have demonstrated no ability play consistently. As such, wild variability will be the norm.