5 Things to Look for Tomorrow

Submitted by reshp1 on August 29th, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Edit: It looks like I was beaten to the punch by the front page post.

What are your key areas to watch in tomorrow's opener? (Obviously, winning the game is implied)


1. Is the aggressive defense for real? App St is a team that dinks and dunks their way down the field, something Michigan has struggled to stop. In recent years, we've relied on sure tackling and keeping the ball in front to force opposing offenses to execute for long stretches at a time so they eventually bog down of their own accord. Is this the year we start getting in receivers' faces and taking away the short stuff with tight man coverage and start kicking offenses off the field instead of waiting for a mistake?

2. Can we run the ball straight up with no trickeration? We had some success running the ball early last year but by coming out and surprising our first two oppenents with a switch to outside stretch plays. When opponents adjusted, our run game disappeared and we embarked on a long winding road in search of the next thing that worked. I want to see us establish our base play, inside zone, early and often. Get the defense to cheat up before unleashing play action over their heads. We'll find out a bit if our OL was just struggling against our good defense, or struggling in general.

3. Jabrill Peppers. I'm not one to buy into the hype on a true freshman, but man, this kid isn't your average true freshman. Given App St's style, he should feature heavily at nickel. Will they be conservative with him and have him drop into coverage, or will he be the hybrid blitzing terror we expect on day one? Also, punt returns will be exciting. I want to see him break a big one, but more importantly I want to see him make good decisions and show sure hands.

4. Is the offensive tempo improved? Are we making the right adjustments at the line? I want to see lots of pointing and communicating before we snap the ball. I want to see Devin get us into the right play, and get us out of bad ones. Can he handle the additional responsibilities that Borges never seemed comfortable giving to his QBs? Is our OL communicating their blocking assignments? Do the RBs know where the blitz is coming from?

5. I want to see us have the game in hand early, not only for my blood pressure, but because I want to see our back-ups play. Not getting meaningful playing time last year for our back-ups was maybe the worst consequence of our struggles as far as development of the team going forward. Beating teams we should and getting the game reps for back ups will help not just next year, but down the road this season if injuries occur. It'll also be a good chance to see who redshirts and who the coaches think can contribute.








August 29th, 2014 at 1:58 PM ^

so I doubt Nuss shows a lot. I'm basing this off of their roster and last year's record.  I also think we won't really learn too much tomorrow about this year's team. 

However, I am just glad the season has started.


August 29th, 2014 at 2:00 PM ^

I agree with you that Michigan has a lot to prove tomorrow. The one thing for sure is this is not 2007. Michigan will win tomorrow, but in what way. If the OL cannot push around App State DL there will be little hope that they will push around B1G DL's this year. Watch the OL battles and how Michigan's DB's communicate with each other. GoBlue!


August 29th, 2014 at 2:18 PM ^

I'm guessing (and hoping too cause that will mean UM wins the game comfortably) that we aren't going to see full the brunt of what Mattison and possibly Nuss have in store for the year until the team heads into South Bend.


August 29th, 2014 at 2:06 PM ^

I'm hoping we take control early and spend the second half running the football. I'd imagine the defense holds something back for ND, schematically. I'm not interested in seeing backup OL. I want the starters to get as many plays up front as possible. I'm most interested in seeing a nice 2 back combo develop, and which one of our backs can extinguish himself as the #1 guy.

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August 29th, 2014 at 2:09 PM ^

All I care about is the ability to run the ball.  App State is very overmatched in almost every way athletically so it won't tell me much just like the CMU game didn't.  They are small and inexperienced in their front 7.  If we cannot cram it down their throat it bodes ill the rest of the year.  I don't mean 7 yards per carry OSU v UM 2nd half of last year's game but even 3.5 yards per carry type of action.  Also Braden in pass protect - for some reason I am more worried about him than Cole which makes little sense.


August 29th, 2014 at 4:58 PM ^

1. Tackles

2. Guards

3. Center

4. Tight end blocking

5. RB blocking

Brian hit on it in his offensive post. The RB protection and TE blocking last year was pretty bad. There were times when the line held up and needed the RB to take on the blitzer and the RB just got tossed aside like a ragdoll. I don't expect to see us passing much tomorrow, so RB blocking probably won't get answered until next week. I do hope to see more of the RBs used in the screen game. There were very few screens last year, to the point that the defenses didn't even have to play us honest and respect the screen.

Mr. JaCharles …

August 29th, 2014 at 2:22 PM ^

Put our foot on their throats and don't let up. I am sick of seeing other rivals blow teams out and we beat around the bush with our opponents. Just go out and have an angry chip on your shoulder and stop playing down to our competition. Done with that garbage man!


August 29th, 2014 at 2:26 PM ^

1. Can the O line play well and can Miller handle a big NT?

2. Can we run the ball?

3. Does the back seven look coordinated and not confused in pass coverage, can we stop the pass?

4. Do we have an "attitude". Will we show we have something to prove or do we play flat?

5. Can Peppers establish himself as Heisman front runner? JK!


August 29th, 2014 at 2:26 PM ^

I want to see a team with an identity. I want to see a physical team. I thought they were soft last year. I want to see guys flying to the ball on defense. I want to see someone fly up from the secondary or LB positions when they try running sweeps and take out the legs of the RB at the line of scrimmage. I want to see an offense that looks like they know what they are doing.

I dumped the Dope

August 29th, 2014 at 2:27 PM ^

I suppose there's a progression of what to show.  Its nice to catch Notre Dame with some stuff they've never seen before.  Also I am speculating there are some special plays reserved for Ohio that never make it to game film before then.  The leaders and best wouldn't tip their entire hand right off the bat...

I'm going to be easy, looking for basic fundamentals like blocking and tackling and penalty-free play.  I think we will see if there's tight coverage or if its play loose and bend.  I'd like to see error-free special teams with punting and FG kicking.  Keying off Nussmeier here, it would be nice to see us convert 3rd downs and score a TD every time we reach the red zone.

Like everyone who follows this program I will be watching Jabrill.  Excited to see him run out of the tunnel in the winged helmet!  After that I'd be happy with solid error-free play on D and PR duty.  I know he's under a microscope due to his high level of play, just hope he can find his groove and get comfortable....oh, yeah.... and use his speed to run away from some guys!


August 29th, 2014 at 2:28 PM ^

6. reshp1 bringing back his old avatar.

7. Good execution, low mistakes. No throws to nowhere followed by DG and a receiver trying to figure out who goes where. No linemen completely blowing protections or run block assignments (they might get handled, but they need to make the right move). No wildly blown coverages. Minimal dumb penalties. This is a team that is gaining experience, good coaching should manifest in good execution.


August 29th, 2014 at 2:39 PM ^

1. Can we run the inside zone with any consistency?
2. Can we protect the passer?
3. Can we pressure their passer?
4. How is our edge defense?
5. How are our special teams?


August 29th, 2014 at 2:53 PM ^

that require watching. Not sure whether Peppers is No. 3 for me, but the order is sort of irelevant, his performance is clearly anticipated and much is already expected, and I think he will top whatever we might have imagined. 

I want to see defensive intensity and a pass rush both organic and from the blitz with a ferocity that forces the oppostion to rethink its gameplan. I want to see the beginning of a unit so difficult to play against that by mid-season it is a lethal concern for Michigan opponents. 

On offense, I want to see the run game improve, so the passing game becomes more effective and Devin can become more dangerous inside and outside the pocket. I don't want him to run as much, because we don't want him killed before we get to the end of the season. I want to see the emergence of what I expect is one of the best young group of pass catchers Michigan has flashed for ahile. 

I want to see special teams that are special. HIstorically, Michigan pays lip service to their execution as a weapon, often regarding them as less than special and more like a chore, with emphasis on getting through them without harm.

It will be curious to see if Michigan, and I expect this to be the case this year beause I expect they will force more possession changes defensively, if they go for pujnt blocks or better blocking with Peppers as the return threat. Obviously, when Michigan had Steve Breaston, punt returning was his early specialty and he set the bar for return yardage in school records. 

I just think one way to help your offense and development of a limited Oline is taking pressure off its requirement to perform at a high level in order to succeed. Now, clearly, the line must perfom at a high level at some point to achieve your goals and win a championship, wjhich this team has an opportunity to do. I really believe that.

But like MSU last year, you can succeed and win without stress, if your defense and special teams play takes pressure off an underperforming or lackluster element of your game, by being better than advertised in the others. Michigan has the talent capability of doing that. 

The season builds on itself. You improve yourself as a team weekly by limiting mistakes and finding your identity and then dictating your strengths and forcing the opposition to stop you. If it can't, you roll on, and as you do your confidence rises with your resume and that contagion of success feeds on everyone on the roster. This used to be how Michigan operated each season.

This is the first time in a long time that Michigan looks like Michgan again. Go Blue!


August 29th, 2014 at 3:07 PM ^


  • #1 Can the left tackle block?
  • #2 Can the left guard block?
  • #3 Can the center block?
  • #4 Can the right guard block?
  • #5 Can the right tackle block?


August 29th, 2014 at 4:07 PM ^

Here is what I want tomorrow, and I believe the only reason DB scheduled this game:

80-3 with no mercy.

I want to beat App State so damn bad that whenever anyone says "haha App State!" to me again at a stadium while wearing my Michigan gear, I will be able to simply state the score of tomorrow's game as my retort.



August 29th, 2014 at 7:04 PM ^

as a Michigan fan, we can't recite history without being made fun of.  "Typical Wolverine, always talking about the past."  Fine.  Let's talk about what happens this season.  This isn't the ASU team that scortched DII en route to winning multiple national championships.  Nor is this a complacent Michigan program.  

I'm a big fan of "jinxes," but there is nothing to jinx here.  We are going to beat the shit out of App St.  We may get catcalls from what happened in '07, we may get told that it's not a big deal, but we are going to crush those guys tomorrow.  

When you read "80-3" on a message board, it's usually a joke.  I don't think that's going to be far from the truth tomorrow.


August 29th, 2014 at 4:10 PM ^

  1. OLine. Rep, rep, rep. Then some more.
  2. Running game. (Are there holes? Can they get through them?)
  3. Passing:  want vanilla, but also want the reps, and the practice for OL in Pass Pro.
  4. DL. Want them to destroy.
  5. LB.  Want them to destroy.
  6. Secondary. Want them to score.
  7. Sp. Teams. Want them to eliminate return yards from ASU.
  8. Sp. Teams. Want them to generate return yards on ASU.
  9. Want a shut out.
  10. Once we are up by 30 points, want the starters to rest unless there is a very good reason for them to play.


August 29th, 2014 at 4:13 PM ^

Reshp1 covered most of what I'm looking for.

1. Offensive line play. Running game especially. Can we run the inside zone? How many missed assignments? Is this an offense that is going to be able to live through one missed assignment per play on many plays, or are we going to have to listen to our OC tell us at EVERY. SINGLE. PRESS. CONFERENCE. "This one guy screwed up, ten guys did it right, but one guy killed the whole thing" as if error-handling was moneylending and he was a medieval Cardinal?

2. Defensive line play. Everything else on our defense looks solid. If something bad happens there, I'll look at it and slowly resign myself to a sad year. But the DL is what could make this a great year. If they steamroll ASU tomorrow, that is a good sign. Not a good sign, FCS/whatever caveats, etc. But if the DL looks flat tomorrow and doesn't generate any rush, that's a very bad sign.

3. Peppers. Obviously.

4. Tempo. I hope we have some giddyup in our giddyup this year, although if we do, I think there's a good chance we only show it on one series or so tomorrow, just to keep ND guessing will they or won't they.

5. Positions. Is Peppers really the starting nickelback? Glasgow at NT? Etc. I remember Nathan Brink.


August 29th, 2014 at 4:40 PM ^

although it would be nice. I want a solid win say at least 20 points. I want the offensive starters on the field as much as is practical without burning them out. They need those reps and they need them early. I want to see execution on the line improve as the game progresses and see them cope with defensive adjustments. I expect a lot of mistakes but if they get them fixed and make fewer as the game progresses I'll be okay with the line.

I want to see Devin settle into the pocket (and there be a pocket for him to settle into) and make crisp passes. I want to see them burn the defense for blitzing every time. I want to see a solid margin in time of possession. 

Defense. I want to see pressure on the QB from the front 4 without blitzing. I want to see tight clean pass coverage. I want to see TFLs, sacks, and at least 2 ints. I want penetration all day and to live in their backfield. I want to see total defensive dominance. 


Mr. Brownstone

August 29th, 2014 at 4:55 PM ^

1. Will my cell phone reception be improved?

2. Will the fly over come from the north or south?

3. Will Brady wear a head set?

4. Will the student section be full at game time?

5. Did the 400lb man who reeks of body odor and cigarettes renew his season tickets that are located right behind mine me?


August 29th, 2014 at 5:05 PM ^

6. Guy in the airdancer (flapping arms thing) costume. Love that guy. Hope he didn't graduate already. Hope he brings his friend also in an airdancer costume.


August 29th, 2014 at 5:11 PM ^



  1. Right Tackle
  2. Right Guard
  3. Center
  4. Left Guard
  5. Left Tackle

But seriously...

  1. O-Line - can they get a push, can they protect
  2. D-Line - are they going to dominate this matchup
  3. JMFR at MLB
  4. Salt & Pepper - Hagerup's return and Jabrill's introduction
  5. Devin Garnder - Step up in the pocket or twirly-wirl into the pass rush for minus forever yards

Perkis-Size Me

August 29th, 2014 at 5:58 PM ^

In no particular order, except maybe #1:

1) O-Line - we absolutely need to dominate the line of scrimmage tomorrow. If we can't run the ball against App State, we are in for a world of hurt for the rest of the season.

2) Team staying focused - this isn't the '07 App State team, but don't think for one second they won't come out fired up and ready to give us their best game. I'd bet Armanti Edwards is giving them a pep talk tomorrow before the game. I just want the guys to come out and play loose. Don't get too wound up about what happened in the past. That's for us fans to do.

3) Can the D-line generate consistent pressure? I sure as hell hope so. It's now or never, Clark. Also hope to see Henry morph into a space eating monster who demands a double team on each snap.

4) Gardner makes smart decisions. I'm sure Nuss has been helping him with this, but if a play isn't there, don't spin around backwards for 15 yards waiting for something to develop. If you need to throw it away, throw it away.

5) Jabrill. Because obviously. I want to see him truck some App State receiver who dares to cross the middle of the field. I want to see him take one to the house. I'm not expecting him to be an All-American this year, but I want to see the hype come to fruition. We've been waiting to see this man play for a long time.

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August 29th, 2014 at 7:22 PM ^

1. The O line can be respectable.
2. The defense can be dominating.
3. Shane plays (so we can stop talking about a red shirt).
4. The punt return team actually return some punts.
5. The receivers can stretch the field.