DRob vs. remaining Big 10 Defenses

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 4th, 2010 at 3:13 PM

When watching the game Saturday, and contemplating the remainder of the season, I had two thoughts:

  1. The combination of Denard, our receivers, and our O-Line would be able to score on all of the remaining Big 10 defenses.
  2. Few, if any, of the remaining Big 10 offenses would be as potent as Indiana and Chappell.

Now, obviously enough, the entire season hinges on these two factors. But I am wondering which defenses, if any, you see giving Denard and Michigan trouble, being potentially able to stop us. Secondly, which offenses, if any, do you expect to give our defense the greatest trouble?

Regarding the first, I could see Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa defenses giving Michigan's offense trouble.

Regarding the second, I could see Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State offenses giving our defense a lot of trouble.

If true, that means that of the remaining seven games, it breaks down into three groups:

  • The following seem reasonable wins:  Purdue, Illinois
  • The following seem tossups:  Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State
  • The following seem likely losses:  Ohio State, Iowa.

Most here have seen Wisconsin giving us more trouble than Iowa. That may be true: Brian has talked about last year's record for Iowa being an aberration.

Regardless, I'd like someone more knowledgable that I am to comment on the respective defenses and offenses likely to give Michigan the most trouble.



October 4th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

Looking at DE play, secondary tackling, and outside containment...Wisconsin and MSU aren't very good. I owa is STRONG up front, but they trail off as you get deeper...and well OSU is...OSU.  But Illinois gave them trouble with a freshman in his 4th or 5th start...as opposed to Denard in his 12th? Offensivley we may gett 500 yards a game, and if we can convert more of those possessions from 3 and outs to td's, then it will certainly help our D.


October 4th, 2010 at 3:36 PM ^

He's saying that the Fr Illinois QB gave OSU fits in his 5 start, thus DRob in his 12th start will that much more lethal due to far more experience.  That is if he's not in a body cast by his 12th start.


October 5th, 2010 at 3:39 PM ^

Fits doesn't mean he was good, it means he gave them problems because of his mobility.  He is much worse than Drob and had some success.  When we show up in the horseshoe with a better QB/RB/WR combo they are going to have success against OSU.  Unfortunately you can't say the same about our D.


October 4th, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

I made a similar post this morning and the way I see it is is this: if Indiana truly has the best passing attack in the Big 10 (the jury is still out at this point) then I don't see us struggling any worse than we did against IU, defensively.  While our run defense is not stellar, it's not nearly as abysmal as our pass defense.  Teams like MSU and OSU tend to mix up the pass with the run much more than IU, and I think we'll be able to stop them better as a result.


October 4th, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

I agree that our run defense is not nearly as bad as our pass defense, however I'm not so sure we will fare much better against a balanced offense. UMass ran a very balanced offense and was still able to move the ball at will.

grand river fi…

October 4th, 2010 at 4:57 PM ^

I agree that our run defense is not nearly as bad as our pass defense, however I'm not so sure we will fare much better against a balanced offense.

I have similar fears.  IU was set up perfectly to attack our inexperienced secondary, but we will see teams with more balance really test our linebackers, which remain a weekness.  I'm also not very confident in us shutting down anyone's running game.  Should be exciting though.

UM Indy

October 4th, 2010 at 4:05 PM ^

in the conference has more experience and talent at QB and WR than IU IME.  I don't think we will get shredded via the pass that badly again.  We can do reasonably well against Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State because they are the most likely to pound the ball straight ahead.


October 4th, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

I was thinking 11-1 with the only loss being Iowa.
<br>Five games into the season and I'm convinced that the offense is that good. Big Blue is going to be within striking distance every game they play.


October 4th, 2010 at 4:17 PM ^

What I see as a potential issue is that we knew IU was not a balanced team, therefore we prepared for the passing defense more.  With the balanced teams the emphasis cannot be placed on one side (passing or running), therefore the play action pass can create some more problems with our pass defense than what we seen with IU.  This is another reason our Offense has become even more dangerous than last year, Denard can throw effectively and well I don't need to expand much on his running abilities.   The B10 defenses are not as familiar in preparing for our offense as other B10 teams' offenses, even though they do see spread offenses they are not as strong as ours is IMHO.


October 4th, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

Tpilews diary (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/post-week-5-yardage-analysis-and-predictions-score-predictor) actually runs some numbers predicting the offense and defense vs. Michigan for the remainder of the season, based on the season thus far. According to his analysis, we match up well against every remaining team except two:  Iowa, which is essentially even, and OSU. If we are actually even against Iowa in yardage, I would predict a loss, because of special teams, where we just aren't any good. I shudder to think of a game that depends on field goals. And OSU, well, I just don't know. But based on what tiplews predicts, this would give us a 10 - 2 record. This is still too optimistic for me, and I think 9 - 3 is about right.

However, were we to end the season at 9 - 3, I would consider that a resounding and unqualified success story. And regardless of 7 - 5, 8 - 4, or 9 - 3, I now feel much safer in RR & GERG being given at LEAST one more year, which is critical. I am a happy man.

I still don't know the Big 10 well enough to predict how we actually "match up." Basing the future off past games only goes so far. The actual matchups are more important than performance of Big 10 teams to date.

True Blue in CO

October 4th, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

Do not see how you can justify keeping GERG if we keep giving up the yards and the points. If the short and long term goals are to win and improve, the offense may not be able to improve much more but we all known the D has a long way to go. Brandon will keep his head coach but will ask for more improvement and for a DC change.

Blue in Seattle

October 4th, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

When people type something in an quthoritative tone but with no evidence to back up the statement, do they actually believe they stated something more than an unfounded opinion?

I've heard better arguments for the weakness in recruiting being the basis for the poor defense (ungodly amount of transfers this season despite having plenty of play time opportunity), for the position coach "goat du jour" (now it's Gibson who must go, although with this one I'm wondering if they want GERG to take over another position group?) and finally and most importantly there are the Head Coaches statements,

"I don't think you have to blitz all the time to have an aggressive mentality defensively." You get on your heels a bit when you've been giving up a lot of first downs. "We didn't make some key stops. Some of it was mental, and some of it was physical." The D is a little limited because they don't want to confuse younger guys." emphasis mine.

So here is GERG in his second season, fielding a defense that almost half true freshman in their 5th game ever in college and you somehow know that David Brandon is going to look at this and say, "Rich you have to get rid of your defensive coordinator"

and you think he's going to say this if we end the season at 9-3 (guess you don't want to include the bowl game?)

based on what?  why did you even take the time to type this?


October 4th, 2010 at 7:57 PM ^

I know at first glance we look at how our defense gets gashed yardage-wise and can't fathom how this keeps happening. As ridicoulous as it seems to think about, playing soft coverage and forcing our opponents to sustain drives really is our defensive strategy...because we have so much ineperience and talent deficiency. We put the onus on the offense to keep executing and mess up rather than ourselves. Many people want us to play man coverage more, but visions of James Rogers getting beat on 70-yard Sluggo routes may make this less appealing.

It's unorthodox and frustrating as hell to watch (wouldn't you rather watch our offense for 40 minutes as opposed to our defense?), it is the best philosophy to keep following if we want to keep putting up W's. Anyone else notice the 18 minute span between scoring Indiana went through before their final, game-tying TD? It's very hard to maintain focus and execute flawlessly for an entire game. Sadly, this is our best defensive strategy now. Thankfully we have Denard to save us.


October 4th, 2010 at 6:08 PM ^

I am not sold on Iowa and if not for the PRE season rankings they would be below MSU and UM .. I think we can put up points on any defense .. ball security is key as the weather changes ... I think we put it on Iowa in the big house


October 4th, 2010 at 8:53 PM ^

I think you may have a point.  As I see it, the strength of Iowa is that they are always very physical and good in the trenches.  But Michigan was able to hold its own against Iowa on the LOS last season (on both sides of the ball) and our lines are good again this season, especially on offense.  So, if Michigan's o-line can open the holes and get out on Iowa's LBs, then we shoudl be able to score a lot of points and force Iowa into a shootout.  If last year's game is any indication, they may be ill-equipped for that kind of game; Iowa's crucial scores last year came on play-action passes to Moaki, taking advantage of Mike Williams--they were not able to consistently march down the field against us.

My concern however is that Iowa just played poorly against Michigan last year (they spotted us 7 early on a pick-six and had some other miscues).

myantoniobass …

October 4th, 2010 at 8:38 PM ^

If our offense has a great game, with Denard throwing to Roundtree, Hemingway, Stonum, and Odoms, the only teams I worry about are the best two defenses to counteract Denard, Iowa and O-state.  The offense played good against IU and thankfully we still won.  56 pts+ would have been great, and it's not hard to see us improve on O to get there.  


October 4th, 2010 at 8:44 PM ^

I know stats(mainly of denard) say otherwise, but i think in general ND did a good job on defense against us. We still put up points and moved the ball, but in general they made some good plays and stops.


 I personally feel that MSU's defense will be comparable to ND's.