Indiana Is An Important Test

Submitted by bklein09 on September 20th, 2009 at 6:40 PM

I think Indiana will be an important game for this team going forward because it will give a big indication of which way our team is heading. Are we improving or getting worse overall? Especially on defense.

After a quick glance at Indy's stats and film from last week, they seem to run a pretty basic pro-style, with occasional (passing) spread, offense. This is our fourth week facing this kind of attack, and we are going to see it several more times the rest of the season. Being a Big Ten team, Indiana should have slightly more overall talent then Western or Eastern did, which is why I think they will provide the defense with a good chance to show they can make consistent adjustments after last week's fairly shaky performance.

I am curious to see if the coaches attempt to go with more size up front at any point next week or throughout the rest of the season. Being able to bring in Big Will, Banks, or Sagesse in replacement of some of our smaller hybrids like Roh and Brown will be important agaisnt teams like MSU, Iowa, Wisky, etc who are going to attempt to bully us around up front. Of course these players have to show they can handle it before we can put them in.

As far as the offense goes, we got to see that Forcier is mortal after all against a not very good Eastern team, and how the offense responds this week will be vital going into two tough and potentially very important road games. The running game definitely picked up the slack this week, but it scares me that a MAC team had the ability to make us one-dimensional. I would love to see an efficient balance this week against Indiana.

I realize that a lot of this post sounds very negative, but I assure you that was not my intention. Overall, there is nothing else you could ask for from this team after the first three games of the season. I just want us to see us come out against Indiana and really bring it all together before we get into the meat of the Big Ten schedule. Also, with the injuries we have, I would like to see the backups come in and show that they can pick up the slack.

Mostly, I just look for reasons to get up for every game, so I hope my post at least served that purpose.



September 20th, 2009 at 9:23 PM ^

Michigan proved their ability to pass in the first two games so it was fantastic to see them run, run, run. Tate still hit some nice passes and would have had another but for Odoms juggle job. No big deal. If there is a cause for concern it seems that teams that blitz LBs with speed can be effective against Tate on the edge. I'll give RR credit for reserving plays to exploit the open space created in those situations.

West Texas Blue

September 20th, 2009 at 6:51 PM ^

So the ND game, which had a team stacked with highly ranked recruiting classes, 2 NFL cailber WRs, a NFL caliber QB, and an OL group with the most amount of combined starts told us nothing? I'd safely assume that Indiana's O is nowhere near the caliber of ND. That game was a bigger test than Indiana will ever be.

The "Bring in Big Will" meme is getting really annoying. It's star gazing at its finest. Big Will is very undeveloped in fundamentals. He got by in high school because of his size. You can't just plug him into the DL and expect him to shutdown the other team's run game. It doesn't work like that. Campbell 100% should have been redshirted, but poor DL depth is forcing us to play him.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:25 PM ^

The OP is not "star gazing," nor is he suggesting that RR play Big Will simply because he was highly touted. Rather, he is merely suggesting that more size along the D-line (he also mentioned Banks and Sagesse) might be more successful against power Big Ten offenses like Iowa and Wisconsin. He even qualified his statement by saying that the bigger lineman would, of course, need the requisite ability to justify the switch.

Why are you so quick to jump on the OP for an argument he never made? I know many fans are wondering about Big Will, but the OP is not one of them.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:38 PM ^

In the few snaps I saw will play in last Saturday, he was able to get through the o-line rather easily compared to some of the other guys. I know it was against emu but I saw this in the spring game and against western. He might not be fundamentally sound, but in the snaps I saw him in he can get through a line pretty well. He still needs work, but he’s not as bad as people make him seem.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:12 PM ^

I could not agree more, particularly regarding the defense. They have looked very shaky the past two games. They looked good against Western, but Hiller was having a putrid game and they didn't have any running offense to speak of. Notre Dame moved the ball basically at will, and even EMU had a good amount of success. It would be great to hear from someone with better knowledge of X's and O's about how much of our struggles against the run are the result of a small dline (RVB and Roh) as opposed to our linebackers. I tend to blame Ezeh, but it could be that our lineman are getting blown back and giving free releases to opposing o lines.

On the issue of our DTs, I noticed both Sagesse and Campbell get on the field relatively early in the game and have some success on Saturday. Both were fighting into the EMU backfield and making plays. It would be very nice if both can establish themselves as viable options and allow Michigan to use RVB less at DT, and this weekend they get a bigger challenge than they did against the EMU line.

I would also like to hear an informed opinion about the play of our safeties so far. To my untrained eye, they have looked pretty good. Woolfolk has come up and made some strong tackles, and there have been relatively few big passing plays down the middle.

house of pain

September 20th, 2009 at 7:03 PM ^

You are right that Indiana is an important test. But, I don't think a MAC team MADE us one dimensional. UM owned the ground, so they stuck with it. No need to put the ball in the air. And don't forget, 4CA threw for 279 against UND. I think UM was just a little bit flat on saturday. It is hard to match the intensity after a win like ND. Afterall, we did win 45-17


September 20th, 2009 at 7:21 PM ^

I know you were joking about Delaware State, but for me that's exactly why Delaware State is an important game: the team cannot afford another Horror. So from a traditional sense the game is not important (certainly not a big-name matchup), but it will be important to assert dominance over them.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:24 PM ^

ND was a bigger "test" because they have better talent, our freshmen had less game experience and it was a higher profile game, but IU is a Big Ten game. In each of the past two years, the Big Ten champion has lost at least one game. There is no reason that will not happen again this year. We need to make sure we win the Big Ten games we are supposed to win and not get stung by looking past them. If we drop a game or two (or more), it should be against the better Big Ten teams and not against Indiana.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:27 PM ^

Indiana's rush defense is ranked #15 in the country, doesn't mean a lot given their opponents (Eastern Kentucky., WMU, and Akron)

Also, EMU is ranked #1 in pass defense.......what makes this funny is their pass defense is ranked #1 because their rush defense is so poor, no one bothers to throw. Eastern is ranked dead last at #120 in rushing defense.

In other words I would take Michigan's ground performance Saturday with a grain of salt, they won't see a defense that porous to the ground game the rest of the season. Michigan may have hit its in-season peak numbers wise in the rushing game.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:38 PM ^

In fairness to EMU, they faced Army in week one. Army just plain doesn't throw the ball against anyone. A week later EMU held Northwestern to 3.9 ypc, which is pretty respectable. They probably aren't a good run defense overall, but they'll move up some as they get into MAC play.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:29 PM ^

We've got a streak on the line this week - one of the few that survived last season. We've won 27 consecutive Big Ten openers. Pretty remarkable when you think about it.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:50 PM ^

Indiana is an important test I suppose in the sense that every game counts and you have to play them one at a time. And yes, it's another opportunity to see the players in action and see their growth/learning in action.

In the OP it was stated:
"I think Indiana will be an important game for this team going forward because it will give a big indication of which way our team is heading. Are we improving or getting worse overall? Especially on defense."

Overall, I liked the thread idea... 'getting excited about playing IU.' But I think it's clear that our team is heading in the right direction and is better overall. The real question is whether they will answer the bell and get another rung back up the ladder by winning the conference opener. I agree with you, I would like to see the team continue to put the pieces together and dominate the Hoosiers.

The really hard part is not looking past IU to East Lansing. Seeing how tough MSU played ND and that it's our first road game, I would be concerned that the players aren't thinking ahead. But then again, the coaching staff is doing a great job, so I think we'll roll v. IU.


September 20th, 2009 at 7:57 PM ^

pretty sure Indiana runs the pistol, not a pro style offense at all. Second, Indiana has played nobody, expect them to go winless in the big ten, they beat E. Kentucky by 6, Western by 4, and blew out an awful Akron team. Expect the exact same as what you saw this week v Eastern. Michigan will run the ball a lot, and when you average 9.7 per carry as a team, you should never pass, NEVER. I just don't see how this is a big game. Michigan should roll Indiana all the way back to Bloomington. Let's not be so pessimistic. GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!


September 20th, 2009 at 8:21 PM ^

I hope everyone underrates UM's linemen because of their size. I'll take speed and strength over size anyday.

I'll leave the math to those who love to do it, but there must be some way to estimate how much of one's body weight is muscle; that seems a lot more important to me than how much the needle moves when one steps on the scale.

UM Indy

September 20th, 2009 at 8:42 PM ^

I've got a bird's eye view here in Indy and IU is terrible - simple as that. They probably have only a handful of players that would see significant playing time for UM. They have a couple of good defensive linemen. I would expect a game very similar to Eastern - IU's offense will make a few plays in the first half, but eventually our defense should get steady stops in the second half. We will shred their D. If this is a game going into the 4th quarter, I would be surprised and disappointed.


September 20th, 2009 at 9:18 PM ^

Well, there was as stretch from the early second quarter through the end of third where the defense forced four three and outs out of six drives and a fifth drive in that stretch was two plays long before they created a turnover.

If Michigan's D, maligned as it is on these and other boards, can find a groove like that on Saturday, then expect a repeat of the same result we've seen three times in a row: A Michigan win and cover. They should be favored around 18-19 points.

As for the ridiculous assertion/worry that Eastern managed to make us one dimensional, I see that plenty of my fellow mgobloggers jumped on that already and I'll let those words stand as mine.


September 20th, 2009 at 9:52 PM ^

I totally agree with all of you that disagreed with my assertion that we were one dimensional against EMU. You're right, we ran because we could. I guess what I should have said is that even when we tried to pass, we didn't look as good as in the first two games. Seemed like Tate was under more pressure, and it was the kind of pressure he couldn't escape from.

I will totally disagree with any of you who think we have nothing to worry about against Indiana. I don't think there will ever be a Michigan game that I'm not worried about for the rest of my life. Anything can happen, so I pray that the players don't have the same mentality that some of you have.

I will also disagree with those who think we looked great on both sides of the ball last week. Winning by a lot is great, but that doesn't mean we played good ball. How many teams on our schedule would we have beat playing how we played on Saturday? Maybe 5 or 6? I'm hoping for better than that at this point.

All that being said: Michigan 38 Indiana 10

Go Blue!


September 20th, 2009 at 10:00 PM ^

1. You watched film on Indiana football? I mean, its admirable, but really? Are you a masochist?

2. Indiana has more talent than WMU? You assume a lot when you say Indiana has much more talent than high MAC level teams. The recruitment services beg to differ. So far I don't think anybody on their squad is projecting to the NFL level, while Hiller from WMU is (was) a legit QB prospect, and they just lost Louis Delmas to the NFL.


September 21st, 2009 at 6:03 AM ^

Michigan did beat a more talented ND team last week.

And nobody is going to argue that Washington is more talented than the team they just beat on Saturday.

Less talented teams beat superior opponents every week in this game.


September 21st, 2009 at 3:38 AM ^

Recruiting rankings by rivals

2009 #59
2008 #79
2007 #98
2006 #84

2009 #89
2008 #65
2007 #83
2006 #104

2009 #97
2008 #107
2007 #88
2006 #104

You might say Indiana recruits as a high end MAC level team, last year was the first in 3 where at least one MAC team wasn't ranked ahead of them in recruiting.

Note that both Western and Central had classes rated better than Indiana in the last 4 years, .......Western twice.

The Other Brian

September 21st, 2009 at 5:46 AM ^

I just want to see two things against Indiana:

1. I want to see the pass protection hold up. Eastern got to Tate far too often (and too quickly), and the Hoosiers have a surprisingly solid duo at DE. Kirlew had 10.5 sacks last year, and Middleton had 16 (!) in 2007. Please keep our diminutive savior upright.

2. It'd be nice to not need halftime adjustments this time in order for the defense to clamp down. Ezeh has had two really bad games in a row. Once is a fluke, twice is a trend, three is a problem. I firmly believe we're going to beat MSU on 10/3, but I'll feel much better about that prediction if the defense is solid for 60 minutes on Saturday instead of 30.