UofM Oline vs. ND D line.....the matchup that will tell all.

Submitted by MichiganMan14 on September 6th, 2013 at 5:39 AM
Notre dame is no doubt a talented bunch but the only element of their team that seems worrisome or problematic is that front four anchored by Nix and Tuitt. Ishaq off the edge will be a load also. We will really find out about our Oline this Sat night. This game is the key to a BCS season in my opinion because it paves the way to a 10 win season. We will not face a better front 4 or 7 than this likely all year. I doubt Michigan barring injuries....will drop more than maximum 2 in November. Its unlikely Michigan will lose any game before November. A win Sat night sets up a beautiful 2013 season. Lets go Blue! It will start and finish up front!



September 6th, 2013 at 6:01 AM ^

That sounds an awful lot like Michigan's 2011 defense. The line helped our whole D be all it could be and carry us to a BCS game. A good line can help mask a couple weaknesses but I hope our O line and playmakers can spread the ball around keeping ND on their heels.


September 6th, 2013 at 6:10 AM ^

I think we're going to have to rely on our passing game (and Devin scrambling) to come out on top in this one. I thought our pass blocking was pretty solid last week but our run blocking needs work. We'll probably have to get the H-backs and fullbacks heavily involved tomorrow.

Either way, I don't see us losing this game. Go Blue.


September 6th, 2013 at 6:51 AM ^

the occasional saftey of CB blitz will critical.  If the Scofield can handle Tuitt and the FB and Lewan can handle blitzers, Devin should be able to find some open receivers.  Turnovers and red zone offense will be key to this game.


September 6th, 2013 at 9:29 AM ^

Lewan and Schofield are the two players I'm most confident about winning their battles on either side of the ball. Combine that with the fact that the rollout may be Devin's most effective option and I think The Dline can be mostly neutralized. It's just the run game that will be limited going up the middle. I also think that reverse to Norfleet would work great in this game considering how slow their LBs apparently are and how good our WRs have looked blocking. As long as we time it for when their second Dline is in it could be a huge play.


September 6th, 2013 at 7:12 AM ^

I just see this game as a oure Oline vs. Dline game on both sides. If Kalis and Glasgow can wear down the DTs we should be in good shape. I feel comfortable with Lewan and Schofield. We really need a no.2 wideout to step up. Dileo shows flashes but lacks the athleticism to really create separation and score the football. Chesson can sure block...but can he be a red zone or deep threat. I really like what Ive seen from Reynolds but on the flip Funchess looks a little slower to me. This is a chance for Devin to really shine also. I think we do enough on the line to get the job done 24-17. Defense plays stellar and the entire gets to enjoy a 4 hour Michigan commercial :) Ohio fans will talk about how overrated ND was and bask in the glory of their 30 point win over SDSU. This game could really prime Michigan for a terrific run.


September 6th, 2013 at 9:19 AM ^

Your opinions on the WRs are really strange to me. Dileo is probably just as good at getting separation as Gallon. He just doesn't have the straight line top end speed to pull away and make it to the endzone. Although Chesson didn't do anything in game one that doesn't mean he's not a deep threat. The main things he needed to work on according to reports were route running and blocking. We've seen his blocking and he remains one of the fastest guys on the team so the deep route should be the best tool in his belt. And Funchess just looks fine. Don't know what to tell you there.


September 6th, 2013 at 7:30 AM ^

ND will have the best front 3-4 we face.  But their linebackers?  The Domer boards have been ripping the lack of mobility of their LBs exposing them to Temple's QB on scrambles.  Also encouraging; Nix was getting stonewalled and had to play a LOT of plays, and his primary backup was lost in the preseason due to injury.  I think we see a lot more of a vertical game, with play-action and healthy doses of Funchess testing their LBs down the seams.

Brown Bear

September 6th, 2013 at 7:33 AM ^

I'm actually going to say the opposite is the most important matchup. I think our O-Line will perform well enough, our D-Line needs to step up and show they can be a force. If we can shut down their run and pressure Rees I think the game is ours.


September 6th, 2013 at 7:47 AM ^

Yeah I'm with you. Nix will get worn down come second half with Michigan running away from him. I'm not saying he isn't talented because he's a freak but no latter who you are you gotta have a backup who can actually play well. His backup cannot.

If our D-Line can't force Rees to throw the ball early then were in trouble we need Asante dudes in coverage as we can get.


September 6th, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

I also agree with this approach. Although, after watching the ND-Temple game... I'm more worried about Rees getting time to hit his Receivers. Their run game wasn't that impressive against Temple, a mediocre-to-bad Big East team. However, if they adapt to the B1G Ten "3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" strategy, I'd be a little worried. Their backs are quick enough to get yards if they get to the edge... but I don't see any big runs coming from them. Hopefully we can wear down their RB's to where they are forced to throw and turn Rees into Turnover TOmmy again. 


September 6th, 2013 at 7:51 AM ^

This game has Norfleet's name written all over it. I would think that getting him involved on some end-around / jet sweep action would buy nice hesitation from ND's D-line.

How bout some Pistol and/or veer, hasn't the team supposedly been working on that? Double the interior, read the end...should be a viable concept here no?

Would love to see ND get "Rocket-ed"


September 6th, 2013 at 8:02 AM ^

Yes, the trenches will determine the outcome of this game, no doubt.  BOTH sides of the ball need to have great games.  I have a feeling IF we do run right at Nix, then we'll probably see a lot of combo blocking with Miller and one of the guards, because I'm not sure Miller can handle Nix by himself.  That means that the guard is going to have to stay on the nose longer to help out, so the guard likely won't be able to scrape off and get to the next level to block a LB.  Fitz, or whoever is playing RB, is going to have to make that LB miss.  Should be an interesting matchup.

Also, I'm excited to see our D.  I'm sure Mattison kept things very vanilla last week...hopefully he unleashes the Kraken this week...or, 11 Krakens.

Icehole Woody

September 6th, 2013 at 8:04 AM ^

Make that tub of lard Nix run sideline to sideline up tempo all night.  If Tuitt ever makes it into the backfield I hope Kerridge puts his helmet on his chin and takes his head off.

Stomp, maim, kill!

Go Blue!


September 6th, 2013 at 8:41 AM ^

The 3-man front might actually be a benefit for... Michigan. Lewan has proven he can seal a top notch DE/LB in Clowney. Key matchup is going to be whichever Guard has to take on Tuitt/Nix. This is where I think Kalis proves how much of a beast he is in matching up with either of these players. 

I think our 2013 Defense is very similar to ND's 2011/2012 Defense, in terms of talent.


September 6th, 2013 at 9:27 AM ^

Glasgow could not have played better in the opener.  The competition there isn't over, but I don't know why you would think Bryant is the preferred option.  Glasgow started, played very well.  Bryant was healthy enought to play, which means Glasgow looks to have beaten him out.  Maybe that had to do with missing the last week or so of camp with injury, but if he were the better option and available to play last week, he would have started.


September 6th, 2013 at 9:04 AM ^

I don't expect a last second shootout here. Our line is improved, and if Garner can make some better decisions (I'll bet he's watched more ND film than Central), I am expecting more points for our boys.

The question is if they can put up more on us. I think not, so I am going into this game with a don't-want-to-jinx-it comfort level. Say 29 Michigan - 14 FigThing Irish.

And either Norfleet or Dileo wear 98. (I think Dileo).


September 6th, 2013 at 9:22 AM ^

Just found out I'm getting the afternoon off today so I can go home and watch BTN hype and highlight videos for an extra half day to pass the time til night falls tomorrow. Things are looking up.

Perkis-Size Me

September 6th, 2013 at 9:57 AM ^

I'm not worried about whoever is matched up opposite Lewan. Tuitt, I assume? Could be wrong, but either way, Lewan has proven that he's able to go toe-to-toe with the best and hold them at bay, so I'm not worried about Gardner's blindside.

Just have to be able to at least fight Nix to a draw, otherwise it'll be tough sledding for Fitz and Green, and the running game in general. At least up the gut. Tomorrow night will allow Kalis, Miller and Glasgow the chance to grow up in a hurry. But the good news is that it'll probably be the best defensive line they play against all year, so its good that they're seeing it now.



September 6th, 2013 at 11:01 AM ^

Obviously, the lines are incredibly important. At the same time, my feeling is that any one strong area of a defense can be schemed around. I'd be interested in the viewpoints of the coacherati on here. It seems like things like quick-hit passes, screens and misdirection runs can be used to neutralize a strong DL, particularly when 2 of your DL have satelites orbiting them. Do those more knowledgeable feel that Borges has the types of plays, and willingness, to neutralize the DL?

I'd love to see our OL hold up against their DL mano y mano. I think we've got a chance, though results from CMU have too many caveats for confidence at this time. Even if ND wins that battle, however, I'm not sure we lose the war.


September 6th, 2013 at 11:11 AM ^

I didn't see anything in ND's defense that was substantially better than ours against Alabama. And the end result was pretty much the same. That, combined with last year's game, convinces me that the two teams were evenly matched last year.

If Devin can find targets in the play-action game, holes should open up for the runners.

Yes, the OL needs to have at least a decent game, but a lot rests on Devin's arm.


September 6th, 2013 at 11:35 AM ^

I wonder how much of the Alabama offensive game plan we'll see tomorrow.  I'm not suggesting that we'd be able to execute it quite like Bama was able to but it's still useful to see what has worked and incorporate as much of those concepts and strategies as possible. Of course ND has the tape too but, still, the strenghts they have this year on Defense were strenghts last January as well. An important difference now is that they have fewer of those strenghts. I guess that goes for a bunch of games from last year too. There's plenty of tape on how to move the ball consistently against a better version of this ND defense.



September 6th, 2013 at 12:10 PM ^

by spreading the field. Expect a lot of run along the edge and sweeps and rolling and designed QB runs to work their DL running left to right all day long. Both Tuitt and Nix are oversized and they don't have much depth behind them, and if we are able to keep them on field with running plays and short passes, they will be wore out eventually. 

The weakest spot of our OL is Miller's weak blocking, either Glasgow and Kalis need to help Miller to double team Nix. Expect Byrant or Braden to see some play time at LG and slide Glasgow to the center if Miller is beaten consistently early on.


September 6th, 2013 at 2:36 PM ^

I remain underwhelmed by ND's front 7.  The LBs look lost, and for all of the talk last year about them "shutting down" the running game Denard and co. still put up 161 yards, with Fitz averaging 4.5 ypc behind a pretty bad line.  Te'o seemed to be the difference in that game, and with him gone I suspect the passing game to improve and, with it, the running game outside the tackles.  The one issue I see is if Borges and the offense shies away from pushing the tempo, which would lock in those tackles and maybe tire them out a bit.  If ND is allowed to substitute liberally, it will be harder to get those guys winded and, thus, easier to run against.