why this 5 - 0 is different to me

Submitted by Wolverman on October 1st, 2011 at 3:46 PM

 We're 5-0 again , but it feels different. Last few years the offense clearly carried the team through multiple shootouts and close games. The difference this year has been the play of the Michigan defense. I'm excited , the Michigan defense has given up a total of 10 points the last 3 games. The have only given up 51 all season , a 20 point improvement over last year at this point. While the level of competition has been simular the last 2 years, Michigan has done a spectacular job of forcing turnovers.

 I still get a knot in my stomache when the field goal unit comes out,but gibbons has done a LOt better of a job this year on field goals. it's funny that most of the pre season polls had us losing to minnesota , I wonder how this will change the predictions for the rest of the season.



October 1st, 2011 at 5:44 PM ^

Now it might not be a top defense. But last year we gave up 37 to FCS team UMass who finished 6-5 and 21 to BG who finished 2-10 (Kent State held BG to 6). That is 7 more than we have given up in our first 5 games.


October 1st, 2011 at 5:52 PM ^

Keep in mind that truly, our team is a veteran team; they haven't had the best experience, but most of this team has good experience.These men have been through the cauldron the past few years and are now being forged into a great team. With each game, my sense of anxiety -something I felt often with Coach Rod's teams- lessens. With each game I am convinced this team truly is a great team.

A great team.

Of course, we still have the meat of the Big Ten season ahead of us but I have not felt this good about a season for a few years.


October 1st, 2011 at 5:52 PM ^

With as much as the D has improved already the thing i am most excited about is Big Will. he had a couple of plays where he looked like a 5 star potential NFL dt. With this coaching i think he's just going to get more consistent and will be one of the best players on the defense by the end of the year.



October 1st, 2011 at 6:27 PM ^

We are better than last year, mostly because of the D. But I think the rest of the B1G sucking will help us win more games just as much as the progress we have made.


October 1st, 2011 at 11:37 PM ^

No question the weakness plays a big part. Who scares u? None of the teams we play. At this point I would be very disappointed if we don't get 4 more wins out the rest of our schedule. Both OSU and Nebraska are winnable. Purdue stinks. Sparty, northwestern, Illinois and Iowa are all winnable. Beat purdue, split OSU/Nebraska and split road games is minimum for me at this point.


October 1st, 2011 at 6:35 PM ^

WMU is a good team - should have beaten Illinois last week and they are hanging tough with UConn.

Notre Dame is good, they beat Sparty.

EMU is better than they've been in the past although they're still not good.

SDSU is good but I don't think they're near as good as they were last season.

Minnesota is probably the worst team we've played and not having Marquise Gray was a huge loss for them, they didn't complete a single 3rd down coversion.

I agree completely that the defense is the reason to believe this year's team is much better than the previous two 5-0 teams. The D-Line is starting to impose it's will, the linebackers look good with some minor issues to be squared away (Ryan not losing contain, Hawthorne doing better in pass coverage), and the secondary looks about a million times better than it looked last season.

This team looks very good for at least 8 wins. The next two games - both on the road - will tell us just how good we are. If we can roll into EL and pull out a win we have as good a shot as anybody at repping the Leaders (barf) in the B1G championship game.

It was impossible to say with a straight face that we could win the B1G following those near losses to lowly IU the past two years.


October 1st, 2011 at 6:39 PM ^

This team has the amount of upperclassmen we are typically used to seeing at Michigan.  The last three didn't.  That alone should bode well.  When you add a weaker Sparty, Iowa, and Ohio into the mix, there is a lot of room for optimism.

Indiana Blue

October 1st, 2011 at 10:03 PM ^

you are missing the obvious.  This team is strong with the fundamentals.  No stupid penalties, defensive discipline takes away big plays and the offensive is just as good as last year ... just compare the number of 3 and outs this year vs. last.

we are better at fundamentals ... and that alone makes us a better team.

Go Blue!


October 1st, 2011 at 10:49 PM ^

Yes, but that is part of Tater's point.  Why do people say it is always better to have plenty of upperclassmen rather than Freshmen?  Because upperclassmen usually have fewer dumb penalties, they have fewer mental mistakes, and they usually have better fundamentals.  That is actually one of the easiest things to correct and work on...fundamentals.  A freshman who is out of place often and tackles poorly will probably look a lot different in those two categories when they are juniors and seniors with plenty of games under their belt.


October 2nd, 2011 at 1:54 AM ^

I was all for Rich and was disappointed to see him fired because I felt like he didn't get his fair shake.  I'm saying this though so you understand I didn't hate him.

We had three years for fundamentals on defense and they never came.  The freshmen and sophomores last year didn't posses any solid tackling skills or angles at all.  Open space was a nightmare and coverage was unbearable to watch.  If those sophomores had two years to learn fundamentals, where was it at?  

This team learned how to tackle in open space and in general, how to take angles (Ryan Van Bergen chased down Ronnie Hillman last week!), how to cover properly, etc.  This staff did that in half a year what the last staff couldn't.  Not only that, but they have the intelligence (and I hate to insult the last staff, but many baffling things happened) to hide their weaknesses such the secondary with blitzing.  Experience definitely helps but only takes you so far.  In the end, the coaches weren't teaching or stressing the necessary points of the players to improve.  Week to week this team is getting better and it's not because of an extra year in the system but a new attitude and coaching.


I never saw Will Campbell destroy an offensive linemen for the near-miss sack like today.  That is improvement in my opinion.


October 1st, 2011 at 6:55 PM ^

my math is off, but giving up 51 points after 5 games is more than a 20 point improvement.  We gave up 10 to UConn, 24 to ND, 37 to UMass, 21 to Bowling Green and 35 to Indiana.  That's 72 to Indiana and Umass alone.  We're giving up 15 ppg less


October 1st, 2011 at 7:01 PM ^

God, I hope this team is for real. Today felt pretty good. Got home in time to catch that pillow fight between ohio and sparty. Those teams look awful. Cousins seems like he has reached his peak. NW next week should be telling.

OT: Sparty gets a bye next week, helpful or not for the michigan game?


October 1st, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

because Michigan will actually be ranked in the top 10 to 20 in a heck of a lot of defensive categories after this week.


Somewhere, GERG is cuddling his stuffed beaver.

coastal blue

October 1st, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

Is our defense had to get better than it was last year and it has. 

Guys had a year to improve. All of those freshmen and sophomores that were out there last year are now more experienced, had a year to learn and to get themselves fit  at a college level. Its just simple logic. They would have been better no matter what but....

They advanced further because we have better defensive coaches. Everyone just looks solid this year. I'm not dreading 3rd and 15s this year. I don't get scared when I see a running back or a wide receiver in the open field, because I know someone is going to bring him down. The last two weeks have looked like a completely different team than even the one that took the field the first three weeks. 

And today the offense looked like I thought it would - maybe even...better? TWO QBs?!? Borges is crazy! - had RR stayed around. If Denard can throw like he did today, our offense will be fine no matter who we play.

We destroyed a team today. Minnesota may be a terrible team, but it's been a while since we just dominated a team from start to finish. Even games like Eastern that ended up 31-3 had moments where you shook your head in frustration. This looked like a Top Ten team downing a cupcake and casually tossing the wrapper away. 


October 1st, 2011 at 8:47 PM ^

PPG allowed through first 5 games

2009: 23.4
2010: 25.4
2011: 10.2

Ppg forced through first 5 games:

2009: 34
2010: 41.4
2011: 37.2


2009: +10.6
2010: +16
2011: +27

There's the difference for me.


October 2nd, 2011 at 12:09 AM ^

I wouldn't start in on the koolaid just yet fellas.  4 of your 5 games were against such powerhouses as W.Mich, EMich, MinnyMouseU and SDSU.  Better slow the engines down a bit, I think I see an Iceberg in the water up ahead.



October 2nd, 2011 at 12:14 AM ^

WMU now 3-2, W today over UCONN.

EMU now 3-2, W today over Akron. (Okay, Akron sucks hard, but still a winning record).

ND now 4-1, W today over Purdue. (Okay, Purdue sucks hard, but... eh. I'll leave this one off).

SDSU off this week, but was 3-1.

So that's 4 out of 5 opponents with winning Conference and OOC records.Powerhouses? No. Solid competition. Yup.


October 2nd, 2011 at 1:40 AM ^

Western Michigan, San Diego State, and Notre Dame are all good teams.  Eastern Michigan looks bad because of the past couple seasons, but they're certainely getting better and aren't as bad as Minnesota is (who is just bad).

Are those teams world beaters?  No, none of them were even ranked.  But those are solid teams who we dominated for the most part.  Western Michigan was about to become a blood bath in the second half and Notre Dame was obviously a close game.  Those were also our first two games were offensive production was lackluster and our defense was just coming into their own.  This team has improved significantly in that little bit of time to brough the pieces together to form a solid team.

I think we win our divison, or at least place second if we can play decently on the road.  Next week is our last big challenge to see if this team can keep it together in enemy territory.


October 2nd, 2011 at 12:23 AM ^

One thing to consider: Minnesota is a team whose coach went down twice in the past few weeks with a pretty significant illness during his first year rebuilding a program. But he didn't quit, even though his team had a tough day.

So I wish them well as they progress in their season.


October 2nd, 2011 at 12:42 AM ^

The team is just fundametally better. Better tackling. WAY better coverage. Like someone said above, 3rd and 15 is a prelude to a punt, not a prelude to an aneurism anymore. The team is improving whereas we felt like we were an ok team waiting to be exposed each of the last 2 years (which we ultimately were). Couple this with a bad, bad big ten and there's definite cause for optimism this year


October 2nd, 2011 at 8:09 AM ^

Because they just laid down a whooping on a B10 team

A total ass-kicking

Under the prior regime, the team struggled with the likes of Indiana and Illinois. Let's see how they do against MSU. 

I'm just glad Michigan doesn't have to play Wisconsin this year