|Ron English still scares me.|
|Shortest leap celebration ever.|
Bold first sentences and verbose comments:
This was the first time Michigan held a team to a FG or less since... you guessed it: 2007 Notre Dame (38-0). Even Infant Seal U, Delaware State, managed 6 on Rodriguez. While Michigan had a slow start, it's more important that they finish strong--something noticeably absent the last 3 years because we were constantly behind. Is it just sluggish starts or good adjustments? Probably a little bit of both. But it's also Eastern so 45 minutes of football won't win many games come B1G season.
|Not exactly sound fundamentals.|
But Denard can still run! Yes, he can. 26 carries for 198 yards and 1 TD, averaging 7.6 YPC. And this is why I support using the zone read as the base offense with Pro-Form plays as wrinkles, not the other way around. Not surprisingly, this continues to be the big debate among Michigan fans: short-term vs. long-term success. Now granted,
Here's why: We've seen Denard just do about everything on a football field. But the dude simply can't pass consistently and especially not deep. There's no evidence for me to believe that he will develop that part of his game this year--maybe next year after a ton of off-season work. People claim he just needs to calm his feet and have better footwork, but does his cancer-curing smile and screams of "AHHHHH" suggest he ever will? I'm being serious. At some point, we have to accept Denard for who he is instead of dreaming who he can become in a system we're, not he's, more comfortable with. Denard was an improved passer under Rodriguez's system but still not tremendous. It was the mere thought of him taking off for the end zone that produced open receivers by 15 yards; safeties completely abandoning their coverage responsibility to crash a B gap when the ball is already headed towards Roundtree's seam route. The quick hitches, slants and flats--these were rhythm passes set up to make sure even Denard wouldn't overthrow something so wide open. The "wrinkles" that Borges has been using--the shotgun playaction completion to Koger, the fake run pass to Dileo, the fake run pass to Toussaint--ended up being 2 TDs and an incompletion that should have been 20 yards. I would argue that running these type of plays as the base offense and sprinkling in Pro-Form--Fitz at fullback depth, the I-Form playaction to Robot McColgan or the misdirection plays for V. Smith--would make both styles more effective. If Denard has trouble passing in either system, you might as well use the system he runs most comfortably in.
OK, Now I'm tired. That should have been a separate post.
The backs. V. Smith had a great game--9 carries for 118 yards--and looks to be moving away from the 3rd down back, specialist role and more towards the 2 in Michigan's 1-2 punch. Fitz staying healthy is the key to this running game; we're even seeing him used as a fullback over Hopkins and sometimes McColgan. With V. Smith's versatility, I'd be happy with that combination moving forward. On a side note, with Rawls making an appearance (and red-shirt burned), it seems Hopkins and Cox will be buried in the depth chart for the rest of the season. Shaw, like Fitz, needs to stay healthy but he has an upward climb ahead of him if he wants to break into the rotation again.
I said last week, way prematurely, that Black would start over Roh for the rest of the year--not even close to being true. But I do believe Roh will take a diminished role for the rest of the year. Hopefully, the sack is a nice boost of confidence for him to get him going for B1G season.
Will Campbell watch. Even if against Eastern's offensive line, Will Campbell looked serviceable coming in for Martin. He had a few plays where he ate up 2 blockers to free up a LB, like Hawthorne, to come in for a tackle close to the LOS. He even blew back defenders a couple of yards on some plays. Campbell may lack the technique but the talent is definitely there. His presence helps out the D-line rotation tremendously. Somebody just needs to get him jacked up on Mountain Dew before each game and we're good.
Special teams moving towards the mean. A ball went through the uprights for 3 points. Michigan is officially 100% on FGs for the year. This is amazing. We still can't cover or return kicks for the life of us but at least we are HOLDING ON TO THE DAMN BALL and not giving up anything past the 50 (ugh what a baseline). Also, is Jeremy Gallon seriously becoming a threat on punt returns? Ricardo Miller doesn't think so.