Michigan Football: Defense Needs to Change As Well
GBMW Readers: This is where stats don’t tell the entire story either. Yes, it looks good on paper and also online with the stat sheets of Michigan ranked third in total defense in the NCAA, but do you trust this defense to make a stop when needed? No way does a Alabama, Clemson, Wisconsin, Georgia, whoever else you want to mention allow a team to come back and score 23 straight points against you in the second half and be considered a great defense!
For example, after the Karan Higdon fumble our defense allowed South Carolina to drive down the entire field and score a touchdown. We didn’t allow that all day, but in that particular moment we needed them to make that stop. Yes, if Higdon doesn’t fumble the ball and we score a touchdown the game could have possibly been over because it would have been tough for them to come back. Again though if we stop them or simply only allow 1-2 first downs we still get the ball in good field position with a comfortable lead and also field position which even if we punt the ball back to them without gaining anything we still control the game and also the clock continues to move.
My issues with this defense and I really like Don Brown, but how about we play a little mix-up coverage. Allow the cornerback’s to play man-to-man defense, but everybody else in zone coverage? Or when we see the best wide receiver move to the slot position why can’t we move our best cornerback to cover him instead of putting a safety who has had issues all year long and even last year covering.
Did the offense make a lot of mistakes to hinder the defense? Yes they did and I am a huge defensive guy, but we can’t keep seeing this stuff happening week after week. If blog, twitter, message board guys (nothing against us, but we aren’t getting paid millions of dollars) can see these issues why can’t these assistant coaches and figure out a better solution?
I love the attack mentality of Brown’s defense, but at some point in time there has to be a point where we say “let’s not blitz and have our front four try and make something happen”. If people go back to the Florida message board threads this is something that a lot of posters came after me about when I said our front four isn’t as good as many believe because we seemingly can’t get a lot of pressure or constant pressure on the quarterback by themselves. We have one of the better defensive lines that Michigan has had in a long time and in the country, but we seem to need to blitz all the time to help them create problems for the offense while other teams seem to be able to rush four and make our quarterback’s look really bad. Think of it this way if our defensive line was so good why would we need to blitz? Why not rush four and wait for them to make things happen?
Again I like the style of playing man to man defense, but again there has to be a time when we need to see some zone once in awhile. We don’t have Charles Woodson back there I am sorry to say. If anything has shown us this year that an average quarterback can make our defense look bad at times when guys are open. At some point in time our guys are going to break down, the opponent is going to find their spots, etc…
Last comment on this: Jim Harbaugh has to stop being so involved in the offense and just hand things over to Brown. When we have a 19 point lead (23 straight points by South Carolina) JH should be able to go up to Brown and say “lets stop blitzing so much” and force the opponents to drive the length of the field in small chunks of yards. We have a good defensive line and allow them to get pressure on the quarterback my themselves. Let’s not give up big yards like we did such as a 17 yard touchdown run, 21 yard passing touchdown, 53 yard passing touchdown, etc…