Michigan Football: The Not So hallowed Eve
It was very nice to read Coach BT’s comments this week. Please continue to thank coach for the time and insightful comments remakes and has made the entire season (and well beyond).
Speaking of thanks: thank you to the kind comments when I spoke to the type of guy Blake Corum is on Coach’s recent post. A special thanks to Lee and Alberta Blue. I am so pleased to hear from Alberta Blue; he has long held that I have at least minimal intelligence, being that I am one of only thirty Ohio residents that do not think that an Alberta Clipper is a ship or haircut, but instead a fast moving, low pressure system that is just bad enough to cause some grief for a day or two in the Midwest.
Back to Coach and some thoughts on Tuos. I pretty much agree with what Coach laid out. What I want most is for UM to fight every second every inch, not giving in in any manner. Got to be smart, but cannot be intimidated. I give UM a minimum puncher’s chance, but weird things can happen: UM will need to rise, Tuos will need to sink, and weird things may need happen. I find the spread way too close and those throwing heavy money on UM may not have seen the Nut offense the last month. Having said that, I really do nothing many, if any teams have a shot at Tuos. We will see how well Georgia does against Alabama, a team that lost so much from last year and is just decent; a little like UM but more physical. The talent level is a big gap, the offensive scheme is a big gap; identity or no identity. Tuos has by far the best passing attack in the nation and it is being used, most effectively, what works is being used, not what is the identity. UM has had trouble arunning the ball against really good fronts, usually Haskins in the A gap on first down for 1 yard. Coach is correct in stating that the only real solution is to disrupt the quarterback. Most of the time the last five years, the Tuos qb has simply looked at the if-then options that the offensive rules dictate and sit back and play darts with no one close. Probably no one does a better job of pass pro. Tuos has been beat by some rally good offensive minds the last two losses; Sark at Bama, and the Purdue staff. In both cases, Tuos edge was isolated and defeated with solid spread concepts, but especially on the edge. UM has the ability to throw to Corum and Edwards out of the backfield, and also to cause damage with tight ends, as Coach mentioned. This scenario begs some questions about just running an identity plan versus a full field isolation spread attack. Tuos is big, active, and athletic in the D middle. Haskins will break a few, but likely not much overall straight up into the A gap. The identity has been more positive than negative for UM this year. But to beat Tuos,UM, with less talent needs to successfully scheme on both sides of the ball, then hang on and hope. if the wind is whipping and Mac does not have the timing or arm to fit small gaps, then UM’s best chance is to bring in the other Mc and let it fly. If this collapses, then oh well, on to the bowl.I wonder if McDonald looked at the old Washington versus Tuos film of the Rose Bowl? The Washington staff was always pretty successful a zoning high powered offense. Tuos got off early, but as the game progressed, UW made some really good adjustments, including zone tenets. But this is a better receiving corps. McDonald may get his butt kicked because there may simply not be an antidote excepting gratitude pass rush and super talent all the way through the back seven. UM’s corners are limited, but bless their little hearts, this group has improved and has don well enough to not be a chronic weakness. I agree with Coach in that the smart thing may be to just keep all those guys in front, that is what UW did. The young linebackers will be under heavy attack and if a dime is used with safeties back, Tuos will run the freshman back. UM has some glaring year long weaknesses that do not bode well: teams hitting the middle passing zone, the receivers not blocking that well (very up and down), predictability of offense, and a certain offensive lineman or two that are still problematic. UM does have some really strong citizen type guys that have bought in. Haskins is a true joy to watch and Corum is more fun if he gets a crease mostly in the split zone option that UM runs. Haskins and Barrett were my picks for biggest surprises when they were freshmen. Ronnie Bell was a big loss; money in the bank type of guy.
The real poison may come from the media: the usual ABC/ESPN poison will erupt and stats will be all over the screen. Do I think this team is number five in the country? Not really, but if you look around there are five or ten teams that you could pick at with the same argument: Oklahoma, Michigan State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, and maybe even underrated Pitt and Utah. BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED, MY BEST GUESS WAS 7-5 FOR THE SEASON. This incorrectly did not factor how bad Washington was and catching Wisconsin at the right time. Indiana was thought to be a toss up, but that evaporated quickly. Penn State depends on how Penn State shows up. I thought that if UM could squeeze out 9 wins, the coaching staff should get high marks and deserved credit. UM sits on 10 wins and a sure fire major bowl game. I look for Hutchinson and the captains to put some confidence into the troops, but confidence does not make up for speed. So, how well did UM plan for this game taking into consideration the massive task charged to them? I close with this: thank you Coach for all the work you put in for the benefit of others. Keep in mind the total UM athletic program had a superior year last year, in the classroom and in competition: most academic honors and I think 18 championships, including an out of nowhere gymnastics championship. As Minnie Pearl stated, “I’m done playing now.”
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