First off, I want to thank the Hokemaniacs for allowing me to join — what we believe is — the most stylistic “website” on the net dedicated to the greatest football coach in the world, our main man, Brady Hoke! It is an honor to get to pour my thoughts out for all of the Maize and Blue faithful! LET’S GO BLUE!
My idea for this column would be a weekly reflection on recent events and/also a preview of what we can possibly expect from the Michigan program going forward.
I’ll be looking to cover what worked well in the most recent game, what didn’t work as much and possibly offering up a bit of what might work best in the future. Hopefully along the way, I’ll get a thing or two correct. After all, I’m a fan and it’s easy for us to sit back and comment right? Besides, who has more right answers other than the fans in the stands yeah? With that said…
After watching Team 133 play against ‘Bama and then against Air Force, a few things came to mind…Denard Robinson is ultimately the glue that holds this team together. Our defense isn’t the same group as last year. And we are a very young team. This does NOT mean that we cannot win the B1G Championship. In fact, I believe that we are still able to win the whole thing and take the Rose Bowl trophy home. (Of course, when I say “we” I really mean “them” because, well, you know…)
It all starts with the game this week against new FBS and MAC team, the UMass Minutemen.
The line is Michigan by 45 and in the last two games for UMass they’ve been outscored 82-6.
As I recall, the Wolverines had a “scare” game against this same team back in 2010.
Remember, it was the game where Denard Robinson had to bail us out drive by drive. Yet, I don’t see that happening this year. I think our defense is much better than what they have shown so far. However, they are not the same as last year and losing Blake Countess in the Alabama game didn’t do the Men in Blue any favors.
I expect to see several freshmen get playing time this week, even freshman DB Allen Gant, (whose father, Tony Gant, played under Bo in the 80’s…look it up!) should look to get playing time against the Mid-Major school visiting Ann Arbor.
I fully expect Denard and Co. to have 500+ yards against this UMass defense and I see senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint getting more than 2 yards for the day. Expect big things!
When you lose to (no offense IU fans) a less than stellar Big Ten team such as Indiana by 39, it can only be a long day for the Minutemen come Saturday and it’s not even gonna be close.
However, even being as easy as I believe the game will be make no mistake, UMass is a MUST WIN for Michigan.
I know we are young and showed some “flashes of the future” against Air Force, however, if this game with UMass is within 20, Michigan could be in trouble going forward. It will be a moral victory lost if we can not contain UMass and/or if they shut Michigan down in any way.
The surprise player this year so far? I have to say there are three players:
- Devin Gardner. In the past 2 games, he has 107 yards on 6 catches and 2 TD’s.
- Freshmen Devin Funchess with 4 catches and 106 yards against Air Force with a huge touchdown catch.
- Finally, Jake Ryan. He was exceptional this last week despite being left out to cover the draw plays with the pitch out. He had 11 Tackles, 7 solo, and was a big part to the defense making a big stop late.
IF MICHIGAN WINS BIG: This game is the confidence booster the entire team needs. It is an “easy” opponent and if things go according to plan, Michigan will have injured players back, ready to storm South Bend and bring home another “Under the Lights” victory from the Fighting Irish. That momentum starts with the game against UMass this Saturday.
IF MICHIGAN WINS CLOSE OR LOSES: This team will need to find a major backup plan and quick. Struggling against almost the worst team in the FBS could be a bad sign of the future of the season, possibly another Rich Rod season of 5-7 or 7-5. A struggle against a bottom feeder MAC school will not bode well for the remaining season and as such would mean clearly that Michigan will NOT win the Big Ten this year.
Although, we all know that’s not going to happen right? Michigan’s offense should roll. The Wolverine defense should dominate. Denard should get his and the fans should leave home happy. How could there be any other outcome?
Thanks again to the Hokemaniacs who have read this column and who will continue to support our fearless leader!
GO HOKE AND GO BLUE!!!!
You can follow Alex on Twitter @arstrumpetmusic.