Well there is the matter of getting Touissant back into the game, which is as much about our offensive line as it is about Touissant. While Touissant ran 85 yards, he’s not back yet. He did most of his damage on the edge, dipping out when nothing was there in the A or B gap. However the middle read didn’t produce big results, and that’s an issue.
Obviously, since U-Mass lost by 3 or 4 touchdowns to Indiana, if there ever was an opportunity to work on passing this game was it. Still Denard threw a pick six. This is not good. While it only pulled the Minute Men to within 11, and he bounced back with two quick scores, that pumped the score up to 35-10. However, that’s not the point. Two quick scores to compensate for an unnecessary and costly mistake may not be an option in games to come. However, Denard’s passing is getting better, but like Touissant’s running—it’s not there yet.
We did get the opportunity to see a lot of receivers on the field. I don’t think that a go-to guy has emerged, but clearly Funchess and Devin Gardner are leading the pack.
The defense is improving on the run defense. The edge was defended better yesterday than the week before, but we have a lot of work to do. Mike Cox fought hard and hit the edge a little yesterday. The young Minuteman quarterback, Mike Wegzyn rolled the pocket and hit some sweet outs, some on third downs that moved the chains. This should have never happened even if U Mass was not going to win this game on the Twilight Zone. Michigan simply should have been on those cuts.
On the special teams, spacing is very good but generally speaking they’re a little slow getting down field. Norfleet potentially represents bad news for our opponents. If the return team can get to the defenders and maintain contact longer—Katie bar the door—see you later alligator, next stop lollipop. So there’s a lot of hope here, as long as those in the support positions bring their A-Game, and I believe they will, because this is what we do.
Bottom line: Team 133 is a work in progress, and we have to be patient and take it one game at a time. The next two games will be tough. Notre Dame is fired up, ready and waiting in South Bend. While skeptics might say Notre Dame almost lost to Purdon’t at home, and ND’s win over MSU just shows how bad little brother is, not how good they are—I’m not so sure.
Notre Dame is for real this year—how real, remains to be seen, but you can bet after last year, they are going to be as real as they will ever be when it comes to playing us. They hate us, and rightfully so, we’ve been beating them mercilessly, and for years. It’s going to be a tight one. More importantly, it will be a litmus as we move into the conference season opener in West Lafayette.
Purdue is good this year, and probably will win their division of the conference. Do I think we will beat Notre Dame—yes—actually make that “hail to the yes.” Do I think we will beat Purdue—another hail to the yes. So what is my point? My point is Team 133 is a work in progress, and this is Brady Hoke’s 2nd year, and we need to be mindful of that. What does that mean? That means, one game at a time, and when that game is over, we move on to the next. No dwelling on the past. Just like we cannot dwell on the Alabama game, we can’t dwell on this. They were very similar games—prison weddings, the only difference—we weren’t in the bridal position for this one.
The important things to remember are: “We are Michigan.” We are “the winningest program in college football, with a list of accomplishments too long to list here. We achieved our status, one game at a time, and we will preserve it one game at a time.
Wilbert The Wolverine
NOTICE: The views expressed by Wilbert the Wolverine are not necessarily those of anyone on the Hokeamaniac.com staff or reasonable facsimile thereof. Please consider the source. He’s a Wolverine for god sakes!