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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Michigan-CMU Recap

Michigan 41, Central Michigan 17.

On paper, judging from the score, I should feel confident. I should feel we're ready for the trip to South Bend. And yet the doubts remain.

With 252 yards rushing, the ground game appears much improved from last season. But against Vanderbilt and CMU, how much can we really tell? And, unfortunately, the passing game still isn't there. Henne had his worst game statiscally in 2 and a half years as the Michigan starter, going 11 of 19 for 113 total yards and no touchdowns.

In addition, it seemed like half of those completions were bubble screens to the wide outs (he averaged 5.9 yards a completion). Where is the over-the-middle pass? Where is the player or plays that will stretch the field on a team? So far, we haven't seen it.

As for those who always surface at this point claiming "we're hiding our playbook from Notre Dame," I just don't buy it. Sure, you hide your trick plays and flea fickers but not basic passing and catching. Those are things to be worked on, not hidden. If folks think we're suddenly going to become a passing team next Saturday, I think they will be very disappointed.

On the plus side, the defense is relentless. There is a constant pressure being put on opposing teams that hasn't been there before but, as a fan, is fun to watch. The "only" negative seems to be a tendency to give up the big play. Against the Vandys and CMUs of the world, that won't hurt a team, just embarrass a player. But against a squad like ND, which will have sustained drives (don't fool yourself), such "freebies" could be a killer.

And so, we head to the real start of the season. With some questions answered (some of those answers not quite to our liking -- did anybody anticipate this sort of struggle with the passing game?) and yet almost as many unknowns about the true talent of this team as we had when the season started.


Anonymous said...

LAck of passing game is very very disturbing. What the #$%^ are the coaches thinking? Do they feel that they can get 250 yards on the ground against ND?

We don't have a freshman as our starting QB, we have a 3rd year starter, he should be the leader of the team. Just don't get this shit.

If Carr blows some shit next sunday about how they lost the game because they couldn't run the ball like they had wanted to, i will be ready to jump off a cliff.

Hart can only do so much, we need Henne to win big games. When the #$%& is Carr going to realize this, its frustrating to be a Michigan grad!!!

Howard21 said...

You tell yourself that they are using a limited play book against lesser opponents. deep down I think we are all lying to ourselves in saying we are holding back. I think we need to be concerned. Not paranoid, but concerned.

Brad said...

I'm definately concerened because no matter how good we are we ALWAYS make stupid mistakes in South Bend.

That said, ND is beatable. The PSU score looks worse than the game actually was. PSU had multiple opportunities early to keep themselves in the game and repeatedly blew them with mental errors. The mistakes then lead to the defense staying on the field too long and gassing themselves, which in turn lead to ND running away with the game.

One thing that gives me hope is our D-line. Georgia Tech showed what needs to be done, if they had a halfway decent QB they could have beaten ND. We MUST pressure Quinn. For some reason PSU chose not to and he picked them apart.

At least this time ND has all the expectations on them instead of UM. We've never handled being a favorite in this game (in SB) well under Carr so maybe we can be more inspired as the underdog.

God this week is going to suck.

Other Andrew said...

All I can say is, I can't wait to find out! We clearly CAN beat Notre Dame. For the good of the nation, let's hope our boys pull through. This is the time when we find out if these players really meant it about how badly they felt regarding last season and all the hard work this summer. We should be the more pumped up team.

The only thing that really worries me is that ND has now played in two relatively big games and we haven't played in any. Hopefully that won't matter...

Anonymous said...

ND is not as good as PSU made them look. PSU had excellent chances in the first half to create trunovers and get some momentum (int and muffed punt recovery), but didn't. Need to get in Qinn's face constantly and as always must stuff the run!!!

Flop said...

Yeah, but the big plays are a side effect of the the newfound aggressiveness, and for the most part, I can live with that. If the choice is between big plays killing us or soft, three-deep zones killing us, I'll take the former.

The other concerns, however, loom.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the depth charts, UM clearly has more talent than ND. ND could easily have lost to GT, and PSU did kill themselves with mistakes. However, the thing that scares me is that, love 'em or hate 'em, they are a well coached team that doesn't make mistakes. UM will have to execute flawlessly to win. Unfortunately, Weis is a better game day coach than Carr almost any Saturday.

If we don't play much better than last year, and much better than this year so far, it will be another frustrating day in South Bend where we're all left crying about how we "should have" won.

Can't spell Lloyd without 2 "L's" said...

I'm putting out an APB for Meeechigan's vertical passing game. The longest pass in two games was 29 yards to Breaston, which I think was a screen and run. I'm a big proponent of throwing deep, just to keep them honest. Manningham and Breaston should be deep threats, not possession receivers like Avant was.

I tend to think that rather than hiding your playbook, you're better off showing them a bunch of it to make them prepare for it. It still all comes down to execution in the end, anyway.

Theri Maa, Bhanchod! said...

If Michigan fails to beat ND, then the terrorists have won and accomplished their goal. Go Blue. Please, for the love of God, Go Blue!

Anonymous said...

Whereas i don't pretend to understand the idiocy of the "terrorists have won" statement, as an ND alum I look forward to this week. A battle between two class institutions, with class fans (mostly).

Good luck, and may the better blue win.

theri maa, bhanchod! said...

anon 10:38

it's a joke dummy. Go Blue (the real one)