Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — UMass vs. Michigan — What Happened and What it Means

Posted at 4:00pm — 9/16/2012

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — UMass vs. Michigan — What Happened and What it Means

In the preview it was mentioned that the Michigan staff could go in different directions regarding the strategic approach to yesterday’s game against UMass on a perfect weather day at the Big House.

The thoughts on this site were as follows:

• That Michgan would make a concerted effort to get Fitz Touissant involved in the game plan and provide plenty of work to round him back into what Michigan fans saw at the end of last year. Progress was made but the mission is not yet completed. Fitz’s progress will be linked to the offensive line progressing as the schedule presses onward. Fitz did most of his damage on the edge, dipping out when little was available in the A or B gap, but of concern the middle read did not produce big results. Fitz is not yet back, but yesterday, regardless of opponent, he demonstrated improvement.

September 15, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (28) runs the ball as Massachusetts Minutemen defensive back Christian Birt (9) tries to tackle him during the third quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

• That Michigan had the luxury to purposefully work on the passing game and involve multiple receivers. The reasoning was that Michigan will have games where a successful passing option is a must to have a decent chance to win against very good competition. Michigan succeeded in this objective. Uncovered receivers ran middle routes almost at will yesterday gaining big yardage. Denard missed two or three passes, barely, that could have yielded another touchdown and quite a few extra yards.

September 15, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson (16) warms up before the game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

A review of the game may support the opinion that one or two of those passes could have been caught. This group of receivers so far has better hands than some groups valued more, at least publicly, from the last few years. No one has yet taken over the go to guy role, but that may be all right as the pie is getting spread around. This also indicates that Denard is looking at other options past one locked-on receiver. He is throwing better, but the real indicator will be when he receives pressure from a high level team. So far the opposition has been willing to play safe and guard the edge instead of applying a full-court blitz that could backfire with a big scramble.

• The defense continues to work and work and work on improving the run defense. The edge was defended better yesterday, but there is still plenty of work to do in this area. Mike Cox fought hard and hit the edge a little yesterday. The young Minuteman quarterback, Mike Wegzyn rolled the pocket nicely and hit some nice outs, some on third downs that moved the chains. Two ways to look at this: first, UMass is not going to win the game hitting a few short outs, or, second, Michigan should be on those cuts. Michigan gave up a sideline go pattern on a very well thrown ball.

September 8, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke talks to kicker Matt Wile (45) and punter Will Hagerup (43) before the game against the Air Force Falcons at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Final thought on the special teams:

The special team coverage was not average yesterday and from the stands it looks like spacing is very good but the group as a whole may be a little slow getting down field. Michigan has a big weapon in Norfleet, and if the return team can get to the defenders and maintain contact longer look out, see you later. This is an area that if the supporting cast works hard, big things can happen.

Team 133 continues to be a work in progress, and again it must be mentioned patience and hard work are in order.

Next week is a big challenge and as always the Notre Dame game serves as a swing game and indicator heading into the conference schedule.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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Topics: Football, Massachusetts, Michigan Football, Michigan Wolverines, UMass

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