Aug 31, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Flags fly before the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Central Michigan Chippewas at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Central Michigan at Michigan -- What Happened and What It Means -- Part III

Posted at 4:00pm — 9/2/2013

Michigan Football: Central Michigan at Michigan — What Happened and What It Means — Part III

GBMWolverine Review Of The Central Michigan/Michigan Game

Speaking of scrutiny, the interior offensive line was, as all know, under the big microscope. The results are in the eye of the beholder. As Coach Hoke stated after the game, it will be interesting to look at the film. The debut was certainly not a disaster, although visions of Baas, Hutchinson, et al., hardly came to pass. There was push and everyone needs to remember freshmen and first time starters rarely, if ever, dominate. There were some misses and mess-ups. This group is not tiny and plowing will be their forte. The most likely conclusion is this group will by the end of the season be pretty effective in the running game. The pass pro was at least acceptable and if enough protection is given, Devin can then make a choice. Speaking of dominate, Lewan surely looked good and as stated Schofield always had a hat on someone, somewhere.

The front four of the defense had an overall successful day, but in the second half, the depth became overwhelming. One of the disappointments to the author was how, early on, the Central offensive line, a good one, was gaining leverage on the rush ends. There were plays the interior was whipped straight up, but the defeats were small and had no bearing on the final outcome. The second team quarterback for Central, Cody Kater is really a 1A choice and stood in after the injury to starter Alex Niznak. He was harassed enough that the Chippewa passing game evaporated.

The linebackers for the most part were the beneficiaries of the defensive line play. There were times the edge could have been defended better, but this group had a good day. Cam Gordon played at a high level. The view is hereby put forward that the coaches will need to make some serious decisions about how to get Cam on the field when Ryan returns. It is gratifying to see Cam Gordon have success.

Aug 31, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (12) rushes passed Central Michigan Chippewas defensive end Louis Palmer (56) in the first quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Below are some summary observations:
Michigan succeeded in achieving a nice pass run ratio
Points wise, the defense gave up little or nothing. Devin contributed six of Central’s points
Again, the Michigan defense is not filled with elite players, but tons of pretty good players, some of which have a chance to hit that impact point. The bet here is that the defense is deeper and better than last year.
Lewan is reaching Jake Long status.
Gardner is a very dangerous athlete to contain
Gardner needs to get his decision-making together, quick.
The secondary is pretty good at run support but can be had by top-level defenders.
Coach Jackson needs to develop more than one running back; the margin between backs is decreasing.
The offensive line does indeed show plenty of promise; the running backs need to improve to take advantage of this potential storm of the future.

What this game means for the future.

Discount the score as special teams and defense created several of Michigan’s points. Discount the defense giving up nine points, this unit gave up nothing. There are several things to be positive about that were on display Saturday. The coaches will be the first to point out that equally plenty of negatives can be assessed. Clearly, there is plenty to work on for improvement to get to a top 10 level. Among the negatives were three interceptions thrown by the quarterbacks, running backs going down a hair too easily, penalties, including illegal substitutions and the ever present block in the back during a return, a small failure to hold the edge on defense, and an inability to just blast monster holes from the offensive line against a suspect Central defensive line.

Aug 31, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas running back Zurlon Tipton (34) and Michigan Wolverines linebacker James Ross III (15) reach for the ball in the first quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan is in a position where significant improvements against Notre Dame become critical, a must. Notre Dame has big and experienced lines and very good skilled position players. Rhees can bring it, albeit sometimes with mistakes. The Notre Dame receivers will be a major headache for the back seven of Michigan. Two years ago, Notre Dame dominated Michigan’s interior line in the first half. That may not happen this time. Michigan will probably find the interior of the Irish defensive line pretty tough and the young line will need to dig for their lives.

What this game showed the most is Michigan has more talent and depth than in previous years, but is not yet in a dominating position. There will be several games that will end up as dogfights and Michigan needs to bite hard all year.

Nine footballs winner: Taylor Lewan
Eight footballs: Mike Schofield, Cam Gordon, Jarrod Wilson, Desmond Morgan

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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