Michigan Football: Minnesota at Michigan — What Happened and What It Means
No Wow Factor- But A Win
Review of the Minnesota and Michigan Game
What Happened and What it Means
Well, I had an active weekend, having a great seat near the tunnel and then going to Cincinnati on Sunday to watch the Patriot receivers either drop the ball or fail to get open. And the fourth quarter saw rain equal to hurricane strength.Those who like short games and a quick trip to the bar enjoyed Saturday’s somewhat shorter event. Television, of course, did its finest to slow down the game.
Minnesota and Michigan both determined to run the ball, both teams using some multiple ways to attempt to make hay on the ground. Minnesota got good push on the front four and forced, as Coach Bt mentioned, Michigan’s linebackers to move. Again, viewers were left with the sight Michigan’s front seven having trouble getting off of blocks. What this means is Michigan will struggle when playing teams that can run the ball better than Minnesota, although Minnesota’s plan was sound and the result was a shortening of the game, yes even if the Wolverines scored 42 points.
Michigan ran several plays to the left side that showed promise and then, boom, the hole was instantly filled. Why, well, those guys filling have to get blocked and that did not happen. Is that correctable, certainly so.Michigan finally got a little tired of two yards and a cloud of protons on first down and started throwing the ball. Michigan followers had to love how Funchess motioned and changed positions to get to the outside. Time after time, Funchess received one on one coverage that he beat, and Gardner hung in an extra second or so and combined with Funchess on some big plays. In short, Funchess was a beast and the impressive thing to me was how he got isolated outside, inside, and deep throughout the game. There is no way this was a mere anomaly, Funchess certainly will be a primary target from here on out, and the secret is to get him the ball. This use of Funchess is sure to continue.
The running backs and line played perhaps slightly better. Green really showed good burst on the one hole he received Saturday and Fitz does what he always does, what he can and that was not bad. There really was no sign of soft running that Fitz has been accused of by some lately. He broke a few tackles for a few extra yards and that was that. I am not sure Vince Lombardi could transform this interior line into an elite unit in a few weeks, but no doubt the guys are being given strong expectations.Raymon Taylor made a very nice play that prevented the Gophers getting a touchdown at a critical spot. Michigan gave up some nice tight end passes due to plenty of time for Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner to hit some tight end shots. Those wondering what Wilton Speight might look like may wish to throw a small comparison to Leidner. Leidner is probably a better athlete and Speight is bigger.
Michigan played a clean gam, with no turnovers and only a couple of penalties. The entire team deserves credit for that accomplishment, but the catalyst was Devin Gardner, who for at least this game stopped the turnover machine as well as the ignominious streak of three straight games of turnovers for touchdowns. Gardner hung in the pocket a little longer and the results were very positive. His running was preplanned and mostly successful. He turned the ball loose.
While Funchess was the center of attention, the Michigan receivers achieved some balance and again showed an ability to snag balls if given the chance.Plenty of good in this game and some continued mistakes and areas of concern; such is the nature of football. It remains problematical if either line will become an above average unit. Certainly the difficult injury to Pipkins will hinder progress, but such is the nature of football, and life must go on as cruel as it sounds. Norfleet is close, and frankly one good block now and then might get the kid to the house on kickoffs. Wile had a good game and since he kicks for the far left side of the endzone every time, a ball is going to go out of bounds every now and then.
Discount the wild affair at Indiana last week: Penn State is very tough at home and Bill O’Brien is a great coach. The Nits will be ready and are better than some non-informed perceptions. Michigan should be able to make some hay throwing the ball. So, will the passing game be plan B, or will Michigan attempt to run the ball until proven otherwise? Michigan will again need to play clean and show poise on the road. The task could be very tough.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
Go Blue — Wear Maize!