Michigan Football: Michigan at Michigan State — Be Quick, But Do Not Hurry
Michigan’s Offensive Dilemma
For several years now, Michigan has not attacked Michigan State’s defense well. Few teams have as a matter of fact. This is not the first time head scratching has occurred about how best to attack a blitz-happy defense. Think back to the famous Bear “46,” named after headhunter Doug Plank.
For many games no one had a solution, then the deep ball was launched down the sidelines to burn the Bears. Since then many blitzes have been neutralized by offenses that get rid of the ball deep.
There are certain traits that serve an offense attacking such a defense well. These include sound scheme, an absolute understanding of if, then possibilities, preparation so intense that confusion is limited, and the poise to be quick but not hurry.Michigan will have trouble holding back the hoards of Spartan blitzers who will come from everywhere, including safeties and cornerbacks. The blocking by the running backs has been less than stellar. So, it is unlikely that Michigan’s receivers may have the four seconds to run deep or long crossing routes, a severe disadvantage to the Wolverines, but reality. Michigan will have to identify the ifs of the Spartan defense and execute the thens. This means a short group of quick patterns may be in order. Essentially, Devin Gardner will need to be quick but not hurry, and he will need plenty of poise and patience.
CoachBt mentioned screens, draws, and throwing quickly to the flat. Strangely in the last few match-ups few of those strategies have been tried. The result being an offense that yielded few points, few yards, and only one viable play, the quarterback run. The final drive in last year’s game was well executed in the little time left.
Michigan may well shoot some receivers into spots thought to be open in the zone blitz. This can be problematic as who drops and who rushes is not identified until after the snap. This defense baits throwers into throwing into areas thought to be safe. The Spartan linebackers are very dangerous. So, the short game may go outside instead of between the hashes.No doubt Gardner will be under duress and his judgment and legs will be critical to Michigan moving the ball. Every team would like to run the ball but against the Spartans this is tough with the run blitzes up the middle and the failure of Michigan’s stretch play to work successfully. The natural need for balance may have to yield to what works best.
The receivers need to play very physical. Blocking outside will be important, but so will keeping the Spartie mitts off of various Michigan body parts and personal property.
To this writer, the two biggest factors for Michigan’s success against the Spartan defense remain Borges’ game plan and Gardner’s execution and poise.
Come to the message board and give us your thoughts, agree or disagree.
Just a reminder you must be a member to participate on the Message Board. Here is the link for the registration page for those people interested in becoming a GBMWolverine member of our message board. GBMWolverine Register.
Please comment on our GBMWolverine Message Board about this article and read what others comment. Make note that our message board has changed so make sure you change your favorite/bookmark as well for the direct link.
You can contact us at our e-mail address: GBMWolverine
Written by GBMWolverine Staff
Go Blue — Wear Maize!