Oct 5, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Quinton Washington (76) celebrates a defensive stop in the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Michigan at MSU -- Preview -- What May Happen

GBMWolverine What May HappenPosted at 5:00am — 11/2/2013

Michigan Football: Michigan at MSU — Preview — What May Happen

Michigan at Michigan State Preview

Green Fog and Smart Brains

The green fog creeps in Lansing East
To target Wolverine heads
In reality it may be a problem least
But Sparty hopes this leads to needing meds
Fog itself does not a team beat
But fear and fog can indeed wed
Michigan needs to win this feat
And put the green fog to bed

Well now, the author wishes Sandburg were with us to comment on the quality of the knockoff of the famous fog. Verdict here is good in form and better in meaning.

Michigan State has enjoyed an advantage this week, green fog. Now the Spartans did not apply cognitive skill and planning to create such an effect. Michigan and sports writers accomplished that without Spartan effort.

We must be tough has been the mantra. We must play better, and we must play differently. Well maybe so, but while tough, physical play may be a program goal, and an underlying assumption of need regarding playing Michigan State; it is not a guarantee of a win.

So, while this game is an opportunity to shed the soft image rightly or wrongly attached to Michigan’s chances Saturday at East Lansing, the game is not just about toughness. As such Michigan must be careful to not shed its own image and fall into the clutches of the mental green fog. The mental battle in the press has gone Sparty’s way, more than likely the Wolverine coaching staff has at least tried to defog the Wolverine’s head and fill it with Michigan matter for two weeks.

The raw truth is that Michigan is playing a very physical defense and an offensive line that has as its ultimate goal to play physical. To win such games, teams must match the physical play, or else execute schemes that defeat the Spartan purpose.

Oct 19, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) passes the ball in the second quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When a game of this nature occurs, going back to the past helps. Time of possession counts because the winner may end up pounding the other team’s defense. Big plays count, as there may be few opportunities. Minimizing turnovers should count, because the point total will not be reminiscent of a pinball game. Field position will count, because both teams will probably struggle trying to go 90 yards if pinned by a good punt (both teams have good positional punters). Paying attention will count, as MSU’s staff leaves no stone unturned and will have two or three surprises that Michigan better be prepared for unlike last year’s long punter’s run on fourth down.

Besides the surprises, Michigan State will do what it normally does, run, smack, and rely on defense and field position. Option two is the play action game, and the final Sparty option is throwing to catch up, the least desirable of the Lansing strategies.

Michigan’s defense will not be a mystery, excepting perhaps how Coach Mattison chooses to use the safeties. It is imperative to not let Michigan State break screens, slants, and hitches into long games, the back seven needs to end the play immediately.

Oct 19, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke yells on the sideline in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium. Michigan won 63-47. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The wild cards in this game are (1) the play of the quarterbacks; (2) the Michigan offensive strategy; (3) if Michigan’s young interior line can remotely protect Devin Gardner, and (4) keeping poise in tough situations.

What happens primarily depends on how well Michigan plays. While simplistic, this statement is a good place to start.

Many people are putting a monster emphasis on this game. Coach Hoke has generated this to a large extent with the constant verbal description of the need and desire to play smash-mouth football. Some view this game as a do or die game. The view here is that it is a game that can serve as a barometer only to a fixed extent. The real meaning is that the winner gets a monster leg up on winning the Legend’s division. That is what lingers big at the end of the fog.

But there is a need to understand that the fog must not become a distraction. Win or lose, elation or disappointment, the program will go on, and hopefully forward.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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