Michigan Wolverine Football: Odds and Ends
1) Opinion alert. But what is a good running game? Of course it is important to establish the run against any opponent. it helps control tempo, keeps the other offense off the field, allows you to implement play action, and keeps opponents linebacker’s and safeties honest, etc…
But I am one who does not play as much attention to the amount of yardage gained as to when they gained that yardage. Coach Nussmeier has talked about a great running game is one that is able to run the ball in the fourth quarter and probably more importantly be able the gain 1 yard when they absolutely have to gain that yard.
Last year, if Alabama gains one yard on 4th and 1, they beat Auburn and probably (with six weeks to prepare) go on and beat Florida State and win another National Championship.
Michigan simply has not been able to establish any sort of running game especially in fourth quarters, nor have they been able to execute in short yardage situations. We will see how much improved they will be this year, but I can tell you it is a emphasis in early practices.
2) So far, the most improved area of the team, our linebackers play. We just seem so much bigger and faster than in previous years.3) Red-zone, we stink in the red-zone both on offense and defense. And coaches know this. And it is an area they have emphasized quite a bit in the past few years. What is the difference this year?
Offense, they believe they will run the ball better and they believe they have the type of wide receivers that will be more effective. Now, not having Jake Butt (TE) really hurts early in the season. In addition, they believe a much more confident Devin Gardner (QB) is going to make them more productive.
Ian Bunting (TE) probably should red-shirt, but the guy is a weapon in the red-zone.
Defensively, they just think they are more physical and look for Michigan’s defense this year to be much more aggressive and see frequent blitzes or specializes rush packages. They believe that the change of being more proactive on defense is going to not only create more turnover’s, but not allow opponents to run whatever they want in red-zone.4) One player we forget about and it seems every fall is a top player than sort of fall off when games start, Dennis Norfleet. Well, this fall is more of the same, Norfleet has really been one of the more dynamic offensive players this fall.
5) One other improvement I think we see this year because of the depth and the coaching approaches to practice. This team will get better week to week especially on offense. The past two seasons to me have been the most disappointing in that the team seem to regress, shown no signs of improvement. I think we will be much better in November than we will be in September.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — MaizeMan
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