Michigan Wolverines: Rebuilding The Offense — Final Thoughts
The foundations, offense and defense have been discussed in detail. It is time for some final, summative thoughts about the team before the season starts.
Concerning the foundation: Coach Hoke and/or David Brandon had some serious choices to make regarding the organization, administration, and management of the Michigan football program. Those choices were made and action ever since has been put forward. The basic formist thought is fine, but the mechanistic detail is improved.The use of the past as a resource and the articulation of what the Michigan football program should stand for remains clear and appropriate. Coach Hoke is a fine representative of the athletic community. His task is to raise the program up from last year’s disappointments.
The coaching staff has been reorganized in a logical way. The other choice was a complete blow-up. Comparing the results of one method against the other is now impossible, as only one choice became reality. Not even time will tell, but success will provide evidence that the reorganization was successful. Two typical career coaches, Mallory and Manning, have an extremely difficult task, putting together a successful secondary that minimizes big errors. Smith is back where he likes and Mattison is in the middle of the defense, nurturing talented but still young linebackers. Nussmeirer is good tonic: a dedicated, proven quarterback coach that is at least an average big time play caller. His style has rubbed off on others, in a good manner.
Only a prediction is possible, only a general prediction, taking into consideration tons of variables, known and unknown. It is a little on the Camelot side to believe everything flows perfectly and the plaster becomes perfect in this one season. Time is still an element. One thing is certain; this group of coaches will hang in there and accentuate the positive.
Best educated prediction: Eight footballs
The offense has tons of potential obstacles to overcome and little time to gel. Getting a new offensive coordinator can be a good thing, but no certain guarantee is attached. The new scheme is simple and time tested: use of the tight end, flood an area, use zone scheme plays and blocking, emphasize the necessity to run, and use play action to keep the defense off balance. The previous impediments that must be minimized (it is unrealistic to consider total elimination) include minimal performance in all regards of the offensive line, turnovers, the loss of two high quality tackles, and poor decision making by the quarterback. The strengths to build the offensive foundation on include better strength, simplicity of offensive blocking, a budding stable of high quality running backs, and a very deep and versatile receiving corps, albeit young.
The youth and newness of the system will balance against the precision of Nussmeier and some very good overall talent. The first goal will be to get the teeter-totter of momentum and wins past the point of last year’s results. The next goal will be to get better within the conference season, not give games away and regress. The final goal will be to play three teams on the road that likely will be nationally ranked tough enough to have a shot at winning those games: get in a position to win, whether it be offense, defense, or special teams. The offense is the biggest question mark, but for the first time in years, the level of skilled players is way up in comparison. Devin will be the wild card, he is s superior athlete, but with warts. It is unrealistic to predict an elimination of past errors. It is not unrealistic to predict less erratic breakdowns. He deserves support and has represented Michigan well. His play will determine how well the receivers end up.
The offensive line: six footballs:
The pigs are not flying yet, but sooner or later they will get off the ground, there is talent.
Quarterback play: seven footballs, perhaps eight if he gets on a role, and the line takes some pressure off, and the backs run successfully.
Running back play: seven and a half footballs. Can the line make holes and can the backs find them? So far reports are more positive about the second ingredient than the first. The offensive linemen must have short memories, ignore the criticism that is sure to come, dedicate themselves to sound technical football and be nasty. Get better everyday is not just a cute mantra for this group; it is a must. Just make a hole and the backs find a hole, cut back with quickness and determination when needed.Receivers: eight footballs. If Gardner reads defenses well enough, and if he is accurate enough, this group will cause some serious damage. There is very strong versatility here: the big guy who is the stud receiver, the little slot, the slot that has serious quick moves, a back that can present problems in the flat, and a couple of young guys with some level of accomplishment in all of the above traits. It will be important to spread the ball out. Nussmeier may use quick patterns to realize this aim.
Overall: six and a half footballs to seven footballs, later in the year perhaps more. It will hinge on Devin and the offensive line, no secret there.
Part II we will discuss the defense.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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