Michigan Wolverines: What Happened and What it Means — Part III
Some Answers and Some Questions
In Part I of What Happened and What It Means we talked about the offensive line and then talked about Devin Gardner and the receivers in Part II. Now in Part III we will discuss the defense.
Question- would the secondary play well in press coverage and would aggressive play produce good results?
The safeties and slot defenders had moments when they appeared to be in doubt and tons of conversation resulted. Appalachian State probably missed a few opportunities to catch the Wolverines locked up. When everyone was on the same page, good things happened. At least for this game, Michigan’s defenders were more than being just in the area as in the past, instead, things were tight. Between #26 Jourdan Lewis (CB), #6 Raymon Taylor (CB), #2 Blake Countess (CB), and #5 Jabrill Peppers (Nickel), the future of cornerback play has increased promise. Add as an important aside that #8 Channing Stribling (CB) and #24 Delonte Hollowell (CB) looked just fine as well. There was little within the game framework to indicate what level of safety play will evolve at Michigan this year. Appalachian State did run a couple of nice seam routes off of fake dives that hurt the Wolverines. Expect the same from Notre Dame’s tight end package next week.
Is there really depth on this team that will pay benefits?
The answer is yes. Both units of the Michigan defensive front were impressive and truly interchangeable.Could Michigan create a pass rush?
Maybe this can happen, with some good surge up the middle and linebacker blitzing. Throw in a nickel and corner blitz now and then and some heat may be applied. The better question might be, can Michigan make the quarterback more uncomfortable and get rid of the ball under severe duress. That answer appears to be yes. Would it be fun to prepare offensive blocking assignments against this Michigan defense? Not for me.
What does this mean?
Michigan showed better coordination and depth than last year: clearly. This game is a small and short vindication and respite from some nay-saying. Plenty of guys got on the field; this makes for a happy family. The offense is diverse enough and talented enough to cause opponents some concern. If the young line continues normal improvement patterns, the Michigan offense will be a tough challenge, even for high-caliber defenses. There is now an element of confidence before ascending into next week’s snake pit.There are still questions, but as stated there always will be. The questions have cures. The offense needs to continue to find a rhythm and the offensive line needs to listen only to the coaching staff and outwork every group on the team. The tight ends need to step up a level to take the offense to another level. The defensive ends must continue the quest to become a rush factor, perhaps depending on better inside push. The biggest question will take several weeks to answer: how will Michigan fare against the top teams on the schedule?
The staff should be pleased that the hard work has provided an opportunity for a much- improved Michigan team. The road is long but the first game provides positives. There are indeed miles to go, but the flashlight is brighter to travel into the dark. And next week the game will be played as the sun sets on the most underrated rivalry in college football: Michigan against Notre Dame.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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