Posted at 6:00am -- 11/2/2007 Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Mic..."/> Posted at 6:00am -- 11/2/2007 Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Mic..."/>

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Michigan at MSU — Preview


Posted at 6:00am — 11/2/2007

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Michigan at MSU — Preview

Michigan at MSU this Saturday at Spartan Stadium will be at 3:30 pm EDT on ABC (regional, ESPN where it isn’t shown on ABC).

GBMWolverine is going to be breaking down the keys for Michigan to win this Saturday.

Key Match-ups:
Michigan OT’s and Offensive linemen vs Saint-Dic and MSU Defensive line. Look for MSU to move Saint-Dic around depending on down and distance. We would expect to see him on our right side in early downs and left side in passing downs.

Michigan MLB’s and Defensive linemen, especially DT’s vs. Ringer. If UM can make MSU one dimensional their chances go way up. The Defensive line need to stay in their gaps and not outrun MSU plays and get into situations where Ringer can make big plays which we open their entire offense.

Michigan WR’s vs. MSU DB’s. Can they get off the ball and get open early because I believe MSU is going to try to pressure the QB and stack the line to make Henne or (Mallett) beat them .

What to watch for:
Can MSU run the football if they can it opens both the passing lanes and play action game. Play action has been major UM Achilles heel. (IMO) Hoyer cannot beat UM by himself, he will need help from running game. Take that away and big part of what MSU likes to do goes away. If Hoyer can be effective on first down MSU will be hard to deal with the whole game. Can Ringer create holes when nothing is there and get Michigan off balance with their play calling.

What you need to watch is down and distance on 2nd and 3rd down. If MSU is 2nd and 5 or less or 3rd and 3 or less much of the time they are going to be handful. That means MSU is winning the battle at LOS. If they are 2nd and 8 or 3rd and 6, UM is winning the battle at LOS. What happens on early downs will have big time affect on what MSU can do effectively on later downs. Play action on 2nd and 9 is not the threat it is on 2nd and 3. Can Michigan with their defensive line put enough pressure on Hoyer without blitzing on first down to make MSU easier to cover in our secondary.

When UM is on offense watch to see how many defenders MSU needs to commit to LOS to stop running game. If MSU front 7 without putting 8th man in box can slow UM running game they will have big advantage. If MSU needs to commit safety it opens those short and intermediate passing lanes that MM and AA are great at finding open space in. Keynote, Coach Dantonio does like to play man in secondary. MSU is using zone blitz, double zone similar to OSU. Can Michigan offensive line give Michigan enough time for the deep routes or the longer double routes that Michigan likes to use. Will Michigan have to max protect while passing or will they be able to use the TE’s and the RB’s in the passing game.

Watch for MSU defenders #3 and #28. They are MSUs SS. If they are making tons of tackles or stuffing things at LOS. MSU is needing to commit 8th man to LOS to stop UM running game. Now UM needs to go vertical with intermediate passing game. That is where the seams and space should be. If MSU is having the DB’s make the tackles that mean Hart, Brown and Minor are making their way passed the first point of attack and are forcing MSU right into Michigan plan. That is where Michigan can get the TE’s involved in the passing game.

For Michigan to Win:

Protect Henne and win battle at LOS. If he was time to throw he is very effective and MSU secondary is no match for our WR’s (IMO), but with Henne playing with less than 100% he cannot take that many hits and stay in game. Would not be surprised to see UM use more max protection like in some early games. Also UM needs to avoid those annoying TO’s and 5 yard penalties. Both have been Achilles heel in UM loses and close games. Will Michigan be able to use their whole passing game with Henne’s injury that might be a key to how aggressive Michigan will be against MSU.

The running game always helps loosing up the defense so Michigan can attack MSU down field. MSU has struggles recently against the run so Michigan needs to use that, but not be predictable while doing it as everybody talks about running on first down behind Jake.

Defense is two fold, stop or least slow down Ringer. Again if MSU cannot run football I really like UMs chances. Next is do not give up big plays. MSU has the two WRs averaging almost 17 yds per catch. If UM defense can make them snap the ball again I do not believe they consistently drive the field. Make MSU go 70 plus yard to try to score they are at their best when they have a short field or be able to score on mistakes from the other teams.

Sound special teams. Do not give MSU favorable field position/short fields and UM defense should be in good shape and need to make MSU drive down the field. Lapata needs to keep hitting FGs. In loses and early close games, missed FGs had unreal influence on game. Need to keep remember the little things such as blocking down on FG’s and extra points. UMs special teams have improved, now keep that improving going. Think Michigan will continues to use the short kick (pop up) on kick offs to try to get the other guys handle the ball unless the wind is behind them to try to kick the ball in the end zone.

Take the crowd out of the game early by either making a couple of big plays either on offense or defense. Do not let the crowd and MSU stay in the game like what happened at Illinois in the first half of that ball game.


All depends on what Michigan team shows up and who is really ready to go. Will Mike DeBord with all his weapons I hope available use the playbook like he did against Purdue where he thought he was going to have to score a lot of points to win or will he be more conservative a grind the ball using the clock and the offense to pound on MSU? MSU has given up a lot of yards on the ground these past several weeks.

Mike Hart if really healthy should be able to find a lot of yards. I think the WR’s will get open and create big plays when MSU tries to stack the box to stop Hart. The Michigan defense has really improved over the past several weeks and need to keep going because each game from here on out only get tougher with more weapons. MSU will try to spread them out so we will see once again if this defense is up to the task and I believe they will be even though Ringer will get his yards because he is a good RB.

This will be a game where Michigan can send a message to everybody in the country that they are back and tell Wisconsin we are coming for you next week and get out of our way for the Big Ten prize. Michigan has a lot to play for the next three weeks and it all starts Saturday. Michigan 34 — MSU 20.

Henne is key (IMO). No disrespect to Mike Hart he is elite talent, but UM will be just fine with Minor and Brown carrying pill. Mallet while extremely talented is still raw and playing in rivalry game in front of hostile audience is not an ideal situation. If Henne plays UM by 10 to 12 pts. Without Henne, man to gets tight. Still like UM at LOS. UM by 3.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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