Posted at 6:00am -- 9/5/2011 GBMWolverine: Coach's Corner -- Michigan ..."/> Posted at 6:00am -- 9/5/2011 GBMWolverine: Coach's Corner -- Michigan ..."/>

GBMWolverine: Coach’s Corner — Michigan Football — Western Michigan at Michigan — Grade Card


Posted at 6:00am — 9/5/2011

GBMWolverine: Coach’s Corner — Michigan Football — Western Michigan at Michigan — Grade Card

Team Overview:

Looking only at the stats, one would believe the WMU-UM game was a truly close affair. There was one statistical item, turnovers, which greatly swayed the outcome. Michigan forced three turnovers and committed none. The Wolverines did put the ball on the ground, but recovered.

Mix in a missed chip shot field goal for Western Michigan and it was game over as the momentum seemed to change after the missed 38-yard field goal and the tipped ball/turnover that Brandon Herron picked off and ran 94 yards for a score.

The time of possession game statistics, one can look at two ways.

Western Michigan had the ball for 25:18 while Michigan had 18:15 of possession. Factor in the turnovers that the defense caused, and scored on, that benefited the defense but made the unit be on the field immediately again. Michigan’s offense had some good long drives when they had the ball, but still needs to control the clock a little better and not go three and out especially on a hot day like Saturday.

Michigan rotated a lot of players on both sides of the ball. Constantly giving players breaks while Western Michigan didn’t seem to rotate as much.

Third down conversions for Michigan ended up 3/6 good, but everyone would like to see this stat improve.

Michigan was 1/1 on fourth down conversions, a good stat but certainly not a trend.

The red-zone offense was a perfect 2/2, always a great stat, especially when both scores were touchdowns.

Special Teams coverage needs to get better (a statement of the obvious). The result was Western enjoyed far better field position, making the defense’s job more difficult.

Wile had some decent kickoffs that had distance and height, something always sought in a kicker. He should get stronger. It certainly would have been nice if some of those kicks were another five yards deeper, but some kicks were against a slight to moderate wind.

Michigan needs to get better snaps on extra points. There is no excuse for missing an extra point. Having high snaps throws off the timing and we all know how kickers are a little different. Michigan needs every part of the kicking game to improve.

The high snap also showed Gibbon’s weakness of the ball coming off his foot low, which helped Western Michigan get their hands up enough to deflect the kick. Also, the line needs to do a little bit better job of keeping the defenders back, again important with a kicker with a low trajectory.

Overall this was a good warm-up game for Notre Dame next Saturday night, and as usual for any opener a lot things the coaches can show the players many circumstances that need to be corrected. The players were disappointed that the entire game could not be played. The coaches lost some evaluation time for non-starters. But the key objective of all weeks and games was fulfilled; the game was a victory.

Here are the staff grades for the offense, defense, and special teams:

Here is our grading scale that we have used in the past.

A = Great
B = Good
C = Average / Okay
D = Poor / Need Help
F = Hope and Pray for a great recruiting class at that position.


Seventeen first downs and 288 yards, but the most important offensive statistic, NO turnovers. The line protected and no major mistakes were committed.

Grade: B+


Denard Robinson showed he has the skills to play in a pro-style offense. He was 9-13 passing with two in-completions during the start of the first monsoon and he had 46 yards rushing, the earliest of which were important in establishing the Michigan offense. He did miss two great opportunities with misfires. His field generalship was excellent. All in all, considering all factors, Denard enjoyed a near perfect day.

Grade: A-

Running Backs:

This group tallied 193 yards rushing in three quarters and provided a couple of long runs, and again, NO turnovers. The backs did put the ball on the ground once and the pass protection still needs to improve.

Grade: B


Six different receivers caught passes, including two by the tight end. A couple of nice blocks down field helped on big runs.

Grade: B

Offensive Line:

As with the backs, 193 yards on the ground was impressive and no sacks. The group did have some problems in short yardage, but overall a good game. Again, the pass blocking is ok and needs to improve some.

Grade: B


Any time a defense can cause three turnovers it is a good thing. Still, this unit gave up 279 yards of offense and at times Western Michigan had little difficulty moving the ball.

Grade: C+

Defensive Line:

The line with help from the backers held Western Michigan to 96 yards rushing, but had no sacks and no tackles for loss. This group must play better.

Grade C+


Demens is solid versus the run, Ryan forced a turnover and Herron made the two big plays, but this group has to play better in space and coverage.

Grade: C+

Defensive Backs:

Calder picked them apart early, pressure/blitzing helped alleviate that some. Kovacs blitz caused one of the big turnovers.

Grade C+

Special Teams:

Forty-one yards punting, a very average return game, and a missed extra point, which in part came from a high-snap. Then factor in the failures of the return coverage team and overall it was not a good day.

Grade C-

Please comment on our GBMWolverine Message Board about this article and read what others comment.

You can contact us at our e-mail address: GBMWolverine

Follow us on Twitter: @GBMWolverine

Written by GBMWolverine Staff

Go Blue — Wear Maize!