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GBMWolverine: Coach’s Corner — Michigan Football — San Diego State at Michigan — What May Happen


Posted at 6:00am — 9/23/2011

GBMWolverine: Coach’s Corner — Michigan Football — San Diego State at Michigan — What May Happen

Anyone who believes that SDSU will serve as mild fall entertainment venue for the edification of Michigan fans may be in for a tough day. This is a game Michigan most likely will joyously accept/earn a win of any margin.

If a football observer simply shows up at the Big House Saturday looking for an entertaining day of offensive football, then that wish will almost certainly be granted.

It is no fun for a former coach to immediately play against a former employer; it is motivating for the team of the former coach to play against the immediate past head coach. It will not likely be personal, but motivating nonetheless.

On the surface, the SDSU offense looks like a mismatch against Michigan’s defense. SDSU, like Notre Dame, is two-dimensional, capable of doing significant damage on the ground and in the air. Michigan will probably give up between 400 and 500 yards, and would take a total of under 400 yards right now with little argument.

SDSU has a skilled quarterback with command of the offense, a dynamite running back, and those pesky, fast receivers that can extend drives with 5-10 yard gains. The offense can do most of what it wants Saturday.

Michigan has some hope of keeping down the point damage from the SD offense. First, keep the focus on turnovers and grab a few. If SDSU takes care of the ball, it could be a long day. Second, folks have to play better, all around the horn and back. Guys cannot stink in the first half and shine in the second half. The best chance of victory is all-out, all the time. To this end Coach Mattison will need to make believe the first play of the game is the first play of the second half. If Michigan can make a couple of stops there may be some chance of game control.

Michigan is at a clear disadvantage in coverage against the fast SDSU receivers and backs. The best recourse for Coach Mattison is pressure and more pressure. It will be a necessity to get this WCO out of a rhythm and cause disruption. If no rush can be mounted it will be a long day. Coach Mattison will not only need to be good, but also lucky in making his calls. Michigan cannot stop SDSU in a straight up defense.

On offense the coaches may decide to attempt ball control with a variety of running backs and a generous sprinkling of Denard Robinson. Yes, this happened last week, but the coaches will start with Vinnie Smith instead of using him as the third option out of a great need for a solution. Smith could do very well as SDSU plays a 3-3-5 defense and can stop people but will never be confused with LSU. If the line gets Smith two yards off the top of the run, Vinnie will get two or three more on his own. Michigan may squeeze out four or five yards for a change instead of one or two.

Frankly, SDSU has a slightly better chance of stopping Denard Robinson than did Eastern Michigan, the key word being slightly. Michigan fans have followed the mantra of run Denard less for months, but until there is an alternative Michigan’s best chance of winning is still Denard’s legs.

Let us hope Denard’s passing is on the right side of the yin yang spectrum this week. A few opportunities for monster plays will be available and Michigan’s chances increase if the opportunities are not squandered.

Make no mistake, Ryan Lindley, Ronnie Hillman, and the speedy receivers of SDSU are indeed big-time players. The Aztecs will play hard, with heart, and with skilled players.

Michigan will need to play a very good game, or even better, to win. There are ways to lose this game easily: get off to the normal slow start and not recover in time, fail to stop the run with any success, fail to take advantage of the opportunity to run against a fair defense, fail to get down-field fast enough and cover alleys on the kick offs, and an overall failure to control the tempo and dictate of the game. Reverse all of those factors and a formula for a Michigan win emerges.

It looks like a good day for offense.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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