Michigan Football: 3 things Wolverines must fix during the bye week

(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports /

3: The DBs need to play better in coverage

Lost in the complaints about Cade and the offense and wanting J.J. McCarthy to take over QB duties is a low-key concern on the defensive side of the ball.

I don’t know what it is about these DBs and them grabbing and holding and getting penalties, but they need to be better. This was an area of weakness last season that reared its ugly head in the game against MSU last year.

Michigan’s DBs need to play more confidently and not grab and hold onto the opposing receiver when they are running their routes. The crazy part is, 90-95% of the time, Michigan’s DBs are in perfect or near-perfect coverage on the receiver.

So, to hold and grab at the receiver reeks of a lack of confidence in technique.

Vincent Gray has been the main culprit of this, but it can’t start becoming a habit whenever the opposing QB throws in Gray’s general direction. He needs to get his head turned around faster and use his head to see the ball, and therefore, he won’t need to grab and hold. He needs to trust his technique and play confidently.

Vincent Gray was a four-star coming into college. He needs to start playing like a four-star. Also, with all of that being said, Michigan needs to still generate more turnovers by playing better pass defense.

The Wolverines have shown that they can shut down the run so far, but leave stuff to be desired in the passing game. Adrian Martinez three for almost 300 yards against Michigan, so that still needs to be cleaned up.

Michigan’s DBs need to play physical (not overbearing and grabbing and restricting the opposing receiver) but also disciplined and with proper technique. They shouldn’t need to grab and hold while running with the receiver. The turnovers and pass breakups will come if they turn their heads around in time and play disciplined football.

Lastly, in regards to the pass defense, Michigan’s linebackers need to use their eyes more during the option plays. I don’t know what it is about dual-threat QBs or QBs who can run, but Michigan never seems to be able to play a great game against those types of players.

To keep it short, the LBs need to improve on staying disciplined in the run-pass option and not get too greedy. Against Nebraska, Michigan football got burned for a 46-yard TD because the LBs thought the play was a run and blitzed and left nobody in zone in the middle of the field and gave up the TD.

Yes, Nebraska had an illegal formation, but, still. Now, I do understand that Michigan’s LBs overall (besides Josh Ross and Michael Barrett) are young and inexperienced (with freshman Junior Colson and redshirt freshman Nikhai Hill-Green playing significant snaps) but that needs to be worked on during the bye. Teams are going to keep trying to abuse Michigan’s LBs and DBs with these plays that give Michigan fits so it will be up to them to stop it.

If Michigan can do all of the things mentioned (a tall task to ask in a week or two), then its absolute worst regular-season record will be 11-1.

Next. Top 10 plays from Michigan's 6-0 start. dark

If the Wolverines don’t improve in these areas, then their record will be 9-3 or 10-2. The 9-3 and 10-2 record aren’t bad at all, but after starting 6-0, records like that would be admittedly disappointing. Let’s hope these issues can get fixed sooner rather than later.