In The Books: Week One

“In the books” will be my weekly piece on all of the CFB action that I caught over the past week (Not just Michigan). Normally I would like to publish this earlier in the week but we can all thank Ohio for that not happening this week. I am going to start things off with national tid-bits then finishing up with the Wolverines.

– I had the privilege of attending a game in South Bend for the first time this past weekend, and while its no Ann Arbor I was pleasantly surprised. I wore burnt orange all day (As a kid the Longhorns were my second favorite team and my buddy I went with is from Austin) and only one single person ran their mouth to me. Incredibly respectful environment, beautiful campus.

– I dont think there needs to be anything said about the Texas offense, as it was absolutely abysmal and in the news all week. Notre Dame looks like a legit playoff contender, as they dominated up front on both sides of the ball. Malike Zaire showed the nation while Everett Golson transferred, and their skill players on offense are exceptional. Jaylon Smith might be the best defender in the country, and DE Sheldon Day is very underrated. For the Longhorns, Malik Jefferson might not only be a freshman all american, but a legit all american. Kid is a stud.

– Ohio State will not be tested until November when they play MSU and U of M back to back, and even then, I think they showed monday night that the only team that can beat them is themselves.

– SMU quarterback Matt Davis is a very under the radar stud. He kept the Mustangs to within a score of Baylor at halftime.

Now for the Wolverines!!

Offnese: I absolutely loved the formations and game plan that Drevno, Fisch and Harbaugh came up with for the Utes. The power run formations used throughout the night were exactly what I saw at spring practice a few months back. I was very surprised to see Ross Taylor-Douglass take the field before Derrick Green, as it seems he will be the third down back. Receiver wise, how awesome was it to finally see Drake Harris on the field!? I dont believe he was targeted but he was the fourth receiver on the field. No Moe Ways or Da’mario Jones to my knowledge. Grant Perry started the game and came off the field sparingly. Chesson and Darboh have stepped up in a big way and were open all night. Brian Cole played on most special teams and logged a few snaps on offense, even getting the ball on a screen on third down in the red zone in the first half. It goes without saying that Jake Butt is a stud, and his week one performance is a great start to what I predict will be an All American season. The Oline was hot and cold, doing some things very well and some things not so well. Run Blocking needs to be more consistent, but we need to remember that Utah is one of the top three defenses we will see this season. I was disappointed to see Rudock get the start, but I was even more disappointed to see him throw three picks after everyone touted his as a starter due to his effectiveness of keeping the ball out of the defenses hands. Those three interceptions completely changed the game and it cannot happen again.

Defense: The front four played exceptionally well all night, taking care of Deovante Booker inside the tackles and flushing QB Travis Wilson out of the pocket routinely. With that being said, I thought the linebackers struggled all night. Most of Wilson’s runs could/should have been stopped by the backers. A position unit that was thought to be the strength of the Defense in the pre season, needs to step up for week two. Jabrill Peppers played lights out most of the night, dominating in the run game from the slot corner spot. And while he never had the chance to run one back, he is also returning kicks which is a surprise to no one. Overall the Defense played well, being on the field more than they should have been with the offense turning it over three times.

Overall, the differences between the Hoke and Harbaugh regimes could not be more apparent. This team fought until the very end and were physical from the start. The little things hurt the Wolverines all night, and all week we have heard the team address their own issues. Good things are on the horizon folks, and I think we’ll see some major improvements from week one to two. Go Blue.

@bleedbluecoacht

Advertisements

Week 1 Takeaways

Michigan headed into Utah with high hopes and great aspirations but fell 24-17 in a game that was very winnable by any measure.

With a coup of unknowns, Michigan fought and looked good at times but ultimately it wasn’t enough in the defeat.

We could go good news or bad news, but let’s start with the negatives.

Rudock

We all knew coming into this season that Rudock was merely a game manager. 

All of last season he had 5 interceptions. In week 1, he threw three. 

One of them was indeed on a miscommunication between he and Grant Perry. The other two, however, were truly putrid. The key note; all three were with plays where Perry was the target.

The second came on a terrible throw where he stared down Perry. Easy pick.

The third was on a comeback route that Rudock stared down Perry in, while Ty Isaac was wide open on the other side of the field. This ultimately was the game winning touchdown on a pick six.

These mistakes simply cannot happen. Rudock also missed three deep throws (two of which were intended for Chesson; the other, Darboh) where he showed no touch with a wide open receiver. The positive? The two minute drive at the end of the game was gorgeous.

Jim has ten days to fix this and surely Rudock will be pissed when he sees this.

LB Play

This will be short and sweet. Bolden was a tackling machine but for most of the game the coverage was poor.  

The LBs looked worn out and must improve heading into next week. Film will show the holes that were open and ultimately the schemes must be better.

Ben Braden

Horrible.

Whiffed multiple times on blocks.

It appears to be a consensus that his job could be up for grabs with Dawson seeing time. This cannot happen as a junior.

Positives

Chris Wormley

Chris had three TFL in the first half yet disappeared in the second half.

He showed the promise we all expected four years ago when he was recruited.

Deveon Smith

He showed great burst at times and offered a hard nose play making ability.

The one problem was on a key play in the fourth quarter where he completely missed an open hole on an easy cut. Much of the same

Jake Butt/Amara Darboh

These two were the stars tonight. Butt made a great grab in double coverage for a TD and showed he is a leading contender for the Mackey award. The TE spot plays a huge role in a Harbaugh offense.

Darboh was the best receiver on the field going for 102 yards and a TD. Now that he’s finally healthy, he seems to be the #1 WR. Was a little disappointed that Drake Harris saw no targets.

All in all, this season will be a learning curve and I still think Michigan can be an 8 win team.

Next Saturday, Michigan hosts Oregon State in the home opener.

CoachT’s Predictions: @ Utah

The time for talk and speculation is ALMOST over folks. Kickoff is just over twenty-four hours, and wheels are down in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, I have my own game to coach tomorrow night and will be watching the game on tape delay. Here are just a few of my predictions for tomorrow night.

1. The offense will not throw more than twenty times.
– Harbaugh will look to establish the run early and often, and we’ll probably see him force the issue if necessary. The only way the Wolverines throw more than twnety time is if they are down in the fourth quarter.

2. No back will carry the ball more than ten times.
– De’veon Smith is listed as the starter and will see the first few carries of the night, but after that I expect to see Derrick Green, Ty Isaac and potentially Karan Higdon in certain packages and personal groupings throughout the night.

3. The offensive line will only give up one sack.
– I believe this retooled offensive line under Tim Drevno will shore up ALL of the faults we saw under Brady Hoke and Darrell Funk.

Defense

1. Jabrill Peppers had eight total tackles, two TFL and one pass defended.
– I anticipate the defense will be in either a 4-2-5 or 3-3-5 alignment most of the night to defend Utah’s spread offense, which will put Jabrill all over the field. On the line of scrimmage, twelve yards off ball and in the nickel corner slot.

2. The defense gives up only one play of 40+ yards
– This defense is incredibly athletic and fast and will rally to the ball on everything underneath or outside. However, this is a new scheme for these players and it would be silly to think there wont be at least one coverage breakdown.

3. Three sacks between the D-Line and line backers.
– The new scheme will be an advantage here, as Durkin will be able to dial up some blitzes in zone and man coverage that the Utes have never seen before.

Final Prediction: Michigan-28 Utah-24

I firmly believe the defense will hold the Utes to under four scores (the fourth obviously being a field goal) and if that happens, all the Offense has to do is match or overtake by a few points to be in the game at the start of the fourth quarter. Kyle Wittingham himself has said he doesn’t know what to expect from the Wolverines, and if they can capitalize early in the first half, the only way the Utes will catch up is if their staff can make effective half time adjustments.

@bleedbluecoacht