“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.