Sunday, September 24, 2017

Things Might Be O'K

Jon Horwedel, Detroit News
The late afternoon game was not going as expected for Wolverine fans.  Wilton was getting hit by a defense that had one sack the entire year and the offense couldn't run or pass.  The play calling looked liked like it was from Bo's 3 yards and a cloud of dust playbook.  

What were we watching?  A loss to this up start Purdue program?

Then Wilton goes down on a apparent late hit and heads directly back to the locker room/medical facility not to be seen again.   It was John O'Korn's chance to be the Michigan QB and this time it wasn't on snowy field, it was in 90 degree weather for the Florida boy.    John took the reins of the offense and marched down the field by hitting the tight ends for a scoring drive that ended in a TD.   Maybe things were looking up?

We know the rest of the story.   Purdue then confuses the Michigan defense on basically the same play 3 times in a row and scores its only touchdown.  John throws a pick that turns into a field goal and then The Wizard Don Brown puts a complete stop to the Purdue offense the rest of the day.

Michigan scores 21 points in the second half and wins the battle in West Lafayette.  Michigan used better play calling and strong QB execution in the second half.   The defense barely gave up a yard as all the trick plays had run out.

 I think we all learned a few things about this team on Saturday.  
  1. Michigan's offense line will not be dominating any team left on the schedule.   Michigan will have to pass to run. 
  2. Michigan will need good QB play to score TD's on offense.
  3. Don Brown deserves a raise

The first half to me was a throw away half, I hated the play calling and the trick plays by the Purdue offense.   I knew the trick plays wouldn't last but Michigan running into the line for two yard gains on first down was clearly frustrating to everyone except the play caller. 

The second half was Michigan Football and it was great to see the play calling open up and Michigan be aggressive on offense.  When Michigan is scoring touchdowns and letting the defense do it's thing, this team will be tough to beat.

  • John O'Korn who played well and in front of the Purdue OC who was the head coach that benched him at Houston.
  • Don Brown and the Michigan Defense!
  • Chris Evans for finding his stride and putting the game away
  • Sean McKeon had 5 catches for 82 yards
  • Zach Gentry for being a team player and scoring the first TD
  • Chase Winovich had 3 sacks
  • Devin "The Missile" Bush is everywhere!
  • Brad Robbins averaged 40 yards per punt
  • Watching the Purdue DC "Mr. Clean" vein pop out on his head.
  • First half play calling
  • Offensive line in the first half
  • Purdue's trick plays that worked
  • Fox's Baseball game coverage
  • Purdue's locker room not having AC is embarrassing
  • Wilton's injury that was a late hit
  • 2 turnovers on offense
  • The illegal man downfield call on the Hammering Panda

Michigan is 4-0 and win is a win on the road.  You will take them pretty or ugly, just get out of there with a win.   I hope the Michigan offensive coaches now understand this team will not run over anyone and each defense will stack the box to stop the run and make the Michigan QB beat them. 

I think John O'Korn has made the case to be the starter, no matter what the injury status is for Wilton  (Jimmy said it was a soft tissue injury and didn't know how long he was going to be out).  Either way, Michigan has two weeks to prepare and rest for a difficult rest of the schedule.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Purdue Preview

Image result for purude masct

Time: 4:00 EST
Location: Ross Ade Stadium
Weather:  Hot! 88 and no rain
TV: Fox
Line: Michigan -10

Many Michigan fans see this game two ways.  A: Purdue has a brand new coach, playing very well, looking for a program changing win, and they have their sites on Michigan.   B:  This is Purdue, we will be fine.  Can it both?  I think it can, lets take a look. 

Tale of the Tape:

Michigan Oline vs. Purdue Dline = Michigan
Michigan Oline vs. Purdue LB = Purdue
Michigan Dline vs. Purdue OL = Michigan
Purdue WR's vs. Michigan DB's = Purdue
Don Brown vs. Jeff Brohm = Michigan
Overall Coaching = Michigan
Intangibles= Purdue

This is a classic strength vs. strength game:  Purdue's offense vs. Michigan defense.  The Purdue offensive line will try to hold up against the best defensive line they will see this year.   We will see a lot of quick passes from Purdue as they hope their WR's can take advantage of the youth in Michigan's secondary.

On the other side of the ball, there is a lot of talk about Purdue's front 7 being pretty good.  They're not bad, but they only have 1 sack on the year.  That leads me to believe they are strong against the run and at the LB position.  As every team will do this year, they will sell out on the run and will make Wilton beat them.   Wilton plays the best when he has time to throw and wait for the routes to develop.

Yell, This is How we start the Big Ten season if......
  • No turnovers on offense
  • Limit mistakes/penalties
  • Wilton is accurate
  • Michigan goes over 100 yards on the ground
  • Ian Bunting gets a catch
  • The Michigan defense is getting the to the QB
  • Red Zone TD's is not an issue
  • Michigan D gets two turnovers
Yell, I hate that damn train whistle...................................
  • Purdue's offense is keeping Michigan's defense confused
  • Michigan's running game is not gaining yards on 1st downs
  • Michigan is kicking lots of field goals
  • Purdue is hot and Michigan is making game changing mistakes

Michigan has sort of played a road game already.  The Boilermaker fans are excited about this new coach and how this team is playing.  This will be the best defense they face all year and Purdue will have it's hands full with the Michigan defensive line.   I expect a Cincinnati type of game plan, quick passes, so the DB's will have to be sound, and the DLine can't get to the QB.

Purdue will run some misdirection and even some trick plays, hopefully the Michigan defense is still sticking with their fundamentals after seeing AF last week.   Purdue will sell out against the run and how Wilton plays will be how successful the Michigan offense is at scoring points.   Purdue will want a close game in the 4th quarter so that maybe they can sneak out a win.  

I like Michigan's offense vs. Purdue D if Michigan plays clean.  Michigan's offensive turn overs could cost them this game.   We don't want a high scoring shoot out.  Michigan's defense might give up a play or two but hopefully can handle the Purdue offense.   Michigan needs to get the ball to the tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. I'm looking for better production on first downs and in the red zone.

Michigan 27 Purdue 13

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Michigan Thursday: Big Ten Preview Week 4

I thought this would be the first real weekend for head to head Big Ten match-ups.   Not so much!  The Big Ten only has 3 games where Big Ten teams play each other.

Big Ten Game of the Week

Penn State at Iowa:  We all know its tough to play at Iowa City at night.  We also know that Penn State has run through a pretty poor non-conference schedule.   Penn State is still a big favorite at -12.5.   Iowa won in overtime at Iowa State a couple weeks ago and 3-0 as well.   Is Penn State that good?  How good is Iowa?  These are answers we are going to find out on Saturday night.   Penn State 27 Iowa 21

ND at MSU:  This could have been considered the top game of the weekend as well.   ND has a close lost to Georgia at home but has seemly played better this year.   MSU is 2-0 with a depleted roster.    We know more about ND at this point then MSU even though the Spartans always seems to play Notre Dame close.   ND is -4.   ND 31 MSU 17

UNLV at OSU:  Ohio State is -40.   OSU 55 UNLV 10

UCF at Maryland:  UCF has only played one football game due to Irma.  Maryland has only played two and had a big win at Texas.   UCF is no joke and Maryland needs to be on upset alert this weekend.  Vegas thinks so as well and has Maryland only a 3.5 favorite.   UCF 31 Maryland 30

Georgia Sothern at IU: IU is favored by -24 over the winless Eagles.   IU 44 GSU 14

Rutgers at Nebraska:  Nebraska has lost two weeks in a row and reeling at the moment.   Rutgers is coming off a win.  Could there be a big upset?  I doubt it.  Nebraska is only a 11.5 favorite at home though.   Nebraska 41 Rutgers 21

  • Tarik Black tweeted out his surgery yesterday went smooth. 

  • Stephen Ross made another donation to Michigan, this time $50 Million. 

  • Coach Chris Partridge believes in the kick off return team and thinks we will see bigger plays.  Personally, I would like to see McDoom back there taking returns and let Crawford work as a WR.  Crawford looks a bit tentative when running kick offs back.

  • Don Brown is happy he doesn't have to prepare AF any longer and hasn't completely opened up the defense yet.  Meaning he has more formations and rush options he hasn't shown yet.   The defense will have their hands full this week with the new Purdue offense.  Don also said, the defense took 230 option snaps during the week to prepare for AF. 

  • Jimmy said on the radio yesterday that Nico Collins and Oliver Martin might see time at WR on Saturday.   Martin has been a bit banged up, so we're not sure if he healthy enough to play at this point.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wolverine Wednesday: News and Notes

  • ESPN follows Jimmy's Director of Communication and Operations JT Rogan for a day.  He does stuff.

  • Simone Biles dates a former Wolverine gymnast and was at the game on Saturday.

  • Bill Connelly points out when Michigan struggles, they struggle on first downs:
Michigan has snapped the ball 88 times on first down. The Wolverines are averaging a not-completely-awful 5.3 yards per play, but of their 464 total yards gained, 211 have come on five plays. They have gained one yard or fewer 43 times. Success rate: 33 percent — 27 percent rushing and a much healthier 46 percent passing.

It gets even worse when the Wolverines generate scoring chances. Yards per play on first downs in the red zone: 1.1. They’ve gained zero or fewer yards in eight of 12 instances.

Sounds like Michigan needs to be a bit more creative on first down in the Red Zone and pretty much everywhere.

  • 2018 5-star DE Eyabi Anoma who seems to be a strong Alabama lean, is planning an official visit to Ann Arbor. 

  • Want to waste $10M?  UCLA booster Tod Spieker has donated $10M to have his name in the Rose Bowl.  The Rose Bowl will now have Spieker field.   

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Michigan Tuesday: Dissects The Big News From Yesterday

Jimmy did confirm that Tarik Black has a broken bone in his foot, will need surgery, and probably out for the year.

Not a great situation for an offense that is having a hard time scoring TD's.  Black had come in early and impressed almost immediately.   I expect DPJ will now be the starting outside WR.  Also expect more Moe Ways, who will finally get more snaps as a senior.  

If he could come back, should he?   Black seems like an NFL type of talent, I don't know if an injury redshirt year is worth it as he probably is not a 5 year player.   If he can get back by OSU or the Bowl Game, the Michigan coaches should consider it. 

Ty Isaac should be ok.

That isn't really a ton of information.  Will he be able to play this week?   Does he need a couple weeks worth of rest and then be ok?  Jimmy will play this one close to the vest and that is probably all the information we are going to get.   Let's hope he is healthy this week as losing two offensive weapons will be tough to overcome on the road.

Drake Harris might play basketball

When Drake commitment to Michigan I was very excited.  He was DPJ before DPJ as an instate recruit.  He was a 4 star two sport star and looked like the deep threat the Michigan offense needed.   Injuries and the day to day grind of football on his frame has caused too many injuries for this talented player.   If the rumors are true, I'm sure Coach B is smiling in his office and would love to have the athletic guard.   He would have two years left to play basketball and his scholarship would count towards football this year. 

  • Toys-r-us filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday.  They hope to keep their 1600 stores open as they go through this process.   David Brandon might want to consider free Lego's if a customer purchases two cokes.

  • Was that the Detroit Lions playing well on MNF last night?

  • Did you see that PSU James Franklin called a timeout to freeze the Georgia State kicker when PSU was up 56-0?  That comes the week after he calls the rivalry with Pitt, "like beating Akron". Class act James.   Penn State has moon walked through their non-conference schedule, the trip to Iowa City will be their first test of the year.  

  • Quinn Nordin named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week

  • Michigan is on Fox this weekend but we won't get Gus Johnson.   The rumor is that Ross-Ade could sell out, which is a rare occurrence.   Fox has a the State of Indiana vs. the State of Michigan thing going.  Michigan at Purdue at 4:00 and ND at MSU at 8:00.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Michigan Monday: Looks Ahead To The Boilermakers

The Boilermakers are a hot tech stock right now that people are either buying or considering buying.   They have a new young CEO/head coach Jeff Brohm and the offense is putting up some points.   Wall Street/Big Ten is noticing and have a chance to send their stock price through the roof with a win this weekend.

Record: 2-1 (only loss is to Louisville by 7 points)
Last Week: Housed Missouri/SEC Team on the road, 35-3
Line: Michigan -9.5
ESPN Big Ten Rank: #8
Passing: 286 yards per game at 35th in the county
Defense: Gives up 19 points per game which is 41st

  • Jourdan Lewis struggled in his first NFL game on Sunday but did have an interception.
  • Darboh also had his first catch for the Seahawks.
  • Michigan transfer "Footwork" Freddy Canteen has torn his labrum and is out for the year for ND.   Sounds like he could be eligible for a injury redshirt.
  • Recruiting news has been slow of late as the Wolverines are planning huge weekend visits for the MSU and OSU game.   I hadn't seen this reported but 3/4 star 2018 VA WR Dillon Spalding visited for the Air Force game.   2019 WR Quinten Johnson also visited this weekend.

  • Big Updates:
    • Black's injury of a broken foot was confirmed by Jim Harbaugh today.   Will need surgery -no timetable for return but probably will be gone for the year.
    • He feels Ty Isaac will be Ok.
    • There are reports that Drake Harris may leave football to play for Coach B and the basketball team.  If you remember Drake was a top 100 player and MSU commit before deciding to play football full time.  Not sure if Drake is planning to play both or will leave football right now for basketball full time.   He will have two years of basketball eligibility left on the hardwood.

    Sunday, September 17, 2017

    Breaking News: Reports Are That Tarik Black Has A Broken Foot

    Many saw Tarik Black take a ride on the cart to the locker room after the game.   Social Media is a buzz and a trusted Michigan insider is saying that Black has broken his foot and will be out for two months but probably the rest of the season.

    This is another blow to a struggling Michigan offense.  Michigan may look to pull the redshirt off Oliver Martin or Nico Collins.  Let's hope there is better news about Ty Isaac.

    Please note, this injury hasn't been officially confirmed by Michigan.  The team usually doesn't confirm any player injuries unless they are serious like Grant Newsome's.