Sunday, October 9, 2011

Northwestern Review

Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press

I know that John Bacon's book that is coming out called Three and Out will give us the behind the scenes drama about RR tenure, but there is something different about the team this year.  You can point to experience which if fair but I have another take; it's the defensive coaching and adjustments.   The lack of coaching adjustments can even be pointed back to Carr era.   The Northwestern game showed Michigan fans that good coaching and adjustments can win you a football game.  

Michigan lost the first half and should have.  Denard threw 3 picks and the Michigan defense didn't seem to have any answers for anything that Northwestern was doing.   It looked like Northwestern was going to double their 24 first half points.  Well, something funny happened on the way to the Michigan blow out.  Greg Mattison and Brady Hoke made some defensive adjustments and Denard starting throwing the ball to the guys in the white jerseys.   "We went to a bigger group," Hoke said of the defense in the second half, "using some nickel package sub-groups, put Jake Ryan back out as a SAM to have a bigger-body guys engage the receivers. That was part of it. We went a little more simplistic, to be honest with you."
The Michigan defense got two turnovers in second half and a 4th down stop.  Denard got back doing what Denard does and finished the game with 117 yards on the ground and 337 through the air.  The most important stat is that the Michigan defense pitched a shutout in the second half and those 24 points the Wildcats had at half time were the same 24 points they had at the end of the game. 

Side note:  I almost jumped through my TV set on the final plays of the first half.  There was 6 second left in the half when Northwestern tried to score one more time.  Persa gets the ball from the shot gut, looks around the field, steps up in the pocket and throws an incomplete pass in the back of the end zone.  They reviewed it and said there was 2 seconds left in the half.   Are you kidding me?  The entire above sequence took 4 seconds?  The clock should have run out and they must have started it late. 

  • Michigan Fans should feel very proud to have a defensive coordinator like Greg Mattison.  
  • 2nd half Denard and Defense
  • Hemingway and Roundtree
  • Devin Gardner
  • 0 punts in the second half
  • Kovacs two 4th down stops!
  • Poor special teams: blocked punt and kick offs out of bounds. 
  • 1st half Denard and Defense
  • Final seconds in the first half
  • I think the officials were poor for both teams (I counted about 3-4 holds on the Michigan defense line that was not called)
Congrats to Big Will on his first sack! Blake Countess is going to be a super star at corner.   I was concerned early in the game that there was bad mojo between Denard and Roundtree.  It seemed every time he threw to Roy he missed him.  That changed in the second half and Roy finished with 83 passing yards and 3 big catches.  Brady Hoke going for it on fourth down in the first half was 100% the right call.   You have to take those risks to win a ball game.  BTW: this is Michigan's 6th win of the season and they are now bowl eligible. 

It's MSU week and they will have two week to prepare for the Wolverines in East Lansing.

1 comment:

Voice of Reason said...

I share the same concern with you, that MSU has had an extra dedicated week to prepare for this game. Motivated teams that are coming off of that extra week are dangerous. I hope Michigan is prepared for an ambush.