Friday, October 25, 2013

Michigan Friday: Looks Forward

Gorilla Waving = Bye Week Photo

I like one bye week a year, it helps the team fix what's wrong with them and move on.   Michigan has now had two this season and yes, they need plenty of extra time to work on a consistent offense and a defense that all of sudden seems to be leaking. I still would rather see the Wolverines on the field this weekend as I believe you prepare to get better Monday - Friday but actually do get better on Saturday afternoons.

Since Michigan has nothing but difficult games in front of them, I thought we would take an early look at the MSU game and things to look for if you watch them this weekend. 

Michigan - MSU way too early preview (from a Michigan point of view)

Keys to the game:

  • Can Michigan play well on the road?  When was the last time?  Sheridan vs. Minnesota?  Michigan has to change something, so the players feel like it's a home game.  Sleep in Ann Arbor and drive to EL Saturday morning?   Something! 

  • Can Michigan move the ball on the best defense they will face in the Big Ten?  Michigan has had trouble moving the ball against poor defensives at times this year, how are they going to move the ball against the #1 rank D in the land?   The answer better not be for Devin to run the ball a lot, because I'm worried about him making it a full game, if they throw a "Denard" strategy at Sparty.   MSU has big physical corners and it's going to be an issue to throw and we know the Wolverines don't run the ball well.   This is a huge test for Big Al and his inconsistent game plans.  This paragraph is troubling for a positive outcome next weekend.

  • Can MSU score on Michigan's defense?  MSU's offense scored 7 points against Purdue's defense last week.  Sparty's defense has also been scoring.   I'm confident that GMat will have a good game plan, Devin can't give Sparty great field position or free points on pick 6's or fumbles. 

  • Low scoring means lots of field goals.  That state of Michigan's kicking game is not good (no pun intended).  If Michigan can get back early season Gibbons then we are fine, if it's the last two games Gibbons, not so good.

What to watch this weekend:

Every team left of Michigan's schedule plays this weekend. 

  • Does MSU give up any yardage on the ground to Illinois?  (watch for an upset here if Illinois doesn't turn the ball over)
  • Is Taylor Martinez getting healthy just in time for his trip to Ann Arbor? (outside of UCLA has Nebraska played any other quality opponent?)
  • Is Northwestern back yet or do they still have issues at QB and RB?
  • Is Iowa for real?
  • Will OSU blow out Penn State or can the Nittany Lions make it a game?

Michigan can't afford another loss in Big Ten play if they are going to make it to Indy.    A lot is riding on the shoulders of Devin Gardner and the playing calling of Big AL.  Greg Mattison will keep Michigan in the game,  Devin and Al need to find a way to win it.   I hope Big AL is working this weekend and not selling appliances. 

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