Friday, October 4, 2013

Minnesota Preview

Time: 3:30
Location: Big House
Weather:  77 30% of Thunderstorms
Line:  Michigan -19

Minnesota is being Minnesota.  They play a bunch of "Please Pay Us Games" in the non-conference to become 4-0.   Then they hit the Big Ten season and hope to find 2 wins to make the Pizza or the Detroit Lions Bowl in Detroit.   Are they different this year?  Last week's 23-7 loss to Iowa points to a trend of the same old Golden Gophers.  What to change that trend?  Beat the Wolverines on homecoming and take home the "Little Brown Jug".   Michigan and Minnesota are in different B1G 10 conferences starting next year and it might be a long time before they meet again. 

We all know to well, Michigan's struggles during their past two games and have had a week off to rest, learn, and re-coop.   We will see what Michigan team takes the field on Saturday afternoon. 

Tale of the Tape

Michigan's new O Line vs. Minn. D Line = Push
Devin Gardner vs. Turnover Devin Gardner = Minnesota
Michigan's Defense vs. Minn. Offense =  Michigan
Special Teams = Michigan
Intangibles for Trophy Game = Michigan

It's no secret that Akron and UConn have provided plenty of tape on how you beat the Wolverines.   Stack the box on the run and make Devin throw the ball.  He might throw it to the other team.  10 turnovers through 4 games is a bit of a trend.  Minnesota has two solid defensive tackles in  Hageman and Botticelli but lack powerful DE's.  Which means Minnesota's strengths are against Michigan's new offensive lineman (positions) in Glasgow at Center and Bryant a Guard.  Michigan's two NFL quality Offensive Tackles shouldn't have much problems with the Gophers DE's.

QB issues:  Devin has thrown a pick in 9 straight games and Minnesota can't decide between QB's Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner.   Mitch started last week but got pulled for Nelson.

Sing Hail to the Victors if.........................
  • Devin's TO is late in the game and doesn't impact the outcome
  • Michigan's Defense can completely shut down Minnesota
  • Michigan has over 200 yards on the ground from Fitz, Green and Gardner.
  • Devin is accurate to other guys then Gallon
  • Butt and Funchess have 150 yards worth of catches combined
  • Justice Hayes makes a play as a 3rd down back
  • Michigan can get pressure on the QB with the front 4
  • It's not a AkConn Replay

Yell, Not Again if..............................
  • If Michigan is not positive on TO margin
  • Devin's confidence is somewhere besides Stadium and Main.
  • Michigan's OLine changes are not effective
  • There are some missed snaps
  • Michigan's DB's get exposed deep against a poor offensive team

I sure hope the Michigan coaches have spent the past two weeks back at the chalk board, teaching fundamentals and trying to find ways to open the offense a bit.  Devin needs some easy throws to get his confidence back and the OLine needs to find away to create some holes for the running backs.   We have heard very little out of practice (besides the Oline changes) which makes me believe there will not be a ton of starters changing.   Devin needs to find his TE and RB's out of the backfield and stop staring down Gallon all the time.  Dileo should also be targeted about 5 times a game as well.

If the defensive does what it does and Gardner can protect the ball, Michigan should win this game and keep the oldest trophy in college football.   If Gardner continues his TO trend, Michigan could continue it's trend of struggling against a weaker opponent.  Michigan plays a decent Penn State team in Happy Valley next week, so they better fix what's ailing them this week!

I believe Michigan will be very conservative on offense and continue to try to run the ball hoping the new changes on the offensive line are working.  Devin will throw a few screens to get him comfortable in the pocket.   They need to stop running Devin so much because he is one hit away from a Michigan disaster this season.  If he can scramble and get out of bounds, I am good with that! 
My gut tells me that Fitz and another RB has a big day. 

Michigan 28 Minnesota 17


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