Friday, October 2, 2020

Michigan Friday: Are we Talking About Practice, Practice?

We are all familiar with AI's famous rant about missing practice for the 76'ers.  I have a take about Michigan Football under Jimmy that you may or may not agree with.  

I've had a consistent thought under Harbaugh as Michigan head coach, that the team looked prepared but not sharp in most of its match-ups.   It's a bit hard to explain, because I'm not saying the team isn't prepared (unless your Don Brown and facing OSU offense) what I'm saying is, the team needed more practice and live reps.  

I'm a huge proponent of having a team come in a do a joint practice in the preseason so both teams can get live reps.  Most NFL players are against pre-season games but the the joint practices are what they prefer to prepare for the season.   Since that is not an option in college football, how can they get better by only practicing on the field for 20 hours a week?  Let's be clear, many programs probably break the 20 hour rule but you can't do that at Michigan after the RR/Free Press stretching scandal. 

There are a ton of negatives to this COVID season, like some of Michigan's players opting out, not playing a non-conference, no fans, and starting in October.  Not being able to practice or being prepared shouldn't be one of them.  

Michigan has a starting QB that has little to no experience but has been in the program for two years waiting to play.   Michigan has also been practicing since the start of August and hasn't stopped.  Work outs started in June/July.  Yesterday, was the first day in pads.   Michigan will have been practicing for close to 3 months prior to taking the field in Minnesota.  My expectation is that they will be prepared and sharp in the Twin Cities.  

I know Michigan would be a lot better with Nico and Ambry but not having time to prepare their back-ups shouldn't be an issue like it would be if they got injured on the last practice before the first game.  Remember that day?  Or last year when our starting QB got injured on the first series?  Reports lately have been that injury was a lot worse then we knew.  

Michigan has the talent to win all their games outside of the trip to Columbus.  I trust the coaches can get the kids prepared and they should be more then ready to play.   Now is the time to take a couple steps back up the ladder in college football.


Cmfgoblue said...

I enjoyed that post very much today... thank you Bob.... the boys will be ready, and crush Minnesota... blow out... 38-16... setting up a very fun MSU game.... Go Blue!!

Voice of Reason said...

Bob, I believe I understand and agree with you. Many football coaches and players will say however, that running around in helmets alone is far different than hitting all out in pads. If they've just started with the pads (and we know that osu has somehow been working out in pads since January) then they still should be ready for Minnesota.

When college QB's play with limited to no experience, it seems as though they still have a better chance at doing well and catching up than if they were rookies in the NFL (look at osu's transfer qb from Clemson a year ago). Now we understand that Joe Milton is an exceptional talent with a howitzer at the end of his shoulder and he will have growing pains but I am excited to see him in action when he knows that he is "the" guy, because teams are going to have to account for his abilities.

I think that Michigan's time to step up and claim their spot with the elites has come, they "have" to beat some top ten teams, they "have" to beat osu and put themselves into contention for the playoffs. I think that preparation (between the ears) and a fluid active, adjusted play book will be the things that's needed to take Michigan over the top. We know that it's very difficult to compete with the Alabama's, Clemson's and osu's when they cheat in their recruitment and we've resolved that we are going to do it the "right way," so that means we resolve to a slow build. However, we also know that our talent aren't "all" NFL caliber players but they are currently good enough to "compete." Keep in mind that Clemson was not ranking #1 in recruitment when they emerged as a national contender. IMHO!!!