This year GBMW has enlisted even more help in breaking down game previews and recapping the events of previous games. Coach Webb has decided to help CoachBt and myself in breaking down the opponents and let us know what Michigan has to do each week to secure a mission accomplished tag. Thank you guys for being “all in.” - EROC
Western Michigan at Michigan -- Game 1
Western Michigan is led this season by All-Mid-American Conference returnees Tim Hiller, Juan Nunez, Austin Pritchard, Phillip Swanson and Brandon West. In 2007 Western Michigan got out of the gate quick on Iowa and we have to believe, with the season that Michigan just endured, that the Broncos want a repeat performance, not only for their own confidence, but to also play some mind games with the Michigan players and fan base inside Michigan Stadium.
Here are the top three match ups as we see the game unfolding:
1- Michigan’s offensive line vs. Western Michigan’s front seven:
Michigan needs to be able to run the football. The last thing Michigan does not want is any more pressure than necessary placed on a true freshman starting his first game as a Wolverine.
2- Michigan front seven on defense vs. Western Michigan offensive line.
3- Hiller vs. the Big House
This will be quarterback Hiller's third year as a starter. He was third team All-Mac last season and is capable of picking a secondary apart. Michigan must put pressure on him to help the secondary. The gunslinger is in town.Offensive Preview:
The obvious is the obvious; everyone predicts that Michigan will try and run the ball a lot in this game. There are two reasons: (1) the staff certainly believes they can do significant damage on the ground with an improved line and talented backs going against new Bronco personnel and (2) this gives a side-benefit of keeping the pressure off of Tate Forcier, reducing the risk of putting Tate in situations that could create trouble for a young quarterback.
Offensively Michigan must get at least 200 yards rushing (we believe they will) in order to win the game. It is still our prediction that Tate Forcier gets most of the reps this week at quarterback, with Denard Robinson getting around fifteen snaps (we could be wrong of course, circumstances get in the way of the best laid plans).
The one thing that really worries us, in regards to T. Forcier, is the possibility of damaging turnovers. That is why the running game is important, perhaps critical. We also believe that Carlos brown will lead this team in rushing this week, somewhere around 100 yards. Also, expect to see as many as five backs carry the ball, with none of them over 15 carries (Minor would be one of those five if he plays). UM has the depth and might as well use them all in some manner.
Michigan should dominate the line of scrimmage, if not the Wolverines are in for a long year. We expect the offense to come through and would not be shocked to see Michigan with numerous carries (we boldly pick four as a number) of 20 yards or more.
Coach Rod will predictably start T. Forcier out easy with bubbles and easy reading full sprints/roll outs. One thing we believe this staff will do is take advantage of the players’ strengths. However, the staple to this offense is still underpinned by the inside and outside zone series. We all cannot wait to see Denard run inside with C. Brown or M. Shaw this Saturday.Defensive Preview:
Defensively UM needs to tackle better (especially against a spread), get to the quarterback and NOT GIVE UP BIG PLAYS. Also, when third down comes make a play and get off the field. Just like golf, more is not better.
Complete disclosure: Western Michigan defensive back coach Tim Daoust is a friend of my high school program (CoachBt) and former teammate of one of my fellow coaching assistants at Wittenburg. The coaching staff participated in a clinic with him at the Northwest Ohio Clinic, and he even gave us a DVD of his practice sessions and some game film showing how his practices work. In our opinion he is one of the young, up and coming, defensive back coaches in the area. We are lucky he graduated three starters from last season’s noteworthy Bronco team, including the Lions’ starting free safety, who is a big time Thumper!
A thing to watch is how Coach Daoust disguises and switches his coverage packages. The DVD shows Western Michigan playing a number of different schemes and coverage packages, and switching coverage at the snap.
The DVD also shows the Broncos starting in press, backing out of this and still playing cover 2. Also it shows their defense playing some cover 4 with the safety free, and man under safety free, both out of same look.
How much of this detailed scheme Western Michigan will get in with losing three starters we are not sure. But it is likely that Coach Daoust will push to get as much in as possible with Michigan using a rookie quarterback.
This will actually be a good preparation for T, Forcier and Michigan in prepping for Notre Dame. Coach Tenuta does some of the same things, disguising and switching coverages at the snap.
The above defensive strategy will make Michigan having the ability to run the football even more crucial. Letting T. Forcier and the offense throw because they want to and not because they have to will be an important key to the game.
Players to Watch:
Players we will walk away from the game remembering their performances will be Carlos Brown, Michael Shaw, Martavious Odoms, Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson, Brandon Graham (duh), Troy Woolfolk, and Jonas Mouton.
Five Keys to Winning the Opener:
1) Start strong and get the crowd into the game.
2) Control the line of scrimmage.
3) Limit turnovers, especially on special teams.
4) Win third down.
5) Don't give up big plays on defense.
Michigan needs to shore up their special teams from last year, along with their turnover margin. If UM can just accomplish this one need, regarding turnovers, the season will likely start off on a higher note than last year.
As they say, it is time to put up or shut up. If the Michigan team is tired of the media hounding them, along with other fan bases hurling mocking abuse, then this game is one that presents a great opportunity.
We hope all the fans of this site who have read this article will make their predictions in the comment section.
Thanks and Go Blue! -- GBMW
Go Blue Michigan Wolverine -- Predictions
Western Michigan 21
Western Michigan 20
Western Michigan 17
Western Michigan 17
Western Michigan 24
Special guest this week -- Bo Schemblogger:
Western Michigan 20
Thanks for stopping by Go Blue Michigan Wolverine
If you have any questions please E-Mail
Written by CoachBt, Coach Webb and ErocWolverine