Friday, September 04, 2009
Michigan Blog Preview: Western Michigan at Michigan
An Invitation is hereby extended to our Wolverine blogbrethrens and friends.
The GBMW readership reads with interest the game predictions generated by the contributors. Your site is cordially invited to participate in the fun. Each week, assuming continued interest, GBMW would like to have a guest prediction and analysis from a different Michigan blogsite for the upcoming Saturday game.
This should be beneficial to all Michigan blog pages and we here hope that a secondary benefit from this venture is increased exposure to all U of M blogpages.
So if you are interested and administer/contribute to a Michigan blog, please E-Mail GBMW and let us know your willingness to participate. Several remaining games are still in need of a guest blog predictor/contributor.
Perhaps you may wish to stop by at http://www.gobluemichiganwolverine.blogspot.com/ today and tomorrow and check out how the first week’s format went down.
We at our site wish you continued success and Go Blue!
Special guest this week -- Bo Schemblogger:
He runs the blog page Bo Schemblogger so please go look at his work.
The following is my prediction for the WMU vs. Michigan game:
Western Michigan strolls into Ann Arbor on Saturday as a 12.5 point underdog hoping to do what many lesser football programs have accomplished lately, and that is to win. One thing WMU has on their side is a highly rated All-MAC QB, Tim Hiller, who will look to beat his second Big Ten school in as many years as he knocked off a very good Illinois team last year. The problem he'll have this Saturday in Ann Arbor is 12 All-MAC players from his team have been lost to graduation and only 4 starters return on defense. The defense will be lead by: Austin Pritchard-LB, SR; Justin Braska-DE, JR; Mitch Zajac-LB, So; and Miami, FL transfer-Doug Wiggins-SS, Jr. and Waymon Ross, LB-FR-hurt out 4-6 weeks-Chris Prom to take his place.
This WMU team will go only as far as Hiller and his fellow offensive returnees will take them. WMU will have 7 starters back to help "move the chains" against what many think is a faster and more disciplined Michigan defense. There is no doubt the WMU offense will spread the ball around to WR's: Juan Nunez, 6-0, 175, JR. Robert Arnheim, 6-2, 180 So. Jordan White, 6-0, 206, JR (now announced as out for Saturday) and TE Matt Stevens, 6-4, 240 SR. Hiller loves to throw to the sidelines and also seam routes up the middle. Other names at WR to watch are Ansel Ponder and Cheb Ravenell.
It is no secret that Brandon West-RB-SR will power the running game, as he did last year for 1,026 yards, and fans might also get to see Aaron Winchester-RB-Soph. who also is a power runner with break-away speed. Watch for screens and other trick plays that involve West from out of the backfield.
Western Michigan could win if Hiller is allowed to constantly move the chains against the Michigan defense, keeping the Michigan defense on the field. Hiller will have the opportunity to throw against a defense that has seen three defensive coordinators in three years. One can only assume that the Michigan defense could revert back to last years mis-tackling, and giving up long pass plays and breakaway runs. If Hiller can keep WMU in the game at the half, there, will be a lot moaning and groaning in the Michigan stands.
Michigan will win because a year makes a big difference when you are starting out with a team that has more talent and experience. Michigan certainly has talent on both sides of the ball this year, but unfortunately WMU lacks, at least on paper, great talent on its defense. Watch for Michigan to go back to the basics with ball and clock control using Minor, Brown and Shaw until the offense gets Forcier settled in. Then watch as Michigan opens up the floodgates spreading the ball to the Mathews, Odoms/Grady, Hemingway and Koger. We'll see a lot more use of the TE this year mirroring the "Oklahoma" approach to the spread attack.
Another thing to remember in this off-season, the one unit that has shown the most improvement is our offensive line, which is led by LT Mark Ortmann and LG Steve Schilling. I can't wait to see these hogs move defensive lineman and make holes for Minor and the rest of the running backs. Another newcomer to watch for is Vincent Smith, who is likely to see some time at running back. I will assume he will come in when Michigan is looking for a game changing play, because that's what this freshman offers.
What about QB you ask? I don't think it will be a surprise to anyone when Forcier gets the nod, but if Sheridan is out there first it's only out of respect, then watch for Forcier to get into the game immediately. The truth is if Forcier is not starting this game, then we have a huge problem with our talent at QB. Many of us witnessed first-hand how poised Forcier was at this year’s spring game and I expect him to show a lot of the same against WMU on Saturday. We will finally see a new brand of football in the "Big House" with Tate running for big gains, and also throwing for big gains while on the run. The bonus here is if Michigan gets stagnant you'll see Denard come is for a select number of plays. Do not be fooled for one bit, Denard with a quick release can throw the ball, and accurately too. If he cannot find the receiver he will run and that is when the "Big House" fans will see for themselves the kid known as "shoelace." Can you imagine having Forcier and Robinson on the field at the same time for a select number of plays? Count on it against a very young WMU defense!
D-E-F-E-N-S-E: Can you say-Graham, Martin and Van Bergen? I hope so, because you're going to see the most athletic front three in a long time at Michigan. This Michigan defense is going to be challenged early and often against a WMU passing attack that could be in the top ten in the country by season's end. Getting pressure on Hiller to force him out of his rhythm is the only way to stop a 6-5 QB that cannot run, and this will be key. I'm telling you he is going to be a sitting duck in the second half of this game. Another key is going to be our LB play against WMU, because this will take the pressure off of our defensive backs. Whether we're in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme the name of the game is going to be LB play. To stop Brandon West, Mouton is going to have to blast him head on and Stevie Brown, Obi Ezeh and Brandon Herron will need to play well to keep everyone in front of them, otherwise it will fall on the secondary like last year. Michigan's young safeties cannot get burned against Hiller and trust me he is going to test them early. Both Williams and Woolfolk are going to have to make sure they are in position to offer support, if DB's-Warren and Cissoko need help covering Western's Nunez and Arnheim, because both of these receivers are deep threats.
Check back later Friday for my prediction on the GBMW Preview and Predictions article.
Written by Bo Schemblogger
He runs the blog page Bo Schemblogger so please go look at his work.
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