Friday, October 23, 2009

GBMW: Coach's Corner Penn State at Michigan -- The Match Ups

GBMW: Coach's Corner Penn State at Michigan -- The Match Ups

When Michigan has the football

Michigan running game vs. Penn State front seven:
For Michigan to be successful the team must be able to run the football. Penn State 's front seven is the strength of the team. Odrick is the best defensive tackle Michigan will see this year and Ogba does a solid job.

The above reality is what concerns me the most, the strength of the Penn State defense is up the middle, this is exactly where Michigan has had some problems. If Molk can return and play well, this would probably help. Penn State also has, if healthy, a very good set of linebackers.

Michigan's strength has been consistency and the quarterbacks being able to hurt teams that gang up on Minor or C. Brown. A question will be can Penn State generate all the negative plays they have this season, something like 60, against the Wolverines? Michigan also has an advantage of being deep at running back, although they have missed C. Brown's game breaking ability.

Advantage Penn State

Michigan passing game vs. Penn State back seven:

One of the things that has helped Penn State is this defense has been able to generate a pass rush without blitzing. This has allowed them to protect the weakest, in my opinion, area of the defense, the defensive backs.

If Michigan can continue to give reasonable protection to their quarterbacks Penn State will have to make decision about blitzing. If the PSU defense blitzes, this could open up the secondary to big plays.

A key match here is how well does Penn State defend the tight end. If Michigan can use the tight end to move the chains and possess the ball this will be huge.

Another advantage is Michigan's mobile quarterbacks. If the interior line can keep the PSU defensive front inside push to a minimum, this will open up some seams inside and make Penn State decide whether to commit a linebacker to spying or not. Linebacker spying will take a defender out of coverage and again leave the secondary vulnerable.

Advantage: Push, although if Michigan can protect this could have the potential to make this an advantage for Michigan. I am just concerned enough about blocking Odrick and Ogba to make it a push.

When Penn State has the ball

Michigan front seven vs. Penn State running game:

Royster is a good back, not a great one in my opinion. I really like how Michigan 's front 3/4 matches up against Penn State 's offensive line. Our quick, angling front could give the bigger Penn State offensive line some fits.

Where I worry is how will our linebackers hold up? They have not been very good at getting off of blocks and shedding linemen. I watched some Penn State film and they do a decent job of getting to linebackers. So that is a concern. If our front seven can do a solid job of defending the run, without committing the safeties to the line of scrimmage, this will be huge. Royster breaks quite a few tackles so Michigan has to tackle crisply and run to the ball like early in the year.

Advantage: A very slight advantage to Penn State, only because the Michigan linebacker play has not been consistent. I really like B. Graham against any of their offensive tackles and our overall quickness against Penn State 's offensive line.

Michigan back seven vs. Penn State passing game:

My biggest worry here is Clark 's feet. Michigan cannot allow him to escape the pocket and gain key yards and first downs, Ala Cousins. Clarks ability to make things happen and buy time will be huge, and if Michigan can slow that down it will be major plus in our favor.

Moye presents some match up problems, at 6'5 and a sprint champ he is tough to defend. But he is not the type of physical wide receiver that has given Michigan some problems this season. Penn State also has a tight end in Quarless who is the type of big physical player who has caused Michigan some problems.

Advantage: Penn State, I just think Michigan will have problems corralling Clark and will have to pull the safeties up. But this not a huge advantage and perhaps may be overcome.

Special Teams:

The match-up is very similar; both teams have star quality punters, walk on kickers, and nothing special return games. What that tells me is watch this area very closely. If either team can make a few plays here it could very well tip the game that teams way.

Advantage: Michigan because Mesko is the best.


Michigan is playing at home and the Michigan faithful have given them a great lift. Michigan is coming off a 3-9 season and for the most part has played like the team has something to prove. Penn State is still in the conference title hunt, as is Michigan. A loss either way would pretty much kill the loser’s chances. Both teams are getting key players back from injury.

Advantage: Michigan, white coming!


This game should be another of the take your valium, watch the blood pressure, roller coaster rides we have come to expect.

Thanks for stopping by Go Blue Michigan Wolverine
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Written by CoachBt

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