Friday, October 23, 2009

GBMW: Doc4blu's Preview of Penn State vs. Michigan

The Pennsylvania State University versus The University of Michigan Preview

This game should be a joy to watch, assuming both teams play well. The game is not the unstoppable force, Michigan’s offense, against the immovable object, Penn State’s defense, but at this juncture of the season this is likely the best offense PSU has faced and almost certainly this is the best defense UM has faced.

Make no mistake, this match-up is interesting and will be important. But a match-up that may determine the game even more so than the one cited above just might be the Michigan defense’s ability to limit the damage from PSU’s big time offensive threats.

First, off to be discussed is a dismissal of some PSU myths. PSU is not slow and PSU does not run a 1950’s dinosaur offense. Galen Hall, hired to bring energy to the offense and utilize skilled players, is one of the better assistant coaches (a former head coach) in the nation. This was a big advance when PSU landed Hall. PSU quarterbacks can throw the ball, maybe not to elite levels, but certainly adequate. PSU cannot win the close games. Sometimes they do and sometimes they do not, just like everyone else. Joe is too old. Wrong, Joe is like everyone else, give him talent and he will be tough to beat. There is no one like Joe, at age 80+ he is truly remarkable. Those who criticize him likely will never see their 80th birthday.

Second, here within are presented some considerations that may engage readers to consider factors about the outcome of the game.
• Penn State has crushed lesser teams averaging over 30 points per game, but only scoring 15 a game against two Big Ten teams.
• Regardless of competition, Penn State’s defense has been outstanding, near the level of Ohio State.
• PSU has been a knockout first half team, magnificent.
• PSU has doubled the rushing yardage per carry of the opposition; this is extremely difficult to do. The lions have also doubled the number of first downs. The passing attack is at about 8 yards per attempt, about what most teams strive for.
• PSU has missed on the long field goal attempts this year and have given up some yardage in the return game.

Third, here is a snapshot of the PSU offense that will attempt to score early to control the game.
• Evan Royster is playing very well, averaging almost 6 yards a carry.
• Daryll Clark’s efficiency is off the charts at over 140.
• Derek Moye is averaging over 17 yards a catch and will be difficult to cover one on one. He has size and can go get a ball.
• Moye, is not the only tough match-up, Chaz Powell, Andrew Quarless, Mickey Shuler, and Joe Suhey could all cause difficulty if not accounted for by the defense.

Fourth, the defense is solid all the way through but here are a few nuggets.
• The front line is very good at pushing back the o-line, especially d-tackle Odrick.
• The corners are very good at locking down.
• The linebackers are, well, PSU linebackers.

Next, consider the following burning questions as to how the game may play out.
• Can Michigan’s front seven shut down Royster, Clark, and the rest of the running game early? If not, this will be a gruesome affair in likelihood. UM’s front seven are giving up over 60 pounds a man again. Can the linebackers contribute at all?
• Will Michigan double Moye and sacrifice coverage on the other receivers and at the same time weaken the run defense?
• How effective will PSU’s play action be? Watch for the deep post if the safety vacates. Watch for a tight end straight down the field if a safety vacates.
• Where will PSU’s passing game attack? The Lions will likely tier (all three levels) the passing game. The offense may send flyers deep to set up screens and tight end curls.
• Can Michigan successfully pressure Clark and account for him on keepers? If Clark is rushed he tends to sail the ball, this is on film for all to see. On the flip, how will the young Michigan quarterbacks respond to the best defense played so far?
• Will the crowd provide a home field advantage?
• Which team will self-destruct the most with turnovers? UM still is very vulnerable and turnovers beat PSU in the Iowa game.
• Will the Michigan offense suffer a ton of 3 and outs? The last two points may be the true keys to the game. Associated with the above thought is how well the Michigan o-line can move the defense backwards, if at all.
• How then will UM attack this excellent PSU defense? It will be tough to run the middle, but attempts must be made. The screen game to the backs may make a major comeback and please use the tight ends to help relieve the pressure.

It will be rainy, and about 50, according to the current forecasts. The old argument abounds, does rain favor the big or the quick?

The writer views PSU as a better team than Iowa and views Iowa’s victory at Happy Valley as a monster win. On the surface the Lions appear to be about a touchdown better. Coach Robinson’s preparation is likely simplified this week regarding complexity, due to the nature of the PSU offense. But there is no simplicity in scoring on PSU, and the basic running plays that are the signatures of a PSU offense are still going strong. The Lions have suffered injuries at the o-tackle spot, but like UM the wounded are reappearing.

Thanks for stopping by Go Blue Michigan Wolverine
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Written by Doc4Blu

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