Tuesday, October 20, 2009
GBMW: What Happened and What it Means – A Look Back at the Delaware State
What Happened and What it Means – A Look Back at the Delaware State Game
There will be no preponderance of excessive verbiage here, but even a game such as Saturday’s venture can provide insights.
First off, all readers should understand the difficulty Delaware State faced yesterday. It is very difficult to play hard when a team is getting eight yards per carry on the defense routinely. There was a big mismatch in talent and the results were very predictable. The game was played for Michigan’s convenience of filling out the schedule and Delaware State’s athletic coffer. Both teams handled the situation well. Do not take this happy time for granted; teams on both sides of an obvious blowout can react poorly.
The predicted score by the author last week was in the neighborhood of 42-13. The inflated difference was the Michigan troops playing hard, all of them, in each unit and at every level (first team, second team, etc.). And so, here are some tidbits, none monumental, which may be of casual interest.
The quarterback duties were shared across the board, as everyone predicted and expected. Someone will likely try to make a big deal out of Tate playing one series and starting onto the field for a second and then coming back as Denard took the field. Much ado about nothing indeed is such a discussion. The extra time to heal is valuable for Tate and the extra time to develop for Denard is equally valuable. Sheridan showed that he can compete in a pinch; he knows the offense and can still hit some short patterns where the receiver is wide open. Sheridan again showed that when the big play is on the line, he comes up a little short. Nick’s time at Michigan will be invaluable for his later coaching success. Here is a guy who is a prime candidate for a grad assistantship, likely from many sources. David Cone threw the ball better than the writer has ever witnessed from him in all these years. Good for David, this should leave a very warm residue concerning his time at Michigan. Do not feel too sorry for David, he gets to travel, gets some letters, and most of all a degree from one of the top five public institutions of higher learning in the nation. Denard’s offense was still limited and he did hit some passes that intramural qb’s could have completed. This guy will continue to get better and he is clearly one of the top three athletes on the team.
The running back stable showed little drop off from the number three back, Michael Shaw, to the “3a’s” Vinnie Smith, Kevin Grady, and Michael Cox. Cox could be the big back replacement for Minor. The backs showed what everyone knows: if the line blocks and a back can get into the second level without being touched, then all backs gain yardage and look good. Grady made some good moves yesterday against slower competition but still managed to direct himself into some tackles. Vinnie Smith, yes he is that good and his running is not a fluke. He has great Mike Hart abilities in a small hole and if Vinnie gets a head of steam up he can truck a tackler, even at 165 pounds. Vinnie carries and protects the ball very well at this stage of his development. As all of the readers likely noticed on Saturday, Vinnie has Mike Hart speed. But I like the guy that gets me yardage every time versus the vitamin pill that breaks one big one a game.
The offensive line was workmanlike as always and the guys on the second unit had to relish the opportunity to hit someone other than Mike Martin or B. Graham. Depth is what was evident yesterday, even taking into consideration the opponent.
The wideouts had to display patience on Saturday. There was no way U of M was going to be filling the air with footballs. Kelvin and Martell getting the first touchdown of their careers is neat. Koger still needs to be involved more and he should become a weapon, as Tate will be heavily blitzed the next five games. The blocking on the perimeter remains adequate, but adequate may not be good enough the rest of the way. These guys will have to accept sacrifice in the name of the team. Like it or not, the UM spread is a run first spread. Still, the GBMW staff firmly believes this team can eventually be very successful in the passing game if the weapons are all utilized. The guys are not on strike like last year, but everyone in the group must block and block well.
Delaware State hit a few deep outs; it seems every team is giving up a few deep outs nowadays, not just UM. The tackling was fine, due largely to the fact that the runners were hit at the line of scrimmage. So give a salute to the d-line. Again, Coach Robinson’s 3-4 lined up in formations that could drive a linear person bonkers. Yesterday, I saw one alignment that looked like an ancient 6-1 Eagle that I have not seen for 40 years. CoachBt may want to take on a discussion of the bizarre alignments. This may turn him into Lou Holtz. Call it a 3-4 or whatever, but it appears to me that the great advantage is the offense can never be quite sure where the fourth or fifth guy will be coming from.
The d-line made the linebacker’s day easy and so what to say, maybe nothing?
The biggest disappointment to this writer is the declining play of the return and return coverage teams. Yes, Zoltan does indeed make the punt coverage team’s job easier, but the combining contribution, minus the Stonum touchdown in the ND game, is minimal. It has been stated that the coaches share duties for special teams. The coaches need a coordinated effort to make this unit stronger and quickly so. In short, special teams must be more highly valued and practiced. This is not; repeat not, a job for grad assistants.
This team has been brought back to earth from the two tough road games and there is no doubt every player knows somehow, somewhere one more game must be won to be bowl eligible. So, here comes a very big challenge; a Penn State team with good, big athletes that match up well with Michigan’s deficiencies. More on the Penn State game this week in the preview sections.
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Written by Doc4Blu