Sunday, September 16, 2007

Waking up the Echos...

of Gerry Faust that is!

Saturday was a extremely delightful day at the Big House. From the very first play of the game, just about everything that could go wrong of Notre Dame did, and just about anything that could go right for Michigan did.

A few observations on the Michigan performance:
-The defensive play calling was excellent. It was blitz heavy, they disguised their coverages, and it didn't feature any instances of Johnny Sears one-on-one on a much faster receiver.
-Although Slocum, and Mouton didn't play, Brandon Graham did and was outstanding with 3 1/2 sacks. His presence allowed Shawn Crable to move back to his natural LB position, and was also excellent with 4 TFLs.
-The tackling was one thousand times better. There was probably fewer missed tackles in this game than there was in about six or seven individual plays in the Oregon debacle.
-A lot of my hopes for the offense revolved around mixing up the play calling, keeping the defense honest. They didn't do much of that, because they didn't need to. What's the point of play action pass when they can't stop the run even when we telegraph the play.
-I was pleased with Mallet's performance, and I hope they give him a few more opportunities to throw next week, as I anticipate the Penn State to be a little tougher to run on.
-What can you say about Mike Hart. I heard one of the talking heads on Gameday refer to McFadden of Arkansas as the best pound for pound player in the country. He's not. He'd have to be one and a half times better to beat our Hart. He is a vision, power, and a refusal to be tackled. He must have broken 50 tackles in 35 carries yesterday. He moved into third on the all time rushing list at Michigan, he'll be number one before the season is over. The most unfortunate thing about our season opening losses is that he won't be in the Heisman hunt, and he's easily the most valuable player in the country.

I'm not sure how much the performance means for next week or the rest of the season, because the team they beat is quite possibly the worst team I've seen in Michigan Stadium in 25+ years of games. Their offensive and defensive lines have the consistency of jello. There were a number of times when every single O-lineman was beat by the man they were blocking. The d-lineman knew Hart was running left behind Long on four out of every five plays and still couldn't stop them. Their WRs have little to no speed. Their DBs were burned deep a couple of times, but chose to shove the Michigan WRs for the PI. Jimmy Clausen looked unimpressive, but its hard to tell how much was his fault. He definitely has a cannon, but it seems to me a couple of times he held onto the ball too long trying to make a big play. I don't think they have one player on their team that would start for Michigan. I was kinda shocked at just how bad they are. Considering that Notre Dame fired Ty Willingham after three seasons, despite him exceeding expectations off the field, and Weis' recent struggles. he should be feeling some heat if things don't improve soon. With USC, UCLA, BC, MSU, Purdue, MSU still to come, the likelihood of them making a bowl is slim to none. Heck they might have trouble wining even four game.

Some other observations from yesterday's games:
-Yikes, the big ten is putrid. Iowa lost to Iowa State who had shown nothing in losses to Kent State and Northern Iowa. Kirk Ferentz is officially off my wish list.
-How much does Minnesota miss Glen Mason? OT games against Bowling Green (loss), Miami (win) and a not as close as it looked loss to Florida Atlantic show that maybe Tim Brewster, who had never been a head coach or coordinator of anything wasn't ready for the job. Seriously, the Florida Atlantic might be the only FBS non conference win the Sun Belt gets this year. Too bad they can't play Syracuse.
-Northwestern's loss to Duke might be the worst of all the losses. Duke has lost 22 straight games. The last time they beat an FBS team it was still known as I-A and the president's approval rating was above 40%.
-You could hear the cursing from the Plains all the way up here when Alabama pulled out the win over Arkansas. The tide (pun intended) has already turned in that rivalry and we're not even out of September.
-The Florida/ LSU is starting to look like a a national semi-final game, unless Alabama, South Carolina or Georgia can throw a wrench into it. The other spot looks like USC's to lose.
-Florida State has lost almost all of the mojo, sex appeal, pizazz, whatever you want to call it, that they used to have in their 14 year run of top 5 finishes. Their game against CU in Boulder was an absolute snooze-fest.

Golden cites another article from a New Orleans paper talking about Miles to Michigan. This one includes a quote from Jim Carty of the AA News talking about Miles' desire to come back to Michigan. That quote from Carty is a little out of date, and Golden might want to check out a recent blog entry from Carty chastising the NO papers for the Miles to Michigan thing.
Golden has also published his conference standings from the Golden rankings for the first time this year. I will post the standings from my modified Golden rankings (including all Division One teams) later in the week, along with a brief explanation of the differences between our two rankings.