Monday, October 15, 2007

The Return of Mr. Manningham

Two TDs and 8 catches for a buck forty-seven. There was one of his patented double-move, fly routes, some quick outs, a couple of crossing routes, and a few grabs in traffic. The one week suspension and the tongue lashing he publicly received from his QB certainly lit a fire under his behind. Combined with 10 grabs from Adrian Arrington, a good performance from Chad Henne (21-28, 265, 2 TDS), and some halfway decent play calling, we finally saw the type of offense that everyone expected before the season started. If they can keep this up, we could be tough to stop the rest of the way. Of course, by "they" I really mean Mike Debord and Lloyd Carr. Apart from a serious injury to one of the major players, play calling is the one thing that could really hamper this offense. Mix up the first down pass and run plays, throw in some play-action, and don't tip off the plays by doing things like only bringing in freshman receivers for running plays, or shuffling the FB to the direction of the run before the snap.
-I doubt that Hart's injury will keep him out of the game next week. If he can walk, he'll be out there. Actually if he is hurt, it might come down to who wins the argument between him and the coaches. If they win, he sits, if he wins, he plays. A couple of times against Penn State, the coaches brought him out to rest him, and he ran back out on the field, telling his backup to go sit back down.
-As expected, the defense looked very solid against Purdue's non-running spread. Purdue's offense may have been state of the art when Tiller first arrived in '97, but it has become very passe'. Without a running QB, it is really quite one dimensional. Without the threat of the run, our DL just pinned their ears back and let loose on Curtis Painter. The Purdue receivers obliged with their usual plethora of dropped balls. I'm not sure that this performance means anything for this week's game at Illinois. The Illini run exactly the kind of run-first spread option that has given us trouble.
-Speaking of the Illini, so much for the Rose Bowl express. Hopefully, we will take a look at the Iowa film and copy some of the stuff they did.
-I wasn't watching the LSU/Kentucky game very intently, but it seemed to me like LSU had a lot of penalties called on them at very inopportune times. Did the Wildcats get a little home cookin'?
-To everyone jumping on the Buckeye bandwagon, keep this in mind: everyone of their remaining opponents, MSU, @ PSU, Ill, Wisc, @ Michigan, is better than each of the teams they have played so far, with the possible exception of the Spartans and Washington. They probably deserve to be #1 right now, although South Florida has a good argument, but I don't think they will go through the season unscathed.
-Not a good weekend for future Michigan coaches: Les Miles finally misses on a fourth down and short when it counts; Jeff Tedford forgets to tell his freshman QB to not get tackled in-bounds; Greg Schiano struggles early with Syracuse before pulling it out; and Brian Kelly loses his undefeated season to an unranked opponent.
-The weirdness of this season has been hammered home over and over by the worldwide leader, but it's worth mentioning again that midway through October, the following teams control their own destiny to get to the BCS: Boston College, South Carolina, Kansas, Arizona State, and Connecticut. Somewhere in the upper floors of the Fox Sports headquarters there is an executive banging his head into the wall with every crazy upset.
-Golden ranking are done, I will post later tonight or tomorrow.