Assessing the Michigan Wolverine
Football Team after Game 1:
Overall, it is hard to be too critical
since it was the first game; however, one can see strengths and
weaknesses so let's explore these:
had a typical game for him. He wasn't as sharp as he'll be later
on in the year. He did throw some nice passes, and he overthrew
a lot of receivers early. He had some receivers drop some passes,
and as always, he had several passes batted down at the line of
scrimmage. He is a solid quarterback, and our best; we must support
him. Gutierez looked very sharp, and should be a solid backup
in case of injury. He is very mobile especially on the bootleg.
Brinton didn't throw, but it is nice to know we have experience
there. It should be interesting to see Gutierrez, Henne and Richard
compete for the next three years: 2004, 2005 and 2006. We are
solid at this position!
started and wasn't blocking every linebacker or defensive end,
but he did seem to do a decent job. He had no carries or passes
thrown his way. Thompson came in late, and wasn't all that impressive.
We sure could use Sanderson here especially in the red zone. This
is a weak position, and will be totally exposed against strong
teams like Notre Dame, Ohio State, etc.
was awesome! He looks like the back we have always hoped he'd
be. He was quick, fast and made good cuts. He caught one screen
and is very dangerous in the open field. I'm not sure how well
he did in blocking, but we are lucky to have him. Underwood also
looked solid; he is also a dangerous back catching screens and
he looks very muscular. Underwood should log a significant amount
of playing time. I was more impressed with Jackson than Rembert;
he is quicker and probably faster. Even Bradley looks like he
can contribute; he is low to the ground and fast. Hopefully, we'll
be able to stay away from fumbles and turnovers against the good
teams. We are solid at this position!
have two of the best in the country with Edwards and Breaston!
They are gamebreakers and backbreakers! I don't see any defenses
stopping either; they are too hard to double cover without exposing
other defensive weaknesses. Bell, Avant and Butler look to be
good pass catchers and blockers. Tabb was impressive, but Gonzalez
was uninvolved. We have 7 solid receivers with two being gamebreakers.
We will probably throw 20-30 times a game depending on how well
we do with our running game; we will probably have to throw more
against good teams like Notre Dame, Ohio State, etc. We are solid
at these positions (Flanker and Wide Receiver). We have speed,
quickness, deep threat, crossing, quick toss, solid blocking,
we didn't show much here. Massaquoi only caught one pass; he,
Mingery and Ecker logged most of the playing time and they blocked
for the most part. In their defense, CMU had one solid safety
hawking them all day long with Mr. James King. We will be hard
pressed to get as much production as last year when Joppru made
over 50 catches. It looks like Fisher didn't play at all except
on special teams, and walk-ons played so overally we cannot say
this is a solid position. Time will tell whether it is a weak
position; it will be mostly a blocking position as is our fullback/h-back.
Offensive Line: We took no sacks; in fact, Navarre was hardly threatened
(neither was Gutierrez). Pape and Baas are 1st team All-Big 10
and possible All-Americans. Stenavich and Lentz looked solid.
Pearson didn't appear to make all of his blocks, and that could
be a problem against the tough teams up the middle. When the second
team came in, Solomon, Kolodziej, Henige, Christopfel and Morgan
seemed to be a good group. Gaston did see some action at guard,
too. We appear solid here at every position and as a group; however,
injuries could be a factor here.
Place-Kicking and Kickoffs-Nienberg consistenly drove the ball
to the 5. This isn't reminiscent of the booming kickoffs of Hayden
Epstein and Jay Feeley. We have stepped down here. One of three
field goals isn't an impressive performance either. Hopefully,
we'll improve here, but to say that we aren't concerned is an
understatement. In order to win a national championship or big
ten title, we must be able to count of our kicking game when a
close game is "on the line."
I was very unimpressed and disappointed! Stevens play wasn't even
mediocre; he only contributed on one tackle and didn't rush Perry
at all. Massey was only in on one tackle as well. The starters
didn't do much! Kashama looked much better than either starter,
and did rush Perry consistently plus he had two tackles for loss.
Van Alstyne also looked good in his appearances. Overall, we must
get better here. We need to bring both Woodley and Crable in to
rush the quarterbacks in passing situations along with Kashama.
We must be more active here.
I was very impressed with Gabe Watson; he really looked quick,
mobile yet powerful. He also can't play every down. Bowman is
intense and never gives up; he is much smaller than many offensive
linemen and he'll be beat, but he'll recover to make a play. Heuer
didn't look all that active. Harrison and Ofili did decent jobs
when they got playing time. We definitely could use some recruiting
help here, but until that happens we'll simply have to be satisfied
with the coaching scheme. We've always played smaller guys here
that for the most part are former linebackers converted. They'll
be blocked initially, but spin and squirm to the ball. Our linebackers
will have to fill to help our line recover from the initial push.
I'm concerned at this positon, but not worried; I see Watson as
receiving more and more playing time. Watson and Bowman had 3
tackles each while Heuer has only one tackle plus that stupid
personal foul penalty.
Linebackers: I was very impressed with Diggs, McClintock and Manning.
I would like to see these three as starters; however, Reid, Woods
and Kaufman will all play and get better. We definitely will miss
Hobson here especially against the big tight ends. I think we'll
be fine here, and these three positions will be a strength on
our defense. Harris and Joe Sarantos will also play in there;
there is good competition and outstanding athleticism in all these
Curry and LeSueur look to be the "lock down" corners
we've wanted. Hall and Hood are suspect as backups. If one of
our starters do down with injury, we could be in trouble here.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Mundy or Burgess see playing time
here if that happens since we are so loaded at safety. We are
strong at these positions, but depth is questionable.
Safeties: Marlin Jackson and Shaw look to be the starters for
the remainder of the season with Barringer and Stewart as solid
backups. Barringer can also play corner and enhance the "nickel"
package; he looked pretty "banged up" with a wrapped
thumb and now a leg injury. Apparently, neither will prevent him
from playing. Mundy and Burgess will play on special teams until
their time comes here; neither will redshirt. We are solid here
with solid depth; they only need more experience. We are much
better than one year ago with June and Drake! Shazor will also
contribute when he get himself out of Carr's "doghouse."
Finley is doing a solid job! Coverage looks to be good with Hood,
Shazor, Mundy, Burgess and others competing as "flyers."
Punt/Kickoff Returns: Breaston, Breaston, Breaston! He is all we've dreamed
about; he is one awesome athlete! We are lucky to have him! He
will help us win games, especially close games against good teams!
He will help us with field position football. Somehow, we've got
to convince Carr to use him rather than LeSueur on kickoffs, too.
Schedule/Results of First Week: It looks like our two toughest games will be Notre
Dame and Ohio State. The Irish have an outstanding defense. If
you look at their roster, they have an awful lot of talent including
several players we recruited heavily. It won't be easy and certainly
expect a "nailbiter." Ohio State was very impressive,
and hopefully we'll improve enough to stop their streak at two.
Michigan State was also impressive; the Bronco's Greg Jennings
really looked good (we recruited him also). Certainly, USC looks
to be somewhere in the top ten. Georgia is also still solid. Here
are my tentative top teams for this year:
7-North Carolina State