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Varsity Blue

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Across the Border

Massey from Buckeye Commentary reviews Michigan's performance in the Miami game. For my take on OSU's performance against Ohio, head over there.

What I Saw

Michigan was improved, kinda. The team appeared more focused initially going 80 yards in 5 plays for a quick score. Two plays later they grabbed the fumble and I expected them to go for Miami’s throat. That next series went nowhere, but they got a field goal out of it. It was not a horrible possession but it did not totally capitalize on the momentum. Their third possession was going swimmingly on the ground and then two incompletions and a missed FG ruined the offense for the next two quarters.

I also saw a defense that could not get off the field. They played well, but Miami was 8-19 on third down and held a 10:00 advantage in time of possession. Of course, the offense was not helping them rest, either.

Finally, freshmen running backs McGuffie and Shaw appear to be the main guys going forward.

What I Didn’t See

An offensive identity. I understand the spread can be used to pass or run, but the Wolverines seem to have much better success running at this point. Aside from the opening play (a screen no less), running plays were responsible for all of their yards on the first three drives. They ran two-thirds of the time but there was no flow to the possessions.

I also cannot say which quarterback is better. Last week I said I believed Sheridan would eventually be the guy and I will stick by that statement, but that situation has not resolved itself. I am sure the coaches would like it to.

Who I Watched

After it became clear that Miami could not move the ball consistently, I watched the offense exclusively and the running backs as the focus. To that end, McGuffie looks like he is headed for a very productive career. His stats were not overwhelming but you get the impression that he has adjusted to the speed of the college game and will master the spread before any of the other backs. A one-time crowded backfield appears to be thinning out.

What I Expect Next Week

A better defensive performance. The defense has been good so far, but has not played at the level I expected. I expect the defense to recognize that they have to lead the way to a victory, if one is to be had.

What This Can Tell Us About The Game

After a summer full of practices and two games, Michigan is not ready to exploit Ohio State’s inability to stop a mobile quarterback. They have nine more games to figure that out and become consistent. If the Wolverines could learn to connect on some of those big plays they could loosen up the defense and allow their running game more room to run.

On defense, Michigan is stopping the run, which would be key against Beanie. Obviously, Utah and Miami do not carry elite on their rosters, but it is better than nothing. The way that Michigan gets after Clausen and Co. will tell me a lot about how they will be able to defend Ohio State – at least when Boeckman is in the game.

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“Across the Border”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Michigans first offensive series in BOTH games played so far this year went for scores... so that would mean they were equally focused I guess.

    Bring on Jenkins!

  2. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Shaw has looked as good or better than McGuffie, though he didn't get as many carries due to the groin pull.