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Varsity Blue

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Enthusiasm and Doom Both Need to be Tempered

1. After the Wisconsin game, fans were jubilant, and expected that Michigan's offense had finally, permanently snapped out of whatever funk it was in to start the season.

Following Illinois, the exact opposite describes the popular sentiment among Michigan fans.

What's the real Michigan offense? Somewhere in between. A young unit is going to be very streaky, and as the players gain experience (and guys like Darryl Stonum and Junior Hemingway return to replace LaTerryal Savoy), the consistency will improve, but it will never operate at the level it was toward the end of the Wisconsin game, at least not on a consistent basis.

2. The rain of fumbles will slow down, even if is isn't completely eliminated this year. Unless Michigan's coaches are idiots (and they aren't), or the players are just terrible (they aren't), Michigan will not continue to fumble at the rate it has been to this point in 2008. The coaches will work in practice, and seeing as how fumbles are a (mostly) chance occurrence, they will happen with less frequency.

If Michigan is not playing from behind, the players will also force plays less often, and risk ball security in the process.

3. The Michigan defense might not be quite as good as it looked during the Wisconsin game. It might not be quite as bad as it looked during the Illinois game. The real Michigan defense? You guessed it, somewhere right in between.

Coming off an emotional performance against Wisconsin, in which they were on the field for more than 36 minutes, perhaps the defenders were ripe for a letdown performance. After such a physical performance last week, it's understandable (but no excuse) why there were some missed tackles this week. Regardless, they held Illinois to just 24 points through 3 quarters, but they are not yet ready to carry the offense in every game, especially when they have to overcome 5 fumbles (with 2 lost).

4. Steven Threet actually had a decent game, aside from the fumbled exchange with Shaw, and the pump fake fumble. He had a QB rating of 130.3, which would have been better save a few drops. Running, he wasn't quite as good as Michigan needed him to be, but there's always the future for improvement.

5. Despite the losses, Illinois is a pretty darn good team. If Michigan can play as well as they did today (certainly on defense) for the rest of the year, only Penn State and Ohio State are likely to light up the scoreboard as much as the Illini did.

So what does it all mean? Michigan isn't that good. But you know what? Maybe they aren't that bad, either. At this point, there's not much fans can do besides hope for a bowl.

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“Enthusiasm and Doom Both Need to be Tempered”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    MSu isn't looking that bad either right now