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Postgame Reflection: Illinois

There were problems with fumbling again, but the first one was by Brandon Minor, which can be chalked up to his being Brandon Minor, one came from a freshman (Michael Shaw) coming off injury, and the rest came late in the game when players were trying too hard to make something happen. After the last few weeks, maybe this is disturbing because the fumbles are continuing to happen, but this time, they didn't really decide the game (as they did against Notre Dame, and could have last week against the Badgers).

The defense was not very good. Unless they step up their play, Daryll Clark is going to have a field day in a couple of weeks. Fortunately, I think some of the real problems are correctable:
  • Tackling. This hasn't been an issue so far this year, so hopefully the poor physicality and tackling effort this week was more of an anomaly than anything.
  • Charles Stewart. Man, if you're going to play the ball instead of the man when you're the only guy between him and the endzone, you've got to leave your feet to prevent him from making the catch. Running past a guy while waving your arms and getting almost there isn't going to cut it.
  • Disciplined play. On Juice's long near-touchdown run, Brandon Graham, Jonas Mouton, and Brandon Harrison all took the outside (contain) assignment. At least one guy (Graham) and probably a second (Mouton) was supposed to be plugging the inside. This was, at least hopefully, a case of players getting frustrated, and trying to do too much to make a play. They will definitely get chewed out by Shafer, and hopefully not be in a position where they have to force plays late in the game again.
  • Pressure and contain. The defense could usually get one, but at the expense of the other. I'd bet a small part of this is being tired from the emotional win last week.
  • Stevie Brown. He didn't do anything egregiously wrong this week, but I wouldn't be a Michigan fan if I wasn't bitching about him, now would I?
Steve Threet was his typical hot-and-cold self. I think when he's in rhythm, he's very good. However, if he isn't in rhythm, the results can be ugly. If he gets knocked out of rhythm during the game, as we saw against the Illini, it is very hard for him to snap back into form. Part of this is his youth. Part of it is the offensive line putting him in a difficult situation or two.

Martavious Odoms continues to have some struggles running precise routes, or at the very least getting on the same page as Threet. Chalk this up to inexperience. Once he's been in this offense a year or so, Odoms should be a super-entertaining player to watch.

Just like the past few weeks, this game showed why this team is going to be exciting to watch in the near future, but frustrating to watch right now.

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“Postgame Reflection: Illinois”

  1. Anonymous RY Says:

    This year I've been trying to look for improvements every week, not necessarily overall W/L record, but it just doesn't seem like the OL is getting any better. For as decimated as the Illinois D-Line was, they blew up our entire line the whole game.

    Yeah, I know there's still half a season left for them to reach respectable levels, but are we seeing the ceiling on some of these OL guys, whom some were mid-level recruits? OL evaluation was pretty bad the last few years, and now it's rearing its ugly head. Most of the OL will be seniors next year; should be start incorporating the freshmen a litle this year and all throughout next year or wait until most of this current OL graduates? Seems like 2010 will be back to current predicament of inexperienced OL.