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Varsity Blue

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Soon We'll Be Living in the Future

This has been a rough year for Michigan fans as streak after streak was broken, as benchmarks of sustained success were missed, as the team lost five straight games and seven of nine overall. What got to me the most was the one step forward, two steps back modus operandi of this team. It seemed as soon as one thing became effective, something else broke. So, every time I saw something that inspired hope, that hope was quickly and forcefully shattered by some mistake or failure.

Maybe it's because I've been telling myself and anyone who will listen that this will work, but I have not really taken stock of how bad this season has been. Before last Saturday, Michigan had won two games by a total of 12 points and lost seven by a total of 87 points. Some of the games were competitive, but in Big Ten play I can't really say Michigan should have won any of the games that it lost. The Wolverines were outplayed by better teams.

This was all sinking in by Saturday. I was resigned to a loss, even a blowout, against a team that Michigan has, quite literally, historically dominated. Even at half time, I figured the same old script would show itself. If this team has proven anything, it's that it's inconsistent. So expected the same old script: three and outs on offense; missed tackles and blown assignments on defense.

This is the first game that I've been excited to re-watch since the Toledo sadness happened. That was really when I lost my optimism for this team. Subsequent games made me question next year's team. But one game made me remember why I was so excited to see this team play in August. What they lack in consistency they make up for in potential.

This offense was an absolute machine on Saturday with one quarterback who doesn't throw well down field and one quarterback who doesn't throw; with the worst offensive line any of us are ever likely to see; freshmen at almost every skill position; the top two running backs not playing at 100%. For the first time the offense was able to effectively counter the defense's adjustments. In the past few games, the original script worked well, but once the defense adjusted, the offense stalled. There were a ton of new wrinkles (e.g. Feagin), some nostalgic wrinkles (e.g. the Braylon Edwards Memorial Diamond Formation), and parts of the basic the scheme that worked better this game than any game previous. This is what we have to look forward to. We got a preview of what this offense will be.

The defense, after giving up 48 points and roughly 6.82x10^23 yards against Purdue absolutely shut down an adequate if not amazing Minnesota offense. The defense was vintage Scott Shafer. The 3-3-5 stack was, as this blog and gsimmons guessed, likely and experiment designed to stop a decent running back (Kory Sheets) because there was a third string quarterback playing. The defense against Minnesota varied between 4-3, 4-3 over and 3-4 okie. The corners played up at the line both on man to man and on basic cover two. The defensive line and linebackers played well as a team and kept the running game contained very well.

My favorite part of the defensive game plan was the 3-4 Okie Chaos on passing third downs. I can't imagine an offensive lineman or quarterback feels comfortable with 4 stand up potential blitzers moving in and out. I have to go back and look, but I don't believe that Minnesota picked up a first down in one of these situations. Scott Shafer isn't just a "press-man coverage and blitz" guy. He uses the threat of blitz just as well as actually blitzing.

This is what this team will become. This game proves that these guys can coach. I don't care if Minnesota isn't as good as advertised. The team that showed up and played could hang with most teams in the Big Ten. But when you have the youth and inexperience that Michigan has, it's irrational to expect consistency game to game and from start to finish. After trying to revel in little victories like converting a third down or a good kick return, it's nice to see the entire product and revel in a victory that results in win.

We caught a glimpse of what will happen, but the best part is that soon we'll be living in the future.

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“Soon We'll Be Living in the Future”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    The future is "Scary Good."

    Apply the way WV played against Oklahoma in last year's bowl game to the talent Michigan can get and the word "Juggernaut" comes to mind.

    We've been seeing glimpses, and Minnesota gave us a longer look. It's time everybody shut up and trusted RR. He's done it before, and he's doing it again. Only this time, it's going to end up at the pinnacle.

    In Rod we trust. Go Blue.

  2. Blogger kowisja Says:

    6.02×10^23 would have been a funnier number of yards.

  3. Blogger Paul Says:

    I think it might be even funnier if I told you I was going for a mol, but I screwed it up.

  4. Blogger Tim Says:

    What if we had given up the mole of yards to the gophers?!?!

    HAHAHAok maybe we should stop making nerd jokes now

  5. Anonymous West Texas Blue Says:

    6.82 * 10^23 is avogrado's number too, right? That's the first thing I thought of when I saw that number. Anyways, things are looking up; the offense is making progress and our young players are gaining valuable experience. Things will be better (unlike ND)

  6. Anonymous Rosey Says:

    1.133 moles is infinitely more funny than 1 mole.