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Stadium and Main: Optimist/Pessimist: Looking towards the OSU game

Monday, October 30, 2006

Optimist/Pessimist: Looking towards the OSU game

Optimist:

The Defense is unreal. They’ve held two opponents with decent RBs (Tony Hunt, Tyrell Sutton) to negative yards rushing. Yes, sacks are included in that calculation, but guess what that means? We’re sacking QBs like it’s going out of style! We’re 4th in the country in Sacks. The Offense doesn’t have to be explosive, and it isn’t “built” to be explosive – it’s built to win games. Hart keeps running into stacked lines, but by the 3rd or 4th Quarter, he’s gaining more and more yards and sealing games. We’re wearing defenses down. Field position, Time of Possession, protecting the ball: these are things that we don’t like to hear Lloyd talk about, but apparently they’ve helped us win games. We’re #2 in TOP, #4 in Turnover Margin, and we’ve had more punts downed inside the 20 than I can ever remember. And, by the way, we’re 9-0. We only take our shots when we need to. Otherwise, we’ve avoided putting our Defense in bad positions. And the few times that we have put the Defense in a bind, they’ve come through with big play after big play. In case you didn’t notice, the game at Indiana will be a good tune-up for Ohio State: Mobile QB, excellent receiver, road game. Manningham and the TEs will be back, and we’ll be ready for OSU. Read this and you’ll realize that DeBord will know what to do against the Buckeyes, just like he did against Notre Dame.

Pessimist:

Run left, run left, Breaston drop, punt. Ugh. Can we throw on first down more than once a week? The play-calling is so predictable and it is putting Hart in serious danger of injury – might as well throw him to the sharks. If he goes down, get ready for fumble-fest 2006 from the backups, a group that can only find a running lane by accident, but certainly knows how to stumble forward without being touched. The OL is getting worse every game – how bad is it when you’re hoping Rueben Riley can get healthy ASAP? And back to Breaston, is he ever going to wake up? Muffed punts, key drops, weak kick returns. You’re a 5th-year Senior! Time of Possession means nothing (really), and it won’t help us against OSU. We need to score points, brother! We’re injured at too many key positions, and not having Mario and our TEs in a rhythm (or at full health) for the OSU game is going to kill us. Sure, our Defense is good, but the OSU WRs are going to burn Trent, Sears, and anybody else not named “Leon Hall.” We can’t win a shoot-out. Our 3rd-Down Conversion Percentage is 61st in the nation. 61st! We can’t pick up 3rd-and-2s to save our lives. Forget OSU, we’re losing to Indiana.

My take:

Both “sides” here have many valid points, and I probably fall somewhere in-between the two. I hate Time of Possession – I want points scored. My mantra while watching Michigan games is always “Touchdowns, not Field Goals.” The 2002 OSU game is an excellent example of why I utter those words while asleep. However, this Defense is great, so my hope is that they will play well at OSU, and DeBord will find a way to put up some points. Michigan generally plays well against OSU as an underdog. We don’t always win, but we tend to have decent gameplans that are more aggressive. When we’re a prohibitive favorite (1999, 2001, 2004), we often come out flat and “play not to lose.” I don’t know if we’ll beat Ohio State, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job, Nick.

I fall somewhere between the pessimists and the optimists too. But, I'm afraid, in the main, the pessimists have the more compelling arguments.

I think DeBord will have an satisfactory game plan. I just think the match ups don't favor us. Especially their DL against our OL, and their speed and depth at WR against our DB's.

Ufers Spirit

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohio State's relatively porous rushing defense matches up quite well with Michigan's desire to establish the run.

I fail to see how Michigan can't keep it close the entire way if they can run the ball. And if it's close, anything can happen.

8:28 PM  

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