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Stadium and Main: Hopes, Expectations, and Things I Wanna See (Part 1)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hopes, Expectations, and Things I Wanna See (Part 1)

- I hope that LB Obi Ezeh is all that he’s hyped up to be. For a guy who looked like an average Running Back at times in High School (against mediocre competition, for the most part), Ezeh sure is getting a lot of praise this spring/summer. Maybe the position switch really made a difference? I hope he’s “the next David Harris,” but I won’t hold my breath. As long as he’s not the next Grady Brooks, I’ll take it.

- I expect to see more 4-2-5 Defense this season. As has been discussed, Junior Brandon Harrison and True Freshman Michael Williams would fit the mold of the Nickel Back, or “Weak Safety.” For those unfamiliar with the 4-2-5, one of the goals of this Defense is to confuse the Quarterback by giving the impression of 8-9 men “in the box” when pass coverage is actually the call. So against a Spread Offense team like Oregon, this could be a commonly-used Defense. Whether it will be effective is another story.

- I wanna see the coaches properly adjust to the “new” clock rules. After doing away with the goofy clock rules from last year, we are back to normal, and it is estimated that over the course of a season, we will get enough additional plays to make up an entire game (compared to last year, that is). So while I’m sure that Lloyd loved the “fast” games last year, the coaches will have to be prepared for more potential comebacks this season. Brian’s on-point post regarding Time of Possession vs. Points Per Possession has been brought up a few times in recent months, and is worth re-reading (or reading, if you missed it last fall). There is a time for “protecting” a lead, but I don’t think it occurs as often as our coaches seem to think it does.

- I hope we don’t see too much of Mike Hart. Related to the point directly above, we have our best QB/WR group since 1999. Being up 28-10 at halftime would make me feel better than being up 14-3. Especially with a fairly young Defense that might give up some big/broken plays. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hart. But he’s not a game-breaker. Our Offense will score points via Henne and the WRs. Hart’s running is key to helping them get open, but 30 carries a game for Hart isn’t going to be the recipe for success. Additionally, if/when we take a large lead, I want Hart out of the game. We can argue about whether he’s “injury-prone,” but the bottom line is that our Offense is immeasurably worse when he is hurt. Hart's value to the team won't be measured by the amount yards he compiles or the number of TDs he scores, but rather by his presence in the backfield (at full strength).

- I expect our Defensive Line to be really good. DT Will Johnson is not Alan Branch, but according to weight room buzz, he’s the strongest Michigan player… ever. Seriously. He was under the radar last year, but had a few impressive highlights in limited action, even against quality opponents. DE Tim Jamison should be healthy, finally, and has one of the quickest first steps I’ve ever seen at Michigan – one of those “he was offside but they didn’t call it” things. If he can be as effective as LaMarr Woodley was on run support (which was adequate, but not great), then we might not notice a drop-off. Brandon Graham at Defensive End might be a good compromise for a guy that floated between LB and DT in his first year in the program. He has much more talent than Rondell Biggs, but needs the experience. I’m hoping that by the end of the season, he will consistently show that he was deserving of his 5-star rating in High School. Last but not least, DT Terrance Taylor will have another year of experience under his belt. The Defensive Line has to be the least of our concerns on Defense.

- I wanna see Lloyd smiling in New Orleans on January 8th, 2008. I’m often critical of Carr, but there’s nothing better than seeing him on the sidelines with that big grin on his face as the clock winds down on a huge victory. I’ve thought that it might be done, and that it won’t be done. Realistically, it can be done. The only people who can stop Michigan from running the table are the players and coaches themselves. And USC.

2 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

part 1 was great. anxiously awaiting part 2, please

6:56 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks. I was out for a while. More coming soon...

10:28 PM  

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