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Stadium and Main: Hopes, Expectations, and Things I Wanna See (Part 2)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hopes, Expectations, and Things I Wanna See (Part 2)

- I hope we get the kicking game resolved ASAP. Things seemed shaky at the spring “game,” but Lloyd recently said that Bryan Wright has been reaching the end zone on kickoffs. That would be nice, especially considering the new rules (kickoffs from the 30 on the short tee, not the 35). The offensive talent of 2003 was hindered by a poor punting game. Let’s hope this year’s crew isn’t brought down by a poor kicking game.

- I expect Chad Henne to rip it up. Michigan QBs are generally at their best during their senior season (duh), and Chad knows that he’s playing not only for championships, but for NFL Draft position. Considering the talent at WR and the imminent return of TE Carson Butler, Chad will have no shortage of targets.

- I wanna see more big plays from the defense. Sure, we had a great defense (at times) last season, but there weren’t many huge plays. In non-garbage time (sorry, LaMarr Woodley and Max Pollock(!)), I believe we only had one defensive touchdown: Burgess’ pick-six to open the Notre Dame game. These are things that highly-talented defenses like USC and OSU seem to come by more often than us (or maybe that's just my perception?), and we might need a few plays like these to win a close game or two. Plus, these are plays that can give a big confidence boost to a fairly young defense. Easier said than done, I know.

- I hope we can adequately replace two unheralded Special Teams players: Gunner Darnell Hood and Long Snapper Turner Booth. People always say you never hear about the Long Snapper unless there’s a bad snap, and that’s probably why we never heard anything about Turner Booth (except when he recovered a fumble). Darnell Hood was very solid as one of the Gunners – making many quick tackles and rarely overrunning a play or getting called for a penalty. I think we can replace his speed, but can we find somebody as disciplined?

- I expect a fumbled snap. Maybe I'm just trying to "reverse jinx" it, but with a new Center (Justin Boren), and whispers of more shotgun formations, I think we're gonna see a snap or two hit the ground this year.

- I wanna see more realistic play action. I’m no football coach, but I watch a lot of college football, and it’s clear that many players can’t help but bite on hard fakes. And I’m not talking about Henne hiding the ball behind his back or anything crazy – just a more believable fake handoff would do it. But more often than not, it looks like our players are just going through the motions without actually selling the handoff. The other side of the “players will bite on a hard fake” coin is that today’s players are smart enough not to bite on a weak fake. Considering Henne and Hart have been working together for 3 seasons, you would think that great play action would be easy to pull off.

2 Comments:

Blogger Gary said...

"not bite on a fake"? you mean like how our players didn't bite on Troy Smith's play action fake in last year's game? you mean that kind of smart?

9:45 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

My exact wording was, "today’s players are smart enough not to bite on a weak fake." Key word: "weak."

Smith's fake was a hard sell on a short yardage situation. Not exactly a "weak" fake.

But I get your point: Michigan players are prone to bite on any type of fake - weak or not. That's why I'm saying we should try to give other teams a bit of their own medicine for once. Thanks for reading and commenting.

3:58 PM  

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