Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Some lingering concerns as Michigan football draws near

1) Will the Northern Illinois game end up being way too close ala 2002 Utah and 2004 San Diego State? They were both teams from a 2nd tier conference (much like the MAC), both had a bit of talent but not top 25 talent (like Northern Illinois), and both games ended up decided by a field goal. Or will the NIU game end up much more like 2004 MAC opponent Miami who got hammered 43-10?

Right now, I'm not so sure. On paper, this should be a comfortable 3 TD victory. But as the season gets closer I worry that this turns into a big sigh of relief as Michigan escapes with a victory despite playing poorly while looking ahead to the Notre Dame game.

2) Will Michigan' s defense ever be able to tackle a mobile quarterback? I'm way too gun shy to have much confidence right now. Rationally, I fully expect things to improve. But when it comes to Michigan football I am not always rational. I need to see some dominating D before I start feeling reassured.

3) Michigan's secondary still has a ton to prove. Leon Hall is a stud corner. That's about the only thing anybody will be able to count on this year in the D-backfield. 2 new starters and Ryan Mundy really has to prove himself. I love the speed and talent, but they better translate that talent into some results. A great pass rush will help, but they still have to avoid major lapses in coverage (see Ernest Shazor vs Ohio State).

4) That Iowa game is going to be tough. Iowa has really played Michigan tough the past few years (haven't they always?) and they have a heck of a home winning streak going right now. I'm cautiously optimistic that our offense will be able to score at will against their D, but I'm scared that we won't go balls to the wall in our playcalling on the road. And Drew Tate can move around the pocket pretty well and we've all seen what the Michigan D is capable of against a moving target.

I'm sure calmer thinking will prevail as gametime approaches, but it's that dead period right now where summer has been dragging on forever and football can't get here fast enough. It's too easy to worry when the last image I have in my head is of our D getting humiliated by Troy Smith and Vince Young.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

NIU won't be close...we're not comming in with true freshman at the helm this year. Iowa will be fiesty but I think the biggest hurdle could be MSU. Iowa doesn't run the type offence where Tate can kill us with his feet.

Tue Aug 23, 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger robert paulson said...

MSU will obviously be very tough as well. The only redeeming grace is that they've practically got walkons starting at both CB positions. Henne should throw for almost 350 yards in East Lansing.

Anyways, I'm not rationally saying NIU will be close. But it scares me that it could be. Say we get a punt blocked, or Henne gets hit and fumbles the ball, or whatever. NIU has enough offensive talent that they could score 14-21 points on us. If we sputter a little and end up settling for field goals a few too many times, our starters might still be in halfway through the 4th quarter. It's just that time of the year when I start nitpicking and worrying about every little detail. I'll feel much more confident after watching Mike Hart bust a few spin moves on people and seeing Steve Breaston in the open field with the ball in his hands.

Tue Aug 23, 09:19:00 PM  

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