Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Thoughts on Opening Weekend

I don’t watch video of football games. Especially non-conference games against bad teams. So many others out there (Think mgoblog, IBFC, The Wolverine, and a slew of others) break things down much better than I could ever hope to, so I stick with watching the game live and forming my thoughts based on what I saw real time.

That said, here are one man’s thoughts on the opener against Vandy:

I don’t get why so many people seemed to be flipping out. The boards seemed to be upset, the fans were booing (at least at halftime) and today, my boss (who cares enough about Michigan football that he was one of the ones at the Michigan Fantasy Camp a few weeks back) said that he thinks we’re “In for a long season” based on what he saw. I don’t agree. I saw almost everything I wanted to see out of that team.

The defense was outstanding. If this is what Ron English is going to bring to the table every week, then frankly it’s not going to be too long before the NFL comes a-calling again (Caveat: It was Vanderbilt and Jay Cutler was nowhere to be found). They were aggressive, he seems to be all about taking Crable’s strengths and utilizing them as much as possible. The linemen were getting after it, against what is apparently a very strong offensive line. Apart from one blown coverage on a gimmick play, the defense gave up almost nothing the entire day. It was wonderful to see.

The offense was shaky at times. Henne missed some throws for sure, he pulled the ball down too much for a guy that’s not all that fast, the receivers dropped far too many passes, and the offensive line probably didn’t protect Henne as well as they would have liked.

But all that said: If Manningham’s catch/fumble isn’t overturned (another wonderful call by the replay official by the way…how can you get the benefit of replay and still f--- up more than you get it right?), if Massey makes that catch on the wheel route down the sideline (which he needs to make, even if it was slightly overthrown) and if Breaston catches that ball that hit him between the 1 and the 5 on the slant, you’re talking probably at least 14 more points on the board. Suddenly it’s a 41-7 final and everyone feels 10 times better about things.

Looking at the way teams like FSU, Miami, and Notre Dame faired on offense this weekend, maybe we should be complaining just a wee bit less, no? Hart showed he’s back 100%, the two freshmen RBs looked awesome, Grady looked faster (and he was down on that fumble, I swear to God). The tight ends (all of them) need to be better about catching the ball, but it seemed like they were getting open (again, against Vandy).

I gotta say, I came out of that game feeling pretty darn good about Michigan’s chances this season. I still don’t think Notre Dame or OSU is nearly as good as everyone thinks that they are (though it’s tough getting both of them on the road, and adding Penn State to the mix as well).

I think the new timing rules are absolutely asinine. If you punt and the ball goes out of bounds, exactly why is the clock restarting before the snap? It makes no sense! I saw Florida State take 3 delay of game penalties in the first half last night (Maybe the first quarter?) because of clock issues. I don’t get the logic on that one at all. And it seems that the coaches universally hate this rule. It has the feeling of being around for one year and then going the way of Fox’s Glow-Puck.

Other random thoughts:
-Again, I still don’t get how the replay official in the booth can look at it, and still obviously get the call wrong 50% of the time. There was “indisputable video evidence” to overturn Manningham’s catch? Really? I’ll dispute that one til I’m blue in the face!

-Grady’s fumble: They showed the replay ON TV at least 2 times before the ball was snapped again. How do they not think that one is close enough to look at? They’re reviewing every play right?

-It sucks hard core about Michael Bush going down. I was really looking forward to watching the Brohm and Bush show this year. And looking forward to my #2 team The Ville (I’m from there, my mom went there, I’m allowed to root for em without it being sports bigamy…I’d never root for them over Michigan) stopping that West Virginia hype. On the bright side, the backup running backs looked very good, and Brohm looks like he’s fully recovered from that knee injury. It’s too bad to see a kid get hurt when he decided to stay in school even though he was a 1st round lock. That doesn’t happen nearly often enough, and when these guys see something like that happen to Bush, I can’t imagine it’s going to help get kids to stay in school.

-Colorado. Wow bad.

-I had to laugh when I saw "T-Good" with the big #5-2 on the field for Miami last night. That will never cease to be funny to me.

-Florida State and Miami need to agree to not play each other opening weekend anymore. These games are just awful displays of offense. I like good defense as much as the next guy (and both those teams obviously have great ones) but maybe they could play a little later when both teams are in mid-season form. Last night’s game was better than last year’s but still…it put the ugh in ugly.

-Tiger Woods is just incredible to watch. I don't think that in my lifetime there's been an athlete that is that far in a class by himself. Michael Jordan would be closest, but there were still guys like Magic and Bird who you could at least put in the conversation. Nobody is close to Woods. It's amazing to see someone be on their game that often, no matter how much pressure is there. 21 of his last 24 rounds (give or take) have been in the 60s? Who does that?

-RIP Steve Irwin. I know it’s probably not the most shocking thing in the world that something happened to him, but it doesn’t make it any less sad. He seemed like a really great guy, and it’s nice to see someone with that much enthusiasm for their work, and for helping kids learn.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you Tim, I too saw everything I wanted to see out the team last Saturday. Sure, we had some flubs on offense, but nothing that isn't correctable. The D was outstanding, what a difference English makes. If he doesn't bolt for the pros maybe he makes good successor to Carr? We'll see.

And after watching the trouble Georgia Tech's defense gave ND later that night, suddenly I'm not as pessimistic about the game in 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

FSU/Miami goes back to mid-October next year. The 3-year expiriment is over. Thank God. 16-10 (overtime), 10-7, 13-10. Three ugly games. Just happy to have won 2 of them.

And I agree with you re: Michigan. They looked rusty on offense, but the defense was great, and Hart looked back in form. I'm not exactly sure what people expected. Obviously, you won't know anything until Notre Dame, but I don't see any reason to be more concerned today than anyone was this time last week.
-DC Nole

Anonymous said...

what people expected was a blowout of epic proportions. it didn't help the less educated that mark may spews at halftime that Vandy is outplaying Michigan (see brian's post on aol sports gloop).

you're right, though. terrible review on the manningham (it's not an) incompletion. should have reviewed the grady fumble, although i think that would have stood. spielman was an idiot for calling out hart on the blitz when he was clearly split out to the right and it was physically impossible to get back in time. defense was dominant (much hope for ND). running game was solid (much hope for osu - garrett wolfe for heisman?).

thanks for the thoughts. nice to read one that doesn't predict the end of the world any time soon.