Monday, September 6, 2010

M vs. UConn review

The questions coming in:

The QB - Who will start? Can Velcro really run the offense and pass the ball well enough to keep the other opposition honest?
  • As I said in previous comments - I can;t imagine a better performance from Robinson. Whether it was because UConn just didn't have enough tape to scout him properly or that he really is THAT GOOD we'll wait to find out for sure. But if he can perform at 70% of this effort M will be successful (at least offensively).
  • I'm still not sold on his arm. But assuming the coaches keep the playbook limited to plays he can succeed with, I think they might be OK. I like the run opening up throwing lanes and the screen passes opening up the seems. But if he has to throw a lot of long outs or deep balls on obvious passing downs, I'm still not convinced he has the arm to pull that off.
  • The addition of the zone read really makes him much more effective - although UConn didn't have much luck stopping even the straight sweeps and draws.
  • Forcier's dad's comments certainly made it seem like there might have been some sort of team suspension that Tate was under for this game. I still think he can be a decent college QB. If he really is buried at 3rd string, I wouldn't blame him at all for transferring.

Running backs - Are they good enough?
  • I thought Shaw and Smith both showed promise. I was surprised they ended up below 4 ypc. I Shaw looks like he could have all the tools. Smith seems like he would be a great third down type back - good receiver out of the backfield - shifty for draws and screens etc. I don't think anyone else played (fullbacks don't count)
  • Seemed like Stephen Hopkins looked good in the spring game - I was surprised he didn't get any game time - same for Michael Cox.
Receivers - does quantity = quality?
  • So may options here. Is it too many? Hemmingway is hurt again, now Roundtree is questionable for the ND game. I like Tay Odoms. He made a key block on Velcros TD run. Other than Odoms and the injured Roundtree, I'm not sure what M has. Terrence Robinson seemed like he was pulling a wagon on that seam pass, should have been a TD.

Defense - Questions everywhere - How much will they run the real 3-3-5? Is Moundros really the answer at linebacker? Can Roh build off the promising freshman showing? The DBs - can they be anything but a liability?
  • I don't remember them lining up in the true 3-3-5 at all Saturday. I think this might end up being similar to always hearing about the 1-3-1 zone trap that Beilein runs for the basketball team, that they used maybe 10% of the time last year and all of that was before the conference season.
  • They're definitely multiple. I like that they increased substitutions. There was at least one formation that was really a 2-3-6, counting Roh as a linebacker and the hybrids as safeties.
  • I didn't notice any difference with Thomas Gordon or Carvin Johnson in the game. I guess the injury will decrease some depth.
  • The corners weren't tested. But they did make some nice plays. Floyd caused the fumble. Rogers almost had an interception. Seems like I remember Kovacs making some good plays against the run, but looking a little lost on a 20 or so yard pass on the far sideline on their TD drive (or maybe their fumble drive). I don't remember much from Cam Gordon, Seems like the long pass UConn tried, the receiver was behind him and as deep as I remember Gordon playing that can't be too good.
  • A team with more of a passing attack (like ND I assume, or at least MSU, Purdue... among others) will be a truer test for the DBs - and I don't look forward to that at this point.
  • The linebackers - I don't remember anything too awful. I heard Mouton's name a lot - so I would guess he'll have a decent result from the mgblog UFR. I htink Ezeh played most of the game but Moundros did see some time.
  • They switched along the D-line a lot. Mostly in the non Martin/non RVB position. Seems like the better series for UConn may have occurred when either one of them was out of the game. They didn't get a whole lot of pressure. No official sacks. Roh got through a few times, but there was certainly no BG in waiting based on this game.
Special teams - how will that go?
  • Gibbons had the first horrible kickoff and he missed a FG and a PAT. I've heard the PAT was maybe on Dileo (the holder). And there were some crazy winds - so I'm not giving up on Gibbons yet, but he needs to show up at ND.
  • Hagerup - I think only had one punt. It wasn't pretty, but got a great roll - I'll take 50 yards net all season. Can't make any judgment on this one.
  • Returns - T.Robinson misplayed the one short kick off and Gallon fumbled the short punt. I think both were because the wind was playing tricks on those kicks, but you have to know the conditions. If the choice is a great returner who might fumble some or an average returner who catches the kicks and doesn't fumble - I'll take the latter every time.
  • I guess I can understand RR wanting to have Velcro play in this offense. As I mentioned above if the offense can stay in down and distance situations that allow Velcro to run the plays he's (or really I'm) comfortable with him running, they'll be successful. At this point I'd rather see a QB draw on 3rd and long than him throwing downfield. I hope I'm wrong.
  • Obviously it is too soon to judge the defense. Maybe the GERG finally has enough players to run some different fronts etc. More available bodies has to be better right?
My prediction was 34-24, although the offense scored under my prediction, I'm still very pleased with that effort. The defense certainly was better than I'd expected - I hope it is due to them and not due to UConn.

Offense - A-
Defense - B+
Special teams - D
Coaching - B


  1. Were you at the game? Did you see Hagerup in warmups? Most amazing punting I've ever seen, at any level. He was making FGs with the 50yard line as the LOS! The one in the game wasn't "pretty," because it was a designed roll-out rugby punt, which isn't supposed to look pretty. It's supposed to be punted away from the return guy and roll forward. That's just what it did, and it was 51 yards INTO THE WIND!. What do you want?

  2. bob,

    sorry if that sounded like I was disappointed by Hagerup's punt. I'll admit I wasn't watching him in warm ups. As I said I'll take 50 yards net all season. Even more importantly, I'd take one punt per game all season... If you want me to break out the specifics of the special teams, I'd have to give the punting an A, the mistakes by the rest of the special teams drop the grade to a D.

    Thanks for reading!