Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 first quarter (of the season) thoughts

Michigan has completed the first quarter of its 2011 schedule undefeated - this puts them ahead of my preseason prediction. But not to the point where I'm confident going forward.

  1. Slow starts - Michigan has yet to score in the 1st quarter. They've been outscored 21-0. WMU was 1-1 on possessions, ND was 2-2, EMU was 0-2* with a fumble and getting stopped on the 1 yard line on 4th down. Michigan is 0-5** with 2 interceptions.
  2. Denard has been inaccurate (27-55 with 4 interceptions) in the passing game.
  3. No one outside of Denard has been able to consistently generate a running game. He has 352 of Ms' 680, about ~52%. 2010 showed us this is not a sustainable way to victory in conference.
  4. Poor kick-off coverage - Average start after a kickoff for the opponents is the 30 yard line. If you throw two outliers - it moves up 2 full yards on only 16 kickoffs...
  5. Rush defense - Giving up 4.8 yards/carry against 2 MAC teams and Notre Dame does not bode well in conference play.
  6. Not enough plays from Craig Roh, RVB and Mike Martin - the defensive "leaders"
  7. Haven't gotten far enough ahead in MAC games to get the back-ups (especially Devin Gardner) many reps.
*EMU's 3rd drive of the 1st quarter ended in a field goal early in the 2nd.
**M's first possession against WMU ended in a TD in the 2nd quarter.

  1. Overall defensive improvement - There seems to be more of an idea on defense this year. It's tough to quantify. My feeling is the linebackers have been much better than last year and the DBs have been better as well. The D-line still needs to improve - especially given that it is the "strength" of this defense.
  2. Making corrections and improving as the game goes on - after the 1st period, M has outscored the opposition 100-23. Jump balls being unsustainable as an offense aside - M has made plays when they've figured out what they could do against the opposition.
  3. Denard can still do this (from mgoblog).
  4. Very improved play from Jeremy Gallon both on special teams and as a receiver.
  5. Similar improvement from Thomas Gordon on defense.
  6. Jake Ryan seems like he's going to be a good one.
  7. No horrible special teams gaffes.
Where do we go from here?
I don't think any games on the schedule are un-winnable or unfortunately un-loseable.

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