The elephant in the room . . . could probably throw a football just as well as Wilton Speight. I kid, I kid, but those expecting a significantly better game against the lowly Cincinnati Bearcats should have been disappointed. Speight was 17/29 for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns, but there were a lot of bad misses, usually in the form of overthrows. Perhaps worse than the overthrows were the two fumbles, one when Speight mishandled a handoff to Ty Isaac and another when there was a botched jet sweep handoff to Kekoa Crawford. The handoff to Isaac was 100% on Speight, and the timing/mechanics of the Crawford handoff seemed to be off, though Crawford might deserve some blame there, too. Either way, the quarterback play wasn’t stellar. He did hit a long TD to Crawford and then hit Grant Perry over the middle for a 33-yard touchdown catch-and-run, but his footwork and mechanics on short and intermediate throws are all out of whack. How much can that be improved when the guy is an old redshirt junior in his third year in the system?
Hit the jump for more on Saturday’s win.
I got tired of hyping him up, so now he’s breaking out. Ty Isaac got the start in this one, and he generally looked good. He finished with 20 carries for 133 yards. He now has two 100-yard games this season, and he has 31 carries for 247 yards (8.0 YPC) on the year. The most interesting thing is Isaac’s complete dominance of the carries. Chris Evans (5 carries for 15 yards) and Karan Higdon (4 carries for 13 yards) were both available, but for whatever reasons, they didn’t get the same number of chances. Isaac had more rushing yards than Evans in week one despite getting half as many carries (22 to 11). What is going on with the running back situation?
Tyree Kinnel looks like the real deal. Kinnel made 9 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception that he returned 28 yards for a touchdown. It wasn’t a great interception – it was a poorly thrown football – but Kinnel seems to be in the right place consistently.
No one is laughing at Mike Boone right now. I heard a lot of guffaws when Cincinnati running back Mike Boone said he believed the Bearcats could shock the world by going into Michigan Stadium and beating the Wolverines. Michigan fans have embarrassingly short memories, and anyone who was laughing hopefully realizes how this could have gone the other way. This game was 17-14 in the third quarter, and Michigan was playing a mistake-filled game with overthrows, fumbles, poor punt return awareness, blown assignments in the running game, etc. Cincinnati also missed some opportunities for big plays in the passing game, overthrowing or dropping a couple sure touchdowns. The Bearcats didn’t play a great game, and they were still in it late.
We are laughing at Luke Fickell, though. That dude has no idea about clock management, game management, etc. As a coach, you shouldn’t be consistently hurting your team with indecision. And yet Fickell never once looked concerned about his lack of awareness.
Donovan Peoples…no! Grant Perry replaced Donovan Peoples-Jones as the punt returner in this one, and for good reason. Peoples-Jones was indecisive on whether to catch punts or alert his teammates to get away from the ball. That led to a turnover when a punt hit Benjamin St-Juste in the leg, and it almost led to another one. This isn’t high school anymore, and it’s the reason that coaches often don’t trust freshmen to catch punts.
It’s a good thing the defense scores points, because the offense sure doesn’t do it very much. Through two games, Michigan’s offense has scored 4 touchdowns, and the defense has scored 3. The Wolverines have to settle for field goals too often. This will likely be a problem against a team capable of mustering any offense.
Michael Onwenu has some work to do. I noticed several issues with Onwenu in both the run and the pass game, and some of it stems from him simply not moving his feet. This was one of my concerns with him playing offensive line instead of nose tackle, and while it can be coached out of him, it’s a problem right now.
It was a catch. Grant Perry’s catch was clearly a catch, except the referees were wrong and then wrong again. It’s frustrating when the instant replay officials are inept.
Redshirt burner. Several more freshmen played for the first time this week. Here are the guys who have yet to play:
- Jordan Anthony
- Nico Collins
- Chuck Filiaga
- Ja’Raymond Hall
- Joel Honigford
- James Hudson
- Deron Irving-Bey
- Donovan Jeter
- Oliver Martin
- Dylan McCaffrey
- Phillip Paea
- Brad Robbins
- Drew Singleton
- Kurt Taylor
Do we adjust our projections for this season? I think this team is going to end up anywhere from 8-4 to 10-2 this year. I said 9-3 earlier in the year, and then I bumped it up to 10-2 in my “official” pre-season projection. If the Wolverines don’t get more consistent play from the QB position, I don’t think Michigan hits 10-2.
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