- Denard Robinson has improved exponentially. He took advantage of a weak defense, but he still completed 19/22 passes (86.3%) and didn’t turn the ball over. Oh by the way, he rushed for 197 yards and one touchdown on 6.8 yards per carry.
- The offensive line looked excellent in pass protection, but only so-so in run blocking. It makes things much easier for Robinson if he doesn’t have to run for his life. However . . .
- . . . Michigan’s running backs looked only average. Between Vincent Smith and Mike Shaw, they got only 3.4 yards per carry against a weak defense. Both failed to hit the line of scrimmage full speed at times, and neither showed an ability to be “special.”
- There’s no excuse (unless there was an undisclosed injury to Tate Forcier) for the way that Devin Gardner burned his redshirt. When Robinson left the game momentarily with a minor injury in the third quarter, Rich Rodriguez inserted true freshman Gardner instead of apparent third-stringer Tate Forcier, who started all 12 games in 2009.
- Robinson had way too many carries (29). Yes, he was successful carrying the ball (6.8 yards per carry, 1 touchdown), but that would give him 377 carries over a 13-game season. The NFL record over a 16-game season is 416, by running back Larry Johnson. The coaches and Robinson himself need to be smart about how he’s deployed and get the ball out of his hands once the game is safely out of reach.
- Too many redshirts were burned today. Not only Devin Gardner’s, but also Drew Dileo’s (to hold for extra points!) and Ray Vinopal’s (for special teams!). Some freshmen were obviously needed to play, but with those three, what’s the point?
Some thoughts on the defense:
- Even though Michigan only allowed 10 points, I’m certainly not satisfied. UConn helped out the defense with several dropped passes, and UConn quarterback Zach Frazer completed just 18/37 passes (48.6%) despite the fact that only 4 were deflected by Michigan players.
- The tackling is suspect, although UConn has a solid running game.
- Obi Ezeh seemed to play solidly for most of the game and led the team in tackles with 9, although as a senior, his play recognition should be better. On third-and-long, there’s no reason to bite on a play action fake and not get the proper depth in your drop. That left an open receiver in the seam and allowed UConn a first down.
- When a 195 lb. freshman linebacker (Carvin Johnson) is taking on a 6’7″, 325 lb. offensive guard on the interior of the line on a goal line play, something is wrong with your defensive scheme. Hopefully Johnson’s knee isn’t hurt too badly, but the replay showed his lower leg twisting in a direction it shouldn’t.
- J.T. Floyd should be praised for forcing a fumble near his own goal line, but he’s lucky the crown of his helmet hit the ball being carried by D.J. Shoemate rather than Shoemate himself. Nobody wants to see another Zia Combs moment.
- Zero sacks on 37 pass attempts? UConn has a large, veteran offensive line, but the pass rush needs to improve in the coming weeks.
- Cameron Gordon took some poor angles at free safety, but he’s also a head hunter back there. If he can get a bead on receivers and running backs, he’s going to give some offensive players some headaches . . . literally.
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