|Quarterbacks Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson celebrate during Saturday’s 65-21 victory over Bowling Green.|
Yesterday was a pretty ridiculous good time. It’s hard to learn much about Michigan’s team in a game like this, because everything worked. The Wolverines had 721 total yards, which is only six few than Michigan’s all-time record for yardage that was set last year against Delaware State.
A couple new things I noticed . . .
1. Michigan used a “heavy package” that included two tight ends in the backfield with the QB and the RB. Michigan is getting to the point where they can install new packages and formations without confusing the kids too much. We’re starting to see how many different looks Rich Rodriguez and Calvin Magee can show, and at least for now, they all seem to be working.
2. Michigan used some defensive packages with four cornerbacks. As far as I know, Michigan hadn’t used a nickel or dime package in a couple years. Last year’s adjustment to multiple wide receivers was to put linebacker Steve Brown and one of the free safeties on the slot receivers. This four-corner look might not be a legitimate option against a talented Big Ten team like Ohio State, but it could be used situationally. Showing it against BGSU gives those kids a chance to practice it, and it also gives future opponents something for which to gameplan.
There were also several old themes revisited, many of which have been addressed here earlier. I won’t go into too much depth on these, but they were worth noting . . .
- Devin Gardner redshirt vs. Tate Forcier. Gardner had some good moments but still looked awkward at times. I’m on the record as saying that Gardner’s redshirt shouldn’t have been burned, at least not so early in the season. This game seemed to support my theory. Gardner finished 7/10 for 85 yards and 1 touchdown, while rushing the ball 6 times for 25 yards (4.2 ypc) and 1 touchdown. Meanwhile, Forcier set a Michigan record by going 12/12 for 110 yards and 1 touchdown, in addition to 4 rushes for 30 yards (7.5 ypc).
- Vincent Smith is still not as good as the other running backs. He did have a nice touchdown run where he actually ran through a tackle. But by the end of the game, Fitzgerald Toussaint had 2 carries for 66 yards (33 ypc) and Michael Cox had 6 carries for 56 yards (9.3 ypc). Still, Smith (12 carries, 62 yards, 5.2 ypc, 2 touchdowns) tied for the most carries with Michael Shaw (12 carries, 59 yards, 4.9 ypc, 1 touchdown). Even freshman Stephen Hopkins had a better average (6 carries, 33 yards, 5.3 ypc), although Hopkins put the ball on the ground.
- Cameron Gordon and Jordan Kovacs are slow. Gordon couldn’t catch up to a 265 lb. tight end a couple weeks ago, and this week he got torched by a MAC wide receiver on a screen pass that turned into a 71-yard TD. Jordan Kovacs was also unable to gain any ground on Tyrone Pronty that play. It’s not good when both of the team’s safeties are so lacking in foot speed, but that’s where Michigan’s defense is right now. It would have also helped if Thomas Gordon and James Rogers gave better efforts . . .
- Michigan needs to rush more than three to get to the quarterback. The Wolverines had three sacks (two by Ryan Van Bergen, one by Jonas Mouton), and at least two – maybe all three – came on plays where Michigan sent more than three rushers.
- Denard Robinson is good. He had 5 carries for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was 4/4 passing for 60 yards. All that happened in about half a quarter of play.
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