Wisconsin Game Thoughts
Well, I'm back at the computer and I suppose that it is finally time to deal with the debacle that was last Saturday's game. The end was exciting and it gave the ESPN guys something to blabber about, but this game was really decided in the last five minutes of the second quarter and the third quarter when Michigan's offense was essentially dormant. The gameplan for Minnesota should be carbon copy of this one... run up the score enough to take Calhoun/Maroney out of the game and make Stocco/Cupito beat Michigan in the passing game. Unfortunately the offense stalled in the key part of the game and Wisconsin was still able to utilize Calhoun and the running game in the 4th quarter.
If Michigan hopes to have success in the remainder of this season, they need to fix the two recurring themes that emerged again today, their inability to dictate tempo with the running game and their redzone struggles. Both will be especially important this week against State, but more about that in a later post. For now, on to the game thoughts:
-Michigan struggled with contain again, allowing Calhoun to get the corner way too often.
-Both Alan Branch and LaMarr Woodley got good consistent pressure on Stocco.
-Grady looked much improved at picking up the blitz.
-I really liked the call by Carr to go for the TD on 4th and goal at the one. Of course he should have also gone for the TD at the end of the half, but at least he is getting more adventurous.
-Manningham is the best chance we have to fill the hole left by Edwards graduating. He is now showing the speed to stretch the defense and the size/strength to catch the ball in traffic.
-Michigan lost the special teams battle, and that may well have been the difference in the game.
-I thought that the Wisconsin did a much better job calling plays to build Stocco's confidence than Michigan did with Henne.
-Finally, I was just amazed with how shifty Brian Calhoun was in traffic. A lesser back would have rushed for less the half the yards he did with the same blocking and play calling. He is just phenomenal at finding seams and cut back lanes to squeeze extra yards out of every single play.
Bottom line, Michigan needs Michael Hart healthy and for Chad Henne to settle down. Without them this could be a long game up in East Lansing.