Sunday, October 02, 2005

Michigan/Michigan State Game Thoughts

Wow, what a great win for a scuffling Michigan team. The offense finally looked good and in my opinion, the defense played their best game of the year. Now if we can just convince Henne to be superhuman in the second half too. On to the game thoughts:

-Michael Hart might have played the best game of his career today. He not only had the longest run of his career, but the second longest as well. He was also better than Kevin Grady at picking up blitzes and almost came back to make the tackle on the Damato Peko TD. Just a great day for Hart all around.
-Mario Manningham is going to be a special WR. He is playing well enough to warrant All-Big Ten consideration RIGHT NOW. I can't wait to see how good he is in a couple of years.
-Lloyd Carr was far less conservative than usual and it really paid off today. If this doesn't end the grumbling from some Michigan fans, I don't know what will.
-Pierre Woods was a solid contributor today. This bodes well for the rest of the season. Tim Jamison also looked good today and LaMarr Woodley and Alan Branch were their usual selves.
-Despite what I just said, Michigan didn't get enough pressure on Stanton, especially when the receivers were well covered (which was often). Stanton frequently had all day to throw.
-It looked to me that Drew Stanton was playing scared. He was very hesitant to tuck it and run and seemed to avoid contact downfield.
-Michigan lucked out on the roughing the kicker call. At most it should have been running into the kicker and maybe not even that. Of course running into the kicker would have given them 5 yards and that would have been a first down, so no big deal, but still... weak call.
-I'm glad that I wasn't in the replay booth on the Henne fumble replay. His arm was moving forward, but no way he was trying to throw that ball. Tough call and I'm glad that it didn't cost us the game.
-Carr's clock management was strange again before the half, but it worked out alright so I won't complain too much.
-Carl Tabb was very sure-handed today. He might a nice alternative in must-have situations when Avant was covered.
-Finally, Michigan didn't adjust well after the half AGAIN today. It seems that they always lose in the second half because the other team comes out with some changes and Michigan just keeps on keeping on.

In summary, Michael Hart was the difference today. If he is healthy for the rest of the year, there is no reason that this team cannot contend for a Big Ten title, especially if Manningham continues to improve and Henne regains some confidence after this win. Michigan State is no pushover and this was a huge win, the kind of win that has the potential to turn the season around.

4 Comments:

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you say that adjustments for the second half didn't work? The D gave up 3 whole points and even that was a victory after the Henne int. inside our 20. Henne was still shakey in the second half, that was the only negative and hardly something that can be planned.

 
At 9:19 PM, Blogger Tom said...

You bring up a great point. The defense did adjust well, but I still don't think that the offense did. Henne has been consistently shaky in the second half (at least more so than in the first) this season. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that Henne gets away with a lot more early in games than late. This is due in part to defenses adjusting and playing better late, particularly in the Wisconsin and Michigan State games. To be completely honest, I don't remember the exact play that made me say that, but I'm sure that it came while Michigan had the ball. I think that if Henne is always shaky in the second half (and he seems to be) you can plan for that by using passing plays that are designed to boost his confidence (short passes, screen passes, etc.).

 
At 3:07 PM, Anonymous ny1995 said...

I think the first half / second half is overstated wrt Henne. We're being misled by the fact that in the two games where he has played well (NIU and EMU) he hasn't had to play much in the 2nd half, skewing statistics and impressions.

 
At 12:28 AM, Blogger Tom said...

ny1995,

I think that you are right. Additionally, Lloyd has a tendency to get more conservative in the 2nd half (see 3rd qrtr of the State game) and that isn't helping Henne's second half stats either. I apologize as I bought into ABC's assertion without giving it further thought. I think that four things can be said about Henne though: (1) He was overrated by the hype machine to start the season; (2)No matter what people say, he does miss Braylon Edwards on the deep balls but Mario Manningham is quickly learning to fill that role; (3) He is an enormously physically gifted QB who will become great in time; (4) It is my personal opinion that the coaching staff brought him along too fast. Last season he was running somewhere around 50% of the offense. This season he is running the whole shebang, but I think somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% would have been more appropriate.

 

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