Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wolverines Blogging: The RedHawks (Game Two)

No, I'm still not over the loss against Utah. It's not just that Michigan lost but that they looked so wretched doing so. They looked lost, confused, and overmatched out there on the field, like they were the team from the mid-major conference and they were the ones taking half the gate receipts for a ritualized slaughter in front of thousands. Despite the score, that game wasn't even close. More to the point, it wasn't even competitive. I don't like when the Wolverines lose, obviously, but I'm just not used to them not being able to compete.

Anyhow, after initially dismissing Utah last week before getting that funny gut feeling that I'd been a bit too hasty and then getting that funny gut feeling that I'd been my stomach had been smacked with a bag of wet concrete, I should probably just give up and mow the lawn or something. This week is, after all, Cupcake Saturday. A day devoid of big match-ups while the traditional powers feast on their scheduling record padding. Michigan's opponent, for instance, is Miami.

Not the Hurricanes but the RedHawks from Ohio.

And, sure, they might be known as the launching pad for Bo and Woody and Ara and a host of other coaches but they're not exactly known for being a winning program. So, I expect this week to be a tune-up game. Michigan will come out, look halfway decent, and hopes will be restored. But the real test will come next week with the trip to South Bend. If the Wolverines can beat Notre Dame then there's hope for them yet. If they can't then this season is going to get really ugly.

There is an outside possibility they lose this week's game, though, and that won't even matter. And that possibility is mainly because of their unsettled quarterback position. The word on the street is that it's going to be Threet getting the nod today. His stats weren't as good as Sheridan last week except for the all-important points produced. Sheridan put up 10 while behind the offense's steering wheel while Threet had 13 in the second half - including almost managing to bring the team back for an improbably victory. He just looked better and the team played better around him. He didn't, though, pull off that comeback and he didn't look great. And those two touchdowns he managed were as much gifts from Utah turnovers and penalties as the one Sheridan managed. It's not like he was marching up and down the field leading a revived passing attack or anything, he was opportunistic - which is good - but not exactly breathtaking.

And that's a problem because the spread option lives and dies by the quarterback. And, right now, Michigan doesn't have one.

The other cause for concern from last week was the defense. They did what they needed to do and stopped the Utes from running. Only to see the Utah quarterback rain passes all over the field and lead his team to a win. The defense really has to carry this team until the offense can gel and, even then, has to be the calling card that gives the other side of the ball a chance. But while they played stronger as the game wore on, even as they were kept on the field way too long and in bad position from an offense that couldn't stay on the field, they didn't exactly look worldbeating, either.

So, the offense looks wretched and the defense looks mediocre at best. Of course, I'm calling for the win today.

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