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Friday, September 2, 2011

Preview: Western Michigan

So tomorrow starts the Brady Hoke era... I'm excited...
Is he pointing at me... OMG...
Who, What, When, Where, Weather (predicted)
Who: Western Michigan: Line -14
What: Season Opener
Where: Michigan Stadium

Let's get too it...
Offense vs. Western's Defense:
Western's defense came in at a stifling 73rd in the nation last year. I can't talk negatively about this because Michigan was what... 110th? Michigan sucked against the Big Ten, while Western sucked against the MAC. Western was 66th in the nation vs. the run and actually decent against the pass coming in at 47th nationally. 

By now, we know what Michigan did last year. Michigan had came in  8th overall in the country in total offense and we have this Denard Robinson kid who you know, is pretty good. The last time Denard saw a Western defense he did this...
never gets old...

Western brings back all four starters on the d-line, their leading tackler in the linebacking corps, Miami transfer Doug wiggins and All-Mac performer, Sophomore Lewis Toler in the secondary. Their are some glaring weaknesses that Michigan needs to and will attack. One of the four starting d-lineman is a whopping 210 Lb. DE, in Paul Hazel. Western has two, count umm, two inexperienced LB's starting this season. Their leading running back from a year ago is now a 5'6 corner, named Aaron Winchester.

WMU's head coach, Bill Cubit, talked about having a spy on Denard  at all times or something, but I mean really? It's Denard vs. the MAC and we've seen how that's gone over the past couple years. If you can find a LB or SS or whoever who can just watch Denard and keep up with him, I'll be... surprised...

What to look for:
Unfortunately, I'm not expecting a ton of Denard in this one. Michigan will be running at that 210 lb. of a defensive end all day, if the coach in me is correct. I would suspect we'll see a good dose of Mike Shaw and Fitz Toussaint, especially if the rain comes.

If the rain chills out and doesn't ruin the first Saturday of college football in Ann Arbor, the biggest thing you need to look for on offense should be how Michigan's new fangled passing attack looks. Timing is clutch in  the new passing attack. Rain obviously doesn't bode well for slinging the rock around, so this aspect of the offense unfortunately might have to wait until the ND game to get a good look. If Michigan can pass look to see Junior Hemingway jumping over a former running back often.

Defense vs. Western's Offense:
So, Western, finished 34th in the nation last year at 411.7  yds/gm? Weird... I don't follow Western so, this, was surprising. They probably won't be running the ball very much as they were 96th in nation in rushing yards and their starter from last year is now going to get owned by Junior Hemingway. The Bronco passing attack came in 23rd nationally at 3429 yds through the air.

I'm not talking about it anymore but Michigan's defense last year was...

So there's that, and I'm not talking about it any further...

Some dude named Graham Couch, wrote earlier this week that Alex Carder was the best quarterback in the state of Michigan...He received much ridicule and tried to re-emphasize his point later this week. This guy is like, not smart... and anybody who watched a snap of Michigan or Michigan State knows this to be true. The guy writes for the Kalamazoo Gazette I don't quite expect him to show a love fest for Denard or Cousins. Brian over at MGoBlog writes better than anyone in the state, (especially Graham Couch), and he did a great job explaining the ludicrous, that was this statement. So, I'm not going to.

Alex Carder, is good, but not the best QB in the state. Carder threw for 3334 yds last season coming in for 16th nationally, but did have 12 picks. Jordan White was 5th nationally in receiving yds. That's where there offense came from last year. Jordan White is more Wes Welker than Randy Moss. I look at it this way, Hawaii usually leads the nation passing so, take that, for some food for thought... 

Western only had two returning starters on the offensive line and two of their projected starters are injured so, Michigan's front seven should be able to apply pressure to Carder. I may or may not eat my own words, but simply Michigan has had 2 weeks to prepare for Western and Western has no idea what Michigan will deploy defensively. Greg Mattison only coordinated the best defense over the past three years in the NFL so, I'd be willing to bet he can formulate a good game plan.

What to Look for:
Michigan's got Troy Woolfolk and a combination of Courtney Avery and JT Floyd back in the secondary so pay attention to them matching up with the Bronco passing attack. Western has issues at the offensive line and one should watch Michigan's front seven bring the pressure and stop Western's abysmal rushing attack and apply pressure to the passing game as well. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone if you will. Michigan has Mike Martin, Craig Roh, and Ryan VanBergen against an inexperienced offensive line, they will "kill 2 birds with 1 stone".

Prediction: 
Michigan's got more talent and had 2 weeks to prepare. Even in their last 3 years of shady football Michigan looked pretty good in their first game of the season. I expect this year to be no different. Look for Brendan Gibbons or Matt Wile to make a field goal in this one as Michigan wins, 34-14.

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