Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Michigan Football - Improvement

Well, since I already talked about the obvious things that are wrong with Michigan football, I thought I'd weigh in with some equally obvious opinions on what I think needs to be done in the second half of the 2008 season to set up the Wolverines for a successful 2009 season. Please note: I am an expert, and my opinions are unassailable.

1. Don't play Nick Sheridan any more unless Threet is hurt.
Next year's opening day starter, believe it or not, will probably be Steven Threet. The alternatives are incoming freshmen, and odds are that they'll be sitting to start the year. Playing Sheridan at all is just a waste of time. Threet has to get as many reps as he can at QB. This offense needs an experienced QB who can read defenses in order to decide whether or not to hand the ball off, keep the ball, etc. Since he's gonna be the starter next year, play Threet every possible snap.

2. Fix the offensive line.
The blocking is atrocious. Use the second half of the season to get the top five (or seven, or eight) as many snaps as they can. As long as they stay away from injuries, the O-line should improve with more experience. Incidentally, this observation is number one on the all-time list of most obvious observations of all-time. Please congratulate me on my keen sense for the obvious.

3. Turnovers
If the Wolverines can cut their turnovers in half for the last half of the season, it should be seen as a victory. I'm not sure how you can coach a team on how to hold onto the ball, but if there's any way to have Mike Hart give these guys some advice, he should be consulted. Stop dropping the friggin ball on the ground. Since he handles the ball on every snap, Threet needs to take special care of the pigskin in order for the team to have any success. Also, stress the importance of creating turnovers on defense.

Since the offense is obviously struggling, perhaps the defense should get more aggressive and take some more chances. Use Mouton as a pass rusher like Crable. Blitz the safeties more. Whatever. It's increasingly apparent that the offense is not going to be able to put up huge numbers this year, so challenge the defense to step up and create turnovers by attacking the opposition with more funky stuff. And tackle better. The defensive line was supposed to be the strength of the defense, and other than Graham they have been pretty quiet.

5. Rotate the safeties
It's becoming more and more apparent as the season goes on that safety is a position of weakness on this team. It's time to sit fifth year senior Charles Stewart and get some of the other guys in there to get more experience. The safeties are like the QB of the defensive backfield, and they need snaps to get experience: Williams, Chambers, Smith, Floyd - hell, put a CB back there if he can tackle (Woolfolk, Cissoko, etc).

6. Play baseball
Treat the last half of the season like a MLB team that is out of the pennant race. Instead of playing veterans who won't be here next year or don't figure to play much next year, play the young guys and give them a chance to see what they can do. I am by no means suggesting that they give up on the season and play all freshmen. On the contrary, perhaps this season can be saved if the coaching staff can get some of the young guys some more snaps. And I'm not talking about all freshmen all the time. We're already using a fair share of youngsters, but I'm talking about playing select underclassmen who Coach Rodriguez and his staff know they will need contributions from next year.

I think the key things we need to look for the rest of the season are "improvement" and "experience" from almost all areas of the team, except of course Zoltan, who's already the most awesome thing about this team (and if that, my friends, is not an apt microcosm of the season, I don't know what is). Any further suggestions? I'm certain Coach Rodriguez reads this blog regularly and will take any advice that we give him.

Go Blue!

NOTE: I apologize for my excessive use of the word "obvious" throughout this blog entry. Please forgive me, but I am obviously unable to use a thesaurus.

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