Opinion: Michigan should explore tailback options against Illinois - Kyle Meinke at AnnArbor.com says, "why not Rawls."
Toussaint's struggles early in the season were attributed to the poor play of the offensive line. Now, the front has put together three consecutive solid halves of football, yet Toussaint continues to not find daylight. He missed holes against Purdue, and spent too much time running laterally. He lacked burst when he did hit the hole. Toussaint was a big reason Michigan won 11 games last year, and that experience shouldn't be discounted. There's still a role for him. But Michigan should explore its tailback options against Illinois to try to find a consistent ground attack that can supplement Robinson.
I'm not sure I totally agree. The failure of Toussaint to do much in the running game still, to me, seems to be on the offensive line. It is easy to point to Robinson's production in the Purdue game and say, "see, they are blocking better" but I don't think correlation equals causation in this case.
Robinson is the kind of runner that is capable of doing more with less, and his status as the quarterback means that he will always have an extra blocker than any running back. Now, the offensive line has played a bit better as of late, but Kawaan Short was still a terror inside last week, and while playing Illinois with a large dose of Thomas Rawls may seem like a good idea -- and hell, it may even look like one when he runs over what has so far been a disappointing Illini defense -- I think the best idea is to keep trying to get the line to gel and Toussaint to get into a groove again. He is Michigan's most complete back, and it isn't quite time to give up on him just yet.
Besides, I just don't think Rawls brings enough to the table to be the kind of back that Michigan needs. As Brian said yesterday in his post game piece at mgoblog:
I'm not sure Rawls is going to be much of a solution because the veer is Michigan's best play and a moose like that is not going to be much of a threat going laterally as that play demands the RB do. I wouldn't mind seeing Norfleet get some cracks at that, though.
Rawls isn't the right guy to take over Fitz's spot becaues of what the offense demands. The only hope is that Fitz starts getting more decisive in his cuts and the line does a better job creating creases for him. At least for now.
Ask the Beat: What to expect from Tim Hardaway Jr.? - UMHoops has been doing a series where it consults with some of the UM basketball beat writers on the 2012-13 season, and it is every bit as excellent as you can imagine. Here are the other three posts thus far.
Read all of them. You will be hard pressed to find better writing about Michigan's basketball team than what those four can provide. Bravo, Dylan, for setting that up.
Michigan vs. Purdue Awards - Magnus gives out his postgame awards, and the defense comes in for some praise.
Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. I thought Michigan's defense played well on Saturday, and there wasn't anyone on the field who was a real liability. I'm still not sold on Michigan's cornerbacks, but there aren't many options; and even those two stepped it up from the Notre Dame game two weeks ago.
For the record, Magnus also wants to see more of Rawls on offense, so there is another vote for the pro-try-Rawls contingent.
Big Ten power rankings: Week 7 - ESPN doles out its power rankings. Michigan moves up.
2. Michigan (3-2, 1-0, last week: 4): Brady Hoke got the response he wanted after an open week as Michigan opened Big Ten play with its best performance of the season. The Wolverines' defense continued to build on the Notre Dame performance with four takeaways, including a pick-six by sophomore cornerback Raymon Taylor. Denard Robinson (235 rush yards) rebounded well after his disastrous night in South Bend, and Michigan's offensive line controlled a pretty good Boilers defensive front. Michigan can't afford a letdown against Illinois before its home showdown against Michigan State, which has won the teams' past four meetings.
Post Week 6 - Bowl Projections - OTE gives us the bowl projections. The category is "Things I Don't Want to See Develop for 1000, Alex"
Rose Michigan vs.USC
Why Michigan: Michigan looked like the team we thought they'd be at the start of the season against Purdue. Nebraska and Michigan State looked awful. So here we are. Why USC: The Trojans lose to Oregon but still makes the Rose Bowl thanks to the Ducks playing in the national championship.
Michigan vs. USC in the Rose bowl? Again? Talk about so 'Nam-like flashbacks. I was there, man. I was there.