Last week's game is now long over and we can look forward to a bit of an easier matchup, this time against Air Force in the 3:30 game this weekend. Need more info on the Falcons? Check out Pre-Snap Read and Bill Connelly doing the preview thing.
Fitz Toussaint, Frank Clark reinstated for Michigan's game against Air Force - As expected, Fitz Toussaint will be back this week. However, most figured that Clark could be suspended for a longer period of time because he still has a court appearance after the Air Force game. Either way, it looks like both players have done a lot to earn their way back into good graces within the program.
Michigan's Courtney Avery gets starting nod with Blake Countess out for season - It is Courtney Avery's time to shine.
Avery played in 12 games last year at cornerback, and made three starts as Michigan opened in nickel packages against Western Michigan, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. He finished with 26 tackles, .5 sacks, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one fumble forced.
This is a downgrade at the field corner spot, but not a huge one. Avery has a lot of game experience and should be a serviceable replacement.
I'm Not Done Talking Denard - Tremendous puts Denard Robinson's poor performance Saturday into perspective, and I have to say I agree. Denard, more than most quarterbacks, needs to be working within a system where the run game is successful, especially on early downs.
P.S.R. 1-124: Week 2 Re-Ranking - Michigan drops from the top 25.
Air Force Falcons open their season with 49-21 rout of Idaho State - The Falcons rolled in game one against Idaho State.
John L. Smith prank calls reporter from press conference - Don't you ever leave college football again, John L.
Let's finish with some game reactions from last week.
Worse, they ended up continuing the game, thus forcing a great many people to watch it. At no point did Al Borges deploy the EMP weapon he must have spent the offseason perfecting in lieu of figuring out what Denard Robinson is good at. So the broadcast continued unabated, except apparently in DC where DirecTV was on the fritz. (Wolverines in our nation's capitol: keep yourselves quarantined. You may be all that's left of us once the PTSD kicks in. You must continue to tell others of our sacrifice.) As mentioned, a better strategy would have been to exit at top speed while splicing K-Pop videos into the feed.
The problem wasn't Borges' schemes being out flanked. The problem was an offensive line that got pushed into the backfield on every play. It was a quarterback with dysfunctional throwing mechanics unable to hit receivers. It was receivers unable to get separation from their defensive counterparts. Alabama is a great team, but they are not an unbeatable team. There were opportunities to attack them in this game that Michigan simply missed, usually because of performance errors more than schematic inefficiencies.
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Devin Gardner. Gardner played quite a bit against Alabama, but Michigan needs to keep finding ways to get him the ball. He almost made a few nice plays, and while I know "almost" doesn't do much for the final outcome of the game, the potential there is obvious. He had 1 catch for 44 yards and a touchdown, but has the speed to get downfield and the leaping ability to go up and over almost any defensive back. Most teams Michigan plays won't have a 6'1", 200 lb. cornerback like Dee Milliner to knock the ball out of Gardner's hands.
Every year, though, it gets a little clearer that thinking about Nick Saban's program in the standard terms of "rebuilding" or individual attrition is missing the point: The program is not a collection of individuals, subject to the unpredictability and inconsistency of mere mortals. It is a machine, a Death Star, and the players who cycle through it are only cogs in its punishing, pitiless pursuit of world domination. They're the best cogs, of course, top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art, blue-chip cogs, but ultimately one will do as well as the next. There is always another cog. And as far as Alabama is concerned, sitting around wondering whether the new cog is going to work as well as the old one makes about as much sense as a hammer factory wondering how its next generation of hammers is going to uphold the time-honored tradition of bludgeoning things.