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What To Take From The UMASS Game

Coach Hoke seemed less than pleased following the UMASS game. (You'd think an iPhone 4S would take clearer photos, right?)
Coach Hoke seemed less than pleased following the UMASS game. (You'd think an iPhone 4S would take clearer photos, right?)

So Michigan played the worst team in the MAC and won by enough to cover a 46.5 point spread. What does it mean?

The Bad

The defense didn't give up an offensive touchdown and still fell short of expectations

The UMASS offense had 15 first downs after combining for just 17 first downs in its first two contests. Michigan failed to bring down Michael Cox on a handful of occasions when he should have been on the ground, resulting in a few gashing rushes. Not giving up an offensive touchdown is a good sign but the defense definitely could have played better, especially the defensive line.

Denard still has strides to make in decision making and basic footwork

His interception was a combination of pressure and poor decision making, but he still needs to cut plays like that out if he wants to take his game to a higher level. He also missed a handful of completable passes because of bad footwork, bouncing on his toes and failing to set his feet properly. This frustrates me because he'll come out on the next play and deliver a strike using great footwork. Denard's improvement in the passing game has been clear over the years but he still has strides to make if he wishes to beat talented teams with his arm this year.

Both fronts can still perform at a higher level

Brady Hoke wasn't happy at his press conference, mostly because of the way the lines played. He cited handwork and pad levels as things that needed to improve, and we all obviously agree. The defensive line didn't dominate UMASS and although the running backs found much more room this week the offensive line still could have performed better. The defensive line remains the biggest question mark on the team, and at this point if the staff can find a way to make them average many would consider it a win.

The Good

The running backs actually helped Robinson

Every last back that touched the ball averaged no worse than 5.7 yards per carry. The group also contributed 4 touchdowns, taking some pressure off of Robinson. Some of this can be attributed to the play of the offensive line, but the backs still looked better than they did against Air Force.

Gardner and Funchess are here to stay

For the second straight week the duo combined for two touchdowns and it doesn't look like they're about to slow down. Gardner has a touchdown in every game so far, proving that moving him to receiver was a great decision. Having two receivers capable of beating defenders physically could prove to be extremely valuable against a depleted Notre Dame secondary.

Anyone who put money on Michigan made some dough

The line was 46.5 points and Michigan covered. Everything taken from this game can be discounted heavily because the level of competition was so low, but when you come out and clobber a team that you're supposed to clobber it can't be considered a step back. At worst Michigan remained where it was after the Air Force game, at best it improved minimally.