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What to Take from the Outback Bowl

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Michigan lost a close game in Tampa Bay. What does it mean for the future of Michigan football?


The Bad

Denard Robinson will take Michigan's rushing attack with him

Michigan ran the ball with mild effectiveness at times, and it was almost always with Robinson at halfback. Robinson is now graduated and he's taking the majority of Michigan's running game with him. Securing Derrick Green and bolstering the offensive line are obvious keys to success from here on out.

Michigan still lacks talent in key areas

Where should I start? Most obvious was the lack of a pass rush, as only Jake Ryan seemed capable of beating a blocker to get to the quarterback. Taco Charlton will help the situation, but Michigan must find more players with elite burst off of the line. The receiving core needs help in the athleticism department as well. The lack of pure speed on the back end of the defense was also apparent, but Michigan has already done a solid job of addressing this issue on the recruiting trail. The same goes for the offensive line, where it's only a matter of time before the Wolverines field a dominant group. Still, it will be two years before the roster is filled with the talent necessary to win games like this on a consistent basis.

The Good

Devin Gardner played against the best and nearly won

Gardner stood tall in the pocket and did enough to win the game despite facing one of the best pass rushing units in college football. He missed on a handful of completable throws, but how can you blame him when the clock in his head was ticking faster than ever? His completion percentage was still over fifty percent and he threw for three touchdowns, meaning that he's going to be scary good some day soon.

Michigan's special teams unit is in good hands

Remember when Michigan's special teams were atrocious only a few years ago? That won't be happening for the foreseeable future. Norfleet has kick return duties locked down and Terry Richardson could be Michigan's Ace Sanders on punt returns. Matt Wile also looked impressive kicking and punting, meaning the entire special teams unit will be solid for years to come.

Gorgeous Al Borges

Al Borges came prepared. He did a great job of moving the pocket to give Gardner more time, called screens that didn't look totally out of place, used Denard Robinson in meaningful ways, and most importantly posted 28 points on one of the best defenses in the game. A Vincent Smith power run directed at JADEVEON CLOWNEY* knocks his grade down a notch, but it was still a great showing for the embattled Michigan offensive coordinator.


*I propose a new internet law: JADEVEON CLOWNEY's name must be typed in all caps in order to ensure that we never forget what he is capable of. If he returns we need to be mentally prepared for what is at store. When he hit Smith a family member asked me "if it's legal to hit someone that hard". A cop told him he would have been arrested if he did that in public. You can sleep without worry.