Jim Harbaugh will be making his Michigan Football coaching debut at the Big House on Saturday afternoon. That much all of us already know.
But what will the team have to do to earn the first victory of the season on Saturday? Let's take a look:
Play Within Themselves
Michigan looked a bit tight early on in the game against Utah and they ended up digging a hole for themselves. The nerves will be there with the team playing its first home game of the 2015 season, but they will have to settle down and just execute a game plan against a team that is quite frankly not all that good in Oregon State.
Jake Rudock pressed at times and Michigan's defense could have been looser early on in the loss to Utah. Being a double-digit favorite and having the advantage of playing in their own backyard should provide the Wolverines with the comfort they need to walk out of Michigan Stadium with a victory on Saturday afternoon, as long as they settle down and use what the coaching staff has taught them throughout the week.
Attack the Middle of the Field
Oregon State is breaking in nine new starters on the defensive side of the ball, and this is a unit that was below average last season. Tight end Jake Butt will have the opportunity to have himself a field day and feast on what the Beavers give him in the middle of the field. If you thought his performance against Utah was good, he should have the chance to top that on Saturday and reach the end zone multiple times. This offense will basically revolve around him this season, and it really does not appear like Oregon State has the horses to slow him down.
Make Seth Collins One-dimensional
The Beavers will be trotting out a true freshman quarterback in Seth Collins who is actually quite the athlete. OSU runs a spread offense, something that the Wolverines have had problems stopping in recent years. Collins ran for over 150 yards last week against Weber State, so he is a legitimate threat to make a play when he gets out of the pocket.
His passing numbers, however, were rather pedestrian, as he went 10-for-18 with 92 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad, but not all that great considering who the opponent was.
Oregon State has solid receivers in Victor Bolden and Jonathan Villamin, so the secondary will have to account for them, but if the defense is able to keep Collins in the pocket, the Wolverines should be able to rattle him and make him a one-dimensional player.
Just Do the Job and Win the Game
Michigan's offense did not have a great debut against Utah, but that does not mean they have to come out firing on all cylinders and light up the scoreboard. In a perfect world, that's what fans would like to see, but the key to this entire season is seeing improvement week-to-week. The bar was set against Utah and we saw a lot of positive things that can get ironed out. Now it is time to see how that was addressed in the nine days since they last played. That's the difference between Harbaugh's staff and previous ones, and it is a development many of us will be keeping a close eye on Saturday afternoon.