Michigan scored a lot of points on Saturday. Western Michigan did not. What’s on your mind heading to week three? Did we learn anything? Does it matter?
Dan Allweiss: We learned that Shea has the arm and athletic talent to do things in this offense that we haven’t seen in years, particularly last year. But….. I’m not comfortable saying that we learned anything meaningful as far as the offense being able to do anything or that this coaching staff has learned their lesson. Michigan only threw the ball 18 times compared to 33 rushing attempts. Explosive plays meant that the O wasn’t on the field a ton (only 25 minutes of possession), but that’s still not the ratio I want to see. I imagine this week will probably be similar. We’ll enjoy the win, but until the passing game is given the proper green light, we’re not going to really be able to take away anything from these games. They matter, but only kind of.
Dan P: It’s upsetting that Patterson did not throw the ball more against Western Michigan. This offensive line NEEDS pass protection practice and Patterson NEEDS to get more comfortable with the offense. I desperately want Harbaugh to realize this and see that running the ball for hundreds of yards is awesome but it’s unrealistic against some of the best defenses in the Big Ten.
Also I have an issue with the AP rankings. What has Michigan State done to prove they are worth being ranked after two AWFUL weeks. Penn State played terribly in the first half against Pitt before turning it around and they moved up… the Big Ten doesn’t look good right now outside of Wisconsin and Ohio State and that could severely hurt Michigan’s chances of a CFP run with the loss to Notre Dame.
Kevin: AP voters vote with their hearts, not their eyeballs. They want to believe Michigan State is still good enough to be ranked, so they fulfill their own delusions. Generally the first four weeks of the season are a trial and error period, we all know that...conference play is where the pack separates. But since when did subpar conference strength interfere with playoff berth chances? Win the games you’re supposed to and it sorts itself out...usually.
Sam: Also, Notre Dame looked average against Ball State. It may be a hangover, but need them to look better for the loss to look okay.
I have no problem with the team shelving Patterson. It wasn’t like the run offense shined in week one, so Harbaugh and Hamilton said “Let’s clean up run blocking first.”
With that said, teams beware if you give Patterson time. His deep ball is deadly. This leads me to the freshman tackles: When do Mayfield and Hudson start?
My take is that Runyan and/or JBB get one more test in Northwestern to prove themselves. It may even be Nebraska, since they racked up seven sacks against Colorado. Point being, the ideal is redshirting Mayfield, but the coaches may not be able to afford to wait.
Dan Allweiss: Sam, I’m not sure you can use “need to shore up the run” as an explanation for this team anymore. We’ve seen this for four years. Running up thirty gagillion yards against inferior opponents doesn’t translate to the games against top teams. Fool me four times, shame on me x3. This has been the achilles heel for every Harbaugh offense - the passing game is not polished enough to get defenses to avoid stacking the box. Even Darboh and Chesson struggled with man-coverage to where teams stacked against De’Veon Smith. Your offensive line isn’t good enough to run over good teams (again). Thus, I think it’s exceptionally important, moreso than other years even, for the passing game to mature. This is the most raw talent the receiving corps has had since Jim got here and it’s time to turn these kiddos loose. Run early, but once the box is stacked, Shea needs to be taking shot after shot. Get the screen and swing game working as well.
As far as the O-Line, the coaching staff’s comments this week seem to indicate that the kids won’t be rushed. It’s JBB and probably Runyan until someone really steps up in practice. Will that happen? I don’t know. I almost wonder if Runyan is a disaster again, if it’s worth seeing if Ben can swing outside. Just spit-balling here.
Andrew V: Regardless of when/if Hudson and/or Mayfield become starters, I’m hoping to see both see extended playing time Saturday. It’d be nice to see them get the entire second half. I’m with you on the passing game too. This is a game where Michigan should have a big enough lead to play with the offense and bit and try things out. In a perfect world, we’d see about a 50/50 split in running plays and passing plays.
Kevin: Is that really the balance Harbaugh is after, though...or do we even know? I’ve never really heard a clear definition of what he wants this Michigan team to be aside from disciplined and tough. The regaled power-run scheme from Stanford has not entirely formed at Michigan, and please correct me on this, but, I’ve never known it to have that kind of balance. This is so different though because of the quarterback inconsistency. There’s real upside to at least use Shea as the springboard to start to really nail down the system we should be seeing out of a Harbaugh offense.