Michigan Football moved to 2-0 on the season with a 36-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday afternoon, but it was not without its share of question marks and concerns.
At the end of the day, as Jim Harbaugh said, wins are hard to come by and should be celebrated, but here are some takeaways from the afternoon
Wilton Speight may be the biggest question mark on this team right now, and that is kind of surprising given the way he played last season overall and the fact that he was a known commodity.
His stat line was not as awful as some fans would believe, finishing the day 17-of-29 for 229 yards and two touchdowns, but several of his 12 incompletions were flat-out misses and overthrows on his part.
The cries for his benching continue to get louder and louder from the fanbase, but people need to understand that he is the best they have right now. Harbaugh is not a coach that plays favorites and he has the best guy on the field at all times. However, Speight’s play on its own is creating doubt as to whether or not him being out there means that is the case.
The next guy off the bench is going to be John O’Korn, as he is the No. 2 quarterback right now. Everyone wants to see Brandon Peters, but he is behind those two guys by a pretty significant margin. It does not feel like we will see him this year unless the wheels fall off.
Which they have not. Not even close, so step off the ledge, fans.
Speight was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination on Saturday, but the entire offense is a work in progress right now. When Michigan led by a slim margin at 17-14, somebody had to make a play.
The blocking was inconsistent and it seemed like the wide receivers and tight ends had problems getting open. With a young team, these issues can be seen as an annoyance, they are also necessary.
There will always be big expectations in Ann Arbor, and there should be. But this is a young group that is still learning what it takes to not only win at this level, but be productive at this level.
There were times in the game where Michigan looked like it wanted to work on specific scenarios and put things on film to coach and correct.
Give the team credit. It never crumbled and the wheels never fell off. There are going to be growing pains with this team early on and everyone that follows along is going to have to strap themselves in for a ride.
There are not many guarantees anyone can give right now, but fans should feel pretty confident that this group will learn from this and continue to improve. They faced a tough test today when things went bad and they deserve credit for fighting through it.
Defense as the Closer
Ideally, the offense would be able to put up more points and be able to drive a stake in the heart of the opponent late in games, but they have not been able to do that.
However, the defense has.
In the last two games, Michigan has scored defensive touchdowns late to seal the victory. Saturday’s game saw sophomore Lavert Hill close it out with a pick-six in the fourth quarter, the team’s second of the game.
There were some big plays given up here and there, but nobody can expect perfection on every single snap, despite the fact that is what is being strived for.
The defense was almost every bit as stifling and frightening as it was during the win over Florida, and we also got a glimpse at what happens when Rashan Gary is pissed off. After a roughing the passer penalty that was originally called with targeting, Gary was relentless in a pass rush that buried Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore into the Big House turf.
Don Brown’s unit is going to have to continue to lead the charge while the offense figures out their issues.
What were your biggest takeaways from the game? Sound off in the comments below!