Saturday, September 18, 2010

Michigan 42, UMass 37: Still not Top 25 defense yet

I am going to repeat myself because apparently the original message didn’t seep through the first time.
This Michigan squad is NOT a nationally-ranked football team … yet. The defensive unit is FAR from possessing Top 25 ability. Last Saturday’s 42-37 victory over FCS UMass is just another reason why, if it were me, I’d invest in kiosk-style manicurist salons all around the Big House.
Folks, it will be nail-bitin’ time each and every Saturday when the Maize and Blue hit the field.
The Wolverine defense did not do a quality job stopping the Minutemen offense and the kicking game is still less-than-satisfactory. Missed field goals inside the 40 and a blocked punt, plus a minus-17 yards on the only punt return is simply unacceptable … for the Top 25 team. It cannot be pictured in any other manner.
Kickoffs don’t nearly reach the end zone and coverage allowed returns averaging more than 23 yards per return. Of course, the blocked punt in the final minutes gave UMass the chance to scare the life out of every Michigan fan on hand, delirious with visions of Appalachian State running through their heads.
The time of possession – just 22:22 – is more a product of the defense in this game than the lack of execution on offense. Aside from the opening drive interception, U-M had decent third-down conversions (4-7) and Denard Robinson completed 10 of his 14 attempts for 241 yards (excellent by anyone’s standard).
But the defense allowed 439 yards in UMass offense on 78 plays!!!!!!! That was literally a full quarter’s worth of time and activity.
So what was the positive? We won! Pure and simple. Michigan is 3-0 headed to a “showdown” with those flying Falcons from Bowling Green State University (bearers of some of the ugliest colors this side of the Cleveland Browns). More than compiling big numbers on offense, the emphasis for this week should be … zero. The defense needs to allow as close to THAT number as possible; that should be the four-letter word uttered by every member of that unit for this game – for ALL games.
Penalties. Yards. Points.
Until the defense shows such form, this is NOT a Top 25 team … YET!

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