|Freshman cornerback Blake Countess tackles touted receiver Marvin McNutt|
(image via MGoBlue.com)
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Michael Shaw. If Fitzgerald Toussaint's apparent shoulder injury keeps him out next week, I would like to see Shaw get some playing time in lieu of Toussaint. Vincent Smith has established himself as a capable third down back and receiver out of the backfield (although he dropped a key pass against the Hawkeyes), but he has also established himself as being incapable of playing the role of a lead back. Shaw is averaging 6.4 yards a carry and has the ability to break big plays. Smith hasn't had double-digit carries all season, and it should probably stay that way.
Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . tentative Denard. The coaches need to rethink their coaching of Robinson and tell him to go all out. The current iteration of Denard Robinson has him avoiding contact at all costs and searching for the sideline. For a unit that can't create big plays down the field in the passing game now that Big Ten play has started, Robinson needs to be the player he was last year - the one that almost always looked for a few extra yards here or there, and the one who could look like he was running out of bounds and then turn up the sideline for a huge play.
Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Thomas Gordon. Gordon has had a hand in twice as many turnovers as anyone else on the team (1 interception, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles), but he found himself watching from the bench as Troy Woolfolk started at safety on Saturday. Woolfolk isn't 100% healthy and should have sat out against a cupcake or two earlier in the season to get ready for the Big Ten, but the coaches sent him out there every week, anyway, and now we're seeing the repercussions. Gordon needs to be on the field, and Woolfolk ought to be subbing in at corner, safety, or both.
Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Desmond Morgan. I'm a big fan of Morgan and his potential, but the bottom line is that he's a true freshman playing in the run-heavy Big Ten. Iowa took advantage of him, and it seemed to be on purpose. Whether the answer is Brandon Herron, Brandin Hawthorne, or Mike Jones, somebody with a little more experience ought to fill in. What we're seeing right now is exactly the reason I was hoping that Marell Evans would start at WILL, but unfortunately, Evans is in purgatory right now while the coaches try to sort out some issues with his transfer credits; Evans' career might be done or he might be able to get a sixth year of eligibility.
Play of the game . . . Junior Hemingway's jump-ball catch. At one point in the fourth quarter (I think), Denard Robinson threw a laser to a well-covered Hemingway. The receiver - who had dropped two easy passes earlier in the game - went over top of the Iowa defensive back to reel in the ill-advised pass. It was a typical play for Hemingway, who has saved Robinson's butt on several occasions in the past couple seasons.
MVP of the game . . . Blake Countess. Perhaps I'm overstating the importance of Countess' performance on Saturday, but he did an excellent job on a very good receiver in the form of Iowa's Marvin McNutt. Of course, it helps that nobody else had a standout game, but Countess is the team's best corner, in my opinion. McNutt could have had a huge day, but in large part due to Countess, McNutt either had the ball knocked away or was tackled immediately when Countess was on him. The freshman cornerback stepped up to the challenge and continues to look like the next great corner in Ann Arbor.