Friday, September 12, 2014

Preview: Michigan vs. Miami-OH

I don't understand this picture.
Rush Offense vs. Miami Rush Defense
Michigan ran roughshod over Appalachian State, but they had a little more trouble against Notre Dame (35 carries, 100 yards). Redshirt junior Graham Glasgow returned from suspension to play right guard, and the rest of the line will likely stay the same. Sophomore Derrick Green has some vision issues but leads the team with 195 yards on 28 carries (7.0 yards/carry). Fellow sophomore De'Veon Smith (15 carries, 145 yards, 9.7 yards/carry) can break tackles but lacks breakaway speed, and he is reportedly a little gimpy right now. Miami is #56 against the run after games against Marshall and Eastern Kentucky, giving up 3.7 yards/carry. Leading tackler Kent Kern is a 6'1", 238 lb. inside linebacker with 23 tackles and 3 tackles for loss. Redshirt sophomore ophomore defensive end J'Terius Jones (6'3", 245 lbs.) has 11 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. The defensive tackles are 6'5", 288 lb. Mitchell Winters and 6'2", 285 lb. Jimmy Rousher, who have combined for 8 tackles and 0 tackles for loss. Coming off a standout rushing performance against Appalachian State and at least a decent showing against Notre Dame, Michigan should be able to handle Miami's front with a little trouble from Kern.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Offense vs. Miami Pass Defense
Michigan looked great passing the ball for the first 1.5 games of the season. The second half of last Saturday's game against Notre Dame was a horror show. So far Devin Gardner is completing 70% of his passes for 362 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Notre Dame threw a barrage of blitzes at him, and Michigan's offensive line couldn't handle them. Star wide receiver Devin Funchess has caught 16 passes (out of 35 team completions) for 202 yards and all 3 of the team's receiving touchdowns. The Wolverines have several other solid options in Jehu Chesson (5 catches, 52 yards), Amara Darboh (3 for 49), and Dennis Norfleet (6 for 46), plus the return of budding tight end Jake Butt from a torn ACL. Miami is tied for #13 nationally with 7 sacks, including 2 each from Kern and Jones. They're still #76 against the pass (230 yards/game) and #99 in passer rating defense. Their lone interception comes from fifth year senior cornerback Quinten Rollins, who played point guard for the RedHawks for four years before joining the football team in the spring. Rollins led the MAC in steals last season and could be just as dangerous on the football field. Also in the secondary is sophomore cornerback Heath Harding (3 interceptions last season) and nickel corner Lo Wood, a transfer from Notre Dame.

Rush Defense vs. Miami Rush Offense
Michigan gives up a little under 104 yards/game (#36 nationally) and 3.1 yards/carry (#38). The Wolverines had some trouble against Appalachian State in the opener, but Notre Dame did not run the ball well with a talented stable of running backs. Despite the absence of injured run-stopper Desmond Morgan, Michigan's linebackers improved in week two and the defensive linemen held their ground well. The Wolverines have been running a lot of 4-2-5 nickel looks, and linebackers Joe Bolden (15 tackles) and Jake Ryan (14 tackles) lead the way. Defensive tackles Ryan Glasgow, Ondre Pipkins, and Willie Henry all played pretty well last week. The RedHawks have been a pass-happy football team, so the running game isn't much of a threat. The leading rushers are sophomore Spencer McInnis (5'9", 196 lbs.) and junior Spencer Treadwell (5'10", 208 lbs.), who have combined for 21 carries, 101 yards, and 0 touchdowns in two games. Senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix (6'2", 221 lbs.) has 36 carries (only 9 of which have been sacks) for just 7 total yards. The offensive line averages 305 lbs., so they are not small, but Michigan should have both a quickness and strength advantage up front.

Pass Defense vs. Miami Pass Offense
Michigan is #36 in passing yardage defense and #68 in passer rating defense. They did a very good job against Appalachian State in week one, but Notre Dame's offense was clicking last week, and they completed a lot of quick throws. The Wolverines have failed to make any interceptions, and they have 4 pass breakups so far. Senior cornerback Raymon Taylor is questionable for this week with a knee injury suffered against Notre Dame, freshman Jabrill Peppers injured his ankle against Appalachian State, and redshirt junior Blake Countess had a rough week last week. Defensive tackle Chris Wormley and defensive ends Brennen Beyer and Taco Charlton each have a sack, and while Michigan got a decent pass rush last week, they couldn't get to the quarterback before Everett Golson got the ball off. Meanwhile, Miami is #18 in passing yardage (338 yards/game) but #107 in passer rating, so they throw the ball a lot but not very well. Quarterback Andrew Hendrix - another Notre Dame transfer - has completed 48.5% of his passes for 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The leading receiver is 6'0", 180 lb. David Frazier, who has 13 catches for 215 yards (16.5 yards/catch) but zero touchdowns, and second is 6'1", 204 lb. sophomore Rokeem Williams, who averages 22.7 yards/catch (9 catches, 204 yards). Slot receiver Jared Murphy, at 5'10" and 180 lbs., also averages over 16 yards/catch. Senior tight end Alex Welch, formerly of the Fighting Irish, is a 6'4", 247 lb. target with 6 catches for 51 yards and a score.

Roster Notes
  • Michigan recruited QB Andrew Hendrix, TE Alex Welch, and CB Lo Wood
  • Redshirt freshman QB Tom Tupa is the son of former Ohio State and NFL quarterback/punter Tom Tupa
  • Redshirt junior RB Spencer Treadwell is the son of Don Treadwell, former head coach at Miami-OH, and the brother of Blake Treadwell, former offensive lineman at Michigan State
  • Players from the state of Michigan include OL Collin Buchanan (Southfield), LB Brad Koenig (Ann Arbor Pioneer), RB Spencer McInnis (Orchard Lake St. Mary's), LB Grant Niemiec (Orchard Lake St. Mary's), RB Spencer Treadwell (East Lansing)
  • Head coach Chuck Martin is the former head coach at Grand Valley State University, as well as the former offensive coordinator at Notre Dame
  • Miami's running backs coach is former Notre Dame running back Autry Denson
  • Defensive line coach Corey Brown - no relation to the Ohio State duo of the same name - was a starting defensive tackle for Iowa in the late 1990's
  • Graduate assistant Israel Woolfork is not related to former Michigan defensive back Troy Woolfolk

Last Time They Met . . .
  • Michigan is 5-0 all-time against Miami-OH, including a 16-6 win in 2008 under head coach Rich Rodriguez, his first win at Michigan
  • Sam McGuffie was Michigan's leading rusher with 17 carries for 74 yards
  • Brandon Minor carried the ball once for a 15-yard touchdown, Steve Threet had a 9-yard touchdown run, and kicker K.C. Lopata hit two field goals
  • Nick Sheridan and Steve Threet combined to go 10/18 for 103 yards and 0 passing touchdowns
  • Brandon Harrison and John Thompson led the team with 8 tackles each
  • Brandon Graham, Terrance Taylor, and Mike Martin each had a sack

  • Michigan's defense tries to make a statement. They get 3 sacks and 2 interceptions.
  • Michigan runs for 220 yards.
  • Shane Morris plays the whole fourth quarter.
  • Michigan 38, Miami-OH 10


  1. What's to understand? Girl next door Winnie Cooper went to Miami (NTM) and became a cheerleader.

  2. I'll say Michigan wins 55-7

    We rebound in a big way. Gardner looks sharp with some TD passes and a walk in TD himself.

    Shane Morris plays quite a bit and gets a couple TD passes.

    Defense gets 3 turnovers.

  3. That picture reminded me of a Midwestern phenomenon: The number of cute women at Miami of Ohio is absolutely off-the-charts and has been for many years.

    My perspective is limited (to extended stints in SE Michigan and Chicago). It's possible that the funny-looking ones move to Covington, KY.

    Anyone else notice this?

  4. I've posted this sentiment elsewhere, and I'll post it here ... I'm a little worried about this game.

    I'm not worried about the final score. I think Michigan wins this. No question about that.

    I am worried that in winning it we will see further evidence of this team being "soft" and not having that "fire in the belly" a good team seeking great things has.

    In short, this game becomes a kind of measuring stick of team grit. If Hoke truly has this team by the neck and has them looking to become much better, they will enter this game with a look in their eye like they have a job to do. No joking around, no trash talking, no milling around the sidelines and not paying attention to the game.

    They should play this game with a focus on refining execution at each position. This game is NOT about making highlight reel plays, and having fun on a Saturday beating up a lesser opponent. It is about using this game to refine their execution and come together even more as a team.

    So my worry is what we see on Saturday is a team that does not understand that ... what we see on Saturday is a team that's goofing around, getting lazy on execution, making silly mistakes. Yes, notching a W, but not doing so like a great team would handle such a game.

    Hoke is fond of telling sideline reporters that it's important "the kids have fun," but I'm not so sure that's the right message for this team and this juncture of a critical year. In real life there will be times when important projects need doing, deadlines met, and there's nothing "fun" about it. That's when the life-lessons of football come in handy -- set fun aside, focus on the task, and work your ass off.

    If on Saturday they appear to take this game as a joke ... then it tells me Hoke doesn't really have control of this team, and his message of "toughness" isn't get through. But if on Saturday they come out and focus hard on execution and grind this game into foregone conclusion by mid-2nd quarter, then I'll think perhaps we've turned a corner.

    I truly believe this game is that important. It is like last year's Akron game in that it's a measure of the team's heart. Last year Akron exposed flaws that haunted us the rest of the year. I truly hope this year's Miami shows a team with better focus and better heart.

    1. I hate diatribes about "heart." It's feelingsball, pure and simple. Some days you're just off. Or maybe, like with App State, the coaches will put their players in positions that make it hard for them to succeed just to test them and work on fundamentals. There are so many factors that can give the illusion of "no heart" that I've come to believe that the entire concept is mostly nonsense when viewing from an outside perspective.

    2. I disagree, but okay ... we have different opinions. We'll see what the Miami game yields.

      I can't shake from my mind what I saw in the Mississippi State vs. Michigan game back in January of 2011 ... the last game Rodriguez coached. Michigan was being humiliated and the camera caught scene after scene of the Michigan players laughing and not caring one bit.

      I'm not sure how a team consistently wins when they don't really care if they do or don't. That's what I mean about 'heart' ... it's not as "feelingsball" as you make it out to be. It's more the deliberate intent to focus and execute to win.

      And I'm saying I'm not sure this team has that. I'm saying I hope to see it against Miami. But if we don't see it, then I'm officially concerned about the team.

    3. Not buying this argument at all Don.

      This game doesn't really matter one way or the other. Take care of business and yes, have fun. The two don't have to be mutually exclusive. I hope our team (at least the coaches) are looking ahead to Utah at least a little bit, since that's a real team that might take a little more focus and attention to beat.

    4. Okay, we'll see.

      Last year I took a lot of heat for raising concerns about the near miss with Akron. I was right, and nearly everyone else was wrong. We'll see if my intuition is simply faulty here.

    5. @DonAz, yes I am still disgusted from the Miss. State game as well, when players apparently gave up. The final nail in the RR coffin.

      But as Bacon says in his book, players were too tired and fed up with the pressure -- they couldn't take any more of Rich Rod outbursts. That's not the players' fault. Rich Rod lost the team, basically speaking.

      I am also concerned with the fact that Hoke might be too much of an opposite -- too relaxed and lax. I agree with you that this weeks' game is an important test.

    6. I agree with you Don. I am concerned about this team and the coaching staff. If execution really is the problem with this team then I would like them to go all in for 60 minutes. No showboating, no messing around, just 60 minutes of solid fundamental football. Not just from the 1st team, but anyone who steps on the field. Show us they can do it and stay focused for a full game.

      I am worried that they "have fun" this week game and still don't know how to focus for next week against Utah that could catch them off guard. Just my 2 cents.

  5. Just checking in to agree with Anonymous of 7:20 A.M. I work with a couple of them. :)