Someone Has to Pay for Applachian State: An Oregon Preview

Inspired by Lou Holtz's rant this morning on Sportscenter, I give you my Oregon preview.

Everything happens for a reason. You don't just lose to Appalachian State like that. There has to be a more underlying purpose. Call it not being prepared, call it being over-confident, call it bad field-goal blocking...whatever. The point is, most honest Michigan fans can tell you that this loss has been brewing for a couple years. Ball State last year was too close for comfort, Vanderbilt earlier in the year, etc. The time was right for a monumental loss.

But the big question now is how will they respond. Its only fitting that Oregon comes to town sporting an offense that is eerily similar to ASU. Its only fitting that the whole Oregon team seems to compare very well to the team that just embarrassed the winning-est college program of all-time. If one had to sum up this game with one word, that word would be redemption.

One big issue that Michigan teams seem to always have is how well they deal with adversity. I think back to the OSU game last season when we were down by a couple scores at halftime, and then were able to come back on the road in a brutally hostile stadium against the #1 team in the land. We came back and made that a game, of course we ultimately lost, but I was able to look by OSU friends in the eye and say that game did live up the hype...and of course I would love to play them again in a rematch.

Of course that never happened and we flew to Pasadena and laid down for USC. But the point here is that, for the first time in a long time, we fought back. Michigan stood up for itself and played like Champions. Give us two more minutes on the clock last November 17, and we would've been the team getting trounced by Florida in the National Championship game.

I want to be reminded of that feeling this weekend. I might be in the minority, but I still believe in Lloyd Carr. He's the embodiment of what a Michigan man is. He's loyal, he's honest, and I don't believe there is a cleaner program in college football. He wins the majority of his games, and I think he knows how to get the best out of his players. Just read some of the pre-season transcripts of player interviews and you can see that his players don't just enjoy playing for him, they love him. I think there's a lot to be said for that.

So this weekend will be a true test. Oregon is good, they're very good. But in all honesty, players don't come to Michigan to play against Appalachian State. They come here to compete...and this is their chance. The rest of the season depends on this Saturday. There's just simply no other way to put it.

So lets get down to the nuts and bolts of Oregon.

Like I said, this is going to look a lot like ASU. Spread attack, fast QB and lots of receivers. They'll do whatever they can to spread out the middle of the defense and run tons of slants and play action shotgun. They don't huddle and they audible like crazy. Sound familiar? They have the potential to score quickly. So if Michigan can do some of the same stuff they did against ASU in the second half, then its going to be a lot closer game.

Defense is suspect against the run. They gave up over 200 rushing yards against Houston last week at home. So I like our O-Line and Mike Hart against they're defensive front. And that right there is going to be the key to this game. If Michigan can control the line of scrimmage and the clock, they can avoid getting into the trap of having to consistently punt back to Oregon. The best way to not get burned on defense is to keep your defense off the field as much as possible.

They have a pretty quick and able defensive backfield. Which will probably blanket our big three receivers pretty good. So look for some short dump offs to the backs in the flats, screens to the receivers and plenty of looks at the tight ends underneath. I like Hart and Minor to carry at least 40-50 carries between them.

I would like to predict the outcome of this game, but since I'm going tomorrow...I won't try to jinx myself. After being in attendance last week, I need to wash that bitter taste out of my mouth.

Or I'm just a glutton for punishment...either way. See you all next week.

Go Blue!

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