Looking Back at Week 4: Indiana

To say that Michigan looked bad in this game can be a bit of an overstatement. We did score 36 points. But we also made just about as many mistakes as you can make, and still somehow win the game. This can be attributed to the defense's ability to hold Indiana to 5 field goals in their 6 trips into the red zone. For all of the missed tackles and poor pass coverage, we still got the job done when it counted.

What I Liked:
The running game is easily the strongest feature we have on offense. Carlos Brown, who as it turned out had a minor injury midway through the first half, thus why he did not see the ball until later in the 4th quarter, played typically well. Brandon Minor had flashes of what makes him so dangerous, but you could tell he was slightly hindered by his nagging ankle injury. His burst on his TD run though was impressive.

The O-line showed some good and some bad. They blocked well against a very good Indiana front 7. The tackles had their hands full with IU very talented defensive ends. IU was able to put some pressure on Tate and Denard at times. But on zone running plays, the line did much better. Moosman needs much more work with his snaps. At times I thought it might have been the QBs not handling the ball well enough, but this is a problem that is unique to this game, and not the previous three...so the blame ,I think, falls on the make-shift center.

As far as the QB play is concerned, that can go hand in hand with the O-line play. At times, it was good. Other times, it was terrible. Both QB's look lost and frustrated at points in the game. Tate was not used to getting pressured like he did. His INT and intentional grounding call were simply just products of inexperience.

But we cannot ignore the fact that Forcier is a bad-ass when it comes to being in complete control of this offense. With a less than 5 minutes to go in the game and trailing...who doesn't think this kid is not totally comfortable...even with a bum shoulder. I don't know what this kid is made of, but clearly, he's the perfect fit for this offense.

I would like to see the ball spread around a little bit more to our receivers in space. Junior Hemingway showed us that he can handle more than 1 catch per game. Guys like Greg Matthews and LaTerryal Savoy and Darryl Stonum are play-makers.

On defense, we definitely bent, but rarely did we break. Indiana camped out in our red zone...but we were able to hold them to field goals much of the time. Unfortunately, that's about as much as I can say about the defense that was good.

What I Didn't Like:
On that note, the defense was pretty abysmal all day long. Not only did we not really know how to stop IU's passing/running game, but we had enough trouble just getting the plays in on time and getting the front 7 to get set before the snap. I swear it looked like Michigan was lost out there. I know guys like Brandon Graham and Obi Ezeh are supposed to be the leaders of this defense, but it sure doesn't feel like it. I get zero emotion from watching the Michigan D.

The secondary had fits all day. Cissoko was indeed pulled in the first half. For an IU receiver to just run straight up the field and not even make a move, and Cissoko is still confused and unable to cover him shows just how not capable he really is. And that's not a good thing for this very young and inexperienced secondary.

With youth comes mistakes. I really like our QBs, but its tough to remember sometimes that they're only 19 year old kids. Tate showed both what makes him great, and what makes him a liability this weekend. Clearly, he needs to work on his timing in the pocket. He needs to know at what point he should either take off running, or simply throw the ball out of bounds. And, if worse comes to worse, just take the sack and live to play another down. That's characteristic of a younf QB who is trying to do too much at once. He'll get better.

The snapping problem that we saw can be attributed to a couple key factors. First of all, it was wet out. The ball was slippery. Secondly, the snaps that never got more than 4 inches off the ground were snaps that Moosman tried to catch a defensive player in the neutral zone. As a former center, this is something that is both very advantageous if you can do it right, and also very risky. You're snapping the ball early, so neither the QB nor the rest of the offense is going to be ready for the play to begin. Moosman got it right once, but the second time not so much...although I thought it was pretty close.

Hey, a win is a win. We can sit here all day and agonize over mistakes, or we can look back and hopefully learn from them and not make the same mistakes again. I think this game was a bit of a surprise for Michigan. Indiana played extremely well. And considering all the mistakes Michigan made, I can't believe we still won. But for the first time since 2006, we're 4-0!

For MSU, I expect to see Moosman back at center. I also expect Mike Williams back at safety.

This whole Tate Forcier injury has me really confused though. On Saturday, at the end of the game is looked like he was in agonizing pain on the sideline. But then he comes back in and throws, a seemingly effortless pass to Martavious Odoms for the game winner. After the game he was walking with his arm at his side. He was high-fiving and shaking hands with his left, non-throwing hand. Reports all day Sunday were saying that he would be out of practice all week and that he didn't look good for the Sparty game...

And then at the Monday presser, Rodriguez comes out and says that he'll be practicing this week and that he'll be fine for Saturday. Huh?! Really? Something seems strange here. My prediction is that Forcier is not as hurt as he showed on Saturday...and this is all an effort to play games with little brother.

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