Looking Back at Week 1 - WMU

First of all, let me say that looking back, I really enjoyed watching Michigan have their way with an over-matched opponent for the first time in Rodriguez era. When it was happening though, it was almost surreal. Watching Forcier pass the ball with precision for 3 touchdowns and seeing D-Rob slash his way through the defense on that ridiculous TD run was almost too good to be true. It actually took me a while after the game to really digest what just happened.

Saturday's game was exactly what Michigan needed. It took all of the controversy talk in the media and flushed it down the toilet. Just as I suspected last week, once football starts, all of that off-season crap ends. It just so happened that Michigan gave us a much bigger and more decisive victory than most would have expected.

What I Liked:
Well, mostly everything. Offensively, much improved QB play was the result of a lot of preparation and having a couple guys who are better at running the system, and can obviously ignore the pressure of a national TV audience and 109,019 fans and play well beyond their years. Tate Forcier is the future of the Michigan QB position. He's got the arm, the legs and the poise to be a 4 year starter. Denard Robinson also showed why he has impressed coaches so much in his 3 1/2 weeks on campus. No question his TD run in the first quarter was something of brilliance. I haven't been that impressed with a QB since Ryan Mallett was throwing rockets to WRs in the 2007 spring game. Denard's got the legs and the speed. Tate has the arm and the poise. Somehow, Rodriguez needs to find a way to strike a balance and keep these guys both on the field as much as possible.

The line looked pretty good as well. Aside from some opening game mistakes (holding penalties), they looked solid. They're smaller, but stronger, faster and more experienced. Obviously, keeping all the starters and backups from a year ago goes a long way in helping two freshman QBs. And playing a MAC caliber defense helps a lot too.

A product of good line play, the backs looked good also. Michael Shaw and Carlos Brown led the way in Brandon Minor's absence. And while Denard Robinson led the way in terms of rushing yards, our backs had a pretty good day as well.

Defensively, well...what can I say. WMU is no slouch on offense. They were actually a pretty good test for this defense. We looked a whole lot faster in almost every position. Linebackers were flying all around the field. And if this is just a taste of what's to come from Brandon Graham, then we're in for a treat this year. He made some pretty good plays on the QB early on in the game. No question, that poor excuse for a blocker that WMU put on him at right tackle was not going to stop Graham from getting into the backfield. Him and Obi Ezeh are the standouts up front. What happens to Michigan's defense if these guys get dinged up though is a major concern. We're not bad at LB, but we're thin on the line.

What I Didn't Like:
In the first half, nothing.

Second half though, we got sloppy. We seemed to be laying back. And this might have been by design. Greg Robinson might have let off the gas a little bit in terms of applying pressure to the QB. Also, we did bring in more 2nd stringers as well. Either way, we did let Hiller connect on some relatively open WRs. Granted, we did slouch into a prevent defense in the 2nd half. But in the first half, Michigan threw some looks at Hiller that he really didn't know what to do with. His first and second options were covered pretty well, so he'd have to check off to a slot or TE underneath. They had no running game to speak of at all.

But also in the second half, things got a little sloppy with Donovan Warren. I chalk this up to maybe some weak calls and a bit of frustration from the standout junior corner. He was lights out for much of the game. A couple sloppy interference calls that could have probably been no-calls...but either way, he's going to have to shore that up before the Irish come to town.

Also, as much as I'm sure he's a great kid and a wonderful human being, Nick Sheridan just is not cut out to run this offense. He may have the best grasp of the playbook, but that doesn't mean he's the guy who should be out there running it. That showed this week when he came in the 3rd quarter and reminded all of us how much 2008 sucked.

Like I said, this is a big win for Michigan. It puts us on the right path and holds off the naysayers for at least another week. It's the start we were all hoping for, but didn't think would be possible. 2008 has clouded our memories of what it was like to see Michigan be decisive in a victory. Hopefully, this is a glimpse of a successful 2009 campaign.

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