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Monday, October 23, 2006

10/21/2006 - Michigan 20-6 Iowa - 8-0 (4-0)

These pictures of battered and confused quarterbacks groggily pondering what their names are and how this whole "standing up" business is supposed to go are coming fast and furious these days. The latest features a Hawkeye in the crosshairs and has a pleasing religious aspect:

Steve? Steve Tate? Does that sound right?

Sorry, Steve Tate, but praying to Mecca isn't going to help you. Allah is busy telling CJ Spiller to go to Clemson (good call, Allah) and pulling Charlie Weis' ass out of the fire. You, like all the others, are at the mercy of large, impossibly fast men with evil intent.

Five sacks and some hilarious anger when a fourth-quarter quarterback scramble doubles your opponent's rushing yards, Michigan has hurdled its last reasonable obstacle in the runup to Football Armageddon. After Notre Dame there was still a five-game minefield of potential upsets. Each week we remained steadfastly fixated on the upcoming opponent, refusing to believe we would ever reach this point seemingly decades in the future, but it's here: an opportunity to rest the wounded, tune up, and come out flat a couple weeks in a row.

Oh, there will be "flat," I promise you that. Next week against Northwestern there will be a comedy of errors large and small that panic everyone. I feel it even now: as soon as Mike Hart cut upfield to make it 20-6, the nervous tension that had slowly worked its way into my spine disappeared and I sat, pondering the road to this point and the end on November 18th. There were a bunch of disturbing things in this game; we'll talk about those later. All I can think right now is: win, you bastards. Win.


Bothersome things about the offense:
  • Henne's internal clock went off several times. That's fine. If your first couple reads aren't open it's time to start wondering about pressure. But instead of coming down to a checkdown, which is usually Hart, Henne starts scrambling ineffectively. Against PSU he found a couple receivers, but against Iowa there was a lot of getting tracked down by linebackers or DL when another moment or two scanning the field could have yielded a completion.
  • Alex Mitchell was not so good. At all.
  • The struggles in the first half with the run game were against seven guys in the box. We loaded one side of the line and zoned out there; every time we did Iowa slanted heavily towards the strong side.
Other stuff:
  • I hope Good Zoltan shows up against OSU. Against PSU, he was terrible. Against Iowa, great. Go figure.
  • Why is no one talking about the ridiculously bad spot? No, not that ridiculously bad spot, the one on Michigan's second drive where Steve Breaston caught the ball right at the sticks and was marked two yards shy.
  • No review on the second and goal Arrington incompletion? Personally, I think he was in on third down but it was close enough that whichever way it was called on the field was going to stand.
  • The fumble call encapsulated everything right and wrong with replay: they got a critical call correct, but it took an army of incompetent monkeys and ten minutes to do it.
  • Five sacks against a slippery quarterback like Tate is reassuring going into the OSU game, especially with Jamison and Crable -- our two fastest pass rushers -- stepping up big time. We are doing a better job of getting out on rollouts, too. One major advantage we have that OSU's opponents to date haven't is a second player coming when the quarterback avoids the first.
  • Butler still makes a ton of mental mistakes but has the look of a future star.
  • Internet rumors were generally right: Arrington did have a legal issue, though it wasn't one that got him suspended. Massey was out. The Hart one was never credible, IMO.