Friday, November 09, 2007

Hill is Out

For tomorrow's 11 am showdown with the stanky Wolverines, and their multiple first round draft picks (Long and Manningham). This means that Lance Smith (Rance Smith!) and Zach Brown will share carries. Zach had some decent runs against OSU and Lance is quite explosive. However, Zach is averaging less than 4 yards a carry, and neither he nor Lance have shown PJ's ability to pick up tough yards after contact. And since we are not a spread offense, there will likely be plenty of contact from the Michigan defense.

Seriously folks, I don't know how the UW offense will match-up on the Michigan D. I haven't seen Michigan play enough this season, but I do know they have some solid talent, like LB Shawn Crable. I'm worried about stumpy guns, aka Tyler Donovan, turning the ball over when the Badgers are forced to pass, as they probably will be. And I'm worried about the line protecting him (they gave up 10 sacks, not 9, last weekend). I like Beckum, Hubbard and Jefferson, and I like Donovan running more than passing. Seriously, I want more QB runs than passes this game. Historically, Michigan tends to look like a guy with his pants around his ankles who forgot to lock the bathroom door when confronted with a mobile quarterback. That said, they did defense "The Juice is Loose" Williams decently a few weeks ago. But Williams is such a terrible passer, maybe they could just write him off as a threat to throw.

I think the game, unfortunately, will turn on how the Badgers' undermanned defense responds to Michigan's offense. After two fine defensive performances against Northern Illinois and Indiana, they played admirably for about 60% of the game in Columbus, and then totally wore out. And now Chapman and Langford are out. I like Aaron Henry as Langford's replacement, and I like seeing Newkirk back at tackle in place of Chapman. But both absences create further depth problems, or force iffy players into more playing time. I would not be surprised to see Michigan run at whatever defensive end replaces Newkirk, and throw at whichever receiver is covered by the new nickel back. Plus, the lack of depth will only exacerbate the D's lack of stamina. The defense will need to play a great game, and need the offense to control the time of possession, if UW is going to win. And unfortunately, I don't see that. I hope it's not so, but tomorrow could be ugly.


Anonymous said...

I will brook no further criticism of Tyler Donovan. He has earned his stripes and props. Coming from a high school program where passing was as pospular as weaponized anthrax in a mail delivery, he has turned into an entirely adequate passer. More important, he is as gutsy as they come. His ability to survive the numerous -- and too frequently illegal -- hits he sustained in the Michigan contest was simply remarkable. His scrambling to avoid a sack and his completion of a pass along the sideline in front of the Michigan bench was astonishing. I thought Mike Samuel was tough. TD is tougher. Thanks, Donovan, for redefining touchness. Keep that Michigan helmet paint on your hand.

Anonymous said...

touchness should be "toughness."

Mr.Man said...

There's no doubt that Donovan is one tough bastard. It's his defining characteristic.
And he sure played an excellent game on Saturday. His scrambling made a huge difference, and he threw some great balls.