Thoughts on UM for next year...
Obviously, I am not a Michigan fan.
However, I am one of those guys that will root for the conference, during the bowl season and OOC games.
I had heard that the radio stations in Detroit were absolutely ripping Henne for his performance in the Rose yesterday. First of all, I am a Henne supporter. I think that he is a good quarterback, brought along in the patented UM-Loeffler QB system, which is to recruit statuesque quarterbacks and make sure that any athleticism that they may have is rendered useless by schemes...and grooming. I ask UM fans this question...seriously...This is not the mid-80s or mid-90s anymore. Do you think that this QB style is really helping UM make strides anymore? The last two athletic QBs that UM has had on it's roster played 3rd base for the Clippers and the other transferred after Henne earned the starting position as a true frosh.
With that being said...
Chad Henne can read a defense if he has time...and he can make all of the throws on the field. Here is where things get ugly...
College football is about gameplanning and halftime adjustments, which UM failed miserably at both of them in Pasadena. Teams that are able to accomplish these facets better than it's opponents are most likely to win games when competing against an evenly matched opponent (duh..). I think that Debord and Lloyd Carr need to take a good look at the piss-poor effort put into the game plan that was created for the USC defense. If anyone on the UM staff thought that the OSU gameplan was going to work against USC, they need to have their head examined. OSU is a team that employs a rush-3 or 4 without blitzing and will attempt to contain, contain, contain. OSU was able to get some pressure on Henne (4 sacks), but Henne had time to sit in the pocket and was able to make some plays against the OSU secondary. However, USC took a different approach and blitzed almost every down against UM, which really took Henne out of his rhythm, until it was too late.
Where were the adjustments at halftime? Where were the quick slants? Why is the waggle and the play-action the only pass plays that UM knows how to run? Why hasn't Manningham been learning another move besides his "double-move" technique, during the break? Does Henne really need to take a seven step drop for each passing play? I know that UM hasnt had a lot of game where they have had a lot of pressure on the QB, but the quick passing (3-step drops, etc) game should be a part of base packages. Maybe I am missing something, but it doesnt seem that UM utilizes this type of attack in it's offense.
I think that some UM fans might think that I am bashing here...I am not. This is constructive criticism from a football fan, first and foremost. There are times that a coaching staff will need to adjust its scheme to the tempo of the game and actually consider trying something different. The OSU offense has evolved around its personnel over the last 4 years, this evolution has changed from a pro-style run first - play-action style, which UM still employs, to a spread-based pro-style offense.
I am not saying that UM should run the spread, but the results of the last 4 years for UM in its games with OSU and bowl games is indicative of a stale "played-out" style of football that UM just doesnt seem to want to let go. This might be crazy-talk here, but what about maybe...just maybe...putting Henne in the shotgun to give him an extra couple of seconds to survey the field. The guy has a cannon for an arm and can throw any pass on the field. Shouldn't UM base it's gameplans on the player that has gotten better and better this entire year? No offense to the M. Hart backers out there, but Henne is the key to next year's success for UM...not Hart. With Arrington and Manningham coming back with an adequate slot-receiver, the passing game for UM ought to be deadly. Hart should be a compliment to the passing game....not the basis for the offense. I think that Hart is a good back, but he is not a gamebreaker. Hell...I would take Pittman over Hart as a complete running back. Pittman is not going to get caught when he is in the open field and I know that you cannot say that about Hart. Gamebreakers for UM are in the receiving corps and it will be up to Lloyd and Debord to get the ball into the hands of these guys next season. Hart is important, but he is not the team.
As for the Rose Bowl..."Wha' Happened?"
No Pressure on Booty = Dead Meat
Top 5 for Pre-Season 2007? Not sure...I dont think that anyone is sure about where UM is going to be next season. There will be a lot of soul searching in Ann Arbor this offseason.