In a game where getting a convincing W is job No. 1, the Michigan Wolverines will be using assignment defense, not just their speed and power, to push for a win against Air Force.
Yes, the Michigan Wolverines are bigger, faster and stronger than the Falcons; so is just about every team the Air Force Academy plays. For the Wolverines it will boil down to discipline and good old assignment football when it comes to getting to 1-1 on the season.
Air Force's offense is one of the more fun schemes to watch in college football. They blend traditional triple option principles with Wing-T ideals to create well organized chaos in the backfield. An orchestra of instruments playing at one time that, when not defended properly, often ends in the defense being gashed.
The list of things that the Air Force does to opponents is an exercise in making simple things look complex; motions, cut blocks, reverse outs by the quarterback, crossbuck action, pulling guards and play-action passes.
If you follow the ball or the quarterback, odds are you're going to be headed in the opposite direction of the play, unless of course he's running a keeper or the option. So many choices, so little time for the defense to make up their mind and react.
For Michigan it is going to boil down to assignments.
Tackling the dive back on an every-play basis. Linebackers allowing the guards, instead of the illusion of the ball, to take them to the play. Following a reverse out by the quarterback will put you one step in the wrong direction; that's two steps away from the play. Following the guard pulling out to get in front will set you on the path to a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
Michigan is a better football team than Air Force, no one will disagree on that simple fact. Michigan is also a team that needs a convincing win to boost not only their fans' confidence, but their own confidence following the bludgeoning at the hands of Alabama. To get a win in that fashion, it will take not just Michigan's superior athleticism, but also assignment football out of Greg Mattison's team.