Michigan Wolverines: Conversations Just About Football After Two Exciting Wins

Joel GreerCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2010

Two future stars: Michigan's Denard Robinson pursued by Notre Dame's Manti Te'o.
Two future stars: Michigan's Denard Robinson pursued by Notre Dame's Manti Te'o.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

“A half million kids…can get together and have three days of fun and music, and have nothing but fun and music.” - Max Yasgur, Woodstock, Summer 1969

Many of us remember our first impressions of Woodstock. No drinking water, long lines at the “john,” and guessing which acts would actually show up. 

But just as we eventually bought into the Woodstock music experience, Michigan fans, writers, bloggers and even pundits are getting back to football, just football.

Lately, we haven’t heard about land deals in Virginia, missing documents in Morgantown, or NCAA hearings in Seattle.

It’s now about Heismans and hybrids, safeties and shoelaces.

Can quarterback Denard Robinson reach superstar status like Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, or Carlos Santana?

C’mon, he’s only started two football games, and much of the country has already awarded him the Heisman Trophy.  But the numbers just might agree: 455 rushing yards (three TDs) and 430 passing yards (two TDs).

Can 2-0 Michigan, now ranked in two national polls (No. 20 AP, No. 22 USA), make an actual run at the Big Ten championship?

The Wolverines face two “relatively” easy opponents before opening the conference season at Indiana. If Michigan makes it 17 straight over the Hoosiers, they will return home undefeated,  for their annual grudge match with Michigan State. 

After all, Sparty is conducting a 1000-day campaign, boasting that Michigan hasn’t beaten MSU in a long time (basketball, too).

Of course, we got a glimpse of their "dominance" during last season’s 26-20 overtime victory. Chalk up two whole MSU victories in a row, or in reality, two wins in the last eight tries.

Before Michigan can truly set its sights on titles, bowl games and its coach keeping his job, there are a few areas of concern.

We all remember starting the 2009 campaign 4-0 with another quarterback mentioned in Heisman talk.

But Tate Forcier threw an ill advised pass against the Spartans and later suffered a pair of injuries. Forcier was ineffective down the stretch and Robinson wasn’t ready to assume the starting role at quarterback.

Depth at the position is better this season. Freshman Devin Gardner is extremely talented despite his inexperience, and Forcier looked ready to play on the bench at Notre Dame.

Robinson, who carried the ball 57 times in the first two games, could use a breather against either Massachusetts or Bowling Green. 

It would also be nice to get better production from the running back position.

Vincent Smith and Michael Shaw have combined for only 128 yards on 41 carries, low numbers indeed. Michigan may look further to its “jumbo” package, but we won’t give away any secrets here.

Of course, watching 227-pound. No. 33 follow 333-pound No. 73 into the end zone was refreshing to a smash-mouth supporter.

Defensively, Jonas Mouton has picked up where Brandon Graham left off.

He leads the team in tackles with 21 and has shown extreme quickness from his linebacker position. Look for Mouton in the NFL next season.

Obi Ezeh, who was pressed for his middle linebacker spot early by Mark Moundros has responded admirably.

Jordan Kovacs has been consistent in run support, while Thomas Gordon has been a surprise from his LB/S slot.

In fact, Gordon has the team’s only quarterback sack, which explains the coverage problems on the long ball. It also accounts for the team allowing a discouraging 293 yards per game in the air. 

Fortunately, the defense has stiffened against the run, allowing Schembechler-like numbers of 146 yards per game. That statistic would look real good against the likes of Iowa and Wisconsin.

So it does appear Michigan has an improved football team, at least in many areas.

There may be a missed chord here or there, but if the team can continue winning, we’ll have ten more weeks of football, and nothing but football.


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