Miami & U of Michigan will face each other on the gridiron for the fifth time at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, with all four of the previous games also being played at the Big House.
The Wolverines are 4-0 against the RedHawks, who lost their season opener to Vanderbilt. Expect a better effort out of the Wolverines, who didn’t look so hot in the first half of Rodriguez’s maiden voyage against Utah.
The defense must dominate and the offensive line has to protect better—the running game averaged just 1.4 yards per carry and both quarterbacks looked rushed at times, leading to poor decisions. If both of those things occur, Michigan should escape to .500.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- QB Steven Threet — Seems to have made fewer mistakes than Nick Sheridan and has therefore earned a starting role, at least temporarily. Threet also threw better against Utah, IMO. We’ll need to make somebody believe we can throw the ball.
- RB Brandon Minor — He'll be forced to split carries with the two freshmen, Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw (Grady returns this week, too), but Minor's experience and leadership might be enough to keep him on the field the majority of the time.
- LB Obi Ezeh — He’s not on the award lists, but the dude racked up 15 tackles against the Utes. Our linebacker play needs to continue to improve, and Ezeh will be a big part of that.
- RB Carlos Brown injured his shoulder against Utah and is questionable.
- WR Greg Matthews (ankle) and DE Ryan Van Bergen (ankle) are day-to-day.
- WR Junior Hemingway is still bothered by a shoulder injury, but made two catches against Utah and should play against Miami.
SCOUTING THE O: Michigan totaled just 203 yards against Utah, including a gaunt 36 on the ground. Rich Rodriguez called the offensive line's play "below average" and blamed the line for part of the running game's troubles.
Rodriguez says the competition at tailback between Brandon Minor, Michael Shaw and Sam McGuffie is too close to call. Expect all three to play again vs. the RedHawks.
SCOUTING THE D: This was supposed to be the team's strength, but the defense was smacked in the mouth for over 300 yards in the first half against Utah. While the D brought the pain in the 2nd half, they absolutely need to put both halves together every game for Michigan to have a chance this season. The veteran D-line & secondary need to step up.
- Legendary Coach Bo Schembechler was hired away from Miami Ohio back in 1968 to coach the Wolverines.
- Long-time U of M equipment manager Jon Falk earned a phys. ed. degree from Miami in 1971 and was an assistant equipment manager there before taking the head manager job at U of M in 1974.
- Current Miami athletic director Brad Bates is a U of M alum (1981) and was a defensive back for the Wolverines from 1977-81. He was on three Big Ten Championship squads and played in three Rose Bowls and a Gator Bowl.
I hate to make excuses for last week's showing, but we are inexperienced at some key positions, we are running a brand new offense, and Utah is a good, experienced team. Look for some of the kinks to be worked out this week, going up against some lesser competition. Valiant Prediction: U of M 24-Miami 10.
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