More Wisconsin Thoughts....

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More Wisconsin Thoughts....
I decided to watch Saturday's game again tonight....more than anything to make sure I wasn't dreaming. As it turns out, Michigan still won the game. I picked up a lot of other things along the way. Here they are in bullet form:

--My initial assessment of RS Sophomore LB Jonas Mouton was correct. While he played much better in the first half than the second, (also was on field MUCH more in first half than second) it was a solid performance. He shed OL coming to the second level several times and stood up Wisconsin's bull of a FB several times in the hole causing PJ Hill to have to cutback into the teeth of the Michigan defense.

--Freshman TE Kevin Koger burned his redshirt and saw the field not only because Carson Butler was apparently doghoused/suspended (he only played on special teams), but because Mike Massey was woefully unproductive, especially run blocking. Massey nearly got Sam McGuffie's ribs broke by not picking up Wisconsin LB Jonathan Casillas on one zone read play. There's no way that play was designed to let the OLB on the strong side of the run go free. Massey ran right past Casillas' shoulder without even hesitating, freeing him up to level poor Sam.

--Speaking of poor blocking, Steve Schilling and Mark Ortmann looked awful on running plays in the first half when pulling or trying to get to the 2nd level to complete their blocks. Not sure if there was an adjustment made there or not, but I don't recall seeing them trying to get these guys in space too much in the second half.

--As a positive, the pass protection was very good all day. Steve Threet wasn't sacked once and got rid of the ball when the protection did break down. Side note, Tim McAvoy replaced former DT turned LG John Ferrara for all 3 TD drives by the offense. From my view, Ferrara wasn't the problem, but McAvoy more than held his own in pass protection.

--Freshman DT Mike Martin is a beast and is going to be a VERY good player. He has a motor that just doesn't quit and made several big plays. He actually played much more than Senior DT Will Johnson down the stretch. In case you didn't notice, it was Martin who beat a double team to get in Wisconsin QB Allan Evridge's face on the final failed 2pt conversion. Looked to me like Martin's pressure might have caused Evridge's pass to sail a little on him.

--For all the talk of Michigan being Barwis-ized, the defense didn't look to spry on those last 2 series. Yeah, the aforementioned Martin and Brandon Graham never quit, but some of the LBs and DBs looked a little slow chasing the Wiscy receivers.

--About the last 2 defensive series, not sure how much of a fan I was of the exclusive 3-3-5 alignment. Coach Shafer had them blitzing on most plays to bring a 4th, 5th, and sometimes 6th pass rusher, but Wisconsin moved the ball a little too easily for my tastes. Maybe Wisconsin's packages dictated the 3-3-5, but the 4-man rush wasn't necessarily ineffective all day either.

--Greg Mathews deserves some hype for several big catches in the second half. He's definitely Threet's go to for when they need a big first down and he came through several times. While I'd love to see more balls to Stonum and Hemingway, as long as Greg keeps moving the chains, I'm not complaining. I do have to wonder how the lack of production by the edge receivers is playing with current 2009 commit Bryce McNeal and 5-star uncomitted prospect Rueben Randle. McNeal made a statement earlier in the year to the effect that he was going to wait and see what the 2008 offense looked like this year before making his commitment official on signing day.

--Sam McGuffie may not have had the best of day statistically, but I was really impressed with a couple of carries he made on Michigan's last scoring drive. On his first down run, McGuffie slipped through/bounced off of the Wisconsin DT and DE before churning forward for the first down. He also ran through a couple of tacklers on his TD run. For such a small guy, he definitely has enough power and slipperiness to bounce off defenders much bigger than him. Let's hope the O-Line gets their schemes down for Illinois and give Sam a couple more lanes to run in next week.
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