Michigan Wolverines Can't Squeeze the Juice

Jeff ContizanoCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2008

Cheesy title aside, did you see Juice Williams on Saturday?

I had to turn the television off and go outside in order to get away from it.

I thought about it all night.

Michigan Wolverine fans have been proud of their defense so far this season. No longer are the boys running out of gas in the third quarter, and many players appear to be much more intense and hard-hitting.

But for some reason, we just can't handle the big play.

I'm talking about the screen pass to Daniel Dufrene in the second quarter. Then the Jeff Cumberland—a 250-pound receiver—touchdown in the third.

I'm sick and tired of watching our defense give up the big play.

I've been on the field when the other team gets the ball and scores in just one play.

It's a motivation killer.

Part of this is on the defense, and the other part on the defensive coordinator.  Scott Schafer was dialing up blitz packages and confusing Juice Williams early in the first quarter.

The result: a 14-3 Michigan lead.

Illinois would go on to score 28 points in a row.

The blame can be spread around pretty evenly, considering the defense as a whole played quite poorly. Obi Ezeh had 15 tackles and once again was one of the lone bright spots in a very dismal performance.

Stevie Brown needs to be benched.

That's it, plain and simple.

Charles Stewart should not see the field either.

Michael Williams played excellently on special teams, and it's time he should get a shot at one of the safety positions. Maybe even freshman JT Floyd or sophomore Artis Chambers. Give somebody else a chance.

Also, John Thompson seems to be a solid run-stopping linebacker—but he plays too stiff and doesn't seem to blitz well at all.

Since Rodriguez seems to love to play freshmen, it would be interesting to see Kenny Demens or J.B Fitzgerald take a shot at linebacker.

Offensively, I nearly had a heart attack when Michigan started the game. The first two drives were fluid, the line blocked well, and Steven Threet completed long pass after long pass downfield.

Greg Mathews and Martavious Odoms have solidified themselves as good receivers, but Daryll Stonum seems to have disappeared. Also, Zion Babb? We need more playmakers on the outside.

At running back, I find myself frustrated.

McGuffie is a solid player, but he loses yards too often. It may be because of the offensive line, but I'm tired of seeing him lose two, three, and five yards then gain it back on a 15-yard run. When Mike Hart was here, at least we had three- to four-yard runs each time.

Then again, that was with an NFL-caliber line in front of him. Brandon Minor needs to get about 25 percent of the carries. 

Hell, give it to Kevin Grady inside the 10!

Threet is playing a lot better. He is putting more touch on the ball and isn't throwing it over the receivers' heads. Sadly—like most of the rest of the offense—he has a case of fumble-itis, and he took a beating against a strong Illini defensive front.

Next week, Michigan takes on Toledo.

Shouldn't be too bad...right?


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