Michigan Football 2011: Defensive Line Needs to Answer the Call
As has been the case for the past few years, Michigan’s defense needs to step up. They have done that so far statistically but even their head coach Brady Hoke warned about looking too much into it.
"It doesn't mean anything to me right now, none of those things matter," Hoke said. "We're 1-0 (in the Big Ten) right now. Our (defensive) front has been a little more disruptive, and that's enabled the linebackers to do their job. We've put a little more pressure on quarterbacks, (but) we still don't blitz worth a dog."
He hit the nail on the head with the last sentence. The biggest problem facing Michigan is their inability to get into their opponents’ backfield—they are ranked 74th in sacks and a measly 108th in tackles for a loss out of 120 teams.
The Wolverines have faced some good passing attacks but have given up big yards to every receiver ranked in the Top 100 in yards per game. Western Michigan’s Jordan White got 119 yards, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd got 159, 71 yards to San Diego State’s Colin Lockett and Northwestern’s Jeremy Ebert racked up 86 yards last week.
Michigan may not have a lockdown corner but the bigger problem is not being able to get adequate pressure on the quarterback. When his players are covered, a quarterback will almost always get the ball out to his favorite receiver.
Additionally, the Wolverine’s rush defense is average at best, allowing 141 yards on the ground per game.
Defensive end Craig Roh has been the most active lineman for the team but he hasn’t been anything to write home about. In order to be a true elite team, Michigan will need better production out of Roh and the rest of the line.
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