Team 137 opened the season with an impressive victory. We finally got the answers to all the things we were curious about and here are some of the things we learned in the 63-3 route of Hawaii.
1. Quarterbacks are prepared
I’m not only talking about Wilton Speight. Every quarterback that entered the game for the Maize and Blue looked sharp, and in control. We only saw a sample size of each but you could tell that this group is one of the most improved units on the team.
Michigan quarterbacks finished a combined 17/20 for 206 yards and 3 td’s, with 1 interception.
2. Redshirt? Redshirt? You kiddin me?
Redshirt? What’s that? It’s clear that Harbaugh has no problem playing freshman if they’re ready. 18 true freshmen saw the field on Saturday and they did not disappoint. Led by running back Chris Evans, who ran for over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.
It’s no secret that Harbaugh loves competition and this should cement it. If you come to Michigan, expect to compete. If you’re good enough, you will play.
3. Defense can be special
Michigan defense allowed only 81 yards on the ground, and 151 through the air. Not a bad day, while only allowing three points in a 63-3 victory.
The unit isn’t complete just yet, as they have a few areas they can improve on. They gave up a few big chunks of yards through the air and in blitzes where they weren’t able to get to the quarterback, they allowed him to escape the pocket and gain significant yardage. These issues will be fixed when team spends time in the film room, so only expect them to learn from their mistakes.
Also, all-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis did not see game action due to injury and he is difference maker.
4. Who’s the running back?
Michigan used a stable of running backs on Saturday, with Evans being the most impressive. Is that a sign of things to come? Only time will tell. Senior De’Veon Smith, who started the game, left the contest and didn’t return in the second half due to injury. Ty Isaac entered the game before Evans but both him and Smith are considered a different style of running back than Evans.
From Smith’s six carries, it still looks like his vision could use some work. Evans had no problem finding the wholes and taking full advantage of his opportunity.
5. Offensive line play: Thumbs up
This looks like a “Michigan” offensive line. Running for 306 yards on the afternoon, the line opened up some gigantic wholes that even Garrett Fishaw could have ran through.
Clearly, competition will be stiffer as the season goes on, but this is a great start to the 2016 campaign. For years we have watched a mediocre line trot out, use bad technique and give up in games- not any longer. Harbaugh has created an environment where no ones job is safe. This alone has upped the play of everyone around, including the offensive line.
Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog
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- Crossroads: The State of Michigan Basketball - Feb 13, 2017
- Team 137’s Bowl Game Preview: Orange Bowl vs Florida State - Dec 30, 2016