First off, I’d just like to say that my prediction was pretty close. I predicted 48-13, and they won 51-14- thank you. Michigan handled business like they were expected to but it’s early in the season and they have plenty to work on.
1. Offensive line a work in progress
The offensive line is still in work in progress. Although they’re much improved from the Hoke regime, they still have some issues up front.
It looked like they had a problem with players along the defensive line moving around, while they figured out who to block. They’ll clean this up in the coming weeks before facing more talented teams. Competition is fierce for playing time on the line.
2. Injuries, something to worry about?
Harbaugh is able to use these first few games to rest some guys with bumps and bruises. All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis sat again with a muscle strain. Joining him in street clothes were defensive linemen Bryan Mone and Taco Charlton.
If this were a game with playoff implications, Harbaugh may consider dressing these guys but clearly it isn’t. They are experienced and will be better at 100% in the coming weeks.
3. Running back shuffle
De’Veon Smith started the game but quickly gave way to Chris Evans and eventually Ty Isaac and Karan Higdon.
For all those saying start Evans, it’s clear why Smith is still the number one back on this team. Smith breaks tackles on nearly every run and runs with passion. Evans is a change of pace back that uses more speed than anything. With this offensive line struggling at times, there’s no better back on this team than Smith… or Peppers
4. Defense still learning a new system
The defense made plenty of plays in the game but gave up big plays as well. The Michigan defense allowed 275 yards rushing on the afternoon, and that’s something that cannot become a habit if this team expects to compete for a B1G championship. They gave up runs of 34, 35 and 87 yards- the latter going for a touchdown.
The defense is aggressive but needs to learn how to play within that aggressiveness. Playing assignment and mistake free football gives this team the best chance to win.
5. Special teams can be the difference
The specials teams unit was unbelievable on Saturday. Blocking/tipping several balls, the special teams unit gave the offense excellent field position all afternoon. If this unit can stay consistent and take on the attitude of the defense, they just might be the difference in beating the likes of MSU, Iowa and that school down south.
What were your biggest takeaways from Michigan’s 51-14 win over UCF? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog