Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh discusses Tru Wilson's ascent of the depth gauge to win a scholarship when rolling back on September 10, 2018.
Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
Michigan fans seem to breathe easier. For now.
After a romp from 49-3 against Western Michigan last week, the Wolverines now have an SMU team that enters Michigan Stadium as a 35-point underdog. More of the same? We will find out.
Meanwhile, back to the mail bag.
Do you believe that the offensive lure will expand as our schedule becomes more difficult? – @HJ_TheThird
There are two conversations here with some people. One is not a reality. The second is important.
First, Michigan is not going to run a version of the spread offense. If Jim Harbaugh's plan eventually turns into something in that direction over time, that's fine. But this team will not be distributed exclusively and that is good too. It is not built for that and it should not be forced.
Read more Michigan football:
Michigan vs. SMU: Scouting report, prediction
There seems to be enough to equate "a more open playbook" to the kind of up-tempo, no-huddle, play-in-space stuff that teams are excellent at. The stuff that Shea Patterson ran at Ole Miss last season. That is not a thing with this team.
The second call is more important and it is one of them to establish identity and to make sure that your schedule is capable of dealing with what you are putting on the plate. A year ago the Michigan technical staff really struggled with the latter.
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The Wolverines had an extremely young football team charged with running a very complex and complex pro-style attack that adds increments of brand new concepts every week and, over time, the team slowed due to elementary information overload. You can not coach freshmen and second-year students as if they were NFL veterans.
If you mentally overpower players at this level, everything is stuck.
"It is clear that every week is different in terms of game, and we will have a number of different games, but last year there was a lot, a lot different every week," said the ghostly lineman Stephen Spanellis. "This year there's a lot more, maybe no straight-up play carryover, but many assignments that are the same as (they were). You do not have to think so much and it's in this game, you're doing exactly what you would have done in that piece. & # 39;
"It makes it easier."
It is the concept to control something before you go to something else. Michigan, as a complete offense, does not seem to be there yet. Close to? We will see.
But the overall goal here must be and probably be a schematic balance. Being able to juggle the traditional West Coast looks with scattered concepts that provide Patterson with more space and freedom to create while keeping the defense out of balance.
So, yes, if the time is spent on Michigan, it should look to build up slowly. Instead of dumping it all at once on the same table, like last year, and sorting it out later.
Does the schedule look a bit less daunting now that we have seen that some of the other Big Ten teams are struggling? – @mgoblurg
I do not think so.
Wisconsin still looks pretty good. Penn State rebounded after a slow start to dismantle Pitt in Pittsburgh. And this is equally in charge of a football team in terms of talent and depth that Ohio State has had during the tenure of Urban Meyer.
Michigan State has not really looked good. But let me know when you see a Mark Dantonio team that is not over his head in a Michigan Michigan State game.
Michigan had a chance to prove that it is ready to beat teams at the highest level in week 1. That did not happen. The schedule is still difficult and Michigan still has to prove that it can handle it.
Red-up tackle from Michigan Redshirt James Hudson will meet with reporters in Paris on 28 April 2018. (Photo: Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press)
I thought it was noticeable that when you asked Jim about the starting line of attack, he immediately (James) Hudson and (Jalen) raised Mayfield. Almost as if he waited for them to take over. Is there a chance that they will run earlier this week? – @ mattdubois62
Neither Harbaugh nor attacking line coach Ed Warinner slowed expectations for Hudson or Mayfield this week. It is outside of all the obvious Michigan sees high ceilings for both players and wants them to be ready to tackle life in the Big Ten as quickly as possible.
Warinner clearly said this week. If both are consistent with their live working days in practice (Tuesday and Wednesday) and are under control during fine-tuned days (Thursday and Friday) they will see time on the field.
Jon Runyan Jr. (which is not a natural tackle) and Juwann Bushell-Beatty did not play well with left and right in week 1. That is no secret. Mayfield and Hudson are prototypes in terms of frame and athleticism.
But are they mentally ready to persevere while driving against the best that an opponent has to offer? Only Harbaugh and Warinner know that. We are not allowed to view the exercise.
Based on everything that is said, it seems that Michigan is doing everything to get those two ready to play. As in, this season. If Runyan and Bushell-Beatty can keep them off, so be it. But a repeat performance as Michigan saw against Notre Dame will lead to more losses. You can not ignore that.
The 67-yard TD from Higdon was a gap-play (I think?), But it seemed that they generally had a better ball this week on both zone and gap schemes. Part of it is the opponent, but was the line-blocking better or did he simply defeat WMU physically / schematically? – @ wi11_the_trill
All three long landing times in the first half were G-blocks. What a gap game is, yes. But it also shows a part of the athletism that is needed to be a good inner-zone line. And for two weeks, Michigan looks a bit better in that area, yes.
How much? It is too early to tell. But they can do more than perform power, counter, power pitch and delayed draw. A year ago that was pretty much everything they had. Michigan has received some bits this season through split-zone plays, which should be encouraging for Warinner and Harbaugh.
And if that trend continues against better teams, you need to find a way to get Chris Evans to play football again. Higdon is better with the chaps and has the stuff to be back to a great university. But Evans' vision and the ability to cut into a good zone team could yield excellent results.
Again: if Michigan can block zone against real teams, this offense will open more than you might think.
Contact Nick Baumgardner: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NickBaumgardner.
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