Grading The Performance: Western Michigan

Quarterback

Not surprisingly Denard Robinson had moments of both good and bad, though there was none of the spectacular plays that we have come to expect from #16. Fitzgerald ToussantOn the plus side Denard seemed more comfortable under center than he did in the spring, he didn’t turn the ball over and his decision making as a passer was good for the most part. Denard threw a picture perfect strike to Gallon on 3rd and 6, a pass that he struggled to complete in the past. On the down side there were several very poor throws made by Denard which were the result of bad footwork. There were under- throws, over-throws, and several passes thrown behind WRs that were caught. There were also several instances where Denard left his receiver out to dry, subjecting them to big hits and potential turnovers down the road. Overall the game management and decision making earn Denard solid marks in his first performance in the new offense, even with the lack of big plays.

Grade: B-

Running Back

The performance by the backs was really a tale of two halves. There wasn’t much running room in the first half and the backs struggled to hit holes and make guys miss. Michigan averaged a measly 4.2ypc going into halftime. That number radically changed in the 2nd half as Fitzgerald Toussaint and Shaw both broke runs of 40+ yards. Michigan finished the game average 7.3ypc with both backs flashing the kind of big play ability the offense has missed. The backs also did a good job of blocking, both in pass protection and lead blocking for Denard on designed runs.

Grade: B+

Wide Receivers/TEs

It was a mostly uneventful day for the receivers as there were only 13 passes thrown in the game. Roundtree and Hemmingway both bailed out Denard Robinson on bad throws and the receivers as a whole did a good job of catching the ball. Koger had 2 nice grabs, including one in traffic which got him hammered. Both the TEs and WRs did a good job of run blocking during the game. Tough to praise or criticize a unit that didn’t get asked to do very much.

Grade: B

Offensive Line

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Western Michigan Game Prediction

Finally. Game day is upon us. Oops, Mississippi State just scored again. Sorry, flashbacks. Its been the perpetual nightmare for the better part of the past 9 months.
The good news is a new season is like rebirth. It brings new hope. And while there’s still a LONG way to go to return to the level of, well, respectability, there certainly is a TON to be excited and hopeful for.

Bill Cubit rides his Broncos to town, wanting a different result that 2009, where Michigan laid the wood early, staking a 28-0 halftime lead, before limping a bit in the latter half in a 31-7 final.

Boom! Chris Reif with another touchdown pass…. Arrrrgh, damnit, not again…. Crap, this season HAS to start. NOW! Damn that 1-1-9 Defense, how can we not…. Oh nevermind.

Western returns its top passer, RB and WR from last year, and have the potential to be explosive on that side of the ball. Junior QB Alex Carder is on many preseason award watch lists, and has received great praise this week from Michigan coaches (and its not opponent coach speak) calling him a future NFL signal caller. He has a great target in Jordan White, a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff award in 2010, after setting a program record with 1378 receiving yards.

One of the big areas of weakness on the offensive side of the ball for WMU would have to be along the offensive line. Having to already replace 3 graduated lineman, 3 injuries in fall camp have the group limping in, sans former UM lineman Dann O’Neil who transferred after the 2008 season. The Broncos will start a couple Junior College transfers along the line.

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Breakout Players for Michigan in 2011

In the forum today, EvilEmpire asked everyone who would be the breakout players this season for the Michigan Football team. Here were the answers for the top 5 users that participated (by total posts):

 

Breakout/Surprise Player on Offense

Breakout/Surprise Player on Defense

Biggest Disappointment on Offense

Biggest Disappointment on Defense

Player We Can Ill Afford To Lose On Offense/Defense

MichFan4Life Koger Jones Shaw Woolfolk Lewan/Demens
TK23Blue Lewan Ryan RB’s Woolfolk/Roh
EvilEmpire Smith Roh O-Line Campbell Robinson/Demens
Maize927 Koger Ryan Borges Floyd Hemingway/Martin
jsj_297 Rawls Campbell Shaw Woolfolk Molk/Martin
Let us know what your answers would be or who you disagree with and why below. Go Blue!