Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tate looking to take UM bowling again...

I love spring. The snow has finally disappeared, and the buds on the trees are starting to bloom. We can all finally put away our snow clothes and get out our spring wardrobes. Everybody feels refreshed and ready to take on the world. We are all full of hope and positive energy.

This is especially true for college football fans. Around this time of year, college football programs will hold their annual spring scrimmage. This is a time when they get to show off what they have been working on these past few weeks during spring practices. Boosters, fans, and alumni alike will all travel from far and wide to watch these games.

Even though it is just a scrimmage, fans will get very excited by what they see.

This holds true especially for Michigan Wolverine fans. Last year saw a lot of changes for the program. A new coach was hired from outside the Michigan family, and they also saw the team post an unimpressive 3-9 record which caused them to miss going to a bowl game for the first time in 33 years.

Needless to say, Michigan fans needed this spring game. They needed to see their Wolverines come out and display the high powered spread offense that head coach Rich Rodriguez is known for. They needed to see that glimpse of hope; a hope that was nowhere to be seen last season.

For Michigan fans that were looking to see the vaunted spread offense; an offense that caused them more problems than their opponents, they got more than what they were hoping for.

Michigan fans got to see the spread offense run like a finely tuned machine. The quarterback was finding the open man downfield. The receivers knew what routes to take, and the quarterback knew when to take the play into his own hands and run for it.

In addition to finally seeing the spread offense working, Michigan fans were able to see their heralded quarterback recruit, Tate Forcier, in action. Forcier, taking snaps with the first team offense, seemed like an experienced veteran out on the field. He went 10-13 on the day for 133 yards and 0 interceptions. He was also able to spread the ball around, connecting with 3 different receivers for touchdowns while rushing for another.

While all of these statistics are deemed “unofficial” because it was just a scrimmage, and that Forcier was running the first team offense against the second team defense, he was able to put some excitement into Michigan football for this upcoming fall.

Forcier seems to be ready to handle to pressure of being the starting quarterback at Michigan. Before the scrimmage, fans were chanting his name. Senior wide receiver Greg Matthews made his way over to Forcier to tell him not to be nervous. "I don't get nervous," Forcier replied.

"I don't let it bother me at all," the quarterback said afterward of the attention. "I know what I can do. I know what I'm capable of doing. Really, I just have to get the guys the ball. That's what the athletes are for. They made some big plays. I'm not trying to put it all on my back, I'm going to let the older guys carry me along."

The good news is that Michigan looked really good on offense. The bad news is that they were playing against the Michigan defense, a Michigan defense that was outscored 347-243 last season.

Scott Shafer, the defensive coordinator in 2008, has been replaced by former Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson. Robinson was fired last season after leading the Orangemen to a very uninspiring 3-9 record.

I am still puzzled by this hire. They fired the defensive coordinator from last season and replaced him with a guy who led a team that got outscored by an even bigger margin; 392-217.

During a post scrimmage interview, Rich Rodriguez stated that they hadn’t shown all of their defensive schemes yet. They planned to be a bit generic. He stated that they (the coaching staff) didn’t feel the need to show everything that they are going to do this year.

Michigan’s defense was highly criticized last season. I really hope that Rodriguez has some big plans in store for them. Michigan can have the best, highest scoring offense in the country, but without a good defense, they’ll be a below average team for the second year in a row.

If that happens again, Rodriguez had better start polishing up his resume.

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