Friday, August 29, 2014

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Appalachian State

Dave Brandon is my Sweet Pea. What did you do Dave Brandon? What did you do???


Appalachian St Mountaineers (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) @ Michigan Wolverines (0-0, 0-0 B1G)
Saturday, 8/30 Noon pm ET, Michigan Stadium, ESPN2

Welp, I guess it’s happening.

The last time this game was played, this blog didn’t exist. And I’m glad for that. Because had that been my first foray into blogdom, I’m not sure I would have made it to week 2.

The good news is: this isn't 2007. Appy State isn't lining up Armanti Edwards and rattling of FCS National Championships. In fact, they only won four games last year. And at least this time, the game actually counts being that Appy State has moved on up and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference.

Moreover, this isn't 2007 Michigan.  At least I hope it’s not. If it is, basketball is only a few months away.

Offense
Gardner is back, healthy, a senior and pretty good. Nussmeier has had really great success with quarterbacks. So if the line can hold up, at all, we should see good things from him.

But Gardner won’t be the story. The big question of course is the offensive line. Gone is the Borges “let’s try everything” offense and in comes the Nussmeier's inside zone based rush offense. The line is young, but not totally inexperienced. Despite starting a true freshman at left tackle, simplifying the blocking scheme will certainly help this group. That said, they'll need time to gel and this game offer that opportunity.

The running game should be featured heavily in this game. Appy State’s D averaged 225 yds/game last year at 4.9/rush. If Green and Smith don’t put up gaudy numbers on Saturday, it could be another very long dreadful season.

Defense
This is the year.

I’m doing it. I’m going all in on this defense. There are playmakers in all three groups. Michigan is finally playing the defense that Mattison envisioned when he came to Ann Arbor. Jake Ryan is back and healthy. There is quality depth at almost every position. Look for the defense to border on elite this year. Especially if the offense can give them a break now and again.

As far as this game is concerned, The Mountaineers were pretty bad last season. They averaged 138 yds on the ground and 232 yds through the air. This could be an extremely good start for the defense.

Special Teams
Is this the year that Norfleet breaks one? Is this the year that someone breaks one?

It may be. He and Freshman WR Freddy Canteen, who has gotten pretty good camp buzz, will be back doing kickoff return duty.  And then we have new comer, superstar Jabrill Peppers taking on punt return duties. And again, with quality depth comes quality special teams.

On the other side of the coin, Matt Wile takes over full time kicking duties and Will Hagerup is back booming punts 60+ yards.

Prediction
Like I said in the open, this isn't 2007. I hate the fact that Dave Brandon scheduled this game, but whatever. I’m over it. This is a great way for a new offensive line to start to come together. I think they will have some really great success rushing the ball. Norfleet gets an offensive touchdown to which Brian from MGoBlog does a little happy dance (someone please get footage of it). The defense dominates an over-matched opponent and starters are resting by the fourth quarter.


Michigan 48 – 0

Michigan Blogdom

Big House Blog looks for UM to exercise 2007 demons and head to South Bend 1-0.

Go Blue Michigan Wolverine thinks this game is more of a question answer game than anything else.

Maize and Blue Nation is of the same mind as yours truly and thinks we'll be tweet with relief when this one is over.

Maize N Brew says Michigan will be fine unless the O-line has regressed (which like there is no way, right. Please tell me that is not possible. Please. Say it. I need to hear it. Please for the love of god say it!).

Maize and Go Blue sees the second team playing all of the fourth in this one.

At MGoBlog Ace steps in for Brian and calls for the allusive Norfleet TD!

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