UA-59049186-1 Michigan 33, Florida 17 - Good if it Goes

Michigan 33, Florida 17

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Box score

Three bad Wilton Speight throws kept this game from being a total rout and as it was, it felt like one anyway. Michigan’s defense suffocated the Florida offense led by their former OC, Doug Nussmeier, holding them to a field goal on their first drive and bubkes after that. It’s Nussmeier after all, but still. Wow. On offense, the Wolverines found ways to consistently move the ball against a stout Florida defense, despite a newly-reconfigured offensive line and a very young receiver group. Two consecutive pick-sixes in the first half gave Florida a chance, but the team was able to overcome those mistakes. Quinn Nordin showed off an impressive leg, going 4-of-6 on field goal attempts, with two of his makes coming from 50+.

Player Grades

The grading scale goes from -3 to +3. Penalties are counted in whatever phase they were committed. “Short” throws are 10 yards or less, “Medium” is 10-20, “Deep” is over 20. Everything else (scrambles, throwaways, etc.) is under “Miscellaneous.”

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Takeaways

Credit Speight for bouncing back after exiting the game following the pick-sixes. That said, those picks can’t be thrown in the first place. Kekoa Crawford shares some blame on the first interception, but that ball can’t be put there and Jim Harbaugh said as much to the press. While Crawford was able to get both hands on the ball, when the receiver’s coming across the field, putting the ball over his head like that is asking for trouble, especially with as many defenders in the area as there were. The second pick was just a horrible throw and a -3 for Speight. Speight caught one more -3 on an incompletion to Crawford where he made a great read and adjustment at the line and had Crawford wide open for 6. Gotta make that throw. You’re not going to have many easier TDs than that. Take away the picks and hit the wide-open Crawford and Speight’s grade goes from +7.5 to +18.5 and we fell a whole lot better about his prospects going forward. With this game being what it was, it ultimately felt like he’s still what he was last year and this may just be his ceiling.

Ty Isaac had an excellent day and showed some of the promise that made him a 5* recruit in high school. Karan Higdon was fine, though at the moment, I don’t see how Isaac isn’t second on the depth chart behind Chris Evans. Isaac showed impressive vision and speed, ripping off a few big runs. Evans is still the clear starter and got the lion’s share of the carries.

Tarik Black had an impressive debut, getting behind the Florida defense for his first career touchdown on the deep pass. He did have one drop, but graded out well positive overall. Grant Perry turned in a nice game of his own. He looked like he may be in line for some of the passes that would have gone to Jake Butt the last couple years, the new security blanket, so to speak.

The offensive line was mostly fine, the exception being Nolan Ulizio. This is my first year breaking down grades between run and pass blocking; my guess is that zero is a good day in pass protection. That said, I wouldn’t be too worried about the numbers for Cole and Bredeson there. This is a strong Florida defensive line and the bigger minuses came when they got tied up on stunts. Bredeson was victimized more than Cole in that regard. Otherwise, the pair held their own. Mike Onwenu got off to a rough start, but rebounded. For his first career start, I’d call it a positive. Ulizio was just flat-out bad. He got beat on pass rushes constantly. He ran by guys he needed to hit. He leaned on guys when blocking them. He just looked lost, even when Michigan provided help. So this might be an adventure. This was a heckuva test for a guy making his first career start and it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that he improves over the course of a season, so all is not lost, but for now, yeah, not good.

The defense showed a new look in more ways than one, with Don Brown deploying the new starters in a 3-3-5 look. Many Michigan fans are still recovering from the 3-3-5 PTSD inflicted during the Rich Rodriguez era (*shakes fist at Greg Robinson*), but this time it actually worked. The Wolverines don’t have a ton of depth at DT and do appear to have some at LB, so going to a 3-3-5 might be a pretty good idea. The scheme allows Michigan to bring pressure from the second level without telling who’s going to be bringing it. I don’t know if this is going to be the primary look going forward, but if it is, I don’t hate it. Devin Bush fits in perfectly at Mike in that scheme and Mike McCray and Noah Furbush make great OLBs. McCray’s strengths are rushing the passer and stopping the run – at Will in a 3-3-5, he’ll get to focus more on those.

Going into the season, there were major questions about the corners. This game allayed any fears a bit. Lavert Hill had a solid outing – there was really only one time where he got beat and I wasn’t too happy about it. David Long was fine, as was Brandon Watson. Both graded out positively in coverage. All three safeties turned in very good performances.

Helmet Stickers

Up to 3 may be awarded per player. Not necessarily the highest-graded players since different grades mean different things to different players.

Offense

3: Ty Isaac, Tarik Black, Grant Perry, Patrick Kugler

2: Chris Evans, Karan Higdon, Khalid Hill, Mason Cole

1: Nick Eubanks, Henry Poggi, Wilton Speight

Defense

3: Chase Winovich, Khaleke Hudson, Rashan Gary, Maurice Hurst, Devin Bush, Tyree Kinnel, Mike McCray

2: Josh Metellus

1: Lavert Hill

Special Teams

3: Quinn Nordin

1: Donovan Peoples-Jones

Helmet Sticker Count

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Go Blue!

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

E-mail: schroeder.giig@gmail.com

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