For the other parts of the Michigan football midseason report, visit http://www.michigandaily.com/section/sports.
Special teams: A-
Sophomore Darryl Stonum has gone from stunning to just acceptable in the last couple weeks, but is still just 147 yards away from breaking Michigan’s season record for kickoff returns. Greg Mathews should find a cure for that nagging senioritis, but for the most part, he has been reliable.
And who singlehandedly boosted special teams by a full letter grade? It’s Zoltan Mesko, who has kicked a helluva ball thus far.
“Bend but not break” may become an extremely overused cliché this season. Yardage-wise, Michigan is on pace for its worst defensive year, yet the Wolverines somehow lock down in the red zone. Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren have been the lone highlights of the unit, and their play has kept the defense from getting a ‘D’ grade. Does the University give anything less than a ‘C’ in classes, anyway?
After getting off to a blistering start on the ground, Michigan hit a speed bump against the Spartans. It recovered against Iowa and is now second in the conference in rush offense, but the running backs still haven’t managed to overshadow comeback phenom Tate Forcier, who has exceeded all expectations. Too many three-and-outs and seven turnovers in the past two games knock the offense down to a ‘B’, though.
It takes a lot to groom two freshmen quarterbacks, especially when one has a full head of shaggy, light brown hair and the other sports impressive dreadlocks. Although both Forcier and Denard Robinson have looked like freshmen at times, Rodriguez and his staff have made the necessary adjustments to ensure the two learn the playbook at an appropriate pace. But some questionable coaching at crucial times, like the defensive coaches’ inability to anticipate schemes Michigan hasn’t seen on film, has cost the Wolverines. At some point, the second-half adjustments need to happen before the second half.