“Notre Dame: The Season” debuted this past Tuesday night on ESPN.

For the Michigan offensive line, their season begins tomorrow. Gone are relative pushovers in Central Michigan and Houston. Welcome No. 15 Notre Dame to the Big House. Also welcome a defensive line that knows how to get into the backfield. The Irish had seven tackles for loss (including two sacks) for minus-30 yards against Washington State last Saturday.

“They have a great defense,” Michigan running back Chris Perry said. “Their front seven is very fast, very athletic and they are always running to the ball. It’s going to be a challenge and hopefully we can step up to it and handle it well.”

Michigan’s successes the past two weeks have been fueled through the running attack. Against the Chippewas and Cougars, the Wolverines totaled 734 yards rushing. The offensive line has given up just a sack in those two games as well.

Notre Dame, while giving up 274 passing yards to Washington State, was unbelievably stingy on the run, allowing just 55 yards on 31 carries.

To say the least, this will be Michigan’s first challenge against its running attack and Notre Dame will certainly face a much better running back duo in Chris Perry and David Underwood (296 yards per game) than Jonathan Smith and Jermaine Green (162 yards per game).

“We definitely see that they’ve been running the ball well,” Notre Dame nose guard Cedric Hilliard said. “Any team that gets … what is it, 367 yards per game? You can only hope to keep them under that.”

While the Wolverines began practice this past Monday in order to prepare for the Irish, Notre Dame hadn’t seen much of Michigan, having its first practice on Tuesday. Even with the one less day of prep, though, the Irish did get a look at the offensive line that they will be going against.

“They come off the line well,” Hilliard said. “They’re big, strong and powerful … just a really good offensive line. By gameday, we hope to have a plan to fit them.

Hilliard also stated that because Michigan has many of the same offensive linemen from last season, they might be able to expect the same techniques that they saw in last year’s game – even if the line is now much-improved.

Hilliard and the rest of his defensive linemen will need to attack early and often in order to free up their linebackers to make plays. The importance of this is that the leading tacklers against Michigan the past two weeks have been safeties, meaning that Michigan’s offensive linemen have been blowing right by defensive linemen and hitting linebackers – hence the reason the Wolverines are averaging 7.6 yards a carry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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