Michigan Daily Sports Editor Kyle O’Neill is not a collegiate athlete, nor is he a collegiate coach. But he was a starting wide receiver for his winless team at Garber High School, was third in Bay County in receptions his senior year and claims to know something about the game of football. So each game, we’ll let him and his 5-foot-10, 158-pound frame break down why Michigan either succeeded or failed.
1. LaMarr Woodley is one of the most exciting freshmen to ever wear the maize and blue. His size is ridiculous, and his instincts for the position of defensive end are almost pro-like (evident in the Minnesota game against scrambling quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq). But he is 0-for-2 on open-field tackles on quarterbacks. He whiffed on Iowa’s Nathan Chandler, leading to a touchdown. Then he let Orton escape a big loss with a quick side step. Luckily, Orton hit defensive back Leon Hall in the numbers, saving Woodley’s misplay. This isn’t a callout on Woodley, but he needs to do what he’s good at when he gets in those one-on-one situations: Breakdown like he did against Abdul-Khaliq and react to the quarterback’s movement instead of trying to deliver a diving blow that is easier to avoid.
2. I’m pretty sure Joe Tiller would give anything to have Michigan’s receivers in his offense. Not to say that Terry Malone is a wrong fit for the trio of Jason Avant, Braylon Edwards and Steve Breaston, but the spread offense was designed for a trio like this. Speedy Breaston running underneath, Avant using his strength over the middle and Edwards just being Edwards 15-to-20 yards deep would probably give Tiller everything he’s ever wanted.
3. This is the most talented Michigan secondary I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t sure how they would handle the spread. They stopped it in straight-up man coverage – something not easily done when safeties are blitzing. Corner Leon Hall and safety Willis Barringer are making unbelievable strides for being thrown into such a hectic environment.