Ouimet Previews Houston

Former U-M football staffer Mark Ouimet previews this Saturday's U-M/Houston game. Does Ouimet really think it'll be close?

Houston's Offense vs. Michigan's Defense

Houston has a true freshman at quarterback, Kevin Colb (6-3, 230 lbs.). Houston's new head coach Art Briles coached him as true freshman at Stevenville, Texas (where Briles was a Texas high school coaching legend, going 90-2 in one six-year stretch). Last week against Rice (a 48-14 win), Kolb was 17-22 for 246 yards and no interceptions.

Coach Herrmann's Michigan defense is going to have to come after Kolb ... look for some blitzing.

Houston uses 3 and 4 receivers, so Michigan's DB's will have to play lot of man to man.

Their best receiver, and probably their best player, is Brandon Middleton (5-11, 185 lbs.)-- last week he caught four passes for two touchdowns. Another receiver, Vincent Marshall (5-8, 180 lbs.), made 8 catches. Neither are very tall. They don't throw it down the field that much ... they throw what we call 'up front passes'.

Houston also had 194 yards rushing last week.

Expect the Cougars to look a lot like Purdue offensively. They will pass a lot, spread out the defense, then run the ball up the middle. If you watch CMU's and Purdue's films, that's what they do.

Michigan has to keep Houston under 200 yards passing, 150 rushing. It will be important for Herrmann to force them to run, then stop it. They MUST improve on the 218 yards given up rushing last week.

Jeremy Van Alstyne has to show up again, and the other defensive linemen have to play better. Larry Stevens has to get to the quarterback. Pierre Woods and Roy Manning wiill play about 50/50 I'd say.

It will help having Ernest Shazor and Marlin Jackson back. And Jeremy LeSueur and Marlin will cover the best wide receivers, and they have to stop them.

It's a young offense so they will make mistakes. Michigan will try to confuse that young quarterback. They did have 9 penalties for 81 yards last week, and they fumbled five times.

But they were 4 of 5 inside the red zone. Michigan will have to keep em out of red zone and force mistakes.

Michigan's Offense vs. Houston's Defense

Michigan should be able to run the ball again. Rice ran for 200 yards on Houston last week, and Michigan ran 342 vs. Central. So the Wolverines should be able to rush for 200-250 yards.

Michigan will want to posess and run it.

Lance Everson (6-2, 230 lbs.,16 tackles last week) and Bryant Brown (6-2, 220 lbs., 8 tackles) are their best tacklers. and they have two good DL's in Joe Clay (6-2, 255 lbs.) and Farouk Aldelkan (6-2, 272 lbs.).

Houston will try to blitz and pressure Navarre, and close running gaps. They will use disguised zones like CMU against Navarre in the one interception last week.

But Michigan's offensive line gave up no sacks last week, and only had one penalty if I recall.

Michigan was 45% in 3rd down efficiency las week -- they'll want to improve that to 50-55%.

If Michigan gets 400+ yards offense, which they should, they will cruise to a win.

Houston will give up first downs ... so Michigan will pound them and take those first downs. I'd say we'll see a heavy dose of Chris Perry and David Underwood, And, against teams that blitz like Houston, screens to the tailback and passes to the tight end.

Michigan's tight ends should be more involved this week, not just blocking. They blocked well last week, and Michigan didn't need to throw to them as much. But this week they have to get ready for Notre Dame.

SpecialTeams

Houston had two good kickoff returns, a 73 yarder, and a 45 yarder. And they did well on punt returns with a 57 yarder.

But their kickoff coverage is not that good, and their punter kicks it low. Steven Breaston should do well on punt returns.

I believe we will see more of Garrett Rivas on field goals.

My Prediction:
I was just kidding on the 38-35 score the other day. My real prediction: 38-20

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