Houston Wrap-Up, Notre Dame Preview

Former U-M staffer Mark Ouimet talks about what Michigan has to do to beat Notre Dame, what he thinks Michigan the Wolverines will in-fact do, and Ouimet tells us in advance what the outcome will be!

The Michigan offense.

The Michigan offense against Houston.

Ouimet:

Michigan did well against Houston because of the Wolverines' experience, and their balanced talent.

John Navarre got off to a shaky start against a Houston defense stacked against the pass. So the Wolverines went to the run, and wore Houston down. Michigan ran the football for close to 350 yards. The offensive line did its job, and Kevin Dudley is improving as a blocker. Overall they did what they're supposed to do.

Michigan used the tight end a little more to get ready for Notre Dame.

And against Houston Michigan capitalized on turnovers.

John Navarre had a couple passes tipped last Saturday. He seems to throw it a little too low on the short ones. He will improve on that. Navarre just needs to get fine tuned for this week. And Braylon dropped some passes again. There will be fine tuning for Notre Dame.

One problem against Houston was third down conversions -- that needs improvement against Notre Dame. Part of that was the passing attack. But third down conversions happen on first and second downs. They had too many third and longs. Expect to see more pounding on first and second down.

Looking forward: the Michigan offense versus the Notre Dame defense:

Coach Carr said in his press conference Monday: Coach Carr at his Monday press conference: "[Notre Dame is] probably as good a defensive football team as we'll play this entire year. I think many people consider it maybe the best defensive front they've (Notre Dame) ever had. When you add to that front where they have great talent and great size and strength and pass-rushing ability, you have a linebacker, a preseason All-American Courtney Watson, two defensive backs that are preseason All-Americans in Glenn Earl and Vontez Duff, I think that's where you start. Obviously a lot of veteran players are back and a team that plays with a lot of confidence and a lot of enthusiasm, plays very well together, gives you a lot of different looks, a lot of different coverages in the secondary."

Ouimet:

This is a good Notre Dame defense, not a great one. Michigan will have success running.

The key is running the ball. Whoever runs the ball better, Michigan or Notre Dame, wins. Whoever has the most running yards wins. I think it'll be Michigan.

Michigan's offensive line has the experience and is well prepared, and they'll control the line of scrimmage, and will handle Notre Dame's blitzes. If Dudley can block like he did last week, Michigan will have success.

As far as the passing attack goes, everyone is worried about Michigan's wide receivers. But I think the tight ends will be more important, and also screens to Chris Perry and David Underwood.

The key offensive stats: rushing yards, time of possession, turnovers, third down conversion ... I think Michigan wins on all four.

The Michigan defense.

Against Houston.

Ouimet:

Michigan got to the quarterback. They practiced harder, prepared better, and also used more defensive backfield schemes than against Central Michigan. They used more blitzes and schemes. Larry Stevens and Alain Kashama, and Jeremy Van Alstyne have played well all year long. Van Alstyne is a little light, but he is very strong. He's strong like Norman Heuer, with good speed. He plays like Glen Steele football-wise, as far as his approach to the game. Michigan missed some tackles, but they will do better.

Looking forward: the Michigan defense versus the Notre Dame offense:

Ouimet: Michigan will have success against Notre Dame's young offensive line, which has only one returning starter (Sean Milligan).

Coach Carr at his Monday press conference: '"I think that you've got two running backs that are very capable because you got guys running the football that are big, physical and athletic. It always comes down, in those kinds of games, to tackles. How well you tackle and how many missed tackled you have is important. Julius Jones has an excellent chance to break Tim Brown's return yardage, so that says something. And then of course offensively with Ryan Grant, I have high regard for Ryan Grant. I think he runs with great power and has the ability to make you miss. Of course with Jones back, they've got a one-two punch there. Their receivers are very talented; we tried to recruit all of them, and so we know about them. Of course (Carlyle) Holiday is a guy that can beat you with his arm and he can beat you running with the football. I think it's an outstanding football team."

Back to Ouimet:

Michigan will have to stop the run, and they will have to get to the quarterback, Carlyle Holiday. Michigan has to stop the rush. And Notre Dame will roll Holiday out to run or pass. But the roles are reversed from last year -- Michigan is experienced in its defensive front seven, and the Notre Dame offensive line is young.

I think Coaches Herrmann and Carr will be aggressive: we'll see different coverages, and blitzes by the linebackers and safeties. Notre Dame doesn't have the passing game to move the ball down the field for 60 minutes.

The Key for Notre Dame: the running of Holiday, Ryan Grant, and Julius Jones. If they have fewer rushing yards than Michigan, they'll lose. And Carr and Herrmann will have the defensive game plan to win.

Ouimet's Prediction:

34-18 ... mark that down. Chris Perry will run for over 100 yards, I'll say 120 (by the way, the next two games are the key for him as far as any Heisman chances ... back to back 100 yarders with two Michigan wins and he'll be in top five candidates with a legit shot). In my opinion ... the Oregon game will be tougher.

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