Mark Ouimet starts his anaylsis of the game, and of the season so far."> Mark Ouimet starts his anaylsis of the game, and of the season so far.">

Ouimet On San Diego State

"Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers." That's how former Michigan staffer <b>Mark Ouimet</b> starts his anaylsis of the game, and of the season so far.


Michigan was 'minus one' on the day you know. Plus San Diego State shot themselves in the foot with penalties ... they had 11 for 94 yards. Their biggest penalty -- the intentional grounding in the 4th quarter that took them 6 yards back on that second to last field goal that they missed.

So turnovers are a problem for Michigan.

The quickest way for a team to go undefeated -- have no turnovers. But special teams turnovers hurt the most (in the Notre Dame game there were two). They cause a huge line of scrimmage difference. The interceptions happen, but the turnovers that you want to eliminate most are on special teams ... if a team has no special teams turnovers then the odds of winning are high.

Another problem for Michigan is the offensive line. Michigan still has a problem at right tackle.

Michigan averaged 4.3 yards per play on offense against San Diego State, which is pretty good, not bad.

But the right tackle spot needs solidifying. Jake Long was pretty good on the run, but less than good on pass protection.

Michael Hart. He was hitting the trap play up middle, and he 'hit it' on that sweep on that last 3rd down in the 4th quarter. He had 121 yards total. Hart has gotten off to a good start, but there is a long way to go ... this was only one game. Because of Hart there was good improvement in the running game last week. He was the brightest spot of day offensively -- but greatness doesn't happen over night. Fans should not put him on pedestal ... because then if he has a 50 yard game those same fans will say he's the worst.

Hart is not a savior -- he just produced in a game when he had to.

This week, Iowa will be watching for him.

Chad Henne. Henne has a strong arm ... but he still checks down to his secondary receivers too fast ... he still has more to learn. They have a game plan for Henne each week ... as the weeks go on he will involve more receivers in the passing game. I don't know why fans get down on Henne ... on other hand people should not get too high about Hart.

Braylon Edwards continues to drop some balls ... he had 103 yards and 2 touchdowns last week but he continues to drop some balls that would be first downs.

Michigan needs to develop more receivers in the offense. Avant is the #2 receiver, but who's the #3? They don't really have one right now. The only route Breaston runs is that inside pass ... he doesn't run any mid or deep routes. They need to develop that, the sooner the better. And they need to go to the tight end more.

The Michigan defense.

They only gave up 22 yards against the run, which is good.

But Michigan gave up 289 yards passing. That needs to improve. There is a lack of depth at defensive back, which means they need to have a linebacker in coverage against the 4-5 wideout sets. That puts pressure on the defense. Michigan saw that against San Diego State, and they'll will see that again against Purdue, as well as Michigan State and Northwestern. But they won't see it this week against Iowa.

Michigan did have four sacks in the game, an improvement over the week before. But they need even more pressure on the quarterback. Better coverage would give them more time to rush, plus more blitzing packages would put more pressure on the quarterback as well ... both the coverage and the blitz packages could be better. And the defensive linemen -- like Chad Henne, they don't have much experience.They aren't freshmen but they haven't played much before this year. And the outside linebackers have not played that much either ... except for Pierre Woods. But Woods has hardly played so far and had a big wrap on his leg last Saturday -- not having Woods on the field has hurt.

One more thing on why the game was so close.

Take the last 15 years of Michigan football ... facing a team that goes to 4-5 wideouts has traditionally give them problems. The 3-4 defense was supposed to do better this year, but not having Woods on the field has limited that defense.

Against running teams or teams that run an offense more like Michigan's -- they do better. And this Iowa team runs an offense similar to Michigan's, so U-M will fare well this week.

And one final thing, looking back to the Notre Dame game. Michigan plays more conservative on the road. On the road, Michigan tries to control the game, control field position, control the clock. They wanted a 24-17 game ... and they thought they could do it without attacking. That's how they do it on the road -- they try to control the game instead of attacking. But in that kind of game, turnovers and special teams breakdowns really hurt them. Then, coming off a loss and returning to the Big House, in order to make a statement, they come out and attack more.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories