"Okay, the rushing attack. Michigan got 93 yards in the game (Minnesota is averaging over 300). Here's what's going on.
"Leo Henige (newly inserted offensive guard) is not used to being out there -- he kicked the ball out of Henne's hand on the one fumble. And Jake Long is very inexperienced, and it's showing both in run and pass blocking.
"A big part of the adjustment for these new guys is just getting used to 'game speed' -- the speed of the game itself. It's a whole different level of speed and intensity ... you just can't duplicate it in practice.
"And then you've got a new center, David Bass. He's doing well -- and the position change will make him a lot of money when the draft comes around -- but you still have a new guy making the offensive line calls. It's the center that calls out the blocking assignments. And there were a couple center-quarterback exchange problems last week.
"And ... there may be more O-line changes before the season is over. Ruben Riley, I believe, will get his chance yet.
"And now, every defensive coordinator in the Big Ten sees that Michigan is running a very basic offense -- both in the running game and the passing attack. There are very few run-pass checks being made at the line of scrimmage by Chad Henne. Once a play is called, that's it. That's what happens when your have two freshmen in the backfield. So if a rushing play is called, even if the defense is stacked up against it, that's the play that's run.
"As far as Henne goes, he is doing very well. He was 17 for 21 last week, and threw no interceptions -- that's 'pretty good' for the guy's fifth game, wouldn't you say? It's a tribute to Henne, and a tribute to (U-M quarterbacks coach) Scot Loeffler. But he is not strong enough out there after just five games for them to give Henne the whole offense. Can you imagine how good Henne will be next year when he can switch the play at the line of scrimmage -- from a run to a pass or visa versa. That's why Navarre was so good last year -- the checks he would call at the line of scrimmage.
"By the way -- I contend we'll see Henne being more of a run-pass threat out there this season.
"Right now Michigan is fortunate they have Braylon Edwards. Michigan may well have lost a couple more games without him out there. He is big and fast and has manhandled the smallish, average cornerbacks he's gone against so far. His biggest challenges will come again st Ohio State and maybe in a bowl game, when the CB's will be taller and stronger. And at the next level he'll have to stop the occasional drops of easy passes. But for now, the Michigan offense has ridden on his back to a large extent.
"As far as the running backs are concerned, so far Mike Hart has been the only adequate back. And as far as Max Martin goes -- I'm surprised he went four games without playing and then did not get redshirted. I'm surprised he didn't play against San Diego State. In fact, it's too bad he doesn't have FIVE games of experience at this point. Michigan probably tried to redshirt him, but obviously decided they just couldn't.
"One other thing. Michigan was 10 for 15 on third down -- that's a good percentage. So the offense is improving, and it will continue to improve."
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