Josh Turel's OFFENSIVE KEYS to the Rose Bowl

GoBlueWolverine's correspondent Josh Turel writes for various NFL Draft publications, and has used his expertise to analyze Michigan's Rose Bowl opponent, the Texas Longhorns.<br><br> Here are Josh's <b>Offensive Keys to the Game</b>: what does the Wolverine offense have to do effectively to score on the Longhorns?<br>


1. Chad Henne Recognizing the Zone Blitz
Texas is a heavy zone blitzing team; most of the time this is done by their linebackers coming and their defensive tackles dropping into a short zone. They have the athletes at defensive tackle to make this effective. Henne will need to recognize this and not force passes where to spots where linemen are dropping into. In the zone blitz, the secondary will play zone as well, usually a deep zone with either two or three men deep and then either four or five men under. This could be a good time for him to go down the field with the ball if the blitz is picked up. The most important thing will be to not turn the ball over in these situations.

2. Control the Middle
That is Texas' strength, right up the gut with Rodrique Wright, Derrick Johnson and Aaron Harris. Mike Hart is a great between the tackles runner, so for him to continue his effectiveness up the middle, the keys will be the three interior linemen and the fullback. Luckily for Michigan, they have Rimington Award co-recipient David Baas and quite possibly the nation's finest blocking fullback in Kevin Dudley. Baas is a great lock on and drive blocker, but he isn't as good in space. For Michigan to be successful, he must be the one to control Wright at the point of attack and Dudley must be the one in space against Harris or Johnson. The other guards, Reuben Riley and Matt Lentz are solid players who must make initial contact and not allow the speedy Johnson to avoid them.

3. Spread the Ball Around
No Braylon vision, please. This team has plenty of weapons, and will hopefully get Breaston involved, get Jason Avant involved. In the Ohio State game, the Buckeye linebackers sat and waited for Michigan's receivers to come into the middle and they were in perfect position. This cannot happen again. Michigan must establish the tight ends, Ecker and Massaquoi early to keep the middle of the defense honest and open up the outside for the wideouts. In order for Michigan to have the game on offense it needs to win, Ecker, Avant, Edwards, Breaston, Gonzalez, Massaquoi and Hart must all see the ball come their way at least some point in the game. The Texas corners aren't world beaters and the Wolverines have an advantage there that must be exploited.

4. Greatly Mix Up the Playcalling
The Wolverine offense has been predictable at times this year. Texas will have a long time to watch film and it isn't hard to figure out what the Wolverines will do. Michigan must give Texas many different looks and keep the defense off balance the entire game. The diamond formation had some effectiveness early in the season but was not seen at all the last half of the season, maybe it's time to bring that back. Maybe we'll see more of Breaston at QB, maybe we'll see Chad Henne's athleticism taken advantage of on a QB draw or two and some more rollouts. Whatever they do, they cannot fall into 'run up the middle on 1st and 2nd down and throw on 3rd down' or 'run on 1st and 2nd down and screen pass on 3rd down' mindset which would allow the Longhorn defense to key in on what they're doing.

5. Control the Clock
Yeah, this is a very cliche key but it will be oh so important for the Wolverines to do this. The defense should be exhausted trying to drag Cedric Benson down and then chasing Vince Young all over the field. Hence, the offense will need to sustain drives and allow the defense to regroup after a series. Texas is largely a finesse, speedy defense. The Wolverines have the advantage in a smashmouth contest and if they can control the clock on offense, the entire team will benefit.

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