Mike Taylor: once the first reaction has worn off

Former Michigan quarterback Michael Taylor: "Coming out of the game, Michigan fans were ticked off just as the players and coaches were. They were mad that 'they' lost. But then you have to go back and watch the game tape. And here is what the film showed."

Former Michigan quarterback Michael Taylor:

"First of all, they were shuffling guys around on the offensive. They'd already lost their best lineman in All Big Ten player Jake Long. Now, suddenly, they lost two more All Big Ten players in tight end Tim Massaquoi, and running back Mike Hart. They also lost wide receiver Adrian Arrington who was the guy who was supposed to alternate with Steve Breaston so Steve could stay rested and effective. And they lost Long's back-up, Mike Kolodziej. And then in the first half another Big Ten lineman, Matt Lentz, their best lineman out there, also went down, and then played hurt in the second half. So most of the heart of the Michigan offense was out. And so, frankly, they were shuffling players around, especially in trying to patch together an offensive line. And this was against a good Notre Dame front seven.

"So someone looking at that from the outside would say that to come up 7 points short against a good team with a patched up offensive lineup would be near-miraculous.

"They had so many opportunities in the red zone and to get no points over and over, not just 3 but none -- well you just had a lot of guys out there who haven't played together much.

"Consequently, Chad Henne, who is a young quarterback remember, put too much pressure on himself instead of just relaxing and going through his normal reads.

"People don't understand everything a quarterback goes through out there -- from the pre-reads, to facing the pass rush and having folks hit him, while going through his progressions and hitting the correct receiver -- all in a just over a second. So be effective, a quarterback needs to be able to to stay consistent with everything he does the way through. Suddenly, for Chad, the consistency evaporated -- he had different guys snapping to him, even in the second half, and a right side of the O-line that went from the strength of the line to struggling. And he didn't have Mike Hart to throw to and to get the ball to in diversified ways. And so Chad lost his comfort zone, his ability to relax -- and he put too much pressure on himself and didn't go through his progressions as he normally would.

"On the fumbled quarterback sneak, in watching the film you can see that both center Mark Bihl and Henne made mistakes. Bihl sunk his back-side down just before the snap instead of snapping it and then getting low, so the ball didn't get all the way up to Henne. And Henne didn't ride it out and get ball first before following his line. They will practice that of course -- we used to practice a sneak where I'd (the quarterback) not be told on what count the ball would be snapped, so I'd have to be ready for it at any instant.

"You could also see that Henne was feeling the pressure because on the 'touch passes' he was throwing ball too hard and too low -- he had several knocked down. That's what reminded people of John Navarre.

"And with Kevin Grady in there, the running game lost it's diversity. Grady ran pretty well except for the near-fumbles, but the running game was cut back to running straight ahead between the tackles.

"As far as the defense goes, they'd held Gabriel Watson out to send him a message -- after Notre Dame had scored their two touchdowns Gabe went in and played pretty well, and from there Michigan pretty much shut them down. With Gabe in there with Alan Branch, Lamarr Woodley and either Pierre Woods or Rondell Biggs, the defensive line played pretty well.

"So, all in all, it was not a bad football game -- the defense played pretty well, there were just too many changes for young quarterback to be able to effectively deal with.

"Now most of those injured guys won't be back soon. So, looking ahead to this week -- to Eastern Michigan. Eastern played pretty well against Cincinnati, but it's a tune-up which gives Michigan the ability to work on several things.

1. "They'll get practice defending a spread offense. A spread tries to spread out a defense and make it go one on one against it's receivers. And spreading out the defense creates more room for the running game as well.

2. "The game will give them a chance to try to get the offensive line settled. For one thing, they say Alex Mitchell could play OC, OG, OT, and Alex is a real big guy, bigger than some of the lineman who played Saturday. I wonder if he'll get a chance this weekend -- either at tackle so Riley can move back inside where he is best suited, or at guard.

3. "They'll get to work on diversifying the running game: using two backs, one back, running inside and out using different blocking schemes. And Max Martin -- they have to find out if they can get something out of him.

4. "They'll get to develop the defensive backfield more. Morgan Trent is a guy who is getting worked in more and more. And against a spread they may get to practice some man-to-man coverage -- they stayed in a zone against Notre Dame."

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