MT on Chad Henne and The Michigan Offense

Former Michigan quarterback Michael Taylor has been through it -- he sat on the bench and watched Demetrius Brown quarterback the Wolverines in 1987, then he was the starter in '88, and in '89 he shared starts with Elvis Grbac due to shoulder problems. So MT has seen it all -- and here is his take on Chad Henne and the Michigan offense at this point in time. It takes MT back to the '87 season ...

Michael Taylor:

"Watching Chad Henne reminds me of when I was at Michigan -- I was the starter for the '88 season, but the year before, in '87, Bo went with Demetrius Brown at quarterback instead of me. They lost to MSU when Demetrius threw the 7 interceptions; they lost to Notre Dame when he threw 2-3 interceptions; they lost to Indiana when Demetrius broke his thumb but they kept him in there; and they lost to OSU, where Brown fumbled and threw an interception.

"What the offensive coaches did that year to try to help Demetrius -- they called the plays and told him where to look ... they cut back the offense and simplified in Demetrius' mind what he had to do out there.

"Here's why I bring this up -- that was the same thing the offensive coaches did for Chad Henne last year ... they put him out there as a freshman, so they simplified things for him, told him where to throw it, and so on. Now this year, he has to go through his progressions when he drops back, so we're seeing him struggle as he learns to do that.

"But last week the offense played better in the second half. The biggest reason -- the offense line played a better football game. They allowed a few sacks but they played better than the previous week. Having Rueben Riley back, even with two bad thumbs, helped.

"Chad Henne also picked it up when it was time, when it was needed. He played better in then stretch where it was needed. He's learning. So the one thing he needs to do now is trust ... he has a strong arm, he has to trust where his receivers will be and throw it sooner ... he tends to wait too long and then try to rifle it in there. He hasn't trusted his instincts. As a quarterback you read the coverage, you pick a guy out, and then you just throw it -- you throw it sooner, then you can take a little bit off it, making the ball easier to catch.

"As far as the running game goes, resting Mike Hart was smart -- he was fresher and therefore more effective at the end, and when Kevin Grady came in in the second half with fresh legs, he was effective as well.

"And Mario Manningham -- I understand that they like to bring a freshman along slow, but he needs more touches, he needs to get more involved in the offense. Jason Avant has made plays, but the longer plays Manningham has provided for the team. So at this point I'd like to see them throw the ball in Mario's direction 5 to 8 times a game. With Mario they can stretch the field -- and in long run that makes the running game better because then the safeties can't cheat."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories