MT: Michigan Defensively vs. OSU's Offense

Former Michigan Quarterback Michael Taylor on what Michigan has to do to stop the Buckeye spread offense.

Michael Taylor:

"The main thing is you have to shut their running game down ... inside the 20 yard line it's (quarterback) Troy Smith running the ball. Antonio Pittmann is decent but he's not gonna beat you. He doesn't have Brian Calhoun ability, or Laurence Maroney ability. So you don't let him beat you, and you don't let Troy Smith beat you with his feet. That's the key.

"If Michigan stops Troy Smith from running the ball, the game is theirs. Smith is not a good passer ... but he can go deep on the dead run.

"Stopping Ohio State's offense all starts with Michigan's front seven ... our front seven is gonna give their offensive line fits. If Michigan doesn't win the game up front on defense, they're in trouble. But Gabriel Watson -- OSU's center Mangold shouldn't be able to handle him. Next to Mangold is big D.J. Downing -- how Michigan didn't offer Walt Downing's kid is another story, but Downing is good in there. But their tackles aren't that good. Lamar Woodley, Pierre Woods and Shawn Crable should be able to handle them. And Alan Branch -- his play has made the whole defensive line step up and play better this year, especially Gabe.

"The biggest difference in Michigan defending the spread this year as opposed to last year is that this year they have given up some penetration for the sake of containment. The defensive ends don't get as far upfield, they stay in their lanes.

"And then last year's linebackers, McClintock and Reid, are not like this year -- these guys this year can run better and can run down Smith -- David Harris, Prescott Burgess, those guys can run down Troy Smith.

"If Michigan can't stop the run game with their front seven, then they'll have to go man to man and they can't match up that way against Santonio Holmes. Ted Ginn -- they can't miss a tackle or take a bad angle with, because if he gets by you he's gone ... he's not the receiver that Holmes is, he's not that polished on his routes."

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