Western Michigan Home Opener Preview

Overview:

  • Western Michigan has a strong passing offense led by JR Alex Carder. The team finished at 16th in the NCAA in passing last season.
  • Besides the QB, 6th year SR WR Jordan White is a powerhouse in the passing game finishing last season with 94 receptions for 1378 yards and 10 TDs.
  • The running game has not worked for this team finishing at 93rd overall with starting RB Tevin Drake finishing the season with only 405 yards 4 TDs.
  • This defense is a middle of the road unit finishing last season ranked 52nd in points against, the DL returns 7 players with experience but LB core is full of question marks.

Key Match-ups:

Michigan Offense Vs. Western Michigan Defense- Keeping this really simple. This is not Drob, the OL or the RBs challenge; this is the whole offense in a new system. This team will need time to adjust (even if they start off with a great game). But lucky for the Maize and Blue this team will likely not get too much resistance from the WMU Defense for the following reasons:

  1. Western will really need help with our WRs. Westerns best corner 5 year SR Dervon Wallace is only 5-11 which will allow the larger Michigan WRs to break the press and out muscle on plays. The result of this will be perpetual safety help over the top leaving the middle open…
  2. With the safety help over the top look for Michigan to do what they would really like to do: Pound the ball on the ground with Drob and the RB crew.

Whether WMU commits to the pass or the run, Michigan Coaching staff and players will be able to exploit the Defense.

Michigan DL\Secondary Vs. Western Michigan Passing Game- This match-up is a little harder to read. While Western Michigan does have a vaunted passing game led by Alex Carder and Jordan White they do tend to make themselves one dimensional with the lack of running game. To add injury to insult the running game has taken an additional hit with the WMUs left guard Greg Peterson and center Kevin Galeher both down with injuries. This combination will help the Michigan defense get adjusted to the new system while allowing Mike Martin and the DL to generate plenty of pressure upfront without the need of additional safety and linebacker help to stop the run. The additional pressure will also cause the ball to be thrown earlier and force Carder into interceptions(he threw 12 INTs last season).

Final Thoughts:

I know that this is a veteran WMU team that we are facing Saturday at 3:30, but new systems aside, this Michigan team has more experience than any Wolverine squad over the past few years. Look for Michigan to look great on offense moving that ball well on the ground which will eventually give Michigan some open looks in the passing game. With some pressure off the defense we will see them exceed first game expectation, shutting down both the run and the pass. These factors will lead to a victory for the Wolverines and a great start to the 2011 season.

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