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Thank God For Football
Monday, 2006 September 4 - 8:38 pm
This was the opening weekend for college football.

I'm so glad college football is back.

Partly, this weekend helps to erase the memories of Michigan's 7-5 season last year. It also helps to end the summer sports drought (three long months of nothin' but baseball, ugh). But mostly, it gives me a reason to drink beer sit in front of a television for a few hours each week.

So I watched Saturday's Michigan game on TV in the afternoon, and I went to see the N.C. State game live in the evening. I was struck by the differences between Michigan football and N.C. State football.

When you go to a Michigan game, you feel the weight of a hundred years of football tradition. It's a proud history, with one hundred thousand fans who are loathe to accept anything that would cheapen their football experience. It's like going to a symphony.

At the N.C. State game, it's like a rock concert. There are three video screens with rock music blaring and advertisements every minute. It's a slick, raucous production.

No offense to State fans, but I'd rather have the tradition. At a college game, give me marching bands over recorded music any day.

The main similarity that I noticed? Both schools have grumpy alumni constantly griping about the home team's conservative play-calling and the ineffectiveness of the coaching.

So about the games:

Michigan 27, Vanderbilt 7. Michigan looked good at times... they opened with a good running attack, and the defense was solid, except against a trick play, a wide-receiver pass play that caught the defense overcommitting. This new attacking defense might be a bit vulnerable to big plays... but I think that might be preferable to last year's defense, which tended to give up lots of yards by playing too passively.

The running attack bogged down a bit at times. Perhaps that's a reflection of the limited playbook that the offense is using at this stage of the season. Michigan's offensive line has switched to a zone-blocking scheme, which ought to help a runner like Mike Hart; however, until there's some more diversity in the attack, it'll get to be too easy for defenses to adapt to it.

The timing of the passing attack was noticeably off, particularly early. Chad Henne didn't look sharp, but in his defense, his receivers dropped several on-target passes. Mario Manningham looks like he could have a breakout season, but overall, the passing game is definitely going to need to improve by week 3 (against Notre Dame).

Grades: Offense, C. Defense, B+.

Next week: vs. Central Michigan. Should be a similar game, unless the offense players can get a mindset that they need to dominate.

N.C. State 23, Appalachian State 10. N.C. State's defense looked like it's reloaded even after losing its core to graduation (including the NFL top pick Mario Williams). Really, they were only hurt by penalties: App State's only touchdown came after a roughing-the-kicker penalty kept their drive alive. Then again, it's Appalachian State, an undersized team that runs a timid-looking spread offense.

N.C. State seems to have a promising running game. Andre Brown ran for 125 yards. Good thing, too, because quarterback Marcus Stone looked positively woeful. He was uncomfortable in the pocket, often chucking throws off his back foot when under pressure. (He's got to learn a bit of footwork.)

If I were playing against N.C. State, my defensive game plan would be simple: stack eight players around the line of scrimmage, and force Stone to make plays to beat me.

Grades: Offense, D. Defense, B.

Next week: vs. Akron. Look out for Akron; they're better than you might think.
Permalink  1 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: sports

Comments

Comment #1 from JohnC (Guest)
2006 Sep 5 - 11:25 pm : #
You don't have to live with it down there. Since we beat Vandy by ONLY 20 points, the critics are coming out of the wood work. you could listen to the radio and here all Michigan football all the time like me www.wtka.com

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