Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chad Henne at the halfway point in the '06 season

Chad Henne has been ruthlessly efficient in directing the Wolverines offense in the first six games of the '06 season. At the halfway point of the season, the team is 6-0 and Henne has displayed remarkable precision and accuracy with his passes. Henne, a junior, has started 30 consecutive games dating back to the very first game of his freshman year. Despite his vast experience, nervous fans were doubting the passing game after the first two games of this season as the Wolverines had focused on establishing the run. However, Henne lit Notre Dame up through the air and has continued his hot hand since that game. Here are Henne's game-by-game statistics in 2006:

  • vs. Vanderbilt: 10/22 135 yds. 2 tds. 0 int.
  • vs. Cental Mich: 11/19 113 yds. 0 tds. 0 int.
  • at Notre Dame: 13/22 220 yds. 3 tds. 1 int.
  • vs. Wisconsin: 18/25 211 yds. 2 tds. 3 ints.
  • at Minnesota: 17/24 284 yds. 3 tds. 1 int.
  • vs. Mich. State: 11/17 140 yds. 3 tds. 0 int.

As a review of the above statistics reveals, Henne has not attempted more than 25 passes in a game this season. By way of comparison, in Henne's freshman year he threw 49 passes in the Minnesota game (completing 33). Offensive Coordinator Mike DeBord's "new" offense has Henne throwing only about half as many passes. However, the passes Henne has completed have been devastatingly effective. For example, against MSU Henne completed only 11 passes (on 17 attempts) but three of them went for touchdowns. Henne has thrown 13 touchdowns in six games this season. Henne has thrown 61 TD passes in the 2 1/2 years he has been Michigan's starting quarterback. He is only twelve TD passes away from setting the career record for touchdown passes by a Michigan quarterback.

In Henne's freshman year, Braylon Edwards was his primary target and last year Jason Avant was on the receiving end of the majority of Henne's throws. However, this year Henne has a dynamic duo to which he can throw. His #1 target is potential All-American Mario Manningham but he has a solid #2 option in Adrian Arrington. These two have caught all 11 TD passes that Henne has thrown in the past four games (MM=8 tds. in that span; AA=3 tds.). When opponents stack the line in an effort to stop Mike Hart, Henne goes over the top to Mario Manningham. When opponents try to double-cover MM, then Henne goes to AA who can often burn single coverage. Teams, thus far, have had no answer for the Michigan offense. What makes Michigan's passing attack so potent is Henne's accuracy. He has demonstrated an uncanny ability to drop a pass to MM over the head of the defender with deadly accuracy. Henne has really come into his own and looks to be in total command of the Michigan offense. He is the field general and he has a cannon of an arm. He also has the heart of a champion. Michigan looks to be in great shape as it heads into the second half of the season as long as Henne can stay healthy. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Chad Henne by Rashaun Rucker/Detroit Free Press

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