Breaking down the offense
With two games in the books and the rivalry game versus Notre Dame on the horizon this week, it is a good time to evaulate the progress of the offense under the new coaching regime. The running game made strides in the win over Miami (OH) University but the passing game is still virtually non-existent. The most troubling aspect of the offense is that the Wolverines only converted 2 of 11 third-down plays versus the RedHawks after going 3 of 14 in week one against Utah.
Against Miami on Saturday, Threet (6-13, 63 yds., 1 rushing td) and Sheridan (4-5, 40 yds., 0 tds.) combined for a paltry total of 103 passing yards with no passing touchdowns. Almost half of the passing yards came on Michigan's first play from scrimmage when Threet hit true freshman Martavious Odoms on a screen pass that Odoms turned into a fifty-yard gain. In the fourth quarter, Sheridan hit McGuffie for a 27-yard gain. However, on the other 8 completions by Threet/Sheridan (on 16 attempts) the Wolverines only gained 26 yards. The Wolverines failed to sustain any drive for more than 5 plays before punting on each drive in the second and third quarters (6 drives). The lack of ability to sustain drives is reflected in Michigan's time-of-possession. For the second game in a row, Michigan had the ball approximately 10 minutes less than its opponent (25 minutes to the opponent's 35 minutes). The problem with the short offensive series is not only does it mean the offense is ineffective, but it also means the defense has to take on a heavier load by playing more downs. The positive note is that the Barwis-trained defense never seems to tire despite how many downs they are having to play. Go Blue!
*NOTE: Photo of Coach Rod w/ Steve Threet (10) from 9-5-08 game vs. Miami by DAVID GURALNICK/The Detroit News