What an odd Michigan week this is. On top of having The Game after Thanksgiving, there are essentially no compelling storylines revolving around the contest itself. Sure, you can manufacture an artificial one but the dominating headlines revolve around Michigan's coaching decisions following the game (regardless of the outcome) and Chris Spielman's remarks about their talentless defense. Our favorite #36 has definitely made the natives restless.
Focusing on the game itself, two things are clear to me. We don't need to stop Denard Robinson as much as we just need to limit his damage. He'll get his yards and plays but let's not be so paranoid in fear that we overpursue and toss other fundamentals out the window. More than anything else, we need to abuse that defense like it deserves to be and convert that abuse to into points. Other items bounding around my head which may or may not be related to The Game:
No matter if you love or hate the special uniforms Ohio State will wear on Saturday, are we all in agreement that this trend needs to stop? And, why does it have to be against Michigan where tradition should take a backseat to nothing? This year's homage to yesteryear features a pretty cool helmet and sweet number typeface but little else. Those pants? Goodness gracious.
Vanishing Knee Brace
Anyone else notice Terrelle Pryor graced the Iowa field last Saturday without his clunky left knee brace? It was the first time he's played without it since the Rose Bowl and the returns were relatively impressive- 15/78 including a titanic 4th down conversion. Beyond that, he seemed to run with more power and on occasion lowered his shoulder to eek out a few more yards.
Fresh off the discussion of Cover-2 last week and Orhian Johnson getting some pub in the Dispatch, we continue to see issues at safety. It doesn't help we've lost four of them throughout the year (Barnett, Moeller, Bryant, Evege) but Johnson's mistakes were again on display against the Hawkeyes. Ricky Stanzi had a wide open receiver early in the game but overthrew the pass no thanks to pressure or coverage. Johnson bit inside on a receiver who was already covered - by another safety no less- leaving the middle of the field wide open and making Chimdi Chekwa look like the guilty party at first blush. Those things will need to be cleaned up since Michigan will use the middle of the field in the passing game. Unfortunately, my expectation of the clean up is a little dubious this late in the year.
All Big Ten Ballot
Can anyone name an Ohio State player than is sure to be a first team All Big Ten selection? I can't. For some reason, Dan Persa and Robinson are the media darlings at QB (Robinson, rightfully so), John Clay is likely to be one of the RBs even though he's third best on their team and Adrian Clayborn is a Lombardi finalist despite being being roughly half as productive as last year. So, who are Ohio State's chances: Mike Adams, Justin Boren, Mike Brewster, Dan Sanzenbacher, Chimdi Checkwa and Cam Heyward. I think we'll see very few on 1st team but a load on 2nd team. And, don't even get me started about coach of the year - something JT has never won. Cue the laughter.