MidKnights of the Round Table 7




1. What about Saturdays Victory against UConn makes you the most optimistic for ND? Irish what about ND victory over Purdue makes you most optimistic for ND beating MICH?

SCS100: The way the defense played, as they were not as atrocious as we all feared and managed to hold their ground against Uconn. The key with that is that Uconn is more of a running team than a passing team, and they bailed us out several times with key drops. If the defense can get something of a repeat of that performance this weekend, Michigan has a good shot.

Seth9: The thing about Saturday's victory that makes me most optimistic for ND was that Denard was able to throw the ball competently. If Denard can throw the ball consistently this year, then he will be one of the most dangerous players in the nation as defenses will have to respect the pass and give him room to run. This means that our offense will be incredible, even though our defense probably will not be.

Shredder: Us it's the running game. I think Shaw/Smith/Fitz/yo momma can hit 100 yards alone or as a unit if ND finds a way to limit Denard. Minor had a good day last year as well on the ground. The running lanes will be open. I am really hoping they still dont take Denard for realz as a passing threat and makes them pay that way. For them it passing... Its Kelly. He's gotta be feeling good about going up against our 3rd world secondary we threw together. Floyd is looking to have a career day and that may happen. He will be looking for a Mario Manningham type day on us. He will be sad that he can't own Boo Boo anymore. Kelly will look to pick a part our zone.

Hulk: Our defense tightening up in the red zone. I don't doubt we'll give up alot of yards this year. But if we can give up field goals instead of TDs, we will have a chance to win alot of games. Oh, Denard being fantastical is nice too.

Dark Blue: Denard Fucking Robinson. That was one of the single greatest performances EVER by a Michigan QB. The offensive line is also a beacon of light. The lack of dropped passes also was a strong point, you know when Kevin Koger is 3/3 it was a good day. The defense still obviously has some holes to fill but they didn’t break on Saturday so there’s that.

Irish: Tackling.   UConn's tackling was atrocious.  They repeatedly had players in position to drop ball carriers for losses or minimal gains; they weren't even in the same zip code when they made their move on the ball.  Whether it was 1 on 1 or in a group the ND defense did a better job tackling against Purdue than against anyone I can remember in quite sometime.  They certainly weren't perfect but the improvement since last season is beyond obvious.  The better ND tackles, the more opportunities they will have to get off the field, the more ND's offense is on the field with the opportunity to score.

2. What worries you about this weeks matchup?

SCS100: Floyd. I don't trust our corners to be able to cover him well at all, and our secondary just got more suspect with Carvin Johnson's injury. The ND passing attack really scares me, and it will be a true test of our secondary. Floyd vs. Floyd will be the defining match-up of this game.

Seth9: Notre Dame has a much more talented receiver corp than UConn, so we can anticipate fewer drops and a generally stronger passing offense. While we did well to only give up ten points against UConn, the secondary was aided by poor play from the UConn receivers. On the other hand, we did come very close to picking up a couple interceptions. Overall though, the game left me the definite impression that a strong downfield passing attack could wreak havoc on our defense.

Shredder: ND Passing attack, that's what it comes down to really. If ND can pass better than we can run than we lose and vice versa. It's that simple in my eyes. NFL talent at WR and TE is gonna spell F.U.C.K M.E for our secondary most the day. Can UM get a few keys stops and keep these guys under 28 or more.

Hulk: Uhhh, our D against their passing game? I think we will have most trouble with our LBs/safeties trying to cover Rudolph. Please don't be a Iowa 2.0 game.

Dark Blue: Michael Floyd. I have a stinking feeling that he’s going to do some damage against us. My hope is that we get some pressure on Crist and don’t give him all day in the pocket to throw. If we get pressure on him, we should be okay, but if we don’t then Dark Blue may have to change his underwear.

Irish: Crist.  Its not really a "worry" but someone I will be paying extra attention to during the game; Crist is the platform the entire offense builds off of so I doubt I will be the only one.  Being his first start at QB last weekend he had a good game, but Kelly will be asking more of him as the season goes on.  He was what you might describe as tentative with the football, missing guys low or late on their routes.  I think he was a bit too worried about getting picked off or making a mistake, (Like really, what rookie QB has ever trended towards safe on game changing passes? anyway its still the better extreme to be trending towards I guess), which caused him to put balls where even the receivers didn't have much of a chance to always pull them in.  He just needs to trust himself and receivers more with the ball to take full advantage of the secondary matchup this week.  The first game played out as I expected with a lot of run on offense, I expect the ratio of run-pass to be flipped this week and Crist will be up to the challenge.

3. How Rad is Denard?

SCS100: Extremely rad.

Seth9: When you consider the competition, Denard Robinson turned out the best individual performance of any FBS player last week. If he's locked in against Notre Dame, we could have a whole lot of fun.

Shredder: Rad since he is so not like Tate. Good team mate, team player, all in for UM. But is he a killer? Tate eats his own young. Something to think about.

Hulk: This Rad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd5trM5DvTQ

Dark Blue: Denard Robinson is the raddest dude ever.

Irish: I can't wait to see him leveled on the field by Teo, I can't even put it into words.  That said Denard ( and the other running backs) took full advantage of the mismatch in the trenches last weekend and carried the offense on his back.  He was impressive as a first time starter, it was his first right?, and I can't wait to see him buried for a loss behind the line of scrimmage this weekend, the thought of it already puts a smile on my face. 

4. What are the keys to victory this week?

SCS100: Defend the pass well and limit turnovers. Doing one of these will give us a very good shot at winning, doing both should hopefully make us win the game.

Seth9: First of all, we cannot afford to turn the ball over too much against Notre Dame, which goes without saying. We were somewhat sloppy with the ball last week (the Grady fumble comes to mind) and those kind of mistakes could kill us. Secondly, we need to get more pressure on the QB. Our secondary is not very good and Notre Dame's receivers are excellent, so our best chance to counter this is to keep first-year starter Crist under heavy pressure. And thirdly, we need our offensive line to turn in another strong performance so that Denard and co. can work their magic.

Shredder: Run,Run,Run,pass,run,pass,run,run,run.... Something in that order. Denard will have to prove him self through the air and not having Roy hurts bad. This is the type of game where he would have his 2010 coming out part or will this finally be Stonums? Another key will be getting them to punt to us and us catch it...without fumbling it. Thats a huge key. Ball control too can be a bitch and RR will try his hardest to make that happen.

Hulk: Controlling the LOS and turnovers. If we can protect Denard, open holes for our RBs, and our D can pressure Crist, it should be a pretty successful day in South Bend.

Dark Blue:Can’t turn the ball over, and have to control TOP to keep our D off of the field. If this game goes anything like the UConn game, Notre Dame is gonna lose by 30 points. We should be able to move the ball at will against the Irish. As long as we execute things will be okay.

Irish: Defense: The UM offense did as they wished against UConn for the most part, ND's defense needs to limit the running game as much as they can, get the offense in long yardage situations and hold against the pass.  One of the few times UConn appeared to go man in the secondary, Denard didn't look like he knew what to do with the ball, lucky for UM, UConn missed 4 tackles as Denard scampered for a 1st down on 3 and 12 or something like that.  ND will need to be active up front to put the UM offense in those 3rd and long situations and force Denard to throw.

Offense: Crist needs to still take care of the ball but trust himself and the receivers to make it happen on offense.  I doubt UM will try to take away the run game until ND shows what they can do up front, they need all hands in the secondary and probably wont commit anyone extra in the box till the running game proves itself once again.  Once that happens it should get fun.  Kelly talked a bit about the "wildcat" package, and some of the potential signal callers for it, it was an interesting list to say the least.  Hoping to see it this week, it could be amazing for entirely other reasons then offensive production.

5. How much do you hate ND (or Michigan, Irish)?

SCS100: Probably not enough. They come nowhere near the hatred that I have for MSU and OSU.

Seth9: I really don't like Notre Dame, but I don't hate them like I hate our other rivals. The reason for this is that I can't help but respect them for their history, their code of conduct, and their academic excellence. In many ways Michigan and Notre Dame are quite similar and I have to respect them for that. On the other hand, their focus on being the only "national" university in college football is really annoying, as is their special status in the BCS (which will hopefully disappear soon). I would criticize them for arrogance too, but as a Michigan fan, I can't really do that.

Shredder: My hate from ND has never ran as deep as OSU and MSU. They are like us in some bizzaro Biff type 1985 where we have gold helmets and pray on Sundays. It's like looking is a shitty mirror really. I find them cute for all their traditions and at least they give a crap about school. They even have some kid hop around on the sideline collecting gold and making an ass of himself just to please the boring crowd. I have no beef with these green fighting rainbow midgets... or wait... is that Hawaii?

Hulk: Not that much to be honest. They haven't good for awhile. I would call them a minor annoyance.

Dark Blue: If MSU is our “little brother,” then Notre Dame is our little sister. I feel bad for her sometimes, but sometimes I wanna kick the living shit outta her.

Irish: Not sure if it's hate but I do enjoy seeing UM play poorly, the record over the past few seasons, along with RR being your coach and everything that has entailed.   Even though all of that indirectly hurting ND in one way or another, I just can't help it.  There is a limit to all that though, I don't like it for the majority of UM fans, especially you guys and some of the regulars on mgoblog.  It's a fine line to walk and I do step over it from time to time, but I won't lie I do enjoy seeing UM fall on their face, just not how if can effect most of you guys. No homo, but you guys are still college football fans, just a little lost in the darkness on who to follow.

6. What will ND do to try to slow down Michigan's offense?

SCS100: As someone posted on a ND blog, I could see them running a 3-3-5 to try and put more speed on the field and slow down Denard and the rest of the team. That's still gonna be difficult though.

Seth9: Notre Dame's defensive line is stronger than Connecticut's, so I imagine that they'll make it more difficult to run the ball as they'll get more penetration. On the other hand, we'll likely see what Michigan's downfield passing game is capable of when the wind isn't completely nuts.

Shredder: 3-4 Defense I am guessing. I am no guru on this. I expect Irish will fill this blank better than me.... so... yeah... the thing about business ethics is... well the thing is.... AHHHHHHHAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Hulk: I'm sure we'll see alot of stacked boxes and zone blitzes trying to confuse Denard. I would expect ND to try to spy Denard, but I'm not sure how effective that will be.

Dark Blue: They’re going to stack the box, probably spy Denard. I imagine they will also mix up their defenses to try and confuse him. Denard is so rad though, that none of this will matter. Also the Irish better be able to tackle well, or we put up 600 yards of offense on them.

Irish: Take away the run game, load up the box and actually tackle the ball carrier (take notes UConn).  Make Denard beat you with his arm and decision making in the pocket; where he still doesn't look comfortable holding onto the ball.  Whenever Denard does take off, make sure they finish the play with a good hit, I doubt his little frame is all that durable.  ND's defensive line will be a much more even match up this week against UM's offensive line, the winner up front will determine how well the UM offense executes.

7. Final Score?

SCS100: 34-31 Michigan in another shootout.

Seth9: I'm tentatively predicting Notre Dame 40, Michigan 38. I think that Michigan is the better team this year (just as Notre Dame was last year), but Notre Dame is playing at home and it's looking to be a shootout.

Shredder: I hate myself and hope I am wrong but I think our secondary is worse than their rushing Defense. Leading to us being passed all over on and Floyded!. Unless The ND QB is still shaky in his second start I can't see us winning.... Don't worry I just punched myself in the face. ND 35 UM 27....sigh

Hulk: 38-27 Mich

Dark Blue: MICH 38 ND 27. Suck it Irish.

Irish: There are so many ways this game could go, UConn didn't give me as good of a look at UM as I was hoping and there is still a lot to ND's offense and defense that they held back in week 1.  I was expecting many more questions to have been answered but they haven't.  Not sure how ND is going to win, but I am still confident they will.

8. Any final thoughts or things I missed?

SCS100: If Michigan dominates this game, then we should be optimistic for the rest of the season, and should have no problem getting at least 8 wins. If Michigan dominates this game and then flattens Indiana on the road, look out, we could very well be back on track to double digit wins. Either way, this game is one of the defining ones of the season. Enjoy!

Seth9: Blowing out Connecticut showed that Michigan is much improved this year. If we beat Notre Dame, then the season outlook changes from 7-5 and a middling bowl game to 9-3 and a potential January bowl game.

Shredder:This loss wouldnt be the end of the world. It might be the most forgiving loss on schedule really. We would still be sitting great and on task for what is needed for this season to be good. So fan... Dont freak out if this doesnt end well on Saturday. If Nard get hurt, than run out into traffic. Otherwise enjoy the game!

Dark Blue:First of all thanks Irish for taking time to do this, it is hugely appreciated. We maybe witnessing the near end of one of the great traditional rivalries in college sports, unless of course ND pull their head outta their ass and joins the Big Ten. The weather isn’t supposed to be nice so not turning the ball over will be huge for MICH. Have a great Saturday and GO BLUE

Irish: -ND can put a kickoff in the endzone now, almost like ND has a real special teams coach

-Mike Anello has been reincarnated from your nightmares of 2008, his new name is Bennett Jackson and isn't a walk-on, like OMG, DONT HOLD ONTO THE DAMN BALL!

-NT had an interception against Purdue, just call him Ultra Hulk

-About 45 stars worth of recruits will be in attendance to see the revenge game, bling bling yo

-Over/under on how many pieces Robinson is left in post game is holding strong at 2

-It was hard but I decided to root for ND this weekend

-Chris Stewart being a law student and football player has only been mentioned once, which is odd NBC must be slacking, but its still early in the season

-Mayock is about a billion quadrillion (I rounded up) times better than the last guy

-Shorter commercial breaks are pretty nice, keep your beer within arms reach

-I will be starting Aaron Rodgers this week in fantasy football

-Hoping DB is wearing pants when he reads this, yeah I think that covers it all.....


Denarding Fools

Obligatory Denard Pic. Kill the Irish Denard and you will be my favorite all time Wolverine

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