LGHail is a Michigan athletics Twitter personality renown nationally. This is the first installment in his weekly series titled LGHail’s (Weekly) Tales.?
Well, well, well; Football season is finally here.
Another time when everyone starts out 0-0, and the whole country is fighting for the three playoff spots (Alabama gets the other one no matter what happens).
Michigan fans have reasons to be optimistic. All of last year?s problems have seemingly been addressed.
Problem: Terrible OL play.
Solution: The hiring of Ed Warinner, OL coaching guru.
Problem: Lots of young and talented receivers with no wide receivers coach.
Solution: Bringing in extremely overqualified WR coach Jim McElwain and young assistant Roy Roundtree.
Problem: Getting manhandled up front.
Solution: Adding Ben Herbert as strength and conditioning coach, and bringing in several other assistants to help transform the players into Thanos clones.
#Michigan hired a new strength & conditioning coach in Ben Herbert.
— Brandon Justice (@BrandonBJustice) August 21, 2018
Problem: Breaking down late in games.
Solution: Hopefully the increased focus on strength and conditioning will help with this. Hopefully the offense will sustain more drives and take some burden off the defense. And it could happen, because?
Problem: Abysmal QB play.
Solution: Shea Freakin? Patterson.
Problem: Tim Drevno.
Solution: No more Tim Drevno.
4 Things That Concern Me
1. The offensive line. They were really bad last year. Will just a few months of practice under Warinner?s coaching be enough? I would feel a lot better if the bookends were established big names that could put me at ease. But it?s still not certain who will be starting at tackle.
2. That schedule. It?s brutal. We all know the stat ? 5 Top 15 teams. Two at home and three on the road. But as a wise man once said …
People talking about Michigan?s schedule as if they have to play all of the teams at once
— Ant Wright (@ItsAntWright) August 23, 2018
3. Health. Already we are hearing rumors about injuries to key players (edit: Tarik Black’s injury is confirmed). We were also warned by Arkansas fans that they had many injuries with Herbert there. Now correlation does not always mean causation, but it?s definitely something to look at.
4. Recency bias. That track record in big games is bad. The Harbaugh 3rd-place or worse history is not good. Although, if J.T. was correctly called short OR O?Neill executed a good punt, this wouldn?t be a thing. And even though Michigan has made great attempts to address every problem from last year, that track record still permeates with a stench normally reserved for the state of Ohio.
4 Things That Excite Me
1. Having a quarterback. By now, you probably know who Shea Patterson is. He comes to Ann Arbor with high credentials, and he is getting rave reviews from offensive players, defensive players, and the coaching staff during training camp. Shea Patterson brings some swagger and talent to a position group that has so desperately needed it.
2. That defense. Losing Maurice Hurst hurts, but you?re always going to lose some players. Devin Bush is back. Khaleke Hudson is back. Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary are back. There are a bunch of young linebackers and linemen just waiting for their chance. And even though Don Brown has been nothing short of excellent at Michigan, this is the first year that his job gets easier at Michigan. In his first year, 2016, he had a lot of talent to work with, but none of them were used to his system and terminology. Last year, he had nine new starters on defense. This year he has returning starters, tons of talent, and a group that is familiar with his system. That should be enough to put fear in the eyes of QBs and OCs up and down Michigan?s schedule.
3. The subtleties. We have Jim Harbaugh naming a quarterback. We have open practices. We have a quiet confidence from the team and coaches which leads me to believe things are going well. It just feels a little different this year?now I know that I get my hopes up every year and it could be much of the same, but I feel like this team could be very special.
4. ?Jim Harbaugh. I truly believe that Jim Harbaugh has gone through a horrible run of bad luck at Michigan, and he has made a few bad judgment calls along the way that he has corrected. He moved on from Tim Drevno. And instead of hiring old cronies, he went outside his coaching tree to add Jim McElwain and Ed Warinner. He went all in on Wilton Speight, who was never going to be more than a mediocre Big Ten QB. Instead of giving him another chance after the injury, he went out and added a top-tier transfer QB in Shea Patterson. Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.
It?s hard to say and I don?t want to even try.
With that schedule and so many changes to the offense, I hesitate to go too positive or too negative with my outlook. I will say this ? I did put a small bet on Michigan to go over 9 wins during my last Vegas trip. And I would do the same again. I just think they will take care of business when they are supposed to, and win a few of the tougher games as well.
That defense will keep them in every game, and they should have an offense that can win a few for them. If you forced a pick out of me, it would be 10-2. But I don?t know which ones they lose, and the thought of them losing is too painful for me to think about, so I would rather just predict the first game, where I?m feeling a win for the good guys.
Week One: Notre Dame
I keep reading about how Brandon Wimbush is struggling with accuracy, and that Notre Dame might try to use two QBs against Michigan. Ask Florida how that went against Don Brown?s defense with ample time to prepare for last year. By the way, the last time Don Brown faced a Notre Dame offense…
When neither option is actually an option. https://t.co/Kn7DnuAWyP
— Gordon McGuinness (@PFF_Gordon) November 22, 2015
I think Michigan?s offense won?t have it all together yet, because defense usually develops faster than offense. I do think they will sustain a few drives and get a few big plays off. I think Notre Dame?s points come exclusively during scripted plays or off turnovers. I?m that confident in Michigan?s defense to say that.
The night atmosphere in South Bend will be difficult. Plus, Notre Dame seems to always bring their refs to this type of game. But I think Michigan?s edge on defense against the ND offense will be too much to overcome.
Give me Michigan 27-10 over the Irish, and give me all of the maize and blue Kool-Aid.