Michigan opened up their 2013 season with a bang Saturday afternoon by way of a 59-9 deconstruction of Central Michigan from the Big House.
The Wolverines, despite the Chips probably not set up for success this season looked every bit a Legends division contender and displayed that life does in fact go on in an era without Denard Robinson. And aside of a couple of shaky plays, Devin Gardner looked every bit the part in his 6th college start at quarterback while the defense looked very good after a few short years ago of being one of the worst in FBS play.
But as we wrap up week one, what can we take into week two against a much more competitive Notre Dame squad?
Devin Gardner looked fine but needs to be a lot better against the Irish
Taking over for the venerable Denard Robinson, Devin Gardner was very serviceable completing 13 passes for 162 yards and touchdown. He also took a page out of Shoe Laces playbook rushing for two touchdowns and 52 yards on the ground.
However running the pro-style and heading into next week Gardner needs to be better and be more careful with his passes after getting picked off twice by the Chippewa defense.
Fitz Toussaint still the top back heading into week 2
Like Devin Gardner Fitz Toussaint wasn’t spectacular but he wasn’t exactly bad either.
After a forgettable 2012 season, Touissaint finished his day with 57 rushing yards and two touchdowns all while finding holes, running with a quick tempo and making nice adjustments to gain extra ground after contact. And again like Gardner, Toussaint will need to be better next weekend against Notre Dame.
Derrick Green is still breathing down Toussaint’s neck
I said Toussaint is still the top back heading into Week 2 simply because he had a respectable return from 2012 and that Brady Hoke is still going to go with experience against Notre Dame.
However, freshman RB Derrick Green is running right with Toussaint.
The five-star recruit Green out of Richmond, Virginia led the Wolverines in rushing with 58-yards on 11 attempts including a late touchdown to put Michigan up 48-6 in the fourth quarter.
Michigan will cause all kinds of havoc for opposing QB’s
Yes I understand the Chippewas lost offensive-tackle Eric Fisher No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft but the Wolverines caused all sorts of problems for the CMU QB’s which should carry over and in fact get better as the season progresses.
Frank Clark, Quinton Washington and Keith Heitzman did an excellent job getting at first year starter Cody Kater who was out of the game after just six attempts. Plus it was largely this trio that helped keep Central Michigan to just 200 yards of total offense.
The jury is still out on Shane Morris
Freshman QB Shane Morris looked good in his Michigan debut going 4 for 6 for 59 yards and an interception. However I would hardly say Morris’ reps were meaningful with the game well out of reach for Central when the freshman finally made his way into the game.
Still though it’s something to build on for Morris heading into next week and the weeks after.
Dennis Norfleet’s speed is scary and will make someone pay on special teams
Prior to Michigan, Dennis Norfleet ran a 4.4 40-yard dash.
With that speed the Michigan return man will likely cause nightmares for opposing special teams coaches.
With 4 returns for 106 yards, Dennis Norfleet will at some point get that huge special teams touchdown, even while playing the slot on offense.
Hoke set the tone…
Brady Hoke has already established a no-nonsense approach to the season when he suspended senior Thomas Gordon for the opener after he violated team rules…
Here’s Hoke’s release via Chantel Jennings of ESPN’s Wolverine Nation:
It is important that our 115 sons represent this university and program to the high standards we hold. But at times, like in society, our kids make poor decisions, and when they do, it breaks your heart. With those choices come consequences. Thomas was not accountable to his teammates, and he has learned a valuable lesson from this situation
h/t: USA Today Sports (image)