Friday, September 19, 2003

Michigan - Oregon

So I'm stuck in the Virtual Waiting Room for Red Sox playoff tickets. It updates every 30 seconds, which means I'm stupid enough to try to write this in 20-second installments.

If you came looking for this weekend's College Football Preview, just go back a few days. I wrote it on Tuesday because I just couldn't keep it in any longer. In the meantime, my friend Ray (Ray Murphy, author of Empire and Victory) sent me this breakdown of the Michigan-Oregon game. Ray is a hardcore Blue fan stuck on the West Coast, so he knows both teams well. He's allowed me to reprint the email here, which is cool, because it provides the kind of game analysis that I am incapable of.

Here's Ray.

I watched the Quack blow out Zona on the road Sat nite. They still play a 4-3 D with the linebackers very deep. This allows them to stifle running teams, as they did Colorado in
the bowl game two years ago: the down 4 keep the O-lineman off the backers, who shoot gaps and make the tackles. Colorado, with their one-back sets, never
got their great tailbacks going. Michigan played a fullback almost every play against ND, which will help against the Ducks, but to really expose the weakness of that deep-LB alignment, you have to be able to run the FB and take the
four yards, and Michigan never does. The FB Dudley had nary a carry. Be very interesting to see if Lloyd adjusts that this week. The Quack will be ready for Perry, so early on, it's going to be up to Navarre to complete some passes
down the field and not get baited into throwing into the flat, late, and getting picked off for 6 the other other way.

Michigan's D, meanwhile, was nearly perfect against the run v. ND. The Ducks have some JC backs who are pretty strong, but I can't believe they'll challenge UM between the tackles unless it's on a draw. The Quacks threw their usual array of sideways passes v. Zona. Sammy Parker is so small and
elusive, and will be the fastest player on the field -- he's the guy Michigan's secondary will zoom in on. Also, both Duck QB's have a knack for throwing to the TE. And Oregon will run at least three trick plays, reverses, reverse-passes, fake
punt or FG. They will succeed if the Wolverine D gets impatient with the lateral passing game, chasing Parker around, and doesn't stay at home.

If Michigan plays anything like they did last week they'll blow them out. But... that's a huge if. This is their first game on the road and their record on the west coast early in the year is almost as bad as their Rose Bowl record in the seventies.

Georgia -- LSU will be wild. And I too like the Gators. Tennessee after opening strong has gone back in the can.


Buy Ray Murphy's books at AK Press



Remember to go back to Tuesday for this weekend's Preview, and tune in Sunday for the Wrapup. As for you baseball fans, I hope to have an entry Monday titled "How Bad Todd Walker Sucks".

Dave's Email

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