January 02, 2004

Well, At Least I Won't Need To Spend A Lot Of Time Editing The Video For Highlights

OK, now I'm a believer. USC is all that, and a six-pack, and a bag of chips. You know when your team tanks in a big game, and you think, "Well, they just didn't play like they could?" Generally, there's a reason for that, and it involves the other team. USC owned both sides of the line of scrimmage like nobody I've seen against Michigan since the '02 Citrus Bowl. And the weird thing is that I don't even feel all that bad about it. Sure, it always sucks to be me when Michigan loses, but this game was different. USC was like a finely tuned Ferrari on both sides of the ball, and just watching them operate almost overcame my disappointment at Michigan's performance. I'll have more detailed comments later; that is, if I can bring myself to look at the recording again. For now, I'll just give quick reactions to what I thought would be the keys to the game:

  • I never saw eight in the box except in 3d- or 4th-and-short situations. USC played nickel or base defense the whole game.
  • Michigan did use the pass to set up the run--actually, I'm being a bit charitable when I say that. What I really mean is "they didn't totally abandon the run once Navarre entered 'chuck and duck' mode." Didn't help.
  • I think if USC only had one Michigan game film to study (actually, I'm sure they had the Oregon game film as well; I remember reading that in one of the LA papers somewhere), I'd say it was the OSU game, where they saw how you could work against the pass defense.
  • Both Michigan lines were big and slow, at least in relative terms. Michigan has been trying to improve their team athleticism for years, and they're a lot faster than they used to be. Problem is, so is everybody else.
  • Jackson was a non-factor. I don't think he had any tackles at all. LeSueur and Curry took turns getting lit up like Christmas trees, and the one time poor little Leon Hall tried press coverage against Mike Williams, Williams dumped him on his ass.

Posted by Chris at January 2, 2004 11:07 PM

Category: Michigan Football