Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
August 28, 2013After three weeks of camp, and an entire offseason, of hitting each other, the Wolverines are ready to face off with a real opponent, and while the Maize and Blue are confident in their team, there are some things you can only learn by playing someone else.
"Your team gets to a point where you're going ones on ones, twos on twos, and they know the offense, know the defense, know the little quirks the guys may have," head coach Brady Hoke said. "We don't want to, but you give some things away on both sides of the ball. The different line calls, the check system."
In other words, the defense often knows what the offense is going to run and can prepare for it before the snap. And the offense knows how the defense will react and can adapt. Only when you're seeing an opponent for the first time can Michigan truly measure where it must improve because it will be forced to react on instinct.
"It will be a good test to see where we're at," Hoke said.
Michigan's coaching staff has been prepping the Wolverines, but first games are always more difficult because the film available is from 2012, with old personnel and perhaps old schemes.
"You don't know whose starting for Central as much as you would during the season and you have that anticipation of, 'Will they do the same things they've done in the past?'" redshirt sophomore fullback Joe Kerridge said. "But the coaches have done a great job with scouting, watching film, and figuring out what they like to run and what their tendencies are."
While U-M's veterans may not be sweating Saturday, many of the first-year players or first-year starters are. Redshirt sophomore left guard Graham Glasgow, for instance, hasn't played in a meaningful environment since his high school days while redshirt freshmen, like receiver Jehu Chesson, haven't been in a game situation in two years.
"For guys like Jehu and any other freshman who hasn't played as much, Saturday is a big day," fifth-year senior wideout Joe Reynolds said. "It's one thing to practice in The Big House when no one is there. But at a game, that environment can be kind of shocking.
"Jehu has been in The Big House. I have no doubt that he's going to go out there and do a great job. For him, it's just about going out there and doing it, so you know you can. That's a big hurdle, your first game."
Glasgow and many of the other young players need as many reps as they can get, but it's also critical that U-M works its backups into the contest in case they're called upon. It is especially crucial that true freshman quarterback Shane Morris sees the field.
"Obviously the quarterback position being what it is, if that ability came, we would want to get him as much work as we could," Hoke said.
If he does see the field Saturday, Morris must only continue doing what he has thus far.
"Shane is continuing to improve exponentially," Reynolds said. "Coming in, I know he had a lot of hype around him. But the best thing I have noticed about him is his calm and collected attitude in the huddle.
"When you can be the leader of 10 other guys in that huddle - even if he is scared or nervous inside - as long as he comes across and shows that he is confident in what he can do, it really rubs off on the team.
"For me, I'm confident when he's in the huddle. I can't wait to see what he can do."