2019-11-21 22:12:381 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
-by Nathan Comp, Contributing Writer; Image: Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell. (Image Source: Rick Osentoski/USA Today)
Bloomington, IN—Here’s a look at the 2019 Michigan Wolverines heading into their Week 13 matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers:
Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh
Overall: 5th Season, 46-16 (.742)
Bowl Appearances at Michigan: 4
2018 Record: 10-3 (8-1, Big Ten East)
Bowl Appearances Since 2000: 17 (6-11)
Colors: Maize and Blue
Outfitter: Jordan Brand
National Titles: 11
Conference Titles: 42
Heisman Winners: 3
2019 Record: 8-2 (5-2)
Last Week: WIN 44-10 vs Michigan State
Passing Shea Patterson (159-269, 59.1 Comp %, 2157 Passing Yards, 16 TD, 4 INTs)
Rushing Zach Charbonnet (124 attempts, 589 yards, 4.8 avg, 11 TDs)
Receiving Ronnie Bell (37 receptions, 621 yards, 0 TDs)
Tackles Khaleke Hudson (82 TKLs, 3.0 TFL, 1.5 Sacks)
Not my words, but Jim Harbaugh’s.
Anyone that has followed Michigan football this year knows that it has been a slow developing season. What started with squeaking out an overtime victory against Army in week two and an embarrassing three-touchdown blowout loss against Wisconsin in week four has blossomed into three-straight 30+ point victories, two of which came in rivalry games.
So, what is Michigan football? You read it right: potato salad.
“The team’s just been improving, getting better. You can’t plant potatoes one day and expect to eat potato salad the next day. You need some time to develop,” Coach Harbaugh said at Monday’s media availability.
Indiana coaches noted similar findings at their media availability, save the potato metaphors.
“I think they’re playing their best football right now,” noted Kane Wommack.
“They look like a completely different team, especially on offense. They are playing with a high level of confidence,” added Tom Allen.
2. “Speed in Space”
When Michigan returned nine offensive starters and added new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to lead the Wolverines, offensive improvement was expected. Though the season got off to a slow start, you’ve really started to see this in their recent games.
“Usually it’s kind of the other way around,” said Shea Patterson. “Usually the defense is the one to thank.”
But in recent games, the tides have been turning. After averaging just 21.5 points against Michigan State in their previous 4 meetings, the offense exploded for more than double last weekend. Patterson completed 72% of his passes for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns. This broke the record for the most passing yards against Michigan State, a record previously held by Tom Brady, and also set a record for the second most passing touchdowns in a single game by a Michigan quarterback.
This change has been led by Gattis’s getting “speed in space.” Essentially, modernizing the offenses of year’s past to have spread tendencies. Nine different receivers had receptions on Saturday.
The best of them all, though Michigan fans love to hate on him for a dropped touchdown pass against Penn State this year and “just” being a 2-star recruit, has been Ronnie Bell. Bell had 9 catches for 150 yards on Saturday and has benefited the most this season from the offensive philosophy change.
Indiana will have to tackle speed in open space to win this ballgame.
3. Michigan will attack at all three phases of the game.
The Wolverines’ special teams unit has had their best performances of late as well. Place kicker Quinn Nordon was 3 of 3 on field goals with a long of 49 against Michigan State and didn’t miss an extra point.
A week after a critical fake punt blunder by Indiana, the Hoosiers will also next see a Wolverine team that has blocked a punt in back-to-back games.
Coach Allen has already identified special teams as an area of emphasis this week in practice, mentioning that his “hammer team”, the kickoff coverage unit, will be getting extra reps this week.
Avoiding further special teams blunders will surely come into play in Indiana’s quest toward their “breakthrough” victory.
To read more from Sammy Jacobs and his staff at HoosierHuddle.com, click here.
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