Wednesday, September 12, 2012

UMass Players To Watch

Michigan is heading into Week 3 of the college football season with their 2nd home game against UMass . I wish I could say I was worried about this game, but in reality I'm not. So far, UMass has only scored 6 points in games against UConn and Indiana. That's right--6 points against opponents that are already inferior to Michigan. I know it's a former FCS team and this is their first season in FBS, but they have a long way to go. Frankly, and not to say this in hindsight, but this should have been Michigan's first opponent, not Alabama. Most, if not all teams need that first game as a this is Michigan's warmup two weeks late. Keep an eye on the following players:

1. Mike Cox--I know it's odd to even have to worry about the former Wolverine, and for the most part Michigan does not. Cox has ran the ball 20 times for 36 yds, which is a 1.6 ypc average. If that continued over the whole season, he'd have 120 carries for 216 yds, which is at 1.8 ypc. Not to mention the whole running game is ranked 121st in the nation, out of 125.  Against Alabama and Air Force, Michigan faced far better rushing attacks than that, and while the Michigan defense is ranked 93rd in points allowed at 33.0 per game, I don't think they'll score on us via ground attack.

2. Mike Wegzyn--Wegzyn took over the starting position, and has an anemic offense to marshal. So far over 2 games he's gone 27-of-48 for 207 yds and one interception. That's a paltry 4.31 per pass attempt. He has scored the only TD they've gotten so far, and that was on a rushing attempt. The only thing that is a good sign is that his completion percentage and quarterback rating improved from the first game against UConn to their second one against Indiana. I don't think Wegzyn will be able to do much against the Michigan defense, even with Countess out for the season. Add to the fact he is a redshirt freshman and that makes it for a seriously bad offense. They have no big play or possession receiver to speak of, so I foresee a lot of 3-and-outs for this team.

3. Charley Molnar--I'm going to stray from the norm, and insert their head coach here. Why? He knows Michigan, and he is trying to run a spread offense. Over the past decade or so, the Michigan defense has always had issues with trying to defend against spread players. Remember the Rose Bowl and Vince Young? Pro-style offense but a Young was more of a spread option quarterback. He has spent the better part of 28 years coaching college football on the offensive side, tutoring such players as Tommy Rees, Dan LeFevour, and Mardy Gilyard. Michigan's defense isn't spectacular so far, but this could be the kind of game that could boost their numbers.

One thing I did notice, and I could just be imagining things, but even though UMass has scored one time, that was also without a PAT or a two-point conversion. There have been no field goals to speak of and I'm not sure if that's due to their bad offense, or even a bad kicker/special teams. What I can say I think this will give Michigan a chance to play their second or third string players so don't be surprised to see Bellomy in at quarterback. Should be an interesting, yet easy and casual game.

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