Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 4: Biggest Performers And Underperformers

What an ugly game. I think that's the best way to put it. It was one of those nights where the $500 consequence of throwing a remote through the TV would have been worth it. And in a game where you really do beat yourself, there are a lot of individual performances that amounted to a weak team performance.

On the other hand, I think we learned a couple positive things about this team, even in such a mess of a game. As always, we start with the bright first.

1. Jordan Kovacs - S

Jordan Kovacs was just one part of an over all impressive defensive performance from the Wolverines on Saturday night. Notre Dame doesn't have the strongest offense in the land, but they have just enough talent and play making ability to give a defense a lot to worry about.
Kovacs shared the team lead of five solo tackles against the Irish with teammate Jake Ryan. There really is no way to look at Kovac's play as detrimental to the Wolverines in any way at any time, and that is what made him great on Saturday night.

Consistency is nothing new to Jordan's game, but it was especially useful against a Notre Dame team that was looking for a chance to put away Michigan the whole game.

2. Dennis Norfleet - KR

Once again, Dennis Norfleet was very impressive in the kick returning game on Saturday night. Although the Wolverine offense was unable to do anything with it, Norfleet used his few opportunities to set up the offense with good field position.

Since his first game against Alabama, we could all tell there was something special in Norfleet's game. And, quite frankly, Michigan's kick return game the last couple of years has not been all that impressive. But I'm calling my shot here: Dennis Norfleet will return a kick off for a touchdown sometime this season. It's only a matter of time.

He showed off his impressive speed against the Irish, averaging 29 yards per return, with the longest of those being 33. That also speaks for consistency.


1. Denard Robinson - QB

Denard Robinson had the worst performance of his career on Saturday against Notre Dame. There's now way around that. Five turnovers is simply ridiculous, and there is no way a team can expect to win games with that kind of performance.

Robinson was completely held at check throughout the course of the game. At one point, he threw 3 INTs on 3 straight attempts. That's unheard of! I will admit I was impressed with a couple of drives, but one bad play down the stretch completely turned them around and left the Wolverines empty.

However, Denard has completely taken blame for this game, as he should. I'm not just saying that because he is the face of the team and put his bad foot forward. But he is a leader, and that is part of what leader do. The next part is bouncing back, something I expect Robinson to do.

2. Fitzgerald Toussaint - RB

58 yards on 13 attempts is not at all what the Wolverines needed from Toussaint in this game. Think of the possible damage that could have been erased if Toussaint had been more affective and shown some more production. It's not fun to run through in your head.

One thing I'm starting to notice about Toussaint is he is becoming -- for lack of a better word -- sluggish. His cuts aren't as sharp as they used to be, he isn't bursting through the hole, he's going down on softer contact. I don't have the insight or guts to blame it on effort, but it seems like he is just an overall slower player now.

I still have faith that he, along with the rest of the team, will eventually benefit from this painful loss and become better as a result.

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