|Photo Cred: The Oakland Press|
A 59-9 drubbing of Central Michigan is a great way to kickoff the 2013 campaign. There were highs and some lows, though the lows are pretty miniscule looking back on it. With Notre Dame coming up next Saturday, the real season is about to start as the Fighting Irish are coming to town.
Before we turn the page to the next week, let’s take a brief look back and see what I learned from watching the game yesterday.
1.) Dennis Norfleet is simply awesome.
Yes, there is a reason why I have Norfleet as the number one thing I learned from yesterday. He is simply awesome. Being the shifty guy he is, he is really hard to bring down. You saw it yesterday with a few kick returns he almost returned to the house. On top of that, he was a shoestring away from breaking a huge reverse touchdown. Though this is the first game, I truly feel he will take a kick for a touchdown this year. He has the speed and playmaking abilities to change games. Remember the days of Steve Breaston? Norfleet could be that guy. He can catch, run, has the speed and agility to fill that role. Again, it is only the first game of the season, but it’s not like Norfleet hasn’t shown this ability before.
2.) Line play was great.
Both lines played excellent football yesterday. The defensive side had consistent pressure that included sacks, tackles for loss, forced fumbles and forcing the quarterback into hurried interceptions. On the offensive side, the team had moments where it was formidable and Gardner had all day to throw. Other times, not so much. Regardless, the offensive line had a great day and will have plenty of opportunities to shine in the future. Staying healthy is key.
3.) Wide receiver depth is a big issue.
If Joe Reynolds misses significant time, what happens next? EXPERIENCED depth is a big issue for this team. Luckily the team didn’t need Reynolds too badly and did just fine without him. But, the last thing Michigan needs is an injury to a position that is already missing a player who was supposed to have a big year this season.
4.) Freshman are providing.. So far.
The day started out with a Dymonte Thomas blocked punt and so did the levels of Thomas’ expectations to be an excellent player for the Wolverines.
All the hype before the season started about who is going to step up can be thrown out the window now, it’s game time. A lot of freshman saw playing time and a lot of them had fairly decent days. Those include Ben Gedeon, Shane Morris, Channing Stribling, and Derrick Green. A lot of fans are skeptical about burning Morris’ eligibility year for garbage minutes. But, a lot of fans don’t realize this, it’s necessary. Considering he missed most of his senior year with mono, it’s practically been over a year since he’s had in-game experience of any sort. Considering the college game is a totally different beast, the experience he had was valuable.
5.) Cam Gordon.
Cam Gordon hasn’t had a stellar Michigan career, as health issues and struggling to crack the starting lineup has plagued most of his career. But, with Jake Ryan tearing his ACL, this was his moment to shine. To start the season, he surprised many by actually have a pretty good game. He had a sack and a couple of tackles. He was around the ball often and I was impressed with his ability to read plays. The season is young, so I am not prepared to crown him as the next best thing since Jake Ryan. But, for now, he could be an excellent fill-in candidate.