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Posted on Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 1:47 p.m.

On Further Review: A review of the Michigan football team's win against Western Michigan

By Michael Rothstein

Each week (well, most weeks. If Michigan isn't on television, it isn't going to happen), we'll rewatch the Michigan game some time Sunday (or early Monday if its a road game) and give another, different breakdown and review of what went down.

So here's a review of Michigan's 31-7 win over Western Michigan on Saturday.


  • 3 WR single back set on opening play. Good presence on roll and quick throw by Tate Forcier on the first play.
  • First drive the offensive line did a good job dominating the Western front. It’s a smaller front.
  • Three different formations on first play.
  • On the first touchdown, again, great read by Forcier. He had time and a well-crafted pocket around him which opened the hole for him to move. Also, Junior Hemingway made a really good move on an improvised hook-and-go. The Western DB had him covered on the hook, but he broke back well.
  • Forcier did a good job with the misdirection on the first play of the second series.
  • Third play of the second series and it’s the first time Forcier got pressure. Center David Molk got beat by a Western defender. Molk had a rough day with a couple of holding calls.
  • Forcier showed pretty good speed carrying the ball in the third series. Had four defenders following him as he ducked out of bounds.
  • Forcier first mistake was maybe throwing a little hard and high to Kelvin Grady. Next play, he overthrew Webb, who had a step. Carlos Brown, mentioned it yesterday, but he had the best block of the day on No. 99 from Western.
  • First Denard Robinson play, Mark Ortmann fell for a jump by the Western defensive end, causing a false start. One of the few mistakes by Ortmann on the day.
  • Robinson’s touchdown was clearly supposed to be a reverse to Martavious Odoms. Great block on the play by Odoms, too, who came all the way from the left side to the right side. There was another good block in there, which helped spring Robinson after he froze, but couldn’t catch the number. Wide receiver blocking was pretty good all day.
  • Robinson had blocking most of the time he was in there but bounced around a little too much, showing his youth. Robinson also needed to settle down. He was rifling balls in there without much touch and didn’t seem to read too much. But, man, is he fast. Robinson looked much more like a freshman than Forcier. Robinson, right now, seems to be committed to whatever is going to happen. The flashes are there (that touchdown) but his talent is still very, very raw. Still a bit bouncy.

    • Carlos Brown had good patience running with the ball and worked with even the smallest holes. Both guards opened up holes pretty well, especially David Moosman.
    • Forcier’s ability to throw on the run is pretty good. He was right on the money on the run to an open Kevin Koger for his second touchdown pass. Koger appeared to be his first read, too, because he locked on him the entire time. Also helped he was wide open. Later in the game, Koger showed he has the chance to be a pretty nice target for whomever is Michigan’s quarterback, snatching a ball out of the air one-handed, almost palming it like a post player in basketball snatching it down.
    • Forcier is really good on the run reading, recognizing and throwing the ball. He made some mistakes, some overthrows but when he threw it long, he outthrew everyone, not enough to be intercepted.
    • The touchdown pass to Hemingway (second one) good protection, great throw dropping it in Hemingway’s arms with two defenders around him. Hit Hemingway in stride. If it was off, could have been picked or definitely not a touchdown. Hemingway seemed to help out, too, by going a bit faster as he saw the ball coming. Hemingway had an impressive day, he just beat No. 25 from Western right away.
    • Opening play of the second half that was a bad fumble by Carlos Brown. A defender slapped at it while he was running, and he dropped it.
    • Michael Shaw wasn’t bad when he was in. Showed good instincts. Good third or fourth option to have.
    • Moosman’s hold on the failed Nick Sheridan touchdown was away from the ball. Dumb penalty, especially since Sheridan threw an interception to end the drive. Will say, though, that Sheridan didn’t look terrible on that run. Made a nice read. Much slower than Forcier or Robinson, though.
    • Sheridan’s interception was really, really bad. He threw on the run and Sheridan looked down Mathews the whole time.
    • Vincent Smith, when he got in during the fourth quarter, showed some real speed. He has a good burst and quick acceleration. Not much by way of holes for him when he got in, but he has promise.



    • Defensive end Brandon Graham, from the first snap, was able to dominate the right tackle. If he had another second on the first play, he would have gotten to Western quarterback Tim Hiller. Mike Martin also seemed to be around the ball a lot early. Batted pass, too.
    • Linebacker Obi Ezeh also stood out to me. Instinctual and patient. Was in the backfield a bunch and was quite disciplined in his tackling.
    • A lot of 4-3 fronts. It’s almost like a 4-2-5 because of Stevie Brown, who did a good job in coverage most of the day. Brown dropped into coverage a lot, giving Michigan an extra DB to double. Almost every time Hiller tried to throw downfield, multiple Michigan players were around the receiver and the ball.
    • Even when Hiller had time, he threw it off. … Midway through the first quarter, Nunez had Donovan Warren beat but Hiller overthrew. Warren also missed tackle on West when Western went to the Wildcat formation.
    • Announcers gave Donovan Warren a lot of love early, but I'm not seeing it. Warren drilled Nunez, but it was really a drop. Ball was going through his hands before Warren even touched him. He also sat back on the coverage. A rough day for Warren, with a personal foul and two PI calls. All legit, too. Cissoko was the much better cornerback Saturday.
    • Showed a three-man front in the third series.
    • Craig Roh also stood out in his first game. He got into the defensive backfield a bit.
    • Some depth at defensive line? A Renaldo Sagesse sighting.
    • On Cissoko’s interception, he would have gotten it either way as the ball was heading right to him even if it didn’t hit off a diving Nunez’ hands. Good work by Stevie Brown there, too. Cissoko stood out. He was in on breaking up passes besides the interception.
    • No William Campbell yesterday, but defensive line showed there was still some depth there. Played seven defensive linemen, six of them, at least, in the first half.
    • Jonas Mouton’s pick in the fourth quarter wasn’t the easiest interception, but Hiller made it easy as it just slipped out of his hands. No effort needed to pressure him. No one was around him. Yikes.
    • On Western Michigan’s one score, J.T. Floyd misread the coverage (couldn’t see on the TV feed, but he very well could have bit on Hiller’s play-action fake, his best of the day). Troy Woolfolk also looked out of position to pick up Nunez. Didn’t matter, of course, but that was a bad read all around. One of the few times, too, that Hiller tested Michigan’s defense deep.
    • Good assignment coverage on opening kickoff. Most of the time good staying in lanes. Leach missed a tackle on the fourth kick return, but still in lane.
    • Good punt protection and also good coverage on the punt. At least five Michigan players were around the ball after the first punt.
    • Greg Mathews fair caught a lot of balls, but when he did return one he showed shiftiness and the ability to make defenders miss.
    • Jason Olesnavage had good booting there on the field goal.
    • Zoltan Mesko, unsurprisingly good with his punting.
    Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 1:48 p.m.

    Better than the "Vick" in the eyeblack is his comment about it. Apparently in Pryor's world "everyone kills people" and "murders people."


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 11:09 a.m.

    I enjoyed the coverage, Micheal. Readers appear to be territorially protective of Brian/Mgoblog. To them, please relax and enjoy the additional voice and coverage that lucky UM fans are afforded. In response to this comment: "terms 'not much by way of holes for him' and 'still a bit bouncy' are very awkward terms for football coverage." ---I enjoy your descriptors as they are illustrative. The assertion that you may not know football just because you do not write like a Matt Millen Fox Sports announcer clone is ridiculous--Rosenberg ridiculous. Lastly, as disscussed above, Big Will did play the last series and in fact make an impressive TFL busting straight through the center. He also emphatically pancaked himself across the ground reminiscent of his comedic demeanor at the UA All-American Bowl. Keep up the hard work!


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 10:19 a.m.

    TP should not be disparaged by the "Vick" in his eyeblack but most americans perceive it to be a glaring lack of judgement. I just heard a CB Dispatch writer refer to it as the only problem in TPs performance. (Tim Macon? on ESPN)


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 10:14 a.m.

    Michigan is loaded with talent and weapons on defense and offense. Now that RR has the kids plugged into the system, the program is ready to begin to climb back into being the formidable team it has always been. Notre Dame will feel Michigans pain in a brutal fashion on Saturday. I talk like this because the wheel has turned and the Wolverines are going to methodically, on a weekly basis send the message that when you see the winged helmets and hear "Hail To the Victors", the beatings are about to begin.


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 9:42 a.m.

    Well where are all the Nay Sayers now? Your Right Kubrick66 Were BACK! : )


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 9:01 a.m.

    I love the amount of Michigan football content at This particular feature is far more in-depth than anything I've seen at a traditional media web-site. But as Claymore said, the similarity with Brian Cook's work at MGoBlog is astounding! "Upon Further Review" is perhaps that site's premier feature. How about an acknowledgement for the idea and even a link?


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 8:59 a.m.

    tater--- it wasnt a personal attack. I was merely stating that his opinion of pryor being a "thug" was a personal attack on pryor. So if you read a past exchange between azwolverine and myself you will see that there is a respect between the 2 of us. I have had some postings deleted on here while defending richrod during practicegate and some fans of the old regime must not have liked what i said. The fact is while expressing your opinions, please dont slander the names of athletes that you don't personally know as some people take what is on these websites as being the absolute truth and therefore a kid is wrongly labeled. So while it is an opinion it is one that is based on assumption and one that is slanderous. So before you correct someone for pointing out the truth and yes i do know that pryor is big in columbus for his volunteer work with children at the university hospital. My uncle works there and sees pryor there multiple times in a month. He does things in the community much like the wolverine players do for motts.

    Doug Boynton

    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 6:56 a.m.

    Regarding the guy with the numchucks...I'm going to believe that this is probably one of the 99 that don't go viral before you find that one that does.


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 6:40 a.m.

    I miss the Ann Arbor News.


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 1:50 a.m.

    New Clothing Line Hollywood Avenue A 16 year old High School student From Ann arbor Mi. Has started his own Clothing line it has style unlike in other clothing line around. The Clothing Line Hollywood Ave, Is expect to do very well. Hollywood ave is going to be the next big Thing. Hollywood Ave. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRLog (Press Release) Sep 07, 2009 Hollywood ave. Where taking fashion to the next level is key. Hollywood ave. short for HOLLYWOOD AVENUE was created by the dreams in vision of Darius James, Who is the Sole owner and ceo of the company. He took is personality and flipped it and made it into a couple shirts that he thought everyone would like. When he though he hit road block and was running out of ideal. He kept pushing And found a genius ideal, He turn to his best friend and look there personalities and style and flipped it and turned into different editions of Hollywood ave. So far the is PR Style( edition jRock( edition and Diva Edition. The man plans to become of the Major T-shirt Clothing companies in the next Year or two so look for Hollywood ave. # # # Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave Hollywood Ave


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 1:29 a.m.

    In a personal attack on azwolverine that should have been deleted by, buck1 wrote: "So please do some research on pryor the man not what you imagine him to be, otherwise you are exactly like the freepress writer that your fellow fans are crucifying." Sorry, Bucky, but there is one big difference here. Azwolverine was giving his opinion to a comment field; Rosenberg was calling his opinion "investigative journalism. and presenting it as fact. That difference is big enough that even a buckeye who has partaken of too much Olentangy Kool-aid should be able to see it.


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 1:18 a.m.

    I've got no problem with a watered down version of Brian's UFR other than the title. Seriously, either bring back "Breaking Down the Tape" or come up with something new that doesn't encroach Brian's gold standard.


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 1:15 a.m.

    "Robinsons touchdown was clearly supposed to be a reverse to Martavious Odoms" I have a feeling a fake reverse is now in the playbook.


    Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 1:09 a.m.

    Overall I'm impressed with sports coverage. At least they control the trolls and remove all the attack posts. It will be an interesting game next week. I'm wondering if the ND OL will implode on the road in which Claussen will not very effective. I'm a bit worried that the ND defensive line may cause some problems with our OL. I hope Minor is ready to go! We need to get the power running game going against ND.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 9:42 p.m.

    Thank Mike! I sat in row 9 section 31. The final defensive series occurred right in front of me and I remember big Will coming in at DT for the last four defensive downs for Michigan.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 9:32 p.m.

    What a laugh watching everyone get excited as if they are actually going to be good this season...


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 9:22 p.m.

    Will Campbell absolutely played in the 4th quarter, no matter what the official participation reports say. And it wasn't on special was at DT.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 6:49 p.m.

    For those of you diligent enough to research, you know Mr. Rothstein composed similar post-game research for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, in his column entitled "Breaking Down the Tape". This isn't a shot at Brian Cook or his readers. I would however ask Mr. Rothstein to reconsider the title for future columns on out of respect for Brian's long-standing "Upon Further Review" at MGoBlog.

    Michael Rothstein

    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 6:47 p.m.

    Wolverine, I'll check on it tomorrow with Michigan's SID's. A lot of times stats are done quickly and participation reports are off. With that observation, I was going more off the participation report than anything. It listed him as a special teams guy, not as having played on defense. I'll get an answer for you, though.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 6:06 p.m.

    Rothstein, you may want to check the stats again. William Campbell did make an appearance at the end of the Michigan's last defensive series. He even had a TFL.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 5:47 p.m.

    azwolverine, I think you should reconsider your comments concerning pryor. The kid is not a thug by any stretch of the imagination. He wore his sister's name 'mika' on one eye and Vick's name on the other, because he idolizes the way vick played qb and he wants to succeed on the field in the same way that vick did. He doesnt condone vick's actions, but pryor is reaching out to support mike vick's attempt to change his life. Vick could be a great mentor for pryor or even d rob and forcier as they are dual threat qbs and he is still the best dual threat qb to play. So please do some research on pryor the man not what you imagine him to be, otherwise you are exactly like the freepress writer that your fellow fans are crucifying.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 4:31 p.m.

    I appreciate the time that took you to write this. I absolutely do not appreciate the fact that it has been done by Brian from mgoblog before and done much better.

    Michael Rothstein

    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 4:30 p.m.

    Claymore, I assure you, it's a coincidence. These types of reviews are something I did when I was in Fort Wayne in 2007 (didn't do them in 2008 because there were DVR issues I was having). Flem, Nice catch, although Campbell was only on the initial participation logs for special teams, not defense. Hence why I didn't see him on the replay. For those giving guff about my pick of Western, well, I never expected Hiller to play that poorly. Also, didn't think his receivers would drop passes and underestimated how much Michigan would be able to get to the quarterback. Plus, if you listened to much of my analysis I said in a close game I'd take the fifth-year senior over the freshman. Which I still would and I thought it'd be a close game. This, though, clearly wasn't. I'll say this, though. Next week against Notre Dame is a much tougher test for Michigan.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 4:11 p.m.

    Your coverage-replay-commentary is very marginal. Obviously includes terms like "not much by way of holes for him" and "still a bit bouncy" are very awkward terms for football coverage. Do you really know this sport? Nice prediction on the game too. Your pre-game psycho babble was way off.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 3:53 p.m.

    15crown, who's your team? EVERYONE played cupcakes yesterday. WMU just so happens to be the favorite in the MAC with a top NFL prospect at QB. Are you an MSU fan? Wow, Montana State is tough. OSU? you almost got beat by Navy (and have a thug who idolize Vick at QB). Notre Dame? We'll see you next week.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 3:43 p.m.

    I didn't read the whole thing but somewhere in there did you note how you followed this team through camp, watched them practice many times and still managed to pick them to lose to Western? Does this kind of monumental misread of a college football situation make you question yourself, at least a little bit? How divided did the team look? Could you tell what current players were talking sh*t about RR behind his back, or have you rethought your position on that? Anyway, I have loved the quantity of Ann Arbor dot com's coverage of the football team so far, but I do think the quality you are providing needs a lot of improvement - perhaps your instincts need a transplant.


    Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 2:58 p.m.

    Beagle... What's the difference between watching a football game a second time, or watching your favorite movie over and over? There isn't one. You watch both because you enjoy the final results. I have personally watched the first half twice. Go Blue!