Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Rose Bowl Aftermatch

When you get the top recruiting classes in the nation year in and year out, it's no surprise that USC is capable of destroying anyone if they play up to their capabilities. And the Trojans showed just that in dominating Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Lloyd Carr once again showed the inability to win the big game, and once again was outmaneuvered by his coaching counterpart. But in saying that, what was Michigan supposed to do in order to stop Dwayne Jarrett. It wasn't like Michigan's secondary was in terrible position on a lot of his catches. Most of Jarrett's big plays came on missed tackles or simply winning a jump ball. That's not positioning or strategy -- that's just being a freakishly good.

Dwayne Jarrett = sick nasty

The team speed of both USC's offense and defense was remarkable, and they dominated Michigan in most facets of the game. This game was similar to the Rose Bowl these teams played in 2004. The score wouldn't necessarily indicate a thorough beatdown, but it wasn't actually close. And getting back to Lloyd. I've made it clear in the past that I thought he got outcoached in all the big time games, and it was no different this year. But how can you really fault the guy considering Michigan won 11 games this year. Although he's been having some issues with Jim Tressel and Pete Carroll, he still got this team 11 wins. We don't need Michigan to turn into the Alabama of the north where we fire a coach for not being undefeated every season. Discontinuity is what kills a team. For God's sake look at the Redskins!

Will Lloyd feel the heat again?

Looking ahead to the future, as in next season, Michigan returns almost everybody on offense. Henne, Hart, Manningham, and Arrington make up a core of skill players on offense that talent-wise can matchup with anybody in the country. The offensive line loses two starters, but returns tackle Jake Long, who likely would have been a top-15 pick in the draft. On the other hand, the defense loses a lot, and to make matters worse the flimsy secondary only gets weaker. All American cornerback Leon Hall is lost to graduation, making Morgan (you can count on me to give up 2-3 big plays a game) Trent as the NO. 1 corner. The strength of this year's defense was the defensive line, which loses a ton. Lamar Woodley and Rondell Biggs, the two ends, are both seniors. And junior tackle Alan Branch is a near-certainty to head to the NFL. That leaves promising sophomore Terrance Taylor and reserves Will Johnson and Tim Jamison as holdovers. The linebacking core loses leading tackler David Harris and playmaker Prescott Burgess to graduation. I've got to say this now, if I'm a team in the second round of the NFL draft and David Harris is still available, I would be thrilled to get him. He will make a huge impact in the pros. Sack machine Shawn Crable returns, along with middle linebacker and Kovel-favorite Chris Graham. Lloyd and the Wolverines must hope that this year's great defense (not including the last two games) was not a fluke. Hopefully, Ron English has a system in place that will be effective enough that it won't matter what players are in it.

And in my opinion, heading into next year, I believe Michigan should start the year at no lower than No. 3 in the nation. USC is obviously going to be preseason No. 1 given the amount of talent they are bringing in, and the amount of talent they already have. And I think that if LSU beats Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl in a few days, they have the right to be ranked higher than the Wolverines. Next year the Tigers bring back a good portion of their team including quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Lloyd Carr is undoubtedly going to get some shit from outsiders given his atrocious bowl record recently, and his inability to beat Jim Tressel. That being said, it was a great season despite the sour finish. Those players played their hearts out, and definitely made up for a disappointing season last year.

I really can't complain all that much about this team.

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