Latest Update News About Michigan Notre Dame 2010, Michigan Football, Michigan Football 2010 Schedule, Michigan Football Schedule, Michigan: Brian Jones is a studio analyst for CBS College Sports Network. He can also be seen every Tuesday night during the season as part of “The Tony Barnhart Show” at 9 p.m. and “Inside College Football” at 10.
This is another one of those intriguing matchups that are scheduled for Saturday. I think Rich Rodriguez and Greg Robinson have to be extremely excited about their defense and the way they played last week. Going up against a team like Connecticut was great challenge, especially for a defense that’s been mired in mediocrity in recent years. They’ve been setting records they don’t want to set, allowing a lot of points and yards. But they played against a physical offense in Connecticut, which likes to run the ball, and Michigan pretty much held them in check.
Of course, Denard Robinson had a huge day at quarterback. I’m sure people wanted to make sure that they have made some strides in Rodriguez’s third year and they showed they have. I liked what I saw from them. I figured this year would be the year that Rich Rod would get things in place, in terms of his offense and in terms of turning the team around. Are they where he wants them to be? No. Does he have weapons to work with? Yes.
As for Notre Dame, I thought they would win against Purdue and they did. I think they’re a little bit further out than Michigan in terms of where Brian Kelly wants them to be. Armando Allen had a nice game for them against Purdue, which is encouraging. It’s been a few years since Notre Dame has had a 1,000-yard rusher, so for him to get up around 100 yards in the first game is a good start.
As for their defense, I think they’re going to play better than people expect. Their defensive coordinator, Bob Diaco, had one returning starter last year at Cincinnati. And he got that defense into the top 10 in tackles for loss. Now he has nine returning starters to work with, and you would think they would be more talented athletically. This week will be a challenge because they’re going to have to deal with a dual-threat quarterback in Robinson. That makes things difficult on the secondary. They’ll have to hold coverages longer while Robinson runs away from pressure. For Notre Dame to win, its defense will have to carry the day.
Michigan’s offense is the same offense that Rodriguez brought there two years ago. Now he’s just got more of his guys there to run it. His players are used to it, they’re not thinking as much. That’s the key, because as a player, if you’re thinking about what you should do instead of doing it automatically, you’re done. But once you get it, then it’s ingrained in you and you’re free. The light goes off and it’s like an epiphany. Take Denard Robinson. He got a little bit of playing time last year and then last week he goes out and just blows up.
These are the kind of games that this rivalry will see as long as these two are coaches are at their respective schools. It’s not the same run it up the middle style that maybe people associate with Michigan and Notre Dame. Because we’ve mentioned Robinson, but don’t forget about Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist. He can run around a little bit as well and extend plays. These offenses are all about spreading you out and seeing if you can make plays in space.
I like Michigan to win this. They’re just a little bit further along at this point. Rich Rodriguez has his people in place to win. Does he have the players to make a run at a national title? No, I don’t think so. But he has his system in place and I think that will be enough for Michigan in this game.