ESPN U SiriusXM Hosts Rave About Michigan, Explain Why Wolverines Are So Dominant

ESPN U SiriusXM Hosts Rave About Michigan, Explain Why Wolverines Are So Dominant

Football

ESPN U SiriusXM Hosts Rave About Michigan, Explain Why Wolverines Are So Dominant

For some, Michigan’s emergence this season has been something of a surprise, especially given the first game, a loss at Notre Dame. Now, after having dispatched three straight ranked opponents in spectacular fashion, the college football world is starting to take notice of the No. 4 Wolverines.

And it’s about time.

There was certainly an absence of maize and blue talk in the national college football landscape until just recently. With most of the talk being centered around Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama’s high-flying offense and stout defense and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and, well — same — the Wolverines had been somewhat lost in the shuffle.

Whether it be that pundits didn’t believe in what Michigan was doing and the three-straight dominant performances changed minds and hearts or if that’s what it’s always been, save for the season opening loss, now people are paying attention.

And Tuesday, on Sirius XM’s ESPN U Channel 84 show Full Ride with Chris Childers (“the Show Pony”) and former PAC-12 coach Rick Neuheisel, they told the nation that it’s time to pay attention to the Michigan Wolverines.

“This Michigan football team right now is a force,” Childers said. “Michigan – right now: defense off the charts. Running game, really good. Passing game, coming along. Michigan looks awesome – awesome.”

Why does it look awesome now? Well, as a former coach, Neuheisel says that, while the defense continues to get accolades, it’s the offense that has changed things around.

The former Colorado, Washington and UCLA coach explains how one of the many new coaches on the staff this year has changed the culture, and how that, mixed with a new playmaking ability at quarterback has Michigan rolling like it hasn’t before.

“Michigan is fantastic,” Neuheisel said. “And while the defense has been the cornerstone and envy of those who watch them play, I think you have to give a big shoutout to that offensive staff that has come together and has gotten things squared away.

“We wondered at the outset of the season: who’s calling the plays? Because Jim McElwain, the former head coach at Florida is on the staff. Pep Hamilton – was he still the guy, given that they had struggled over the last couple of seasons, by their own standards? Was Jim Harbaugh going to assume it?

“The guy they went and got was Ed Warinner from Minnesota, who had been at Ohio State. And remember – when Ed was at Ohio State, and things were a little off the rails, he kind of got things calmed down, got J.T. Barrett’s legs back involved, and all of a sudden, the Buckeyes finished with a flurry, beating Michigan and playing Notre Dame in – I think it was the Fiesta Bowl – and playing wonderfully. And it was J.T. Barrett’s legs that created more air for his arm. Because you had to gang up on the extra gap that a quarterback run game creates.

“And, if you think about Michigan’s offense right now: what’s different from a year ago is the quarterback run game – at least the threat of it, right? They have found a way – I don’t know how dominant their athletes are up front – they’re certainly good-looking kids. But, they have found a way with zone read and some gap scheme and just well-played play action off of it to now affect the game.”


Listen to our Locked on Wolverines Rutgers preview episode:

With a solid run game, led by Karan Higdon, the Wolverines are versatile offensively. Given that Michigan doesn’t want to throw the ball too much, it reminds Neuheisel of the team ranked just behind Michigan: Georgia.

In fact, he sees two very similar teams in how they play and how they win games.

He explains what it is that makes both teams so capable offensively and why neither needs to pass too much to be among college football’s best.

“Shea Patterson – about 17 to 24 throws – they’re gonna get their chunks,” Neuheisel said. “Because you have to get up there to stop the running game, and now, all of a sudden, you’re gonna have a chance to make big plays downfield. Explosive football plays coupled with great defense create wining formulas and that’s Georgia and Michigan to a tee.”

Next, Michigan will take on an unranked Rutgers team that’s been winless since the season opener. That game will kickoff at 3:30PM EST from HighPoint Solutions Stadium in Piscataway (NJ) on Saturday.

The big contest, however, looms on Nov. 24 when Michigan takes on Ohio State in Columbus for a noon kick.

Special thanks to Allie Gehring, an American treasure, for the audio.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

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