After a week off, it is on to Ann Arbor for the Iowa Hawkeyes this Saturday. It is a 2:30 game and will be televised on ABC. Here are a couple of quick thoughts on the game.
First, the Big House. The University of Michigan (Or as their great radio announcer, the late Bob Ufer used to say it, Meeeschigan) Stadium has expanded and now seats 113,000. And yes it is intimidating. When I lived in the Detroit area, I attending, many games there, and it is hard to fathom how large it is. Though it is huge, it really isn’t all that loud. The stadium is designed so that the noise fades away, and doesn’t resonate like it does at the ‘Shoe, Happy Valley or Kinnick for that matter. Rarely has opposing teams complained about the noise level at the House.
Dennard Robinson is a scary football player. If you remember last year’s contest in Iowa City, he entered late and dang near (I don’t think I have heard the word ‘dang’ used in a sentence since Hayden left town) pulled it out for the Blue. He is far more effective as a runner than a passer, which should match up well to the Hawkeye defense. Thing is, with him there, the Blue will never be out of the game, no matter what the score. Our D will have to keep an eye on him all game. If he gets loose, it’s time to get the kickoff return team ready, because they will be needed after the extra point.
Linebacker Jeff Tarpinian is still trying to recover from his neck ‘stinger’ (for lack of a better word) he suffered a few weeks back. He isn’t listed on the two deep depth chart, and of course Kirk won’t say anything about it. Look for Solon frosh James Morris to play a great deal in that spot, though Troy Johnson is listed as the starter. Morris had 7 tackles two weeks ago in the Penn State war.
And speaking of the defense, Coordinator Norm Parker will not travel to Ann Arbor this weekend. Parker had his right foot amputated a couple of weeks ago, due to complications from diabetes. Figure another couple of weeks before he can rejoin the team.
On offense, it is about quarterback Ricky Stanzi and running back Adam Robinson. It looks like Robinson will be the primary ball carrier this season, as Kirk mentioned it in his presser this week. http://www.hawkeyesports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/101210aae.html. Robinson runs hard, and is doing a great job so far this season, but the question will be if he can play the year without injury. As far as Ricky goes, he has to get the ball downfield to DJK and Marvelous Marvin McNutt. Michigan’s defense leaves a lot to be desired, and the receivers (and tight end Allen Reisner) can have a big game.
If the good guys get a few touchdowns ahead (I should say ‘when’ we get a few touchdowns ahead), Ferentz and O’Keefe can’t put the ball in the deep freeze and try to run out the clock. With the Dennard Robinson running Rich Rod’s offense, they are never out of it. The Hawkeyes need to keep the pedal to the metal all game long.
My prediction? Dennard Robinson is tough, but if you give that great Iowa defense two weeks to prepare, they could beat anyone, up to and including the Dallas Cowboys. Okay maybe not the ‘Boys, but everyone else including the big bad Blue. Iowa 31 Michigan 10.
And on your way out of Ann Arbor, be sure to stop at the Cottage Inn for pizza. Believe me, you won’t regret it!!.