Quarterback Denard Robinson. Robinson is now “the guy” at QB after running away during the summer from last year’s starter, Tate Forcier, and incoming freshman Devin Gardner. Robinson looked every bit impressive, breaking a Michigan record with 197 rushing yards for a quarterback. What stood out to me the most about Denard’s game was his ability to read and react to the defense, which is a giant improvement from last season. It’s fair to say Denard Robinson is Michigan’s most important player for the rest of the season.
Running back Vincent Smith.Smith reminded me a lot of Mike Hart. Although faster than Hart, Smith hides well behind his offensive lineman and finds the open holes. Smith had two touchdowns against UConn while splitting most of the carries with Michael Shaw (below). If Michigan wants to win games this season they will need these two to hold onto the ball.
Nose Tackle Mike Martin. Martin looked fantastic on defense clogging up the middle of the line making things difficult for UConn’s running game. Martin should be able to dominate the opponent’s team offensive lineman, throughout the upcoming season, and win some offseason awards.
Cornerback J.T. Floyd. Floyd showed a great deal of improvement from last season where it seemed like he was getting burned almost every play. Floyd is now the best cornerback on the team after injury to Troy Woolfolk and the departure of Donovan Warren. I liked what I saw from JT Floyd against UConn because he played smart and had the biggest play of the game, forcing a fumble with UConn about to cut into the 14 point gap. Next week’s game against Notre Dame will be a huge test for Floyd while he matches with the nations best wideout, Michael Floyd.
Safety Cameron Gordon. Gordon showed all the offseason talk hype by delivering a big hit after big hit. Gordon had one costly mistake that was due to inexperience and indecisiveness. Gordon however, a true ball hawk, can be everything Michigan needs in the back of the secondary.
The linebackers. An area of great concern over the summer, Michigan moved former fullback Mark Moundros to linebacker hoping he can take the position from Obi Ezeh. Ezeh however, started against Uconn and was pretty solid not doing anything noticably bad. The other linebackers, Jonas Mouton and Craig Roh, played no different than I expected, forcing the Uconn quarterback no time to pass. The reason for the mediocre grade is because I still expect this group to do more. All three players have the potential to be something special and the defense could surely use it.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who many Michigan fans consider to be fighting for job this season, got the big W in a game that many had on upset alert. Rodriguez missed what could have been a critical time out that gave UConn a touchdown before half, but I’m satisfied that they won and looked well prepared.
Special Teams. This is one area that the team needs to improve. Place kicker, Brandon Gibbons looked awful at times. He made a short kick, missed a forty-nine yard and whiffed on a extra point. The kicking game can get improved because it will be needed by seasons end. Punter returner, Jeremy Gallon, fumbled on his first attempt, making a useless attempt at a ball that was not in reach. Will Hagerup, the new punter, had only one punt but bombed it for 47 yards.