Friend of the site, and Fox Sports’ premier college football analyst, Joel Klatt, acknowledges exactly what everyone else is: Michigan football hasn’t had a tough schedule thus far in 2022. However, that steps up right now, with a 3-0 Maryland team coming to Ann Arbor.
While the Wolverines have beat up on bad teams, it’s hard to gauge what the maize and blue are for sure, but Klatt has some ideas.
On his brand new podcast, Klatt shared his thoughts at length about what Michigan is given what we’ve seen. He’ll be on the call this weekend, and is excited to see where the Wolverines go from here, especially given his one question mark at this juncture.
“What do we actually know about Michigan? Currently, they are 3-0, they beat their opponents by 50 plus-points, average margin. So what do we know? What do we know about the Michigan Wolverines? Not much. Not much.”
He continued: “So what are they? Well, I do know that this is a pretty mature team that knows how to handle their business. They’ve proven that to me, how have they proven that? Because they’ve done exactly what they’ve what they’re supposed to do against a weak schedule. They faced Colorado State, Hawaii, and you can what are you supposed to do against that? Beat them up. Badly. Score over 50, win by over 50. That’s exactly what they’re doing, their average margin of victory right now. We haven’t seen this from a Michigan team dating back into the 30s. We haven’t seen them score this many points since dating back all the way to the point-a-minute offenses in the early 1900s. So what are you supposed to do against a schedule like they’ve played so far this year? Exactly what they’re doing.
“What does that tell me? I know that this is a mature and motivated team. OK. So there are things and conclusions you can draw from this now. Are they on the field? Not really. We can start to think about what we know about them on the field. But really, what do we know concrete about Michigan? That this is a mature team that knows how to handle their business. That’s not nothing. All right. I know a lot of teams that don’t know how to do that. I know a lot of teams that have struggled in games that they were three-touchdown favorites in and that hasn’t been the case with Michigan. So that is a mature team that knows how to handle their business in the middle of, by the way, a quarterback change.
“I was actually talking with people around the program. Cade McNamara took a lot of the first team reps in fall camp. Alright, so this was not something that everyone thought this was the way it was gonna go. It just so happened that the way Cade played early, in the way J.J. played early, it was abundantly clear that J.J. McCarthy was going to be the quarterback. So that is something that I have learned.
“OK, here’s what I think I know about Michigan: let’s start with their offensive side. Their offense should be one of the best offenses in college football. And that’s the way that they’ve played so far granted against nobody, but that’s the way that they’ve played. And J.J. McCarthy has made them much more explosive. When you actually look at his numbers, they’re pretty staggering. Right now, there’s some categories that he hasn’t, for instance, had enough passing attempts to qualify for, like the leaders, national leaders in yards per attempt, but he’s up there. He’s up there. He’s got 14 yards per attempt right now that would be one of the leaders in the country, but he hasn’t attempted enough passes. OK, that’s fine. He’ll get there soon. yards per completion about 10 and a half. When you look at just rushing and, or excuse me, rushing and or passing, J.J. McCarthy’s yards per play is about 13 and a half. That’s incredible. Incredible. OK, he’s only thrown 14 completions, 17 drives, he’s been in there and they’ve scored 13 times in terms of touchdowns. One field goal, so 14 drives they’ve scored.
“What do we know about this offense? We know that they can be explosive. I do know that that they’ve got really good players around McCarthy as well. Oluwatimi, their center. He transfers in, this is a guy that solidifying their offensive line. I know that they’re really good outside. They’re deep at wide receiver, they’re fast at wide receiver. Roman Wilson’s one of the fastest players in college football. They’ve got two, maybe even three running backs that they really love. Blake Corum, who you just heard from, a young guy; Donovan Edwards, who I love, very versatile. They’ve got two tight ends that they love. And by the way, some young cats that they think are going to be better than some of the ones that they’ve ever had come through there. So this offense is really, really good.
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“What do I know about the defensive side for Michigan? Not as much and in fact, that’s where all of my questions are for this Michigan team.
“They lost a defensive coordinator that I thought was really good in Mike Macdonald. They lost obviously Aidan Hutchinson. They lost David Ojabo, they lost Dax Hill, among others. And that’s a lot to try to replace. Now, they’ve played really well so far. But it’s different. It’s different when you look at this team and the production that they had behind the line of scrimmage last year. It primarily came from a few players and a few really great players, as was shown up on the stat sheet. This year, it’s a little bit different. It’s spread out.
“Now granted, a lot of players have played but you have 14 players that have production tackles. What’s a production tackle? It’s a sack or a tackle for loss. So 14 is a lot. That’s more players than had production tackles a year ago. So through through three games, it is a defense that continues to play well. Although we don’t quite know exactly how good they’re going to be. There are question marks at the pass rushing position. Why? Because you’ve got to replace Hutchinson and Ojabo — that’s very difficult to replace. I think that their defensive backs are good and they’ve covered well so far, but that’s a huge unknown. Dax Hill was a great tackler. The biggest reason why they beat Ohio State last year. Yes, they played great on offense, in particular the offensive line, around the football, but primarily it was because they forced Ohio State to snap the ball 10, 11, 12 times on every offensive series. They did that by tackling well in space. I thought that the defensive backs did a remarkable job last year against Ohio State tackling well in space. Can they do that again this year? That remains to be seen. In fact, Dax Hill, the safety draft pick who I thought was their best player in the backend, he’s being replaced by a guy that was on offense last year. Mike Sainristil was on offense last year. By all accounts, he has assimilated very quickly to the defensive side of the ball. He’s got a good feel for what he’s trying to do, but he’s still a guy that was a wide receiver last year.
“And this week against Maryland, they face four wide receivers who are really good quality wide receivers. So it remains to be seen. I think we’re gonna find out a lot more about Michigan this week, when Gus and Jenny and I show up there in Ann Arbor in The Big House, and we get our first look at the Michigan Wolverines against a quality opponent in the undefeated Maryland Terrapins.”