hat to Watch for: otre Dame
By EVERETT COOK
Daily Sports Editor
How does Devin Gardner handle
a front seven that can actually deliv-
Tuesday, offensive coordinator
Al Borges said that Notre Dame's
defensive line is as good as any
Michigan will see. He didn't say the
same thing about Central Michi-
Gardner looked good against
the Chippewas last weekend, both
through the air and on the ground.
But the majority of his 52 rushing
yards came on scrambles, which
isn't going to be easy against the
Fighting Irish's defensive line. The
unit is one of the biggest and best
in the country, and running lanes
aren't going to be as wide open as
they were last Saturday.
In terms of the passing game,
Gardner is going to feel a lot more
pressure in the pocket against
Notre Dame. He blamed one of his
two interceptions against Central
Michigan on being hit while he
threw, which is going to happen
often against the Fighting Irish.
The pressure will be there - it's
just a matter of how the-redshirt
junior quarterback responds.
On a SportsCenter clip earlier
this week, Gardner said, "If I pro-
tect the football, the defense is
going to stop them, we're going to
score and we're going to win." He
might be right.
How will Michigan's inexperi-
enced interior offensive line do
under the lights?
That front seven will also affect
Michigan's interior line. Before last
Saturday against Central Michi-
gan, the group - redshirt freshman
Kyle Kalis and redshirt sophomores
Jack Miller and Graham Glasgow
- had zero combined career starts.
The trio didn't make any major
mistakes and played well for the
most part, especially Kalis, who
made highlights with a body-slam
pancake block during a passing
You can bet that Kalis, Miller
and Glasgow are going to have a
lot more trouble delivering those
crushing blocks Saturday. Two
monsters, tackle Louis Nix III and
end Stephon Tuitt, highlight Notre
Dame's defensive line.
Nix is 6-foot-2 and weighs more
than 340 pounds, while Tuitt is
about 6-foot-6. Both linemen have
Fith-year senior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan will have a big challenge on his hands Saturday against Notre Dame's massive and talented defensive line.
great quickness for players of their
size - so protecting Gardner and
getting the running game going
will be a task.
Fifth-year senior tackle Taylor
Lewan will probably be matched up
with Tuitt for most of the night, but
Nix is going to be the responsibility
of the young interior linemen. It's a
big test for them early in the season.
How does Derrick Green do as
the backup running back?
The first depth chart of the year
had six running backs listed, all of
whom were in serious contentionto
get carries behind the starter, fifth-
year senior Fitzgerald Toussaint.
That list got one man shorter,
though, when primary backup
Drake Johnson suffered an ante-
rior cruciate ligament injury on a
special-teams play last Saturday.
The redshirt freshman is out for
Wednesday, Hoke said that
freshman Derrick Green is going
to be the primary backup on Satur-
day behind Toussaint. Green still
looks to be a little bit larger than
the Michigan coaching staff wants
him to be, but he showed flashes
last weekend of why he was the
No. 1 running back recruit in the
nation. He finished the game with
a team-high 58 yards on 11 carries
and scored a touchdown.
He also didn't play until the
third quarter, when the game was
well out of reach. The pressure will
be different if he has to play while
the score is actually close.
"Didn't make a lot of bad running
decisions," Borges said Tuesday.
"Ran the ball pretty much where
we wanted him to. So he grew a
little bit. I don't know if that means
anything, but he grew a little bit
with those carries."
Does the students' energy hold
throughout the whole night?
Two years ago, the crowd was
loud from kickoff until well after
the game had ended, to the point
where the public-address announc-
er had to ask fans to leave. For a
variety of reasons, this year might
be a little different.
In 2011, with no general-admis-
sion policy, students could get to
the game whenever they wanted.
student lines open at 11 a.m., mean-
ing students could potentially be at
the Big House for 13 hours on Sat-
urday. Will the energy still be there
after all day in the sun, waiting for
the game? Will it be sustained?
There was a certain mystique in
2011. It was the first night game at
Michigan Stadium, and from the
get-go,the game just felt like a com-
pletely different experience than
any other game in the Big House.
Saturday is the second night
game in Ann Arbor. Is the charm
and mystique still there?
8 1 FootballSaturday - September 6, 2013
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