In anticipation of Wisconsin Football’s matchup with Michigan this weekend, we reached out to our friends over at GBMWolverine to learn more about the enemy.
GBMWolverine is FanSided’s Michigan Wolverines fan site. The Site Expert, Chris Peterson, was kind enough to give Badger of Honor some insight on his team heading into Saturday’s showdown between the Badgers and the Wolverines.
Michigan may be 2-0, but it’s safe to say that the Wolverines have not quite looked like the College Football Playoff contender most were expecting heading into the season so far. What’s the pulse in Ann Arbor among the fans? Have their expectations for the season changed at all with Michigan’s sluggish start?
I’d say right now fans are worried. The expectations were high and even though Army is a solid team, that freaked out a lot of people. The bottom line is that fans won’t believe in Michigan until the Wolverines prove themselves. This Saturday will be a big step in that process one way or the other.
Shea Patterson and this Michigan offense were expected to really take off this season under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. It seems like the Wolverines have no shortage of weapons on that side of the ball, so what would you say are some of the reasons for the struggles of Patterson and the offense through two games?
The biggest problem with the offense so far is that Patterson hasn’t been healthy or looked confident. Michigan has been without their left tackle and best wide receiver so that hasn’t helped. The gameplan got conservative against Army and I am not sure why. That needs to change this week or I feel like that will be playing right into Wisconsin’s hands.
Speaking of the Michigan offense, who are the guys on that unit that Wisconsin fans should be most concerned about?
Donovan Peoples-Jones if he plays, Nico Collins, Tarik Black, and Ronnie Bell. Those are some of the receivers. Running back Zach Charbonnet has also been a standout as a freshman. Of course, Patterson and backup QB Dylan McCaffrey too. I expect more QB runs this week.
As usual, the Wisconsin offense has revolved around the run game this season, so how the offensive line fares against Michigan’s front seven will be key in this matchup. I know the Wolverines lost some stars from that group to the NFL, but have still been pretty solid so far this season. Who has stepped their game up to help fill the shoes of guys like Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich?
Gary missed a few games last season and that helped prepare for his departure. Josh Uche is one guy on the edge that has been solid along with Kwity Paye. It’s more of a committee approach but the guys are getting the job done. Aidan Hutchinson who got the clinching strip-sack against Army is another really good player up front.
One of the biggest stories of the season so far for the Badgers has been the success of quarterback Jack Coan and the passing game. How well do you think the Michigan secondary matches up with Wisconsin’s weapons through the air?
I actually think Michigan is pretty decent in the secondary. Lavert Hill is one of the best corners in the Big Ten and he specializes in man coverage. 5-star freshman Daxton Hill is a guy to watch at safety but he hasn’t played much yet. Wonder if he will get unleashed this week. Overall, I think Wisconsin will hit some big plays but as long as the Wolverines tackle well, the secondary should be fine.
Prediction time: Who gets the win at Camp Randall on Saturday, and what do you think the final score will be?
It’s a tough prediction. Overall, I see Michigan as the more talented team but do they have the mettle to win in Madison? I’m not so sure but my gut tells me they find a way. UM 20, Badgers 17.
A big thank you to Chris for taking the time to answer our questions. For more insight on Saturday’s matchup from a Michigan perspective, be sure to follow GBMWolverine on Twitter @GBM_Wolverine and head over to their site to check out the awesome content they have been putting up this week.