Michigan is 4-0 and No. 14 in the country, but the rubber really meets the road this weekend in Madison. The Wolverines are 0-5 in their last five tries at Camp Randall and the offensive struggles against Rutgers on Saturday have many worried it could end up being 0-6.
Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Monday afternoon and talked about the Badgers, his quarterback Cade McNamara, U-M's offense overall and identified several things he and his staff tried to fix heading into this season.
"Experienced. Their entire secondary is two sixth-year guys and two fifth-year guys. It's a solid, physical, athletic defense. They're very dialed in."
I just feel like because of Wisconsin's defense, this is a bad matchup for Michigan. The Wolverines have been very one dimensional so far and Wisconsin is tailor made to eliminate that one dimension. Harbaugh didn't even really get into Wisconsin's defensive line or the rush defense specifically, which is currently No. 1 in the country and has only given up a TOTAL of 69 rushing yards through three games. Teams are literally averaging a yard per carry against the Badgers. Rutgers laid out the blue print by slowing down Michigan's run game and Wisconsin is better equipped to employ it. Throw in the fact that it's at Camp Randall and Michigan's first road game and it starts to feel pretty dicey.
"Josh [Ross], I think he's probable at this point for the game."
This is a big deal because of what Ross brings to the table as a leader and captain. It's certainly going to be tough for young linebackers, who are still learning a new system, to go into Camp Randall for the first time. Ross will have a calming effect and act as a coach on the field. He's also a damn good linebacker who doesn't make mistakes and manages to pile up a lot of tackles. He was reportedly dealing with a stinger last week, which should clear up, but can linger from time to time. Hopefully for Michigan, he'll be as close to 100% as possible, because he'll be needed.
"For the most part again, I thought [Cade McNamara] was pretty darn good."
Again, I just don't know how Jim Harbaugh can say that with a straight face. I don't expect him to trash his quarterback, but saying that the performance was "pretty darn good" is so disingenuous. And it's not even on Cade. No quarterback can get anything going by throwing the ball five times in an entire half of football. So far, Harbaugh and his coaches haven't shown much confidence in McNamara. They can say that he elevates everyone around him and that he's efficient and ready to lead the offense, but the play calls say otherwise. That's not Cade's fault.