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Thursday Morning Brews: Standing by the wall

Happy Thursday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. Things are remarkably quiet on the Michigan sports front, so this morning we’re taking a look at some storylines that will play out for the football team over the coming days and weeks.

As usual, there is a song referenced in this morning’s article. There are at least two clues. Clues may be words, phrases, or photos and may reference lyrics, the album, or the artist. If you think you know this morning’s song, fire away down in the comments.

Let’s get to it:

One thing the Maize n Brew staff has discussed internally is Kliff Kingsbury’s newfound availability and what he could bring to Michigan. While the Wolverine offense was much stronger this year than last year (36.8 ppg vs 25.2 ppg), several of us thought the offense struggled to be explosive at times—mostly because we thought Shea Patterson should have been more of a feature than a role player.

If Michigan were to make a change on the offensive staff, who could fix that? Kliff Kingsbury. In his 75 games at Texas Tech., his teams averaged 37.8 ppg in what has been one of the most dynamic offenses in the FBS. Is Michigan talking to Kingsbury? If they are, I haven’t heard about it. He’s going to be an in-demand coach, so if a change is made on the Wolverines’ staff—and that’s a big if—Michigan would have to fight for Kingsbury if they wanted him.

I’d also point out that this offseason isn’t like last offseason. A coaching change would be one that’s designed to fix a problem of degree, not a problem of kind. As I pointed out earlier, Michigan’s offense was already much better than last year. This wouldn’t be a total rebuild, it would be a slight course correction in philosophy and play calling. If a change is to be made at all, that is. If it does occur, perhaps the losing streak to OSU that has seemingly lasted forever and ever will come to an end.

As Trevor opined on Tuesday after the latest CFP Rankings were released, Michigan probably needs Oklahoma to lose this weekend if the Wolverines are to make it to the Rose Bowl. Is that possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? …Not so much.

Bill Connelly sets the stage for his analysis of the impending Big XII matchup by pointing out:

It’s not hard to see why OU is favored. Vegas favors the Sooners by a healthy eight points or so, and S&P+ projects a 15.5-point Sooner win against a Texas it long ago grew to mistrust — S&P+ is not built to favor teams that play well against good opponents but constantly underachieve against lesser teams, and here’s your reminder that UT lost to Maryland and beat Tulsa, Kansas State, and Kansas by one-score margins.

So how can Texas possibly knock off Oklahoma for the second time this season? Ball control, says Connelly.

Omitting end-of-half possessions, however, Texas’ ball control game allowed the Longhorns to shrink the game down to 12 possessions each. That made OU’s two turnovers and UT’s two easy scores even more valuable.

It will take a similar recipe for Texas to take its first conference title in nine years.

Even with the benefit of going against OU’s defense, the Longhorns can’t keep up with the Sooners from a big-play perspective.

But they can play keep-away, they can make OU uncomfortable, and they can poise themselves to pounce on Sooner offensive mistakes (if there are any). Sounds like a better plan than trying to win 70-66, anyway.

So, in order for Jim Harbaugh to bring Michigan back to the Rose Bowl for the first time in a decade, just about everything must go right for the Longhorns on Saturday. And Georgia has to lose. And Ohio State has to beat Northwestern. I think those latter two probably happen. The first one? We’ll find out.

This one isn’t so much a storyline for Michigan football as it is an old friend alert. Bowling Green has hired Michigan’s own Scot Loeffler as its new head coach. Loeffler played quarterback for the Wolverines in the early to mid-1990s and then was a graduate assistant on the 1997 National Championship team. He later returned to coach QBs under Lloyd Carr from 2002 until 2007, which is when the likes of John Navarre and Chad Henne were lighting up the Big House. Loeffler also has had coaching stops with the Detroit Lions, Florida, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Central Michigan.



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