I’ve already mentioned that Michigan didn’t have a successful outing at the Nick Colleluori Classic, and they certainly didn’t live up to the expectations I had for them. Part of that is stronger-than expected competition (particularly out of St. Joseph’s), and part was just due to a bad performance.
With no published boxscores, I won’t break down any stats, but I do have a few thoughts from people who saw the games.
From the reports I’ve received, it sounds like many of Michigan’s guys were having trouble adjusting to the speed of the D-1 game. Some of that stuff will improve with time – and a healthier roster, as once again the D in particular sounded short-handed – but several of the issues aren’t going to be fixed until a recruiting class or two rolls in. Fall Ball is the time to work out a lot of kinks. Problems in the clearing game plagued the three D-1 scrimmages, and judging from what I saw in the Providence game, a good portion of those were unforced mistakes that can be corrected.
On defense, it seems like an upgrade is in order. Austin Swaney returned to the lineup – though not as a starter – which should be a benefit down the road. Ryan Breen is also arriving in January, I believe, which could shore up the depth, and hopefully add a quality starter at the position.
From the sound of things, Emil Weiss struggled a bit on Saturday – something of a surprise, because he was excellent against Providence. Again, for a kid in his second and third D-1 scrimmages, that’s not too worrisome. If he can shake it off and continue adjusting to the speed of the D-1 game, it will serve as a learning experience.
St. Joseph’s was a much worse team than Providence last year, but in taking down Michigan and Mount St. Mary’s, they showed that their new coaching staff is probably the real deal. As long as Michigan can shake it off and move forward, they’re in OK shape.
Michigan is a team that is used to pounding any and all comers, and they will have to adjust to no longer having the talent advantage, like they did in the MCLA. There is only so much (short of a talent infusion) that can fix those problems, but a disappointing fall ball will, at the very least, serve as a wakeup call and motivating factor for a squad that’s not used to losing.
Depth, especially on defense, was an issue for Michigan. Fatigue set in for the defenders early in games, which spiraled into a sluggish and sloppy clearing game. One positive was Michigan’s 10-man ride, but the Wolverines had trouble capitalizing on St. Joseph’s mistakes, while both Towson and St. Joe’s had no problem capitalizing on theirs.
Yet again, those sound mostly like problems of a young program, not a hopeless one. Philly Lacrosse talks about the event.