|Michigan Hockey: Miami Preview|
|#3 Michigan (7-2-1) at Miami (4-6-0)|
|11-11-11 7:35pm (Not Televised)|
|11-12-11 7:05pm (Not Televised)|
I would like to first start out by saying Thank God this is not us. Both teams came into the season looking for answers on the offensive side and so far Miami has had a lot of trouble replacing the departed. I guess it's difficult to replace a 70 point scorer, a 50 point scorer, and a 30 point scorer if you're not Red Berenson. Rilley Smith leads the group as the highest scoring starter to return this season but the results have been ugly, right now this team does not appear on the NCAA top 40 in scoring. They are awful at scoring and when they do score it's still ugly, and that's about the only scoring highlight there is. Miami has played a weak schedule so far with the best opponents being Ferris and LSSU and was swept by both, so it's safe to say that this team is not very good.
The reason I only chart four defensemen is because these four are the only ones who are listed on the official score sheet. The forwards were bad but this group of defensmen might be the worst in the country, which is very surprising because this is not a young unit of blueliners. They have a huge problem with penalties and a mediocre PK, and if they continue this trend Wolverine forwards will have no problem getting quality scoring chances.
The picture illustrates how not to play defense so that even someone with little understanding of the game could realize what is going on. The forward is bringing the puck down and the defensemen is bailing because he was caught so high up. He should be 5 feet back keeping pace, not turning his hips trying to keep up. This is a mistake we made in squirts, it's unacceptable in college hockey and they seem to do it way to much.
What happened? The regression from both goalies and defensemen have been huge, fans expected a drop in production but nothing like this. It's so bad that the Reichard has gone from All-American to 30th in GAA AVG and unlisted in SV%. Miami likes to split goalies so we will see both Reichard and Knapp, but at this point I don't think it really matters.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||5-4-9||26||+7||6|
As Usual the forwards have been strong, but I have been very impressed by Guptil and Travis Lynch so far this season. Both have been positive contributers on the scoring end this year, but have also been playing solid defense and have been out of the box. I'm excited to see how they play this weekend against such a poor defense, especially after playing above-average to outstanding blueliners the past three series.
Greg Pateryn 2-8-10 SOG 23 +9 PMIS 8
Mac Bennett 2-7-9 SOG +9 PIMS 4
Lee Moffie 1-5-6 SOG 20 +10 PIMS 8
Mike Chiasson 0-4-4 SOG 5 +14 PIMS 9
Brennan Serville 0-3-3 SOG 6 +4 PIMS 0
Kevin Clare 1-1-2 SOG 4 +5 PIMS 0
In an earlier preview I compared the defense to a horror movie, our guys are the unsuspecting male protagonists who never see the bad guy sneaking up behind them. At this point it's getting old because it happens way too much. Watching film on previous games the other teams are not getting great scoring chances, but most of the time when they score it's because of a defensemen watching the puck and letting his guy get behind him. I can not point to a reason why this happened because the upperclassmen are making the mistakes, It's not like this was caused by not having Jon Merrill and Chad Langlias. Hopefully they can make a statement this weekend and get some confidence moving forward.
Still Hunwick even if he isn't getting a lot of help from the defense.
I have given up predictions because I am a superstitious sports fan and so far every prediction I have made has not came true. Looking at how bad Miami is and how we have played so far I would give us an edge, but we play on friday so anything can happen. Ill leave the board to discuss.
For you super early-bird tailgaters, Champaign won't hit 40 degrees until 8am, and with a SW wind at 10-15mph, wind chill will make it feel like 30. By 10am, wind chill still hanging on, and although it will be 48, it'll still feel like it's in the low 40s. That wind has picked up a bit also, still out of the southwest, but up to 17-22mph (small trees sway). Temps will hit 55 by 1pm, SW winds up to a steady 22mph, and gusts possible up to 25mph (empty plastic garbage cans tip over, you can hear the wind "whistling"). Cloud cover will increase during the day, but tailgating should be mostly sunny.
Remember it's a 2:30 CT start! Reaching the high of 59 degrees with mostly sunny skies for kickoff. And that wind's not backing down... SSW winds at 20mph, with gusts up to 32mph (it's difficult to use an umbrella, you need to use effort to walk against the wind).
Dropping just a degree or two for halftime, still a warm 58 degrees. Partly sunny skies by now, as more and more clouds build their way in. SSW winds remain high also at 20mph, and expect gusts up around 30mph.
Experiencing not nearly the same cool down as Friday night, Champaign will stay mild. Even by last call, temps will only be in the low 50s. The clouds continue to build for a mostly cloudy evening and staying that way overnight. Those SSW winds stay at 20mph, with gusts still possible up to 30mph, increasing into Sunday. If you're driving home on Sunday, expect mostly cloudy conditions with a chance of rain, highs in the low 60s, and windy conditions-be careful driving as gusts could be up to 40mph!
If you're staying home... A partly cloudy morning with SW winds at 10mph gives way to more sun during the day, and the winds picking up a bit. We'll see upper 40s by mid-morning, but don't forget that darn wind chill-making it feel like the low 40s. Winds will rise to 15mph, and some gusts will be up to 20mph. Ann Arbor will reach 54 degrees by kickoff time, with gusts now possible up to 22mph, remaining out of the SW. We'll get a mini-break from the wind for dinner-time, then it'll pick back up and increase overnight, along with the cloud cover. If you're headed out, by closing time we'll be at 48 degrees, SSW winds between 15-20mph (wind chill 40) with partly cloudy skies. Go Blue and have safe travels, or have fun watching here at home!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
Standings are here. Ctrl+F is your friend if you don’t want to read through 1149 names to find yours.
I’m too pissed off at Arizona State and West Virginia both dropping out of the rankings this week to offer up much commentary.
Texas sneaks back into the poll and Southern Miss is ranked for the first time since 2004 just like I very safely predicted last week. Why did they have to do it at the expense of my teams though? Blerg.
Nebraska and Michigan are the only other big losers, dropping about 10 places in the poll. Everyone else has only moved slightly, including Alabama who only drops 2 spots.
This week it will be TCU or Ohio State who crawl back into the rankings.
Individual Ballot Analysis
Week 10 brings us the eighth lead change of the season. BrooklynBlue is in the lead this week with 94 points coming from Oklahoma, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Southern Cal and Houston.
He trails a perfect ballot by only 11 points. The perfect ballot this week is unchanged for the third week in a row: LSU, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Southern Cal and Clemson. That lineup would earn you 105 points.
The bottom five had a bit of a shakeup as Texas got three people out of dead last place. Two of last week’s loveable losers remain and are joined by three new members of the last place club. They have to enjoy it while their infamy lasts though, TCU might just rocket them up the standings all the way to 1110th.
Judging Your Picks
Not much change from last week. MGoBlog’s picks have a median of 50 points while a completely random ballot would earn an expected 51 points. If you have over 50 points then you are officially above average. If you have under 50 points, then you should look in a mirror and repeat to yourself
Games to Watch
#10 Virginia Tech just beat #20 Georgia Tech by 11 points and #11 Houston is crushing unranked (and coachless?) Tulane. This weekend one might want to keep an eye on these games
#19 Nebraska at #12 Penn State
noon on ESPN
Probably the lowest scoring BCS game of the weekend. A very good defense going up against a questionable offense and a good defense going up against a bad offense. It will provide an interesting contrast to the noon points-fest of Texas at Missouri (on FX). I don’t want to steal jamiemac’s thunder but you should probably consider taking under 43 in the Nebraska game and over 59 in the Texas game.
#24 Auburn at #14 Georgia
3:30 on CBS
The only real challenge standing between Georgia and the SEC East championship. I don’t think anybody knows what to make of Auburn this year, while Georgia is an uninspiring 7-2 team coming off a 63-16 win against New Mexico State. You’ll be busy during this game but look for updates on the scroll.
#6 Oregon at #3 Stanford
8 pm on ABC
The Pac-12 North will be decided this weekend. Who they will face is up in the air. UCLA could be their opponent. Whoever wins this week will almost certainly be in the Rose Bowl if they’re not in the championship game. If they make it to the championship then the loser will probably be in the Rose Bowl. How do you think that game will turn out for the Big 10?
West Virginia at #23 Cincinnati
noon on ABC/ESPN3
After a loss to Louisville last week West Virginia’s Big East Title is looking unlikely. If they win out they still have a chance though. Cincinnati is alone in first place with a conference record of 3-0.
Out of whack
So that game kind of sucked. If you're wondering why this diary is so late in the week, I try to wait until I feel like the foul language will be minimized after we lose.
Despite the video above, I'm not really blaming Borges for this loss. Not entirely anyway. He did not have a very good game. But that could be said for many people. Denard, Hemingway, Vince, Roundtree, Morgan, Floyd, the refs. THE REFS. THE MOTHERFUCKING REFS. But we'll get to that later.
You know when an offense is clicking, it's when guys are wide freaking open. And not just in the passing game. When an offense is in rhythm, running lanes open up too. That really didn't happen on Saturday until the final drive (when Iowa was backed off in prevent). Every pass and running lane was contested. That's partially due to the vanilla cover two. But a larger problem for us is our failure in self-scouting and our lack of an identity on offense.
A lot of what an OC does during gameday is psychological. You're supposed to mess with people's heads. RR was great at this. And the people he targeted most were the outside linebackers, DE's, nickel backs, and safeties. The reason why all forms of the option offense are so strong is because of the ability to always make a player wrong. You read which way he goes, and then go the other way. It's about taking what you're being given.
Which leads us back to Borges's failure this week. Ideally an offense creates an identity by beating a defense in a certain way so much that the DC has to adjust to take away those plays. But when that happens, it opens up the companion play.
Back during Lloydball that script went something like this. Offtackle run, offtackle run, offtackle run, bootleg pass for a TD. It was boring as hell, but when it worked, it was a thing of beauty. Tuman wide open in the Rosebowl, Breaston taking a reverse for a TD, etc.
With Richrod it was more like, zone read/bubble play left, zone read/bubble play right, Denard, Denard, Dena-OH SHIT! TD!
With Borges it is ... uh ... ? What exactly? Brian discussed this at length already, so I'll just add that it feels like we're just throwing random crap at the wall to see what sticks. Borges has called better games and it's hard to establish an identity when your 'bread and butter' plays are getting stuffed. But our best play this season has been for Denard to hold the ball too long in the pocket and then heave a prayer downfield. No one is going to mistake Denard for Andrew Luck, I don't understand why we're trying to use him like that. I don't understand why he's in the pocket reading pass coverages.
What is our base play? A zone read? Then why the hell don't we have the companion bubble screens? Is our base play an I-form Iso? Then where are the reverses that keep the backside DE honest? I'm getting sick of watching the backside end or OLB making a tackle in the opposite B gap. Are we running Denard? Then why are wasting a blocker by handing it off to him?
I understand that we're trying to keep him healthy, but we're losing the numbers game. Every time we go to that Denard Jet Sweep formation, the defense doesn't have to account for him. We hardly ever give him the ball, and we never throw it to him. And why is that the trick play formation we're stuck with? When we came out one week with the diamond Fritz formation and then had the jet sweep thing the next week, I was expecting to see 5 more different variations. Instead we've settled into this one that opposing DC's have figured out.
There's only three games left. It's time to take the reins of our biggest offensive threat. It's time to put in all those counters and companions and make play calls during the game that are, uhm..., like fucking coherent. (I wrote and rewrote that sentence 5 times, and still have an expletive, if not in all caps.)
I understand you're transitioning to a new philosophy and we're under-manned and can't hurt people with the base plays you want to run. But there's only three games left, if we want to win any of them, some of that will have to go out the window. I know you're not trying to use up Denard, but there's only three games left. If not now, when?
I appreciate that we've only lost two games, but there's only three games left and none of them are gonna be any easier than the two we lost. There's only three games left, and none of them are against Minnesota. There's only three games left. It's time to bring out our "A game".
A bad game all around.
So I noticed Brian noticed my noticing of Desmond Morgan getting a good tackle on a kickoff against Purdue. How was his game against Iowa?
It's pretty bad when even the TV guys are pointing out your bad play. (Although Spielman is one of the handfull of guys that knows the game pretty well and points out good and bad LB play)
And Fitz had a great game against Purdue, did that carry over?
Oh. (That's two unblocked middle linebackers on an A gap dive.)
But at least we've still got Denard who has been excellent at reading blockers and -
It's hard to blame any one person on offense when the entire blocking day was sub-par.
Looks ok here. That is a linebacker (and supposedly an above average one) not a DB. So our little slot guy should either go low or try to pin him inside.
Oh. Nevermind. But look, Fitz is leading the play for Denard, so we're still good.
We've got two guys on him, no problem. Except Denard has no place to cut back because Huyge couldn't maintain his backside block.
Still, a 2 on 1 means Denard should be able to bounce it outside.
*sigh* I guess this is where I'm supposed to mention something about teaching cut blocking and then I get pissy about how small blockers should take on big defenders by going low ... but I just can't get too upset about this play. I guess my rage is being reserved for something else...
And about those refs....
They started the game by missing a holding call
And then they decided that pass interference was no longer an enforceable rule.
They actually threw a flag and then talked themselves out of it. Maybe they thought it was uncatchable.
Maybe they're FUCKING BLIND.
And this was on Denard's interception right before the half. Denard has thrown some bad interceptions this year. This was not one of them.
At this point, someone needs to be in the ref's ear. I know Hoke is not the fire and brimstone kind of guy, and that's fine, but we need somebody to be working on the refs. The same thing happened during the Northwestern game, the refs never woke up and gave us a makeup call.
And our receivers need to do a better job of getting the call. Throw your hands up and dive on the ground. Watch some European sissy boys play soccer and learn how to embellish a call. I'm not saying all the time, because 'boy who cried wolf, blah blah blah.' But when you've got a legitimate case, don't be afraid to hop up and down a bit more. Make the ref peek at the video board and maybe you'll get the call next time.
Or just ... fuck.
So there's about 14 points that they owe us.
If this diary seemed overly critical, you win as a team, you lose as a team. Win and there's plenty of credit and high fives to go around, lose and everyone gets shat upon.
Amongst those few that had good games:
- Gallon, not as dropsies as Hemingway or Roundtree
- Interior O-Line, not as bad as the tackles
- Fitz, his running and hole reading were not as bad as his blocking
- Demens, not as bad Morgan
- Countess, not as bad as Floyd
- Martin, ... ok he was still awesome, in fact the entire D-line had a decent game. I guess that's what happens when you've got 3 D-line coaches (Hoke and Mattison are both ex D-line coaches)
- Mattison, not as bad as.... well I think I've covered that already.
a few minor depth chart changes this week, don't know what to do with Cam Gordon...
as always, comments and questions are appreciated.