...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Are we not better than this? Complaining and finger pointing? Mobs, torches and pitchforks? Is this the definition of a Michigan Man?
My apologies for invoking the “Michigan Man”, but honestly doesn’t this program, this team deserve a little more from us? As a fan base we’ve been spoiled. Think about the streaks that just ended. No, this time take a breath, sit back and really think about it. Now compare that to any other program in the nation. Now again I ask you, wouldn’t a little support be warranted here?
Look I’m as frustrated a fan as anyone else after last season and so far this season. And I know the easy thing is to complain and shake your fist in anger, but is that leadership? I think not. A good leader motivates. A good leader inspires. A good leader sees what is in front of him and gets more. As a fan how exactly do we lead by complaining or booing or carrying pitchforks and torches to stadium and main?
Personally, I saw some good things yesterday. I saw a young QB throw with confidence for the first time all season. He had zip on the ball. Perfect? No. Better. Yes. I also saw the maturation of a RB. Maturing into someone who can lead with his actions on the field. Sound like the character of someone else in the same position we know and love? I saw a special teams touchdown, a punt return to be exact. I saw our 111th ranked offense score 35 points. Did you think that would have been possible two weeks ago? I’ve seen a defense week in and week out with its back against the wall, tired and battered play their hearts out.
Leadership is defined as the capacity or ability to give guidance and direction. We as fans can’t make the big locker room speech to lead the team. We can’t fire up the huddle to lead the team. We can’t throw or reel in the big pass to lead the team. We can’t come up with the key sack to lead the team. What we can do is raise our voices to lead the team. For me, I’d rather do my best to direct this team in the right direction. We demand the best out of the team, shouldn't we atleast give them our best.
I’m going to do my best to lead, like a Michigan Man should.
I don't care about the record books to the point were its crushed me that these streaks ended. Its the way they ended thats really been depressing as a Michigan fan. I mean I get that we have alot of young, inexperienced talent on this roster but even our offense has been able to put up some points in a few of these games. What happened to this defense?? Whats up with the motivation for most of these guys game to game & am I wrong by saying that we might have won another 2 or 3 games if they had showed up? I have to say I see enough talent on here that I HAVE to blame the coaching now that enough games have passed.
I mean c'mon, Purdue basically just put 50 on us. WHAT??! The offense showed up and thats what we got from our veterans? I just don't get it. Maybe for some of you it happened way before todays game but today wasn't just the low point of the season for me, it was the low of all time for me as a michigan football fan. I just didn't want to see it end like this. I figured after all we lost last year and with all the drastic changes that we might have a horrible year before this season ever even started. I was prepared for alot of losses. I just wasn't prepared to see this. I really hope this way of losing isn't something i have to get used to because losing is not acceptable to watch when players don't leave it all on the field. When everyone doesn't give 100%. I feel bad for some of these kids out there who are really doing everything they can when so many right next to them aren't. Maybe I just need some perspective but I seriously think i've heard it all and I am really starting to think for the first time that the hire was a mistake. Not that Rich Rodriguez is a bad coach, but a bad coach for us. I really hope I am wrong.
Forgive me, for I am an engineer. As a result, I am not only unable to refrain from math analogies, but that I also believe in cause and effect relationships. I don't think I'm alone here, as I've heard too many "if only we would have done X/Y/Z" arguments on this site to count. Everyone is aware there are a slew of factors that go into football success, including (but not limited to): scheme, technique, (personnel) execution. While I do think it's generally accepted that an increase in any single factor almost always results in positive total outcome, it is my personal belief that the net outcome is an uninvertable function. Unlike scientific experiments, we never get to replay football games to determine how a change in coaching/scheme/execution could have affected the total outcome. As such, no one positively knows exactly what factors are affecting the outcome, and how much impact they have.
People have spent years trying to work around this; some very successfully. The whole value in having 'experience' in a skill is the ability to ascertain what factors might be affecting the outcome when the information is limited. This is exactly why doctors are paid more than residents, senior electricians are paid more than journeyman, and so on.
With that said, I'd like to ask everyone who has suggested that "if only we would have done X/Y/Z" what makes you so sure that you've identified not only the most significant factor affecting our outcome, but how are you sure that your suggested change would have had enough effect to change the outcome? In reality, this is a hypothetical question, as we can't go back and replay games to be sure, but I think it's still a question worth asking yourself. Along those same lines, what makes you think that you have a greater ability to identify these factors than our current coaching staff? Are you suggesting you have more experience than our current coaches, or perhaps you were born with a God given talent for coaching football, but just decided you'd rather work in sales, health care, or whatever the hell you do? While I'll always acknowledge your argument that "Coach X produced better results than Coach Y", suggesting you know more about football than our current staff (or any NCAA staff for that matter) just makes you look like a fool.
I am not sure why this game got to me. It has been a long time since I have been so frustrated with a team and a game. Maybe I was in denial. Maybe I just didn't want to admit that an era in the University of Michigan's football program has come to and end. And to have it do so in such exasperating fashion nearly drove me over the edge.
Playing one of the worst teams in the Big Ten, 2-6 Purdue, Michigan coudln't find a way to hold leads of 14 points two different times and a tie game with 80 seconds left. Despite scoring 42 points on offense, the defense gave up 48 points to the Boilermakers led by a third string QB who had been playing running back. With the game on the line the defense gave up two huge trick plays and never seemed able to slow down an heretofore anemic team (Purdue hadn't scored a touchdown in 3 of their last 4 games).
Michigan repeatedly missed tackels, had penalties in key situations, and turned the ball over on special teams yet again. A defense that was supposed to be the foundation of this team entering the season has become an absolute laughing stock. They have given up five touchdowns in five games and 129 points in the last three games.
In what was clearly becoming a shootout the Michigan offense once again took a big chunk of the game off. Michigan took a 14 point lead with 5:29 to go in the first half. They didn't score again until there was 12:19 to go in the game. Purdue scored 21 unanswered points to take a 35-28 lead and Michigan would never lead again. Michigan has scored 14 points in the third quarter all year!
Despite this, and aided by a couple of big penalties by Purdue, Michigan tied the game with 1:20 left. All the defense had to do was make a stop; or even hold them to a field goal. Instead, Purdue marched down the field and used a perfectly executed hook and ladder play to score the winning touchdown.
I am not sure why I am surprised. If not for critical penalty by Wisconsin, Michigan would have managed this pattern in eight straight games.
Michigan is now assured of a losing record for the first time in forty years and will miss a bowl game for the first time in 33.
Here is what I said after the Penn State debacle:
You would be foolish to bet on Michigan these days. They simply can’t play a complete game of football. About the only way I can see them winning a game this year is against a team that turns the ball over and lets them hang around in the fourth quarter. And even then, as we saw against Toledo (Toledo!!!!), even then they are as likely to blow it as to win.
True. I honestly don't think they will win another game all season. They simply don't know how to win. And I can't seem them figuring it out this late.
Michigan's run as an elite program is over. It may be temporary as it seems likely - given his history and Michigan's ability to recruit, etc. - that once Rich Rodriguez gets his type of players into the system and developes some chemistry that they will return to their winning ways.
But right now they simply can't be considered anything but a once proud program a few years from being competitive. And that is something I have never known in my lifetime.
I guess maybe that is why I was so angry this afternoon.
Stephen Schilling, RT. Despite the loss, the offense scored 35 points. It's hard to pick a particular player - with a viable backup - who performed poorly. Threet's performance was frustrating for many reasons, but largely because he refused to keep the ball on the read option. The backside defensive end was crashing every time and Threet seemed not to care. But since Sheridan is clearly a worse option, my vote goes for Schilling. I don't know if I'm frustrated more by Schilling's play or his seeming underperformance as a former five-star lineman. Either way, with 20 seconds remaining in the game, he made Purdue's defensive end, Ryan Kerrigan, look like Vernon Gholston. Schilling got bull rushed straight back into Threet for a sack at a crucial time - when Purdue was only rushing three defensive linemen. Perhaps Perry Dorrestein and Mark Ortmann should be the starting tackles. I don't know that it would be better, but it would be less frustrating because I expect three-star linemen to get owned.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD KEEP HIS JOB
DEFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD LOSE HIS JOB
Scott Shafer, Defensive Coordinator and/or Tony Gibson, Secondary Coach. Shafer has weakened Michigan's best position group by taking one defensive lineman off the field to run the 3-3-5. Gibson has taken several promising defensive backs and turned them into sieves and/or umbrellas. With a very athletic and fast secondary, Michigan isn't making interceptions. Cissoko came out of high school with coaches and recruiting gurus raving about his technique and his backpedal. A cornerback with a great backpedal is a very dangerous weapon, because he has the ability to break quickly on passes thrown in front of him. It also lengthens the time he can keep his eyes in the backfield before a receiver breaks his cushion and forces the cornerback to open up his hips to turn and run with a deep route. But every time I see Cissoko in anything but press coverage, he immediately opens his hips (as do the other corners). This is a big reason that so many passes are completed in front of Michigan's corners, because as soon as they open their hips and turn to run, opposing wide receivers break off their routes to run outs or hitches. There's no reason a lousy Purdue team should rack up 48 points - more than undefeated Penn State and explosive Illinois did - on Michigan's defense. None. Shawn Crable, Jamar Adams, and Brandent Englemon were solid players, but the defense should not have fallen off this much with seven returning starters. In 2007 Michigan only allowed 35 points to Heisman winner/national champion Florida, 39 to then-Heisman front-runner Dennix Dixon and Oregon, and 14 to national championship game participant Ohio State.
So I haven't had time to do my usual Looking Back, Hats Off!!!, Looking Forward posts for a few weeks now. Life just got too complex and I didn't have convenient internet access for a while and blah, blah, blah... Of course I would have gone the extra mile to make the posts if this team was even a tiny bit interesting to me anymore, but sadly, it is not. We officially suck worse than I could have ever imagined. Our offense sucks, our defense sucks (and shouldn't), much of our special teams suck, and Zoltan is our shining light. Not very compelling.
So I have decided to not try to start posting again now that my hiatus is at an end. I have the time and the access but it just kills me to write about this depressing team. I didn't even make the trip to the bar to watch the game today (I have no digital package anymore, sadly.). I worked on my car and got it running great again, then tore around the country roads in it while Michigan was apparently giving the game away yet again. I was glad when I saw the score that I didn't waste my time watching the game. I never thought I could feel that way about it, but there it is.
So here I am looking only forward. No "Hats Off!!!" or "Looking Back", what is the point? So with that in mind, here is what I am looking forward to next year:
- A new defensive coordinator. I was very worried about Shafer when we hired him. His resume seemed weak by Michigan standards. It now seems apparent that he was not ready to be a big-time DC and would have made maybe a better position coach at this level. I really expect him to be the goat that gets the axe to appease the rabid alumni masses after this season.
- An honest-to-goodness mobile QB. I am expecting it to be Tate, but if the Beav is better then that is fine too. Just so long as the QB can run dammit, and be somewhat accurate with the pass when needed. Threet has been much better than I expected but is far short of what we need. If he could be accurate as a passer then he would be fine, but he can't. I really hope that RR won't platoon Tate and the Beav too much ala Threet/Sheridan. Just go with one please.
- An improved OL PLEASE! We have some solid young talent that I hope can gel quickly next year. My biggest concern for next season is that the OL still won't be ready. A mobile QB will definately help this IMO.
- Sam McGuffie 2.0. I still believe this guy will be a stud. Bring him back this year only if he is 100% healthy (He is hurt, isn't he? I am so out of the loop but I heard he didn't make the trip to Purdue). With a few more pounds and more conditioning from Barwis, look our for McGuff next year.
- A healthy team with another year of Barwis sculpting. Injuries sure haven't helped this team out this year. Let's see what Barwis can do about it next year.
I won't be posting anymore this season but of course will be lurking and commenting when the mood strikes. I love it here and I love hearing all of your opinions and rants. Keep up the good work everybody and keep you chins up. Michigan will be good again soon I think, and if nothing else, at least this season showed that MGoBlog is great no matter how the team is doing.