Maybe it's a sickness or just an obsession but I had to crunch some #'s after watching the game on Saturday. The offensive coordinator from UM couldn't have been deceiving anyone from MSU because even my wife knew when a running play was going to be ran vs. a passing play. This is also the same woman who thinks she can predict who will win the game by the color of their uniforms. She told me in the 2nd quarter, "it seems like UM always runs on 1st down". After I got home I watched the game on DVR and she's right. Check out these stats.
UM ran the ball 65% of the time when it was 1st down. If you subtract the plays that were ran after UM was down by 2 TD's that # jumps to 71%.
UM only passed the ball 35% of the time when it was 1st down. If you subtract the plays that were ran after UM was down by 2 TD'S that # falls to only 29%
UM passed the ball 84% of the time when it was 3rd down.
MSU convereted 56% of their 3rd downs
It doesn't matter how well UM executes when the other team already knows what play is about to be run against them. Can you imagine how well the UM defense would play if they knew what play the oher team was going to run? The coaching staff needs to put these kids in a position to succeed and they need to mix up the play calling. If my wife knows what play UM is going to run surely someone from the MSU can figure out the UM play calling.
Those #'s don't lie and neither does my wife
#1 - The absolutely most frustrating thing about this team has been the pass "defense". Any team that can make Hoyer look above average must be pretty bad. I have no idea if it's the scheme or the execution, but it's probably both. The 1st half of the Utah game was no aberration. When opponents have 3rd and 8, 10, or 16 (16!!!), conversions have looked easy unless there is a sack or intense pressure on the QB. My hats off to teams if they make heroic plays to move the chains, but taking 15-20 yards at will is ridiculous.
#2 - I'd recommend that when opponents have 3rd and long that UM fans remember the Seinfeld phrase "SERENITY NOW!!"
#3 - I expected the offense to be pretty rough this year, and Threet's elbow problems don't help, but I never expected UM's defense to be ranked 10th in the conference.
#4 - The zone stretch play hasn't really worked since the Notre Dame game. I looks like UM runs the ball better out of the good old-fashioned I formation. Minor doesn't seem suited for the zone stretch - he's more of a north-south runner.
#5 - While criticism is warranted, the flaming and booing of the players is disgusting. These are just kids after all, and most of them won't be going on to NFL riches. They are playing hard, so give them a break.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD KEEP HIS JOB
DEFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD LOSE HIS JOB
Steve Brown, FS. For God's sake, Steve Brown. For God's sake. For. God's. Sake. I had high hopes for Steve Brown. I really did. I watch him run and he's fast. I see him body slam people to the ground on special teams and I cringe. The kid has some sort of mental block or confidence loss when he's at free safety. I don't know what it is, and I don't know how to fix it. I feel bad for him, because I always hear good things about him and I honestly think he tries hard and feels bad when he screws up. But the screw-ups are mounting too quickly for the coaching staff to ignore anymore. I was watching the game at the bar yesterday, so I was distracted a little more than I wanted to be. But he missed an easy tackle on former walk-on Blair White that led to a 61-yard TD pass. He was also the one targeted on the long pass down the left sideline (to Mark Dell, if I remember correctly) where he was in position but just failed to find the ball and make a play. Brown isn't completely useless, since he did make a sack and force a fumble. However, his shortcomings are too significant. I don't care who they put in there. Normally, I'd say Michael Williams, but Williams got a concussion in yesterday's game. Charles Stewart. Move Morgan Trent to free safety and plug in Cissoko at corner (Trent was benched for stretches, anyway). Artis Chambers. Insert Mouton at SS and move Harrison to FS. Hell, burn JT Floyd's redshirt and plug him in there. Something. Anything. But if Brown isn't going to improve (and at this point in his career, I have a hard time picturing significant improvement), the coaches need to start grooming someone to take over the position. The offense will improve in 2009 with every significant player returning. But the defense will have a maximum of two seniors in 2009, and both of those guys are defensive ends (Brandon Graham, if he doesn't declare for the NFL, and Adam Patterson). On such an inexperienced defense, we can't afford to have such horrible safety play. Get a youngster some experience now.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER WHO SHOULD KEEP HIS JOB
So here we are, the morning after. Unlike your midnight romp with that cute girl wearing the nicely fitting Brady jersey that one night, there is no pill to fix what happened yesterday. This morning's pill maybe harder to swallow than that one as well, seeing as how it's been a while since Sparty beat us. But here is my point, it's going to be alright.
I will not say anything to try and excuse what happened yesterday. We got beat, everyone from the coaches to the players made bad decisions, hell even the refs had a questionable call in our favor. But it's not the end of the world or the program.
Many Michigan haters are having a field day, and it sucks. I hate trying to go to a message board about college football and constantly seeing everyone from East Lansing down to South Bend over to Columbus talking shit about how bad we have been this year. Let it go, everyone is entitled to a bad season, unfortunately our last one was 41 years ago, so everyone that has been quiet for all those years has recently found a voice.
It hurts to lose to a team that, to be honest, I hardly remember the last time we lost to (not because of age, but because it was 7 years ago). It happens, we couldn't go on for the rest of existence without losing to MSU. It doesn't help that Mike Hart (God love him) made some inflammatory (yet hilarious) comments last year, and that Brandon Graham (played like a monster yesterday) guaranteed a win. It also hurts that Dantonio has become a harbinger of anger for many UofM fans because of his pissing match with a 5'9" player.
This season has been tough, and it won't get any easier. But some of the namecalling and pissing and moaning about the system and the coaches and players needs to stop. It's not the coaches fault that they don't have players for their system, and it's not the fault of the players that their ability doesn't fit the system. Calling for the heads of 18-19 year olds because they made a bad decision is low class and Columbus-esque. It needs to stop. Criticizing the coaches is funny to me, Rich Rodriquez makes millions of dollars to do what he does, you eat pretzels and drink beer while neglecting the lawn work.
The end result will pay off, if you can bear with the means. Give it time, and for the time being, take deep breaths, and remember that no matter what, it will always be great to be a Michigan Wolverine.
Illogical, but okay. A 2-5 team lost to a 6-2 team; it's not logical to be outraged or to expect to win. Our team did about what it usually does; the only (somewhat) unusual problem that really came up were Threet's bad decisions, and he has been set up to fail all season with his injuries and inexperienced supporting cast.
But, it's still fine to be mad. You're probably mad because you saw the game, saw Michigan gain the lead with less than half of the game remaining (no pun intended), and saw Michigan hold its own for awhile. The team isn't as good as you hoped, and that sucks. But you can only be mad because you feel like this team has a chance. Teams like Washington are ghosts, appearing to exist but not really affecting anything real and just hoping for the end of the season. No one really cares about them. What's worst than anger is apathy. When people give up on their team, that's when it's over.
Vent because you have to, regret the mistakes and flaws throughout the game, and then keep watching until the (probably) bitter end. (Don't get all ad hominem on people though; calling Stevie Brown's job as a safety crappy is okay; calling Stevie Brown's mom a crackhead is racist and only proves that you're an idiot.) As long as you keep supporting the team, they'll have a chance to become the team you wanted. Probably not this year, but before too long, Michigan football will be back. And when it is, you'll want to be there watching.
Many of you know me - some of you don't. I am an occassional moderator of your Saturday gameday chats on this site. Today, I moderated the Michigan State chat, along with a colleague.
A brief sampling of comments I received towards the end of the chat:
"Steve Threet should have his scholarship revoked."
"I wish John Thompson was hit by a truck."
"I wish Stevie Brown's crackhead mom never had him."
This is a harsh, but somewhat representative sample of the bile submitted as "commentary" at the end of the game. Roughly 80% of the comments received towards the end were ad hominem attacks on players and coaches. I declined to post them at the time, but thought better - those who participated in this shit should be embarrassed.
I am completely sick of people calling out our players as "sucking", or anything. Threet is a redshirt Freshman in his 4th offense in 3 years. If not for extraordinary circumstances, he would not be relied on at this point. He has an injured elbow. DESPITE this, he continues to play, continues to throw, refuses to slide, drops his shoulder for additional yards, and FINISHES his fucking runs.
Stevie Brown scrapes his ass off the field, with the screams of thousands screaming how shitty he is, and forces AND recovers a fucking fumble - gift-wrapping 7 points for Michigan. Despite all the negativity, the kid kept his head, and executed at his next opportunity.
They suit up, in the Maize and Blue, and, like their teammates, bust their asses 7 days a week to perform as well as they possibly can on the field. You think this shit is disappointing for you? It's disappointing to you, sitting in the stands with a coke in your hands? Or on your couch with a beer and a laptop? How fucking disappointing do you think it is for the kids who bust their ass, 7 days a week, on the fucking field?
This is INFINITELY easier for us, as spectators than it is for them, as players. Reasonable criticism is one thing, ad hominem insults are another.
There are many that will greet the following with "thank god!" or "good riddance!" - and I won't say it's completely unwarranted - I've been a dick at times on these pages. But, I'll never moderate a chat again - it degrades my opinion of my fellow alumni and fans.
We like to say we're "The Leaders and Best". Maybe we should fucking act like it.