The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
Oregon State kicked off their season last night. I wouldn't blame you for not noticing, as it was on the PAC 12 Network. But they won Gary Anderson's first game, beating Weber State 26-7. Their new QB ran for 152 yards, if you'd like to find something to worry about this morning. The Beaver defense played very well also after having a poor 2015, holding WSU under 200 yards of offense and stopping them on all thirteen third down conversion attempts.
Now here's the good news: Weber State is an FCS team coming off a 2-10 season. The score was only 6-0 at halftime, and 13-7 after three quarters. OSU went 6-17 on third down, and passed for only 110 yards with an interception.
I've heard some concern about this game from some fans, so what does everyone think now that we know a little more about both teams?
Backfield and TE's
I thought the pick six was egregious, he should have never even looked at that side of the field to begin with. The right side of the field had Chesson running wide open on an out route and the LB covering Isaac had 10+ yards of cushion on a 3rd & 3. The other two INT's were probably on Perry. He didn't get sacked, but he did get hit about 7 times on dropbacks (5 were in the 2nd half) plus the personal foul on the sidelines. He targeted AJ Williams on two key 3rd downs... needs to stop doing that. He should have checked the 4th down run Smith got stuffed on to the weak side. I don't know if Harbaugh allows this but we would have converted a weak side run if Kalis, Mags and Williams handle thier blocks. We were outnumbered to the strong side. Also I think he should scramble to pass not to run, as he is the opposite of fast. He played a lot better than I thought live, he was accurate on every ball but the long ones. He went 27/43 and the 16 incompletions break down as:
- 3 INT (one his fault)
- 3 deep throws
- 4 drops (Smith, Perry, Darboh)
- 2 Williams targets
- 1 throw high and behind Butt on which he got hit because Isaac didn't block a blitzer
- 1 failed throwback screen
- 1 PBU intended for Butt
- 1 throw away.
I count only half of those 16 being his fault not including the throw away. He was dead accurate on damn near every single pass he threw. There are only 5 passes I would deem inaccurate or uncatchable out of the 43 he attempted. That is outstanding. Even with the pick six, if Grant Perry runs his route correctly I think that we win this game. To me at least, that bodes very well for the future. On the other hand he did have a paltry 6.5 YPA which is in the CJ Brown/Joel Stave territory. That number has to go up and if he can start hitting the long balls it will. This was a off day for Rudock that looked worse than it actually was so hold off on the "PUT IN SHANE!" chants for now.
Still slow. He missed some cutbacks lanes but also found some cutback lanes. The line didn't get much movement so everything was congested and he had a tough go of it. He should probably follow Kerridge, Poggi and Kalis a bit more on lead blocks. Also had a bad drop. With Drake Johnson still out he and Isaac are the best backs on the roster and as long as he keeps churning out YAC and doesn't fumble he should continue to start unless Isaac breaks out.
I thought he should have got more touches. He looked pretty decent on the touches he did get. He missed a linebacker blitz even though he was staring right at him and got Rudock blown up. This might be why he was stuck ont the sidelines. I think Rudock should throw to him more often if he is split out.
Typical great game from him. He hit people and they went backwards.
They rarely ran his way so all he had were kick out blocks which he still missed about 30% of the time. He did have a nice catch that was behind him and away from his body. Maybe he can get move involved in the passing game but I doubt it. We don't really have another inline TE to play over him so he will probably continue to get snaps.
He didn't make a lot of obvious mistakes. He pretty muched looked like Kerridge Lite out there. He did whiff on a block mid 2nd Q.
This might be the 2012 line right now as far as overall performance. Pretty good in pass protection and not so much in the run game. After the past 2 years that's definitely progress. There were substanstially fewer missed assignments but we were unable to move Utah's DL off the ball. We couldn't consistently get to the second level and we had trouble sustaining blocks on the 1st level. On the bright side though, there were only TWO enforced penalties the whole night. I didn't even see any obvious holding calls the refs may have missed. Overall we got called for a false start (M. Cole) and a snap infraction (Glasgow). The OL got better as the night went on, I'mm very interested to see where we are at by midseason.
He had a lousy start to the game, could not make a block in space to save his life. He got a lot better as the game went on. He got beat a couple times in pass protection but mostly held up. He caused the 1 throw away Rudock had. In the run game he was inconsistent. He is good at sealing and in the 2nd half he got pretty good at blocking guys in open space but when it comes to moving people he still has a ways to go.
He was wildly inconsistent. He stilll doesn't bend very well and still leans on guys making him susceptible to swim moves and getting his blocks shed. He also plays high which allows the DT to get under him and push him backward. He got blown up on several run plays. A few times that meant making Kalis go around him and delaying the pull which allowed LB's to stop runs closer to the LOS. On the QB sneak where Rudock slipped, ith was because Braden had a DT in his chest pushing him 3 yards back, which caused Braden's right foot to take out Rudock's left, thus ending the play. His pass pro was spotty at best, he needs to anchor down and move laterally to keep guys in front of him or at least fire out at them a bit. He can't just take a lazy pass set, give a guy a punch and expect that to do the job. He can pull though which is comforting. He was called for a illegal lineman downfield penalty but it was declined.
He was our best looking OL as per usual. I saw him pull a few times from the center spot and he looked good doing so. He actually got some movement on their DT's which was impressive given the rest of the OL.
Like Cole he started out with his head in his rear end but picked it up as the game went along. He needs to get more consistent on identifying who he should block when he pulls on power, ideally it should be the MIKE LB and usually it is but he should hit the first guy to cross his face. Too often he lets a guy run right past him and blow up the play and proceed to block no one. He got overpowered a few times but also got a few pancakes.
He was second only to Glasgow in production. I don't think I saw him miss one block and his pass protection was superb. Like the rest of the OL, he didn't get much movement but his guy wasn't making the tackle either.
The WR as a whole played a hell of a lot better than I thought they would. Utah is replacing some pretty good corners from last year but they have put more than a few in the league since Wittingham got the job so its not like he just got lucky with the crop he had last year. Hopefully Utah has a good pass defense and this can be signs of what is to come this season. Obiviously I can't full evaluate the WR because 70% of the time they are off camera but from what I could tell they were more than adequate.
He played better than I expected. He ran some good routes and played pretty physical. He had a couple catches where he bodied out the DB for the ball. He did have two drops but he is without question our best wide out.
I thought he should have been targeted more as he was open frequently from what I could tell from the camera angle. He got open deep twice on an out and up and a seam route, if we can start hitting those it will take this offense to the HNL (Hole Nubba Lebel) and help open up holes in the run game.
He cut his out route short causing an INT and I believe he ran a corner route too shallow which also cause an INT. They were both freshman mistakes that unfortunately resulted in turnovers. He did have two huge blocks to spring Darboh on quick screens. Also was instrumental on the last drive. If he can finish his routes we have a pretty good slot reciever. Did have one drop though.
Not targeted. Too skinny. Needs 15-20 lbs ASAP. In desperate need of spinach.
He caught one screen pass and subsequently got blown up. Thus ended Cole's role in the offense.
I just freed up about ten spots in the league. If you join now you will have missed the first few games tonight.
Group ID: 1983
MSU at WMU
Baylor at SMU
If They Could Say It is my attempt to give the real answers people would give if it wouldn't cause a media sh;tstorm. Typically, I'll have the Head Coach and Coordinators answer questions, and may also include other coaches, players, or personnel.
How did you feel about the team's performance tonight?
I hate losing. We should have won this game. We're far from perfect, but we had our opportunities, and we blew it.
What opportunities did you miss?
Did you watch? It's real obvious. We missed wide open TD passes. We can't do that. We dropped a couple easy catches. We threw a pick-6 in a key moment. We missed a couple of holes in the running game. We didn't even keep our onside kick in play.
Talk about the interception for a TD.
Just a bad, bad read. The play is a fade-out combo where the outside receivers run fades and the slots run quick outs. Butt runs a hitch. Grant Perry was the least open of the five options. Now, the thing that will take some time, is that we should have recognized pre-snap that Ty Isaac had a 15-yard cushion and just thrown a screen to him. But that takes time and practice...we're not there yet.
What were the good things?
There were actually a lot of good things. In the second half, even with some obvious short yardage runs that we blew, we improved our yard per carry by 1.5. The receivers were getting some separation and we were hitting some passes. Jake Butt was always open and had an amazing game. Peppers annihilated a few plays. And, while his screw-ups probably cost us the game, Rudock made several plays that also kept us in it.
How did you feel about the run-blocking?
How do you feel when some one punches you in the groin? It sucked. The first half was terrible. We played soft and tentative. Came out in the second half and played better, but we have a long way to go.
What about the fourth-and-short play?
Lots of people are piling on Kalis for missing a block on his pull, but Braden's execution was just as bad or worse. He allowed himself to give up almost two yards and gave an easy angle for the pursuit. Actually, he was our worst lineman today, and probably our worst offensive player.
Are there any plays you'd call differently?
First, Jim calls the plays. Here's the thing: we had more than our fair share of chances to make big plays, and we blew it. Two wide open TDs, a few running lanes that could have been huge gains, and a few dropped passes that could have changed things. We could easily have had over 400 yards and 30 points in this game. Have to make those plays to be a great team.
What were the positives you saw?
Jake Butt is probably the best TE in the nation. That TD catch is one of the best plays I've ever seen. I mean, the defender has his had on the ball, Jake is at the peak of his jump, and he still manages to pull it in, no question. That's even a catch by the weird NFL standards. And the pass pro. If we can protect that well all season, we'll be in good shape and we'll hit some of those bombs.
What does the OL have to do to improve?
Simple: not play softer than a pair of Twin City socks. We had the right mentality in the second half. We'll get better, or you'll see new guys on the field.
What happened on the Utah TD drives?
What happened? We had a couple bad series. Missed some reads, played out of our gaps, and let their QB walk into the endzone. But you know what? College kids are often going to have a couple bad series in a game. We'll get better. This was our first action with live bullets in our defense.
Who looked good?
The DL was pretty strong. There was no space for one of the best RBs in the country to run between the tackles. Wormley and Henry really did their jobs.
Who didn't look as good?
Brian obviously jinxed the LBs. Morgan didn't have his best day, and Bolden couldn't make tackles even though he was in the right spots. Ross might see more PT, especially against spread teams. Stribling was meh. Peppers woke up in the second half.