"I love it that Ivy League coaches are coming to our camp and Big Ten coaches are coming to our camp. South Florida is coming. We've got about 70 schools that are coming to our camp."
While everyone is debating the job Borges is doing, why isn't anyone talking about the absolute tire fire that is our offensive line performance? The OSU game was as bad as anything I've seen all year.
Our guys aren't undersized anymore, and are "Wellman-ized," so they aren't weak. So those memes no longer hold true.
I rewatched all of the run plays again in slo-mo to see exactly why we couldn't get even a few meager critical yards when necessary. It jumped out at me time and time again.
Missed blocks, confused linemen linemen not even engaging anyone, while the ballcarrier behind them was getting tackled. The fullbacks were bad, too.
With all the mental errors, it looked like a really poorly coached unit.
So incredibly, my biggest fear going forward isn't Borges. It's the offensive line play. Charlie Weiss proved that even with superior talent, if the guys aren't properly coached up it won't matter how many blue chippers you've got.
I hope to God what we're seeing is a product of the coaching change. But as far as I'm concerned, Darrell Funk just joined Spain as officially On Notice with me!
1 in the first half, 4 in the second. All descriptions are approximate because I only had the reply on BTN and can't rewind (I didn't DVR). Admittedly some of these are asking for good/great plays.
Play, the first. Michigan is in field goal range in Ohio's end in the first quarter. Gardner drops back and is sacked by A. Washington. The true freshman went right around Taylor Lewan for a sack/fumble. Result: 3 potential points lost.
Play, the second. Michigan near mid-field on the first drive of the second half. This is the The Play of The Game. 4th and 3. Gardner leaves the field and Denard comes in. It's described as "Borges ran it straight up the middle into a stacked front!". I don't think that's true, but even if it is, this play is there. All blocks are made except one - our best OL Taylor Lewan whifs on a simple downblock on and undersized Sabino, and he makes the tackle. If he even occupies him, Denard has the first easily, and likely a lot more. Result: field position and momentum lost.
Play, the third. Gallon deep ball / post. Either Borges calls a play that occupies the safety, or he's horribly out of position, but Gallon is by him as he continues through the catch. The cornerback he'd already beaten lunges for a shoestring tackle and makes it. Pick up your feet or run through those arms/hands and it's six points. Denard will fumble on the next play. Result: loss of 6 points.
Play, the fourth. Last drive. Gardner does an outstanding job of avoiding another strong rush, runs for 8/9 yards on first down. Play is called back for holding. Result: 1st and 20 instead of 2nd and 1/2 near midfield.
Play, the fifth. Gardner again with an outstanding scramble, rolls to his left, and throws to a covered Funchess. Given man coverage on that side of the field, he could have kept and picked up at least 10 yards. Maybe significantly more. Result: 2nd and 20 instead of 2nd and 10, potential big play/momentum lost.
This was a close game. Watch again tonight on BTN if you can stomach it. Not excusing Borges because I believe he failed in several ways, but there were plays to be made in the second half.
Other teams of note:
#1 ND (duh)
#2 Bama (Double Duh)
#4 ohio :(
#22 Northwestern (Good for them)
I have not read all of the million threads criticizing our coaches, defending our coaches, analyzing our depth chart and generally offering thoughts on the state of this team, but I have skimmed at least a few. I will try not to be too repetative, although I doubt I will succeed. Some general thoughts on our coaches after 2 seasons:
1. I still believe that Hoke is the right guy for us. Most importantly, he seems to have instilled a sense of "we are Michigan" that seemed to be lacking. Call it fit, whatever, he does seem to get it and I think that over time, this will help return us to our former glory. He also seems to get that the game starts in the trenches, and is appropriately loading up with quality big bodies in both.
2. Clock management - whomever is running our 2-minute drill needs to go back to coaching 101. There have been numerous times this season that we looked lost or failed to even attempt a score. This happened again in the first half, but DEnard's great run and OSU's crap tackling saved us.
3. Borges - I am not yet ready to call for his head. THat said, he has been terrible this year and last. His game plan for big games is pathetic. ALso, complete inability to adjust. Why not call for his head? Because these players do not fit the system that he knows well. If he still has the same problem next year, he needs to go. Next year, Devin will be able to run the pro=style with a group of Hoke-recruited OL.
4. REcruiting - we are doing great. And loading up the lines. But, I am concerned about hoke's inability to land premier skill position players (other than Morris). We keep striking out at WR and RB and it is going to continue to hurt us. What's the issue here? Is Hoke's no-nonsense style less suited for coddling bigger ego guys?
5. Mattison - he is amazing. Nuff said. We lack so much athleticism on his side of the ball, and his results are still great.
According to the Sagarin ratings, which predict actual game outcomes:*
IN BB, UM is #1 in the B1G. In the nation, UM is #3, IND #4, and Ohio is not in the top 10.*
IN FB, on a neutral field UM would still be favored over Ohio (by 0.15 pts). Why? UM’s nonconference opponents included the two teams now favored to be in the national title game. By contrast, Ohio’s “marquee” nonconference game this year supposedly was Cal, which is now not even in the top 70 nationally. Moreover, Ohio’s other wins were often very narrow. In fact, even for the UM game, they were only +2 pts after subtracting 3pts for home field (not even considering the injury to UM’s starting QB).
What then should we make of Ohio’s claim that they could win the AP national title? That claim should be laughable to any educated voter. In fact, Ohio is not even ranked in the top 20 nationally by Sagarin (they are #24, whereas UM is #22). Also, Ohio will not be tested in a competitive bowl or conference championship. Indeed, in the latter, on a neutral field, they would be favored by less than half a point vs WISC, 2.5 pts vs NW and they would be underdogs to both NEB and UM.
Interestingly, ND's delusions of grandeur also should be tempered. Although human pollsters will no doubt put them #1, would ND actually be favored to beat all the other teams according unbiased Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings? No, not at this point. Why? ND had many narrow wins, even over marginal teams and teams expected to be huge challenges--like USC--turned out not to be so great. Thus, by Sagarin's ratings, while ALA is #1 and Oregon #2, ND is only #3 Both ALA and OR both would be favored over ND by large margins on a neutral field. In addition, unlike ALA but like Ohio, ND will not be tested in a conference championship game.
*I report only those ratings that predict actual game outcomes. For BB I take the average of ELO and PREDICTOR ratings. For FB, I report only PREDICTOR ratings (not the ELO-CHESS, which is used by the BCS but does not consider margin of victory or predict actual game outcomes).
Lost in the debacle of the 2nd half was the end of the 1st half. What do you think our plan was to end the half? We wasted a ton of time and ran Denard off tackle twice. It appeared Denard saved another disaster of a 2 minute drill. Do you think if Denard had been stuffed we would have shut it down or would we have brought Devin to hustle it up?