This is maaaaybe premature there, ESPN. Maryland #1 FWIW.
Grantland posted a piece today about the decline of running plays in the NFL:
The primary takeaway I had from the piece is that carries-per-game has dropped to an all-time low in the NFL this season. Teams are focused on the passing game and are not handing the ball off nearly as much as they used to. Likewise, the effectiveness even when they do hand the ball off has decreased.
Reading this makes me wonder what Hoke or Borges view as a "pro-style" offense that emphasizes power running and whether such an offense can be as effective long-term given the advances in all other areas of the game. A team like Wisconsin may suggest otherwise, but this piece was interesting anyway. I had hoped that he would offer some better explanations for the decline rather than focusing on individual players - but don't expect any of that here. Could defenses have adapted or advanced physically enough to limit the effectiveness of running the ball? Have the rules in the passing game just made it too important to focus on that?
The other interesting note if you bother to read the highlights from all the running backs he discusses is that many of them can at least partially attribute their decline to turnover, injuries, or ineffectiveness within their offensive line. Sound familiar?
Michigan and the winged helmet was number 5.
For anyone that can't view
2. Penn State
1. Notre Dame
Obviously I disagree but I am biased.
Brady has been a "tough it out" short sleeves kind of guys since taking over Michigan. However on Saturday that is not a smart strategy. The forecast calls for below freezing temps and strong winds. Do what you gotta do coach.
Dan Dierdorf to retire from broadcasting after the end of the 2013 NFL season.
One of the finest offensive tackles ever to play for Michigan and a consensus 1970 All- American. A native of Canton, Ohio, he was twice All-Big Ten and went on to become an all-pro with the St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League and player representative for the team. He twice was named best offensive lineman of the NFL.
Football Study Hall has an article up on West Virginia's offensive woes. I thought it relevant to MGoBlog because the question the author asks is quite similar to the questions being asked about Michigan and Borges: what is the problem with the offense? Who is to blame?
His conclusions, based on his analysis of the Kansas game, will sound awfully familiar to us:
The lack of inside running or downfield passing meant that, apart from the first and last two drives of the game, the Mountaineers had no effective base plays off of which they could build big-play constraints. Holgorsen and Dawson attempted to reassert the ground game in the second half, but poor line play and the inability of the offense to punish cheating defenders rendered this strategy almost dead on arrival. Short gains on first down led to repeated second-and-long and third-and-long situations.
His conclusion is that Holgorsen shouldn't be fired, that the schemes are sound but that
An accumulation of lackluster recruiting, graduated players, and injuries have depleted West Virginia’s roster. The current mishmash of players lacks consistency more than anything else, making Holgorsen’s job a difficult one. That said, he must work on the run game for the rest of the season and the off season in order to overcome his depth issues.
Again, this sounds familiar, albeit with some small tweaks. But certainly the lack of consistency has been one of the chief symptoms of Michigan's current offensive ills.
For me, what's interesting is that Holgo is the architect of a very trendy offense -- the Air Raid -- that comes Smart Football-approved, but ultimately he has the same problems that a more traditionally-oriented Al Borges offense does: can't run inside, can't pass downfield.
This isn't an exoneration of Borges, of course, because one could always argue that Holgo is working with much less than Borges is (WV's recruiting rankings have been in the low 20s and low 40s over the past four years). On the other hand, it does tend to illustrate that bad offenses can share the same problems even when they're diametrically opposed in terms of their philosophies.
George Campbell was previously ranked the #3 overall recruit for 2015, so he could only move down, right? Wrong! He moves up to #2 overall, despite a junior season that did not feature him much at his assumed future college position of WR, due to his team not passing much (although he appears to have still been a standout when they did throw, and also excellent on the defensive side of the ball).
Total Updated ESPN300 here:
The future still looks really bright!