"(I) think about 'The Lion King,' Simba gets hit over the head and (he's told) 'the past can hurt,' " Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. "'You can either run from it or embrace it and learn from it.'
Am I the only one who finds it odd that teams all over the nation, and even some of the historically middle/lower B10 teams, have been able to recruit/develop excellent RB's, yet Michigan hasn't had one since 2007?
Minnesota had Cobb, Indiana had Colman, and teams like Wisconsin, MSU, and OSU have had a steady stream of good to great RB's.
I love Smith's heart and his abilitiy to generate YAC, but it seems his vision and speed are nowhere near up to the standard for the position. I know that some of this -- ok a lot of this -- falls upon the OL, but not ALL of it is, as was illustrated by Drake Johnson's ability to actually generate a running attack. Yes, when he was starting the OL was improving, but there has to be more to it than that, no?
Remember when Denard would shred teams on the ground -- despite a "weak OL" -- and nobody else could gain any yards? Yes, Denard was a special runner, a "once-in-a-decade talent," but he is proof that the holes were there.
My point? I don't know. Maybe it's to point the finger at Fred Jackson, and to say that he completely lost his ability to judge RB talent -- although he was pretty high on Thomas Rawls who became a new man once he left Ann Arbor. Or maybe it's to vent my frustration concerning a position which other teams seem to have no trouble finding and developing talent, yet Michigan seems incapable of late. Heck, that Juco transfer RB that Utah threw in for a carry or two look significantly better than anyone on Michigan's roster currently.
I just watch other programs from FCS to P5 run the ball think how nice it would be to have a RB that actually had some speed (doesn't have to be Ty Wheatley 2.0, just normal P5 starting RB speed), some quickness (doesn't have to Barry Sanders 2.0, just normal P5 starting RB quicks), some vision (not Laveon Bell vison, normal P5 starting RB vision), and some ability to burst through a hole -- no matter how infrequently they might appear. I think that Harbaugh and Co, are one it, and this is a merely a hangover from the down times of late.
About last night:
100% different "feel" to the team from an organizational standpoint -- no "derps," no clock issues, no WTF?!? -- just too many costly mistakes.
Guys used to go insane when Hoke would say, "we didn't execute ..." and would point to all the "little basic things" (like counting to 11) that his teams couldn't do. Last night was a real "we didn't execute ..." game. Guys were in position to make plays, they just didn't. The game was very winnable, and I for one am pleased that we can already see significant improvement in the preparedness and organization of the team.
I've not posted anything for a long time, so I apologize for the rambling. Any thoughts?
Looks like a beautiful fall day for Harbaugh's home opener. According to the Internets, it's going to be 71 and sunny in Ann Arbor come next Saturday. We won't be baking in an 85-degree oven. Let's hope that forecast doesn't change any.
did my eyes and ears deceive me yesterday or did Ross Taylor-Douglas, the positional nomad, get in at RB yesterday?
Let's not forget to be fans and give some positive support to our team. What did you find encouraging and praiseworthy from last night's close loss to a tough team on the road? I'll start us off by saying that Peppers was terrific in getting past blocks and tackling in space. Can't wait to see him develop and make plays!
If you work nights like me, or just want to set your DVR, here is your chance to watch the game again. I'm going to unleash my inner masochist, because I'm interested in looking closer at the lines, and maybe Stribling and the LBs.
So I am not trying to go all "Inside the Boxscore" on you guys and gals. That's ST3's job and he is way better at it. I thought a quick comparison by drives against Utah between 2014 & 2015 would be interesting to look at.
I am seeking out improvement with this analysis, so I will try and not be biased. I will be biased though.
TO THE DATA!
Yay so 3 points, 5 punts, 3 interceptions, two turnovers on downs and a fumble!!! (Sorry for making you guys look at that).
Let's see that Harbaugh Bump!!
Okay so better right? NSFMF. That could just be your brain wanting to it to be better! But no seriously, this is better. No fumble, 1 less turnover on downs. TWO MORE TOUCHDOWNS!! WHAT WHAT?!? Same amount of interceptions though. Lot less punting also, which is a key to our success this year. Gaining 20 yards and punting is going to keep stress off our defense and keep us in games.
Anyways, the whole reason I started looking into these STATS were for the 3 and out numbers. In 2014, Michigan only had two drives of 3 plays or less. 5 drives of 4 or less. The Harbaughffense had three drives of 3 plays or less, and 4 drives of 4 or less. Not great improvement here.
Where improvement does exist is in the consistent movement of the offense. Hoke's 2014 squad had 12 offensive possessions averaging 6.33 plays per possession (PPP), and around 24 yards per possession (YPP). Harbaugh led his offense on 11 possessions, averaging 6.72 PPP, while bumping the YPP up to 35!! So there is a 10 yards field position swing per possession from 2014 to 2015. If only we could have punted more!
Other items of note:
Longest drive (yards) - 50 yards (2014) vs. 80 yards (2015).
Longest drive (time) - 5:35 (2014) vs. 5:03 (2015).
2014 offense had 3 drives of 9 plays or more.
2015 offense had 4 drives of 9 plays or more.
The best news by far was the success of the 2 minute offense. Hoke's attempt in 2014 was four plays for zero yards and a turn over on downs. Harbaugh's offense took the ball 80 yards on 9 plays for a touchdown in 1:52. Might need to do that faster down the road, but seeing that we left a minute on the clock for the offense in case the onside kick worked, no harm no foul.
TL;DR: Very little improvement from last year to this one statistically. Yards per possession got a nice bump, but the biggest results are in the points score. 3 points in 2014 vs 17 in 2015 tell the whole story. The eye test helped as well.