Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
Just wanted to comment on a couple things on the MSU game. It was disappointing but not a real surprise. Our O-line seemed a little overpowered from the start and accordingly the offense could not get untracked until late. MSU was fired up and it showed. I still think we can beat Iowa. It was the first road game in a very hostile environment – chalk it up to that for now.
A couple of plays of note:
The fake punt has gotten a lot of attention. This appears to be a read-option by Mesko. The announcers went on at length about how the play should be a short snap and not an 8-yard deep snap to the punter. In fact there are two different, widely used, ways of faking a punt. The short snap tries to catch the the D-line unprepared and open a quick hole. The deep snap, which Michigan has used successfully with Mesko (see the hype video) gives the punter the option to kick it or, if he sees the flat open, to run it (or pass). Mesko obviously though it was going to be open and moved left. Unfortunately MSU was ready for it. The contain guy on that side was waiting and immediately moved outside his blocker, effectively killing the play. At that point it was too late to kick it, and we got what we got. We have used a lot of rollout punts where there was a fake option and may have gone to this well once too often.
The defense kept them from scoring a touchdown and at most that play cost a field goal. Considering that we were punting deep in our own territory and MSU would have likely gotten good field position it may have not even cost that. Regardless I doubt we will see that again for a while.
Second, the final interception in overtime has been widely labeled a mistake and that is fair. However, after watching the play a number of times it appears that the receiver (Odoms I believe) was moving across the end zone slightly behind and to Forcier’s right of the defender. Forcier was scrambling in the pocket and thought he could hit the receiver continuing to move right. It would have been tight but the receiver would have been at least able to get to the ball. Right before he threw it the receiver tried to cut back to the left, which was not a bad idea assuming they had another second or two. It didn’t work out as Forcier threw it and only the defender was there – it looked worse than it was. They were in scramble mode and both Forcier and the receiver made aggressive, hustle moves to try and make a play.
It was a tough day but the effort was there and they didn’t fold. Let’s beat Iowa and move on