I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
No one seems to want to report the sad/bad "breaks" incurred by Central Michigan in yesterday's game against Michigan. MLive reported last night that the Michigan Defense (1) knocked CMU starting quarterback Cody Kater out of the game with a broken collarbone and (2) knocked CMU starting running back out of the game with a broken ankle.
This is obviously very sad news for the players themselves, their families, and teammates.
The "breaks" significantly impact CMU's future offensive options as well as their depth. Here's wishing them as rapid a recovery as each can safely achieve. Michigan followers certainly can appreciate such bad "breaks."
Looks like the injury bug has hit a position with very little depth for OSU. Tommy Schutt was looking to be their starter at one of the DT positions (link says he was a backup at both, but I'm not sure I really believe that, he was going to play significantly and probably eventually start). They have little depth around him and almost no experience even with him. Going into the season, DT was probably their biggest concern, even more than an OL with serious depth issues. Well, that situation just got worse.
The OOC schedule is still easy, but teams like Wisconson, NW, Iowa, and PSU are the first four up in B1G play. Even when Schutt comes back he's unlikely to be 100%. While OSU has playmakers in the back end and in the pass rush, their lack of experience in the middle made them potentially weak against the run. Against the B1G teams listed above you don't want to be weak against the run. Wisconsin could pull out a big victory; NW, while being more of an outside run team, could potentially get OL to the LB level; Iowa is still good at blocking in the interior and with a few lucky bounces could be in a game they have no business being in; and PSU may be able to run the ball to take some pressure off their young QBs.
I still wouldn't expect many loses from that group of games, because the offense is still the offense. But this gives teams a chance and likely makes victory that much harder for the Buckeyes. Hate to see injuries regardless, but this is a big one for OSU.
Not much information, but more than I think previously posted here. In summary...
Amara Darboh WR - undisclosed injury during scrimmage on Saturday, has not practiced since. Unofficial reports of him in a boot around campus.
Jabreel Black DT - sat out Saturday's scrimmage with an undisclosed injury, and has not practiced this week.
Wyatt Shallman RB - not practicing due to undiclosed injury.
Shane Morris QB - sat out of scrimmage "as a precaution" with a finger injury... "could have gone."
Chris Bryant G - prior knee injury, back in practice.
That is all.
Can a conservative gameplan designed to protect Gardner's health still utilize Gardner's running ability as a threat to influence defenses?
This question came up, most recently, in today's Hokepoints thread. MCalibur argued for a much more intense use of Gardner as a runner, and was universally shot down by people like me who believe that a significant Gardner injury basically ends Michigan's season.
But can he force teams to account for him in the running game anyway?
Grantland has an interesting piece from Chris Brown of Smart Football that seeks to discern what kind of offense Chip Kelly will run in Philadelphia this year. One of the interesting revelations is that Chip can run his basic scheme with or without a running quarterback without changing its basic tenets. And, further, that Chip strongly preferred that his QBs in Oregon hand off, regardless of the actions of the unblocked defender.
And the statistics bear this out. Oregon's two most successful years occurred under the guidance of perhaps the least impressive, and certainly the slowest, quarterback of the Chip Kelly era: Darron Thomas. Thomas wasn't exactly Tom Brady in the pocket, but he wasn't a gamebreaker either, and those of us who watched Oregon in those years remember how infrequently he made plays with his feet.
Oregon won the Rose Bowl at the conclusion of its 2011 season; I don't think any of us would be disappointed with that kind of result this year. Darron Thomas that year? 56 carries, 206 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Yet Oregon was not lining up in the I-formation. They were running their diet of inside and outside zone reads, inside zone gives, and occasional reverses. Thomas wasn't a huge threat, but his presence required the coverage, or at least hesitation, of the unblocked defender; the result was space for LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner to run through.
Michigan does not run the spread concept anymore, and we do not have LaMichael James in our backfield, but the principle is the same. If the rumors of a pistol look are true, I would be unsurprised (but overjoyed) to see Michigan running pistol read-option looks to its tailbacks where Gardner almost always gives. This uses Gardner's speed as a threat while still keeping his running totals low. Frankly, as Kelly does, the only time Gardner would ever pull would be when the defense completely ignores him--and then he has the space to make them pay, and to protect himself. Two or three of those carries a game and the concept has done its job.
Combine those carries with perhaps one or two designed draws and Gardner's propensity for scrambling and you have 8-10 low-risk carries per game but also a fully realized threat that the defense must account for on every play.
There is a great article from The Atlantic about NCAA players who get abandoned to fend for themselves after they are injured. It is a pretty damning portrayals on how universities take advantage of naive kids and families. I don't understand why NCAA cannot provide 5 year free insurance coverage for athletes after they graduate if they are injured during their athletic career.
To relate this back to us, if Michigan does things the right way (but I do not have any real evidence that we do - just hope that we do things the right way and how we have handled Austin Hatch so far makes me believe that we do), shouldn't this be a real emphasis during recruiting?
Additionally, shouldn't sites like Mgoblog keep track of stories like this so that recruits can make informed decisions when it comes to which schools keep promises and which schools don't? I would hope doing would help Michigan be even more attractive to kids.
The Washington Post has a long piece about how injuries in the NFL may not be treated the same way as they would outside of football. The injury to RGIII in the Skins' playoff game has been the subject of much debate.
There is medicine, and then there is NFL medicine, and the practice of the two isn’t always the same — a conflict that was never more apparent than during a January playoff game.
Below is a link to a graphic in the article showing injuries by year, by position and by average weeks a player is on an NFL injury report.