Good read as usual. He's much more generous in assessing JOK than I think anyone here has been.
Can't wait for the game. Go Blue!
Michigan Monday is up for the Illinois game. "The Calm before some more calm." Gerdeman continues to be a good read. Here are a handful of quotes.
The Wolverines were never tested in this game, just as they have never been tested by any of their lesser opponents. Even when they have been tested by Colorado and Wisconsin, they responded with every necessary answer. And they are only getting more confident and more selfless and more united in what they are doing.
I really have no idea how Ohio State is going to defend Michigan's tight ends. I don't expect them to do it very well. Jake Butt caught three passes for 40 yards and a touchdown, and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. caught two passes for 27 yards and a touchdown.
It means that Michigan has yet to play down to an opponent this season and it would be a huge surprise if they do so at any point in 2016. A wrecking ball doesn't slow down for smaller buildings, and Michigan doesn't slow down because Illinois is lined up in front of them. The Wolverines do not discriminate. They do not have remorse. They do not feel pity. If Michigan is going to be beaten by any Big Ten team this season, it will take that team's best effort of the year because they are going to get the Wolverines' best effort. More than anywhere else, this is where Jim Harbaugh excels. He's basically an extreme couponer regarding talent -- he gets every last cent out of his guys.
I'm about to go to bed, but brought up Ohio State fan website "The Ozone." Tony Gerdeman writes a regular feature on Michigan's game.
LINK: Michigan Monday
This is really for Michigan football junkies who haven't read enough already. Often, I'll quote liberally. However, there isn't a whole lot to say after a 63 - 3 beatdown. Here are a few observations:
- Michigan dominated in every single area. They did exactly what they were supposed to do against a vastly overmatched team.
- Speight was fine. Not yet someone who will scare a defense.
- We already know how good the senior receivers are. Eddie McDoom is very fast and worthy of notice.
- Obviously, Evans is the biggest news among the RB group. He is much more than a small scatback. It remains to be seen, but it appears he could be the kind of RB who would strike fear, and give Michigan a good running option up the middle in like, forever.
- 7 of 7 conversion of 3rd downs. Notable for the perfection, and how few 3rd down situations they faced.
- The biggest revelation of the day was the LB group. They were very, very good. The LB's were the biggest question mark. This kind of performance bodes very well. With the blitzing and the aggression, Michigan's defense is going to be dominant.
- The DL is good, as advertised. With the injuries to Mone, Taco, and Hurst, it will be something to keep an eye on.
Gerdeman is often a good read. There just isn't a whole lot to say with this kind of domination. If Michigan dominates the same way this coming week, it will be more worthy of note.
Michigan Monday is up at Ohio State site "The Ozone."
I will go ahead and block quote a few nuggets from the article.
EDIT: This is NOT Michigan Monday. But still an interesting article.
It would be just like it was in 1969, a first-year coach and his inspired and hungry troops ready to repeat history, spoiling everything the favored Buckeyes had planned for another Big Ten and national title.
The second edition of the “Ten-Year War” would break out right before our very eyes.
What is that, you say?
It didn’t happen that way?
Just when you least expect it, the football Gods have a funny way of stunning the narrative and distributing humility along the way.
Michigan has done its part, however. The Wolverines are 9-2 and could have been 10-1 if not for a miracle that handed Michigan State the play of the year back in October. On the flip side, they really could be 7-4, if not for last-second survivals at Minnesota and at Indiana in consecutive weeks.
The important part is that they are much, much better than the mediocre teams that Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke put together the past 10 years.
The bottom line: Michigan is Michigan again and the sky is blue in Ann Arbor again and many wonder if the pendulum of momentum in the series is about to swing North again.
As for the Buckeyes, they will not strut into Ann Arbor as the story line suggested. History will not repeat itself. There is no doubting they are a wounded duck now, shot down by that same Michigan State squad and now lacking the confidence to consistently gain a first down, much less dominate these Wolverines.
Meyer has to be downright shocked at his team’s offensive problems, which have been consistent from the time he tinkered with two quarterbacks and was as indecisive as the junior high school cheerleader dating two handsome boys at once. What would have been the odds that these Buckeyes would not score 50 or more points even once this season – against a schedule that included two MAC teams, Hawaii, Rutgers, Maryland, Illinois and Indiana?
If Meyer can put that psychology degree to use this week and get Ohio State mentally ready to play, especially after one of his best players criticized the coaching staff for the world to hear, because let’s face it -- that’s his uphill battle -- then maybe the Buckeyes have a fighting chance Saturday. Because this team’s problems are not physical. They lie strictly underneath those Buckeye leaf stickers.
“We’re just not operating at maximum capacity,” Meyer admitted Monday. “But we’re still 10-1. So what I am trying to do now is (put) every ounce of ability, every ounce of energy and focus is going on trying to win this game.”
Maybe, just maybe, the tables have been turned with Ohio State’s stunning loss and turmoil last week. Maybe, just maybe, the Buckeyes have the favored Wolverines right where they want them.
That’s only wishful thinking.
Michigan will win this game.
I felt that way a week ago before the Michigan State stunner and that feeling is much stronger today, obviously.
There are a few silver linings to a Michigan win in Harbaugh’s debut as head coach against the Buckeyes: It won’t be an upset, and, as long as the Spartans defeat Penn State as expected later in the day, the Wolverines won’t have a chance at the Big Ten championship much less anything bigger.
Yep, thank God for muffed punts and the miracle of all plays.
Michigan Monday is up over at Ohio State website The Ozone. Not as good a read as usual.
I will cut and paste several points here for those of you who are too lazy to click through. FTR, these cuts are long . . . excerpts are less than a third of the whole article, so go if you want more content.
The 307 yards are the most that a Michigan defense has given up since the Buckeyes went for 393 yards in the 2013 game. Other than those two games, however, nobody else has eclipsed the 300-yard mark on the ground against the Wolverines since 2010.
Indiana running back Jordan Howard carried the ball 35 times for 238 yards (6.8 ypc) and two touchdowns. He was stopped for a loss just once in those 35 carries, which gives you an idea of the kind of control that the Hoosiers had at the line of scrimmage. Fortunately for the Michigan defense, the Michigan offense got to play against an Indiana defense that defends the pass about as well as a watermelon defends a sledgehammer.
We’ll get into it more down below, but it was an impressive performance from a quarterback who is just overflowing with confidence right now. That being said, getting too worked up about 440 yards through the air against Indiana is a little like bragging to your wife about how you just destroyed Junior in Trivial Pursuit, and then adding that you’re “not sure what his third-grade teacher is even teaching him at that backwards, hillbilly school.”
When Michigan was on offense:
The Wolverines threw the ball 46 times and ran it 28 times – although one of those “runs” was actually a sack during a pass play. Also, Rudock scrambled a handful of times as well, so basically they tried to throw it about 50 times and tried to run it about 25 times. This all seems very un-Jim-Harbaugh-like, but such is the state of the Michigan offense right now.
Of note, Rudock completed four passes that lost yards: -10 yards to Jake Butt, -7 to Jake Butt, -8 to Jabrill Peppers and -2 to De’Veon Smith. Had those guys dropped those four passes, Rudock would have thrown for 467 yards instead of 440 yards, which is sort of funny.
There are two reasons why Michigan threw the ball so well and so often against Indiana. The first is because Indiana’s pass defense is an abomination. The second reason, however, is because Michigan couldn’t simply line up and run the ball on the Hoosier defense.
All told, the running backs carried the ball 21 times for 77 yards (3.7 ypc) and no scores. Rudock’s 71 yards gained was a life saver for Michigan, as he was 3 for 3 on picking up the first down on third-down carries. Michigan scored 17 points in regulation on those three drives.
When Michigan was on defense:
The Wolverines missed quite a few tackles in this game, and the worst thing about it is that they weren’t misses in space, they were misses in the box. They had players in position who could have kept Jordan Howard from rushing for 238 yards, but they didn’t.
This wasn’t a good game for the linebackers as evidenced by the fact that Indiana ran the ball 55 times and starters Joe Bolden (8) and Desmond Morgan (5) combined for just 13 tackles. Safeties Delano Hill and Jarrod Wilson, meanwhile, each had 10 tackles, and Hill didn’t even get the start.
As I said above, I fully expected the linebackers and safeties to be attacked in the passing game, but Indiana went at them with the running game, which isn’t a good sign for what still lays ahead of the Wolverines.
When Michigan was on special teams:
Michigan has found something with Jourdan Lewis at kickoff return. He averaged 30.3 yards on his three returns with a long of 38 yards. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go the distance in one of Michigan’s remaining games this season.
What does it all mean?
It means that maybe Michigan fans shouldn’t have reveled in Michigan State constantly talking about their injuries because now the Wolverines are seeing what happens when an area like the defensive line thins out more than a team can handle.
I still think these next two weeks could turn out perfectly fine for Michigan because Penn State’s offense isn’t all that tricky and the Buckeyes seem to be addicted to slow starts this season. But what happens in the fourth quarter when the Wolverines are tired on defense? Will they be able to put up a stop? They were this time around, albeit against an Indiana team that has the intimidation value of a puppy on a birthday card.
But it also means that maybe Michigan can throw the ball around on teams that don’t happen to possess the worst pass defenses in the nation. The protection needs to hold up, as does Rudock’s confidence, but with receivers like Jehu Chesson, Jake Butt, Amara Darboh (provided he actually catches the ball), and Jabrill Peppers, there is definitely something to work with here.
It has been a pretty memorable year for the Wolverines, but exactly how this season is judged will be determined in these next two games. And it can go either way.
Michigan Monday is up at the Ozone.
I really wondered how much Gerdeman would gloat or diss Michigan. Actually, he seems to feel our pain:
A thousand different scenarios, and maybe three where Michigan doesn't leave the Big House with a win. That's why, for me, this is clearly the gutwrenchingest college football loss that I have ever seen. The good news for Michigan fans is that you'll never have to worry about something like this happening again because the mathematical probabilities just don't stretch that far.
On offense, he highlights several things:
- Failure to gain more than 100 yds rushing (like Utah).
- Only 3 completed passes actually travelled more than 20 yds in the air.
- Rudock failed to connect with Chesson on a pass that would have sealed the game.
- Rudock failed to take advantage of freshmen safeties, an opportunity that was there all game long.
Michigan played well again. Burbridge and Lewis was a fascinated duel to watch between two budding stars.
On special teams,
Very good play, but you can't discount the mistakes made on the final play. Not all of which (but much of which) falls on Blake O'Neill.
What does it all mean?
It means that Jake Rudock did enough to win the game, but he didn't actually do anything to win the game. The fact that Michigan was in a position to win this game despite being out-gained 386 to 230 and out-first downed 20 to 10 is an amazing feat. Every step of the way Jim Harbaugh had to figure out a way to overcome his lack of a running game while also hiding his lack of a passing game. This is some MacGyver-level stuff on Harbaugh's part. You wonder what he could have done had he found a paper clip or a rubber band or some hydrochloric acid in his pocket.
The future is ok this year, and great for the future.
Despite how far away this team is in terms of championship talent, they have shown the ability to put enough of their abilities together to win any game on their schedule. Unfortunately, they are just not good enough on offense to hide their weaknesses, and if the opponent sticks around long enough, those weaknesses will be exploited, as we have seen in both of Michigan's losses this season.
As always, Gerdeman's analysis is generally fair and insightful. Early in the season, Harbaugh said he didn't know what kind of team he had. Now we know. If Harbaugh can get this much out of the current team, I can only imagine what he will do when he has a team made up of guys he actually recruited.