a terrible blight on our fine country
Michigan Monday is up at The Ozone. LINK: What is the Opposite of Passing Fancy?
Today I'm not going to cup and paste quite as much. Go to the link to read lots more. I really appreciate that Gerdeman has went through some of the numbers in analysis.
Summary Statement (which isn't far from the truth)
The offense and defense were stellar early on, then Harbaugh sent the offense to bed and let the defense stay up and watch a violent television show of their own creation.
This will be the formula that Michigan wins with until they have an offense that doesn't have to be hidden away when company comes over. I don't know if that's going to happen this season, however, because the quarterback situation keeps trying to climb up on the couch.
When Michigan was on offense (just going to look at Rudock):
Monday afternoon Jim Harbaugh said that senior Jake Rudock is the starting quarterback and that he is so far out ahead of the pack that it's not even a close race. That's not Rudock's fault, it's Brady Hoke's. Just imagine if Rudock hadn't transferred to Michigan — the Wolverines would be starting a guy who isn't even close to playing as well as Rudock is right now.
[Rudock] poses no downfield threat and he'd rather not challenge cornerbacks if he doesn't have to. He completed 14-22 passes for 123 yards with a touchdown and an interception against UNLV, but where his passes went is the truly interesting part of his day.
Here is how far downfield his completions went when they were caught by a receiver: 7, 5, 7, 4, 2, -2, -1, 3, 7, 12, -2, 1, -2, and 3 yards. (His incompletions looked like this: 12, 5, 13, 9, 32, 1, 25, 33.) That's four completions that were thrown at least seven yards downfield and eight that didn't go beyond three yards. That's not exactly the kind of passing game that gives the running game a break by backing up the defense.
NOTE: I was actually very curious about this stat. Rudock MUST start completing passes significantly down the field, else every remaining team crowds the LOS just as UNLV did.
I realize that Rudock did actually go down field, but until he does it effectively, nobody is going to be overly concerned about the possibilities.
There is nothing really to say about the receivers, other than they deserve better than what they got on Saturday. They were open, but it didn't matter. It was not good.
Here are a few bullets from the rest:
- Gerdeman really likes Ty Isaac and thinks he is the future.
- Tosses, sweeps, WR's in the running game help to open things up.
- Godin & R. Glasgow were dominating. Ross was pretty good too.
- Stribling and Lewis were spectacular.
- Defense has held opponents to 237 yrds of offense, good for 7th in the nation.
- Peppers will be breaking one soon on special teams. Just a matter of when.
Putting it all together:
It means that this team is only going to go as far as Jake Rudock can keep them from getting.
Even when Rudock is trying to be safe, his wild inaccuracy makes any pass dangerous. As the saying goes, "Aim small, miss small", but for Rudock it's "Aim small, still miss big".
I am hoping Rudock shakes off this slow start, and considering who his head coach is, that should absolutely happen. But I don't think his ceiling has much head room.
It also means that generally seven points per half from the Wolverine offense is all this defense is going to need. Though they might need more than that on Saturday against BYU.
Michigan Monday is up at the Ozone. LINK: OSU Clearly Inferior to U of M.
Most of you are familiar, but this is a regular take on Michigan's weekly game from an Ohio State blogger. Here are a few snippets.
This was a very predictable outcome, as proven by the fact that I had Michigan winning this game 34-7. Oregon State started a freshman quarterback and a soft defense, so this one wasn't too hard to figure out. Still, this was a confidence-building outing for the Wolverines and it was exactly what Jim Harbaugh and his players needed to see. The key will be to build off of it and carry it forward into their game against BYU in a couple of weeks.
When Michigan was on Offense:
It was not a dynamic running game for the Wolverines, but it was certainly effective. Michigan rushed for 225 yards on 48 carries (4.7 avg), but the longest carry was just 19 yards. The Wolverines are one of just 13 teams in the nation who do not yet have a carry of at least 20 yards, and their six carries of 10+ yards is 106th in the nation.
Despite the lack of big hits, the running game was remarkably consistent. Only one carry by a running back was stopped in the backfield, which is a tremendous accomplishment for this offensive line.
This may have been the best game of right guard Ben Braden's career, which is long overdue.
Quarterback Jake Rudock went 18-26 passing for 180 yards and an interception. The pick was a bad throw and very late. It wasn't a deep throw or anything like that, it was a routine pass, and that's just as concerning as the three interceptions he threw last week.
While the Wolverines have yet to find a 20-yard run, they did have four receptions of at least 20 yards, though only one of them came from a wide receiver. Tight ends Ian Bunting and A.J. Williams had receptions of 21 and 22 yards, respectively, and tailback De'Veon Smith had a 20-yard reception.
When Michigan was on Defense:
Wormley was equally effective at crashing down the line of scrimmage as he was reversing field and chasing the ball toward the sideline. And when he wanted to, he would simply blast his way directly into the backfield because he didn't feel like dealing with all of the small talk. Wormley showed flashes at times last year, but right now he's not flashing at all — he's straight neon.
While he continues to have struggles in coverage, redshirt freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers is extremely fun to watch. He has incredible makeup speed and can cover a ton of ground, and when he gets to the ball somebody is going to pay for it. It may be sacrilegious for me to say this, but he reminds me of 3-time Ohio State All-American safety Mike Doss, but much faster.
What Does it All Mean:
It means that Michigan pounded a team that they should have pounded, and that's something that they were rarely capable of last season.
I have not bought into this running game, and I probably won't until it stops looking so difficult for them even against mediocre teams. A seven-yard run looks like a 20-yard run relative to what we have seen from this team over the last few years.
I am expecting a little bit larger margin of victory next week against UNLV, but the BYU game after that is very intriguing. I can see the Wolverines heading into the October 17 game against Michigan State at 5-1, and I can also see them at 3-3.
If they are at 5-1, however, then 6-1 wouldn't seem like such an outrageous thing to imagine, especially in the Big House.
There's a lot more at the link. Gerdeman usually gives a good read on Michigan, especially on a slow news day before Brian has the UFR up.
Michigan Monday vs. Miami is up over at The Ozone. As always, there's a lot of material there, but the opening statement sums things up well:
The Michigan Wolverines did exactly what they were supposed to do in their 34-10 win over the Miami RedHawks on Saturday, it just took them a little while to actually do it.
When the offense had the ball:
The one aspect of this game that jumped out at me more than any other was how much better Derrick Green looked compared to a week ago.
I'm not saying his problems are over, I'm saying it's good to know that he actually has the ability to see a hole and his brain can tell his legs to head towards it. Usually, the message from his brain to his legs ends in, “This seems like a good place to rest.”
Thoughts on Gardner:
Every week Gardner throws about four passes that should be intercepted, and whether Michigan wins or loses generally depends on how those throws end up.
I don't know if he is lacking confidence, but I imagine that his coaches lack some confidence in him, even though they would never admit it.
For me, whether or not this can become a high-powered offense depends more on Gardner than it does the offensive line right now.
On the stout run defense:
There's no need to show much defensively against Miami, but somebody in the front seven should be able to bring a running back down in the backfield. Obviously the front seven is doing something right because nobody is running on them, but it's almost like they just put up a wall at the line of scrimmage and don't try to cross into the offense's territory.
I don't understand how they are so good against the run, but I can certainly acknowledge that it's happening. Is it because they haven't yet played a team who lives on the run? At least in some part, definitely. I'm just wondering where the penetration is.
On the secondary:
The pass defense had some issues in terms of personnel.
It was good to see Peppers get some extensive time at cornerback instead of nickel. He responded well and I wonder how long it will be until he's starting.
It was also good to see Dymonte Thomas out there at safety for some snaps. He's a big hitter who is still looking to become the player that so many saw when he was a five-star prospect out of Ohio.
On special teams (blistering comments on clock mismanagement)
Lastly, I suppose this would be the best place to talk about an instance in this game that pretty much characterized everything wrong with Brady Hoke as a head coach.
The crowd was booing from the first time Hagerup was sent out onto the field. They've grown tired of this mentality at a time when it shouldn't even be in effect. This is Freaking Miami Freaking Of Freaking Ohio. They didn't win a game last year. Are you that unsure of your team or your own ability to coach them that you think not getting six yards with under a minute to play is going to allow them to go the 40-odd yards necessary just to get a crack at a long field goal attempt? How does this instill confidence in anybody?
The execution was horrific, but the mentality was even worse. Brady Hoke went full Ferentz, and you never go full Ferentz.
There's much, much more, but I've already quoted too much as it is. Read it all if you're starving for content prior to the UFR's coming up mid-week.
EDIT: So, going forward, I'll probably continue to link to Michigan Monday if no one else does. (Brian linked there after ND, and someone else did the week before against ASU. I don't own MM or have a particular claim on it . . . just think that Gerdeman is one of the better reads out there.) However, I think my use of block quotes was egregious, and so I will shorten that down a bit. On a different yet related note, I'd love for someone on the staff to watch the OSU game weekly, and provide a similar synopsis of the Buckeyes for MGoBlog as we head toward the end of November.
This was just posted. Excellent write up. Surprises me how balanced his perspective is time and again.
What are your thoughts?
Both "The Ozone" and "Eleven Warriors" have their take on the Akron game up respectively attheir websites. Here are the links:
Sun & Bluesday (Eleven Warriors)
Here are a few choice quotes.
Re: Devin Gardner
When he's dialed in, he's very good. When he's not, you don't know know he's not until he makes a mistake that should never have been made.
Gardner almost single-handedly lost the game for Michigan . . . his decision making under duress remains terrible.
Gardner threw three interceptions to an Akron defense that gave up 310 yards passing and three touchdowns to James Madison. One of those interceptions was a terrible pick six on a screen pass where Gardner never saw the defender in relation to his receiver. He has now thrown six interceptions on the season. That's as many interceptions as Braxton Miller threw all season last year.
Toussaint struggled again, as 15 of his 19 carries went for four yards or less. It gets worse from there, however, as 12 of his 19 carries went for two yards or less and eight of his 19 carries went for no gain or less. In other words, his eighth-longest carry of the day went for no gain.
Fitz Toussaint will never create for himself, ever. If the hole is there, he'll hit it and do okay. If it isn't, automatic two yard loss.
Center Jack Miller was pushed around like a shopping cart by Akron's defensive line, and he wasn't the only one. At one point, the BTN sideline reporter was talking to former Wolverine offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson about left tackle Taylor Lewan, and at that same moment, Lewan was being pushed into the backfield right to where the ball was for a loss of a couple of yards.
Akron's defensive line was just good enough to wreck havoc on a generally really bad Michigan offensive line, and that led to problems all over the field on the offensive side.
Last week I talked a bit about how open the middle of the field was against Notre Dame, and it was exploited again this past week by the Zips.
Defensively the secondary is a mess. Akron should not be throwing for 300 plus yards on anyone (they didn't even get that against James Madison), but the middle of the field is almost always open in Michigan's defense when teams feel like exploiting it. Countess has been opportunistic, but aside from him there's really no one to fear too much in the backfield at this point.
Speaking of Mattison, he didn't seem all that happy on Saturday. His defense was getting pushed around. There was very little pass rush and there was no penetration. Michigan's starting defensive tackles Quinton Washington and Jibreel Black failed to record any tackles. They were too easily blocked in this game.
The lack of a pass rush is a concern. James Madison sacked Akron four times, which is four more times than Michigan sacked the Zips. Defensive end Mario Ojemudia continues to be the only Michigan defensive lineman with a sack. Frank Clark came in with big expectations, but to this point has just one tackle for loss.
Michigan has a ton of gigantic, glaring holes in their team that need to be addressed ASAP or Big Ten season will be very difficult for them.
I'm waiting for the UFR's from Brian, but I'm feeling a bit glum about what this season portends. There are a few reasons I still have some hope.
- The schedule. We have six weeks (four games plus two byes, one before Big 10 and one before MSU.) This will allow our extremely young team time to learn, and in the case of the lines, to gel. Hopefully Chesson gets more of a rhythm.
- Jake Ryan. Whether he plays on the line as an end, or as a LB, he has to improve what the defensive line is doing, and the soft middle.
- Courtney Avery. Now we know why he was moved. We need Avery in the secondary, to allow Countess to always play corner.
- Williams. While having Williams in the game telegraphs "run," that's ok. Butt has promise, but we need a TE who can help block, and Williams appears to be option A, B, & C.
There actually is coverage on Michigan's game last Saturday at two different Ohio State fan websites.
The Ozone has had a feature called "Michigan Monday" for years, and it continues.
In addition, "Eleven Warriors" has apparently now added a weekly piece called "Sun & Bluesday."
Those of you who are addicts can go to the links. There just isn't a whole lot to add. A few observations from the Ozone.
- The Ozone liked Heitzmann & Ojemudia (in addition to the observations many have made about the O Line, Gardner, etc.)
- The Ozone also noted that the "Red Zone" defense for Michigan only gave up two field goals, which is a good thing.
Eleven Warriors isn't as heavy on analysis, but actually uses mgoblog's own Ace Anbender as as source of info. Johnny Ginter, their writer, is heavy on the snark, but can be entertaining. He writes,
I have recruited Ace Anbender from the admittedly *deep sigh* excellent MGoBlog to help me parse through what happened this past weekend. Our conversations are real, but have been edited slightly for brevity/spelling/to make me look cool.
- Ginter is pretty crabby because Michigan beat CMU the way Ohio fans think they should have beat Buffalo.
- He was struck that the defense was as good as it was, and the loss of Jake Ryan didn't cripple us.
- Ginter also thought Gardner wasn't bad. However, he believes that Gardner's decision making will come back to bite Michigan when playing against a real opponent (read: Ohio.) I have to agree I'd like to see Gardner improve there a bit.
- Ginter wasn't that impressed by Toussaint or Smith, but thinks Green is the real deal.
As always, go to the links if you want more detail. Given the nature of a first game against CMU, there just really isn't that much to analyze. (Well, unless you're doing things like UFR's.)