national champs baby
More completely one-sided highlights.
I'm a little curious about the starting RB situation. If Rawls was the starter, why did Smith get (seemingly) 80% of the carries? Was it a diversion for the Alabama D's prep work? (BTW, I hold Smith in high regard; he is tough!)
Also, it was a little surprising that Roundtree was targeted very little. I spit a mouthful of water out unintentionally after the DG TD; my wife said, "Well at least that play finally worked!" Oh, it sure did!
I feel that Michigan played a strong game against an excellent team that will dominate its conference (and division this time?). They did not give up; they nearly outplayed Bama in the second half & they scored more points than LSU did!
OL/DL strength; guess which team walked away with the pair of sacks!
All in all, It's Still Great to Be a Michigan Wolverine!
AnnArbor.com has Al Borges saying that Rawls is the starter if Fitz misses games. It might not be groundbreaking news but it's unusual that a coach is this candid about players, especially at this point in the season.
"We're just going to the next guy -- we're not really changing anything," Borges said during a news conference at Schembechler Hall. "Thomas Rawls is going to be that next guy. Vince is going to do what he's done, and on we go."
On ESPN's Michigan site there is an article assesing Michigan's RB play this season. It points on some things that "worked" and some that didn't. Specifically it notes that:
Perhaps it wasn't worth it to burn an entire season for 13 carries.
So that got me thinking...Isn't it possible he could still be eligable for a medical redshirt? I know the rules are a bit wonky (specially since we have to sweat out Gardner's) but a little bit of internet research returned the following:
To receive a medical hardship waiver - in any sport - the injury must limit the student-athlete’s participation to no more than 20 percent of the team’s contests (rounded to the next whole number), with all participation occurring in the first half of the season.
Therefore, for a football player, the maximum number of games that he can play in and still receive a medical hardship waiver is three (20 percent of 11 equals 2.2, which is rounded up to 3), and none of his time on the field can occur after the fifth game (the sixth game of an eleven game season is considered in the second half of the season).
In the case of a 12 game regular season (ie. Michigan 2011), none of the player's time on the field can occur after the sixth game. The seventh game of a 12 game season is considered in the second half of the season.
Does anyone know if that's accurate? If it is, Rawls was still technically eligible after his 10 carries against Minny (assuming he came down with "an injury"), but it looks like his 1 carry against Purdue is going to cost him a full year of eligibility.
I remember reading somewhere that the staff told Rawls he wouldn't reshirt but was it really worth it for one carry?
Is it possible they played him knowing he'd reshirt next season?
Was he THAT good that the staff needed to get him on the field?
I hold Hoke in incredibly high regard, and I'm certain he didn't just goof, so what's the deal?
Did I miss something?
Blah, blah, punching bag, blah...
I thought it was going to be easy, I didn't think it was going to be that easy. And while it might be fun for a little while, by the 2nd half it was kind of embarrassing and pointless; unless you're a second stringer. We got a glimpse of some of the younger players, so I guess that's good from a program standpoint, if not from a viewer's POV.
You had me at hello...
Ok, so maybe I hadn't ever heard of you before you got hired, Mr. Borges. But what you did on Saturday, well, I haven't smiled like that since 1947, and I wasn't even alive in 1947.
You found a way to effectively use two of our best (highest rated) players on the same play. You sowed confusion and hesitation into opposing players and DC's. You called a halfback pass that was freaking WIDE OPEN.
To be true, I was a little worried about some of the playcalling in the first halves of the previous games. But after demonstrating so much flexibility and creativity in that game, you've won me over.
My hat is off to you, sir.
It's the simple things ...
At its core, football is really just about blocking and tackling. Almost anyone can draw up a play (or copy it from someone else). But it really is about how well the players execute that makes the difference between good teams and bad teams. Of course, it is easier to execute when your guys are bigger, faster, and more talented.
Denard's first TD was a good playcall, but the blitzing OLB didn't take himself out of the play like he was supposed to.
He almost brings down Denard from behind.
But I'm really impressed with the increase in Denard's leg strength this year. He's broken through a lot more arm tackles than last season. Other than the blitzer, we've got a hat on a hat. It's up to the QB to make one man miss, and he does, because he's awesome.
And the highest praise I can give a WR is to note when they sustain blocks downfield. Here we've got three guys making me think good things about them.
This next play is a type of sprint draw to Shaw
The blocking is setup perfectly by the fake and there's a wall to the outside.
Unfortunately Shaw misreads this great crackback block by Gallon and dances too much. He loses momentum and gets tackled for a modest gain. (more on this later)
When your players are too small, or slow, or confused to execute properly, you end up looking like Gophers.
The Minny O-line has actually gotten their assignments correct and have a small crease opened up. The pulling linemen has to choose which of the run-blitzers he needs to pick up.
He chose ... poorly. And the rest of our front seven collapse the hole.
And when you've got guys like Mike Martin and Will Campbell that can just run over people, that's nice.
If you're wondering who was supposed to block BWC, it's that lump of white that RVB is trampling over while he drives his own blocker into the backfield.
That looks painful.
So underneath all the fancy chalk talk, it really helps to have guys that can win one on one battles, and go to the correct places. It's all just blocking, tackling, and misdirection.
And throwing to guys who are wide open.
And throwing to guys who are wide open.
The RB Committee.
At this point in the season, Fitz and Vince have clearly established themselves as options #1 and #2 on the depth chart. I think Fitz can be that everydown back we need, but we'll have to see how well he holds up against non-laughable bigten defenses. With his TD trifecta, Vince just proved he's not a runningback. Vincent Smith is just a football player. And a damn good one.
Shaw... step into my office son. As a senior, you should be a team leader. You have track star speed. Your ball security has dramatically improved from the RR era. And we can really tell that you run with great effort and determination. But dude, STOP DANCING. You're not a dancer.
You're wasting all that great speed because during the time that you should be accelerating, you're two footing around in the backfield. You're not setting up and reading your blockers well enough. And you're still lacking that certain leg strength to run through arm tackles.
When someone grabs Denard's jersey, he runs so hard that the jersey rips away. You looked like someone hooked a towing cable to your bumper.
You've got a lot of potential. But just cut down on the moves. Make one cut and get upfield. Or better yet, make one cut and race fools to the sideline. Chris Perry made a career of that. And learn to fall forward fergodsakes. Instead of trying to dance around the tackler, deliver a blow and fall forward. If we really are going to play man ball, the difference between a 3.3 ypc average and 4.0 ypc average caused by simply falling forward is going to be a big deal.
And that goes for all the youngsters too.
Hopkins looks like he might have a bright future as a B.J. Askew-esque FB. It's just Minnesota, but he got one of those fabled 'double blocks' that all FB's dream about. And he seems to catch the ball pretty well.
And we learned a little bit about Rawls, albeit in garbage time. Early returns show good balance, decent speed, but not terribly explosive or shifty. He kinda reminds me of Kevin Grady, but not quite as chiseled. Let's just say he's got a low aspect ratio for a tailback. Looks pretty strong around the thighs and midsection. I'm thinking he could eat himself into a starring FB role in a year or two.
- If Denard is called "Shoelace", maybe Devin can be called "Shoeless"
- The FG kicking is quietly becoming a non-ulcer-inducing facet of our team.
- However, the kickoff coverage still sucks, I'm so glad we got to practice 11 of them this game.
- I really like it when crowd's continue to sing a song after the band/PA system has to cut off. But there's a time and place for it. Livin' on a Prayer should be reserved for something like near the end of a close Redwings game where the line "We're halfway there" makes sense. Leading by 40+ in the third quarter calls for something more like "Sweet Caroline" because "Good time never felt so good." (Even if it is cliche')
Darian Cooper and other kids whose announcements were spoiled by the early reporting of the media must be pissed off. It totally steals their thunder...Josh Barr of the Washington Post is a douche for spoling it for Darian Cooper.