I thought the students did a nice job arriving but my assumption is the 3:30 kickoff was the reason not the HAIL program.
I did not make this headline up
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
In a game that felt like something out of the Rodriguez era, Michigan showed that while there's great promise for the future, the flaws exposed by Alabama are very real.
The Wolverines edged Air Force, 31-25, and the outcome wasn't decided until Jake Ryan batted down Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz's fourth-down throw with 1:28 remaining. Denard Robinson accounted for all but seven yards of the team's total offense. The defense ceded 417 total yards—290 on the ground—and failed to keep contain all afternoon.
It wasn't all bad, however. Robinson was masterful, completing 14-of-25 passes for 218 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception—one that deflected off the hands of Vincent Smith—while rushing for 218 yards and another pair of touchdowns on 20 carries. True freshman Devin Funchess emerged as a viable threat at tight end, becoming the first Michigan TE to eclipse 100 receiving yards in a game since Jerame Tuman. Devin Gardner looked like a wide receiver, hauling in five passes for 63 yards and a touchdown while running crisper routes.
The offense lived and died with Denard, as Fitzgerald Toussaint found little room to run—seven yards on eight carries, to be exact. The offensive line failed to get a push against Air Force's undersized D-line, doing little to ease concerns from last week's debacle. By the second half, Al Borges had essentially given up on generating yards the traditional way, and he was justified in doing so.
Defensively, Michigan looked ill-equipped to stop the Falcon triple-option attack. The defensive line spent much of the day on their stomachs, unable to evade chop blocks or get any sort of push. Kenny Demens looked positively Ezeh-esque, letting blockers get into him again and again before being pulled in favor of true freshman Joe Bolden. Jake Ryan was all over the field, recording a career-high 12 tackles, but sometimes "all over" can be a bad thing—keeping contain was an issue. The final Air Force touchdown came when Desmond Morgan overpursued. The defensive backs struggled against the run as well, failing to shed blocks and come up to take the pitch.
When the defense needed a big play, odds are it came from an underclassman. Ryan continually redeemed his poorer efforts with critical stops, including two pass breakups on the final Air Force drive. Bolden replaced Demens and displayed the aggressive, instinctual play that made him a high school All-American. Fellow freshman linebacker James Ross spelled Morgan late and acquitted himself well after struggling in his debut against Alabama. Several other freshmen made appearances during the game's biggest moments, including Ondre Pipkins and Mario Ojemudia.
Last season's 11-2 record belied the myriad issues Brady Hoke faced upon taking over in Ann Arbor. After two games in 2012, those issues are at the forefront for the Wolverines. The lack of depth on the offensive line means Michigan must move ahead with the current unit—despite its ineffectiveness in the run game—unless they want to insert a true freshman. The defensive tackles will be a sore spot all year; the players expected to relieve that problem are freshmen or not even on campus yet. The offense still leans heavily on Denard, whose style doesn't always mesh well with the offensive philosophy of Borges.
The Wolverines came away with a victory, a fact that cannot be overlooked, especially against a team with a difficult style to prepare for in a week's time. Denard will still make magic with his feet—his touchdown runs were both exhilarating—and perhaps his arm as well—he looks much-improved from last year even if the numbers don't necessarily bear that out. The future looks bright, too, thanks to the major contributions from a number of young players already gaining crucial experience.
The overwhelming feeling in the aftermath, however, is that this team is still two years away from competing on a national level, the only level of success that matters at Michigan. Today's game had Rich Rodriguez's fingerprints all over it; as we know, that's a smudge that isn't easily wiped away.
I thought the students did a nice job arriving but my assumption is the 3:30 kickoff was the reason not the HAIL program.
What happened to Demens? Was he injured or just benched?
I'm not sure what to make of the defense - it was an extremely young lineup today and AFA is a weird team to defend. But the OL was worrisome.
I'm nort a big x's and o's guy... But what is wrong with Kovacs??? He looks super slow, super weak in getting off blocks, and not the flat out awesome tackler thatnhe's been in the past. Am i wrong? Offenses don't do special things to mitigate an especially good safety do they?
I don't blame Toussaint for not getting anything. Borges kept trying to run him up the middle. It seems like this OL is better running outside.
Denard did have a great game against Air Force, when compared to the Alabama blowout......but the major thing that baffels me is "why is Denard throwing the ball when we could easily get a ten yard run." I understand that they want him to use his arm, but why???? If being one-demensional works why not continue to attack that way??? ( I am probably completly wrong, but the amount of running room that was available for him should have made the score at least 45-25.) .....just venting. My love for Michigan exceeds my football intellegence. It surprised me how difficult if was for our defense to handle the triple-option. With technique being the main focus all year, they sure lacked in that department especially when it came to positioning and tackling. Hip control and angles seem to be the the overall biggest struggle. I sure hope there is a brighter side to this season......Its hard for me not to glance into the future....... Shane Morris.... Love you Denard.
RE: Denard not running more.
You said one of them. They want him to get reps throwing the ball. The run-first attack will not necessarily work against better teams. Also, the more you run Denard, the greater the chance of injury. He's just not built like an RB, and if he goes down, Michigan is looking down the barrel of a .500 season.
I'll add one more -- "You run for yards, you throw for miles."
That's what Al Borges says. He wants Michigan to be a potent passing offense.
Frankly, I was surprised he had Robinson come out in designed run so much so early ... it was almost as if Borges was trying to quiet the critics. Or he realized that he has to restore a bit of Robinson's confidence, and letting him gallop is the way to do it.
Then back to the passing.
Look forward to a 17 year old HS kid who has never played in college over the most spectacular athlete to ever wear the wigned helmet.
Um, no. I'd put Woodson over Denard easily. Denard is fast and a great runner, but Woodson was a player with no flaws. Athletically he was superior to Denard due to leaping ability and physical strength. Woodson's impact was immense on both sides of the ball
Then we have Tyrone Wheatley who was just as fast as Denard, but bigger and stronger.
Then we have AC, who was amazing in his own right.
Denard is up there, but most spectacular ever? I can't say that.
... it's Anthony Carter, no question. Desmond Howard and Butch Woolfolk are honorable mention with Woodson, Wheatley and Denard.
Non-personal observation ... we had this guy playing for us a while back - you might remember his name? Tom Harmon? Only wearer of the winged helmet to get a standing ovation in our arch-rival's stadium?
We are fortunate to have Denard - few others have anything remotely like him, but let's not go overboard.
"as Fitzgerald Toussaint found little room to run—seven yards on eight carries, to be exact."
keyword: EIGHT carries.
A running back takes some time to find the holes and burst through them. It's not a matter of getting a push. Denard's running should give more than enough evidence about getting a push. The problem is with vision. Fitz will get his vision with more practice. But if you give Denard 25 carries and Fitz 8, there is no question that Denard will be the one with better vision than Fitz at the end of the day.
Something to be really happy about is the fact that Denard took the time to go through 2 or 3 reads before passing the ball a lot of the time. His passes were more or less on target. I don't know why they seemed late to some people - watching from the stadium he went through his progressions at an adequate pace.
Dude had the vision last year, along with basically everything else. When he only gets 1 or 2 yards per carry, you figure that it's not working, so the one thing you do not do is keep running him.
explain why Denard, after only 2 carries (and not 25 carries), already outgained Fitz (8 carries) for the entire game. And teams are keying on Denard, not Fitz.
The OL run blocking is pretty poor. Denard is still able to get his yards (usually from breaking through to the second level and beyond), something virtually no one else would be able to do.
The D looked more than a little GERGish to me
If you want to blame RRod for this year's D, then you should credit him for last year's.
Unless I am not understanding what you mean by "RRod's fingerprints".
A few things:
1. We've had three coaches in six years. Rodriguez probably had 1.5 years of recruiting where he wasn't recruiting with the threat of losing his job over his head. Hoke took over the 2011 recruiting without much fanfare as a big name and in a toxic environment. I'm not surprised by our lack of depth.
2. I love Michigan fans. After Denard threw that incompletion third down to Devin Gardner (which should have been caught) there was talk on the liveblog along the lines of "can't wait for Morris". First of all, that was a completely catchable ball. Second, shit like that happens. Look at Brady in the Super Bowl last year on that pass to a wide open Welker. Third, the guy just put up 400 yards of total offense and you're calling for his replacement? Idiots.
3. Going back to #1, this season actually provides us with a huge opportunity going forward. So many of our young guys are going to improve much more than they would have had we HAD the depth we need that it can only be a good thing looking towards next season. Guys like Ross, Bolden, Funchess, etc. will look shaky this year, but should stymie the demise a lot of people have been predicting for next year.
4. Despite our flawed team, we are still totally capable of winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl this year. We haven't looked good, but really, who has? Wisconsin just lost to Oregon State and put up 7 points. Michigan State looked wildly mediocre against a completely rebuilt Boise team. Nebraska is in a dogfight right now with an average UCLA team. Ohio couldn't even breathe easy against UCF. Assuming we beat the teams we should, I think if we can go 2-1 against Ohio, Nebraska and MSU, we should be fine.
5. I would really like to see more of Norfleet. If our lack of RB production continues, I hope Borges gives him a few carries.
We got a win today against a unique opponent. It wasn't pretty, but this is a team that has scared a lot of good teams over the years. And its always better than the Appy State/Toledo alternative.
I agree on the Norfleet comment. Maybe a few swing passes or so out of the backfield. Maybe Al is still holding back a little bit.
more than a little. Because our end all be all goal is the BIG. To me that is the wrong way of thinking.
2. The live blog should be called the Mlive blog. You can't hold the fanbase responsible for what assholes write in that.
C'mon, Ace. It sounds like you are saying that whenever Michigan does bad, it's RR's fault, 20 months after he was fired. Conversely, whenever Michigan does well, it's because of Hoke.
The quality of your work here has been far too good for you to stoop to such a level of incompetence. Besides, if you bitch about RR, you will cause a group of lemmings to do the same, and this board might as well be RCMB.
You're better than that, Ace. You work for the blog and you are in a position of influence. I really wish you wouldn't use it to encourage those who have nothing better to do than to beat a dead horse.
Ace was not giving us a RichRod complaint merely observing that a weak defense and a DENARD-only offense reminds us of that style of play
It felt like a game during the RR era. Out scoring teams. Not really stomping the other teams or dominating in any real way. Never feeling comfortable. A game where everytime it seems like the game can be put away, it isn't, and afterwards your heart feels like it was just sat on by an elephant for three and a half hours. At least that's how I felt during this game. Always very much on edge, very frustrated with the defense, alright with the offense with the knowledge "relying this much on one guy isn't good for the duration of the season". Mostly the defense thing though.
and we are still seeing similar results on the field.
The basic fact of the matter is that no matter who the coach is, it will take time to establish and mature any system or scheme so that it is being tweaked each year for personnel and is not driven by what players are on hand. This is especially true when the scheme being implemented is vastly different than the one it replaces. It was true for R.R. when he came in and is true for Hoke now. He does not have a set of players that can support his scheme effectively. Right now, the scheme is really just trying to make the best out of the current players, their lack of experience, and what are still massive holes in the lineup on both sides of the ball. This isn't anyone's fault, it is just a fact of life transitioning coaches/schemes.
This is a young team....it will be a young team for at least the next three years.
I hope the more volatile fans out there realize this and don't start jumping all over the coaches again because there is no quick fix. It was a mistake to do it the first time and would be a bigger one to do it again. What the program needs more than anything right now is consistency and stability over the next 5-7 years.
Having 1-2 great recuiting classes come in will be awesome, but you will still be dealing with a lack of playing experience and a size/strength disparity that no amount of coaching could overcome. Freshman/sophomores vs. Juniors/Seniors is always going to be tough sledding.
Having 2 more great recruiting classes to follow will back up the initial ones as they go on to be juniors and seniors, providing depth where required and giving playing time only to freshman that really warrant it based on ability, not out of necessity.
Go ahead 1-2 more recruting classes where a set of players have been playing in the same system for their entire career, with seniors that possesses on-field experience in applying it that they can pass down to the younger players.....then you have a system in place. Don't underestimate the value of a senior leader that has run in a particular scheme for 2-3 years and their ability to convey to younger players the nuances of working within the system as a team, nor the opportunity for a younger player to actually see and learn that for 2 years before stepping on the field.
Hoke/Mattison/Borges should have at least 5 years to get their thing going before anyone begins to even think of judging them.
What ace is saying is that we don't have nearly enough experience or depth -- problems caused by RR's recruiting failures.
The truth is, some of it is his fault for not winning enough to create an environment that was alluring to recruits or not recruiting with an eye towards the future (Though its gotta be tough to have an eye towards the future when you're not sure if you're gonna be around at the end of each season).
Some of it is still Carr's fault for the situation his recruiting put Rodriguez in.
Some of it is the media/fans fault for helping create such a toxic atmosphere.
There's plenty of blame to go around as to why our team is a bit shaky right now.
The good thing is, we at least seem to be on the right track.
Is someone else posting with your account?
I'm surprised someone of your illogical disposition can even recognize rational thought.
Its what seperates me from you and the M-Wolverines of the world.
As someone who saw fit to blame Lloyd for the team's every problem 36 months after he retired, you probably weren't one of them.
Which is no different in its absurdity as you blaming RR for every single problem in a program he inherited from Lloyd, as if all 120 programs reset to zero once a new coach comes in at one of them.
Carry on being a massive hypocrite
That was Ace. I even said the point could be made....just that it would be laughable coming from someone like Tater...or you. Might want to work on your reading comprehension there, sport.
Carry on being stupid.
Actually, you monumental idiot, its you who might need to brush up on your reading comprehension. I didn't say you were blaming him for anything now or nor was I referencing Ace's comments, I was referring to your endless bitching and complaining about every little problem with the Michigan program while RR was coach, which you always blamed on him, even if there were plenty of people at fault. Which, because you are a monumental idiot, you didn't seem to understand.
So I'll explain and hopefully your pathetic, small brain can figure it out this time:
Tater's blame of Lloyd for every problem is incredibly wrong and in this case makes him seem hypocritical. However, coming from a mentally deficient (which might explain it) Lloyd groupie such as yourself who held an equally absurd opinion about how much at fault RR was, you weren't the one to be calling him out. Thus, you are a massive hypocrite for calling someone out for their illogical opinion due to past action because of the illogical opinions you've held in the past.
By the way, why are you still here? Denard hasn't graduated yet.
You are the turd in the punch bowl of the Michigan fanbase.
"Actually, my friend, it's you who might need to look again at my informational post. I didn't say you were blaming him for anything now, nor was I referencing Ace's comments, I was referring to your many comments about legitimate problems with the Michigan program while RR was coach, which you attributed to him, even if there were plenty of people at fault. Which, because you are an insightful friend, I was surprised you interpreted as such.
So I'll explain and hopefully your esteemed discernment will agree:
Tater's blame of Lloyd for every problem is misguided and in this case appears hypocritical. However, coming from a respected (hi mom!) Lloyd groupie such as yourself who held an unchanging opinion about how much at fault RR was, you weren't the one to be calling him out. Thus, it appears hypocritical for calling someone out for their illogical opinion due to past action because of the reasonable, but in my opinion, flawed opinions you've held in the past.
By the way, I'm glad you're still here! Incidentally, Denard hasn't graduated yet.
You are the vodka in my punch bowl and in that of the greater Michigan fanbase.
[M-Wolverine is a highly respected poster here, so I thought I'd clean up your post a little. I think it sparkles!]
Actually, I'm sure if we'd went straight from Carr to Hoke, I probably wouldn't have a problem with M-Wolverine, because that transition would have fit nicely into his narrow little view of the world.
I'm glad we hired Rodriguez though. We got to see who the real fans are.
M-Wolverine is a fairweather, hypocritical fan. In his own small way, he was part of the reason 2008-10 was such a miserable experience for the Michigan team and the Michigan fans through his illogical negativity and inability to comprehend the basics of coaching transitions.
Of course, once Hoke was hired, he took the exact opposite approach, appearing as the fraud that he is.
Why are you such an asshole?
Life will not go well for you if you think everyone who disagrees with you is a troll. I'd love to see such evidence.
Now THERE is the Little buddy I remember...
The illiterate homophobe rises!
Did you change your picture to try and blend in after I shamed you with such ease all those months ago?
Love you man. I enjoy someone who doesn't give up, even if comes from trying to succeed at the most basic of tasks (in your case, breathing and typing at the same time).
Medication may help you with your emotional issues. It might also pull you out of the fantasy word you've created for yourself to get through the cold, dark nights.
Actually, I'd love to get in on whatever it is you load yourself up with. You know, the substance that gives you the confidence to brush aside losing to Appalachian State with the 2007 Michigan roster while being furious over losing to the Big Ten champs while starting a gaggle (gaggle!) of freshmen and sophomores and former wide recievers in the 2010 secondary...then turning around and not understanding how having experienced starters in the secondary might help explain their improvement, instead attributing it solely to "coaching". Truly powerful stuff. Get me in touch with your guy!
But honestly, by having this back and forth with you, I feel like I'm doing some good charity work. You don't understand when you're wrong (99% of the time) probably due to the fact you're clearly a step slow intellectually, but just by arguing with you, it gives you the feeling that you're right, because you don't understand logic or reason.
I suspect you are older than me, but whenever we engage on here, it feels like I'm speaking to a child. Which is sad. For you. (Trying to spell it out for you...*fingers crossed*).
Because that's how your every post comes off....as someone emotionally unhinged and foaming at the mouth. I'm really getting concerned for you...because you seem to live a world of complete fantasy where you make up stuff completely to back your arguments that justify your anger. (That's been pointed out to you numerous times by numerous posters) Look, I'm sorry you feel the need to compensate for your really small penis, but don't take it out on me or the board.
Honestly, when I think of who you are, all I can think of is some elder loser who tries to be funny on the internet because he thinks it makes him seem cool, but fails miserably every single time.
The only person I've truly seen get emotional on this board is you, which really happened anytime last year you felt that the coaching change wasn't acknowledged as the reason for success. Or anytime Lloyd faced an iota of criticism. You were pretty much a 13 year old girl going through her first break-up, all sobs and soaked tissues, which isn't really an attractive feature for an older, probably somewhat creepy looking, man such as yourself.
BTW, I wanted to include this for you:
Its a mail-order bride site. I know you've probably looked into it, but just in case...
Given that you spend most of your time on here - probably due to your lack of real world social skills and the fact that, if you are anything like you are on here, no one could possibly find your company worthwhile - I think it might be worth your time to look into it.
It may even give you someone to watch the games with! You know, you could talk to a real, live person about Michigan football!
Despite our differences, I wish you all the best, as I do most people I pity.
And probably has never seen a girl naked before without the Internet. I mean dude, you're the one who knew what that website was. Just sayin'. As the guy who only comes on here to antagonize other people (look at the others you flamed in this thread) I'd say you have more social issues than anyone. All that anger. Just figure you're compensating for something other than being wrong all the time.
And don't worry, I don't pity you. I don't pity people who choose to be stupid lying assholes.
You're so cool man.
"dude", "Just sayin'", "girl (seriously, should someone in their mid-forties be talking more about women? Or are you one of those lonely weirdos who calls sex hotlines to talk to 18 year old girls?)"
But hey, Oh Great Impotent One (In both mind and, well, you know), keep trading online insults with someone whose probably twenty years younger than you. Speaks volumes more about you than it does about me.
(BTW, for someone whose entire social life is based online, I would have thought you would have understood how Google works. I guess you really are just a total idiot)
I hope you're interested in girls. The fact that you apparently want to see your mom naked is just creepy. But I understand you're desperate.
And life? At least it took me a couple hours to find your response. Took you all of twelve minutes to reply to mine. If I have no life, what does that say about my stalker? I mean, not that "I'm an online idiot so it doesn't speak well of you to argue with me at your age, because I'm young and that excuses me for being stupid" wasn't a good argument by you...but it wasn't.
But I'm sorry I hit a nerve with the "tiny penis" remark. I'm sure your "woman" will tell you it doesn't matter...as long as you pay her the rest when you're done.
Haha, dude way to prove my point.
You truly are pathetic.
I hope you don't have kids, it would be a shame if you were their role model.
Have a good night man and thanks for the laughs.
There is a large population of mgo-readers that agree with you.
RR's Zona team is up on #18 Okie St 23-14 at the half. He's got those kids believing and rallying the fan base. Cool stuff. They're fun to watch. Check 'em out.
is with big Al. How do we go from not rushing Denard at all last wek to giv him almost every carry today. Where is the balance. Also, am I the only one who thinks that we need to get Norfleet the ball on offense. I thin Denard + Norfleet =night mares for defenses
Try running on Alabama. Now load up Air Force. Any questions?
Are we really using a video game as the arbiter of truth here?