Not only can Denard Robinson redefine All-America teams, average nearly 500 yards per game against Notre Dame, and pilot the most insane fourth quarter Michigan Stadium has ever seen, but he can sum up what happened on Saturday in a single word:
If you still need evidence that Denard can do things other people can't, there you go. Because I've got nothing. I can gape, slack-jawed and twitching, if you'd like. Oh, and I can put my finger between my lips and go "brrrrrrrrrbbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrrbb" with crazy googly eyes. Also I can spin in a circle going "yip yip yip yip yip."
These are my capabilities. All other functions are currently offline. Attempt to access higher cognition and you will receive 503 Gateway Not Found.
That's fine. There's nothing to say that "brrrrrrbrbrbrbrbrrbrbrb" doesn't cover anyway. I am so high, you guys. I don't even know what I'm saying.
Seriously. I'm really struggling here to put words in the computer. I guess… okay.
The thing I really really hated about the first three quarters (other than everything) was the way the offense made Denard mortal. This extended beyond the usual reasons 90 yards of offense in a half make you homicidal. Not only were we lost and hopeless in our first serious game after returning nine starters from one of the nation's most explosive offenses, but the guy who didn't transfer when his offense got fired out from under him was busy playing out everyone's worst-case scenarios.
I don't think I can take football games in which I'd rather have Alex Carder than Denard Robinson. A return of freshman Denard looking like a sad panda is too depressing for a multitude of reasons but mostly because just look at him:
Shoehorning him into an offense that doesn't fit him is a crime against man and panda and manpanda. He had to be dying in the first half as he flung balls to Tacopants and ran waggles the entire stadium could predict. People twittered me about moving him to RB so Gardner can get on the field. I couldn't block them from my phone. The tweets sat there, whispering evil things into my ear.
As I projected Denard's state of mind my own got inky black. The road ahead seemed like another two years of painful rebuilding towards a goal Denard will never see, his career relegated to that of Brandon Graham when Desmond Howard seemed in reach. It's going to kill me if Denard ends up a really good player on a mediocre team for the duration of his career and Michigan doesn't end up making anyone who wants 16 in the future wear a patch with dreads on it. It's going to be worse if he's not even a really good player. Someone is at fault for this travesty.
I was running advanced equations of blame assignment amongst Bill Martin, Rich Rodriguez, Al Borges, Dave Brandon, and bloody fate when Denard rolled out. Corralled by a Notre Dame defender, he stood perfectly still but still delivered a game-changing dart to Junior Hemingway before two more ND players could close in.
From there the delirium took over.
That game was delirious because of the many improbable events stacked on each other. Jeremy Gallon jump-ball touchdowns. Tommy Rees's aiming device locked on Michael Floyd. Tommy Rees throwing a ball backwards for no reason. More jump balls to Junior Hemingway and Roy Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon turning invisible with 23 seconds left. All the reasons it left you with your finger between your teeth are reasons to wonder about the smoothness of this transition (not very), the repeatability of such miracles (even less).
This isn't to blame anyone—it seems that coaches are who they are and as much as I want to, you can't hire a guy based on the two years left you've got with Denard. But I hope I'm not the only one who felt a sense of foreboding in the midst of the joy and relief. We've seen this script the last two years, and never has it been as rickety.
Michigan has to fix some stuff—lots of stuff—by the Big Ten season. The stakes are only Denard's career, everyone's faith in the Ethical Les Miles theory of Hoke's success, and the very survival of pandas in the wild. I'll take the escape. I wonder what happens when the drugs wear off and real life reasserts itself.
For now, though:
The game is ova!
Non-Bullets Of WHAT?
Pantheon placement. I think this is below Braylonfest—but only just—in the competition for Best Comeback Ever (that people 32 or under remember). For Michigan to pull Braylonfest out they had to recover an onside kick and survive not just triple overtime by an oft-forgotten 50-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation that was set up by a horrible pass interference call.
A good proxy for the level of kickass in your comeback is how many people left the stadium early. While there were some people who took off when ND made it 24-7, they don't compare to the legions who left early during that MSU game. And winning that eventually got Michigan a Rose Bowl appearance. The season-long significance of this ND game is going to be lower.
It easily beats out the Buffalo Stampede game, since it's not against Minnesota or in the Metrodome, and then it's a long way to fourth place.
As far as best game ever… it depends on what you're rating it on. I like my defining victories to be well-played and not hinge on the opposing quarterback throwing the ball backwards for no reason. In terms of pure drama it's up there but with both teams unranked and not looking likely to defy that I'd say most Ohio State games before we stopped being competitive had more salt to them. We lost all the ones that came down to the last play, though.
The entire Denard interview. If you missed this, you should fix that:
Commence the bitching about the offense. Watching Michigan run a play-action bomb from the I-formation after averaging exactly two yards per carry out of the I on previous attempts was exactly what I was beating into the ground over the offseason. No one is scared of Michigan's crappy backs running power out of the I-form so no one has to cheat to it. Thus instead of Worst Waldo plays featuring Roy Roundtree and twenty yards of grass we got a lot of hopeful downfield jump balls into excellent coverage.
Michigan was lucky as hell to get most of those. That was a Jeff Bowden special right there. I'm not alone in this. There has to be some adaptation now that we know the relative success rates of manball and Denardball. When Denard's averaging 7.5 YPC (sack excluded) and the rest of the backs under are 2, power is a lost cause.
Denard has to be the focal point of the offense, fragile or no. And the new offense seemed to remove Denard's legs as the primary threat without actually reducing his carries: he had 15 carries* in just 50 snaps. Project that to last year's 72 offensive snaps per game and Denard would have carried 22(!) times. What's the point of throwing away snaps on two-yard runs from the I?
Primary thing that may just work. "Chuck it up to Hemingway" may be the world's most primitive passing game but dang if it doesn't work. Hemingway not only has great leaping ability, he's enormous and therefore capable of boxing out opponents. Add in an uncanny knack for being able to high-point the ball and he's a hell of a lot like Marquise Walker before Walker got the dropsies as a senior.
Primary thing that did work from under center. Vincent Smith's throwback screen touchdown was a great call since it used Denard's legs. He rolls, defense freaks, he throws back, Smith should have an easy touchdown if any of the offensive linemen block that one linebacker, Smith makes it happen anyway. Contrast with the earlier screen where a short Denard has to float a ball over a guy leaping in his face and ends up throwing it eight yards too far and getting it picked off.
1) He caught ESPN's camera's capturing his facepalm moment and gave them an oh-no-you-di'in't:
2) After the game he… well, he did this:
Can a brother get a Facepalm Guy touchdown Jesus photoshop?
(HT to MGoUser Haterade.)
Defensive events. Brandon Herron and Mike Jones were supposedly out with injury but if I had to guess they were not so badly hurt they couldn't play and Michigan was trying out their other options at WLB. Desmond Morgan started, played poorly—he got trucked like he was in a BTN practice highlight-type substance—and was yanked. Then Brandin Hawthorne came in and may have been plausible. He knifed into the backfield for one key TFL on third and short. I'm guessing he was at least partially responsible for a number of Cierre Wood runs that went for big yardage, but we'll see. WLB remains a sore spot.
The other sore spot is an alarming, unexpected one: WDE. Craig Roh had zero tackles for the second straight week and while he did get a QB hurry or two he seems less impactful from that spot than he did last year. I mean, last year he split two ND linemen and picked up a huge TFL en route to a +11 day. This year he'll be lucky to break even. Hopefully he's still sick. I wonder if we see more Black in the short term.
How did Jordan Kovacs only have eight tackles?
BONUS: Will Campbell got held! By an offensive lineman!
Special teams. Matt Wile has been at least average spelling Hagerup, and with only one more real-ish game left before the latter returns it looks like Michigan will escape that suspension without much real damage. I still hate the regular punt. If ND's John Goodman hadn't made inexplicable fair catches he had tons of room on two of Wile's five punts despite Wile's excellent hangtime.
Should we un-retire numbers? I could get behind a 98 if it meant someone was going to be sitting in front of a locker that said Tom Harmon. You'd have to ask whoever the nearest relative is.
Further locker room additions. Everyone who's been an All-American should have their name engraved in a fashion more understated than this legends designation…
...but still be there. Having Chappius and Oosterbaan and Friedman and McKenzie and Dierdorf and Long's names up in the locker room would be a nice way to recognize All-Americans past.
Next up. AC and Woodson. If they don't put the retired numbers back in circulation. Jake Long would probably be next up way down the road.
The patch is too big. That's just, like, my opinion, man.
So there's this. Exploit your children for fun and profit:
Profit not applicable.
Pom-poms and RAWK and crowd noise. Is it just me or was the stadium not actually very loud when it would help out the most? The pom-poms encouraged people to use their hands shaking pom-poms instead of making noise and while the piped-in music was indeed loud, when it cut out the people in the stadium making noise were largely going "OH oh oh oh oh, OH oh oh oh oh" instead of "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA." The latter is louder.
Putting aside the insults to the Great Tradition they represent, is the noise level created by the frippery mostly cosmetic? It has seemed much louder in Michigan Stadium—I was frustrated as I was screaming myself hoarse on the last drive while people around me shook their little plastic thingies. Plastic thingy shaking is not that intimidating, people.
And then there's the guy two rows in front of you who's shaking the thing constantly so you can't see the game. In the South they have a protocol about these things: raise that thing above your shoulder during a play and you're not getting that arm back. Here we get them every five years or so and there's always someone who thinks row 14 is the last one.
[Robinson's] total of 446 yards and 5 touchdowns was excellent, but how he got there was strange. Through three quarters of football, he was 4-for-14 passing (if that accuracy rate sounds familiarly horrible, that's because it's the same as Michigan's kickers circa 2010) for 136 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. In the fourth stanza, Robinson went 8-for-11 for 217 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception, plus a recovered Stephen Hopkins fumble that he turned into a touchdown.
That graph is intended as a baseline estimator for a team's real-time win probability and is independent of situation, but the site also offers a crude win probability calculator, which, while it's calibrated to an NFL scale, can at least give us a decent estimate of how unlikely Michigan's victory was: four percent, Michigan's win probability after Notre Dame's slot receiver scampered into the endzone without a defender in site. Denard Robinson laughs at your probabilities and says, "Really? Oh man, that's crazy," and throws the ball to Jeremy Gallon standing alone in the Notre Dame secondary.
National takes: Adam Jacobi marvels and notes that Robinson couldn't throw the ball even when he was completing passes; he also points out that uh… the Big Ten is not so much this year. Doctor Saturday:
Here, instead of merely covering poorly, Notre Dame subsequently failed to cover Wolverine receiver Jeremy Gallon at all, incredibly freeing him for a 64-yard sprint to the Irish 16-yard line with eight seconds left for a) A couple shots at the winning touchdown; b) A shot at a field goal to tie; or c) A confused catastrophe that left 110,000 people contemplated mass hara-kiri. With all of every one of those people secretly fearing c), Robinson delivered the dagger.
Robinson was, again, heroic for Michigan. He has brutalized the Irish the past two seasons, rolling up a mind-boggling 948 yards of total offense to go with eight TDs. His performance in the fourth quarter Saturday night was downright epic: 7 of 9, 202 yards, three passing touchdowns to go with six carries for 24 yards and another TD. In all, he accounted for a staggering 226 of his team's 229 yards.
There were obviously games where Michigan's offense looked equally as inept for three quarters last year. I dont remember many 3'rd and short stops though. Thats the take-away for me. I think that by the time the big ten season starts this defense could be downright average. Few if any thought that could be possible when the season started.
As for Brian's game experience...were you even there? I understand your need to attack all that is David Brandon, but even you cannot deny that that was an electric, "Wow" atmosphere. On that night, in that stadium, it worked. Hell, it worked against Western in he pounding rain. Complain all you want, your salty tears are like sweet nectar on Brandon's tongue.
After one of the most amazing games (i.e. 4th quarters) I've ever seen, it is pretty dissapointing to read such a Debbie Downer review of the game. You know we won the game right? Obviously this team has problems, but in my opinion, they are nothing of the sort that plagued us over the past 3 years. We are winning the turnover battle, our defenders are actually in position to make plays, and Denard actually played better from under center (5-7, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 15.6 Yds/Att) than in the shotgun (6-17, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 13.5 Yds/Att)!
I can recall countless Lloyd Carr-era games that had horrible first halves, only to have our team adjust to pull out the W. This team doesn't look like the team from the past 3 years that can't adapt from the game plan. They adapted, they had more confidence, and they did what Michigan has been doing for the past 100+ years. Winning football games.
As far as critcising the atmosphere.... I know I wasn't there, but I'm pretty sure that crowd would have broken the Crowd Noise Meter on any NHLPA 93 game. Even Herbstreit was saying it's the loudest he's ever heard the stadium.
brian mentioned "unsustainability" was after a young michigan bball team bombed away at a veteran MSU team on the road. and we all saw what happened after that game. wins - however lucky - can go a long way towards bulding momentum, especially for a team that's been unlucky for 3 years.
jamiemac and im surprised no one has mentioned the defense yet. i thought, all things considered, they gave a very underrated defensive performance last night. they started slow but once they got going they really kept the nd offense in check.
largely ignored today is the fact that michigan only had 90 odd yards of offense after the half but were only down 10. also, how many big 3rd and 1 stops did the defense make? last year the problem (or one of the problems) with the defense was they could never get the one big stop - whenever we needed them to keep our offense within a score the defense could not get it done. last night for three quarters the defense did great, IMO, and kept us in the game.
I wouldn't say those are all forced TO's...maybe a couple of them were, but it was also ND shooting themselves in the foot.
But your point is still well taken. It wasn't pretty at times, but they still held ND to 3 scoring drives out of 11 attempts. After last year's "defense", that is an outstandingly average stat (Emphasis on the OUTSTANDING)
Exactly. And I am always the last person to say this, but for goodness sake enjoy the win. We didn't just scrape by UMass. We beat Notre Dame! Under the lights! With two gamewinning drives in the last two minutes! In year one of the Brady Hoke era what more can you want? What more could you ask for?
So maybe the Denard era won't be as transcendent as you (Brian/random mgoblogger) dreamt it to be. Boo fucking hoo. The program is bigger than Denard and as Chitown pointed out he seems pretty damn pleased with it all himself.
But Magnus is right. The I-formation wasn't the problem. The play calling wasn't a problem. In the first half, Borges didn't ask Denard to be Tom Brady, he didn't ask him to put the ball right on the WR's hands with a DB draped all over him. What he asked of Denard was to hit wide open WRs that were deeper than 20 yards down field and Denard flat out missed them.
Borges was stuck at this point. The RBs weren't running very well (mostly due to poor O-line play at the point of attack, ie not getting a very good push or opening holes, but also because ND was stacking the line). The short pass game wasn't open because of the alignment of the ND defense, and Denard's runs seemed to be contained, at least the the extent of running him wild would not have been a successful strategy.
Denard's decision making in the first half wasn't even that bad, he made many of the right reads, he was just inaccurate. He actually had more open receivers in the first half then in the second half. He just put the ball in a better spot in the second half to WRs that were covered. As for the I-formation, it at least the defense having to defend a power run game gives them a different look. It at least makes it so Denard doesn't have to be our only power run game threat (thus getting him probably pretty banged up). It also gives Denard a break when he hands off to a running back and allows Denard to use his legs on the edge (where he is better at making plays, he has yet to make many great plays stepping up into an open lane) on the role out. As Denard progresses he will start seeing the open receivers. The coaches will tell him adjustments to make (ie the pass to the FB that was wide open and gained big yards, but the FB was also open on one of Denards INTs). I would like to see a return of some of the pass plays from RR's offense, such as the one where Denard attacks the edge and throws it to a wide open Roundtree, but even that play was getting figured out towards the end of last year (notice that Roundtree started running out routes instead). I think that play words periodically, but I think Borges offense can be just as effective if Denard can hit a broadside of a barn.
That's not asking too much of Denard. What's asking too much of Denard is telling him to be a bigger part of an offense than he already was in RR's, where he got hurt a lot. I think when Denard settles down he will be very effective hitting wide-open WRs, thus defenses will have to at least respect it, which will open up bigger lanes for RBs and Denard. But it all comes back to Denard simply hitting open WRs rather than missing them.
By Borges' offense I'm talking about essentially any play you've seen Borges run so far. I think every play (particularly pass plays) can lead to Denard being successful. I don't think Denard has to be perfect for the Borges' play calling, and I don't think Borges' play calling has to be perfect for Denard.
Borges' held up his end of the deal even in the first half, he put Denard in an area that I believe Denard would usually be successful, and that's in a position where all he has to do is hit wide open WRs. Denard simply had a terrible first half. He just needs to hit some throws (he could have taken some off of most of those throws or even thrown behind his WR like he often did on the infamous RR pass play last year and have been successful).
I have faith Denard can make those throws and I have faith in the plays I saw Borges run because I saw the open receivers and I understand what hitting those opening receivers does to a defense. Essentially, I think he usually can make those open throws and does in practice and that is why the plays were called. It is simply a matter of execution in a game setting.
So, did you change your name twice then? Because, I've been wondering where an old poster who used his name went, then you popped up with another name and the same type of detailed knowledge of football.
Just the one name change and I'll most likely stick with this one. It's fairly unique and matches the avatar well without people being able to find my email address, etc. It is nice that there seem to be a good number of people on mgoblog that have good amounts of football knowledge and I would guess even when some people go away that their would be someone to quickly fill the void.
Everyone needs to fucking relax. This is year one of a coaching transition. Borges was never going to run the spread option offense like Rodriguez did. With Denard that means the offense was always going to be suboptimal. And yet. We're 2-0. We beat Notre Dame. We gained 9 yards a play. Brent Musburger declared Denard to be unequivocally the most electrifying player in the country. What is everyone yelling about.
Last year 1st half performances against good defenses
Penn St: 10
This year ND...7
The point is this, whether it's last year or this year our offense has struggled getting going early on in games. The change this year is on the defensive side of the ball. They kept it close enough so when our offense got going they had a chance to win the game. For me the offensive results have been equal and the defensive results have been better than last year. Last year we would not have won this game...it would have been out of reach at halftime.
Listen, I think the offense will get better throughout the year as Borges and Denard adjust. I really hope Touissaint comes back 100%. But our offense was much better last year. I agree the defense looks better, but the offense is equally worse. That's why it required a last minute miracle to beat them again.
1st half offensive performance last year against good defenses (and ND)
Ohio: 7 points(turnover on downs twice in FG range), 248 yards, 6 possessions
ND: 7 points, 93 yards, 7 possessions
That is not good. We had one play, that by Hemingway, in the first half. We didn't get much more in the third. The 4th was glorious, but not replicable. We will get better, the defense already is, but the offense is worse and its not really a debate in my opinion. Stats and watching them play agree.
I think your case would be stronger if more than one of those stat lines exceeded Saturday's point total by more than a FG. To say nothing of the fact that you've shown the bad half and ignored the good half, in which Michigan achieved yardage parity with those other games.
I agree that the offense may have been better in game 2 last season but this analysis is not a good way of demonstrating that. In fact, I was shocked at how low scoring Michigans first half offense was last season.
We did nothing in the second half of the NDgame last year until that last drive...which was a last minute miracle. I'll take a 4th quarter rally based on executing your normal offense and defense over catching your opponent off guard in the first half and doing nothing after that because they made adjustments to the plays they had not seen before.
-I bet half of Kovacs's credited tackles came on the first two drives. A big part of what happened after that is NOT that #32 disappeared, but that the front seven manned the f up. That's a good thing.
-Hawthorne was a big part of that; the three-and-out after the fumble TD? Hawthorne was the defender of record on all three plays (in a good way)
-that possession for ND was bookended by epic special teams crapola on their part: a zero yard KO return to the 11 or so, then a shanked punt. Huge sequence.
-aside from denard, and the wr play, the big non-downer takeaway is that the defense is coming together. Guys like hawthorne, ryan, and black, whom we didn't know we could count on ten days ago, have come up big. -a little love for Demens, too. Leading tackler, and mostly near the LOS.
-Crowd noise was amazing. Only way you could insinuate otherwise is if you were stuck in the luxo boxes spreading powder blue butter patties on your, uh, buns. -F giving up on the entire rb corps. Fitz didnt play, shaw and smith had two carries each; only hopkins blew, and at least he fumbled productively (true, but sarcastic on that last one)
You would think after the past 4 seasons we would learn how to appreciate a win like the one we witnessed on Saturday, but no, we're still a whiney, self-righteous fan-base that will always find something to whine about. I say appreciate the win while we can. And no, this isn't only directed towards Brian.
And learning a new offense and technique. He's making his way through this and probably will get more and more comfortable each week with his footwork, vision and reads. This will open things up for the RBs, WRs and TEs to start taking ownership of things.
Denard demonstrated a huge jump from 2009 to 2010. Perhaps 2012 is the year for his breakout, and not this year.
Then again, assuming he stays healthy and incredibly lucky, he could win the freaking Heisman Trophy in 2011! Probably not though.
Anyway I remind myself that he's "only a junior" and look.... I feel better already :)
I think that Upon Further Review, one will see that Michigan followed Gary Gray around the field and abused him. This was not random chance or luck, it was purposeful and repeated. If Gary Gray is determined to have 'excellent coverage' than somebody owes Boubacar Cissoko a huge apology for so harshly criticizing his equally 'excellent coverage' after the 2009 ND game.
As far as the idea that Denard should be benched in favor of Devin--next time anyone thinks maybe that should happen, I strongly urge them to stay away from the internet until they have come to their senses.
Honestly at this point it feels like Brian wants to complain so he can still be upset about dave brandon. We all understand michigan still has a lot of work to do but notre dames defense was set up to contain denard, most of the game he had nowhere to run and was just plain inaccurate on most of his passes and thats not playcalling. Not to mention literally everyone on the board agreed the atmosphere was incredible and seven nation army helped yet brain is trying to claim it was less loud? Are you serious? Were you even at the game? Kirk herbstreit who had earlier in the day slammed michigan stadium said it was the loudest he had ever heard it and that it was a great atmosphere. At this point I just feel like Brian should try to make jokes and just give up on analyzing the offense because he clearly just wants to hate it and its more annoying than anything else at this point.
I'm glad to see many of posters in support of a healthy mix of both the band and RAWK music. I agree that the execution was very poor last few years, but the mix on Saturday was just about right. Not to mention the visual of the maize pom pom's against the dark sky, moving in unison was amazing. It probably looked even better on an HD TV at home. As one of the early comments said, I sit in a section where the people behind me are constantly tugging on my jersey to sit down. Generally I try to appease them for 1st and 2nd down...but for most of the 2nd half and the entire 4th quarter my whole section was standing up cheering, waving the pom pom's, and singing along with the music. It was nice not to have my jersey pulled for much of this game.
As a 38 year old season ticket holder I've always felt squeezed between the "down in front" blue hairs and the "kids" who don't have much need for tradition. There is a definite need to save tradition, but also to mix in some more fun. For the past few years I don't think the Athletic Department was pleasing anyone. This year I think the Athletic Department led by Dave Brandon is doing a very good job. It is time to give them their due and stop this anti-RAWK music, anti Pom-Pom tirade.
I was going to go over various points, pro and con
Then I had a meeting and 66 posts blew up to, well, this...and I can't help but thinking:
If you can take one of the great moments and events in Michigan sports history, and come out of it kinda feeling bummed, sad, leery, worried, lamenting...whatever....less than 36 hours after it happened....
I don't think the problem is with the program, or the game, it's with you. Cheer up a little and enjoy it. I'm as cynical as the next guy, and life will dong punch you soon enough. Don't make yourself unhappy in the truly joyous moments too.
I think you, and many others, are forgetting the ND gave away both games almost as much as we won them. Cousins is not going to turn the ball over like that. Neither is Martinez. Saturday was awesome. I had so much fun watching that game...
I also thought "MSU is going to smoke us." If you come away from this game feeling good about the future (this season), I don't know why. We look like we will probably win the games we're supposed to, but get killed by any quality B10 team. There isn't enough improvement on the defensive side of the ball, and the offense looked terrible, save some completed jump balls and invisible Jeremy Gallon.
Stats are great, but they can hide the story. The fact that we don't have a runningback is obvious. Like I said, we can enjoy the win, but I sure as hell would feel a lot better heading up to East Lansing if we can play better defense, not turn the ball over, have something resembling special teams, and find a consistent running back.
Yeah, and whining and hand wringing isn't going to change that
If people wanted to believe we were going to be a machine this year, that's fine, I like the optismism. But you didn't need to see a couple of games to know there were major talent deficiencies on this team, particularly up front. That's going to take time to rebuild. (Luckily, if we can keep winning a few games like this, and hold onto everyone, we seem to be on the road to doing that).
I'm not saying as you analyze the game, you can't notice some of the "ugh", but this column was basically the first reaction. And as I said, less than 36 hours after the game. We're not coaches, or players. There is no 24 hour rule. And if you can't enjoy something that amazing, and your thought immediately turn to doom and gloom over games that won't be played for another month (and who knows how improved things might be by then...you know, Michigan teams used to improve as the season went on), I'm not even mad over it anymore. Just kinda sad for people who live their lives in such misery. Because a lot of people make their families miserable after losses....if you're that mopey after wins, and historically amazing wins at that, I'm not sure what's going to make one palatable to the people around them other than a National Championship night....and from the sounds of it, if it happened with Borges instead of Rich, it'd be "but we could have looked prettier doing it, and scored 3 more touchdowns". That's just a sad way to live.
I'm not exactly Mary Sunshine (I picked us to lose to Notre Dame, and would have been pretty close on the score but for 8 seconds), but my first reaction to fortune is not to PANIC!!!!! Going into the season we probably shouldn't have beaten ND. During the game, we probably shouldn't have beaten ND. But guess what? We did. That's house money. We need better legs, and better arms, and better size/strength (and we're getting it)....but man, we don't need any more heart. We have that in spades.
I normally find Brian's analysis pretty damn astute, but I find it hard to believe that someone could've watched that first half and laid blame on the scheme, not on Denard. He missed open receivers, threw that turrble screen INT (which wasn't a function of Denard being 5'11", but a function of Denard trying to bring the "no look" pass into football), and was just generally wildly inaccurate. We're not winning anything with first-half-Denard, unless we run a true wing-T. Meanwhile ND has its safeties selling out on the run so hard that they must've felt bad for us every time we ran into a sea of gold shamrocked helmets. Hard to run when every gap is filled.
Ain't no scheme thing when your QB drops a stinkin' turd.
I think it was a mix of playcalling and a poor half by Denard. I'm confident that both will revert to the mean.
What I'm more concerned about are idiots who think Denard is the problem here. I had to contain my rage when I explained to the guy a few rows back that, no, we should not sit Denard if he ha another poor drive. This was right before he took over so that was a fitting f u.
Anyone else notice that in the Desmond video that @ :28 it was just like Roundtree's catch with 2 seconds left and at :37 it was just like Hemingway's catch in the middle of the field with two safeties around him?
The game was actually won because the defense maximized the talent it had and found a way to right the ship long enough for ND's D to get spooked and worn out worrying about Denard erupting. Then Michigan started to make some plays.
Seriously, after watching Denard do almost nothing in meaningful Big Ten games under the previous philosophy, how could a reasonable mind not welcome the possibilities of what a different approach conceived up by a guy with the experience of Borges could do for him? Denard failed Denard the first half. The system didn't change. Denards choices and execution within it did.
Besides, how do we know he doesn't have full authority to run out of passing plays at any time and he just doesn't because he never did last year?
Bottom line: the vanilla lead draws all game long by Denard ran up huge stats against trash competition and was a miserable failure in the conference. We can't go down that road again. Michigan football doesn't exist to look frightening on paper, maximize the potential of one player at all costs, or threaten teams with possibilities. For football game purposes, it exists to win during 60 minutes of actual games on Saturday.
What's best for the team is what's best for all the players. That has to always be the case.
“First, understanding what their intent is, what our team’s intent is going to be. You’ve got to be willing to work for that. You’ve got to be willing to earn that..." 12-30-2014