...this team will be cursed for years now.
fair point that
11/2/2013 – Michigan 6, Michigan State 29 – 6-2, 2-2 Big Ten
You put a brave face on, but some point your jersey is so dirty and your ribs so inflamed that you have to take a moment as you exit the field to breathe. You suck in, and it fucking hurts. You breathe out, and it fucking hurts. Everything fucking hurts.
You've looked like a coal miner after an explosion for the better part of four quarters and everything you do reminds your over-exerted nerves that in fact they have a job to do even if they really wanted to stop doing it two hours ago, and they raise their hand and say OH BY THE WAY THIS FEELS LIKE DEATH, and at some point you have to obey them. Space is infinite and cold and bereft of hope, and Devin Gardner is in it, waiting to die.
I didn't need a half-dozen people to tell me that they'd talked to people or had met the guy. I knew it. They all said Devin Gardner was a cocky son-of-a-gun and they all had different opinions about whether this boded well or terribly; none of them needed to tell me. All you need to know is Gardner's sense of humor, how he bobs his head during his starting-lineup intro at Michigan Stadium when he says "I'm a Michigan grad."
I know that bob. I was 19, in Canada, ordering "whiskey on the rocks" with that head-bob. I'd never had anything to drink, ever, and the table exploded with laughter. The waitress checked our IDs, saw that we were all 19 year old Americans, and got me some whiskey on the rocks. I am a cocky son-of-a-gun. I know that head bob.
I do not know what it's like to have dozens of 250-to-300-pound people deposit their helmeted heads into my ribs over the course of a few hours. I played Quiz Bowl in high school. It was slightly less demanding, physically. I have a comeback victory story in the Michigan tournament that I could tell you if you wanted to hear about nerd triumph. But that's not important.
What is: Gardner has had that cockiness literally beaten out of him by this football season. It started with the insane interception against Notre Dame and steadily built through interception after interception; Michigan resorted to running him a lot to actually move the offense forward, and he started having moments where you wondered if he'd get up. He laid on the turf after he took one particular shot to the chest against Minnesota, and it was a surprise when he got up and continued playing football. By Penn State his coaches were so afraid of him that they curled up into a ball in overtime.
In this game Pat Narduzzi paid his five dollars to the carnie and whipped linebackers at him until he cracked. Pat Narduzzi is now the proud owner of a St. Bernard-sized Marvin the Martian. Devin Gardner is no longer bobbing his head, because doing so sends shooting pain down his right side. And his left side. And other sides that don't actually exist but still manage to send shooting pain signals to his brain. Cockiness has left the building.
Michigan fans have endured a similar trial, albeit without the helmets impacting us like bullets on kevlar and with the aid of sweet, sweet beer. Over the course of two months Michigan has gone from a program on a rapid upward sweep towards another Ten Year War, Jabrill Peppers in hand, to a shambles much worse than its 6-2 record and seemingly adrift. There's been no whisper of a program that seems as good as Michigan State is right now for seven years, and counting.
The nadir of nadirs was Taylor Lewan turning into Will Gholston, down to the helmet twist on a prone player. That's where this program is right now: talking tough, failing utterly, and taking out their anger on whoever happens to be around.
Anyone still deploying the "little brother" rhetoric should be hit on the head with an oversized mallet and mailed to Waziristan. That was definitive. We're going to need a bigger countdown clock.
Brady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Dennis Norfleet was pretty good on punt coverage. But no points are awarded.
Honorable mention: LOL.
Epic Double Point Standings.
2.0: Jeremy Gallon (ND, Indiana)
1.0: Devin Gardner (ND), Desmond Morgan(UConn), Devin Funchess(Minnesota), Frank Clark(PSU)
0.5: Cam Gordon (CMU), Brennen Beyer (CMU)
Brady Hoke Epic Double Fist-Pump Of The Week. The clock expires to end the game.
Honorable mention: Raymon Taylor's interception gives Michigan a sliver of hope; Michigan completes some passes early, moving the ball-type object some distance-type measures.
Epic Double Fist-Pumps Past.
8/31/2013: Dymonte Thomas introduces himself by blocking a punt.
9/7/2013: Jeremy Gallon spins through four Notre Dame defenders for a 61-yard touchdown.
9/14/2013: Michigan does not lose to Akron. Thanks, Thomas Gordon.
9/21/2013: Desmond Morgan's leaping one-handed spear INT saves Michigan's bacon against UConn.
10/5/2013: Fitzgerald Toussaint runs for ten yards, gets touchdown rather easily.
10/12/2013: Devin Funchess shoots up the middle of the field to catch a 40 yard touchdown, staking Michigan to a ten-point lead they wouldn't relinquish. (Right?)
10/19/2013: Thomas Gordon picks off an Indiana pass to end the Hoosiers' last drive that could have taken the lead.
11/2/2013: Clock expires.
[After THE JUMP: brimstone.]
The pile. Brady Hoke has coached 34 games at Michigan. 27 of these have been against opponents from major conferences or Notre Dame. In eight of these games, Michigan has failed to acquire 300 yards of offense. The list:
I would like to add the 2011 Iowa game, in which Michigan had 166 yards of offense before they ended up down two scores in the fourth and went hurry up shotgun passing, to the pile. That makes it an even third of games against real opponents (or UConn) in which Michigan has been utterly incompetent in. The disturbing thing is that they are not getting less frequent as the years progress. There were 3 in 2011, four in 2012, and three and counting in 2013, one of which was against UConn.
Everyone has a plan until they get disemboweled and look down at their entrails burning. As for what the gameplan: yeah, that is what they had to attempt. Toussaint got eight carries, and that was about the right number of carries. Michigan tried to go deep to Chesson, Funchess, and Gallon because that was what they had to do to move the ball.
Good prepared teams beat Borges. That one drive where Michigan State snuffed out a throwback screen, was all over all-hitches, and ate an inverted veer alive was ballgame before it was officially ballgame. Michigan had a bye week and Narduzzi/Dantonio still ate Borges's lunch. The throwback screen was especially illuminating, as Toussaint's fake block attempt was read all the way by three(!!!) Michigan State defenders, forcing Gardner to start running around as he does.
The sack of Gardner after the Taylor interception was a perfect example. It's second and fifteen, and this is what Michigan does:
note Bullough screaming up the pocket in the dead center without a blocker
Play action on which Gardner turns his back to everybody and Bullough rips up the pocket unblocked, leaving Toussaint one on one with the guy in no position to deal with him. Glasgow and Bosch both get owned on other blocks so when Gardner evades the first two attempts to tackle him he still gets sacked. Yes, OL disaster is disastrous; this was reminiscent of watching T'eo in last year's ND game on a similar budding disaster on play action. MSU had this dead to rights presnap, probably because Funchess on the LOS is a big flag waving "pass" and, oh, right, it's second and fifteen.
This continues a pattern: Michigan puts something nonsensical on tape one week against a weak defense, finds success with it, and then runs the same thing at a more competent outfit, which destroys it. Minnesota tackle over turned into PSU tackle over. Indiana twins play action that is never going to be a run turns into the above frame. MSU had a few issues, and then adjusted, and it was over.
It looked like Michigan State was the team that had a bye.
Offensive line debacles. Well, it's a tire fire. I provide this valuable analysis to you, person who cannot see with his own eyes that it is a tire fire. Everyone wants to fire Funk, and I guess okay you can want that and it's not insane. It's not happening, though. I bet you a dollar. You are left to hope that next year there will be more guys ready and some of them get a lot better at football.
Keep in mind that Funk is not only working with mostly freshmen and has two walk-ons competing seriously, or at least did until Burzynski tore his ACL, but has had to deal with GERG-RR level whiplash. Michigan wanted to run the stretch this year after not running the stretch at all the last two years, and then they wasted three weeks of practice screwing around with tackle over, and they're still doing that. Michigan's blitz pickups were completely broken in this game. While that may be because most of the guys making the pickups are young, flipping guys from one position to the other and constantly moving them not only week to week but during the damn game seems like a recipe for disaster no matter who the OL coach is. Erik Magnuson is a redshirt freshman already moved midseason to guard, and now sometimes he's a tackle with another tackle next to him, and well no shit sometimes those guys forget where they are.
We always hear about how unit chemistry is such a big deal with OL. Would Michigan's actions be any different if they were deliberately trying to destroy it?
I will admit that part of this comes from seeing Funk at a coaches clinic and being impressed by his level of detail, ability to answer questions cogently, and distinct lack of exasperated swearing. That latter separates him from every other offensive line coach in history. I feel that he is not bad at his job for squishy reasons.
Toussaint can't block. I mean no offense to Vincent Smith when I say this, but I didn't expect that I'd be missing him deeply halfway through this year. I am, because Smith was a great pass blocker and Toussaint is at least below average and probably terrible. Derrick Green still doesn't know what he's doing in that department either and apparently no one else on the team is worth trying as a third down back, so we're stuck with Toussaint. MSU attacked that over and over, finding success.
NOBODY CAN BLOCK. NOBODY
Funchess still developing, still intimidating. He did not come down with a couple of balls that were something less than flat drops but were catches you want him to make; he came down with a couple others and wasn't targeted enough because Gardner was busy dodging missiles in the pocket. When he was targeted, he looked pretty good, especially on the post above that Gardner just missed. He sold a fade route to Waynes, chucked him outside once he'd started to turn upfield, and got a good couple yards of separation on what would have been a pretty badass play if Gardner just could have gotten it there.
I would like it if Michigan stopped pretending he was a tight end at all, though.
no comment on bubble screen. At this point talking about it is counterproductive. It is there sometimes and not there other times. It is a way to get yards that is pretty easy. I like easy yards. Any yards, really.
Par for the course. You thought "ballgame" when Michigan acquired –21 yards in the aftermath of the Raymon Taylor interception, and the defense apparently had similar thoughts.
10 DRIVES BEFORE –21 YARDS AFTER INT: 237 yards, INT, TD, 3 FG drives, one 26 yards, one fluky fullback throwback thing.
2 DRIVES AFTER INT: 56 yard TD drive, 97 yard TD drive.
That was a textbook "defense crumbles late in the face of utter offensive ineptitude" game. Five of those ten drives faced started at about midfield, and Michigan gave up three points on them. The opening field goal drive was one fluke cross-field throw to a fullback and then a three-and-out. MSU is a bad offense that is no longer a horrible offense; Michigan has a B defense. That's about what you would expect.
The late collapse sucks, sure, but I was expecting it. When you get in one of these games where the offense is totally incompetent but the defense is holding you in it, the moment where the offense blows the last best chance to get back in it is often followed by the defense giving up the ghost.
Fullback throwback. I don't even know man. I've never seen anything like that, OSU twitter blew up with jokes about how a Bollman offense is always at its best when it's pulling butt out of its butt, and the announcers were equally flabbergasted. It's just one of those things that can happen to anyone when the opposing quarterback is flushed to the left and decides to throw it—without even looking first—back to a fullback who cut a defensive end and then leaked out into the flat. Brilliant because it worked; a total fluke.
Crossing routes. Man does MSU love them some crossing routes short of the sticks on third down. This would cause me to set my hair on fire, except MSU fans probably enjoy punting at this point. That puts the defense on the field again. I remember that 1997 feeling.
This was the result of rushing three: MSU dropping passes. [Fuller]
Rushing three on third and long. Like everyone else, this was my main complaint. I don't actually mind it so much when Michigan shows pressure and then backs out, but when they go nickel and don't even threaten with the linebackers and then rush three guys who all get doubled, argh argh argh. MSU whiffed on a couple of big plays; that has nothing to do with how Michigan executed.
At least Mattison adjusted, sending a variety of zone blitzes at Cook later, which he didn't do too well with. The general lack of mean okie blitzes and passivity of this year's defense is pretty odd given that they do pretty well when they load up on opponents. Is it just not having Kovacs around anymore? Are we imagining it? I don't know.
Jourdan Lewis curse watch. Connor Cook can't hit the broadside of a barn until a third and fifteen conversion that happens to be an NFL throw against a guy Jourdan Lewis is in the back pocket of. Apologize to the gypsy, Jourdan. I know it's not rational; just do it.
Lewis did have the recovery speed to get in on that fade to Fowler that ended up incomplete after getting burned, at least.
I think he will be good once he APOLOGIZES TO THE GYPSY PLEASE.
(Stribling didn't appear to get any snaps, it was all Lewis.)
Raymon Taylor are you actually good watch. Well… I don't know man. On the one hand, another interception that was pretty badass. That's huge. On the other, led the team in tackles with 12, which is always a sign they're picking on you as a cornerback. I lean towards Taylor being pretty good when not getting tempoed.
Henry had a good day, probably. Judgment always reserved for linemen, but Henry kept popping up in spots after beating down-blocks and seemed to make a real impact. He has been coming on this year; next year he's probably your starting three-tech and an upgrade on Black on the ground. Pass rush is still pending.
The solution to the Jake Ryan thing. Michigan said screw it and played Brennen Beyer at SDE much of the day.
This, too, seemed to work out okay. MSU got two long runs, one on a reverse, the other that 40 yarder that effectively ended the game. Neither of those seemed to be Beyer's issue. Before the late collapse MSU was trundling along at two yards a carry.
As a feminist. I've always wanted to start as sentence "as a feminist." As a feminist, I find "little sister" chants disappointing. Tut tut. Tut tut tut tut. Also Blurred Lines enrages me. I am done being a feminist now. I find Blurred Lines annoying for having hashtags in the video again.
FIRE EVERYTHING, says the internet. Judging from boards around the internet, the aftermath of this game has started fire coach X talk in earnest. That is not happening. There's about a 90% chance this staff stays intact going into next year, for many reasons. Some of them are good—transition costs suck, wouldn't Jake Fisher be nice to have, recruiting is going very well, especially on the OL—and some are not so good, but it's not happening so it's pointless to talk about.
Next year is an obvious improve-or-die season, and it features road games against MSU, OSU, and Notre Dame. Uh.
Best And Worst has bests, apparently, but I think we'll go with a worst here.
Worst: Downs and Distances
Here are some downs and distances from this game:
3rd and 20
4th and 21
3rd and 18
4th and 24
2nd and 30
3rd and 29
4th and 48
3rd and 24
They had three drives of more than 50 yards, two of which ended in FGs and the third in Gardner’s interception. For every other drive combined, UM ended with –7(!!!)yards of total offense. That’s right; with two weeks of preparation and countless promises to adapt, UM produced the worst offensive performance any of us will probably ever see out of the Wolverines. They punted or turned the ball over on downs with 4 or fewer plays 8 times this game. After Raymon Taylor’s interception of Cook late in the 3rd quarter, UM’s subsequent drive resulted in –21 yards of offense and, according to ESPN’s official boxscore, was the end of the game despite there being a whole quarter to go. And honestly, I don’t think that was a misprint.
Inside The Boxscore is a doozy, obviously:
Burst of Impetus
* For Michigan, there was one glimmer of hope. With Michigan trailing by 10 late in the 3rd quarter, Raymon Taylor intercepted a pass and returned it 17 yards to State's 41. The boxscore lists this as the "H41." This could refer to the "Home" team, but I'm going to call it the "hated one's" 41. This was our best starting field position by 24 yards. It's hard to score against the nation's top ranked defense or thereabouts, when you are always facing a long field. Five of our 13 positions started inside our 20, and all but one started from no better than our 35. Why is this important? Well, if you throw a 58 yard bomb to Chesson, you'd like to think that a TD might result, but not if you're starting well inside your own half of the field. After Taylor's INT, the next three plays went for -5, -9, and -7 yards. Impetus bursted.
I will throw up game reactions later in a UV. It will not surprise you to hear that I have not ventured other places on the internet much yet.
...this team will be cursed for years now.
Fred Jackson is a great personality and sounds like a great recruiter. However, does anyone else think it may be time to hang up the whistle ater his son leaves? There are two young candidates ready to take his place, and his running back record has been suspect since Hart left.
Minor was a great back who suffered from injuries (not Jackson's fault) and McGuffie showed promise before his injuries moved him on, but I just haven't seen a lot from him. I know running back has a lot of insticnt, but I feel like running backs have regressed lately. Shaw showed promise in his early days, only to bounce all the time. Cox could not get in in two different regimens, yet found success with the minutemen and I believe is in the NFL.
Seems like a good time to perhaps make a change on his terms.
If we're cursed now, what were we when he was here?
I think the real "curse" came when we fired all of Carr's assistants except Jackson. It destroyed program continuity and wiped out a lot of recruiting ties we'd built up.
Those guys were really recruiting like gangbusters in the late Lloyd Carr years . . . .
Honest question: Don't most new coaches bring in their staffs from previous locations? Or is it commonplace to keep around more than just a handful of the previous administration's crew?
Actually, another question: Who on Lloyd's staff would you have kept?! Has a single one of those guys gone on to any form of post-UM success?
Oh, fuck you so much.
You have no idea what you're saying. I'm seen old and new board members calling for Hoke's dismissal and old and new calling for reason. It's stupid to want Hoke gone already and it's stupid to call for RR back. And I was an RR supporter! I thought he should get another year. I don't support Hoke because I'm the "old guard". I support him because I'm not a hyperreactive tool.
Your emotions have taken over. Sit the rest of the season out while watching replays of the 2011 Gator Bowl.
Guess which two coaches have that same record the last two years...
That 2014 road schedule is brutal. But it's Devin's final season. So is 2015 the next time we'll have a great shot at the B1G? Looking at the weekend's game and knowing the outside of our O-line will be brand spanking new next year, I'm pessimistic about our prospects of a 10+ win regular season. I don't know if that necessarily puts the staff on the hot seat, but ugh.
If things don't correct this season (and they still might, it's not like Michigan has never gone through stretches of ugly before) the staff probably will be on the hotseat next year. The defense will be expected to be great, instead of merely good, and the offense will at least have to be efficient and capable with Devin coming back.
But, as you say, the schedule is murderous. I actually think that all three of the "big" road games will be winnable, but it's hard to see them winning them all, or even most. And four years without a B1G title would be awfully hard to deal with.
How do you figure? Have you watched the product on the field the past 3 years? What gives you confidence we can beat a team on the road, let alone a top 25 one? I think people should start to realize now that this team is still a ways off from being a top 10 caliber squad. Better to realize that sooner than later.
Because this team is underachieving given the talent that it has. Devin is now a pretty solid bet to return next season, and I actually think he is good and can be very good--good enough to win games even when other parts of the team are not functioning well.
The offense will miss Lewan and Gallon, but there is every reason to expect every other area of the unit to improve even with the same coaching staff next season. Am I drinking koolaid? Maybe, but big upgrades are likely as players enter their second and third years in the program, which is what a lot of guys are doing. Darboh, whom everyone believes was poised to break out this season, should be healthy and on the field, and Funchess has already been a revelation.
Meanwhile, a good-but-not-great defense gets most of its key guys back, many of whom are also poised to improve.
Next season is the one Michigan has been realistically building toward. This year should have been better, because the line's incompetence is inexcusable and because Gardner has the talent to make incredible plays, but this year was always expected to be a building year. So many of the key players are young or hurt or both.
unfortuneately, i think you are drinking the kool aid. i am hopeful for the D to improve. but i see no evidence of the O getting better (now in year 3). other than a few receivers, i see no improvement among anyone on the O, including DG. i don't know who's idea it is to move OL all around, especially given their youth, borges, funk or both. but i think they would have been much better off sticking with one position with a guy like magnusson. then focusing on the basics. pass blocking is not that difficult. stay between your man and the QB. bad lines don't even give up 4-5 sacks in a game. i'm guessing they just aren't working on it enough, given all of these other formation gimmicks being tried along the line. practice time is at a premium nowadays. someone break-out that old Bo "teaching o-line basics" tape.
I can't believe the guy saying we will improve next year but still not winning the conference championship may be grounds for dismissal is now the conservative guy. Bizarro world.
to summarize what I think is the essence of NYC Fan's point. This team SUCKS on the road. Not just alittle bit. A lot. Hoke's "best" road win is at freaking Northwestern. Let that sink in. We have now SUCKED for years on the road. We will SUCK on the road next year. There is no rational reason why anyone would suggest that games in Columbus and East Lansing are remotely winnable.
"Devin is now a pretty solid bet to return next season," ya think? Unless, of course his internal organs get a vote. And I believe his spleen,after EL, is emphatically voting for a job in social work.
That pipe dream of leaving after this year for his NFL career is a few day remnants shy of a session with a dream interpreter. I do hope he stays. We need all of the bodies that we can get with a line that we have/ will have.
deus succurro nos totus. (God help us all.)
I know we have problems winning on the road against anyone, but I am still amused with how terrible everyone thinks next year's schedule is. Is ND going to be as good? MSU? OSU? OSU loses almost their entire starting offense this offseason. I haven't looked at MSU, but it seems like a lot of their top players have to be getting up there; same thing for ND. I think we need to let next season happen before all just concede to being 8-4 next year.
Allen, Bullough, Dennard and Lewis are the main guys gone after this year. Calhoun is only a RS Soph right now. And it's not like their defense has suffered much the last couple of years when they've lost guys. Bullough will be a hit but until such time as they field a non-excellent defense, we should probably assume that they will be fielding an excellent defense without regard to personnel losses.
Totally off topic, but I haven't seen you post in a while...your user name has been one of my favorites since the early days of the blog! I was actually at the draft when the Nets got Dare. As a Knicks fan with some Nets fan friends, "Yinka the big Stinka" was a running joke for a while.
State loses at least 6 of 11 starters on defense. Rush is a redshirt Junior and could opt for the pros (I have no idea where he is projected to be taken if at all). They also have a number of seniors listed second on their depth chart. Add in Narduzzi possibly getting a head coaching job and I think it's safe to say MSU will be nowhere near as good on D.
On offense MSU loses 3 of 5 starters on the line but it looks like all of the skill position players will be back.
just because he doesn't explain every aspect of every game in every press conference doesn't mean he has no idea what's happening or how to improve things.
brady hoke doesn't owe the press - or you, for that matter - one damn word. all that matters is what he says and does with the team in the room. the rest is just yammering, mostly by people like yourself.
go ahead and follow that genius in east lansing. you won't be missed.
i didn't say anything about the "product he is offering."
Yeah, you're right. I'm dreaming that there are 6 seniors....oh wait, nope. There actually are 6 seniors starting. As for Rush? I didn't say he would go, just that he could. I have given no thought to it.
I'm sure State will be very good on D next year. They are currently number 1 in the country. They can certainly be expected to take a step back when they are losing as much as they are.
"They can't replace Greg Jones."
"Their secondary won't be anything without Johnny Adams."
"They're nothing without Jerel Worthy."
Heard it before. Said it before. Dantonio proves it wrong every year.
but then again, brady hoke hasn't said it, either.
When did Bo ever say something as pathetic as this
Guess you should have said "when did the fanbase under Bo ever say something as pathetic as this?
He is defending Hoke based on the fact this fanbase is making presumptions that Hoke is dumb because he has to answer dumb questions the media asks.
Media: What is 2+2?
Hoke: 4, coachspeak, toughness, fergodsakes
Fanbase: Hoke is dumb. Why didn't he explain why 2+2 had an effect on the MSU game. Fire Borges. Bo never had to answer what 2+2 was.
i think it lowered my i.q. by five points just trying to do it the first time.
here's a helpful hint - complete sentences can be very helpful when trying to make an argument. try to gather coherent thoughts before you start typing.
Actions speak louder than, well, words. And well, the words would be platitudes if platitudes was in my limited vocabulary. But since it isn't, well, actions speak louder than words.
johnny adams wasn't good?
OSU will probably take a step back on offense next year, but I don't think it will be as significant as you think.
The biggest hit will be on the OL, losing 4/5 starters. We won't know how they will perform until they actually see action, but the 2nd team OL has played well in mop up duty and the few spot starts they received early in the year due to injuries went fairly well.
At RB, they lose Hyde (and Hall, not that he sees much time now), but Freshman Ezekiel Elliot has already passed up Rod Smith, Warren Ball, and Brionte Dunn (who is in line for a redshirt this year) and he has been working in with the starting offense when Hyde comes off the field. He looks like a future feature back.
At WR, they lose only 1 starter, Philly Brown, who has been consistently good but not quite gamebreaking. They return a strong group of receivers, including true Freshman Dontre Wilson who has seen an expanding role as the year goes on and should be featured heavily next year.
They return all their TEs, including Jeff Heuerman, who just had a 100+ yard receiving game against Purdue.
The biggest loss of course would be if Braxton declared early for the draft. At this point it is very much up in the air. It is a very deep QB draft, so it would seem wise to return for his senior year and attempt to boost his stock for the next draft. Losing Braxton would make the offense a big question mark at least until spring ball, as no one has really seen Cardale Jones or redshirting JT Barrett run the offense yet.
To sum it up, OSU will likely return about half of its offense next year, and the skill positions already have backups seeing game action this year and ready to step into the starting role.
If the OL is at least decent, then the offense will be good once again. And their OL coach Warinner turned their 2012 OL from a weakness into a strength, so there is history to say he could do so again.
Michigan State's defense is definately poised to take a step back. MSU loses the following players off their two deep on defense to graduation after this season:
Denzel Drone, Micah Reynolds, Tyler Hoover
Jairus Jones, Denicos Allen, Max Bullough, Kyler Elsworth
Darqueze Dennard, Isaiah Lewis
So, aside from Shilique Calhoun (barring early entry into draft) still being around, MSU's defense gets a lot less worrisome in 2014.
keep telling yourself that. But that is what fans do--we will be better cuz, and our opponents will be worse cuz. Let's not hope that our remedy for beating State isn't merely the hope that they get worse.
and they have back ups who are already studs ready to replace them. Ed Davis had 2.5 sacks saturday and Taiwan Jones has played a lot at LB and is a beast. Lawrence Thomas will be healthy, Trae Waynes and Demtreious Cox are excellent in the secondary.
As someone else said, we've been claiming MSU's D would take a step back since Greg Jones left, and all they've done is get better year after year. They lost Gholston and replaced him with Calhoun - who is a freaking beast. The one exception i think is Bullough - that dude is a machine who not only plays well but is a computer back there reading the O and getting guys in the right spot . I watched him a lot and he's the heart of that D - that is tough to replace. but as far as talent? Nothing that we've seen in the last 5 years suggests they'll be anything less than intimidating and tough to score on. And I don't buy for a second that the D is all on Narduzzi - Dantonio built that defense, and whether or not Narduzzi leaves they will still be a top D.
Meanwhile, where is the development of our guys? They have 2 and 3 stars becoming all americans, we have 4 and 5 stars that aren't even playing, let alone playing. Where's our Shilique Calhoun?
State has been replacing guys on defense all 7 years Dantonio has been there. Despite that, our offensive output has declined every year.
Our point totals against State since 2004: 45, 34, 31, 28, 21, 20, 17, 14, 12, 6. It's time we stop worrying about what State and other teams are losing, and worry about what the hell we're doing with the talent we're getting.
Wow...I was already really bummed because of this week's performance. But - after seeing those scoring totals - I have reached a new low.
Call me spoiled but I don't want to beat their leftovers goddamnit! I don't ever want to look optimistically at another team falling apart. If you're a player you want to beat the best to be the best. You want to earn it. I never look at another team and go, "Man, I'm glad their best player didn't show up." Last couple times I got destroyed I went back to practice wishing nothing more than to get better and then face the same team again at full strength. That's what makes this so heartbreaking. Borges' playcalling made sense in the context of the absolute mess he made of the offense, but on a more general level he's done such an awful job installing a coherent scheme that young or no, they had no chance against MSU's elite defense.
The MSU players who are leaving next year are going to have smug memories of turning Devin Gardner's insides into paste for the rest of their goddamn lives. DG has no shot at getting revenge on the same crew. If he does it'll be in the NFL where 95% of the players on the field will be different. How is that consolation? He just got beat and there is absolutely nothing he can do about it anymore except move on.
Your point about the OL next year is especially alarming.
It is agreed by all that the OL is a disaster this year, and that is with 2 talented, experienced OT manning either side of the line.
The interior of the line has been revolving, porous, and just plain bad, for the most part.
Next year, optimistically you could argue that the interior will be more experienced and will improve. An average improvement from their current state will put the interior line at "serviceable."
Unfortunately, the 2 hardest positions on the line to play, LT and RT, will be filled with young guys who are, at best, RS Sophomores(?), and possibly younger, depending on who wins the job.
This year's excuse on the OL will be that it is young, but at least there are 2 seniors veterans anchoring each end. Next year's will be arguably younger(!), and while the interior has gotten experience this year, it is arguable if that experience has been good, and it also has been minimized by all the rotations.
Next year's future doesn't look that bright...
true that our interior line is getting some experience, but guess who will likely be one of those new tackles??? i'm betting it's magnusson. so he's going to switch positions again. it's obious that the potential is there with bosch, glasgow and kalis. but will funk be able to coach them up? i have serious doubts, given what i've seen the past 2.5 years.
"Our year" is going to have to involve beating good teams on the road at some point, or there won't be an "our year". Because great teams win them all or at least go 11-1 in the regular season.
We need to get past the notion of a favorable schedule. If the fact that we have to play Ohio in Columbus precludes the notion that we can win that game, then this program is never going to get to the level we all expect / hope for.
I can't imagine 'Bama fans measuring their chances of success based upon where they play LSU or Auburn. Or Ohio fans for that matter. You don't see any of them on 11W going, "Shit, we'd have a great chance at the BCS title game this year except we have to go to Ann Arbor to play Michigan".
If memory serves me right (imagine hearing that dubbed in over the original Japanese), there's only one sports team in the history of the Big Ten Conference that has won a conference championship during every decade of the conference's existence... and that's Michigan Football.
Given that it's now much tougher to win a championship in football than it used to be (you can no longer claim ties; there's only one champion now), this "streak" might be in serious jeopardy. Sure it's only 2013, but the schedule gets really tough next year, and then there's only 5 years left to not only have a good enough season to get into the championship game, but to beat a good opponent to win it.
So many thoughts, so little coherence.
I think it's realistic to think that there won't be staff changes next year; it's also discouraging, and I'm saying this as a guy who has been trying to put the brakes on the "Saturday was all Al's fault" wagon. I think Borges installed the right kind of gameplan and produced some promising concepts, but that there was little he could do with an OL that bad; I also think that, somehow, the overall system of coaching and player improvement is broken.
Borges does not seem to have a good track record of improving his quarterbacks, and whatever Funk's strengths and weaknesses, the OL is enough of a disaster that it would be a downgrade for a team like Northern Illinois. Something is wrong.
As Brian said, I expected Saturday to be bad. I honestly felt Michigan would probably lose by two touchdowns and score about 13 points; it was worse than I thought, but for all the reasons I expected.
You can protect average to poor tackles with a good interior line push and running up the middle.
There is nothing to protect a poor interior line with good tackles. Quick penetration kills your QB...here we are.
That's why, for me, it's tough to get excited about the claim that we've been recruiting well on the o-line. When did that happen? Chris Bryant appears to be either chronically injured or not very good. He and Kalis were both behind Joey Burzynski after getting the chance to play together. Glasgow looks the most solid of the bunch, but he is playing out of position and struggling accordingly. Magnuson does not seem like the long term solution at guard unless he gets much bigger (especially if we're still on the inevitable quest for MANBALL!). Two RR recruits were starting on the line in his third year (basically what Hoke had to come up with to field a solid group, what with Glasgow's emergence). They were solid/good players then, and both went on to be All-Conference players later. I don't see that promise or production out of this group (Bryant, Braden, Kalis, Magnuson), and if we're waiting for 2013 guys to grow up too then we'll be waiting a while.
What did the coaches see from Kalis to justify the talk about how he would have/could have started last year, yet now is on the bench behind multiple walk-ons and guys with the same or less experience?
How do we get better without Lewan and Schofield, and where does the improvement come? Moving guys again? Sticking with some combination and just riding it out? How much is Borges really to blame? And if there is a change that can help, what does it say about how things have been mismanaged this year?
I think the OL shuffling was a calculated risk that really blew up in the coachs' faces. I think the coaches were looking for a spark in effort as much as trying to find the best players. IMO, guys were benched to send a message as much as anything. Unfortunately the guys that took their place were as bad or worse, most were probably just not ready yet plus transition pains. The guys that got benched look worse, probably from a combination of losing valuable game reps/cohesion and/or not responding well to the adversity. Hindsight is 20/20 (I don't really recall any negative reactions to the shuffling. We've heard "it can't get any worse" way too many times), but I wonder if we would have been better off just letting the original line up ride and develop through any issues they had. Instead, we're left with a lot of young guys with probably bruised egos and confidence trying to find something, anything, positive. We probably limp through the rest of the schedule, drop another couple games, and hope to regroup in bowl practice, which by the way is HUGE for this team. We really need a month+ of time for a total reboot so the same 5 guys can start developing as a unit again.
Last year the coaches rode the starting 5 on the oline the whole year and later we heard that had considered making changes but decided against it. This year, I think they might have thought they didn't want to repeat last year, and like you said, the vast majority of the people on here were in favor of changes taking place on the oline.
i'm one of his biggest critics, but i do think his overall gameplan on saturday was the one to give us the best chance of success. i would have lost it, if he ran 25 times up the middle. that said, the 2H play-actions were beyond stupid; not fooling anyone and taking the RB out of position to block (ehem, attempt to block). he tried 2 quick passes that i remember (a slant to gallon and an up the middle to funchess/butt) but both were poorly thrown and incomplete. i wish he didn't abandon those. those are blitz killers.
i was at the game, so don't have all the details, but it appeared that the entire field between the LOS and 20 yds was wide open all day for a RB or TE leaking out (receivers seemed to all go 20+ yd routes), but it appeared we threw bombs or took sacks. do we have any routes where the wideouts go deep and someone goes underneath in the vacated area? if so, i haven't seen it (or rarely see it).
i have very little confidence in borges adjusting during a game (ie. taking what the D is giving you). i wasn't aware of any significant new wrinkles in the offense and we had a bye week. msu even had some offensive wrinkles (and they worked) and they didn't have a bye.