Not surprising. MSU defensive coaching and player development is on another level. If I were a high school defensive recruit right now, I'd have a hard time choosing M over MSU.
I Expected This, Just Not So Much Of It
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:
- 2011 Michigan State: L 28-14
- 2012 Sugar Bowl: W 23-20 (OT)
- 2012 Alabama: L 41-14
- 2012 Notre Dame: L 13-6
- 2012 Nebraska: L 23-9
- 2012 Ohio State: L 26-21
- 2013 UConn: W 28-24
- 2013 MSU: L 29-6
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.
Okay, I've already said this sounds bad. But some counterpoints:
Hoke and/or Mattison (I forget whom) has already been quoted this season as pulling back from some of the advanced technique coaching on the DL, because they were concerned that the players were thinking too much. MSU has, as a group, older players, so it isn't totally absurd for them to be installing higher-end techniques. And we know MSU's coaches develop players well, but it's not like we haven't seen Michigan's DL coaches develop quality options out of middling talent.
Also, you can't always read that much from warmups, because there's no context.
The larger questions, to me, are on Michigan's OL. I think the DL will develop okay.
Whatever technique they're teaching, it sure didn't seem to help the OL stop MSU from sacking Gardner about 4 times per drive
I'm starting to wonder how big a loss Jerry Montgomery was (I think that's his name) to Oklahoma. The 'Heninger Certainty Principle' hasn't exactly come to fruition this year.
Man we should have so fired Harbaugh so long ago, man. I was saying Fire Harbaugh from day one, man. SO Fire Harbaugh. Fire Harbaugh all damn day on their asses.
A parent saw what we've all been seeing. A poorly coached team with a largely absent and detached leader who doesn't know how to fix the problem so he doesn't even try.
Who is surprised by this?
I'm really surprised by all the negative posts from you recently. I see you as a "seasoned vet" that wouldn't react too much to emotion so I find this telling.
i'm not going to speak for mgrowold, but i've been around awhile too. it's not necessarily the losing that bothers me, but it's the manner. the past two years we have been consistently dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball. in our "quality" wins, we win by our QB going nuts and willing us to win.
for codgers like some of us, this hurts, because even when we lost in the old days, it rarely was because we lost the line of scrimmage. before 2000, i can probably think of less than 5 games where i thought we got manhandled in the trenches. it is commonplace now. and it doesn't appear to be getting better.
I bet he is busy thinking about how he wishes he would have looked at the weather report during the game. He had to be freezing.
I'm trying to fight a mental image that keeps forming in my mind of Hoke as a small-town high school football coach and phys ed teacher who loves his kids and loves his job.
Aggressive sharks like Dantonio and Meyer can taste the bloody chum in the water already.
Since '01, vs Ohio, 2-10
Since '08, vs MSU, 1-5
Do the math, 3-15
He makes reference to one doing "shoulder turn" moves to help the blitz and the other working on disengaging techniques. I've coached DL at a HS level, I've always teached both of these things as fundamental DL techniques (I tought the shoulder turn this to HS FR my first year coaching, it isn't advanced). There is nothing advanced about turning someone's shoulder to allow the blitz in behind them. I also know Hoke teaches it, because I've heard him talk about it and I've seen them utilize it. Hoke isn't not doing basic DL fundamentals here. FWIW, Hoke does a different shoulder turn drill that is intended for disengaging reasons, where you turn the OL's shoulders so that you can scrape to the ball. It's just a different set of fundamentals they are working on in warm-ups.
They are also talking about warm-ups. I've never done the "shoulder turn" drill in warm-ups, essentially because I don't think it's really necessary (I have worked on it a lot in practice though). Guys are more often going to encounter times when they need to disengage, so you go over those types of things. Warm-ups aren't really a teaching moment, they are going back over your fundamentals so that it is instilled in your mind come game time. You're only emphasizing certain techniques for the game to get the players feeling what they need to do. It's why Hoke does leverage reps and disengage moves, because that's the fundamentals he feels like going over. I bet if this guy watched all of MSU's warm-ups he would have seen something similar.
As far as skill level on both sides of the ball as far as technique, a major thing for Michigan is youth on both sides. Certainly that's not everything. But look as far back as last year for MSU. MSU had the most physically gifted DL that either Michigan or MSU have had since Woodley came and left: Gholston. That guy still doesn't know how to get off a block, still can't do a basic pass rush move, and is just a physical speciman that stands up too high and gets put on skates when someone down blocks him. Why is that? Is it because MSU's coaches suck? I highly doubt it, because I think MSU's coaching staff is pretty good (FWIW, they did get a new DL coach this year). But it just goes to show that you can't take individual pieces, years, players, etc and come to this kind of conclusion. Michigan coaches could have made this exact same claim last year as MSU looked very mediocre on the DL and even worse on the OL than Michigan.
While in general I do believe that some Michigan/MSU recruits were in shock about how that game turned out (mostly because a team giving up that many sacks is shocking), none of the things that that person wrote have any significant value to anything. Maybe they do if they don't actually listen to the people that are recruiting them, but if they do listen, they'll actually understand.
Anyone that looks at warm-ups and uses that as even a part of their barometer is way off base. To some extent you can look at practice, but that's mostly about how practice is run, because people are going to be covering different things each day, but at least then you get a feel for what's being taught. But warm-ups? Making a judgment call based on warm-ups is just an awful, awful decision.
Besides, it's not like club and rip moves are peewee stuff that never happens at higher levels. Pretty sure I saw a little of that in the NFL last week. And every week.
This whole Scout article is a load of crap. How stupid are we? Do you really think Greg Mattison doesn't know about advanced DL techniques? Do we really believe that pre-game warm-ups are a good coaching barometer? Do we really think some guy's opinion (which could be biased or a flagrant attempt at bashing Michigan publicly) means anything?
Greg Mattison has coached some of the best college defenses, college defensive players, NFL defesnes, and NFL defensive players. I think it's safe to say he's not in over his head. And FWIW, club, rip, and swim moves are beating NFL O-linemen every week. They are vital techniques, and are by no means any less important than turning shoulders.
Watch the game again. It's not shoulders getting turned or even brute strength that's getting MSU through the line most of the time, it's missed assignments and free runners. The only guy that I saw consistently get out-muscled was Fitz.
Have we gotten to the point where we'll beleive anything that reinforces our ignorant view of our coaching staff?
When something is ambiguous, we can read it however we want, especially after the fact.
If Michigan had won the game, those same drills would have be described very differently, with MSU getting "too complicated" and Michigan "focusing on fundamentals." It's as if those drills caused the result.
Cognitive biases, man.
great post. If a kid bases his decision on what school to attend based on what teams do in warm ups, uh.... wow...
(Funk and the TE coach), and our guys are doing basic high school drills. (Albeit, maybe because they are so young and need to focus on basics?) And the State players looked bigger and more fit than ours. (Possibly because our guys are so young?)
The recruits were told State develops their players, and what they saw played right into that hand.
How do we get out of this box by next season?
because I have no expertise on offensive line play. What were some of the comments? The reason I ask is I am absolutely stunned (like all of us) at how bad this line is? Is it OL coaching? Talent? Offensive scheme? Lack of the depth and the 2 years RR recruited a total of 1 OL player coming back to haunt us? What is more perplexing is that the line wasn't this crappy the last 2 years. Is it the fact that we have no semblance of a coherent offensive game plan that hurts the OL performance?
edit -- Sorry, I see you posted it while I was typing
I think that you overestimate Funk's chances of surviving until next year. I would be surprised if at least one guy from the offensive side of the ball isn't gone after this season is over. Hoke has got to see it. He has got to. And he has to have at least some instinct for self perservation. If I am wrong, then I don't see Hoke surviving until 2015. Road games against ND, MSU, and OSU next year, and the defense is nowhere close to overachieving at the level we had hoped. There is no way to look at the epic ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball and not see that a change has to be made. One more off season doing it the same way with the same guys isn't going to suddenly work. The scary thing with this offense is that there is still downside. The tackles could be much worse next year, with nobody else improving and nobody who is as good as Jeremy Gallon. Taylor Lewan might be to the 2013 offense what Brandon Graham was to the 2009 defense. When he left and nobody else developed, we ended up with the 2010 catastrophe. If there are no changes made on the offensive side of the ball, I see next year's offense doing the same thing.
I am glad that this piece brought up Lewan's antics, because they were embarrassing to any true UofM fan. It was low class and reeked of childish anger in the face of a superior opponent. I hope they suspend him for at least a half of next week's game, maybe the whole thing.
Personally, I felt the offensive gameplan for MSU wasn't too bad in of itself. The true failing of this offense is the fact that there seems to be no overall vision or coherence to how the offense works. I fully agree with the coaches when they say that "execution was poor." I mean, what else would you expect when our offense has a new identity and bag full of gimmicks to run every week? I don't know, I am no football expert, but it looks like the Oline and Gardner look very hesitant and confused much of the time, and I put that on the coaches.
I really enjoy Space Coyote's breakdown of the game and his analysis of Borges' play calling. However, his logic usually runs along the line of, "Well this playcall should have worked, but the players didn't execute it." I agree college players are going to blow it with some regularity. If you are constantly failing to execute, though, that suggests that there is a bigger issue with the way you are practicing/teaching the players.
I thought Gardner played well. One thing he could improve on is throwing it away when necessary. Against a rush like MSU, he should look to two options, see if he can run, then throw it away. It seemed like he held it a beat too long on a few of those early sacks.
Didn't have a huge problem with the play calling other than the insistance on PA from under center. They don't respect the run, so faking to it only hurts you by slowing things down.
Defense played well, but seems to struggle in key moments. If they could have forced MSU to a 3 and out on their first possession after UM's field goal, that could have started to build some momentum for UM. And getting tempoed on that drive to end the half was a killer. Two big moments where a stop would have been nice.
Gardner appears to have been coached to eat the ball. Remember, he was trying to throw it away when he tossed that endzone pick-six against Notre Dame.
Against MSU, sacks were far preferable to turnovers. Even a mediocre offensive performance could have put Michigan in position to be within a score late in the game, assuming turnovers are eliminated; one more field goal and Taylor's interception puts Michigan in position to tie the game.
So he was doing the right thing. It's just that nothing else worked.
Even his one pick, while not the back shoulder pass he was trying to get - that pass typically would have gone incomplete, but not last Saturday. Just another ... there you go moment.
I thought Devin played as well as any QB could have.
i said before kickoff, that a punt is not a bad thing in this game. just don't give the ball away in your end. if you told me that we would have zero turnovers in our territory, i would have thought we win the game.
sure, DG could have thrown the ball away a few more times, but that just would make it 4th and 10 vs 4th and 20...
Does anyone with access have a feel as to the mental state of our defense? Brian referenced it with his "chasing the ghost" comment. I am truly astounded with how our guys keep going out and turning in gutsy performances knowing our offense is going to put them in bad positions, either with field position or turnovers, at least 3-4 times each game (not to mention allowing the opposing D/ST to score). Because of that I have a hard time blaming the defense for the last 2 TD drives against MSU, and even the 2nd half against Akron. In both cases our offense should have at least managed some type of competency up to those points.
I have the utmost respect for those guys for still taking the field. I'm wondering if the constant pressure our offense places on our defense leads to any frustration between the units? Or does the defense feel they may need to gamble a bit more to make the great play since our offense may not be able to convert on their own?
The "Little Sister" thing is so MSU. It really is a little brother thing to do. ("You call us Little Brother . . . we'll call you Little Sister!") If they were to call us "Big Sister," that would be marginally clever - taking the Little Brother taunt and twisting it around. But even that modest level of wit is probably too much to ask of them.
(Then again, who am I to throw stones. We've turned "Temptation" into the "You Suck Song." Cleverness and student sections don't seem to go hand in hand anymore.)
The team is going to be much better next year. But look, Stanford is some kind of freakish fluke and it's unclear whether it can be sustained. The wheels are already looking a little squeaky.
Michigan will hit a higher level but continue to lose to top-tier teams because of their ideology about how football is played. Since the road to the Rose Bowl will run through Ohio State, Wisconsin, and occasionally MSU every year, that means that Michigan will get there one year in six. Maybe. And then when they hit the real killers, the Oregons and the Alabamas, and even the Oregon States of the world...hoo boy.
That's the ceiling. We'll always have the gophers, I guess
How are you arriving at this conclusion: Stanford is some kind of freakish fluke and it's uncleear whether it can be sustained. The wheels are already looking a little squeaky.
I guess, agree to disagree. Stanford is the epitome of INCREDIBLE coaching. Harbaugh and Shaw are both fantastic evaluators of talent and excellent player developers. To think otherwise is absurd.
Just to be clear
1) I'm talking about the use of that INCREDIBLE coaching in the context of a pro-style offense. It's not the incredible coaching, it's the pro style system that seems like a lot of effort relative to other strategies
2) Stanford has a brutal final schedule, and they have been a little shaky all season. The only dominant wins are UCLA and Arizona State. USC, Notre Dame, and Oregon should clarify whether they are conservative or "sqeaky".
That's why they play the game I guess
The coaching staff will stay the same for at least one more season. However that means that the results aren't chaning anytime soon.
So therefore I'm not going to be insane: I will expect the same results from this coaching staff. 3 road games against our biggest rivals next year. Weee.... that should be awesome!
As said above, Ah well.
I feel like we are watching the bottoming out of a program like the bball team. Except this team doesn't have sanctions. Is Hoke the new Amaker?
I'd much rather Hoke be belien that Tommy Turtleneck
Hopefully Beilein in year 3. Down year, partly because expectations probably too high given the relative success in the first two years.
We can hope!
Amaker wasn't rock bottom - that was Ellerbe. Amaker actually improved the program quite a bit, but just couldn't get over the NCAA hump.
Disappear from the playing field after such a spectacular introduction of his career?
He didn't? He still plays on special teams, which is all he did in the first game.
I almost wish I had saved the game on my DVR so I could see if he is even playing on special teams. Not that our special teams are ever really put into a position to do anything positive. But at least it would be nice to see if the kid is out there playing.
It will be interesting to see the following players compete for playing time in 2014:
Logan Tulley-Tillman #24 OT
David Dawson #7 OG
Patrick Kugler #1 OG/C
Chris Fox #6 OG
Dan Samuelson #25 OT
Mason Cole #21 OT
Kyle Bosch #3 OT
I mean, that is a ridiculous amount of size and talent.
Young, yes, but goddamn it.
If Michigan keeps this up on the recruiting side, the talent gap with the MSU's and even Wisconsin's should widen and get closer to Ohio's.
For all it's success the last 7 years "lying in the weeds", MSU is not recruiting at Michigan's level.
The worry many have, and I am getting there, is that recruiting is going to get hurt by this year's performance. Look at the Scout quote upstream in the thread--if things start bogging down, recruits will start bailing. And then we might have to start over again.
and it can be a very real phenomenon, is that coaching will be replaced by stars. Truth be told, there may be more than a little bit of that going on now.
People were saying the same things about the 2012 class up front. Remember how Kalis and Bryant should have been starting last year? No one is talking about the extra size and mean streak they bring to the table any more. And guys like Green/Smith were going to grab the reins at RB this year? You're still assuming (like we all have been) that stars will turn into a dream team automatically, and we've seen clearly that it's far from happening here.
How good would this team be if we had just managed to recruit two not horrendous o-line starters in 2012 and/or 2011 (something Rodriguez did right out of the box with Omameh and Lewan) and maybe found a second option at RB who could break 3.5 ypc? Or maybe a pass rusher half as good as Leonard Williams at USC (13 sacks midway through his true sophomore season)? We haven't been getting those kinds of guys, no matter what Rivals says.
I replied to a similar post above, and I think it bears repeating here: Unless we are just the unluckiest recruiters and getting ALL OF THE BUSTS, I think the possibility has to be considered that we are getting that level of talent and just not developing it, especially on offense (although I still think it's too early to write off Green since we have no interior blocking and have had to resort to a pass-happy offense that obviously fits Toussaint better).
i think he may be a huge key. iirc, he is the son of a coach. i'm guessing he knows his craft at center; probably just needs to add some strength. if he can step in and be a competent C, that means glasgow can shift back to guard. at a minimum, that will give us depth and experience on the interior...now just the tackle spots...
Seriously though, at what point do these high-level recruits start decommitting due to (in my mind, legitimate) concerns about poor player development and coaching? This team is a flaming pile of garbage on the field. If you're Jabrill Peppers, Da'Shawn Hand, or Damien Harris, wouldn't you rather play somewhere you have a chance of winning?
Personally, I know it's bad for me when I get a post deleted notice from mgoblog with a 200 point deduction...
... and just don't care. Sigh. I hate being pummeled into apathy.
Well, at least I'm not apathetic enough to not write this.
I'm just desperately hoping SOMEONE out there writes something that gives me hope that we're in year three of a four year plan. But I ain't seeing it.
I know nothing of technique but I think I know why we are struggling on the line and on offense:
1) The coaches are trying to do too many complex things, and when those don't work they try other complex things. Rather than establishing a simple run play as a base and teach it year after year, it seems these coaches "hop around" too much. We know the Rodriguez defense was inept, but on offense they practiced the same base plays and techniques and got better at it. On offense, Michigan just doesn't know what it is right now, and I would have rather had the coaches struggle like this in their first year if it meant we could run power coherently this year.
2) The O-Line shuffling has been detrimental. Not only do they keep shuffling players, because the scheme seems to change every two or three weeks it seems like the players who would do better in the most recent scheme are on the bench while the players who could run the initial scheme are struggling with this one. The coaches are compounding their mistakes by not giving the starters at the beginning of the year a chance to run the adjusted offense.
3) Quite frankly the play calling has been bad in the worst situations and in the biggest games. The coaches talk about execution, but the choices they make hinder that execution. I don't think last Saturday was the worst, but there were still moments in that game and the line situation leading into the game (which is on the coaches) made anything they were going to try that much more difficult.
I am disappointed as arfe many others. I don't see the offense getting better, because we don't have an identity. The coaches talk about running power but abandon it often, and instead of simplifying things or stripping things down, they have tried to be everything which has in turn made them good at almost nothing. I think it was one of Borges' early pressers in which he said he tried not to fit into any scheme, because if you run a particular offense than there is a blueprint for beating that offense. While that sentiment is admirable to reach for, I think the complications of his brand of "shapeless" offense have had the opposite effect.
because a year of Hoke on the hot seat won't help recruiting and another coaching transition will be another step back, reshuffle, and hope for the best in 3 years again. Schools that change coaches frequently seldom rise to the top.
The 3 year argument is BS. An elite coach and staff don't need 3 years or make excuses about youth. Not saying fire anyone, but sick of the youth excuse.
Honest question: are there any elite coaches who won immediately with young teams (especially on the lines)?
During his 2nd year as HC of Oklahoma, led his relatively young team to the BCS championship. Not a single lineman on that team, from either side of the ball, ever played in the NFL. In fact the first lineman from the Bob Stoops era that would go on to the NFL is DE Jimmy Wilkerson, and he was a freshman LB in 2000.