This is the first time in my lifelong Michigan fandom I'm beginning to feel apathetic about the team. What's the point when the staff is such a clusterf*ck.
Nebraska 17, Michigan 13
Drive Recap: Michigan 13 - Nebraska 10 // 4Q: 8:08 pic.twitter.com/o4rwtV0sjL
— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 9, 2013
This was the high point, both from a football and comedic standpoint.
If this isn't rock bottom, it's damn close. Michigan faced a Nebraska rush defense that's done this...
|South Dakota State||33||271||2||8.2|
...and, with sacks removed, rushed for 22 yards on 29 attempts. Oh, and a combination of poor play-calling, poor line play, poor blitz pickup, and one understandably skittish quarterback allowed seven sacks that knocked the offense back 49 yards.
Brady Hoke's home winning streak is dead; that's not really the story. It wasn't hard to see this coming, not after the narrow escape against Akron, and certainly not after last week's debacle. When Drew Dileo dropped a fourth-down pass on Michigan's last-gasp drive, it felt depressingly fitting—of course the sure-handed receiver would let one slip through his grasp at precisely the wrong time, because that's just how this season has gone.
When Michigan attained a first down for the first time in the game, only three plays before the end of the first quarter, the Big House crowd erupted with the loudest Bronx cheer I've ever heard in this building. The sarcastic cheers turned to boos by the end of the first half, at which time the Wolverines, down 10-3, had 60 yards of offense on 29 plays.
Those boos only grew louder by the end of the game. Al Borges orchestrated a great drive to open the second half, featuring a big play for Fitz Toussaint on a slip screen, a slick pop-pass to Jake Butt against a heavy blitz, and a touchdown to a wide-open Devin Funchess on a post-curl-corner route combination.
Thus ended the offensive renaissance. That ten-play, 75-yard drive represented 43% of Michigan's total output on the afternoon, and Michigan resumed slamming their heads against stacked fronts and allowing wave after wave of pressure to hit home.
The defense did what they could, holding the Huskers to 273 yards—75 of which came on their game-winning drive—on just 4.1 yards per play despite two new starters at safety: Courtney Avery and Josh Furman, who replaced Jarrod Wilson and Thomas Gordon.* When Frank Clark lost contain and James Ross was late getting out on an option pitch (of sorts, since it went forwards) to Ameer Abdullah, who waltzed five yards into the end zone, there wasn't anger in Michigan Stadium—instead, apathy reigned, and a healthy number of fans streamed for the exits despite the Wolverines being down four with two minutes left and all their timeouts. Five plays later, those fans were proven—at least for today—to be justified in their actions.
"Well, we just didn't execute," said Brady Hoke after the game. That is 2013 Michigan Football's epitaph, and at some point it isn't going to be enough to save everyone's job.
*According to Hoke in the post-game presser, Gordon had an unspecified ankle injury, while Wilson's absense from the lineup was an attempt to shake things up.
I'm not. But I feel compelled to post an email I sent to Dave Brandon:
Dear Mr. Brandon,
I am a class of 2000 graduate. There are few things in life I love more than Michigan football. I take multiple trips to Ann Arbor every year to watch our Wolverines, even though it is economically uncomfortable (as an educator) for me to do so. I have been loyal to a fault; I supported the program even during Rich Rodriguez's darkest hours. I attended the game today with my family, making the trek all the way from Winona, Minnesota.
Today was the breaking point. In short, our program is a relic. We live off of a brand name that was the best in the market 20 years ago. Now, our football brand stands only for underachievement and ineptitude. We are married to an offensive model that is completely outdated, supervised by a CEO head coach with no discernible expertise. I cannot believe that an institution with our history and financial resources cannot hire a strong head coach with contemporary ideologies. I am beyond fatigued of consistently getting pummeled by our rivals, who scoff at our antiquity.
With all due respect, sir, I will not return to Michigan Stadium until we become as committed to winning as Ohio State. Invest in a elite coaching staff worthy of this institution. Otherwise, we will continue to remain irrelevant. I will no longer pay Wolfgang Puck prices for Little Caesar's pizza.
Please do what is best for the Michigan football program. You are the only one who can.
I like the phrase "economically uncomfortable." It's a nice way of telling Brandon they pay teachers shit and are always squeezing them, yet despite that, you still scrape together enough coins to support the program like a worker bee supports the hive. Well played.
Would've been better.
was absolutely the right call. Little Caesar's is unarguably the worst pizza out there, and Dominoes would've been alienating the audience he is clearly trying to persuade. I thought bringing up pizza indirectly was a nice call, though, because it was an implicit jab, although reaching beneath Dominoes.
one day on my way home from work, I decided to grab one of those $8 "ready to eat" deep dish pepperoni pizzas from Little Caesar's, just for shitz and giggles. I have to tell you, I thought it was pretty damn good for 8 dolla.
But I'm reading your letter while Alabama disassembles LSU by running the Power I. We had a HC that brought a new fangled offense to Ann Arbor and promptly failed. Now we have Hoke trying to return to pre-2008, and is failing. Maybe it isn't the offensive system, maybe it really is execution. And by execution I mean performance from the Head Coach on down through the depth chart.
Me thinks you don't know what the Power I is.
this so misses the point. if you think Hoke and his staff can in ANY WAY be compared to Saban and Alabama, you are a bit off in the head (no offense).
Saban is one of the most sought after coaches in the entire world; even Belichick would call him to get advice on football.
Hoke and co., well, pretty sure Belichick won't be asking him about football any time soon.
Alabama is primarily a zone blocking team. We run some zone but I don't think I'm off base saying Hoke/Borges are in love with pulling lineman, man blocking, etc. To a fault. They haven't been able to run the power O against a decent defense in 3 years despite the fact that it's supposed to be our bread and butter. Think about that for a minute.
Even when Borges is forced to run plays from the gun or "spread" he tries very hard to run them with man blocking principles and pulling lineman.
Mattison: "I bet I can hold Nebraska to 17 points."
Borges: "Oh yeah? I bet I can hold Michigan to 13."
Mattison: "Where the fuck did we get this guy??"
No way NE should drive down for a TD in the 4th QTR! Pathetic D IMO! Boo to this entire coaching staff, they should all be fired for going 6-6!
I thought I would enjoy myself more grocery shopping, so I went, and unfortunately it turns out I was right. I watched every Lions' game during their 0-16 campaign too. It's just soul flaying to watch this offense. The more I watch, the less hope I have for the program going forward. This sucks.
"We had a good week of practice"
"I thought they competed well"
"We just didn't execute"
I sold my Nebraska and OSU tickets after I got home from the MSU game. I am a fanatical Michigan supporter. I was never as apathetic about Michigan football at RR's worst as I am know. 2 loses in a row and I don't care at all.
That will solve the problem.
Oh wait. I meant "Execute, everyone!"
Did Brady really say "Well, we just didn't execute" again? I lose a little more faith in him every time he says that. Man up and get rid of some staff
Hoke "I liked the play calling".
— angelique (@chengelis) November 10, 2013
People need you understand Hoke approves of this massive failure
I don't think he really approves of 13 points and negative rushing yards. He's just not going to publicly hang anyone out to dry.
He should grow a pair and call someone out, even if himself.
Because the constant refrain "we didn't execute." doesn't just hang someone out to dry - it throws his players under the damn bus.
If he can't even refrain from complimenting them, he'll never fire them.
He has fired assistant coaches before. He let several go at BSU.
People keep saying this but provide no details. Anyone have any extra information on how and when these staff changes took place?
People! You need to understand Hoke approves of this massive failure.
I wonder if David Brandon liked it? I did not like it.
I asked him on twitter if he liked what he saw as a former college football player; I'm still waiting for his response.
Do dee do. Everything's just dandy.
Where's the fire?? Where's the fucking sense of urgency??
@TremendousUM: "@swmckewonOWH: Gregory: "They had tendencies. Whatever formation they came out in, we knew what they were going to throw at us." #Huskers"
care to humor me?
Saying we didn't execute is passing the blame onto the players, even when he says that he takes the blame.
I feel bad for the players and understand why they are beginning to look apathetic. Their coach throws them under the bus after every loss and shows little accountability or desire to hold his staff accountable. If Hoke and Co cant get them to execute they need to go. Not executing is not a valid excuse after about the 2nd time when you have two byes to change the execution
Fire Al! Fire Funk! Send a message this Is Michigan. Let a fire under some players asses. I'm not ready to give up on Hoke but something needs to be done. I think after this game you can say goodbye to Hand.
Hoke is easily one of the worst BCS level coaches. Laughable performance.
Completely agree. Great guy, but terrible coach.
So who are the best O coordinator replacement options come January?
Does it really matter? We just had negative yards rushing for the second motherfucking week in a row. People I would take over Borges: Luke Fickell, Saline HS's OC, Carl Pelini...
Stacy's mom (she's got it goin' on).
Scott Loeffler, check out VT-Miami right now.
I'd be in favor of just about anyone at this point, but VaTech's offence has looked shitty for much of the year.
A pair of dice would do much better in playcalling. At least it'd be unpredicatable. Probably do just as well with player development too.
This column is to "fire Borges and Funk" as winning the Powerball is to unlikely and awesome.
Instead of benching players to shake things up, feel free to rearrange your staff instead