I hear yahoo has a good comment section. You would do well there
Coaches' timeouts are worse. Basketball teams should get one, full stop.
the solution to Michigan's OL issues is clear: get the mustache back
Yeah but all those other guys.
I am shocked that a discussion regarding Nussmeier working with last year's assistant coaches has not yet been brought up. Besides being forced to run a system for which they were unfamiliar, one of the assumed major downfalls of Scott Shafer and Greg Robinson's tenures was that they did not pick their assistants.
First, would you assume that Nussmeier was given the opportunity to make changes to the offensive staff? Why wouldn't he choose assistants he has worked with in the past? Are Borges's and Nussmeier's offenses similar enough that the assistants' philosophies are in line? Why are we putting so much faith in assistants (esp. Funk) that fielded such underwhelming position groups?
Looking forward to your response,
Dazed and Confused (Brad)
Most coordinators do not sweep out the assistants en masse and replace them. OSU just hired a new guy after Everett Withers left, but hired their DL coach before the DC and then picked up the DC. Alabama did not make Nussmeier-initiated changes when they hired him and did not make Kiffin-initiated changes when they hired him. Notre Dame is replacing both coordinators; neither will bring in a new staff with them. For whatever reason, the "mass firing followed by a totally new regime" thing is just not done.
Those reasons include recruiting, which is somewhere between 20% (OL coach) and 80% (RB coach) of any particular position coach's job, as well as familiarity with the players, continuity, and the difficulty of hiring four or five coaches all in one swoop who will all work together well and get along.
Meanwhile, the OC is near-irrelevant for Jackson and Hecklinski, who will teach their guys the same things (don't fumble, catch the ball, run to the hole, follow these rules on zone runs) in just about any system. There is an art to the zone that is different than running power, but Jackson's coached an awful lot of stretch and inside zone over the last decade—the fit is fine. I'm not even sure what Ferrigno does with the tight ends that couldn't be split between Hecklinski and the OL coach, so whatever.
The big fit thing is with the OL coach and the OC, as the things the OL can do affect the things the OC can call and how he structures his offense. All offenses do everything and teach everything; all offenses should have a bread and butter that they stick to. Nussmeier ran a lot of shotgun power and inside zone at Washington, and did much the same at Alabama, albeit with more under center stuff. When Funk goes to coaching clinics he gives three hour presentations on inside zone minutia. I think the fit there is good.
As for the thing about firing the OL coach after a couple of years of really disappointing performances, I don't think you'd find a guy who would object if Funk was cut loose after this season. Hoke's hanging his career on his evaluation of his OL coach. I liked the guy myself and shudder at the hand he was dealt; even so, last year's performance was alarming. We'll have something definitive either way next year.
Yeah but what about the defense?
I'm as excited about the new OC hire as everyone else, but I think it may be overshadowing an equally concerning issue.
In the last 2 years, Michigan's defenses have not done that well against good offenses, and sometimes have been lit up by mediocre offenses. To my untrained eye, it appeared that in the bowl game we consistently put overmatched CBs on an island against their sole elite WR with disastrous effects. Isn't that the DC's job to get them some help? In his first year, Matteson used the blitz masterfully when he had a front 4 that couldn't get consistent pressure, but since then it seems that he's often content to rush 4 and get no pressure. I realize that the leading edge of our top notched recruiting classes were only true sophomores/red-shirt freshman last season, but it seems like seeing player and scheme development this next season is just as critical on the defensive side as the offensive side.
Rod [ed: not that Rod]
It is the DC's job to get them some help but that's the thing about offenses that consistently threaten you with the QB as a runner: it's hard to give guys help. If you put two safeties back you're asking your overmatched defensive line to hold up short a guy. If you bring a safety up he has to stay in the center of the field and Tyler Lockett can roam down the sideline with impunity. That is a choice you have to make. Michigan went into that game betting that their corners, who had performed well all year, could handle Lockett and tried to cover up for the issues in the front seven. They chose… poorly.
When you have a guy who can cover Tyler Lockett, you're good. No one has that. When you have a front six that can beat seven guys, you're good. Michigan did not have that. The spread is relentless. It forces you to win one on one matchups. Michigan did not.
I'm disappointed, sure, but Michigan just did not have the horses in the final two games against the best rushing offense in the country and the best WR in the country. Before that the schemes were holding up as well as you could expect the personnel to do so.
While I'm as disappointed in the passivity of this year's defense as you are and as concerned about Michigan getting ripped by spread teams as you are, on defense it was more about a severe personnel deficiency at defensive tackle and safety (remember Jarrod Wilson was out for the OSU game with disastrous results) than the chaos that reigned on the other side of the ball.
Head asplode rating.
On a scale of 1-10, how much did the Borges firing blow your mind? I would have bet good money against it.
I don't know. On the one hand, Michigan finished last in TFLs allowed this year and rushed for negative yards in consecutive games and that's aside from that game where the top tailback ran 27 times for 27 yards. So 1.
On the other, I'd heard from various people that a change was not likely, and Hoke said he didn't anticipate any changes a month ago. So, like, 8. I do wonder if Nussmeier's unexpected availability moved the needle there, that Brady was grudgingly content to move forward with Borges until a confirmed QB guru who'd run pro-style offenses (shhhh) was suddenly on the market.
Can Heiko ask Nuss about bubble screens.
No, because Heiko is going to be a doctor. And given what I've seen from Washington's 2011 campaign (post on this forthcoming) there will be no need to badger the OC to throw a WR screen from time to time when the OL is terrible. Washington's 2011 OL was and Washington tried to run every WR screen in the book.
m a sports debater person on the University's student radio station WCBN. Yesterday on our daily sports report we discussed the possibility of Gardner switching back to WR next year to prep for the NFL and then a QB battle would ensue between Morris and Speight (one of the guys on our show also threw out the idea of wildcat sets and all the yummy trick plays that go along with having 2 or 3 really good QBs on your roster). Does the Nussmeier make the possibilities of the Gardner move more or less likely? Does Michigan stay their current course with DG as the signal caller and then transition after he graduates or do they make that jump during this offseason?
Seriously did we not learn our lesson about going into a season with like 1 quarterback on the roster last year? And I mean seriously what about the six points Michigan scored before the bowl game was over makes you think that Devin Gardner is a worse option? Do you know how hard it is not to put this response in all caps? Super hard.
Over the last one and a half years, Devin Gardner:
Devin Gardner is not getting replaced by a true sophomore. Repeat after me. Or I swear to God I will come to your radio station with a posse of boxing kangaroos, and you will be sorry.
I hear yahoo has a good comment section. You would do well there
oops that was for the guy screaming racism. Silly android.
a couple of those tangent threads went down the memory hole.
What about running 4 verts with Gardner, Funchess, Darboh, and Harris....?
The wide receiving core has so many options I don't even get why you think about putting one of your biggest/best athletes at a position where he touches the ball ~4-5 times a game rather than 40-50.
It's the people that want this that causes Microsoft to change Office up so much year to year. Those that believe change = good.
Calvin Johnson is the best Athlete on the Lions (in the NFL)
Caldwell is probably moving him to QB right now to get him 40-50 touches a game...
Devin has played QB since high school and we are talking CFB where that would be an advantage not NFL.
I would like to see Gardner developed into his potential and go as a first rounder as my number one choice, and see him end the year with an intact ribcage and the ability to smile without everything hurting as my second choice.
"Devin Gardner is not getting replaced by a true sophomore. Repeat after me. Or I swear to God I will come to your radio station with a posse of boxing kangaroos, and you will be sorry."
Reminds me of.
You better pray to the god of skinny punks, that this wind doesn’t pick up, because I’ll come over there and jam an oar up your ass.
I never knew Nick Nolte played football...
Either way, that mustache HAS to happen.
You mentioned that we don't have a shut down corner to prevent top WRs roaming free. Is there any chance Michigan moves Devin Gardner to CB and then starts the ghost of Drew Henson at QB and Shane Morris at LT?
No. Drew Henson is not dead and, therefore, does not have a ghost.
Everything else is high probability.
is making me go insane. He's a 5th year SR, tremendous athlete, and has over 15 starts under his belt. How is this even being discussed?
The same way Ryan Mallett was an upgrade from Chad Henne.
Or people arguing Devin should start over Denard...
If Devin can't function in the pocket this spring, he will be practicing at WR in the Fall. (Wouldn't be surprised if the NFL advisory board told him to switch back)
The kid cannot read a defense. He has developed such bad habbits with his footwork in the pocket, that not even Nuss is going to be able to fix them in one off season. He hasn't got past his 2nd progression in an entire season of football. That's unheard of. I'm sorry but the OL formed plenty of pockets, Devin just panicked and ran backwards.
Gone are the days of dumbing down the playbook for one player. We have recruited in a completely different direction than for the offense Devin would be best suited to run. I understand Brian has wet dreams over said offense, but it's not coming here.
Devin will have every chance to keep the starting QB position and maybe he will, but I doubt it.
"Devin will have every chance to keep the starting QB position and maybe he will, but I doubt it."
Want to make a bet?
Because it didn't exist this past season. He hasn't gone past his 2nd progression because by the time he got past his 1st option there were mutiple defenders in his face.
DG is not without blame, but putting it all on him is completely unfair.
Outside the MSU game, the pocket did in fact exist. You would never know it because Devin has no idea how to side step in it or move up in it with his head down field.
Nuss has his work cut out for him but my guess is Devin is opposite of the other Devin or he's holding a clip board.
I guess if you count the pocket existing the exact moment the ball is snapped (since you surely can't mean 2 seconds after that, since there was no pocket)?
What Gardner usually had was a like a pocket in a pair of old jeans with a hole in the bottom.
That is probably the *only* pocket Devin had all season.
Devin Gardner 2013
you forgot about that one play he made a bad decision. I'm sure that outways the near perfect game he had against ND.
I'm suprised they didn't yank his scholarship right there.
I'm sure the coaches will see the logic in moving a 60% 3,000 yard passer and second leading rusher to a position that already has depth.
oh man don't watch that unless you want to be sad
that may be going around the OSU boards. I heard the same thing at work this week from someone about how terrible Devin is at reading defenses.
To look at his performance and more importantly, his stats, and claim that Devin cannot read defenses, is so ignorant I don't even know where to start...
I think you have the starting point right.
"Gone are the days of dumbing down the playbook for one player. We have recruited in a completely different direction than for the offense Devin would be best suited to run. "
While Denard was a spread QB, Devin is a pro-style QB with excellent mobility OR a spread QB.
I don't see how we "dumbed down the playbook for one player" last year, or since Devin became a starter.
After Uconn, the playbook got dumb downed big time. There's a reason why Devin's Int's decreased.
1. NW couldn't catch
2. He held on to the ball far too long because he was terrified of throwing a pick
3. Basic routes and formations because Devin couldn't grasp much more.
Maybe because we had Jeremy Gallon then air on the WR depth chart. No one got open until we moved Funchess from the round hole we tried to jam a square-safety-leaping-object into.
When did you ever say to yourself, "Man, that guy was wide open on that play & Gardner didn't see him!"
When did you ever say to yourself, "Man, that guy was wide open on that play & Gardner didn't see him!"
I think I said that every game.
In fact, I think I started saying it in game number 1 and it continued the rest of the year. I know I said it against CMU in the first half on two separate occasions. One was Funchess streaking down the middle of the field, the other was Chesson. Gardner was locked onto Gallon. Shocking I know.
And don't realize he may have made the throws he did because he read the defense. Sometimes receivers break open despite the coverage, but the QB looks the other way and the commentators go "look how wide open that guy was", but that's not really how it works. Now, if DG expanded his vision more to see most of the field in his paripheral, than that would be great. But that's hard for NFL QBs to do, let alone college QBs.
He did misread some defenses, all QBs do. Sometimes that means he missed open guys. But just because you claimed someone was open, doesn't mean that's who he should have thrown to within the progression of the play. There were several times people on this site complained about that when DG was merely going through his proper progression.
I don't know a lot about progressions, but what I do know is that in the OSU game, Devin passed to 9 different players, with 6 having multiple touches. I have to imagine that he went through atleast a couple progressions to get to that many different players.
I think you mean after Uconn, the playbook got dumb.
It was finally better against OSU. I will be remembering Devin for ND and Ohio as a demonstration of his talent, not when Borges decided to run 1 play each out of 40 different formations.
Most of Gardner's production has been based on play calling and OL play, possitive or negative.
I thought he did an amazing job, and can't wait to see him play next year.
Reading defenses. DG did, in fact, struggle to read underneath coverages this year. This was not necessarily a function of him not being able to read defenses, however. It was a combined function of youth, inexperience, and not trusting what was happening in front of him. That trust comes from his protection (in the form of rhythm, stepping into throws, not getting killed once you throw), his receiving corp, and his eyes. His OL improves, his mechanics improve, his reads improve. His protection improves, DBs can't press WRs as easily and the timing between QB and WR improves. Trusting your eyes also tends to improve as protection improves, because you don't rush your reads or try to predetermine your reads pre-snap. When given time to read defenses, DG did a nice job moving coverage and finding soft spots down field, and throwing WRs open (because he understood the flow of the defense).
Getting past the 2nd Read. Well, this claim is rather false, as lots of college QBs work through 2 progressions and bail, especially mobile QBs. It's also false to note he didn't get past a 2nd read, because you don't know what his reads were. Typically, in Michigan's offense, he read deep safety, key threat, and secondary threat in that progression. Michigan also hot auto checks when defenses presented certain looks. They also had hot reads when applicable. In all those instances, DG went through more than 2 reads. The fact that DG was "the 3rd play" in Borges's scheme (as he would be in many schemes) because of his skill set, doesn't change that.
Pocket Mobility. This one is absolutely false. If you said this after the first bye week, than you may be onto something. By the PSU game, DG had started stepping into the pocket. As the season progressed he continued to progress in his pocket awareness, including side stepping, stepping up and out, etc. I said as much after the PSU game, and if you actually watched the games again, you'd notice when those lanes were available to him, he continued to utilize them more and more. The problem was that the natural pocket, the escape lanes that should form, the bail out areas that should form, didn't. You may think that those things are improve by QBs, but they are taught a feel, a flow, and a natural tendency of things. When a OL gets beat, there are certain ways he is supposed to get beat and there are certain ways the OL is supposed to help for the QB a manuever within the pocket. When those things happened, DG was fine in the pocket; when those things broke down, so did DG, understandably. The one knock on DG's pocket presense was not stepping into pressure when throwing. This is a problem many, many QBs have. And it's to be expected when you get hit so many times.
Dumbing down the playbook. The playbook wasn't dumbed down as much for DG as it was for the OL. Expanding the playbook involves more run variety and longer protection schemes. Those things open up underneath things that would have helped out DG. Are there things that were thrown out of the playbook because DG struggled at them? Absolutely. That is no different than any other QB. Sean Payton and Drew Brees go over the playbook every week, and any play Brees doesn't like or doesn't feel comfortable making the reads or the throws, they throw out. That's every QB
Routes. The routes were not dumbed down for DG. For the protection DG had, Michigan still ran complex routes that required QB and WR to make similar adjustments based on coverage. While there is no doubt the longer complex route concepts were taken out, that was because of protection, not DG. In fact, it makes no sense to take out longer developing routes because DG couldn't read them, they are easier to read.
Etc. DG has things to work on, he can improve on reading defenses and reading them faster (big emphasis on faster). He can work on making his mechanics more consistent and stepping into the pocket later in the play. He can continue to work on his feel within the pocket as far as timing. But you just listed a bunch of things that aren't really that true. He continued to progress, he did many of the things you claimed he couldn't, and a lot of the changes weren't necessarily because of DG. DG held his own when he had time to work, and he is more than a functional QB in those circumstances. To take the next step, he needs to improve more. But he is not at the level you are claiming him to be.
Thanks for taking the time to provide such a detailed response.
Typically, in Michigan's offense, he read deep safety, key threat, and secondary threat in that progression. Michigan also hot auto checks when defenses presented certain looks. They also had hot reads when applicable. In all those instances, DG went through more than 2 reads. The fact that DG was "the 3rd play" in Borges's scheme (as he would be in many schemes) because of his skill set, doesn't change that.
Can you provide a little more insight into what this means, or perhaps provide a recommendation for something to read about it? I don't know what any of this is describing.
A lot of the plays that Michigan ran would have what you would call a single high side and a two-high side. Single high = Cover 1 or Cover 3; Two-high = Cover 2 or Cover 4. Now it's not always that simple, you have to read beyond that or change the play calls/route concepts a bit based on defensive tendancies, because you could also have cover 0 (hot read) or more of a man-under style cover 4, in which you would need a man-coverage beater, which is typically to your single-high side. But that's the basic idea.
Man or Zone
The QB's next read is generally looking at how the defense flows. This is what I was talking about above, and lets the QB know whether it's man or zone. This allows him to further understand which side of the field he should attack in many instances, and is extra information for single-high beater vs two-high beater.
The key read is the key defender associated with a certain route concept. For instance, for a smash concept, the key defender is the flat defender, typicaly the CB in a cover 2. Identifying this defender is essential, because his reaction is who you are basing the next part of your progression off of.
Of course, you can't just read one defender and know everything else. For example, if the defense is playing cover 6 (which is essentially cover 3 with cloud (CB) leverage, meaning the safeties are rotating and the CB is sticking in the flat) and you read a CB in the flat, you can't automatically assume cover 2. You need to get to the secondary threat (playside safety) and that allows you to get to the next receiver in your progression (a seam for instance, in a triangle concept).
Many of Borges's plays had an "Alert" check installed. What this is is a man-to-man check without safety help. Often times it's done with the backside receiver on a play, who is often one of your better receivers. The backside TE or slot, or in the case there is only one backside receiver, will make what is called a "tube-read". That means he'll run a post vs two-high and a seam vs single high. An alert is made if the safety abandons coverage and this receiver is matched up in single coverage. If you remember Denard to Hemingway, many of those were alert checks.
Hot reads are based on not being able to pick up a blitzer to one side of the field because they out-number you. Say you only have 6 blockers in but the defense brings 7 with the extra coming to the TE side. The TE has a designed route that he cuts off into (often a short hitch, but it could be a bench route, quick out, etc, depending on the other routes and other areas a hot route can come from). The same is true on the other side. The hot can also change based on the vacant bubble in the defense. Michigan eliminated a lot of these to help out the OL and young TEs, and also because Michigan struggled to pick up the "greatest threat" defenders up the interior, which means that DG wasn't even given time to get into his hot read often. This lead to more 7-man protections in order to have a man for each body, and slide protections to at least force the pressure to come from the outside.
3rd Play was something Borges talked about several times with both Denard and DG, it's a thing for mobile QBs to make things happen with the threat of their legs when the play itself breaks down.
To learn more you can really just look online to learn a lot about progression reads, there should be stuff out there for that and hot reads as well, just by googling those things. If you have trouble with that, simply look up things like "smash concept", "switch concept", "china concept", "triangle concept", cover 1 beater, cover 2 beater, cover 3 beater, cover 4 beater, etc. Individually there will be articles that will talk about all this stuff, but probably in more specific terms (so you need to weed through it to get exactly what you're looking for). Borges did also write a book back in his UCLA days, which I believe covers a bit of it. This isn't stuff that is exclusive to Borges in anyway, for what it's worth. Look up west coast offense QB and there will probably be videos that discuss many of these things, and really it's what a lot of the WCO is based around. Many modern spread-to-run offenses have dumbed it down by making very spread out concepts, like flood concepts, that form triangles and have slight route adjustments to defeat any coverage type, assuming the threat of the run is real. They do those things because they spend time working on run-game reads with the QB and can't spend the time progressing the pass game as much.
So, Space Coyote, what you're saying is that reality has a pro-Devin Gardner bias?
I am really looking forward to Gardner blossoming in Nussmeier's offense. I think we'll see him really come into his own next year, provided (and it's a big proviso) that the O-Line gives him even mediocre protection.
I don't want to be mean, but you've offered some harsh commentary so I think this is fair... Devin has infinitely more of a chance starting, than you do of being AD in 2025.
I was writing a long comment about why Morris supplanting DG was dumb. Then I realized it was dumb to even do that. The evidence is all there in the OSU game vs. the KSU game. If that's not convincing nothing I write would be.
some cockeyed idea about Gardner being the problem of his team's offense. As Brian pointed out, look at his stats. If anything, Gardner's problem isn't productivity, it's trying to be superman in a system where throwing deep passes with a line that couldn't keep your jersey clean put you in escapability mode on every drop more than three steps.
Michigan ls lucky to have Gardner coming back and giving his understudies time to get better by watching and preparing on the sideline. Their day will come. Michigan has plenty of wideouts. In fact, of those that they have, they should find a better way to feature the talent they present. Why, for example, if Funchess is the protoypical receiver type that you want to recruit, do you insist on making him a tightend when your tightends are neither receiving threats nor tremendous blockers?
We've seen him perform. How about using him according to his abilities. You know MSU uses their talent in ways that best suits team needs and philosophy. Michigan seems to recruit talent then hope these guys fit their system. At least RichRod knew what he wanted and used guys accordingly.
The aim of this staff ought to be developing a credible system that makes the talent effective because of both their ability and function in the offense.