Fair enough. I think the references to the rrod offense are more to illustrate what Denard would be good and what might work (which I am very interested in) as opposed to some effort to show how smart he is by providing irrelevant data. I am more wiling to give him the benefit of the doubt but I can see your point of view as well
Picture Pages: Who Are You Optioning?
The option has always been about making a defender wrong about who has the ball, thus effectively blocking him. Since you don't have to actually block him this means you can take out a slavering rage-beast with even the daintiest of skill position players.
Rich Rodriguez's innovation was taking the hazard-laden option and turning it into a simple yes-or-no handoff. The read option makes a guy wrong without requiring a pitch, and without getting your quarterback lit up time and again. Pairing that with plays that stretch the defense across the field horizontally opens up the box, forces safeties down, and creates the kind of environments that see his teams run for nearly six yards a clip.
Borges and Hoke have a different outlook on football. Last year when the inverted veer was running riot over Ohio State, they were consistently blocking the guy a Rodriguez-style offense would consider optioned off.
This worked, but I wondered if it was working because Ryan Shazier was an injured freshman who was pretty horrible in that game. It's hard not to look at what's going on with Michael Schofield in this clip and not pine for the guy to move past the OSU DE and take on Ohrian Johnson, thus likely springing Denard for another huge gain.
Last year both myself and fellow guy who does the picture paging Chris Gaerig thought that this was an execution issue that would be hammered out given enough time, but Tyler Sellhorn, a high school OL coach who frequently emails me tips and corrections, thought this was a philosophical thing:
I think Schofield and Omameh were coached to block the DE. Hoke/Borges do not like leaving unblocked defensive linemen out there. A famous unattributed coaching axiom that I am sure that Hoke/Borges believe in is: "First level defenders cause fumbles, second level defenders make tackles." To me, this is the "MANBALL" component of M's "option" game. True power running game people think like that. I think that is the reason there have been fewer really long runs (the second level has been blocked less consistently this season).
This is one philosophical difference: RR's first thought always was, "How can we mess with the safeties to get big yards when we break through the line", Hoke/Borges first thought is "How can we mess with the DL so they are less aggro (in run and pass situations) and we don't ever have a negative play." Both work well as we have seen.
The consistency with which Michigan guys were blocking the supposedly option DL was a point in his favor. At first I thought the Alabama game was the point at which this was undeniable, but now I think Alabama was blocking Michigan, not the other way around.
Optioning Nobody #1
It's Michigan's first drive. They've picked up a first down with a (horribly spotted) flare to Smith and a third down conversion from same. They come out in a two-back, three-wide set. Alabama responds with its base 3-4 set, half-rolling a safety into the box.
Michigan will run the veer. They pull Barnum (1), use Hopkins(2) as a lead blocker, and block down on the front side. This leaves the Alabama defender (3) there unblocked… for now, anyway.
Hopkins. You are not flaring out, my man. You are doing something that isn't that.
At the mesh point, Hopkins (1) has contacted the "unblocked" Alabama defensive end. This means he is now blocked. (Science!) Hopkins is also blocked. They are mutually blocking each other. Neither can go forward very easily.
This happens really fast. The DE is doing this on purpose. His goal here is two-fold: one, to force the handoff, and two to pick off one of the lead blockers.
Barnum(2) is still pulling for the front side; since the guys blocking down have actually done a pretty good job of getting push he's got a lane. Denard(3) sees the DE underneath Hopkins and gives.
And now it's over. Hopkins has indeed eliminated the Alabama DE, and Barnum reaches the hole as Smith sprints outside. Also sprinting outside: the totally unblocked Alabama LB.
Michigan's got some other problems, too, as the playside DE came through the double on the playside when Kwiatkowski released—you can see Schofield hunched over in an "oops" way right at the LOS behind Barnum. Given Smith's angle and Barnum's this is only a further indicator that Schofield got hammered on Saturday, not an actual reason the play doesn't work.
And that's all she wrote.
Who did Michigan block with Denard's legs on this play? Nobody.
[After THE JUMP: oops they did it again :( ]
Optioning Nobody #2
A bit later in the first quarter Michigan has a first and ten on its own 29 and again runs the veer. Alabama is in a standard 4-man front nickel, which they had not done on a standard down before. Something's up the ol' sleeve.
They're going to the boundary this time, so Omameh pulls on the snap. Alabama reveals its trick: a corner blitz from the boundary.
So, again this is what happens: the unblocked defensive end comes down(1) as the G pulls around. This time it's Omameh. Barnum can be seen crushing the other DT to the ground—there will be no help from the interior on this one. Denard sees the dive(2) and gives.
That corner(3) is coming, though, and Hopkins only has eyes for the playside LB.
Omameh, like Barnum, blocks the DE. Why block the DE? He has no choice. The DE is blocking him. He's not trying to do anything except crunch Omameh near the LOS and force the give.
Denard(2) sees the DE inside and gives. The corner is hanging out. Being uncool.
And that's all she wrote. DEPRESSION PROTIP: look at all the space here!
Oh well. Back to the salt mines.
Nice pancake on a totally irrelevant guy. Who'd you option again?
Things And Stuff
This is Exhibit A for We Don't Know How To Use Denard Enough. Nick Saban's pretty smart, you guys, and devised a defense that would get the ball out of Denard's hands without that costing his defense a guy. On the first one it's possible a more outward route by Hopkins gets him past the attacking DE, but then that DE flattens out and flattens Barnum; same result. On the second one Omameh would have to orbit around the DE so elaborately that he'd be useless anyway.
So who are you optioning? You're not optioning anyone. The defense is preventing Denard from getting the ball by openly declaring they will not use their end to contain, and you block him despite handing it off to a guy going in the opposite direction. So now you're just trying to out-execute Alabama. Good luck.
This was a response to what Michigan showed in the OSU game. (Also I assume Saban's night terrors starring a xenomorph Cam Newton played a role.) That game was great but often required Denard to juke and unblocked guy in a tight space and get Shazier plowed for the first touchdown. When the structure of the defense is getting you to give to Smith and Rawls, that is not happening.
You could still get big gains out of it by outsmarting the opposition, but when Borges goes to coaching clinics he talks about passing routes. When I was breaking down Rodriguez's offense, he would switch little things up almost weekly. They'd run belly, then they'd run belly a gap over, then they'd slide a tight end, then they'd break outside the guy shuffling down to prevent belly from going 80 yards. By the time that was done the three chords Denard knew in the passing game were sufficient.
Borges probably taught his route tree most of the summer with the read stuff thrown in as a sidelight. That'll work just fine against a lot of teams, but when Michigan starts going up against the elite they don't do any one thing well enough to move the ball. They don't have a staple because their main weapon and the man deploying it are ill-suited to each other.
Is keeping any good? If Denard keeps here what happens? The LB flares out to contain on the first one, but then probably can come back since Denard has to go outside of the FB. Still a better alternative since he's moving upfield faster and is Denard. On the second one that CB may read that Rawls doesn't have the ball and collapse down to tackle from the side, but that's still better than what happened.
So, yeah, if Michigan recognizes this is happening and changes their keep rules, but then we're just back to the jack-of-all-trades stuff. Is this Denard's fault or Borges's fault or Rodriguez's fault, etc. Doesn't matter now; this is what we're stuck with.
Schofield had a rough, rough day. I didn't even notice the blown block in the first play until doing this post; BWS has a couple other examples. Alabama disclaimers apply. He was not regularly beaten up like that last year despite playing against DTs a lot more often. Still, worrying.
Maybe Fitz does something with one of these. Smith is Smith. Whatever Rawls's assets are they do not include making cornerbacks miss in space. It's possible Toussaint can create something by making a guy miss, cutting hard upfield, and jetting. When he's out, the only way you make yards is by… I don't know.
Preface: This could have been a retort to many other posts, not just yours....but
To me, the RR references and analogies aren't brought up for lust or desire or yearning for past years. He is still written about for a variety of reasons. Some of the plays written about/picture paged may not be Borges staples (maybe they are, I know he's been on a carousel of OC jobs); the read-option play talked about of late and other plays Borges uses because he has Denard as a Qb, are types plays out of RR's playbook. Also, the fact that a QB is forced to be used, of which Borges probably won't have the likes of anytime in the near future, because a certain past coach brought him to run a particular offense may also be reason to bring the guy up, the aforementioned coach did have a vision for using Denard as a QB.
I understand it's a bitter notion around here, still. But, again, I think he is mentioned not due to being "missed", but to help explain to the mass that read this website how Denard once was efficiently utilized and how, one, Brian wants/envisions Borges to continue utilizing the talented young man.
The scary part for me is Bama slide #2. Look at the 3 LB's and Safety(?) just waiting to go left or right. Vincent and/or Denard had no shot at a decent gain.
Saban has his kids well coached and their knowledge of our system was remarkable. I remember one of their LB's stating in a post-game interview that they knew what play was coming and where to go.
We had no chance.
The only things I get from this post is that the writer is confused and Alabama is good.
This exact play, albeit run with a different RB, carved OSU up. That was not just because Shazier was hurt because the offense also carved up Nebraska and various other teams. We can stop arguing about whether Borges knows what he is doing because he already DID IT last season.
But people are mad we lost, and someone must pay!
...so shouldn't Borges have adjusted? Don't we have more than that "exact play"? Vincent Smith is not remotely as good as Fitz as a runner, so feeding Smith the ball doesn't seem like a great plan.
And as far as what Borges "knows", he may "know" in general, but I would like to be very good now, with our senior QB and our 1st Rd pick LT. In our biggest games last year/this year, the offense was poor for ND (Denard pulled that game out of his a**), MSU, Iowa, Va Tech and Alabama. Against Nebraska and OSU, it was v good/great.
That's not a great ratio. I thought after the improvement UM showed toward the end of 2011, we could count on Borges realizing he needed to work with what he had and maximize our current team's talents, but the regression against Va Tech and now Alabama may indicate Neb and OSU were the exception, not the rule, against good to great teams.
I understand Alabama's D is awesome, so I was not expecting 500 yards and 30+ points, and we may just have to accept the mismatch between coordinator and the talent he has, but I think we can be frustrated (or at least concerned) that our offense may not be quite as good as we hoped this year, in large part due to the deficiencies our OC.
I'm pretty sure Michigan ran other plays but this one was very successful in the past so they tried it again.
If going 11-2 and winning the Sugar Bowl is settling then sign me up for more settling (or accepting a mismatch) please.
I was responding to the post that said "This exact play..." Of course Michigan ran other plays. It's just too many of them were hand offs to Vincent Smith.
If you're Borges, and Saban has supposedly taken away your "Denard as a runner" play, if your response is "Denard as pinpoint pocket passer" & "Smith into the line", well I'd look real hard and see if there are other options you could have chosen. If the choice is btw Denard making a play and Smith making a play (against numbers, assuming you can't scheme to get an advantage), I'll take Denard.
Last year, to be brief, we went 11-2 b/c a) Denard went off against ND, b) the offense was awesome against OSU and Neb and c) most importantly, the defense was greatly improved the whole year (except OSU). Except for "b", that's not due to Borges, which is what we're discussing.
And if you think we're going 11-2 again this year, good luck. I hope you're right, but with our schedule, the team's roster and the way the team looked on Saturday (leaving aside we won't play a team remotely as good as Alabama again this season), I would say you're dreaming.
And are going to include a mediocre Iowa team just because it was a loss, don't you have to include teams like Northwestern, Illinois, heck San Diego State as good offensive performances vs. average teams too?
If you temper your ANGAR, I think you can appreciate that the real discussion should be headed towards whether Borges can get it done against similar talent later in the season. IMO, Alabama is probably the best team in the country and no one on the rest of Michigan's schedule will come close. But the issue is can Borges find a way to counter teams that do what Alabama did to Denard. Because finding ways to NOT run Denard sure did not work.
His point is that watching that game, and then trying to put the loss at the feet of "scheme" instead of "overwhelming talent disparity" is laughable, and, frankly, stupid.
Why are you assuming "instead of"? Why not "along with"?
The overwhelming talent disparity has already been hammered home by countless other media articles. What I got from this post is that not only did Alabama have an overwhelming talent disparity, they also schemed to take away that plays that were so successful against Nebraska and Ohio. No other team on the schedule is going to overwhelm Michigan with talent the way Alabama did, but they certainly can watch tape of the game and try to replicate the scheme. Hopefully as the season goes along Borges comes up with a way to counter teams that try the things Bama did.
To blow this game off as an overwhelming talent disparity and ignore any lessons that can be learned from the Bama scheme is laughable, and, frankly, stupid.
I don't disagree that a potential for a schematic problem exists. I do not think that a computer engineer is the one to find the problem, especially when his proposed solution is "A professional Offensive Coordinator with 20 years experience is desiging offensive plays I find unsound."
Brian, like the rest of us, is doing his best to understand the plays and why they might not have worked. None of us claims to be authorities. (Actually, those who do make some kind of claim, like Magnus, are sometimes mocked and dismissed, unfairly, I think).
So what else should we do? Blindly believe in the perfection of Borges so long as he is our OC?
I'm interested in football, and how it works. It's why I read Smart Football and MGoBlog and BWS. If you don't agree with Brian or the two Chrises, that's fine, but I don't think it's appropriate to mock them for making an effort to appreciate and understand the complexity of the game.
Gary Moeller is going to start a free blog where he breaks down Michigan games every week with UFR / picture page resolution any day now...
- To ask a guy to read complex pass coverages and make throws is a lot harder than reading give/pull and keep/pitch. However,
- Executing the option takes a lot of time to practice, as does a complex passing game such as Borges runs. It's damn hard to do both, and you can tell by play calls that the coaches have chosen the latter. I don't agree with it, but you've got to be you.
Right, but as we saw and heard after the game, Bama was basically giving Denard the "give read" every play and taking their chances with the RB, knowing that our OL wasn't going to shove them around enough to break the RB free.
I'll say it again, given the circumstances, i was pleased with Denard's passing and I think it bodes well for the season. Most other teams aren't going to be able to shut down the run as effectively. Borges showed a lot of read option play action when Denard was passing. Even a little sucess -- which we're bound to have with Fitz back and Denard running more -- is going to open up those passes. Denard was hitting those, the WR's weren't catching them as often as necessary. Further, we're not going to face another defense anywhere near the caliber of Bama's -- i.e., most others will have to pick their poison as Denard is a far better passer than what that one game displayed.
Bottom line to me is that Michigan's OL is nowhere near as good as it was last season, and far from being elite -- which would have been necessary to have any chance running the ball against Bama's defense. LSU couldn't run the ball agaisnt this defense, and Arkansas couldn't pass it. Bama is as sound from top to bottom on defense as any team in the nation. To beat them, or even compete with them, you have to match that soundness. Michigan's skill players aren't going to beat Bama's defense 1 on 1, because Bama doesn't really give you that chance. It was clear that the Bama DB could out physical the Michigan WR's, the DL dominated the OL, and they all just sat back and waited for Denard to try to do something. Personally, I was impressed with Denard's progression as a passer. Aside from the one INT pick 6, he wasn't throwing passes that were likely INT's. He was putting the ball where only our guys could catch it, and for the most part, they weren't. That needs to change.
I'm still wondering if Fitz getting thos handoffs is more effective than Smith getting them. We don't know when Hoke decided to suspend Fitz, and unless it was a decision made some time before the game, it would be difficult to adjust the game plan. Subbing for Fitz against other teams might not look as bad as it did aganst Alabama. And if Fitz has some success running, what does that open up?
No disagreement from me that the plays diagramed didn't work or why they didn't. But the fact remains that a one-dimensional offense is never going to beat a great defense. Without Fitz, UM was left with run Denard or pass. (again, unless they had time to game plan for not having Fitz) My guess, and it's only that, is that the plan was to use running Denard to punish Alabama rather than setting everything else up with Denard.
Plus, first game of the season with a fairly new O-line and all the mistakes and missed assignments that are going to naturally come with those.
I'm not against criticizing coaches, i'm just fairly sure that it's not nearly as easy to make the changes that look so obvious in hindsight during a game. Also, criticizing coaches is low risk since it's assumed, but unable to be proven, that the suggested changes would be successful.
Is it possible that the play was designed to go further outside, and Smith had to cut back into the linebacker (and cut his losses) when the slot receiver (Gallon?) was eaten by a bear wearing a crimson helmet?
Hopkins blocks the end, and I think Smith may have beaten the linebacker to the corner if the slot is able to block the safety. Smith only tries to turn upfield once the safety beats his blocker.
The pass to Gallon was perfect. The pass to Gardner was terrible. If the defender had not already fallen down, that would not have been completed.
And, I suppose the 7.4% interception rate (which I adjusted for the Bellomy int) -- ranked #117 nationally -- will win a lot of games?
It wouldn't matter one bit if Rich Rod were running the offense. Alabama was going to crush any run based offense, especially a run based spread like Rich Rod devised. Borges wasn't trying to use Dendard the way RR would have because it stood NO chance of working.
Just take a look at the box score for the 2010 Alabama-Auburn game. It is eeirily similar to the Michigan-Alabama game. Cam Newton had 39 yards on 22 attempts! Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton playing in an offense designed for his talents. Running uber athlete and dual threat Cam Newton got Auburn exactly dick.
The score was 21-0 in the first quarter, and was on pace for a major beat down of Auburn, and exited the half up 24-0, having utterly stymied Auburn with Feet of Newton during the first half. You know how the eventual National Champs beat Alabama? Ingram and McElroy fumbled preventing the Tide from scoring twice more in the first half. Cam started throwing short dink and dunk passes in the second half, mixed with a few bombs that went for scores. His feet were only a positive on broken plays.
The difference between National Champion Auburn and Michigan is that Cam was 13-20 passing with 0 INTs and Auburn had 0 lost fumbles, while Alabama lost two fumbles that both were in the red zone, costing Alabama 6-14 points. If 'Bama doesn't lose those two fumbles and scores TD's, and if Cam had thrown an ugly TD pick 6, the score of that game would have been 41-21, and that's with Auburn's D adjusting to hold 'Bama to just 3 points in the second half.
I was initially pissed with the Borges game plan, but now I realize he just looked at the Auburn game and decided that the only hope was to try and have Denard beat 'Bama with his arm the way Newton did. He probably realized the chances were small, but better than trying to poke the bear, which trying to run Denard on Alabama was.
That is it exactly.
Sometimes you need the football gods to shine on you also. Marc Ingram had one fumble that year and it was in that game. Not only that but the ball went 20 yards down the field and out the back on the endzone for a touchback even though the fumble was on the sideline.
It never hurts to be lucky.
I also watched the 2010 Auburn/Alabama game a pretty much came to the same conclusion. I though we should come out in a 2-back 3-wide shotgun set (check), I though we should establish the dink-and-dunk pass (tried, no check) and use that to open up mis-direction heavy runs and QB draws (never got there), which in turn would open up the OH NOES and other deep-threat passing plays.
Sadly we got blown up at stage one. We were doing the right thing. Hell, we were even doing it with bubble screens. I'm not really sure why we bothered with an conventional run plays at all. Go second half USC on their asses and never stop passing. I think we failed to use our backs leaking into the flat or on short-posts for gains, but I'm not sure those were really there anyway since our WRs were getting blown up when they tried to block (closing down the flat) and good luck getting Hopkins past the LBs in the middle (though I suppose when one drops you could just have Denard scramble or something). We also pitched on a speed option without fumbling, though it still wasn't pretty...
Borges came out trying to do THE ONLY THING that has worked against this defense in the last TWENTY FIVE games. Is it something Denard specializes in? NO. Is it something you want to try when your star WR from last year is in the NFL, another potential star washed out from off-the-field issues, a solid mountain goat graduated, and your best TE is gone? HELLLZ NO. Is it the only thing that stood a chance of working without cloning BAMA's O-Line and having it coached at Wisconsin for the last three seasons? Sadly, it was. Without a dominent front and another legitimate run threat (Fitz) we simply were not going ot be able to run the ball. Even with Fitz I think Michigan would've rushed for maybe 25-30 more yards, tops.
As the game went on I saw how sad it was, and I was raging at Herbie et all for all their ESS EEE SEE starry-eyed talk. BUT I was happy Borges, Hoke, and Co, weren't sacrificing Denard's body when we need him so badly to be healthy for the season. He would've done it: for the team. The scoreboard might've read 41-21 instead, and Bellomy would've been stepping in for a different reason. And we wouldn't be fighting right now. We'd be crying.
The coaches are fair game for criticism. Borges was out schemed by a mile. The defenders for Bama knew what was coming before the snap, they said as much in post-game interviews (if I find the link I'll post).
Also let's not just talk about our offense lest we forget we have a D that gave up 152 yds in 8 minutes of a first quarter.
Denard played poorly but the offensive game plan was terrible and our defense could not tackle head on (Ron Simpkins mentioned this on Rival$).
Dear Leaders tweet about making Denard throw into NFL sized windows (TWIS) and ZERO designed runs in the first three drives were the exact thoughts flowing into my brain while watching the game.
The only mistake Brian made in this critique is mentioning 'Rodriguez'. (the name alone is still too painful for most. It does help if you spit on the ground after saying it) This is a great critique of something that specifically was very frustrating to watch on Sat.
I don't like it either, but might the current offense be better managed by someone with a mindset for using Denard as a runner? At least some of the time, that answer is yes. Would Borges be more successful with Henne, Manningham and Arrington? No brainer. Will this be a long year if M doesn't figure out how to combat what Bama threw at them? Yes. You will see it from AF this week, and ND, Ohio and MSU will have it down to a science if they don't figure out the adjustments. That is how football works.
I will lose my fucking mind if I see that veer play ever again.
Say, in an alternate universe, we'd have given Denard 25 carries - and he got seriously injured (i.e., bad enough to cause him to miss a few weeks) in a game we still went on to lose by double-digits. What would be your reaction toward Borges?
I don't think this is venom towards Borges. I think Brian is merely acknowledging that he is what he is, a West Coast guru who will put up prolific numbers with the right weapons who doesn't 100% know what to do with one of the most dangerous running QBs of all time. Anyone who doesn't think that RR puts up better offensive numbers last year than we did with another year older Denard and a healthy Fitz is dumb. Similarly anyone who doesn't know the program is much, much, much, much, much better off with Hoke/Borges/Mattison long term is also dumb.
but back to MgoNY's point. There seems to be a prevailing thought that if only Denard had "the right coach" who knew how to properly use him and utilize his strengths then the offense would run like a smooth oiled machine. That simple antidote seems to negate the inherent weaknesses of Denard's game that - dare I say it - no coach can fix. It's like we are always coming up with excuses for Denard's play. This is very understandable because he's such a great, unique, and likable guy. But let's face it - you saw the game. One of the few good things I observed was the pass blocking. Denard had time to throw most of the night and missed his targets. He had times he could have run and chose not to do so. Borges or RR had nothing to with those mishaps.
Hoke/Borges swore to keep Denard healthy and that's what they're doing by blocking the DE. Being generous I'd call it conservative. But really, taking a MANBALL approach to a read option is really just thinking like the fastest QB in the country can't beat a DE in a foot race.
Hey, Alabama's DEs are good, and sure if they hit Denard they might take him out of the game in one play. If.
Seriously, Borges thinks Denard can't outrun a DE??
Teams have had Borges' read option figured out for months now. Saban wasn't being brilliant; he saw how half the Big Telewelve has been getting the ball out of Denard's hands all last season. The only reason it didn't work so well was that Toussaint turned into another guy who can juke the first defender to reach the backfield. When Toussaint got defenses worried about him, he made the DE's job very hard. But Toussaint wasn't playing in this game. I love Smith on passing downs but he is NOT the sort of tailback who scares Alabama in a one-on-one situation in space. Even with short notice Saban could've adjusted with a 30-second chat with the playside DE.
Here's the "kill Borges' read option" recipe:
1) Make the edge "unclean", forcing Denard to hand off.
2) Take out the lead blocker.
At that point all the blockers are blocked, the ball's out of Denard's hands and there's nowhere to go. Denard's now irrelevant so in an 11-on-11 game with the CBs playing man you have a free guy who can fly into the seam. THAT is why you "option" off a defender. It's not to mess with the safeties; it's to equalize the numbers in a running down. Michigan can still break for big yards if Toussaint (when he plays) does silly things with his feet, but even then the defense has done its job -- the back has to dodge an unblocked tackler in a tight space just to reach the line of scrimmage.
So basically Rich Rod (run spread guy) is better than Borges (West Coast guy) at utilizing the ultimate run spread QB. Also Nick Saban is really smart at defense and shuts downs all offenses not lead by Heisman Trophy winning man-children going HAM. I don't really get what everyone is upset about.
So basically Rich Rod (run spread guy) is better than Borges (West Coast guy) at utilizing the ultimate run spread QB. Also Nick Saban is really smart at defense and shuts downs all offenses not lead by Heisman Trophy winning man-children going HAM. I don't really get what everyone is upset about.
That's really the biggest problem here. With Fitz out, we have one real playmaker. Gardner is a work in progress at wide receiver and even then the passing from Denard is spotty. Gallon is solid, but he isn't something you build around. Denard's gift is his legs (obvious I know). This either needs to be accompanied by a better arm, or another set of legs. I love Smith, but he's not the type of creator that Mike Hart was or Fitz is. I am betting Fitz does make a guy miss now and again, or even more nebulous but equally important, his vision allows him to change direction entirely. I can envision Fitz not necessarily running where it's designed and the coaches being fine with it, particularly in a game like this one.
Alabama's talent would have probably been too much to overcome anyway. But you look at last year, Michigan only really got rolling when Fitz got rolling, and that isn't going to change. This team is only going to go as far as the running back can take us, not Denard.
Maybe I'm crazy, but if I have Denard Robinson on my team I might just have some faith in him to make some plays with his feet that aren't actually there. No, Alabama doesn't let rushing QBs get off. But they also haven't played against Denard Robinson before.
Borges said it himself. You want your guys to make a few "exeptional plays". Who exactly could do that better than Denard? And how does Denard do it if you don't give him the opportunities?
I got bored earlier, and decided to do my own "moving picture pages"
I forget the name of the guy that normally does that, hopefully I'm not stepping on his virtual toes.
**I know I have seen people not know how to embed video before, with others explaining how to do it. At that time though, I never really thought I would be posting a video so I didn't pay attention. Stupid me. I know I need to switch to plain text editor, but since I'm pretty terrible at HTML code, I gave up.