this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
21 plays. 60 yards. Zero points.
That was Michigan's second-half offensive output, after Denard Robinson averaged over 20 yards per carry and Devin Gardner a hair under ten yards per pass in the first half. The Wolverine defense held Ohio State to two field goals in that same span despite three drives starting in their own territory, but it was for naught in a 26-21 heartbreaker.
It's too easy to pin a game on a coach, but after this game it's tough to figure out who else is to blame—Al Borges's second-half playcalling is the story today. Michigan's running backs, ineffective the entire year even with a healthy Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint, were stymied on three third down attempts in the final 30 minutes. In the end, Vincent Smith mustered just 12 yards on five carries, Thomas Rawls a mere two on his five. That enabled Ohio State to load up against Robinson, still apparently unable to throw the ball, when he entered the game as a quarterback.
There were other problems, of course. Fumbles by Robinson and Gardner prematurely ended drives in the final half; Michigan's last drive finished with a Gardner interception. While the defense put forth a heroic effort late, they were repeatedly burned early by Braxton Miller—who finished with 189 yards on 14-of-18 passing—and had trouble stopping Carlos Hyde (146 yards on 26 carries) up the middle.
This despite prospects looking good early. A 75-yard touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree answered a Hyde score on the opening Buckeye drive. The Wolverines took a 14-10 lead on a goal-line plunge by Gardner. And Michigan's 21-20 halftime edge came courtesy of a spectacular 67-yard scamper by Robinson, who shed simultaneous tackling attempts by Christian Bryant and Travis Howard and broke free from the pack for a vintage Denard touchdown.
But the tides turned on Michigan's opening drive of the third quarter, when Brady Hoke took a timeout after initially sending out the punt team following a zero-yard Rawls run on third-and-three. It was Robinson who took the field at quarterback for fourth down; the blocking broke down inside, leaving him no crease to reach the sticks as Ryan Shazier brought him down for a two-yard loss.
From that point forward, turnovers and questionable playcalls doomed the offense. Two Drew Basil field goals represented the entire scoring output of the second half; that was all the Buckeyes needed to secure their sixth straight home victory against Michigan and an undefeated season, one which ended today thanks to a postseason bad.
Michigan will play on, but it won't be in a BCS bowl. The question before this season was whether Al Borges was the right offensive coordinator for Denard Robinson. After this game, the question might expand, to whether or not he's the right offensive coordinator for this program moving forward.
and get real. Most intelligent observers had us picked for a 9-3 to 8-4 regular season given away games with Alabama, ND, Nebraska and OSU. We had at best a mediocre offensive line all year, and we lacked talent, size, and speed at WR. Lost Countess early, lost Denard late, and Gardner showed you in NW and OSU game why he was not the best QB and why he was moved to WR to start the year when he played decent defenses. Gardner will be better next year, we likely will have some more targets for him at WR with some size and speed, and we have a lot of talent coming in that will play and provide better depth. We are at least 1-2 good to great recruiting classes from where we need to be to challenge for the B1G title each year and occassionally challenge for the national championship play-off. Our defense is still short of playmakers and size and speed, but that is coming too. How about a tad bit of patience given that we just now graduate a group of guys who had pretty lousy (by Michigan standards for sure) 2009-2010 years where we lost to anyone who had a decent defense as well?
Ace isn't "whining" when he holds our coaching accountable. Regardless of our skill level, we got out-coached. Can you not accept that?
are one thing, hind sight is another. if there is a UM fan that can honestly look back on this season and say we shouldn't have been at least 10 and 2 I think their lying to themselves.
The only game we got legitimately out played was Alabama and the Nebraska game after Denard went down. Saying 8 and 4 is ok simply because that was what had been predicted while ignoring what actually happened during the season is a little silly.
Also, if it is fine for people here to back Borges despite the results on the field than you have to accept that others here don't. We disagree, it doesn't mean any of us are stupid. Maybe some are just more tolerant of mediocre results.
I simply can't understand why Borges continued trying to run Rawls and to a lesser extent Smith. Honestly I just think he has not been a great play caller...it's as simple as that.
"despite the results on the field"
Rarely do I see someone kneecap their one argument so effectively.
Because he didn't have anyone else, and neither of those guys can run over a D lineman - at least I haven't seen it. The O line just didn't open any holes for them on the inside. Whether that was bad coaching or lack of talent, I don't know. I think a little of both. Ohio's O line made their RBs look like stars - they simply ran straight ahead and were untouched until they got to the secondary. When you hear Kovach's name being called time and again for tackling a RB, that's bad.
Was Justice Hayes out with an injury?
In deep shit for the pre game.
if there is a UM fan that can honestly look back on this season and say we shouldn't have been at least 10 and 2 I think their lying to themselves.
We could have been 10-2 - but it would have taken a lot of good fortune. Should have been 10-2? No, that's being a homer. We lost to teams that went 12-0, 12-0, 11-1 and 10-2. Why exactly should we have beaten any of these teams, when none of the games were at home?
None of our losses were of the last-second variety—Bama was a blowout, Nebraska was out of reach by the middle of the 4th quarter, ND possessed the ball for the last 4 minutes, and OSU had the ball for the final 3+ minutes.
By comparison, our winning FG against MSU came with 9 seconds left, and our game-tying FG in regulation against NW came with 18 seconds left.
In other words, we were closer to 6-6 than we were to 10-2. Thank God for brunettes and Brendan Gibbon's imagination.
The guy has GOT to go.
Disheartening loss. But think of it this way: Michigan losses in 2012 are the following -
Undefeated ND going to National Champhionship
Likely National Champion Alabama
Likely Big Ten Champion Nebraska
12-0 Ohio State, Probational National Champ
Gotta say, at least we didn't lose to NW!
Is that we beat ourselves as far as ND, NE and Ohio are concerned.
Al Borges has got to go because we don't have Denard to bail out his terrible play calling anymore!!!!!!!!
Seemed like Denard was on the field far less in the second half. I really don't understand it unless he was hurt.
It is no secret that the authors of our beloved site long for a high flying, no huddle, spread offense. Long has Borges been the object of criticism on this board and every defeat has been placed at his feet. While there were some questionable play calls in the game and Al certainly bears some responsibility for the loss, to say it is his fault is--at best--shallow and biased.
In my opinion, this type of reporting is representative of a fundamental misunderstanding of team sports, of coaching, and of the character and soul of football. It reeks of the video game age--so many people now believe that simply calling the right plays can win you a football game.
Logic, of course, knocks down this soft argument, but for so many the ease of pinning the game on one coach is both irresistible and ego-satisfying, since the obvious implication is that a fan recognized things that our OC did not, and could have made better calls.
But take a moment and think about what happened in the game, and about the reality of football in general. Borges led the team to 21 first half points. Mattison, whom the writers and lemmings on this board worship, allowed 20 first half points. If the defense had prevented even one TD, we win this game. But ignoring the obvious defensive deficiencies allows a simpler explanation: it's all Al's fault.
While I would never pretend I think Al called a perfect game, his calls worked gloriously in the first half. And instead of examining why they did not work in the second half, people just blame him.
How about some actual analysis? How about some honest review of what happened? I would love to believe a better OC could have won us this game. Then fixing our problem is just getting a new coach (which isn't easy, but that's another post). But there are deeper, more important things going on here and, unfortunately, they are missed because it's easy to blame Al.
You obviously didnt watch the game.
Can you possibly get anymore sanctimonious ?
Nice Drew Sharp impersonation Ace,
Hard to hang this one on Borges. He didn't cause the fumbles, get Toussaint injured or block up front. The middle of the line simply wasn't winning the LOS.
If the results are the same next year, we should have this discussion, but not now.
You're wrong in so many ways.
Expound on this...who's wrong? Which levels?
line was weak (which has been the case all year), Al thought it was good idea to run up the middle on crucial plays in the game anyways? That makes perfect sense. Besides the questionable playcalling, the biggest mistake Al made in the game was not having Devin and Denard in the game at the same time more frequently. By playing them seperately he was tipping UM'S hand as to whether OSU should of been looking for a run and pass. Not hard to play defense when you know what it is coming.
I don't think they were inside calls, at least not all of them. On at least 2, Lewan failed to block anybody, and the DE crushed it before the runner could get outside. The failed 4th down to start the 2nd half comes to mind.
This is probably a good reason to delay publication for more than an hour after a tough loss.
Venting spleen all over the mgo front page may be an honest 'fans view' but unfortunately this isn't any more insightful than the shit that is spewn all over mgoboard.
What did he say that was incorrect?
Possibly when he blames the loss on Borges in one sentence and 3 TOs in the next? Not really a cohesive viewpoint.
I disagree with his main idea that play calling doomed Michigan. But he didn't flesh that view point out at all anyway. This is just the usual "I hate the play calling" post--versions of which can be found all over this site.
I am left with no idea what the author thinks the coaches should have done other than 'be better.'
There's plenty of deserved criticism to go around, including a defensive unit that gave up as much in the first half as it has averaged for whole games. The constant switching of QBs cannot be good for rythym, which is probably rather important for a QB. And, yes, the second half playcalling was mystifying.
I don't know if this is Borges or Hoke (or varying degrees of one or the other in certain situation), but when i see real criticism of the offense it's mostly explainable by stepping back and looking at commonly accepted football strategy and tactics. A team should be able to run inside, and some would say that a team must establish that to open up other parts of the game. Clearly, Michigan cannot do that this year. There appears to be a stubborn desire to play by theory rather than take what's given. On the other hand, there seems to be an overly quick retreat from things that don't work just right that may not be common football tactics. So we watch Devin get blown up because Denard in the backfield doesn't pick up blitzes, and then we never see Denard in the backfield again. (I'd like to think that this would have been predicted and we'd see V. Smith in that same backfield because he's really good at that.)
If there's one giant criticism that's well placed against this offensive coaching staff, it's that they do not do a good job of taking what they're given by defenses. Why? I don't know and none of us ever will.
All that being said, the reaction of this place is the saddest part of it all. A collective nervous breakdown from a group that prides itself on being intellectually and morally superior based on education and educational allegiance is ... well, it's damned funny in a Gogol's "bitter laugh" kind of way.
It's not just us too old/too young/skinny/fat/never-played-the-game knucklehead fans who are gnashing our teeth about the offensive playcalling. FWIW, I asked Jamie Morris on-air this morning if his fellow alumni teammates were expressing any opinions, and he said (I'm paraphrasing here) he was inundated with texts, emails, and phone calls from his brethren players basically saying WTF on the offensive scheme and tactics.
Jamie Morris definitely has no axe to grind with he current regime. Nope.
What are you referring to?
Morris was fired by the current regime for patent dishonesty. That's what I'm referring to.
Plenty of deserved criticism. But to find rational discussion of the deserved criticism on this board since yesterday afternoon requires wading through huge quantities of incoherent rants and calls for people up to and including the head coach to be fired.
So i'll say it again, a group that publicly prides itself on intellectual and moral superiority based on educational affiliation is crying like a bunch of babies and lashing out at whatever it can find to fault. Yes, that's the saddest part, and if Jamie Morris wants into that group, that's his decision.
Funny how the players are expected to be "Michigan Men" but the fans don't seem to worry about holding themselves to the same standards. The last day and a half might was well be RCMB. At least UM players aren't making fools of themsevles on Twitter.
As I recall Jamie Morris and "his fellow alumni" hated the last coach also.
Maybe these guys should talk less. I'm sure they wouldn't have appreciated it if every time they had lost all the previous players had started a riot.
and his former playing friends have deserved the right to express their opinions. We all express ours on here daily and have never played a down of college football.
agree with all the people who hated their head coach and OC. Do all these former players hate lloyd and the WCO too?
I really don't see the point of writing this shit I was kinda sorta feeling a Lil better now I click on this
Just a thought.......
Why try to pound Vincent smith up the middle when he is the smallest running back in division 1 football. That made absolutely no sense to me.
Because the head coach says we are going to play man ball. Do we have an OC that can present an effective game plan against good teams? NO Do we have an Offensive Line Coach that is capable of teaching basic run blocking? NO
Pure and simple if you didn't like RR's defense there is noway you can like the current offense.
Because interior OLine is the biggest strength on our team
I took a day off from the blog, simply because after reading the comments below, it seems we are once again a divided house. It easy to blame. I never understand why when a political candidate losses, or your favorite team loses, etc. people automatically want to explain said loss on one person.
I watched the game yesterday just like everyone else. It hurt. Still troubled by it. But, and my only real point to make here, I am getting over the loss much faster because of one simple fact: we have overachieved for two straight seasons. 19 wins from a mash low talent unit. That is the product of dedication and hard work by both the players and the coaching staff.
Kudos to them!
We get to go to NY's citrus or outback bowl and play a damn tough sec team. These are good things and going in the right direction. Denard clearly couldn't be trusted in the second half because of either injury or some other reason we will never know.
With the exception of SDSU, Borges has been run out town with lit torches at almost every school. (Which is a lot of places with short tenures) OCs' have short shelf-lives in general, but Borges's turnover and the circumstances behind it are alarming. I can't imagine giving the ball to Rawls or Smith being a better option than having it in Devin's or Denard's hand on a bootleg or wide run respectively. Also, the excessive and not very credible play action, and rolling Devin to his weak side drove me nuts.
Without "the burden" of a bowl game, Urban can capitalize on the momentum and hit the recruiting trail.People like being associated with 'the winner'. With 2 national championships and a 19-2 record in rivalry games, he can simply ask recruits who they think the dominant side will be in this rivalry given the current coaching staffs. The answer is not one I want to hear.
Throwing Al under the bus already? I realize today is not a good one for any of us, but to post what you did is ridiculous. Think MAYBE we can give him a chance with HIS players, not a hybrid of what was and what will be. The future is bright. We got beat. We should not have. Maybe if we had Al on the O-line things would have been different. PLEASE!. Last week he was the zen master, this week, FIRE HIM!!!! Sounds waaay to much like an ohio fan to me. Calvary is on its way---Remember?
hey i thought no religion on the board
I agree with posters who are defending Al. This is a big game against an undefeated OSU in the shoe. If we won this game it would have been an upset. I'm disappointed, but it is frustrating to see people so consumed by their emotion that they want to blame it all on one guy. That's a cop out. I was definitely more disappointed by the loss in the shoe in 2006. That was our game, we were much closer to winning that game than this one and the loss certainly hurts less.
I for one am content with where we are sitting at the moment. We will likely get an SEC match-up in a bowl game, and likely one more chance to beat someone in the Top 10. I'm excited for next year with DG at QB and new talent coming in.
OSU will always be our nemesis, but I for one can't stand people blaming the coaches when things don't go our way. This is a team game, everyone is accountable, and there can be only one winner and I think we must accept the reality that this game will be a battle. We were in this game until the end, and a bounce here or there and we win this game.
"Yeah, we kind of knew what was coming when Denard was in and knew what was
coming when [Gardner] was in," Ohio State defensive lineman Adolphus Washington said.
Watching the game I had a funny feeling ... I'd seen this before; in boxing. If the OC was sending signals to the other teams defense, he called a perfect half. As for BH, he may be the only one in the stadium who didn't realize the fix was in - who was under center.
As for those here blaming the players, try running against a team that knows exactly where you're going and see how far you get.
The only thing I have to say is if it ain't broke don't fix it. When Devin Gardner throws the ball to Roundtree and Gallon good things happen. Like why take Garnder out the game to bring in Denard for waisted plays then bring Gardner back in on 3rd and 20 and expect him to keep rhythm? He did that in the first half then Borges comes out in the 2nd with that shit? I mean Borges..... If running a halfback or QB up the middle on 3rd or 4th down doesn't work twice... WHY KEEP DOING IT? He let our seniors and defense down. Hoke needs to wear a headset and help Borges make better decisions when we play good teams. 4 good teams an 4 losses when Borges calls scared as plays. Of course Hoke will remain loyal to him. And Borges kept trying to e loyal to Denard, fuck that we need to win. With 2 fucking minutes on the clock then Hoke sneaks on a damn headset with the game out of reach. Like what kind of coaches are we hiring? He looks like a fuckin strength and fitness coach on the sideline. Mattison is the only coach as far as I'm concerned that how's up every game and consistently gets results. Hoke says headsets are overrated. Michigan one of the top defenses and 1st against the pass under Mattison. By the way Hoke, he wears a headset.
... the board can be summed up as follows:
Gordon: Oh, by the way, for what it's worth, I'm right with you on this Rostenkowski thing.
Casey: Thank you.
Gordon: It was a terrible call.
Casey: Lost the game.
Gordon: I don't know how he made that call. Any idiot knows you hand it to Jermaine, you send him up the middle.
Casey: Yeah -- well, you're not gonna go up the middle against an 8-man front, but still...
Gordon: Oh, still, maybe you run a play-action fake, you toss it off to the tight end out in the flat.
Casey: The problem with that is that without establishing a running game first, no one's gonna bite down on the play fake.
Gordon: Oh, but still.
Gordon: A post pattern, a slant...
Casey: He'd be going against a defensive back who was second-team All-American as a true freshman.
Gordon: What would you have called?
Casey: The thing is, I haven't watched film all week. I haven't seen scouting reports. I don't have an offensive coordinator talking in my ear. I don't have 80,000 fans screaming in my face. So it's easy for me -- I don't have 10 million people watching at home on TV, including a pack of rabid alumni. I've had three days to think about it. He had seven seconds. So it's a lot easier for me to make that decision than it was for him. But since you asked me what play I would have called, I'll tell you. Now that I think about it, I have no idea.
"Sports Night", The Head Coach, Dinner, and The Morning Mail