Why does Ben Braden keep getting brought up? I can't recall ever hearing so much about a young, backup offensive tackle.
“Had a good practice yesterday. We expect it with the way this group has been. Most Tuesdays have been very good. It was good. The energy was good. The enthusiasm for the game of football was good. And in terms of preparation we got a lot done.”
Devin’s status physically? Has his leadership been tested?
“Oh I think all the leadership is always tested when you have adversity. He did a great job yesterday. Sore? Yeah. But every guy in the game of football across America who’s playing is going to be sore. He went out and attacked the day.”
Were there any lessons for him from last week?
“I think there’s always lessons. For him, maybe there’s some fundamental lessons when you look at technique that he can take home and learn from. I think leadership-wise I think there’s always those things we can build on ... I would think he keeps growing as a quarterback. That’s part of it. Being in those pressurized situations, made some awfully good throws. Obviously the Nascar series at the end of the game, late, showed a lot. He got them up even though he got him – he kept moving.”
Greg Mattison said Ameer Abdullah is the best running back you’ll face all year. What’s special about him?
“The kid’s a special athlete. He’s got good burst, good balance, can make you miss in the hole. I think the other part of it, traditionally, is their offensive lines have been pretty stout, pretty strong at the line of scrimmage. I think they’ve given him a chance to get runs started. I think his natural abilities, vision, jump cuts, all those things take over.”
Status of Keith Heitzman and Drew Dileo?
“Yeah they both practiced yesterday and they’ll both play Saturday.”
Who will start at SDE?
“I think Brennen [Beyer] will start the game, and Heitzman and [Chris] Wormley, I think we’ve got three guys in there that we like.”
How are the backups?
“Good. I think Tommy [Strobel] was set back. He had a little bit of burner that set him back a while. I think Matt [Godin] is coming along. I think he’s getting better. I like some of the physical things that he’s doing.”
How are your younger offensive linemen progressing?
“I think that group is a pretty good group. Logan [Tuley-Tillman], as he continues to get better as an offensive tackle [in terms of] football shape, strength, and all that because he’s a very good athlete. [Patrick] Kugler is a very smart football player. I think it runs in the family a little bit. His brother’s a center at Purdue, and his father is the head coach at El Paso. Those guys, I think, all are doing a nice job.”
How is Ben Braden coming along? Do you think he’s better suited to tackle than guard?
“Well I think Ben’s had really a good last four weeks. When you ask how he’s going along, I think he’s improving. I think he’s handling the communication at the line of scrimmage, getting into one protection and out of another one, all those things. From a body standpoint at the tackle position, it’s where he’ll end up at the end of the day, but we’ll work him in at guard, too.”
Do you do anything to stress the importance of playing well on the road?
“You know, I do about the consistency that we want to have. We’ve done a lot of different things when we’ve gone on the road depending on the time of the game. With a young football team, we’re going by stadiums and showing them the locker room. And we’ll do the same thing at Northwestern so they get an idea of here’s our bench, how close the people are. Here we obviously know our surroundings pretty well.”
Do you feel that the familiarity plays a role in your success here?
“I think if you take any team, if you look at their home wins compared to the away wins over the course of time, home is usually the better place.”
How are they doing making checks on the line?
“Doing good. I think Devin does a pretty good job. He identifies. Graham keeps growing, keeps getting better.”
How is Graham progressing?
“I think it is. Darryl would tell you the same thing.”
Are you going to try to give Derrick Green more snaps?
“Hope so. Him and De’Veon are both guys we’d like to get a little more work with.”
Did you see a different Devin emerge from that game?
“Yeah I think he learned. I think he grew … He took some shots, he got up, on the sideline he was great. He was encouraging guys and those kinds of things.”
When did you make the decision to take him out of the game?
“I think it was more after the last score. Let’s get Shane [Morris] some reps in that environment and see how he operates.”
How important is that for a young player’s development?
“I think it’s great. We’re going to be up there next year again. So that’s awesome for all those guys. The three freshmen on the inside. That’s got to be great for them.”
You mentioned De’Veon Smith. Does he have an opportunity to earn a higher spot on the depth chart?
“He’s got a chance to. Yeah.”
Has he responded to getting taken off the travel squad?
Was that to send a message?
Al said yesterday that rebounding after losses starts with the head coach …
“I’ve always believed with young people that this may be the only consistent discipline thing that some of them have ever in their lives. For us to be consistent with how we act and how we react to different situations or whatever it is or the schedule, how you want to do things. I think that’s important. We want to do everything perfectly, and that’s what it is.”
What are the hardest things Devin Funchess has to grasp in order to be a really good wide receiver?
“One of the hardest things is when you start identifying in the run game who are you going to block? With coverages changing, with some people disguising what they’re doing, especially when you start looking at the read plays and those kinds of things, who he’s going to block. Is he going to bypass the read key, all those things.”
How’s Taco Charlton progressing?
“Okay. Making progress. Day by day making progress.”
What does he need to improve?
“I think it’s a lot of different things. How you react to visual keys. He’s used to, like most of those guys in high school, just running up the field. Style of offense you play, they change week to week. Your mindset, your mentality, what you learn is a little different.”
How has AJ Williams responded? Will he start?
“Good. He should be in the lineup.”
You mentioned De’Veon Smith. What is his running style?
“He’s a little more of a slicer. He’s a little more like Drake [Johnson]. He’s very much a downhill, physical guy. Has good balance. Has similarities that him and Derrick have, but there’s enough different physical traits that they have that make them different.”
Has Russell Bellomy been able to do anything in practice?
“No. Not yet. He does a little bit of what we do on Sundays, and the rest of the time is rehab.”
Why does Ben Braden keep getting brought up? I can't recall ever hearing so much about a young, backup offensive tackle.
But Heiko at least was talking about him as a surefire starter in the spring (at guard). Now we haven't seen him, despite Kalis and Bryant getting benched, Magnuson seemingly playing out of position, and a true freshman playing (Bosch).
When things look like a shitshow, people will look for any solution, right or wrong. To a lot of breathless program observers, Braden looked like he would be the answer all along. Hence the mentioning of his name now that things have (once again) gone to hell on the interior o-line and he's nowhere to be seen.
"The back up QB is always the best QB on the team, until you throw him out there, then it's the other guy that hasn't played."
understand what people want from Hoke. He tells you how it is without throwing his players under the bus. Guys miss a read, don't communicate at the line, etc. play blows up. He doesn't see it as lack of effort but lack of experience. Leaving Smith off the travel team tells me he can be a hard ass when required.
I think it's interesting when asked about 'younger OLmen," he talked about LTT and Kugler and not, say Bosch, Kalis, and Magnusson. Was the exact wording or context of the question pushing him towards talking about players not playing at all this year or was this completely unsolicited?
Brian has suggested in the past that unsolicited praise of a player (in camp, but I'd guess the same thing could apply to practice) is sometimes more than just coach-speak. If this is true, I like the call-outs to two touted young linemen. If Kugler can emerge at C and move Glasgow back to guard, where he, Bosch, and Kalis can fight it out next year, and if LTT can compete with Braden and Magnusson, I'm more optimistic about next year's line. The past couple of years, our starters at the beginning of the season have almost been by default, as there were few if any other choices. If we have multiple highly regarded players pushing each other for the start, hopefully those that emerge are ready and able to play well.
If I'm reading too much optimism into a somewhat vague and throwaway presser comment, hopefully people will understand and forgive me...
I know it sucks now, but if we can wait a few years, Michigan could have a o line consisting of 3 seniors and 2 juniors instead of freshmen. They will all have at least thee years of valuable experience playing the line, which is more intricate and complicated than "push that guy over there." They will also have two top rated running backs in the country.
I have not been a huge fan of Borges and his playcalling, and have questioned the coaching ability of those involved with the offense, but I can completely see what the coaches are saying about being young. Unfortunatly, I think they will still be bad next year, show improvement in '15, and be good then next year, and be great from then onwards if Hoke can keep up his recruiting pace.
Personally, I hope they get that chance.
We all get the young thing, and I think he would get a pass on that, if it weren't for one big problem.
These issues aren't new this year. There was an experienced line the last two years, and the non-QB running game wasn't good. So sure, if he gets a once in a generation running QB who he would never ask to recruit, he can put together a running game at Michigan.
I'm wondering if that was just an error in the transcription of the question on Heiko's part. Because otherwise it doesn't make a lot of sense.
No you may be onto something. I know prior to the season Brian thought that starting next year the line may be less of an issue. This was obviously prior to us seeing the tire fire that our line currently is but in some way it still makes sense because as you say there will be options next year. If 2013 guys break into the line it will be because they beat out another person and not that there was nobody else. The current guys will have some more experience so hopefully out of all this talent and competition we will get a decent if not world beater line starting next year.
is so that writers can include a pithy quote from the coach in their stories. No one involved has any pretense that any actual information is being disbursed.
Coaches do them to help publicize the team. There is nothing else going on.
I'm almost ready to stop getting on Mgoblog b/c of the people who post on here. I've never seen so many coaches with all the "right answers" that sit on the couch or at the bar watching Michigan play every Saturday. We have a young team that is struggling right now, but Michigan is still 6-2. Get a grip people. These kids are 17-22 year old kids playing a game. Why don't you enjoy watching these kids develop into a Championship team in a couple years rather than just bitch about every mistake they make.
That's not the whole answer, though.
I am as obsessed with Michigan football as anyone. Some losses keep me up at night. I've cried when watching old highlights. I am often personally injured when watching this offensive line. I am a bit of a psychopath with regards to the team.
But, man, football is hard. Really hard. Its tough to win a game. A single one. Its tough to make one single play. So, I don't and won't expect perfection. And I certainly refuse to let one game, no matter how shitty, cause me to lose faith in the whole enterprise. No offense meant to anyone, but the guys who are considering giving up their season tickets because they are really upset about 9 losses over 2.6 seasons seems crazy to me. Particularly if they kept their tickets through the Coach Rod era, when Michigan was actually bad. Have no faith in this staff? What are they going to do, go 3-9?
Which leads me to what I suspect is really going on. People still feel hurt by the Coach Rod fiasco. Some were really ties into the hope that he would work and went All-In. Losing an all in bet sucks, man. Some people think the success of their team is less important than the offensive system used to achieve said success (both sides of the argument). Some people feel that because Coach Rod was treated badly and fired before he could develop his team, Coach Hoke should be treated badly and fired before he develop his team. In short, I feel like a lot of people picked their side a long time ago and this doesn't allow them to root for the current guys.
but I, for one, am "root[ing] for the current guys," even while I'm concerned that some of those guys are not doing as well as I had hoped in their third year here. You have asked in other threads what play calls or offensive schemes can possibly work when the offensive line can't block. Fair enough, but I can't help but wonder why, for two years running now, we can't come up with a blocking scheme that our offensive linemen can execute. Sure, the interior linemen this year are young, but they weren't last year, and we didn't have a running game then that didn't involve Denard making something out of nothing. As for your observation that "football is hard," it should be hard for the other team as well, but Michigan's offense lately has been making it a lot easier for the opposing defense than it should be, despite a sizable advantage in talent over just about everyone they've played this year.
Notice how I stated all these views without once mentioning a former coach or comparing the current and former coaching staffs? By year three, there's certainly enough to begin evaluating the current coaches on their own merits.
Outside of pulling well, I would argue that they consistently did their assignments in scheme. Now, I'd also say once they got there they didn't do much more, but I thought they were pretty consistent on getting to the right guys and making the right calls.
Well, I bring up the previous coach because I think that he had a bit of a cult of personality going on amongst reader of this blog and, as I stated pretty clearly above, I think that has led to problems with some fans w/r/t cheering for this staff. That's all. I'm not blaming Coach Rod for the team's problems (except the missing line class of 2010), I'm just armchair psychologizing here. Take that for what its worth. I'm not saying its worth much. Just a thought.
I would say, though, that you and people like you weren't who I was talking about.
Hey Gustavo...wanna match up fandom resumes? Here's mine:
Graduated from Michigan in 1981
Season ticket holder since 1987 (four tickets)
Live in Cleveland, Ohio - make three hour drive each way, each gameday Saturday
Attend one road game per year
Been to six Bowl games and three Rose Bowls
Recruited for Michigan in Northern Ohio from 1992-1994
Shared season tickets with Michigan basketball point guard Marty Bodner for the three years prior to his taking the job of Athletic Ticket Director in 1994.
Member of the Cleveland alumni association
So before you go down the "fair weather fan" path you might want to take a step back and think about the people (like me) who are very down on the situation right now and why we are there. Because if you tally how much money and time I've spent through the years I'm pretty sure you'd be hard-pressed to categorize me as "fair weather" anything.
I'm really intrigued. Why exactly are you so dour? I like you, man, even though we disagree on a lot of technical stuff. I hate to hijack the thread, but what is it that would make you sell your season tickets?
Lack of faith that the current staff (on offense) even believes there is a problem to be solved much less possess the skill sets necessary to solve it. I know we see things differently regarding Borges but a 7-5 this season (and that's my prediction) after 11-2 & 8-5 is very depressing. And when you look at our killer schedule next season it's hard for me to imagine it improving a whole bunch from there. So now we're into 2015 before a shot to actually win the B1G and candidly I don't see how an offense led by Borges will get us there.
So I'm sitting here today trying to decide if i want to invest another 3k next year in the hopes that my 3k the year after that will actually bear fruit. As I said in my post on Sunday - I like Hoke...and I like Mattison. But just like Gibson and Robinson undid RichRod I can see Funk/Borges being the death of Hoke unless he has the guts Belein did and cuts ties with old friends.
I truly hope that doesnt happen but I'm still not sure I want to pay 6k to see if it does. Thank you for asking though.
but i will still pony up the dough for a # of reasons: loyalty, warm fall tailgating, seeing friends i otherwise wouldn't see, i love going back to ann arbor, etc. i couldn't imagine sitting at home every fall saturday. that's why i make the 4 hour drive every weekend. and i will be attending 3 road games this year.
but it doesn't mean i have to be blindly loyal to all things UM football. i don't have to be a composer to know whether i am listening to springsteen or justin bieber; or knowing which of those musicians is more likely to make better music in the future.
Maybe I'm being a pedant, but who would be Springsteen in your analogy? Assuming Borges is Bieber (tehehehe), who's the other, better guy? That's my fundamental issue here: I think people just hate Borges and assume anyone would be better (the grass is always greener [Lloyd Carr]) but I don't think that's true (sometimes the grass is Kentucky Blue [Rich Rodriguez]).
And, probably the thing I feel strongest about w/r/t M football -- could we tell the difference between Springsteen and Bieber if both were playing a broken guitar (offensive line)?
That's the best writing I've ever done, God damn it!
let's just say if springsteen were on stage and he broke a string on his guitar, he would work around it. like focus on the other strengths of his group; like clarence clemons or pull out his harmonica and make it work. he wouldn't keep strumming that broken broken guitar. he would adjust and minimize that weakness.
if those damn guitar strings keep breaking, he would probably start purchasing them from another manufacturer.
Well, I'd argue that the line isn't just a guitar string. I know nothing about guitars, but there must be something that makes the very playing of the guitar possible (a backbone of sorts). I think that theoretical part is the offensive line. You can work around a string (bad Qb, bad RB, etc.) but no matter what you do, you'll always need to block people.
I'm done here because this will go on forever. And I certainly get your point in that you think Bieber Borges would just keep wailing away out of stubbornness/stupidity/whatever. I must say, though, that I love your willingness to keep placating my stupid desire to extend metaphors way too far. Your answer was a pleasure to read. I LOLed at the image of Borges jamming on a broken guitar and thinking he was killing it.
Hindsight being 20/20, I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to slide Schofield back to RG. He's played guard before, you'd wouldn't have the three youngest (and struggling) players in a row and one of the young tackles could be playing there more natural position.
I was always under the impression that guard and tackle weren't interchangeable, but Scholfield, Mags switches and Hoke's comments make it seem like those positions are more interchangeable than I thought.
Most natural guards would probably struggle blocking ends in pass pro. They're generally have shorter arms and are stouter guys. So, guard to tackle is tougher.
Most natural tackles are taller with higher centers of gravity, making pulling difficult for them. So, not all tackles can play guard, but the real good athletes will be fine.
Agree 100% what you have said so far and some people just dont understand.
Totally, entirely justifiable point of view.
Not to belabor the point, but out of curiosity, did you ever feel the same way during Coach Rod's tenure? That is, did 3-9 make you feel worse than this offensive staff does? If not, I think its a bit weird; what is this staff going to do, go 3-9?
I'm not trying to get you in a pickle or anything, I'm just really surprised by the lack of faith and cannot, in any way relate (though I try to understand).
Larry Coker won a national title in his first year at Miami. Charlie Weis went to a BCS bowl at ND, despite never being a head coach ever before.
Rich Rodriguez got fired because people were mad he lost with the smoking crater he inherited and didn't care whether or not he was building a good team (turns out he was, on both sides of the ball). Brady Hoke won with a good team right out of the gate and people like you aren't even looking at what he's building.
Jim Harbaugh went 12-1 in year 4. At Stanford. Inheriting a shitty team and building it from the ground up. Is Brady Hoke going to do anything close to that next year? And if he doesn't will there still be bullshit excuses about the guy who handed him a BCS bowl winning team and has the same record as our guy at a chicken-shit Pac12 program over the last year plus? If not, he isn't the coach for Michigan, unless we really don't give a shit about success, but just want a guy who met Bo once hanging around and being a charismatic doofus while OSU kicks our dick in the dirt every year forever.
Rich Rodriguez hasn't had a winning conference record in 4 years and probably won't again this year. That 11-2 BCS team still had like 10 starters that were Carr recruits.
What you've seen the last two seasons are the result of two devastating RR recruiting years.
I'll give you the offense was certainly improving. But:
The 458 points given up in 2010 —the worst defensive performance in program history, exceeding the next worst year (2008) by over 100 pts—is building a good defense?
PurpleStuff, my question wasn't a comparison of Hoke and Rodriguez. It was a direct question to MGrowOld about his fandom crisis.
I agree that Coach Rod was building s better team than 3-9. He might have won 8-9 games in 2011 (his defense would never have allowed him to do better than that, sorry). More to the point, I don't think he would have had a good team this year, as his good offense would have taken a step back with no offensive line, and his defense would still stink with his defensive coaching acumen.
Anyways, MGrowOld, I'm still curious, if you care.
When at the time people were talking about him replacing Rich you were tearing down all his accomplishments as one good year.
And if you think our schedule is backloaded, take a look at Arizona's.
My apologies - it wasnt you it was the person you were responding to.
But since we're on the topic for me the ultimate test of "fandom" is the willingness to part with one's hard-earned capital to support the team. Writing on a blog, watch on TV - those cost nothing but time. But spending money means you're willing to trade your work to help financially support the team and there isnt a higher form of fandom (IMO) than that.
Gustavo 29 M Grow Old 6.
I live in California and I'm younger than you, that's why I can't/haven't attend as many games as you. Just b/c you spend money at the game or going doesn't make you more of a fan than anyone else. However, when you jump ship so quickly that does make you less of a fan IMO. "Someone who is enthusiastically devoted to something" - when you turn your back on something that doesn't mean you are devoted to it. For instance, I am not a huge fan of Al Borges b/c I don't like the West Coast style of offense however I do support him. Do you honestly think that he calls plays to go for negative yardage? If you do, you're delusional. Everytime he calls a play, it is designed to score a touchdown...what other reason would you call a play? If everyone does there job, then a touchdown should be scored. Going back to my point, I don't like the WC offense but I don't turn my back on Michigan b/c he doesn't score a TD every play. I absolutely LOVE Michigan football and I honestly think they should win every game. I'm a 100% committed to Michigan being my team. It doesn't matter who's coaching, it doesn't matter if how many games I go to or how many hot dogs I buy at the game. That's what being a fan is about...not how much "capital" you can spend on the team.
And you're talking out of your rear end. MGrowOld is a guy who has sacrificed countless hours and dollars to support this team. He's also worked to actually make the team better as a representative of the program.
He's fucking entitled to his opinion. Seeing the writing on the wall and being discouraged (but still spending thousands of dollars every year and driving from Ohio EVERY weekend to see games) doesn't make him a lesser fan than some self-righteous internet poster.
You also get BONUS POINTS for living in ohio ... WORST STATE EVER!
Not like Indiana is considered a "destination state" either my friend. Sort of like poop telling puke it smells bad....
But yes. My state does smell worse than yours. Not by much though.......:)
To fathom himself as the moderator for calling out "trolls" and seems quite bitchy himself.
I fully support your response....Good guy and Go Blue!
This season isn't even close to a disaster yet. We don't know what will happen from here on out. Were 6-2 and that's with all these issues that's pretty darn good. I may disagree with decisions and be bummed but I don't understand the "sky is falling" mentality I've been seeing more lately. Trust and wait. I love this team. If 3-9 didn't change that nothing will
Going through the schedule, yes we're 6-2 but we could easily be 4-4 with losses to Akron and Uconn. CMU is a pretty bad team this year. ND is pretty good so that is a good win full stop. Minnesota is a decent BIG team but this conference is pretty weak so what does that mean.
Indiana is an upstart and PSU is not a very good team this year. MSU is a pretty good team but we were beat pretty good in that one.
This season to date has been a disappointment and fans are expressing displeasure which we have every right to do. Hoke, his staff, and the AD have every right to ignore us though that is probably not a good strategy when dealing with your customers. By the way I think this is where a lot of animosity comes from: the AD views us as cash cows so if we are treated as such then we are entitled to the belief that the customer is always right. It would be nice to be viewed as stakeholders in the program since the fans and students do make up a significant part of the experience.
Going back to your point yes the record is ok right now though again so far we have had one of the easier schedules. Let's see if we can get to 8 or 9 wins with a bowl victory against a good opponent. If we can do that then that is progress but if not then it is a decline and starts a pattern of year to year decline.
We could be 4-4, but considering that we lost to PSU in triple OT after missing a host potential game winning field goals, one of which was a real gimme for our previously outstanding kicker, 7-1 was a WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more likely outcome.
And if we "should" be 4-4, why would anyone be upset about PSU or MSU?
I'm sorry if my post made it seem like you don't have a right to express displeasure or worries. I meant more the not looking for positives in the situation as well.
With your SEVENTH post, you write: "I'm almost ready to stop getting on Mgoblog b/c of the people who post on here."
Either that's the best sarc ever, or you've lurked for years but never posted. Either way, I laughed out loud, causing the guy in the next office to investigate.
What would a different #2 back be doing that Green and Fitz aren't? It's not like Fitz is exhausted after getting 130 yds on his first 15 carries and Green comes and trips over his own feet. The lack of success in the running game doesn't have much to do with Drake Johnson getting hurt.
Last year the excuse was the 5th year seniors weren't talented enough on the o-line. This year the excuse is the RS freshman (who are nowhere near as good as Lewan, Molk, Schilling, Long, Baas, Hutchinson, Backus, and every other good lineman we've ever had were at the same age) just aren't old enough to be even close to mediocre.
This offensive staff has proven to be imcompetent under any and all circumstances. They either suck at recruiting or are completely clueless. Either way, not a recipe for success.
but NO back is going very far behind this line.
Are a young team trying to find an identity. Sometimes it comes easy sometimes it takes a while. I believe in Coach Hoke. Go Blue!
We are in the most tenuous phase of the re-building project now. As Brian has pointed out several times, we are now suffering from the gap in experienced players that the last transition has caused. To bail now would just result in the same uptick for two years followed by another two year dip in performance.
We must get off of the transition merry-go-round.