and only allowed 24 points. We lost and allowed 43 points.
Iowa looks more beatable. I think this is the one win for almost sure remaining, but that is a road game.
Another identity. [Upchurch]
We predicted at the start of the season that Michigan is talented enough to finish with 9 or 10 wins given normal progression and competent coaching—more if they get the breaks to go their way. After flirting with several disasters before finally succumbing to one, it is clear that the progression is way behind schedule and the offensive play-calling in a severe detriment.
The coaching staff:
Brian completely insane.
Seth finally past my patience point.
Ace and 12; let's line up in an unbalanced formation and run into a 9-man front.
Mathe definition of insanity is actually the definition of science, and Michigan's offense is scientific proof that bashing one's head into a wall repeatedly is not a successful strategy, which most people knew without the study.
Coach broken; it's dead Jim.
Heiko you know the bubble screen is open.
Blue in so long dreams of beating Ohio State.
Time to reassess the season. Can Michigan defeat anyone left on their schedule and make a bowl this year? Will the coaches be able to find offensive competence? What's the expected fallout of a bad November? Is this a massive overreaction?
|Would we be this upset if Gibbons made one more FG like he does always? Honestly yes but we'd feel less inclined to feel like it's the right time to criticize. [Upchurch]|
Where does that leave us, I have no clue. This is both a seriously flawed team and a team that has played far below its potential and is nearly undefeated. I could see this team going 5-1 and playing for a Big Ten title. They could also go 2-4 and limp to the finish. Will the coaches find offensive competence? If they don't have it now, no reason to indicate its going to change. There will be some lip service and probably some window dressing but I'm not expecting any fundamental changes.
Chances are this is the low point but there will certainly be more pain ahead. I have no clue what Hoke is thinking now. He came in talking MANBALL at first it seemed more lip service to the faithful than true philosophy. Over the last two seasons or so things have been creeping back to a results/personnel/performance independent MANBALL philosophy. Realistically, things will look slightly better over the course of the year but the fundamental problems will hold. My guess is that in a world where things don't really change, there is enough success that Hoke gives Borges another year with some of the new toys a year older before seriously considering a change.
A tire fire conclusion to the season would obviously change that timeline, but I don't see that happening. There are enough pieces in place for this team to finish out with at least eight wins and nine is certainly still on the table. The sky isn't falling as fast as it seems this week but at this point I feel comfortable putting a solid ceiling on the offense. The talent will be there to dominate 8-9 games every year but the remaining games will be end up being various levels of excruciating.
BiSB: When I was dropping my son off at day care the other day, there was a teacher from another classroom in the hallway trying to convince a toddler that he needed to wear pants. After all, they were going outside to play, and it was cold outside. The teacher explained to him his options, saying, "would you like to stay inside, or would you like to put on your pants?" The boy thought about it, and answered, "I want it to not be cold."
|This is probably a hammer.|
This team cannot run the ball downhill. Stretch, power, iso, it doesn't seem to matter. They just aren't very good at it. Now, for most teams, that would be a problem because it would eliminate that as a primary offensive option, forcing them to rely on other things. For Michigan, it's a problem because f*** it we're doing it anyway, and in a way that is so obvious that it's actually going to make it HARDER to run the ball.
If the debate going forward was "how do we balance our desire to be a smashmouth team with our need to move the football against anyone with a pulse," I'd be concerned. But the debate seems to be "how can we be a smashmouth team and use that smashmouth-ness to move the ball," which scares the bejeezus out of me. They say when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. In this case, all we have is a hammer, and Al Borges is trying to use it as a salad spinner, even when the problem is a nail.
I actually have a rosier outlook on the rest of the season than do most people. I think they'll probably beat Indiana and Iowa, and nab one or two from Northwestern/MSU/ Nebraska/OSU. My concerns are more about the long-term. In today's game, I don't know what the ceiling is for an offense that refuses to take yards because those yards don't come THE WAY THEY WANT THEM TO COME, but it's not very high. I don't care how good your offensive line is, if you don't make defenses pay for lining up eight defenders over your seven blockers, you will never find long-term success.
I'm not concerned about Michigan finding offensive competence. I'm concerned that they FOUND offensive competence, but discarded it because they'd rather be something else. And that is a much, much bigger problem. Lots of coaches struggle to balance what they want to do with what they need to do to win games. But some refuse to acknowledge the tension at all, instead rationalizing that all they have to do is change some underlying axiomatic truths and things will start clicking. When the only thing that keeps you from having everything you want is one immutable fact, it's tempting, and fatal, to try to ignore that fact.
Put your goddamn pants on, Al. It's cold outside.
Brian: I want to not be cold, too. I want so badly to have a nice fire to curl up in front of, but instead there's just this dude trying to light some rocks with his shoe.
I don't know, man. Everyone saw one of Michigan's primary issues after a couple games: they didn't have a tight end who could block. My solution to this problem was stop playing the tight ends. Borges's was make the tight end the left tackle. Minnesota is stupid and thin and untalented and had no tape of this, so it sort of worked. But it really felt like a gimmick, as formations where you run 90% of the time tend to be, and Penn State ruthlessly exposed it for that. They loaded the box, they threw their entire DT two-deep out there at the same time, they... uh... waited for Michigan to take delay of game penalties.
I'd like to think this is a come-to-Jesus moment, but Michigan has had, what, eight of them in the last three years? They've never been inclined to look at either stats or, you know, their team and decide that we have to wait on the manball stuff. Offensive competence this year looks like Texas Tech: sling it around and deal with the interception fallout.
This is probably an overreaction, though. Once Michigan ditches the tackle over crap and resigns itself to the things it can actually do they will look vaguely better. And the Big Ten is still horrible. It looks bad now, but when Iowa or MSU rolls in they're not exactly Alabama. You are not as bad as you think after these sorts of things; years and years of curating the blogpoll taught me that.
Ace: I'm going to answer Seth's last question first, since BiSB nailed the rest of it: I'm pretty sure this is an overreaction, and it's deeply concerning that I'm not 100% sure about this.
Michigan is going to make a bowl, at least. They need one win among the six games left on the schedule; that should come against either Indiana or Iowa (or both, preferably), and even the four difficult games contain teams with some major flaws (MSU's offense, though that's disturbingly coming around, and Nebraska's defense, to name a couple). The defense, especially as Jake Ryan rounds into form, should be able to keep this team in most of those games. I could see Michigan turning it around and going 4-2 the rest of the way, which considering the schedule up to this point would be an improvement; I could also see them, in a worst-case scenario—I can't emphasize "worst-case" enough—going 1-5, but even that gets them to a bowl.
Brian and BiSB have covered the issues with the offense extensively: they are flawed, and instead of adjusting in any way that makes sense to those flaws Al Borges is doing anything he can to prove that his hatred of the spread is well-founded, despite mountains of evidence that he's on the wrong side of history—especially when it comes to coaching this particular team, with a supremely talented runner at quarterback, a very solid top-four group of receivers (Funchess included), and a line and tight ends that seem averse to blocking POWER or zone stretch or anything that puts the ball in the hands of the running back.
I'm fully expecting a bad November—if I had to make a bet, I'd put it on them going 2-3 in that month, which won't go over well—and, even worse, I don't think much is going to be done about it. Hoke seems as dedicated to the antiquated MANBALL principles as Borges, and while that may just be him standing behind his guy, he's doing so forcefully—I'd be very surprised if Borges was fired after this season unless the team completely bottoms out in a way that can be pinned almost exclusively on him. (This isn't out of the realm of possibility, unfortunately.)
Seth: Yes, the offensive line has problems. Bryant gets shoved backwards a lot: dude has two starts and is basically a freshman given he's been unable to practice almost since he arrived here. Kalis has trouble identifying who to block when he pulls: that's better than not arriving, and again: freshman. The tight ends can't block at all; there's only one who wasn't a glorified receiver (or a linebacker) in high school. Personnel complaints ring hollow when it's still possible to cover over the interior of the line with the threat of Devin's legs, and keep linebackers from stacking the box by running Gallon-Dileo-Funchess-Chesson out at the same time. Cry for want of a fullback and 117 coaches would happily trade you theirs for any of 9 players on this offense. Shelving things like Dileo, Gallon, or Gardner's legs to fit an identity that they're not makes as much sense as shoving a stuffed animal in Kenny Demens's face because the beaver is the hardest-working creature in the animal kingdom.
|As Urban Meyer can attest, winning football games by throwing bubble screens absolutely makes you less of a man.|
During the Ohio State-Northwestern game this year, 11W's Ramzy Nasrallah tweeted that he wished Urban would sometimes be more willing to grab what he wanted rather than always taking whatever the defense gave him; in this case he meant NW'ern couldn't keep Hyde from getting 4 YPC against 8-man fronts so why keep throwing to Philly Brown in the space that provided? I nearly died right there.Obviously if you play as bad as your worst day you'll be horrible. But what was Michigan's worst day?
The Penn State game wasn't out of the ordinary. It was the ordinary: obviously superior to their opponent in talent, obviously stupider. In the car ride from the game to the bar we agreed if Bill O'Brien was coaching Michigan on Saturday the Wolverines win by 30. Forget for a moment what happens when Michigan State's 60 minutes of defensive holding takes away the thing that actually works in this offense (the mid-range passing game; for his faults Borges still knows how to get guys open) and think what happens when we give Nebraska and Indiana's defenses such a break? Lose those three atop the two legitimately good teams on the schedule and the trip to Iowa—when they've still yet to play a good road game in the Hoke era—is the difference between bowl eligible and not.
I find 6-6 far more likely right now than 8-4, and 5-7 is 6-6 plus any bit of bad luck. If they miss a bowl, the offense becomes a laughingstock, and Hoke declares his staff is Borges or bust, the recruiting classes could disintegrate. That is the threat.
Can they find offensive competence? Borges coached some brilliant games at home: ND this year, Ohio State and Nebraska in 2011. The further Michigan sinks to the pack, the more likely they'll be to stop pretending they can Hyde, and start coming up with an identity that has at least something to do with who they actually are. They wouldn't be the first UM team to do so. The 2001 squad wasn't diminished for being "chuck it to Marquise." The 2004 team was pretty good once it committed to freshmen at QB and RB and "let Braylon get it." Next year Gallon is going to find a home in an NFL that increasingly cares less about size. Putting him on the same side of the field as Funchess is a workable base offense; Gardner power and option plays that make life easier on the interior OL (e.g. inverted veer, belly) would be a nice complement to that.
and only allowed 24 points. We lost and allowed 43 points.
Iowa looks more beatable. I think this is the one win for almost sure remaining, but that is a road game.
Well they gave up 35 points to Indiana State and lost to Navy so Indiana doesn't scare me very much. Unless you're suggesting that every team's performance was locked into place as of Saturday October 5th and no team will play better or worse than their performance on that day. That'd get pretty boring though.
as we all know the transitive property of college football is infallible. Which is good, I guess, because that means we’ll beat MSU (since they lost to notre dame)…
…but wait, MSU beat Indiana, who I’ve been assured we’re going to lose to next week. So if we beat notre dame, and notre dame beat MSU, but we lost to Penn State, who lost to Indiana, who lost to MSU, then we…tie MSU?
But facetiousness aside, you naysayers out there saying we’re going to lose every game are so myopic that you just parrot “Durrr AKRON durr” and ignore the million other data points from the season. We’re favored in three of the remaining games, I believe, and a pick-em in the fourth. By objective standards we should still be looking at a 9-3 season, or at worst 8-4.
They looked awesome against Wisconsin this last weekend.
Someone doesn't watch too much college football apparently.
We are not a smash mouth team, unless you count getting smashed in the mouth. Let's stop pretending that's what we are and that's what we should do. It's embarrassing.
1.) Welcome to the site. It's good to have you.
2.) Nice to meet you, too.
3.) You don't consider any win a loss. Because it's not a loss.
Honest question, how many of you watched the game a second time? I was shocked to see how much we opened up the offense between mid-way through the 1st Qtr to midway through the 4th Qtr after a second viewing (End of half drive not withstanding). Live, the futility of the bleed-the-clock at the end of regulation run plays, followed by futility of the play-for-the-FG run plays I think really skewed my perception of the way the game was called the first time through. The running into stacked boxes narrative really only applied to a small part of this game. Granted it was the critical part of the game, but I think the caricature of Borges as a guy with no internal monologue other than "run it up the gut" is a bit of a straw man.
It wasn't just the slamming into stacked boxes. It was the whole "not enough time to check" problem as well. Also, it doesn't matter if the lizard-brained stuff was a small part of the game if it was the most important, which it was.
Also, 27 yards. 27 GODDAMN YARDS.
Football is a cumulative game though. If Borges was bad Borges all game, we'd probably never be in a position to run out the clock. Conversely, if our OL blocked worth a lick and we didn't have 3 turnovers, we might be playing back ups by the 4th Qtr. The end of game play calling only became an issue because of all the other stuff that happened before. It's silly to focus on it like the only thing that matters, when the result of the game is the combined effect of every single play (of which any one of many could have changed the outcome, btw).
I did. I know Ace did. And Brian somehow consumes enough bleach to UFR the sumbitch.
FWIW, between the midpoint of the 1st quarter and the midpoint of the 4th quarter, Michigan ran running backs 13 times. For 7 yards.
I'm 100% absolutely positive that Devin Gardner could run 27 QB sneaks for over 27 yards.
I'm 99% positive that Devin could run 27 QB sneaks IN A ROW for over 27 yards.
I meant the commentors, I know you guys (especially Brian) do as part of your jobs.
How many runs if you excise short yardage and end of half situations? It didn't seem like that much. Conversely we managed to score 21 points in that time frame despite two drives ending in turn-overs. So yeah, the running plays were still sprinkled in and never worked, but we were doing lots of other stuff that was successful too. Some of those took direct advantage of Penn State stacking boxes, exactly the way people were clamoring for.
The offense does indeed do some things well. This isn't really in question.
Meaning the best strategy is to stop doing them, of course, and start doing exactly what NEVER WORKED the entire goddamn game.
And I'm flabbergasted that the poster you're responding to doesn't see that what he is stating only makes things worse for Al.
Al has proven before (or maybe it was all just a mistake, at this point I can't really teall) that he can call decent games and knows how to gain yards with this team. The problem is at times he absolutely abandons that to do stupid sh*t we know we can't do.
Your argument is actually the main reason I'm pissed. He showed he knew how to attack the penn state defense and then at the most critical point in the game he goes back to what he absolutely knows can't work. I just don't get how you think this absolves Al in any way.
Iowa and MSU the year before ...
I don't think the average poster knows what to look for when watching film. They just remember they read on MGoBlog that everything bad that happens is on Borges. I love this site and the content they put forth. However, I truly don't think Brian realizes how much his opinions influence others. I wish he would bring someone like Space Coyote to the team to provide a different perspective.
Condescending tone AND groupthink accusations. Love it.
I don't mean to be condescending, but I do think what he says happens a lot more than you would like here. I mean, look at some of the comments in the previous piece about PSU subbing DTs for DEs when they saw Tackle Over. Borges calls the play and Michigan subs in the appropriate personel package. Penn State puts their personel on the field AFTER that, yet people were blaming still blaming Borges when he would need a time machine to avoid that.
Checking at the line is how you avoid running for negative yards into that package. In fact, some, if not most, coordinators would purposely bait other teams into going with that 5-2 front just to burn them. I think that blame falls squarely on Borges.
Yes, I think the folks on the masthead can influence the MGoBlogerati. But it's not like it's purely an argument from authority; Brian and crew post stuff like this to back up their opinions most of the time.
People like Magnus and Space Coyote post often enough for their outside perspetives to be heard, as well. I think the "groupthink" meme is overplayed and inaccurate.
All that said, I do appreciate your style as a poster.
FWIW, I am one of the posters that would have no idea what I was doing if I tried to dissect film. That is one of the reasons I love this site. The content here is fantastic. But I stand by my comment that Brian's opinions greatly influence those of others.
I never understand the complaint that Brian is influencing his readers. Isn't that the point of effective analytical writing? Others are free to express differing views, and many do. If Brian's view gets more adherents, whether because of the bigger megaphone or because of the persuasive power of his arguments, why do you care? Even in the "good old days" of moderation and down-votes, the worst that could happen to "dissidents" is that they might get down-voted more -- hardly a threat to free speech or open discussion. Isn't the discussion and argument, even if somewhat slanted toward Brian's side, better than no discussion at all? If not, then this site obviously isn't the place for you -- and I doubt that many other blogs would be any better.
A guy who owns, writes and reports on a very popluar university influences others with his opinion. What's your point? I think Brian would be a pretty poor owner/operator of a blog if he didn't influence people with what he does. What do you think that everyone formulates opinions based on nothing but their own thoughts? I always take people opinions whom I respect into account when I make decisions or in forming my oown opinion. Are you suggesting that you don't do this, because you would likely be the only one on the planet who doesn't.
My point was I wish one of the staff members offered a different opinion. That is why I mentioned Space Coyote. I agree with everything you said and my post does seem kind of dumb on second look.
for well thought out dissenting opinons. The diary section is a great tool for such analysis, and I have seen great posts get moved to the front page, or mentioned in Dear Diary posts. Also, dissenting opinion, just for dissent, is not a good enough reason to have it. Space Coyote has gotten into plenty of dissenting discussions in the comments, as I have also seen plenty of great responses written here by other posters (stephenrjking and reshp1).
I do agree that Brian's word influences a lot of people, but this wouldn't be as successful of a blog if people didn't. My point is that there are plenty of opportunities to present where this his opinion is wrong. I think the coach Hoke hiring had some..uh...spirited debate, and Brian has conceded that he was wrong.
I'm late in on this, but let my corroborate: Brian has, on this site, savaged Jim Harbaugh in the past for his comments re. the football program. To my knowledge he has never repudiated that.
I wrote a diary before the Super Bowl arguing that, despite his comments, Harbaugh should be accepted and enjoyed as a part of the "Michigan family," which at least appears to contradict Brian's feelings about him.
Brian front-paged it.
I'm grateful, of course, that he did. But it's telling mostly because he is on record holding a position with which my diary disagreed. So he has cred here.
Sometimes there isn't that much room for disagreement...
I'm just a masochist apparently.
That's my biggest complaint; they had stuff that worked. They had other stuff that we all agree would have worked if they had tried it. But instead of any of that, when push came to shove they went with the unsuccessful stuff that they had already tried.
I can never remember if you are/were on the staff. You were a mod for a while right?
Anyway, yeah, I agree when push came to shove, Borges's lizard brain took over and he, and Hoke, should get some flak for it. I just think there's a lot of selective memory where people only remember what the stuff that supports what snap take they have at the end of the game. I certainly was guilty of it.
I was a mod for a good while. Now I just hang around the MGoCompound on Free Punch and Pie Day.
They did open up the playbook mid-game, which is somewhat to their credit and somewhat because they were forced to. When you're trying to build a lead so you can get back to the stuff you were doing that got you down, in my mind that's a problem. The tackle-over stuff (which probably should have been abandoned once it became obvious that it just wasn't gonna work) was sprinkled throughout the game.
and is the punch fruit or dong?
Doesn't this sort of make it worse though? This team is capable of really opening it up, and can really move the ball when they do. So why do the coaches (I'm assuming Hoke has a good bit of input into this) insist on "run it up the gut" until their backs are against the wall? That just puts them behind the 8-ball against good teams and a couple mistakes away from being in a nail biter against bad teams.
It does in a way, and I've said so. For the record, again, I don't think going conservative at the end of the game was the wrong choice. Mathlete pointed out earlier we put PSU in a situation only 6 teams have come back to win from in 10 years. That said, why run the clock with the worst play the offense has? You keep the clock running as long as you don't run out of bounds or have an INT, that leaves tons of other options other than I-form up the gut. I absolutely think we blew it in that aspect, but at the same time there was a lot of other elements to this game, positive and negative, that had nothing to do with Borges's obsession with running it up the gut and I think a lot of people are forgetting that.
Michigan has to win this game. They should win it, mainly because Indiana is very bad at defense, and have a horrible road track record in Big Ten play.
But this is what I hate about Saturday's game against the Hoosiers:
1. Indiana just scored 28 pts on the road against the best defense in the nation (MSU). Worst scoring defense performance by MSU all season, including the penalty festival at Notre Dame game (gave up 17 pts).
2. Indiana beat Penn State, and gave Missouri a very hard time -the same Missouri that beat the snot out of Georgia between the hedges last Saturday.
3. Michigan's pass defense is ranked 45th in the nation (5th in BIG10) right now, and 44th in scoring defense (6th in Big Ten). Not good
4. All Indiana needs is turnovers. Michigan has proven willing to oblige against virtually all opponentsin this department (85th nationally / 9th in the league). In 4 of 6 games Michigan has had 3 or more turnovers.
5. The slow tempo offense of Michigan is going to be a bad thing if Indiana gets a lead in this game.
6. Something just doesn't feel right. Michigan has identity issues and is not playing well at all. And this is probably the best Indiana football team to play at Michigan Stadium since 1991 (Trent Green, Vaughn Dunbar, Eddie Thomas). Moreover, Michigan has won the last 2 games vs. Hoosiers by a butthair. It's been 26 years. Are they due?
I like the cut of your jib. Not many people can rattle off some key Hoosiers from 20+ years ago. IU has a shot if they generate turnovers, as you say. It'd also be interesting if the MANBALL experiment continues. IU had remarkable success shutting down Penn State's rushing attack, largely because it was pretty predictable. Remarkable in part because everybody else has run all over Indiana... which makes me suspect that Michigan will gameplan to do the same.
Not that the rest of your stuff isn't accurate but they hardly gave Missouri a run for it's money. They were down 28-14 at half and 38-14 half a minute into the 4th quarter. I watched a good amount of that game. It was not close.
into the line because it's what Hoke wants. Because if it's what Hoke wants firing Borges doesn't fix the problem.
And Hoke was the problem with the delay of game penalty.
Maybe I am inclined to give intelligence more credit sometimes than it deserves, but Hoke is not a real fast guy on his feet, period. That's kind what you're looking for down on the field at decision-time.
Until people address THESE issues I'm inclined to see the KILL BORGES meme as scapegoating more than problem-fixing.
And here's the thing--Borges flexed, and quite successfully for two years despite an AVOWED preference for the SF offense (which isn't the same as running it into the line); he has been candid about it. In every case where we ran it into the line this year, there was reason to believe that we SHOULD be able to power up the running game.
It doesn't follow, from two coaches who have been both flexible (if not enough) and willing to take chances that this means they plan to run it into the line in every game that's ahead.
You people are better than this. Not only that, but Borges is not going anywhere anytime soon. But if you like being indistinguishable from the rest of the pack keep baying at the moon.
P.S. These problems are bigger than Borges. They hinge on a suspect philosophy that that HC brings to the table, that the AD is obviously very personally invested in, and which looks increasingly outmoded and difficult to put in place at Michigan. If we go 0-for-November and the sillypants crowd here is still crying for Borges' blood alone, they will have missed the boat entirely. (Many of you same noodles were lustily crying manball only two minutes ago.) Something far far subtler is wanted, and in truth we haven't even established whether a) Borges is up for it OR b) capable of it.
What is the suspect philosophy that Hoke brings, that Brandon is heavily invested in, and that is very difficult to put in place at Michigan?
I am inclined to agree with you that there is something amiss right now with the program, and that it may be a broad philosophical one, but i cannot put my finger on it. Please expand on the disconnect that you are seeing.
alone. My hunch is that such an unyielding approach, exclusively, gets you between seven and nine wins a year at most under the conditions Michigan faces. And that some kind of more hybrid offense is almost definitionally preferable as long-term strategy, including because it gives the D variety to practice against.
Is either a troll or should be banned just to be put out of their misery.
I have seen Gallon beat three guys who tried to tackle him, here he just needs to beat one
Gardner has a cannon of an arm
You can also run QB and tailback draws off this shit. Just think of the possibilities when opponents cannot put 7+ in the box anymore because Gallon, Dileo and Michigan's Amazon-sized SE are shredding them into ribbons on the edge and over the middle.
But alas we must Lombardi, otherwise they're all gonna laugh at us.
Maybe Borges will run some rugby formations this Saturday. That'll befuddle the Hoosiers.
What is so bad about an offense that is options:
3. Gardner run
Except we don't have the experience to fit the round peg (manball) into a square hole (spread read-option).
Running Toussaint looks quaintly like my dog running into a screen door. Sometimes it gives and my dog rushes out happily and most of the time it bounces back and my dog looks dizzy. The point is that Toussaint doesn't have the O-line to not have to break down immediately and try to find the lane that is not there, and he then suddenly gets caught by the crashing end or the linebacker who read the play and jammed the hole he was supposed to get to. Whenever he happens to break away to the available gap that looks like Texas after a tornado, or bounce to the outside, he gets caught by an impossibly fast safety or corner. So either he isn't a very good back or the line doesn't pick up their secondary assignments in time to create the steady stream of yards. Either way, this isn't working.
Notre Dame was dazzling and I don't believe it was a fluke. The line held against one of the better d-lines in the nation. Gardner made mistakes, but he made a strong secondary pay. The D was conservative in giving up yards but powerful in denying big plays. But what kind of ball did we play? Let's play that kind of ball again and PLAY TO WIN, not play to not-lose.
S. Carolina at the end was just a schematic failure. Before then, it actually wasn't terrible from a coordinator perspective; Ace Sanders caught some PERFECT passes and burned us for a punt return. And outside of Shaw busting contain once, they really didn't run.
ND 11 wasn't actually a schematic failure at the end. I think it was Marvin Robinson absolutely blowing a coverage.
OSU 11 was concerning at first with the bombs-away stuff, but not only was that completely different from what OSU had been doing, but we adjusted pretty well down the stretch and chased Miller around most of the game.
You really can't put this one on Mattison. As Brian pointed out, Penn State had six drives that started at or around the Michigan 2 yard line [ED: that should've been "25 yard line yard line"]. 43 points against THAT backdrop is damn impressive.
I don't remember the drives that started at the 2. I guess I just wish more was said about the defense allowing a true freshman QB to drive 80 yards in under a minute. Borges did not have his best game, obviously, but did just enough to win, if the defense makes a stop on that drive.
You clearly meant 20 so my bad for that.