“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
"The experience he has from last year is starting to show," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "He’s making shots, and he made some gutsy plays against Portland. He’s got a confidence about him that he can get the job done."
Conference play has come, and Big Ten teams can safely retreat to their thunderdomes to clobber each other in peace, insulated from the braying mockery of the national media. There is still upheaval. Michigan has fallen apart. Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke have been confined to the Touliers Palace.
Look what you’ve done to him, Michigan Football! His e-blood is on your hands!
Worst: Pretty Meta
I’m warning you all in advance that this post is going to be less about the game and more holistic. Here’s why UM lost this game: Iowa scored 17 points in the 2nd half while UM’s offense recorded 6 fricking yards before their last drive of the game. That ended in a fumble from Devin Gardner (who is probably injured). Because of course that’s how a game against Iowa should end.
If you want more detailed analysis of the actual reasons behind UM losing to Iowa, stick around for the UFR and the other diaries and you’ll get more than enough information. That ain’t me, and while I’ll provide some numbers and stats I’m not going to drop into the muck too heavily this post.
Best: It’s Still Real To Me!
Basically since the debacle against MSU, the sentiment around this team is that the fans are checking out because, well, this isn’t a particularly good team and watching them lose isn’t any normal person’s ideaof a good time. The offense remains historically awful against competent opponents (and Minnesota, apparently), playing Devin Gardner behind this offensive line could very well violate multiple parts of the Geneva Convention protocols, and the defense continues to solider on despite talent and support issues. It is an unwatchable team not in the sense that it is a bunch of thugs or jerks, but in the way a snuff film wouldn’t wind up on my Netflix queue. It’s hard to watch something you care about, played by people who seem genial and passionate, get destroyed week in, week out. No one could be blamed for spending these last weekends of the fall enjoying time with family, drinking your artisanal beers, and basically doing ANYTHING that doesn’t turn otters into Brooks from Shawshank Redemption.
And yet, I still can’t find it in myself to turn off these games. I know why, of course: there are only 13-14 games a year, and when times are good or at least exciting there is nothing better to watch. And when the team isn’t that good (which, let’s be honest, started well before RR’s tenure made it official), the calcified memories of former greatness and the diminishing hope of a return keep me coming back. And despite the losses and the continuing sense that UM is still on the wrong side of history, I’ll keep watching and coming back to watch, even games like this when you could feel the loss coming after Iowa’s first drive of the 2nd half. And in all likelihood, my kids will love watching UM football as much as me, even when they realize that patch of missing hair isn’t because Dad was pranked. But this simply cannot end soon enough for me, and next week’s OSU game will likely get the background treatment as I shop online, listen to music, and otherwise tool around the apartment.
Best: Next Year’s Defense
I usually start these posts focusing on the offense, since it tends to be have the easier-to-identify storylines and players and, well, your offense usually has to score points to win games. But that short-changes the defense, muting their performance because of narrative difficulties. So in order to rectify this slight once, I’m going to start by praising this defense, which put forth an inspiring performance that was one of its best of the year.
The stats weren’t great (24 points from 407 total yards at 5.4 ypp), but this defense did more than enough to secure a victory. It forced 4 TOs, including 3 INTs, one which was returned for a TD, and added a turnover on downs despite consistently being put in sub-optimal positions thanks to some early punting issues as well as the continued ineptitude of the offense to even gain a first down. In fact, the defense only really started to struggle when both Morgan and Ross were lost to injuries and the cumulative play count (76 plays versus 57 run by UM) simply caught up to them. Perhaps a truly elite defense could have found some way to score another TD or not allowed the tying and go-ahead scores late in the 4th quarter, but you look at the players on the field and their experience and it is difficult not to see how good this unit will be going forward.
So Jake Ryan seems to be rounding into form nicely. His pressure of Rudock led to Beyer’s pick-six, and for much of the first half he was all over the field. He seemed less involved as the game dragged on, but given his expected recovery time anything he’s been able to provide this season is encouraging. Of course, given how the season has progressed it might have been nice had he been able to obtain an injury redshirt (?) instead of wasting it on a lost year, but nobody could have expected quite such an implosion.
Clark recorded 2.5 more TFLs and was generally a terror out there; presuming he continues to mature at this pace he could finally live up to some of the hype next year. Henry and Wormley looked strong as well, including a bullrush by Wormley that I will call a MANSACK because I am an 11-year-old hopped up on Pixie Sticks. And both Taylor and Countess had interceptions while largely keeping Iowa’s passing attack in check (the long completion to Smith was mostly on Avery, who let Smith get by him and then compounded that mistake by getting tangled up with another tackler). It isn’t a great unit, and I remain confused as to why guys like Wilson and the freshmen DBs get inconsistent minutes, but the defense will be the bedrock of next year’s team and should be a strength for years to come.
Worst: Next Year’s Offense
Do I think an offense that couldn’t get a first down in the 2nd half until the final drive and had 6 total yards until that point is going to be better next year without its two NFL tackles, record-setting WR, and competent-ish RB?
There’s nobody to really blame anymore. There is an alternate universe in which Al Borges’s gameplan scores points (and in at least one of those universes he is a clown made of candy), and Devin Gardner has not so much regressed as devolved into a QB who is so afraid/warned against making bad decisions in the flow of the game that he makes bad decisions haltingly throughout the game instead. The funny thing is, of course, is that it really isn’t his fault, since his ribs and spleen are still looking around for Frank his gallbladder, which is probably still in East Lansing.
The offensive line is sometimes able to block on running or passing downs, but never consistently and sometimes spectacularly badly. In order to at least sometimes keep the opposition from destroying the offensive play at the snap, so many players are dedicated to blocking that 1 or 2 receivers are available on passing plays, resulting in Gardner surveying the blanketed field in a panic before taking off on a (usually) ill-advised scramble. In this game Iowa only recorded a single sack, which has to be some type of record*, but added 10 more TFLs to add to UM’s nation-leading total. Gardner wasn’t helped by a couple of key drops by Funchess and Gallon, including a couple in the second half that would have extended drives. And a week after a semi-competent rushing attack, Derrick Green and Fitz Toussaint recorded 35 yards on 17 carries, with a long of 9. Execution or gameplan, at least this clownshow is coming to an end.
*At some point this year, UM was one of the national leaders in sacks allowed, with only 12 total before playing MSU. Now? One of the worst.
Worst: It’s a Noah’s Ark of Beaten Animals
Ace and others noted a continuation of a disturbing trend for the offense: over-reliance on a play that worked despite the fact that the other team was clearly adapting to it. Last week it was the bootleg/designed QB run in short yardage; this game, it felt like every run in the first half was initiated with a fake bubble screen pass, and on two consecutive plays in the 2nd half Al Borges called for a reverse to Funchess (which got 10 yards) followed by a functional reverse to Gallon which, unsurprisingly resulted in a 4 yard loss. People joke about a lizard brain with Al Borges, but at this point it isn’t so much a lizard response as it is a record skipping in the most Milli Vanilli way possible. He seemingly remains trapped in the same playcall until the drive ends, forgetting that his opponents are watching the same game and aren’t suffering from brain damage.
My issue with the playcalling isn’t that the plays are objectively bad; many of them should work. But after 11 games, the team still lacks an offensive identity that is reproducible game-to-game, and saying “we didn’t execute” whitewashes over this incoherence. There are plays in every game where a player makes the wrong decision or misses the right hole and the play dies; that happens to everyone. But this team and this offensive philosophy is so flawed and inconsistent that they can’t “luck” into positive plays that should occur even when breakdowns occur.
That there is no coherence, no consistency down-to-down, is hard to describe, but I’ll try. When Iowa started to assert itself at the end of the game, they did so by stringing together plays that consistently netted them positive yards. They handed off to the RB and he gained 3-4 yards, so they did it again and 3-4 more yards were ceded by the defense. Each play drew upon the previous and something called “momentum” took hold, and the Hawkeye offense was consistently able to move the ball. Well, that virtually never happens with UM. If one play gets them 4 yards, the next play can just as easily explode into a 10-yard loss. A pass to Gallon gets you to 2nd-and-1? Well, let’s call a couple of failed runs and punt. That happened in this game, it happened against PSU, it led to a 4th-and-forever punt against MSU, and it keeps happening. The offense has gone from idiosyncratic drive-to-drive to unpredictable play-to-play.
I know the UFR showed “growth” running the ball, but let’s remember that was against a NW team that hasn’t won a game since before Halloween. The passing game has devolved from a unit of strength to a bunch of 2-route formations that competent defense can stop with little effort, and for the third time this year UM didn’t crack 200 yards in total offense. In all likelihood Al Borges is going to be back next year, and I pray for the residents of the Detroit Zoo that he doesn’t take a shining to one of the giraffes.
Worst: The Replacements
So I saw quite a few people calling for Morris to get some meaningful snaps as the game spiraled out of control with UM leading by 14 points. This only intensified as Iowa poured it on by tying the score and taking the lead, culminating in the humiliation of having to watch Devin Gardner try to mount a meaingless comeback down 3 insurmountable points late in the game.
Oh, I’m sorry. How terribly embarrassing. I forgot to include the <sarcasm> font before posting. Maybe this helps.
I understand everyone’s disappointment with how the season has turned out, and burning Shane Morris’s red shirt on a couple of meaningless snaps against CMU and falling on his face against MSU is an indictment of early-Hoke recruiting (though it is pretty weak). But if anyone thinks putting him out there would be even remotely productive for anyone involved is simply foolish or overly reactionary. People have seen how bad Gardner has been playing behind this rickety line and with whatever tutelage his OC/QB coach has provided. Now imagine a smaller kid with less mobility trying to stay alive back there, and one who probably hasn’t even received 1/12th of Borges’s focus as a mentor. Hell, the only reason TO play Morris at this point is the indefinable hope that Borges hasn’t ruined him yet. I suspect he’ll see some time against OSU because there is little chance Gardner will be upright after that defensive line tees off on him, but it will not be pretty and nothing good will come of it.
Worst: Who Let Mr. Freeze Out of Arkham?
At some point during the game it was mentioned that Saturday’s weather was the coldest for a gameday at Kinnick, with 17 degrees mixed with 20+ mph winds resulting in near-zero windchill. Though I’m from Michigan and am still somewhat accustomed to the freezing temperatures that are common at this time, my years in New York, with its somewhat-ocean-moderated temperatures, copious coffee shops, and hellish subways, has largely shielded me from these bone-chilling temperatures.
From the initial kickoff, though, you could tell the weather would play a significant role in this game. Iowa’s first FG was quite high and wide, which tends to happen when you are kicking frozen pigs. And Wile’s first couple of punts into the wind averaged out to about 25 yards, giving Iowa great field position (though Wile was able to boom a couple of nice punts later on to flip the field). Going into the 4th quarter BTN showed that the average play into the wind was around 3 ypp and nearly doubled when the wind was to the offense’s back, and while Iowa’s late-game runs evened out those numbers a bit both teams were clearly affected by the cold temperatures. Of course, you’d figure that would have helped the team with the 14-point lead…
Worst: Hey Florida, is that supposed to make me feel better?
So Florida nearly pulled the upset against Georgia Southern this weekend. I saw some people on Twitter and other places say that at least Gator fans will understand how Michigan feels. First, nothing will ever replace the Horror, as that loss has basically hung over this team for 6 years. Secondly, at least UF will likely fire the guy who is running that flaming barge and find someone, anyone who is an improvement. I still believe in Hoke, but there feels like a very small chance that there will be a noticeable shakeup on this staff, and I’m not sure what the endgame will be without it. So while it is humorous that Florida couldn’t keep pace with a SoCon school, it doesn’t really take the sting out of the past 2 months.
Worst: That Final Offensive Drive
Pretty nonsensical, right? Well, this makes about as much sense as UM’s dogged insistence on running the ball on their last offensive drive despite ample proof it wasn’t going to work and would instead basically burn downs and clock. Outside of Green’s 4-yard run on the first play, UM ran the ball four more times for 4 yards (8 of which on that final run that Gardner fumbled) while throwing for 31 on two passes. I get wanting to keep the defense “honest” by not purely passing and exposing your poor pass protection to blitzing LBs, but you’ve had 20-some-odd minutes of offense to establish the run and it’s netted you 2ypc; maybe it’s just not your day. But wasting time and downs on these plays made no sense, put the offense in worse positions, and drove me insane. Last week UM got lucky that they somehow were able to get that kick off despite horrible clock management; this week their playcalling put them in tough positions all day despite having the lead for most of the game, and helped to doom their last gasp at escaping Iowa with the win.
Best: It’s Almost Over
So next week is OSU and then, I don’t know, Texas for some crappy bowl game. I don’t expect the OSU game to be particularly competitive, which is pretty tragic since this Buckeye outfit isn’t a juggernaut; they’re probably a 10-win team that got some scheduling luck and may very well lose to Alabama or FSU in the MNC game. But this week is shaping up to be the least exciting one I can remember leading up to the game, and that includes those RR years. At least then you had a sense that maybe the offense could surprise OSU for a bit; right now UM cracking 200 yards of total offense would be their Rose Bowl. I expect UM to keep it close early on because of the home field and emotions, but it’s going to get ugly, and probably sooner than you think.
I understand everyone’s disappointment with how the season has turned out, and burning Shane Morris’s red shirt on a couple of meaningless snaps against CMU and falling on his face against MSU is an indictment of early-Hoke recruiting (though it is pretty weak).
Isn't it more simply an issue of Bellomy having torn his ACL?
I think it is a combo. But while Hoke and co like to trot out young players, if there was anyone other than walk ons between Gardner and Morris he would have sat. Again, it is a minor issue, but would provide a more viable option than wasting a year of Morris on a couple of snaps here and there, usually in an emergency situation where another warm body would have sufficed.
I can't believe that Brandon will let Hoke keep Borges. I don't want to believe it anyway. The regression is unavoidably obvious. No culture of success survives a lack of accountability. This issue is beyond symbolic.
If you don't change anything, nothing will be different.
At some point both Hoke's and Brandon's job comes into jeopardy if this is allowed to continue. Both are going to be motivated to do something to at least appear like they're trying to right the ship. The question that remains is when that might happen. Carrying Al Borges into next year puts the target squarely on Hoke's back if we see more of the same in 2014.
I think Brandon will talk to Hoke and Borges will be discussed, but I'm not sure if Brandon will be motivated/able to push Hoke to make such a dramatic change especially since it would be a pretty early black mark on Brandon's tenure as well. I mean, he's a CEO-type and a former player, but he's also seemingly as concerned about his legacy as anyone, and admitting that his first big hire screwed the pooch with his OC may not be something he wants to do.
And to be fair, I'm not sure there is an OC out there that UM can expect to get. I think Al Borges is an extremely mediocre OC at this point in his career, but I'm also not sure who is available and willing to go to UM. I'm sure there is someone better, but you also don't want to be stuck with the wrong options.
Again, my favorite read on the blog. Kudos. Hope to read you next year.
1- No matter what, have to love Gardners "guts", hope this year hasn't ruined him.
2- Not sure I share your confidence about the defense, it's pretty good but certainly not clutch. In my mind, defense is best measured in" crunch time". For whatever reason, see PSU, Iowa, Nebraska. Fair or not, they rose down and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. And Indiana? Lucky for us Roberson hurt his throwing hand on one of the final drives. IU has not come lose to those numbers since. And against UConn, final play 4th and 29 got 26. ND, key end zone INT off their receivers knee.
Against Nebraska, Mattison, who is very good IMO, admitted he blew it by not calling a time out on 4th and 2 on their winning drive.
My point, defense is somewhat overrated and has "skated" on some valid potential criticism albeit due in some respects to the offensive woes we all read and obsess about.
3- Was ok with the Hoke hire, now not so sure. In any event, he has 2 more years.
Hate to be so pessimistic about the Game, but the talent and coaching gaps and Ohio s hope for an NC game appearance spell a long afternoon for the home team. Sadly, I d settle for a 31-13 type loss. Do you believe in miracles? Not next week. Bring back Al Michaels. Herb Brooks is sadly not available.
Right now the consensus on the board seems split - many would like to see a shake up in the offensive coaching side. Others (which had been about 50/50 but seems to be definite minority now) felt there were a lot of mitigating circumstances and felt things would stay the same and be decided after next year. Ultimately the key decider is probably Dave Brandon - he needs football to be huge to accomplish his ambitious plans for the athletic campus and department. Will he let Hoke decide or give him an ultimatum about a staff shakeup?
Does the score, the look and feel of the OSU game affect that decision even in a loss?
There are three possibilities:
1.UM wins in a miraculous game - topping even the 1969 game. This will be a wonderful early Christmas present and everybody even the shakeup crowd will be happy - can't see a shake up then but it does leave the fundamental issues unaddressed.
2. UM loses badly - e.g. 63-0 or worse, (basically no TDs and gets hammered, with the defense playing 40 minutes). ? Will that leave a bad enough taste that something happens? If so will it be acomplete shake up or some other changes - like as some have suggested, hiring a specific QB coach.
3. UM loses but stays competitive - e.g. 42-28. Offense scores but OSU is just better. ? Any changes then? Any shakeup?
I don't really care about the OSU score because I don't think the talent gap is as wide as people think. OSU's offensive line isn't particularly great, but with Miller and Hyde in the backfield is doesn't have to be. And while OSU's defensive line is terrifying, I'd take UM's secondary over their's any day.
As for the defense, I think people get too worked up over the late-game losses. PSU was a wonky game where the PSU offense was given a number of short fields and, really, that final drive was insane. The defense still forced PSU to no score twice in OT, which should have been enough to win. Against IU they struggled, but in the end they forced two INTs and UM still won comfortably. Nebraska they held a pretty potent offense down until the last drive, but the offense did absolutely nothing to help them out and the defense still forced two TOs and limited a Nebraska team that scored 28 against MSU to only 17, which was below their seasona average. And against Iowa, yes they struggled a bit in the second half when half their LB core went out, but they forced 5 TOs and scored a defensive TD as well. They did enough to win that game, and any semi-competent offense puts up 40 on Iowa and nobody cares.
The have yet to see a competent argument that this defense has cost UM a game, only squishy "feelings" about it being overrated. It isn't elite yet, but looking at the talent coming back next year and coming in, if you aren't excited about its potential I don't know what to tell you.
I do hope you are right about 2014, hoping for a shutdown defense a la MSU or the old Steelers doomsday defense. Guess I aged myself. I did say the defense is pretty good and would have upgraded this if not for the games we noted. And I think we learned this season, or should have learned, the risk and disappointment of expecting too much too soon from incoming freshman or even redshirt freshman.
So while we should all be hopeful, excited at this point is a bit of a stretch.
Fans constantly bring up S&C "problems." It happened under Gittleson, Barwis and now Wellman. The reality is, it's very likely that what MSU and OSU do with S&C is very similar to what we do. (Unless you're accusing them of PED use. I do know that Michigan strongly discourages them, and hope that is true elsewhere.) There are only 120 college S&C coaches out there. These guys are all tops in their field.
Our players probably have perfectly normal numbers in the bench, squat, power lift, etc. Our problems on the lines probably have more to do with understanding responsibilities, working as a unit, and using proper technique.
At first glance one could take the "setting an example" comment regarding coaching staff fitness as petty. It is certainly a gratituitous cheap shot on my part when I put the typical fat bastard references in the place of AB's name when he is in the middle of one of his 27 for 27 riffs. But that said, there is an element of culture and toughness, mental and physical that is undeniably missing with this team. Relative to 10 of the 12 teams they play in the regular season, they have an overwhelming advantage regarding their access to talent. But what are they doing to build it? And if leadership is anything it is about setting an example. Being told to do something by someone who looks like they were never capable of doing anything resembling that very same thing at any time in their life, may ring hollow. Words are cheap, examples, perhaps not. Culture needs examples, what are ours?
If I were Hoke, I would say, hey, I can't suit up, but change starts with me, and we can go through this tough sledding together, because its "the team".
If you don't change anything, nothing will be different.
Meh, S&C isn't the issue; it's having a bunch of young kids on the offensive line. I bought into the Barwis argument as much as anyone, but teams that play well and are "tough" usually do so because they have really old players on the field. Wisconsin doesn't have some magic elixir that makes them tough; they have 22-year-olds at many positions and those guys are able to push around smaller, younger kids more times than not.
UM will be fine from a strength and conditioning position; they just need to get older.
The clock management at the end of the game didn't bother me. They were putting all of their eggs into one basket and they were in FG range before the fumble. A few more plays and a tying or go-ahead score and there wouldn't be enough time for Iowa to retake the lead.
The running plays of course did bother me just as much as they did you.
Yeah, the time management didn't annoy me nearly as much as the wasting of downs, but I do think it goes to the greater issue of an incoherent offense. I'd rather UM have scored quickly, liekly with a TD, and then hope they could stop Iowa's offense trying to throw in that wind. But playing for a tie that late in the game, with said weather, seemed to be the goal and that scared me.
Not if Borges is still OC. Denard regressed each year under Borges, Gardner has not improved and the playcalling is horrendous. Many OCs have the first 10 to 20 plays scripted before a game starts with each play intended to build on the previous play. With Borges it is total incoherence. Even if individual plays make sense, they do not seem to work as part of a comprehensive (or comprehensible) plan. As OC, he is also responsible for the OL and the RBs and the receivers. It is amazing to me how many times you see him putting 2 receivers into a pattern (so everyone else can block) and then see those 2 receivers right next to each other. Every other team we have played is able to design plays, even in max protect, that has receivers open. Borges can't do even that.
In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel.
It may be the bigger "leap" because it has been so horrible the past 2 months, but I'm not banking on substantive changes in the offense without a significant change in focus and (perhaps) personnel at the top. The defense is good enough to win 10 games; the offense is bad enough that 8 wins might be a stretch.
This season ranks with the best of them. Dr. Steve
I was at the game, sitting in the 4th row at the goal line. After we went up 15-0, the ASU crowd was told to make noise every time we came up the line of scrimmage. The noise was so deafening on the field that
I am also a pre-Bo alum, but even while Bump Elliot was the coach, I can never remember going to a game thinking we had no chance. Next week, I think we have no chance. I was at the game in 1969 when the media thought we had no chance, but even then with what many people said was the greatest college football team ever about to come to town (after having beaten us 50-14 the previous year), we all thought we had a team full of fight and a fighting chance. I have no such feeling this year.
In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel.
What worries me is just how much closer to Florida we are than a title contender. Think about it.....
A couple of weeks ago we were talking about the fluke loss to PSU that could have been a win so many times. Now think about how easily we could have lost to Akron, UConn, Northwestern, and Indiana. We have a stunning three "comfortable" wins all season. Our performance is closer to that of a 5-7 team than 7-5.
Oh, and next year we play OSU, MSU, and ND on the road and all three feel like sure losses right now.
But like Florida, the talent is there. I wouldn't be surprised to see UM and UF take a step up next year, but I agree that 5-7 isn't that far off. I mean, UM's two conference wins are IU and (somewhat inexplicably) Minny.
re: the difficult-to-define lack of coherence, to me most of Borges' "surprise" plays feel gimmicky. You can almost sense the gleeful, "They'll never see THIS coming!" I get the feeling he sees counters, deception, and constraints as "tricks"...one-off ruses, not to be confused with the regular offense. Thus, surprise plays often feature different personel, different formations, or are weirder than they really need to be. But for coherent offenses these plays aren't tricks, they're baked into the offense itself and the whole package prevents defenses from selling out to stop one thing and punishes them if they do.
I think part of what makes the constraint plays feel "gimmicky" is that they're grasping at straws to see what works. I diagnose it as follows:
Plays A and B are base plays, with constraints C, D, and E
Plays P and Q are base plays, with constraints R, S, and T
Prior to the season, the staff tried to install an A-Z offense, the young players couldn't get good enough at all of the plays A-Z, and as a result, you ended up with a team that can execute A, S, and T, but not B-E or P and Q. So the constraint plays aren't consistent with the base plays, not because Borges doesn't want to call C, D, and E when the defense adjusts to A, but because the players can't do C, D, and E. (Witness two FAILED bubble screens yesterday! Why did they go half the season without calling the bubble? Because this team can't execute it!) So Borges has to call S and T to counter the defense adjusting to A, whether or not that actually makes sense.
I think we can all agree now that they should have just installed A-E, gotten good at them, and then maybe learned P and Q during the bye weeks. It also seems that they spent the bye weeks assuming that if they just found the right combination on the OL, they'd be okay to run all of A-Z, still not realizing how screwed they really were. It seems like it took until LAST WEEK for how screwed they really were to sink in -- two weeks in a row of negative rushing yards finally penetrates even the thickest of skulls. But it's too little too late. And when opposing D coordinators know that all you can do is A, S, and T, then you can't do those either. And without P and Q, they can take away S and T and you can't punish them for it. And so the futility continues.
Football allows the intellectual part of my brain to evolve, but it allows the emotional part to remain unchanged. And this is all I want from everything, all the time, always. --Chuck Klosterman
Yeah, it's hard to know for sure without being an actual expert on football, but I think that makes a lot of sense.
"I think we can all agree now that they should have just installed A-E, gotten good at them, and then maybe learned P and Q during the bye weeks."
Yup, definitely. It seems you can actually have a a very small, simple offensive package that is still unexploitable as long as it's well-balanced. Adding more stuff beyond that just increases the amount of things BOTH teams have to prepare for, which doesn't make much sense if you're the team that's young and inexperienced.
Dana Holgorsen installs his basic offense in three days:
"Simplicity means that the offensive package — often thought of as the playbook, which for NFL teams could run to hundreds of pages — gets reduced to the bare essentials. For Holgorsen and the rest of the Air Raid spawn, there is no written playbook. Throwing the ball against a variety of coverages and fronts is hard enough, but overloading your players with sight reads, multiple protection schemes, and shifting assignments makes the whole endeavor nearly impossible for 18- to 22-year-old players. This simplicity makes repetition possible. Indeed, Holgorsen installed his core offensive package at West Virginia in ameasly three days; the rest of spring practice and fall camp was spent repeating those three days over and over to perfect the scheme, with additional wrinkles judiciously added."
And West Virginia is currently 4-7, having scored a measley 19 points against Kansas in their most recent loss. Yeah, even with simplified schemes, it still helps to have players with experience to carry them out.
I wish Michigan had lost vs nw so that maybe nw would have a chance to jump over Michigan with a couple wins and Michigan could play in the pizza bowl and i could go see them. What kind of co-dependent bullshit have I succumbed to?
Worst: PA Bubble Iso (or zone or power or whatever up the middle) It worked very well in this game at getting the RBs past the line of scrimmage. It worked so well that Borges ran it repeatidly into overtime. Also, it seemed like the only play in which we always gained yards on. Sure you may be asking yourself, "Why is gaining yards consistently the worst?" For this game, I have no answer. Gaining yards is the goal. But we all know Al. And if there is one thing I know, it is that Borges will overuse things until they are dead. He leaned on this play so much late in the game and in OT, that it is officially on tape. Iowa has tape. Borges will run this play too many times next week. We will not gain yards rushing.
Much like the tackle over stuff, this is a gimmick. It should be used 1-2 times a game. Not 1-2 times a drive. I smell the failure on this play in the next couple weeks. And that smell is the worst.