I agree that the offensive line wasn't very successful at opening holes in a very good OSU D, but IMHO the pass protection was much improved in this game. This may be because OSU blitzed less than some of our opponents but I think the boys in the trenches were playing their hearts out. I also think it was telling that we had way fewer than usual illegal procedure/formation/shift or holding penalties in this game. I think we only had two penalties? That's a huge improvement.
Final Weekend Retrospective
1994, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Each of these was a bitter pill to take, ruining an afternoon and often more. But I don't recall a loss in which Michigan brought less to the game and came away with real reason for optimism. Yes, I realize how awful it is to look at a loss to the Ohio State University and sift amongst the rubble for a moral victory, but that is a realistic approach when your only conference win is against a team better known for basketball, lead by a bubble gum-throwing coach.
So, may I present some thoughts from grim Saturday and the hind-sighted look at the season:
- Against an admittedly Tressell-led team, the previously pourous defense allowed two offensive touchdowns. I recognize that the Sweatervest had faith in his defense and with good reason, but the Wolverine defense made Pryor look like an athlete attempting to play QB. We, as fans,
-Vincent Smith is going to be a great back in this offense.
-Roy Roundtree seems to have good hands and awareness, if not breakaway speed.
-I, you, and all the good people who love the light side of the force are REALLY going to miss Brandon Graham. 14 defensive points allowed. Nearly turned back the Buckeyes from the goal-line singlehandedly. Was absolutely unblockable all year.
-& the Space Emperor.
- Obviously the five turnovers. That's unacceptable in any game, even with a freshman QB. But remember, the 2-1 TD to INT ratio for the remainder of the year was the anomaly. We knew going into the season that starting a freshman QB would lead to big errors. For much of the year, we were lucky. Against Notre Dame, it did not hurt us, and it enabled the team to tie up Michigan State. The daring decisions didn't come back to bite us. But the bad game yesterday notwithstanding, there was obvious improvement from the beginning of the season to the end.
- The secondary severely limited any ability to blitz. This makes me think about the third and goal, in which the Michigan defense allowed a screen pass for a TD. Before the play, I was hoping for a three man rush or a two man rush with a two man spy, forcing Pryor to throw in to a limited field with coverage. Obviously, that's not what was called, and that provided the touchdown that eventually sealed itl
-The offensive line did little to open up holes in the Buckeye defensive front. However, I don't recall a game since Tim Biakabutuka in which the Michigan O-line ran roughshod over the Buckeyes. If you watch the National Championship game in 1997, the future All-Pros on that line struggled to move the Buckeyes. This is nothing really new. (Correction, the 2003 game was also an exception, Chris Perry rushed for 154 yards against one of the best rush defenses. But I believe that was the first game in 10 years in which Michigan truly owned the run game.)
I spent Sunday evening watching the Eagles and Bears with an Ohio State alum who is working on a PhD from Drexel (i.e., not a "Git-R-Dun" type). His take from the game was essentially, "if you keep Forcier from throwing the ball without discernment, that team will be good." He also didn't realize that Molk, our starting center was injured since PSU.
Excuses are not good. But realism is not only looking at the negatives, but also assessing the reasons why those negatives took place. When the Boston Celtics lost in the playoffs this past June, it was not "an excuse" to recognize the fact that Kevin Garnett was not on the court. If you attempt to assess your place as a team, you must take all factors into account. First, the starting center on this Wolverines team has not played since a few plays in the Penn State game. Centers don't get acclaim, just as DT's such as Ndomakon Suh don't win the Heisman Trophy. But when they aren't playing, they make a big difference. I think it's fair to say with Molk present, the Offensive Line is able to open up holes better, and probably pass protect better down the stretch of the schedule. Second, the best running back on the team did not play in the Ohio State game. Brandon Minor's injury kept him out of the game. We all wanted to see Minor Rage one last time, one more time at home, but the football fates are cruel in ways we could only have dreamt about five years ago.
I hope this game gave you renewed hope for the big picture in the way that I received it. The game of ball is glorious. The Wolverines will begin to have stability in the defensive coaches for the first time in nearly five years. The Michigan team will return a starting quarterback for the first time since 2007. This is an off-season in which the team needs its fans. Stay true, those who stay true will watch champions.
Molk has been out since about the MSU game (i.e MUCH before the PSU game as you mention multiple times). He came back for a grand total of TWO plays vs PSU.
I cannot fathom why NCAA wouldn't grant a medical red-shirt.
I think that Molk has NFL potential. Since he's already red-shirted one year, I doubt that he'd want a medical red-shirt (and sixth year of college). It would be nice though.
I first watched UM/OSU in the fall of 1970, just after I found out I had been admitted to UM. I had already decided I'd go to MIchigan, even though that meant giving up playing football. (I was recruited to play Ivy League football, where I might have been a decent linebacker. No shit, I liked Michigan's academics better.)
I can remember loving how the Michigan linebackers and defensive line played. I've seen that more than a few times since--and yesterday, after the second play at the goal line, I thought, "Well as a whole they're frustrating as hell, but it's been a privilege watching Graham play this year."
So 19-19-2 in the forty years since I cared. It's still 57-43-6 all time. Better days will come.
if we keep our heads together, don't panic, and encourage other not to panic. Especially we must stop all the negative talk...it hurts recruiting potentially...
Realizing that we had some 10,000+ fans sell off tickets. That is tough to swallow. Not blaming them, really, but just hoping that the Recovery in 2010 is faster than the economic recovery.
If (and it is IF right now) RichRod can build a championship program here, we'll remember this sad day and won't let it happen again.
You mean they had something better to do than supporting their team against hated rivals during a time of near crisis? If that's what you're selling, I'm not buying.
What I'm selling is that the fans who sold the tickets probably will be dumping season tickets anyway. It's a free country and I respect their "freedom" to decide to go in another direction. I don't badger them or flame them here or elsewhere.
The MICHIGAN FAMILY is badly divided right now. I'm not going to put a lot more lighter fuel on the flames.
My point is simply this...just like in the locker room some guys weren't all-in last year, the same goes for fans this year.
I think dumping on any fans who leave the program is counter-productive to the rest of us. Weren't there something like 80+% UM fans at the game? It reminds me of a group leader who used to criticize how few people showed up for community meetings, when he really should have been praising those few who regularly made it and making them feel welcome.
What I'd really like to see is this...if we have a lot of drop-outs, then offer the fans who remain a better deal (smaller "renewal" fee) to be able to see the game in better seats. REWARD those who stayed through these years with choice seats without requiring some high fee for the right to buy tickets. This WON'T cost the U that much money and will be a way to show loyalty back to those who stayed.
I've sat loyally in my EZ seats in Section 12 since the late 1980's. Given a chance to move inside the goal lines w/o having to pay a higher fee (at least for a few years) would be a welcome "thank you" for staying loyal when others have dropped out.
You won't see a lot of scarlet and gray in the good seats in years to come if we made this one change. If we sat thru a season like this in the EZ, we'll sit in seats at the 20, too.
I came out of The Game fairly encouraged. Everyone knew going into the game that Michigan wouldn't win (or if they didn't, they haven't been paying attention).
That being said....
The team only gave up 21 points. That's half of what they gave up to OSU in 2008. Only 14 points given up by the defense.
The offense scored 10 but left another 17 possible points out on the field (one missed FG, two red zone interceptions). They did all of this while missing their (arguably) two best offensive players in Molk and Minor. Total yardage was pretty even with OSU. The O wasn't great, but the team will most likely not be lead by a freshman QB next year either. Something to look forward to.
Graham was a beast with four TOL's. He leads the nation with 25 TOL's. How was he not the defensive player of the year in the Big Ten?
Michigan wasn't in a great position to beat OSU. However, I was fairly encouraged with the effort put forth by the entire team under the current circumstances.