Actually, I agree with everything here. I'm reserving some judgement until after next week when I see ND play another opponent with a pulse. The turnovers I'm writing off as freshmen doing freshmen things, and walk-on QBs doing walk-on QB things. But I want to see if our offensive "leap" was legit or just a function of ND being that putrid. The apparent progress in the OL and Threet was amazing.
The long haul
I'm disappointed that this will be a tough year and more than likely, winning season streak and bowl streak go by the wayside. However, losing what we did on offense, installing a new system without the appropriate personnel, and being thin at the o-line, this was all pretty predictable.
Teams that may be lacking talent, but possessing experience and leadership win some games they shouldn't. Teams with talent, lacking experience make mistakes and lose games that they shouldn't. UM should have won the game today, but they made unforced errors. (I will allow the Grady fumble and the 2 INTs as forced errors, dropping kickoffs and fumbling in the backfield I would consider unforced and do not credit these to ND.) RR was correct in that this team is not good enough to play poorly and win.
I think that we all hoped that this team would win some tough games, have a few positive surprises on the offensive side of the ball, get stronger as the year went by and be anchored by a very strong defense. The offense has been about what should be expected given the above considerations. The defense has not been horrible IMO, but has been disappointing given most expectations.
All and all, this year will be (and already has been) tough. I do feel that regardless of the competition, the offense has improved measurably each week. I do feel that Threet is the guy and despite his fumbling problems today, he has improved as well. (I don't recall Tacopants in the game today.) I am concerned because his knee injury today seemed to be suggestive of a meniscal tear. My hope is that he continues to improve to the point that next year we will be able to gradually work in the QB that ultimately better fits this system. I think Mcguffie is going to be special.
I have faith in RR's system and his ability to coach. I hope this translates into continued improvement. If this happens and we can shore up some problems on defense, I hope we will win more games than we all currently expect. This was the first game on the road for many inexperienced players in tough conditions. It showed and we lost a game that we should have won. This is just the beginning. Despite the fact that we all feel that we have been "fed up with losing" the last few years, overall as a fanbase we have been pretty spoiled. I look at the offense and think that with some improved O-line play(ers) and a QB who is a run threat, we will be awesome. It just won't happen that way this year.
Agreed. The OL pass protection and creating seems to he outside was decent. They have difficulties between the tackles, though.
It's a strange feeling, but that loss wasn't too hard on me. I feel like a MSU fan. Threet really came into his own today. He made some really, really nice throws. That Matthews TD that got taken away was BULLSHIT. Homecooking in the worst way. Matthews caught that ball and crossed the goal line. They were robbed of 6 right there. ARRRRR you know when your team is young, inexperienced and mistake-prone the last thing you need is a good F job by the refs. THAT pissed me off. OK.......went on a tangent there.
McGuff seems to be the real deal. I'm excited for him each week. He's getting better and better.
The D. I mean, come one, again they were put in bad spot after bad spot. ND was basically GIVEN 21 points to start the game!!!!! In that respect the D was excellent. Not to mention the fact that they had to play ND and the refs, who were doing their best to totally F Michigan today.
In the end, ND is probably the worst. I mean, I think Utah would pound the shit out of them. So it's difficult to gather anything from this, other then that those young kids went into a hostile environment and gave their all. The didn't give up, and despite the refs totally bending them over they fought to the end. Bravo.