To me it really seemed like our offense failed at the positions we all believed would be lacking: the o-line and the quarterbacks. While our pass blocking seemed acceptable at times, the run blocking was horrible, and on one of their few decent blocking plays we broke a 20 yard run up the middle.
My Impressions of the Loss to Utah
My impressions of the game. Proviso: I am not an ultra details guy. I am a big picture, vision guy. I don’t do audits. Don’t copy edit. I don’t break down tape. I am a big picture, “feel,” guy. This is why I do not play bridge as partner to my accountant father who can remember every card played and deduce which cards are in everyone’s hand. With that in mind, these are my thoughts about this afternoon’s game against Utah.
The offence looked terrible. It was bad. There were only flashes something resembling the spread offence. We did not have a single sustained drive the entire game. Thankfully our offence was handed the ball inside the 35 enough times to make it look almost respectable on the scoreboard. They looked lost and confused like they really did not know what they were doing. One or two nice runs. A couple of good passes. But too many runs that did not happen. Too many balls thrown behind or over the receiver [think two point conversion!!!!]. Threet looked better than Sheridan. If the offence does not drastically improve it will be a long season.
Did we have a defense for the first 30 minutes? There were guys in uniforms out there, but they were not playing defense. Someone must have read them the riot act during half time. If they play the way they did in the last 30 minutes, and improve on that, we might have a chance to win a couple of games. Ezeh seemed to have steped up. Even though we brought pressure and shut down the run in the second half, we still have trouble tackling in space. The first half was awful, the second half was just bad. Can you teach guys to tackle? There were way too many plays where guys had too much space to run and made too many yards after contact.
Special teams were the only bright light, except the punting game which was underwhelming. Blocked kicks, a forced turnover…they looked great.
Another plus was that we did not take stupid penalties.
Coach Rodriguez looked pissed most of the game. I would not have wanted to be in the locker room at the half.
I am optimistic [blind faith] that we will be better. Threet took a step to earning the starting job.
Another plus...my two year old looked seriously cute in her cheer leader uniform we picked up at the MDen this summer, my wife made block M cookies, and sorted out a whole bowl of Maize and Blue M&M's for the game.
It was more than just o-line and QB issues, they looked lost and overwhelmed out there, like they were thinking too much about everything they were doing. McGuffie did look good. That is a boy who can play and it looks like he has real good football instincts. Threet looks like he will improve, more like teething issues than anything permenantly tragic. I think it will take a couple of games to really evaluate whether the line is a true problem. Right now it is a whole package thing.
McGuffie didnt do anything to impress me. He had something like 8 carries and 8 yards and a td. I thought minor looked the best, except for that fumble of course. He was running hard and he was making one cut and getting upfield. While McGuffie seemed to hesitate too much for my liking.... Again this is the first game so it is only a small sample to make any huge predictions from, but we need to figure out how to RUN THE DAMN BALL!
This was a lot of players first game and it really showed. All this optimism I had going into the season has been dropped considerably but we should only get better. :)
Candy store on South U sells them.
I'm thinking maize frosting with blue sprinkles on cupcakes, myself. For the kids, not for me.
I will have to look for them next time we are in A2 visiting friends. Here in London, though, you have to make your own...any my wife loves me enough to do just that.
And by the time we had worked our day to flipping between the Alabama/Clemson game and the Sparty/Cal game, she actually said to me..."I think I could get to like watching football." She will be assimilated yet.
>>Another plus was that we did not take stupid penalties.
except for delays of game and motion
plus is that (IMO) our special teams were vastly improved.
Blocked PAT, blocked punt, and the KO return game looked much, much better than last year.
What was the deal with the offensive line freezing (staying in their stance) on the two plays where the defense jumped offside? Clearly it was some sort of coached reaction, but I've never seen that done before. Especially the second time, it somewhat backfired, seeing as the refs didn't call the offside and the pass was incomplete?
Other than that, it seemed like many of Brian's concerns were valid. The O-Line stunk. Panter and Evans underwhelmed mightily. I didn't see much to like about either QB. I look forward to seeing someone smarter than me break it down in the UFR.
The only thing that kept us in the game was Utah's willingness to try and give the game away. Felt like we were playing Sparty for a while there.
there were times that the D-line just didn't pressure Utah's QB all that well. On the big passing plays, he had time to throw the football. He wasn't pressured enough, and he picked us apart. Also he was complemented by the run, and the balance of the two (which both worked way too consistently in the first half) killed us.
We looked lost and confused on offense. If that was the spread we were running, you could have fooled me. Who would have thought that we could play so poor yet have a chance to win the game. Next week will be huge for the offense's confidence. We knew the offense would struggle...but who knew the D wouldn't show up until the second half. The play that KILLED us was the INT at the end of the first half. Instead of punting and Utah running out the clock, we went down 22-10 with 15 seconds left in the half. That one hurt.
...it's "offense," not offence.
I for one, am very pleased with the defense. Once they saw a competent spread at full game speed, they adjusted and held them to minimal yardage and 3 points. I loved watching the D-Line run down the QB instead of losing contain like in prior years. And praise be to Barwis, the D seemed to continue to improve and not be gassed as the game went on. Against more conventional offenses they could be dominant.
Utah's special teams really helped them out (all those FGs, and their punter was INSANE) but UM's special teams really kept them in the game, forcing turnovers, blocking punts, and it was nice seeing gunners getting down the field quickly and making tackles. Wasn't it funny actually seeing people get down the field and meet the kickoff return man as opposed to not seeing anyone in the picture until, like, the 30 yd line?
The offense is a work in progress, we knew that coming in. Even if this was still Carr coaching, they are replacing 8 starters, and changing the system entirely doesn't make it easier. But how funny was it that the first UM play from scrimmage that the cameras were fooled into looking for an off-tackle left play???? There were a few times were it was difficult to see who had the ball. But I gotta say, for a "no huddle" offense things seemed to get off pretty slowly at times....
Chuckles to himself about offense/offence...a freudian slip?
What you are saying about things looking like they were taking to long on terms of getting to the line, getting the play in, getting the ball snapped and in terms of plays developing are spot on. It seemed to me like eveyone was thinking way too much, that nothing felt natural.
They were really bad, but I did notice one thing that was kind of nice. Our defensive line managed to chase down a scrambling quarterback a bunch of times, instead of getting winded and collapsing like usual. Score one for Barwis.
But the offense looks horrible. Hopefully, this is something that can improve quickly...a bit of a running game makes the passing game more effective, which keeps the offense on the field, which limits their time of possession and keep the defense fresh, etc.
Word, Will Johnson chasing BJ down for a sack was a big highlight of the game for me.
Fair comments on the game. Our offense never looked like we were in any kind or rythm and our defense played scared in the first half. Hope we can improve a lot before the ND game.
"Offence" cannot be a Freudian slip, as, unless you are British, there is no such word. And, regardless, if you are British, Offence = offense in every single meaning of the word, including "don't take offense".
Or so he said in his reply to me. I lived there for three years, and though I picked up some phrases, I never did adapt to their spelling, probably because I worked for a US employer.
I live in London, ON and in spite of the four years I spent in Michigan, I still mostly use the King's English...hence "Offence" as in take "to take offence" at something...as in Steve took great offence at the Michigan offense.
I took some serious positives out of yesterday's game, which is something I've never been able to say after a UM loss.
Yes, we lost, we lost an 'upset' that everyone has had circled on their calendar as an upset and thus can't really be one, especially because Utah was the better team. However, I felt we were out-executed, but not out-coached. Threet looked better in the second half until the game was on the line, and the defense didn't tire. Special teams were great, and there were (GASP!) second-half adjustments to both offense and defense, which resulted in a much better half.
Would I have preferred we kept the 2-pt conversion on the ground? Sure, but that was a young QBs choice, and he will improve. 75% of our offense now has infinity times the number of snaps they took more experience than yesterday morning at this time. They will improve, and UM will get more competitive. We have two easier teams to play before we start Big Ten play. Let's see how that goes before we go all Jonestown maybe.
Allowing that pick to happen at the end of the first half was inexcusable IMO. Without that we would have punted and probably not been down 2 scores at the half. We should have played a bit a Lloyd ball as Sheridan was a pick waiting to happen. Run, run, run, punt there and we have a W.
Unless, of course, you cant run the ball!
If we had sustained a single drive for long enough to even kick a field goal we would have won the game. That is it...one drive long enough to get a field goal...but our offense was so bad that we could not sustain even one drive...not one.
the sad, sad truth that concerns me the most honestly. But we could have run it there at the end of the half. Didn't need to get yards, just give Utah a long field with a punt instead of the int.
There is truth to what you say...but perhaps RR was trying to show us that we are in a new era and the old conservative playbook is no more...
But you are right...you can still control the ball in the spread...
The problem is that most of us are horrible at seperating the process from the outcome. In other words, we look at the outcome of a decision, and then judge the decision process faulty or successful based on that outcome. The problem is that the coaches don't know the outcome before the play.
For instance - I can't count the number of times I saw Lloyd Carr booed for run, run, run, punt at the end of the first half. However, we're ready to crucify Rodriguez for not doing something that the vast majority of us would be complaining about.
Rodriguez didn't call "Z-Right Wobbly Duck to the Cornerback". The fact that the ball was picked off doesn't mean Rodriguez made a bad decision - it means Sheridan threw a bad pass.
"For instance - I can't count the number of times I saw Lloyd Carr booed for run, run, run, punt at the end of the first half. However, we're ready to crucify Rodriguez for not doing something that the vast majority of us would be complaining about.
Rodriguez didn't call "Z-Right Wobbly Duck to the Cornerback". The fact that the ball was picked off doesn't mean Rodriguez made a bad decision - it means Sheridan threw a bad pass."
This isn't a valid arguement IMO. Lloyd was ridiculed because he had an offense with the ability to make the plays needed to score quickly, pretty much every time. RR should have realized that "Z-Right Wobbly Duck to the Cornerback" was coming after watching that same play all half from Sheridan. RR screwed this one up, no question about it.
You got me thinking Chitown...as I was driving back from an open house...who makes the mistake...the guy who calls the risky pass knowing that his quarterback will likely throw Z-Right Wobbly Duck to the Cornerback, but is willing to risk a loss to show everyone that this is a new Michigan...or the quarterback who doesn't execute the deep strike throw leading his reciever, getting the big yards..perhaps even a TD. If the QB does execute this one we think RR is a genius who is willing to trust his guys...blah, blah, blah...
As I thought about it...I began to think that perhaps RR needs to be commended for doing his thing...even if it did result in a preventable pic.
I think this is a case of knowing what to expect, confused, inefficient offense, but having to watch how that confusing and inefficiency played out causing angst. I also think we’ve got some Carr hang over here. The offense was terrible but not necessarily more terrible than other offenses just more terrible in a different way. For instance, I saw Henne’s first game and that offense sucked. Michigan plunged into the line over and over and ran ugly pass plays primarily on third and long (and not even always then.) Rather than run the old script of continual ineffective running (which is lower risk reward, simpler and easier to look less discombobulated but no more effective), RR moved the ball around and let his new QB pass. How many times have we all watched a Carr/DeBord offense and wondered if they were actually trying or really wanted to win? I know at half time of Henne’s second game (ND 2004) I had to sit myself down and repeatedly remind myself that Carr really did want to win. So, here we are, RR went the other way and tried different things and different people. I welcome the change if only for change’s sake.
One thing we learned, the offensive line is not ND 2007 bad. This can work, at some minimal level, to score points. Another positive—Michigan didn’t move the ball well but they put up 7 when they had the chance. There was no turtling for FG’s. Michigan’s best plays put the ball in the endzone. I hope that was by design and not random chance. The first half defense is what had me searching for the hemlock. For that, I’ve got no answer.
Maybe it is my not being a details X's and O's, breaking down tape kind of person, but I did not walk away from the game thinking the O-line stood out as being more terrible than any other part of the game. It seemed to me to be a more systemic thing, in that as RR himself has said...he has 105 freshmen...and that is how it looked.
It was bad, but if they keep improving, who knows. It could still be a very long, painfull season of learning.
In watching the post game interview with RR he made mention that they only used like five different packages. It was simplified for them, RR made it as KISS as possible but they are still a long way from being competitive.
The best upside. They got game time experience they can learn from.
The freshman RBs Shaw and McGuffie looked fine while Stonum and Odoms did not. I can't understand while all of our "experience" at the OL is on the interior why we kept running it to the outside... also it seems like we only had about 5 or 6 plays on offensive that MacGee was comfortable calling. With time we should become more comfortable within the playbook and things may start happening... Sheridan looked like donkey dick out there. He just lofted passes deep to no one in particular. It was awful. Threet although he isn't ideal at least looks like he can move the offense and the D has to respect the pass.
The D was poor given my expectations. 300 yards of offense againt in the first half! Inexcusable. Our secondary was garbage and the only LB out there was Obe Eza. Panter got a sack, but Evans (I think?? #9) was no where to be found all day. I never heard his name once while Obe had about 20 tackles in the game.
Special teams where amazing. You have got to love Terrence Taylors intensity. He was looking great out there. Graham? Hello? He was a non factor all day. I am not expecting much from this season, but I thought I heard that RR could adapt his O to any type of QB... why the hell was Sheridan named started then? He was just awful and Threet can hit passes, I think we should go with that.
it seemed like Magee was calling was actually about right. RRod said after the game that they only had three run formations and eight or nine pass formations in the entire package. The offense is dumbed down at this point out of necessity. We had ten freshman in the two-deep on offense. Throw in Sheridan and the rest of the inexperience on the o-line and basically our two deep consists of Mathews, Schilling, and Butler with any experience at all on offense. This makes me think that maybe we did well just by not turning the ball over eight times or getting our quarterback killed. Also, Utah's defense may be about the third best defense we see this season.
I just went over the game again this morning. Our d-line dominated the line of scrimmage the entire game. Brian Johnson just killed us. The first half looked a lot like the 2006 OSU game where they spread the field and use a lot of shotgun or short drops and quick passes to pick us apart. We gave up way too many yards on third down so some of it is variance. If we make just a couple more plays on third down, we kill drives and Utah winds up with something more like 200 yards in the first half. While the first half numbers by themselves don't look good, I'm actually encouraged by what I saw after breaking it down on video. I expect the defensive numbers to look much more like the second half than the first from here forward. There aren't many QBs out there capable of doing what Johnson did under pressure. He made it look effortless, just like Troy Smith in '06.
Graham had seven tackles and a sack. He also forced two holding penalties. Everyone is right about the OLB's, though. Evans and Panter looked lost out there.
Highlight of the day for me was the 1-2 throws at Morgan Trent. It was like an intentional walk.
not the players he wants. That was brutally evident yesterday, especially on offense. Someday, we'll have a dual threat QB who can establish a running game with speedy RBs and then have the ability to throw up top to fast receivers. That certainly seemed to be RR's plan yesterday. One day, that will be a winning formula for success. But when you don't have a running QB and you have inexperience at virtually every single offensive skill position, you're going to have to make some adjustments. The way I see it, RR can go two directions. First, if he really insists on a running QB, he should look beyond the pathetic Sheridan experiment and go deeper into the roster. Carlos Brown and Brandon Smith played QB in high school. Both are pretty fast and they have the size Feagin sorely lacks. If RR really wants to gamble, he needs to find someone who can truly run. It would be an unbelievable gamble, but none of the current QBs can run and I'm not sold on Feagin even if he is ready. The more likely scenario (sane?) scenario is if RR realizes that Threet is the only legitimate D1 QB he has right now and go from there. Threet is a Ryan Mallet clone. He can't run. But he has a good arm. Unlike Sheridan, who can neither run nor pass, Threet at least has potential. As RR astutely noticed, Threet sees the field well. He identified open receivers pretty well I thought. The problem was that his adrenaline forced overthrows on every throw except that outside fade route (the one he connected on with Hemingway). In fact, Threet looked like Chad Henne in his second season when he consistently sailed passes over receivers. I think RR should settle on Threet. I was pleased that he wants to pass and I think that's the one area where we have a chance. A pass first offense will give the RBs more breathing space, accelerating their development. In fact, I think an ideal variation of the spread that suits our current offensive personnel is the offense Michigan ran last year in the Citrus Bowl. The OL looked decent against the pass and we have good receivers. Remember, that was a spread too, and I think those draw plays and delayed handoffs will isolate McGuffie in open space, exactly what we want. Just as a side note, I was not impressed with RR seemingly letting the D off the hook for their first half performance by blaming the offense. He should hold the defense to higher standards. He should expect them to play the way they did in the second half, and carry the team if need be. There is no reason why the defense shouldn't be top 10 given the nice combination of skill and experience we have in that group.
I think a key area in need of improvement is timing. To effectively get our skill players in space, we need to get them the ball much much quicker. We gave the defenses too much time to react when we threw the ball into the flat, etc...