Is the real deal. Wow. Fitz looked outta sorts. Jake Ryan did a good job. Amazed the D line couldn't penetrate.
Oh, and Arizona whooped Okie State... And what the hell happened to Wiscy?
Give me your AFA snowflakes
Is the real deal. Wow. Fitz looked outta sorts. Jake Ryan did a good job. Amazed the D line couldn't penetrate.
got their backs razor'd.
We saw four upsets this weekend. I'm happy we weren't one of them
A few more than four, I think.
OSU (not that one)>Wisconsin
Arizona>OSU (different one)
Also some semi-surprising I-AA wins over I-A teams. The state of Colorado is not a happy place right now. Wake over UNC is a surprise.
I think the DL may not be good, but it's still hard to tell. I do think Frank Clark is a player, and the only consistently dangerous guy on that unit. Did I see Ojemudia playing on 2nd and 7 against a non-passing team, with his hand on the ground? To me, that indicates a wholesale lack of confidence in the upperclassmen - the guy is like 195 pounds.
The LBs. Man. Two of our "starters" seem to have already lost their jobs to true freshmen. Ryan, to me, played well. He was the only guy other than Clark who turned in positive plays. It seemed like he got stuck by himself with the QB and the pitchman a number of times.
For the second straight week, I thought the secondary was fine. They tackled well, and playing pass D against a team like AF has to be tough. By scheme, it's nearly impossible to get a pass rush on them, unless they are forced into obvious passing., and the DBs have so many responsibilities other than coverage. Avery was fine, Taylor was fine. Yay.
The OL was the most scary part of the game for me. Not pushing these guys around is terrifying, and the lack of Toussaint production is worrying.
DENARD was about as good as he could have been, I think there were two bad balls he threw all day, and the rushing speaks for itself.
Funchess...I kept wondering if we could make him a straight WR when we get some TE depth.
DL - I think the most concerning part for me is the play of Big Will. I was hoping he would take a big step forward. The normal disclaimer about Bama and AFA applies, so I hope we see more out of him against ND.
LB - So are you a glass half full or half empty guy? We did have the best linebacker class last year, so maybe the freshmen are just that good. Again, tough two games to evaluate.
DB - There are still some pretty big breakdowns in assignment or something. Too many open guys back there. I think if assignments aren't blown, they are pretty talented.
Toussaint scared me too. I thought he was a known commodity. Now I'm really worried about lack of production from the RB spot. Crazy that we haven't had a consistent threat at RB since Hart. (Minor was hurt too often)
What did you see about Funchess that made you want him to become a WR? Admittedly, I don't really watch players for blocking assignments when the game is going on. Do you see a problem here, being he is pretty skinny still?
I mean, I think it bodes well for the future that Bolden and Ross were our crunch time LBs. Just not for now.
Funchess - I just see his frame, and know that the NFL has this new breed of 6'5" 225, 230 pound beast at WR. Does Funchess not run well enough for that?
I think its more that though 6'5 NFL guys started as 180lb rails. Funchess is going to put 20-30lb on pretty easily over the next couple years and fit the the position naturally
jeez, Demens seems to have an uncanny knack of getting caught in the wash. Jake Ryan and Frank Clark are studs. Joe Bolden with a huge stop in the fake FG late. The young guys are promising, and I'm loving that we have two potentially great red zone receivers.
Good point about Demens gettting caught in the wash, Morgan also to some degree. On that 4 and 3 key stop, James Ross reacted immediately to the play and got a great jump. AFA had a blocker out there that would have picked off Morgan, but Ross was too far upfield already so the blocker had to look for another target and Ross made the tackle.
Ross and Bolden will both be starting after a few more games.
I thin their freshmen mistakes were in coverage. But that will come and Mattison emphasizes stopping the run first, then deal with pass coverage. The benefit of developing freshman on the DL is for the pass rush to cover up those coverage deficiencies. At this point I'm willing to accept an ND loss if it means these freshmen start to gel by MSU.
Ojemudia is 230 lbs. In fact he is the same size as a freshman as David Bowens was when he was at Michigan. Both are/were about: 6' 3'' 230 lbs.
If you want someone coming hard off the edge into the backfield, in a non blitz situation, the two best players on the team are Jake Ryan and Mario Ojemudia
As for Funchess: I guess time will tell. I think he can play WR, but is needed more at TE. M has some viable options at WR, but not so much at TE. At TE, Brandon Moore is hurt, Jordan Paskorz doesn't seem to be an option, and that is about it.
The good thing: Wherever Funchess lines up; he's a matchup nightmare
I could see funch being the 3rd receaver. Meaning in 2wr sets he will be TE. In 3 and 4 wr sets he will split out. I wouldn't be surprised once Moore is back you could see a lot of gardner and funch outside and tree in the slot
I agree with pretty much all of this. We saw way too many freshmen play yesterday (which, to me, is not a very good sign).
AFA scored a few more points than I expected, but as everyone has been saying, that offense is hard to prepare for so I'm not panicking yet. Our offense is what really worried me. I thought we'd easily get 42 points, and outside of a few big plays we really struggled. Fitz had 7 yards on 8 carries. Yeesh...
I'd say production from the RB is the only facet we struggled with. Keep in mind, our offense ran about 6 plays all game. AFA was literally always on the field. I think our offense did perfectly fine, minus the whole RB situation.
about the secondary. Every time Jake Ryan was doing his job and attacking the QB on the option there was no one attacking the pitch man. That's the corners job to shed his block and be there IIRC.
Exactly my thoughts as well. Far too many times the pitch man was left completely uncovered. IIRC, Floyd made a few good plays with outside contain. I don't know whether Mattison's scheme had the cornerbacks or safeties playing a bigger role defending the pitch man, but it seemed like the corners were having an especially difficult time shedding their blockers.
- Denard did a great job of being patient. Allowing lanes to open up and time for routes to develop
- Denard didn't look comfortable in the pocket still though. He waiting for things to open up, but his feet were still jittery. He threw the ball off his back foot once in a very scary fashion. His height will always be a concern with passes over the middle. He needs to get his timing a lot better on short/intermediate routes, against better defenses he would have thrown some picks on late throws or wouldn't have found open receivers. Got to make that throw to DG at the end of the game.
- DG keeps improving, and his size and athleticism are proof of his potential. Still has pretty bad routes, but adds a nice threat for the defense to have to respect.
- Funchess looks good. Athletic, very comfortable catching the ball. He will be a very big asset this season going forward with teams once again having to respect more than just TE catches in the flat.
- Fitz needs to get going against UMass. This should not be hard, but he had no room all day and didn't really make anything happen.
- Oline has a lot of work to do. I think they had trouble getting solid bodies on the small AFA Dline. This isn't quite as drastic as this, but we used to use "grubbers" one year when I coached Freshman, whcih are essentially the smallest guys willing to stay low and disrupt the feet of the O-line and just attack them low, making it very difficult to to get to your blocks. AFA is kind of like that. The O-line will continue to marginally improve throughout the season.
- Roundtree doesn't exist in this offense. There are three threats to catch passes: Funchess, DG, and Gallon. I think Michigan is just waiting to get the freshman up to speed and they will see the field by B1G play.
We should try Roundtree back in the slot and use Gallon exclusively as an outside WR. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but the slot is where Roundtree excelled and Gallon has the speed to be effective on the outside. Roundtree can't get separation deep against CBs.
Roundtree doesn't have the ability to play wide...needs to hide in the slot, I don't believe he is still bothered by the surgery, just don't think he can handle the wide side.
Lots of room to improve but luckily the schedule allows time. I think in terms of this team's goals, the season starts in Purdue in 3 weeks and is fully determined starting with State then Nebraska back to back late in October.
Denard and the receivers seem to be greatly improved in the area of breaking off routes on hot reads to combat blitzes. That's going to help them in games to keep teams honest. State barrelled 8 guys at the line all game last year and Michigan had no answers.
We won a trap game and the offensive line play is very mediocre at this point. The team is young and if we get out of our non conference schedule 3-1 I will be optimistic the rest of the way. Our freshmen are impressive but are still freshmen. The future is bright.
I know AF was cut blocking all day so that has something to do with out D line not getting any penetration but i still think that will be a weak point this year. We failed to keep contain all day, that dissapointed me more than anything. Denard looked pretty good. I wanted Funchess to get in the game vs Alabama last week because I thought he could be a difference maker and it showed yesterday. Just my opinion but I just don't see him putting on too much weight over his career, at least not enough to be a true tight end. Would love to see him get moved to wide out and work on his route running and speed. He could be lethal.
and is on the roster now as 6'5" 230... why is it that you don't see him adding another 15-20 lbs so that he's a "true" TE?
Sorry 4 weeks for Purdue. That's even better.
Plan on re-watching the game to pay close attention to the lines, but I'm more disappointed now than I was last night. AF can be a nightmare for teams as history has shown us, but I'm really concerned by the lack if OL push. Maybe Borges is running schemes the current OL was not built for? I just can't believe that losing Molk is such a downgrade that we went from torching Ill, Neb, and OSU to not getting any push against AF. Baffling. Tough to get a read on the DL. Obviously not great, but AF is so weird I have no idea how the DL will react in the future. It's also concerning that our LBs with experience are not making plays. I don't like seeing so many true frosh out there.
The play of the o line yesterday really concerns me. We should have pushed them around at will.
yeah, pretty sure section 18, row 40 was tired of hearing that from me. Just awful, and we supposedly outweighed their guys by 40 or 50 lbs? Wow.
Also, why u no run Rawls at all?
Couldn't see you two.
Though depending in which side of the aisle you were on, it could have been tough to see.
- Bad initial punch and maintaining a distance with their arms. They let the O-line into their feet and body again. They need to take Air Force's Oline and use their downward momentum (from attacking their feet) and push their face masks into the ground.
- Linebackers are still slow. A very poor job scrapping over the top and getting to the pitch man. Jake Ryan should have had an easy day with sticking with the QB and having people cover the pitch man, instead he was defending both. MLBs look like it will be consistent rotation between the starters and freshman until the freshman get more used to the game or the older guys step up and take the job like they should. The fact that so many freshman are playing speaks to the lack of depth on this defense.
- DBs got caught with their eyes in the backfield several times. Several times did a poor job on the edge forcing the play back into defenders or stretching it out. Have to be stronger on the edge and not get blocked by the WRs so easily.
- Tackling is still an issue with this team. Wrap up damnit! Too many poor form tackles all around.
Why not make him run shorter routes? He's currently a non-factor the way he's being used.
Roundtree doesn't seem to get a cm of separation.
And against Alabama, we could chalk it up to CBs who will be playing in the NFL next year. If he can't get separation against the AFA, it's keeping him at WR makes no sense.
Watch the game again. Roundtree was open for miles several times yesterday. I believe he was even waving his hands in frustration at one point.
Denard was accurate today. His lone pick should have been caught. Is he actually faster this year? I know he is using blocking better.
Both lines need to improve drastically...We have got great defensive coaches, but it is time for them to show it.
Receiving options: extant. Devin and Funchess improving exponentially. We need them to.
Michigan fans have not gotten any smarter. "Why didn't they do that against Alabama?". Seriously. I wait with impatience for Darwin's law to do its merciful work.
A win is a win is a win. Style points are less than meaningless. Notre Dame in two weeks. We will know a lot more after that.
I am on the bandwagon for getting Norfleet on the field more. Gotta be some kind of screen plays or reverses that would put him in open space. Kid is a rocket. Our special teams are very very good.
I think every play, the guy behind me was like " We should have done that against Alabama!". This man was not a smart man, if we could put a shock collar on this man whenever he talks about Michigan that would be great. He thought we should have ran Denard every play against Bama.
Here is one thing I worry about Denard.
He is like a deer in the headlights when they blitz up the middle. To me, he should just rollout and look for a dump off or take off running but he never moves away from the pressure.
This does not bode well against MSU...
This was my primary concern as well. I think Brandstatter was saying QB Draw is the solution.
Whatever the counter to A/B gap blitzes is, we need to have it. Heiko this is your question this week.
What is really frustrating is that if Borges tells Denard "if you see ANY blitz in the middle, just tuck the ball and run to the edges", Denard will probably do great as edges should be open and he probably picks up 5 to 10 yards without much trouble.
But when he decides to pass, he REALLY wants to pass and does not abandon it quickly enough. He makes it even worse by backpeddling and either taking a sack or releases a duck with his back foot.
I think his pass accuracy is definitely much better than last year. But if he does not change this tendency, his INT rate is not going to drop much and I do not like our chances against MSU much at all.
Please stop using the chop block as a excuse for the offensive line. Mediocre football teams have easily ran the ball with a RB against Air Force. Our offense should have Played better.
How many yards did Fitz run for last year? You expect 1500-2000 yards from the HB every year?
Brady Hoke agreed that the O-line and D-line were a big part of the problem. For some reason there are people on this board jumping through hoops to try and justify the D and O line play. I'm really not sure why, considering the coach is also saying those units are not playing well. Apparently these people know more than Hoke does about his team.
I'm not going to jump through a hoop to defend their play. It was by no means good. But we had 200 rushing yards on offense. On defense, we had to deal with a rotation of fresh AFA OL personnel along with an extremely uptempo scheme, which did not allow defensive subs. They always had to fight off a guy with fresh legs, even though they had seen 5 snaps in under a minute. Add to that the chop blocking, and I can understand why the DL didn't show yesterday.
Give them until ND. If they still struggle, you will have company on your side of the fence.
No, our QB had 200 yards of rushing, with like 2 or 3 runs of 50+ yards. The fact that we couldn't get anything open for our RB's, not even to get past the LOS is very troubling. Rushing Denard all the time didn't work for the Big Ten schedule in 2010, and it's not going to work this year
People make an assumption like "If you take those long runs from Denard away, we were in real trouble." But putting aside how awesome they were and the fact that they put points on the board, you're making an assumption that something negative would happen if you took them away.
In reality, there are multiple scenarios that could have transpired. If Denard goes for 5 yards instead of 70, maybe Fitz gets the ball on the next down and breaks it for 10 yards. Maybe instead of going 70 in one play, Fitz gets rolling and gets the same 70 yards (and points) in 10 plays. Maybe Gardner and Funchess get big catches, or Gallon rips off a bubble screen to the end zone.
The point: you can't subtract those long runs and assume they're replaced with poor outcomes.
Anyone else concerned by the fact that W Kentucky can get 6 sacks vs Alabama, but Michigan can only get one (Will Campbell) against the same OLine?
I think people are losing sight of the fact that Alabama probably didn't give a shit about Western Kentucky.
Yeah, fans have a tendency to forget that the players are human beings and prone to emotional letdowns.
I appreciate this thread for talking me down off the ledge!
It was fun to watch Denard Robinson become the first player to have 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in three games throughout his career. Part of that is because Dilithium is always fun to watch, and part of that is because it bests Vince Young, who did this twice.
Devin Funchess looked great out there - 106 yards of receiving on 4 attempts and 1 TD is an excellent first appearance. It was also great to see Devin Gardner effective out there as well to the tune of 63 receiving yards and 1 TD. Norfleet was averaging about 25 yards per return yesterday, giving Michigan decent field position on a couple drives - he'll be fun to watch as he develops and gets more time.
As others mentioned, offensive line play was a little disconcerting and probably contributed some to Fitz's un-Fitz-like performance. Going into this game, I was pretty sure that we could push around AFA's undersized line a little bit, but we didn't really block enough for Fitz to get good holes to pound through.
I don't know if we know a lot about the defense until we play a more typical opponent for us like ND. The linebackers should probably be getting some more stops than they appear to be - right now, two of our leading tacklers are safeties, and even though Kovacs and Gordon were near the top of this list last year anyway, they are doing an inordinate amount of the stopping right now, it seems.
Bearing that in mind, as Hoke said after the game: "It's always good to win. Sometimes they're not very pretty, and this would be one."
for a game that close by an opponent that UM should have handled easily. Felt like I was the only guy yelling when the D was on the field until the last 2 drives for AFA.
I definitely wanted it to be louder but at the same time I left w a hoarse voice from yelling.
It got pretty boisterous where I was, we had people yelling and singing The Victors with gusto. Depends on where you are in the stadium, I guess.
I think Borges deserves some credit.
Funchess had big numbers, but on at least three of them, there wasn't a soul within shouting distance of him.
Unfortunately, I believe now that people have seen what Funchess can do, this will no longer be the case (him being able to get so much space). I would love to be wrong, so I guess we will see what happens moving forward.
Note: This is not meant to be a knock on Funchess at all. I think he has an incredible amount of talent that is just waiting to be tapped, and I think he will really be able to leave his "mark" on the program.
That's okay. He probably can't be covered with a linebacker, so if teams back off their strong safety when he's in the game, that will open things up for the ground game.
Hi all, I think this is my first post despite being an mgoblog follower for years. Here goes:
vs. #5 Boise State they put down: 264y rushing, RB w/ most carries (RBMC) avg 6ypc
#25 TCU: 249y rushing, RBMC 6.6ypc
#7 Oklahoma: 351y rushing(!), RBMC 4.4ypc
#8 Utah: 210y rushing, RBMC 4.2ypc
Also, most of those games were within a possesion or two of being wins.
I'm with most in that I have concerns with our D-line, but I don't think this last game is a good game to glean information from. Air Force does one thing but they execute it really well with undersized guys year after year. I get the feeling we're in for more nervous diarrhea moments and, I'll say it, even losses that are tough to swallow, but I remain optimistic about where our coaching staff is trying to take this team: outstanding O-lines and defenses teams fear. GO BLUE!
Maybe you can make the leap from lurker to poster.
Thanks for posting. Helpful to see it all in one place.
DG is going to be crazy good once he figures out how to run proper routes.
2 defensive holdings on Campbell. What was happening with that?
Was it roh or ryan that had a personal foul? What happened on that?
We are still seeing how good molk really was, as the first time in 4 years he is not calling blocking schemes at the line.
Freshmen everywhere except the o line tells me coaches want to let this group gel for a while. Only 5 OL played all day.
Only 2 rbs played, only 1 touched the ball also tells me the coaches were looking to get Fitz going specifically, rather than plugging in Rawls or some of the others.
I think that Gardner is good enough at WR for now, but that as chesson and darboh mature and the wear increases on
Denard, I think he gets more time as a qb. I think there is no way UM starts 2013 with Bellomy or Morris starting, so I think they will need devin back at qb then.
I am ok with norfleet only at kr this year. With a year to bulk up and learn pass protection though, he could be a nice 3rd down option.
I really like jeremy Jackson as a possession WR. Had 2 crucial first down catches. Good routes, big target, good hands.
I like the quick seam route they run, seems to be open but Denard to dileo is going to be tough on that, as dileo is a small target and I don't think Denard sees over the line very well to see lurking safeties or lbs. like this better with funchess or even roundtree once he moves in from the outside.
maybe yesterday's struggles bear fruit against the likes of ND and MSU.
Morris or Bellomy will start next year, IMO.
Like Roundtree, Craig Roh has disappeared since his freshman year.
Respectfully disagree. Roh has been fiddle-fucked around, asked to change positions more than once in four years. He made a lot of big plays for this D last year, maybe you missed them. Roh has been a steady player for us and will have a good year.
Roh has had a rough go of things.
Perhaps he hasn't lived up to his hype, but he certainly hasn't been bad.
Through my hand wringing and anger at not being able to stop the option - one thing I did think about after the game was over - was the lack of any kind of defensive pressure. I didn't notice/remember one blitz from our defense.
It seemed like we were content to have the db's and lb's sit back and wait. I understand we don't want to get burned deep by commiting to early especially with the triple option - but this was a bit surprising. The D line couldn't penetrate, but I didn't see any safety or LB blitzes all day.
I was wondering the same thing. Why didn't we get more agressive a few times and blitz? If we got burned for 20 years, so what, they were getting chunks of yards anyway.
I'm not sure what kind of blitz we could have run against that offense. Their QB was a 5th-year senior, and he's going to mercilessly exploit any vulnerabilities he sees in our alignment. If we are not in position to defend the triple-option, then presumably they are going to run that for a big play. If we move people up on the LOS to bring pressure, I imagine they would just throw the ball over our heads. I think you just have to play assignment football and do a better job beating blocks on the edge.
You don't blitz a triple-option team. That's a great way to get gashed for long TDs.
Denard ran well obviously but seemed locked in on his primary target many times. We saw several instances where he had a WR deep, wide open, and would throw to someone a bit more covered. I think he just needs to let the game slow back down for himself. Maybe the speed of Bama last week has him a bit impatient when in the pocket still.
I really liked what Funchess did yesterday, as well as Gardner and Jackson. It appears that we have several large targets now, something that ha been missing the last few years.
Defensively it seemed like our Line got some penetration but many of the runs were outside and our ends an LBs bit on the inside and or crashed down on the qb almost every time. Without someone staying home to contain, we left it up to a CB, who had to beat a lead blocker in most cases, to make the tackle. We should have cheated to the pitchman to force it inside where we had more bodies and a better chance of making the play.
and the board seems to have missed that most of the time that open guy was Roundtree. He can't catch a ball not thrown to him.
While Rountree hasn't exactly been tearing it up, this obvservation is quite true. I believe it was in the 3rd quarter (on of our stalled drives?) where he was VERY open (to the wide side of the field?) on two or three consecutive plays. I think Denard still get's a bit of "tunnel vision" in some of the more obvious passing situations.
I took in the game from probably the best seats I have ever had (50 yard line behind M's bench 25 rows up). My observations in no particular order:
Joe Bolden is a star in the making - very good at diagnosing plays and really instinctive. Struggled with counters and play action. Several times I watched him solely, much better than Morgan or Demens and taking a block, shedding it and making a tackle for less than 5 yards gained.
Jake Ryan's nickname should be Jekyl and Hyde. The guy makes great plays but still has those moments where you wonder what he is doing. Examples of great plays are the last play to the last two drives where he single handedly ended their drives on the option sweep and deflecting the desperation heave at the end. Most of his downfall is similar to Bolden in that he overruns plays and is easily out of position by play action and counters.
The biggest problem with the OL is they are slow. Denard had to come to a stop more than 6 times to allow a blocker to get to his spot (most of the time it was a pulling G). This group would be way more effective zone blocking, but I know, I know.....
Funchess looked good, don't know that he will ever be a WR - probably a hybrid TE type
I am not reading too much into Fitz, no holes and again I think some adjustments will be made to the OL blocking schemes.
I really want to see how we do with Notre Dame and Purdue before declaring the season one way or the other. We could be anything from 6-6 to 9-3 at this point. Starting to become nervous about playing Sparty.
You can try to explain it away, but the bottom line is we have to be better on defense, especially the line. We just got pushed around and beat up by an offensive line that averages 253 lbs and a team that only returned 6 starters total from offense and defense combined.
This type of effort isn't going to get it done the rest of the year. We just have to hope these guys develop. One thing that is killing us are the injuries, our depth on the D line iss not what it should be because of it.
It's the beginning of rebuilding and it shows. The losses on both lines are pretty glaring, and we can only hope that there's enough talent to allow coaching to build them up over the course of the year. It was two difficult games to really analyze the lines, but the subpar run blocking is a huge concern. It means that Denard will have to throw to open up the running game.
At least on that front it looks like he's worked hard and significantly improved his mechanics. He can't get taller, but if he gets calmer, then i think he'll do some really good things as a passer and greatly reduce his mistakes. I expect Gardner and Funchess to improve visibly from game to game, and they'll help Robinson a lot ... as well as potentially opening up room for Roundtree, Dileo, and Gallon.
I don't think we have last year's defense, but again it was two tough, early games to judge it on and i expect to see improvement in technique and positioning throughout the year ... because Mattison.
No need to classify the guy who had 20 more tackles than anyone else on defense last year cause he had a bad game. I'm not defending his play yesterday as he looked bad, but give the guy a break before you throw him into the Ezeh category. BIg time over reaction.
admission you say he has two years that were "huge". I'm not advocating his continual play if it continues to be poor. What I am saying is that playing against Alabama (best team in the country) and Air Force (funky option play) and having him play poorly in both of those games is not enough for me to totally write him off as you have.
I appreciate the comparison with Ezeh, and you may not be wrong. Where we disagree is that in my opinion, after two bad showings I don't think it's time for the bench just yet.
I'm just not ready to let him ride the pine for the rest of the year in favor of Bolden just yet as you would seem to imply/prefer.
It may feel like 2010, but as many people have pointed out:
AFA does this year in and year out against good teams.
2010 Oklahoma, 2011 Boise State, 2012 Michigan (I hope).
Last year on defense, we looked bad through three games. Even against WMU and EMU when we gave up 10 and 3 points, I didn't feel confident, it felt more like dumb luck that we kept them out of the endzone. Then they had a big day against a pretty good SDSU offense and it went pretty well the rest of the year, with only the Ohio game providing any sort of GERG flashbacks.
So I feel like we need to hold off a bit on proclaiming it 2010 all over again.
I'll put it this way: I might be in total agreement with your opinion after the Notre Dame game.
I just think its a little too early to tell.
Maybe Bolden/Ross ends up being Demens/Countess from your example.
Maybe the DL holds up against teams that aren't Alabama or AFA's unique style.
Or maybe Notre Dame beats us 45-28 and its just not gonna happen for the defense this year.
property fail. Each game is different, so comparing total points scored, IMO is pretty pointless.
That being said, I agree the Dline is not good. As we know everything starts in the trenches and I too am concerned we don't have the players to facilitate winning the big ten championship.
I was concerned with some of the game management. When you are showing no ability to consistently stop the other team, I would like to be more aggressive on offense. Between the punt from the 34, the wimp out when pinned against our goal line and not rushing after the drop, I feel like the coaches gave up three possessions.
It was like 4th and 12 and was very windy for a 51 yd kick.
Also, the wimp out. As I recall they ran the ball twice for nothing and had an incomplete pass. This is pretty standard fare. Remember last week what happened when they were backed up to their own endzone.
Go for the 4th and 12. If you gain 6 yards and turn the ball over, what have you lost? They'll get it on the 28 instead of the 10-20. Our offense owned them. At worst, you lose 15 yards. There's also a very legit shot to keep the drive alive and score.
That call disappointed me, but IIRC, Denard passed from our endzone, right? I can't fault the coaching staff for that series. What I can fault them for is the atrocious clock management.
Clock management issues bug the shit out of me, strictly because even my (non-sports watching) wife has the common sense of when to call a TO. Why can't guys making 100's of thousands of dollars have that same sense?
4th and 19, I believe. I'm all for being aggressive, but the only real options there are (a) punt, or (b) field goal. It was into the wind, so punting is a perfectly defensible option.
I can't remember which punt this was... was it a touchback?
If so, is gaining 10 yards and not converting a truly bad thing? That would be a net loss of 4 yards. Consider how many mid range passes we converted, or how many times Denard got to the second level, I'm not sure there is not a third option, even on 4th and 19.
The mentality has to be, let's get at least 8 yards. The D would likely play a little soft to prevent the big play. If I were coach for a down, I would treat it like a 4th and 8, and hope for some YAC. A slant pass or screen would give one of our guys some room to possibly convert. Worst case scenario is they have the ball on the 34. This is only a 14 yard loss, given an incompletion or broken play.
If this was from the 44, I agree wholeheartedly. But that was a throw away fourth down. Not converting wouldn't have hurt us much at all, and converting would have been a turning point.
Sounds like an interesting case study for our very own Mathlete...
AFA fair-caught the punt around the 10 yard-line. We gained 24 yards on the punt and pinned them deep (though we failed to take advantage of the field position). Reasonable people can disagree about what to do there, but I think it was the right call. We wouldn't have made a FG from that distance and you are not going to convert a 4th & 19 very often.
I really think that going for it on 4th and 19 would have been a low risk, low probability, high reward gamble. With the way the defenses played, 24 yards was like a few feet. That's also making a large assumption that we wouldn't gain at least SOME of that 24 yards and not get the first down. So not converting on 4th down would have been a net loss of between 6-24 yards, likely between 10-18 yards.
But, you're right. This is definitely in the realm of debatable topics.
IIRC, Air Force had scored only three points at the time of that punt. Pinning them deep in their own territory made sense. There was a point in the second quarter when it looked like we'd blow the game open. The interception (which happened around midfield when we led 14-3) changed the field position around and gave them the break they needed to stay in the game.
Also, the wimp out. As I recall they ran the ball twice for nothing and had an incomplete pass. This is pretty standard fare
Actually, we ran once and then threw two (incomplete) passes.
Aggressive on offense so we can put out defense back on the field? I disagree there.
If you do you will be "neged".
Better "renege" your statement.
Spend far less time worrying about being "neged". You might invest a moment or two in fear of being "negged", but press on, don't let fear stop you. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that no one has died because someone didn't like a post.
Respectively disagree. For the most part if you defend your arguments and/or be respectful people act in kind. There always a few posters who neg people but such is life.
Also never ever talk about points unless it is about bringing back the pos and neg bangs.
I liked the fact that the defense stiffened up in the Red Zone a few times which made all the difference. I'm ok giving up some field goals with the offense that we have since I'm confident we can find ways to manufacture points with our personnel. The next few games should be telling. Hoping for a blowout next week but if we continue to get a lot of true freshman experience next week that could have an impact. Not great to use transitive property but Indiana's pasting of UMass at their place may leave a lot of us hungry for blood next week.
Also how is UMass a part of the Mac? Realignment lol.
Not for nothing, plenty of people said negative stuff, but yours is the ONLY POST in this entire thread that got negged. And none were neged, whatever that is.
and seeing highlights, we are just as good as anyone else in the conference right now.
Purdue - Suffers from QB dyslexia but coupled with Wisconsin's issues, they are a reasonable pick for the B1G championship game.
Illinois - Defense cannot carry the weak offense
MSU - Need to see them play ND to fully judge them
Nebraska - The Martinez arm punts continue
Minnesota - Still young
Northwestern - Defense is still suspect
Iowa - Ferentz is officially on the hot seat
Ohio - They look like a mirror image of us.
So I will enjoy our victory and depend on the coaches to continue to help our team improve each and every week. Our goal to win the division and conference are still very realistic.
I have come to accept what Denard is as far as the passing game. He will throw a few balls he shouldn't. He will throw a couple in the dirt. Even a couple to Tacopants. However, when your best asset if your feet, and there is a lane to moonwalk to a first down; JUST GO, DENARD!!
I don't buy the Fitz had no holes argument, I think it was more of a timing issue waiting for blocks and taking what they give you. I understand Denard is a freak, but 200 yards rushing is 200 yards. There was room to move. Fitz will find that, hopefully soon.
The D line missed penetration, but I am not so sure that that was not a game plan to prevent running by plays. Did the coaches seem upset with the two BWC holding calls? No. Why? Because I am sure it was in the game plan to stay with the O-Line and let them take you to the play. BWC just got caught. I bet it happens a lot with AF and is something thier coach harps on the officials about.
Just my 2 cents.
The defense is a concern, but it was a concern at this point last year too. Look what happened by the end of the year; we had a top 20 D. I believe that we will see something similar happen this year.
The offensive line is far more concerning for me. We should have one of the better starting 5 in the B1G, but right now they look mediocre. They will need to start gelling, and do it fast because we have ND in 2 weeks.
D line rarely got penetration. I don't know what the hell BWC was doing to get two holding penalties. Indicates something is clearly amiss there. The freshman were as effective as the older guys which is a good news, bad news story. Great to have good freshman play, but the veterans really should be overshadowing them. Freshman play like freshman.
Early in the game, it was the Jordan Kovacs show. He was cleaning up a lot of plays. Later in the game, his number wasn't called as often because the linebackers were finally getting to the ball...except for the wide option pitch when it was quite often "2 against one Michigan guy" who had to make a choice. Linebackers were getting caught in the wash or just weren't reacting fast enough. Joe Bolden looked good. He was reading better. I assumed it had to do with talent and since he was in high school last year, he's played against this type of offense more recently than the rest of the D. Ross looked good, too. Ojemudia made some plays. Ondre appeared to have a better push than BWC, but he seemed to be single blocked. I think double teams were eating up BWC. Air Force QB made some great fakes and many times the defense as a whole bit on the fake, such as the pass to a wide open receiver totally behind the secondary. I know the defense is glad they won't see AFA any time soon.
O line had the same problem. I didn't see any lineman past the line of scrimage on Fitz's carries. Yikes. Scofield has problems with the smaller faster guys lined up across from him. He had some critical missed blocks, then again, others did, too. Mealer has got to watch his head timing. Head down, head comes up, one beat, ball is snapped. That is going to get eaten up by a good line that can time things. I don't know what else to say about the blocking given you never really saw lineman downfield if Denard wasn't hiding behind them.
DFunch is going to be a weapon all season. He's made for scoring in the red zone and getting big mismatches on LBs and safeties.
Devin Gardner did look much better.
Denard's passing was pretty good, but he squeezed some balls in when other guys were more open. He's just got to feel more comfortable going to his second and third reads. Still pressing a bit. He doesn't look like he's totally comfortable out there, but with wheels like his, he can run away from lots of problems.
Jake went beast on the last series and saved the day after he had an up and down afternoon himself. He is sneaky fast.
I think the jury is still out on our defense. We all need to consider the situation. Alabama is just flat out on another level, and after a deflating, humiliating loss, to have to come back and prepare for the rarest offense seen in football, which has managed to give a lot of ranked teams fits over the years. This was a bigger challenge than we all give it credit for.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief in that next week is a tune up. We're taking on a team that Indiana manhandled. Indiana, fergodsakes. UMass is in for a bloodbath.
Still really concerned about our defensive line. Man do we miss Martin and RVB.
Dunno if anyone's mentioned it yet, but we gave up 207 yards at 4.5 YPC last year against Eastern.
Obviously, no Mike Martin or RVB this year, but considering that EMU isn't even close to the specialty team that Air Force is, I think its still too early to judge.
(Watching the ESPN EMU highlights from last year: Did you know we had guys named Kevin Codger and Drew Delayo on our team last year?)
due to son's Pop Warner game.
Just saw the highlights.
We looked great. I'm going to pretend the other 150 plays looked the same.
Hey come on now, there's technology. If you have a smartphone you can watch the game. It's easy to pirate television from other countries on the internet.
Here are my snowflakes:
-With the interior line on offense looking as bad as it has, I wouldn't be shocked to see Kalis coming in sometime in mid-season. The guys seem to be getting pushed around all over the place. Given Fitz seems to be a known commodity, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt and place blame on his lack of stats on the line. Denard had some big runs but anecdotally it seemed like he was making something with very little on a couple of plays. We now know how important having Molk in the middle was.
-Ironically this year the passing game seems like it may eclipse the running game. I definitely think Denard has looked more crisp and polished to date this year than he has in years past, and with Funchess and Devin emerging, along with the fact that right now our pass pro > our run blocking, we might see much better success through the air this year than on the ground.
-We should be a little worried that we only put up 31 points with very few sustained drives on this team. Realizing they chewed clock on us, but at the same time this is probably the smallest and maybe the worst defense we should face all year.
-On defense the jury is still out. I think overall we were bad, but it's always hard to tell how bad against a team like this. I think people who use the argument that AFA have put up yards/points on good teams from time to time are citing too small a sample size and ignoring half the data. I'd like to know if good defenses shut them down sometimes as well. Unfortunately I'm not sure where to find game by game data, but it would be nice to see where we stack up vs. all of their BCS or top-25 opponents. Still - seeing two experienced linebackers get yanked for two freshman is not encouraging at this point in the season. Hoping for now that it was meant to send a message to the starters, but we'll see.
Given the quality of the staff and the athleticism of the guys, I was surprised by how befuddled they seemed to be by the cut blocks. Which leads to my question: how the hell do you avoid being cut, whether in space or on the interior?
1. Our OL is a serious concern. The interior is just not holding up. True freshmen linemen are rarely the answer. This will be a problem all season. How much of a problem will really determine our offensive success.
2. Passage attach -2 games in and Denard really does look like a real qb. Way more accurate and much better decision making. Yes, he gets passes batted down ad yes there are still a few wobblers, but overall way better.
2a. The receivers look ok against crappy DBs. If Devon can play like this against real defense (ditto fuchness) we may have a better passing offense than our non-Denard rushing offense.
3. Running backs - let's jus hope that this is a 1 time crappy performance form fitz. He should be fine throughout the season but wow did he look crappy. He had better be because after him I have no faith in our rb situation (ther than Norfleet).
4. Defense - read nothing into this or bama or umass. We will get a real read after ND.
1) the inside LBs got changed to Bolden and Ross...FINALLY!!!
Actually, I think overall we will be fine. The Defense had two tough tests but the rest won't be as difficult especially with the new inside LBs (although I think the countess injury is a big deal). This team will go only as far as Denard can throw. Funchess, Gardner and gallon make for a solid WR/TE core...the better teams (i.e. MSU, Ohio, etc...) will only allow Denard to throw...if he can, then we win the B1G...otherwise 7-5 or 8-4
Finally? It was the second game of their college careers.
I particularly meant #44....he played last year ALOT and was totally a piece of S....FINALLY he got benched
I think the UFR is going to show a lot of "almosts" on the OL. Maybe not on the Fitz runs - for whatever he reason he seemed to be swallowed immediately - but on the QB runs I think there was even more there to be had. The classic "a different guy on each play missing his assignment", whereby if they would have reached just a little more Denard would have broken even a few more times.
My biggest worry - Those insider bits saying the D Line was looking good was just due to the bad o-line rather than the D performing against a good line in practice.
After seeing upsets and the B1G playing terrible as a whole, I'm glad that we came away with a win against a tricky opponent.
After the first two games last season, Western and Notre Dame, I remember thinking that it was going to be a very long season. Out DL wasn't getting any push, and the only way we could pressure the QB was by blitzing linebackers and safetys. We had no running game outside of Denard. Things changed as the year went on.
The season is still young, and we clearly have a long way to go, but i'm not ready to lose hope just yet. We have a lot of freshman playing who will have more chances to make big plays. Right now, I'm really worried about playing Michigan State, Nebraska, and Ohio State, just as I was after two games last year.
You should do it again next week.
And not just because it gives me a place to throw in this-
What was that hot mess they called a halftime show? The music was appropriate and sounded fine, but you had the flag carriers and dancers dressed like they were there to turn on our troops overseas (the men and lesbians only, apparently, because the drum major wasn't in a swimsuit) who were stuck behind the enemy lines of Michigan Stadium (and no, those outfits don't flatter your ass, no matter the size or shape); you had the band doing this random dance that made them all look like they were having seizures (somewhere the Delaware State band is sighing); and they finish it with the odd scoreboard fireworks (what, we couldn't afford the real thing? Ask my neighbors to do their 4th of July show for you) that were so loud (as is everything on those speakers) that you could barly hear the band anymore. My WTF moment.
Is anyone else annoyed with the media's take on Michigan. Pre game AFA was praised for their discipline and recent success with keeping it close vs. ranked opponents. They kept it close with Michigan and all of a sudden AFA is a cupcake and Michigan is in trouble. I can't name any B10 schools except OSU who have an offense capable of keeping their team in it like we did. AFA played well and obviously are on the cusp of something big. I guess what I wanted to hear was credit going to them for playing good football. I think the trend is to dog Michigan in the media where it trickles down and get's regurgitated by other fanbases.
It's interesting to listen to Devin G in interviews and pressers. He makes a real effort to remind people he's a QB, but just doing WR to do what's best for the team. Re:Funchess "it's gonna be great when I throw to him". It's probably hard to make that switch in your mind when your identity has been something else for years. He still lists himself as UM QB on his twitter. I'm sure he'll continue to grow and improve at WR but until he truly embraces that he's going to be a WR he probably won't be able to reach his full potential. It's clear the writing is on the wall for him to be at that position next year, it's just he hasn't accepted it yet.
There's still a reasonably good chance Gardner starts at QB next season, IMO. He has better physical tools than Bellomy and Morris will be a true freshman.
Agreed, but if the coaches were looking ahead with an eye towards Gardner as the QB next year they'd try to get him game snaps and against Tide it was Bellomy at garbage time. I guess we'll have to see how much QB time they try to get him this season. Hopefully next week is an opportunity to see that.
Would have lost this game without shoelaces. The defense still gave up to many rushing yards.
I agree on a lot already stated, the dlineman and oline definitely look concerning but I think our coaching staff will make some adjustments or the guys will slowly improve every week. To me, the turning point of the whole game was near the end of the 1st half. We were driving and then Denard misses Vince or Vince drips it, whatever you want to call it, course AF drives down and scores....couple that with the Les Milesque time management flaw and we go from being up 21-3 or possibly more at halftime and getting the opening kick in the 2nd half...to it being 14-10....at 21-3 or even 28-3, the game is probably over and more than likely we roll...seemed like a big swing...
my snowflake opinion on the d-line:
I'm not terribly concerned about the lack of penetration. the combination of cut blocking with an option look means the flow of the play is horizontal instead of vertical. pushing up the field creates seams in the line. stringing the play out into the contain defenders is preferable it seems. too bad our contain sucked.
it takes time to shed a cut block and it gives time for the option play to run by you on the line. there is a reason air force racks up 300-400 yards on the ground often. this stuff works.
people seem worried about our interior line d. the fullback dive (air forces seeming only between the tackles play) never went for more than 3 yards. the line did a good job there. it is their edge d that is worrisome from what I saw yesterday.
Interesting that the coaches stuck with the same five offensive lineman the whole game. They're clearly trying to build chemistry amongst those five. I wonder if this is the proper approach, though. Rotating in other guys (Kalis, in particular) here and there might show them that there are better options. They seem to be going all-in with the five starters.
I think that's pretty common. Coaches want the OL to build chemistry as a unit.
Yr. In terms of a complete lack of running game. It's probably more pronounced this year though. The success/failure of the offense is going to depend on how GAB adjusts to the shortcomings of the OL. Im not a coach but here is what I would do:
1. Get the RB's especially Fitz some touches other than POWER, ect in the form of screen passes, draw plays. This will prevent teams from becoming overly aggressive ( see moo U)
2. Have to get Gallon involved on a more consistent basis. Not only is he trouble in the open field, but he can run by people in the vertical passing game.
3. Funchess and Gardner are weapons - Funchess particularly poses some unique match-up problems for all BIG defenses.
4. I think it is time to give Norfleet some reps on offense. That kid is elusive enough to make our OL look decent.
Fwiw, on Denard's 1st TD, if he gives it to Fitz , Fitz goes a long way, possibly scores.
did Michigan have a lack of a running game last year? Denard and Fitz combined for about 2,000 yards. As far as this game, I would hardly say having over 200 yards on the ground is having no running game, not sure why people don't want to include Denard's runs as being part of the overall running game. Obviously 8 carries for 7 yards for Fitz isn't going to cut it moving forward, but to try and say that Borges had to deal with a non-existant running game against AFA is not remotely accurate.
I got this:
Our line play is terrible. O-line got no push against Air Force's defensive line that weighed, on average, 40 lbs less per person than we did. Defensive line is generating no pressure whatsoever.