Take out the I formation runs and I actually think our offense is better now than it was when we had denard.
Losing Denard Robinson and finding an offensive identity
But since Denard left, do you think it makes sense to give more traditional, I-Form power running an honest go? And since we haven't done it in years, do you think an honest go is half a game, or half a season, or what?
Try it against crappy teams. If it's not working against Akron, you go away from it. Period. I don't care if it's in 3 weeks or 3 years. If something else works (in our case, passing), that is what you do.
I think we all agree they tried it about a game and a half too long. But that makes more sense than assuming our coaches are idiots that have been running the wrong offense all season.
The issues the offense has (and there are some knucklehead things that make us easier to defend at times) don't really revolve around the nature of the attack or some philosophical issue. The tackle over stuff isn't a bad idea, but you don't get much of an advantage when you are just shuffling base formation players (still 5 linemen plus AJ Williams) and tipping your hand to the defense. Or when you totally tip your hand against Minnesota before trotting it out at PSU. When a team like Stanford does something like that, they put an extra lineman on the field. When we do it, a sophomore tight end who never goes out for a pass pattern and has struggled at times blocking becomes the end man on the line (and if we pass he is put in a particularly vulnerable position, which led to trouble against PSU).
Things like putting Kalis/Braden/Magnuson in at TE if you are going to have a guy who doesn't threaten the D through the air but may give you a bulk advantage on the ground would be nice. Passing out of those heavy formations if/when the defense overcommits (like we did more of against IU and failed miserably at against PSU) is good. Making the right personnel decision instead of shuffling guys on the interior all year in seemingly random fashion (How do Bosch, Magnuson, and Burzynski all pass both Kalis and Bryant in one week and how did Braden seem to fall so far down that pecking order? And how do we expect consistency when the lineup isn't consistent?) might help as well.
None of these things have to do with identity or philosophy. And for all that, we've scored 41 against ND and at least 37 in every B1G game. Not exactly 3 yards and a cloud of dust.
What we do and what Stanford does are different. We bring a tackle over out of normal personnel, which theoretically keeps the defense from subbing into their "jumbo" group. We then get to run to a very strong point of attack against their base defense. So, the idea is that we get to run towards a Lewan/ Schofield double, or have those guys each handle a player. Its a sound idea. Stanford just brings in an extra tackle and doesn't care if the D substitutes. They'll either out-execute the D, or they'll run a play-pass against the heavy front. I'd like to see us do that as well, but they are different things with different goals.
I'm saying, which I think you can agree with, that they do it better, if only from a strategic standpoint. Forcing the D into a jumbo package is one thing (Stanford when they are doing things well). Tipping a play such that they are able to put in a jumbo package against our base personnel and keep just about every defender in the box (us against PSU) is less preferrable. Having Kalis/Braden/Magnuson block an extra DL is one thing. Having AJ Williams do it is another. When the respective threat as a pass catcher between those groups is about the same (at least so far), I'd go with the better blocker every time.
Like you allude to though, some of our issues (to the extent we've had them) are just not taking advantage of a team overplaying the run. Part of that was game-management decisions against PSU (and not necessarily ones I disagree with), but it is frustrating to see plays run that have virtually no chance of success from the outset.
Gardner gets moved back to wide-out, Morris is our QB from here on out.
He won't and he shouldn't
Speight will be a freshman, Morris will have a year in, and this will give us more depth at WR.
So what position does Morris switch to when/if he doesn't perform up to expectations and people clamor for Spieght?
Why would we need more depth at WR, when we will have Funchess, Darboh, Chesson, Harris, and the slew of other WR.. Gardner won't be and isn't better than any of them
I think we may well see Jabrill Peppers in at WR is some instances as well.
That is insane.
I agree with you in that once sh*t hits the fan with Devin, he is fundamentally broken.... but I honestly think he has the talent to be our QB. The worry now is ( and we're sort of in the same position as when this current group of coaches got here...with Denard...I think they'll have a hard time giving up on him....and) that our OLine doesn't improve and Devin does not progress as a decision maker when it comes to passing. He's demonstrated the ability to throw the ball accurately when not under pressure. The problem is...he's always under pressure...because we cant run the ball to save our lives....and he needs to make every throw to move the offense. Teams know we cant win by running (with the running back that it is). This is why we're going to have a near impossible time in beating MSU or anyone with a decent defense (without sacrificing our QBs health). It's so simple even my 10 year old son can figure it out. We are one dimensional because our offensive line cant run block well enough to get a 3 yd avg. It's hard for a guy like me to see why?! I hear a lot of talk that "its just one guy missing an assignment" and it ruins the whole play. So maybe we are really close to unlocking the key ingredients to a balanced offense. In the meantime, anyone we put back there is going to have the weight of the world on their shoulders. I personally dont think Shane or Wilton will just step in and shine with our current oline situation (or next year without Lewan and Schoffield).
In the mean time, the one spectacular thing about Devin is he athleticism. He, like denard, can create in space...or when a play breaks down. This at least makes it difficult for teams to defend. Someone always has to be watching for him to run. You put a guy like shane or wilton back there, fresh out of the gate, whats going to happen? I think there is going to be a lot of sacks. These guys have incredible high school pedigrees, but lets face it, this ain't high school.
Frustrating to watch no matter which QB side you choose....
Gardner gets moved back to wide-out, Morris is our QB from here on out.
I assumed you were being sarcastic. No?
I don't think you move a guy who's averaging over 10 YPA.
I don't think we need to use Devin more as a runner. What we need to do more of is go downfield to Gallon/Funchess. I don't know how many college defenses are out there that can defend both guys in the same play. If there are any, then Dileo, Chesson and Butt make for solid secondary targets.
Considering we ended the season with Gardner starting more than 40% of the games, we should have been able to find our identiy, especially with him going out there and playing like he did. Add in a whole spring, offseason, and pre season within the offense, it should have resembled the Notre Dame game more than Akron, UConn, and Penn State.
That's fair. However, I'm not sure I would agree that taking over mid-season for a player that everyone expected to come back within a week or two (initially. Remember, nobody thought he'd be out through the end of the year.) counts as much, because I don't think they spent much time adapting the offense. They had fewer QB runs, but overall, they still ran it like it was Denard's offense, under the assumption that he was coming back.
Remember, I'm not talking about Gardner improving (which he has, albeit in fits and starts). I'm talking about finding the right formations and playcalls to get the most out of the players you have now.
....agreed....BUT WE CANT RUN BLOCK!!!! WE ARE ONE DIMENSIONAL!!! Why??? I have no idea. Is it coaching? Is it lack of talent? I sure dont think its the latter. I just fail to see why we can't generate some run offense with the current group of guys we have playing the line. I know they are young but c'mon. Is it going to be a good situation next year without Lewan and Schoffield???? About to hit panic button on our offense.
I feel you brotha, I'm not sure what's going to happen either.
The clamoring for an "offensive identity" is overrated. The offense should be structured in a way to put players in a position to succeed based on their skills while building off each other in a cohesive fashion.
How long does it take to figue out how to best compliment players? How long does it take to figure out what offensive style will be the best for a team for the season. I mean, you can score an instant touchdown with a good hook and ladder. Should a team make that their base play?
Wouldn't that be an identity, whatever that result is? It might not be a decade long identity, but...
At that point we'll have experienced OL at every position, unless there's an inexperienced badass out there ahead of a quality player who's been through the fire.
Everyone is comparing Ohio and us in our Penn State games. Ohio has 4 senior OL starters, 3 of them 5th year guys. We have Lewan. Nuff ced.
I'm so tired of hearing of the "inexperienced" excuse for our OL. #12-ranked UCLA has 3 freshmen starting in their OL. In our case, it appears the talent or coaching or both are simply not there.
That's one example. A few years ago FSU started a bunch of freshmen and sophmores and went 8-4 in the regular season. Now they have a bunch of returning senior and junior starters and are one of the best teams in the country.
Not to mention Michigan is ahead of UCLA per FEI.
UCLA's offense is mediocre at best.
Ohio also has Mickey Tettleton's son at QB and he looked decent in the game I saw him...
I think that too much of an identity is bad at this point for this team. Ever since Devin took over last season, while we have definitely have become more of a pro style offense, spread concepts have been a commonality as well. This team hasn't really had one singular identity, and I think it should stay that way.
I remember early in the season specifically against ND and CMU that we used anywhere from spread concepts to pro style to running the pistol, and well, it worked very well to say the least. As the season has progressed, Borges has tried to adapt that power mentality, and most likely because of our skill set and experience with it, it has not gone very well to say the least.
I feel as if allowing for multiple identities on offense allows the players to feel a little more independent on the field and allows for them to improvise which worked very well against CMU and ND. It also makes us very hard to prepare for. The only game that I thought Borges has implemented a sound utilization of all of his tools and skill sets so far was how he utilized Denard and DG against South Carolina. It was very frustrating last season and the first season trying to watch as Borges insisted upon running a read option with Denard on every play instead of possibly utilizing Gardner in different situations.
Although I'm not nearly so negative on him (he single handedly won as many games as he single handedly lost), you just said exactly what I said. He was too good to take off the field (plus we had no other options), but because of the way he was built, as a QB, our offense had to be the DENARD OFFENSE. It takes time to make a paradigm shift from the DENARD OFFENSE to something else. How long?
Until we get the coming of Christ at OC?
You know, he also singlehandedly kept us in a number of games as well. Only thing standing in the way from Denard and us talking about like him like he is the next coming of Christ was his accuracy issues and turnovers. Other than that, Denard pretty much carried this team on his back for 2-3 years.
One could argue that he carried the team on his back because of his inaccuracy. This lead to not being able to pass and opposing defences stacking the box to the point only Denard had a chance to run.
For the OP, Denard was really only the identity for 3 years, Tate was there Denard's first year.
Good sweet holy hell I hate humans.
I like OSU and their offensive identity. I think the identity of Manball is skewed towards double tight, I form, etc. I would like for us to run "not your daddy's Manball". Seems to me OSU runs Hyde downhill through the tackles quite a bit as he is a big guy who can handle that load. I see no reason not to run like that, and still be able to throw from the gun and have a strong play action presence. It just won't be as much from the I form
To more of the point, Borges has shown he can design and call plays to this extent. Just not as much as he should/others think.
It helps that osu has 4 senior olinemen and a future pro at tb. And they were all recruited to play old style man ball.
They also have one of the most dynamic players in college football at qb to keep defenses honest.
But in other recent games it seems that the first half is played with the Urban offense and the 2nd half they play catch up with more of a man ball offense. At least he is flexible enough to change game plans at halftime.
The offense right now is doing better than when Denard was here. It just gets gets clouded by the picks that Devin's thrown.
Agreed. DG has handed 7-14 points a game to opponents simply by turning the ball over deep in our own territory.
what we should be talking about is Hoke's history on the road... fuck offensive identity, defensive mismatches and all that other bullshit. how come our teams under hoke kick so much ass at home and suck so much balls NTTAWWT on the road?
I can't argue with that one.
Look at our offensive games plans on the road vs at home and I think you'll find your answer.
Honestly, I think we've just under-utilized Funchess and Gallon together. Those two are a nightmare matchup for most secondaries when DF is lined up as a WR and not a TE. Unless he has the dropsies, Funchess almost demands bracketing. If you do that, you leave room for Gallon to make a move one-on-one with a DB and kill you. So then you switch back to single coverage to address the JG issue and Funchess wins the one-on-one. I think you run 65% shotgun just because it's DG in the backfield and that gives him the best shot at not having one of his "run backwards whilst spinning" plays.
With our offensive line right now, I think you have to set up the run via the pass, not the other way around.
I like the little wrinkles I keep seeing in every new game. Even in the abysmal PSU game, I loved how we were utilizing Funchess. I think that, if we can get past MSU this next week, we're going to give OSU more of a game than they think. I also think that a loss at Sparty could torpedo our season.
One potentially good thing about Hoke: he is a very level-headed guy, and I think his style will prevent one loss from ever torpedoing a season. He is never too high or too low, and you have to believe that calmness rubs off on the team. This group looks pretty resilient.
By "torpedo our season" I meant that if we lose that game, I don't see MSU losing any other games on their schedule. If they win out, we're locked out of the B1G championship. That's our goal, so it'd be done.
Not really sure what the griping is all about.
Your argument is invalid on this blog. Brian just said that PPG arguments are dumb. Its almost like he knows his complaints are overblown and is preemptively setting the rules for the debate.
See Uconn game offense.
I think everyone will agree that turning it over four times, as we did in that game, is a problem. But in every game in which we haven't turned it over that many times (UConn and Akron), we've scored 40+.
WE CANT RUN BLOCK. WE CANT RUN THE BALL. After next weekend..maybe you will see how this limits you against GREAT or even good defenses.
You can take your statistics about ppg and toss them out the window for 3 out of the next 5 games.
I guarantee Most of the MSU d couldn't pass a basic stats class let alone do they care how many points we've avg'd against mediocre to crappy D's.
is a lot more like Uncle Fester than just appearance only. He's a mad scientist who adds ingredients that seem like they are compatible, but all too often cause uncontollable explosions that do much more damage than good. But unfortunately "Uncle Al-Fester" then repeats the same experiments inexplicitly expecting better results.
Like Uncle Fester but less lovable. That's our Uncle Al!
But more like San Diego Mick
I am part of the 42 point per game crowd. When your worst game is 24 points and that with multiple turnovers, I think the coordinator and identity is doing ok
It's not in the playbook.
Michigan actually has my favorite playbook in college football. I love that we're "Multiple." To go from 2 TEs to 5 WR is impressive and I love the flexibility.
My issue is in when the plays are called...not the actual plays themselves. Borges is a BRILLIANT play DESIGNER, formation DESIGNER, and his playbook is awesome.
He's a below average play CALLER. Now, when he's on? HE'S ON! But the in consistency is why I bump him from average to below average. He'll have a game like IU or he'll have a brilliant drive...then he goes back and calls games that make you want to put your fist into the TV.
It is not about win/loss...it's about doing everything you can do to put us in the best position to win.
Even in the IU game, he called a couple nice plays and Gallon straight dropped the ball...that's not Borges' fault. Against UConn he called a go route with Chesson that got picked off...that's not on Al. Jehu has to make a play. Same with Mattison and the 2 Stribling plays. Mattison called something to get you in position...go make the play.
Remember when we played Minnesota at home a couple years ago? That game may have been Borges' best game...and not because we pulled out the "Fritz" package with Denard and Devin. No, just the run/pass balance, the creativity and staying ahead of the chains.
Borges is the worst at just staying ahead of the down and distance. 2nd and 5 or 6...3rd and 3. We're SO dangerous in those situations with Devin (or healthy Denard), but too often were behind the down and distance. We're in predictable situations and have to rely on 2 of the best athletes Michigan has ever seen yo bail us out.
When you try to get cute on 4th and 1 @ MSU and Denard gets destroyed...when you get cute @ ND when you're moving the ball just fine...when you run stretch play after stretch play @ PSU... you're not giving us a chance to succeed.
And he's called shit games and shitty plays in wins as well. It's embarrassing.
JUST PUT US IN A POSITION TO WIN! The rest is up to the players.
It's funny that people describe Devin as having flashes of brilliance mixed in with huge mistakes. Al seems to fit the same description.
"What I want to know is, what do fans think is a reasonable amount of time for a program to find its identity going forward following four years of DENARD DO SOMETHING football? Pre season? One game? Four? One Season?"
I would think that depends on a lot of things. In the case of Denard, you have a situation where - over the course of his time here - he was literally (and the numbers bear it out) about half of the team's entire offensive production, which is significant to put it mildly. In the Nebraska game last year, I think we saw how off-guard were at the time for the post-Denard era, but we managed to get ourselves together enough to compete for the remaining games in no small part thanks to Devin Gardner's ability to step in and be the leader of the offense.
To accomplish that, it seems like we literally had to shift the playcalling and character of our play overnight, and if a team is still trying to piece itself together for the future and get the personnel it wants in certain positions, there are times where you'll struggle in the "new scheme". I think this is what we're seeing, particularly in the ground game. Actually, if you track rushing and passing production, the 2012 Nebraska game actually is where the graph flips.
It's hard to say how much time is enough - in Michigan's case, I think next year might be a telling year, however, at least from a player development standpoint for this offense, but not in the sense perhaps that it should determine coaching changes or legacies. I wouldn't put a cutoff date on it necessarily.
I really like what they are trying to accomplish with this offense, but there are definitely things to be polished, if you will. I think folks simply need to look at it three-dimensionally.
You actually answered my question! Thanks!
So one year for player development, and no specific cut off date for that development to take off, so long as the development is evident SOMEWHERE in production.
is just creating to many turnovers, its one thing if everyone was fumbling. Truth is our record is what I thought but we should not have lost PSU at all.
Personally, I think the current offense is awesome because it is good from the shotgun and 1 back sets and working to improve the big and i-form stuff. Multiple sets and tempo give a team more options to find holes in defenses, and if they have a dual-threat QB then third downs are much harder to defend.
I am probably in the minority in thinking many of the big sets UM ran so far have been a good idea. Did anyone see Minnesota rush for over 270 yards vs. Nebraska? A lot of their stuff was similar to what Michigan ran against PSU and Minnesota. Yes, that is Minny's identity, but we have known for a long time that this offense was coming and at some point it had to be used extensively in games, not just practice and camp.
The one-man show is fine when it works ... but it doesn't always work. Witness OSU and Mississippi State in 2010, or ND in 2012.
I think this offense is shaping up to have some really nice balance and potential. Manage the offensive turnovers and settle the line and we're in the top of the B1G.
Last year either, that is the main reason they were 8-5.
We obviously still have a guy playing QB that can use his feet, is not really a pocket passer, and a young offensive line. We can't do the power running game. My question is why have we spent all offseason and fall camp attempting to install the pro style offense when it clearly doesn't fit our personnel other than that's what we eventually want to do?. Devin may be a better thrower than Denard, but he is not a pro style QB and that's not a bad thing. He is an amazing talent and offensive weapon. But, it blows my mind why we haven't been practicing ways to utilize those skills versus spending all offseason trying to install a pro style offense. It may not be what the coaches want, but I hope we don't make the same mistake this coming offseason and continue to try and force next year's squad to be pro style because news flash...we will still have a young offensive line that can't power run block and we will still have the same QB that is more effective under shotgun. We need to wait until Devin is gone and the '13 o-line recruits are in year 3, hence 2015 is the first year we should be attempting that.
Amen to that, bro!
There is no offensive philosophy independent from defensive philosophy or whole game philosophy for Brady Hoke. It seems pretty clear what he wants to have: a ball control offense that sucks the life out of the opposing team by chewing up clock, then depending on a stout defense to win the game. That's not exactly working this year, and as Hoke said in the interview posted yesterday (and boy was there a lot of lunacy and hysteria in that thread--I'm glad to see the board back to some semblance of rationality in this thread), against Illinois he realized his offense had to win the game, so he gave the green light to score as many points as quickly as possible.
In other words, Hoke will adjust the offense to give the whole team the best chance of winning. For some fans, the conservative, run the ball up the middle with an occasional pass, drain the clock style is killing the team, but that seems to be the style that Hoke prefers in games with a tough opponent in a hostile environment: risk aversion, play for field position, and let the defense win the game. That seems to be Dantonio's approach as well, so I expect a low scoring game on Saturday. I hope Hoke turns the offense loose, though, because I think a grinding, low scoring game that depends upon defense to win plays to MSU's strengths.
He has to turn the offense loose if we want to win. But at the same time, losing the turnover battle will lose it -- yeah very obvious. BTW - last weeks game was against Indiana.
Let's blame Rich Rod for burning his red shirt!
It depends on what you expect the coach to truly do. Urban took over Florida from Zook and had them playing for championships in a couple of years. He has had some success quickly at tOSU also. Saban took over a sputtering Alabama and went 12-0 regular season the second year and won the BCS in the third.
So how long does it take? Depends on the coach and what exactly your measure of success is.
I expected Michigan to win the B1G this year.
if being undefeated for 20 straight games = some success then either you are delusional or Hoke must be fired immediately.
I lack the ability to compliment tOSU. It is a flaw that I have lived with my entire life.
I think you should start finding your identity as soon as he isn't a viable option; I atually think Borges started doing so after the Nebraska game last year when, it sounds like, people figured Denard wasn't going to be able to return to his pre-injury position before the end of the year.
But I also think that trying to forge an offensive identity needs to be reined in by the realities of the players available. So while establishing a non-Denard-style offensive system makes sense in theory, if the guys you have left over are still best equipped for that type of system, you might as well keep it going.
record is where it should be. They can try to fix things and win the games they should, we would not have gone undefeated with this oline so young and the playbook getting changed up some.
As best I can tell, the OP was rhetorical.
That his diagnosis is that the team has been inconsistent on offense, and that includes the QB and O-line. The turnovers, the great plays and boneheaded plays, seems to describe this year's edition pretty well. The offensive showing against Indiana coupled with a fumbled snap at the 2 yard line and an errant pitch that gave them the ball inside the 10 yd line.
We seem to get Good Devin and Bad Devin in each game. If he can reign in the Bad Devin, he can be great, but maybe we are just going to have to live with both for the balance of this year because that is who he is as a 2nd year starter (just now has basically started a full year's worth of games).
Was fine I thought just muffed by Toussaint? Plus wasn't the snap on Glasgow?
We're going to see Devin run the ball 15+ times a game from here on out. You've seen conservative play calling all season and November wins make champions. Borges knows what his offensive strengths are.
second half OSU last year?
aggressive defenses even with Robinson. I think Gardner can be just as good of a QB. He has a better arm but Robinson had the better leggs. It will be interesting how Gardner holds up against MSU. I have a feeling that they will blitz a lot and Gardner will have little time to throw. Hopefully Borges will have a game plan of some quick slats and throws to the RB to counter act the blitzes. Otherwise, it could ge rather ugly.