I would add that we are slowly seeing "potential" emerge from the defense. Demens, Avery, Johnson, Gordons, Roh, damn. People are growing up. It's so damn cute.
My takeaways from this game
I won't repeat the good we saw today. The D did well - no questions! Even Ezeh was productive.
On a more concerning note -
We need a placekicker who can actually kick accurately. Seriously we can't get the ball between the posts if our lives depended on it. We can't be that bad at Michigan!
Recruit a soccer player
At least he hit all eight extra points last week, when they really mattered!
Also, for a fast guy, he lacks shiftiness.
Are you crapping me?? Have you watched him run at all this year??
Yeah I completely disagree w/ that statement as well. Denard is extremely shifty.
I watched Mike Martin warm up pretty hard before the game but I didn't see him on the field during the game. He looked pretty good in warmups and his body language seemed to indicate he would play. Anyone have any info on this? Mouton on the other hand looked a bit tentative going through drills.
It was a decision by Rodriguez to sit Martin, and assumed to be the same regarding Mouton. Sounds like Coach wants them as healthy as can be for the stretch run, and was hopeful that the D would hold up without them (which, hurray, they did!).
This is my theory exactly. He took a chance that he could get by this game without them and he did. He wants the Wiscy game big time.
Denard has shown a tremendous ability as a runner both in shiftiness and top end speed. It was obvious in todays game that Purdue was not going to let Denard run. I was watching it at a bar so sometimes I miss things, but it seemed like our o-line wasn't handling their d-line very well for most of the day. On the few plays where Denard had a little bit of a crease he picked up 10+ yards.
But he seems to have lost a step. Maybe it's just me, but he is either hiding an injury or playing with seriously dented confidence. He has lost a step. Not two steps, not three steps, but a step.
FORGIVE MY HERESY
We played in rain today. It's hard to be shifty when your are slipin and slidin all around the field
We didn't play in the rain against Illinois, and Denard had the same issues when he ran. I have thought, for the last couple of games that he didn't look like the same runner he did earlier in the season. Defenses may be playing him differently, but something is not the same.
He's not the runner he was against BGSU or Indiana. I assume his leg is hurting, as he doesn't show the acceleration to the hole or the top speed he had early in the year. Some of it may be self-confidence, as well. He's going to need to use the offseason like last year again, getting stronger and in better condition, while working on the playbook, decision-making and his throwing mechanics. As good as he is, there are frustrating limitations to his abilities yet. He's got a huge ceiling that I want him to get to as quickly as is humanly possible.
So it's not criticism, it's just wanting him to be all that he appears to be capable of doing. We want to watch our baby grow up. :sniff:
but it's hard to make an accurate judgment unless he is in the open field. When he is behind the line and hitting holes, patience is a big part of a runner's production. I thought he looked a step slow in parts of the ND game and then boom he was gone for 87 yards...Same in parts of the Indiana game...
Exactly, Denard's looked fine once he's gotten some space. He just hasn't been getting much lately. Is it a coincidence his passing attempts have been going up? No.
Have to see what the UFR says but after Tate left and Denard came in the first time (I think that is when it happened). I noticed they started running the veer a lot. Purdue couldn't stop it. That's when Denard was getting 9 a pop. Not sure if Purdue adjusted or what.
Yes, that was a great drive until it was stopped by penalties (Lewan clip and Hemingway face mask) that had nothing to do with Denard. I didn't understand why RR put Tate back in for the next series.
That is one reason why I'm excited about being bowl eligible again. The guys get some extra practice along with some rest. The difference between Henne in The Game '07 and the Capital One Bowl was like night and day. I think Denard will light shit up in the bowl game.
Yea I would say Denard is one of the shiftiest runners I have ever seen. The way he darts between defenders is uncanny.
watched many football players outside of michigan then. i wont even touch the "one of the shiftiest runners i have ever seen" . shiftiness has to do with more than footspeed. lateral starting/stoping, making people miss has a lot to do with hips in tight spaces. DRob runs upright elongating his body much of the time. He gets hit an awful lot, and he gets hard and awful lot. shifty runners dont take much damage while being tackled. he is fast so it appears as if he may be shifty. he will learn and may be considered a great speed runner with shiftiness later on in his career. i am not disagreeing that he is not good, but he is not GREAT YET as we hope he will be. Go Blue beat wiscy!
As of last week, Denard was leading the ENTIRE NATION in rushing. That's not good enough for you to be considered great? No quarterback in history has ever led the nation in rushing this far into the season.
If he loses the lead this week, the driving rainstorm can be seen as the reason.
Without Denard, Michigan has two wins this season, max.
"Without Denard, Michigan has two wins this season, max."
I, and I'm assuming Tate, wholly disagree with this
That may be the dumbest thing I've ever read on this blog and I'm not exaggerating. The TD run against BGSU was mindblowingly shifty, seriously, watch him stop, start and accelerate. How many people can do that?
First of all- and he gets hard and awful lot.- TWSS
And I don't even know what to say about him not being "shifty", like, ok...
Denard's weakness as a runner isn't a lack of shiftiness, but strength - he's not strong enough to run out of tackles. Many, many times we've run the iso and the only guy who had a chance to bring him down, did. When he bulks up a little and learns to use his stiffarm, he'll be a beast.
Appreciate the overall post and generally agree with much that you've shared, though as with my fellow posters here I would differ in saying that Denard is really fast, is definitely shifty, and also has great, great vision - a lethal combination. That said, I do agree with the bigger picture of your sentiment here, i.e. Denard is a sophomore, first-year starter who is still very raw and still has a lot of development/growth ahead of him. Of course, this is also very, very hopeful for the Blue in my opinion, as I think his ceiling is incredibly high and (scary for our future opponents) his best football may very likely be ahead of him...
what is frustrating is that we have the best running QB in the nation who -for some reason - never scrambles on a pure pass play.
On that second INT he had running room for days...(ok maybe only a few seconds)..but decided to throw it anyway, I wonder if the coaches can work with him so that after a set time if nothing is open he just pulls it down and takes off. As dangerous as he can be on set plays I think he could also be very "juice-like" on scrambles.
what is frustrating is that we have the best running QB in the nation who -for some reason - never scrambles on a pure pass play.
Well, look on the bright side. The coaching staff is apparently reading this blog and making adjustments:
- MGoBloggers [correctly] questioned, for almost the entire first half of the season, why there was no one more capable at MLB than Obi Ezeh. And BAM...Demens in for Iowa and an effective starter ever since.
- MGoBloggers [correctly] questioned, for several weeks, why Craig Roh was being (mis)used at OLB instead of his natural, more effective position of DE. And BAM...back to DE for Illinois.
So maybe we can continue to hope that the coaches are reading this thread and setting up the film sessions to encourage Denard to scramble more?
"WE may end up with 8 (or 9?) (wins)". Or, we MAY end up with 8 or 9 wins.
Well why not 'we may end UP with 8 (or 9) wins'?
It's easy to nit-pick at Denard's performace, but I wouldn't. Even RR said after the game that the team has been spoiled with the QB play this season. It his first season of starting, don't forget that. The conditions obviously aren't to blame completely, but they didn't help. Denard will learn from this game and move forward.
Offense sputtered and the D took what the opposing offense gave them, end of story.
I think Robinson is shifty, but he has been making some errant decisions when he hits the holes the past couple of games. There were several times where he hit a hole that was clogged up and there was a wide open one right next to him.
It's amazing to think that this offense can get that much better with improvement in the decision making of the QBs. Napalm on cleats baby!
This is turning out to be one of my favorite all time Wolverine squads. There's something about watching the team's improvements and mistakes from week to week that just gets me feeling good. Perhaps it's the overwhelming positive attitude from the players or maybe all the underclassmen receiving playing time each week! Yes, the mistakes kill me but they are hanging with it this year. They don't sulk...Bless them as they stay hungry, healthy, and humble. I like it!
This is turning out to be one of my favorite all time Wolverine squads.
Same here, which makes me feel kind of guilty because I love the Henne/Hart/Long squad.
There is definitely something special about them.
These guys are so clearly totally committed to winning. They want it so bad. Couple that with inexperience and you get mistakes but you also get excitement. It is a lot of fun to watch as it takes shape.
Gordon, Avery, and Vinopal are no longer playing like Freshmen.
But the offensive play calling was a large part of the problem with the offensive output. Yes Denard and Tate did not play all that well for a number of reasons (including weather, good Purdue pass rush etc.) but our playbook seems to be shrinking.
I think the weather limited what they could do, play-wise.
we're holding stuff back for UW?
Tate is getting held back by lack of play time. IDK what is holding Denard back, but the threshold for pulling him seems to be exponentially greater than Tate's.
Did you see the ball he threw to Koger? That was a gorgeous pass. What he lacks is consistently good decision making and consistently good delivery, particularly on the deeper throws. But he's demonstrated over and over again that he has the tools. Denard has two more regular season games, 15 additional practices, a bowl game, and then an offseason full of healing up, getting stronger, and shoot, maybe quicker. The guy's a sophomore in college, he has an incredible work ethic, and his ceiling is way above where he is now. Relax and enjoy what we have....
I think you mean his pass to Webb. The pass to Koger late was a terrible pass, but Koger was wide open. He did place that seam to Webb perfectly over the defender and Webb's shoulder though.
Um, has anyone else noticed that Denard is a sophomore in an offense that requires the QB to make a large number of reads, at speed? Not just pass game reads but running game reads? Has anyone noticed the production of the offense this year, including in Big 10 games? It's hard to get too concerned with a single game of poor offense. Maybe the offense will blow up, but let's see how it plays out for the rest of the season.
I also have to say, for the plays that weren't executed, they seemed to be there. But, again, we have a sophomore QB. I'm not getting all that worried yet.
For those saying Denard has lost a step...did you see the Penn State game? Just saying.
What is it you're saying?
I kept waiting for that "This season as Smith's songs" post to jinx us. Yes, I'm referring to that Smith's classic, "Big Mouth Strikes Again." Could one be off-base suggesting these lyrics refer to Danny Hope:
"Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said I'd like to smash every tooth
In your head
Oh ... sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking
When I said by rights you should be
Bludgeoned in your bed"
Instead, I think today was GERG and the defense's "How Soon is Now," moment:
"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"
my takeaways from the game breaking down plays and watching them in slow mo:
1) Purdue ran alot of defensive formations were they had 8 guys in the box with no deep safeties in the middle of the field.. For pretty much 90% of the offensive plays when Michigan had a "bad" running play = Purdure had 8 guys in the box. Purdue had 8 defenders, we had 5 linemen and 2 RB's/TE in the backfield. 8 defenders against 7 blockers = Offensive running play fail. When Michigan had a "good" running play, Purdure had < 8 guys in the box. The coaches need to run more bubble screens and find a way to get a receiver running down the middle of the field when defenses line up in this type of formation. Slot guy in motion, RB / TE out of the backfield, something!! Offense needs to do a better job reading the defense before the snap and check away from a running play to a pass play when the opponent loads the LOS like this...... Continuously......On the final drive when we scored and put the game away, we finally did address this issue by putting 3 blockers in the backfield. And wow and like magic, we ran down the field against them and scored the put away TD........
2) I will let the UFR come out to tell for sure, but it appeared that Lewan did not have a very good day. It really didn't matter which lineman Purdue had on him, they pretty much had their way with him today. One play during the game, on a basic running play, a Purdue LB threw Lewan to the ground. Be prepared, but the UFR could be ugly for Lewan.....
3) Purdue's DL won a majority of the battles in the trenches against our OL. Purdues entire DL is really good.....
4) Roh had some good plays today, but he needs to work on his running containment and lane/gap assignments on running plays. He takes himself out too many running plays doing his bat out of hell pass rushing on just about every play. If Roh can get stronger and develop a bull rush as a change up to the speed rush, I think he could be compared to Ryan Kerrigan for the next couple of years........
The turnovers were killers but were were able to overcome them for a 2nd week in a row. If we do this again the next two weeks, it could be ugly. Our defense look pretty good. Offensive coaches need to do a better job calling more plays that takes advantage of what the defense is giving us, not trying to "force" the read option down their throats when then have a numerically advantage inside the box.
He's from Arizona, right? It's quite possible he's never seen rain before, so I'll give him a pass for today.
Twice in one day?? You're a glutton for punishment.
My sense is that was how Illinois was playing Michigan too, betting Denard couldn't beat them throwing the ball. I think we'll see that the next two weeks as well.
Purdue had the advantage of a slippery wet ball + wind with it's defensive decisions. The plays were there for the offense to make (such as the Int where #16 threw it to Tacopants instead of the two WIDE open receivers), we just didn't make them. As a coach, you make choices to put players in a position to be successful. RR must have seen that the simple pass plays were yielding poor results, thus it would be better to play it closer to the vest. The biggest thing we learned about this offense is how much we rely on the ability to plant a foot and change direction. We were not able to gain traction anywhere on the O, and suffered for it.
Ultimately we got the W. It is important to remember that things are never as good as they seem and things are never as bad as they seem.
In the past the bubble screens had great success especially with Vincent Smith. Did they do that at all here?. Yes, Denard made a few perfect passes but his overall accuracy has been way down since Indiana. It certainly seems that when a passing play is called Denard is determined to throw it even if he could scrambe for big yards.
production of this team has not been as good as everyone was claiming after the Illinois game. Last weekend was an anomaly. In the Big10, IMO, the offense has sputtered. Sure, they can move the ball, but finishing seems to be their main problem. Turnovers certainly don't help. I hope they can put together a complete game next week without the turnovers.
If we can play turnover free football and move the sticks, we should be in good shape.
Yards Per Play in each B10 game
So actually it seems as if today and Indiana were the outliers.
For comparison, in 2006 (thought to a be a pretty decent offense), our average was this:
talking about scoring, not yardage. But, yes your stats would indicate this.
Scoring is highly variant and has a somewhat direct correlation to yardage. For the most part, if you're not succeeding in yards per play, you have a lesser chance of putting up points. The more yards per play, the less variance and the better chance that you put up more points.
So to say the offense has slowed down in B10 play is false. Just because they haven't scored as much doesn't indicate that they haven't been performing at the high level they were in OOC play.
Thus far, Michigan is scoring 35.3 ppg in six Big 10 games. Last year, they were scoring 23.3 ppg at this point against the same schedule.
Even if you exclude the Illinois game (which makes no sense, because it's a Big Ten game against a pretty good defense), they are still scoring 29 ppg.
So, when you consider that Michigan only scored 30 against UConn, 28 against ND, and 42 against an FBS 'snack cake' (with the starters playing the whole way), scoring doesn't seem to have come to a screeching halt in Big Ten play.
Denard didn't lose a step but it might be the knee brace or something. He banged that knee, got the brace, and then was a little off against Michigan State. If toussaint gets caught from behind by linebackers because of his knee brace, denard might not be invulnerable to its unbalancing effects. Maybe he doesn't wear it anymore but it's a thought since he's been banged up so much.
At this point, I'm not sure why they don't at least let Hagerup try a kick or two. In the beginning of the season, he was obviously jittery and it was a little much to ask, but he's handling punts quite well now, as well as kickoffs, and I know he kicked in HS ... I mean, I don't think it would make our kicking game any worse to try it.
i am still very boilered up tonight
And by that i mean i have been mixing whiskey and beer.
1) Found a way to win, even with 5 turnovers and lousy weather. Speaks well for the effort and the progress. We don't have moral victories, we are not some typical middling Big Ten program, we require victories.
2) Any one else see Moundros out there today? This team fights to the last bell. As long as we fight hard and work hard, I can root and support this team come what may. Such a pleasure to have a team that plays hard and does not think they are entitled to victories because they are at Michigan!
... was exposed today on the offensive side. Hopefully he was just rusty, but perry dorrenstein was destroyed today by kerrigan. This is not good because next week I would be very surpised if J.J. watt does not line up against him, and the next week vs. the buckeyes and their best pass rusher.
To say it was a bit rainy and windy is an understatement. My clothes are still not dry, and it was almost 24 hours ago when I arrived in West Lafayette. The bottom line is that it's hard to play a spread n shred offense in a driving rainy, cold day. I really thought that it was stubborn of Calvin McGee & RR to not just run out of the I form. Our offense simply doesn't work in a sloppy, cold game.
I think the lack of big runs by Denard is more attributted to how dinged up the guy is at this point in the season. I am just happy about how he keeps coming back and starting game after game. He is tough, resiliant, and we can count on him. His biggest mental mistakes come when he is scrambling out of the pocket, and that will improve with experience.
Taylor Lewan cost us two drives yesterday, and he is either really good or really bad from game to game. When he is an upperclassmen he will fck sht up.
Our defense DIDN'T GIVE UP A TD this week. Read that again. And again. I know Purdue is so low on starting players we saw 3 QB's on the field in 3 plays, but this is a huge improvement for our defense and their confidence.
...except the recommendation to go I-FORM RAGE.
I'm too lazy to perform the requisite exhaustive research right now, but I'm pretty sure our use of the I-form hasn't resulted in much success this year. Off the top of my head, I can think of fumbles against Iowa and Purdue. I suspect there are also some goal-line no gains sprinkled in there, too.
I-form is not our friend this year.
Right after the game mercifully ended, I thought: "Wow, this is similar to what we used to do so often - WIN even though we were looking ahead." It's a good thing to be good enough again to have some games, like the next 2, be winnable AND be bigger than games against the littlest of the "Little 8."
Now, on Sunday morning, I still feel that way. We WON while not playing our best. It's so wonderful ("tremendous" even...) to be able to do that again!
He was coming up from the safety position and making some nice stops. Overall, great day by the defense, considering Mouton and Martin were out.
is poor decision making at times. He just makes some crazy throws. He does have great touch at times and usually has good accuracy. He hasn't shown the greatest ability to throw the long ball but hasn't been asked to throw many long balls. As far as his running, he's incredibly shifty and fast. But he could learn to scramble a bit more on passing plays as others have pointed out. And he needs to learn to avoid the unecessary hit by sliding occasionally or running out of bounds.
As for Tate, he's just a bit rusty. Give him more minutes and I think his accuracy and decision-making will be superb. But, understandably, he's going to be limited to spot duty as long as Denard is healthy.
I think the QB play will likely be much better next week - at least in terms of errors. Denard's shown an amazing ability to learn and improve.