Individual thoughts on the game go here. New threads about the game not containing news that is threadworthy or some kind of (relatively) complex analysis will be deleted for the rest of the evening.
Outback Bowl Snowflake Thread
Was awful. How many times are you going to get burned on a blitz to realize your not getting to the QB and your pair of second-string CBs cannot handle the deep ball? There was one sure-fire way to lose that game, and Mattison dialed it up. Very disappointing performance by the D.
We just don't have natural pass-rushers, you need to blitz to get any sort of pressure. Black had it lined up on one play, and a couple other plays we almost got to QB. You get a sack there in the end, and the game is basically over.
Pair that with the fact that our secondary isn't good enough to sit back and stop SC from nickel-and-diming down the field if they have the time to find receivers, it seems like a no-brainer that you bring pressure and hope for the best.
The front four was getting decent pressure. On the almost-sack from Clark, they rushed four. The staff put the game in the hands of the weakest part of our team
Secondary was the Achilles Heel in this one, especially being thin. In a strange twist, offense actually came through when it counted and D cost us.
The safeties have been very good for the most part for the past two years, but they laid an egg in this game. Sometimes good players have bad days. The corners weren't too bad considering that the starters ideally would have been Countess and Floyd.
I just have to fundamentally disagree. That safeties have looked good against inferior opponents and Kovacs has had several sexy plays on blitzes, but against good competition, they get burned a lot. We need more athletic players in the secondary.
On the game winning play, Kovacs got badly beat because he just didn't have the speed. If you're going to blitz a lot like we did yesterday, it's critical to have athletes in the secondary who can cover a lot of ground. Spurrier is no dummy and knew that was our achilles heal on defense.
I think our secondary was going to be an issue no matter what. We already have a pretty weak set of DBs, and we were missing our top 2 guys in Countess and Floyd. If you don't rush anyone and drop everyone back, I think you would've just let them take their time and pick us apart.
At least by bringing pressure, it opened up the oppportunity for sacks and general mistakes from SC. Hats off to SC for executing better than us...we had our chances.
Yeah it sounds good, but it didn't work all game. How many sacks did we have? How many mistakes did the USC QBs make? After the first half, it should have been very obvious that the game plan was too aggressive.
Die by the blitz. I, for one, would rather the coordinator be consistent and do what he's always done. The blitz and front 7 have been the heart of the defense all year. Mattison didn't change that. How many times have we screamed at the tv in the past about rushing 3 dropping 8 and let them march down the field at 15 yard chunks. Would 2 more 10 yard gains and then a game winning field goal make you feel better? I contend no, and that you'd be upset about us sitting back and playing prevent. We were without arguably our best coverage man, and then our most experienced. Maybe Mattison was thinking to try and get to the QB so the game didn't come down to an inexperienced DB. Half of a second from drilling Thompson before he gets the throw off.
It did not work the entire game. Play after play after play, we did not get to the USC QBs and they made us pay bigtime. And yes, I would have preferred rushing four on the last play. Even if you give up a decent gain, you still force their crap kicker to win the game.
You're right, Greg Mattison doesn't know what he's doing. I'm sure you would have done a much better job.
No, you're right. His name is Greg Mattison, so he must never be questioned.
In general, there is a laughable level of tolerance on this site. A preseason #8 team just went 8-5. That's unacceptable.
Yea, and thats all Greg Mattison's fault. How many people have said this was a successful year? Not me, I'm just saying this game was not lost because of his play calling.
"UNACCEPTABLE! I WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS! THIS IS ME NOT ACCEPTING THIS!"
Explain to me exactly what that means. Are you saying you'd rather have someone else coaching this defense? Are you saying we would be better off if we fired Mattison? Are you going to storm into Schembechler hall and make some changes?
We were overrated at #8. Then we lost our best corner. Then we lost our best running back. Then we lost our best player for a couple games and the coaches had to essentially start from scratch with a guy they had playing receiver. Then we lost our second best corner and our punter. We lost to the #1, 2, 3, 10 and whatever Nebraska ends up at teams in the country.
But we'll note that you don't accept this situation. I'll write it down right here.
If you don't know what the word unacceptable means, I suggest you consult a dictionary.
I'm in no way suggesting that a change should be made. Way too early for that. What I am suggesting is that people shouldn't put their fingers in their ears when they hear any criticism just because Hoke is a "Michigan Man" and cleverly calls OSU "Ohio."
There have been some very questionable coaching moves this year, and if RR were the one making them, he'd have been crucified. The clock management has been terrible, as has the use of timeouts(See: Wasting 10 seconds before calling one at the end of the first half today). Personnel decisions, particularly the inexplicable burning of redshirts and the lack of preparedness regarding a back-up quarterback, are mistakes. The offensive line has regressed over the course of the year, and the playcalling has become so predictable at times that you actually have opposing players admitting that they knew what play was coming. The fake punt call today was atrocious, only saved by an even worse piece of officiating.
I just don't get why everyone around here glorifies Hoke. He did well in year one against a weak schedule, and has underperformed in year 2. The offense has gotten worse each of the first two years, and the D, while making big improvements with minimal talent, continues to get torched in big games. Obviously, there is still a long way to go in terms of getting the right talent, and I don't want anyone even considered for firing, but I haven't seen anything that leads me to believe this coaching staff is above criticism.
You could have just posted this with your first post, and saved us the other 100 today, and we would have gotten where you're coming from.
No coach is beyond criticism, and Hoke certainly isn't.
However, Hoke only "underperformed" this year in the minds of those people who thought we were going to match last year's victory total. The people who were convinced we were going 11-1 or 12-0 allowed their enthusiasm to completely outrun reality, which is that we were losing key members of both the offensive and defensive lines, and were thin at a number of positions even without injuries. You don't lose players like Countess when you've got very little depth to begin with and not have it be a serious loss.
My preseason prediction was 8-4 with losses to ND, Alabama, Nebraska, and OSU, and plenty of other people here had the same view. We were actually more competitive today than I thought was going to be the case.
There is a big difference between 11-2 and 8-5. With two returning 1000 yard rushers, a top 10 draft pick at LT, and veteran WRs, there was no excuse for our offense performing the way it did. A lot of that was on the coaches. Hoke lost games he should not have lost this year, and only the most obvious homer would deny that.
Which of the games on the road vs. the #1 or #3 ranked teams should he have not lost, or the "neutral site" games vs. #2 or #10 are games only homers expected us to win? Were we favored in any game we lost among them?
Aside from the Nebraska game, we lost every game we were expected to lose and won every game we were expected to win. I had this team at 9 wins before the start of the season, and we finished 1 below that. Anyone who thought we were going to match last season's win total was kidding themselves (especially considering Denard's injury).
That 1000 yard RB underperformed dramatically.
Those WRs were extremely under-sized and beaten out by a converted QB.
Our All-American QB was injured half way through the season.
Our interior O-Line had to be completely reshuffled which had an extremely large impact on our interior running game.
Our offense was cobbled together with Scotch tape, fairy dust, and dreams by the end of the season.
Again, all I hear are excuses. I didn't expect 11 wins. I also didn't expect 5 losses. For the sake of the blog, let's agree to just leave this alone. I'm not going to convince several posters here that Hoke deserves criticism, and you're certainlly not going to convince me that he doesn't. Let's forget it.
The problem is, you seem to consistently try to make everything someone's fault. Sometimes things just "are," and there is no one to blame.
If a number of your best players get injured, you probably aren't going meet expectations. There doesn't always have to be someone to blame for what happens.
Here is basically what you're doing:
You: "Man, the Miami Heat didn't win a title this year. Spoelstra must be a terrible coach. How did they not meet expectations?"
Me: "Well, LeBron did get hit by a bus half way through the season and died."
You: "All I hear are excuses."
I agree, but that didn't happen. Denard was out for a couple of games. Toussaint was out for one. Yeah, we lost a starting corner. Big deal. Do you have any idea how many other teams lose a starter for the year? Countess getting injured didn't cause the playcalling at OSU, nor did it cause the lack of any reliable backup QB, nor did it cause the numerous coaching mistakes that occured today, nor did it cause the mind-boggling game plan against ND. Given your avatar, I wouldn't expect you to engage in an honest discussion of the weaknesses of this staff, but I suggest you get your head out of the clouds and start facing reality.
"Face reality?" What the fuck does that even mean? Now you'e just saying things.
You can't ask, "What went wrong?" then when given the best explanations as to what went wrong, respond by saying, "Yeah, well, that's all horse shit."
Last year's team was extremely flawed, got a tad lucky, and played above expectations. This year's team was extremely flawed, a tad unlucky, and played slightly below expectations.
Next year's team will probably end up being extremely flawed as well, and should be within a game or so of 9 wins.
It's going to take awhile to build up the depth in secondary, receiving corps, and on the offensive line, before Michigan is able to consistently win 10 or more games a season and compete with the elite teams in college football.
It means that Brady Hoke is not fucking Vince Lombardi and is capable of making major mistakes. I just explained why what you think went wrong was largely bullshit. Listen, for the sake of this blog, your ego, and my patience, I suggest we stop this. This will be my last comment.
Your explanation was stupid and something I had already pointed out, making it trite as well.
It seems like you're railing against everything and nothing at the same time, without any semblance of a cohesive argument. You know that movie Rebel Without a Cause? You're a rebel without a clue.
"Michigan didn't live up to expectations!"
This year a lot of Michigan's key players were injured at one point or another, which tends to make living up to expectations difficult.
"Players get injured on every team!"
And on every team where key players are injured, it typically hurts their chances of meeting or surpassing their expectations.
"Michigan didn't play as well as last year!"
I don't think anyone (outside of a handful of slappies not worth arguing with) expected them to equal what they did last year. When combined with all of the injuries and deficiencies this team had that last year's team didn't it was an inevitability.
"Last year was a fluke!"
OK, so your point being?
"Hoke's not that great!"
How can you tell?
"Just look at this year!"
So this year can't be a fluke as well? It's only a fluke when Michigan overperforms? That seems to mighty unfair period, let alone to place all (or most) of it at the feet of one guy, even if he is the head coach.
"OK, well, you guys are giving Hoke the benefit of the doubt that you didn't give Rich Rod!"
First of all, I was all in for Rich Rod, and didn't want him gone, even after the Gator Bowl. So don't question my loyalty to Rich Rod when he was HC. He received unfair treatment, and a lot of shit that happened wasn't his fault, but the second he was fired, and Hoke was hired I was all in for Hoke. I refuse to do to Hoke what those ass hats did to Rich Rod. That would make me a pretty huge hypocrite.
"Hoke sux! Agree to disagree and I'm done talking!"
Don't deny two and a half years before Hoke got the job you were all about him. That avatar was Nostradamus stuff.
Happy new year my friend.
Jesus Christ you make a lot of excuses. Are you Brady Hoke's wife? EVERY TEAM has injuries. OSU had a big one at the end of the Purdue game, and you know what happened? Their backup came in and led them to victory. Good teams are prepared for injuries. We were not. Explain away, but you're kidding yourself if you think this coaching staff did a good job this year.
Why do you keep making the same points I've refuted and/or already made myself?
Also, let's get real. You can't be this dumb. Ohio State over Purdue with their back up QB? OK.
So lets not go there. Just because he's refuting your points don't make it personal. And you've shown yourself to be such a zealot you've left no room for honest discussion.
You also seem bad at math. Fitz missed two games (and was banged up in others). And disingenuous. Denard, our starting QB, was unable to throw for almost 6 games.
And if you think the game plan was the problem vs. Notre Dae, you really can't have an honest discussion on the matter.
Yes, it was such a huge loss missing our 500 yard rusher for 1.5 games. Fitz was awful this year. The fact that Denard couldn't throw for 6 games was a blessing. His arm cost us horribly in the early season, and he never developed as a passer. Considering Borges himself admitted there was a problem with the ND gameplan, I'd say it is you who is being disingenuous. You sunshine blowers are as amusing as you are delusional. Brady Hoke sucked as a coach this year. He made bad decision after bad decision, and cost us a chance to win at least two games. Idolize him all you want, but he was bad, and if he doesn't improve his in-game decision-making and doesn't stop being essentially a cheerleader out there, he will suffer the same fate as Rich Rod.
When waves, upon waves, upon waves of posters...from regular joes, to established members, to coaches, tell you that you're completely wrong and have no idea what you're talking about, every single time you post...do you ever stop and think, "Maybe it's me? Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about? Maybe I'm totally clueless?" No? OK.
...and I'm disingenuous? What happened, open another bottle?
The fact that you can write that "Denard's arm cost us horribly this year" and then say the game plan was the problem vs. Notre Dame in consecutive sentences just shows me you're out of touch with reality. You've got your agenda, and you're just spewing, even though everyone has pretty much pointed out you're wrong, and don't want to hear it. But you feel the need for attention. But no one is really taking you or anything you say seriously. So it's a waste of everyone's time.
All this hissy fit was over not winning 9 or 10 games? 1 or 2?
He's one of those Michigan fans that watches the games to complain. He never gets any joy out it. Only relief.
You can't reason with those people. They're happiest when Michigan is losing, and they can rail against the world on talk radio.
It's a tad ironic, considering his avatar. He is the exact definition of Fielding Yost's "street urchins."
Wait, so who are you complaining about? Im confused, Hoke, Borges, or Mattison... Or all of them.
And their losses were to 1, 2, 3, 10 and 10, all on the road.
This season's win count wasn't what we were hoping for, but I'm not convinced Michigan wasn't still one of the ten best in the country.
Though, I worry Hoke has lost some big games this year he could have won! ND, NE, OSU and now USC. Though Hoke did win some big games he could have lost, like MSU and NU!
I'm optimistic on the trajectory this team is taking. I see us being a young team next year but with a slightly easier schedule. I could see this team winning 9 or 10 games next season and possibly a big 10 championship.
call me optimistic, but I thought we played well today. Yes, the secondary blew some assignments and Devin missed wide open receivers all day, but despite this, we took a great team from the SSSSEEEECCCC to the end...and did so with alot of freshman and sophmores playing. Next year, we return our QB and most of our D. This was the first bowl in a while that I thought that we played to a level that represented the school well. My 2 cents
How did we play well? Our defense gave up over 400 yards, our QB couldn't get above 50%, and yet AGAIN, we lost the turover battle.
Call me a pessimist, but I see nothing next year that indicates we will be a better team. RBs will still be weak, WRs will still be poor, Devin looked bad today, and our Oline is losing Lewan and getting even younger. Ceiling is probably 9-3, with 8-4 likely.
How about the fact that we scored 28 points against a team that was giving up only 17 ppg on the season despite not having Toussaint and having Denard be unable to throw? Come on man, you seem completely incapable of seeing a silver lining.
What's that prove? USC was a preseason #1...they went 7-6 and lost their bowl game to what amounts to a beefed-up service academy. Notre Dame was unranked and are now one win away from being the undefeated national champion.
Michigan was a lot more gutted talent-wise this year than a lot of us wanted to believe...and when you look at the weird twists of fate that led to the 11-2 record last year, well...frankly the odds were bound to catch up. They played the toughest schedule in the country this year and were a couple of breaks/questionable coaching decisions from going 11-2 again.
When they have the talent that warrants a Top Ten ranking, I'll complain about not playing up to their potential. But when you're relying more on breaks than talent to keep your ranking up, it's not intellectually honest to complain about the results you get when you lose to more talented teams.
Besides, who cares about being #8, anyway?
This is exactly the same crap that we heard during the Rich Rod years. Always an excuse, always a qualifcation, always an explanation, until finally, no more could be given. Michigan was not gutted talent-wise. They returned a majority of players on both sides of the ball, as mentioned above. Yes, the lines were depleted; however, virtually all the skill-players returned. This team should not have gone 8-5.
And that is unfortunately where football games are won and lost. That is where you will need to be strong if you are trying to create an identity as a running team, and that is where you will need to be strong in pass protection when you're best quarterback hasn't got the most sound of mechanics, isn't necessarily that accurate of a passer when he's not hurt, and has a receiving corps that's so thin that the guy who was back-up QB last year is now a starting WR this year (a decision that undoubtedly cost us the Nebraska game, the one loss we had against a non-Top Ten team this year).
That is where you will need to be strong on defense when you need to stop the opponent's ground game and when you need to be able to deliver sufficient pressure to the opponent's quarterback so that he DOESN'T have time to complete his progressions before getting the ball to the first open receiver he can find (something Denard also had issues with, unfortunately).
Maybe this team shouldn't have gone 8-5. Maybe it should have gone 6-6. If not for the late FG against State and the miracle catch against Northwestern, that's what you've got.
The direction the team is heading is the right one, I believe. This season was disappointing, I get that. Winnable games (today's included) were lost. But if this team was really as good as we'd all like it to be, we're not having this conversation. Really good teams win those games...really lucky teams win those games (see: Team 132). This team just wasn't enough of either; like Bill Parcells said, they are what their record says they are.
So in your black and white world where win count is all that matters in judging coaches and teams performance, what year did RR have 8 wins?