Mike Lantry, 1972
|23 hours 17 min ago||FALSE||
That is absolutely Magnum P.I.
|1 day 23 hours ago||Not that simple||
While I agree that Hoke could have stepped-in and said something, it's not like Borges had a history of failure while working with Brady. Sure, 2012 was disappointing, but Denard got injured and, if we're being honest, the offense looked pretty damn good (other than 2nd half Ohio) for the rest of the season with DG at the helm.
Brady gave Borges a season to fully implement his scheme, and it failed. I don't think giving an OC one year to try to have his way is being too patient. Don't get me wrong--I'm glad Borges is gone and Nuss' is in--but I'm not sure Hoke could have foreseen how bad things would be last season. No one else did.
|2 days 18 hours ago||THIS||
Borges is a smart guy that understands constraints and football theory. But it appears he is not as adept at being able to coach his players to execute his multiple schemes, especially when the players are younger.
His concepts have always been sound, and when his teams have been smart/skilled enough to execute, he's had great success. But when his teams can't master his sorcery, they fall flat on their faces.
|3 days 18 hours ago||Billboard #1 "Top Hit"||
Walk Like an Egyptian.
Great song. Great year.
|4 days 21 hours ago||Yes, please||
Compiling a list of recruits and targets with their scores would be AWESOME. Worthy of a sticky, IMO.
BTW, great work. Your content keeps me hooked to the football site, even during this long lull.
|1 week 1 day ago||Confidence?||
Nice work as always, Seth.
Not sure where you got confidence from my Hail Mary piece; I'm sure I said I was nervous more than once.
Excited? Yes. Confident? Hell no. It's 50-50 whether these changes work, IMO.
|1 week 2 days ago||Thank you||
It's people like Jon that make Michigan special and keep Michigan special. I wish him the best.
|1 week 3 days ago||Apology accepted||
IMO, the 4-3 Under and 4-3 Over are very, very different. The 4-3 Under is actually pretty similar to a 3-4: your SAM and your WDE are your most interchangeable positions, and either of those guys needs to be prepared to eat a TE or OT. You use a NT much like a 3-4, and your 3-tech and SDE (5-tech) are pretty similar positions. The biggest difference is that you will see two-gapping much less in an Under than in a standard 3-4, but 3-4 defenses (even in the NFL) are one-gapping a lot more now.
The 4-3 Over essentially replaces your SAM with a 9-tech (your SDE will line-up near the TE, usually outside, sometimes covering, and rarely inside) and leaves your new SAM uncovered. This is creating a new position in the defense: a uncovered LB that must be able to make plays in space. The NT must be able to consistently two-gap and the 3-tech must either get consistent penetration or two-gap. There is a lot more responsibility for the 3-tech in this defense, and I think they'll leave Henry there instead of moving him to nose. This defense further emphasizes the MLB, who must now be able to stop runs in the A, B, and C gaps. The WLB must also be able to take on more blocks in this defense and needs to be ready for B and C gap runs.
So, other than the LB positions being drastically different, adding a new position to the D-Line (which suits Taco and Beyer MUCH better than the Under SDE), and strategically changing the way you blitz, contain, and control gaps, it's pretty much the same.
|1 week 3 days ago||Not just record||
It's not just the record. Hoke could go 8-5 and keep his job, depending on how that 8-5 looks and who we beat. If we beat MSU and Ohio but lose some unlucky close games to Notre Dame, Penn State, Northwestern, and Rutgers, then lose a close bowl game, I think he stays. More likely, we go 9-3 and fall to Notre Dame, MSU, and Ohio. He probably still keeps his job, assuming he was competitive in those games and in the bowl game.
Losing to all three rivals plus another loss puts him in ultra-hot water, and five losses all but guarantees he's out. But if the recruits keep coming in and the losses are close, 9-3 would probably be the benchmark.
Style will be as important as the record in 2014. If the teams looks good and is obviously progressing, Hoke keeps his job. If they look like they did last year--even if they win eight games--I think he's gone.
But I think ten wins--no matter who they are against--and he definitely keeps his job.
|1 week 3 days ago||Not perfect, but...||
Try this: http://tableizer.journalistopia.com/
It's not as pretty as using the MGoBlog tools, but it seems to work to just cut and paste into the plain text editor.
|1 week 3 days ago||Thanks||
I appreciate the gratitude. I'm nervous, but I'm excited-nervous, like I used to be before big games when I played/coached, not scared-nervous, like I used to be before tests I didn't study for. It's the feeling of confidence in a good plan and the expectation of success coupled with the understanding that you never know what the day will bring or if your plan will work.
Now we just have to execute. (In memory of Al Borges)
|1 week 3 days ago||Thanks||
I appreciate the feedback. I hope it all works.
|1 week 3 days ago||You||
|1 week 3 days ago||LTT||
He had lots of bad weight and had been injured; 290 signals that he's probably dropped most of what he needed to lose, now he needs to add 10-20 lbs of the good stuff.
He was always going to take more time to develop.
|1 week 4 days ago||I have no problem with this||
I have no problem with this salary whatsoever. Now he needs to earn it.
|1 week 4 days ago||List of highest paid||
Once that list is updated, we won't have #4 and #6 on the list anymore. That said, we are still paying top dollar for our assistants, and I hope they earn their checks.
|1 week 4 days ago||Desperate times||
Brady Hoke knows another 7-6 season likely dooms his tenure as the football coach at Michigan. Furthermore, another 7-6 season means we've had just one double-digit-win in the past eight seasons. That is verging on a program that is awfully tough to call "elite."
Here are my feelings on the changes, and why I think they were good changes. First, the Ryan move:
Then the coaching changes:
Desperate times call for desperate measures. While I don't see any of these moves as "desperate," they are certainly pretty significant moves that probably would not have been made had we finished 11-2 or 10-3. But we didn't, and change was in order. I'm optimistic about the changes, and if they don't work Brady Hoke will be the last guy left to point the finger at.
|1 week 5 days ago||Good idea||
I like this concept. Would love to see the data aggregated for current offerees and prospective offerees. And I agree that the numbering system is less offensive/sophmoric than the smileys.
I will miss you Eduardo; may you rest in peace.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||AGREE||
I'm not saying we had a good year or that we were close to greatness. I'm saying that a respectable improvement could get us double-digit wins.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||11 pts. from 11 wins||
As bad as the season was, and as bad as these stats are, let's not forget how close we were to 11 wins. If Nuss' can improve these stats in a meaningful--even if it's not spectacular--way, then we could easily finish the season with 10 or 11 wins.
I don't think we'll be in the top 20 next year, but I think top 75 is realistic.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||Not the only program||
The football program is doing great; so is men's basketball. But the rest of the athletic department and the university as a whole BADLY need the cash.
Organizations like Michigan should be looking for creative ways to get big gifts. I used to raise money for a non-profit, and a goofy title is well worth $10 million.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||Good idea||
I think this is a good idea. Who cares if the title is different? This is a good way for Michigan to bring in a donation and help be certain they can afford top-level coaches for years to come. I have no problem with this at all.
Think about it this way: would you rather the goofy title, or higher ticket prices?
|3 weeks 2 days ago||Wish him the best||
Jake Butt had a great freshman year and was poised to have a huge sophomore campaign. This is a big loss.
I wish Jake a speedy and healthy recovery, and look forward to his return. He's going to be a great player for Michigan.
|3 weeks 3 days ago||Great stuff||
This is a great analysis with some good ideas; it's hard to install a new offense in a short period of time, but I think the Rip Hamilton double screens are a great solution, and would serve Stauskas well in the long run: he's a pure SG in the NBA that won't be able to create his own shot against most defenders he'll face in the league.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Was at DCD with Webber||
If you think Webber paid for Country Day, you're crazy. Shane Battier probably did, but I seriously doubt Webber's family paid for him to attend Country Day.
And it's very true that these kids don't have time for a job. I don't support "pay-to-play," but I do support a small stipend so that these college kids have a little cash and aren't as tempted to do shady things with boosters.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Vision + Speed = Yes, Please||
I like his film a lot. Even though he's still pretty slender, he runs with power and doesn't shy away from contact. But I think his vision and speed are the most impressive aspects of his game. He takes the hole and hits top gear quickly.
I hope RJII gets up to AA for a visit.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||THIS||
It's not what you know, it's who you know, and from that perspective, U-M opens a lot more doors than MSU.
|4 weeks 1 day ago||No||
No, that's not the difference. And the federal government has not changed the justice system, just the disciplinary system at universities, which are not part of the justice system.
I do think the university has the authority (and responsibility) to judge its student body on these matters, and FWIW, and I agree with the decision to expel Gibbons, however terribly it was handled.
But it's not just "technically" different. The difference between "rape" and "sexual misconduct" is like the difference between murder and manslaughter: they are very different crimes. Look it up.
And calling someone a rapist instead of saying they are guilty of sexual misconduct is a lot like using a racial slur instead of calling someone a jerk. There's a big difference.
Language matters. Nuance matters. My opinion is that Gibbons made a mistake, a big mistake, and that justice was delayed. I'll say that publicly. But I'm not going to say he raped someone unless it's proven that he did or I know he did.
|4 weeks 1 day ago||You are completely wrong||
You could not be more wrong on this one. I am passionate about this issue because I don't think it's fair to a young man--any young man--to call him a rapist without proving he raped someone or knowing he raped someone.
The only thing that's proven here is that you're acting in an ignorant and bigoted manner, and that's why I won't waste my time responding to the rest of your post. Your mind is made-up that you know what happened and that you know what everyone else is thinking, so why bother.
|4 weeks 1 day ago||DISAGREE||
So everyone that is accused of rape is guilty if they actually had sex?
|4 weeks 1 day ago||Rape and due process||
Rape was not the proven charge. In fact, the charges of rape were dropped. So calling him a "rapist" doesn't further the discussion or make people think about it, it just villifies a young man.
I'm not sure if you went to college, but these drunken sexual encounters can be more complicated than they seem. Sometimes people don't say what they're thinking, don't do what they mean to, and don't remember what happened. It's not always as black-and-white as a big football player throwing a girl down and taking advantage of her.
You have no idea what happened, and discussing things when you don't know what happened means you are behaving ignorantly. So don't jump on the guy that says you shouldn't label a kid a rapist because he refuses to speak ignorantly on an issue. Of course, you're not just ignorant, you're bigoted, since you are assuming someone is saying something just because this is the football team, when you have no idea what their motivation is.
For me, it's about not calling a kid a rapist when I don't know the facts. I'm not calling him innocent or saying I don't think he should have been expelled, but I'm not going to call him a rapist unless he's been proven to have raped someone or I know he raped someone.
|4 weeks 4 days ago||QB Story||
The press's favorite story is a QB controversy. While there will be and should be "competition" at the QB position, the only way DG gets unseated is if Shane, Speight, or Bellomy is on pace to be one of the best ever to play QB for Michigan. Gardner just had one of the best statistical seasons in U-M QB history, and he did it with no running game and almost no blocking.
In fact, Hoke mentioning Bellomy is, to me, a clear signal that this is just coachspeak--there is NO WAY that Bellomy surpasses DG, or even Shane, IMHO.
|4 weeks 4 days ago||FALSE||
Gibbons sucked when the incident occurred.
And why should they keep a kid from playing when no charges were filed? Unless Gibbons admitted guilt, why should he be punished?
If I accused you of murder, should you be penalize, kept from working, and locked-up until an institutional council decided your fate over three years later?
Dude. Get a grip.
|4 weeks 4 days ago||"Rapist"||
I get that people are pissed that a girl may have been sexually assaulted. I'm pissed too. But throwing around wild accusations and calling a kid who has not been convicted of a crime a "rapist" is ignorant, malicious, and stupid.
Quite frankly, the further I get away from the emotion of the case, the more I feel the end result was the right one, even if it was delayed.
You're talking about "sheltering" a kid who was the worst kicker in program history when the incident occurred. That makes no sense.
And before you go spouting off concepts like "moral authority," you ought to think twice about labeling a kid a "rapist" and accusing a university of "sheltering" a (when the incidenct occurred) terrible kicker.
Posts like your are why this is process is confidential, and why the athletic department should NOT know until the final decision is handed down.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||Thanks, and I agree||
I agree with this. I was also a college athlete, but I went to a DIII school and had an academic scholarship that covered tuition but not room and board. I had to work my way through college, maintain a 3.5 GPA (scholarship requirement) with a double-major (my choice), and train for and participate in my sport.
I further chose to be active in student government and other extra-curriculars. It left less time for a social life, but that was my choice, and I loved my experience.
I wasn't meaning that DI athletes are victims--they're not--but I don't think the average person realizes how much time these players devote to their sport, especially during the season when it's got to be more like 60 hours per week.
One of my main quibbles with current system is that, because of their athletic commitment, they don't have time for a job; this needs to be accounted for and some rules for reasonable stipends or even compensation for jersey sales/licensing (capped a LOW number) makes sense to me. What makes even more sense is taking care of these kids instead of treating them like commodities, and that's where I sympathize with CAPA.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||Respectfully disagree||
First of all, Division I college athletes are easily spending 40-60 hours/week on their sports. In addition to that, they have school.
I don't know where you played sports, but the time it takes to excel and physical and mental commitment are pretty severe. This isn't just time they could otherwise be spending partying...how often do parties happen at 6am while the football team is doing their morning conditioning?
That said, they are getting an education and potential training for their field, and they should take responsibility for that, just as other students do.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||A few things||
|5 weeks 2 days ago||That uniform is so bad, I||
That uniform is so bad, I almost didn't watch the film. But I'm glad I did.
Quick release, good vision, and decent athleticism are on display, and an uncanny ability to throw on the run. He can really drop the intermediate-deep stuff right where he wants to.
I would not be unhappy to see an offer go to this prospect.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||"Amateurism" isn't my argument||
This is precisely my point. These kids are getting the best job training possible--isn't that what everyone goes to college for? To be more prepared for their careers? Should we pay everyone who goes to college?
READ THE STUDY. Football programs are not making the "windfall" profits people believe they are, and the schools that do make solid profits (which are few) use that money to subsidize the money-sucking sports which are basically everything that isn't football and men's basketball.
If you're going to pay these kids because their sport brings in revenue, shouldn't you have to charge the kids whose sports are subsidized? How else will you balance the budget?
I get that players don't have the opportunity to work while they play, and I'm even more sympathetic to some of the issues the Northwestern players have brought-up re: medical care. But the money isn't there to pay these kids--unless you're charging the ones whose sports are a drain on athletic departments.
My argument is that football players are being fairly compensated in the training they get for their craft, and it's awfully hard to dispute that, since the college programs are producing the only source of NFL talent.
If you want to argue that the NFL should remove its restrictions on how long players have to go to college, I'd agree. But don't blame the NCAA for that. If the NFL wanted high school kids they could change their rules, or they could develop a minor league.
The fact is that college football programs are extraordinarily expensive to operate, and those costs go to training the young men to be good football players. There is a TON of value in that, and by looking at actual figures you can see just how much is spent per player.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||Read the study||
Really? I offer an academic study from a reputable think tank with ZERO incentive to make footballs programs look good, and you come back with garbage piece from HuffPo?
They are ONLY counting the $21,000 in tuition as "player costs" in that article. They're not counting equipment, facilities, and yes, coaches and staff who help develop the players. That is beyond ridiculous, and smacks of article that is only trying to advance a political agenda.
Saban is known as one of the best coaches in the country and consistently coaches players into multi-million dollar contracts. Isn't there some value in that for the players?
What about all the equipment, training, and resources they're given to hone their craft? What about the travel and boarding expenses for the players?
If you want to advance an agenda, go ahead. If you want an honest conversation about the facts, then spend some time learn them.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Know the facts||
The point is, athletics are NOT a huge financial boon to universties. Even the huge programs, like Michigan, don't make much of a profit.
Michigan spends about $800K per player, per season on their football program. These kids are already getting compensated, just not in cash. They are getting the best training available for their craft, they are getting equipment, they are getting trainers, they are getting coaches, they are getting medical treatment, they are getting a state-of-the-art place to train and play, etc.
There are huge problems with college football, and the Northwestern players are addressing some of them. But you cannot argue that $800K/player is not sufficient compensation.
As I have said before, I'm all for a limited stipend, since these kids can't work. But paying them or calling them employees? Definitely a bad idea. If someone wants to do that, start a minor league and call a spade a spade. Don't try to mix college athletics with professional athletics.
The fact is that even with the mega-bucks football produces, only a precious few programs (around 30) are making a profit. These programs cost huge amounts to run, and that is the compensation these players are already getting.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Not sure||
Hoke can say that. There would obviously be a follow-up question, and it would obviously lead to a media investigation of why Gibbons was booted from the team. It's not like the reporters would just say, "Cool, Bro."
This could be violating Gibbon's privacy rights, if not in letter, then certainly in spirit.
I really don't have a problem with the family issues thing. If Hoke lied about the injury to cover-up the investigation, that's a different story.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Love Kearns' tape||
He makes good decisions, is mobile, can throw on the run, and has scary-good touch and accuracy. His arm could be a little stronger and he could be a few inches taller, but he may still be growing and he's definitely getting stronger.
I hope we offer and he accepts on the spot. It would be great to have a California connection for the 2015 class.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||I'm not sure I've ever been||
I'm not sure I've ever been more ashamed of our fanbase.
We know nothing, except that a small group determined that Gibbons was guilty of "Sexual Misconduct" (VERY different from rape) and that he was expelled.
There are a lot missing pieces to this puzzle still, and to see a young man's name trashed by lynch mob that doesn't know all the facts is abhorrent.
Gibbons was not charged with rape, and rape could not be proven (according to the DA). The victim was charged with (and convicted of) filing a false report. I'm not saying I know what happened or that Gibbons is innocent, I'm saying I'm going to wait to hear more before I say something that I can't take back, like "Gibbons is a rapist" or "Hoke is a liar."
I implore everyone, not as fans of Michigan football, but as fair-minded people, to be patient and withhold judgment until more is known. What is happnening on this board right now is completely unfair: many are assaulting a young man's reputation (and future) on the basis of a brief report in the Michigan Daily, and going a step further to question the character of our coach. I get that this is the internet and you can say whatever you want, but these are peoples' lives we're tearing down.
Finally, I will say that I believe rape/sexual assualt is an awful, terrible crime that far too often goes unpunished. My ex-wife was raped. An ex-girlfriend of mine was raped. Personally, I know of far too many stories of rape/sexual assault and it makes me sick. But just because it happens doesn't mean that's what happened here. This is a complicated issue, and I, for one, think it's best to reserve judgment on a case that is over four years old and that the police and DA seemed to find in favor of Gibbons. IF he did it, then he deserves expulsion and more. But we really don't know. I had friends get expelled for things they didn't do, but they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Just my two cents.
|5 weeks 4 days ago||Much to know||
Before we jump to criticize anyone for lying, we should get the facts. Was Gibbons practicing? Was it a lie? What did Hoke know?
Assumptions can do bad things.
And, quite frankly, before we judge Gibbons a rapist, we should wait for the facts of that case as well. That he has not been found guilty in a court of law certainly says something.
I am NOT saying any of these people should be excused for reprehensible behavior; I am saying that knee-jerk reactions to news stories are inadvisable.
I'll be the first to jump on Hoke, Brandon, and the university if this is all true.
|5 weeks 4 days ago||Alabama "scholarship"||
Getting a scholarship at the University of Alabama is really only a guaranteed try-out. If they think they can bring in someone else that's better than you, you're gone. Cutting eight kids is ridiculous, and if the NCAA was actually interested in anything resembling protecting student-athletes, they'd put a stop to this. Instead, we have Kain Colter starting a union for college football players. JEEBUS.
The worst part is, when 'Bama dumps these kids, they still have some control over them. That's right--you have to be released by your school, and the school therefore has some leverage in deciding where the player can go and the player may have to sit for a year--even he's cut.
Nick Saban is the devil.
|6 weeks 4 days ago||3-star||
While recruiting rankings do show some correlation with success, getting hung-up on stars is a mistake. If you find a player that fits your system and you believe can excel, you offer him. 'Nuss clearly thinks this young man fits what we want to do, and I trust that.
Wilton Speight is a 3-star that was recruited by Michigan and Alabama, among others. Kyle Kearns is a 3-star that I believe will be a star. MSU just went 13-1 and won the Rose Bowl with a roster full of 3-stars.
Stars do mean something, but they certainly don't mean everything.
Looking at his film, there's a jet sweep in there that is reminiscent of Mike Hart, another 3-star that turned out pretty well.
Offers from Penn State and Georgia indicate that there are some really good coaches that believe Frasier is better than his rankings suggest.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||EXACTLY||
Well said, sir.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Hoke disagrees||
In the presser on the day he signed, Hoke specifically mentioned Shallman as a guy that could run the inside zone.
Also, I'm sure I disagree that Green and Smith are unproven. Do you mean they're unproven because they haven't had a big season in college football yet? By now, the coaches know the talent those guys have, and if they're not taking a back, they certainly trust them. And don't forget Hayes and Drake Johnson.
As for Houman, Kerridege, and Norfleet--I basically agree. I think 'Fleet is going to be our slot next year, and Houma and Kerridge are unlikely to carry the ball much, if at all. Rawls isn't gone yet, but he was buried on the depth chart anyway.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Don't "bank" on it||
I would be surprised to see the staff bank a scholarship for next year with such a small class this year. I think we'll see a signing day surprise taking an additional spot, and either McDowell or one of the RBs taking a spot.
|6 weeks 6 days ago||Welcome!||
Kyle, I wish the best at the University of Michigan and beyond.
Welcome to the family, and GO BLUE!
|7 weeks 18 hours ago||Inside Zone||
Even if the IZ does become our base running play, it's not going to look like basketball on grass anymore than 'Bama's offense did.
Make no mistake about it: Hoke, Funk, and Nuss want big, powerful players (power = speed x strength) that can move the LOS. For this reason, I think Miller is done as a starter. The biggest, baddest, meanest guys are likely to start, especially on the inside.
Glasgow, I believe, will stay at center unless Blake Bars or Patrick Kugler can make the strength gains necessary to dominate the LOS.
While I'm a huge Kugler fan, I just don't see it happening. His body needs to develop quite a bit. This is a good thing--you really don't want RS Freshmen starting on your O-Line.
|7 weeks 1 day ago||Single-high safety||
This seems to be Mattison's preference. While we played a lot of cover two in 2013, he has brought a safety into the box many times, and seems to like to do it with both safeties. It seems clear to me that he likes to use a safety in his run fits, and that leaves a single-high safety.
That said, he needs to have corners that can stop the deep ball for that to work. Sadly, the jury is still out on Countess and Taylor in this regard, but Lewis and Stribling look like guys who will be able to shutdown the deep routes one-on-one sooner than later, since they were both just inches away from those plays all year.
Single-high safety opens-up huge pressure options for a defense and allows you to disguise and use more exotic blitzes...it's a tough defense to read in the box. But you better be able to get to the passer and have competenet LBs/SSs to carry the seam, because 4-verts is awfully popular in the college game right now.
|7 weeks 1 day ago||Yes||
You are an overly optimistic homer, but I love it.
+1 for you, sir.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Huh?||
I think we've recruited plenty of safeties, and plenty of DBs in general. Lots of HS corners wind-up being safeties, and we currently have 14 retruning DBs/CBs and four safeties. And we've recrutied four safeties in the last two classes:
The 2014 class is light on DBs, with just two, but it's only got 16 members total. But that gives us a total of 15 scholarship players (out of 85) that play in the defensive backfield. That is right about where we should be.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Iowa||
The Hawkeyes run mostly outside zone, but yes, if we can run inside zone at their level of zone blocking proficiency, we should have an offense good enough to win 10 games.
|7 weeks 3 days ago||Also||
Nearly every good IZ run requires the RB to do the following:
Watch zone running highlights. The RB almost always slows down just before the LOS and picks his hole, then explodes through it.
|7 weeks 3 days ago||Good stuff||
I like that you not only talk about the strengths of IZ, but also the challenges in running it effectively:
Also, I love the ND clip. ND has 8.5 in the box and a good play called to stop IZ. The keys are the combo block that take out the WLB, and the athelticism of Lacy, which gets him by the SS (who took a bad angle and really should have made the play).
I'm not sure our 2013 OL could have run this play all that effectively, given the above requirements, but the thought of Green and Smith barrelling at top speed into the secondary makes my mouth water.
I also think it's worth mentioning that this scheme is basically perfect for Drake Johnson, IMO, and if he fully recovers, he could factor-in to Nuss' '14 plans. Drake is a strong, fast, one-cut runner who powers through arm tackles and was coming into form before his injury. Watch this tape, and you'll see a guy who is well-suited for the IZ:
|7 weeks 3 days ago||Great job||
Brian should fear for his job.
Seriously, though, it was McCarron's uncharacteristic INTs that cost this offense more points. He threw into triple-coverage on the first one, and threw VERY late to his safety valve on the last one. He didn't make mistakes like that all season.
FWIW, I think Green could definitely be Henry-Lite.
Actually, my biggest criticism of Nuss in this game was that he didn't run enough. The run game was working well when he used it and he seemed to get a little lizard brain tendency to pass.
But that's nit-picking. The 'Bama offense racked-up 516 yards at about 8 yds/play, and scored 31 points while turning the ball over five times. That's an efficient offense that just had a bad day from its QB.
|7 weeks 3 days ago||Good, not great||
I'm not sure it's as strong as any HS ball in Michigan. One of the quickest ways to determine level of competition is the size of the D-Line; in those highlights, there are very few DTs at 240 lbs. or higher.
That said, I see why the coaches like Mack, especially with Nuss on board. He appears to be a good one-cut runner with good speed and enough shiftiness to get to and through the hole even in traffic.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||That could be||
But Lockett is great, and certainly deserves to be in the conversation for best WR in the country, especially when you consider the system and the talent around him.
K-State averaged 224.7 passing yds/gm, 75th in the country. Lockett averaged 105.2 yds/gm, more than twice as many as the next guy on the team.
You are probably right in that there are a few guys I'd pick before Lockett, but he's definitely top ten, and we're talking about a difference in degree of greatness at that point. There certainly isn't anyone that is head-and-shoulders better than Lockett.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||No, thank you||
No need to bring race into this conversation. Crazies call for the back-up, freshman QB at nearly every program, regardless of race.
Debate the issues, not the idiots. If someone is calling for Shane because of race, better to ignore than engage.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Heiko||
I'm sad for Heiko, who would've gotten to see his avatar in full effect this season. Nuss loves the WR screens, especially early in games.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Doug Nussmeier didn't just||
Doug Nussmeier didn't just sell ice to an eskimo, he sold him flip-flops and a Speedo.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||HALOL||
Haha...oh, how I wish this were true.
Media types are pretending there's a QB controversy because it's the best way to sell stories. Fans who were foaming at the mouth over Shane want to believe all the hype was true and that if it wasn't for Al Borges he would have started and won the Heisman in 2013.
Sadly, there are enough people out there who believe this nonsense that the rabble will continue.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||(No subject)||
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Borges was his buddy||
The issue here is that Borges was/is friends with DH's coach, and they had become buddies. When you have a personal connection with someone and they get fired, it's hard to look at things objectively.
I think Harris will come around after a visit with Nuss and Fred.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Grades||
I would add that, at Michigan, they have to do an academic evaluation as well. Sometimes they're waiting to see how a kid does with his grades, and that may have been the case with MF.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Nuss||
If our new OC can't sway Rosen, I really, really hope he lands Kearns.
ESPN, Rivals, Scout...they can all suck it. Kearns is one helluva QB, 3 stars or not. There's a reason Michigan and Alabama are both recruiting him.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||He might||
But we have the right to judge, and to be skeptical based on the Ford family's history of hiring mediocre heach coaches.
Caldwell was 2-14 his last season in Indy, and 26-63 as a head coach at Wake Forest. His Ravens were 29th in total offense this year.
I was excited about Mariucci. I was excited about Schwartz. Heck, I was even excited about Marinelli.
As a lifelong Lions fan, I've earned the right to be skeptical. I hope I'm wrong, but this looks like and uninspiring hire.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||HALOL||
Hahaha....I love you BiSB...wait did I just say that out loud?
This is getting weird. Time to go.
|7 weeks 5 days ago||Doug Nussmeier coached the||
Doug Nussmeier coached the SEALS who killed bin Laden. His coaching was so good, bin Laden was dead before the SEALS arrived.
|7 weeks 5 days ago||Who hired Nuss?||
Just as RR was at fault for his defense, so Hoke is responsible for his offense. If Nuss turns the ship around, Hoke deserves credit.
|7 weeks 5 days ago||Doug Nussmeier||
Before he got coaching from Doug Nussmeier, Chuck Norris was "Walker, Texas Panzy."
|7 weeks 6 days ago||I'm so glad||
It's so nice that we can still have "FIRE BORGES!" arguments here. I don't know what the board would be like without them.
I feel Borges had a tough situation, but didn't do enough to make the best of it. The guy deserved to get fired, because, at the end of the day, you can't argue with results. He didn't get it done.
And it's especially nice when we can weave in a bit of "FIRE RR!" into the conversation.
AB is gone, and by all accounts, it appears his replacement is an upgrade. The same could be said of RR. Can't we agree to just let it go and move on?
|8 weeks 1 day ago||Some ties||
Are just too fat for the full. If you the tie the half right, it can look just as good.
Actually, I almost wonder if he had a four in hand...which is unacceptable.
|8 weeks 1 day ago||O-Line and team experience notes||
As you watch this tape, keep in mind that the LT is a Sr and the C is a junior, but the LG is a RSFr, and the RG and RT are true sophomores.
The QB is a RS sophomore in his first year as a starter.
Also remember it's the third year in the system.
|8 weeks 1 day ago||Washington Tape||
What you'll see is a very multiple offense, with lots of WR screens, zone, and some pulling guards. He uses pick routes, jet action, and empties the backfield. RBs are much more utilized the passing game than with Borges. He spreads the receptions around to everyone.
|8 weeks 1 day ago||'Bama and the H-Back||
Depending on what you call an "H-Back," 'Bama uses a lot of it. I'm referring to a TE-type that lines up behind the the O-Line and often goes in motion or downblocks. We can argue over the name, but the second TE (sometimes called the "F" or "H") operates differently than the in-line guy. I think we'll see a lot of that.
|8 weeks 2 days ago||Mostly outside zone||
Mostly outside zone
|8 weeks 2 days ago||Great stuff||
I agree with SC, and would add a few things that Nuss does very differently from Borges:
But there are some similarities that Brian might find maddening:
|8 weeks 2 days ago||90% sour grapes, 10% honest||
You can watch the whole game in less than an hour on youtube.
Alabama moved the ball just fine, thank you, averaging 7.94 yards/play and I think they only punted twice. What happened? AJ McCarron threw an INT into triple coverage, which he NEVER does (tough to blame that on Nuss), Yeldon got accidentally stripped by his own player in the red zone, and McCarron got stripped for a scoop-and-score and threw an INT that wasn't terrible, but still out of character.
There is a legitimate argument that 'Bama abandoned the run too soon (Yeldon averaged 4.24 YPC and Henry averaged 12.5 [!!!] YPC), but they moved the ball pretty easily when they weren't giving it away to Oklahoma. The problem was the 7 sacks they surrendered, and perhaps a little better run/pass mix would have allowed them to maintain productive drives without giving the green to Oklahoma to pin their ears back and try to kill McCarron.
But guys, 'Bama put up 516 yards of offense while getting sacked seven times, and did it against a defense that was #20 in the country and had allowed just 5.38 yards/play in the Big 12...that is insane. The 'Bama defense lost this game, and the Saban worshippers are afraid to admit it.
|8 weeks 2 days ago||THIS||
Watching Alabama against Oklahoma and Auburn, you see a lot of drives where 'Bama is consistently getting 11-13 yards on 1st down, or 6-9 yards on 2nd and 5.
They move the chains like crazy and pop a couple of big plays every game, but they're not Baylor.
|8 weeks 2 days ago||Three highlights||
In no particular order:
Yeah, I know I did it wrong, but bringing-up the guy's mistakes and getting myself angry seems pretty lame right now. Borges deserves our gratitude for his work, and I'm much more focused on my joy for the new hire.
|8 weeks 2 days ago||Wish I could give your 1st paragraph ALL the upvotes||
When Brandon penned his letter of support for Hoke and specifically mentioned Mattison but left Borges out, I was suspicious. He even made this ominous remark:
It turns out he meant business. Whether or not Funk should also be gone is an open question, but Borges earned his firing and Michigan handled the situation perfectly: lock-up the best in the business at your brand of football before you can the current guy.
All that said, I want to thank Al Borges for his service, and wish him the best.
|8 weeks 2 days ago||Kearns would be my choice of||
Kearns would be my choice of the realistic options right now; it's great to hear that he and Coach Nuss already have an established relationship.
|8 weeks 2 days ago||Competition? Yes. Change? No.||
The only people who believe there is a QB controversy at Michigan are media types who want to create a story and fans who haven't been paying attention.
Devin Gardner is a damn good QB, and Shane Morris is a QB with damn good potential.
Lost in the wreckage of the 2013 season is righteous praise for Gardner, who produced the second-highest passing yardage total in the history of the program behind an interior offensive line that was about as effective as pylons with string tied between them.
Unless Shane Morris makes a galactic leap in year two and/or Gardner regresses, it is DG's job, and DG's team.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Sam Webb||
Webb said it perfectly: The Ideal Candidate
Brandon and Hoke clearly had the replacement locked-up before they fired Borges; this was handled perfectly, and they both deserve credit.
I feel like a kid that just got the perfect Christmas present that wasn't even on his list becuase he didn't believe he could get it.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Don't get it||
Nussmeier's offense averaged 7.73 yards in the Iron Bowl and 7.94 yards in the Sugar Bowl. Oh, and they averaged 29.5 points in those games.
I'm really not sure how those losses are his fault, but this certainly proves that fanbases LOVE to blame the OC when things go wrong.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Seth = Spot on||
I'd love to see the whole post, too, Seth.
This isn't as simple as the "pay-for-play" argument because of the system that's been constructed. Bacon's idea is the best solution I've heard, and I don't love it.
But the idea that all these colleges are raking in huge windfalls "on the backs of players" is just not true:
That is from a study done by the Delta Cost Project published in January of 2013, and the study concludes that aside from a handful of universities, even the football programs are not big money-makers.
FBS football schools are spending $91,936 per athlete on athletics, and $13,628 per student on academics. In fact, if you look at Michigan's 2008 football spending, they averaged $799,028 per player. Yes, they brought in about $13.5 million in profit, but isn't about $800K per person enough to be spending on your student-athletes? And isn't it good that sports like women's gymnastics have some of that $13.5 million so they can have top-class coaches and facilities too?
I am all for limited stipends for athletes--these kids don't have time to get jobs because of their sport, and a VERY limited stipend to cover some living expenses makes sense to me. I'm talking about $500-1,000/month. But to pretend these kids aren't already having hundreds of thousands of dollars devoted to them is just silly, and I don't believe we should create a system where just a few schools have the dough to pay players from profits, thus creating an even bigger "haves vs. have nots" scenario.
If you want kids to really get paid, then we should make them professionals, and not pretend they're "playing school." Kids can then choose between getting paid to play or getting the education (sports included) from college.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||My two cents||
You didn't ask, but here's my take:
I could go into more detail on specifics, but these are the two areas I find him easiest to question. I hope I'm wrong about both.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Pounding? Yes. Dominant? No.||
Borges' running attacks can be extremely hard on a defense. There are few things that crush a defense's spirit like a team that can consistently get four yards/carry on basic running plays. In fact, Borges has said he wants backs that run people over, rather then trying to scheme plays that go around a corner or safety.
While I don't think he'll every coach a pro-style running game that averages 6 YPC, churning out over 2,000 yards on the ground in a season can demoralize defenses and open the big passing plays Borges loves.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Best YPC||
5.15 YPC in 2011 with Denard was his best.
Also had 4.76 in 2012 with Denard QB/RB.
But for our purposes, those Auburn offenses are probably what we aspire to, and averaging 4.2 YPC or better should get the job done in AB's offense.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||HALOL||
|8 weeks 3 days ago||WOW||
You sir, are a magician. You managed to take a very reasoned, balanced post and twist it into a FIRE BORGES! argument.
You really think it helped Lindley to have two guys arguing about how he should play the position? Obviously, Borges had the ultimate say, and Hoke approved because he brought Borges with him and left Sipe behind.
Next, Brian points out Cox's dropping YPA and relates it directly to a kid dealing with a degenerative muscle disease who was in declining health.
Then you bring-up ridiculously good YPA numbers as an argument against Borges, who just guided Gardner to the second-highest passing yardage total in Michigan history WITHOUT AN OFFENSIVE LINE. And there is only 1.5 years of data for both of those QBs.
I get it...you hate Borges, and there are some good reasons for that. But you're reaching on these arguments. Try to let your brain accept valid information without turning all of it into an argument for what you believe is true.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Answers to your Borges questions||
If all you want is YPC, then just read the charts:
Borges has had most of his success in the passing game, with notable exceptions being his first year and then even more his second year at Auburn (of course, the passing attacks were very good in both of those offenses as well). Actually, his highest YPC was in 2011 with Denard, but I'm not sure how relevant that is to our current offense.
He's a guy that's going to be real happy with a 4.2 YPC, because that usually means he's getting 9 yards/pass.
|8 weeks 4 days ago||I hope you're right||
I'm afraid the RR era has created a schism that won't heal without sustained success. There are so many spread zealots out there who won't feel good until they get their way or the program is so good they don't care about getting their way.
Even if Hoke wins 10 games next year and the offense has a strong season, there will be those who are calling for Borges' head, and Hoke's too.
The only way out of this mess is to have consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins. Only then will everyone jump on board.
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Not youth or schemes--teaching and execution||
It's not just about youth, but development--especially for the O-Line. Auburn has clearly gotten more development from their players, and I believe coaching is a big part of that.
But if you watch Auburn's O-Line block, they're really good at it. That has NOTHING to do with scheme, and everything to do with their ability to execute. It's obvious they've been coached well, but their line could block Borges' scheme just fine.
You can argue that the coaching/teaching is better at Auburn, but it's not scheme that's making their O-Line good. It's that their O-Line is good at blocking.
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Weird||
You dream to be 11 large men executing a spread-to-run offense?
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Yes and No||
I think we'll see a turnaround on the order of 10 wins next year, but I don't think an offensive live composed almost entirely of sophomores is going to be good enough to make AB's plans work every game.
That said, if the defense takes a big step forward--which they should--that could put us in the conversation for the B1G East (NTBE) title. MSU and Ohio on the road? Tough to see either of those as victories, but every other game on the schedule is winnable.
FWIW, I believe a healthy Devin Gardner could break the single-season passing record next year. But if he's injured, nine wins would be a great season.
|8 weeks 4 days ago||AWESOME!||
Great diary, great info, and well-packaged. There may be some attrition yet, but the fact is we're going to have an experienced, talented defense next year and an offense that is still young, but is at least experienced.
Hoke and his staff MUST achieve big things in 2014, or they will be looking Brandon's waving hand. Defense must be very good or great, and offense must be at least good. Time to find out if we have Dantonio or Chizik...
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Kearns||
I COMPLETELY agree on Kearns; I think he could be great in the pro-style offense. He can make all the throws and shows exceptional touch. I think he's vastly underrated and love hims film. I hope he's the next offer.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||NT||
Who's the established depth at NT?
|8 weeks 5 days ago||This staff plays freshmen||
1. Derrick Green showed-up with too much bad weight, then got injured in training camp. By his own admission, he was not in playing shape to start the season. He also had to learn pass pro.
2. It's hard to argue that Hoke doesn't play whom he thinks the best available player. Here are the true freshmen that have seen significant playing time since Hoke arrived:
Yeah, they are going to play the best player. You can question this staff's ability to develop talent, but you sure can't question that they are willing to play younger guys.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||YES||
Well done, sir.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||AGREE||
It's important to remember how much of a premium this program puts on WR blocking. If you can't block, you're probably not going to play much. That often takes time in the weight room and a commitment to learning the techniques and the playbook.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||Henry to NT||
The trouble with saying Henry can't hack it as a 3T is that he did a really good job there this season. I'd love to see Wormley take that job, but Henry has to be the front-runner for now.
FWIW, I'd love for you to be right: Henry/Pipkins at NT sounds great, with Wormley backed-up by Strobel, Glasgow, and maybe Poggi or Hurst. In 2014 I think it will be tougher for RS Freshmen to have an impact on the D-Line, and that's a good thing.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||Waiting for spring**||
**Is cheating. Suck it up and make a prediction, Baran!
|8 weeks 5 days ago||Big, strong CB||
Watson is a pure CB that comes from a school devoted to football. Here's his hello post; I believe his frame would allow him to play more press man, and he's been going against Freddy Canteen in practice everyday.
He could very well be the SOTY.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||You may be right||
We have six scholarship WRs returning, and Chesson has a ton of snaps under his belt while Darboh was set to start in 2013 before his injury (which he may have recovered from by spring ball). While it's not a group that exactly knocks your socks off, there is quite a bit of quality there, and that's not even counting Funchess, who might eat a ton of WR snaps again in 2014.
At NT, we have no one with significant experience and no one with any real hype. Pipkins played a lot of 3-tech and will have to recover from injury that will probably cost him spring practice. Richard Ash is the only true NT on the roster, and he's been around for a long time without doing much.
While you may be correct that Harris has a good chance of making a big impact considering his lofty expectations, it's hard to say he has fewer challengers on the depth chart.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||38-30 FSU||
Auburn's rushing attack and dumb luck will keep this game closer on the scoreboard than it should be, but FSU's quality will win out in the end.
I don't see a blowout, but I do see a convincing win and one of the few teams in the BCS era with a legitimate right to say their National Championship is more reality than myth.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||We'll see||
I tend to agree, but one season doesn't make a good coach. A certain someone went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl in his first season, and things haven't gone as well since.
If Malzahn can produce sustained success--and I think he can--only then will I call him a great coach.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||Borges vs. Malzahn||
AB spent more than a season-and-a-half adapting to Denard. He spent this whole season trying EVERYTHING in a desperate attempt to find SOMETHING that would work.
But if you don't think Borges' plays are sequential, you're not paying attention. He'll run the outside zone, then a bootleg off of it. He'll run an inside zone and then play action off of it. He'll run a WR screen, and then run inside zone off of that. Then he'll run a throwback screen of of that.
Many criticize Borges (and fairly) for running too many different types of plays this year. He tried spread concepts, zone concepts, power concepts--he ran many of the plays that make Wisconsin, Stanford, Alabama, and, yes, even Arizona, effective. I think he may have tried TOO hard to adapt to his players.
I believe Borges problem is that he simply could not teach well enough to get his players to do what he wanted them to do. A good teacher and good players can execute any scheme; a bad teacher and bad players can make any scheme worthy of execution.
Malzahn's plays aren't those of a savant, they are simply well-taught, well-executed plays. See my other post for more, but if you can coach your team well enough to get them to do anything well, then you look like a genius.
It's a fair criticism of Borges that perhaps he can't teach his players well enough, but it's got very little to do with his preferred style.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||Malzahn and Offensive philosophy||
The Grantland article is a fun read, but it really doesn't explain Malzahn's success beyond many of his spread peers. He's not using plays or techniques that are appreciably different from lots of other spreads out there, or even other option attacks that come from under center.
What he is doing--and clearly doing it pretty well--is teaching the techniques. The last gif in the Grantland article talks about "arc-blocking" like it's some kind of revolutionary concept, when it's really just using TEs and FBs to block a running play. What stands out to me on that play is that nine, count 'em NINE Auburn players are able to execute effective blocks. Um, yeah, that's going to get you a successful play.
Scheme is vastly overrated. Malzahn's works because he's able to teach his players well enough to get them to execute it. Time will tell if he's able to sustain that success.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||Trenches||
Many of my 2013 predictions were wrong, and some were right.
The most accurate prediction was that our success--on both sides of the ball--would depend on the play of our O-Line and D-Line, respectively.
In 2014, that doesn't change. While the O-Line is more alarming with its persistent youth, the D-Line has no clear option at NT and didn't have a single play-maker in 2013. If Clark/Henry/Someone doesn't step-up, and in a big way, then we will get gashed again by good teams in the running game, and our pass rush will suffer.
The O-Line is an even bigger question mark (obvious is obvious) as it remains extremely young. The starting line will probably have zero seniors, just one junior (Glasgow), three or four sophomores, and maybe a freshman. That is still scary young.
The 2014 defense will need to be elite for us to have a chance at 10 wins, because I just don't see the offense being anything better than "good," and they might not even be that.
The good news is, by the end of the season, we'll know if we have a great coach, or Ron Zook 2.0.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||Flip your guards||
Kalis plays RG and Bosch played LG this year.
I'm not certain Glasgow stays at center. Bars, Miller, Burzynski, and Bryant could all affect that line-up. That said, I think the odds are in your favor with the five you listed.
|9 weeks 2 days ago||Good news, bad news||
The good news is that D-Line is the position where you most often see a guy seemingly come out of nowhere to have a huge season. IMO, that guy could be:
The bad news is that if that doesn't happen, 2014 will be rough.
The LBs and DBs will both be pretty good or better; for this defense to be very good or great, the D-Line needs to take a massive step forward. I'd say it's 50-50.
|9 weeks 2 days ago||Upvoted for Optimism||
Anyone willing to be optimistic and attempt sound reasoning gets an upvote from me. But I'm still going to rain on your parade a bit:
While I like your optimism, after 2013, it's hard to lock in any of these six.
|9 weeks 2 days ago||Good questions||
Here are brief answers:
|9 weeks 4 days ago||Hoke did that||
What's interesting is that Hoke's 2011 squad did exactly what you're describing.
Remember Gene Chizik? And now it's Gus Malzahn?
Year one doesn't mean much. Sustained success is the hallmark of great coaching, and, I believe, year four is the first year you can start to fully judge a coach's performance (good or bad).
Dantonio was 6-7 in '09 and vaulted to 11 regular season wins in '10. He is currently 63-29 at MSU, but only won 22 games in his first three seasons. Hoke has won 26.
Because of our late-season collapse, year four has become make-or-break for Hoke. If he had one another game and competed in the bowl, he'd probably have another year to develop his team. But because of the complete failure at the end of '13, he must win, and win big, to keep his job after 2014.
The 2014 schedule is no cakewalk. We'll see how good Hoke is very soon.
|9 weeks 4 days ago||What play?||
I'm not sure what play Borges can run when his O-line can't block.
Don't get me wrong--it's partly his fault that the O-line can't block. But he kept running the plays that might work when your O-line can't block, and KSU figured it out.
Not sure what he could have done in this one, other than teach better all year so that we can execute something.
|9 weeks 4 days ago||YES||
To all of this. 2014 has become a do-or-die year in some respects, and it doesn't look good. The O-line is still laughably inexperienced, and the defense doesn't appear poised to pick-up the slack after the last two games of 2013.
We need Miracle Max to hook Brady up.
|9 weeks 5 days ago||Yes and No||
Rich Rod never got the support he should have, but he also didn't do what he needed to in order to earn that support.
It wasn't just the losing, it was a completely inept defense that he didn't make it a big enough priority to fix. He's an amazing coach and I wish he had succeeded at Michigan, but his downfall was that he simply did handle the defense well.
Also, while Bacon's work suggests RR did take the time to learn and embrace the Michigan traditions, he did not show well in front of the press (before or after he got fired). The "Fort Schembechler" policy may be obnoxious to fans and the press, but it's good for the program, and RR was too emotional in front of the mic.
Additionally, the whole "stretch-gate" saga could have been handled better. That Brian was the one leading the charge about countable and non-countable hours instead of the Athletic Department is an indictment of both Martin and RR.
All that said, I agree that the Michigan family failed to embrace RR, and that did make his job tougher.
|9 weeks 5 days ago||The problem||
One of the big issues is that guys who are team leaders--guys who will be vital to any hope for success in 2014--mailed it in. Countess and Taylor both looked lethargic and often had poor body posture at the snap. Same for Wilson. The D-Line, from Clark to Beyer, was going through the motions and had one of its worst outings of the season. The LBs were better, but not by much.
On offense, the effort looked better for awhile, but never looked like a Michigan team. I did not see a sense of urgency.
|9 weeks 5 days ago||Great write-up, Brian||
I've taken issue with some of Brian's meltdowns this year, but this post is spot on. The team looked lethargic, disinterested, and inept. The body language (especially on defense) was simply unacceptable. This was a monumental collapse, a bad team playing even worse then they have most of the year.
Shane Morris deserves props for maintaining poise and confidence in a difficult situation. Jeremy Gallon should be praised for one of the best seasons in Michigan history (and he did it without the threat of a running game). Al Borges gets some credit for trying to gimmick the offense into a victory. Taylor Lewan deserves a medal of honor for sticking it out this year and never quitting--that tackle after the pick is why he'll be a great NFL player (that and his ridiculously athletic 310 lb. body).
EDIT: It's worth noting that the offense managed a respectable 4.92 yds/play. They just couldn't convert in the red zone, and weren't given enough chances by their defense.
But aside from a few unsparkling gems, there wasn't much good about this game. The defense just looked awful and the offense just couldn't muster any points.
2014 has become a huge, HUGE year for this program. If things don't get better, and fast, heads should roll.
|10 weeks 21 hours ago||I doubt anyone leaves||
I guess four guys got evaluations, and I was sure Clark was one. Devin is another.
I believe the other two are Raymon Taylor and Blake Countess. I just don't see anyone else on the team that would benefit from the analysis.
I don't think any of them will get a grade that is high enough to entice them to leave. In fact, I believe they are all just trying to gauge how much work they have to do in order to finish their careers as high(ish) draft picks.
|10 weeks 21 hours ago||Barry Sanders||
Barry used to lift with the O-Line as well. Rumor was he could squat over 500 lbs. Being shorter does make lifting easier, but that doesn't discount Barry (or Gallon's) tremendous strength.
Gallon is a beast. I think he's a fifth-round pick, and a guy that could make a team because he'll do whatever he has to in order to get on the field.
He needs to run in the 4.6 range though, or he'll drop.
|11 weeks 19 hours ago||To the OP:||
|11 weeks 1 day ago||Great post||
Love this, BB. Nice work. This is a special class...and I would make a healthy bet that Speight is a great starter for at least two years. Kid seems to have all the tools and the right mindset.
|11 weeks 1 day ago||Probably right about Clark||
I probably shoud have given Clark a "B" instead of a "B+".
As for QWash, I have to give the grade with the information I have. I'm sure there were injuries, but he just didn't make enough of an impact this season. Something was off--whether it's his fault or not, he didn't perform.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||Woah...||
Relax. He was posting something light-hearted that relates to Michigan's recent past.
Texas is a pretty similar institution with storied tradition, great academics, and a pretty loyal (and arrogant) fanbase. That they seem to have started down a road that led us to disaster is post-worthy, and kind of funny.
Of course, this could be the best coaching search committee ever.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||Chuck Norris||
Who's the dumbass that included anyone OTHER than Walker, Texas Ranger?
Chuck Norris is making this decision whether Texas likes it or not.
|11 weeks 3 days ago||Agreed||
Although our first truly disruptive recruits for the D-Line really arrived this year, excepting Ondre Pipkins. Most of our pick-ups are the solid-but-not-spectacular guys that win games by not making mistakes, rather than the play-makers.
There is Joey Bosa player; Taco is probably the closest, and I do think we'll see dividends from him next year. But none of our guys had Bosa's tools when they arrived.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||Best Wishes to George||
I hope he finds the perfect fit for him...and I still hope it's Michigan.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||Don't get it||
All the crystal balls on 247 (except for one for COLORADO!) have Vic going blue...I just don't get it. The kid seems to be a Cal lean, even after a great visit. For some people, sticking to their word means a lot, and maybe Enwere is one of those people. If so, good for him. If not, GO BLUE!
|11 weeks 4 days ago||AGREE||
And our depth should have shown late in games, when our defense seemed to be at its worst. PSU, Akron (!), Notre Dame, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska...our defense did not perform well at the end of games.
The talent is there, but it's still young. I hope they have a great off-season and spring and start to prove their potential next year.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||Thanks||
I appreciate the compliment about the enjoyable read.
My grade is absolutely influenced by our record (and it should be), but even moreso by our stats and my eyes. Looking at my grading system, keep in mind that a "B" is a 10-win defense. Do you really believe this was a 10-win defensive line? We had a relatively easy schedule, and the defense did not do its job in six of our twelve games (see above) IMO. It wasn't a horrible defense, but it was just an average B1G defense, and I expect much better from a Michigan defense. I bet Hoke and Mattison would agree.
The LBs and DBs are going to get higher grades, FWIW. I believe the D-Line was the weak link this season, mostly because of its inability to get pressure on opposing QBs, but also its general lack of plays.
As for QWash, I just don't see it. My injury speculation is just specualtion, and NFL scouts aren't going to look at half a good season in 2012 and take a flier on him. There were only 18 DTs selected in the 2013 draft...do you really believe QWash is one of the top 18 DTs in the country?
I like your optimisim for next season, but with how our youth performed this year, I'm a little worried about whomever plays next to Henry. I think the line will improve, but I don't think it will be something we can hang our hat on. I hope you're right.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||Agree to Disagree||
Really? Remember, a "B" is a 10-win defense. B+ means the defense is carrying us to a B1G title...to get into the "A" range you have to be great.
This year's defense is #8 in the B1G, allowing 26.5 pts/game. Only Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, and Indiana were worse. Nationally, we were 65th in scoring defense.
That great yds/rush you talked about? Yeah, we were fifth in the B1G in that category. We were seventh in passing yds/game, and were 61st nationally in passing yards/game.
We were seventh in sacks in the B1G.
The ONLY impressive stat for us this season was interceptions, where we were second in the B1G and 13th nationally.
This was a defense that was just average in the B1G. For Michigan, a "B" grade is being a top-three defense in the conference, top 20 nationally.
But let's forget about just stats for a second. The defense did not play well against Notre Dame, Penn State, or the second half against Iowa, and was terrible against Akron, Ohio State, and Indiana. That's half our games.
I think if you take off the maize-colored glasses, you'll see a defense that was just average nationally that could just as easily have cost us a few more games if our offense hadn't come through.
Compared to our offense, it looks like a "B", but this is Michigan, and this year's defense was not good enough. Not even close.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||Already happening||
Beyer is already our starter at SDE, and DE is definitely his more natural position. The fact that a 250 lb. guy that's been practicing and playing most of the season at SAM is an upgrade at SDE is very telling: no one else is ready.
This is happening; Beyer was only a SAM this year because of JMFR's injury. He will be back at DE next year, and I imagine he'll play SDE.
Clark is more athletic and it has taken him a LONG time to learn the WDE position. He's just starting to play it well and looked good down the stretch. I hope he plays there again next year.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||Freaked out||
When I saw the post was worried that Gardner was reconsidering sticking around for the 2014 season.
Honestly, we are in trouble without him in the bowl game, but I can't possibly care too much at the BWW Bowl. I want a win, but it would be fun to see what Shane can do.
Get well, DG. God bless.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||???||
You would be stunned if what was the case? Brian trying to be funny? Or the defense making questionable substitutions because the offense was bad?
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Good point||
But can't it be both?
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Top 5?||
While I agree that it is probably in Braxton's best interest to leave this year, I can't see him being a top five QB. He's just not a polished enough passer, and this season the NFL is showing that the running QB idea may have been just a '12 gimmick.
Here are the guys that I would draft ahead of Braxton:
Here are guys that might be better:
There are more...but my point is that Braxton was better as a passer this year, but if you're drafting him as a QB, I don't think he gets picked until day three of the draft.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Trying to be funny?||
Wait...is this a joke? Or are you seriously blaming the offense and letting the defensive coaching off the hook for a bad change?
There's a lot we can blame Borges for, but certainly not our safety rotation. That is silly, and I hope that was your intention.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Yes, and||
What do you do when you have no fifith-year seniors?
It's hard to question the wisdom of putting true freshmen on special teams this season when our coverage units were the best they've been in years. While I agree with Seth in theory, in reality, we just didn't have the bodies to do it that way.
|12 weeks 2 days ago||I laughed||
At that and many other lines in the post. Nice work, as usual. Necessary levity during the season of infinite pain.
|12 weeks 2 days ago||Up, but not yet way up||
Yes, they've had three 11 win sesason in the last four years, but they were also 6-6 in last year's regular season.
No one in the B1G has more riding on their bowl game this year than MSU. A Rose Bowl win puts them in the national elite; a loss and we'll hear more, "almost there" talk. They badly need the boost in the national spotlight and the recruiting bona fides it would bring.
Next year, MSU loses three starters on the O-Line and a starting WR. On defense, it's worse: they lose both starting DTs, two amazing LBs, and a safety and CB.
Expecting MSU's defense to be as good without Bullough is like expecting Michigan's offense to be as good without Trey Burke. Ain't gonna happen. They'll also lose Allen, Lewis, and Dennard--all legitimate stars.
Dantonio is a very good coach, but next year will tell us if he can maintain consistent defensive dominance with some lesser players.
If MSU loses the Rose Bowl and wins eight or fewer games next year, a lot of people will shake their heads and say, "Same old Michigan State." They are still a second-tier program until they win a big bowl game (which they have a chance to do this year) and follow that with a strong season.
You'll know they've arrived when top-tier recruits from outside the midwest take them more seriously.
|12 weeks 2 days ago||Disagree||
Coaches have complete control over redshirts. If they don't want to let Jones and York play, they don't put them in the game. Even if a kid wants to play, he's only on the field if the coaches believe it's what's best for the team.
You have to earn your playing time. If Hoke burned ANY of these redshirts because a player talked him into it, then I would call that bad leadership and poor decision-making.
|12 weeks 2 days ago||Agree||
We don't know the whole story here, since we did not get to see practices.
What is clear, however, is that our play at OG was poor all season, and if a player demonstrated a realistic potential to exceed the performance of the current starter, he should get his chance. A redshirt should not keep a player that could contribute off the field.
I agree that perhaps Jones and York should have been redshirted. That said, special teams coverage busts were far better this year, and that comes down to the unit as a whole, not just the guy who makes the tackles (Chesson and Norfleet seemed to make all of them).
The rule above applies: if Jones and York were really significant upgrades on special teams, I'm glad they played. Who knows how bad the "next man up" would have been.
|12 weeks 3 days ago||Utah||
The game itself is not brutal, but is part of the tough schedule.
Utah lost to Oregon State by three. They lost to UCLA by a touchdown. They lost to Arizona State by one. The only team that really spanked Utah was Oregon, 44-21. They played four teams currently ranked #17 or higher
Only USC and Arizona State held them under 4 yards/play; add Oregon and Arizona and you get the only teams that held them under 5 yards/play.
Utah is pretty good. The only teams we played this year that I believe are appreciably better than Utah: Ohio and MSU. Probably better: ND, Iowa.
We lost to all of those teams except the miracle against ND. If we don't improve markedly, Utah could beat us at home. It's not a "brutal" game, but it's much tougher than, say, Akron or UConn.
|12 weeks 3 days ago||Next year||
Our 2014 schedule is brutal: ND, MSU, and OSU on the road, along with Utah as a non-conference opponent.
2015 sets-up much better; we're at Utah to open, then face Oregon State and BYU as challenges at home, but have MSU and OSU at The Big House. Our conference road opponents are Minnesota, Penn State, Maryland, and Indiana. Very winnable.
What I'm saying is that eight wins in 2014 might be tolerated, depending on how we look. We need at least 10 wins in 2015.
|12 weeks 3 days ago||Player development in college||
It's always a tricky thing to pick a position for a defensive player in college. Usually corners stay corners, but every other position has a tendency to move "down and in," meaning you get bigger and stronger; safeties become LBs, LBs become DEs, DEs become DTs, and DTs become NTs.
In our base defense, the closest positions on the line are really the SDE and DT. The coaches will probably continue to shuffle those guys back-and-forth. But when you have a guy with the quickness and strength to play DT that is also 290 lbs or more, he can probably hold-up as a NT as well.
Players' bodies change drastically in college, especially on defense. Frank Clark is big enough to be a SDE at this point--I would not have guesses that would be possible.
I'm not sure the coaches are looking for interchangeable parts at DT and NT, but if you have the size/strength combo, you can probably play both.
|12 weeks 4 days ago||Green v. Smith||
Derrick Green has a higher ceiling than Smith, but that doesn't mean anything until he realizes his potential.
Green broke some tackles and made some plays this season, and the posters pretending he didn't are just silly. Yes, Smith had a Chritian Okoye Tecom Super Bowl run vs. OSU, and he looks like a good player.
But Green could be Carlos Hyde 2.0. He is big, powerful, and fast.
And you absolutely can teach balance.
The jury is still out, but Green appears more talented while Smith appears to have better leg drive and a good, old-fashioned refusal to go down.
|13 weeks 2 days ago||Hope you're right||
If it doesn't get better, we will see a staff shake-up. Maybe not Hoke, but if the O-Line is still among the worst in the country, we'll see our OC and OL coaches go, mabye more.
|13 weeks 2 days ago||That is not an impressive||
That is not an impressive trio: A former walk-on, a guy who is too small, and a guy who has not been able to stay healthy.
|13 weeks 3 days ago||Borges covets mobility||
Every guy we've offered has at least decent mobility, and some are pretty good runners
Zach Gentry looks like an amazing prospect. We'll have much tougher competition for him than Louisville before it's all said and done. He has a cannon arm but still throws with good touch, can throw on the run, and can flat out run. With his size, he should be durable.
Gentry might be favorite prospect right now. Kearns is probably second, simply because as a pure thrower, I think he is the best of the bunch.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||Below for most OCs?||
AB's offense produced the best yards/play against Ohio since...ever.
I have watched every snap. I see plays that are working and players that are executing.
If you're going to play the "1/3 off defensive mistakes" card, what percentage of AB's play-calls were ruined by our own team's screw-ups? And isn't it the OC's job to call plays that force the defense to make mistakes?
Ohio's defense is hardly 'Bama, or even Sparty. But they were the #13 defense in the country when we faced them, and we did far better against them then any of their other opponents this year.
I'm not going to defend Borges' season--it wasn't good enough. But to call ths game "above average for Al below for most other OCs" is ridiculous.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||I'll play!||
This game is easy! Top Ten programs that have accepted your definition of mediocrity:
I could keep going, but hopefully you get the point. ALL of these schools have had stretches worse than ours with Hoke so far, and for longer. Maybe you're young, but Michigan dominated the Big Ten in the '90's and came up against one of the best coaches and cheaters of all time in Jim Tressel, that put us three points away from the MNC in 2006.
And this doesn't even mention that we hired one of the best minds in all of college football (RR) and went through three years of misery.
Give me a break. Michigan has not accepted mediocrity, they have decided to be patient with a guy (Hoke) they believe could be the next great coach at U-M.
If Hoke hasn't turned the ship around by 2015, he'll be gone.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||Not sure if serious||
DG will be the starter next year, and will be picked before the third round of the NFL draft is over.
With one of the worst O-Lines in Michigan history, all he has done is put up the second-highest passing yardage total in school history, and was absolutely magical in a handful of games this season. Even with the pass-blocking getting worse as the season wore on, DG drastically reduced his INTs and improved his reads (although he did have a bad day against Northwestern).
When it's all said and done, Gardner will be #3 on the all-time passing yardage list (behind two four-year starters) and has a very, very good chance to top Navarre's 3,331 yards single-season passing record. He will likely finish this season with around 3,200, and I expect he'll have much better blocking next year.
If you're a troll, please leave. If you're serious, then I don't know what to say. Gardner is hardly someone I predict to win the Heisman next year, but I do believe he'll be a very good or great QB.
DG is completing 60% of his passes and averaging 8.6 YPA (17th). His rating is 146.07, good for #31 in the country and one spot behind Jordan Lynch. He's also #31 in yards/game, tied for 27th in TDs, and did I mention his 483 rushing yards (sacks included!) and 11 rushing TDs? He's #23 in yards/game, and has accounted for 32 TDs.
This is a long way of saying, GTFO. Devin Gardner is, and absolutely should be, our starting QB in 2014.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||2014 WRs||
Remember, this is all speculation. Those guys might contribute next season since they'll have a year of experience under their belt.
The problem isn't that these guys aren't good, it's that the 2014 class is amazing. Moe Ways was supposed to be the sleeper but put up something like 55 catches for 1200 yards and 16 TDs this season. Canteen looks like he could contribute in the slot today. And Harris is most athletically gifted WR prospect we've had since...I don't even know. And he's an early enrollee, so he may very well contribute in 2014.
With Chesson and Darboh undoubtedly having big roles next year, and Funchess and Butt soaking-up targets as well, their most likely use is in the Reynolds/Jackson role as blockers and occasional pass-catchers. Don't forget that Hayes and Norfleet are both planned to be in the slot next year, and I believe both will produce.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||Joey Burzynski||
Little Joe will be a RS SR next year and was in the running this year; the competition at LG could definitely include him.
I think Funchess will turn into more of a flex TE next year, ala Dallas Clark. I would expect Darboh and Chesson to be on the field with Funchess quite a bit.
LOVE this feature, BTW.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Rutgers commit Tyler||
Rutgers commit Tyler Wiegers
EDIT - He justed re-opened his recruitment and is now considering Iowa; they may be the favorite.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||He didn't say that||
But Hoke did not say that he wasn't firing anyone. He said he anticipates the whole staff will be back.
This question presents a no-win scenario for a coach who is still in-season and in the recruiting season. Admitting any changes at this point upsets the apple cart and can't possibly do any good for your team and recruits, unless the guy you're hiring is AMAZING.
As I said above, I don't think Hoke's plan is to fire AB. But I also don't think saying he doesn't anticipate any changes on the staff is a guarantee of anything.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||UCLA||
Borges left UCLA, he wasn't fired.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Akron||
The only reason to mention Akron as a poor offensive performance is ignorance. It was a very good offensive performance; the defense was bad.
PSU is more understandable; the first half offense was pretty bad, and Borges seemed to stick with the run for too long. It was not a bad game offensively, but there were a few calls that may have cost us the game. Of course, Gibbons making any FG he always makes would have won us the game.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Moe Ways||
WOW. He almost looks like a different player. Better hands, better routes, MUCH stronger, quicker...he looks like a top-tier WR now. I wonder if his ratings will change at all.
Canteen, Harris, and Ways...that is one helluva WR class for 2014. Hopefully, all of the '13 guys pan out, but even if they don't, all three of the '14 guys look like play-makers.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Coachspeak||
"Anticipate" is a word that covers a lot of things.
There is no other answer Brady could have given that would not have made the next month absolutely miserable for the team and the staff.
While I don't believe Borges will be fired, I certainly don't think today's answer meant anything.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||EXACTLY||
I will believe they whole staff is back when the whole staff is back.
There is absolutely no other answer that makes sense here. I have little doubt that Borges will continue to be evaluated through the end of the season, and we'll see what the staff looks like in 2014.
That said, I maintain that I am not in favor of firing AB unless there is a suitable and proven replacement. This means:
That guy is not easy to find.
|14 weeks 4 days ago||Great post||
|14 weeks 4 days ago||We are substantially younger||
We are quite a bit younger than OSU.
I won't argue that Hoke is nearly the scheme-and-execute coach that Urban Meyer is. I will say that Meyer inherited a much stronger roster, and that I don't want Urban Meyer to ever be the coach at Michigan.
You don't have to be patient; it's a free country. But impatience probably yields another painful transition. There aren't many coaches who can be immediately successful with a bad roster. I believe RR is one of the best scheme-and-execute coaches in college football, and look what happened with him.
I believe Hoke deserves at least another year. If he's replaced, it had better be with someone that is an absolute stud.
|14 weeks 4 days ago||BINGO||
Most of these charts is completely expected with regards to the schedule: we play tougher teams late and usually our toughest game of the year is the last one.
I'd be interested to see the stats with the cupcakes removed.
I really don't see any distrubing trends here.
|14 weeks 5 days ago||Perspective||
We won a BCS bowl just two seasons ago.
Henry Poggi said he was coming to Michigan because he believed U-M and 'Bama were the best two chances at a National Championship.
In 2006, we were three points away from being undefeated playing Ohio in Columbus.
In 2007, we had an 8-4 season that included the Horror, but beat Tebow-led UF in our bowl game.
Bad to slightly above average? No. That's Minnesota. Other than '08 and '09, we're above average to pretty good, but not elite.
Get a grip.
|14 weeks 6 days ago||And read the most||
The critics on this site are here more than the rest of us.
But I, for one, am grateful for the free content you deliver, and I am looking forward to welcoming another Michigan Man this week.
|14 weeks 6 days ago||I'll bite||
Dear Team 134 Seniors,
Thank you. I am so grateful for your contribution to this team, this program, and the University of Michigan. You have much to be proud of, and your work is not done. In fact, even after Ohio and the bowl game, your work is not done.
You will always be Michigan Men--you must never forget the responsibility that comes with that. Please continue to give off the field as impressively as you have on it. The only way we'll build the program we all want is if everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Thank you, and GO BLUE!
|15 weeks 1 day ago||Hell||
Also could've been Hell, MI.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Good point||
And very true. Conversely, that helps the passing game, making it easier to use either side of the field on every down.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Rules||
Rule changes in the NFL have made the passing game much more beneficial:
The best offenses in college are still running the ball very effectively. Wisconsin, Ohio, Northern Illinois, Oregon, and Auburn lead the nation in YPC and rush for at least 285 YPG. Those teams don't lose very much.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Jet sweep||
I would like to do a jet sweep from under center like Wisconsin does, using Norfleet. You can run some great plays off of that action.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Excellent work||
Thank you for this; I have been hoping someone would take the time to research this topic.
O-Line is not an area where the young are typically successful, no matter how highly-recruited they are. Now we have the stats to back that up.
This year, we only have four guys on the roster that were recrutied with scholarships in their third year or later: Lewan, Miller, Bryant, and Schofield. Glasgow and Burzynski have earned scholarships since arriving.
Here are our scholarship guys (guys that were given scholarships as part of their recruitment) that will be in their third year or later next season:
This is where RR really screwed us...there are only six scholarship options that will be in their third year or later. Yes, we can now add Burzynski and Glasgow to the list, but it's not like we have a ton of options. In 2015--assuming no defections--that number will swell to 12, not including the walk-ons turned scholly players. That will be the first season we have a full depth chart of OL players with decent experience.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||I don't want to argue.||
I don't want to argue. Slides are often called after you are at the LOS and set. I'm just saying that, based on football theory, there are two reasons your want your back on the field side:
Since neither of us know how this play was designed, we can't be sure what changes or calls were made at the line. I will say that if that RB's only job is to block the backside, then that's where he should align, unless that tips the play.
What I'm saying is that I agree with your point, but there are reasons teams align the way U-M did on that play.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Can't do that||
The RB needs to align to cover the most dangerous blitzer. You don't know who's going to blitz before the snap, so the RB will typically align to the field side where the defense has a fifth man on the LOS.
It is easier for the RB to get back to the ILB than to OLB on the LOS. The alignments were good, IMO.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||They've been running IZ all||
They've been running IZ all season; this is the first game where they pretty much ran JUST IZ. It helped, but as Brian pointed out, Iowa is built to punish the IZ game.
That said, it's clear you can have a pretty effective running game with one very good base play (see 'Bama) and I wouldn't mind an emphasis on it again this week. But we need change-ups and constraints. Hopefully we can block the outside zone and keep the Isos picking-up a few positive yards.
|15 weeks 3 days ago||RE: QB regression||
Anyone would regress behind this blocking. It's awfully hard to be a good QB when you're on your butt every play.
I would actually argue Borges has done a nice job developing DG. Gardner looked terrible as a QB when he arrived at Michigan, and he has become one of our best players, and will probably finish with the second-most passing yards in a season in Michigan history.
Joe Montana wouldn't have looked good behind this line. You can blame Borges for that, but this is not a good year to measure a QB's performance.
|15 weeks 3 days ago||Quick passing game||
It looks to me like DG is only looking at one option in almost every single one of these plays.
Our strategy against Northwestern appeared to be based on 3-5 step drops, quick reads, and short passes. So perhaps DG was being coached to only make one read, but I seriously doubt it.
Almost every single one of those plays had someone WIDE open or much more open the target DG chose. I was yelling at Devin all game...he did NOT do a good job reading the defense.
In section three, starting with the youtube clips, here's what I see:
Working backwards, here's what I see in category #2:
Gardner did not have a great game, and I understand that. He's been getting hit on almost every passing play. But AB's plays were getting guys open pretty consistently on most of these near-INTs, and DG missed the reads.
|15 weeks 3 days ago||"screw the game plan"||
I think what's clear is that Borges and Hoke will NOT screw the game plan. They aren't just running plays for this year, they are trying to lay a foundation for the future. They won't revert to a spread offense, even if it might be more effective right now. I think they are focused on moving forward, and are taking the pains that come with transition.
2014 and 2015 will determine if it was worth it.
|15 weeks 3 days ago||BTW||
Awesome post. Nice mix of quantitative and qualitative analysis, and the discussion felt real. Bravo.
|15 weeks 3 days ago||My take||
Basically, I believe we are seeing the natural growing pains of a transition to a new system compounded by youth, some occasionally silly play-calling, and the RR dearth. I expect improvement in 2014 and great things in 2015.
|15 weeks 4 days ago||AGREE||
Stats are nice, but they are only a statistical reality. This team's inability to convert short yardage situations needs to be accounted for.
The eyeball test says it was a bad call. While stats might say it's a good call, this Michigan team has been struggling to move the ball and score points, and our defense has been shutting opponents down.
I still think we should have kicked the FG. I'm not furious with the decision by any means, but I would have preferred the FG try.
|15 weeks 4 days ago||Ohio 2011?||
Did you miss that game?
|15 weeks 4 days ago||BINGO||
I, too, am frustrated by our often predictable play-calling and running into stacked fronts.
But replacing the OC is a tricky proposition...there aren't many proven commodities out there that fit Hoke's philosophy and would come to Michigan. And even then, there's still no assurance things will be better.
IMO, if you're going to make a change this year at OC, you need to bring in a guy who runs a similar system, is a proven winner, and will be at Michigan for a long, long time. I don't think that guy exists.
Also, Borges has a mixed history of success and failure and has never been in one place long enough to prove/disprove himself. If he is a guy that can be highly successful with elite talent then we're on our way to highly successful because we will be loaded with experienced talent by 2015.
To change now would mean putting our players, university, and fans through another transitional period which could lead to more mediocrity and more transition in three more years. I agree with Brian that you only upset the apple cart if you're reasonably certain that the results will be apple pie instead bruised, rotten apples.
|15 weeks 4 days ago||AGREE||
Great work, Seth.
Using our Dileo tendencies to our advantage seems like a good idea. If we're passing 80% of the time he's out there and we're STILL successful with it, it seems like his presence could open some options for us. And--without looking at the full season of data--my guess is that about 90% of the runs with Dileo on the field are inverted veer/option looks.
I would like to see some single back, three wide sets. We had some good success with the I-form twins vs. Northwestern; spreading the field a bit more might be advantageous.
Everyone knows Dileo is a security blanket; Northwestern almost got a couple of picks out of that knowledge. It's time to use our tendencies to our advantage.
|15 weeks 4 days ago||agreed||
And if he can't make it work by 2015, I'll be calling for his head too (and maybe Hoke's).
|15 weeks 5 days ago||Deja Vu||
I appreciate your work on this!
|15 weeks 5 days ago||Thank you||
This is a good post. I appreciate that you're thinking of solutions.
You've left out some important data on Borges. At UCLA, he had three seasons of improvement. My guess is you've left that out because it hurts your argument, but it wouldn't be fair for me to say that Borges hasn't shown regression at some previous stops (although one year at Cal under a doofus HC is hardly a sample at all, and I would argue his second year at Auburn was an amazing achievement, but that still doesn't submarine your point).
Also, total offense is pretty lousy indicator of offensive success. Scoring is much more important than yardage (ask the 2012 Lions). But I won't argue that AB hasn't show regression--he has. And I won't argue he's a great coach--he hasn't proven that.
I would argue that Borges hasn't been anywhere long enough to prove he's a good or bad coach. I think it's clear he's not a GREAT coach--those can make an offense more productive upon arrival. But as I've said, they are extraordinarily rare.
As for Mattison, I think you hit the nail on the head: he saved us from the oblivion of the RR defenses, and is still honeymooning. Don't get me wrong--he is a GREAT coach and I don't want to see him leave EVER--but we have regressed as a defense this year, and there is no excuse for that. We have an easier schedule and a better roster on defense. I expected better pass rush, better LB play, and fewer big plays allowed in the passing game. Any truly objective observer would label the Akron game as primarily a defensive failure. If not for DG's turnovers, the offense probably scores 40+ points, and all of those turnovers were just bad individual plays--there were guys open when he threw picks and fumble was just...but our defense allowed almost 5.3 YPP (one of our worst performances against a low-level team in many years) while our offense produced 6.85 YPP. That near-loss is on our defense and our QB.
Anyway, I'm glad to see that you are looking for solutions, and actually trying to name some. If we could get Bloomgren--which we can't--I'd go for it right away. He runs the same base system we do (WCO) and the terminology is similar. But why would he leave Stanford? Look at his background...I don't see it happening. I'd love to be wrong.
Bob Stitt? The guy has never coached at a high level. But that doesn't matter, because his philosophy doesn't fit with Hoke, so you'd have to fire Hoke too. Are you willing to do that? Bob Stitt would be a huge flyer...you could very well be hiring someone else in three years, after spending three years recruiting for Stitt's system. He is far from proven, and would be a huge gamble.
Same with Taafe--Hoke will never run that system. That said, if we did decide to part ways with Hoke, I would support hiring someone like Taafe. But no way that happens this year, nor should it.
Sean Kugler's UTEP team has the 91st ranked scoring offense. Their total offense is even worse: 97th. Kugler has never been an OC. Did you mean bring him in to coach the O-Line? This guy has NO track record as an OC. I would not be pleased if he were hired as ours.
My point, as I made above, is that chaning the OC now means changing the system, changing the coach these kids have gotten know and work with, and asking the kids we recruited for MANBALL to play something else. If you're going to do that, you need to be DAMN sure the guy you're bringing in is an offensive genius.
RR is an offensive genius. He's one of the best offensive coaches in the history of the game. In year three, he still couldn't score points against top teams. How long are you willing to wait? And are you willing to screw all the great talent we've recruited out of the chance to play the system they came here to run? Isn't that what we're dealing with right now?
I'm not saying Borges is a great coach. I don't think he is. But I'm also not sure he's a bad coach. He might be good. What I'm saying is that these kids--even more than the coaches--deserve some stability and the chance to spend several years trying to learn a system. If you're going to replace Borges, it has to be with a surefire replacement who has proven success and would fit with Hoke. And that's damn hard to find.
|15 weeks 5 days ago||Thank you||
This is a great post, and I agree with it. I would be very pleased with Mattison's OC equivalent. But if we had a better offense and had lost some of the games I listed because of sub-par defensive performances, you don't think our fanbase would be calling for Mattison's head?
Our defense is good, not great. We don't make many big plays. Even if we had a stronger offense, I'm not sure we'd be a top program nationally or even win the B1G. We don't get enough sacks, turnovers, or TFLs. We are solid, bend-but-don't-break defense. Honestly, I thought our defense would be better this season.
Having said that, I agree about Mattison. He is a great coach, and I certainly don't want to replace him, and I certainly don't yell at him. He makes bad calls, like every DC, and is not infallible, but I think he is a GREAT coach. It's hard to find guys like him.
Our defense has not improved from year-to-year. You could argue last year's strength of schedule accounted for our decline, but this year we don't have that excuse and we are not playing better. I submit that if our defense hadn't been SO terrible under RR, Mattison wouldn't be viewed as a savior and patience would be wearing thin for some of pitchfork and torch fans who will complain that our staff sucks unless we're winning every game.
My larger point is that firing people leads to more change, and change is hard for college kids and college programs. If you're going to gripe about someone, have a viable alternative in mind that you can be real confident will get the job done, because otherwise we're just firing someone else in three years. I honestly believe--despite his bad calls and some poor gameplans--that Borges should get more time. Not becuase he has been a great coach (he hasn't) but because we are in the first full year of a transition after three years of transition and these kids deserve some continuity and a chance to execute a scheme that they have been recruited to run. If Borges can't show improvement in the next couple of years, I'll be side-by-side with everyone calling for his head. If we can get a spectacular OC who runs a similar system with a proven track record, I'm on board. But my point is that is very, very, very hard to find, and if we can't find it, let's give these coaches--and more importantly THESE KIDS--the chance to do what they were recruited to do.
|15 weeks 5 days ago||Greg Mattison||
Greg Mattison is a great coach. If you think it's easy to find guys like Greg Mattison to get them to coach at Michigan, consider how much we had to pay him and where we got him. It's not easy to find his offensive alter ego.
That said, there is no way this fanbase would be pleased with Mattison's offensive equivalent. In 2011, GM allowed ND, Northwestern, Iowa, and a middling Ohio State team to score 24 points or more. Those are the kinds of games Borges gets castrated for around these parts. In 2012, with much better talent, GM allowed 25 from Air Force, 31 from Northwestern, and our defense lost us the Outback Bowl (I won't even mention the 41 we allowed to 'Bama). And this year our defense got shredded by AKRON (418 yards and 5.29 YPP), allowed 30 points to ND, let PSU drive to tie the game and then beat us in 3OT, and allowed 47 to Indiana.
Our fanbase would not tolerate those performances from an OC. Furthermore, I take issue with it not being harder to hide deficiencies on defense. GM has not had to deal with any personnel issues comparable to this year's OL.
But let's leave that argument for a moment, because I do completely agree that Mattison is an amazing--and rare--coach who gets more out of his players than does Borges.
The Cal guy? His offense is averaging less than 24 points/game, 3.57 YPC, and 5.16 YPP. After starting the season strong for three games, they haven't scored more then 28 points.
Georgia's OC is Mike Bobo. He's been at Georgia since he was a freshman in 1993. He's not coming to Michigan, and the question was, "Who would you prefer to Al Borges?"
Furthermore, since Mike Bobo took over as OC in 2006, Georgia has lost at least four games in five of his eight seasons, including a seven-loss effort in 2010. He's also coaching a program that has some of the best talent in the country, all of which was well-seasoned by the time he took over in 2006. He does a good job, but he's also loaded with talent and experience. You couldn't honestly compare him to Borges for another two seasons.
Again, I am not defending Borges or saying I think he's a spectacular coach. But I'm tired of all the bitching about how any competent OC would take our offense to the moon. Good coaches are damn hard to find, and if you're going to complain about Borges, offer a viable alternative.
FWIW, the two names that I would consider (if I wanted to fire Borges--which I don't) would be Danny Langsdorf (Oregon State OC) and Matt Limegrover (Minnesota OC). Both of those guys play for less prestigious programs and make a lot less money than Borges, and both fit Hoke's philosophy. I'm not sure we could get them, but they are somewhat realistic options.
But I certainly wouldn't bet that either of them would do better than Borges, and we'd be changing systems again, and acclimating our players to a new coach again, and recruiting would change a bit, too.
For a Funk replacement, the only guy on my list would TJ Woods (Wisconsin OL) and I'm not sure he'd come.
TL;DR - There is not a clearly better alternative to Borges that I can find (and I have actually looked), at least not one that I believe is worth another coaching transition at this point. We are just starting to try MANBALL, and I'd like to give this staff--and these players--more time before we scrap the system AGAIN. Art Briles ain't comin' to Michigan, and even if he wanted to be our OC, Hoke would never hire him.
So if you want to bitch about Borges, please do. But offer a realistic alternative. And don't forget that for as bad as our O-Line is, Borges has a QB on pace to be #2 in passing yards, a WR on pace to be #1 in receiving yards, put up record numbers in a single game, shredded a good ND defense, pummeled a good Minnesota defense, should have beaten PSU, and is still averaging 34.3 pts/game.
Finally, I think all fans should ask themselves this question: Why don't we yell at Mattison every time the opposing offense connects on a big play? We've allowed more points/game this year than last by almost a TD while playing weaker competition, and laid some pretty bad eggs while inviting offenses to make more big plays against us than in the previous two years. In fact, our scoring offense is ranked 39th, and our scoring defense is ranked 51st. So, why aren't you yelling at Mattison?
|15 weeks 5 days ago||That would have been||
That would have been hilarious.
|15 weeks 5 days ago||I like how you didn't answer||
I like how you didn't answer the question. I also like that you used a coach as an example that still had a losing record in year three of his tenure, and didn't start winning until he had some pretty ridiculously good talent.
It is not magic, but there isn't an OC out there that is winning national championships with sub-par talent.
So I'll ask again: who is the OC that would take the Michigan job and lead our offense to success? It certainly wasn't anyone we had during the Carr era.
My point is that these amazing coaches that making something out of nothing are EXTREMELY rare, and often can't put together a winning team even if they can get their offense to work correctly. Saban didn't win a NC until he had SEC talent. Same goes for Meyer.
I'm not saying there aren't some great coaches out there. I'm saying they are hard to come by, and people need to stop pretending that there is a simple solution to our OC issues and starting naming someone that has a chance of getting hired and might do a better job than AB.
So, instead of pretending this is a simple problem to solve, I'm challenging you to find a viable candidate for the U-M OC job.
|15 weeks 5 days ago||FALSE||
The Auburn offense was really good in Al's second year; maybe better than his first. The passing game wasn't as strong, but the running game was about 0.4 YPC better, and they scored more pts/gm.
2006 and 2007 are interesting comparisons to our current offense. Borges actually improved Cox's rating and YPA in 2006, but weaker O-Line and RB play seemed to hamper the offense. In 2007, they started nine different players on the O-line, including two true freshmen.
That said, there's lots of valid criticism in this podcast: too many rollouts, not enough deep to Funchess (or red zone targets), and a couple silly calls on key downs.
|15 weeks 5 days ago||Who is this magical coach?||
Yeah, I'm really excited about that guy, too. What's his name?
I'm not saying I'm in love with Borges, but who's your alternative? Name someone that would realistically take the Michigan job that fits that description.