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- The 3 pointers seemed random. Michigan was getting good looks and they just weren't falling. I actually liked seeing Michigan run offense the entire game to compensate.
- The game felt "fluky" to me. Michigan would play good defense, get a deflection with active hands, and it would go right to Furman for a layup. Or Michigan would box out and a long three would result in a long rebound for a second chance. There were breakdowns on D a few times and it wasn't flawless, but i thought Furman got more lucky bounces.
- God is there nothing worse in sports than the basketball ref that ASSUMES there was a foul. You know him - he's the guy with the worst angle of a play where a guy goes to the rim and he blows a whistle assuming there was a foul. There were at least 3 times that Michigan got called for a phantom foul in this game. Meanwhile, Walton has some magical power that prevents him from getting a call when he gets in the paint and draws contact.
- QB - Returning starter and talented depth. Yay!
- RB - Loads of talent and experience
- WR - Unproven, but variety and the steady Perry to hold things together
- TE - Monsters
OL - Yikes.....this is scary. Disappointed that Harbaugh hasn't had more of an impact here by year three. Could make or break the season. Cole/Bredesen/Owenu/?/?
- DL - Critical that the starters stay healthy and someone develops from the backups
- LB - Remember how worried we were this year? Let's hope that magic works again
- CB - Clark + talented and unproven masses should be fine
- S - Uh.....Kinnel and ?
- Keep the bigs churning - duh
- Get Rahk's confidence and aggression back
- Find minutes for Simpson to grow and contriibute
- Run the offensive system - no hero ball, find the open man, ball screen, etc.
- Redshirted in 1988 as a DB
- Played hardly at all as a RS-Fr in 1989 at RB with just 10 carries
- Exploded to start the season as a RS-So in 1990 with a 201 yard game against the Irish and a 288 yard game against UCLA.
- Lost a lot of carries the last four games of that season to true freshman Ricky Powers
- Declared early for the NFL trying to ride his great season and avoiding shared backfield carries with Powers.
- Played 4 years in the NFL as primarily a Kick returner and sometimes RB. (Intersetingly he never returned kicks at Michigan.)
- Alabama - total lock, even with a loss
- Clemson - lose and they're out
- Ohio State - some voters will get uncomfortable with PSU win, but probably in
- Washington - need to win
- OK / OKSt - if one wins in dominant fashion they have a decent resume
- PSU / Wiscy - won the toughest conference and fared well against OSU
- Michigan - finished third in their division, lost to Iowa
- Colorado - weird spot for them as you'd think a win = in, but would you want them when one of their 2 losses is a blowout to Michigan?
|2 days 18 hours ago||Three critical players...||
Besides health, you could make the argument that Hudson, Mettelus, and Dwumfor are among the most critical players this off season.
The safeties essentially both have to be good enough to play right away because the last Glasgow is the only other remote possibility at safety/viper. And we need another DT in the rotation with Dwumfor being the only obvious option.
I think the starting DL and ILB are fine and we have literally seven viable corners to yield two starters. Safety/viper and a third DT are the biggest unknowns.
|3 days 15 hours ago||I like Mike and Mike||
I know a lot of people rip on Mike and Mike but honestly I enjoy their show and always have. I would much rather listen to a professional I know a lot of people rip on Mike and Mike but honestly I enjoy the show and always have. I would much rather listen to a professional fairly unbiased take on sports with good guests them one of the screaming heads that most radio stations throw out there such as Skip Bayless or Colin Coherd.
the biggest complaints I have about Mike and Mike is that green tea sticks to to rigid of a schedule with suit so many advertisements and they tend to exaggerate the importance of every single event to fill air time for obvious reasons
|1 week 3 days ago||OL is scarier than DL||
I think you can scheme around DL issues a little more than you can the OL, at least with pro-style offense. We have four sure-fire starters on the DL and some guys who are flexible in their position. Depth is frightening, but most of the time I think Brown can make something work like he did at BC with lesser players.
On OL we learned under years of Hoke that even one mental mistake or weak link in the OL can doom the play. Not only do we not have proven players, but the guys on the list haven't even been coached up during a red-shirt year. It is frustrating and scary to think about multiple true-freshmen being in the two-deep and not even being able to cobble together a starting 5. It is also hard to coach around it because one blunder and you're behind the sticks and punting.
As for grad transfers.....that seems highly unlikely at both positions. I think you might be able to find a guy on the DL who is good/big enough to be a rotation piece. But a power-5 starting offensive lineman? No way.
|1 week 4 days ago||My era.....||
The mid-1990s were my era at Michigan and I do remember some of these guys. For example, Pryce was a monster on the field but apparently had some off-field issues (sad because he would have been great). I also was in West Quad with Jon Ritchie and remember him taking a dump in the stairwell and standing there laughing as students walked by trying to avoid stepping in it. Good times.....
It really comes down to the OL and then seeing how quickly the young stars Harbaugh has recruited can build depth at WR and on defense.
Don't underestimate the impact of Kenny Allen though - he was a stud this year outside of that weird Wisconsin game.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||Odd departure.....optimism?||
It seems odd for him to depart when you have a strong contrbutor at that position, though it is rare for your LS to be on scholarship in the first place. He's done a great job in his career so there's always a risk that we take a step back next season.
Where this might be cause for optimism is that they told him that they needed his scholarship for recruits. If they needed a scholarship from a solid contributor, maybe that means some combination of lack of unexpected attrition and more recruits.
|3 weeks 3 days ago||Weird Game||
I had three observations from the game:
|3 weeks 4 days ago||2017 depth||
Quick thoughts about youth/depth for 2017:
So OL, LB, and S are the concerns. The depth on defense takes a huge hit too. The offense will need to carry more of the load behind a shaky OL to give the D time to develop.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Fine line||
I think another person said this, but I don't like the message it sends. Let's say that Speight throws for 400 yards in the first game next year, looks like Tom Brady 2.0, but we lose. Now our playoff chances are on life support so he says he's going to quit the team to prepare for the draft because his stock is never higher.
That's crazy you say? Well, where is that line drawn?
I like Magnus's idea. I also would have preferred that McCaffrey talk to his coach and say "I want to play for my team, but given where things stand can we keep my touches down and let other guys have a chance? I think there's a compromise in there that works for everyone and doesn't make him look selfish.
If I am at the combine for an NFL team my question is this - our team is 6-6 in a tough division looking like a longshot for the playoffs. Are you going to quit in a contract year to avoid injury?
|4 weeks 5 days ago||He is the key...||
Pretty amazing to think that the two most important players seem to be our bigs - Wagner and Wilson. I think it is because they actually are a match-up problem for most teams (UCLA excluded). I think the Big Ten is fairly mediocre this year and if those two play their roles up to their potentia this team could have a solid season.
I also think Robinson and Donnal are in their proper roles. Heading into the next two body bag games and into the conference season this is what needs to happen for this team to reach its potential:
|4 weeks 5 days ago||General response to Ace....||
First, I am glad that there are at least signs of defensive improvement this year. Obviously you can't fix things overnight - especially when you return a lot of the same players (and bad defenders) from the past. What I'm a little more concerned with, however, is our offense. Beilein has taken the team to great heights with poor defense and great offense. This offense is so erratic at times that it is frustrating. I guess even the Burke/Stauskas teams had their droughts, but why this team gets lost at times is perplexing.
Second, Walton and Irvin. They are both useful contributors who have represented the program well. But on a truly good team they are your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th options at most. My frustration on this blog the last couple of years was that we kept blaming injuries for their performance. Both players have their limitations - always have and always will apparently.
Third, the key to the next three games is for Michgan to get the freshmen meaningful minutes - perhaps even if it keeps the games closer than the body bag point spread. We need to get them confidence and real game action.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||Perry & A-Train||
The reason you don't see Perr, A-Train or even Mike Hart on the list is because they were products of the Lloyd-ball era. They were all talented and great players for the teams they were on. But they also fell victim to the simplistic play-calling, run-run-run-punt-play D, and play close games mentality of Carr. I remember Perry's awesome 200-yard game against MSU that one year......but it took him 52 carries to do it.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||RB carries||
I think Magnus hit it correctly with his comments about toughness, blocking, and little things. I suspect that shows up in practice and was what got him in the doghouse last year. You saw Higdon come out of nowhere and get carries probably because he was doing those little things.
It is hard to fault the coaches too much with how well the season was overall, the fact that four different RB had successful seasons, and the fact that they also mixed in Peppers. But I do think that they gave up a little too easily on Isaac and Higdon late in the season. I'm always of the opinion that you ride the hot hand more and it feels like Isaac gets yanked even if he breaks off a big run.
i also agree 100% that Michigan didn't use the screen game as much as they could and that Isaac is probably the best choice for that besides Khalid Hill.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||Jon Vaughn||
I guess I'll play the 'old guy' card and talk about the top name on that list - Jon Vaughn. Everyone knows Wheatley, Denard, and Biakabatuka...but you rarely hear about Vaughn. His story is somewhat interesting:
I remember that he was one of the first players I remember being upset that he left early for the NFL since he seemed like he had so much potential yet untapped.
|5 weeks 4 days ago||Still worth it||
While OSU clearly had a counter and we weren't successful (and had the stupid 10-men situation), it is obvious that OSU had to spend a lot of time scouting this and coaching these plays to prepare for Michigan. That in itself is a win. As we know from our friends at the Freep, they can only practice so much - devoting a chunk to punting takes away from something.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||Play diagrams....||
Ace - Could you make those diagrams of yours almost gile a gif where the lines appear one at a time rather than having them all in place? There's also a free app you can use called Basketball Dood that is pretty well done for a simple way to diagram plays and set them to motion.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||Hero Ball||
Your two play diagrams and warranted praise for Beilein's offensive prowess just further emphasize how horrific it is when someone - ANYONE - tries the hero ball route for a final shot. I remember fans getting annoyed when Trey frickin' Burke did the hero ball crap and no one on this roster compares to his ability to create points. Why on earth wouldn't you draw up a play like one of them shown here? Especially when Irvin and Walton will often be matched up against the other team's most athletic player and Wagner won't?
|6 weeks 5 days ago||We're out and we should be out||
While I think we're one of the best teams, we can't justify being in with two losses. We had to win either Iowa or OSU to be considered - losing both means we're out. We can bitch about having beat PSU, Wisconsin, and Colorado while also losing such a coin-flip game to OSU....but we lost 2 of our last 3 and one was to a crappy Iowa.
If we are sitting at 1-loss we're right in the mix. But as it is we shouldn't be in consideration. It would take total chaos (both Clemson AND Washington losing) just for us to get a sniff, and even then I don't think we should make it.
Sucks....but get a 4th quarter first down or a stop or an actual ref call skewed toward us in those two games.
|6 weeks 6 days ago||I wish I believed it was possible....||
I think we are at better team than a lot of those in contention - certainly Wisconsin, PSU, and CU anyway. I do think that in a scenario with a lot of chaos that we have a fighting chance - and crazier things have happened.
But I don't think we have much of a shot without total chaos. You also should include in this analysis the quality of losses. While Michigan's aren't bad (both close road losses, one to #2) the Iowa loss stings here. I think if we were sitting with one loss to OSU we'd be in pretty good shape. But with two losses and two other teams from our own conference having legit claims to a spot - it will be difficult.
As it is, OSU has their own drama about the playoff spot. While we all think they'll get in, what if PSU dominates Wisconsin next weekend? Now you'll tell PSU that two teams from their own division are getting in ahead of them? Not likely.
Total chaos is the only way in, and frankly that's probably how it should be. Michigan needed to find a way to win one of their two losses. As it is I think the playoff chances are likely ranked like this:
So we want Clemson & Washington to lose while the B12 and B10 games are boring and sloppy. Otherwise I don't think we're in, nor do I really think we should be.
|7 weeks 1 day ago||Close game - every play matters||
Look - I get it, the refs sucked. In a game that goes into 2OT the margin comes down to a single play. There were countless plays in this game that could have flipped it. And yes, I agree - the refs' made some calls that could have changed the game for us. I'm not saying that we SHOULDN'T be mad at the refs. I'm saying that this wasn't like the MSU game from 2015 or even the Iowa game from this season.
I'm more frustrated that the team who was poised all year with few turnovers and few offensive penalties made so many mistakes. I'm frustrated that we had Samuel dead behind the line and let him set up the 4th down play.
Most of all I'm frustrated that we continue to be the nail in this rivalry while OSU is the hammer. We needed one break and none fell our way.
|7 weeks 6 days ago||JT is the key||
While I think the Michigan D will give up a couple big plays to Samuel or Weber, I think they are good enough to shut most of that down. No one is completing a pass on Lewis these days and even when it appears Stribling has an iffy game (which I thought this past week and TTB pointed out as well), that equates to maybe one legit completion, one fluke completion, and one setting edge poorly. That's light years from the days of Johnny Sears and JT Floyd.
Anyway, this comes down to what it always has for Michigan versus OSU and other dominant spread teams - the QB's legs. With JT Barrett I'm most worried about the improvisational passing. I've been scarred ever since the Troy Smith 2006 game and I think it holds true here. LB and DBs leaving their coverage to chase the QB.....and giving up a completion. LB and DBs holding their coverages....and giving up a 15 yard gain.
To win the game we have to force Barrett to pass from the pocket. If we can do that, we have a great chance to win. (It would also help if the Defense could recover their first fumble of the year too.....what a crazy fluke.)
|8 weeks 5 days ago||Duncan situation||
While I am as surprised and encouraged as anyone about Wilson vastly exceeding expectations through two games, I'm a little worried about Duncan Robinson.....and the feelings toward him. I get that we need a true PF like Wilson and that Duncan's defense isn't good. But he averaged over 11ppg last year and shot 45% from 3. We need to find a way to replace that production if he's suddenly going to be a bench player who gets 15mpg.
I do think that Robinson being able to come off the bench so that they can send any combination of Rahk, Irvin, or DJ for rest is a good thing. And if he's having one of his 6-for-8 nights from deep you play him more. I just worry that everyone is forgetting his positive contributions from last year. I hope he can find his outside shot coming in cold from the bench for a few minutes per game.
In the meantime, let's hope JB can work some magic against Marquette no matter what the minute split is between Duncan and DJ.
|8 weeks 6 days ago||More info please?!?||
I love that we have so many posters here that can so quickly relay awesome information like this. But it does get frustrating when the post has no link, doesn't list his position, rank, measurables, year, or heck....even sport!
|9 weeks 3 days ago||Speight =/= Navarre. Speight = Brady||
I never liked the Speight as Navarre comparison after the first game or two. They are both huge, slow pocket passers. But I think Speight is more like Tom Brady....in terms of his feet. Brady is as slow as any QB in the NFL, but he has that 1-step movement in the pocket to avoid pressure, he rolls out when needed, and he gets a sneaky scramble about once per game. When I see Speight avoid pressure, I think of Brady....not Navarre.
|9 weeks 3 days ago||Crawford downfield block||
I see why Brian thought Crawford got the wrong guy with his block, but I disagree. I think Crawford checked his options, realized he was unlikely to get to the guy who made the tackle, thus he took out the other two guys. Not perfect, but best case for him.
|9 weeks 3 days ago||Ceiling.....and expectations||
What I want to see out of the team this year is obvious improvement. Since we made the tournament last year and avoided any "bad losses" that to me means we are more competitive against top-50 teams and steal a couple wins and we make it to the second weekend of the tournament. I think predicting things like the final four are a little silly anyway because so much of that is based on the draw and some dumb luck. (i.e. MSU 2015)
I think the season hinges on three things, in order of importance:
1. Wagner is the real deal and an asset most games. 25mpg, 10-13ppg, 4-6rpg
2. Irvin/Robinson play up to their potential at forward. You'll hear a lot of talk about DJ Wilson being an X-factor, but it is more important that the two starters improve over last year. We need Irvin to play more like he did at the end of the season throughout the year. And we need Robinson to play more like he did early in the year. And they both have to get incrimentally better on D.
3. The defense has to get better. We don't have to be GOOD at defense, we just can't be horrific at defense.
If you take last year's team that snuck into the tournament and get a little better in those three areas it is pretty easy to see a couple of extra wins, thus a better seed, and maybe beating a team or two like Notre Dame in the tournament to make the Sweet Sixteen.
(Step 2 is turning that into a little recruiting magic and continuing the progress back toward where the Burke/Stauskas teams were.)
|10 weeks 4 days ago||Intentional holding||
While I agree that a lot of holding goes on in the trenches that rarely gets called, I do think MSU had a plan here in this game like the earlier poster said. If you start getting beat, hold - they can't call it every time. It worked for MSU with their DBs for years and it works for Izzo with his physical defense.
Where I remember it happening was late in the game on some of the cosmetic MSU success when Taco and Glasgow were blatantly held. Interior holding goes uncalled, except when the RB runs past your NT and he can't even reach an arm out because his shoulder is being held. DE's sprinting around the corner at the QB and being tackled gets called 90% of the time.
It seemed that MSU had a good plan to hold if needed and it aligned with an officiating crew that seemed determined not to call it much. They would rather call any minor contact in the secondary as PI (except when Darboh's arm is held).
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Why make the WR ineligible?||
I've never understood why teams knowingly make that interior WR ineligible. It clearly tips run and allows the D to have more freedom. I don't understand why that extra 1-yard of positioning relative to the LOS matters for the play design. Why not keep him an active threat?
(I also think similar things whenever I see a DT line up further away from the LOS to tip stunt)
|14 weeks 4 days ago||Hoke-like behavior on Offense?||
Two things jumped out to me in this UFR that you repeated several times. The fact that our snaps were being timed consistently without a correction and the fact that we ran play action on long yardage downs more than once. These were frequent criticisms of the Hoke/Borges regime so I'm surprised to see them here. Can you comment further on why you aren't more frustrated like you were then? Do you think there will be a press conference this week when your staff can get a question in along those lines?
|16 weeks 6 days ago||Disagreements with Brian....||
Okay, a couple of things I disagreed with in this post (minor observations only):
1 - When O'Korn came in the first time the TV crew showed footage of Speight getting checked out on the sideline. I assumed the only reason he came into the game was so they could check him. Perhaps that footage wasn't live.
2 - I think there's a difference between Navarre foot speed and Brady foot speed. Navarre was truly a statue. Brady has that skill where he can sidestep one defender to free himself for the pass. I think Speight is in that Brady-class of foot speed. He made several plays with his legs by moving around or out of the pocket - that was not something Navarre ever did.
3 - I have no doubt that Don Brown knows what he's doing, though I get nervous with the number of references to "don't worry - it will be fine" type of comments. I will say this - of all the positions on the team, the safeties and Peppers have had the biggest change to their assignment. The rest of the defense is doing some variation on what they've done in the past. The Safeties now are disguising coverage, taking slot guys, playing the run, etc. That's the area I think we're having growing pains.
4 - Michigan doesn't seem to be running an NFL style punt - they seem to have some hybrid thing where there are three guys in the backfield spaced horizontally. It doesn't look like the "shell" that you see in the NFL, it seems like a weird mix of the shell/spread. I don't like it and I fear that Harbaugh over-reacted to the MSU situation or losing Blake O'Neal.
|17 weeks 6 days ago||Special Teams||
Brian - after listening to the podcast there were three things about the special teams I was surprised you didn't talk more about:
1- Our first glimpse at the punt team showed a weird hybrid formation between pro/spread. Thoughts?
2- The Kenny Allen muffed punt.
3- The other kickoff that wasn't a touchback was tactical. UCF had a penalty and as a result UM kicked off high and short, where Jordan Glasgow seemed to force a fumble. It looked like a very smart strategy.