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|32 min ago||Quiet isn't bad||
I don't think we need an impact player at SDE for this defense to work. We need consistency, so Beyer will be fine. In the over he'll be going up against TEs with Ross on the boundary (seems kinda small for strong side but it just works out that way I guess) so he just needs to hold his own. The guy that takes on the RG and RT is the over is (I believe) the 3-tech. This is. . . a question mark.
We're deep and the DTs have some experience but they're relatively inconsistent and unproven. Chalk some of that to injury, it happens, and in the under (which we'll probably still see some of) I'm OK, but this "pinch the play from the outside in" approach the over is designed for only works if the DTs can handle ALL OF TEH BLOCKS and the 3-tech's job is a lot tougher this season.
|1 hour 1 min ago||Raw Taco||
The hype train hasn't left; it's just recovering from a bit of e.coli. The evidence we have says this Taco was very raw. Heinenger Certainty Principle applies (he'll be fine) and physically he's a monster (he'll be better than fine), but the fact that he's second on the depth chart indicates his playmaking is still not quite enough to beat out Beyer's consistency.
How far behind Beyer is a mystery to me. These coaches place a premium on consistency so Beyer starting surprises exactly no one, but as fall camp winds down is Taco making 2 out of 3 plays correctly or 9/10 and just behind Beyer because Beyer's up to 49/50? The scrimmage isn't enough to tell us this so we'll just have to see.
|2 hours 30 min ago||It depends||
To clarify, I don't envision 15-6 where we pull all the stops. Again, a lot of MGoContributors intend to measure this season based on how the team plays, not the outcome. I'm in that camp, is what I mean by it.
I said I'd be "happy" with 15-6 if it becomes quickly evident that our defense is not only deep but able to keep a mediocre FCS team from moving the ball. Recent history acknowledged, but I maintain that's not a tall order. The defense is almost 3-deep so they're in no danger of wearing out. Those conditions in mind, this would allow Nuss to stick to base plays that -- hey, let's be honest -- still need work. They could go 30-40 yards a drive and settle for field goals all game as long as A) the OL makes the most of the experience and B) we win without using the back pages of the playbook. If we meet those goals I don't really care about the points. I'm happy with 40 but beyond wins I want to see progress, not desperation. If we score only 15 points with Nuss showing all his cards I'll be very upset.
The Akron game didn't piss me off because of the score, per se. It pissed me off because the O-line regressed and Mattison had to use one of his trump cards on the last play to seal the win. It was an aggressive called play. I'm sure he wanted to save it for later, but using that play was a symptom of a bigger issue. Ditto with UConn. I'm all for linebackers making circus catch interceptions in any situation but that we needed a circus catch interception to win the game was a bad sign. Replace the urgency with control and I'm happy to let the OL improve at whatever pace doesn't compromise the D's efforts.
|3 hours 23 min ago||I.e.||
To reconcile the two, the peak of Michigan's win distribution curve is lower (fewer wins) than MSU's, but the distribution itself is flatter. Lower projection, higher ceiling (but also equally higher chance of another unfortunate implosion)?
Michigan is, to be blunt, more unpredictable. Predictions vary wildly between 6-6 and 10-2, with most hedging at 8-4. The team is super talented and could threaten a NC if it all comes together, but too much needs to go right to expect that just yet.
|3 hours 31 min ago||Sad STAEE of affairs?||
Looking at that graph, I would love to see our offense progress like MSU's did last season. It can even start out every bit as bad as long as the improvement's there. I'd love a good offense as well but I'm gonna protect my heart against a true frosh starting LT.
So I don't care if we can't even muster a TD against App. State as long as we win. I don't see their offense getting in the end zone against our back seven even if their veteran OL fights our three-deep DL to a stalemate. I know I know, complacency, Akron, Toledo, Teh Horror, etc., but FFS there's jinx and then there's reality. Mattison has the first two-deep defense since he arrived and this ain't the same App. State that came to Michigan off back-to-back national titles. If we win 15-6 but get a ton of IZ reps against a D-line that isn't wearing winged helmets I'll be happy as long as we get that sharp upward trajectory from WMU to Indiana that Sparty fans saw last season. Their first few games were so awful it dragged down their stats but they won most of them, over the last few games they held their own, and they wound up winning the Rose Bowl. I'll take that.
As for STAEE, I wouldn't count them out. I doubt they'll repeat a one-loss season but they're not replacing last year's defense with freshmen. The new group is probably just as coached up as the last, so I see them picking up another 1-2 losses not because of genuine issues so much as regression to the mean.
|17 hours 37 min ago||A few reasons for optimism||
1) Don't put much stock in the "we lost two NFL tackles" thing. In fact I'm dead sick of it and disappointed it showed up again. O-line is like a fort; as the quote indicated you attack the weak point and that was our awful, awful guards. Our most experienced lineman is far less experienced than either of last year's tackles, but our least experienced lineman is. . . um. . . a true freshman. But one that beat out some with game experience. OK, I'm not selling this well, but it's not the experience we're losing that was the make-or-break. DCs were scheming around the tackles to the point that half the time Lewan was standing around looking for someone to block.
2) Simplified scheme. Last year's smorgasBorges had to have caused mass confusion.
3) Chemistry? We'll see.
4) Constraint theory. For all the plays we were running terribly, a lot of them were telegraphed with sub packages or counters to plays we don't run. This put more pressure on the O-line than a coherent offense would've.
5) If we don't keep tinkering with the plays or lineup they'll get better as the season progresses.
6) Hopefully Nuss will have the O-line execute plays they can execute, at least physically. One of my biggest beefs with Borges is that he kept having players do things they couldn't do (Funchess as a TE, for example).
Some of these are hopes, but that's all we got at this point.
|17 hours 45 min ago||It's actually hard||
My guess. . . it's really, really hard.
Height actually isn't an advantage by itself. The reason why O-linemen are tall are because A) tall men have bigger frames to pack on more weight, and B) they have longer arms, giving them reach (very important when you're trying to get your hands on a DT).
To knock a guy off his feet you have to get under him (PAD LEVEL), and the taller you are, the more you have to coil into the proper stance, i.e., very low. But you can't get chopped down either, so your burst has to be quick, well-timed and at the right angle.
So while his ceiling is much higher, he's inherently more raw because he's gotta have polished form to make the most of his huge frame. If his pad level is bad I can imagine a guy 3" shorter and 30 pounds lighter winning the battle just by having a quicker first step and lower center of gravity.
|17 hours 56 min ago||Yeah||
I'm a work-in-space guy so line play ain't my thing, but I'll echo the layman's thought for others to correct here: OK they're raw but the're consensus 4- and 5-stars; at some point why not just pack 'em together and bull rush the D-line?* You won't get more than a couple yards without a crease, but at least you'll go forward. Maybe it's harder to run a counter but we weren't running counters to plays we were running anyway. It still baffles me that the base play they rolled out (against CMU) was zone stretch. Zone stretch! I remember a bunch here on MGoBlog equally baffled by that. Try to finesse a bunch of freshmen and the only thing going through the crease will be a DT.
I honestly don't know about Funk. The guy has to teach what the OC calls, and Borges kept asking the players to do things they couldn't do. Last year was such a mess it's hard to pinpoint a single cause of failure and we're not going to see much, if any, improvement this year but the one thing I ask for out of Nuss is coherence. I don't expect the OL to be good but I expect to understand what the plan is to fix that. If what he's calling makes sense and the O-line still doesn't improve, then we can put the noose on Funk's neck.
*Yeah, I know: pad level, pad level, pad level.
|21 hours 30 min ago||The 2011 defense, at least to||
The 2011 defense, at least to start, was a patchwork job. There were a few really good guys, and a whole lot of holes. He definitely had his favorites -- Mike Martin, RVB, Kovacs. But that unit was also paper-thin everywhere.
The thing he ALWAYS maintained is that when he got the defense to buy in, they were willing to work their tails off to get good. MGoBlog chronicled the progress and witnessed that even disasters-evident like Heininger were coached up to respectable by the end of the season. Mattison didn't question their effort and I honestly think he has no regrets over coaching that bunch. I remember he was close to tears (or even IN tears) after the Nebraska win.
But while Mattison would never say it, he's too classy of a guy, I think he's really making a backhanded comment about the defense he inherited. To what extent I don't know, I'm speculating pretty far as it is, and I don't mean to bring back another "RRod left the cupboard bare" debate. I think it's a combination of things, but just looking at the 2010 stats it's undisputed that Mattison inherited a disaster and at least part of it had to be player fit. Remember, he moved guys all around trying to get something to work. So, this isn't a knock on any individual but that what he had to work with when he came on board was the furthest thing from ideal.
P.S. I think it's too early to say this defense will be comparable to '97, but people forget the downright shocking number of freshmen who played last season. Most of the D you'll see this Saturday will still have 2 years of eligibility by the end of the season. Our defense was good last year, will be very good this year, but next season might be downright scary.
|22 hours 14 min ago||correction||
Darboh ain't no kid. Have you heard the guy talk? I wish I sounded that mature at 29 for cripes' sake
|1 day 22 hours ago||The QB controversy had||
The QB controversy had nothing to do with motivating Gardner. Gardner never needed external motivation; the guy almost beat OSU on a broken foot FFS.
It had everything to do with motivating Morris. The guy's as green as a golf course, got whipped in the bowl game, just got off watching a terrible season from the sideline, the seniors had gotten a sense of entitlement and Morris has to look forward to Gardner taking back his spot in 2014. He may not have believed the whole "QB controversy" thing from the beginning, but I don't think the point was to fool him. The temptation here is to just coast through the season like Green did as a frosh, with disastrous results, so they're emphasizing that the team is a true meritocracy, to dissolve the sense among underclassmen that the seniors play by default. It also implies -- by extension -- that the team would be happy to play Bellomy if Morris slacked off. Not to say that he did (I've heard no evidence of that), but he's the QB of the future and especially given he didn't redshirt, the program absolutely cannot afford to let this guy take a year off.
If anything, odds are Gardner was in on it. Not that Hoke ever outright said the job was his, but he probably knew the whole thing was a motivational tool for Morris and not casting any doubt on his effort.
|2 days 28 min ago||OR||
I really wonder if that's some motivational thingy Hoke's got going with the linebackers (or maybe the non-linebackers?) or a situational package thing. At first glance it sort of defeats the purpose of a depth chart, especially on D where heavy rotation is the expectation anyway.
This is a useless obsession of course because I think it has absolutely zero relevance to even the first game snap, but it does make me wonder. I guess maybe that's the point?
|2 days 1 hour ago||Agreed||
I think the consensus is more that he'll play this season, and even factor, than start the first game. As a freshman who didn't play many games in HS he's got a LOT to pick up, but if he's up to the task he may be in and out of the rotation by B1G play. I reaaally doubt they'll redshirt him.
|2 days 1 hour ago||Looking at the depth chart||
Why the 2nd string D beat up the 1st string O in the open scrimmage isn't much of a mystery. The 1st string OL still looks as raw as hell, and if we dump those "OR" LBs to the 2nd string where they belong, as a group I'll take 'em over pretty much any B1G team's starters except maybe Michigan State. Not as many playmakers and the safeties are iffy but it's shocking how few glaring weaknesses the D would have if the entire 1st string got lost on their way to Big House.
The offense is a huge question mark and the defense may not be great, but one big change between last season and this season -- this year's defense is deep. We might win some games 14-9 and such.
|2 days 2 hours ago||Oh FFS||
First off, if you think dosleches' comment was worthy of derison then I suggest you read some YouTube comments to get some perspective on real complaining looks like. The comment was downright tame.
Second, this is a false choice of the first order. Hypothetically speaking, the only two viable options in football are to use players in such narrow roles that the DC can predict the play purely on sub packages, or go against tendency so hard you ask a player to execute a play they're not even physically capable of? It's disingenuous to the point of offensive because you're using a logical fallacy to smear the entire MGoBlog community.
MGoBlog has been a strong advocate of constriant theory from the get-go but you have to pretend that doesn't even exist just to be a smartass.
|6 days 51 min ago||I don't think it's the NC||
I think it's all the players out of Michigan getting drafted in the NBA. College basketball is big, but not as big relative to the NBA as college football (a phenomenon unto itself) is to the NFL. And there are fewer players to boot. It's not the players we're getting; it's the players we're losing and how we're losing them.
Any HS kid looking to go pro isn't planning on playing in college for more than a couple years. The NCAA tournament is nice but they have their sights set on the NBA, and Beilein is turning Michigan into a gottdamn pro factory. I don't know how basketball recruiting works, but kids aren't tough to figure out. I'm somewhat surprised the last draft hasn't had an immediate effect.
That said Beilein über alles, so at this point he could recruit a 5'3" guy from Pawkatukacutt and I'd consider the burden of proof on everyone else to convince me why it's a bad idea.
|6 days 1 hour ago||It's not so much about getting it right||
It's about keeping everyone's field of vision as narrow as possible. An RB can't reliably read three players, especially when two are on opposite sides of the box. Human peripheral vision is quite crappy, and having an angry 300-pound mountain of meat in front of you doesn't help. The above example is deliberate in that it showcases how the QB and RB have to account for three different defenders if not for the MIKE call. (Imagine the first frame with the "MIKE" call removed. With none of the three linebackers accounted for, the QB and center might have completely different ideas on where the pressure's going to come from. That's bad.)
In this case who the "real" MIKE is. . . well, it's plenty important, but the main thing is communication. I think Seth prefers the QB behind a shaky O-line knows where the free hitter (not the MIKE) is going to come from, and I'm inclined to agree. The "MIKE" is a potential free hitter that's ID-ed and then taken out of the play by the O-line's (re-)assignment. When the WLB is ID-ed, it's one less thing for the backfield to worry about and they can focus more on whether the MLB is blocked. The WLB is the O-line's headache -- if he drops back the LG can just sustain his double on the DT, but either way, everyone's role is simplified.
Defenses can mess with the MIKE call, but the advantage is that at least the QB, RB and O-line are on the same page. If the center is in charge of the call on a double A-gap blitz, the backfield might not get the message, the LG and RB both wind up blocking the WLB while the MLB rips through untouched for a sack. In this case everyone got the call "right" but it didn't matter because the assignments weren't communicated. Sound familiar?
So what if DG gets it "wrong" and IDs the MLB as the MIKE? The center or LG blocks the MLB while the RB reads the WLB. When the WLB blitzes, the RB moves up to block and that's the block the QB is most concerned with. It's "wrong" but you still have blockers on every defender and everyone's eyes looking in the right directions, even if the assignments weren't ideal.
Getting everyone on the same page is more important than getting it right, is the moral of today's story.
|6 days 2 hours ago||As SpaceCoyote mentioned in another thread||
With Denard it looks like the RB would also point to (or at least ack) the MIKE, because Vincent Smith went all finger guns before. . .
. . . dropping the Mike.
|6 days 3 hours ago||Indeed||
I haven't seen "Old School", managed to find the quote by Googling "trust tree". I'm guessing it's no "Animal House".
|6 days 4 hours ago||Where||
Behind the milk? I always wondered what's behind there. But the one in the back has an expiration date of 3/13/74 so I'm scared to touch it.
|6 days 4 hours ago||Yeah||
He's got to work on that. I'm pleased with the effort so it'll probably get better over time. He just needs reps reps reps. :)
|6 days 4 hours ago||Well||
We need our coaches to step forward and take on a leadership role. We still have a long way to go, but I'm impressed by the effort they've put in, and the competitiveness. Obviously we want more "well", and there are no excuses given the expectations we have, and we will fix it. It starts with the coaches, of course, but everyone throughout the organization. Sorry, what was your question again?
|6 days 4 hours ago||FFS it's one line||
One line in an entire presser transcript. Please clarify exactly what content was replaced, or how thoughtful analysis has now completely vanished from the site due to a one-line add-on.
I'm mildly amused by it, but even if I thought it was the devil's tax return I'd have a hard time getting worked up over a tack-on that doesn't even change my scrolling habits.
|6 days 4 hours ago||what you mean by "basic"?||
Uh, what's a "basic" Big Ten lockdown cornerback? Lockdown corners are "basic" in the sense that they make the DC's job much easier, but it's not like you pluck these guys off the shelf at your local Qwik-E-Mart.
|6 days 4 hours ago||It's confusing||
If he was a Woodson clone it's actually discouraging because not even Woodson was Woodson his freshman year. He was a perfectly serviceable corner, but not the monster plucking throwaways out of the air against MSU. If our starters are getting pushed by a "serviceable" true freshman, that raises my eyebrow.
But that could be unwarranted concern. Hoke seems to be saying they'll start Peppers at nickel anyway, but they're already starting the transition to boundary corner because he's able to handle the extra pressure. That gives them more control over his timetable. I actually believe our corners are good, so this is more like an opulent luxury -- we're starting Peppers at nickel because we can, but it also makes sense to give him boundary corner snaps as soon as possible if he's going to wind up there. I really don't see him taking snaps at boundary corner being forced by any sort of need.
However, this damages my prediction that Peppers eventually winds up at FS. How will I cope?
|6 days 4 hours ago||Lead by D||
"Greg doesn't make it easy for them. I mean, they're not just sitting there in a 4–3."
Yep. We've stressed this to the doom-and-gloomers all through fall camp. The coaches aren't out ot make the O-line look bad; they're out there to push them as hard as possible and that just invariably looks bad.
That's not to say the O-line is going to be even close to decent by the start of the season, but the fastest way for them to learn is to take their lumps.
|6 days 6 hours ago||Meh||
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Tommy makes South America look small, leaving opposing coaches wondering what to do, let alone how the kid fits in a stadium. Since there's no tape or scouting reports on Tommy you're left to draw your own conclusions, but all available evidence indicates he tends to stand up at the snap. Combined with his obscene height this allows opposing linemen to get under him and gain leverage, albeit not much else. However, the fact that he doesn't hold any offers is a cause for concern.
|1 week 49 min ago||To be fair||
Either the DB's coverage was terrible or, more likely, he was greatly exaggerating the reaction to demonstrate the desired result. When he fell down it struck me more as a dramatic performance -- that was on a single move FFS.
I did see Canteen make a few moves during the Spring Scrimmage highlights and it was like watching a Michael Jackson music video -- I had to rewatch several times just to figure out where the hell his feet went.
|1 week 54 min ago||Canteen vs. Norfleet||
Count me on the Freddy Footwork train, obviously. Norfleet's the nominal starter, I guess, but he might be passed by Canteen by B1G play.
Like I said in the "exciting players" thread, Norfleet is fun to watch, but I think he's a tad chaotic. He'll make isolated defenders look silly but at times also seems to run right into traffic or easily lose his balance, which I believe explains why he's yet to return a punt for a TD. Basically his quickness is unparalleled but his motion isn't terribly efficient. As critical as I've been of Borges, I think he used Norfleet only on jet sweeps for a reason. I think using one guy for only one type of play is phenomenally stupid (way to do the DC's job for him, Al), but I suspect it has more to do with why Norfleet hasn't seen the field in other plays -- his vision & balance are poor for an RB, and his bad footwork compromises his quickness in getting separation. At least with sweeps and punt returns he's just being asked to make the most of his happy feet.
Freddy Footwork lacks Norfleet's pure quickness and I have no idea about his vision (I for one don't think he'll be a returner), but as a receiver I think he more than makes up for it with fewer wasted steps. His footwork is on par with a professional dancer's. I predict what quickness he does have -- and he has plenty of it -- will translate more effectively into the defenders tripping over their own feet and tackling the air that we'd hoped to see from Norfleet, whose penchant for getting brought down by the shoelaces looks less and less like bad luck to me with each passing year.
If Canteen doesn't play in the first few games, it'll be because of freshman mistakes, but if he does, it'll be because he has the ability to get separation when the other receivers struggle. So Norfleet will probably start against the OOC slate but I predict Michigan will go with Funchess, Darboh, Butt and Canteen for the MSU game. For all the blocking they'll need in the run game (hence Butt), what'll really decide the game is an ability to punish their super-aggressive defense. Three receivers who are extremely dangerous against press man coverage will force a dilemma -- if MSU has to abandon their coverage scheme because their corners can't stop the receivers, anything can happen. If Michigan goes with Norfleet they will probably try to pancake him at the line.
And if anyone's going to say Canteen's not gonna see the field because of his size. . . hey now, you're really making the case that the #3 receiver is Chesson, not Norfleet.
|1 week 2 hours ago||yes and no||
Word is, he reps high and plays slow.
It's always easier to take a high pace and slow it down than speed up a slow pace. As a result Michigan's two-minute drills were a disaster under Borges, and the defense couldn't prep for high tempo. I predict this season's in-game offense will be a "measured" tempo that lines up with plenty of time to adjust without going Indiana's breakneck pace. But that extra gear will be there when they need it -- or as a changeup if Nuss catches the defense in a lull for an easy five yards.