The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
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|2 hours 58 min ago||Miscommunication||
To be fair, I don't think Perry derped. He bailed out Malzone in HS constantly by getting open in similar ways. He was trying to help Rudock. He saw where the CB was sitting down and took a good position in front of him. The problem is, it was an out route, not an option route; Rudock was throwing to a spot so that wasn't the time to improvise. This isn't really a case of a freshman not knowing what he's doing, but probably trying to be too clever. You can't change the script on your own and expect the QB to read your mind. There's a reason Harbaugh publicly blamed Perry for the first pick.
So on the third INT (the second was a bad throw) now Perry's where he should be and stays there, even though the ball's coming too slowly which allows the CB to jump the route. That was when he should've freelanced and moved in or at least batted the pass down, but as a freshman whatever tut-tut he got for improvising on the first INT was probably still on his mind.
Everyone's trying to find out who's at fault, but "fault" is a favorite word for those who don't know the meaning of responsibility. Both Rudock and Perry were trying to get completions. I'm interested in, can we get this fixed, and the Rudock-Perry miscommunications look very fixable. Rudock's inaccuracy is more troubling, as mechanics aren't something you can fix quickly in a senior with the season already underway.
|5 hours 43 min ago||I just like that they didn't give up||
Michigan was shooting themselves in the foot like whoah, and there were so many moments where I would've seen last year's team fold like origami in a trash compactor.
After Utah marched down the field following Allen's missed FG to go up two scores.
After the pick-six.
After Smith got stuffed on 4th down.
So many mistakes, so many missed chances, so many botched plays. So many times, the announcers [I listened to] declared the game was over. And yet there they were, with a minute to go and no timeouts, far from home against a tough Utah team, still down a score, lining up for an onside kick with a last-gasp chance to win.
They HAD A CHANCE TO WIN.
That is the single biggest difference between 2014 and this year.
|6 hours 27 min ago||Come to think of it||
We do play Utah & BYU in the same season, don't we? That's kind of odd. In all my years of watching Michigan football I can't remember playing two OOC opponents from the same state in the same season.
|15 hours 39 min ago||And?||
Run game has been good for about 1ypc when it counts so far. Since the predictable stuff hasn't been working, at least they've been unpredictable.
|16 hours 7 min ago||Aggro||
He trolls the jammers with the delay. They smell blood and go for the block, then he boots it before they can arrive. It frees up the gunners and gives the rest of the team time to shed blocks.
It is so good, it's sadistic.
|21 hours 30 min ago||Bit of a bias||
Brewery in the middle of a weekday won't be a hot spot for the locals in Mormon country. Just sayin'.
|22 hours 50 min ago||Dangerman||
"Booker, Norris, Dimick, and Hackett (seriously) qualify as dangermen."
We got a pretty darn impressive Hackett of our own.
|23 hours 20 min ago||Pressers||
Drevno is every bit as Ft. Schembechler as Nuss, possibly more, but I wanna see a Heiko-Harbaugh exchange.
I know I'm a real asshole for thinking this, but I've been not-so-secretly hoping Heiko washes out of his medical career just to see that. Yes, I'm horrible.
|1 day 8 min ago||For all the talk of "replacing"||
I think a lot of people here are forgetting that this is college football. Especially with regards to a program like MSU which relies heavily on redshirting, it's not like all these teams will be throwing true freshmen to the wolverines just because someone graduated and/or got drafted. Some of the talent will be superior (not so much if the predecessor was drafted but that's not the case everywhere), that just didn't see the field last season because an upperclassman was available and the youngster wasn't yet ready. Also, the guys they have from last year will be a year older. What was once merely not a weakness may mature into a strength. This is how it goes for all teams, ours included.
There will be question marks, but not every departure is an automatic downgrade. So while I agree that some teams are overrated -- namely MSU, which is good but not top 5 in the nation good -- some of these middling teams we're facing might turn out to be better than last year. We'll see.
|1 day 1 hour ago||It doesn't need to be close||
Thrill & suspense are fine, but sometimes close leads to dirty play and amplification of mistakes. A late PI giving the opponent a second life. A go-ahead TD catch that's not ruled a catch. A lucky break can attenuate the thrill of victory. The aftertaste is particularly bitter when victory is yanked away for the most petty of reasons.
But there's also awe. Michigan's '97 defense holding OSU to 3-and-out after 3-and-out. Woodson's leaping INT against MSU. Stanford breaking the back of VT's defense. Seeing 11 intelligent, well-coached, athletic players morphing into a single entity that imposes its will on the opposition, whether it's an offense that scores at will or a defense that makes a 4-point lead feel insurmountable.
I'm tired of seeing other teams do that to us though. For the past few years it's been Michigan that's been broken, especially by MSU. No amount of hoping or fandom can do anything to the despair of watching a disciplined, well-coached team do what they do against a helplessly unprepared squad. Michigan was hard to watch not because they lost, but because of how they lost. The one-point loss to OSU when Devin Gardner played with a broken foot wasn't that hard for me to take, because at least Michigan showed some damn life. Even in defeat, Gardner burned like nature's will to live itself. It was so much worse sitting in a cloud of confused, deflated incompetence.
Utah is probably too early, and I'll take the suspense (NO team is safe against Harbaugh), but I'm looking forward to experiencing awe again.
|1 day 1 hour ago||It's a 3-3-3||
Do you SEE four? Has a Kardashian got you by a torture device??
3 DL, 3 linebackers, 3 DBs. But they're all the same guys.
I think we even have the uniforms right (Michigan's road white, Utah's red). I don't want to start the offense with a safety though.
|1 day 2 hours ago||Woot||
|1 day 2 hours ago||Rudock ain't going 80 yards on Utah||
. . . but obvious snark aside, this would be very much like Harbaugh. As I pointed out in a diary, Harbaugh has a deserved reputation for smash-mouth football but he also welcomes that simplification because his game is much more than that. So while I don't expect a trick play to start the season, nor do I think Smith iso or PA are gimmes.
I'd be ruining the spirit of the thread without a prediction of my own, so here goes: Michigan goes single-back, 4-wide (Chesson, Harris, Perry and Peppers*) which throws off Utah's expectation for a power run. They pull their safeties and linebackers back and rush 4; Michigan runs a QB draw through the vacated front. Despite the shock Utah's safeties close quickly, limiting Rudock to about a 7-yard gain, but the message to Utah's D will be clear: No, you will not know what to expect. Yes we will run power on you, but you won't know when. 2nd and short.
*AFAIK Darboh is questionable and Canteen is out
|1 day 3 hours ago||Dunno||
"Its amazing what knowing what you are supposed to do every play and why can do for a player."
Not so amazing when the opposing defense does as well. Harbaugh of course will be much more SunTzuball than Borges or Nuss, but there's a limit to how much he can install in a single offseason after a year of running zone.
A lot of people were so frustrated with Nuss that they actually pined for Borges. I saw what he was doing as a project that would theoretically work in the long run but simply was going to take too long to save anyone's job. Nuss' IZ scheme can work, but only if you can run it reliably for 4-6 ypc, at which point once the defense realizes you can get first downs at will their attempts to cheat open things up elsewhere. But ND saw that UM was trying to install IZ in a year and went, "Let's see if our base can stop it," and it did. I think that set the tone for the rest of the season.
Harbaugh's power game has a similar dilemma, at least to start. He's not dumb; he's not going to implement a 300-page playbook this year. He's not going to have the line do several shifts a snap. They'll make sure the offense can execute what it can handle, but since that can only be so much, it will be difficult to make defenses uncomfortable. It won't be 2007 Stanford either as that team had issues on a whole 'nother level, but I don't think an offense can experience a 1-year turnaround like a defense without some kind of extraordinary factor like the addition of a playmaker or addition by subtraction. Michigan potentially has both in Drake Harris and the departure of Poor Damn Devin Gardner (and bringing in Rudock), but I think the scheme change offsets those gains. It's one thing if it was Nuss' second year, and the program overall is on the right track, but all the changes mean the "veteran" players should probably be regarded as 1-2 years younger than they really are in terms of experience. That's not DOOM, but it'll be rough for a while.
|1 day 6 hours ago||8-4 is hardly bold||
8-4 is the consensus, but rather than a prediction, I mostly see it as a hedge. If things go terribly this team could finish 6-6. If all goes according to plan, 10-2 is within sight. So with nothing coming out of the submarine, everyone's splitting the difference.
Hedge or gander, 8-4 is fine as a prediction, but I think the questionable part is predicting which particular games Michigan will win or lose. Harbaugh took a 1-win Stanford team and IMMEDIATELY made them competitive. They upset the #1 team, on the road, without their starting QB.
This team has too many leaks to fix in such a short time to run the table, but what's exciting about Harbaugh is that NO game is truly beyond hope. The Stanford teams did get blown out at times, even in Harbaugh's fourth season (though Oregon eventually played in the NCG that year). But neither did being 40-point underdogs faze them.
This is a complete turnaround from last year, where I'd written off MSU and OSU because I knew Hoke didn't have the chops to compete with them. Call me a bad fan or whatever; I'm just not stupid. It was a loss on paper and the program had no spark with which to defy the odds. That's the kind of resigned apathy I reserve for my Seattle Mariners. It has no place at Michigan.
|1 day 6 hours ago||How about Mother?||
No one is so frightening. . . yet so beloved by those who understand.
/ Yes, Mother. . . coming, Mother.
|1 day 20 hours ago||I think Green was mis-evaluated||
From what I saw, Green was basically a 5-star because he was a rare combination of big and fast and could use that to his advantage against HS competition. What I didn't see so much of were the two things an RB needs to succeed at the next level -- vision and balance.
The scouts and other schools are just as guilty so to criticize Hoke & Co. would be unfair, but it's the classic Brady 6 scenario -- go after guys who look the part instead of guys who can just play some damg football.
|1 day 20 hours ago||Meet you halfway||
It doesn't tire them out physically. It tires them out mentally. Every time the offense shifts, even if it's just a feint, they have to adjust. Physically it's just trotting around -- that's not tiring at all -- but the concentration needed is exhausting. If you watch the Orange Bowl clip, most of those shifts are trolling, but the defensive leaders are running around and getting everyone into position each time. (And FWIW, yes VT stuffed the run, but on the very next play they got torched.) Neither can you rotate, because then they'll just snap it for free yards.
Hoke's slow pace gave the defense an advantage. Harbaugh's slow pace puts defenses at a disadvantage.
|2 days 43 min ago||Those idles are awesome||
From what I can see, it's not a timed delay. It looks like he's watching the jammers to see if they go after the punt or block the gunners. He draws aggro with the delay and if they commit to the punt, he quickly boots it. It doesn't have to be as great a kick because he's given his teammates so much time. It's much more effective than just booming one as soon as the snap arrives.
If it's only a half second as opposed to a few seconds that's fine. What he's doing is taking the edge players out of the game and that's astounding.
|2 days 55 min ago||Average?||
I get the game here. You're protecting your heart. And that makes sense for QB (Rudock is a low-floor guy but we don't know what Harbaugh will get out of him), RB (can coaching fix bad vision?) or CB (which suddenly looks thin after Lewis).
But Baxter has gotten consistently excellent results in an inherently high-variance part of the game. That's kind of ridiculous by itself. We not only have a full-time ST coach, he's one of the best in the country.
It's OK to expect something here.
|2 days 1 hour ago||Saban not so much||
I'll give you Dantonio, but Alabama offers to everybody they think is good. It's such a churn-and-burn outfit over there that all a Bama offer means is that you're at least a consensus 3-star and not much else.
|2 days 1 hour ago||Michigan||
Truth is probably somewhere in the middle. We at least have evidence of some roster misses in the form of Harbaugh's efforts to fill the voids -- QB in particular. He'd have brought in more QBs just for competition's sake, but if Harbaugh was so confident in Morris I doubt he'd have brought in quite as many as he did. Evidence so far is that Morris is a rocket arm and not much else. Yes, he may yet prove his naysayers wrong, I certainly hope he does, but until he does, future potential doesn't count as a rebuttal for his performance thus far. We've also seen newcomers at punter and cornerback, and he's moved half the team to tight end. You don't see those kinds of moves if the HC thought he could fix what was already there.
On the flip side, our OL, RBs and receivers have badly underperformed (relative to the hype) so far and no one's been in a hurry to replace them, which tells me the coaches think they can fix what ails them -- i.e., they probably don't see it as a talent deficiency.
|2 days 4 hours ago||Apples and oranges||
I can grok an O-lineman understanding D-line technique. Like putting your hand on a hot stove, it doesn't take long to intimately know what burns you, and a lot of linemen switch sides anyway. So OK, though that's not really a counterexample. The rest of your examples, and I've heard very similar from Space Coyote, range from dubious to disingeuous, and overall not convincing in the least.
First off, I'm not sold on the resumes of Jay Harbaugh and Fisch at all. For what is an otherwise star-studded cast and I know I'll eat some knee-jerk zealot negs for saying this, Jay's a blatant nepotism hire and Fisch is a career gypsy Harbaugh didn't even meet with whose last OC gig didn't go well at all. I hope I'll be pleasantly surprised but no one should be confusing these guys with John Baxter or Greg Jackson and I'm genuinely concerned about who's coaching receiver technique. To my point, the number of drops in the spring game was downright ugly and very much the most obvious problem. So we'll see, but it's telling that you mentioned what are to me the two most questionable Harbaugh hires.
As for Rodriguez, Walsh and Belichick, they are reknowned at the schematic level, which is a different beast. Not every great composer was a skilled performer, not every engineer is necessarily a competent mechanic. Playing, coaching and creation are very different skillsets. And in this case we want apples to apples -- a guy coaching a position who knows the goddamn position. Hell, in 10 years Roy Manning may well be the best NFL HC in the country and a household name reknowned for his genius schemes but that means jackall if we simply wanted a CB coach to teach CBs how to CB. It just doesn't prove anything in this context.
All that said, I think Roy Manning got a bad break. Because while he couldn't teach press man to Blake Countess, I think that has more to do with Countess' game than anything (Lewis did fine), and the stupid decision to run press man without any coach that could coach it, players that can do it or experience to implement it was on Hoke (or maybe Brandon but that's speculation). It was a classic copycat move that took the secondary away from its strengths (you had an All-B1G zone merchant FFS) and absolutely none of that's on Roy. As any middle manager can relate, his poor job was to make a dumb executive decision work.
So was moving Manning to DB coach a bad idea? I dunno. The evidence isn't really there. But there's NO evidence it was a GOOD idea either, all your examples included. I've read the same justifications several times now with QED authority. It's not working. So while I'm not as negative on the job Manning did, if you think you're on to something, bring some stronger sauce.
|2 days 6 hours ago||It's not superstition||
It's a hedge. Everyone's hyping him up but he has, in a very literal sense, done nothing of consequence. This isn't a situation like Desmond Morgan where even coming off a season-ending injury he's already shown he's a very effective baller. It's also not like Drake Harris where we're terrified of him getting injured again so we have gypsies to appease.
It's not Peppers' fault, and every indication is that he'll turn that 4 into a 5 very soon, but you generally don't give a top rating to someone who isn't proven, and Peppers will probably be the first to agree, given he said this:
"I haven’t done anything yet. Just let me play. Let me show what I can do before you start telling me."
|2 days 23 hours ago||Fitting||
They start their journey by traveling west.
No Toussaint to accompany them though.
|2 days 23 hours ago||Freddie Footwork||
Canteen is an oddity to me. I get the conventional wisdom that freshman WRs don't make impact but Canteen was regarded as an exception. He was touted as having all the physical tools -- highly developed tools at that -- to play receiver so what's holding him back? Obviously injury right now, but that's far from the whole story. Unfortunately I didn't get to see his play much last season which doesn't help my confusion.
That said, his move to CB is less explicable to me than most. Whatever's the problem, there's a lot more to receiving than having fancy feet, so if he's had trouble adjusting to an actual football offense, as Brian says, his montage-worthy regimen of footwork drills will be an asset if his job is to stay in a receiver's noon shadow. Of course -- like receiving -- there's more to CB than that, but being in position is 9/10ths of the battle. And while INTs are nice, if you can reliably swat the ball away you've at least done your job. If you can't be shaken, you have a chance.
|3 days 18 hours ago||If there was any benefit of the doubt||
Drake Johnson should've ended it. He was clearly the best RB last season and didn't get serious burn time until the coaches churned through everyone in front of him.
If he was merely a late season bloomer I'd be like OK, but it took a broken bone to discover him. Hoke and Jackson had no idea what they were doing.
|3 days 23 hours ago||It's possible||
Dunno when the photo's from but I recall Nuss sometimes had receivers move inside as a sort of mini-TE, the logic presumably being that if he's already matched up against a CB then you've added another gap with the size being a push. I don't remember it doing anything notable, one way or the other.
|4 days 2 hours ago||Chesson||
If his receiving skills don't pan out he might actually find an NFL career as a dedicated gunner. He's made some highlight plays already and that was working with arguably the worst ST coach in all of college football.
|4 days 2 hours ago||Problem?||
Baxter's not shy about using spread but if he implements pro-style it'll be because it works. Harbaugh has, overall, put together an impressive coaching staff but this guy in particular is unimpeachable. I honestly didn't know who this guy was until Harbaugh hired him but some resumes just pop out at you.