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- Devin Gardner is a world-class talent that can do things very few humans (or gods) can do. He is also sometimes inept.
- Our offensive line could not block even a little bit.
- The offensive line IS improving, though it's a long way from being a dominant group.
- The defensive scheme change is significant, and it will take some time for our players to fully adjust. Top-quality opponents will exploit our growing pains.
- Devin Gardner is a world-class talent that can do things very few humans (or gods) can do. He is also sometimes inept.
- Ace 3-0
- BiSB 1-2
- Brian 1-2
- Seth 1-2
|9 hours 7 min ago||Missed the point||
I think you missed the point. Of course football is hard. The field is a classroom, and life is hard.
Michigan seems to lack the precision and cohesiveness that lead to the appearance of ease on the field. I played through college, then coached at the high school and collegiate levels. I know the game is hard.
My point is that we seem to make it harder than it has to be. That we are missing whatever ingredient takes you from very good to great. The frustrating thing is that we seem to have great players and great coaches (or at least coordinators) and we still look far short of our potential.
Teams like Baylor, A&M, OSU, FSU, Alabama, Auburn...they can make it look so easy, even against good opponents. We make it look harder than that against bad teams.
I've played and coached with great teams; there were games and even stretches of games where it seemed like all we could do was win. When was the last time you felt that way about Michigan football?
I want that feeling.
|9 hours 23 min ago||
|2 days 8 hours ago||Add||
The dropped fourth down pass, all the yards they lost on silly penalties, and the wide open deep ball.
The score of this game accurately told the story of the play on the field, unfortunately. The blueprint for beating our defense is obvious.
|2 days 8 hours ago||Concerns||
This defense, IMO, doesn't have many problems, but they are big problems and they are in the secondary.
Countess gave-up another easy slant (on fourth down) and got lucky with the Miami player dropping the ball. TV called it "great coverage," but giving up the inside is unacceptable.
Lewis was beaten on a deep post and we were saved by a bad throw and an even worse adjustment to the pass.
Right now, our coverage is just not very good. Peppers and Lewis look capable, but not great. No one else can seem to play man. The safety help has been average, at best.
I'm afraid Utah is going to tear us up.
|3 days 17 hours ago||Press coverage and coaching||
Dude who played college football that says our CBs are coached poorly has NO idea how our CBs are being coached.
The truth is that almost anytime you get beat on a play in football it looks like your technique was poor. Watching the film, it looks like Countess is trying to play with proper technique, but Will Fuller is quick and fast and stuff and doesn't make it easy to jam him at the LOS.
What does seem clear is that Countess is not built for press man. But you're being either ignorant or malicious if you're claiming that Manning doesn't understand the basics of press coverage, even if he wasn't a CB coach before this season. Even if you make the assumption that Manning has no idea what he's doing, Mallory is still there, Mattison is still there, and those guys aren't going to let Manning coach the CBs into futility.
Honestly, I put more of the blame on Mattison for sticking with what wasn't working for too long; it was clear early on that Countess and Hollowell simply couldn't execute against the ND players. But believe me, the U-M coaches all understand the basics of press coverage.
|3 days 20 hours ago||Hilarious||
I love you, BiSB. Wait, did I type that out loud?
Another great write-up that had me LOLing at my desk. I needed that. Thanks.
|3 days 20 hours ago||Amen||
|3 days 21 hours ago||There is a good team in there...||
In last year's ND game, Jeremy Gallon was the difference. He accounted for 3 of the 4 receiving TDs (other was Dileo) and 184 of the 294 receiving yards. He got open almost every play, and he got open quickly.
Of course, the '13 ND game also had Good DG show-up, and this year's version was...not Good DG. Even though he had more time to throw (although the pocket wasn't always clean) he looked more rushed and was far less accurate. To be fair, he probably looked better than Denard did in South Bend two years ago.
Let's remember that only six of last year's ND completions are still on this roster. The DG to Gallon connection was a big deal, and Funchess, while the more talented player, isn't the same route ninja and doesn't have the same telepathic relationhsip with DG. We need a quick little bugger or a TE to step up as DG's safety valve this year; that just isn't what Funchess does.
There are lots of negative things to say about Al Borges, but he did know how to get WRs open. Unfortunately, he didn't know how to draw-up a play that gave DG enough time to find those WRs. I'm ceratinly NOT implying that Nuss isn't good at this, but this year's receiving corps is going to take a little time to develop chemistry with DG and the new system.
The blocking, on the whole, was far better this year. Other than Gallon, the biggest difference in the two ND games was that DG went from Superman in '13 to Lois Lane in '14. He needed help this time around, and Gallon wasn't there to give it.
On the whole, I'm much more concerned about the CBs inability to cover anyone than I am about the offense. It will come around.
|3 days 21 hours ago||Rule #18 of gambling||
Since gambling means you'll eventually have to bend over, better follow rule 18 too:
|5 days 14 hours ago||Revealing||
With Hoke, you have to really search the quotes to find something, but this was interesting:
This question and answer was pretty good, IMO. Hoke identified two things we did poorly against ND: tight man coverage (Countess and Hollowell) and a failure to limit Golson's throwing lanes. Now, I'm not sure how much more the DL could actually have done while still trying to pressure Golson, but we sure did blow a bunch of chances to get off the field by giving up slant routes.
|5 days 15 hours ago||CBs, Mattison failed in a big way||
Reading the UFR and watching again, it's clear just how much of this game was decided by one-on-one matchups where UM simply could not hang with ND's athletes.
Countess cannot play press man against an elite WR; Will Fuller is an elite receiver. Hollowell is another smallish guy who just could not compete with ND's athletes.
Golson's throws were on target and his WRs were getting separation. What's disturbing is that almost all of the damage was pre-snap reads to the first option...that means your pass rush has no chance of getting home. He was picking out Countess and Hollowell and ate them alive.
I have to agree with Greg Mattison here: he waited WAY too long to adjust the scheme. Countess was obviously out-matched (as was Hollowell) and we needed to throw more curveballs at Golson to at least make him think. Most of this damage is on one or three step drops from shotgun where Golson only ever looks at one target. It was just pitch and catch.
Bad game for the CBs, and bad game for the DC.
|5 days 18 hours ago||No phrases||
It's not phrases that will help him, it's game experience in the system and Nuss' coaching afterward.
Until players see their mistakes on film and recognize what they missed, they often repeat mistakes. If DG is capable of improving, I'm confident Nuss will find a way to make it happen.
Utah will be a good test for us before the B1G season starts.
|5 days 21 hours ago||Notre Dame and Predictions||
While it's unpopular in today's society (and certainly in the blog world) to do anything other than overreact, I think Brian's guarded optimism is probably the closest thing to true here.
Last year's ND game proved a couple of things:
Retrospectively, DG's performance might have been the game of his life (Ohio being the only competitor for that title) and he could not replicate it with opponents having recognized that #2 was indeed very true and DG can't repeat his superhuman feats if he's on his butt.
Of course, we all believed #2 would improve, and that the rest of the team could carry the water until that happened. We were wrong.
This year's game revealed, I thought, some very different (and some not so different) things:
The good news about this year is that the O-line alread looks better than the '13 iteration, and that #2 and #3 are very fixable. Why is #3 more fixable than last year? Because Doug Nussmeier is a QB whisperer and has worked wonders with every player he has coaced at that position. As for #2, game situations are the best teachers, and playing press man against a live opponent will help us learn.
Last year's coverage was hung out to dry by a pretty pathetic pass rush; this year's pass rush needs a little help from the coverage to defeat the three-step drop (or one step drop from shotgun) plays that make a sack darn near impossible.
What I'm saying is that I still see a team with the potential to be very good, though not great. 9-3 remains very achievable, and 10-2 is not out of the question, nor is an appearance in Indy.
All that said, if MSU and OSU smoke us like ND did, I will be looking for some significant off-season change.
|1 week 20 hours ago||We will know soon||
Is this a clueless coaching staff? We will know soon.
This game was a game-changer. Losing to ND in a hard-fought contest would have been palatable, and even acceptable. But getting hammered in that fashion indicates deep, troubling problems.
That said, we are still in the first year of a new offense and defense. If these guys can coach, we'll be much better at playing pressure defense and the IZ/spread hybrid offense by the time we travel to MSU and OSU. We must show well in both games; we need to win one.
Nussmeier and Mattison are accomplished coaches. Hoke can recruit, his players love him, and seems to be a genuinely good man that is teaching his players life lessons. With two good coordinators and some good talent, even a few boneheaded decisions by the head coach shouldn't be able to tank the team.
I really don't know what's going on. Maybe Notre Dame is really good. Maybe we are on our way to being really good in the new schemes. Maybe Mattison, Nuss, and Hoke are all overrated.
Whatever the truth is, it will be clear by this season's end. Like it or not, Brandon will have a big decision to make if things don't go well.
I am and have been a Hoke supporter, but I am also a believer in accountability. If this boat doesn't get turned around to the tune of competing for the B1G championship game, it's time to consider a replacement.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Big Lebowski||
Great movie, and a great line.
But you used it inappropriately...I think that's where the negging comes from.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Congratulations!||
Also, great post.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||AWESOME||
I loved the background on Nussmeier, as well as the IZ breakdown and the over/under comparison.
I did not like the elaborate SCOTUS opening. It was fine for a paragraph or two, but then it was just too long for a football preview.
Despite that niggling flaw, this is an amazing piece of free content for which I am very grateful. +1 to you, sir.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Agree, but...||
The important thing is that the QB, RBs, and the O-line know where the potential pressure is coming from (ie, who the O-Line isn't going to block).
Having a system in place where all of those parties understand that is essential. It doesn't much matter who makes the call, IMO.
FWIW, I don't think the QB IDs the MIKE in RR's offenses, and they do just fine.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||Asked and Answered||
Someone asked if Glasgow would replace Miller, Hoke that was one possibility.
I think Glasgow is the leader at RG right now. Not sure if that slides Kalis (whom Hoke confirmed is working at both OG spots) to LG and Magnuson to LT, or if that means Kalis, Bosch, and Joey are on the outside looking in.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||Quick release?||
He does NOT have a quick release. If you mean that he makes decisions quickly, there is some truth to that, but he has a long, almost Tebow-like throwing motion.
He has good zip on short throws, but looks a little shakier on the longer stuff. He's a decent runner.
This guy is a good player in a great system. He's not great, and won't be even by season's end. In time, Meyer will turn him into a star, but he doesn't have elite tools...then again, neither did Tebow.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||Embrace the avatar. It's||
Embrace the avatar. It's awesome.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Wilson||
I'd add Wilson. I think he's going to be a jack-of-all-trades safety for us this season, doing plenty of blitzing as well coverage, picking a few sacks and TFLs to give with a handful of INTs.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||BiSB should win...but||
There needed to be more snark about BiSB not having a kicker. Does anyone remember the hell of 2010 when Michigan lined-up for a field goal? You really can't win football games consistently without a kicker.
Aside from that GLARING omission, BiSB's team is the best. But what a ridiculous omission.
Ace has the second-best squad, despite an underwhelming secondary. But he actually has a kicker.
Brian's team is sexy, but a bit disjointed and lacking in O-Line bona fides, AND soft in coverage in the middle.
Seth's team...is a strategic masterpiece with very little talent on offense.
This was fun. Please keep this series next year.
|4 weeks 1 day ago||Two TE||
When your base play is IZ, using two TEs allows you to flip which side of the field you run to based on how the defense lines up. Furthermore, you can motion the H to the strong side to add an extra blocker, run counter, OZ, and play action out of this look while equally threatening both sides of the field.
If you're a "spread" zealot, the two TE set accomplished a lot of the same things: it spreads the defense horizontally and forces them to make pre-snap alignment choices that allow you take advantage of what they're giving you. You don't need exceptional TEs for this to be effective.
When we actually line-up for App. State and beyond, you'll see a much greater diversity of plays coming from these sets, and you'll see extended hand-offs, play action, and RB patterns that are set-up for success.
Nussmeier knows what he's doing. I can't promise the O-Line is going to block well, but our formations and sets and tempo will put us in a position to succeed this season. The question mark will be whether or not we have the talent and player development to get it done.
|4 weeks 3 days ago||Not great yet||
The '97 o-line wasn't shaky, but it wasn't great. Hutch and Backus were not very good yet. They are actually perfect examples of how important experience is on an O-line.
|4 weeks 4 days ago||Center in a zone offense||
It's worth mentioning that the center position is more important and more difficult in a zone offense. Getting the calls right becomes vital, and it's not always easy. Miller's intelligence is likely a big reason he's winning the job right now.
|4 weeks 4 days ago||Thank You||
I have lots to say about this issue, but I'd much rather just thank you for your tremendous opening in this post. The MGoMob can get pretty, well, Sparty-ish sometimes, and I appreciate your perspective.
Again, thank you for writing this.
PS - John Beilein is the best.
|4 weeks 4 days ago||It's all over||
The final rosters are in. There's nothing left to do but over-analyze and project with great confidence and what is likely to be only moderate accuracy.
As promised, my plan is to do an imanginary round robin where the teams all play each other to decide who is the GCMVA (Grand Champion of my valueless approval). Here is the trophy:
Let's get to it.
Game 1: Brian vs. Ace
Brian has, without question, the best offensive skill players. He also has a strong O-Line...on one side. The weaknesses on his team are the right side of his O-Line, his safeties are the worst of the four teams, and his LBs are (and it pains me to say this) just solid. His DL is pretty darn good, with excellent interior players and reliable if not spectacular DEs. Without question, Brian has the best CBs. He the best kicker and the worst punter, and very good returners.
Ace's team has, I believe, the best offense. Connor Cook is an efficient QB, and Abdullah, Maxxxxxx, and Funchess are all big-time playmakers. Jacobs, Jones, and Wilson are legitimate threats if the defense is focusing on the aforementioned game-breakers. And his offensive line is very good, if not the best of the bunch. Ace's defense is very, very good up front, but I believe it's the worst secondary in terms of play-making ability...there are a total of 4 INTs among his six DBs. Darian Hicks is a projection, but with Narduzzi coaching him, not a bad one. His LBs are pretty good, but nothing special. That said, this is a defense that will pressure the QB and penetrate the backfield, and a back seven that's built to stop big plays, even if they don't make big plays. Ace has no punter, and his returners are just okay, IMO.
The result: Brian 30 - Ace 31
Brian's talent on offense is going to put some points on the board, but Ace's DL is strong enough to stop a few drives with FGs. On the other hand, while Brian's CBs do a great job limiting Funchess, the U-M LBs have not demonstrated an ability to cover, and they are combined with NW safeties. Maxx, Jones, Jacobs, and Wilson eat-up yards down the middle of the field, and Abdullah and Ace's O-Line are more than enough to keep Brian's defense honest.
Game 2: BiSB vs. Seth
BiSB has built a team without holes...except he has no kicker. He has the 2nd most talented QB, a solid group of pass-catchers and blockers at TE and WR, and two very good RBs. His O-Line is a group of very good players with no weak link, and the ability to move the LOS in the run game. On defense, his line has playmakers and one question mark (Henry, who does NOT play for OSU), but the buzz surrounding Big Willie has been very good. His LBs include JMFR, one of the best defensive playmakers in the B1G, and very good OLBs. Peppers is a huge projection, but has talent, and Shelton is damn good. Drummond is the best safety in the B1G, and Davis isn't going to miss many tackles. It's not a sexy team...but it's basically MSU.
Seth found great value in the late rounds in a desperate attempt to make-up for some questionable early decisions. No one but Seth believes that Sudfeld is a top-tier player, and while CJ Brown is a decent running threat, he's no Miller or even Gardner. The WRs are lackluster (even if Jones wasn't injured) and Mark, pretending he's still in the B1G, is an injury risk. His second RB is a back-up projection. Jesse James, Devin Smith, and Christian Jones will keep you honest, but DCs aren't shaking in their boots. On defense, half of Seth's line is AMAZING (Gregory and Bennett) and the other half is fine. I like his LBs quite a bit, and only Brian has better CBs. His safeties and HSP are, as a group, the best of the bunch. The Wile pick was smart, because he's at least adequate at both jobs. Mark is a dangerous returner, when he plays.
The result: BiSB 24 - Seth 20
While I think lots of poster are overrating Brian (because of his very sexy skill players), I think they're underrating Seth. Seth's team is an attempt at "Indiana but with defense," which is fine, but those super-fast spready types struggle against the MSUs of the world, and that's what BiSB's got. The score would have been more lopsided, but BiSB's punters missed two FG attempts.
Game 3: Brian 24 - BiSB 21
BiSB's team simply doesn't have the weapons to take advantage of where Brian is weak. Bell, Wynn, and Long are locked-down by Lucas, Waynes, and Grant. Kroft has a big game, but he's not good enough to win it on his own, and Langfod and Coleman get yardage, but aren't the receiving threats to take advantage of the LBs or Ss. Oh, and the punters miss three longer FGAs. Brian's team can't manufacture a ton of points against BiSB's defense, but in the end having a kicker on his team makes the difference.
Game 4: Ace 41 - Seth 38
What happens when a super-fast spread outfit meets a dominant, moderately-paced offense? Your defense gets tired. Seth's team matches-up well with Ace, because Ace's secondary is a bend-but-don't-break outfit that spread teams are happy to get their 6 YPA against all day long. But cruising down the field for five TDs and facing an offense capable of mauling you or going for the big play, Seth's defense just can't stop Ace's offense. Countess and Murray are very good players, but neither matches up well against Funchess and will need help over the top. The constant threat of the deep ball to Funchess and Maxx attacking the seams actually opens opportunities for Abdullah, the 2nd-best back in B1G, and Ace's other complimentary players.
Game 5: Brian 43 - Seth 45
Brian's weakness at LB and S is most evident against Seth's spready outfit. Brian's CBs can only cover two players, and adding Grant all game helps, but there's still someone open, and that someone could very well be Venric Mark (in theory). In a close game, Brian's one-sided O-Line can't hold up enough to score the game-winning field goal.
Game 6: Ace 30 - BiSB 28
The game for all the marbles. BiSB's team actually plays well enough to win, but without a kicker, can't get the points they need. They move the ball on Ace's secondary, but with zero FGs on the day, Ace pulls out a victory, and the GCMVA award.
In a stunning move that was the opposite of smart, BiSB closed his draft without taking a kicker, and it probably cost him the championship. Ace's strong offense and boring defense win because of a silly choice by the funny man.
Well done, Ace.
|4 weeks 4 days ago||The B1G||
We have good QBs, very good RBs, solid TEs, lousy WRs (overall), plenty of O-Line, up-and-down DL, adequate but not great LBs, some star CBs (though not tons of depth), and pretty average Ss.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||Defense||
The only potential hole I see in our two-deep is at safety. Jarrod Wilson seems to be the only established guy there.
I'm excited about this defense.