I have not read all of the million threads criticizing our coaches, defending our coaches, analyzing our depth chart and generally offering thoughts on the state of this team, but I have skimmed at least a few. I will try not to be too repetative, although I doubt I will succeed. Some general thoughts on our coaches after 2 seasons:
1. I still believe that Hoke is the right guy for us. Most importantly, he seems to have instilled a sense of "we are Michigan" that seemed to be lacking. Call it fit, whatever, he does seem to get it and I think that over time, this will help return us to our former glory. He also seems to get that the game starts in the trenches, and is appropriately loading up with quality big bodies in both.
2. Clock management - whomever is running our 2-minute drill needs to go back to coaching 101. There have been numerous times this season that we looked lost or failed to even attempt a score. This happened again in the first half, but DEnard's great run and OSU's crap tackling saved us.
3. Borges - I am not yet ready to call for his head. THat said, he has been terrible this year and last. His game plan for big games is pathetic. ALso, complete inability to adjust. Why not call for his head? Because these players do not fit the system that he knows well. If he still has the same problem next year, he needs to go. Next year, Devin will be able to run the pro=style with a group of Hoke-recruited OL.
4. REcruiting - we are doing great. And loading up the lines. But, I am concerned about hoke's inability to land premier skill position players (other than Morris). We keep striking out at WR and RB and it is going to continue to hurt us. What's the issue here? Is Hoke's no-nonsense style less suited for coddling bigger ego guys?
5. Mattison - he is amazing. Nuff said. We lack so much athleticism on his side of the ball, and his results are still great.
According to the Sagarin ratings, which predict actual game outcomes:*
IN BB, UM is #1 in the B1G. In the nation, UM is #3, IND #4, and Ohio is not in the top 10.*
IN FB, on a neutral field UM would still be favored over Ohio (by 0.15 pts). Why? UM’s nonconference opponents included the two teams now favored to be in the national title game. By contrast, Ohio’s “marquee” nonconference game this year supposedly was Cal, which is now not even in the top 70 nationally. Moreover, Ohio’s other wins were often very narrow. In fact, even for the UM game, they were only +2 pts after subtracting 3pts for home field (not even considering the injury to UM’s starting QB).
What then should we make of Ohio’s claim that they could win the AP national title? That claim should be laughable to any educated voter. In fact, Ohio is not even ranked in the top 20 nationally by Sagarin (they are #24, whereas UM is #22). Also, Ohio will not be tested in a competitive bowl or conference championship. Indeed, in the latter, on a neutral field, they would be favored by less than half a point vs WISC, 2.5 pts vs NW and they would be underdogs to both NEB and UM.
Interestingly, ND's delusions of grandeur also should be tempered. Although human pollsters will no doubt put them #1, would ND actually be favored to beat all the other teams according unbiased Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings? No, not at this point. Why? ND had many narrow wins, even over marginal teams and teams expected to be huge challenges--like USC--turned out not to be so great. Thus, by Sagarin's ratings, while ALA is #1 and Oregon #2, ND is only #3 Both ALA and OR both would be favored over ND by large margins on a neutral field. In addition, unlike ALA but like Ohio, ND will not be tested in a conference championship game.
*I report only those ratings that predict actual game outcomes. For BB I take the average of ELO and PREDICTOR ratings. For FB, I report only PREDICTOR ratings (not the ELO-CHESS, which is used by the BCS but does not consider margin of victory or predict actual game outcomes).
Lost in the debacle of the 2nd half was the end of the 1st half. What do you think our plan was to end the half? We wasted a ton of time and ran Denard off tackle twice. It appeared Denard saved another disaster of a 2 minute drill. Do you think if Denard had been stuffed we would have shut it down or would we have brought Devin to hustle it up?
Reviewed the Aug 30 "2012 Season Prediction Thread" given the propensity of posters mentioning "Oh, I expected 8-4".
Presented below are all predictions from the Aug 30 thread which stated a specific, numerical W/L result, sorted by highest losses on top so that we can quickly see who had the most accurate forecast. The median and mean were both 10-3 from the 81 post sample.
|20.||My name ... is Tim||10||3|
|27.||Maize and Blue in OH||11||3|
|36.||03 Blue 07||10||3|
|46.||San Diego Mick||11||2|
|55.||French West Indian||10||2|
|69.||One Armed Bandit||10||2|
In the Tuesday Presser, which seems like ages ago already, Al Borges said, "My creative juices are flowing all the time. Depending on the game, I’m considered creative or idiotic, but they’re always flowing. That’s what kind of makes this game fun for coordinators." I'd say about 99.9% of the MGoBoard is going with idiotic. I won't defend Borges here. When Rodriguez was fired, Brandon said that they were going to pay the going rate for top notch coordinators. Mattison has earned his salary, and then some. The same cannot be said for Borges, not yet. Part of getting paid an astronomical amount for being an assistant coach is dealing with the inevitable criticism that comes when the team falls short.
At that same press conference, Borges said, "...the key is to keep the chains moving so you can call more plays." Borges called 47 plays on Saturday.
More Borges: "When people are complaining about, ‘Well, how come this guy’s not touching the ball more? How come this guy’s not touching the ball?’ Well generally it’s because you’re not getting first downs." Michigan had only 13 first downs on Saturday, three were a result of Buckeye penalties.
Borges: "You don’t get the turns. You don’t get the calls out. What Devin’s done a good job of is, when it isn’t there, creating something to get us more calls." Michigan was 4 of 10 on third down. Not great, but not terrible either. There were just so few chances.
Borges: "Get the receivers touching the ball more. Get the tailback touching the ball more." Devin Funchess had zero catches. Drew Dileo had one. Thomas Rawls had 5 carries, Devin Gardner had 7, four of which were sacks. After getting 6 carries for 117 yards in the first half, Denard had 4 carries for 5 yards in the second. Those carries were for 6 yards (over left guard,) -2 yards (over left guard,) a no gain fumble (up the middle,) and a 1 yard gain for his only carry in the fourth quarter (this time, over right guard.) Nothing went outside. They never went back to the play that resulted in a 67 yard TD run.
Borges: "There’s just no way you can call everything perfect. Can’t do it. So what’s going to happen when you don’t?" The MGoBoard is going to eat you alive.
On the 60 Minutes broadcast that featured Michigan Football last Sunday, there was a fascinating story about babies. They put two bowls of cereal in front of a baby and a couple puppets. The baby preferred the puppet that liked the same cereal as the baby. The lesson was that we are hard-wired to like those that are similar to us. I would guess that the majority of the MGoBoard is closer in age to Denard, Devin, Jake Ryan, and Jordan Kovacs. It is easier for us to walk in their shoes, than the old guy sitting in the pressbox. And so, Al Borges becomes the villain. I'm not sure that's fair, but he's the one getting paid.
Burst of Impetus
* In the first half, Ohio scored. Michigan answered. Then, Ohio scored again. Michigan answered. Ohio scored, Michigan answered, Ohio scored. Halftime. Ohio scored, and scored again. Wait, WUT? Yeah, I know, the pattern was broken. Michigan went for it on fourth and three from our own 48 yard line. Had we made it there, perhaps we're talking about an amazing victory over the hated ones. We have generally supported Brady Hoke for going for it on fourth down, so we shouldn't be critical just because we were stopped this time. The play call, though, we can criticize.
* The leading tackler was WLB Desmond Morgan with 11. Last week's leading tackler was also the WLB, James Ross III. I guess they are not kidding when they say there is an expectation for the position.
* Will Campbell had one of the craziest defensive stat lines I've ever seen: 0 solo tackles and 10 assisted tackles.
* Jake Ryan was back making plays all over the field, 9 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles. On Thomas Gordon's sack, Ryan jumped on Gordon's back and tried to sack Gordon and the QB. It's been said of others, but I don't think it applies to anyone better than Jake Ryan, he plays like his hair's on fire.
* We had 7 TFLs for 51 yards, including 4 sacks for 39 yards. The sack yardage masked what was our biggest liability on defense, an inability to stop their run. Hyde ran for 146 yards and Miller was good for 108 on his positive running plays.
* We actually faired better on third down than ohio did, as we held them to 4 of 13. No one is calling for their OC's job, though, because they won the game.
Ermahgerd, Erts (almost) Ervehr
* Denard's day was a microcosm of his career at Michigan. We all remember the 5-0 starts, those runs where he lost a shoe, and the Heisman talk of his Sophomore year. We also remember how that first season stalled. He had an electric run in the first half that gave us a temporary lead, but wasn't able (or allowed?) to finish what he started.
* I think it became clear that Denard wasn't able to throw, which allowed Ohio to bring their DBs up close to the LOS, sealing off the outside. The counter to the outside runs is either throwing - which wasn't an option - or running inside. We found out what happened when we tried to counter with inside runs.
* Devin was 11 of 20 for 171 yards. That was almost good enough to win. However, the two fumbles, four sacks, and one INT made sure that didn't happen. Let's not forget his only other road start was at Minnesota, where Michigan QBs turn into hall-of-famers. All-in-all, it's about what we should have expected from him in his first true road test.
Bunches of Funchess
* It's clear that Devin and Gallon have developed a comfort level. Gallon caught six passes for 67 yards.
* Roy Roundtree caught three for 92 yards, one of which went for 75 yards thanks to a great downfield blocking effort by Dileo.
And Justice for Rawls
* Would Toussaint have made a difference? I don't know, but ohio was playing without John Simon. His backups fared better than ours. We still have depth issues due to the transitions and the Free Press hit job.
Norf and Souf
* Net kickoff and punt return yardage was basically even. Ohio was obviously kicking away from Norfleet, who had one return late for 27 yards.
* At halftime, Urban said, "If that's a late hit, what game are we playing?" Showing that he comes from the same branch of the coaching tree as Narduzzi and Hayes. Mike Jones later demonstrated to Urban what a late hit is.
* Ohio was hit with 9 penalties for 74 yards. I kept waiting for a holding penalty on the guy blocking Roh. It never came. On our last drive, Schofield was hit with a holding penalty that wiped out a 9 yard gain. I don't recall seeing a replay. That put us in an obvious passing situation. Gardner threw incomplete, and then an interception. Ballgame.
* First downs: M 13, O 22
* Net rush yards: M 108, O 207
* Turnovers: M 4, O 2
* Red zone chances: M 1, O 5
* Braxton Miller: 14 of 18 passing
So as much as we'd like to be able to point the finger and blame someone, I think we were fortunate to keep it as close as we did. In the end, it still comes down to "The Team, The Team, The Team," and our team did not execute as well as that other team. I've seen a lot of comments asking why we used all of our good plays against Iowa. Well, buckeyes and hawkeyes have the 'eyes in common, but that's about all they have in common.
Outside the Boxscore
The one thing that bothers me most about this Blog are the posters who claim that there is some sort of moral equivalence, or that we're no better than them. We are better. We do things the right way, and when we falter, we punish those responsible. We do not bring them back and celebrate their lying, cheating ways. We do not hoist them on our shoulders and parade them around for all to see. That display with Tressel and the 2002 team sickened me. Ohio's athletic director should be fired by their worthless excuse for a president for allowing that to happen. Additional scholarships should be taken away, and the post-season ban should be extended, because it's quite clear, those assholes still don't get it. Sour grapes? Maybe, but I'm still PROUD TO BE, A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!
We lost to the #1 team in the Nation – on the road at Notre Dame 13-6.
We lost to the National Champs on the road.
We lost to the Big Ten Champs on the road.
We went up against and undefeated Ohio team on the road without our starting QB and RB. Lost by 5.
I am proud of our season.
Not starting another "Fire Borges" thread. I'm personally over the emotions of today's winnable game, instead bearing down for 45 insufferable days of dealing with our two main rivals being collectively 24-0, both vying for one national championship or another. 8-4 is about what we all expected of this year's campaign given the brutal schedule, and few of us expected a W out of today's game. Our program is moving in a positive direction obviously, Devin's accuracy and decision making for the most part, have been a pleasant surprise giving us some comfort toward next year, and we have great recruits coming in, but it's tough keeping up with the Joneses when they're 24-0, both under relatively new, or new coaches.
Oh and mind you, Teo will be about as insufferably close to Tim Tebow with the media as anything we've seen in years. It is going to be painful until mid January.
Now about the offense this year. Reflecting beyond today's game, I wanted to see if some of you could help me wrap my brain around the full list of patent errors Borges made over the course of the year. Here's what I can come up with, please add or subtract, defend or disagree, I'd like your input to make a complete list of other errors/deficiencies beyond the obvious ones today:
1. Presiding over an offensive line and offensive line coach that produced the worst UM offensive line product in memory. The 4th down fail by Denard, where both Lewan and Omameh (talented non-freshmen) whif their assignments, summed this point, and this season from the offensive line, concisely.
2. Mistakenly buying Denard had improved as a passer in the offseason.
3. Evidencing 2 above by scheming mid and deep routes for Denard in the ND game, rather than the short dump offs and screens. (See 4 Denard interceptions and loss by only 7).
4. Mistakenly believing Bellomy, rather than Gardner, would be ready as the #2 QB, resulting in the worst half of offensive football during the most crucial 30 minutes of the entire season - second half Nebraska. Today's second half was a close second, but at least with Gardner we always felt there was a chance today.
5. Today and getting Boom Ferentz'd by Al in the second half. (Won't rehash).
Am I missing any other major mistakes Al and offensive staff made this year beyond this list and today's game?