Michigan 42, Minnesota 13

Michigan 42, Minnesota 13

Submitted by Ace on October 5th, 2013 at 7:38 PM


Split out wide for most of the game, Devin Funchess set career highs in receptions and yards. [Photo: Bryan Fuller, MGoBlog]

After two ugly victories against overmatched opponents, Michigan entered their game against Minnesota with a reshuffled offensive line and a pressing need to placate the fanbase by not playing down to their opponent. After a slow start, they did just that, scoring 28 second-half points en route to a 42-13 homecoming victory.

The natives were restless during a plodding first half in which the two teams combined for just eight real drives (the Gophers ran out the last 1:25 of the half), due mostly to a 16-play, 75-yard march by Minnesota—during which they converted five third downs—that saw them tie the game at seven. That came after Jibreel Black forced a fumble by Gopher quarterback Mitch Leidner on the game's opening possession; James Ross recovered and the Michigan offense capitalized with six runs in six plays, covering 35 yards and capped by an eight-yard Fitz Toussaint touchdown.

The ensuing Gopher drive ate up most of the first quarter, allowing them to not only knot up the score, but keep it close for the rest of the half. This was "old time Big Ten football" in the worst sense—slow-paced, run-heavy, and not particularly effective. Four consecutive punts followed, and the heated battle for field position eventually went in Michigan's favor—after Matt Wile's 55-yard boot was downed by Dennis Norfleet at the Gopher one-yard line, Minnesota was forced to punt it away from the nine, and Drew Dileo took a line drive kick well into Gopher territory. Four plays later, Devin Gardner hooked up with Devin Funchess—who spent most of the game lined up at wide receiver—on a post route for a 24-yard touchdown with 1:25 left in the half. Fitting the general tenor of the game, Minnesota decided to forego any chance at points, running twice and carrying three timeouts into halftime.

If that seemed questionable at the time, it looked more so after Michigan drove 75 yards in nine plays to open the second half, bolstered by an improved running game and the emergence of Funchess, Giant Wide Receiver. The first four plays of the drives were runs of 14, 5, 8, and 9 yards; a 21-yard back-shoulder throw to Funchess set up a two-yard Derrick Green touchdown to cap the drive. The Gophers could only respond with a field goal to cut the Wolverine lead to 21-10; that would be the closest they'd get for the rest of the game.

Much of the credit for that can go to Funchess, who finished with seven catches for 151 yards—both career highs—and set up a late Gardner touchdown run with a 46-yard grab on the right sideline. Even though the numbers don't bear it out, the running game looked improved as well; though Michigan averaged just 3.2 yards per carry as a team, Fitz Toussaint (right, Upchurch) had an impressive 78 yards on just 17 carries, adding a second touchdown run from 12 yards out to give Michigan a 28-10 third-quarter lead that proved insurmountable. Chris Bryant, the new starter at left guard, proved adept as a puller, which allowed Michigan to run the play they'd like to (eventually) make their offensive identity: power.

Most importantly, considering the troubles of the last two games, Michigan didn't turn the ball over once, the first time they've done so since their 58-0 win over these same Gophers in 2011, Brady Hoke's first season at the helm. After looking flustered against UConn, Devin Gardner was very sharp, connecting on 13 of 17 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown while showing a calmness in the pocket that wasn't present in previous games. Gardner wasn't needed much as a runner, carrying the ball just seven times for 17 yards and a TD; in a game like this, that's just fine.

While the defense had trouble getting off the field on third downs, allowing Minnesota to convert on 8 of 15 chances, they were otherwise solid; the Gophers mustered just 281 total yards on 4.5 yards per play and couldn't score a touchdown after their second drive. The inside linebacker duo of Desmond Morgan and James Ross combined for 19 tackles, making it tough sledding for any Minnesota run up the gut. While the Wolverines had trouble covering Gopher TE Maxx Williams, who finished with 54 yards and a touchdown on five receptions, the rest of the Minnesota passing offense generated just 91 yards. While the Gophers missed a couple chances for big completions late, Michigan made up for that when Blake Countess stepped in front of a Leidner throw and returned it 72 yards to complete the scoring with just 1:19 on the clock. The biggest concern on that side of the ball going forward may be the health of nose tackle Ondre Pipkins, who was carted off the field with a left knee injury; he's a critical backup behind Quinton Washington.

Despite the close calls and consternation from the nonconference slate, Michigan now sits at 5-0 and 1-0 in the Big Ten, and after two harrowing wins over bad teams the Wolverines beat Minnesota in a wholly acceptable fashion—the slow pace masked a dominant effort until the game broke open late. In the end, Michigan scored five touchdowns on eight offensive drives, with the defense adding a sixth for good measure while forcing Minnesota to fight for every yard. It wasn't pretty in any aesthetic sense; the score, however, speaks for itself.

Dear Diary is a Cinderella Story

Dear Diary is a Cinderella Story

Submitted by Seth on October 4th, 2013 at 10:56 AM

wallpaper

My quick submission in the thread asking for backgrounds. jonvalk stepped up.

I think I made this same chart in 2008 #1: Gulo Gulo Luscus is joining Off-Tackle Empire and other folk in looking back at recruiting and OL development time to explain why the problems. His method is to look at average age of the starters versus the performance of the unit as measured by YPA/RPI. Cool chart:

scatterplot

If you can't find Michigan it's because we're buried under the Gophers. TSS's response should be part of the read.

Ron Utah has the beginnings of his own UFR database. With Brian's permission I'll make mine available to anyone who asks for it—don't want to host it online but I'm willing to share copies if you say what you're going to do with it. Only concern there is those numbers are very much in context and the n's are quite small so it's easy to abuse. Anyway, Ron's thing tracked performance of different formations in the UConn game. Tiny sample sizes are going to hide most good info but we can whittle that down personnel instead of formation, since these two:

I-form TwinsShotgun 2 Back twins

…have more in common with each other than either has with this:

Shotgun 4-wide

. By personnel:

Type Runs Rush YPA Passes Pass YPA Total YPA Pass%
Empty TE (1TE, 4WR) 0 - 1 6.0 6.0 100.0%
4-Wide 0 - 5 6.8 6.8 100.0%
3-Wide 12 8.3 16 4.7 6.2 57.1%
Two TE 11 4.5 8 0.1 2.7 42.1%
Two Backs 5 2.2 2 1.0 1.9 28.6%
Big (2RB, 2TE) 4 -1.3 1 12.0 1.4 20.0%
Goal Line (2RB, 3TE*) 3 6.7 0 - 6.7 0.0%
Total 35 5.0 33 3.9 4.5 48.5%

* Michigan brings in an OT (Magnuson) instead of a third tight end

Still too small a sample size . I'll check in the next bye week and see what these look like when we're not just zooming in on Gardner's terrible awful no good very bad day. The ratios look normal but given the relative paucity of plays with a fullback (and many of those probably in short situations) it's hard to judge those at all.

Goal line—6.7 YPA—we must be manballius!—looks great because of two Gardner boot-to-runs (it would be epically higher if he'd seen Funchess wide open downfield on one of them), but the other play from that formation was a near-crippling fumble-defensive TD.

On the other hand: 12 rushes for 8.3 YPA from three-wide is not a red herring: that is Gardner's rushing ability and the fact that Michigan is far better at getting linebackers out of the box by making them split out with a slot receiver than having a tight end forcibly remove him. Note when it counted on that late 4th and 2 they went with a 3-wide formation and let Gardner pick his spot.

Our Demographic. I made this to explain our numbers versus other media outlets to a potential advertiser:

mgodemographic

She's probably on the phone with WTKA now.

[Jump.]

Wednesday Presser Transcript 10-2-13: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 10-2-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on October 2nd, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Bullets:

  • Offensive line changes. You know this already, but here it is anyway: Chris Bryant to left guard, Graham Glasgow to center. This wasn't mentioned during the presser, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were also changes at tight end and receiver.
  • Jake Ryan is participating in some full contact stuff. Still wearing a red jersey though, obviously.

--------------------------

Opening remarks:

“Good practices. We’ve had that. We’ve stacked them together. We expect that this afternoon. I think the competitiveness and physicalness that we need to play with, we’ve had. I think how we’ve responded as a team last week and this week has been really good.”

Changes to the offensive line?

“Those guys have all done a tremendous job competing. If we were going to kick the ball off today, Graham [Glasgow] would be the center. Chris Bryant would be the left guard with Joe Burzynski and Kyle Bosch being part of that mix at some point possibly. Jack [Miller]’s done a great job competing, but Graham would start and Jack always is ready to go.”

So that would be the lineup Saturday?

“Well, if we kicked off now, that’s what we’d do. You never know. There’s still some days left.”

Chris Bryant To Enter Lineup

Chris Bryant To Enter Lineup

Submitted by Brian on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Chris-Bryant-thumb-646x429-120388[1]

I may have accidentally typed "Christ Bryant" when attempting to tag this post.

Per all of everyone on twitter but here's Tim because we go back:

Brady Hoke confirms Chris Bryant and Graham Glasgow are the LG and C, respectively.

That was couched in "as of today"-type rhetoric, but you can stop with the rumblings and bumblings now. It's all but official that Michigan's going to debut Chris Bryant on Saturday. Heiko mentions that Hoke also brought up Kyle Bosch and Joey Burzynski as guys "in the mix," along with Miller.

FWIW, I'd heard that Michigan was going to start Bryant against UConn but for a shoulder injury that week in practice. Parsing out how much confidence this gives you about Bryant's ability versus how much terror it gives you about Bryant's ability to remain on the field is left as an exercise to the reader.

BONUS. HEY YOU I REMEMBER YOU

Hoke said Jake Ryan has been doing some full contact work "but we're smart with it," in term of letting him do too much.

No return date set, so not this week. Indiana still seems reasonable.

This Week's Obsession: Oh, Line

This Week's Obsession: Oh, Line

Submitted by Seth on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:51 AM

 molkmiller-Heiko

Molk/Definitely Not Molk [Heiko]

We waited to pass judgment on this offensive line until they weren't freshmen or true freshmen. We waited for the end of spring and and the end of fall and until we saw them play actual football, and do so against actual NFL-bound defensive linemen. We waited after Akron because everybody was getting a mulligan. We waited until after the UConn game was UFR'd. While nobody among the struggling is so old that their careers are discountable, the evidence is clear that Michigan, so far, hasn't had five guys who can credibly block at a collegiate level.

So…depth chart today:

LT: Brian Cook—turned down NFL to write about college

LG: Ace Anbender—Good find, should be multi-year starter, moonlighted at first as a…

C: Coach Brown—Recipient of much internet scorn lately. A good sport about it.

RG: Blue in South Bend—Top young prospect, struggles with moderation.

RT: Seth Fisher—Been here forever, appreciated but consensus is he's not a star like Brian

IMG_5059
First rule of position group panic: anyone on the depth chart with a plausible excuse for not playing yet is a god. [Upchurch]

And the question:

The OL complaints have had a few weeks now to percolate through reality and drip a little possibility of personnel changes into our cups. How do we feel about this? How much improvement would you expect out of an assumed Bryant->LG, Glasgow->Center, Miller->Bench plan, and what's the catch? Any other moves you'd consider?

Brian: There are two catches with the proposed Bryant insertion:

Bryant is liable to catch on fire at any moment. He's injury-prone. This is often an overblown thing better attributable to bad luck than anything else, but with very large offensive linemen it's a real thing, especially ones coming off a leg injury who end up getting their knee drained just before the season.

A position switch for Glagsow may limit his effectiveness. Can he snap? Can he get the line calls right? Will he have the requisite agility? That move seems like a recipe for more of the same when it comes to mental errors unless Glasgow is even more of a player than I think he is after four games.

Those issues are not enough to keep Miller on the field after consecutive rough outings against low-level competition against both pass and run. If they're going to continue with the stretch, the center is probably the single most important guy on your OL and Miller is busting too often both mentally and physically not to attempt a change. How effective your stretch is going to be when Chris Bryant is trying to move laterally remains unknown. Add that to the pile of issues, I guess. Here:

Does a Bryant/Kalis guard pairing throw away your offseason prep? Michigan wants to run the stretch for some reason. Their guards don't seem like good fits. Can you run inside zone now? Power?

I feel not good about midseason switches; I still feel that there will be improvement; there is no other move to consider except prepping Bosch or Kugler to enter the lineup in the event Bryant gets hurt or doesn't perform.

[More responses after the jump.]

Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-18-13: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-18-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 18th, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Bullets:

  • Boo boo watch: Courtney Avery and AJ Williams are back at practice. This is not a drill. 
  • Boo boo watch part 2: Taylor Lewan didn't practice yesterday but will today. He's fine. Mario Ojemudia will be the most limited of the boo boo watchees. I don't know if he'll play.
  • The offensive line is in an introspective phase. Changes might occur as early as this week. However, the bye week presents a much better opportunity to shake things up.

-----------------------

Opening remarks:

"Good practice yesterday. Thought we came out and competed very hard, which you expect every day. But I thought we physically were getting after each other, and we'll do the same thing today. We've got to play the run better, run the ball better, same old stuff you always hear, but it's the truth and it is what it is. I liked how we came out and competed with each other."

Noticeably different from last week?

"On a Tuesday? Probably a little bit."

A lot players said last Tuesday was lackluster. Can you tell that?

"They would know best if they felt that way. Maybe it's an individual thing, too."

Can you talk about UConn's defensive front?

"Yeah they're a big front. Not quite Notre Dame big in some ways, but they're a big front. Active in the linebackers. I think Smallwood is a guy who is their main bellcow when it comes to tackling and getting the ball on the ground. Just reading some of the comments Paul has made, I know they want to play better against the run also. I'm sure they've worked their tails off like we are."

Did Taylor Lewan practice?

"He didn't do anything yesterday. He did some alternate conditioning stuff, but he'll practice today. He's fine."

Mailbag: Computer Predictions, Legends Patches, OSU Game Plan

Mailbag: Computer Predictions, Legends Patches, OSU Game Plan

Submitted by Brian on August 29th, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Norfleet?

NORFLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTT!!!!!!!!!!

-Andrew

I agree.

Season prediction by computers

I'm sure you've seen Brian Fremeau's FEI projections already. If I remember correctly, they had us at 8 wins last year...

This year it's 7 wins.  :(  To tell you the truth, there have been so many positive comments about Gardner, I was starting to get confirmation bias.  Your thoughts?

-Mike

Statistical preseason rankings are often lagging indicators since in an effort to be at all reflective of reality they have to not only take data from the previous year but the previous few. This means they predict what has happened before will happen again. Fremeau's Program FEI rankings look at the last five years. For Michigan that includes the entire Rodriguez era.

They are therefore useless in this case except insofar as the 2010 recruiting class is still with us. Or not with us, as the case may be. I don't put a ton of stock into computer projections, and in Michigan's specific case it's barely any.

Reading the Braden/Bryant tea leaves

What do you/MGoBlog staff think about Braden being shifted to back-up OT?

1. Braden couldn't pull or otherwise do the things they want from their their guards?

2. Bryant has proven himself as a potential starter/legit back-up?

3. Some of both,

4. Completely unclear

-Rod

I lean towards 1 with a bit of 3. It's clear they wanted Braden to be the guy, clear that Braden is a physical monster who demands you try to start him as soon as he's off a redshirt, and also clear that he's not really a guard. Or at least it became clear. Otherwise he would still be competing there, and Glasgow would be competing at center, and the possibility that Bryant's radiator goes out midseason would be covered by the prospect of playing Braden.

HOWEVA, I do think Bryant has legitimately emerged as an option. For one, chatter. For two, they moved Braden back outside, seemingly permanently.

Legends patches. Merph.

Devin-Funchess-Michigan-Wolverines-570x379[1]

19 coulda been a contendah

Brian-

As three more players get their numbers exchanged for Legends jerseys this year, I shake my head and pine for what #19 could have meant for Michigan fans in three years. My buddy's #10 jersey is now Just Another Brady. Are the jerseys taking away from the chance for new players to carve out their own place in Michigan history?

One man's solution: Assign Legends jerseys (and maybe even some retired numbers?) on one game a year. Homecoming is an obvious choice- the alumni presence will appreciate the old numbers more. Let the players assert, through the first half of the season, who deserves to wear a Legends number, and since it's only one game a year, they don't have to give up their own. Thoughts?

~Garbs

Yes, they are taking away the ability for players to carve out their own number legacy. I was looking forward to seeing #19 on the field and thinking about Funchess, having tight ends want the #19, having a Funchess patch on #19, etc. Now that's not happening. Funchess can annihilate TE receiving records and go zeroth in the NFL draft and no patch. Ditto Gallon: guy was #10, and now he's just the latest guy to wear #21 for one year. (I actually mind the Avery move less, since he's not likely to be a guy you remember forever and sigh about. Rewarding a senior captain who isn't an out-and-out star with the fancy patch is a good thing.)

While your suggestion is an upgrade on the current situation, they should just issue legends jerseys like normal numbers to incoming freshmen. Maybe hold them out and hand them out to promising sophomores—Jake Ryan getting 47 early in his sophomore year is much different than switching a guy burned into your head as some other number. But just hand them out to kids who want them when they show up.

Getting overly precious about numbers is blowing them up, as can be seen with the effectively-retired #1. Players should get numbers and never change those numbers, and I miss handlebar mustaches and gangrene.

Ohio State: what to do?

Hey Brian,

Now that you've looked at some of the OSU game (and I assume managed to stomach some of the run plays again as well), what are your impressions of Borges's second half game plan.

My feelings have been, after watching it a couple times, that the game plan wasn't nearly as much an issue as execution. While some of the play calls didn't lend when to Michigan's abilities, basic execution (such as the interior OL managing to make an effective double at the point of attack so Michigan could pick up a single yard) far out-weighed the possibly poor play calling aspects of the game. Even Lewan struggled to execute regularly in this game IMO.

Again, while I freely admit the game plan and play calling was far from perfect, as with most cases, I think 9 out of 10 times it's execution that is the issue more so than what most fans see as an OC screwing it up with play calling. IMO, if there is any issue, it was the offensive coaches not getting the players up to a point where they could execute fairly simple tasks regularly. What's your take on the situation.

Thanks,

Space Coyote

While execution was a major issue, Michigan had to know that was going to be a problem. The OL had been flailing since at least the Nebraska game. OSU had a front seven laden with players who were always going to overwhelm Michigan's interior line. So I was on-board with the three first-half running back carries. More than doubling that in the second half was foolish.

Also foolish: expecting that Ohio State would not cotton on to the fact that Denard could not throw. The third-down speed option was doomed since the free safety was plunging down at the slot. Meanwhile, Borges called a ton of pointless rollouts (remember that John Simon was out) that ended up as inaccurate passes as Gardner couldn't set his feet.

The argument about execution always gets my dander up, because you as a coordinator are responsible for putting your players in a position to succeed. Their ability to execute opens up some possibilities and closes off others, but—for instance—asking Denard Robinson to execute on naked bootlegs on which a player will always be in his face the instant he turns around is on you, the coordinator. You have to execute as well.

I think Borges's options were limited, but three things stand out:

  1. Refusing to run Gardner. He had three attempts. Michigan could have used the extra blocker on short yardage badly.
  2. Telegraphing second-half run plays with Robinson. You had to know that 19 of the 20 minutes at halftime were spent saying "DENARD CANNOT THROW".
  3. Incessant rollouts.

(And he got super lucky on Michigan's final drive of the first half, as he'd managed to turn a two minute drill into a 30 second drill in two plays… and then Denard stayed up.)

I've detailed why I think Borges's gameplans in three games in particular were atrocious (2011 Iowa, 2011 Michigan State, and 2012 Notre Dame) because they asked players to do things they weren't good, over and over again.

Borges's philosophy is about as opposed to Rodriguez's as can be, and that's fine. He has track records of very efficient offenses in his past. He will have them in the future. But his desire to do Borges things with players ill-suited to do them cost Michigan a couple games over the past couple years. The Ohio State game is probably not in that category… but it's debatable.

Preview 2013: Offensive Line

Preview 2013: Offensive Line

Submitted by Brian on August 27th, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Previously: Podcast 5.0, The Story, Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Friends.

Depth Chart
LT Yr. LG Yr. C Yr. RG Yr. RT Yr.
Taylor Lewan Sr.* Graham Glasgow So.* Jack Miller So.* Kyle Kalis Fr.* Michael Schofield Sr.*
Ben Braden Fr.* Chris Bryant So.* Joey Burzynski Jr.* Alex Bars Fr.* Erik Magnuson Fr.*

There's nothing in-between for this offensive line. Either it's the tackles, both redshirt seniors who will get drafted next April, or it's the interior, all new starters in flux. While things almost literally can't be worse

A single zero yard run was –6?

Yup.

I try to keep two things in balance: the same blocks get the same scores and a zero yard run adds up to about the same thing as any other zero yard run, but when three blocks get whiffed and any of them would have been sufficient to blow up the play, well, here we are. Thinking of that picture from the 2007 OSU game.

…Michigan can't tread water here and expect to tread water overall. Denard Robinson's 7.2 YPC is out the door.

The way this went down gives some reason for concern. Not at right guard, where Kalis was the anointed from day one, at the other two spots.It's clear Michigan wanted Ben Braden to lock down the left guard job, and clear that Braden just could not, for whatever reason. His move outside totally withdraws him from the competition on the interior and leaves Michigan starting at least one player by default. Michigan saw what "by default" can lead to last year. While that isn't likely to recur, neither does the situation promise an amazing one-year turnaround.

Tackle

Rating: 5 of 5

9495710418_921b8d558e_c[1]

[Bryan Fuller]

TAYLOR LEWAN
hates donkeys
donkeys end to other T
buries linebacker
clubs Kittredge
does it again
erases Hageman
big kickout
go away DT
agile
able to pull
second level
clowney'd
well that'll happen

You know, you hear a guy comparing some high school kid from Arizona to the best left tackle in the history of the program and you get a little excited but in the back of your head you think of Kevin Grady and countless other hype machines that turned to dust and you try to keep your head on straight. And then the guy shows up and is basically Jake Long, down to his decision to return for a senior year the NFL deems entirely unnecessary.

Yes: TAYLOR LEWAN is back for one last crack at a Big Ten championship. His last outing in a winged helmet was a titanic matchup with Jadeveon Clowney in which he held Clowney to three tackles (unfortunately one of them was a crushing TFL on which Clowney beat him straight up, see right) and no quarterback pressure.

Lewan is a returning All-American who kept Clowney quiet until he turned Vincent Smith into mist. (Smith immediately reassembled himself, T1000-style, and jogged off the field. Vincent Smith is from Pahokee.) In fact, you and I can both remember the only time last year when a pass rusher got the best of Lewan for a sack: it was Adolphus Washington in the Ohio State game. So… pretty much the worst time to give it up, but we'll take it.

FWIW, Lewan accumulated a total of –10 across 13 games in pass protection. This was significantly higher than his –4 last year, but 2011 Taylor Lewan didn't take on Alabama, suddenly great Notre Dame, and South Carolina. Adjusted for quality of competition, Lewan was on par with his sophomore year. The NFL liked it enough to project him around 10th in the draft.

But wait, there's more! While Clowney did secretly beat up on Lewan on the ground, he was far and away Michigan's best run blocker a year ago:

Opponent + - Total Notes
Alabama 2.5 1 1.5 Above zero!
Air Force 8 - 8 Blew some guys off the ball; locked out edge guys.
UMass 7.5 1 6.5 Dominating in this game.
Notre Dame 8.5 2 6.5 Got quality motion.
Purdue 10.5 4 6.5 Best drive blocker on the line.
Illinois 5.5 4 1.5 Would have been fine but pulled on a spring counter going his way.
MSU 6.5 4 2.5 Busted huge on one 6 yard loss, otherwise good.
Nebraska 2 2 0 They aren't really running any plays on which his blocking is relevant. That is bizarre.
Minnesota 8 1 7 Iso counter and sprint counter got tackles more involved.
Northwestern 5.5 2 3.5 Okay for him.
Iowa 7 1.5 5.5 More involved. Like it when he is involved.
South Carolina 4.5 9 -4.5 Clowney is like the endboss of Donkey Kong.

He picked up some big minuses for busts; other than that he was impeccable. So why are those numbers topping out at +8 when a guy like David Molk regularly got into the mid-teens?

It's the same story from last year: pulling folks was futile. For whatever reason, Patrick Omameh was able to get out to the second level on zone plays like a mofo but never got the hang of pulling. Canonical example:

When the right guard does that on the regular, it's difficult to get your face-mashing left tackle involved. Darryl Funk inadvertently sums up the entire problem with Michigan's ground game in one painful joke:

I was kidding actually Taylor about this the other day.  Every year we kind of recycle some pictures in the line room and I’ll get some action shots.  I told Taylor, geez, ‘Schofield is in every one of these pictures and where are you?’ (Laughter). 

That's too close to home, too near the bone, man.

Lewan's lack of impact in the run game is a problem with the offense, not Lewan, and it's one Michigan has to fix. You cannot have an All-American tackle that you can't use in the run game and be any good. Meanwhile if they can do that, the run game instantly becomes credible.

Lewan is likely to repeat as an All-American for a lot of reasons: talent, momentum, media profile after the Clowney matchup. He should be close to the same player he was in 2012, but with fewer mental mistakes and hopefully more involvement. Everything else should be about the same but the UFR chart, which should have consistent double-digit positive performances as long as Kyle Kalis is what he's cracked up to be.

[After THE JUMP: Schofield, Kalis, and then doubt. Plus backups, tons of 'em! Eventually!]

Monday Presser Transcript 8-26-13: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 8-26-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on August 26th, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Bullets:

  • Taylor Lewan, Courtney Avery, Jake Ryan, and Cam Gordon are your captains. 
  • Joe Reynolds, Graham Glasgow, and Joe Kerridge now have scholarships.
  • Courtney Avery is out with orthoscopic [MGoI'mGoingToDoSoWellAsAnM3: ARTHROSCOPIC] surgery for some cartilage in his knee. Playing time and experience would say that Jarrod Wilson is the next guy in, but there's probably a three-way battle between him, Josh Furman, and Dymonte Thomas.
  • Derrick Green and Deveon Smith made the traveling depth chart, and they will be expected to contribute either as backup running backs or special teamers. Their redshirts are toast.
  • Starting offensive line is Lewan, Glasgow, Miller, Kalis, and Schofield. 
  • Blake Countess is starting cornerback and starting nickel. Next guy off the bench is probably Hollowell, but both Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis made it onto the depth chart, so there may be some competition there.
  • Dennis Norfleet is handling all return duties.

------------------------

Televised Part

Opening remarks:

"Okay let's get started. Thanks for coming out. We're five days away now. It is game week, and it's exciting. Our players, our staff, everybody involved has worked very hard since January to get to this point. We're excited about the opportunity to see where this team is, and we talk about never getting a second chance to make a first impression, so it's going to be exciting on Saturday. 

"We voted our captains yesterday, and I think the four guys: Taylor Lewan, Courtney Avery, Jake Ryan, and Cam Gordon, are very deserving. At the same time I'll tell you that whole class has done a tremendous job as far as leadership and teaching and helping to help coach young football players. As you all know we are a young football team. We also had an opportunity last night to award three scholarships to guys that have walked onto the program and have set a standard for work ethic and set a standard for their toughness. Their love for their teammates and their love for Michigan. Joe Reynolds, Graham Glasgow, and Joe Kerridge were three guys most deserving. When you have an opportunity to do that as a coach, you always feel good because it obviously is helping their families out. More than that, the guys have earned it. 

"Courtney Avery had arthroscopic surgery Thursday night. Cartilage. It should be a two-week setback, but everything went well. He is in great spirits and he'll be back on the field soon."

Fall Camp Presser Transcript 8-21-13: Brady Hoke

Fall Camp Presser Transcript 8-21-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on August 21st, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Bullets:

  • Boo boos are the worst.
  • Fitz Toussaint has been named the starter at tailback. Act surprised.
  • Ryan Glasgow and Willie Henry are backing up Jibreel Black at 3-tech. Wormley is strictly a 5-tech, and Tom Strobel has fallen off the depth chart it would appear. 
  • Heitzman, Wormley, and Godin are rotating at the 5-tech.
  • Blake Countess is the nickel corner for the nickel package. That tentatively means Michigan is experimenting with a nickel package of Raymon Taylor (CB), Delonte Hollowell (CB), Blake Countess (NB), Thomas Gordon (S), and Courtney Avery (S).
  • Cam Gordon has been proclaimed the No. 1 guy at SAM. I've been strongly predicting Beyer to beat out Cam Gordon, but perhaps this will not be case. We'll see what happens once game day rolls around, but for now I'll concede that I was wrong.
  • In things I'm not so willing to concede, Hoke says that Ben Braden has moved to tackle (he and Magnuson are third in the tackle pecking order) yet remains a guard. While Braden certainly has the ability to play guard (and took snaps there in the scrimmage when Bryant was out), he has not been taking practice reps there for two weeks now, suggesting that Michigan wants him at tackle. Ultimately, none of this matters. It's Bryant or busted assignments.

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Opening remarks:

"We had our last two-a-day practice. I thought we ended that part of it, as far as the two practices a day, in pretty good shape. Did a lot this morning. Physical this morning, physical this afternoon. I like how the kids are coming out and how they're competing with each other. We have 11 days until we kick the ball off, so we have to make sure our timing, playing with speed, playing fast, playing physical like we want to -- we get all those things accomplished. I like the leadership and where we're at."

Do you wish the weather had been this warm earlier in camp?

"Yeah. It would have been nice if it had a little more heat, and I think we'll get some more this week, which will be good for us."

Have you made any personnel decisions yet? Center? SDE?

"Jack [Miller] and Graham [Glasgow], obviously. Chris [Bryant] didn't participate the other night, but he's back out there today. We played Graham at a lot of guard, so today we played them both in there at center a little bit more. I think we're getting closer."