Submitted by michgoblue on October 27th, 2012 at 11:54 PM

I see that there is already a "Devin for QB" thread and a vent thread.  Figured I would create one for general thoughts (although I expect many will be of the  Devin for QB or Vent variety).  My thoughts:

1.  The defense was solid tonight.  Dominant (save for one series) through three quarters.  As for the 4th, when a defense is on the field for the entire half, at some point, they will start to give up plays.  Happens to even the best defense.  Also, after making stop after stop and having you offense turn it back over on the next play, any defense will start to wear down.

2.  Craig Roh deserves special mention - kid has gotten better and better every game this season.  We will miss him next year.

3.  Norfleet - I know he is a bit of a cult hero around here, and I see the potential, but dude, can you please run somewhere other than into the pile on kick returns.  That said, he has jets.  If he could only figure out which way to point those jets, he would be a threat to take every kick to the house.

4.  Offense with Denard - yeah, losing him ans watching bellamy do his best Nick SHeridan impression made me appreciate Denard, but its not like we were scoring with him in the game - With Denard, we hadn't scored in 5.5 quarters.  That is pathetic.  I don't put all of this on Denard - the WRs are the worst Wr group I have ever seen at Michigan, from a talent standpoint, and we lack even a credible running back threat.  What worries me is that while Hoke has recruited well, he isn't exactly stockpiling top level Wrs and RBs.  Fitz has been terrible, V. Smith blocks like s TE, but is just not a running threat.  And Rawls is obviously doing something in practice that the coches don't like.

5.  Bellamy - cut him a break - he is a redshirt freshman.  That said, holy hell he was terrible.  AT some point, in a close game, you just have to give Gardner a try.  Its not like he is doing anything productive at WR lately.  To me,when your QB goe 0-12, he gets pulled for any other option. At least Devin is a run threat. 

I have more, but I am too numb to keep going.  This loss hurt.



October 28th, 2012 at 12:56 PM ^

He has taken an unranked Arizona team that won 3 games last year, and put up 39 points against USC in a win (eclipsing all of the points Lloyd Carr's teams put up against USC in two Rose Bowls), and 48 against Stanford in his first season.  Make-shift O-line?  Are you telling me that Michigan's O-line is worse than the OL of Southern Miss, Northwestern, etc. (all of whom had more offensive success against Nebraska)?  A good OC with our talent, including the probably the best dual threat QB to ever play college football, could do so much.  There is a reason (actually, many reasons) why other college football teams are not trying to replicate the WCO of Al Borges.


October 28th, 2012 at 12:40 AM ^

Why did the original poster get 2 down arrows? I thought those were good points all.

Look let's compare to the "old days"

Michigan almost always had a stud RB.  We have not had one in years.  Chris Perry probably was the last one.  That used to be bread and butter for UM. 

Michigan has since the Carter years always had 1 "special" WR - we don't have that on this year's team and one could argue have not had one since Braylon went to the NFL.  

The O-line was expected to be adequate and not a strength.  That seems pretty accurate.

The D-line was expected to be a weakness with the loss of the only true playmakers of the defense last year.  Frankly I think they have overachieved with some nice young talent and veterans doing ok.  Jake Ryan is a revelation.

The LBs were expected to be meh and we're all just counting down the days for the 2012 and 2013 classes to mature.  So far I like what I see in the 2012 class of frosh and even the veterans have done ok.

The secondary was supposed to be led by a guy who got injured in the first game of the year.  He was a sophmore - that says a lot about the talent.

So look at the talent on the field.  The offense is a 1 man show. Fitz has been a major disappointment - a ghost.  Last year the offense was best when Fitz offset DRob.  Now its a lot like 2010 when its DRob or nothing, with less talent at WR than in 2010.  And a worse offensive line in many ways than 2010.

The defense is young with a super cool coordinator who overachieved last year with the same core as 2010's dreadful mess, and in my estimate is overachieving this year.  Granted we have played no super offenses as the Big 10 is dreadful but it is what it is.  There is talent being infused on defense and a coordinator we can trust to coach it.   Can't say that for the OC.

You live and die by your QB - this team more than any other really.  The entire offense is DRob it really is.  There are no playmakers at WR or RB - not like the old days or some players you see in the SEC or Pac 10.  There is no Manningham, Terrel, Alexander, Edwards.  Same for the RBs - you get the point.

Hoke overachieved last year - we'll take it.  I was thinking 8-4 would be a good year this year.  But the Big 10 is so bad, 9-3 is very plausible.  Next year we are in a situation as we dont have the QB talent.  Either a frosh QB is going to be playing or Bellomy.  Gardner is not going to be the answer - he is an "athlete" who the coaches have not deemed good enough to retain at backup QB for SOME reason we will surely never know.  So let's get thru next year and hope somewhere out there a stud WR and RB emerge, and Shane is what we think Shane will be.  The defense already you can see the young talent emerging and we should be fine there.  


October 28th, 2012 at 1:00 PM ^

I don't think it is a coincidence that great, highly sought out coaches like Mattison turn out to lead parts of the team that overachieve.  And, unfortunately, I don't see any reason to think Borges' offense will turn out any different than his other, underachieving offenses.


October 28th, 2012 at 12:45 AM ^

What were you expecting with Bellomy? I mean he was either going to go to Purdue and tear ACLs for 5 years or come to Michigan and maybe play. When Denard put that coat on, that was the game. We played two pretty good defenses the past two weeks, so I'm not going to freak out.

I love Denard as a person and a player, but I am looking forward to the development of our pro-style offense where our QB isn't exposed to hits consistently, leaving us helpless when he is injured. I too am worried about the lack of top flight talent being recruited at WR/RB and other skill positions - hope that becomes a priority. 

Ohio looks good. I don't want to say great, because their defense is questionable and I still don't believe Braxton can throw it, but they look very good. It will be a tough game on the road, but we have to beat a good team on the road one day right?


October 28th, 2012 at 1:22 AM ^

Borges is more then half the reason Bellomy struggled. How can you expect a kid who has never played meaningful snap at Michigan, who is not expecting to play, hasn't been prepared to play, and gets no relative warm up before his insertion into a huge game where he's immediately expected to put the ball in the end zone in a crazy environment to succeed?

Not to mention Borges play calling to get him some confidence was terrible. 5+ dropped balls helped I'm sure. It's so easy to play quarterback that all of you couch quarterbacks could do it so easily. Give the kid a break. It was an impossible situation that didnt help itself with poor play calls and really poor execution, lack of audibles.

This game was over before it started.

Sten Carlson

October 28th, 2012 at 1:29 AM ^

Michigan's offense has one major issue: ineffective Offensive Line play.

So many people in here go on and on about Borges, but the issue is very simple.  Michigan's offensive line is NOT controlling the line of scrimmage.  Last year, Michigan's OL was good, not great, but good.  This year, not so much.  People in here are blaming Borges, saying he's calling terrible plays, and saying that Fitz suddenly forgot how to play RB.

Borges isn't calling bad plays, he's calling plays that SHOULD be Michigan's bread and butter.  He's calling playing that last year spung Fitz for 1,000 yards.  It's hard to run an effective offensive scheme when your OL cannot block your base running play effectively as EVERYTHING you do comes from the ability to block that play effectively the majority of the time.  Last season, especially later in the season, the OL was able to effectively block the zone read, and Fitz got off, Denard got off, and everything worked off of that.  This year, not so much.

Bottomline, it's near IMPOSSIBLE for an offensive football team to have consistent success with below average OL play.

Sten Carlson

October 28th, 2012 at 1:55 AM ^

I am no OC, but from what I've seen from Michigan's offense, they're running a lot of stretch plays.  Last year, the stretch was blocked well, and Fitz was able to gash the opposition.  This year, however, it's not blocked well, and that quick cut up field that Fitz was so good at, just isn't there.  I don't see any success between the tackles either, except for Denard on a few occassions.  To my eye, it's a OL issue.


October 28th, 2012 at 10:12 AM ^

I want to say that they've tried to run quite a bit of inside zone this year as well, and whereas the creases were open last year quite often, there has been a relative lack of success with the same play this year. Part of that definitely is the offensive line just not blocking quite as well as last year, but I wonder sometimes if it is also the case that Fitz just doesn't get the read on the MLB (or the DT - I know there are  variations on the play), or if indeed the issues with blocking make that read more difficult. 

Gorgeous Borges

October 28th, 2012 at 2:58 AM ^

Why has our offense regressed? We lost David Molk, Junior Hemingway, Mark Huyge, and Martavious Odoms (who didn't even play most of the season) and that's it. Before this game, I wasn't sure if the offense had regressed, but it's undeniable. Alabama, Notre Dame and MSU are elite defenses. But to only put 6 points up on Nebraska at the half is shameful. Even winless Southern Miss managed 20 against them.

What happened to us? I mean, what happened to us in the first half, before Denard got injured?


October 28th, 2012 at 8:13 AM ^

And Fitz can't move forward most of the time, and Denard is understandably super cautious. And from what I can see, the blocking has sucked. I did see Hoke bark at Coach Jackson last night - I would be pissed, too, if I was him. Why do we have all these backs if never use them? 


October 28th, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

Considering your user name, I would have thought you would have researched Al's history.  It is the story of regression:

UCLA - 5 years - regression (peak was year two or three)

Cal - 1 year - whole staff fired

Indiana - 2 years under Gerry DiNardo (awful)

Auburn - 4 years - regression (peak was year one, with first round draft picks QB Jason Campbell, RB Ronnie Brown, and RB Cadillac Williams on roster; steady regression after year one)

2008 - unemployed

Even Ryan Lindley at San Diego State never reached a 58% completion rate under Borges. 

History isn't a perfect guide to the future, but why should we be expecting anything but regression under Borges?

State Street

October 28th, 2012 at 7:35 AM ^

The coaches are throwing Denard under the bus.  Claiming he has a "cut," now some sort of mythical "nerve damage," as he sits there with a jacket on not doing anything.  The coaches and their flat out lying about injury reports (i.e. "he'll be back") is getting ridiculous and downright embarassing.  If you lose a game because you told the truth about an injury, you never deserved to win in the first place. 


October 28th, 2012 at 8:10 AM ^

This board ripped RR from stem to stern because of his foolish, misplaced loyality to a defense coach friend of his (Gibson).  Will we do the same if Hoke "stands by his man" in Borges?

As much as he love to rip Borges he works for Hoke.  The buck does stop there.


October 28th, 2012 at 8:28 AM ^

As for the back-up quarterback situation, I';ve read just about every post-game thread on the board, and I'm with those who think we should expect more from a back-up. Some people are cutting Bellomy some slack. I don't blame him; his coach didn't have him ready. I guess you could hope this would happen during the Minnesota game, but you have to be ready for it to happen in the Ohio State game, or the Big Ten Championshiop game. Last week, Braxton Miller went down, and their back up came in and finished the job competently. Maybe he didn't make any big plays, but he was competent. Hoke says, Fergodssakes, this is Michigan. Exactly. Why don't we have a back up QB who can play at a competent back up level? This is on Borges. 




October 28th, 2012 at 10:08 AM ^

I just don't see all the Borges hate (at least not in his capacity as OC, before the Denard injury). Yeah the first three and out was frustrating, but he seemed to finally find the balance between the air it out all the time approach of the ND game and the run, run, run approach. He ran play action off of our best plays to counter the defense keying on the run. We were a questionable replay overturn from a huge gain to put us in the red zone and were in the red zone when Denard went down. You can argue he didn't put Bellomy in a position to succeed, and he definitely deserves some blame for not having the backup ready to go as the QB coach, but you don't really know how a guy is going to handle a pressure situation for the first time.


October 28th, 2012 at 11:05 AM ^

Hard to score when your QB can't run or throw. That being said if Denard comes back healthy the rest of the season then Michigan still has a good shot at the legends division title. MSU has a good chance of beating Nebraska. Michigan has a good chance of winning the remaining games on the schedule. The OSU game is the remainig game that worries me the most. OSU could be playing for a undefeated season and Michigan playing for chance to earn a rose bowl bid.

Bobby Boucher

October 28th, 2012 at 11:07 AM ^

Before DRob went down it looked like the offensive game plan was working.  We would've won the game had he been okay, but that's the risk with run-first QBs.  Also, you can't blame Borges for those WRs.  They are so bad it makes you want to slap your mamma.  That position needs a makeover.  Treadwell...come on down!!!

Good Defense though.


October 28th, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

Meanwhile, Arizona's offense looked good against USC...This offense is going to create a countless number of threads like this the rest of the time Denard cannot play QB. I have said it before and will say it again: As soon as Denards gone, people will begin bitching about how bad the offense is just like before the basketball on grass era and it is already happening.


October 28th, 2012 at 11:38 AM ^

1. Borges is not on the same plane as Mattison. It is almost embarassing to have Borges at the same level as Mattison on our coaching staff. We can easily say, 'wait and see what Borges can do when he gets his type of QB,' but I think his inability to get his currrent offense accross the goal line in 3 out of 7 games this season speaks volumes about his ability, and does not bode well for any future offense. Mattison's defenses have progressed. Borges' offense has regressed both in season and across seasons. 

2. I do not think we will beat Ohio, and I think we will likely not beat Northwestern. Ohio is clearly the better team, and Miller is clearly the better playing, better coached QB. That guy will give us real trouble for the next couple of years, if he holds up. He's a beast. This year, in Ohio, he's gonna destroy us.  

3. Next year is looking more and more dim in terms of our offense, unless some changes are made personnel wise or skill wise. The former is improbable at the coaching level because of Hoke's relationship with Borges and improbable at the player level because of our weak QB roster. The latter is simply lacking in evidence given the last 2 years.  


October 28th, 2012 at 2:06 PM ^

I agree with all that you said, except the talent point. You can't deny that Denard is very talented. The issue is that he's just not Borges' sort of talented. Yet, I think that given the amount of of talent we have on offense, it has still underperformed. I love Hoke and Mattison, but I fear the offense will typically underperform under Borges, even when he has 'his' players. There will be a good year here and there, but I fear that he will always hold back, in terms of overall team performance, what Mattison and Hoke, our defensive staff, could really do. 


October 28th, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

Agreed, and unfortunately, I think the only time in the past decade that Borges has managed to "coach" a QB to a 60+% completion rate was when he inherited two first round draft picks at RB and a first round draft pick at QB.  Should that occur at Michigan,yes, Borges might be able to not screw that up.  How often, though, can we expect to have a full backfield of first round picks, and might we want a coach who can succeed with slightly less than once in a decade (or more) talent?  Somehow, the talent he had at Cal, Indiana, the rest of his years at Auburn, etc., etc. were not sufficiently his type of talent.  I don't see how this works out well for us.

Sten Carlson

October 28th, 2012 at 2:50 PM ^

I am standing on my position that nearly everything that we're seeing from this offense -- or not seeing, as it were -- is due to the lack of OL effectiveness.  Last season, when Fitz dominated several games, and became a factor, it opened everything up for Borges and Denard.  This year, he's yet to have any significant impact.  He didn't suddenly forget how to run.  His "dancing" is due to being met at or near the mesh point by opposing players.  He's got no room to run, where as  last season he had plenty of room.

Yes, Denard is very talented, and I think he's shown a great deal of improvement in the pocket.  But, when you cannot run the ball with your RB effectively, and every team that you're playing is keying on stopping Denard from running, it's tough sledding.  If, when Michigan has an elite OL, the offense is still pedestrian, I'll be there with you asking for another OC.  But, to me that hasn't happened yet.  Last year's OL was conference average, at best, and this year's is well below average.  As I have said repeatedly, it's nearly impossible to scheme around a weak OL -- you have no foundation, no identity, and it's hard to get anything accomplished.


October 28th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

I ain't even that mad.  Did anyone think we were good enough to beat Nebraska with our third best quarterback?  Hosesntly if someone had told you that Bellamy would play most of the game what result would you have predicted?


October 28th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

I wonder if Sheridan ever visits Mgoblog?...and if he realizes that his name is used as an adjective to describe poor QB play?  Ex: Sheridan-esque performance.  That poor guy is lambasted around here, deservedly so, but I still feel kind of bad for the guy. 

We'll see if Bellomy delivers multiple performances like the one last night, before we can start using his name as an adjective.  :)