Iowa 24, Michigan 21 Comment Count

Ace November 23rd, 2013 at 4:04 PM

I started writing this post at Heiko's apartment before my laptop battery mercifully bailed out, giving me a few minutes to think on the drive home. Time heals all wounds, they say; this wasn't nearly enough time.

Michigan got an early gift when Jake Ryan's crushing hit on Iowa QB Jake Rudock on a play-action rollout—sound familiar?—led to a fluttering pass that Brennen Beyer intercepted and took back seven yards for a touchdown. The defense came away with two other interceptions in the game; Blake Countess baiting Rudock for his second pick led directly to the second Wolverine touchdown, a two-yard pass to A.J. Williams that Iowa had completely dead to rights until Devin Gardner comically stiff-armed Tanner Miller to the ground in the backfield.

Left to its own devices, the Michigan offense could muster just one more score in the game, a nine-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon to give them a 21-7 halftime lead.

The Wolverines finished with 158 yards on 57 plays (2.8 ypp); the Greg Davis-coached Iowa offense managed to tally 407 yards (5.5 ypp) despite freezing temperatures and a howling wind. At one point in the second half, Al Borges called for back-to-back reverses—the first one worked; the second predictably failed miserably. Iowa adjusted to Michigan's fake-bubble-based run game and that was all she wrote; the defense, down both starting linebackers by the end of the game, couldn't stop the inevitable comeback.

Eight three-and-outs. Eight.

Gardner fumbled on a draw play on Michigan's final offensive possession, their first turnover of the game; it was unfortunate, to be sure, but at this point it's pretty tough to blame the guy:

I watch him play and feel no anger, just sadness. Michigan is left with no reasonable option but to put him out there despite the fact that he's obviously not close to the same player he was last year or at the start of this season, clearly hurt, and being put in a position in which few—if any—quarterbacks could succeed. Gardner gives this team the best chance to win; he's also battered, skittish, and quite possibly flat-out injured.

Crazy things happen in football, which is why we keep watching. It'll take something beyond any reasonable expectation of crazy for Michigan to even stay competitive in The Game on Saturday.


coastal blue

November 23rd, 2013 at 4:32 PM ^

True story: just like the 2013 offense the 2010 defense had a few good games. Was anyone defending the idea of keeping that defensive staff around? Of course not. Michigan ran 16 plays for 6 yards before the final drive in the second half. Basically 5 3 and outs. That is the final nail in the coffin. Space coyote and his idiot followers can blow up the comments with a billion words defending the logic of Borges but it's over. 16 for 6 is yet another wonderful addition to 2013 by Borges. Michigan needs to act now and drop it's weak link. Otherwise we will be mired in mediocrity for years to come.


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:44 PM ^

where are those merry band of borges defenders? there is NO way that they will be able to defend this game. that had to have been one of the worst displays of football i have ever witnessed. this is karma. michigan should not have treated RR in the manner they did. the manball fan boyz are no where to be found today.


November 23rd, 2013 at 8:51 PM ^

Gardner is a great RR offense QB, but not Borges offense... it sucks, but Gardner has shown he cannot handle it and/or it cant play to his strengths.  I hope Morris plays next week, because Gardner has shown he cannot run this offense, despite so many thinking its only on Borges or the OL....   why does everyone give Gardner a free pass for such horrid play since the ND game ?  Snap out of it folks.


November 24th, 2013 at 2:09 AM ^

It wasn't all on the defensive staff in 2010. RR was the head coach who insisted on running a defensive scheme that the coaches didn't know how to run. I am interested in what plays you would have run given that the offensive line can't run block or pass block very well, the FB's and the RB's can pass block, the TE's can't run block and the WR's aren't very good outside of Funchess and Gallon.

New Kid On The Blog

November 23rd, 2013 at 4:33 PM ^

I see no reason whatsoever to be the least bit optimistist about this team with the current coaching staff. I don't see any playerd development or game planning worth a damn. There is nothing this team does well, nothing. 


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:38 PM ^

I am sick of the word physicality, manball and execute.
I was out coached, we didn't game plan correctly, we still run the same stupid play over and over again, we can't run the ball, we are too soft for starting Fitz again, we owe an apology to DG, fans, Taylor Lewan, all those wonderful Alumni we have. I am planning to walk back to Sandiego and won't be back until I can find my headset that I left there.

The whole issue was that I don't have my headset. Next year we will be really good as I will have my headset.


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:39 PM ^

Another poor performance, can it get any worse? Yeah it can-stay tuned for next week’s game. So what’s the problem? Bad play calling, young players, overrated talent, no improvement from week to week, poor game strategy, lack of adjustments-no game instincts, head coach not involved with the offense....all point to management problems-Borgess-Hoke-Brandon. Hoke and Brandon won’t go since you can’t cut the head off....not Borgess goes....the sooner the better for recruiting and to get first crack at a quality OC. If they don’t act soon and next season is similar or worse, the dominoes will all fall.

User -not THAT user

November 23rd, 2013 at 5:08 PM ^

At least there was no denying his ability to actually, you know, COACH.

And his teams were getting progressively better each year...just not as quickly as anyone with a 131-year old program would have liked.

But here we are, another 7-5 Year Three staring us in the face unless the universe implodes next week.  And the sad truth is this team isn't really as good as their record.  They SHOULD be a sub-.500 team.

Maybe this year we can avoid the Gator Bowl and another beatdown from a third-tier ESS-EEE-SEE team.


November 23rd, 2013 at 5:42 PM ^

Actually, there was a lot of doubt about his ability to coach defense - and they were not getting better on that side of the ball, but worse.  We went from a little below-average defensively in 2008 to way below average in 2009 to the worst defense in school history in 2010.  Our team got better only in the sense that we had one functional side of the ball in 2010 instead of none, like in 2008 - not that both sides were improving.


rob f

November 23rd, 2013 at 11:17 PM ^

WTF does Casteel (and any success vs. Oregon he may have had today)  have to do with any of the current problems that Michigan is having in 2013???

For that matter, JUST STOP IT!!! as far as revisionism of the RichRod era is concerned.  Regardless of the improved record he had in his final season, it was mostly a mirage, as the defense was getting worse each season, we still finished well below .500 in the B1G, we still couldn't beat MSU or OSU, we got nuked in the bowl game---and if it weren't for Denard that season and for games like the multiple OT "video" game win over Illinois, we were still a disaster and far, far, far from competing for B1G Championships.  Do any of you revisionists really believe RR, had he and his Michigan team actually competed well in year 4, could have built any kind of sustained success at Michigan by recruiting so poorly for the offensive line? 

I don't dislike RichRod, and I detest the way he was treated, but honestly, the program was so broken by that time that I have no doubt change was necessary.

Sad to say, though, unless Hoke makes some major staff changes on offense immediately following the end of the current season, he may be just a season or two of suffering the same fate that RR did.  I just hope he realizes it by now and is somehow laying the groundwork behind-the-scenes to fix what's broken with his staff.


November 24th, 2013 at 2:33 AM ^

I do believe that with the schedule they had, and OSU firing Tressel that Michigan at least duplicates the record with Hoke.  

1. I believe he would have made the correct D-Coordinator hire and gotten out of the way.
2. No Wisconsin on the schedule.  If we go to Wisky, even with Hoke, we lose that game.  
3. No Penn State on the schedule.  
4. RichRod wouldn't have gone away from what worked well against Iowa, which is to keep the ball in Denard's hands and run.

RichRod excelled at beating bad teams and the 2010 schedule was loaded with them.  I think that reasonable people felt that he just needed to hire a top defensive coordinator and get out of the way.

BTW - I don't look at that bowl game as anything more than a team realizing they were playing for a guy who wouldn't be their coach in a few days.

Raback Omaba

November 23rd, 2013 at 4:39 PM ^

Look, I'm obviously not happy with the way our season has turned out - but all you chicken littles calling for the coaches head need to back off. It takes time to build depth and the type of team that Hoke is going to build. The "highly ranked recruits" that we all talk about are only Sophomores at best, in a sport where redshirt Sophomores at the earliest should really even see the field.

Look, I'm the last person to be happy with what we're seeing - but give it time. This is a mediocre season. It's his third year, which is the toughest to suceed in for a new coach. Bielien's third season saw a 15-17 record, and at the time I remember telling my friends about how he needed to go - how'd that work out? He brought us to a Big Ten Championship the year after and then a Final Four the one after that. The team is looking solid this year and it's pretty apparent that our BBall Program is re-established.

It sucks to see OSU and MSU do so well - but let's give our staff time, they will get us to a Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl soon enough. Heck, I remember after Mark Dantonio's third season at MSU (a 6-7 Campaign, I might add,) my MSU friends were calling for his head and saying the needed to "FIRE NARDUZZI." How'd that work out? Urban will take a step back next year - he was the recipient of a strong roster and a good schedule the past two years. Don't want to take anything away from him since he hasn't lost a game, but it is what it is.

Give these guys time - we have a ton of depth returning next year. The team WILL be very good next year. 2014 and 2015 will be telling, but I fully expect to win a Big Ten Championship in one of the two, or both - and compete in both years.

Let's not lose patience guys.........his best recruiting classes were his 2nd and 3rd, and they are only Freshmen and Sophomores.



November 23rd, 2013 at 4:55 PM ^

You know... sooner or later, that "Youth" excuse is going to run out. Your adorable, really, your so cute. Especially where you say,  "2014 and 2015 will be telling, but I fully expect to win a Big Ten Championship in one of the two, or both - and compete in both years."  Yeah... 2014 and 2015, will be telling all right.




November 23rd, 2013 at 5:42 PM ^

Seriously, even if Oregon comes back and wins that game (not exactly an unlikely scenario) it's hard to argue that Hoke has done a better job with his raw materials (even with the lousy '10 and '11 recruiting classes considered) than RichRod has done with his.


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:51 PM ^

Seriously how can you defend this offensive production?!? It's not like we have threet or Sheridan back there. We have talent all across the board, young or not the team is supposed to get BETTER as the year progresses and not WORSE.

But you're right bro lets give it 2 more years of 8-5, 7-6 before we come to any conclusion. Lol


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:52 PM ^


"Let's not lose patience guys.........his best recruiting classes were his 2nd and 3rd, and they are only Freshmen and Sophomores."


Freshman and sophomores who've regressed over the course of the season. How do you figure they're going to improve next year? How come other teams can play freshman and sophomores and perform well, or at least improve throughout the season, but we can't? (Hint: rhymes with "joke.")


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:56 PM ^

People want Borges and Funk gone because they're terrible coaches.  There's a reason Borges has been to so many places, he just can't call plays very well unless it's at a perfect environment featuring multiple first rounders called Auburn.  Looking at the offensive line, it's obvious there's problems and even Lewan has seemed to digress.

People are starting to call for Hoke's head because he won't make the move to fire Borges or Funk midseason like other schools have done (Texas with Manny Diaz, Wisconsin with their offensive line coach last year).  He's stood by and seemingly looks like a bubbling idiot as he supports Borges and looks lost on the sideline.  While this coaching staff is more of a committee than a heirachy, it's still Hoke's job to win games.

The defense hasn't looked great at times and while the time of possession is usually pretty close, it still feels like the defense is constantly on the field and being worn down.  Personally, I think Mattison is doing a great job.  The upperclassmen are Rodrigeuz players or the last minute recruiting class in 2010, he hasn't really had time to develop or gather great defensive linemen, the most vitale part of a defense.  I don't think we'll be like an Alabama defense year in and year out but we'll consistently have a great defense once things fall in place.

Sorry for the long post, just kind of my thoughts flowing.  As a side note, I really feel for Devin.  He's giving it his all and is obviously hurt and scared, something completely understandable given the position he's in.  He gets hit every single fucking play and gets up after each one knowing it'll happen again and again.


November 23rd, 2013 at 5:03 PM ^

Every other team in the country has to run out young guys at key spots and they all get way more production out of them than this staff.

Youth isn't the problem.

Furthermore, your Beilein comparison is incomplete because after that lousy season, JB cleaned house in his staff.  Do you really think Hoke will axe Borges, Funk, etc?  Hell no he won't, because Brady "likes the playcalling" and thinks Funk is a "great" coach.


November 24th, 2013 at 2:10 AM ^

for one of the most inept coaching staves in college football.  You say they need time to build a roster and time to get uppercalssman in all the positions and blah, blah blah.  I say BULL SHIT!

Nick Saban walked into Alabama in 2007 following Mike Shula's failures, where Bama was 6-7 in 2006.  In Saban's first year he went 7-6.  In 2008 he went 12-2 (8-0) in the SEC, lost the SEC Championship game to Florida and lost to Utah in a bowl game.  In 2009 Bama won the National Championship. (His 3rd year as coach).

In 2010 they went 10-3, beating MSU 49-7 in the Cap One Bowl.  Bama has won the last two NCs and might win a third in a row. 

The problem here is not time, the problem is seeing, developing and working with the talent you have to succeed.  Al Borges and Brady Hoke seem lost.  They are trying to put a round peg in a square hole.  Just like RR tried when he got here.  An OC or HC can't force players to play a style they are simply not able to play.  Nick Sheridan was not a spread guy and DG et al are not "ManBall"(hate that term) players.

The main reason this team is losing to teams that have much LESS talent is because the coaching staff refuses to scheme to the players strengths.  Borges has said it in pressers that they changing the scheme to what they want in the future.  "We are two years behind where we want to be and can't wait anymore" - paraphrasing AB.

This staff would rather lose game for the sake of a scheme, than to play to win each game however they have to.  Coaches have one main job - WIN!  That is it.  If they lose consistently, the get fired, plain and simple.  Recruiting character players, graduation rates and minimal legal issues are all greatly desired, but those won't keep their jobs.

This staff is in over their heads and most likely will be gone if they are not 8-4 or better next season.  Borges is a BAD OC, Funk can't seem to teach lineman how to block and Fred Jackson I think needs to retire.  The RBs can't block either and due to the Oline problems, have nowhere to run.

This team desparetely needs a quality QB coach and Hoke needs to understand what the offense is doing.  He is just as guilty for the offense as RR was for his lack of defensive understanding. 

I can predict two things confidently: there will be a significant drop off in season ticket sales for next season and if this staff remains in tact for next season and this team goes 7-5 or 6-6, they will ALL be gone.


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:41 PM ^

Click to embiggen. What I did was to calculate Michigan's offensive yards per play per opponent, divided by the average yards per play allowed by that opponent over the course of the season. Anything over the red line is above average, anything below is below average. Losses are indicated with maize points. Also included is a line of best fit. It has a negative slope.