A thread for positive thinking

Submitted by Communist Football on September 2nd, 2018 at 12:10 PM

I fully share the MGoCommune's disappointment that we lost the game, but there were tangible signs of improvement vs. 2017, and reason for optimism if the team continues to get better:

- Significantly improved QB play (from both Patterson and McCaffrey), especially considering that it was their first game—compare with Rudock vs. Utah. Patterson's throws were crisp, and McCaffrey did a nice job of running and throwing on the fly, especially on short notice. He has nice mobility.

- Statistically, as Zach Shaw notes, Michigan gained more passing yards (249) against ND than in 16 of its last 17 games, and that against last year's 5th-ranked S&P pass defense.

- The Ambry Thomas kick return -- when was the last time we had a KO return for a touchdown?

- The defense, after getting gashed early, stuffed a talented and mobile ND offense.

- The punting was better than expected -- Will Hart averaged 43.7 yards with a long of 51. Kickoffs were solid as well with Moody.

- We have five games to shore things up -- WMU, SMU, Nebraska, Northwestern, Maryland -- before the toughest part of our schedule emerges. Hopefully, JH and his braintrust uses that time to get Hudson and perhaps Mayfield into the lineup. Warinner now has game tape he can use to evaluate the OL. If we can somehow get the tackle spot up to mediocre, we can absolutely contend in the B1G.

Keep your chins up, Comrades!


UofM Die Hard …

September 2nd, 2018 at 1:10 PM ^

Going to watch the game again today because i generally think you are correct. I was drunk and watching on my phone at a wedding but i think i saw a good amount of positives. While making so many dumb fuckin penalties.  




September 2nd, 2018 at 1:11 PM ^

Well in 2014 Ohio State had a young, inexperienced o-line. Barely beat Army in their opener then just got destroyed by Va Tech who finished 3-5 in their conference. I watched the game and OSU's oline couldn't pick up any blitzes and gave up what seemed like 1000 sacks. Bud Foster was always a good Defensive coordinator and exploited a weakness. Ed Warriner was OSU's oline coach that year and made adjustments. OSU didn't lose another game and won the national championship. Just saying


September 2nd, 2018 at 1:16 PM ^

The biggest positive here is that none of our season goals are out of reach yet. If we had instead lost to Western or SMU that would likely knock us out of playoff contention. If we had lost a Big Ten game, that would likely knock us out of contention for the conference championship. Losing to a ranked out-of-conference team in a close game is just about the best loss we can take. 


Shea looked very capable at QB. I wish we would have had him throw more deep passes. The dink and dunk isn't working for us.  Dylan McCaffrey looked good as well.


September 2nd, 2018 at 1:18 PM ^

Some positive notes

  • Georgia barely made it out alive in this game last year. Different team, I know, but the defense is pretty much the same.
  • If it weren't for some perfectly executed 50/50 balls, this game looks different. Admittedly, this is getting old. We were in good position on so many of these, so we are due for a less than perfect throw from the opposing QB. ANY TIME NOW.
  • If it weren't for some penalties at crucial moments, the game is completely different. Discipline issue? Maybe. Questionable calls? The Winovich late hit was weak IMO, but the others were good calls. Was the team a little too amped up and let their excitement of the first game on the road at night against a ranked opponent get the better of them?? Probably. 
  • When the offensive line gave Shea time, he threw on target. My mind immediately goes to the 50 yard Nico Collins play. I'm hoping the O-line can get in a rhythm over the next couple of easier games. Northwestern and Maryland might not be as easy as people are thinking though..
  • This is probably the second best D-line we face all year. Hopefully we figure the shit out before Wisconsin. 
  • The team got stronger as the game went on, which is something we didn't see last year.
  • If we are going to lose a game, it should be in the first game of the year to a ranked team on the road at night. 
  • Really unlikely, yet positive(?) scenario: If it does take half a season to figure this team out, and we end up losing to Wisconsin, we would still have a chance to run the table from there and win the B1G. If that happens, and we beat Wisconsin the second time around in the championship game, we will likely be the first 2 loss team accepted in the playoff. 



September 2nd, 2018 at 1:20 PM ^

Subbing in Hudson for Runyan seems like a no-brainer at this point. We have 5 games in a row now when we should be able to run the ball effectively, which will release a lot of pressure. Just cutting down those tackle issues by a third while having Shea adjust to the new offense and the OL learn to gel should be enough to give us a competent O. I suspect that ND's defense is very good based on what they returned from a strong outfit last year. That was a pretty rough initiation for a lot of new variables for us on offense. Additionally, maybe I'm just too optimistic, but I don't see the defense having another quarter like what we saw at the start. After Wimbush passed for like 120 yards in the first quarter--much of which came from deep 50/50 balls--their passing game was erased. 


September 2nd, 2018 at 1:22 PM ^

The punting was actually what impressed me the most. I was more upset than most last year about the crappy punting. Shanks, not doing well at directional punting and keeping it out of the end zone plagued the team last year. Or defense is good, but when they are having to start a drive in their own half it’s tough.

Last night, most of Hart’s punts were not deep in our own zone and he showed that he has the potential to kick it within the 10 yard line. In his one opportunity to punt it deep he boomed it, high and long. I think this ability will help a ton later in the season when the defense is more settled in and are to their usual ways of stopping offenses.


September 2nd, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

This team still has a lot to look ahead to and a lot to improve upon. I just think that they had to have this piece of humble pie and I think it will be good for them instead of bad in the long run. Each guy on the O line needs to do some serious soul searchin and find that desire to rise to this challenge and by sheer willpower, push themselves to perform better. This team writes its own damn story. It hasn't been written for them. That first game is exactly the type of bad game you want to get out of the way early.

Brick in The Wave

September 2nd, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^

My positive:  football should be fun and I will cheer on my team every week.  No matter who their coach is or who their players are.  

I will be frustrated by bonehead mistakes and excited when things go right.  I will give credit to other teams when they play well and understand that undefeated seasons are increasingly rare.  

In short you get 14-16 games a year to cheer on your favorite team.  Make it a positive experience.  


rob f

September 2nd, 2018 at 4:29 PM ^

Good opening post, OP, with one exception: mediocre isn't good enough at the offensive tackle spots.  Ed Warinner's job is to get them better than mediocre.  While I'm not expecting All-B1G OT play given the raw material Warinner has to mold, mediocre won't beat the Badgers, Sparties, Peds, or Buckeyes

Tony Soprano

September 2nd, 2018 at 6:23 PM ^

  • Shea Patterson is really good and will only get better as he builds chemistry with his receivers.
  • Nico Collins - he really is good
  • Punting was good.
  • Ambry Thomas is a real threat on kick returns - hopefully, he has a few more TD's in store this season.  His stride reminded me of Breaston. 
  • Defense made adjustments and shut them down in the 2nd half.
  • Chris Evans is a real weapon catching the ball out of the back field - use him more!



September 2nd, 2018 at 6:47 PM ^

People just need to settle in and back this coach. The last thing we need is change or to start talking about it. That’s how we got here. The big ten east struggled in many ways this weekend. A one score loss to a possible playoff team on the road is not the end. Dantonio has had two 7 win seasons, a 6 win and yes that famous 3 win season. He’s won what he’s won in-between because he’s been able to build his program. Let harbaugh do the same. 


September 2nd, 2018 at 7:42 PM ^

OP thanks for starting this; I am feeling positive about the season as well. QB play took a quantum leap from last year, and for that alone I am excited.

The OL struggled, but what did people expect? It is the same guys that struggled last year, so I wasn't expecting more than 9 wins this year anyway.

At least we got to see UM tested on the road against a good team, instead of watching them play a cupcake at home.