WTKA MGoBlog Roundtable

Submitted by Shop Smart Sho… on February 9th, 2018 at 11:16 AM

Just in case people wanted to listen to it before/if it gets put on the main page.


See if you can identify the exact moment where Brian strokes out because Ed and Craig have no clue what they're blathering on about.


Toby Flenderson

February 9th, 2018 at 12:02 PM ^

I understand people citing inexperience as a reason for last season's dissapointments. No doubt youth at key positions plays a large role in a teams success.

With that being said, I am afraid that people citing youth as the sole reason for last season are not seeing the complete picture. It is not just that Michigan lost to more experienced and talented teams in PSU, Wisc, and OSU, Michigan lost to teams that they shouldn't have lost to.

MSU was just as inexperienced as Michigan was this year, and with lower recruiting rankings. However, they pretty much controlled the entire game from start to finish and ended up winning. South Carolina was a mediocre at best SEC team, and despite being up 19-3, Michigan blew a 16 point lead to one of the most pedestrian offenses in the country.

Furthermore, Tim Drevno simply has not done the job he was supposed to do since coming to Michigan. Tim Drevno came in with years on top of years with experience in coaching top O-Lines. The lack of protection from the O-Line this year lead to the injury of two of our QB's for the 2018 season. If Drevno is whiffing on top O-line recruits, cannot develop the players he has, and is calling vanilla offense, why is he here?

I am sorry, but this staff has not earned the trust after 2017. Almost everyone returns on offense in 2018, and if this offense does not look significantly improves, big changes will need to occur.


February 9th, 2018 at 12:39 PM ^

I understand the counter arguments, and the concern. I don't understand the sky is falling jabronis, but you're not one of them. 

I'm very confident in this staff, though. Just getting this team to 8-5, and the offense where it ended was an accomplishment, imo - the employment of TEs, them getting a historic number of snaps, because the recievers were so young, and their devolpment, especially McKeon, developing a pretty good straight power run game with half the line first year starters, and no semblence of a passing game, weathering the storm of three different QBs, etc. The coaches showed some pragmatic chops. This season could've been a disater, instead of 8-5. 

And the MSU argument is an interesting one. That team was young, no doubt, but many of the important skill players on offense were in their second year in the system, the same skill players that were in their first year in the system at Michigan. What happened last year for MSU? 3-9. A disaster. That move from HS to College is a big one, and that first year makes a huge difference. 

Then people say, "But there were two freshman QBs in the National Championship game." Look at the skill around them, the RBs, the WRs. If a freshman QB knows where their WRs will be, that they will make the correct reads, make plays for them, it makes it a lot easier to be a freshman QB. Peters didn't have that luxury. The running games of both those teams opening up a lot as well. NFL caliber RBs will do that. 

There was a perfect, terrible storm for Michigan in 2017, and they still went 8-5. I suspect this will be Harbaugh's worst year, and I saw many interesting things from the coaches that indicate a bright, bright future. 


February 9th, 2018 at 2:02 PM ^

The young team excuse doesn't hold enough water. We've had 8 win teams before, a lot since the 90s. But those teams at least managed to play up to their competition. It's not like this team was rolling until Speight got hurt. They struggled out of the gate against a bad Florida team and bad Cincinnati and Air Force teams. They had 2 weeks to prepare for MSU at home at night and came up with one of the worst gameplans I've ever seen. They didn't play much better against Maryland and Rutgers either until Peters came in. Even then they didn't look that great. And to your wide receiver claims, McDoom and Crawford are experienced yet looked no better. We've had receivers come in and make huge strides over a season for YEARS. The tight ends were better receivers than the receivers were.


February 9th, 2018 at 11:48 AM ^

Or maybe it's a combination of a bad OL, some bad QBing, and bad QB coaching?

There's a problem, but we don't know exactly what lies behind it. 

The "IT'S ALL PEP" takes could be right or they could be 100% wrong. The "IT'S ALL DREV" takes equally so. 

Honestly, it falls on Harbaugh. I believe he can do things right, but he's ultimately the one getting paid the big money to get it right. He knows what's going on in the room. And FWIW he has shown that he will make decisive changes in the past to address what he perceives to be issues--bringing in Frey to coach a position Drev already coaches, moving Drev to field level again, etc.

My only worry, and it's not insignificant, is that he might be saddled with guys he would rather not have but whom he is kind of stuck with because they did not get jobs elsewhere. 


February 9th, 2018 at 2:34 PM ^

all the receivers r running fly routes on 3rd and 4 i didnt see any type of "route tree", some good coaching would be running a slant or some drags over the middle at 5 yards or have your running back sneak out for a quick pass, 

no most of the pass plays were play action and 5 step drops and were doomed to failure with an average o-line at best


February 9th, 2018 at 11:45 AM ^

pep is the passing game coordinator, howd that go? from what i read on here is M was using frey's o-line concepts for running the football and changed after first couple games cuz couldnt run the ball, so went back to drevno concepts? and they started running the ball well, also exit ulizio and insert JBB which helped alot. 

I want to be optimistic M has so much coming back and very talented, i think get patterson eligible and find a left tackle and here we go. they r loaded, defense will be elite


February 9th, 2018 at 1:11 PM ^

Yes, running up the score on Hawaii, Rutgers, UCF, and Maryland was super impressive.  That offense was good, not great.  They choked against Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio State to close out the year.  Of course Indiana had OKorn playing.  The 45 points against Ped State was nice, though their defense was gutted with injuries at the time.


You said "highest scoring" since 1904 for Michigan.  Well, modern college football and modern offense is a LOT different than about 90% of those years, so it's a misleading stat.


The 2016 scoring offense was #10 in the country at about 40 ppg.  Very good!  However, 2016 was the highest scoring season all time, for all teams.  AVERAGE scoring offense that year was 30 ppg!!!



edit: we ran up the score on shit teams that year by running the ball.  We flat out couldn't do that against good defenses (PSU zero linebackers aside).  Reminds me of Rich Rod's offense.  Great against crap teams, average or bad against good ones.


February 9th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

Or going from 3 senior offensive line starters, 2 senior WRs, 1 All-American TE, and a junior QB to...none of that.

But yes, totally the fault of the guy who's been on the job for 12 months.

I don't know if Hamilton is a good fit for Michigan.  But people around here are looking for causation where correlation barely holds up.


February 9th, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^

And the other two QBs who played after him, who also struggled, are also because of Pep Hamilton?  So the hiring of a passing coordinator for 1 years submarined 3 players and their ability to complete passes downfield?

There are a lot of reasons Michigan's passing offense struggled this year.  But scapegoating one or two people for it isn't some great insight.


February 9th, 2018 at 12:22 PM ^

they were asserting that McElwain and Cameron were being interviewed for the OC position, not just for analyst position, and that this is an indication that Harbaugh realizes that the offensive coordination-by-committee approach doesn't work.

I'm not sure I buy this interpretation of events, but in any event the flux and lack of clarity on the offensive side of the ball this long after the season is over is weird.

Maize N' Ute

February 9th, 2018 at 12:33 PM ^

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but how would bringing in another OC (when you have two/three already) not be piling on to the offensive coordination-by-committe approach? Not negging you, just curious about the rational Harbaugh is having.  Does that mean he's looking to drop Pep or Drevno?  This whole offensive coaching tree is a circus, and we're not amused.


February 9th, 2018 at 12:48 PM ^

I'd have to listen to the podcast to make sure I was hearing things correctly, but I'm pretty sure Spath et al were saying that hiring McElwain or Cameron as OC would signal a significant simplification of the OC position, with an end to the committee approach.


February 9th, 2018 at 12:33 PM ^

My interpretation: 

Harbaugh's not going to bring in former head coaches, proven coordinators, etc. and ask them to be analysts or merely position coaches. For all the jokes about McElwain, he was a P5 head coach last year and it would be a little insulting for him to go all the way down to be a WR coach a year later. Brady Hoke didn't become a college DL coach - he became a DC, at least for a year. 

You can demote coordinators to position coaches (Drevno to OL, Hamilton to WR, etc.), but "demoting" a head coach to a position coach is an oddity.


February 9th, 2018 at 12:38 PM ^

I have no clue myself whether Cameron/McElwain are being considered for OC or not, but it does seem weird to me that McElwain would consider being hired for a somewhat lowly analyst position right after being the head coach at a major Power 5 program in the SEC, but in any event the flux and lack of clarity on the offensive coaching side of the ball this long after the season is over is weird.

Webb said during his earlier show that he has no idea who actually makes the final offensive play calls in what situations, and listening between the lines it was clear he wasn't implying this was a good thing.


February 9th, 2018 at 1:30 PM ^

fair enough.  I don't know enough about his past OC success either.  Bama is a juggernaut so hard to give him too much credit there.  Florida was Borgian on offense for the last couple years.  Plus off field issues that you mentioned.  He might be ok, but he's not exactly an exciting innovative pick.  Plus he humps sharks.


February 9th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

had a bunch of talent and stud olines.  When he was at Bama it's not like he had to get creative and scheme around weak olines or other position groups.  For the most part they could run what they wanted to run and dare the other team to stop them.  Unless there is a substantial upgrade in the oline, he won't have that luxury at UM.


February 9th, 2018 at 1:13 PM ^

Whomever he hires, the timing of all of this is just really bad management. To have all of this chaos and uncertainty before signing day, to make a hire after signing day, is just very, very bad management. Not only will all the uncertainty deter recruits, but you also squander any ability for the new guy to make a splash and bring some recruits in tow. I just dont have much confidence in Jim in terms of being a smart and ruthless manager. And that's 90% of what a HC is. 

A Real Toe Tapper

February 9th, 2018 at 12:35 PM ^

I also think it's more than fair at this point to direct some of the torch & pitchfork sentiment towards the fact that Jay Harbaugh is on this staff.  A little nepotism can go overlooked when things are going well, but not now.  


February 9th, 2018 at 1:28 PM ^

I don't get this.

Jake Butt won the Mackey Award in 2016 and should have won it in 2015, both under Jay Harbaugh.

As a running backs coach in 2017, Michigan had two running backs who were over 6.0 YPC (Isaac, Higdon) and one over 5.0 (Evans). Meanwhile, DeVeon Smith was in the 4.0 range the previous two years, and there was only one guy with 6.0+ yards in each of the two years with Wheatley.

Our overall rushing numbers went down this year due to all the sacks, but the running backs were better overall.


February 9th, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

Idiot question: what did you see from backs in pass protection last year?  Fred seemed to do a nice job developing that.  Did you see improvment from our young backs in that area under Jay?

Also, what the hell happened to Brandon Graham?  Apparently, being a Super Bowl hero takes a toll on your appearance.


February 9th, 2018 at 8:58 PM ^

The backs weren't very good in pass pro, but I feel like they're just not very good in pass pro. I don't look at Evans, Higdon, or Isaac and see guys who WANT to be good pass blockers. They weren't that guy in high school, and they're not now. They're not tough guys like Vincent Smith and DeVeon Smith. It's a problem with recruiting. 

I believe Kareem Walker, Kurt Taylor, and Hassan Haskins will probably be better blockers than what we've seen the past couple years. Fred Jackson was good at coaching pass pro from the backs, but he also had the guys who could/would do it.

Brandon Graham was an underdog, and he helped pull out a victory for the Eagles. Because Brandon Graham is awesome.


February 9th, 2018 at 12:38 PM ^

Plays attacking the middle of the field (say 10-20 yards down the field)  need to be added to the play calling...Oh, and we need a QB that can make those throws.