Containment Field Down! Run For Your Lives!

Submitted by Brian on October 29th, 2012 at 12:27 PM

10/27/2012 – Michigan 9, Nebraska 23 – 5-3, 3-1 Big Ten

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Eric Upchurch

Well, it finally happened.

Pundits and opponent fans have been predicting the demise of Denard Robinson ever since he picked up that snap against Western Michigan, but the series of bumps and bruises that frightened Michigan fans every third game had never really cost Michigan anything. In 2010, Tate Forcier came off the bench to lead Michigan to a frenetic victory over Illinois and nearly did the same against Iowa. Last year, Devin Gardner shepherded Michigan through the second half of the Illinois game. When Denard's boo-boos knocked him out for halves instead of plays, Michigan got through just fine.

They were always tempting fate, though, and upped their bet that the football gods' vast malevolence was laser-focused on the Iowa running back situation by moving Devin Gardner to wide receiver in the fall. That seemed like a risk worth taking.

Unfortunately, the containment field is down.

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yes, it's true. this man has no elbow.

First it leaked from the Iowa running backs to their offensive line, which suffered two season-ending injuries minutes apart last week. This week, the Big Ten set to murdering football in the morning and afternoon, then this happened to Marcus Lattimore's knee:

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artist's conception

By the time Friday night rolled around the ambient malevolence levels in college football were so high that Notre Dame won a marquee matchup to enter the national championship shortlist.

So of course Denard would be knocked out of a potentially fun, definitely important game by falling harmlessly to the turf, thus turning the rest of it into a death-march trudge. AIRBHG is no longer contained. The forces of wheeeee that (mostly) preserved Denard through three years of running at top speed into Manti Te'o have been overrun by the forces of grinding doom football. Now we're all boned. Hail Saban.

And so it came to pass that words never before spoken—words so impossible CFL teams who don't even think it's weird they're all named "Roughriders" cock an eyebrow at their assemblage—came to pass.

Tate Forcier isn't walking through that door.

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I don't know, man. I felt ill for most of the second half but it's not like anyone is at fault other than everyone. I mean, if RR doesn't implode or Forcier is a normal person who goes to classes or Michigan doesn't hire Hoke three weeks before signing day, maybe the guy backing up Robinson has a prayer of moving the ball forward. Maybe the wide receiving corps is not so awful that it must include Devin Gardner.

In the aftermath you've got the columns declaring Gardner's move to WR a stupid idea, but I haven't seen anyone reference the column questioning it they wrote before last weekend. It's easy to be a backseat driver after whatever that was. Meanwhile, Gardner is this crappy receiving corps' #2 WR, #1 if you discount Jeremy Gallon's 150-some yards on screens.

Gardner's not good. The alternative is throwing more than four balls in the first half to Jeremy Jackson. They've needed their crappy, crappy receiver who is also a quarterback even if he is dropping a 50-yard pass in most games. Whether Gardner is worth an extra three scores against Nebraska is… debatable. His performances to date suggest he is not.

Michigan was always rolling the dice on Denard's health, and that was the move to make. Didn't work. That's life as a rickety program that's endured two coaching transitions in three years—when you have to go to the bench you get tumbleweeds.

We're now entering the period of time when most program shortcomings can be blamed on Rich Rodriguez's recruiting, which is only a slight transition from the period of time when most program shortcomings could be blamed on Lloyd Carr's recruiting fade and represents very little improvement when the one completely awesome guy at the most important position is removed from the equation. It turns out that Michigan 2012 minus Denard Robinson is pretty much Michigan 2008, and that the only thing saving us from the abyss was Denard staring down a decision to stay or go and not pulling the Mallett.

He stayed, but in the game that probably decided if he would be a champion or not he watched from the sideline because his elbow hit the turf the wrong way. Malevolence is out of control these days.

Media

Eric just posted the photos. You can enjoy them. You will not enjoy One Frame At A Time.  BTN highlights:

Also SD highlights from Michigan's official site and a Nebraska-oriented highlight reel; actual highlights start 3:20 in.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOM BULLETS

Injury item. So the thing is this:

Boo Boo[1]

Hoover Street Rag

It's the same thing that knocked him out briefly against Illinois. 

"He's got that nerve (injury), he hits it the wrong way (or) gets hit (and it's hard)," Hoke said. "The difference (today) was he didn't come back in. But, he gets better as the game goes on." …

Asked whether or not he was concerned Robinson wouldn't be available next week, Hoke replied "No." He also said the normal rehabilitation process for this type of injury is mainly rest and time.

He'll probably be fine by Tuesday and start against Gophers. Every time his elbow brushes up against the softest kitten in Minnesota the collective intake of breath will be audible. Sounds fun, and by "fun" I mean "paralyzing."

Frank Clark is also expected to be back next week, which is good because Mario Ojemudia limped off the field Saturday and was spotted in a boot today. He's probably sprained his ankle and won't be available. 

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3_thumbBrady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Craig Roh. Beastmode sack, generally unblockable, got a number of those stat things for himself instead of everyone else, as he usually does.

Honorable mention. Quinton Washington, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Demens.

Epic Double Point standings.

3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama), Drew Dileo (Michigan State), Craig Roh(Nebraska).

We won time of possession! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Time of possession is a garbage stat.

That said, there is a clear narrative of decline in the defensive performance. Nebraska's first eight drives gained a total of 148 yards. Their last four gained 178. It's not easy going out there after a blizzard of three-and-outs. This would be better measured by plays instead of TOP.

 

 

BLAME BLAME BLAME BLAME. Why are we here at QB? LET'S BLAME PEOPLE WOO

  • Rodriguez's horrible recruiting at the skill positions: 40%. If Michigan has a decent deep threat at WR, Gardner is playing QB and Michigan may salvage that game. Instead, RR recruited receivers are… 2011: nobody. 2010: Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, Jerald Robinson, DJ Williamson. 2009: Je'Ron Stokes. The only one of those guys to see the field is Jackson, and he's essentially a skinny tight end. That 2011 class may not be RR's fault, because there were…
  • Unavoidable transition costs: 10%. RR's WR recruiting would look slightly better if Sammy Watkins was included in that group, but once he got fired Watkins was gone.
  • Darryl Stonum's inability to just do what the court tells him to: 10%. Relevant to previous two bullets: we're desperate for a guy who has three catches for Baylor. Baylor's offense is pretty good, but he can't even get on the field.
  • The Process: 20%. Maybe Michigan gets a guy more ready to play if they're not scrambling with three weeks left. Maybe Michigan recruits one dang WR in 2011.
  • Hoke not taking a quarterback last year: 10%. Always take one every year. If Michigan has another freshman around maybe he's better than Bellomy.
  • Hoke inexplicably passing on Devin Lucien: 10%. Lucien has 10 catches as a sophomore for 6-2 UCLA and their #12 offense. He still wanted to commit to Michigan after the transition, and Michigan said no by saying they wanted him to play DB.

There. It has been blamed. Seriously, though, the Lucien thing drives me nuts.

Borges take. It's official, we have the first FIRE BORGES blog post, one made through blood-soaked tears in the third quarter of that game by The Big House Blog. The Daily is also getting testy.

I'm not there. As soon as Denard went out and it became clear that Bellomy was light years away from readiness I was pretty much like whatever. There's not much you can do when you already can't run without your QB and the guy you put in is overwhelmed and throwing moonballs.

Before that happened, Michigan was moving the ball decently and poised to score to go up 10-7. That's okay I guess—but we're also talking about a team that is 90th in the country in run defense, so…

I saw this: after Nebraska got torn up by Hundley and Miller it seemed clear they went back to the drawing board and were going to play it safe. When Michigan put 4 WRs on the field, Nebraska responded with two high safeties and 5.5 guys in the box. Michigan ran the ball and got five, six, seven yards virtually every time. That's stealing.

I mean, when I was learning about the spread some years back I watched the videos Rodriguez put out about his offense. When he talked about making a run/pass decision based on the safeties, his general rule was one deep safety was a run, cover zero was pass. The idea that someone would maintain two high safeties against his offense never even crossed his mind. Nebraska was doing it, and Michigan didn't force Nebraska out of it. I don't get it, man.

The truly crappy thing is it's going to be four or five years before we have any real read on whether Borges is any good. At this point, year three is going to be Michigan rolling with a true freshman QB—probably, anyway—and four new OL starters—probably, anyway—with what's likely to be a horrible WR corps. Anything other than an awful offense next year is a point in Borges's favor. Hurrah transition.

But Auburn? No. 2004 Auburn had the following guys on that team: QB Jason Campbell (first round pick), RB Ronnie Brown (first round pick), RB Cadillac Williams (first round pick), OL Ben Grubbs (first round pick), OL Marcus McNeill (second round pick), Ben Obomanu (seventh round pick, still in league, had 37 catches in 2011), Devin Aromashodu (seventh round pick, still in league, had 26 catches in 2011), and Courtney Taylor (sixth round pick, now in CFL after 2008 multiple sclerosis(!) diagnosis). When you can call anything and have future NFL players on both ends of the exchange that doesn't say much either. 

First Nebraska touchdown: where is that? Nebraska's first touchdown was a route that exploited Michigan's man coverage. An inside receiver ran a little hitch designed to pick the outside guy, the outside guy ran a post to eliminate the safety over the top, and the inside-inside guy used the pick to get open by yards. It didn't really matter if the receiver who ended up targeted was able to get separation naturally; the play got it for him.

Where is that from Michigan? I can't recall a wide open downfield guy that got open strictly by the play design. Gardner's been open some when DBs fall over or suck up on a double move or something; not so much the play bits.

This wasn't actually a problem last year, when Michigan quarterbacks made sport of ignoring the the wide open guys Borges was machining downfield. Is it just Junior Hemingway's absence?

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Upchurch

 

I think they watched film. Congratulations, Nebraska: you are apparently the only Big Ten team to ever watch tape of the Michigan offense and leap on the throwback screen. It's not exactly hard to find, since the first time Michigan goes under center in any game is virtually guaranteed to be the throwback. It's pretty bad when everyone in the room I was watching said "throwback screen" as soon as Michigan lined up in ace.

Q: why is that play consistently run from under center? There doesn't seem to be anything about it that would require it to be.

I'M GONNA DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEBellomy. Well… that wasn't very good. The most disturbing thing was probably one of Bellomy's few completions—a ten yard wheel-ish route run by Kerridge that picked up a first down and took just decades to get where it was going. Accuracy issues and a tendency to scream in horror during plays themselves (@ right by Upchurch) can be fixed with time. The arm strength deficiency probably can't.

That particular throw made me wonder why Michigan recruited the guy at all since it seems like the #1 thing on Borges's radar screen is the ability to laser it in just inside the sideline. Hurrah Process/unavoidable transition costs. Boy, is next year's offense going to be a wow experience or what I tell ya.

Offensive line. I'm not entirely sure how they did since once Bellomy came in it was open season and Michigan settled into a routine that exposed them to the same "eight of them, five of us" problems that Michigan experienced against MSU. Hoke was not impressed.

Ryan got edged. When Michigan gave up some yards it was often on the edge when various Nebraska players broke contain. The most spectacular incident was when Abdullah broke Cam Gordon's ankles…

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Upchurch

…but it happened to Ryan a few times. When Nebraska was not bouncing it outside they were getting very little; excellent day from the interior DL and the LBs.

Roh beastmode. Also Roh, who took the opportunity presented by Abudullah being assigned to block him to destroy Martinez in a hilarious beastmode sack. If you've ever wondered why tailbacks always cut block guys on pass protection, that's why.

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Upchurch

Where is Rawls? I don't know what happened to Toussaint but at this point I'm not even irritated at Vincent Smith carries because it's not like Toussaint is consistently making yards past what the blocking gets him. Meanwhile, Rawls ends up watching, even when Michigan deep into Bellomy panic time and trying to run from under center.

I'm sure there's a reason they don't trust him yet; whatever it is it must be pretty bad. If you're down to running power from the I-form—and Michigan was—you might as well find out if your backup guy can break some tackles.

Defense: stepping towards elite. Nebraska entered the game averaging 512 yards and 42 points a game, leading the league in rushing yardage, pass efficiency, total yardage, and points per game. Michigan held the Cornhuskers to 326 yards and 23 points. Six of those points were field goal drives of two and five yards in length. Without turnovers, that's 17 points.

Relative to the quality of opponent, that's their best performance of the year by far and a major step away from criticisms that Michigan's defense hasn't actually stopped anyone. If the offense doesn't implode with Denard out those numbers are undoubtedly better, probably under 300 yards for the game for the Huskers.

Not relevant but worth it. This happened after Northwestern's win over Iowa:

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Bo Cisek, walk-on DT and new internet legend

It speaks for itself except for the fact that guy's wearing #1.

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Upchurch

Michigan + Nebraska == refereeing atrocity. The Roundtree catch that was overturned was one of those plays where it's not clear either way because of the goofy fuzzy catch rule and should be left to stand, and then you've got that terrible terrible late hit call and some terrible terrible pass interference calls both ways. This combination of teams is not good for ref sanity.

Cats! So hey like if you follow me on twitter I'm sort of sorry for retweeting like 30 cats into your timeline except not really. People started sending them to me, so clearly there was a need. Here is another cat if you are not satiated.

Here

Inside The Boxscore:

* As bad as we played, the first downs were close, 20-18 in favor of Nebraska. Of course, 6 of our first downs came from Nebraska penalties.
* Nebraska's 20 1st downs translated to 326 total yards, we managed 188 total yards. At least we were efficient with our first downs. Why get 20 or 30 yards when you only need 10?
* We won the TOP, 31:36  to 28:24. Yippee. We did control the clock early, and I was expecting that to pay off in the fourth quarter when we should have been able to grind down their defense, but then, you know, Denard got hurt.

Also:

Edit: I forgot the main silver lining, BELLOMY CAN AUDIBLE!

Yeah, what was with that?

Yeoman scans Massey, comes back with Michigan having a 30% shot at winning the division now. Let's go Spartans.

Elsewhere

Blog stuff. Sap's decals hand out nothing to the offense. Nebraska fans are far too enthusiastic about snuffing Bellomy out. TTB. Maize and Go Blue. The M Block considers what happens next year at QB.

Hoover Street Rag:

Duct tape.  It's was held together with duct tape, hope, and rolling dice.  And now the questions will come for the coaching staff, although any questions to Greg Mattison will likely consist of "Why can't you guys score too?"  But we caught a glimpse of a future we will need to face all too soon, a future without Denard Robinson.  That future consisted of three field goals total output on offense.

MVictors:

You watched the second half perhaps with some hope that Spring Game Bellomy would emerge but save for a few late first downs it wasn’t really even close.  I swear I caught Jeremy Gallon staring off into space after the RS freshman was calling a pass play early in the second half and remember thinking, “Gallon knows this ain’t happening…”

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That play was the horribly underthrown toss (yes, headed for Gallon!) which was easily picked off by Nebraska. 

Also, Denard's jacket was old school split M style now verboten.

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Probably got it off Jon Falk's back.

Regular stuff. CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. AGGRESSIVE DECISION TO FALL ON HIS ELBOW GENTLY COSTS DENARD ROBINSON. RUSSELL BELLOMY MAY NOT HAVE DONE TOO WELL. ROBINSON'S EXIT REVEALS THAT MICHIGAN IS NOT GOOD AT ANYTHING AND SHOULD PROBABLY JUST DIERUSSELL BELLOMY WAS NEVER GETTING PULLED.

Stupid malevolence. Stupid offense.

Wait they're still saying this?

Three Bellomy interceptions rushed the defense back onto the field and into quick-change situations. Nebraska started drives in Michigan territory, including one on the four-yard line. There’s a good excuse.

“No,” Kovacs said. “We take pride in that. Our motto is: ‘Spot the ball.’ It doesn’t matter where the ball’s at, just put the ball on the field and we’re going to go play defense and not let them get any yards.”

That's a Rodriguez-era phrase that remains as mysterious today as it was when it was introduced and probably should have gone in the bonfire with GERG's playbooks and stuffed beavers and hair. I guess that's appropriate for the reappearance of the 2008 offense. If someone says "hold the rope" any time soon I'm going to hide under the bed.

wat

Michigan-Nebraska: The Sick Man of Europe

By HoldTheRope on Oct 29, 7:00a

The red balloons floated upward, little harbingers of doom dotting the night sky. I didn't know what to make of it, but it could not have been anything else but that. Or, maybe they were just balloons.

By HoldTheRope on Oct 29, 7:00a

HoldTheRope

HoldTheRope

/hides under bed

Comments

coastal blue

October 30th, 2012 at 10:13 AM ^

Way to run away from the fact that you're being proved wrong over and over again in your insane quest to wash away all blame from the coaching staff.

No, I'm not accusing the staff of throwing the game. I'm saying they made a mistake. I'm saying that its perfectly acceptable to call them out on their mistake and I'm saying their mistake was they did not exhaust all options that might have potentially won that game.

You can avoid every real argument I made all you want and try to put words in my mouth, it doesn't change the fact that I'm right.  But hey, you won't read this cause I'm "insane" and you walked away, right?

lexus larry

October 29th, 2012 at 5:46 PM ^

But then, if DG is truly gimpy (a little bit of shoulder and a smattering of ankle, according to the presser today), why is he out there at wide?  As a 6'4" decoy?

And where is Darboh?  Frittering away his Fr year eligibility on ST?  He could be an equally soft-route running, turning-his-head-and-body-the-wrong-way WR, while DG recuperates.  DG hasn't put up anything so incredible as WR that he was required to be out there.  If anything, The Funchise has out DG'ed DG as the big loping-yet-fast guy.  Let DG do some signal calling and, if required, mop-up or urgent back-up duty at QB.  Only.

Monocle Smile

October 29th, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

You take a QB EVERY YEAR.

That was perhaps the worst stat line I've ever seen. Most freshman QBs are shaky, but that was total black hole-style collapse.

When you have a running QB who has a propensity to get dinged up, you MUST MUST MUST have a viable backup option. What happened on Saturday CANNOT happen and shouldn't have happened in the first place. If you're both the OC and the QB coach, this should be priority #1 or #2 right from the start.

goblueram

October 29th, 2012 at 1:00 PM ^

Oh man..that Bellomy photo is funny and sad at the same time.  I think the receivers really screwed him with the dropped passes/toss to the other team for easy interception.  It's tough to get a rhythm going after that.  

Section 1

October 29th, 2012 at 12:44 PM ^

Completely silly thing to blame Saturday's loss on:

  • Rich Rodriguez's recruiting at the wide reciever position.  Gosh, if only he'd have known that he needed to do a better job of recruiting tall NFL-prototype WR's for Al Borges' San Diego State offense.

One unavoidable thing to blame Saturday's loss on:

  • The failure to prepare Russell Bellomy to lead Michigan's offense, given the unfortunate reality -- if not liklihood -- that Denard Robinson might lose time due to injury, as well as the election to switch Devin Gardner to WR.  This is Bellomy's second full year in the Michigan/Borges offense.

We've now seen one very big difference between Michigan and Ohio State this year: 

Michigan's starting QB goes out of the game, and things go from tight to craptastic.

OSU's starting QB goes out of the game, and Kenny Guiton comes in to help them win it.  

 

profitgoblue

October 29th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

One of the most interesting receivers in the corps is Roundtree.  People were calling for him to wear the #1 jersey after his last season with Rodriguez - he was a superstar in the slot position.  And, now, the last two years, he's been non-existent.  So saying Rodriguez couldn't recruit receivers is interesting in Roundtree's case because he appears to be a victim of the new system (???) rather than not being good in general.  Not sure if that's really the case or not, but he was outstanding in the spread offense.  Maybe he just benefited from the pressure that the spread puts on the defense in general?  I'm not sure, its just an interesting case study.

 

chitownblue2

October 29th, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

Well, I think Roundtree had major hands problems under Rodriguez as well. In 2010, did we not have a meme that "INTERCEPTIONS ALWAYS FOLLOW ROUNDTREE DROPS"? Again, I think his hands have always been suspect.

Obviously, Roundtree was better utilized under Rich Rod - I think he's better in the slot (he can't get off the line right now against press coverage), but I think Gallon took his job (understandably, BTW). Also, Roundtree was the chief recipient of "QB OH NOES", which, I'm not sure he's responsible for.

So I agree with you to a point - but I think many of Roundtree's current problems were evident under Rich, and I think the rest are a result of Jeremy Gallon being better at playing Roy's chief position.

Hannibal.

October 29th, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

The guys that RichRod recruited to play WR would be terrible in any offense.  Receiver isn't nearly as specialized for spread vs pro as people make it out to be.  The most successful guy, incidentally, is the guy that I would have figured to disappear under Hoke.  Namely -- Gallon. 

Given that receiver is a position where young guys often come in and contribute, Hoke does share some responsibility for this too. 

UMaD

October 29th, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

Welker, Harvin, Cruz, and Smith are in the top current top 10 of NFL receiving.

Those guys might not be 5'8, but they're under 6' and doing very well.  Most teams utilize short WRs extensively.  These players seem "real" enough to me, regardless of if Calvin Johnson type receivers are next to them or not.

Michigan probably can't JUST put Dileo and Gallon out there, but they probably CAN get by with a mix of Funchess, Roundtree, Dileo, and Gallon...especially since they're in 2-TE sets half the time.

chitownblue2

October 29th, 2012 at 3:33 PM ^

My comment "The WR corps is largely terrible" does not mean I think every player in it is terrible. Dileo definitely has good qualities. I don't tihnk either of us would argue he's a great player. He's a good role player.

Look, I counted 7 drops on Saturday. That's not good.

Urban Warfare

October 29th, 2012 at 12:52 PM ^

I've been saying for a few weeks now that The Game might come down to a battle of the backups.  Neither starter is particularly durable, and given how banged up they already are, I can't imagine either one finishing the game.  For OSU's sake, I hope Borges keeps Gardner at WR.  OSU's defense can handle big, slow statuesque QBs, but anyone more athletic than Bernie Kosar gives them trouble. 

matty blue

October 29th, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

hurrah for small sample size.

dude, you have no idea if bellomy was "prepared" or not.  he played like ass, but this is not the first time that a michigan qb (including the currently ensconced starter) played poorly for a half.  it doesn't mean he wasn't prepared, it just means he stunk the joint out.  bad results don't mean bad preparation.

Everyone Murders

October 29th, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

Bellomy was thrust into a very difficult situation, in a hostile environment, at night, and with receivers who dropped balls.  And with a line suddenly blocking for a different style of offense than the one Michigan runs with Denard at QB.  Did Bellomy play great?  Of course not.  But should we write him off based on 2.5 quarters of play (on the road, at night)?  Seems a bit premature to me.

I'm disappointed Michigan lost, but man it seems that there's a lot of whinging going over this loss.  Denard's likely to be back next week and the slate's pretty undaunting until The Game.  We knew we were thin at receiver and QB going into the season.  Not that much has changed (apart from the disappointing season Fitz Touissant has had) other than the surprising development of a very stout defense.

Can we allow for the possibility that things will work out OK this season?

Section 1

October 29th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

I simply made the observation that a significant substantive difference bewteen Ohio State and Michigan this year is Guiton.  I wasn't crediting OSU or Meyer for that.  I wasn't blaming Michigan for that.  It's just a fact.  Like OSU hasn't played Alabama or Notre Dame this year.  Braxton Miller is in the same class-year as Russell Bellomy, right?

No; the abject failure of Russell Bellomy in Saturday's game is a separate matter.  And even then, I don't suppose I am ready to blame one player, or one coach, or one game.  But if Denard Robinson is your QB, you had better be ready with Plan B in case Denard is unable to play due to injury.  Devin Gardner is an upperclassman; if Kenny Guiton's upperclassman status is so critical, there you go.  Make sure that either Bellomy or Gardner is a workable Plan B.  And if the loss of Tate Forcier is so bad, then recruit more.  Whatever.  Just have a Plan B.  If it means a simplified playbook, so be it.  If it means Wildcat offenses, or a different playbook, so be it.

Whatever you do, please don't blame "WR recruiting" for dismal QB play; if Russell Bellomy is somehow excused as having merely had one bad game after adequate prep, I'd suggest that the same goes for the WR's.

bronxblue

October 29th, 2012 at 1:06 PM ^

I hate to admit it but I agree.  Sure, the WRs are not great, but they work for the type of offense RR was running.  He doesn't need pro-style guys running deep routes in tight coverage; he needs Gallon and Roundtree-types who can work in the slot and take advantage of defenses keying in on the running game.  The fact that Borges doesn't run that offense isn't anyone's fault, but blaming a guy for not recruiting for the guy who would replace him is kind of silly.  We have no idea how these WRs would perform in RR's offense, or how this team would be functioning.

As I've said before, the problem with RR's teams were the defense.  Martin didn't open the checkbook to get the DC he wanted, and he lost.  Now they open up the checkbook and Mattison is fielding an elite defense while the offense struggles.  I would love to see how this team looked with RR leading the offense and Mattison on D.

manballarc

October 29th, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

I think it is interesting that in RichRod's first year at Arizona, he just beat #9 USC... he has 3 losses and all were against ranked teams, with the exception of Oregon, they were all very close.. His offense is averaging 39 points per game with a team that was 4-8 last year, in a conference that is arguably more competitive than the Big 10.

So what does this mean? 

Borges is taking a team that was 11-2 last year with most offensive players returning including two 1000+ yard rushers and has driven it into the ground.

The only reason there is discussion of Bellomy is because Michigan can't run or catch.

I'm thoroughly unimpressed with Borges and I'm less open to the "let's see how he does when he gets his recruits in there" logic

Great point about Ohio.. and this is with a work in progress QB (granted he's very good), brand new coach, and sanctions.  

At this point in the season, MIchigan will most likely be 6-6 or 7-5 in the regular season. 

After last year, Dave Brandon seemed like a genius for canning RichRod, but I think the jury is still out. 

The defense is the only positive, but it can't do it alone or we'd have two more Ws. 

 

manballarc

October 29th, 2012 at 5:28 PM ^

Yes, however, the big improvement last year was defense. As is the case this year. The offense continues to struggle as it did last year in the VT game. Defenses know what we are going to run and we don't have a line that is executing to allow the conservative play calling. Each loss this year can be blamed squarely on the O. 

Hannibal.

October 29th, 2012 at 4:17 PM ^

This year's Arizona team is a perfect example of what Michigan would have looked like in 2010 if we had been +4 on turnovers in a few games instead of -4.  Their defense is as bad as our 2010 defense in terms of yardage, and they have won two games in which they allowed over 600 yards of offense, because they were a combined +8 in those games. 

CompleteLunacy

October 29th, 2012 at 6:00 PM ^

This is completely unscientfic to say, but I wonder how much of the pressure/acceptance thing has to do with it. RR was under immense pressure here to succeed right effing now, and the players knew it too (they weren't oblivious). At Arizona, they welcomed him with open arms, and that good mojo has transferred to good luck on the field at least so far. Completely unscientific thing to say for something that has been shown to be basically random...but call it karmic retribution if you will.

Fort Wayne Blue

October 29th, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

a Michigan game is normally a festive event at my house. lots of singing Hail to the Victors, lucky maize shirts being worn, my dog dressed in his Michigan shirt getting milk bones for every score and 3&out ....

saturday, my wife was able to take a nap (she's an IU fan.....). it just seemed to get quieter and quieter.....more anti-climatic and depressing as the game went on. by the start of the 4th quarter i was glumly watching while everyone else was asleep! 

sweet Shane, come quickly! (bring Treadwell and Green with ya!)

Engin77

October 29th, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

released when the 'huskers first scored, made me think there must be a huge white egg hovering somewhere high above, awaiting the lucky balloon which was first to find it and, --nevermind--, it was strange feeling.

matty blue

October 29th, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

here's what i don't get:  toussaint running sideways on seemingly every carry he gets out of the shotgun.  i get the whole mesh point / read thing (okay, no i don't).  but it seems like we're asking him to outrun people to the edge before he even turns up field.  i just don't get it.

the second half made one thing clear to me:  denard's successes have been in spite of al borges.

and i've been using #diealborges as a twitter hashtag for two months.  you could look it up.

Red_Lee

October 29th, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

You lost me a few paragraphs into this whiny piece of bitch-lore. "The Team, the team, the team" is a nice motto until we lose, huh? Grow a pair and accept this loss as an out-coached and out-played match. Yes, coaching your backups properly, and having them play well, is included in that sentiment.

 

Just put your post up as the entire TWIS piece.

MGoKereton

October 29th, 2012 at 1:01 PM ^

You seem like a plesant person to be around, Mr. internet tough guy.

It's pretty easy to be out-played when you don't have your #1 playmaker for 2.5 quarters.  Hell, even then, especially defensively, we stayed in this game until the end.

saveferris

October 29th, 2012 at 1:44 PM ^

1984.  Sophomore QB Jim Harbaugh dislocates his shoulder againt MSU and is out for the season.  Back-up QB Chris Zurbrugg takes over and Michigan goes on to lose to MSU, go 3-4 the remainder of the season and finish 6-6 on the year.  By your rationale, Bo Schembechler and his staff, who I think most would agree were pretty good coaches overall, were bad coaches in 1984?

Sometimes your backup players are a big drop-off in talent level from your starters and when the starters get hurt, it costs you.  It doesn't mean the coaching staff is bad at their job.  I think Brian hit the mark perfectly in pointing out that 5 years of coaching and recruiting turmoil finally came home to bite us in the ass and cost us in a big game.  The positive is that Denard's injury isn't season-ending and we're not out of anything yet.

lexus larry

October 29th, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

during one of many snowflakes or hotseat threads, that 1984 team was the last to be shutout, 26-0 to Hayden Fry's Hawkeyes.  Poster actually mentioned Russ Rein (I'd forgotten him...easy to do...and you mention the guy I remembered, Zurbrugg).

After that Iowa game, the Hawkeye players indicated they'd not seen such a simplistic offensive gameplan since their high school days, so there was a bit of that possibly dialing back too far, too.

(**I think Harbaugh broke his collarbone, actually.)

bronxblue

October 29th, 2012 at 12:58 PM ^

The truly crappy thing is it's going to be four or five years before we have any real read on whether Borges is any good.

The fact that we have to say that speaks volumes as to whether or not Al Borges is good enough to be an OC at Michigan going forward.

AAB

October 29th, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

and I say that as someone who isn't a fan of Borges.  The first two years tell us that Borges is a crappy spread option OC, which isn't all that relevant since he wasn't hired based on his spread option knowledge.  Next year, we'll probably be starting a bad QB, which is doom for any OC.  

I don't think Borges is the guy, mostly because his claim to fame is the stacked Auburn team Brian references above.  I also think it's notable that Auburn fans talk about Borges in a completely different way than Florida fans talk about Mattison.  That being said, the "4 years" thing is based more on circumstances than Borges himself.