I AM OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Submitted by Brian on November 11th, 2013 at 12:19 PM

11/9/2013 – Michigan 13, Nebraska 17 – 6-3, 2-3 Big Ten

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The Passion of the Gardner [Bryan Fuller]

I've turned off. This is my default reaction in moments of extreme stress, because when I was a kid I tended to hit things and scream like a banshee and there was counseling and whatnot, counseling that essentially boiled down to "you have to be a human. If you are a rabid badger your whole life it will go poorly for you." Still, it is a daily trial. I've made up a word for people whose incompetence is making me angry, and I think it in trivial situations, like when someone can't get a credit card to swipe or dares to drive the speed limit. Yobs. Yobs everywhere. The way I'm built, I am presented with a stark choice when the bile comes up: on or off.

I am off. The Nebraska game was a fugue state. When Michigan scored the thing with the kicking after that is worth six-ish points—torchclown or something—people around me stood and cheered, as they are wont to do. I sat down and tried to check twitter. The event had no impact on me at all. Turning that emotion on meant turning the rest of them on, and that could not be allowed to happen.

I'm familiar with this after the last half-decade of Michigan football, of course, and even more recently last year's hockey team. I've gotten quite good at sleepwalking through sporting events without being mentally present.

But all men have breaking points. Last year I had one when the hockey team lost to BGSU 5-1, had its first shot of the third period 15 minutes in, and watched an alternate captain get injured on a dirty hit without doing anything. That was banshee time.

So.

Nebraska muffs a punt and Michigan gets it on the Cornhusker 26. They have not picked up one goddamn yard on the ground in weeks. First down: run from under center that Nebraska puts eight in the box in and blitzes. Second down: the same goddamn thing. Too much. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WHY DO YOU THINK THAT HAS ANY CHANCE OF WORKING," I yelled at someone who could not hear me. "HAVE YOU WATCHED THIS TEAM PLAY YET?"

I hope he has, because if I have to watch this crap he should too. The evidence suggests otherwise.

------------------------------

It was one thing to get run off the field by what may be the best defense in the country. Michigan's offense sucks this year and when you suck that is the kind of thing that happens. It was complete agony, but everyone with two functioning eyes had already braced for impact.

It is another thing, a different thing, to get run off the field by a collection of country yokels higher on 'shine than Mary Sue Coleman who couldn't spell "run fit" if you spotted them "run fi" and exist in mortal terror that their coach will machine-gun cats at them if—when—they explode into little smithereens that once resembled a run defense.

"But coach, we're already spread across most of a three-state area," the yokels said. "YAHHHH EAT NINE HUNDRED MILE PER HOUR CAT," Bo Pelini said, cranking his catling gun. "Dawwww," the yokels said moments before their faces were obliterated by cats moving so fast air friction had caused them to burst into flame, "we probably shouldn't have given up two hundred yards rushing to Illinois. Or everyone else on the schedule not named Southern Miss or Purdue."

Two hundred yards. By every-damn-body. Nebraska could not stop a nine year old from going eighty yards in their spring game, and as the season progressed it became clear they were trying to. We can't call Nebraska's defense a "unit," since that would imply concerted collective action. So let's go with eleven gas molecules in the cold vacuum of Pelini.

Against eleven gas molecules in the cold vacuum of Pelini, Michigan farted out production worse than that which caused a mini civil war in the Michigan fanbase after Penn State (which at least featured Devin Gardner picking up bushels of yards). It was worse than Michigan's recent debacle against Michigan State, the top defense in the country. Hack out the sacks and snaps that a battered Devin Gardner can't deal with and Michigan ran for 22 yards on 29 attempts. Oh, for the halcyon days when Michigan could pick up one yard per attempt.

After the game, Nebraska informed the world of how this was possible when even Purdue acquired four yards a carry.

"Whatever formation they came out in, we knew what they were going to throw at us." -Randy Gregory

“We knew what they were going to do right before they did it." -Jason Ankrah

The last time Michigan fans heard this, they were duly livid. They'd just watched their team lose to Texas in the Rose Bowl 38-37 EDIT: USC in the Rose Bowl 28-14. That is one thing. This is another thing, a different thing.

This was the game where Michigan's Cheesecake Factory offense—they do everything terribly, but by God there's a lot of it—hit rock bottom. Michigan couldn't get one damn yard per carry because of many reasons, but #1 was unblocked Nebraska defenders plowing into Gardner and Toussaint in the backfield. Gardner was hit for TFLs on three separate inverted veers on which a Nebraska defender tore through unblocked, because there was no one to block him.

Michigan would go under center and run play action that did not cause a Nebraska player to step forward one single time; Gardner looked downfield and found his receivers bracketed. Once there was only one guy in the pattern, because Al Borges is smart. He was Devin Funchess, and he had three guys surrounding him.

This is comprehensive failure that goes beyond the limited talent at Michigan's disposal after Rich Rodriguez regarded offensive line recruiting as optional in his final two years at Michigan. There are dozens of teams around the country with less to work with than Michigan. Some of them have played Nebraska, and ripped them for 200 yards rushing. Even poor damn Purdue, currently chasing Big Ten futility records, acquired 82 yards on its 20 actual rushes. Purdue is more than four times as good at running the ball against Brownian motion as Michigan is.

PURDUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUE.

PURDUE

THESE YOBS

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In this game the idea that Al Borges was waving flags literally telling the opposition defense what they were running went from highly likely to explicitly certain.

Despite this, in his post game presser Brady Hoke once again sighed "we just didn't execute." That is not an answer. There is nothing to execute when half the time a 'shine-addled yahoo has put his helmet through your neck without being acknowledged by anyone on your team.

"I have to do a better job coaching," which Hoke said seven times in 12 minutes, is also not an answer. It's clear that right now no one in Ann Arbor has any of those. Can we interest you in a tackle for loss?

Highlights

BTN:

Nebraska's official site has an embedding-disabled item.

Awards

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_31Brady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. We will go with… uh… Matt Wile. Yes. It is only right. Wile pounded a 69-yard punt that flipped field position and helped Michigan enter the half down only 10-3 to a clownshow team. He averaged nearly 50 yards an attempt for the game. He also used Zoltan Mesko trademark eye laserz to force Jordan Westerkamp to fumble his last punt. A truly inspiring performance from the most important player on this year's team.

Honorable mention: All of Jibreel Black's tackles were behind the LOS. Cam Gordon finished a sack and forced a fumble that Michigan recovered. Devin Funchess still seems like a good player. James Ross was one of the main guys holding Armstrong to 1.1 YPC and Abdullah under 4 and had a thumping hit to prevent a big play.

Epic Double Point Standings.

2.0: Jeremy Gallon (ND, Indiana)
1.0: Devin Gardner (ND), Desmond Morgan(UConn), Devin Funchess(Minnesota), Frank Clark(PSU), Matt Wile (Nebraska)
0.5: Cam Gordon (CMU), Brennen Beyer (CMU)

Brady Hoke Epic Double Fist-Pump Of The Week. Nebraska muffs a punt, giving Michigan the field position they cannot possibly acquire themselves.

Honorable mention: Funchess scores a torchclown. That one time Toussaint got four yards. Matt Wile pounds a 69-yard punt.

Epic Double Fist-Pumps Past.

8/31/2013: Dymonte Thomas introduces himself by blocking a punt.
9/7/2013: Jeremy Gallon spins through four Notre Dame defenders for a 61-yard touchdown.
9/14/2013: Michigan does not lose to Akron. Thanks, Thomas Gordon.
9/21/2013: Desmond Morgan's leaping one-handed spear INT saves Michigan's bacon against UConn.
10/5/2013: Fitzgerald Toussaint runs for ten yards, gets touchdown rather easily.
10/12/2013: Devin Funchess shoots up the middle of the field to catch a 40 yard touchdown, staking Michigan to a ten-point lead they wouldn't relinquish. (Right?)
10/19/2013: Thomas Gordon picks off an Indiana pass to end the Hoosiers' last drive that could have taken the lead.
11/2/2013: Clock expires.
11/9/2013: Nebraska muffs a punt through no action of Michigan's.

[AFTER THE JUMP: stations of the cross.]

Offense

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Station six. [Upchurch]

Devin Gardner's ribs are a fine paste. I find it hard to judge the guy anymore. He was not good. He was again under a hellacious assault, suffering seven sacks and getting hit several other times in the backfield on runs. In circumstances like the ones he's enduring game after game most quarterbacks would look just as bad.

I can say that I spent much of the game looking downfield on obvious play action and it really seemed like Gardner's hesitancy was because there was absolutely no one open. Anyone going deep was bracketed and with linebackers in pass mode the whole way underneath stuff from Butt was not opening up. The only success Michigan had that seemed to come from the coordinator were a selection of short passes in the flats on Michigan's torchclown drive. Joe Kerridge sneaks into flat, catches ball, turns it up for first down: rock-paper-scissors plus. Rest of game: NOPE.

The disappointment there is that Gallon was not getting pinged regularly even with Funchess dragging two guys with him. His involvement was minimal in the second half. No idea what's up with that.

Turnovers or that. For a lot of reasons, Gardner's now playing like a scalded dog. It feels like he's afraid to put balls in tight spaces now because the turnover thing has been beaten into his head. The effect of this has been… worse? I think it's worse.

Oh, good, two fullbacks. That's just what this offense needs. More fullbacks.

Yes, this was bad and also bad. Touch The Banner noted something I did too:

the final straw for me was in the fourth quarter when Nebraska lined up defensive end Randy Gregory at inside linebacker over right guard Erik Magnuson. Michigan slid the protection left, matching up right tackle Michael Schofield on Gregory. Schofield promptly made about a 3% effort to pick him up, allowing Gregory to have a 6-yard running start on an overmatched Fitzgerald Toussaint. Sack. When your fifth-year right tackle can't handle a slide protection, that's probably all you need to see.

So much of what's screwed up Michigan is not knowing what to do, which forces them into slide protections that expose Toussaint to a guy like Shilique Calhoun and even those aren't getting executed. When even the seniors are airballing because they can't get their assignments down, that falls on the coaches. The line has been mishandled in every way; Michigan is probably better off with Miller still out there, but now he's dead and buried.

Positive Funchess note of the week. Damn if he didn't look fast on that middle screen. That play was pure badass: reach behind you for a one-hand stab and then move far too quickly for a dude your size.

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Station eight. [Upchurch]

Ain't nobody can block worth a damn at tailback. Fitzgerald Toussaint may generate lots of sympathy when he runs the ball, but with only nine carries in this one and plenty of pass blocking, the needle is soldily on WHY U NO BLITZ PICKUP. Derrick Green's attempts to do so were just as bad, unfortunately, and teams are now explicitly targeting Michigan tailbacks because there is much profit in it.

No one on this roster can block. Vincent Smith could, because Vincent Smith came out of the womb by depositing his head in the doctor's midsection.

This is part of a larger trend at tailback: with the solitary exception of Chris Perry, every tailback leaves Michigan the exact same player they were when they arrived. Tailback's a place where that is a general trend, but we've all watched OSU backs get better over the years—Wells, Pittman, and now Hyde. Le'Veon Bell, too, and everyone who's ever played for Wisconsin. What is Fred Jackson actually doing other than blasting the press with hyperbole, getting four drinks at the same time, and making questionable scholarship offers? How long can one guy remain at Michigan without improving any particular player he has? Why did Mike Cox have to go to UMass to become of interest to the NFL?

This is why people are panicking about Derrick Green: Michigan running backs do not improve.

Defense

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Eric Upchurch

Par for the course. They are not great and couldn't prevent Nebraska from driving for the winning score; they held them to under 300 yards and forced a fumble that set Michigan up on the Nebraska 35. The Cornhuskers have been beat up all year but that hasn't prevented them from moving the ball effectively against most of the league; if the offense was anything other than what it is that would have been enough to win the game comfortably. They are a B unit.

Unfortunately, part of that par for the course is being real bad at stopping the option. Most of Abdullah's limited success came on plays where he took a pitch and it seemed like nobody was assigned to the pitch guy at all. This has been a consistent bugaboo for Mattison defenses against Nebraska and Northwestern.

But what the hell was this? Michigan played in the parking lot on Nebraska's WRs on fourth and two.

That is unbelievable. Stribling and Dymonte Thomas missed tackles but Mattison flat out gave Nebraska a first down if they could execute a simple five-yard out. And he did so with Channing Stribling, whose entire raison d'etre is to man up with inside leverage and dare your guy to throw a fade over the top of him. "Challenge accepted," say Penn State and Indiana, yeah yeah, but I'm taking my chances with Stribling phasing out of reality if Armstrong can even hit a sideline fade—50/50 at best—over a five yard out that's there on the snap and is super easy to convert.

Then on the touchdown, Michigan is just about screwed on the snap. They've got six guys against six blockers against an option and their linebackers are shaded away from the tailback.

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For one, they've got Charlton and Black at DT. For two, they give Nebraska the option of blocking Ross with a free-releasing tackle as they run one of their favorite plays.

This is taking candy from a baby. Clark causes Armstrong to delay not once but twice and then the pitch is forward and there is still nobody to clean up, and while Ross might have been able to get over the top of that tackle, he's still probably running at the back laterally as he lunges for the goal line even if he does.

Make Armstrong throw the ball.

I hope to God Thomas Gordon is injured. I'd heard midweek that Michigan was planning on a revamp in the secondary, for reasons I found bizarre. Yes, they're not great, yes they could have done better on a half-dozen plays. But yanking a senior who's a three-year starter for Josh Furman and/or Courtney Avery—pick one—is a slap in the face to that guy, especially when Furman looks discombobulated the whole game. Afterwards, Hoke muttered something about an ankle and please let that be true, because on its face it looked insane.

I doubt because apparently Gordon was still playing special teams:

After the game, coach Brady Hoke said Gordon — who had two interceptions against Indiana on Oct. 19 — was dealing with an ankle issue and was limited to contributing on special teams.

Who plays a starting safety on special teams when his ankle is injured enough for him to not play, you know, safety? Saving face, there.

Furman gave up a 27 yard third and fifteen conversion on Nebraska's first drive, picked up an obvious PI, got run over on their first touchdown, and was lucky that Tommy Armstrong winged a corner route way past his guy, because he seemed beat. That's about what you would expect given what we've seen from him in spring and in the opener, and voluntarily switching to him seems like a move just to make a move. It didn't cost Michigan anything big in this game, but if they persist I won't be surprised when they do give up something big.

Linebacker make plays sightings. Michigan's linebackers have not been making thunderous plays of valor much this year. Desmond Morgan blew up that Akron sweep and picked off that UConn pass, and that's been about it. I think Ross has been playing pretty well once I go over the tape, but there's been a definite lack of wow experiences.

Not so here. Ross took on a blocker and thumped Armstrong down for six yards when anything other than a great play gives up thirty; he also shot into the backfield a couple times. Bolden even had a nice hit on Abdullah, though there were a couple other instances on which he shot interior gaps on outside runs.

New faces. Michigan gave Josh Furman, Taco Charlton, and Dymonte Thomas their first extended playing time and also had Stribling and Lewis out there plenty. This didn't cause the defense to collapse but usually when those guys were brought into action the results were dodgy. Charlton did take advantage of a stunt to force a sack and Stribling managed to get around a pick route to get a nice PBU.

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This was impressive by Stribling. [Bryan Fuller]

Stribling and Thomas both missed tackles on that fourth and two play, as mentioned, and Furman was dodgy when called into action.

Miscellaneous

Take your timeouts. Michigan's defense faced a first and goal with about three minutes left up 13-10 with three timeouts. They let the clock run after a run on first down, got an incomplete pass on second down, and then gave up a touchdown. That is a frequent blunder and at least this one was not absolutely egregious (like not calling one after a hypothetical second-down run would have been), but it's a blunder.

Then—and I encourage you to sit down and have someone with smelling salts handy as you imbibe this shocking news—Michigan was in the process of blowing their own two-minute drill when their inability to convert prevented them from going whole hog. Gardner's first down completion for six yards to Devin Funchess was not followed by a timeout despite Michigan having three and having no use for a field goal; 20 seconds ran off the clock before Michigan got the next snap off.

Is there a scenario in which your timeout is going to be more useful? Any in-bounds play short of the sticks should be a timeout unless maybe you've only got one left. With three timeouts and 90 seconds, the time is far more valuable.

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THIS PHOTO IS CROPPED AND FOCUSED ALL WRONG

They're breeding. The blue tube now has a maize tube buddy/wife/partner/child/ business-associate/guy-who-makes-paint-thinner-hooch-for-you that I will screenshot when I find them in UFR. One of the few pleasures from the game was glancing over to the student section to find the tubes being SO HAPPY and SO TUBULAR and WAVING THEIR WEIRD INFLATABLE ARM THINGS and probably TALKING IN AN ALIEN LANGUAGE ABOUT HOW PREDICTABLE MICHIGAN'S PLAYCALLING WAS. More! More tubes! The entire student section: tubes! Si se puede!

Mary Sue's weird halftime speech. This was odd and uncomfortable:

Drunken slur or stroke aftermath? Probably neither:

You're spot on, it was feedback. There's about a second delay between when she speaks and when she hears herself from the stadium speakers.

When people fixate on listening to themselves, they tend to slow down their speech because they want to hear the words they just spoke. This ends up slowing down and slurring their speech. It's a common issue in stadiums and even smaller venues like auditoriums. Usually, before speaking, people are told to just keep talking and to not worry about trying to hear themselves, in an effort to avoid this. Clearly, no one told Mary Sue this.

The speakers she hears at commencement are right next to her and do not have this issue.

I can't imagine the PR flack who was dragooned into writing the press release in reaction ever thought he'd have to write these words:

“She, absolutely, had not been drinking alcohol,” University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald wrote in a statement. “I want to underscore that point in the strongest possible way.”

"How was your day, honey?"

"Well, I had to tell people the university president wasn't falling-down drunk at halftime of a Michigan football game, and then I had to listen to people scream WHY NOT at me for the next six hours."

"Here's a scotch, honey."

Putting the university president on the field with no preparation makes her look drunk or diseased, and it's done with no thought as to what might happen. That is… entirely in character with this athletic department. Do you know what I saw on the eyesore billboard the city wants turned off when I walked to the stadium? MSU picking off Devin Gardner. If it doesn't contribute to a number in a spreadsheet somewhere, the athletic department don't currr.

Here

Toughness? Inside The Box Score has toughness, because it is still going inside the box score. My god man:

I also broke down our first down plays into four groups: negative yardage, zero yards, 1-9 yards, and 10 or more yards. We did have 6 negative plays on first down. There were two sacks and the poor snap in addition to 3 negative rushing plays. There were 3 plays of zero yards, but only one of those was an incomplete pass. 12 times we gained positive yards, but not enough to get a first down. As I was going through the plays, something stuck out to me. Devin Gardner was pretty good on first down. …

Why does any of this matter? A) we should have done better on first down if we had just been an average offense that Nebraska has faced. B) Understanding why we were not gets to the root of the problem with this offense. The new meme is that Borges is an awful playcaller that is setting us up in 2nd and long far too often. On ~1/3 of our first down possessions, we either lost yardarge or gained nothing, leaving us with 2nd and 10 or worse. You might think that 2nd and 10s come from incomplete passes, so we would be better off running on first down to gain something. However, in our case, we had 3 bad passing plays on 1st down and 6 bad rushing plays.

Best and Worst:

At this point in the season, I’m ready for ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN9mygawdwhydoihavetowatchthisanymore to cut to a more interesting game when UM is on offense and then just update us with a little box score four plays later with the outcome.  Basically, NFL Redzone but in reverse.  At least with the defense, something interesting could happen, something that highlights thoughtful coaching and semi-efficient execution of a plan.  With Al Borges’ cut-rate Old Country Buffet offense, all I get as a fan is a couple of minutes to question my sanity and marvel at a team with a handful of NFL draft picks on the offensive line, a record-setting WR, a physical mismatch at TE/WR, A former top recruit at QB who is immensely athletic, and the #1 RB recruit in the nation failing to gain more than 3 yards a pop against a team that gave up 602 yards to Wyoming and 216 yards to Pur-f’ing-Due.  Clark Griswold ain’t got nothing on me after watching this game.

At least he got some jelly.

Aaaaaand this Buzzfeed-worthy headline:

The 3 Most Horrifying Parallels between Michigan Football and the Soviet Space Program

Elsewhere

Photos. From Maize and Blue Nation, Courtney Avery has stared deep into the abyss and found it staring back at him.

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MVictors also has shots.

imageBlog stuff. First: if you're the praying type send some Phil Brabbs's way.

At right, the Hoover Street Rag has inverted the Borges-O-Meter, and Tlon has been achieved. Anti-Tlon. If this game ever meets the Notre Dame game they will annihilate each other in a massive explosion. Hot take time:

There are times for rational analysis and there are times for STRONG TAEKS: The only person who has less understanding than Al Borges of what an offensive lineman can and cannot handle is Richie Incognito, no offense. OK then, carrying on.

Maize and Brew says it all in the title: "Whatever, I'm Already Dead Inside." Maize and Go Blue. Big House Report. Maize and Blue Nation:

I'm not sure what I expected to see yesterday, but I think my expectation was higher than 13 points and -21 yards rushing. When a team plays this bad, it's more than just coaching, it's a combination of many things. As boos rained down multiple times yesterday afternoon in Michigan Stadium, it dawned on me that about 10,000 Michigan-Ohio State tickets were just sold to Buckeye fans on Stubhub. It's going to be 2009 all over again.

Tickets for this game were available for 25 bucks in some not-horrible places and even sideline seats 40 rows up were going for under face, in a game Michigan was favored by a touchdown. I fully expect to be surrounded by people whose wedding photos have stickers of Calvin peeing on a Block M on them. It's going to be a wow experience.

Fouad:

Meanwhile, this team has me flatlining; the closest I get to something real is a cringe as Devin Gardner takes yet another sack or Fitzgerald Toussaintcollapses under an avalanche of defenders. Other than that, my viewing of Michigan football since the Akron and UConn games has consisted of resigned nodding with the occasional secretive fist pump when Devin Funchess or Jeremy Gallon catch a pass.

Maize and Brew:

Devin Gardner is being ruined by his offensive line

Some within the Michigan community truly believe that Devin Gardner has made strides in terms of ball security and pocket presence. Even if Gardner has made strides, who would truly be able to tell? He was sacked seven times for the second game in a row; he's so beat up that his ability to exit the pocket and make plays with his legs has been severely dampened. This all goes back to the inside of Michigan's offensive line, which can be exploited with simple stunts and blitzes.

MVictors:

When the offense took the field with a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter there was a stunning sound from the crowd: nothing.  Crickets.  Nervous mumbling at best.  This muffled din was delivered by the crowd that unleashed the loudest Bronx Cheer ever recorded after the team’s initial first down, and the same crowd that screamed like schoolgirls when a blindside Husker defender was closing in on 98 during the third quarter touchdown drive.

Sap's Decals:

LIL FELLER – It was the first game in the big house for this guy and he took a 50-yard Wile line-drive kick off the grill during warm-ups (left).  And we’re not talking a glancing blow here.

Kid

That said, check out the physicality and toughness (right) as he quickly recovered and got down to the business of enjoying a lollipop and Michigan football.

At least he was prepared for what was to come.

THIS IS WHAT IT'S COME TO

Im going to call for an outside the box pick for OC next season: Mark Mangino. He is a Broyles Award winning OC and his Kansas teams usually had good O. Hes desperate enough to get back into coaching since he is a te coach with ysu so money should not be an issue. And its been 4 years since the issue so that shouldnt be as bad.

I DON'T THINK THAT INSANE

Newspaper stuff. MLive would like you to meet the men who run the scoreboard. I would like to know why they can't get the down and distance up within 20 seconds of the previous play ending.

Devin Gardner would like you to shove it if you are an idiot with an inexplicable platform at ESPN:

"Whoever questions our toughness, they can shove it," Gardner said shortly after Michigan's 17-13 loss to Nebraska at home Saturday. …

"I look in those guys' eyes in the huddle and they’re tough guys and they’re going out and fighting for me," Gardner said. "I don’t care what any of you or whoever says that, says."

Michigan is a 2.5 point dog at Northwestern, winless in the Big Ten. Wojo:

This isn't just about the players, or that young offensive line, or the beleaguered Devin Gardner. This is about the coaching staff that can't figure out how to fix it. And I'm sorry, just waiting for young players to get older is not an acceptable answer.

Michigan's offense was brutalized again Saturday in a 17-13 loss to Nebraska. In his third season, Hoke had never lost a game in Michigan Stadium, and the Wolverines had their chances to extend the streak. But when they got the ball, they literally looked like a team that had no idea what to do with it.

Pelini:

"How about that defense?" Pelini said. "They stood up time after time – I think they had three short fields in the second half and one short field to end the first half – (facing) a lot of situations that could have changed that football game.

"Guys rose to the occasion. And we talked all week about that -- no matter the odds, or where we are playing, we are going to play as a team and pick each other up."

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.

Everything is broken. Everything goes backwards. Stubbornness deployed. Taking the blame is so hollow man.

Comments

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 7:23 PM ^

They practiced it during the spring and through fall camp. They didn't debut it until Minnesota.

Tackle over also doesn't change the way things you operate. In fact, it changes nothing.

For the OT that is playing TE:

Zone: Same blocking assignment as if he's a weakside OT with zone run to his side.

Man: Same man blocking assignment as if he's weakside OT with run to his side.

For OT playing OT

Obviously everything is the same

For backside TE playing OT

Zone to him: Same as it always is

Man to him: Same as it always is

Zone away from him: same as it always is

Man away from him: same as it always is

Everyone else

Exact same blocking scheme

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 11:22 PM ^

Let's look at a power play.

Weakside Power (to the TE) is the same exact blocking assignment as running to the TE if he was on the strongside (depending on the alignment of the DE and LB he'll either downblock or go to the 2nd level).

Running away from the TE is the same thing as running away from the TE to the weakside (he will hinge block on the backside). His assignment doesn't change outside of a weakside run works like a strongside run and a strongside run is treated like a weakside run for the TE. I can promise that's how it works, I'm not wrong.

As far as tipping your hand, yes, you are going to run to strength even more than you typically do (most teams will probably run to strength around 70% of the time, tackle over it's probably closer to 80%). But that's because you should be stronger there then normal. It's an unbalanced line, it's not a novel concept and lots of teams run it. And many of them are very successful doing it. And most of the teams that are successful doing it "tip their hand" by running to strength the majority of the time.

coastal blue

November 11th, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

Also, more of a response to your other comment but: 

So Funk coaches the offensive line and they appear to have regressed, right?

Well, who coaches the QBs? Borges right? Well, it seems that every QB we've had has regressed under Borges. 

Denard was far worse in 2012 than in 2011. Devin is now worse in 2013 than in 2012. Russell Bellomy looked like a high school freshman in his only significant playing time. 

So if you want some direct Borges involvement in player development failure, there you go. 

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 4:33 PM ^

I'm not sure the OL has really regressed as a whole or hasn't improved as quickly as it should and has now had it's massive weakness exposed. 

Was Denard much worse in '12 than in '11? He played a much harder schedule before getting injured before playing some of the easier teams. I dunno, maybe he regressed because the offense got more complex. That said, his fundamentals improved.

Gardner is a much better QB this year than last year. His OL protection has drastically dropped. He's had to throw more deep balls this year. Teams have been able to actually scout the offense with him this year and learn his strengths and weaknesses. He's also lost some confidence or trust, which wasn't a problem last year. But fundamentally he's vastly improved. It's not even close. And blasting Bellomy's play as a RS FR in his first playing time at night on the road at Nebraska, and then seeing some of his receivers drop balls, and then getting blasted by Nebraska's constant blitz and pressure, alright, you can do that.

coastal blue

November 11th, 2013 at 4:53 PM ^

Yep, Devin looked great against UConn and Akron. So much better than the year before. 

Denard looked great with his numbers dropping every year from the time he stepped foot on campus. 

Yes, I'm bashing Bellomy's readiness, i.e. blaming our QB coach for not having him remotely close to ready to be a back-up quarterback. 

Honestly, I think you're bordering on crazy at this point. 

 

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 4:59 PM ^

And struggled because of it. He's still, you know, a college kid. Sometimes confidence has a lot to do with things that the amount of coaching fundamentals can't overcome. I know you want to simplify this whole thing and look at stats and not actually look at how Devin has performed re: footwork, mechanics, etc compared to last year. I understand people don't want to play "feelings-ball". I understand people want to take one thing like "Look at how Indiana's offense performed" and make it "why can't we just be that".

Too many EA Sports coaches here that don't realize how reality works. A lot of EA Sports coaches acting like they know how coaching really works. Sorry, it's not reality. But you and a lot of others can continue to act like I'm excusing everything and saying everything is a-OK because I'm not doom and gloom, fire everyone, these guys learned how to play football from one of those air football game boards.

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 5:26 PM ^

Guess having some idea of how things work makes me "think I'm Bill Walsh". Cute.

It's nice how you say to the 2nd grade teacher how to do addition "says the 2nd grade teach that thinks they're Albert Einstein." No, I don't think I'm Bill Walsh. I think I'm pretty far from it. Luckily, I'm not trying to teach extremly complex or complex things. I'm talking about basics because I know the basics. But that's alright, I'll stop trying to talk about football with you. I'm guessing it was difficult trying to coach/teach you at anything if someone wasn't the tops in their field.

coastal blue

November 11th, 2013 at 6:09 PM ^

You're right, you have a specialty. You know the basics. That's it. Yet you act like you've coached FBS football players. You act like you know how they should progress and what they are capable of because if fits your HS football mind. Which causes you to think yourself into a tiny box based solely on "Well, this play would have worked if the 1997 offensive line were out there and because Al Borges does not have access to a time machine, its not his fault Fitz just ran into the line for another negative play". 

According to you it would be pointless to implement an uptempo version of segments of the playbook in two weeks because tis impossible. Yet Michigan spent their previous bye week adding the moronic tackle over scheme to beat Minnesota. What do you base this on? Even if it were difficult, this would emphasize the importance of playing with speed, because it would be easier to slow things down than speed things up, which means Al Borges is behind the curve. 

According to you, keeping a non-blocking running back with no ability to run through our weak offensive line is nothing to be concerned about. Basically, we have a useless player on the field rather than one who, you know, is on the team specifically to block. 

According to you, Devin Gardner against Akron and UConn is a better player than against Ohio State or South Carolina because of his "footwork". 

You're a HS X's and O's guy who thinks that a few Football for Dummies books and that South Division co-championship title he coached the Huntington High Wildcats to makes him an infallible pillar of football knowledge. 

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 6:25 PM ^

Since you seem to think you can make up things that I said. I don't act like I've coached FBS players, but I do act like I've coached. I know what it takes to implement new things, particularly in a small amount of time. Apparently Borges is stuck in the small HS coach box too (unfortunately you probably believe this).

I've never said anything about a play should work with other players. I've said what things this team should be able to do. I've called the OL play terrible since the start of the year. Said they struggled in pass pro since the start of the year. I've said they struggle at multiple things and have tried to explain what Borges's thought process is. That is all. I haven't said the play calling was great (find where I said that). I haven't said "he should call that because it would work with another teams players". In fact, I've constantly called for things to be called with the players that he has. What plays work without an OL again?

Tackle Over was installed as far back as the bowl game last year. They worked on it throughout spring ball and fall camp. And with all that, tackle over is the same blocking concept for everyone on the line. For the OT playing TE, it's either the same exact play in a zone scheme or as if you're running it to the weak side in a man blocking scheme. Same exact thing for every player involved. No new communication. No new techniques. No new assignments. You're asking them to scrap teaching what they've been teaching because you want them to install something Indiana does over the course of a week (you know, because they actually have to rep things against their scout team the week before the game). You want them to install a new offense, communication, techniques, counters, set-up plays, etc, in what is probably 3.5 practices over a bye week. But what would I know about that, I'm just a high school coach?

Yes, Gardner is a better QB in the grand scheme of things now than he was last year. His confidence isn't. Defenses have an idea of how to play him now, what are his weaknesses and strengths. They know the offense that Borges is running because it's been scouted unlike much of last years offense. And the team around him is far from the same, especially up the interior OL. But apparently none of those things effect DG. Apparently you just look at the Akron and UConn game and exclaim "he sucks now". I like that you have criticized me for looking at things too narrowly and then you say the things you do.

You're some dude that has never studied football, read any football books, never coached, and I doubt ever played, and you think you have a great knowledge of the game than someone that has, and not just me, not just the HS football coach, the college OC that's been coaching for 30 years.

Now, I'm sure you'll take this response and once again try to twist it to fit your contrived plot to prove your point. You may not even twist it, you may just deliberately make stuff up again. That's fine, you can continue to do that. Your mind won't be changed either way. You'll continue to think you're smarter than everyone that has an opposing view to you. Some people you can't change. Or you're just a troll. Whatever.

coastal blue

November 11th, 2013 at 7:36 PM ^

Explain how running your own plays at a higher speed is "learning Indiana's entire playbook" in two weeks (not one, as a HS coach you should know what a bye week is). If what you say is true and its something that physically cannot happen, then that's on Borges for not adding an effective wrinkle to his gameplan. 

Explain how having a useless player out on the field who can neither run nor block is good strategy. 

Explain how a player who looks worse against the Akrons and UConns of the world than he did against Ohio State and South Carolina is a fundamentally better player. 

Explain how Al Borges as the OC has zero to do with the offensive line's development and coaching (which is what you're saying when you say Funk is the coach).

Its okay man. You're an apologist. You're taking the hard defensive stance because you thought you were right and now you're being proven wrong. Its similar to all the people who thought youth had nothing to do with our bad defense in 2010 now arguing that youth has everything to do with our bad offense in 2013. 

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 7:59 PM ^

You have basically 3 practices in your bye week to add new things. On top of that, you also have to try to iron out the other wrinkles in the limited amount of time you have to focus on self-improvement aspects rather than gameplan/scouting concepts for the majority of practice. So, to overhaul the communication of a play, to overhaul the team philosophy of utilizing different personnel for many plays, to overhaul much of the playbook, to do those sorts of things, it is not logical. The next week is spent mostly on individual improvement in individual drills and the team prepping within their scheme to play the opponent. So that's why the coaching staff can't simply "implement" all the tempo you want. Sure, they can do it to an extent, but it'll likely only be a bastardized version that is extremely ineffective because it's not what they've been practicing for 10+ months.

Well, I never called for a useless player to play. There needs to be some run game. If you think the results were bad as is, imagine how bad it would be if there was no run threat. You think MSU was bad, trust me, it would have been much worse if a Michigan team that wasn't designed to be a pass first team, without Dileo, woudl have said "screw it we aren't running". On top of that, how do you know the others are better at pass pro. Maybe they should be, maybe that's something the other guys should be working on. So who's working on it? The TEs? As if they don't already have enough on their plate as far as pass pro, run blocking, and running a variety of different routes. You can't just plug someone in. Another RB? Green looked 0% better than Fitz and probably blows more assignments in practice. Why aren't they better? I don't know sorry. The should be. A FB? What if FBs are working on other things at that time. Maybe their run blocking assignments. Maybe their routes. Maybe they are working with the TEs so they can play some U-back. So maybe they don't have a bunch of time for it either. Maybe they should, yes. But I'm guessing if there was a better option they wouldn't stick with the same one. Pass pro from the RB position isn't easy. On top of that, it's not easy when your OL is putting you in positions where it is very difficult to succeed. So most of your reps get done when you're working in practice. Which means whoever is the main RB gets the most reps, which makes sense. So that's probably why Fitz was back there.

I've already explained this twice. You continue to ignore it. Something, something about the players around him, the defense he's facing, and confidence.

Borges can't sit there and teach the OL how to develop. He's busy, you know, being the OC and the QB coach. You don't leave the players you're responsible for to go teach a different position group. Borges is responsible for Funk. Yes. If Funk isn't performing up to the standards that they believe this team is capable of reaching, then they should go a different direction. But Borges is only indirectly responsible for actually coaching the OL.

I'm not an apologist, though you label me as one. I'm debating your flawed arguments and then the fact that you've continued to call me out. When Borges does things that are clearly wrong as far as play calling, I don't have a problem. As far as player development, I've had my criticisms as well. Hell, I've even had probably with some of the recruiting aspects.

And I dunno who said youth wasn't a problem on the defense in 2010 that is now saying it's the reason for the OL in 2013. Youth was part of the problem with both units. It also likely isn't the only problem with both units. If you ever actually spent the time reading what I've said instead of acting like you did but only skimming it so you can pick your strawman, you might actually know what I've said.

So there you go, now you've gotten all the words you wanted out of me that are so "glorious". Unfortunately, all I've done is had to reiterate the same arguments I've already discussed because you've failed to listen/read/comprehend what I've said time and time again.

coastal blue

November 11th, 2013 at 11:40 PM ^

I'll finish this up:

Let's just say for a second you are right and that the playcalling is for the most part sound (even though the last game and the Penn State are clear examples of this being untrue) and that its all down to execution. Let's also say that you are correct and that its impossible for Michigan to install any kind of uptempo wrinkle to their offense (though ineffective would have been an improvement against MSU). 

Now, let's look at Michigan's coaching structure. Brady Hoke, by all accounts, is more of a delegator. He also has a defensive mindset. So he's probably more hands on with the defense and leaves the offense to Al Borges. This means that Al Borges thought that A. The offensive line would be able to effectively execute his gameplan B. Darrell Funk and Fred Jackson were good coaches, able to coach up the players to ability to execute his gameplan and C. Spending time installing tackle-over was a good idea because it could be effective. 

We now know that none of this turned out to be true. So what this means is that Borges pretty much lost this season before it even started because he set up a situation where his playcalling (assuming again, that you are for the most part right) would end up being ineffective. Which means that regardless of the playcalling, he should be fired because there has to be someone out there who could have prepared the team and brought the obvious staff flaws to Hoke's attention. 

So: 

1. You are an apologist, because you are arguing for keeping Borges based on this season, a season in which he has failed miserably.

2. The QBs have regressed under Borges. There is no way someone can point to Gardner last season and compare that to how he's played from Akron on and say he's somehow better, unless of course, they were an apologist. (And hey, maybe if he had a QB coach, Al Borges could have spent a little time with the offensive line and realized how miserable their development was going and brought in a new O-Line coach. Another failure)

3. You don't seem to get this: There is no run threat from the RBs. I'll repeat: There is no run threat from the RBs. This is where your X's and O's shortcomings comes in: You think that because conventional football needs a running back, Michigan needs one at all times. Joe Kerridge or Houma should be back there at all times (or fuck it, both of them) because Devin Gardner needs all the help he can get. And hey, guess what, if one of them got a carry, it might actually surprise the defense for some real live yardage from one of our backs. And if the coaches aren't working with the FBs on pass protection when that is our only chance of success, then guess what? That's another failure on Borges and again makes his playcalling a moot point. 

4. Even if Michigan could only install a "bastardized version" of an uptempo offensive wrinkle, it would have been something worth doing because, again, its literally the only thing that has worked against MSU this year. Both Indiana and Iowa (Iowa for God's sake...) had their best success with it. Congrats, you're defending the guy getting out-creatived (new phrase) by Kirk Ferentz and Iowa. 

So in the end, you can argue about the playcalling all day and be right about some of it (and wrong about a lot of it, like the entire end of the Penn State game), but in the end it doesn't matter because you can't see the big picture. And what you're doing with your defense is saying "If the players could just execute/if they weren't these players, Al Borges would be lauded as great", when its directly on him for the failure that is occuring this season. 

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 12:03 AM ^

You keep on saying I've lauded Borges, proclaimed him great, when I have never done such a thing. I'm on record as saying I think he's an above average OC and that's it. So you can keep on telling people what I said despite the fact that I've never said such a thing.

Now you're bringing up playcalling. Where in this whole thread did I bring up the play calling argument? You keep using that as your reasoning behind the fact that I apparently can't see the whole picture. You're pulling it out of your ass from back in the PSU game when you made up your mind it was time for Borges to hit the curb.

So...

1. No, I'm not defending Borges based on this season. You keep on insinuating that I've proclaimed this season to be a vast success on offense when I have done no such thing. I defend Borges against bad arguments or completely false arguments. That's all I've ever done. You continue to make false arguments, I defend it. Sorry. I also see where he's trying to take this program, which must be one of those big picture things I can't see (again with that strawman).

2. Alright, I see you will accept that there is no other factor in QB play besides stats. Carry on.

3. You keep bringing up the fact that there is no run threat from the RB. Great. I guess that's the reason MSU always split their OLBs out over the #2... oh wait, they didn't do that. They stayed in the box to defend the run, something they don't do when there's no run threat. I guess I forgot how Nebraska put 8 in the box to defend the run. Sorry again, no run threat. I'll be the first to admit the run game isn't effective. It sucks. Yeah, I'll admit that. But it has also set up other successes. But you'll ignore that with your simple-minded approach like you've ignored Gardner getting any better (which, while you try to put it all on Borges, is a real slap in the face to DG). Also, you keep acting like the other guys are better. How do you know they're better? Maybe they don't practice it! I went over this, you completely ignored it. I get it, you don't read my comments, you just skim over them and repeat the same thing.

4. Yes, other teams have repped it. Sorry that Michigan's staff was probably busy trying to address the other glaring issues on this offense before worrying about going up-tempo. I'd like uptempo as much as anyone. I love switching tempo to confuse the opponent. I just understand that there may be more important areas to spend time trying to get better because tempo isn't some magic fix you're claiming it to be. It especially isn't when you rep it for 3 practices before going into a game with it. At least this time you didn't bring about more fallacies about tackle over. But you probably will now. And I've made that argument already that you clearly didn't listen to at all because you can't respond to it with anything but lies.

So, how does this all get back to the big picture. You are taking single game performances in which the OL is the glaring weakness and making vast, unfounded claims. Congrats. You keep saying I don't see the "big picture" when I keep bringing up the big picture. Borges will install some no huddle stuff (notice that they tried to do it briefly during the bowl game last year) when they feel they have a good grasp of the other things to warrent spending time on it. Right now, with all the problems this team has, clearly isn't the time. But you have your one argument: "run up tempo", and then claim I'm the one that can't see the big picture. And then you go back to making things up, twisting things, making strawman arguments, and attributing words and statements to me that I never said.

coastal blue

November 12th, 2013 at 8:25 AM ^

One more because you're delusional at this point:

You explicitly state at the top of your last piece that Borges shouldn't be fired. This season has been terrible offensively correct? Who is in charge of the offense? Al Borges. So why shouldn't he be fired? By your reasoning, because for the most part - you do acknowledge some poor playcalls - his "reasoning" behind his gameplans and playcalling have been fine. In other words, if the players could only execute Al Borges' well-reasoned gameplans, we would be much better off than we are now. By doing this you are saying that you don't believe Devin's regression (its not just stats, you complete moron, its his overall performance against shit teams like Akron, UConn, Nebraska and Penn State. His decision making and accuracy were just as off, if not more, than in his final games against actual good teams last year), Darrell Funk and Fred Jackson's performance, the offensive line's play overall, player personnel decisions (throwing a useless RB out there to block when they are no threat to run and sub-optimal blockers) are not at all on Al Borges. To you, almost everything that is going wrong is outside of Borges' control. Even if you aren't calling him great, you are readily excusing his role in the team's performance and placing the blame everywhere else you can, despite the fact that he's head of the offense. So fine, you never called him great: You're still an apologist for someone running an offense that's in 2008 territory when it comes to incompetence with far more talent and that's almost as bad.

In regards to big picture: Big picture is seeing a theme that plays out over the course of an extended period of time. Big picture: Our running backs are A. Almost useless running the ball and B. Cannot block. So in a game (like the Nebraska game), where this theme is playing out again, its time to abandon having only 10 useful players on the field for the sake of a "run threat" that doesn't exist. 

Its been fun. Its rare to see your type of crazy these days. 

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 9:45 AM ^

One time the Michigan basketball team was losing and so they put on a full-court man-to-man press so they could try to get a quick steel or else follow.

They had another game three days later after a loss, and you wanted them to implement a diamond press because "every team has a full-court man-to-man press" and because it can't get any worse.

You think a team that's bad at shooting threes should only shoot twos against Syracuse. They shouldn't even put their shooters on the floor. Just should have 4 centers and a PG. No, I get it.

I've explained multiple times why it's not as simple as you're making it out to be. A manager has his job and he can't micromanage each position. He has to trust those employed under him, especially when he has his own job duties and a time budget to work within (he can't stay late to work with the OL). You fail to recognize that it could, in fact, be worse. Possibly because other players at other positions aren't being taught how to play RB because they are busy playing other positions. You're one of those people that think that's how it works, that it's that simple. No, I get it, you've never coached or played team sports, had to plan a practice schedule, or apparently lived in a reality where you have some sort of time budget and finite resources at your disposal to get the job done.

You don't understand how football works, I get it, that's fine. But quit sitting here debating things with me that you know nothing about. You've even tried debating blocking schemes with me and failed miserably.

And FYI, there's nothing wrong with the suggestion of putting a FB back there to block on obvious passing downs, teams as far back as Mo were doing that. But when they are young players still trying to learn the fundamentals of their position, you don't tend to just throw them in the fire unnecessarily in positions that they aren't prepared to handle. You put the game that you feel is the most prepared back there (even if he isn't very good, maybe he is, in fact, the best at it). You brought up Iowa running some up-tempo then ignored the fact that they've been practicing that since somewhere around January. You also ignored that they have a veteran OL, TEs, WRs, RBs and have been running the same system for the better part of 10 years where as Michigan is still trying to transition away from Denard. You fail to realize that maybe there are more important things for this team to learn and trying to get better at than simply running a no-huddle system. Sure, I would like to get there too, I bet Borges would like to as well, but that's not where they are yet, and the results on the field clearly show that.

So continue talking in circles and wanting this reality to play out like fantasy land. Up-tempo means smashing the triangle button and changing offense means switching to Indiana's playbook on the menu screen. Players are robots and the players around them and the defense and the defensive coaching have no affect on their performance. You can plug in a guy that's 6'1 250 lbs into a position he hasn't played and he'll be better than the other guy because it can't get worse. Keep making these arguments from the zero foundation you stand on to make those claims, then say I'm the one that doesn't see the big picture and that I'm the delusional one.

coastal blue

November 12th, 2013 at 9:55 AM ^

I didn't bother reading your post because I know its just more of the same nonsense. I did want to add this though to my last reply.

You claim that A. It would be impossible for Michigan to add an uptempo element to the offense in season/during a bye week and that B. To do so, they would have to work on it all offseason. 

Well, guess what: Iowa either A. added an uptempo element against MSU that worked in season or B. Worked on it in the offseason. Iowa. Let me say that again: Iowa.

Either way, what this means is that Al Borges is either A. Incapable of adapting effectively in season or B. Spends his off season being less effective than the creative offensive gurus in Iowa. 

So let's go over your position again: Al Borges is an "above average" coordinator (so he's what, one of the highest paid coordinators and he's the 30th best OCs in FBS football?) who "doesn't deserve to be fired"  because he calls "reasonable" plays most of the time. To you, the utter lack of preparedness of the team, the disaster of the position coaches, the offensive line disaster, the wasted time on Tackle-Over, Devin's regression, that's all on something else that doesn't account for enough reason to fire Al Borges.

Get back to West Canaan, Bud. 

coastal blue

November 12th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

I actually read your reply because I thought I might have missed something. Let's review your response:

Stupid analogies for a few paragraphs. 

I actually played college team sports at a high level. Which is one of the reasons why, better than anyone on here, I understand the youth excuse. So, congrats, so far you've constructed a terrible rebuttal. 

I "discussed" blocking schemes with you? No I made two points that were very simple and obvious: Things were not the same for the TE because he would be in a position that he has never been in before (playing as a tackle with only a guard between himself and the center) and that the play, in the hands of your daddy Al, tips a run and is doomed for failure. Striking out so far genius. 

Again, Al Borges and co. are incapable of making effective changes that would utilize all 11 positions on the field. This is on Borges. This makes you dumb for not admitting it.

Congrats! In talking about Iowa, yoou admit that you were indeed wrong and that I was right and that at the very least, Al Borges is incapable of spending his offseason teaching his players anything that might be productive. 

And then more of the same. 

You know, it makes sense that you are a HS football coach. I remember at my high school, all of the coaches were teachers and they were typically the dumbest members of the faculty. You strike me much the same way: Knowledgeable in your area of expertise, but unable to think outside of it at all. 

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 5:17 PM ^

And has already called me out twice (both times unprovocted) and tried to flame others?

I'll quote "TheLastHoke" when you tried to call him and me out with you're "first" ever post

 

"Here is the Al Borges defend-o-meter:

Al is the best!   Middle ground  FIRE BORGES!

-----------------------------------------------------------

I have been here from the start of the season:

Al is the best! Middle ground  FIRE BORGES!

----------------------------X-----------------------------

A lot of you have been here:

Al is the best! Middle ground  FIRE BORGES!

--------------------------------------------------------X

You're all stupidly trying to make it out like I've been here:

Al is the best! Middle ground FIRE BORGES!

X---------------------------------------------------

Which is patently untrue. Myself, Space Coyote and others have been defending only so much as we've been saying, "There are plenty of valid criticisms, but your critcisim is incorrect and stupid."

Seriously, does no one actually read what I write, or do you just blink at the text for a couple of minutes before attempting to surmise what I wrote?

I've said all along that the lack of development along the offensive line has to be put directly on the coaches. A lot of peoples' criticisms of playcalling have been off base, because if your offensive line can't block they're aren't a whole lot of plays that you can run with a great deal of success. Your offense will also be incredibly inconsistent, especially when you combine poor blocking, with an erratic QB. 

But I guess in whatever weird paradigm a lot of you subscribe to, not shouting "FIRE BORGES!" every 5 minutes, and being a bit more thoughtful and nuanced, means you think he is the greatest thing since sliced bread."

I wonder which troll you were that got banned before... this will be my last reply to you, but I do appreciate the fact that you don't even try to hide the fact that you're a troll anymore, it makes it a lot easier.

Dontfakeitfunk

November 11th, 2013 at 7:12 PM ^

Yes that is accurate. Ive been on the Fire Borges train since the OSU game last year and was given the boot for (colorfully) expressing that opinion before most everyone joined me.

Look, I just want whatever is best for Michigan man...and its pretty obvious to many what that means. Honestly thats it. Sorry for caring.

Space Coyote

November 11th, 2013 at 7:18 PM ^

I just disagree on how to approach that and have noticed people continue to call me out unprovoked for having an opposing opinion. People continue to ask "are you related to Borges?" or "Is Borges paying you". Well, that's akin to me asking everyone that wants Borges gone "Is Borges responsible for your father being in jail?" or "Is someone that didn't get the job over Borges paying you?"

I'm not arguing that the offense has been good this year. I'm not arguing for people to be satisfied with the results. I'm not happy with the results, far from it. Yet people continue to not only call out my football knowledge, the coaches knowledge, make ignorant remarks, and at times attempt to call out my fandome of this team, well, that gets a bit annoying.

bleed_trueblue17

November 11th, 2013 at 5:19 PM ^

You do realize that as much as ppl thinks Gardner has been bad/regressed, that without him we wouldn't have scored nearly as much this year. His legs in the red zone and his passing when he's confident is a deadly combo. I don't get why ppl are so hard on him I get mad at his decisions from time to time but you do with even NFL quarterbacks too! I think Gardner is a good QB that is in a funk that is hardly his fault at all.

blusage

November 11th, 2013 at 10:49 PM ^

Agreed. Gardner is a talent. And like the OL and all the other high recruits, the talent is being wasted by Hoke, et al, and not developed nor taken advantage of. There's a lot of lost potential there. But he's not to blame for this year's abyssmal failures.

robpollard

November 11th, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^

There are plenty of options -- spread the field, throw more screens, throw into the flat, STOP RUNNING THE BALL INTO THE LINE when they have 8-men fronts and are blitzing. Stuff like that.

It's funny Brian mentions the 2007 Rose Bowl*. I was thinking the same thing but for a different reason: I hold it up as one of my examples of top-notch coaching.

It was 3-3 at half, with USC splitting about 50/50 runs and passes. In the 3rd quarter, USC said, "Screw this" and proceeded to throw the ball TEN times in a row. After one run, they then threw it five more times in a row. At the end of the 3rd quarter it was 19-3, USC.

They didn't stick to a 'manball, we're tougher / let's out execute them' philosophy ; they looked at where UM's weakness was and USC's strength and said, "Running isn't working, let's air it out." They had the immortal John David Booty as their QB.

There is no reason, with the talent and even experience we have, that the offense should be so bad. UM should have thrown the ball at least 40 times on Saturday, and those throws should have been a variety of screens and quick outs and slants (i.e., like the one series that worked all day, where we scored a TD). But no -- we decided 20+ runs was the way to go, even when we were getting swamped all day.

It's beyond Funk; Borges should be gone as well (but won't be, unless Brandon orders the code-red).

* He meant 2007, not 2005, Rose Bowl in his post

robpollard

November 11th, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

First was Penn State; second was Indiana*; now Nebraska.

Who is in charge of calling timeouts / handling 2-min drill time management? Is that on Borges as well, or is it someone else? Is this where the dreaded no-head set comes into play?

 

* The Oregon-Stanford game confirmed I wasn't crazy. If you are ahead and have the ball with 2:10 or less, and the other team doesn't have any timeouts, you can run three dive plays/kneel downs and run out the clock. The other team has 0% chance of winning. However, against Indiana, we decided to score and give them a chance to tie it up -- a very small chance, but higher than 0% for no good reason.

 

DenverBuckeye

November 11th, 2013 at 1:42 PM ^

I care about the rivalry so I gotta say...

There is no way this coaching staff would survive the season if they were at Ohio State. None. It would be a foregone conclusion at this point and we'd already be talking about who the new head coach would be. Not just the OC, the entire coaching staff.

blusage

November 11th, 2013 at 10:56 PM ^

You're right. I'm a Wolverine, but give kudos to OSU. You guys have outperformed us since the Bo and Woody days. Sure there will be snide remarks about sweater vests, and Urban Liar, etc., etc., but the bottom line is OSU has played in more bowl games and championship games, and won more, national championships included, than Michigan has in recent history.

No, wait, sorry, what was I thinking. "Hey Man! We've got the winningest record in college history!!!!"

Actually, Tressel would be a very provocative hire. We could certainly "Show Cause!"

M-Wolverine

November 12th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

OSU has missed twice as many bowl games as Michigan, and the same number of National Championships.

Look we get it; your last line says it all. Either you're a fake troll, or you're one of those guys who wants to be USC and take the wins and the probation together. You just want trophies, no matter how they come. And you don't think Michigan, the winningest program of all time has EVER had a good coach.

A good coach should be able to make the most with what he has, adapt his game plan to the talent on hand. RR could not, or arrogantly would not, do this. 

I don't think Carr was a great coach (or Bo for that matter) but he pretty much maintained the legacy handed him

But posting your nonsense over and over isn't going to change the character of the program, whether it's under this coach or the next.  So save us your repetitive stupidity.

(Though I do like how you flip flop on Bo and Brady in your comments.  You're just trying to stir shit no matter what the situation is).

http://mgoblog.com/users/blusage/recentcomments

Class of 1817

November 11th, 2013 at 1:42 PM ^

Brian, thanks for opening this piece by exposing a condition that I share with you. I have not put a name to it, out of fear that opening my mouth or even birthing a thought during the rage times would bring about an inevitable deluge that I would be powerless to stop without severe social repercussions and sideways glances.

I've found this hand gesture works for me, though...

I'm not calling for anyone to be fired, but it's clear that Borges doesn't know that he's calling an offense A) Against a human defense and B) With human personnel capable/incapable of certain things. It's as if he's saying, "No, no, it works. Just like this, see?" with no thought to player ability or coaching adjustment. As we stare down the barrel of the final stretch of this season, it's clear that 2011 was more RichRod Year Four as opposed to Brady Hoke Year One. This third year is often when things are the darkest. Hoke Year Four will give us a clear picture of where this program will be under Brady.

coastal blue

November 11th, 2013 at 1:44 PM ^

I really wish people would stop making such a big deal about the press conferences. I'm sure Brady Hoke didn't like the playcalling and that he understands there are problems, but what is he supposed to say? What does he gain by acknowledging it other than confirming fan opinion that Borges isn't the right guy for the job? Let him keep it in-house and stop worrying about the answers he gives at the press conference. 

Michigan Arrogance

November 11th, 2013 at 2:00 PM ^

I agree. You should take nothing from the PCs, as the goal for them is to release as LITTLE info as possible. I can't believe ppl read those- I scan for an Mgoquestion b/c it's usually a bit more detailed/intelligent. the answers are rarely any better tho.

Stop talking about PC quotes, the fucking headset and yes, even the playcalling. Those are the LEAST of our worries at this point.

Problem 1A: Offensive structure, purpose, philosophy: who are we? power? iso? stretch? zone read? why insist on a phiosophy that is so much more difficult to run successfully compared to zone read for instance?

Problem 1B: ability to TEACH these players (especially the OL) how to successfully execute under this offensive structure. It's like 85% of your class flunking the regents test. Just WTF have you been doing in class these last 8 months Mr. Hoke?

Problem 2: ability to generate a rushing offense, either from gameplanning or playcalling (ie, passing to set up the run). Right now, they like to use the run game to set up play action.

 

 

 

MKEblue

November 11th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

Personally, I'm fine with the coach-speak in press conferences. I don't care what he says to the media re: offensive play calling. The issue is what is said with staff during the week and in the off-season.

sambra7

November 11th, 2013 at 1:50 PM ^

Spot on Brian.  Entered a local establishment at approximately 8:30, 'coach' Jackson lounging in a booth, probably on drink two by then.  Had another in the thirty or so minutes I was there.  Must have blasted out of the locker room as quick as he could after the game.  Not the first time I've seen the same behavior by 'coach' Jackson at the same establishment.  There must be something to the recruiting thing because I don't see much reason to keep him around otherwise.

NiMRODPi

November 11th, 2013 at 1:55 PM ^

Two things have sort of dawned on me from this whole debacle.

1. This was the kind of thing I was worried about when hiring Hoke/Borges before that first season mirage blinded me.

2. That really, ultimately, this coaching philosophy is Lloyd Carr 2.0 minus the necessary talent everywhere. Which consists of awesome teams losing 3 games every year that they really probably shouldn't because we are daring you to stop us.

 

Also, myself and a buddy of mine were just making jokes watching the game in order to ease the suffering. We also spent much of the game predicting plays. There are two that we run:

IRP (ineffectual run play)

and Derp. Derp is everythying that isn't IRP. We're making IRP and DERP t-shirts if anyone is interested.