Lizard Brain Tornado Apocalypse Derp Derp Derp

Submitted by Brian on October 17th, 2011 at 11:49 AM

10/15/2011 – Michigan 14, Michigan State 28 – 10/15/2011, 6-1, 2-1 Big Ten

tornado-witchdenard-throwing-msu

right via Melanie Maxwell/AnnArbor.com

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THROWING 30 YARDS DOWNFIELD IN A CYCLONE
YOU'RE ASKING DENARD ROBINSON TO BE JOE MONTANA IN A TRASH TORNADO
YOU'RE COMING OUT FIVE WIDE
RUN THE FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Brian Cook's brain channeling Mike Valenti, 3:07 PM 10/15/2011

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The now rapidly developing lizard brain theory of college football coaching states that there is a certain level of pressure above which rationality goes out the window and coaches revert to who they really are. It came to me in a horrible epiphany when Lloyd Carr punted in the 2005 Ohio State game less than a quarter after going for it on his side of the field. Coaches panic, go to their binkies, and then try to convince you otherwise in the post-game.

Different coaches have different levels. Ron Zook reverts to the lizard brain on the opening kickoff of every game. Kirk Ferentz makes it about five minutes in. We don't know about Tressel because he constructed his team such that the lizard brain was right. Les Miles exists on an entirely different axis with taffy on one end and victory on the other. He is the only one who escapes. The lizard brain is unavoidable.

Al Borges's lizard brain kicked in after Vincent Smith ran for two yards on Michigan's first offensive play of the second half. First and ten after that:

  1. Robinson sacked for –9 yards
  2. Smith rush for two yards
  3. Gardner incomplete
  4. Robinson incomplete
  5. Offsides MSU
  6. Gardner rush for four yards
  7. Robinson rush for –1 yard
  8. Robinson slant complete for 34 yard touchdown
  9. Robinson sacked
  10. Robinson rush for –1 yard
  11. Robinson INT

While this doesn't paint a pretty picture for the run game, either, after halftime Michigan passed on 60% of its first downs, got one completion on a short route that turned into a big gain when Roundtree broke a tackle, and did nothing else.

For the game Michigan tried to pass at least 41 times*, averaging 2.8 yards per attempt and giving up a defensive touchdown.
TWO POINT EIGHT YARDS
DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWN
RUN THE FOOTBALL!!!!

Sorry. Sorry.

Michigan tried to run the ball 26 times and averaged… oh, Jesus… 5.2 yards per carry. Fitzgerald Toussaint got two carries, Denard twelve.

I just realized this is what it's like to be Walter Sobchak.

calmer-than-you-are

MARK IT 2.8.
(This is not a threat against anyone's person. Do I look like Will Gholston?)

So, yeah. There is no way to put this without getting an email from some guy concerned about his eleven year old without resorting to Bloom County methods. That was the dumbest goddamned $%&*^-*$#*ing #&!$brained dip*&%$ mother*(%$ing horse_+$# goat-&^%t &%$*y-infested $%^&stick playcalling I have ever &*$ing seen in my life. I see you, Valenti. I get it now. I get it.

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ON FOURTH AND ONE AL BORGES HAD THE QUARTERBACK, WHO IS THE MOST DANGEROUS RUNNING QUARTERBACK IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, TURN HIS BACK TO THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE AS IF EVERY DEFENSE EVER CONCEIVED AGAINST THE GUY DOESN'T HAVE EDGE CONTAIN OF HIM AS THEIR FIRST THREE PRIORITIES

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ON FOURTH AND ONE AL BORGES HAD THE QUARTERBACK, WHO IS THE MOST DANGEROUS RUNNING QUARTERBACK IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, TURN HIS BACK TO THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE AS IF EVERY DEFENSE EVER CONCEIVED AGAINST THE GUY DOESN'T HAVE EDGE CONTAIN OF HIM AS THEIR FIRST THREE PRIORITIES

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THAT AGAIN

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Okay, okay… sorry. Sorry. I'm vented.

What we have to deal with now is the cold certainty that the honeymoon is over and our football coaches are football coaches, like they always are, and we cannot assume that everything will be honeydew and game theory from now on. Hoke punted on fourth and short-ish from inside the opponent 40. Borges did that above.

That's okay, really. Given the crapfest we endured on offense I almost can't blame Hoke for the punts. And in many other situations I prefer an offensive coordinator who wants to throw when he's in trouble to one who wants to go into a shell. The Morris/upperclass Gardner offense won't put the Ferrari in neutral until the second half. Recruit like they're recruiting and coach like it seems they can and eventually we'll get to a nice place to be.

In the near term, though, those happy thoughts over the first few weeks about Borges adjusting to Denard evaporated in a flurry of sacks after which you look at the receivers and there are three guys thirty yards downfield with no one between them and the carnage. You can fake it against defenses that can't play, but when it comes down to it the combination of Borges and Denard makes everyone wonder that bad old question about whether he should really play QB. IE: the worst-case scenario from the offseason.

A certain genre of Michigan fan will say this was always who Denard was, but last year he completed 58% of his passes for 9.3 YPA and a 12-9 TD:INT ratio in the Big Ten. Whatever his limitations were they seemed a lot less limiting last year, when Michigan stressed the defense to the edges and exploited the ruthless equation of the spread: a running quarterback means someone's open if you can just find him.

I don't blame Borges for that. You can't up and be someone else at the drop of a hat. If we are again pointing the finger of blame it's aiming at Rich Rodriguez for not deserving a fourth year. I do blame Borges for throwing almost two-thirds of the time when that should be inverted. The incoherent grab-bagginess of the offense is a natural effect of hiring a pro-style guy with a spread offense. Running Denard twelve times in a trash tornado is not.

So here we are, with football coaches instead of magical fairies who can do anything. That sucks. The honeymoon over, life re-asserts itself.

*[I'm not sure how many QB carries were scrambles. I counted the 8-yard Gallon scramble as a pass.]

Non-Bullets of I Wish They Were Real Bullets

Hurray clowniformz! So much for a one-time thing. It's as if they knew they would need to both play and look like Yakety Sax:

That's the third time this year we've had a uniform stunt, this one the ugliest and stupidest of them all*. It's like Dave Brandon took in the majesty that is the Spartan Stadium game experience and said "someday this will be mine." Chengelis's headline on the subject

Spartans, Wolverines compete with fashion statements, too

…is even more evidence that Dave Brandon Gets It less than anyone has ever not Gotten It before.

I had a wow experience. Did you? Everyone looking forward to the analwowing in Dallas next year when we take our freshman defensive tackles and paper-thin offensive line into a game we are absolutely not prepared for? CEOs are psychopaths.

[Bonus: last time we did this was 1976, the very heart of the era when people lost their minds about fashion. We lost then, too.]

*[No, that guy on every message board who could spin Denard Robinson's arm being torn off by William Gholston as a positive for the program, they did not look good. A sane political system would prevent you from voting. You suck. I'm sure you've got a comment all lined up to complain about the complaining. Bring it, I've got an itchy trigger finger today.]

Obligatory personal foul section. Yeah, it was ugly. The truly sad thing was that band of morons getting away with 120 yards in penalties without losing. If we had a sane offensive plan and/or a plan to deal with snap jumping those personal fouls are only 10% enraging—the intent to injure bits—and 90% hilarious Sparty being Sparty. That's where we are as a program right now: we can play the stupidest 85 people ever assembled on one football team and still lose by two touchdowns.

Gholston should obviously be suspended at least two games for the helmet rip—as bad an intent-to-injure play as the Reynolds-Sorgi incident—and the punch, which has been established by the great Jonas Mouton Suspension Fiasco as a one-gamer. There was also a less obvious judo chop that forced Lewan out of the game for a few plays. I bet nothing happens, because that's the way life goes.

This is the second consecutive year a player has been knocked out late after the game is decided by a dirty hit. Look at Dantonio's jaw… you are feeling very sleepy… you cannot put together incidents to see a pattern forming… so much… fake… bible… Spock.

I guess targeting other football players is progress relative to beating up mechanical engineers en masse.

Edge destruction. Early candidates for big negative days in the defense UFR: Roh and Ryan, who were targeted by the MSU offensive coaching staff to good effect. MSU's first TD drive was a series of easy outside runs as those two got destroyed. They improved a bit as the day went on but were clearly a weak spot targeted effectively.

Woolfolk also got pulled after a series or two; he's obviously hurt. Avery was the nickel corner since MSU doesn't spread to run much.

Man, Baker. It kills me whenever I see a really good running back go against Michigan because the mind immediately plugs that guy into rotation at the RB spot post-Minor and groans. Baker is one of those guys, a leg-churning tackle-breaker who would turn a lot of Michigan's two yard runs into five or six or more.

Penetration. They had it. Michigan didn't. Why not?

One part: It's clear all these late-developing passing routes are exposing the Mark Huyge we saw trying and failing to block for Tate Forcier as a sophomore. After a year of being covered up by the spread 'n' shred he's back to allowing sacks on a three man rush.

But the interior line? I saw Molk ole guys. Molk! How is this year four of MSU using a simple parlor trick of slanting under at the snap without two different coaching staffs being able to do anything about it?

Old school punting. Positive of a sort: When asked to coffin-corner punts Will Hagerup does a pretty good job. Haven't seen that in 15 years—you know it's old school when Sap is referencing Harry Kipke when handing out helmet stickers.

Why "of a sort": if you can coffin-corner a punt you probably shouldn't be punting.

The Minnesota plays. Doesn't seem too smart to have run a zillion new things against Minnesota now, does it? Michigan brought out the sprint counter once and it got stuffed—would MSU have been prepared for it if they hadn't seen it against Minnesota? Since Michigan isn't running the QB stretch that motion was a tipoff the counter was coming and an expected counter is a dead counter.

Here

Inside the Box Score points out a huge swing play:

The refs did miss one backwards pass from Cousins, who clearly let go of the ball on state’s 37 and hit his receiver’s hands on the 36. The explanation was really lame, something along the lines of Michigan didn’t recover the football right away. The way I saw it, the ball hit the ground and the Michigan defender bent down and picked it up. What am I missing?

With no one around the ball except Wolverines if that's correctly called that is a potentially game-changing defensive score. This isn't a bad offsides penalty or uncalled false start, it's a touchdown being wiped off the board because the refs blew it dead too early. Very frustrating. I thought they were supposed to let it go if it was too close to be sure about now.

Also there is this:

Our leading tacklers were Gordon, Kovacs, Roh, and Countess, with 8, 6, 6, and 6, respectively. Do you notice what’s missing? Linebackers. Demens was the leading tackler among the linebackers with 5. I noticed this week that Touch the Banner was high on Demens for last week’s performance against NU, but Brian was critical of him in the UFRs. I think this game was the tie-breaker. I don’t think our LBs were productive enough. Baker gashed us all day long. His longest run was only 25 yards, yet he gained 167 yards on 26 carries. State was consistently able to pound the football against us.

How many times did MSU linebackers shoot out to the sideline on plays that looked like they were going to work and hold them down to a few yards, and how many times did Michigan linebackers do that? That's not always on the linebackers—could be on the M OL not getting out or DL not taking on doubles effectively—but given what we saw against Northwestern I'm betting some of the big chunk plays from Baker see linebacker minuses aplenty.

Hoke for Tomorrow is briefer. I would like to interject about this amongst the things learned:

That strong winds + Kirk Cousins > strong winds + Denard Robinson.

Cousins averaged 5 YPA and threw a backwards pass that should have been a disaster. Drops had a lot to do with it but it's possible the wind messed with both WR and QB, which is even more reason that throwing 41 times in the trash tornado was inexplicably dumb.

Elsewhere

Media, as in stuff. The official site valiantly found highlight-type-substances in the wreckage:

There are also postgame interviews if you'd like to watch everyone on Michigan's team refusing to answer questions about the personal fouls. Mike DeSimone collects pictures from across the world.

Blogs. Come on, Braves and Birds picture comparison. Come on. The Hoover Street Rag does something long and complicated that I don't understand. Parody of a bad NBC hour-long drama? Mathlete says Michigan underperformed expectations by 28 points, his worst number of the season for all of I-A. Various bullets from MVictors. Touch the Banner also has them.

BWS says something about little brother, which no offense whenever I hear the word "brother" in relation to Michigan State now my eyes glaze over. Holdin' the Rope recaps. MZone as well.

National variety from Doctor Saturday:

On seven trips into MSU territory after the opening possession, Michigan punted on five and turned it over on downs on a sixth.

Series by series, punt by punt, the sense of progress over the first half of the season dissolved into a disheveled mess. The running game stalled. The two-quarterback shuffle failed to gin up any semblance of a steady passing game, or a big play with Robinson lined up as a wide receiver. The pass protection broke down. In almost every aspect, it was Michigan's worst nightmare: At the exact point on the calendar that optimistic starts began to give way to collapse each of the last two years, the Wolverines  looked like a team on the verge of collapse.

Newspapers. Michigan fell to 17th/18th in the polls. I did not find anything else of a newspapery variety that is open in my tabs.

Comments

M-Wolverine

October 17th, 2011 at 4:07 PM ^

I don't know why people even want to be fans when it makes them so miserable.  Yeah, losing sucks...but people have been miserable for 7 weeks, complaining about every win, too. And low and behold, I was right- we did lose a game, and people have something to be mad about.  Man, it was a good a productive use of time to make yourself sick over all those wins too...because the lost games aren't bad enough.

Some of it was bad playcalling, and adjustments, some bad play by players and positions groups, some that we were playing a pretty good team.  But certain things people will find a way to hate on either way.

The big 4th and inches play was outthinking themselves, sure. But if they had pounded with Fitz and it had gotten stuffed, you can bet we'd be hearing "MANBALL- just like Lloyd ARGH". And I can't even comprehend complaining that we were passing too much on first down, when this space has advocated passing more on non-passing downs to catch the other team off guard and make it easier on Denard. (Was throwing Devin in there to telegraph it a seeming abortion? I'd say yes, but I don't know what Denard's health and throwing situation is right now.)

ryebreadboy

October 17th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

I just really want to stop talking about what happened. It just never gets any better. And correct me if I'm wrong, to win the Legends we now need Sparty to lose twice to in-division foes? Nebraska and Iowa? I know they'll ge crushed by Wisconsin, but doesn't division record trump overall record in determining division champion?

msoccer10

October 17th, 2011 at 1:42 PM ^

If we win out, we need MSU to lose twice, but that's it. If we assume MSU loses to Wisconsin, we need help from Nebraska and/or Iowa. I don't see them losing to NW, Indiana or Minnesota.

bronxblue

October 17th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

Not to rag on Brian, but when have we ever enjoyed a "honeymoon" with a coach here at UM?  Even with Carr, people were PO'ed about Moeller being a drunk and coming off some rough seasons.  Then Carr scuttled through a mediocre year before turning it around.  RR came under constant fire, and Hoke was only viewed as a savior by the media and people who hated RR and the fact the team lost. 

I wasn't blown away by Hoke calling for the fade against ND, for going for it on 4th-and-2, or anything else.  He's a youngish coach who isn't Carr, but he's not a 13-year-old playing Madden 2012 either.  I actually didn't care about punting that often because they were locking MSU deep in their end of the field and were making stops.  What killed me was the poor playcall on the late 4th down conversion and the insistence on (a) passing all the time, and (b) putting Devin in and out as often as he did.

Corey

October 17th, 2011 at 1:13 PM ^

"RR came under constant fire, and Hoke was only viewed as a savior by the media and people who hated RR and the fact the team lost. "

Uh, no?  Quite a lot of people before Saturday said almost verbatim, "I was an RR supporter [and maybe even a Hoke hater at first], but Hoke seems to have exceeded expectations so far and I'm sold."

bronxblue

October 17th, 2011 at 1:56 PM ^

Like I said, some people liked Hoke before he came, but there was a pushback especially at this blog and others.  And as I said when the hiring was made, Hoke has better coordinators than RR did on defense (and arguably offense), but I'm not sold he is a better overall coach.  The jury is still out, but I never thought Hoke enjoyed that much of a honeymoon.

jamiemac

October 17th, 2011 at 12:59 PM ^

Well, i think I said something on the podcast and in various threads here over the last week or so, that MSU was better this year, especially on D, than they were a year ago

I guess I'm happy I was proven right. Not much solace. Wish I was wrong.

Might name my next Rot, Denicos. Love that guy's game. He killed us. Guess their LBs will be OK without Greg Jones, after all.

Funny thing is they have 6 starters and 2 other contributers off the bench, all from the 2010 recruiting class. A talented, yet young D.......

Indiana Blue

October 17th, 2011 at 1:05 PM ^

is can't Denard simply call for QB sneak on his own.  If you look at the 4th down from the 8 yard line, State has one NT on Molk and the other DL are outside our guards.  This is where Denard taps Molk twice on the butt and Molk snaps it without anyone else even moving.  Its quick and unexpected and Molk only has to hold their NT for a nano second and Denard has 1 - 2 yards ... voila - 1st down.

Go Blue!

Wolv54

October 17th, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

I too screamed run the football, but it was much earlier in the game.  However, after the initial shock and disappoint wore off, I rewatched the game and I can't say that Borges was totally wrong in his approach even in 30MPH swirling winds. 

MSU routinely had 9 in the box and was bringing a mix of edge pressure and blitzing the A gap(s) the entire game.  Our offensive line was getting no push at the LOS and MSU was basically conceding the pass because they knew the wind was a factor and that Denard's kryptonite can be his passing/accuracy/footwork.  As a defensive coach, I would attack UM with edge pressure and attack the mesh point of the read option plays to put denard on the defensive.  Our WRs don't scare me, the OL does not scare me, and the RBs don't scare me, so I would focus totally on Denard and make him beat me with his arm in bad wind conditions with underneath throws.  That is what MSU's game plan was and they executed.  I think Borges was forced to go after what the defense was allowing and that was the pass more often than not.

I think the anxiety came from not seeing our OL knock them off the ball like they did to us when they had the ball.  We're stuck in this limbo between spread and shred and Manball. 

It was a disappointing day, but one that very quickly became apparent that it was going to take some fortunate bounces to go our way to win.  When the other team wins the battle in the trenches, then you need some intangibles to go your way.  We got two turnovers and a boatload of "derp" from MSU, but it wasn't enough to overcome their dominance at the LOS on both sides of the ball.

NateVolk

October 17th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

The troubling thing Brian properly pointed out was our lack of protections or counterpunches to the blitzing. State wisely rode that horse when they saw we had no real way to damage them.  When you look at the touchdown throw on the slant, that's the best way to beat a defense crowding the line and blitzing.  

Right now, we probably lack the personel to consistently do what we did on the touchdown throw. We do have the personel to block it properly  and break off the routes correctly though. We too often didn't and that was a real problem with the coaching.

burtcomma

October 17th, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

How do we react as a team and as a coaching staff to what we learned on Saturday?  Do we learn anything, do our coaches learn anything, do we correct some of the issues, do we acknowledge that we need to change some things?  The mark of a team is what it does when it loses, and how it approaches what it has learned.  This is not a lost season by any stretch of the imagination yet.  Beat Purdue at home, and you have a 4 game run against Iowa and Illinois on the road and Nebraska and OSU at home.  Split those 4 games and you have a 9-3 season with a team that was 7-6 the year before, a second year QB, no superior running backs that I can see, and a defense that was ranked 108th out of 120 teams in 2010.

Would we have taken 9-3 at the start of this year as a pretty damn good year, I would think so......

markusr2007

October 17th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

MSU's offense is simply not good enough to outscore Wisconsin.  They'll return to their usually 36% effectiveness on 3rd down and. THATS THE GAME!

MSU's defense might be good enough to slow down the Badgers....to what? 30 points? OK

Wisconsin 31, MSU 7

MSU will be 5-2 and Michigan 6-1.

Then Michigan takes on hapless Purdue in the Big House while MSU heads to Nebraska.

After that, things get admittedly a lot easier for Sparty (Minny, at Iowa, Indiana, at Northwestern) and presumably a little more difficult for Michigan (at Iowa, at Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State).

 

 

gobluedrew21

October 17th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

At no point during this game did I feel like we had any chance of running the ball effectively against the Sparty front.  The only running plays that were going to work were Denard "I'm a freak when the play breaks down runs" (1st touchdown) and misdirection plays (U cant build your offense around this). I think this game was a mirror image of ND except it was in East Lansing (Crowd advantage) and played in a tornado (makes mediocre passing game worse). We were outmuscled on both lines and with the level of penetration a consistent running game was not going to happen... I think he felt they had to throw the ball and from what I have seen after watching a second time is that many of the passing plays had short routes but were well covered. Sparty scores on first drive of the second half and we are down 14 going into the 4th....  I don't know how you can look at the situation and say we didnt have to throw the ball on some first downs.... Was it disappointing? Yes. But faith shaking.... C'mon.  7-7  at halftime... down 21-14 with multiple chances to tie in the 4th...  In East Lansing. We were right there at crunch time NOT something you can say about last years game. I dont think the offensive numbers are a fair comparison given the conditions.... 

Yinka Double Dare

October 17th, 2011 at 1:43 PM ^

I'm sure it's not surprising that the great majority of MSU fans don't think that Gholston should be suspended.  Some of the sane ones do (Pete at TOC being an example) but they're even trying to justify/downplay Gholston's late dive-on-pile-twist-Denard's-head play.

I mean, when the neutral game announcers act surprised that someone hasn't been ejected yet, he's probably deserving of a suspension. 

And yeah, we got RPS'd in this one.  Bad.  They kept bringing blitzes and the adjustments just didn't seem to be there.

Yostal

October 17th, 2011 at 1:48 PM ^

While clearly stating that Michigan State outplayed and outexecuted Michigan, just as the coaches and players have been stating, does anyone else find it a bit disconcerting that the athletic department thought that having every player change their jersey and their pants less than 30 minutes before the game started would be conducive to focusing on the work at hand?  I appreciate the idea that a surprise will catch people's attention, but this just seems like one more case of brand over common sense.

imdwalrus

October 17th, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

"The Hoover Street Rag does something long and complicated that I don't understand. Parody of a bad NBC hour-long drama?"

 

Sort of close.  It's a parody of Community, one of NBC's half hour comedies that airs on Thursday nights.

 

By the way: Community has amazingly strong writing and acting, and is consistently hilarious.  I recommend it wholeheartedly.  Bonus poinst because one of the writing staff, Megan Ganz, is a Michigan alum and former editor in chief of the Every Three Weekly.

badgerine

October 17th, 2011 at 2:08 PM ^

 

"This is the second consecutive year a player has been knocked out late after the game is decided by a dirty hit"

 

Which game was Brian referring to here?

FrankMurphy

October 17th, 2011 at 2:15 PM ^

Everyone ought to go back and read Auburn blogger Jerry Hinnen's guest post on Al Borges from back in January. The questionable playcalling against MSU is the inflexibility of Borges' offense playing out, as Hinnen warned. Give Borges talent like we had under Carr (and which Hoke will seek to re-create) and we'll have one of the top offenses in the country. But until then, we'll play like a team without an identity on offense. It won't be as bad as '08, but it won't always be pretty. 

TXmaizeNblue

October 17th, 2011 at 2:24 PM ^

"A certain genre of Michigan fan will say this was always who Denard was"

Yep...I'll be one of those.  All the RR haters ought to realize something by now.  Denard hit 58% last year, because RR had him (for the most part) attempting short throws designed to fit Denard's throwing skills.  And if you go back and watch some of those completions you'll still see some bad throws completed by good receivers.

Denard is not a good passer PERIOD, but know one wants to say it on here, because they'll get neg'd. overated, blah, blah, blah.  Oh of course, there's the "you don't know anything about the game of football" dogma that follows any disagreement about Denard's quarterback play because everyone is so caught up in dilithium delirium.   Just because Denard is a lovable guy and the most dangerous weapon on the field does not make him a good quarterback.  He can hardly hit open receivers when his feet are set - so we should not expect him to beat any good Big Ten defensives that are not going to give him time to set his feet and force him to beat them with his arm.  We've seen the outcome too many times now - he can't do it.  And save the Norte Dame comments - that was a lucky fluke and we all know it. 

 

El Jeffe

October 17th, 2011 at 2:43 PM ^

First you say

 

Denard hit 58% last year, because RR had him (for the most part) attempting short throws designed to fit Denard's throwing skills.

 

but then you say

 

Denard is not a good passer PERIOD...

 

I'm confused. Isn't this the point? That Denard isn't good at throwing 30 yards downfield, but he is good at throwing the short, quick ball? So doesn't that mean he's good at one kind of quarterbacking, but not another?

Ed Shuttlesworth

October 17th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

Fifty-eight percent when a lot of your passes are dinks and gimmes isn't any good.  The top guys are mid-to-high 70s on passes of all kinds.  That includes B1G guys like Wilson and Persa.

You have to go down 20 spots on the 2011 completion percentage list to even get to 67%.  In 2011 terms, Denard is barely competitive as a passer.  He isn't "good" at throwing the short, quick ball; it's just that he does that best of all the throws.

TXmaizeNblue

October 17th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

You only need to watch Denard throw and it becomes self-evident.  Even last year - which is my point - even when given the simplest slant passes he threw behind open receivers, over their head, etc.  Sure he made some throws against crappy teams, but what differenct does that make if can't do it when it matters .   The only difference this year is he's taking more shots down field - which is seriously stupid.   People can defend him all they want, yet all is vain until Denard can demonstrate that he can beat a BIG TEN team that is good.  Until then, Michigan will remain an average Big Ten team.

Ed Shuttlesworth

October 17th, 2011 at 2:34 PM ^

The main thing holding the offense back right now is Denard throwing too many interceptions and missing too many throws that even an average 2011 college QB can make.  His last interception against Sparty cost us a drive with the wind with the chance to tie or win the game.  It was an abysmal throw.

So, yeah, when your QB can't throw and your RBs are only so-so, it makes it tough to gameplan against a good defense.

And, again, those who think Borges hasn't adapted his passing scheme to help Denard pass better aren't watching the games. 

luvmesumblu

October 17th, 2011 at 2:40 PM ^

We should have jumped on the ball like it was a fumble or tried to return it.  We played the whistle and treated it as such and therefore missed a great opportunity.   I bet you don't see that happen again for a long time.

Mattheus

October 17th, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

The one thing I wish they would have done is get to the line faster to have more time to force the defense to jump offside or show their hand. Also I would think if the whole defensive line is standing up you should have an advantage just running the ball right at them. The one game so far we needed manball we didn't get it.

Cope

October 17th, 2011 at 3:03 PM ^

Does anyone know if Dantonio has fielded about the attacks (personal fouls)? I am really curious to hear how he has responded to them or if he has had to.

garyd99

October 17th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

Worst coaching job I have seen since Bump was at the helm.

The JOKE and big Al the Bumbler just suffered through 60 minutes of Anal Cranial Submersion. Even if we forgive the 4" blown call the coaching effort was terrible.

Let's take an adequate passer at best in 30 mile an hour winds and have him pass a majority of the time.

uminks

October 17th, 2011 at 3:12 PM ^

against bigger more physical DLINES. Even if we would have ran 70 percent of the time DROB would do most all the running and would probably be too banged up to play in the 2nd half. Our RBs may be average B1G RB but given physical teams who put 8 to 9 players at the LOS, I really don't think we would have run that well against MSU. If we did run most plays and would have lost, you would see people criticize the coaches and say, you have thrown the ball more, didn't you see how many receivers were open down field.

I'll give my final grade to the coaching staff at the end of the season. I know we have several tough games to go but I think you will see the team improve from here on out. Next years schedule looks tougher with AL and ND on the road. At least we will have sparty at home. It may take 2 to 3 more years until we are a true B1G contender!

BradP

October 17th, 2011 at 3:19 PM ^

There were at least three instances where UM ran a read option where Denard handed gave the ball to Vince Smith only to have him swallowed up immediately.  The O-Line got nothing up the middle and Denard's inability to make a fairly simple read ruined any chance at taking advantage of MSU's hyperaggressive run defense.

I'm sorry, but if QB power can't open up any holes with the extra blocker, no HB hand off is going to work with one less blocker, and combine that with the QBs inability to make an option read, I'm kinda wondering what sort of run game Borges should have went with.

The only thing I am disappointed with was the lack of the Fritz formation.  Running that formation with Denard stacked on the end doesn't make much sense to me, especially since Omaneh is struggling and Devin hasn't exactly established himself as a passing threat.

Foote Fetish

October 17th, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

I forgot that this is what it's like around here when we lose.

I mean, we played a legitimately good team on their field and had the chance to tie it in the fourth quarter before committing a really poorly timed turn over.  I'm really not that incredibly upset.

The worst part of this was losing to a bunch of dirty players who, I think we can all agree, are dirtier than a dirtbag in a dirt bath made of dirt and more dirt.  That, and talking to the mouthbreathers defending them like ripping facemasks off of downed players is normal everyday football activity.

But hey, losses happen man.

M.I.Sicks

October 17th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

"This is the second consecutive year a player has been knocked out late after the game is decided by a dirty hit. Look at Dantonio's jaw… you are feeling very sleepy… you cannot put together incidents to see a pattern forming… so much… fake… bible… Spock."