MGoPodcast 10.16: For the Shoe to Drop Comment Count

Seth January 1st, 2019 at 12:19 PM

2 hours and 4 minutes

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This show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan nobody would get our jokes. Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, and Lantana Hummus


1. The Peach

starts at 1:00

Don Brown got got again, occasionally by stuff right out of the Ohio State tape. Michigan’s offensive play-calling system drives us nuts. They ruined another season of offense by not knowing what they were doing in the preseason. Long discussion on the offensive issues, since there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about

2. Hoops: Air Force and Binghamton

starts at 28:59

Michigan got baited into wide open free throw line jumpers. Is that a good shot? Craig/Beilein thinks they are, Brian doesn’t. Matthews was something like 0/10 on them. Michigan is an odd team. Need to mandate you have to play man to man if you want to play Michigan in the nonconference season. Zavier Simpson has the most pristine sky hook since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

3. Big Ten Hoops Preview Pt 1, wsg Craig Ross

starts at 55:20

There’s no bad/awful team in the league: the bottom tier is just two teams and Rutgers has a decent defense.  Does Underwood regret leaving? Minnesota is a big bangin team. Northwestern picked the wrong year to be flawed but peaking for a year. Speaking of no point guards: Purdue, who’s been unlucky, and Iowa, who’s improved to a bad Beilein defense. Maryland is better, unlucky, having a hard time getting over the Turgeon hump.

4. Big Ten Hoops Preview Pt 2

Starts at 1:26:27

Ohio State is good a year early, still needs to figure out who's at point. Nebraska is legit but peak Nebrasketball might just be an also-ran here. Wisconsin has some pieces around their incredible set piece. Indiana has the megalodon. Michigan State and Michigan have switched identities: MSU best shooting team in the league.


  • "Nobody Really Cares if You Don't Go to the Party"—Courtney Barnett
  • "Sea of Dreams"—Oberhafer
  • "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)"—cover by Dubchek
  • “Across 110th Street”


But enough about Russian geopolitics.


Blue Sharpie

January 1st, 2019 at 12:46 PM ^

I think the offensive woes boil down to statistics.  It takes big plays to beat good teams.  You limit the number of big plays with Pep's "body blows" philosophy.  The playmakers simply are not getting enough touches. All these "body blows" are wasted opportunities for big plays. 

Case in point, when Clemson couldn't run the ball in the first half against ND, they went with a vertical pass attack (with freshmen QB & WR).  They made the big plays in the first half to get a comfortable lead, and then went back to the run game in the second half.  The big downfield plays won the game, not "body blows".



January 1st, 2019 at 1:14 PM ^

I could live with the "body blows" if they wound up in points.  But too often they don't.

And you can no longer just punt and go play defense.  Teams like Ohio State refuse to cooperate.  While you're putzing around with long incremental body blow drives that come up empty, they are scoring touchdowns.

College football has changed.  You have to think in terms of defensive stops, not in terms of general defense.  It has become like men's tennis: You are going to get 2 or 3 key "break-serve" stops on defense each game.  Your offense better be ready to take advantage of that and score points when that happens.

You can no longer complacently assume that you are going to get defensive stops on 70% to 80% of your opponent's drives.  Now it's more like 20% to 30%. 

This is going to be our world now when we play Ohio State.  OSU is going to score 30+ points on offense no matter what we do on defense.  Our offense will have to keep pace.   

What are you going to do on offense with those handful of opportunities?  Long incremental body blow drives that come up empty are death. 


Hail Harbo

January 1st, 2019 at 1:55 PM ^

Why does it have to be an either or proposition?  In other words, why not play defense, why be like Oklahoma?  Michigan scored 39 points against OSU, that should have been enough to win the game, it certainly was enough for Purdue.  In fact if four other OSU opponents had scored 39 points OSU loses five B1G games.  What lost the OSU game was not a hobbled offense, it was an exploited defense that lost the game.  Apparently Brown has to be shown that he has a huge hole in his defense that can be and is exploited by better teams.

Having said that, I too am beyond tired of watching an offense that can't get out of its own way.  Tired of waiting until the 4th Q to seal the deal against inferior opponents. Tired of spotting the opposition 14 or more points to start the game.  Mostly, I'm tired of watching Michigan get run out of the stadium in big games.  Big games they know were big before the season started, big games in which they have weeks to prepare.


January 1st, 2019 at 2:17 PM ^

Michigan scored 39 points against OSU.

The Michigan offense only scored 13 points on its own by the 4th quarter (another 6 points was off of an Ohio State turnover inside the 10).

Michigan entered the third quarter down only 5 points.  In spite of how poorly we played, we still had a shot.  But it was clear that defensive stops were going to be precious.  Our offense was gong to have to keep pace.

The result?  Michigan scored zero points in the third quarter.  They entered the third quarter down only 24-19.  They exited it down 41-19. 

Game over.

The defense played poorly, but the offense did not play well enough win.  We got to 39 only when the game was well out of hand and the OSU players were dancing around in celebration.



January 2nd, 2019 at 1:12 AM ^


Alabama won against Oklahoma on offense.  They scored 45 . . . and needed to.

Oklahoma scored on every single possession in second half.  The vaunted Alabama defense only got a handful of stops early in the game, but the Alabama offense took advantage of that and scored TDs while the opportunity was there.


January 2nd, 2019 at 8:19 AM ^

I know this isn't your main point, but this goes against what everyone is saying about the Michigan - Ohio State game:

Michigan scoring points in the second half didn't matter because Ohio State was up so much, so who cares. 

Oklahoma was down 28-0 in the 2nd quarter, 31-10 at halftime and 38-20 going into the 4th quarter. The entire game was garbage time as Oklahoma only ever had the ball to get within 2 scores. 



January 2nd, 2019 at 6:37 PM ^

My man, this is the best damn comment I've seen here in weeks.  This place has devolved into angry mouth-breathers pumped up on their own rage, frustrated by both the football team's failure and their inability to understand it, loudly trying to lash out at someone -- anyone.  And yet, it's also here where I come for solace when this fandom thing gets dark.  And I come because there are still people here with the patience to weather the storms of emotion and react with measured perspective.  So thanks for being part of that.  As far as football goes, I think you're absolutely right:  breaking serve is the perfect analogy. 

The modern game, with elite athletes, is weighted towards offense -- we may not want that to be true, but it's been a fact for over a decade now.  I've gone into every version of The Game for the past ten years clutching my peals, because I know in my heart of hearts that the odds favor OSU's offense on any given drive.  That's just an ugly fact that needs to be reckoned with honestly.  If we were any less of a blue-blood, that would be a death sentence.  But Michigan?  We are that blue-blood. 

We are a perennial top-ten recruiter, with the talent at the skill positions to throw down a wicked serve of our own.  We have the money and the gravitas to attract great offensive minds.  I say we gear up and start stroking aces.  I would say Pep needs to go.  Let his be the head.  Get it to the athletes in space.  Pass to run.  If the tackles can't handle that, get weird with it; put DPJ in the slot and run some damn RPOs, I know they're in the playbook.  Run real read options.  We not only have the tools to do open it up, we have demonstrated the capacity.  Next year we should finally have the O-line to match. 

Against OSU this team looked tentative, afraid of making mistakes, and understandably so -- we've been playing a painstaking brand of always-on-schedule football that requires perfection against elite talent.  I'm sick of subdued Harbaugh.  Whatever the offense looks like next year, I say it's time he lets the fires rage again.  The team needs him alive and roaring.  Refs be damned, throw that god damn clipboard, play the game as it is, not as you want it to be, with some gamble, some daring.  We have all the kindling to light a great fire next year.  I say set that spark. 

Destroy them.  Win with fucking cruelty.

That's what I think.


Blue Sharpie

January 1st, 2019 at 1:35 PM ^

As long as we have this collaborative offensive process without a named coordinator, it will be more of the same.  Harbaugh is too proud of his Bo inspired, Full back/Tight end/ 3 yards and a cloud of dust approach.

Not suprisingly, we are getting similar results as Bo did:  beat up the weak Big10 opponents, fall short on the big stage, and lose most of your bowl games.  The big difference is Bo beat Ohio State his fair share.

Hail Harbo

January 1st, 2019 at 2:01 PM ^

I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with the FB and TE being emphasized, I do think you are right that offense by committee is the fundamental problem.  I could be wrong, but I don't recall Saban, Swinney, or Riley looking at play sheets discussing what play the offense would run while the play clock was ticking (I don't include Kelly because NDs offense isn't a benchmark I'd like Michigan to regress to).

Blue Sharpie

January 1st, 2019 at 2:29 PM ^

I agree, there is nothing wrong with a TE and a FB.  I am generally arguing the playmakers are not getting enough touches and not enough attempts downfield.   What is the sense of a 6'8" tight end if you rarely exploit mismatches?  Why are Peoples-Jones, Collins, Black, Bell only getting a few looks each?  Why have a dual threat QB and only run 1 or 2 designed runs?  The offense just doesn't utilize its best weapons enough.


January 1st, 2019 at 3:52 PM ^

I agree with the above (and I don't know much about offensive play calling) but I rarely cringed when I saw the formation but all too often I was screaming NOOOOO!!! with the hand-off to run behind the right tackle.  Two years ago is was the toss sweep to the left.  Too often the opponent is stacking the box and we run right into it.  I wouldn't remember these plays if we didn't lose the game.


January 1st, 2019 at 3:24 PM ^

Ok, I get this.  I guess I don’t understand why you need to hire a guy to run the offense and pay him $2 million while our $7 million coach is sitting in the corner.  Is this how other programs work? Are the head coaches really that hands off on gameday play calling and schemes? More of a CEO mentality?  No sarcasm here, I’m really curious.

Blue Sharpie

January 1st, 2019 at 1:55 PM ^

I will concede though, if we had a Bama like offensive line the last 4 years, we would have won more of the close games and the optics change.   Especially if we had won half the Ohio State games, and a few other games where the offensive line was the main problem.  But we didn't (still don't) have a Bama like offensive line.  



January 1st, 2019 at 1:57 PM ^

I’m pissed about the defense these past few games, but look at the defense S&P ranks under Brown verses those of the offense and it’s clear on which side the underperforming coaches are.   Brown needs to fix some things,  but I’m much more pessimistic that the offense will ever be top 10 material.  The problem is simple: you can’t be a fucking run first team without consistently running the quarterback anymore.  That won’t work without a huge talent advantage, in which case almost everything works.  Otherwise, you pass the ball.  


Whatever the the details of the scheme (zone blocking, etc) if it’s not pass-first or qb run, we’re not going to be competitive with elite teams.


January 1st, 2019 at 5:50 PM ^

I am not sure that play selection is the problem. I am not sure that we even have the plays that we should/could be running in the play book. After the OSU game, I actually thought that Harbaugh would open up the offense in the bowl game, if for no other reason than to start prep for next year. Sad.


January 1st, 2019 at 6:14 PM ^

yup... that was the frustrating thing for me too.

stupidly, i was hoping for Carr's last game, where Harbaugh would actually open up the offense.

Nope. nothing of the sort... incredibly disappointing, especially when they got behind on the scoreboard, and they continued to use the same offense from the 80s

Blue Sharpie

January 1st, 2019 at 6:19 PM ^

It is hard to diagnose anything in the second half of the last two games.  It seems like after the other team got the advantage,  our team was not tough enough to keep up the intensity to prevent a collapse, similar to last year's bowl game collapse.  

So I have to go to the first half to try to make sense, and I have to primarily blame the offensive game plan and play calling.  Stalled drives, lack of big plays, generally very conservative play calling; everything seemed to snowball from this.  When we don't convert on the 1st half drives, the other team gains confidence and momentum.  We end up giving the other team more opportunities and more time of possession.  You can't let other good teams smell blood like this, and let the fish become sharks.


January 1st, 2019 at 8:20 PM ^

Except that's not what Harbaugh wants.. if he did he'd have done it by now. I actually have no problem with the offense he wants to run, it was successful at Stanford after all, and zigging when everyone else is zagging is fun too.

The problem is we don't have a mauling OL full of NFL-level talent like he did there. The only way this ground and pound offense he likes works, and works well, seems to be predicated on a great OL. Maybe one day we will, but for now we don't and that is what hampers this offense (well a lot of things contribute but IMO the lack of an elite OL is issues 1-3). 

I had hopes he'd make a shift in offensive philosophy but we haven't seen it and there's been a million reasons to do so. Personally, I don't think he will change (he's had the chance and even a QB suited to a more open style and didn't even sniff it) so we either wait it out and hope NFL-level talent develops on the OL sooner rather than later, or we become content with 9/10 win seasons and rarely beating OSU and our bowl opponents. 


micheal honcho

January 1st, 2019 at 8:35 PM ^

I’d like to see us use 2 offensive philosophies. 

1-possession & body blows. Low risk style play calling that seeks to physically dominate opposing D

2. A 4-5 wide, up tempo attacking scheme that, for lack of better is a traditional 2 minute O. 

Start the game in #1. Is successful scoring drive ensues, rinse & repeat.

If #1 is not successful, go to offense #2 until a 2 score lead is achieved then return to #1. 

carolina blue

January 2nd, 2019 at 7:31 AM ^

There’s a reason it’s the two minute offense and that it’s different from your regular’s unsustainable. The conditions of the game are different and the defense reacts accordingly. In a two minute drill the defense is often trying to keep everything in front of them and to the middle, and the offense is trying to get to the sideline and/or just past the first down marker. It’s a limiting scheme and would only be effective on a limited basis. 


January 1st, 2019 at 8:53 PM ^

My 2 biggest takeaways from these last 2 games and the ensuing podcasts/articles on this site:


1.  We can no longer trust the bulk of the Big Ten as a measuring stick of how good this team is in the future.  There might be some years where Penn State gets really good or MSU has one of its top five defenses again but for the most part the Big Ten feels like Ohio State and a bunch of mid major programs, possibly more like a bunch of Wake Forest's/Vanderbilt-esque teams.

2.  Brian, I love you man.  OK not really but you know what I mean.  I get that you don't want to UFR the Ohio State games after losses and that you generally don't UFR the bowl games (especially after losses) but if you're gonna make this site into a career then a certain level of professionalism must be kept.  We all do things that we don't want to do in our day to day lives.  A lot of us flat out don't like our jobs or have an utter disdain for them and yet we all do them because we have to.  We have to pay the bills, keep a roof over our heads, and provide for our families.  It is our responsibility.  It is my opinion, and I don't believe I'm alone in this, that as long as you refuse to UFR certain games because you "don't want to", that you're avoiding your responsibility.  Not to me, not to the readers, not even to your fellow employees, but to yourself.

I don't just come here because you guys talk all things Michigan athletics.  I come here because you guys break down individual plays and schemes and our opponents better than anyone else I've seen in the world.  You don't use generalizations when you speak about the teams you cover.  You use evidence gathered form specific plays after conducting thorough research on your own.  That is EXTREMELY impressive and I think that we all approached our every day lives with that same philosophy we'd all become better people.

Since you haven't done your research you've become less informed and subsequently less interesting to listen to or read.  You used to be the most informed guy in the room on your podcasts, now you're not.  I used to come here to read just what you had to say.  Now I'm just here for the board posts because, while they are mostly angry and misguided, at least they have something informative to say.

The Shredder

January 2nd, 2019 at 12:15 AM ^

I agree about Brian. I come here to hear what the hell happened since I'm not Mr.knowitallfootball guy. When that guy who is rather pout and not talk about it... I mean come on. I can live without UFRs but the game break down is "You live in my personal hell"... well that is a waste of readers time. I love reading Brian and look forward to it after each Saturday but when things go south endure man. Other wise I have to get my info from the board... Which is hell when your trying to get through all the bullshit posts.