MGoPodcast 9.6: I Don’t Eat My Friends Comment Count

Seth October 9th, 2017 at 8:03 AM

1 hour and 6 minutes


[Bryan Fuller]

We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

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1. The Offense

starts at 1:00

That’s the O’Korn we remember from Indiana. Right tackle is a massive hole. Think this team needs a receivers coach and needs to adjust better to what it cannot do. Drevno what exactly do you do here moment.

2. The Defense

starts at 27:47

Dominant again: State’s one successful power play was surprising because we never see a normal play work against them. Hurst was mighty. State got just about everything on frippery and luck, which was in abundance. Michigan will be in every game as long as the defense plays like this.

3. Special Teams and Feelingsball

starts at 39:09

Michigan got close to blocking a bunch of punts and got to one of them—first time this year that it looked like a solid special teams win. Maybe go for it on 4th and 2 but when your offense is butt and you’re in a 1950s game that’s fine. Don’t take the ball out of the endzone on kickoffs please.

4. Around the Big Ten with Jamie Mac

starts at 48:20

All bad blowouts. Ferentz decides to coach this week. Barkley had –7 rushing yards in the 3rd quarter. Minnesota-Purdue was probably the most interesting. Is Purdue going to challenge Wisconsin for the West or is that just the Badgers’ birthright still?



  • “This Night Has Opened My Eyes”—The Smiths
  • “Nineteen Years Old”—Muddy Waters
  • “Everyday is Like Sunday”—The Smiths
  • “Across 110th Street”




October 9th, 2017 at 10:45 AM ^

I'm not saying Harbaugh should be fired, I'm not saying that. But his track record so far is competent mediocrity and getting destroyed by our rivals (1-4 vs. state and ohio). If he follows up this loss with a loss against the Hoosiers, the knives will be out.

Also, Harbaugh has the same record through his first 31 games as Brady Hoke. Chew on that.


October 9th, 2017 at 11:05 AM ^

Wtf?  I don't really see why that is even relevant.  Hoke's job was perfectly safe until he face-planted after the 2013 ND win.  We had won a BCS bowl, beaten Ohio State and beaten Michigan State.  After that he 1) almost lost to Toledo, 2) lost to Rutgers, 3) got blown out by Kansas State in the Whatever Bowl, 4) lost 31-0 at ND, 5) got blown out by Utah while routinely fielding ten man defenses, 6) got blown out by Minnesota while continuing to play a QB who was in the middle of REM sleep, 7) missed a bowl game.

Hoke was fine through his first two seasons.  Unless Harbaugh takes an epic nose dive that comparison will be completely irrelevant.


October 9th, 2017 at 10:59 AM ^

Rivalry games so far under Harbaugh:

  • got destroyed by defending national champions Ohio State
  • lost to MSU on the most insane play in the history of Michigan in the most lopsidedly officiated game in the history of Michigan
  • Handily beat a bad MSU team in East Lansing
  • lost by a replay official's definition of an inch at Ohio State
  • wet fart game 

How is that getting destroyed? Also: are you saying that Harbaugh's tragectory is the same as Hoke's? At this point in Hoke's career we were heading into the 27-for-27 game. Unless you're arguing Michigan is going to go 7-13 from now until December 2018, you're cherry-picking records to be an ass. Take your razor-blade filled candy and chew on it yourself before suggesting others try it.


October 9th, 2017 at 11:10 AM ^

When do close games and flukes start becoming a trend?

There have been significant errors by players in crunch time in each of our close losses.

Darboh at Iowa, Speight at OSU, Kick off coverage against FSU, McDoom and ONeil against MSU....

Choking in big moments in close games is starting to get a bit annoying.


October 9th, 2017 at 11:30 AM ^

This is what I'm getting at. Lack of focus comes down to coaching. You can make all the excuses for how or why we lost but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. You are what you record says you are, and right now, that is 1-4 for Harbaugh when the lights are the brightest.


October 9th, 2017 at 2:51 PM ^

A statistically relevant sample is 1,000. If you get to 100 samples you might have something that could be backed up by other evidence.

If Michigan lost all of its close games the same way it might count as some evidence. For example in 2005 Michigan lost so many close games at the end (and non-close ones became so) that you could look at things that might be hurting them down the stretch: is their conditioning worse, or are they leaving players out there too long due to depth problems, etc. Or you might be able to show that a certain coach tends to have weird success in high-leverage situations and gets RPS wins in those situations (for example Greg Mattison kept Michigan in a game vs Northwestern once by winning high-leverage situations with frippery).

But you're still dealing with a small sample size and football games have so much that go into them--in and outside of the control of coaches--that picking out overarching trends is hard. In close games anything can make the difference: officiating, a key injury, a weird bounce, a fumble by a guy who never fumbles, etc. If you're actually trying to prove something, the outcomes are often less important than the larger data sets you get from stats. In many of these games (OSU 2016, MSU 2015) Michigan was vastly statistically more likely to win. On the other hand the Orange Bowl last year should have been a blowout against us, and the Utah game was also much closer than the stats suggest it was, and the Wisconsin game was closer than it should have been.

In the micro nothing in particular stands about about Michigan's close losses under Harbaugh except bad luck. Jerk-offs like to say "you make your own luck" but tautologically randomness is random, and inarguably part of the game of football. Speight didn't fumble a snap all year until he fumbled one against Ohio State. No punter ever did what Blake did until he did it. Amarah Darboh was an all-conference receiver who dropped the game-sealing pass at Iowa. Newsome was set to be Michigan's starting left tackle for 2016-2018 until he had one of the worst injuries in program history. Why do we have more bad luck than other schools? Bad luck.


October 9th, 2017 at 3:32 PM ^

This is a great point and is the crux of the friction between analytics people and non-analytics people.  Human beings are nearly universally awful at evaluating statistics in general and randomness in particular.  People are so good at identifying patterns that they'll see many that aren't there.

I've heard a good argument that it's actually evoluationary -- finding patterns out of the randomness of the environment was a significant early human survival skill, and it was better to overreact to a pattern that was actually the result of noise than to underreact.  Properly evaluating the chance that the noise you heard was a lion to be 0.1% was great 999/1000 times and would sometimes get you killed.

You can see examples of this everywhere, from spending patterns in Congress to gambling to, well, fans' reactions to a highly improbable streak of events.  Televised poker is a great example of this, actually -- watch and you'll see.  People tend to round 51% to 100% and 49% to 0%.

If you replay this game 100 times, MSU wins about 15.  If you replay 2015 100 times, MSU wins about 20 -- that MSU team was much better than this one, but Michigan's 2015 offense was much better also.  So, that gives MSU about a 3% chance to win both and a 29% chance to split.  Would you rather be the team that had a 3% chance to sweep and did, or the team that had a 68% chance to sweep and didn't?  I know what I'd choose.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:08 AM ^

did not really take it like that.  Michigan State showed up, played hard, and avoided the big mistake.  That cannot be questioned.  They were formidable.  However, you can't dismiss that there was an element of flukishness that played into the game.  The Bush penalty was really questionable and turned what was going to be a field goal into a touchdown.  The long completion in the first half was 100% luck.  Really good coverage, ball bounces to the only place it could have gone for a catch to be made.  Both times Michigan fumbled it went directly unimpeded into State's hands, and when they muffed a punt it bounced directly back to him when we had like 3 people in the area ready to recover it. 

Additionally, we were developing some momentum at about the exact time that the real rain and wind started.  The conditions made actual football impossible for about 10 game minutes and those were minutes that we desperately needed.  It would have been really helpful if there had actually been lightning (like there was in basically every other part of Michigan) because then the game would have delayed until those conditions had gone.

I think we can give Michigan State credit but also recognize that the ball did not bounce our way on Saturday.  We badly needed just one break out of about ten possibilities and did not get one of them.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:15 AM ^

At what point do patterns evolve beyond "flukishness?" This offense has been attrocious all year (pattern). State always finds a way to win or at a minimum intensely compete with Michigan, regardless of talent level (pattern). State was one dropped ball in the 3rd/4th (can't remember exactly when, but it hit him in the numbers for like a 25 yard gain) from putting that game away. 5 turnovers isn't bad luck, it's bad preperation and poor play.

This comment is the classic "we just needed more time" Michigan apologism. Win football games.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:38 AM ^

it isn't homerism, it is simply objective analysis.  Sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes you don't, and it matters. 

I don't disagree with a lot of what you are saying.  I don't know why we seemingly cannot match Michigan State's preparation and performance in this game.  I don't have any answers for that.  Perhaps Michigan's recruiting focus is a little more national than Michigan State and the game is not as personal for more Michigan players.  Perhaps Dantonio literally doesn't prepare for other games on their schedule to focus almost exclusively on Michigan.  I don't have the answer for that.  I don't disagree that it is a very real thing.

What I am saying is that State made mistakes too but they were not of the back breaking variety, and we did not get away with any mistakes that we made.  They all resulted in maximum-negative impact.  I'm not making excuses for the team and frankly I don't think it looks like I am.  I think we were both unprepared and unlucky.  They can both happen at once. 

Think about Rocky 3.  Yeah, he was slacking and Lang was probably going to own him anyway, but did Mick have to die literally during the fight?  (Or maybe don't think about that at all because it is a really bad comparison).


October 9th, 2017 at 10:07 AM ^

Agree. That long completion over Watson is an incomplete 9 times out of 10. A lightning strike would have probably won us the game, but so would have running Higdon ten more times in the rain rather than throwing pick after pick.


O'Korn needs more safety valve check-down options. There was on replay on a sack where he avoids the first couple players but as he escaped, every receiver was well down field and covered. Absolutely no short options or any receivers coming back to the ball, coverage sack.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:19 AM ^

Well, two years ago they struggled moving the ball and needed a crazy fumble to win. Last year they were chewed up until the game was over and then they got some cheap points to make it look pretty. This year they had a really good quarter and a half before picking up about 50 yards the rest of the game. Mind you, Michigan in this same weather put up about double that over the stretch.

Yes, MSU played well enough to win. But they got 5 TOs without losing a single one in a game that was played in a monsoon. Hell, their QB fumbled the snap at the end of the game, was tackled behind the line, then rolled over his down lineman and slid past the line. These aren't game plans they are drawing up.
There was some luck in this game, and it almost all went for MSU. That matters in any game.

I Love Lamp

October 9th, 2017 at 10:14 AM ^

Sometimes he has the better team, sometimes we do. Can’t deny his ability to coach, his prep, his desire to make this game the game on their schedule. Props to him.

But it’s also been uncanny on how virtually every bounce, 50/50 ball, etc goes their way. That can’t be denied. I keep looking at Dantonio to see where he keeps his horseshoe, rabbits foot, and 4 leaf clover...

They got it done, good for them. We have work to do on offense, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond this weekend


October 9th, 2017 at 8:33 AM ^

The handful of whiffs Harbaugh has had on the recruiting trail have pretty much all come back to bite us. Isaiah Wilson (?) snake oiled to Georgia probably being the most glaring. Not getting that dominant running back yet hasn’t helped either. The result of Saturday’s game doesn’t change my opinion that Harbaugh will field an absolute meat grinder of a team in the near future.


October 9th, 2017 at 8:42 AM ^

How about 1 receivers coach and 1 line coach!! I believe the line is mixed up because of 2 line coaches, because apparently the added focus isn't working here!

The Fugitive

October 9th, 2017 at 9:10 AM ^

1 WR coach
1 true RB coach
1 OL coach
1 OC

To me, TEs can float between receivers and tackles for catching and blocking drills.

This means we need to reevaluate/replace almost everyone on the offensive side of the ball which is necessary.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:46 AM ^

I don't really blame Higdon for that, he had the guy picked up until O'Korn rolled outside of the block. He gets sacked if Higdon doesn't hold, and he can't make that block without holding unless he had absolutely pancaked the dude on initial contact.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:05 AM ^

I wasn't as impressed. The first half didn't look great, and I can't give them much  credit for the second half due to the monsoon. Giving up 4 ypc isn't world beater numbers.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:12 AM ^

This is why I hate ypc as a stat. Saquon Barkley averaged 4.7 yards per carry on 16 carries vs NW. Of course, one of those runs was for 53 yards. The rest of his day, he averaged about 1 ypc. The same thing happened against MSU - they had a 50 yard run. Their median rush was something like 2 yards per carry.

The defense played well enough to win, and should have. A team being able to move the ball a bit isn't a sign of weakness.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:48 AM ^

I mean, if your bar for "good defense" is never getting beaten on a play, then sure they weren't great.  But MSU didn't record a first down for over half the game.  MSU still tried to run an offense once they were up 14-3; they weren't going to just sit on the lead and bleed the clock.  They tried to run their offense and Michigan ate them up.  It's fine that you didn't like the outcome, but 4.06 ypp on the day is damn impressive; that's the average ypp of Auburn this season, which is ranked #6 in that category.  


October 9th, 2017 at 11:15 AM ^

Everything wrong with this game and you're picking on the defense???  The defense kept M in this game.  The D shut MSU down to give the O a chance to score and take the lead.  The O had -5- f'ing turnovers, yet M only lost by 4 freaking points and were in it until the end.  Any D that can triumph in those situations is amazing.  What's the matter with people?


October 9th, 2017 at 9:38 AM ^

Michigan State got basically all the breaks. Speaking of the random flukey ones. Sometimes that happens for the other team or it's more even. Or our team gets most of them. The better team should find their way around those.


We weren't the better team. Proven by the result.


They also neutralized our advantages in basically every area. Their offensive line on the pass blocking front was very disciplined against the blitzes and was far from a shell. It was better than ours in pass blocking and that was a critical aspect of the game. Due to this, their defensive line appeared to get better pressure with the base 4 man rush.


They also took Devin Bush out of the game for the most part. This was the work of an offensive line of underclassmen and low star rating types. I take my hat off to their coaches time and again for how they coach up their line.


One thing I'll say about Dantonio and his teams in this game basically every year: they exploit their advantages big time and he knows which ones the other team needs which are critical to the result. He plans well to neutralize those. He hides his talent weaknesses with sound preparation. He knows it's a 60 minute game and if he's smart, the weaknesses won't amount to much of a factor. At the same time he knew he had the edge at quarterback and he put the game in O'Korn's lap squarely.


I am not from the turnovers are totally random school.  I am also not 100% from the turnovers are because of great or poor coaching school either. But they clearly are winning plays and have to be credited to the team which forces them. However they happen. They generally don't happen in perfect conditions where the defense has zero intent to create them.


October 9th, 2017 at 10:18 AM ^

Fumbles have an element of luck, but Isaac had the ball ripped out by a textbook move, and Mckeon's featured a Spartan getting a helmet and all his contact into where the ball was extended. Both were great plays by the defender which greatly increased the odds of a fumble occuring.


October 9th, 2017 at 10:07 AM ^

I will say, the idea that "seeing what you have" with Peters means putting him out in a game during a season where you are 4-1 and ranked #17 in the country is insane to me.  The coaches have seen what they have with him in practice for 2 years now.  He is apparently the third-best QB on the roster.  Sure, if Michigan was 1-4 then so be it.  But good lord, watching a guy get murdered on TV isn't better than seeing him in practice just because the rest of us get to join in.