Original Sin Comment Count

Brian November 20th, 2017 at 1:13 PM

11/18/2017 – Michigan 10, Wisconsin 24 – 8-3, 5-3 Big Ten

24639282858_cc9cf2c97f_z

[Bryan Fuller]

In the aftermath of a good thing that turned bad, or vice-versa, there's always the attempt to say This Was The Moment. Most of the time this is just ad-hoc narrative placement; obligatory XKCD link goes here. Not so Saturday. Anyone attempting to slap a big ol' narrative on Michigan-Wisconsin couldn't help but land on Brandon Peters lying on the turf, and the team-wide deflation that took place immediately afterwards. And... yessir. You are correct.

Wisconsin's offense had just emerged from a deep and restful slumber to go up 14-10 thanks to consecutive third and long conversions, one a 51-yard slot fade at a guy who was Not Lavert Hill, the other a slick double post route that Alex Hornibrook executed on. Before that the Wisconsin offense looked like any other Big Ten outfit beset with a quarterback trying to find out how many limbs he had. The Badgers had eight drives; they had four first downs*.

Maybe if Michigan was still up because the replay official was any average person on the internet capable of deciphering a still frame...

...or a two-hand shove in the back to Ambry Thomas was called on a freak punt return TD, the defense would have held together better. As it was, being down four points with the dead certainty in your heart that you will not score is an invitation to crack. We saw that many times under Brady Hoke, the valiant three quarters undone by an exhausted and spiritless fourth. That and a quarterback assaulted to the point where he could not continue.

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

Michigan's not real good this year for a variety of reasons. Foremost amongst them is pass protection even Devin Gardner thinks is bad. Michigan is down two quarterbacks headed into the Ohio State game, which is bad even for a program that can't get their QB to the final week without some Spinal Tap drummer business befalling him. This is the original sin of the Michigan offense.

Some of the things that happen are relatively explicable: freshman Cesar Ruiz screws up in his first start; Mason Cole occasionally proves he's not an NFL left tackle; a running back gets run over. What takes Michigan from mediocre to awful is the inexplicable stuff.

Michigan's pass protection has often been absurd this year, what with gentlemen going entirely unblocked on any sort of stunt, or not-stunt. This reached its apex on third and six in the first half when Garrett Dooley, an outside linebacker who entered the game with a team-leading 6.5 sacks, lined up clearly intending to rush and ran directly at Brandon Peters for a thunder-sack. Juwann Bushell-Beatty was the nearest OL; he was blocking another dude. Cesar Ruiz, a gap further inside, also had a rusher. Chris Evans went in a route immediately. Patrick Kugler ended up blocking nobody.

There were two other instances of horrendous pass protection that saw Michigan fail to handle a stunt. On one Karan Higdon chopped a guy ably; Kugler left his man to also block that guy. That resulted in a chop-block call. Meanwhile, Kugler's guy ran up the middle and sacked Peters. The Peters injury was another stunt on which Kugler was the most obvious culprit.

Kugler might be a major issue. That's certainly the nicest way to interpret Michigan's pass protection issues since he's gone next year, and anything that's the nicest way to think about a problem should be interrogated thoroughly. But I don't remember things like this happening last year, when Mason Cole was at center. Kugler hasn't been physically overmatched—he generally grades out okay to well in UFR—so the most obvious reason he hasn't been able to get on the field until year five is an inability hack it mentally. I wonder if Michigan would stick with Cole at center and whatever may come at tackle if they had a do-over.

Probably not if the second best tackle on the roster is then Nolan Ulizio.

There are two ways to proceed from here. One is to point out the colossal failure of Brady Hoke's offensive line recruiting and the Grant Newsome injury, which is currently in its second year. Michigan had barely enough dudes to field a good OL and a cliff after, and then the least replaceable guy went out, etc.

The other is to point at a fifth-year senior at center who's organizing one of America's very worst pass protection units and wonder why Tim Drevno and company couldn't field, like, the #80 pass pro unit with a bunch of highly touted four stars. This line of questioning will pause briefly to note the total lack of tackles in the 2015 class after Swenson was booted and Hamilton flipped to Stanford. It will also cherry-pick random freshmen or backups from the history of college football who weren't total disasters.

The latter take is way more likely to @ you, or call a radio station to declare something UNACCEPTABLE, but it's correct. (Ish.) So is the calmer take. Both are correct except insofar as they ignore the correctness of the other half of the equation. Michigan was unprepared to block this season, and that's because they aren't the kind of program that just reloads everywhere. Part of that is having your six-man class of would-be redshirt seniors whittled down to one guy who might not be very good, and part of that is that Michigan's reloading with Rashan Gary on defense and Nolan Ulizio on offense.

We'll see what happens next year. I don't have enough information to start yelling about it. I do have enough to approach the game this weekend with zero expectations other than pain. That's all too familiar, but whatever.

*[I am counting the drive right before the half since it started with 2:20 on the clock.]

AWARDS

37625503155_46db67395a_z

[Patrick Barron]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Mo Hurst. I am pretty sure that the long run was on the other DT, not Hurst, which means that Hurst was a major force in the middle without much to blame as Michigan throttled the Wisconsin offense almost wholly until a late fade.

#2(T) Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary. See above: Gary was regularly tackled by his opponent but still got drive and sent backs elsewhere; Winovich had two TFLs against a Wisconsin O that rarely gives them up. This is a point split here because I want it to be. The points are made up and don't matter.

#3 Donovan Peoples-Jones. Four catches for 64 yards and one should-have-been touchdown on which he did (barely) get his left foot down first. Translating from Michigan offense to normal offense, that's approximately 300 yards and six touchdowns.

Honorable mention: Devin Bush had a Default Hornibrook Interception; though Aubrey Solomon had a solid day early but may have faded late. Long and Watson were all over the UW receivers; Metellus and Kinnel both got called for some garbage PI calls but were in excellent coverage otherwise.

KFaTAotW Standings.

8: Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU, #2(T), Indiana, #1 Wisconsin).   
7: Karan Higdon (#1 Indiana, #2 PSU, T2 Minnesota).
6: Mason Cole (#1 Cincinnati, T2 Rutgers, T3 Minnesota), Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue, T2 Wisconsin), Rashan Gary(T2 Indiana, #1 Rutgers, T2 Wisconsin).   
5: Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati, #3 PSU, #1 Minnesota), David Long (T3 Indiana, #1 PSU, #3 Maryland)    
4: Chris Evans(T2 Minnesota, #2 Maryland).   
3: Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Lavert Hill(#2 MSU, T3 Indiana)), Josh Metellus (#1 Maryland).   
2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue, #3 Rutgers), Mike Onwenu(T2 Rutgers),
1: Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force), Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU), Brandon Watson (T3 Indiana), Ben Bredeson(T3 Minnesota), Donovan Peoples-Jones (#3 Wisconsin).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

Quinn Nordin hits a field goal to put Michigan up 10-7, which momentarily feels like enough.

Honorable mention: Michigan scores a touchdown!

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

10-7 turns to not be enough as Jaylen Kelly-Powell is torched on a slot fade that Hornibrook slots in there. Major question why JKP was deployed there since that coverage instance was far worse than any slot fade the safeties had dealt with this year.

Honorable mention: Brandon Peters is blasted out of the game. Brandon Peters is blasted earlier.

[After THE JUMP: eat at Arby's]

OFFENSE

37815476014_cea843888a_z (2)

[Patrick Barron]

Peters was functional-ish. 9 of 18 for 157 yards is 8.7 yards an attempt, but Michigan had little faith in him until it was clear they shouldn't have any in the run game about halfway through the second. A wildcat-timeout-pitchout series of events on third and eight was frustrating.

When allowed to drop back without being immediately pressured, Peters was good-ish. His accuracy was a bit off on a couple throws, most notably a shot to McKeon in the endzone that got broken up.

37796070084_fc2872dce9_z

big versus little [Fuller]

You'll note McKeon is on one of the hoodie brothers. Michigan split McKeon out early a few times, and I have to imagine the idea there is that he can box out the much smaller DB. So throwing to him is fine, but Peters put it over the top of both guys instead of trying to back-shoulder it, in a situation that—I assume—exists primarily to be a back-shoulder throw.

But he hit a few guys downfield and probably could have shouldered more of the load if every dropback wasn't a threat to send him to the hospital. The fumble was a bummer, and an extremely poor... something. Maybe it was just ball handling, but Peters had zero shot to get to the endzone and the extra yard or whatever he was going to get even if the scramble went well made no difference. Even so I'd call that an encouraging performance, especially given the context.

At least for next year. I can't imagine Peters will be available next week. Even if it's a concussion, which seems like the best case scenario, that seems like the kind of concussion you don't recover from in a week.

24639424948_6527c5892e_z

no [Fuller]

Speaking of that wildcat. What the hell, man? Lining up Chris Evans in the backfield by himself and running "wildcat" that doesn't even include the misdirection screen/sweep stuff that makes that approach even mildly functional was the best thing Michigan came up with in a month of walkovers? Michigan couldn't even get lined up on these things, which makes me think they were thrown in this week. For... reasons. What a waste of time. Someone find the wildcat enthusiast on the coaching staff and cuff them about the ears.

Someone threw it to him. Congratulations to Donovan Peoples-Jones, who finally has something to show for being hand-wavingly wide open deep all year. Previous incompletions were almost never his deal.

TJ Edwards did work. Two different power plays on which it looked like Michigan had done enough to get a solid gain went down at or near the line of scrimmage because Wisconsin ILB TJ Edwards "got skinny in the hole," per the scouting jargon, and slashed by Cesar Ruiz. I thought those plays were more indicative of an All American-level linebacker than a serious knock on Ruiz. That'll be a learning experience for him.

I haven't gone over the tape in detail yet but Michigan definitely tried to mess with the Wisconsin middle linebackers and they were having none of it. There were a couple of plays where I thought the action was different and expected some success; there was no success.

RIP the run game. I dunno, man. They got killed. Because this is the way of all promising Michigan things. Suspect that a total lack of respect for the passing game was a major factor, because DPJ was again set free on a post route without any safety help.

DEFENSE

24634260808_a152a02f47_z

[Fuller]

Alex Hornibrook, explained. Soooo we figured out Wisconsin's bizarre passing stats, in which a team that can't protect and throws a bunch of picks somehow comes out looking pretty good, and is awesome on passing downs. It turns out Alex Hornibrook throws into coverage constantly and is excellent at doing so. A half-dozen Wisconsin completions were seeing-eye balls that only reached the receiver after passing through the eye of a needle... and they only had nine completions. The two completions on their first TD drive are the only ones I can remember where a receiver achieved any separation. The rest of the day it was the above, where you couldn't even get slightly mad at Michigan's coverage.

38456603786_f91ec3a78d_z

[Barron]

Help? No? No. Wisconsin's run game did almost nothing until after the Peters injury, and then they got thunked, first on a long run by Jonathan Taylor and then more steadily as their light dimmed. It still boggles the mind that Taylor averaged 7 yards a carry. That is not at all what that game felt like. It's mostly just the one long run; Wisconsin only had 2.6 line yards a carry.

SPECIAL TEAMS

DPJ is not suited to return punts maybe? Peoples-Jones had a few opportunities to return punts that looked initially promising, but his tendency to dance and lack of insta-quicks saw those fail to amount to anything. Peoples-Jones is obviously a very fast person but seems better suited to kickoffs, where that's almost all that matters, than a punt return where being able to juke a guy in a phonebooth is almost a requirement to do anything.

Yes, I know he had a TD early in the year. I still think Eddie McDoom or Chris Evans or Ambry Thomas would be a better option back there.

A field goal: made. Barely, but it counts!

MISCELLANEOUS

A hearty thanks to everyone who just goes about their lives after a bad game. There are so many more of you than it seems like, because you're drinking and playing Mario Kart or making a casserole or fighting the mighty Gronthar. You are not replying to a Huge tweet and tagging half the Michigan beat. Hey buddy, if I wanted to hear the opinion of a Huge caller I'd listen to Huge.

The GAME THEORY. Michigan drove to the Wisconsin 41 and punted on fourth and six. I was more or less fine with this, and the thunder-sack on third and six on the next drive rather drove the point home. This was destined to be a rock fight, and when you're in a 1950s game you can make 1950s decisions. Fourth and three, I'm listening, but fourth and six is an expectation of success low enough that I'd rather have the field position.

HERE

Best and Worst:

Worst: Piping Hot Takes

No fanbase handles losses particularly well, and Michigan is no different. Usually after a loss like this, you'll maybe get some high-profile knuckleheads chiming in with inane comments, a whole slew of naysayers with the pitchforks and the memes (10 years without a road win against a ranked team! was the new one this week) aplenty, and a heavy dose of trollish "fans" who have super-detailed opinions about the quality of the Nike uniforms and how often they've beaten their rivals but couldn't name more than 3 starters on the team. It's the nature of the beast, and Michigan being one of the most prominent programs in country, you'll get a surplus of them.

And I'd love to say it's best to ignore these voices, not because every negative opinion should be treated as invalid, but because they tend to be lazy and without anything meaningful behind them beyond stunted anger. Braylon Edwards questioning why John O'Korn got a scholarship is just him being an asshole; his attempts to walk it back were about as lame as you'd expect from someone claiming "Wtf approved his scholarship and transfer????????" was cogent college football analysis. Of course, he's also one of the few Wolverines I've seen with his own detailed "Legal Issues" entry in his Wikipedia bio, so perhaps none of this should have been a surprise.

The season, a discussion, in two parts. Part the first:

Is a successful season more like a fine wine or an S&P ranking?

~~Chuck says, "The answer is always wine."~~

I was initially surprised by responses claiming that season success is an inherently subjective matter. User ChiBlueBoy summarized:

"I also appreciate trying to put some numbers to something that will always be subjective (in Jr. High I created a mathematical formula to determine if someone was "attractive," so the desire to quantify the subjective resonates with me)."

My first reaction was to scoff at this comparison. Perhaps only because I had spent a decent chunk of time making the scoring metric, but I viewed the idea as more like S&P and trying to make objective measures of a team's offense and defense. Just like it is valid to say that a running play is objectively "successful" if it gets at least 4-5 yards on first down, it is valid to say that objective components of a "successful" season include beating our rivals and winning the Big Ten title.

And part the second. A history of coin flips against Ohio State. Spoiler: there is something wrong with the coin. The bowl picture points towards San Diego. And probably Arizona, if bowl people care more about ratings than MGoJen's feelings.

ELSEWHERE

I barely want to read my take from this game, but here's a Japanese game show!

Japan! What a good country! Although there is definitely someone @ing a Japanese guy about the unacceptable performance of the guy in orange!

Comments

Bando Calrissian

November 20th, 2017 at 1:50 PM ^

The thing with the wildcat... The critique of a lack of option/fakery/motion/etc. is spot-on. Just as frustrating as the 2012 Ohio State game where Denard and his dead, couldn't-physically-throw-a-pass arm kept getting put in the shotgun for an obivious run-up-the-middle. Over and over and over again. Also, why Evans and not, say, McDoom?

(Pours one out for that season Lloyd was rumored to be rewriting the offensive playbook with an entire wildcat appendix built around Antonio Bass, before the worst non-contact conditioning injury of all time happened)

readyourguard

November 20th, 2017 at 1:52 PM ^

Our line has been bad - that's a harsh reality - but running backs who totally whiff on blocks is UNACCEPTABLE*. There was a time when even the most talented RB would sit on the bench because he couldn't execute his blocking assignment.

*My issue is not with the players.  If it's ONE GUY consistently missing blocks, the blame lies with that player.  When EVERY running back shows a proclivity to blow assignments or whiff, the blame should be placed on the guy "teaching" them how to block or the coach tasked with constructing the blocking scheme.

And if Kugler is, in fact, not making the right calls (which, based on the clip below, I suspect is the case) get him out of there. "No man is bigger than the team."

 

Fuck it.  Put Hill and Mason at RB, a la Sione Houma, for the Ohio State game.

funkywolve

November 20th, 2017 at 2:02 PM ^

conclusions about Kugler and the line calls.  it's pure speculation.  Is it possible, sure.  Last week Brian had JBB with the lowest grade on he UFR but Drevno said he graded out the best by the coaching staff.  You gotta take most of the stuff any posts on here with some grains of salt.  

You Only Live Twice

November 20th, 2017 at 10:16 PM ^

I have trouble following this progression too.  What makes JOk avoid trips in an ambulence, which is a strength, is maybe also a weakness in terms of how well the receivers can follow his style of decision making. However,  he's clearly been coached to make the best of situations in front of him.  JOK has courage and integrity and deserves nothing less than resounding support this Saturday if we see him on the field.

Communist Football

November 20th, 2017 at 1:56 PM ^

Assuming BP can recover from his injury over the offseason, we'll have a better O-line next year and sophomore receivers.  A mature passing game with our RBs and a maturing defense will be highly competitive.

funkywolve

November 20th, 2017 at 2:39 PM ^

pass protection has been an issue every year with Harbaugh.  In 2015 Ruddock wasn't able to finish either the Minnesota or OSU games.  Last year Speight couldn't finish the Iowa game and missed the IU game.  This year both Speight and Peters have been knocked out of games.  

 

MGoBlueNY

November 20th, 2017 at 1:56 PM ^

at what point do you stop blaming hoke and maybe put some blame on an offensive coaching staff with 3 QB 'guru's' and 2 offensive line coaches clearly not pulling their weight or earning their ridiculous salaries. 

lhglrkwg

November 20th, 2017 at 2:22 PM ^

Harbaugh has shown himself to be a good coach, but all you need to do is look over at Don Brown to see how a well oiled, well coached machine looks. That defense lost 9-10 starters and barely missed a step. Harbaugh's offense is in year 3 with a muddied coaching structure, and against good competition, they look almost as lost as Richrod's teams ever did. They just have a MUCH better defense to make it look better

Harbaugh's gotta look in the mirror and see that changes have to occur on the offensive side of the ball or we'll be Florida/LSU north and not Stanford+ like we all hoped. The defense has a coordinator and a number of position coaches working in Don's system and it works beautifully. The offensive side has these nebulous coaches:

  • Head Coach who likes to dabble in OC'ing
  • OC/OL Coach
  • T/TE/Run game cooridnator coach
  • Assistant HC / passing game coordinator
  • RB coach
  • No WR coach

I see like 4 guys in there all trying to have a hand in OC'ing. No wonder the whole enterprise is a mess

crg

November 20th, 2017 at 3:21 PM ^

The answer has been staring us in the face the whole time and we never saw it: Harbaugh, Drevno and the rest just need to grow their own Don Brown 'staches. Just envision it - an entire coaching staff sporting those things (maybe carrying baseball bats too). This would be a thing of beauty that would strike fear into the hearts of all our foes while filling the hearts of our players with drive, determination and glory. (No one say "Da Bears" here.)

MGoBlueNY

November 20th, 2017 at 2:38 PM ^

you mention hoke EVERY week. this has to have a shelf life no? you called hoke a 'fucking coward' for not going for it on 4th and short a few years ago yet you NEVER say anything remotely critical of harbaugh after one of the several head scratching play calls in any given game. this offensive coaching staff makes too much $ for these results. fisch was a better offensive coach than any of them, including harbaugh. 

crg

November 20th, 2017 at 3:29 PM ^

He's called out coaching decisions several times this season. The biggest reason for the Hole blame right now is that we're in the middle of his recruiting classes now. Things will improve after this year (how much is a good question).

bronxblue

November 20th, 2017 at 2:13 PM ^

I remain amazed about that review not going for Michigan.  They've overturned calls on way less information, and it's pretty clear that he was down before his other foot hit.  

I also don't get the complaints about them having a month and not showing enough.  First, this is a young team that only started really humming along run-blocking in the past month, month-and-a-half.  They still can't pass block for shit.  Like Brian, I thought they tried some interesting wrinkles running the ball, and that pass to Gentry might not have been "new" but definitely exploited a gap in the Wisconsin defense that was probably there more times than that.  But Wisconsin has a really good defense, Michigan couldn't hold up against the rush, and so anything remotely interesting that took more than 2 seconds to get going more times than not went out the window, replaced by a frantic attempt at self-preservation.

OSU is not going to be fun.  But this team has grown this year, and I can only hope that they continue to mature and improve.

taistreetsmyhero

November 20th, 2017 at 2:57 PM ^

is dumb.

Even in that still frame, you can't say 100% that the nubbin of DPJ's right cleat isn't touching down at the same time.

However, it is overwhelmingly likely that the the left is down and the right cleat is only touching air.

I think the rule should be changed to favor the most likely scenario on plays where you have a clear but not 100.000000% definitive angle, since the ruling on the field is pretty irrelevant to what actually happened.

bronxblue

November 20th, 2017 at 4:32 PM ^

I agree, but "definitive" has always been a subjective assessment.  It's like targetting - it's based in large part on some unspecified mens rea for the offender, if the hit near the head could have been avoided to some meaningful degree.  

I just think you have smart refs, they can use their common sense and assume that the foot is touching the ground because the other explanation is that he his micrometers off the ground, a distinction that I'm sure hasn't been made in every such close call they've done before and will in the future.  I think you review based on the most likely outcome and not follow some legalistic wording created by a bunch of guys in a room in Indy, Chicago, New York, wherever.

kehnonymous

November 20th, 2017 at 2:14 PM ^

...This post wasn't emo enough for MGoJen and right now neither am I. 

Shit happens.  Injuries happen.  Dave Branding and Hoke happen.  Bad snaps happen.  O'Korn in a monsoon happens.  Offensive tackle depth cratering happens.  Jim Delany happens.  Urban Meyer and a bevy of hired co-eds hand-lotioning the refs' collective schlongs before the 2016 Game happens.

You are what your record says you are.  This is the same flawed team that got cratered at Penn State - it was always going to be just as tough sledding to beat a Wiscy team that's probably about as good.  And we didn't.  But we got closer.  Not close enough, but closer.  The coaches and players are doing their damndest to get better each and every day.  It's not enough but they're the team we have.  And if not them, then who?

It's hard for a fandom's psyche to absorb the sheer number of body blows we have and gets harder each time to stagger back to your feet.  I get that.  But even if this is capital U "UNACCEPTABLE", what are we supposed to do about it?  We're likely in the best conceivable *and* possible position to right the ship and while the team's results this season have fallen short of what we could conceivably hope for - if not them, then who?  One lady on twitter said she lost the ability to freak out about the football team after her son had open heart surgery.  It's not for me or anyone else to say how individual fans should process this latest body blow at Madison and I understand why you'd in the moment get mad or indignant that we can't pass block a kitten, but ultimately how much does it help to spew impotent bile at a football team we all love but ultimately have little power to affect?

stmccoy

November 20th, 2017 at 2:14 PM ^

Well Brian doesn't have me that optimistic going forward.  It is hard to reference Hoke, reality or not, when a pack of jackals comes at you foaming at the mouth and calling the Harbuagh era a failure, be they part of the fan base or not.  Really depressed about the state of Michigan football but I'll be the first to say that it might result from my having unrealistic expectations at the outset.  Maybe we should all level set what to expect?  There are enough jackals in other fan bases that we don't need our own.  

lhglrkwg

November 20th, 2017 at 2:14 PM ^

Woof that this should've been the year the Bosch-Kugler-Dawson etc class should've been RS Srs. That's gotta be one of the all-time duds of OL classes.

Hoke left a big hole at OL, but I think it's very appropriate to start wondering why Harbaugh & Co seem to be making it none-the-better. I think in the next year or two you'll start hearing anonymous quotes about how a tonnn of the blitz pick-up issues this year were on Kugler not knowing up from down and since that's likely true, seems like Cole at center and just praying at the tackle spots would be a better option since you know...we're down 2 QBs now when we barely had any to begin with

Hopefully it gets better next year....i sort of doubt it does

Ham sandwich

November 20th, 2017 at 2:27 PM ^

It occurred to me today that Harbaugh hasn't had the same QB play through the B10 schedule more than once. I think O'korn is the only QB to play against the same team twice,Indiana in 2016, and 2017. At the rate we are going through QBs it may be hard to break this trend.

skwogler

November 20th, 2017 at 2:32 PM ^

Doug Skene provides some of the best analysis on UM OL play publically available.  Our OL lacks the athleticism, toughness and precision to be great. 

Doug mentioned after Wisconsin game that he was looking for some sign that OL would retaliate after Peters (between whistles) was injured and it never materialized--speaks to a lack of edge and toughness and, even pride. Notwithstanding:  Cole is out of position.  Should be at Center.  We lack a LT.  Newsome injury coupled with bad recruiting classes really have hurt us there.  Harbaugh may have whiffed on Swenson too. So we need better players, playing in the right positions.

I believe we will get there eventually.  However it may also require some coaching changes. I think we may have one to many cooks in the kitchen on OL:  Drevno, Frey maybe 1 too many.  Also RB pass pro leaves a lot to be desired:  Jay Harbaugh deserves some criticism for that.

It all starts upfront with OL play.  If we want to compete and beat our rivals, it begins and ends with the OL.

Go Blue  

scottiek65

November 20th, 2017 at 2:42 PM ^

"...There are two ways to proceed from here. One is to point out the colossal failure of Brady Hoke's offensive line recruiting and the Grant Newsome injury, which is currently in its second year. Michigan had barely enough dudes to field a good OL and a cliff after, and then the least replaceable guy went out, etc...."

Isnt the most ironic thing that before being named Michigan's head coach Brady Hoke was most known for being an offensive line coach?

 

GRBluefan

November 20th, 2017 at 2:44 PM ^

my vote would go to "Michigan Dials Up a Slow Developing Play Action Pass on 3rd and 10, Down 11 Points in the 4th Quarter, When Unable to Effectively Run the Ball All Day"

But that's just me.

harmon98

November 20th, 2017 at 2:46 PM ^

Worst ever: Huge show episode on Japanese slippery stairs
First - enduring a Huge opinion. And secondly - perhaps the mortal blow: "Let's go to the phones..."

MGoStrength

November 20th, 2017 at 2:56 PM ^

1. Are we a year from being functional as an o-line or 2 years away (assuming we get Newsome back and he is what he was pre-injury)?  The reality is we can't beat good defenses until we're a little more functional at pass protection.  I think Ruiz replaces Kugler just fine.  Hopefully Newsome is back.  Is JBB our RT again or does one of the younger guys replace him?  Is another year of experience with the other 2 a good thing?..I'm assuming so.  I just don't know if we're still any good next year.

 

2. Based on all of DPJ's athletic accolades, SPARQ score, dunking videos, vertical jumps, recruiting rankings, etc. he's not really as athletic as I expected.  I don't mean that as bad as it sounds.  He's got the size and straight line speed you'd expect, but he doesn't really have that burst of acceleration lateral ability that I expected out of a guy with all his accolades.  That's not a knock on him so much as it is a knock on his recruiting buzz.  I guess sadly I expected more.  He'll probably still be a really good WR, but not like the best we've ever had or anything.  He's not as long of a strider as Breaston, but he is a long strider.  He reminds me more of Breaston than of Terrell, whose body type I though he'd be more like.

Don

November 20th, 2017 at 4:30 PM ^

The MGoBlogerati are prone to fixating on one recruit for reasons that have nothing to do with actual production on the field. One year it was Freddy Canteen in a padless footwork drill, another year it was purely because of Eddie McDoom's last name, and this past year it was DPJ's amazing vertical jump video.

I think DJP is going to be a solid receiver, but there's little indication right now that he's going to be a true difference-maker.

MGoStrength

November 20th, 2017 at 7:08 PM ^

I think he has the ability to be an All B1G WR as an upperclassman.  I don't think he has the ability to be an All American WR.  All you have to do is watch him play and compare him to other top WRs like AJ Brown, Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Deon Cain, Dante Pettis, etc.  He does not move, beat DBs, catch, adjust to the ball in the air, etc. the way they do.  He's good for a freshman, but that's about it right now.

jalenwestman

November 20th, 2017 at 3:07 PM ^

Brandon Peters as a QB. Hopefully he gets the bowl game.

I like what DPJ did this past game and I love the passion and fire he plays with.

Love our defense, the way we play defense can lead to big plays if one person doesn't do or can't do their job. It's not a bend but don't break defense.

Hudson is going to be really good.

Besides the O-line, I have the most concern about the Safety position. Metellus and Kinnel are average at best and I am not sure how much better they can get.

Right now, we need one more play making WR or guy that can get open (I think Black and Collins fill that need).

Jonesy

November 20th, 2017 at 3:08 PM ^

We were the better team. We had a touchdown stolen by refs, they get a flukey punt return touchdown due to a block in the back, they get two touchdown drives extended by nonsense PI/defensive holding cals on 3rd down and numerous flukey perfect hornibrook passes to 3rd (4th? 5th?) wrs. Just fix the reffing and we win 17-3. remove the flukes or give us the flukes instead and we win by a lot.

Shit happens, nothing ever goes our way in big games.

DenverBuckeye

November 20th, 2017 at 3:15 PM ^

From a non-mouth-breather Buckeye fan, Michigan is exactly what I thought they would be this year. Good, but not all-time great, defense with some elite pieces and an excellent overall DC who gets more out of players like McCray than other coaches would. Average to bad offense with few skill players that opposing defenses have to gameplan around and quarterback play that rarely wows anyone. Based on what they lost after last season and the way Michigan has recruited, that's really all anyone should have expected. Michigan has recruited very well, but not at an elite level that would allow you to believe they have overwhelming athletes throughout the two-deep.

The biggest head-scratcher is the QB play. Not saying that Harbaugh is a failure or some nonsense, but being objective, his reputation led me to believe that he'd have a QB or two that looked legit by year three. And yes, I know Speight is injured, but he didn't strike fear into anyone before he went out. The OL being what it is (another fair question for the coaching staff, Ohio State started a true freshman on their OL from Michigan last year and he played well) didn't help Speight or any of the other QBs, but it's fair to question why Michigan doesn't have a QB on the roster that other teams worry about. It's Michigan fer God sakes. Whether that's recruiting, QB development, or both, it's slightly inexcusable. Plenty of teams are starting young QBs with success. Ohio State has three that are better than any of Michigan's QBs in Barrett, Burrow, and Haskins. Now, if Harbaugh is the failure that some UM fans say he is, it's in my interest for UM to keep him. But as an opposing fan in the rivalry, I was worried that Harbaugh would have an All-Big Ten level QB by year three. Pleasantly surprised that he doesn't.

KC Wolve

November 20th, 2017 at 5:04 PM ^

My thoughts mirror yours. I know young QBs struggle but I’m shocked at the QB play in year 3 of Harbaugh. Peters played decent IMO but he is probably still sitting if WS isn’t injured. So in year 3 of the QB whisperer UM has a Hoke recruit that scares no one that is injured, a Houston transfer that lost his job there, and a highly recruited redshirt freshman that couldn’t beat out the other 2 guys. I’m not saying at all that he has done a bad job, I’m just a bit surprised the QB situation isn’t better.

Pepto Bismol

November 20th, 2017 at 8:01 PM ^

But you have no idea what OSU has in Burrow and Haskins, no more than Michigan knows about McCaffrey, and their dual threat recruiting rankings mean jack squat if they're plugged into this current neanderthal Michigan offense that can't pass protect to save their life. That's nonsense.