Spring Stuff, 2015: Offense Comment Count

Brian April 6th, 2015 at 1:43 PM

Podcast? Yes. We couldn't record it yesterday because of Easter obligations. We will tape it this evening. It should go up tomorrow.

Missed it? It's on the tubes.

Ours got more attention than normal because it was so early.

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The Michigan offense in one picture [Patrick Barron]

Rome was not rebuilt from atomized dust in a day. It was not good, obviously. People will tell you that the defense is supposed to be in front of the offense at this juncture… but not that far in front. When they say that they mean something like "it was a little ugly and they only ran for like three yards a carry." They mean that the final score was 17-10 or thereabouts.

They do not mean that the only offense of the day will be Amara Darboh catching fades against Poor Damn Dennis Norfleet, a 5'7" guy who hadn't played defense in college until being tested there this spring. The overall feel was reminiscent of the legendarily terrible 2008 spring game, which I didn't even go to because it was held at a high school to facilitate Michigan Stadium's renovations and still remember as the first "oh shiiiii" moment in the Rodriguez era.

To some extent this was all expected. Michigan fans have been debating between a true freshman, a guy who had 3.2 YPA last year, and a redshirt freshman who did not play. They were going up against a defense that has been pretty good the last couple years (until collapsing in exhaustion at the end of games). It was never going to be pretty.

But did it have to be that ugly? Bler!

Quarterbacks: come on down Joliet Jake. Morris was anointed the #1 QB coming out of spring by none other than Harbaugh himself, and that seemed about right after the spring game. That it did so after Morris went 11 of 24 for 5.6 YPA would have me purchasing bags of dehydrated food, water purifiers, and shotguns if not for the 99% official transfer of Iowa starter Jake Rudock to Michigan. Rudock may not be a conquering hero… but he will probably feel like one.

Malzone, the great (if vague) hope going into spring, did not look ready to challenge for the throne. I'm not on board with the arm strength complaints just yet, as those seemed to be generated by a wide receiver screen Lewis tried to jump but did not, giving up a first down on 2nd and 19 (in this game the equivalent of 2nd and Canada).

I may come around in the near future. The constant short stuff was disappointing: even his attempt at a game-saving two minute drill featured five yard hitch after five yard hitch. He did have one nice dart downfield that Chase Winovich dropped…

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a linebacker linebacks even when he tight ends [Bryan Fuller]

…but that stands out as just about the only attempt Malzone made to get the ball down the field. There were a lot of doomed WR screens in there. And that two minute drill… oy. They got about 20 yards before time ran out. This is a tradition I would like to leave in the past.

One thing I'll say in Morris's favor. He's got that fade down pat. One got intercepted because Darboh didn't wall off and extend away from a defensive back and a couple more got dropped; the rest save one were completions, and I think Morris ended up leaving that one short because he got hit. The rest were on the money, in that space outside the numbers and inside the sideline where the receiver has space to play with and can detach from the DB.

That's a good location to have down, by the way. It's tough to throw and thus tough to get to for a lot of defenses. Deep outs, smash routes, corners, and those fades all end up in that general area. It's the location on the field that is the reason NFL teams go cuckoo for cocoa puffs when they find a Mallett type. Morris can buy himself a lot of leeway if that throw is as consistently accurate as it felt like on Saturday.

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a lot of this [Eric Upchurch]

Run game: I don't know. Ty Isaac was all but out (he's credited for one carry I don't remember), so the Malzone team's tailback was Wyatt Shallman (12 carries, 22 yards) with spot duty from Ross Taylor-Douglas*. Shallman is more of an H-back in college and it showed.

Meanwhile, both Ace and I assumed that Derrick Green had been mostly held out with an injury of his own only to find out that he and De'Veon Smith apparently split carries down the middle. It's just that Green's 7 went for 8 yards and Smith's 7 went for 50.

Smith had a sequence early in the second half where he ran tough and his offense started getting some actual time on the field. That ended with a fumbled exchange, because of course it did. Smith never fumbled in high school and hasn't done so in college yet so that issue is probably a freshman-QB thing more than anything Smith did wrong.

If Michigan knew Isaac was going to be limited they should have swapped Green over to the Blue team to get a better feel for the competition between those guys. Either way it was a good day for Drake Johnson.

*[who has now completed his tour of all the positions you can play on a football field and can turn in his punch card for a free bag of Combos.]

The one good run. Cole gets a good push on Henry, Kugler seals away, RJS and AJ Williams battle to a stalemate, Cole gets to the second level, and Smith makes a nice out-in cut to put the other linebacker on the wrong side of the hole:

gif via Ace

If Michigan develops holes on the regular I think Smith has an advantage because his ability to grind out another two or three yards will be valuable in the Harbaughffense.

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L to R: back, under threat, trying out [Bryan Fuller]

OL depth chart hints. Glasgow was back and playing center as if he had not violated his probation; the program said he'd gotten through whatever punishment the program had deployed for him. If he keeps his nose clean that should clear him to resume playing center this fall.

Meanwhile Michigan tried out Logan Tuley-Tillman as the left tackle on the blue team, bumping Ben Braden inside to guard. LTT picked up three legit holding calls; even so that implies that he's getting a serious look and Braden may move or lose his job. Erik Magnuson playing right tackle for the Maize team is another indication that the tackle jobs are not secure.

A scholarship guy who might be looking at some writing on the wall is Dan Samuelson, who was healthy enough to make the roster but IIRC did not play much, if at all. With a couple walk-ons seemingly ahead of them they might be down for the count. Bars (who I omitted from the rosters post by accident did play, at guard:

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He is 62 next to Kugler [Fuller]

If you made me guess right now I'd say that Erik Magnuson is Michigan's starting right tackle this fall and that guard slot opened up by the various line shifts is the most heated competition out there. But that's firmly in wild guess territory.

Wide receivers: do we have a problem? There were a number of ugly drops, none more so than Jaron Dukes batting a ball in his facemask directly skyward for an interception. Morris zinged it with unnecessary force, yes. That's still a worst case scenario for a receiver. Dukes had another sorta drop later and doesn't seem like he'll be pushing past the established guys this year.

Elsewhere: Darboh had a drop and a fade wrested away from him but recovered late to be the Blue team offense. Going up against Dennis Norfleet significantly compromises that accomplishment, especially since most of the plays were "throw it over that guy's head," but Darboh did display strong hands and an ability to track the ball in flight in a difficult situation. Some people can do that (Junior Hemingway), and some cannot (Darryl Stonum). Darboh is in the former category. Can he get separation from the likes of Jourdan Lewis? I don't know—one downside of this format.

Receivers other than Dukes and Darboh were playing with Malzone and barely got targeted on anything notable. This year's spring hype machine, Brian Cole, was not a factor until deep into the second half; Freddy Canteen made a couple of nice catches on balls outside the frame of his body. There was not a whole lot else to talk about.

There was a notable lack of separation for receivers going up against actual defensive backs. That could be bad; it could be an indicator that the secondary is going to be as lights out as we all hope. As per usual, we'll find out abruptly in fall.

Poor Damn Norfleet. In the aftermath Harbaugh talked Norfleet up as a guy who could contribute in all three phases. Nope. The act of moving a guy his size to cornerback is waving a white flag on his career.

I mean… maybe not. Harbaugh is weird and one of the specific ways in which he is weird is his predilection for flipping guys from one side of the ball to the other. This could be a Harbaugh whim that doesn't mean much about playing time down the line. But it probably means that Norfleet is kaput. We'll always have that punt return touchdown to seal the Maryland game inane irrelevant block in the back by someone far away from you.

BEARD. This is not Elliott, right? This is some other spectacular beard just hanging out on the sideline?

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[Barron]

This is one Brady Hoke tradition I'm glad we're keeping.

Comments

Nothsa

April 6th, 2015 at 2:09 PM ^

The scene reminds me of this old recruiting photo:

One of these linemen is Ben Braden. Another just earned his accounting associates from community college.

Leonhall

April 6th, 2015 at 2:15 PM ^

I would have to imagine Jabrill will get some looks on offense or at least ST. I wish they would give dymonte a chance somewhere on offense too, but that is probably not likely, just seems to be a waste to leave an athlete like that sitting on the sidelines. Offense just needs a strong line and at least 1 deep threat

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MilkSteak

April 6th, 2015 at 2:38 PM ^

Agreed. It'd be one thing if we had a stud receiver and a secondary hurting for a well rested nickelback/safety. As it stands right now we have no stud receivers and a pretty decent secondary even without Peppers. Let's get him a few catches a game or at least a few sprints up the seam to stretch the defense.

GotBlueOnMyMind

April 6th, 2015 at 2:16 PM ^

I'm going to reserve any judgment on the running game. Yes, there weren't many holes, but run blocking is so dependent on having all 5 guys on the O-line working in tandem, so splitting up the guys on the line makes a huge impact. I think it would be more helpful to look at each guy individually, because if there's a player at each spot on the line who was successfully and consistently performing his assignments, then there's good reason to believe that a unit of those 5 could be successful.

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sj

April 6th, 2015 at 2:16 PM ^

[Ross Taylor-Douglas] who has now completed his tour of all the positions you can play on a football field and can turn in his punch card for a free bag of Combos.

Brian, no!! This is not true! Giving him free Combos would be an NCAA violation, punishable by the Death Penalty. Don't let people think Michigan would ever do such a thing!

 

Lanknows

April 6th, 2015 at 2:19 PM ^

Perhaps not the primary motivation for the lineup, but Magnuson makes sense as a blindside pass protector for a LH QB. (At least relative to Braden, whose theoretical strength is as a run-blocking brute.)

Yostbound and Down

April 6th, 2015 at 2:19 PM ^

Have a few general questions for those in the know: what are the practical ways that the players can improve from now until the opening of fall camp? What are the players expected to do physically/mentally to prep for it? Are they learning a full playbook now, or just part of it with the remainder to be installed in the fall? What are the rules for coaches contacting and working with players over the summer?

I'd like to think that the chemistry between the receivers and QBs can definitely improve but there are other areas the offense can work on as well. I was hoping to see at least something like a 17-14 game and while the defense certainly does look good, I was disappointed in some of the mistakes the offense made.

JonnyHintz

April 6th, 2015 at 2:41 PM ^

Most of the improvements will be made on their own. For example, Morris (or Malzone for that matter) can get a group of WRs together and work on timing and route running. Lead workouts and drills.

Most of the time the coaches will encourage that and even give the players a few drills they should do on their own time. Coaches can't be present and coach during the offseason, but they can still encourage the guys to get together a few days a week and work on some stuff.

Aside from that, the coaches will hand out play books for the players to study and learn. Once fall camp starts, they go back to work as a team.

Basically, the NCAA limits a lot of the off season stuff. So it is going to be up to the players to progress and develop on their own.

JonnyHintz

April 7th, 2015 at 10:55 AM ^

Graduate assistants aren't technically allowed to do any "coaching." They are there to keep records and learn how to coach. IIRC, there was a team a few years ago who got in trouble with the NCAA by having a GA in a coaching position.

But yes, the S&C coaches are allowed to work with the players during a time when the real coaches aren't. We saw that in winter conditioning. The coaches weren't allowed to have practices or do any coaching or have any meetings, but the players had S&C with Tolbert.

Space Coyote

April 6th, 2015 at 2:45 PM ^

They will continue strength and conditioning throughout the summer. So they should become stronger and better conditioned through that (and trust me, Summer S&C is no joke for these guys, most gains are made out of season).

The players can play as much as they want. 7-on-7s, OL vs DL, etc. Those things will happen. Coaches won't be there and can't enforce it however, so it's up to the players to organize and run them.

Different coaches handle things differently, but each guy will have drills and activities they are essentially asked to do and learn over the off-season. My guess, with how Harbaugh handles things, is that the offense has a core set of plays (maybe 50% or so of the playbook) that they will be repping to death over the summer. That goes for the OL repping protections and run-block schemes, and the QBs/Skill guys repping pass plays, and the back 7 repping coverages.

You'll likely get guys working in their own units (DL doing DL drills, OL doing OL drills, etc) and guys working across units (for instance, the RBs better be working with the OL, and the DL better be working with the LBs). The coaches will insist on a lot of this stuff, but more than anything it's about leadership and accountability for what guys actually get out of it. These need to be intense, but they also need to be done right. Guys need to know the stuff well enough to execute it correctly, from scheme to technique. Otherwise they are just repping it wrong and forming bad habbits. Leaders need to be able to correct mistakes of others and have the respect of teammates. That's a huge part of the off-season work, and a lot of it falls on the players and the S&C coaches (often times unofficially on teh S&C coaches)

Yostbound and Down

April 6th, 2015 at 2:59 PM ^

Thanks, that kind of detail is what I was looking for. So my guess then is that the majority of the team will stick around Ann Arbor for a good chunk of the summer to do this? They still have full access to the weight room, field house etc?

Also, for the incoming freshman that aren't Malzone and Cole...do they have the playbook already? Are they allowed to work with S&C over the summer or do they have to wait until August?

 

pjlinn

April 6th, 2015 at 2:25 PM ^

Couldn't find the first team stats, but I remember the 49ers having a pathetic 2011 (Harbaugh's first season as coach) pre-season offensivley. They ended the regular season 13-3 and lost the NFC Championship game. So there's that I suppose. 

stephenrjking

April 6th, 2015 at 2:27 PM ^

I hope the OL is further ahead than it looked, and that the running game problems really were just a result of the OL's mix & match nature. Because Michigan has a serious skill problem on the outside, and we have seen nothing in the last few years to suggest that the performance was just a blip.

Home did a good job recruiting players, but there was always one area in which his hauls were less impressive: explosive skill players. "SEC speed" talk has generally been overblown for 20 years, but Hoke almost totally failed to recruit any explosive players in his entire tenure. The isolated exceptions (Drake Harris sadface) kinda prove the rule. Jeremy Gallon's evolution from slowish slot ninja to terrific route-runner and the massive Devin Funchess sort of papered over this issue, but it has been a real problem.

As a consequence, Michigan's offense needs to be able to grind opponents in a big way. A decent, build-for-the-future 8 or 9-win season is going to have to feature a lot of ugly, defensive grindfests.

This wasn't exactly an encouraging offensive performance in that regard. But, at least, I believe we have the staff to mold the guys at the point of attack to become the kind of front line we need. And, in fairness, it's quite possible that many of the blocking failures were instances of experienced defensive players that we know can play beating less experienced backup OL guys that aren't ready yet.

PrincetonBlue

April 6th, 2015 at 2:28 PM ^

This is the first time I watched it, and to me the quarterbacks didn't look that bad, at least through the first quarter.  I don't think I would be scared of starting either of them.

UMfan21

April 6th, 2015 at 2:29 PM ^

If I remember correctly, on DeVeon's fumble, it was actually a high snap which then botched the QB/RB exchange.  I think you put that 40% on the center and 60% on Malzone. 

funkywolve

April 6th, 2015 at 2:31 PM ^

Hey Brian

Do you believe in time of possession as a valuable statistic?

Last year in one of year Unverified Voracity columns you bagged on the coaching staff for having time of possession as a goal for the team to win (mgoblog.com/content/unverified-voracity-you-didnt-course-you-did) but now you take shots about the defense being on the field too much?

What games in 2014 did the defense collapse down the stretch cause they were on the field too much?

Against ND they were down 21-0 at the half and 28-0 heading into the 4th quarter.  UM actually won the time of possession by quite a bit in this game (UM 33:04 to ND 26:56).

Against Utah, they were down 20-10 heading into the 4th quarter.  Here again, UM actually won the time of possession battle by quite a bit (UM 33:32 to Utah 26:28).

Against Minnesota they were down 27-7 heading into the 4th quarter.  Now, this is a game where UM lost the time of possession battle (Minny 34:40 UM 25:20) but UM was unable to stop Minnesota's one dimensional offense.

Against Rutgers they were down 19-17 heading into the 4th quarter and 26-17 less then two minutes into the 4th quarter.  The time of possession battle was pretty much even in this game (Rutgers 30:46 UM 29:14).

Against MSU they were down 28-3 heading into the 4th quarter.  MSU won the time of possession battle in this game (MSU 33:46 UM 26:14).

Against Maryland, UM was winning 16-9 heading into the 4th quarter.  The defense gave up 2 long drives in the 4th quarter, but UM dominated the time of possession in this game (UM 34:00 Maryland 26:00).

Against OSU, UM was down 28-21 heading into the 4th quarter but again, this was a game were UM won the time of possession battle (UM 34:05 OSU 25:55).

 

So in tthe two losses where UM lost the time of possession battle by a significant margin, UM was losing by 20 and 25 points heading into the 4th quarter.  The defense had done their collapsing in the first 3 quarters.  In the other 5 losses, UM either won the time of possession battle by a fairly significant margin or it was even.  I don't see any losses in 2014 where the root cause could be a late defensive collapse due to being on the field too much.

 

 

 

 

Ziff72

April 6th, 2015 at 2:55 PM ^

I'll answer as Brian's proxy.   Not sure I'll get this perfect but the answer is.......NO!!!!

Since he doesn't care about T.O.P.  you wasted a lot of finger banging on the keyboard listing T.O.P.  

If you would like to do an informative analysis to argue with Brian I would suggest you go back and examine the amount of plays ran.    Maybe do an analysis comparing Yards per play in the 1st half vs the 2nd half .

So to recap.  T.O.P.  is stupid and used by dinosaurs.   Defenses can get worn down by teams  over the course of a game but T.O.P. would be a result and not a cause.  Hiking the ball with 1 second on the play clock does not wear defenses out.   Running numerous plays in a row will.  

Thanks for playing. 

 

ST3

April 6th, 2015 at 3:15 PM ^

I think that was more an issue in 2013 than 2014. The number of plays the opponents ran was low due to the pace of our offense. If anything, our defense got fatigued sprinting to and from the sidelines due to the multiple substitutions. Just let a guy play a series. Instead, he'd go 3-4 plays and get subbed out. I think it was more mental/emotional let down on the defense's part than physical. If you are getting the ball back for your offense consistently and they can never do anything with it, that starts to lower the team morale. Once doubt sets in, it's over.

MichiganTeacher

April 6th, 2015 at 3:18 PM ^

Not speaking for Ziff, but I think the larger point is that the "defense collapsing in exhaustion at the end of games" idea is invalid.

Maybe the idea is that the defense collapsed earlier because of a lot of plays run in quick succession, but if so, then that's just bad defense. Get a stop and get off. If you're giving up a lot of plays, you're not a good defense.

I think our 2014 defense was average. Mediocre. I think it will need to improve mightily if it wants to be good in 2015.

Sadly, the offense is even worse. I hope Harbaugh can turn things around sooner rather than later.

LJ

April 6th, 2015 at 3:23 PM ^

You're totally right, but do you really need to throw in the little "thanks for playing" jab?  I hate that phrase as used around here.  The guy was clearly trying to make a serious post--there's nothing wrong with that.

Mr Miggle

April 6th, 2015 at 4:37 PM ^

As Brian's proxy, maybe you could have pointed out which games were lost because the defense was worn down in the fourth quarter. I think the obvious answer is none. Maryland outscored us by 14 in the fourth, so that would be a candidate. We ran 10 more plays over the course of the game, more if you don't count the final quarter.

 

funkywolve

April 6th, 2015 at 5:08 PM ^

Notre Dame.  UM ran 67 plays for 289 yds and ND ran 65 plays for 280 yds.  The damage was done at the end of the second quarte though.  When ND got the ball with 9:12 seconds left in the second quarter the score was ND 7 - UM 0.  Until that point ND had run 19 plays and had the ball 7:29 seconds.  UM had run 23 plays and had the ball a little over 12 minutes.  ND then went on a 13 play 80 yd scoring drive for a TD.  UM then had the ball for 3 plays but ran 2:34 off the game clock.  ND got the ball with 1:24 left in the half - they went 56 yards in 6 plays for a TD.  So what you're saying is the defense being on the field for 7:29 seconds of the first 21 minutes of the game was asking to much of them to prevent ND from going on a 13 play 80 yd TD drive?

Utah:  UM ran 64 plays for 286 yds and Utah ran 75 plays for 308 yards.  However, like the ND game the damage, most of it, was done at the end of the second quarter (and in this game the first drive of the 3rd quarter).  With 5:01 left in the second quarter the score was 10-10.  Utah had run 21 plays and had the ball for 8:03 (UM had possessed the ball 16:57 at this point).  What happens?  Utah goes on a 16 play 54 yd drive to kick a FG at the end of the half.  Both teams get a 15 minute break.  Utah gets the second half kick off and goes 67 yds in 5 plays to score a TD.  So what you're saying is the defense being on the field for 8 of the first 25 minutes of the game was too taxing for them?

Minnesota:  the offense was an abomination.  However, heading into this game most people thought this was a game tailor made for the defense - a fairly one dimensional offense with that one dimension being the running game. 

Rutgers:  UM ran 57 plays for 336 yds and Rutgers ran 70 plays for 476 yards.  However, like Utah and ND, the end of the second quarter was where the damage was done.  With 7:35 left in the second quarter, UM lead 10-6.  Until that point Rutgers had run 21 plays and had the 11:59 seconds.  Those 21 plays had gained 127 yds.  For comparison, UM had run 19 plays and gained 135 yds.  With 7:35 left in the second quarter, Rutgers went on a 1 play 80 yd scoring drive to go up 12-10.  UM gets the ball and goes 43 yds in 6 plays to score a TD and take a 16-12 lead.  Rutgers gets the ball back with 1:43 left on the clock.  What's the UM defense do?  They let Rutgers go 75 yds in 11 plays to score a TD with 21 seconds left and take a 19-17 lead into the half.

MSU:  like Minnesota the offense was an abomination.

Maryland:  heading into the 4th quarter, Michigan lead 16-9.   This must be the game where the defense collapsed cause they were on the field too much????  Nope.  When Maryland got the ball with 3:09 left in the 3rd quarter, the Terrapins had run 34 plays and had the ball for only 15:08.  At this point UM's offense had run 58 plays and had the ball 26 minutes.  With 3:08 left in the 3rd quarter, Maryland goes on an 11 play 68 yard scoring drive to tie the game.  UM's offense then actually goes on a 53 yard drive and has the ball for 5:34 seconds.  When Maryland gets the ball with 9:13 seconds left in the 4th quarter, they go 78 yards in 10 plays to take a 23-16 lead.

Ohio State:  UM ran 69 plays for 372 yds and OSU ran 63 plays for 416 yds.  However, as we've seen above in other games, UM's problems began towards the end of the second quarter and carried into the beginning of the 3rd quarter.  With 2:15 left in the second quarter, UM led 14-7.  Up until that point OSU had run 20 plays for 69 yds and only had the ball for 9 minutes.  UM's offense had possession of the ball for 19 of the first 28 minutes of the game.  So with 2:15 left OSU goes on a 10 play 83 yd TD drive to tie the game right before halftime.  After having 15 minutes to rest up, the UM defense lets OSU go 72 yds in 5 plays with the opening possession of the second half.  The offense then does their part to help the defense out by going on a 12 play 75 yd TD drive that takes 5:17 off the clock.  How does the defense respond?  They let OSU go on a 14 play, 81 yd TD drive that takes 6:26 seconds off the clock.

With the exception of the Minnesota and MSU games, the defense was their own worst enemy in the losses.  Sure some turnovers didn't help but most of the damage in the losses came at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the 3trd quarter when the defense had barely been on the field.  In the Maryland game, the defense had barely been on the field for the first 3 quarters and then folded.

You want to keep playing????

BiSB

April 6th, 2015 at 4:32 PM ^

Is that you win it by winning the game, NOT the other way around. Teams that are ahead run the ball more to kill clock. Picking up first downs is a sign of winning teams because it means the offense is moving the ball, and the added benefit of the extra offensive TOP is merely coincidental. 

Trying to win games by winning time of possession is like trying to win games by having more kneel-downs than the other team. A thing can correlate with victory without being an effective aspiration.

JeepinBen

April 6th, 2015 at 2:41 PM ^

What I saw was that Harbaugh has inherited a ton of talent. Not quite 2011 Hoke talent (Denard DENARD!) but it's a far cry from 2008 RichRod Talent levels. I expect the defense to be really good, if not great and the offense to start mediocre and improve to "decent" by the end of the year.

11-2 with a BCS victory seems out of reach. 9-3 with a good SEC bowl seems about right. With next year looking quite exciting.

bronxblue

April 6th, 2015 at 2:42 PM ^

This is going to be a janky offense for the first half of the season at least, and anybody who thought differently wasn't paying attention.  I suspect now that Rudock will get first crack starting, but every QB's success relies on these WRs going from meh-at-best competent.  I know people were killing Funchess last year, but if you look at his stats compared to the rest of the receiving core it is kinda terrifyng.  

The fact Norfleet didn't even get a shot at WR is the perfect coda to a terribly-unfortunate career.  He probably was a bit overrated by this blog, but the skills are there to be better than the career he's had outside of returns, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was one of those FA signings in the NFL who wound up making a little noise on a roster.  

The back situation seems in flux, but I agree that Smith could be a good fit in this system.  Frank Gore was never a speed demon but he thrived at SF because he didn't go down quickly and could run through holes.  Green seems a bit loss to me right now, and who knows about Isaac.  End-of-last-season Johnson would be the likely starter, but coming off your second ACL surgery isn't a recipe for success.

I'll admit I'm a little disappointed there hasn't been a more public discussion of Glasgow's punishment; regardless of the level of the offense, violating your drunking-related parole by showing up legally intoxicated for your sobriety testing deserves more than some stair running in the morning, or at least some explanation as to why that is sufficient.

 

Space Coyote

April 6th, 2015 at 2:50 PM ^

I do largely believe that coaches know what is best for kids. Some guys really shouldn't be away from the team. Sometimes running steps is a lot more effective than missing practices. I can buy into any of that, honestly, and not just for the Michigan coaches. But I think violating a drinking-related offense by showing up quite drunk should come with some missed games. Back for spring practice? No problem with it. But I think he should be out a game or two as well.

bronxblue

April 6th, 2015 at 3:32 PM ^

Yeah, I agree that some kids need to be surrounded by the team to keep them in line, or at least give them some sense of community.  Given his history, it is not an unfair statement to make that Glasgow might have an issue drinking excessively, and that needs to be addresssed.  Personally, I'm not a big fan of the blanket "the guy just needs to feel accepted" line of reasoning with offenses like this, as it fosters the notion that performance on the field means more than individual players, papering over real problems as long as they have eligiblity.  Not saying that's the case here, but I'd just like more information about what they are going to do about him, not just "internal punishment" and leave it at that.  This might have worked in the 80s and 90s when fans had limited access and an ability to be heard, but in 2015 fans are sophisticated enough to care and want some reasonable amount of information on a public transgression.

funkywolve

April 6th, 2015 at 6:20 PM ^

I think the offense will be a little shaky early in the year.  I also think though that people are being a bit pessimistic cause the oline was a grab bag.  It's been a challenge to put one good oline on the field the last 3 years so why anyone would think a couple of mish mashed oline units would look good at the spring game is puzzling. 

The oline wasn't awful last year and actually started to show some promise over about the last 1/3rd or so of the season.  Miller's departure is a bit of setback, but I think the pieces are there to have a decent to possibly pretty good line.  QB was going to be an issue no matter who the head coach was going to be in 2015.