The Verdict Is, Unfortunately, In

Submitted by Brian on October 26th, 2009 at 11:46 AM

10/24/2009 – Michigan 10, Penn State 35 – 5-3, 1-3 Big Ten

kevin-koger-drop

In my memory I have one hazy previous version of that thing from Saturday: I remember James Whitley was returning punts. He'd put a few on the turf here and there already but people were still in the "that's not enough data" phase and willing to give him a chance. On this day, whatever day it was, it was a little wet and Whitley fumbled. And fumbled again. And fumbled again. He finally got yanked and I think his replacement fumbled. I don't remember the opponent or the final score but I do remember that Michigan fumbled 12 times on the day and the stadium had 110,000 people in it who would have set a world record for most eye-rolls at an event if only someone was tracking it.

I don't know if it's a self-preservation technique for my brain, but Saturday's game is almost as hazy as that decade-old debacle. I have to squint to remember anything more specific than a single play on which a tight end drops a pass that Denard Robinson fumbles to a Penn State player who throws to a ridiculously wide open player that a linebacker is attempting, and failing, to cover. On the extra point, David Moosman snaps it through the endzone or something. I think the brain is attempting to prevent itself from getting bashed against the wall. I think the brain is wise to do this.

As the man says, mama said there'd be days like this.

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

When Michigan had just beaten Notre Dame and it seemed like the Irish were a team destined for an easy BCS bid instead of one that will win or lose on the last play against anyone except Nevada, hopes bloomed across the Wolverine diaspora. Personally, I remember contemplating an Alamo or Outback with Tim on the giggly post-Notre Dame podcast, and that was an explicitly keep-your-pants on sort of prediction.

How are everyone's pants now? Firmly adhered to various bits of your anatomy, I'm guessing. Stayin' there for at least two weeks. Waiting for Michigan to outgain an opponent in a conference featuring letters other than M, A, and C before relaxing to non-tourniquet levels.

So, yeah, Penn State was kind of a comedown. At this point it's undeniable: Michigan isn't good. Though well removed from the nuclear apocalypse they were last year, this is probably the second- or third-worst team at Michigan in 40 years, give or take a 2005 or 1984. That's disappointing after the mirage of the first few games, but it's not surprising. The reasons why have been detailed in this space and many others, before the season and during it: freshman quarterbacks, new defensive coordinator, terrifying defensive depth chart. Preseason predictions of 7-5 factored in the idea that Rodriguez was a good coach in a big hole.

And though Michigan's on pace to meet those expectations, it was the sort of weekend where I studiously avoid the internet for a day afterwards and am then immediately, repeatedly reminded of why when I break the boycott the day after. Many caps, much emotion, etc.  I've got a few emails in the inbox from folks who annoyed the commentariat and got neg-banged under the 20-point threshold at which you can start your own threads, most of which say I can kiss the ass of the user in question*. You've been on the internet. You know. It's always the last thing that happened that will always keep happening forever.

Your personal level of outrage depends on how much blame you apportion to Rodriguez, Carr, Bill Martin (for handing a Carr team to Rodriguez), and/or general bloody-minded fate, and how quickly you think 3-9 turns into a good football team. Ugh. Isn't it tedious to go through this again? Anyone who's read this blog for a while knows it falls—or at least attempts to fall—on the ruthlessly logical side of things, adds this latest game to the pile of data, shifts its opinion a little bit, and continues believing that Rich Rodriguez is a good coach put in a really tough situation.

As Michigan progresses further into the Rodriguez era the amount of blame that can be laid at the feet of people other than the head coach decreases. It's not to the point where much of it is Rodriguez's fault, in my e-pinion. There are many teams that have looked bad with freshman quarterbacks and many more that have looked atrocious starting five underclassmen, one of them a walk-on, on defense. Michigan is in the middle part of the curve here, and if you're pointing to extreme outliers like Paul Johnson and complaining you are purposefully shutting out data that disagrees with your thesis and—well, and here we go again. I argue against the legions of people on the internet who don't like it when Michigan loses and have poor impulse control, the reader agrees for a bit and then gets annoyed that this column is wasting its time on that sort of thing, etc etc etc. We did this last year. A lot.

This is the first time we've done it in 2009, eight games in, and that represents progress of a sort. The progress on the field is equally obvious: hack out the game against Baby Seal U and Michigan is averaging 80 more yards per game than they did last year; they've only gotten throttled once. They haven't lost to a 3-9 MAC team. They beat a team with a winning record. They aren't going to be 3-9 themselves. By the standards of Michigan past this is a disaster of a year, but the only relevant team in relation to this one is 2008. This year is not evidence Rodriguez is a bad coach.

*(Seriously, multiple negbang victims have deployed "kiss my ass" in their emails. Does this signify that most of the victims are of a certain age? I can't imagine anyone under 30 telling someone to do that; the kids these days are more likely to break out the heavy artillery. One very tenuous suggestion that the older you are, the less patience you have. Which, obviously.)

BULLETS

  • Rodriguez bitches, I've got a few:

    I'm fine with deploying Robinson, but Michigan has to be more flexible with him. The difference between second and nine, when a Robinson run is still a plausible threat, and third and nine, when it isn't, is obvious: second down is an open seam that Koger (argh) drops; third down is a horrible interception. Bringing Robinson in is fine—he was effective, the third and long was the result of a penalty and a drop—but once it's a passing down, Forcier's got to come in.

    Aigh spike. I thought the running plays that got Michigan down to first and goal were plausible; I was iffy about the call on first and goal, and disliked the second-down call, but understand that at that point you're really operating at speed and split-second decisions aren't always correct. From the three with the clock running and no timeouts my instinct is to pass because one way or the other the clock stops afterwards. After fumbling, though, a spike with 13 seconds left is pretty maddening. If you're going to run the ball, you have to have a pass play ready to go that you can just call.

    I still think that Rodriguez's game theory stuff is pretty good, far better than Carr's; at least the mistakes he makes are of the quick-decision, (usually) slightly-too-aggressive variety. He didn't punt from the freakin' 33, as JoePa did Saturday and Carr did plenty.

  • Did anyone else have a strangely positive impression of the run game after it was all over? The box score is illuminating: Brown, Minor, and Robinson combine to average 4.3 YPC; Forcier ends up with ten yards on 14 carries because of a lot of sacks. Brown also had a 20 yard run called back for an illegal formation. I'll take that against Penn State; the main problem with the run game this year has been an inability to get Minor and Brown more carries. They should be combining for 35 carries, not 20.
  • Bonus: that was accomplished with Molk missing all but three plays.
  • Meanwhile, Royster had 100 yards but averaged just 3.1 YPC after his 41-yard opener, which I'm pretty sure will be a huge screwup by Jonas Mouton. That's the defense's MO: pretty good physically, doesn't get pushed around consistently, prone to massive breakdowns.
  • I don't think Forcier was nearly as bad as the numbers. He got crushed by drops, which were legion and extremely important. Third and long conversions clattered to the turf after bouncing through people's arms. Those are something close to turnovers in terms of overall negative impact on the game.
  • Also close to turnovers: turnovers. Note that this site's suggested that turnovers are largely random but there are two things that consistently cause them: pressure and inexperienced quarterbacks. Michigan's got plenty of the latter. I expected Michigan to move towards the middle this year but remain somewhat negative. They've not done the former. They're 105th in turnover margin at almost –1 per game.
  • Obi Ezeh's job might be coming under threat. Multiple times in the second half he was pulled for Fitzgerald, first for just one play and then for a few; each time Hopson pulled him aside and explained various things to him. I don't really blame him for the Quarless touchdown; what the hell was Michigan doing send him in man coverage on Quarless without safety help? Was there supposed to be safety help? I don't know.
  • Robinson's tendency to send six or even seven guys on third down is catching up to Michigan. There was the first Moeaki touchdown, on which Iowa had a playcall specifically designed to burn an all-hands blitz, and then there were a couple instances against Penn State where an all-hands blitz was easily anticipated and exploited; Graham Zug was the main beneficiary. That was the main thing that got him open. Careful what you wish for, I guess.
  • What in the hell is with Donovan Warren playing ten yards off the line of scrimmage? Penn State had eight free yards whenever they ran a long. I was iffy on Robinson when he was hired. While I'm willing to give them a chance and it's obvious that there's almost no way this defense could be good, stuff like that and the bubble screen mania against Michigan State are really disturbing. I have no idea what you could be running in which it's a good idea to play your top cornerback so far off the LOS that you're giving Penn State second and two.
  • Not that anyone affiliated with Penn State will notice, but they were the recipient of some questionable calls. Didn't matter, obviously.
  • Cissoko returned and Michigan showed its first semblance of a situational substitution all year: on obvious passing downs he would replace Williams and Woolfolk would drop back to safety.
  • Speaking of Williams: he's basically the only scholarship player left at safety, and I know he was a four-star but you can't just point to one high-rated recruit and claim things should be better; recruits don't always pan out. To really be assured of talent at a position you need two or three high-rated guys, or at least veterans.
  • The play on which Donovan Warren was shoved into Junior Hemingway needs to be a penalty. As we saw, it's dangerous as hell. Kick catch interference should extend to people you're blocking into the returner.

Comments

Section 1

October 26th, 2009 at 2:17 PM ^

1. I am not someone who doubted that Penn State was the better team on Saturday.

2. YOU are the guy who brought up officiating, with the absurd conclusion that Michigan somehow qualifies as the unique beneficiary, in all of the Big Ten, for favorable gifts on questionable calls by football officials. It isn't true, it has never been true, and if you had seen a lifetime of Big Ten football, you'd know that. And yes, in that assertion, you were being absurd.

If you are still nursing psychological wounds from 2007, my condolences. Therapy, is my advice for you. Try whatever worked for you after the 1997 mayhem in State College.

Rom53

October 26th, 2009 at 5:54 PM ^

Several posters here did in regard to the "missed call" on a Michigan player being "pushed into" another UofM player, ad nauseum.I merely pointed out that if you line up the entire Big Ten and you have a shred of objectivity you'll have to realize, whether or not you concede it, that nobody gets more favorable calls than UofM and OSU and you'll have a hell of a time in another Big Ten city that it's not the case.

I have a spot of therapy for you (and by the way, I was mistaken, it was 2005). Try just once to admit that a better team beat you and stop coming up with every possible scenario that ends up with PSU not getting deserved credit for handing UofM their ass. I know it's a stretch in Ann Arbor but give it a try, just for the novelty of it.

M-Wolverine

October 26th, 2009 at 7:02 PM ^

No one was saying those calls cost us the game. You're missing the irony you're helping prove by bringing up all those other "bad calls"...because all people were saying that if there's this conspiracy against PSU and Michigan gets all the calls, explain those calls. People just didn't think there'd be anyone stupid enough to take the bait after a WIN.

Coming from a fanbase that has stated for years that the League hates them and is out to get them, I don't see how you can claim a clear head of objectivity. Your sample size of other Big Ten cities is illogical too, as they probably aren't objective about teams they hate...and if you did take such a poll they'd all agree that PSU fans delude themselves when they drop their paranoid ramblings on the Internet? Would you accept that objectivity?

Till you're conducting scientific polls across the country, and not just Big Ten cities, please spare us your faux facts and other nonsense.

M-Wolverine

October 26th, 2009 at 3:53 PM ^

"We've been beaten several times and my only conclusion was UofM was the better team on that day."

Yet you're on here complaining about the officiating in various games. Which is it? All the whine and sour grapes reside in Happy Valley it seems....as well as the hypocrisy.

umchicago

October 26th, 2009 at 4:03 PM ^

me thinks you need your memory refreshed. 2007??? I believe that was the game Mallett started and UM won 14-9. UM's final score came in the 3rd Qtr. Don't know how clock could be an issue.

If you're referring to 2005, UM had 49 penalty yds to PSU's 35. PSU rec'd 3 first downs as a result of penalty; UM rec'd zero. cry me a river about the unfair officiating. and adding the time was the absolute right call at the end of the game. the coaches were calling time out on the sideline.

jblaze

October 26th, 2009 at 1:45 PM ^

There are a ton of QBs from Southern California or the south that play well in cold weather. This isn't an issue, especially with the technology in clothing today.

Names that come to mind, Tom Brady, Eli Manning (Louisiana, S. Miss), Jimmy Clausen, Mark Sanchez...

Seth

October 26th, 2009 at 1:58 PM ^

Are you a visiting Penn State fan?

Because a couple PSU games are the ONLY times in recent memory when Michigan ended up with "home cookin" that affected the outcome (and if you throw out the outcome quotient, you're only really adding MSU 2008).

Ending up on the business end of bad calls, especially at home, is like Michigan's thing, man! The most ridiculous ones are like part of the lore around here. We've spent enough CO2 to warm the atmosphere 2 degrees in bashing ourselves for not being loud enough and letting such things happen, etc.

Except like twice against Penn State, which is why I seem to only hear this kind of thing from Penn State fans, which is why I think you might be one of them.

Also, it seemed like penalty discussion was like your central issue. That just screams Nittany Lion to me. Again, it's as hard or harder to prove this than the other thing, but to my knowledge, having had this conversation before amongst many Big Ten fans, while it's hard to really know who gets more or less home cookin, it is a generally plausible and shared hypothesis that Penn State fans bitch about officiating more than any fans of any sports team in history.

Rom53

October 26th, 2009 at 2:04 PM ^

I like PSU and anybody who plays OSU or ND so I have to concede to rooting for UofM on at least one occasion every year, two if you play ND.

I've also coached football at three levels (midget, high school and semi-pro) for thirty years so I'm fairly qualified to recognize home cookin.

And 2007 stands as the greatest case of home cookin anyone has ever seen.

Seth

October 26th, 2009 at 2:43 PM ^

Yeah, um, okay, well, so I called that one, /smugness.

After posting that, though, I figured it would probably be better to have some data to back up what I said.

So: http://poll.pollcode.com/2RM

If it's not too much hassle, would you mind going over to wherever on the Internets is considered the Penn State water cooler, and spreading the link around? I'm trying to get 100 % conference participation.

Durham Blue

October 26th, 2009 at 3:06 PM ^

The argument against recruiting warm weather kids to cold weather schools is B.S. Some of our best players over the years have been kids that grew up in warmer weather (Tom Brady, Steve Everitt, Donovan Warren, Tripp Welborne, and the list goes on and on). And Martavious Odoms is one of, if not the best, receiver on the team. And he's getting better as we progress through the season. So, I just don't buy any argument that claims warm weather kids will fail or drop off in the cold, just because they're not accustomed to the cold.

Chilly weather has NOTHING to do with Tate Forcier's performance against PSU and everything to do with the fact that he is a true freshman with an O line that is not pass protecting very well right now.

EZMIKEP

October 26th, 2009 at 1:05 PM ^

Robinson just isn't ever going to be QB. I don't care if he is the fastest player in the Big 10. Hes just incapable of playing the QB position at this level & its only nice to have him as a safety net for injury this year incase we lost Tate entirely. In my opinion he needs to be our Percy Harvin in the future & I wouldn't be surprised if Devin doesn't redshirt as many have predicted because of Robinson performance to date. They are going to need some depth & I think it's crazy how many people conversating on the boards have said they wanna see him start instead of Tate. They must not be watching the same football I games I am. I don't care if he is a freshman, I see no sign of him getting dramatically better in one year.

oakapple

October 26th, 2009 at 1:48 PM ^

In most programs, Robinson wouldn't see the field as a true freshman. I remember when true freshmen weren't even allowed to play. Now, we've got forecasts of his entire career based on spot-duty in a season where he didn't even have the benefit of spring practice.

Whether Devin Gardner redshirts is probably more about Forcier than Robinson. If Forcier plays well in 2010, there's no point in burning Gardner's chance to redshirt.

bronxblue

October 26th, 2009 at 1:59 PM ^

While I agree that he will probably be used as a Percy Harvin-type in the future, he has not been that bad. People look at his stats and wonder why he plays QB, but he has been the victim of far more drops the last few weeks than Forcier, given the number of pass attempts. Against Iowa, he had a bad drop right before the game-ending INT, and that pass to Koger was certainly catchable and should be brought down in light of, well, this. You ignore the fact that he is a freshman, as if Forcier pre-injury was standard operating procedure for freshman signal callers. DR has not disappointed me once this year - he plays pretty well given his lack of experience, and I think he could be a solid QB in this offense if guys like Forcier and Gardner were not also heavily involved.

fatbastard

October 26th, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

a response to that. I mean WTF? He has been awful at any point he has been asked to pass. I give him credit for seeing Koger wide open, but, man, you just can't air mail that ball over the receiver's head when he's that open.

Denard has been flat out bad. I don't know how you could say otherwise, or how you could say he has not disappointed you once this year.

I assume the last sentence is intended to mean that if he were a full time qb instead of situational, he'd be better. Probably true. But ever so, the offense would be so heavily run oriented that we could never come back from a deficit. The Iowa game alone should tell you what happens when you ask Denard to be a passing qb.

EZMIKEP

October 26th, 2009 at 4:11 PM ^

He has shown that his inability to read defenses & his lack of accuracy or just proper mechanics just can't be corrected as quick if at all & he has more ability than Denard does. So looking at it from the evidence that has been given to us through 7 games I don't see any other conclusion. I know a lot of people disagree but I just truly don't see how. Especially if we are trying to be good sooner than later. And I also agree on the statement about the Iowa game. People might say it was one game but it was the last time I wanna see that kid in a situation like that ever again. He has had more than that one game to show if he is a at least a competent game manager & came up in the no im not everytime. I just think the people who don't see it yet are still too impressed by his athleticism & the fact that hes not Sheridan. If this kid was the starter from day one & Tate wasn't here they would be screaming for his head by now.

mbee1

October 26th, 2009 at 1:13 PM ^

My biggest problem with the corners playing off is that it was to the boundary, or the near side of the field. With the wide hashes in college, that's a 15 yard throw. An 8th-grade team could make that play against that coverage and still gain 4 yards.

Section 1

October 26th, 2009 at 1:42 PM ^

I didn't see you make any mention of Craig Roh, who appears to have been benched somewhat as the game progressed. He appeared to have been mostly neutralized, or else he wasn't part of the defensive scheme in the second half.

Roh's been a really great freshman for much of the year. On Satruday, he just looked like a freshman to me. Saturday might have been the general 2009 low point for our freshman starters and two-deep players.

jim48315

October 26th, 2009 at 1:48 PM ^

"This year is not evidence Rodriguez is a bad coach."

Everything relevant is evidence. More is required before an accurate assessment can be made.

The opener's opening kickoff gave me great hope, as the kids were running and tackling, instead of loping and grabbing. But there remain problems.

Having only (not very good) television coverage to see, it is hard to tell whether some of the passing problems are failure of receivers to break open, or, worse, receivers running wrong patterns which cause them to be bunched in areas with many defenders. Too many times it looks like two M receivers are in each other's zones, bring defenders with them. Receivers who get open quickly make QBs and OLs look better; QBs who are outstanding make WRs and OLs look better; top-flight OLs can make QBs and WRs look better. It is synergistic. I rely on the blogger to inform me, either by looking at film or asking the coaches.

Fundamentals are not what I would hope to see. The receivers too often fail to catch with their hands, too often start running before securing the ball, too often wait for the ball to get to them instead of going for it (yes, I know there are situations where that might cost an important two feet or even two yards). The tacklers too often reach out to grab at instead of running all the way to the ball carrier, and too often drop to their knees prior to contact. These are coaching issues. One of the toughest things for young players is to understand that they no longer are head and shoulders better than the other players on the field, and that they must do it right in order to succeed against the better athletes they are now facing. And it is coaching that has to get that across to them. Woodley didn't seem to get that point until his final season. When Tom Brady first got a lot of playing time, he struggled with getting the ball to the RBs on handoffs. Forcier and Robinson from time to time attempt what they could get away with in HS, and, while that is understandable, it is also why they sometimes make what look to us like silly plays.

There are too many penalties of the type that should never happen. Lining up incorrectly should not happen, and certainly no individual player should be penalized for that more than once. But Ortmann has been called for being off the LOS at least 3 times that I saw, and I don't watch 100% of 100% of the games. Holding penalties on running plays, especially in the red zone ( I haven't this year seen Michigan get one in a goal line situation, but Iowa did against MSU), are inexcusable. All the player needs do is not reach around behind the defender, or, easier yet, close his fists. I know even in the NFL there are dummies who block in the back on kicks, but, again, those are inexcusable.

As for recruiting issues, what you recruit isn't always what you end up with, for good or ill. Dave Gallagher was supposed to be a LB and almost didn't get a scholarship. Randy Logan came as an offensive player. Jay Riemersma for two or three years rode the bench as an aspiring QB. Ian Gold was listed as a RB for at least one, and probably two years. Rich Strenger came as a TE, was behind Parris and Muransky until he was in his last year of eligibility, and was All Big 10 OT and went to the Lions where he started for several years. And there are many others.

IMO where Lloyd was failing as things went on was he endured asistant coaches who were ineffective teachers (Andy Moeller as an OL coach leaps to the front) out of loyalty (or nepotism). Along those lines, I also noticed a lot of Detroit Catholic Central (where I went before Brian was born) kids on the roster, but, in fairness, some of them may have been walkons. And Joe Sgroi became a very good LS. Carr, as you may know, nearly became DCC's coach before coming to UM, and his son Jason went there, too. But loyalty in college football is important, so kids who take until their 3d and 4th, and sometimes 5th years, to develop (e.g., Strenger) stay and do the hard work necessary to do that developing, instead of leaving for perceived greener pastures. Or quitting.

What it is starting to look like to me is that RR is very clever at devising offensive schemes, but maybe not so good at developing players, except perhaps spread QBs and slot receivers. As such, he is going to have to get some top-flight position coaches. There are also weather issues. West Virginia is not all that much balmier than Ann Arbor, but it looks like we are coming out of the cycle of mild autumns we have enjoyed the past several years, and returning to colder, wetter weather. Michigan's four seasons really are (1) nearly winter, (2) winter, (3) still winter, and (4) road construction. And while the Big 10 may be full of "frauds", they are still frauds (especially, MSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin) who are physically punishing, more so than many other places. But RR does look ambitious and willing to work hard, and he will probably get better as he learns.

Oh, final thought. On the play Moosman snapped it out of the endzone, his apparent assignment was a reach block on a DL in a 3 technique. Isn't that an unusual risk on a play from one's own goal line?

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

October 26th, 2009 at 1:50 PM ^

I think on the Quarless touchdown, there was supposed to be safety help but the safety (Kovacs, I think) moved outside when he saw the receiver take off running downfield and didn't expect the tight end to be the guy streaking deep instead. I remember the announcers pointing out the cover 2, and in the replay, the safety was drifting outside and by the time he saw where the deep man was going, he was ten yards away, moving toward the line, and about level with Quarless. Can't fault Ezeh, he sprinted downfield as best he could but he's a linebacker.

Beavis

October 26th, 2009 at 1:57 PM ^

For whatever reason, this post had a little bit more of "the sky is falling" than I would have hoped, Brian.

Molk injury is rough, though. Damn... Moosman and Tate better get together on the shotgun snap. I don't want to see one more fuck up on that all season (it's quickly becoming last season's "catch the damn ball!!!" on special teams).

InterM

October 26th, 2009 at 2:17 PM ^

Am I remembering incorrectly, or was the play prior to the spike (the one where Tate fumbled) supposed to be a pass play? Not that there aren't grounds to criticize what went down in the last series of plays before the half, but I don't think they were running the ball at that point. Whatever the prior play call, however, I agree that it should have been possible to take a shot at the end zone on third down, rather than spiking the ball, but I assume the coaches thought Tate was too discombobulated at that point (having just fumbled) to run a real play.

Stymie2000

October 26th, 2009 at 2:18 PM ^

He's not 100%, the game is lost, what was the point of having him in at the very end? Maybe I could see keeping him in for game experience if he was healthy; maybe. But he's hurting and exposed. He took one hit towards the end that I'm sure didn't help matters. I think that this should also be noted as a bad coaching decision.

Durham Blue

October 26th, 2009 at 2:40 PM ^

mirrors one of Brian's. When we stick with the running game, we magically have a pretty good offense. I wish RR would ride Minor and Brown, and to a lesser extent Forcier and DRob, until we are forced to punt. I think we need to do this on at least two or three possessions per game. It wouldn't bother me one bit if we ran on 3rd and 10. Next season, it might bother me. However, this season we need to go with what works.

raleighwood

October 26th, 2009 at 9:09 PM ^

It drives me crazy that Minor and Brown (or Shaw) don't get more carries. Forcier ran the ball 14 times against MSU. Brown and Minor combined for 10 carries in that game. Are you kidding? I agree with Brian that Michigan's primary RB's need to get the ball 35 times per game.

Steve in PA

October 26th, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^

Living in PSU territory I've had to listen to Daryll Clark breaking down the game every :30 on local radio. He sorta laughs as he talks about Michigan's coverage and I'm looking for the audio to post on here.

He says...We knew they were going to run basically two coverages and we practiced for them all week. We knew they would run a lot of 2-deep with the safeties split REALLY wide which would open up the middle.

We've got a bad AND predictable defense.

Feat of Clay

October 26th, 2009 at 3:07 PM ^

Is this just sensitivity/homerism to be bothered by that? Clark's gloating comments irk me. It's unseemly, to smugly describe how easy we made it for them. I don't care if it's true; I thought the norm was to make up some gentlemanly b.s. about how your well-and-truly beaten opponent posed a challenge to your team in some way.

InterM

October 26th, 2009 at 3:59 PM ^

Take-home message from Clark's comments -- he's nothing special, and thrives only against the most predictable and error-ridden defenses. Funny, you'd think he'd want to give himself some credit, rather than attributing his success to the other guy's f***-ups. Maybe we should admire his modesty?

M1EK

October 26th, 2009 at 4:42 PM ^

Funny, I was looking for just one place where Brian indicated that Penn State had a very good team (better than he thought, perhaps) and didn't find one. A couple of commenters got to it, eventually, but most of y'all still think you owned the win by birthright but just choked against your other little brother.

M1EK

October 26th, 2009 at 4:55 PM ^

"You guys were b - b - b - b - b"

"Ah, screw it. You only won because we played poorly!"

You see how me and RUTS talked about Iowa up there? That's how you talk about teams that line up and beat you - teams that are better than you thought they were; teams that played better than you did (no, not just because you choked). Seems like the Michigan Man could use a refresher on the Man part.

InterM

October 27th, 2009 at 1:49 PM ^

Oddly enough, we are focusing here, at this Michigan blog, on things that Michigan did wrong (and right). No doubt you can direct me to a PSU blog where I can read a thorough and fascinating discussion about what teams other than PSU are doing right and wrong. Heck, there's probably a whole section of their board devoted to tips-of-the-hat to the fine play of other teams. Since you've got that covered, we can devote our attention -- again, at this Michigan blog -- to what our team is doing.

Doesn't it seem just a tad bit "little brother"-ish to come looking for validation of your team's performance at another school's blog?

bronxblue

October 26th, 2009 at 3:13 PM ^

Eh, Clark is talking to a rather partisan crowd and is probably playing it up a bit. Iowa basically runs the same defense against every team, yet Clark threw a couple of picks and looked lost out there. I'm sure PSU knew what they were going to run; Iowa just ran it better than UM did. In this day and age, every team should "know" what the other team is going to do on offense and defense - there might be a few wrinkles here or there, but for the most part it is the same base coverages. Clark may need to brush up on its radio tact a bit, but when you throw for a career high in TDs, I guess you can gloat a bit.