WTKA Roundtable 10/12/2017: Be More Like Fran

Submitted by Seth on October 12th, 2017 at 11:36 AM

Getting this out right away because we have an MGoPodcast tonight.


[Eric Upchurch]

Things discussed:

  • Sadness, despair, hate, turnovers. O’Korn took sacks when he didn’t have to, missed open guys in front of his face.
  • Offensive pass interference committed with impunity.
  • Offensive line problems aren’t going away: have to scheme around the bad protection. Craig suggests going to the Vikings RB receiver offense.
  • Time spent on inside zone all offseason was wasted. Stuff that worked was what worked in 2015.
  • What more can you want than DPJ running a fly just down the numbers?
  • The receivers: they’re missing Black, got a guy in Perry, Crawford is out there blocking but not receiving well. DPJ needs to get some of those targets. These guys need to be better coached.
  • Not getting Evans or DPJ the ball in space.
  • Michigan had no quarterback run game in this game: MSU ignored O’Korn on the zone read and he’s a good runner.
  • How much credit to Michigan State? Not bad for an offseason catastrophe, but they won by four when up five on turnovers and up 10 on luck stuff. They’re a 6-6 or 7-5 team, but they’re not a good team.
  • That’s a sad thing: Michigan has to be a lot better since most of the teams they’ll play the rest of the year are better than these Spartans.
  • More O’Korn: saw the things that lost him his job at Houston. He wasn’t running Michigan’s offense in 2015 when he was generating all the hype because he was on the scout team.
  • Indiana: offensive line is terrible, chuck and pray offense, their defense is going to wreck our offense.

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.




October 12th, 2017 at 12:41 PM ^

O'Korn missed a wide open McKeon seam route for a TD on the play he threw a tight completion to Hill to the right. Also did not notice the TEs used for seam routes more despite that attacking a msu weakness. This is hard to evaluate with the zoomed in camera angles however.

His happy feet didn't really start until the bad weather began. This is promising. His happy feet is still a problem but he ran away from more sacks than he took this game. Like Speight, O'Korn also does not like taking advantage of quick check downs to RBs.

The first interception is surpringly an accurately thrown ball. Crawford, of course, decided to stop running his route as the ball is being thrown which makes this look like a poorly overthrown ball. If Crawford continues his route it hits both his hands in stride. That makes for interception number 2 on the year that is more Crawford's fault than QB.

It looks to me like the wrinkle we added in this game was motioning RBs out to a wide receiver spot often. We took advantage of this once on a hitch to Evans who juked a man and ran for 16. Otherwise this wrinkle seemed ineffective and not used for anything special. Overall the play calling was terrible especially when the rain started. When the run game was moving effectively we decided to attempt to use that to set up a pass, which would fail, and then we would try to pass again to get out of the situation. We never forced the D to completely stop the run and that killed us. Most notably when the rain started and Higdon ran roughly 4 straight times for 25 yards followed by a holding on a pass play next. Run the damn ball.

Goggles Paisano

October 12th, 2017 at 1:47 PM ^

He also had an easy run to the sticks on 3rd and 3 but instead decided to throw it right into Bachy's belly.  The pick he threw that clanged off of Crawford's hand had a wide open McKeon standing behind the first down marker with no one near him.  This was all on the same side of the field where he threw to Crawford.  He is obviously prone to making really bad decisions which is why he is the back up.  He has physical ability but can't take care of the ball.  This team is built for a solid game manager with the ability to make a smart decision when a play breaks down.  

Shop Smart Sho…

October 12th, 2017 at 12:55 PM ^

Yep. That was the point where I started to believe the Brian isn't a huge fan of Ed.

It seems like Ed wanted to be able to argue with Brian, no matter what the argument was based on, so he "reviewed" the film. He just doesn't realize that you can't rewatch one game, one time, and know what the hell you're actually looking at. Brian has been doing this for years, and he still admits that he doesn't understand everything he's seeing in the film.


October 12th, 2017 at 1:02 PM ^

Was an avid Viking fan in the 1970's, and need to correct Craig. The Vikings had a HOF QB named Fran Tarkenton. Kapp left before Foreman came, and Chuck Foreman was a fast half-back, not a fulback. Tarkenton was no JOK. They did have a very innovative offense under Jerry Burns. 


October 12th, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^

...for correcting my error. Tarkenton was the QB with Foreman, Kapp having departed a year or two prior. Tarkenton was a fine passer and fun to watch. No one, not even Staubach, was more able to evade the rush.

 There seemed to be some "bleeding" between Walsh's West Coast offense (at the Bengals with Virgil Carter at first; later at SF) and the ideas coming from Bud Grant and Burns. Both offenses used a RB to stretch the field and occupy a DB(s). Walsh would use big wide receivers (Jerry Rice, most notably) to attack the weakest part of the pass defense, the LBs. Burns used a RB similarly, helping to clear space for "long handoffs" to the other RB.

   In 1975 Foreman, as gifted a receiver at RB as anyone I can recall, caught 75 passes. The other RB, Ed Marinaro, caught another 54. Both were hard to tackle one on one, but Foreman was exceptional.


Blue since BO

October 12th, 2017 at 1:25 PM ^

Seems like our focus in recruiting has been on the defense; tons of four star LB's, CB's, and DE's.  What about the immediate help on the offensive line?  Ekiyor is no sure commit, Filiaga looks like Bushell Beatty, Mayfield is a 2/3 year project and Ruiz isn't good enough to start.  Newsome has a long road in front of him.  I want to stay positive but damn.


October 12th, 2017 at 1:44 PM ^

- Filiaga and Ruiz are Freshman, one of whom they want to redshirt and the other who is competeing with players (Kugler and Onwenu) that have been OK. 

- Don't forget that Onwenu and Bredeson are still Sophmores. They have been OK enough that I would expect Bredeson to be above average next year-- and Onwenu too, if he can manage his conditioning. 

- Spanellis, Hongiford, Hall, Filiaga, Steuber are all freshman. I doubt any of them could provide much of an improvement over what Ulizio is doing now-- especially not enough to rip off the redshirt. 

- The problem is the lack of second year tackles, which is where the loss of Devery Hamilton and Erik Swenson really hurt us. 

- Man, if transfer OL were a thing that worked, an average, starting-quality OT would make everyone feel much beter about next season. 



October 12th, 2017 at 1:44 PM ^

I've said this elsewhere, but O'Korn is not a real run threat. He averaged 1.1 yards per carry stuff Houston. He's more elusive than Speight, but the idea defenses need to care about mobility out of the pocket isn't backed up by any available evidence.

Goggles Paisano

October 12th, 2017 at 1:53 PM ^

He is faster and more agile than Wilton, but Wilton has that uncanny ability to get out of trouble when the pocket breaks down.  Similar to Roethlisberger.  JOK - not so much.  

I am curious to see how Speight comes back from his injury after watching from the sidelines.  This experience can really change his focus to where he becomes very driven this offseason.  And of course the opposite is also possible - but interesting to see how this impacts him.  


October 12th, 2017 at 2:15 PM ^

I don't think focus is an issue for him.  I think having a bad offensive line and limited skill position players had a bigger impact.

Michigan will have to figure out the other 10 positions as much as the QB, and until they do I don't think there is anyone on the roster demonstrably better suited to be successful.


October 12th, 2017 at 2:06 PM ^

Y'all are clinical. Seek help. 

Sparty whooped Michigan on national television, prime time. 

What's that? 8 of the last 10? Harbaugh's only ever beaten them when they were that 3-9 dumpster fire? 

But sure, turnovers, luck. If that's what you have to tell yourself. 

Here's the truth: this isn't a well coached team. This isn't a well recruited team. Just imagine what things would be like if Harbaugh hadn't snagged Don Brown. 

But if it makes you feel any better, Harbaugh will be gone after year 5. Dude always leaves. Always. Then Michigan can get a coach who gets it done on the field, not on Twitter. 


October 12th, 2017 at 2:54 PM ^

and can't take care of the ball and that leads to half field reads or one read and a check down, then why not do that with Peters?

Isn't what O'Korn did akin to not having command of the offense?  This team's defense is good enough that the main priority for the QBs at this stage should be protecting the ball, IMO.  I don't think O'Korn gives them the best chance of that.  He has too much gun slinger in his DNA. 

I do agree with the sentiment ED (I believe it was ED) had with getting the RBs involved in the passing game more. 


October 12th, 2017 at 3:11 PM ^

People assume "taking care of the ball" is something easy players can start or stop doing.  You put a RS freshman out there, he isn't going to just default to "eat a bunch of sacks when necessary, but also throw out of bounds when necessary, but also sometimes make plays to half the field when necessary, but also find the proper release valve to get some positive yards when possible".  He's going to be a worse version of O'Korn, who is a worse version of Speight.  None of those guys wants to throw the ball away, or fumble, or otherwise play poorly.  But good defenses and bad offenses cause those bad decisions to occur, and that's what would happen with anyone under center.


October 12th, 2017 at 3:47 PM ^

I don't assume that, hat is why I said I don't think O'Korn can.  I think he is a gun-slinger who has proven that he will force balls downfield into tight windows.   

My point is, if the coaching staff does start to pare down the playbook, to half field reads or quick reads and check downs as they discussed on the podcast (don't know if the staff will, this is just speculation) then why not do that with Peters?  Because, I have read on here multiple times the issue with Peters is he doesn't have command of the offense, well if the offense has to be scaled down for O'Korn, then isn't that the same thing as not having command of it?

My overall point, I guess, is that if you are going to change things around why not do it around youth to build towards something. 

It is all most likely a moot point as I don't think Harbaugh will change his offense.  And I dont necassarily think he should, definatly not long term. 


October 12th, 2017 at 5:26 PM ^

I agree to an extent, but I don't think the issue with O'Korn is that he doesn't understand the offense as much as he (like Speight before him) doesn't trust a lot of the other players on the team to the degree he needs to, and so you see stare-downs and bailing from decent pockets.  We saw it with Gardner; he got spooked after a while, and so when the line actually held up and guys were open, he flaked at times.  It wasn't his fault by any means.

I say, ride it out with O'Korn unless he just craters and plan on 2018 being a fresh start.  I have been one of the more vocal critics of O'Korn around here and I still think there's a QB between Purdue and MSU in him, and that QB wins you 10 games with this defense.


October 15th, 2017 at 2:27 AM ^

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