Hoke for Tomorrow Is Not Surprised (Iowa)

Submitted by Lordfoul on November 6th, 2011 at 9:29 AM


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” 
Albert Einstein


Learn from yesterday...

So that happened.  I had promised myself before the game that I wasn't going to get all emotionally invested in the outcome.  I could feel the disappointment coming all week.  Iowa was coming off of a loss that made them look much worse than they really are and Michigan was traveling to their house.  Michigan was coming off of a "validating" win over an overmatched Purdue squad, were already assured of a bowl invite, and had equaled last year's win total already.  There was no question which team had the most to play for and the game was sure to reflect that.  No surprise: it did.

I was actually impressed that Michigan picked themselves up and made just enough plays to give themselves a chance to win in the end.  All things being equal, this game should have hinged on a 2pt conversion attempt and possible overtime.  Of course at Kinnick all things are seldom equal, and the refs took matters in to their own hands in this one.  The pass interference non-calls were bad enough, (I especially liked the one that led to Denard's interception and the last play of the game, oh - and the one that they called and then picked up the flag) but the gutless decision to rob Hemingway of his TD with 7 seconds left was just obscene.  The league should force retirement on the guy in the booth at the least.

So I ended up invested emotionally despite my intent not to be, because this team deserves it.  They came out flat, without focus, dropped passes, missed reads, and generally played as poorly as the circumstances would predict - and stood up when they had to and made plays.  They made big 3rd and 4th down stops on defense.  The offense woke up and drove down the field in the 4th quarter.  They gave themselves a chance.  And when the refs took the game away in the end, I raged at the unfairness of it all, but I was not surprised.


Live for Today…

Several players/coaches should take particular pride in their accomplishments yesterday:

  1. The Defense - Stood tall after looking like they would be getting gashed early.  Gave up only 302 yards to Iowa in the end and kept Michigan in the game.  Individual players were victimized at times but as a unit the defense played very well.
  2. Kelvin Grady - Made two clutch grabs towards the end of the game to keep Michigan driving.  Really all of the receivers deserve note, even Hemingway who made the potentially game-tying catch in circus-style only to have it ripped away by terrible officiating.
  3. Denard Robinson - Finally had the light go on in the 4th quarter after playing somewhat slow through the first three.  Took command of the game with this arm and his legs in crunch time.  Interception wasn't his fault IMHO as it looked to me like his receiver was being tackled before the ball got there.  Trying to do to much and leaving the ball on the turf was frustrating, but Denard wouldn't be special if he wasn't trying to do too much.
  4. Kenny Demens - Seemed to always be in on the tackles in the middle which bore out in the box score (11 tackles).  Stood up to Coker on 3rd and short, giving Michigan new life.
  5. Greg Mattison - We have a defense and it makes a world of difference.  Mattison is earning his big paycheck.

Hope for Tomorrow

I saw nothing yesterday that diminishes my hope for 9 wins this season and a New Year Day bowl game.  Yes, the division crown is out of reach, but that may prove to be good for Michigan's mindset going forward.  It certainly takes some of the pressure off, hopefully allowing this team to play loose and take 2/3 down the stretch (or better).

This team isn't a world beater.  After watching Alabama-LSU last night the difference is night-and-day.  What is equally true is that no team upcoming on our schedule is really better than us either.  Illinois has less talent and is Coached by the Zooker.  Nebraska just lost to JNW at home and has to come to our house.  Ohio looks worse than any time I can remember and is coming to our place as well.  This team, and this group of seniors, is hungry.  Hungry for success, for a better record than last year, for a win over Ohio, for R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

I think they will make us proud.


Go Blue and stay safe.



November 6th, 2011 at 10:12 AM ^

Illinois is the worst team out of the three, so it's good that the away game is in Champagne.  Out of the other two, we have a Braska team with a spotty quarterback who has to play away, and a freshman coming to the big house for the first time.  Also, if anyone looks up the recent history of Iowa, their home record the last ten years is insane.


November 6th, 2011 at 11:37 AM ^

I agree that Iowa at home is a pretty good team. Even this year alone they are 6-0 at home. Their 3 losses come on the road to Penn State 10 points, Iowa State 3 points, and Minnesota 1 point. Iowa could be 8-1 right now and I don't think you would see the same amount of melodrama about losing to them.

I'm not giving up hope on Michigan. I still think they can finish strong. The big difference for me this year is that we have been in every game we've played. Our 2 losses could have been wins and that makes me optimistic. We've not been blown out this season and Nebraska is probably the only team we have left that could do it. Last year there were a couple times you could see the wind go out of our sails, the players would retreat, the coaches would get a pained look on their faces, the fans would sit down, the game would be over with time left to play, and for me that is the hardest thing to watch.


November 6th, 2011 at 8:02 PM ^

I have to disagree with Nebraska being the only team with potential to blow us out. While I don't think it will happen, OSU's defense could completely stuff our offense. Turnovers and a few breaks have the potential (not liklihood) for that game to get ugly. Having said that, I'm going to the Nebraska game and can't wait for the OSU game.  Here's hoping the team doesn't think like me. I'm hoping their undivided attention is now focused on Illinois. It's cliche but true, one game at a time...


November 6th, 2011 at 10:41 AM ^

The momentum turning point of that game was the turnover before the half. We had some move going our way and were finally moving the ball again then BAM. A more than likely one score deficit at half is jumped to two. 

Secondly, I really disapprove of taking the ball in the 1st and not defering. Yes that leaves you the abiilty to take the crowd out of it, but that presumes your O is not going to go 3 and out.


November 6th, 2011 at 11:06 AM ^

Despite that fact that our QB turned the ball over multiple times again, one was a fumble doing things he makes plays doing.  The other was not a bad throw.  True, he missed some guys on deep throws, but I don't think we ever expected him to be great at that.  If a few of those drops become catches, the TD call/no call goes our way, and Denard looks to have had a decent day.

While I agree that Ohio is down farther than I've seen in almost a decade, and both Nebraska and Illinois are beatable, all of these teams will require our best effort to come out with wins against.  Ohio is still likely our worst matchup unfortunately.  We will  have serious trouble moving the ball against their front, trouble still stopping them from running with their big O-line, and Miller will make enough plays with both his arm and feet to make him hard to defend.  I think it will be closer than in recent years, but I find that to be a tough win for us.  But, my hope is we can at least go .500 against Neb & Ill and possibly win both if we have our A-game on.

As long as we don't lose 4 in a row to finish, and we finish with 8 or better wins, this year was a success and a step forward.  It's always hard to lose to MSU & OSU so many times in a row, but we would have won the games we are supposed to, and won a few that could have gone either way while improving our record from last year and much improving our defense while having a great recruiting class coming in.  All big steps.  Let's make that happen & support our guys!


November 6th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

I agreed with Spielman that Iowa was playing with more emotion than Michigan at least until the fourth quarter when Denard finally got rolling.  Emotion is a powerful thing in college football.  Northwestern was the fired up team vs. Nebraska yesterday.  Michigan has to play like the hungry team in Cham-Bana on Saturday.  Oh yeah, winning the turnover battle will certainly help, too.


November 6th, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

Was that I did not think we played very well, but yet were in the game until the end.

The plan with Denard seems to be a conundrum.  Stay in the pocket while not able to look to secondary receivers or bust out and make a play.  It was clear to me that the coaches placed a strong emphasis on staying in the pocket.

We sure missed an opportunity in the division standings with Nebraska losing at home to Northwestern.

The bottom line is these are a bunch of 19 to 21-year old kids playing a game, the outcome of which depends to a large extent on their collective emotion in any game.  Anything can happen on any given day, so hell yes we can beat Ohio and perhaps close out with three wins.

Am I delusional?

Red is Blue

November 6th, 2011 at 7:02 PM ^

I really don't see the Nebraska loss to NW impacting us much.  We'll be ahead of Nebraska if we can beat them.

I don't think Denard not running during a play originally designed to be a pass is a product of this year's coaching.  I can remember being frustrated a few times last year when he had huge potential gains by scrambling and he threw it anyway.  It seems like he gets in the mindset that it is going to be a pass and so he throws.  His passing is what it is, but I think he could really step up his game by pulling the ball down and taking off sometimes.

Also, while I'm glad he is getting OB more frequently and avoiding shots.  There seemed like at least on time yesterday when he went out and he missed a chance to get at least 5 more yards.




November 6th, 2011 at 11:20 AM ^

Borges to Hoke= Gerg to Rich Rod! So Michigan has some analytical junkies. Can anyone figure this out for Hoke. If he doesn't fire Borges soon his ass will be grass. I was at the Iowa game and had a group of dumb fucks laughing and thanking me for the play calls all game. It is like have Michael Jordan on your basketball team and having me shoot 3 game winners. It is unfuckingacceptable! Borges is a moron, and if Hoke is loyal to him then he will go down. I like Hoke, but we will soon see if he has any brains. He also may want to start working the refs a little bit instead of this we are Michigan and should overcome this bullshit. Fuck! I am still so mad I can't think straight, any I know unfuckingacceptable isn't a word, and yes commas and run on sentences suck. That is a precursor for all of the English inspectors (critics) on here.

True Blue in CO

November 6th, 2011 at 11:41 AM ^

by all of us and the team as well. We are playing good defense and still have a lot of tools to use on offense. The team needs to have more passion and energy at the start of next weeks game and that should be the difference. While yesterday still hurts I am optimistic about our prospects in the next three weeks.


November 6th, 2011 at 11:54 AM ^

Michigan's offense struggles against big aggressive DL's, which both NE and OSU will bring.  I thought IL was going to be a tougher match up earlier in the season but they have peaked and now look like a middle of the pack B1G team. If we don't play hard IL will be a road loss.

My hope is that we can beat OSU. However, OSU's defense will keep them in the game and their running game will give them some offense. I hope DROB is passing well that day so that we can open up their run stopping defense.  If we only get one more win this season and it's against OSU, then Hoke will be my hero if he can stop the streak!

The FannMan

November 6th, 2011 at 11:18 PM ^

Yes.  If the defender tackles you before the ball gets there and then tips the ball it is still PI and a penalty is called.  (At least it is if the refs don't totally suck and deserve to be beaten into a bloody blob of goo.)  This is what I saw happen.

However, if a ball is tipped, say at the line of scrimmage, the defender can (and should) deck the reciever to prevent a catch as contact that takes place after a ball is tipped is not pass interference.  One of our guys (Kovacs?) did this during the Purdue game.  This is not what happened at Iowa during the play in question.

So, we have two take aways:  1) contact before a ball is tipped is pass interference even if the ball is later tipped and 2) the refs from the Iowa game totally suck and deserve to be beaten into a a bloody blob of goo.


November 6th, 2011 at 2:03 PM ^

that's not how it works.  Once the ball is tipped, contact is allowed.  That doesn't mean a defender can interfere as long as he tips the ball in the process.  

Edit:  meant as reply to Blue_Bull_Run

Maize and Blue…

November 6th, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

We were in the running for a spot in the Big Ten Championship game and we had nothing to play for.  I guess I should expect to lose the next two also because we have nothing to play for.

While Ohio may look worse then any time you can remember they are improving and will add Posey to the mix before we get to play them.  I can't say I saw any improvement this past week against a team that had just lost to Minnesota.  Plus our final three opponents all have mobile QBs and our history playing against such QBs is terrifying.


November 6th, 2011 at 2:32 PM ^

UM will not be a great team until they learn to be aggressive from the first play on the road. I can't remember the last time UM won a meaningful road game.

Our defense played great - all the analysts are saying Coker gashed us - I didn't see it that way. Iowa only had 300 years.

Our offense should score 30 points a game. Yes - all the calls seemed to go against us. But if we play the 1st quarter like the 4th quarter (ie, attack, attack, attack), we will the game by a touchdown.

UM is equal with all 3 teams remaining - let's get that 10 win season.

Red is Blue

November 6th, 2011 at 7:09 PM ^

While I generally favor Hoke's calm game day demeanor, I wonder if that "calmness" rubs off a bit on the players before they really get into the flow of the game.  Maybe he gets more worked up behind closed doors, but it is certainly possible to be too calm especially in an emotional game like football. 




November 6th, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

Hoke's (Borges'?) decision to put Gardner in at QB repeatedly was in Michigan's failure to score. It seemed as if Robinson would get into a rhythm and then Gardner would be put in at QB and stifle the drive. Also, at the end of the game, why didn't Robinson get to run his roll out pass/run option? My recollection is that that play often worked. I know Hoke et al. get high praise, but I can't help but question the play calling.


November 6th, 2011 at 3:39 PM ^

Putting Gardner in hasn't worked since Minnesota. He will be a good quarterback. He is not yet. Interrupting Denard's rythm to put him in is not working. Devin has much to learn but when he does, he's going to be very good. I wish we had him for another season. Thanks Rich Rod for not redshirting him so he could play all of about 5 min. in 2010.


November 6th, 2011 at 5:12 PM ^

... anyone who saw the last play of the game KNOWS why Iowa is so tough AT HOME, but so beatable everywhere else.


Did anyone else catch the look of RESIGNED DISGUST on Hoke's face at the final non-call at game's end?


Yeah, yeah.  Never want to blame a game outcome on the refs.   If Michigan had played well the prior three quarters, they wouldn't have been vulnerable to a loss due to officiating blah blah blah.


I get it.


But this is a team that fricking SHINES in the red zone.  That makes serious MONEY inside the twenty.  That really has been in charge of its own destiny when anywhere near a scoring opportunity, throughout the season.  To get figuratively HELD scoreless on four straight plays from inside the five yard line, by getting LITERALLY HELD, well, makes it awfully difficult not to have sour grapes.


November 6th, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

Why has no one mentioned that blown timeout?  It was blown for NO. APPARENT. REASON. whatsoever.  That timeout would have given us the option of running at the end.  It was a giant mistake imho.


November 6th, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

MSU will lose @ Iowa - fall to 4-2

Iowa will become 4-2

Nebraska will rebound and beat Penn State on the road - 4-2

Michigan will win at Illinois - 4-2

That's my opinion...next 3 weeks are going to be crazy!


November 7th, 2011 at 11:45 AM ^

On defense I thought UM played as well as they could considering the known issues with the defense.  There were a few edge failures.  But thems the breaks when your playing freshmen LB'ers.  We also are still a little slow in the secondary and we had to play off a bit. 

I was very upset on the offensive game plan.  As predicted the running game was not nearly as effective.  DR seems to run best when there is the potential for misdirection.  I did not understand the jet sweeps as it became obvious to the defense what the play was going to be.  I agree with the poster who critisized bringing in Gardner.  I can't see how a QB can get into rythm.  Worse, every Gardner snap was a gimmick.  The defense just seemed to know that certain options were off the board when Gardner is under center.  The people on MGOBLUE seem to think that DR is on track to turn into Tom Brady at the midway point of the Nebraska game which is nonsense in my opinion.  I was hopeful prior to the season that Borges would figure out how to best use DR.  It appears increasingly more likely it is leaning towards a Gardner takover for 2012 and DR will go the way of Randal El.  I do not see how UM wins verses Nebraska or OSU with the offense skipping from one gimick to the next.  It is almost as if GERG became our offensive coordinator.

Tactically I did not understand the timeout prior to the Iowa punt.  If we had two timeouts when we were down at the 3, we still would have had a run option.  The plays on the three got players open.  Of the three plays we had a ref call a TD not, a player dropped the ball, and we failed because of interference not being called.


November 7th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

I don't really care too much about the Iowa game. Nobody predicted us to win the B1G, yes it's disapointing but whatever.

For the love of God, just beat Ohio!