LB/HO/LF - Illinois Crushes Us 2008

Submitted by Lordfoul on October 6th, 2008 at 12:33 AM

Ok then.  If that is the way this season is going to be about things, fine.  I'll just keep stabbing myself in the eye with this fork and I won't have to see any more of that. 

In all seriousness though, that game was a real gut punch for our team.  A one way ticket back to reality.  I thought going in that we had every chance of getting a W here but didn't see it as a gimmee.  It was a solid toss-up on paper.  But great athletes often make all the difference, and this was a prime example.

Looking Back:

On Offense:

  • For the first time this season, I had to question RR's game stratagies.  I admit my lack of coaching experience makes my opinions on this preetty much moot, but still...  to me it seemed that we moved away from what was working in the first quarter. 
  • Threet = no more keepers after the first 2 touchdowns (and he was good those first couple of drives).
  • Quick hitting run plays abandoned it seemed, in favor of too-long-to-develop zone stretches (our linemen blow at blocking these).
  • Threet started so well and then, all of the sudden, can't hit the broad side of a barn for the next 2 quarters.
  • We were lucky to have recovered our first two fumbles or this could have had turnovers to match the previous two games.
  • Can we teach Threet to pitch the ball already?  I would have thought by this level it would be second nature.

On Defense:

  • Aggressive pass rushes may have been the wrong look for such a speedy Illinois team.  I love balls to the walls, bring the house blitzes and there weren't really too many of these.  I'm more refering to getting sucked in to the screens that killed us over and over.
  • Don't we have the personel to put a spy on as mobile a QB as Juice?  His ball fakes faked me out most of the time, but to combat this I really expected a dedicated defenseman to contain him.  I was really hoping for Mouton in this role and think that what he showed yesterday might make him an excellent cadidate for spying Pryor in The Game.
  • Benn really burned us crispy.  Our corners may be good, but they aren't quite shut-down status yet.
  • What is it with refs throwing horrendous and extremely late flags against Michigan for PI this year?  I would think that if the ref has to think about what just happened in front of him for more than 1 second, he shouldn't throw a flag.
  • And just to belabor the point, how can we continue, throughout the game, to let Juice beat us to death with his feet and not put a shadow on him?

Hats Off!!! Awards:

  1. Mark Moundros - Nice to see the big fullback get a TD catch. 
  2. Odoms - Dude was lightning in a bottle.  He is always open.  Finally Threet hit him a few times.  Odoms will be a bonafide star by the end of this year.
  3. Zoltan! - Crushed the ball all day long.  An average of 47 yards per over 8 punts is just, well, inconceivable.
  4. Juice and Benn - These two really killed us yesterday.  They are very gifted athletes.  And Michigan's D is seriously un-good against gifted athletes.
  5. Michigan Kick Returners - We got to see plenty of KOs ;~( and our returns were like night and day from the season so far.  It looked like there was actual great blocking going on. 

Looking Forward:

What is there to say, really?  Next week is a must win.  Michigan doesn't lose to the MAC and just has to have this one.  I don't think it will be a tune up by any means.  Toledo may have enough offense to give us fits.  This will be a pride game for our defense.  Giving up more than 20 points would be a crap-tastic performance for them IMO (unless they face turnovers in our redzone all day), and I think they will keep Toledo closer to 10.  Our offense shouldn't have probems with the Toledo D but they have plenty of ways to make probems for themselves.  If we win this next one I think we will probably be 6-6 with wins over little brother, Purdon't, and Minny.  Northwestern should also be winnable, but they are somewhat impressive this season and I forsee us losing that one.  If we want 7-5, I think it will have to come vs Penn St, whom we continue to pwn until they prove otherwise.  Oh yeah, and I don't really see us beating the Bucks this year but a lot can change obviously.  GO BLUE!!!




October 6th, 2008 at 2:33 AM ^

Lots of people ripped Lloyd a new one for calling plays that do not work. Time to call out RR and CM for exactly the same thing. No throws to the TE, Run Run or Run Pass behind the line too too many times yesterday. Now I know teams adjust or should, but Zook is NOT one of those guys. He is a very bad bad coach and we made him look like Lombardi and Landry combined yesterday. You beat a dual threat QB like Williams by playing zone, bend don't break, nothing behind you, contain the bastard QB blob of goo defense with the occasional blitz thrown in. Not what we saw yesterday. Shafer should know better. He watched U$C clobber Oregon a few years ago. I don't regret hiring RR, but where is that genius Shawn King described who could alter the spread to fit his QB. I am not seeing it.


October 6th, 2008 at 2:39 AM ^

I didn't realize that Shawn King as a senior is the exact same as Steven Threet as a redshirt freshman on his third system in 3 years.  4th if you include highschool.  Can't believe our supergenuis coach can't make John Thompson into Rey Malaluga, a patchwork OL into the 2007 Patriots OL, and Stevie Brown into Ed Reed after 5 games.  What an asshole, I want my money back.


October 6th, 2008 at 3:25 AM ^

I am saying that Shawn King said RR could mold the spread to fit the personal he has. I am NOT seeing that. My opinion. RR tried to talk Mallett into staying by saying he could mold the spread around him. Can you imagine Mallett in this offense??? RR said he could work with TEs. Are YOU seeing us working with TEs. Go back and take a look at how often Threet is in trouble, not because of something he did, but because of the previous play calling. FX, did you read Brian's post about how we should be able to use counter plays against Illinois because of the way their DL broke off the snap?? Did you hear Brandstatter talking during the first quarter about how the offense was making nice gains using counter plays. How the coaching staff must have sniffed something out. Now go back and count how many counter runs we tried after the 1st quarter. And it wasn't because Zook adjusted. FX, did you notice who was tackling SM on our zone reads?? The back side DE who wasn't being accounted for. Who's job is it to see that and either knock the tackles heads off for missing that assignment or getting another back in the backfield to help block?? Look FX, I ain't dumb. I've been watching UM play since 1967. I expected this team to be 3-3 at the half way point. And we should be. But I did expect our coaching staff to be a bit more creative. I see a lot of rock versus paper.


October 6th, 2008 at 6:29 AM ^

My opinion: You don't know what you're talking about.  There are open receivers on EVERY.  SINGLE.  PLAY.  Steve Threet just can't hit them.  Other than blaming Rodriguez for Threet's inaccuracy, how is that Rodriguez's fault?  Threet can't hit open receivers, so the defense blitzes and/or loads up against the run.  Also, young quarterbacks are afraid to throw over the middle, and offensive coordinators know that.  That's why they call a lot of slants, hitches, etc. - there are fewer linemen and linebackers in the way of a hitch, and if it gets tipped, there are fewer people near the sideline to pick it off.  The tight end hangs out in the middle of the field; thus the absence of a lot of TE catches.  Still, Koger had a TD catch against Wisconsin and SHOULD have had one against Illinois if it weren't for Toney Clemons covering him up.'re wrong.


October 8th, 2008 at 3:42 AM ^

Sorry Magnus, but 4 of Steven's first 9 throws, the throws up to the second scoring drive, were over the middle.  That's 45%.  I would say early on, you are wrong.  Also, all the wide open receivers on long routes don't mean a thing if the QB isn't protected.  Take a look at how long the plays take to develop in the 2nd and 3rd qtr.  Sorry, again, gotta say I disagree.


October 6th, 2008 at 9:36 AM ^

with some of what each of you has to say. I do think the defense was over-aggressive. They were complete fail on keeping the play in front of them. Threet was inaccurate for sure. He had open receivers all day and for the most part missed them. It is also crazy to compare King/Threet. Apples and Oranges there.

Mostly I think the offense went away from what was working early. I figure it is part of RR's trying to keep the other team off balance. It just didn't seem to work in this case. As always, hindsight is 20/20.


October 7th, 2008 at 5:52 PM ^

I am not trying to equal Steven Threet's talent level to King's talent level. Back when RR was hired everyone said "What are we going to do with Mallett??" RR said, "I can work with anyone." Shawn King was interviewed and he said "RR can work with anyone."

Can anyone tell me that RR and CM aren't trying to West Virginiaize this offense without the right players?? Every game we hear square players in round holes. I'm asking, where is the file to square off them holes a little until next year. Cuz folks, Threet is likely the QB next year as well.

I would just like to see the offense that works a little more, and the offense that clearly needs different players a little less. Even if RRs ego has to take a hit.