Thoughts on the Notre Dame debacle

Submitted by littlebrownjug on September 13th, 2008 at 7:07 PM

Thoughts on the Notre Dame Game

1.    If there was any doubt about whether the bowl game streak would end, I think we received an emphatic answer today. After briefly looking at the rest of the schedule I think that we will finish with 4 wins.
2.    Sam McGuffie is a tough runner, and I really like Stonum.
3.    I hope that Carson Butler is suspended for swinging at the Notre Dame team, because that kind of crap has no place in the game.
4.    How is Stevie Brown still playing?
5.    Mesko looked much better today, as did the O Line.
6.    Notre Dame is much improved, but the fact that this was still a ballgame in the third quarter does not say much for them. MSU will clobber them.
7.    Our QBs are poor, but I would make Threet the starter for the rest of the year.
8.    Our front seven did not step up today.
9.    How is it that Carlos Brown is not more of a factor in this offense? He is a home run threat.
10.    This spread offense really seems to bog down in the red zone, and I think that we are way too predictable there. When we went to the I-Formation it was obvious that we were going to run up the gut.



September 13th, 2008 at 7:24 PM ^

I was very encouraged by the play of Threet, he made some very nice throws and really didnt make bad decisions IMO. Special teams was awful, you eliminate the two fumbles in our own ten yard line and you have yourself a one touchdown game. I can see the offense gelling which is a good sign, but at the same time the defense sort of imploded. The secondary played very questionably, although some of the PI calls were bs, but stevie brown is a major major liability. I think our defense struggles with big pounding backs and yes I agree the Carson Butler penalty was bone headed. Did anyone notice the Barwis effect though seeing lineman run down secondary players?


September 13th, 2008 at 7:37 PM ^

missed a tackle bad, but a lot of people missed tackles today.....

not sure how that means he is a liability or shouldnt be playing, what do we have that would be better?

please enlighten me...

sideline reporter

September 13th, 2008 at 8:06 PM ^

is a proven liability.  Today's performance alone is not the problem.  His is consistently bad.  Sure, he did not lose the game by himself, but I am tired of watching touchdown replays with him in the background chasing the receiver.  The worst part of his ineptitude was having to watch the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company replay his blown coverage as the "offensive play of the day".  Yeah, ND really put a move on old Brownie, sending a single receiver straight at him and all. 


September 13th, 2008 at 7:38 PM ^

we gave this game away more than ND won it. we gave them 21 points and kevin grady was so not money AGAIN vs ND, giving away 7 of our own points. seriously though, we couldn't have suspended Grady for this game? 2 out of 3 games in his career against ND he has cost us.

agree on stevie brown. he has been consistently sub-par. not sure we have any better options though.

i'm still incensed though over ND's throw into the end zone with just over 2 minutes left on 4th and 1. completely bush league. i hope richrod watches this tape before every ND game and uses it as motivation to hang 60 on them each time. absolutely no way you can convince me that throwing to the end zone there is anything other than a quintessential Weisian, assbag move.

Dan Man

September 13th, 2008 at 7:44 PM ^

Granted, I'm still a little buzzed, but I felt that the problems we had were fixable. Threet and McGuff were great. We have a lot of work to do, but there is a chance for six more wins this season. God damn it, I still believe...


September 13th, 2008 at 8:28 PM ^

I think calling Threet "great" is a little much. I was encouraged by his overall play too, but he was responsible for what, four fumbles? A lot of people fumbled today, but didn't Threet have trouble holding on to the ball in both the Utah and Miami games as well?


September 13th, 2008 at 9:41 PM ^

Four fumbles? Uh, didn't he just have that one (that went for a TD at the end there)? He did play a BY FAR his best game, threw for nearly 70%, 170+ yards, 1 TD, and that was with the "incomplete" pass for a TD to Matthews. He did play very well considering the weather, the fact that the field position wasn't great, and the fact that two guys fumbled on offensive drives he was in (including one in the red zone by Grady). He also ran for 21 yards including an important first down. Overall great decision making by a young QB. I might need to check on the amount of fumbles, but I'm almost positive it was just that one. Minor should've caught that backwards pass even if the throw could've been better.


September 13th, 2008 at 10:49 PM ^

I'm "crediting" Threet with the lateral fumble on the first drive, but I concede that it's subjective. He had one that popped out of his hand and he fell on (second quarter?). There was the one you mentioned that was returned for the TD. I feel like there was one more, but I can't quite remember, which is why I asked. I'd have to check the tape to be sure, but I don't think I can stomach watching the game being handed to ND again for a while.

MMB 82

September 13th, 2008 at 7:46 PM ^

Take out the weather and all the turnovers, and the team now looks like it has a functioning offense. Nearly 400 yds in horrible weather....and Threet has now established a downfield passing game. Once we spotted ND 21 points it was all down hill, but I can now see this team correcting mistakes and possibly winning some games we were already putting down as losses this year. The defense just needs to step up more. Unfortunately, I think we may be at best looking at a 5-7 season, but if they somehow pull out a win vs either IL or WI, they may be able to keep the bowl streak intact.


September 13th, 2008 at 7:46 PM ^

... did our D-line make a single meaningful play when it had the opportunity to stop the bleeding? I didn't watch the second half, but in the first half I saw virtually no pass rush, and for the most part it appeared to me that the ND O-line effectively controlled us. It's nice to see the DLs running well, but it's somewhat meaningless if they're getting pushed around at the LOS. Given that our D-line was supposed to be the strength of the defense, this was not an encouraging game.

Yup, I think 4 wins is about it, maybe 5. A winning season is possible only if the D plays dramatically better than it did today in key game situations.

And Jim Carty is an asshat. Referring to RR in the AA fishwrap this morning as an "underachieving" coach is just flat out asinine. As always, he's far more interested in the publicity and notoriety resulting from a cheap shot than anything else.

big gay heart

September 13th, 2008 at 7:58 PM ^

1. Ok, guy. Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong, but I don't see any reason to quit on the season now.

2. I agree with this. Both looked good. Maybe some of the people who were getting hot and bothered about McGuffie "not being tough enough," "strong enough," or lacking "top end speed" will now shut up.

3. Shut up up, you goddamn nancy. You weren't on the field, you don't know, literally, anything about anything. The guy was mad his team lost and threw an open handed half punch. Get over it. This is tackle football. Take your holier than thou bullshit elsewhere, thnx.

4. You ever consider that M doesn't have anyone better than Stevie Brown? Yeah, he's made some very apparent and costly mistakes. But the coaching staff evaluates these guys day in and day out and obviously they know who stands where. You don't know anything.

5. Thank god you pointed this out. It wasn't, you know, apparent at all.

6. I would hesitate to call them "much improved." "Marginally better" would be more appropriate. ND did very little on its own volition.

7. What an astute observation. You're a clever little devil, aren't you?

8. Ok. Fair enough. But, maybe you should consider the fact it was pouring and no one was getting a good push forward. They did a decent enough job and had nothing to do with the final outcome being so far in ND's favor.

9. He looks slow. He doesn't seem right and the "Wildhog" formation isn't working with our current personnel. Doyou think the coaching staff is purposely shelving him because they don't want to, as you say, hit "homeruns?" Come on.

10. What? Again, you know nothing. The team bogged down once, get it, once in the red zone. The other times it fumbled and threw and INT. Turnovers != bogging down. And, the fact that RR has completely re-invented the offense, in both strategy and structure, means that you can't just magically flip a switch and go from effective zone read spread to effective i-form. That's not how these things work. All that notwithstanding, though, the team's costliest turnover came when they were trying to pound it.

So, yeah. Thanks for nothing, guy.


September 13th, 2008 at 9:42 PM ^

Didn't the coaching staff evaluate Sheridan day in and day out? Questioning some of these personnel decisions doesn't mean we don't know anything, there are legitimate questions.

For the record, I'm with you that the C. Brown formation hasn't looked dangerous, but I don't think we should give up on it yet. Adding some other options out of that look should help make it more efficient.


September 13th, 2008 at 8:05 PM ^

I think some of these comments are ridiculous. In a little over three weeks, we've seen offense go from nothing to putting up nearly 400 yards of offense... in a freaking rainstorm.

Four wins? Really? You think we don't beat Toledo, NW, Minnesota? That we don't have a good shot at Illinois (who almost lost to freaking ULL today) or Purdue?

This team is getting better every week. Relax. Enjoy the ride.

STW P. Brabbs

September 13th, 2008 at 8:15 PM ^

Here's my bullet point:

Kevin Grady will never learn to protect the ball, and should be heretofore banned from ever carrying the ball outside of garbage time ever again.

Minor still has hope to learn not to fumble, IMO, has not had any 1.9 bac DUIs, and is a better runner, so I have no farking clue why he wasn't in on those red zone runs.


September 13th, 2008 at 8:16 PM ^

how can you say that about the qbs. threet looked reeeally good compared to the last few games and considering the weather conditions.
without 6 turnovers we probably win the game: first 2 tds off fumbles. 3rd td off f-ing bs pass interference call then blown coverage (our fault) then that other fumble return td. PLUS the fumble machine kevin grady fumbling at the nd 5 and sheridan throwing a pick at the nd ~5.
mistakes are why we lost this game


September 13th, 2008 at 8:18 PM ^

with point #1. I am actually more encouraged about our big 10 chances after today. Better and more seasoned UM teams have gone into South Bend and get tripped up by Leprechaun plays. I loved how this team never gave up. With an off week heading into league play, I think we'll continue to see marked improvement.

We forged a true Offense identity today with McGuffie and Threet's passing. Those implosion turnovers will get cut down big time during this three game home stand. And, the D was taken out of the game, but two of those drives were less than 12 yards.....what can they do......I do think they were reeling a bit because of those PI penalties, but its worth pointing out they have yet to allow a second half TD.....i think this team has created enough positives overall and I think they can win ball games....for the first time all season, I can truly visualize offensive success.

I feel 5-3 in the Big 10 is more than doable and throw in a win vs Toledo and 7 or 8 wins is their for the taking.


September 13th, 2008 at 8:24 PM ^

I am disappointed but not discouraged... Michigan Football will be back!

I am also cautiously optimistic after this game. We GAVE this game to ND. The reality is that when we weren't handing them the game, the we actually had an offense. Threet looked much improved, as did McGuffie. Now I understand that ND sucks but the improvement in the offense gives me reason for optimism.

BTW, if I never see Nick Scheriden (sp?) throw another pass it will be too soon!

Go Blue!

That Darn Wolverine

September 13th, 2008 at 8:27 PM ^

We sucked, that is all there is to say, we blew any shot we had at a championship, but the realist question is, should we have expected to go in the first place? Our mature players graduated out. I have no friggin clue what happened to Mallett, Threet is too risky, our team is just young guys with no experience. The bright lining was McGuffie, but our line is immature and it isn't deep at all. I don't' know about you but that helmet means something to me, and we are operating way under our standard... this isn't just about performance, it is about discernment and wisdom, we should have dumped Carr three years ago after that jilt from Ohio State at the conference title. He admitted his heart wasn't' in it - we could have gotten a good coach from a Florida, Texas or Georgia team. I can't stand the notion that USC, Ohio St. can take it to us and win. Thanx Lloyd... thanx a lot. We have a couple more years of this settlement to take place to which I would expect anything more than what you saw today.


September 13th, 2008 at 9:27 PM ^

I'll admit that I really don't know much about defensive schemes, so please humor me if I'm asking stupid questions - I'd love to learn. If Brown didn't have deep responsibility on that route, why did he come over and give the receiver a love tap? It looked like Trent was expecting help on the inside.


September 13th, 2008 at 8:38 PM ^

I was as encouraged as you can be in a 35-17 loss. I was impressed by both McGuffie and Threet. I have to believe that Threet has a lock on the starting position after his performance and Sheridan's consecutive picks. I think Threet will develop into a fairly good QB. Also, watching Zoltan run for a first down was sweet, he did a good job breaking a tackle. Also, Zion Babb! I think we'll develop into a decent to good offense by the end of the year... unless it was just ND's shitty defense today making us look good.
I was a little curious about the lack of using Michael Shaw almost at all.
The defense made me :( though (from a pressure standpoint).

Tim Waymen

September 13th, 2008 at 8:53 PM ^

We outgained them 387-260something.  We had 7 fumbles, 6 of them lost, 3 of which led to ND TDs.  and then there was Nick "Walk on" Sheridan's red zone INT.  The game was a lot closer than the score suggested. Dude, we moved the ball down the field! As much as it sucks losing to Front Butt and those bastards by giving the game, I think that we can win games.  ND really sucks though.

That Darn Wolverine

September 13th, 2008 at 9:15 PM ^

All that asside, Threet was clumsy - Sheridan was too full of himself, and we didn't sieze the moment. They came truly prepared and their eyez on the prize, now am I optimistic. Sure I have to be, but am I smelling my own fumes... no, can't afford to. We sucked today and that was all there was to that.


September 13th, 2008 at 9:29 PM ^

I think we have made major offensive strides. Threet looks like a legit D-I QB, which we really couldn't have said a week ago.  I have no idea how he suddenly became so much more accurate, but it's really encouraging.  Our OL is not great but not quite the liability we feared.  McGuffie is emerging as a star, and our WRs are showing the ability to make plays.  On D, we were more disappointing, although I don't think they were as bad as the score indicated. We really need to shore up the safety position, though. Brown was brutal on ND's two long pass plays.

That Darn Wolverine

September 13th, 2008 at 9:42 PM ^

In this, McGuffie is certainly a rising star, he was the most consistent on the field. Threet is too hyped up and makes costly mistakes, [sorry] I am hard on OB's - he needs to form it up, but can he lead this Michigan team? I believe so. I am just a little miffed, and was upset because I was expecting more from Rodriguez... but had to remind myslef that it is gonna take a couple of years before we see any real changes.

But I hope kids can see possibilites in recruiting and our scouting efforts get better as a side effect of the senior team having left. Our recruitment is effected by these loosing spells. Change has to happen now... and has to happen big!


September 13th, 2008 at 9:44 PM ^

Threet was Terrible?

Threet 16/23 175 yrds 1TD 0INT

Sheridan 3/5 54 yrds 0TD 2 INT


Clausen 10/21 147 yrds 2TD 2INT


Minus the fumbles(he wasn't wearing gloves while Clausen was, though that isn't an excuse for that many fumbles) Threet was the best QB on the field today in my opinion.

That Darn Wolverine

September 13th, 2008 at 9:52 PM ^

Football's is about more than stats pal. It is about leadership, and decision making abilities. Also being responsible enough to carry your share so the team doesn't pay the price for one's inability to pull their own weight. They practiced for rain, the fact he didn't have gloves is irresponsible, he blew plays and empowered the enemy team that's all to it. Henne wasn't that great - but he was responsible and had a pro attitude.

Threet failed, but he is a good kid.


September 13th, 2008 at 10:08 PM ^

You think leadership or responsibility had anything to do with it? Threet was responsible for Cissoko's fumble, or Grady, or any of what Sheridan did? Maybe his lateral could've had a little more touch, but that's a catch Minor has to make.

You think gloves are the answer? He seemed to be able to throw the ball fine in the rain right up until  that happened. What good do gloves do him if he can't throw the ball straight when he has them on? I'm sure he tried it in practice and didn't like them. You can never really prepare for that kind of rain unless it's actually raining like that in practice.

He's a GD reshirt freshman, people. For the love of God, I bet you guys were busy bitching out Henne last year too.


September 13th, 2008 at 10:21 PM ^

Everyone is piling on Brown, but Warren and Trent have not played up to expectations so far this year either. The D-Line pulled a great disappearing act. Minor (two critical fumbles in close games), Grady (drunken buffon, fingers made of butter like Minor), and Sheridan (general shittiness) should never see the field ever again. I have hope for 6-6. Anyone thinking 8-4 at this point needs to put down the crack pipe. They needed to win this game to lock up the bowl-streak, because they're not getting any layups against OSU, Wisconsin, MSU, Illinois, or Penn State. The offense showed a pulse, which is great, but we will find out against Wisconsin whether that was because they are actually starting click or because ND still sucks defensively. One thing I want to throw out there; the run blocking was better in this game, but does anyone think they need to recruit an in-between the tackles RB to complement McGuffie? He showed he is dangerous on the outside, and he had good inside runs as well. But he would be so much better with someone to pound it down the defenses throat to keep them off-balance. That would be a seriously potent run game.


September 13th, 2008 at 10:36 PM ^

When was the last time we had 8 fumbles?

To the haters(you know who you are): Please Stop Watching!

This is a means to an end! In 2 years we will revel in our dominance over all who dare play us. Teams will once again fear the name Michigan on their schedule. We will look back on this season as a great moment of Michigan Football history. The season it all began. GO BLUE!


September 13th, 2008 at 10:41 PM ^

Everyone needs to relax. We all knew this was going to be a difficult season. Sure, today we saw some bad things. Fumbles, a lot of them. Sure you can blame the rain, but ND didn't make costly fumbles, and we did. There are things to be encouraged about from this game, and in this season, that is what we need to take from things, the positive. We took some serious strides on offense.

-We gained 388 yards of total offense. 388! We had numerous sustained offensive drives.

-Sam McGuffie looked like he can become a dominant runner.

-The offensive blocking looked fairly competent (Albeit against a weak ND line).

-The defensive looked a little porous, but you cant really blame them for the score. 21 points came off two drives starting inside the 20 and a fumble return for a touchdown. The line didn't get to Clausen enough, but ND had short fields all day.

-Threet looked very competent and controlled even in the rain, leading a very impressive drive in terrible conditions until the Grady fumble. (We score there, who knows how this game turns out, ND can't sit on the ball anymore).

-I agree with one of the posts above. Threet was the best QB on the field today. Clausen was competent, but its not hard to score those first two touchdowns from 15-20 yards out.

Initially, going into this game, I told myself, if we lose this game, No bowl, but if we win, bowl is very much a possibility. After this game, I see flashes of potential in which if we can execute like we did today (without the fumbles), beating Illinois, MSU, and Wisconsin or Penn State (one of them) is certainly possible. We are 1-2, win the games we should against Minnesota, Northwestern, Toledo, and Purdue, with a 1-2 of the above, we could be bowl bound. The learning curve from this team is steep. So, everyone take a deep breath and allow them to grow. Enjoy being able to watch Michigan football. We've got 9 more games to enjoy.


September 13th, 2008 at 11:15 PM ^

I can't believe anyone could knock Threet's performance. He completed about 70% of his throws and was never sacked. He threw no INTs and should have had two TDs (we were screwed on the Mathews "non-catch"). He also rushed for a couple of first downs. Yeah, he fumbled twice . . . it happens. He's one of the last players I'd blame for the outcome.


September 13th, 2008 at 11:45 PM ^

I don't agree with the whole suspension thing, but his behavior tends to be bush league on a regular basis. The last game he was doing some bullshit dance in the vicory formation and, I believe he was doing the worm at the end of the Cap 1 bowl. You can tell that many of these guys are making an effort at the end of plays to toss the ball to the ref. and be low key. With Butler (and to a certain degree, Matthews) I tend to cringe when they are in certain situations.
Nothing too serious, just a little heart to heart and a little Barwisization is in order.


September 13th, 2008 at 11:51 PM ^

After today's performance, all I can say is this. If the weather was not as bad as it was in the third quarter, we would have won this game. That's because the offense was consistently marching down the field. In fact, if the unforced fumbles were eliminated and it wasn't pouring outside, I actually think we would have controlled this game and won easily.

Don't let the luck of the Irish get to you. Those fumbles won't happen anymore because it won't be pouring outside the rest of the season (I hope).

Look, our offense established an identity today. That gives me hope for the rest of the season. Threet was exceptional today. He did everything that was asked of him. He made some big time throws in traffic. He also made excellent decisions. McGuffie had a breakout day and this combination of O-Lineman looked decent today.

Michigan fumbled 7 times today, leading to 21 ND points, all of which were close to our end zone. ND also returned a fumble for a TD. It was pouring outside and even then we were still marching down the field until Grady fumbled the ball as we were about to score. And the refs were unbelievable homers today.

If Michigan and ND play next week in sunny weather, I can say with great confidence that Michigan would win.

As far as the defense goes, you can't ask them to do everything. When you fumble near your own goal line on the road, you're asking the defense to do the impossible: stopping momentum. You simply can't expect them not to give up those big plays.

When the ND actually had to march down the field, the defense was fine. The gave up two big plays they shouldn't have given up, but other than that they contained ND pretty well.

Michigan was just UNLUCKY today. There were plenty of positives to take away from this game. With an offensive identity, we are only now vulnerable against teams with speedy receivers and great D-Lines. Surveying the competition, I'd say we have a shot at every single game from here on out.

Stay positive. There was a lot of good today.


September 14th, 2008 at 12:39 AM ^

I liked a lot of things about today. The offense played better than I ever expected minus the obvious turnovers.  Lets face it, they moved the ball at will almost but gave them the game on three fumbles (the lateral, kickoff, threet) and then grady's going in.  If they don't fumble two of those, I think we win.  Not to mention, they were down 21 in what seemed like a blink of the eye and they never quit nor panicked.  Couple things I'm wondering though from Rich Rod:

 Why put Sheridan in?  It seemed as if Threet must have been hurt and couldn't play but he came back in!!!  What was up with that move?

 Second, I know Minor has had some bad plays but he's a game-breaker and change of pace to McGuffie.  Was it me or was that cut-back over the center open every time for a guy who can go up the middle?  He hasn't given Minor the opportunity at all in the first three games to get in the flow of a game.  Even Brown today?! McGuffie played great but a different guy gives the defense something else to worry about and those guys can break it big.  That bothers me....

 Lastly, Butler should be suspended without question.  That is NOT MICHIGAN FOOTBALL.  It wasn't a late hit or physical contact that set him off. Rather some trash talk that he didn't like (hurt his feelings) and he was selfish enough to make the rest of his teammates and those who came before him look class-less and foolish.  If Lloyd were on the sidelines, he would've had the guy by the facemask and he would've known that he screwed-up right away.  Heck, RR looked like he was going to put him back on the field until they gave the official call.  NO PLACE FOR IT IN THAT UNIFORM.  I hope that's not the trend of this program.