Did conservative offensive play calling or ineffective o-line play cost UM CFP?

Submitted by Eastern Wolverine on December 4th, 2016 at 2:44 PM

Did Harbaugh and offensive staff crawl into a late game shell at Iowa and OSU or did UM not have a strong enough o-line to execute critical plays when needed? I get this line was good to very good and several members will play on Sundays. That said, in both losses (even at MSU) it seemed UM couldn't get those tough 3 to 4 yard rushing plays when needed. Defenses knew UM was running and stuffed them. Were these stops due to lackluster play calling or the o-line not being able to impose its will when needed? Thanks for any light shed on the subject.



December 4th, 2016 at 8:42 PM ^

No more making excuses for bad officiating.  The refs cost Michigan both games.  With competent, non-biased referees, undefeated Michigan would have played Wiscy for the BTC last night.  All of the rest is smoke and mirrors.

Michigan is the #2 team in the country this year.  I'm not ready to say they are better than Bama cause of how Bama cheats in recruiting,  but I would have loved to find out.


December 4th, 2016 at 2:48 PM ^

This is gonna get me negged to all hell, but for all the talk about 4 hour practices and conditioning our guys ran out of steam in the 4th qtr and at the end of the season as a whole.

The only good 4th quarters were in blowouts with backups with fresh legs.


December 4th, 2016 at 3:00 PM ^

No one will understand what I mean, but I felt like the team got psychologically tired at the end of the season.  We didn't seem to be getting stronger and stronger in the last month.  We know what a month off did for the team last year.  I expect a similar result this year.

The Mad Hatter

December 4th, 2016 at 3:07 PM ^

Harbaugh moving at warp speed constantly. Most people just aren't built for that and I think it's possible that a lot of the team just gets exhausted by the end of the season.

I'm sure we'll pound FSU in the bowl game just because the guys will get a little time to rest and recover.

The Mad Hatter

December 4th, 2016 at 3:40 PM ^

If he was your next door neighbor you wouldn't answer the door every time he knocked.

Maybe it's just coachspeak, but the attitude that every game is a championship game would be exhausting. Sure, it's preferable to the laziness that marked the program under Hoke, but maybe dial back the effort a bit against the cupcakes. Save something for the end of the season.


December 4th, 2016 at 3:46 PM ^

Disagree here. Harbaugh is teaching consistency and professionalism. Doing your job, competing hard. It's the philosophy that Saban uses at Bama. Also places like Clemson. It's the philosophy that Carroll built at USC. It's the philosophy that got him within a play of a Super Bowl title.

It's possible the team is wearing down late in the season, but it's not the philosophy that's doing it.


December 4th, 2016 at 3:07 PM ^

Yeah I don't understand what you mean. I don't think we mentally gave up in any game. Just couldn't execute enough in closer game situations. Psychologically breaking would lead to losing by multiple scores, no 1-2 points


December 4th, 2016 at 3:14 PM ^

do understand what you mean, and I don't think it was that surprising. This team was expected to break a 3 game losing streak v. State and 5 game losing streak against OSU, both on the road, win the BIG and make the CFP with a new, inexperienced QB. That is a lot on your shoulders. They fought like hell though. I am disappointed with the final outcome but not disappointed with the team. This team did a lot to bring Michigan football back, and I think we should finish out the season with them with enthusiasm as a fan base. Turn the Orange Bowl maize and blue.


December 4th, 2016 at 3:03 PM ^

I want to neg you for griping about negs (just make your argument and own it) but Harbaugh himself observed conditioning was an issue after Iowa (I think) and I tend to agree that the team seemed to wear down late. I don't hold this against the D, which was great in both losses and only relented late after repeated offensive failures, but the team as a whole seemed to decline. MSU is an example of this, too, IMO.

4 hour practices don't relate to conditioning, though.

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December 4th, 2016 at 3:16 PM ^


The upside of training like Lacedaemonians all season is that it makes you tough.  The downside of training like Lacedaemonians all season is that you run out of gas at the end of the season.

This is why one trains less when one wants performance to peak.  Stamina has a limit no matter how motivated the participant.  And it is also why teams that don't train like Lacedaemonians all season seem to get stronger at the end:  Compared to those who do, they are stronger at the end.

Spirit of 69

December 4th, 2016 at 2:52 PM ^

I think it's fair to say that both Lloydball play calling late in the Ohio State game and our offense's inability to run the ball when it mattered cost us a shot at a national championship this year. We are nowhere near the level of the Stanford lines Harbaugh and Drevno built, although hopefully that changes as the line transistions from a Hoke line to a Harbaugh line.


December 4th, 2016 at 3:34 PM ^

Right. So you think we went Lloydball because of the result.

If you want just 4th quarter possessions (not counting the one starting in the 3rd that went into the 4th), Michigan went pass, run, pass and then run, run, pass. 

On the second possession, the runs set up a completely manageable 3rd and 4. Speight then missed an easy slant. 

We didn't get the ball back because OSU was bailed out by the officials on their 3 and out possession, a luxury Michigan never received. 

Ghost of Fritz…

December 4th, 2016 at 3:22 PM ^

charge is an oversimplification and not accurate.

JH has shown that his game plans are not run, run, pass on 3rd and 6, not matter what.  Carr's game plans were totally predictable, and he just would not adjust offensive game plans during games.  No. Matter. What. 

JH, in contrast, will attack the weakness of an opposing D.  Game plans vary depending on the opposing D.  He has also made in-game adjustments many times. 

OTOH, it is fair to say that in all three 'last play' play losses (MSU 2015, Iowa and OSU 2016), the play calling was less impressive late in the game. 

If you only gain 5 yards in the 4th quarter, then the coaches have to go back and look how play selection was a factor in that outcome. 



December 4th, 2016 at 2:53 PM ^

Unable to hit home runs on offense. Lots of factors in that, but goes to recruiting for the most part. Hoke failed to stock the offense with stud OL, stud QB, or stud skill players. Hard to execute perfectly on offense all the time. Much easier to have a Curtis Samuel type player who can turn busted plays into TD's like Denard used to do. Offense should see improvement going forward. Hope the defense can continue at a high level.

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December 4th, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

Theyre tied together.
The line should have been able to execute basic plays by the end of the season without the missed assignments.
The offensive staff should have known better than anyone that the o line wasnt stanford level and that the play calling needed to be a bit more aggressive than they would have liked to close out close games.