Did this game change your expectations for 2014?

Submitted by bo_lives on December 1st, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Going into Saturday's game, it's pretty safe to say the overwhelming majority of us predicted we'd be crushed. The fact that we came 1 play away from taking a 1-point lead with 37 seconds left against the #3 team in the country tells me this is probably the best coaching job by the staff all year. But does that change the way you feel about 2014?

After Iowa, I saw quite a few predictions for 6-6 or 7-5 at best. Obviously Michigan has a brutal schedule and we just can't seem to find a way to win against good teams on the road. Does this performance give you hope for something better?

I don't want to seem like a Debbie Downer, especially after the utter heartbreak we all experienced yesterday, but I find it hard to believe this really changes anything. Borges's job is probably safe (though it may never have been in doubt anyway) and I still believe the guy is a terrible play-caller and game-schemer in general. Unfortunately, it looks like Hoke is putting all his eggs in Borges's basket, and it's very possible that the bottom falls out next year. But I don't claim to be a great football mind or have the foresight of The Knowledge, so I'm curious to know what the rest of you all think...



December 1st, 2013 at 2:29 PM ^

A positive sign for the future. The one thing it has done, was set a new precedent of coaching to the skillset of the players, mostly, the offense. I think it proves we can do it, and I'm expecting 9-3 next year (or better, obviously)

Victor Hale II

December 1st, 2013 at 2:48 PM ^

In general, I agree with you about the potential.  This team will have plenty of talent for 2014.  I just fear that the coaches only released the hounds to try to beat ohio, and it'll soon be back to -3 yards and a cloud of dust.  Here's to hoping that doesn't happen.


December 1st, 2013 at 3:54 PM ^

just to keep their jobs? I don't think it's quite like that but I can see the coaches rationalizing that the team was young and inexperience and now they're not so we should be good to go. We should have more talent on the team to get these things done, or something anyways; I will look for more progress next year but that's how I was feeling about this year.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:30 PM ^

If Borges goes, I'm excited about the weapons we have to compete. If he sticks around, my expectations are for mediocrity.

Regardless of our performance against Ohio, Borges has proven himself to be incapable of putting together a coherent game plan week-in and week-out.


December 1st, 2013 at 4:53 PM ^

Unfortunately I think EVERYTHING hinged on us having a running game. We didn't. We became one dimensional. We therefor needed a multiple dimensional passing attack. Gardener wasn't ready for that. He's more of a first read, panic, scramble kind if guy. Hopefully next year our run game improves. Gardener has more command if the offense. More time in the pocket.

The one thing I'm hanging my hat on next year...and maybe I shouldn't....after watching Ohio gut us up the middle the last two years...is our D. I think our dline should be just as good if not better. Our linebackers better. Our back end better. More depth all around. Offense and defense.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:32 PM ^

I really think next year starts are arrival back on the big stage. From next year on I believe the talent level is back to early Carr levels. We haven't been able to have a true spring game because of the lack of depth on the O line.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:35 PM ^

Something still has to change.  Whether it is Brady being more hands on with the offense, Borges being let go, bringing in a Quarterback coach to help development, whatever.  This team has the potential to be very very good, but something has to change offensively to generate some sort of consistency.  


December 1st, 2013 at 2:37 PM ^

If you read Brandon's statement I think it was obvious that Borges' job is anything but safe.  I don't know if this changes his future with Michigan but I have been ambivalent to him since The Game.  It would seem that there is something there in his gameplanning that may work if they can stabilize this offensive line (which, let's face it, has come a long way since the Nebraska game).  OTOH, I am equally frustrated that he couldn't put a gameplan like this together when they played PSU, Nebraska, Iowa, MSU, Akron, UConn, etc.  I am thinking I will still have a shred of optimism if they don't fire him, but much more if they do.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:58 PM ^

Not much of an excuse for all the games you listed if you ask me. And it wasn't just this year with mind bottling halves of foosball, it's a trend.

It's like when a kid misbehaves and doesn't change behavior until daddy gets seriously pissed and tells little Albert to knock it off. Someone needs to set little Albert straight weekly unfortunately


December 1st, 2013 at 2:37 PM ^

I take the growth of the O-line as the biggest positive. Maybe they just needed time to gel? Our road schedule brings serious concern but MSU and Ohio will have huge holes to fill.

Victor Hale II

December 1st, 2013 at 2:56 PM ^

Not that the OL didn't play well yesterday, but I think the playcalling (quick passing and lots of misdirection) masked their weaknesses (FINALLY!).  It's hard for me to think the OL really found much cohesion when they were starting multiple combinations of guys all season long.  Those quick passes (so DG doesn't have to try to read progressions), and getting the ball to playmakers like Gallon, allowed the RB's to find some room to run.  Imagine, passing to set up the run. 


December 1st, 2013 at 3:00 PM ^

funny how for well coached teams, the players seem to always "show up." Does Alabama ever not show up? Do OSU's offense or MSU's defense ever not show up? This has been a problem not just with the current starting lineup, but over the past 3 years. The offense is practically 100% different from the offense that didn't show up against MSU in 2011 and the first 3 quarters of the Iowa game that year. And at least 50% different from the offense that couldn't score a single TD against ND, MSU, Nebraska, or in the 2nd half against OSU in 2012.

Funny how OSU is probably going to replace their DC next year, despite the fact that they're undefeated and possibly playing for an MNC. Just goes to show the attitude of the two programs right now. It's not like firing Borges would be some crazy hasty decision based on scant evidence. We have been complaining about the play-calling and game-planning for three years now.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:38 PM ^

On earlier posts the interior line was talked about. I really think next year depends on two guys.  Kugler and Pipkins.  Both borderline 5 stars.  If Pipkins can come back and command double teams, the D can do different things.  I would be curious what Magnus or others think of that possibility. It seems like he has been underperforming for a year and a half.

When you go back and re-read the Hello post on Kugler you can't help but be excited.  If he can come in as a redshirt freshman and solidify the center position, Glasgow, Kalis, Bosch and maybe Dawson compete for OG.  Tackle is Magnuson and Braden, with Kalis maybe at RT.  

I know QB is ultimately the most important position, but we know what we have with DG.

So my long answer, is yes I see hope.  But not competeting against MSU, OSU will be a very bad omen for the coaches. M really needs to win one of those games on the road and go 9 - 3 at a minimum


December 1st, 2013 at 2:42 PM ^

The Game did not change my expectations for next season. And its aftermath, much as I appreciated the effort, underscores how far the program has fallen. "Michigan lost the game but won the day." Wow. Never figured The Big House would become the home of moral victories.

S Carolina Wolverine

December 1st, 2013 at 2:55 PM ^

are at the point where moral victories take the place of on-the-field victories


Coaching is a problem, there are far more problems other than Borges


We need to face it, we are, at best, a middle of the pack B10 team that is no longer respected nationally


But hey, at least we have a Michigan man at the helm, no? (rolling eyes)


December 1st, 2013 at 3:22 PM ^

They had national title talent, all of their assistant coaches, and a 6-5 record when they walked into the Big House. The only thing missing on the field from a preseason top 5 team, was Pryor. And OSU fans were excited that the game came down to the last minute.

A disappointing season will turn ANY fan base into believing in moral victories.

Victor Hale II

December 1st, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

Optimistic: only if the coaches decide to unleash the offensive weapons on a regular basis like they did today.  It's so frustrating how hundreds of us here have griped all season about calling plays that utilize the players' strengths and hide their weaknesses, and yet the highly paid coaches couldn't seem to see what we saw.  What a waste of talent.

Pessimistic: early in the season, if we witness close games and general ineptitude against teams we should beat by 20-30 points, I'll have a hard time believing the season will unfold much differently than this one did.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

I am surprised that this hasn't been mentioned yet but the Ohio State players have stated that they what the two point play was going to be. The coaches saw the formation and called a timeout to let the players know what was coming if Michigan took the field again in the same formation and they did. This game was a perfect microcosm to describe the season with Borges calling plays. I have zero faith in Al over the course of a season.

Victor Hale II

December 1st, 2013 at 3:03 PM ^

And what makes it even worse is that the play before that, we saw what many of us had been screaming for all season: Funchess getting a quick throw near the corner in single coverage.  That play was essentially like throwing an alley-oop to Shaq back in the day - you know it's coming but can't do anything about it.  Hell, Funchess even "posted up" against that helpless DB.  I would have liked to see that same play again, or else something like it with Jake Butt.  Those kids are 6-5 and 6-6, and both are very good receivers....use them in goal line situations!


December 1st, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

Listen, prior to his TD, how many passes had Funchess dropped the past few weeks?

If we had thrown the jump ball to Funchess on the conversion and he had dropped it or Gardner had overthrown it (which is common on this kind of pass), people would be complaining even more than they are now.

To put it in perspective, think about the first UTL game. With 8 seconds left, Hoke / Borges has Denard throw the fade to Roundtree. Now imagine that pass gets picked off or Denard got sacked and fumbled, and we lose the game. People would have killed the coaching staff for that call. Instead, it stands out as one of the greatest moments in Hoke's tenure so far. That's called hindsight people.

Victor Hale II

December 1st, 2013 at 4:10 PM ^

Listen, maybe Funchess dropped a few in that Iowa game, but he didn't have problems like that in this game from what I recall.  In fact, he's been pretty damned reliable overall, Iowa notwithstanding. 

But even if not Funchess, notice I threw Butt in there as well.  I just like to see them find a mismatch and exploit it.  That didn't happen, which is my only complaint about that last call. 

Also, what makes you think that missing on a pass to Funchess would've resulted in more complaints here?  I don't see how you can conclude that.  If anything, we'd probably be equally bummed.  But at least it would have been a different play from a different formation that had been shown just prior to the time out. 


December 1st, 2013 at 4:48 PM ^

Funchess did have at least one drop in the Ohio State game that I can remember. The announcers even brought up the Iowa game because of that drop. There was also a play where Funchess didnt turn to look for the ball early enough after Gardner was pressured. I'm not placing blame on Funchess, but he is not who I would turn to for that conversion. Gallon would be my first choice, followed by Gardner running, and then probably Dileo. 

But the reason I think that a jump ball type pass would have resulted in more criticism is because it is a low percentage play. Ask Oregon what they think about fade routes and jump balls on 4th down. I live in Eugene, and they have been going nuts out here about a few 4th down conversion attempts that failed because the QB threw a fade route out of the endzone, not even giving his team a chance. 

I guess my point is that if we had throw the jump ball and it worked, everyone would be thrilled and think its a great call. Just like the call we made would have been great if it had been converted. But if we had thrown the jump ball to Funchess and he dropped it, people would be saying we should have known better than to go to Funchess. And if Gardner had over / under thrown it we would either be screaming at Gardner or saying that Borges put him in a position to fail with a low % playcall. It's just the nature of hindsight after a heartbreaking loss on the last play. 

Victor Hale II

December 1st, 2013 at 8:32 PM ^

I guess I have an optimistic slant to my memory, because outside of his Iowa futility, I tend to think of Funchess as quite reliable.  I recall some incredible one-handed catches and little DB's being helpless to stop him.  Butt also had a one-hander last week.  Can't disagree with Gallon and his reliability, and I don't think you force a pass just because the receiver is tall, but I've just always liked tall dude mismatches in goal line situations.  Been that way since I first saw big ol' Dave Jokisch (sp?) get it done back in the 80's.


December 1st, 2013 at 5:12 PM ^

My wife even commented about Funchess' drops. Multiple at Iowa and the game before. He had at least two in the game. Hindsight is 20/20.

I am on the fence about Gorgeous Al Borgess. If they shitcan him I totally understand. If they don't...and I think they won't.....I could live with that as well. Our oline would've made bill walsch look bad this year.