Game thoughts

Submitted by michgoblue on September 1st, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Well, that wasn't fun. If most of is are honest, we will admit that after reading brian (ace)'s game preview, this result was not expected. The game starts at the lines, and the mismatch of bama's death unit of an o-line allowed them to pretty much run at will. That team is just too stacked, and we are simply not yet fully re-loaded. It will be 2-3 years before hoke's recuiting reloads us to the point where we are at least close in talent to a team like this. Some random thougts and observations:

1. People will inevitably talk about how we were slaughtered at every aspect of the game. And we were. But, we played a team that could probably beat a crappy NFL team. Take nothing away from this other than that we do my have nearly the talent of Alabama, perhaps the most talented team in the history of cfb with 6 years of saban recruiting and over-signing. This has little relevance to how we will perform against almost any othe team that we will face.

2. RB - the drop off from fitz to smith or rawls is significant. We simply have no running game without fitz. If he plays, we still lose, but we look a lot better on offense. Watching bama's backs, I couldn't help but be jealous. These guys are studs and reinforce why hoke likes his backs to be bigger. These guys rarely went down on first contact other than D. Hart.

3. WR - I like devin here. A lot. He is raw as hell and his routes are sloppy, but man the potential is there. He and Gallon were the only receivers whoanaged to ge open, and devin did so repeatedly. Hands need work (and some of the throws to him were not the best) but this could be a huge benefit to us. Other than these two, however, we need help here. Hopefully the freshmen will push for some playing time.

4. Penalties - Lewan, come on man, don't go all 2010 on us. Bot that it made a huge difference but those penalties hurt us. I am willin to chalk it up to first game jitters against a way superior opponent, but let's hope that it doesn't become a habit.

5. Norfleet - wow. Kid can fly. Why was he not at least getting some reps at rb? He is goin to take a few to the house, I think. The Brian cook hype train seems justified here.

6. Denard - yeah, his numbers weren't amazing, but he actualy looked like a qb. Some throws were off, but a lot of that is the result of a scary, insane defense throwing NFL packages at him. He won't face that again, and having done so, he will likely be unfazed by what he does see. I may be in the minority, but I was encouraged by his play. As for his lack of rushing, thee were simply no holes for him.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. anyone agree/ disagree/ have anything to add?



September 2nd, 2012 at 12:54 AM ^

It seemed that 'Bamas OL was able to get to the second level and block LB's effectively.  (There is no B1G OL close to this per my viewing experience this week.)  Also Kovacs had several opportunities that brought down B1G backs last year that Bama backs just seemed to bounce off from.  My guess this is a level of competition variance versus a Kovacs (or Gordon) drop off.


September 2nd, 2012 at 2:43 AM ^

Actually made a number of TFL (think I counted 9) and 3 sacks, which is pretty impressive against that line, especially considering they ran it so well.  Kovacs and Gordon were the leading tacklers (always bad news) followed closely by Morgan.  Kenny Demens with just 3.  Will be interesting to see what those who break down the tape have to say (Did Demens play poorly?  Did he just have to eat blocks while others failed to clean things up?  Did our d-line just get trucked completely?).

At the end of the day though, the defense didn't lose the game for us.  They gave things up but this wasn't a Vince Young or Troy Smith (and certainly not Dennis Dixon) type performance where we just couldn't stop the opposition no matter what.  If the offense does anything in the first quarter we are talking about a much different game.  As it was things were pretty much over before we even got our feet wet and at that point I don't think you'd find many volunteers to keep getting pounded by Bama's o-line.



September 2nd, 2012 at 12:23 AM ^

Denard definitely seemed A LOT calmer in the pocket to me, and he was staring down a better defense than any others he will see.  This can only mean good things for the rest of the season.  The first two slants he threw got batted down by diving DBs who will play in the NFL someday.  The bomb to Gallon was right in stride.  Several other passes were just out of reach, and again, he was staring down a destructive defense.  We're not as talented as Bama, but Denard's play does not worry me moving forward.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:01 AM ^

crazy here. Alabama, while possessing a ton of NFL talent could not come anywhere near playing NFL level. Even as I write this I think you must have made that point sarcastically and I missed it, but oh well.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:06 AM ^

.....where UM got beat tonite.

Alabama's D-linemen were making penetration across the line of scrimmage all night long, which made it stupid to run it up the middle. It also allowed their linebackers to play more off the ball and looser from sideline to sideline, which shutdown any attempts at outside runs.

Alabama's O-linemen were moving our guys off the line and sealing off the running lanes exceptionally well.





September 2nd, 2012 at 12:06 AM ^

The defensive game plan was terrible!  Blitz twice on third and long, when Bama, and any child, know all you have to do is throw a screen!  And, dang, why didn't we game plan to stop the run!  Terrible, terrible coaching.

Of course that's sarcasm.  Seems the first reflex of people is to, once again, blame Borges because his O-linemen get beat, he doesn't yet have elite RBs, and because although improved Denard still makes some bad passes.

Why didn't he run Denard more?  Because Denard would've been carried off the field if he became the default QB/RB.  Bama was a fast, physical team, in case some of you didn't notice.  The playcalling was fine.  Sometimes Michigan had something resembling a drive.  Sometimes plays weren't executed well.  Most often, Bama was just too damn good.  Right now, they're simply a better team, and it showed.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:12 AM ^

Alabama's O-line was tremendous, their backs weren't getting hit till they were atleast 5+ yards up field, and they fell forward everytime. I know Mattison's plan was to stop the run and allow McCarron to win this game on his own, but that didn't happen. And of course Herbstreit and Musberger rode his dick the whole time and talked about how great he was, makes me sick. 

I was really liking the first few series, where we were getting rid of the ball quick. The wr's just made a few drops, but we immedieately went away from that and just let Denard do his usual "HEY SOMEONE CATCH THIS" throw. Granted there seem to be a litle illegal contact on some of his throws, but honestly Denard looked like Denard.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:14 AM ^

Not that we would have won, but there were a ton of missed holding penalties on Bama.  Every team would have All American linemen if they got away with hold as much as Bama.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:25 AM ^

why is Borges trying to make DR a pocket passer? I just didn't care for the offensive play calling.

On the defensive side: tacking and penalties. Lots of work to do this week to prepare for Air Force


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:27 AM ^

I feel bad about singling long out kovacs earlier ( but true). This game has jeopardized our entire season w/ injuries+confidence hit. Hoke's toughest job yet. He will need to dig deep after this debacle.ale us proud, Brady. Go Blue!

Seattle Maize

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:31 AM ^

I think this game showed us how far RR set us back talent wise. I do agree with the poster who said that the fact we played so many true freshmen shows how much potential hoke thinks this class has


September 2nd, 2012 at 7:39 AM ^

This is not a "bash rr" comment, but if you look at the talent that he brought in, we are closer to a big east team than an sec team.

While I am as optimistic as any fan out there, the reality is that for this season and next we are going to be playing at a major talent disadvantage (especiay gor upper classmen) to the top 10 teams across the lines, at WR, at TE, and throughout the defense. I expect the rr effect to fully pass by 2014, but no sooner.


September 2nd, 2012 at 2:13 AM ^

Is rawls a bit banged up still? Just curious as he would seem to be the go to guy at any down and short... Why was vinny in those packages all 150 lbs soaking wet? Btw i was here all day.. Tailgating since 11am. Its fucking HOT


September 2nd, 2012 at 8:54 AM ^

1.  Sitting Toussaint and Clark was the right thing to do and it would have made no difference in the outcome of the game had they played.  I am glad Hoke kept program integrity in this case.  Watching this game, it was tough to judge our RBs too much given what they were up against, but Fitz is clearly a significant upgrade from Smith and Rawls and we will benefit greatly from his return.


2.  I thought that the offense could have tried some delayed runs with Denard.  Have him drop back in the pocket like a designed pass play with the idea of taking off and running as soon as he felt the defense commit to the pass rush.  I don't know how successful it would have been or if Denard would be laying in the hospital right now or not but I kept waiting for something unconventional from the running game.  Conventional runs out of the i-form were not going to work against the Bama defense.


3.  There is a large disparity in talent level between the two teams.  The lines for Alabama are by far the best in college football (LSU's DL is probably comparable).  I think it is a great thing that Michigan would schedule a program of Alabama's calibre.  This game, however, showed that Michigan is probably 3 years away of Hoke's recruiting and developing players to be able to seriously compete with Alabama.

4.  Dennis Norfleet and Devin Gardner.  Not a whole lot positive to say about this performance but 2 players who caught my attention were Norfleet and Gardner.  Gardner did not make a lot of catches but he looked like a big stud athlete with a ton of potential at the position.  With more experience to help clean up the route running and consistency with his hands, he could be a force at WR in the Big 10.  Dennis Norfleet looked to be on the verge of hitting a homerun on most of his kick returns.  I kept saying that if we were playing any other team on our schedule, he probably would have broken one or two.  I am anxious to watch him return kicks against future opponents and would love for Borges to find a way to get this kid the football on offense.  Wow....he looks explosive.

5.  We have to hope that Countess and Lewan do not miss much time.  I am not aware of the severity of either of their injuries.  I am fearing a ligament tear for Countess as that's what it appeared the trainers were testing him for on the table on the sidelines.  Regardless, my biggest goal for the team this year was to win the Big 10 and play in the Rose Bowl.  The loss last night does not affect this team's chances to accomplish this goal.  I watched most of the Big 10 teams play their games this weekend and was far from impressed.  The team that probably looked the best was Ohio but they played garbage competition and are not eligible to win the Big 10 anyway.  Sparty will now be the highest ranked Big 10 team after beating a "ranked" Boise St. team.  Sparty did not look impressive in my opinion.  That was easily the worst Boise St. team I have watched in the last 10 years.  LeVeon Bell was a beast and the defense looked solid.  Those were the only 2 positives from them.  Bell will be one of the best in the Big 10 but he was running over guys that were 2-star back-ups from last year.  Sparty's run game and defense pale in comparison to Bama's.  Wisconsin and Iowa did not impress either.  It is hard to compare Michigan to the other teams in the conference based on who we played last night but I am not scared by anything I saw from the rest of the Big 10.  If this team can rebound from last night, both mentally and physically, they may still be able to win the Big 10 this season.

Go Blue!!!


September 2nd, 2012 at 9:43 AM ^

The first defensive series had me excited, but Alabama's line was just too good. Also, their backs hit the holes with explosion, and they were very sound at tackling and taking proper angles on defense. Norfleet and Gardner really impressed me, and I would love to seen a little of Justice Hayes at RB when the game was out of hand. It would have been a good experience for him, and it is clear that we need more speed back there.