Killer Instinct

Submitted by Hoke_Floats on November 15th, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Does the football team lack the killer instinct to put games away?  Or at least stomp on the throat of the opponent when you have them down?  Specifically to go up by 2 scores.

  • Fumble on the 1 yard line against Indiana to go up by 2 TDs
  • Missed FG against Ill on 4 and short
  • Interception by Denard in the Red Zone against Purdue

I am going to chalk this up to a young offense, with nearly everyone returning next year.  We did well against some of the non-conference schools, but in the B10 teams are much tougher, and no one rolls over (save Indiana against Wisconsin).

I was glad to see the Hopkins TD put away Purdue,  And I would qualify that as improvement, not only for the game, but for the season as a whole.  I certainly hope we get a couple of opportunities in the next 2 weeks to put a game away and the offense jumps all over it.

Tin foil hat alert : The possibility does exist that Rich Rod and Dave Brandon have teamed with the BTN, ESPN, and Rotel/Velveeta to keep games close and sell more ads. 



November 15th, 2010 at 9:09 AM ^

I think we are spoiled a little bit.

An all-day windy, cold, down pour in the Bo era would have been a 9-6 game and we would have been thankful for the win.

Now, if we don't put up 60 pts and win by 20 we don't have the killer instinct?

A win is a win - it's hard to drive a car in that weather much less put a football on the numbers 40yds downfield.


st barth

November 15th, 2010 at 9:55 AM ^

I remember being at a 5-0 Michigan win over Purdue in 1995 and not only was I thankful for the win, I think I was just thankful to be alive afterwards.  It was the nasty mix of rain & cold that I've ever experienced...felt like somebody was throwing ice shavings in my face all day.  

And as a side note, I don't think there was any way M stadium cracked 100,000 in attendence that day despite the official record.  Maybe 80,000 max because there was a lot of empty seats and I'm pretty sure it was less than half full by the end of the game.

Here's a link to a game summary:


November 15th, 2010 at 9:11 AM ^

I am going to disagree with you about killer instinct. The team has been able to close games out and win all of the ones you mentioned overcoming the adversity of those mistakes. And that drive to end the game against Purdue sure showed the killer instiinct to go up by two scores.


November 15th, 2010 at 9:15 AM ^

There are a couple of moments in the loses I could have pointed to, but I did not want to start a whole sour grapes thing.

The first drive against MSU stands out for me, if we would have punched it in...but if my grandmother etc.

Specifically for me any red-zone turnover is very very bad, but I don't know if that is lack of killer instinct or just bad luck/poor execution

The Impaler

November 15th, 2010 at 9:29 AM ^

Specifically for you? I think anyone would agree that turnovers in the redone are particularly damaging. To your question regarding killer instinct. To my count we have "killed" seven out of the ten teams we faced this year so I don't what you're talking about.


November 15th, 2010 at 9:13 AM ^

I think we had the same problems against Iowa/Michigan State.  We are driving with the lead and decide to turn the ball over. Not only do we have hard time extending the lead, it also turns the tide of the game.  I agree, Michigan needs to learn that you can never have enough points this year.


November 15th, 2010 at 9:30 AM ^

I'm pretty sure that this "killer instinct" you're referring to is mumbo-jumbo. 

You don't fumble or miss field goals because you don't want to win or because you lack something in your essence that would urge you to win (by more than a little bit). These are simply what I'd call mistakes that indicate a lack of skill, preparedness, or fortune. I imagine that the team, as they get more big moment reps and become more skilled, will have fewer nerves and be more prepared in such moments and they will be more successful, "instinct" be damned. 


November 15th, 2010 at 9:35 AM ^

I wouldn't say we lack killer instinct, but our redzone offense lacks something (regarding last Saturday and especially the two picks that were thrown against MSU). 

Super J

November 15th, 2010 at 11:33 AM ^

I wouldn't say we lack killer instinct, but our redzone offense lacks something

I think the phrase it is lacking is the ability to go up by two touchdowns,  Purdue was the first B10 game where we did this.  A two touchdown leas take huge amounts of pressure off the defense.  Look at the best defenses in the NFL, when they have a two TD lead they love to take chances and send wild blitzes to force the offense, who is already off of their gameplan, to make mistakes.  Our offense could have helped our D more by being smarter with the ball in the redzone.

As this group grows, they will make fewer young player mistakes in the redzone.

So what it is lacking "Killer Instinct". 


November 15th, 2010 at 9:35 AM ^

How are the coaches going about and coaching a no turnover philosophy to the team? Obviously turnovers were a huge problem in the loss's to Iowa and MSU and resulted in us loosing those games. The turnover problem should have been fixed after Iowa and MSU, but now we have had 10 turnovers in the past two games and I am starting to wonder what is going on. As an optimist I try and put it on lack of experience and youth, but I can't help but question this issue.


November 15th, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^

I'm not sure a coach can really do a whole lot to prevent turnovers.  I'll guarantee you that the coaching staff is not coaching the QB's to throw INT's or fumble.  No matter how much you stress it to the kids, it's up to them to actually be smart with the ball.  If someone can definitively say that we don't do ball security drills in practice then I'll fault the coaches.

I do think that coaches can work more with a wet football or other adverse conditions in practice if called for.  Generally when conditions are as crappy as they were Saturday, turnovers are more likely.  I realize that doesn't address the last 3 games before this one, but I chalk a lot of it up to youth and players pressing and always trying for a big play. 

In short, I'm not sure how a coach can prevent turnovers - ultimately the players have to be smart and protect the ball. 


November 15th, 2010 at 11:02 AM ^

I realize that the younger MGoBloggers weren't around then, but there were plenty of angry radio callers after that game in 1996 who thought it was UNACCEPTABLE for a #9 Michigan team to lose that game, in that fashion, and that Lloyd Carr should be fired. 1996 was pre-internet/message board/blog (as we know it, at least); if MGoBlog had been around then, Brian's server would have melted down from the deluge of rage-filled-Fire Carr-inspired traffic. Very few of those people would have thought that one year later we'd be on our way to a national championship.

My point isn't that we'll challenge for the NC next year or that the coaching staff is beyond criticism, but fan reactions to one game can be completely hysterical, in the real old-fashioned, non-humorous sense of the word.

Magnum P.I.

November 15th, 2010 at 9:39 AM ^

if it's lack of a killer instinct or what, but it's been insanely frustrating this season that our offense seems to sputter most when there's a chance to take the opponent's heart. Part of me thinks it's conservative playcalling once we get ahead, but I don't know. It has seemed at times during the season that the offense almost automatically scores when in response to the opponent's score, but then stalls when there's a chance to go up big.


November 15th, 2010 at 9:40 AM ^

Calling out a bunch of kids for "lack of killer instinct" is unfortunately only the 2nd most ridiculous thing you've said. I won't comment on the racketeering accusations.

st barth

November 15th, 2010 at 9:44 AM ^

I'd argue that the seeming lack of "killer instinct" is all just part of the youth of the team.  As the kids gain more experience they will become more efficient in burying opponents.  Like I've been saying all season, we just need some patience and try to enjoy watching the team mature (even if it's maddening at times).


November 15th, 2010 at 9:46 AM ^

It is certainly true that Michigan has botched a number of opportunities to take commanding leads. But it has also mounted late combacks to tie and/or win.

I wouldn’t call it “lack of killer instinct,” but merely the inconsistency that comes from being a young, not-very-good team.


November 15th, 2010 at 9:46 AM ^

It is not a lack of killer instinct, it is simply an inability to execute (mistakes) on O and a lack of personnel on special teams.  A couple of field goals a game can be huge.  Not in the cards this year.  It is very frustrating to watch, particularly since mistakes were largely absent in the beginning of the season.

Considering we have had ten turnovers the last two games and won  both is indicative that the Michigan-hating Gods have been on strike.


November 15th, 2010 at 11:02 AM ^

Those mistakes not happening earlier in the season were likely the result of playing weaker opponents.  We are playing better teams (MSU, Iowa, Illinois, PSU) now at least according to what we have found out as the season has progressed in terms of actual performance from teams we beat early on like BGSU, Indiana, Notre Dame, UCONN, etc.


November 15th, 2010 at 9:57 AM ^

I think we've got 2 factors at work here.

1. You are selectively ignoring the times Michigan did go up by two scores. It's not as rare as you suggest.

2. Michigans defense has been bad so they don't often get multiple opportunities to go up by two scores because the opponent is always scoring.

So yes, there are times when Michigan had a chance to go up by 2 scores and failed but you're blaming the wrong unit for this. The defense is the one at fault.


November 15th, 2010 at 10:16 AM ^

Seems like the board has been watching guy movies all weekend. Last I checked, with only 12 games in the regular season, we need to kick somebody's ass every week. Not doing the appropriate amount of kicking results in things like losing to NW when you are a top 10 team, looking at you Iowa. Strap on those chin straps boys.


November 15th, 2010 at 10:20 AM ^

I think tis is a team that can best be described as one that knows how to score but doesn't know how to win...yet.
<br>There are certain high risk/low reward things that you just don't do when you're trying to put a game away, like throwing into double coverage from inside your own 10. When you're ahead late in the game like they were, no gain is statistically better than trying to force something like that.
<br>Likewise, botching the snap at the 1 against indiana when you could have gone up by 3 scores also fits this mold.
<br>I don't think its a lack of killer instinct. I think its just youth at our offensive skill positions.