Michigan Monday at the Ozone

Submitted by StephenRKass on September 25th, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Michigan Monday is up at the Ozone. LINK:  http://theozone.net/football/2012/MSU/michiganmonday.html

It is very painful to read. Gerdeman's take? This game was lost by Borges, who put Denard in an untenable situation. There are a ton of great quotes, but this section sums it up well:

Michigan lost a game on Saturday night that they pretty much had no business losing. Notre Dame couldn't move the ball, and could only score when the field position was handed over like a Gideons bible.

The Wolverines had the three longest drives of the game, including two drives of over 70 yards that ended in turnovers. Those two drives alone consisted of twelve entire minutes of possession.

And yet Borges kept dialing up interceptions in the first half like frat bros ordering Jägerbombs.

And again:

Michigan's offense shot itself in the foot at every available opportunity on Saturday, and Borges just kept loading the gun.

"Don't forget to shoot the left one again, it looks like the blood is starting to clot."

A few bullets:

  • Take away any of the turnovers, except the hail Mary, and the game could have turned differently.
  • Robinson's mistakes came on short and intermediate passes, which he supposedly should make.
  • Apart from sacks and a botched snap, Michigan only had 2 carries that lost yards, and moved the ball well enough to win.
  • Barnum and Schofield still have issues on the OL, although the line did well enough.
  • Michigan can stop the run as long as they don't have to worry about a passing game.
  • The secondary didn't do that good. Taylor is still inexperienced, but Floyd just has limitations, shown by getting beat by Eifert at the end.
  • Most amazing and damning stat: Michigan only punted once.

Final analysis:

Denard Robinson's regression is almost complete. He is the Benjamin Button of quarterbacks. That being said, he is always capable of a great game, but he might be even more capable of a bad one.

With the Big Ten as bad as it is, Robinson doesn't have to be great because his good is plenty good enough. Borges just needs to have somebody tell him what it is that Robinson is good at. 

There is no team left on Michigan's schedule that they can't beat. But I'm not sure that anybody actually expects them to do that.


Huntington Wolverine

September 25th, 2012 at 9:40 AM ^

"Apart from sacks and a botched snap, Michigan only had 2 carries that lost yards, and moved the ball well enough to win."

I don't understand why we didn't keep lining up and running the ball more. Establish the run until they stop it - which they weren't able to do with their front 7 alone. Once they bring the safety down it should open something up over the top... 

Especially when they're coverage is giving our Senior QB, one of the best runners in the nation, fits.


September 25th, 2012 at 9:41 AM ^

Surprisingly rational. I was expecting different. The success of the season is going to depend on which teams the bad games come against. Going to be hard to predict the season. If Borges goes back to the 2011 Illinois/Neb/Ohio stretch, that will help reduce Denard's variability.


September 25th, 2012 at 10:00 AM ^

I would imagine that most Ohio fans have their hands in their pants every time they think about playing Michigan.  They didn't have to pay nearly enough for their cheating, and they look to be THE superior team in the Big Ten this year, even if they aren't eligible for a bowl.  

I don't really agree with a major part of his analysis, though; I think ND is legit this year.  Having Rees to bring in as a change of pace is quite a luxury for them, and their defense looks very athletic and very well-coached.  

The "spread vs pro set" debate might get some definitive answers in a couple of years.  It looks like Kelly is going to keep his job at ND, and Urban Meyer is looking like a world-beater again.  We'll see what happens when Borges has his own people at Michigan.  



September 25th, 2012 at 10:17 AM ^

I don't think Ohio State has shown superiority yet.  Look at their games 

  • 56-10 win over Miami of Ohio; ranked at 129; over 20 FCS schools rank ahead of them.  Think UMass
  • 31-16 win over UCF; ranked at 54
  • 35-28 win over Cal; ranked at 61
  • 29-15 win over UAB; ranked at 134, again, think UMass

Had Michigan played these four teams, we'd be 4-0 right now too.  We'll really know more about Ohio State after they visit East Lansing this weekend.  I'm not buying into any hype based on how they've struggled so far, especially considering that they have played all of those games at home.

Greg McMurtry

September 25th, 2012 at 12:00 PM ^

and they look like a young inexperienced team, barely beating less talented opponents.  Braxton Miller is a threat, but also makes poor interceptions.  The defense is not good except for Shazier who is all over the field making tackles.  The D-line is okay.

Perkis-Size Me

September 25th, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

I think Urban Meyer will be a worldbeater again, but he isn't right now. His team is looking pretty mediocre, especially against far inferior competition. The only reason they are undefeated is because they've played 4 cupcakes all at home. Aside from Miami, every team they have played has hung with them and had a legitimate chance to win. Braxton Miller will be very good, and so will that entire team in year 2-3 of the Meyer regime, but they look very, very beatable right now.

The funny thing with Kelly's situation is not only does it look like he's keeping his job, but the schedule that looked so brutal at the beginning of the year doesn't quite look that way anymore. Playing at Oklahoma will be tough, but they look beatable right now. I thought they'd walk all over KSU. USC has been exposed. Stanford will be tough, but its at home. Notre Dame might win one, maybe two of these games. But other than these three teams, I think Notre Dame should beat the rest of the teams on their schedule pretty convincingly. 9 wins would be great, but getting to 10-11 wins is a very realistic possibility for their team.

Lou Holtz is going to have a field day.



September 25th, 2012 at 10:17 AM ^

is at fault for asking his senior qb to make good decisions with the ball? ok, i got it now. as for the HB pass, when is the right time to call it? it was open. smith, much like denard, is a senior that borges trusts to make the right play and eat it or throw it away if he's pressured.

borges came out in the 2nd half stuck to the ground game. what happened? denard fumbled. is that borges fault too? is it borges fault denard took 2 straight sacks and gibbons missed a fg?

borges is not perfect but i can't fault him for trusting his senior qb to make good decisions.



September 25th, 2012 at 10:30 AM ^

I like how your pissed at Denard for forcing the ball the for picks, and then two thoughts later pissed at him for not throwing the ball and taking sacks.

If Denard cannot make good decisions from under center with pressure in his face (which he cannot) then yes, it gets more and more on Borges for asking him to do it over and over. I'm not going to drag race my Fords Focus because it will not win. If I did and expected anything different I would be insane.


September 25th, 2012 at 3:00 PM ^

ND's QB threw the ball away multiple times against Sparty, and he's a freshman.  He didn't do that as well against us and got benched.  But even first year QBs do this all the time.

Denard should know by now that he can't make 2 of those throws that were picked by Teo.  They were just terrible.  And he can't fumble at the 10 yard line in half after which he threw 4 picks and the team threw 5.  Just can't do it.

I love Denard Robinson.

snarling wolverine

September 25th, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

If Denard cannot make good decisions from under center with pressure in his face (which he cannot)

This is pretty patronizing toward a guy that's started 30 games and has led us to victory in 20 of them. He has made good decisions under pressure before. There are times when he loses his composure and starts forcing the issue, but he can overcome that. He is smart enough to recognize when the downfield routes are covered; we saw him scramble for a first down on our opening series of the game. I think he would have benefitted from sitting out a series in the second quarter on Saturday, but unfortunately, the guy who could have been our Tommy Rees (Forcier) isn't around.

I think the discussion of play selection is overblown.  Against a good defense, your first option in the passing game frequently won't be open, no matter what your scheme is.  The coaches just need to keep reminding Denard, "If it's not there, tuck and run, and if you can't do that, chuck it out of bounds."   If he just uses his feet more often on pass plays, that alone will change the way opponents defend us.



September 25th, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

Of course Denard can make good decisions in pressure situations, but the frequency of him making a bad decision when he's running these under center play action passes or roll-outs that gets someone in his face is much, much higher.  The point is the offensive scheme that Borges wants to run in not setting Denard up for success.  I keep thinking about the Ohio game last year where Borges had been using Denards legs successfully, and eventually they end up in a passing situation with 3 guys rushing and John Simon not rushing in order to spy Denard.  Denard then has plenty of time, and fires a laser to Odoms in between three DBs for a TD.  That is how you can successfully use Denard to make the passing game work.


September 26th, 2012 at 1:20 AM ^

2012 ND:  Points per game:  9  national rank:  4th    

Rushing Defense yards:  112.5  national rank:  28th

Total Defense yards:       291.25  national rank:  16th

2011 OSU:  Points per game:  21  national rank:  27th

                  Rushing Defense yards:  141.5  national rank:  50th 

Total defense yards:  323.54  national rank  19th

Now, my conclusion (we would need to revisit at end of year) would be that OSU had a fairly porous rushing defense and thus we only threw 17 times against them while ND appears to have a fairly stout rushing defense in comparison.

Thus, I think attempting to compare the 2011 OSU game played at UM stadium to the 2012 ND game played at ND and thinking the two bear a lot of resemblenece to each other in terms of the opponents strengths and weaknesses and our own strengths and weaknesses with what we could or could not do is fruitless. 

At ND, What we did in the first half did not work, what we did in the second half worked to some extent, but not enough.  We changed our plan of attack in response to data we got on Denard's three quick ints. 

Now, I may not be right, but there is some data involved that at least makes a case for why comparing 2011 OSU and 2012 ND might not make a lot of sense.




September 25th, 2012 at 11:33 AM ^

The directions for Smith's HB pass play should go like this: take pitch, head towards sideline while looking up field, and either A: throw ball high and deep into the corner of the endzone if you see the safety coming up to stop the run, or B: just run the ball. To even try to make an accurate, QB-type toss shouldn't be in his mind.


September 25th, 2012 at 10:28 AM ^


Take away any of the turnovers, except the hail Mary, and the game could have turned differently.


The ND fan next to me said the exact same thing. He was very displeased with how Kelly let the game play out. He was upset that Kelly went so vanilla and was almost seemed satisfied punting the ball.  Notre Dame's defense wasn't playing that great, they were just on the fortunate end of karma.  Up until Michigan's last field goal (which took entirely too long), he was pretty nervous.  

With the Big Ten as bad as it is, Robinson doesn't have to be great because his good is plenty good enough. Borges just needs to have somebody tell him what it is that Robinson is good at.

I don't think anyone knows how the B1G season is going to go, even Ohio State fans have to be concerned after some of their close wins. Close wins to inferior teams at home tend to make a fan nervous (I'm looking at you Air Force).


September 25th, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

They are concerned. Living in Ohio, I have heard fans express the same sentiment; they  are not impressed w/ Urban or the team this year. Even one of the most obnoxious fans that I know expressed this concern.

& this is a quick turn-around I've seen; you should've seen how starry-eyed some of them have been about Urban since the hire.

(As an aside, I think The ND coach who caused the potato famine could have won a NC w/ Tebow & Harvin... that is to say, any coach in way over his head in CFB.)

Time will tell if history repeats itself.

Urban Warfare

September 25th, 2012 at 12:35 PM ^

I don't have concerns about Urban.  Everyone knew that this would be a learning year, and no one seriously expected them to go 12-0.  I was predicting 8-4, maybe 9-3 depending on how the cards fell. 

Our problem is our front seven seem to have forgotten how to tackle or put pressure on the quarterback.  It's pathetic, and if it doesn't improve, Urban needs to send Vrabel to work with the tight ends and hire some new defensive coaches. 


September 25th, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

However, I think there were some fans who believed the media hype and were thinking a 10+ win season. I was trying to temper expectations by remember everyone that Urban when 9-3 his first season at Florida, and the players aren't going to magically learn the spread overnight. The poor play of the defense has been a bit of a surprise though. I would consider an 8-9 win season a success.

Although, I love Vrabel and think the guy is a Buckeye through-and-through, his very first coaching gig should not have been at OSU. Vrabel should have started at a smaller school lke Akron, or Toledo and worked his way up the ranks. Ohio State is not a place to go to brush up on your coaching chops.


September 25th, 2012 at 6:50 PM ^

I didn't see anything in there where he insuinated the Buckeyes were going to go 10+ wins. The general gist I got was, "The Big Ten is awful this year, so there's a good chance we come out of this season with a decent record." Pretty much what every B1G team is saying right now....


September 26th, 2012 at 9:42 AM ^

Except that he implies that Ohio State is not part of the wreckage that is the B1G at the end -

This year was already predetermined to be imperfect anyway. If the Buckeyes can simply avoid tripping over the B1G's carcass, they can plunder the narrative and declare victory in November.


September 25th, 2012 at 12:28 PM ^

are two very different things.  MSU has shown nothing on offense aside from running Bell 40 times a game.  That plays directly into OSU's defensive strengths (between the hash rush D).  Both teams have some pretty glaring issues but none that I would say tips the balance in either direction to say an particular outcome is "likely".  Might be a repeat 10-7 game but which direction is really anyone's guess.  


Close wins to inferior teams is a scout badge both of these teams have earned so far so I don't think that is a great barometer between the two (or any team in the B1G for that matter).  


September 25th, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

I wouldn't agree with his statement that Denard is more capable of a bad game than a good one.  Its easy to say that after probably one of the worst performances by a Michigan quarterback ever.  But I think Denard's legacy speaks for itself in terms of turning out more good than bad performances.


September 25th, 2012 at 12:31 PM ^

"The Wolverines had the three longest drives of the game, including two drives of over 70 yards that ended in turnovers. Those two drives alone consisted of twelve entire minutes of possession."

The three drives that he is referring to, if anyone is interested, actually went 78, 63 and 56 yards officially, per the box score that I kept, but the 78-yard drive lasted 6:13 and resulted in an INT and the 63-yard drive last 5:47 and was the now-infamous fumble. We also had 42-yard drive in the 3rd quarter which resulted in one of the field goals. It's been said, but minus the turnovers, we were actually doing well moving the ball, and at least that portion is encouraging.

We also had 19 first downs to ND's 14, and we were 8-15 on 3rd down conversions, whereas they were 3-9 on 3rd downs. This, and the lone punt make this a painful rehash, and in many important respects, we did play well enough to win. Sadly, we did not.