Michigan vs. Illinois --- Immediate Reactions

Submitted by Mr. Yost on November 12th, 2011 at 7:20 PM

What are your thoughts following this game?


  • Denard is struggling running this offense...HOWEVA, I think we can get him on track if we went no huddle a little more
  • Fitz is the #1 back --- We knew this already, now the nation knows
  • Our offensive line is the key to our offense. (Yes, any offense can say that, however when Devin and Denard have time, when Fitz has a crease, when we control the line...we're good. When we don't, we're not good. It's that simple. We don't have a QB who can win with average/bad line play by hitting the slants and quick passes.
  • Mattison is king.
  • Our defensive line is damn good. You say, "no shit." Not so fast my friend...think back to the beginning of the year. They struggled. Roh was a non-factor. Brink and Heininger were not good. RVB couldn't get a pass rush. These guys are GOOD now.
  • Floyd is the most improved player on the team. Take away his best play (the INT) and his worst play (the holding or PI call)...he had a GREAT game. I don't care if it shows in the UFR or not. Floyd played well. Got away with a few things, but still, he was right there.


All in all, you can't complain too much about a win. But that 2nd and 3rd quarter was just BAD offensively. We should've won that game 47-14...EASILY. Maybe even 51 or 55-14. Our redzone playcalling has to get better. I think Borges got too conservative after the Iowa game. Those calls weren't bad 3 of the 4 could've/should've been TDs.

Teams are starting to do the same thing vs. us...Jam the WRs at the line and blitz the house. Jamming the WRs causes timing issues and allows the blitz to get through. We have to be able to hit the slant route like we did to Roundtree vs. MSU. Or throw a fade like we did so many times vs. ND.

One thing that pissed me off was Craig James whining about our redzone offense. We started the year like 18 of 18!!


Additional thoughts:

  • Why don't we use that play where Denard runs to the line and throws to the slot
  • Why don't we use the original Fritz package anymore?
  • Great job by Mattison with the zone blitzes and showing 7-8 at the line and rush 4.
  • I don't know if Frank Clark will ever start...but he's a passing rushing MACHINE!
  • The last two plays of Illinois opening drive of the 2nd half were 2 of the most beautiful plays I've ever seen in football.
  • That game was loooooooooooooooong.
  • Craig James, please...just stop talking.



....your immediate thoughts ABOUT THE GAME?


Bando Calrissian

November 12th, 2011 at 7:22 PM ^

At this point, build a damn statue of Greg Mattison in that patch of grass next to the flag pole on the Diag.  I'll lead the vigil service at its feet these next two Friday nights.

Mr. Yost

November 12th, 2011 at 7:25 PM ^

I think some people forget how BAD that defense was last year. I mean I don't know what was worse...the defense in Rich Rod's last year or the offense in his first. It was horrendous.

Mattison deserves a TON of credit. Before the year this board and every Michigan fan just wanted an "average" defense. We got a pretty good one.

The first Illinois drive of the 2nd half...I seriously sat to myself and say "wow, they are FUN to watch!" It was surreal. I can't remember the last time I had FUN watching defense. I totally forgot the feeling.




November 12th, 2011 at 7:51 PM ^

I'm pretty sure everyone remembers how bad the defense was last year. The defense we've seen this year coupled with seeing player development and growth just highlights how terrible gerg and the rest of rrod's staff was on the defensive side of the ball.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:47 PM ^

The only one I can think of that comes close is giving up 50 to the Bucks in 1968 and then giving up 12 to them the following year. 

I went to that stupid Illinois game last year.  It was probably the sickest I felt after a victory.  That defense tonight looked like the Michigan defenses of old.  Mattison is my hero. 


November 12th, 2011 at 7:25 PM ^

Why don't we use that play where Denard runs to the line and throws to the slot

We've run it a few times this year, usually to Dileo or Koger.

Mr. Yost

November 12th, 2011 at 7:28 PM ^

But not enough.

Typically the throw to Koger is off the read-option. We fake to the RB and toss it to Koger. Dileo did have a TD catch early in the year with the "Rich Rod" play.

But the reason the play was invented was to stop shit like this. USE IT!

We could've burned each of the last 4 teams we've played on that play because they've all crowded the line. Jammed the outide WRs and sent the house.

The play would work perfect. I hope we use it in our last two games.



November 12th, 2011 at 7:44 PM ^

I don't know if it's enough to keep defenses honest.   It's not that long of a throw.   A safety can keep an eye on the slot and still be in decent position to get the QB if he takes off.  When we've run the play, it's generally gone for like a 10-yard pickup, and not the wide-open TD it was at the beginning of last year. 

If you really want to pull that safety out of there, you have to stretch the field vertically.  Unfortunately that's hard for us.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:50 PM ^

How is the play calling killing Denard??  Borges called a lot of short passes, that's why Denard had a decent completion percentage.

Borges also calls some Denard keeps like everyone wants, but they aren't going for big plays like last year.  Our offense just scored 31 on one of the Big Ten's best defenses, and we were inches away from two more TDs.

And this the players' first year system... give it some time, even if it isn't perfect after 10 games.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:31 PM ^

You can tell he's getting better, looking more comfortable, good job by him.

Great to see Odums get a TD, he's been a relative non factor for a while.

The team in general played like 'Michigan'; is this the end because it's beginning to look like Michigan again...


November 12th, 2011 at 11:00 PM ^

My thought after that play was that maybe that was the first time Devin found his swagger on the field. He handled the rush, stepped up and hit the open guy on the numbers. Congrats to Devin. That was a HUGE play. Looking at 3rd & 15 leading to maaaybe a really long field goal and instead we got a critical TD.

The Denarding

November 12th, 2011 at 7:32 PM ^

The good:  zone blocking and run plays from last year that we are ideally suited to deliver

The bad:  The pain that is I form

The unexpected:  A defense that always appears to be in position, gang tackles, and is making fewer mistakes as the year goes along 

The questionable:  The lack of a bubble screen game of any time to relieve in line blitzing, and the outside zone stretch to Lewan side.  In addition, both the zone read slant (either off the aforementioned bubble or otherwise) and QB Oh Noes....I really, really, really miss QB Oh Noes!

This coaching staff has done a good job of getting themselves ready for next year on this years team without losing epically.  They put Illinois away eventually.  The offense will continue to sputter I suspect but the defense (I know shocking) will bail them out.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

You can tell he's getting better, looking more comfortable, good job by him.

Great to see Odums get a TD, he's been a relative non factor for a while.

The team in general played like 'Michigan'; is this the end because it's beginning to look like Michigan again...


November 12th, 2011 at 7:36 PM ^

as prepared as Michigan's been for a road game this year (obvious).  We could have hammered a pretty good defensive team.  Illinois made some nice adjustments that we didn't adjust back to as well.   The D came to play against a team that pretty much has gone up and down on the field against them for 3 years.   The injury to Denard didn't help, as I'm sure Gardner had a pretty limited play set.


We are 8-2 and at the beginning of the year if you had told me we'd be 8-2 with Nebraska and Ohio State left I'd have taken it in a heart beat.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:37 PM ^

he and Black got burned pretty bad on zone-reads (I am positive on Clark, I may be confabulating on Black).


Neither offense got anything going today, which is more disappointing for us, I think.  I thought our offensive line was better than what they showed, Mercilus looked unstoppable.  


All in all, today's games just made me more upset about last weekend, we had no business losing to Iowa.  Friggin' Iowa.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:46 PM ^

but by halftime the O had left a bunch of points on the field.  And it seemed like we had a short field today, like half the time!  (I don't know the stats, just going by feel.)


I'm not saying the offense is terrible, just...underachieving?  At any rate, I'm enjoying the win, just trying to say something new in the thread.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:43 PM ^

Zone read defense was good in general, but when the two young DEs were being read (Black and Clark), we got burned big time. Scheelhouse must have been doing something weird with the fake handoff, because both of the DEs read it and crashed in on the RBs, giving up huge plays. The good news is that is a minor issue that is easily correctable, and without those two plays I dont think Illinois has a run play past 10 yards.


November 12th, 2011 at 8:23 PM ^

Your comment is ambiguous, but I think you're insinuating RR would have coached much better (particularly the O).

I grant you RR might have coached a better Offensive game, but damn, how 'bout that D. RR only has defenses like that in his wildest dreams. (At least at Michigan)

And  finally, let it go man. We are moving forward with or without you; I for one, like the direction we are heading. 


November 12th, 2011 at 7:42 PM ^

Excellent tackling all over the field. What a huge difference that makes - even when the offense makes a play the damage is limited.  Haven't seen that for a while.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:52 PM ^

need I say more? Our defense impresses me again and again every game. I saw Gardner make some smart choices but he like Robinson scares me when he lets it go. From what I saw from Nebraska and OSU today I'm feeling very confident about both games now. I truly believe we will win out.

Zone Left

November 12th, 2011 at 7:53 PM ^

Michigan cumulative points through 10 games:

2011 -- M - 325, Opp - 155

2010 -- M - 377, Opp - 321

In other words, the 2010 Michigan team had scored 16% more points through 10 games while allowing 107% more points! What a difference a year makes.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:54 PM ^

My first reaction is holy sh*t enough with the fu*king commericial breaks already.  You have to watch 5 min of Kay Jewlers to watch 2min of our offense derp derp in the red zone over and over.  This was a maddening game to watch for so many reasons, but the excessive commericals just really put it over the top.  I should have just watched it on ESPN3.com.  *whew* That feels better. 

I Bleed Maize N Blue

November 12th, 2011 at 7:57 PM ^

Defense looked really good for a lot of the game.  Even when the offense began to struggle, I didn't feel like Illinois was going to take advantage.  Didn't like giving up the long gain for a 1st down late, but getting turnovers made a comeback.

Really good start on the road, opening TD, opening 3 & out.  Fitz breaking 100 yds on 3rd drive.


WOO! Road win!