Morning After Thoughts and Observations

Submitted by ijohnb on September 2nd, 2018 at 9:31 AM

I know there are Snowflakes threads but sometimes a night of "sleep" (Read: Angrily passing out) helps to clarify a loss like that and I have some taeks that I am going to throw out here to help me process it and hopefully generate some rational discussion after the typical fan base rage-out on the night of.

On a dong-punch scale, last night was like a 6.  It sucks to lose, and it really sucks to lose to ND, but if you are going to lose, lose early, and make it to a ranked team while you are at it.  It may be that this team is not very good, it may also be that it ran into a buzzsaw in the first half last night and will actually be quite good.  In any case, a loss like this is not a "season ender."  Just keep your radio off of local sports talk for the next couple of weeks and it will relatively easy to move from this one relatively easily. As far as the WTF was that odds and ends go:

1.  Notre Dame looked pretty good.  I really like their receivers and their defense was stellar everywhere.  I was also taken aback by their team speed.  We seemed a step behind them all the time even when our coaches had diagnosed something correctly on either side of the ball.  I know it is early but I think ND is going to make some relevant noise this season.

2.  I am really not a fan of the "defense was it usual dominant self, just look at the drive chart" narrative. In the MSU, PSU games from last year, and the game last night, our defense got gashed during the "money" stages of the game.  Our defensive ends are over-pursuing in the backfield to a "lol omg" extent and good coaches are eating our lunch.  It does not say anything about our defense when opposing offenses shut things down with big leads because they know we can't score on them.  We have some really good players on defense but good coaches have the scheme downloaded and Brown needs to make some tweaks.  He puts way to much pressure on the secondary to be in flawless position all the time and they simply can't be.  Sometimes it is enough to keeps things in front of you.  We are constantly vulnerable to back-breaking big chunk plays and they are increasingly looking routine against us.  Kelly worked Brown last night in the first half.  (I will note, there will come a time when every moonball thrown by an opposing QB doesn't land heartbreakingly right in the hands of a falling down receiver).

3.  I disagree with any take that calls our players out for being "entitled" and playing "soft."  This "we don't play with a chip on our shoulder" is non-sense.  Our players are giving 110% on every play and wanted that game badly, almost too much.  Which brings me to this point.  What I see out of our players is a noticeable lack of discipline.  I know it is hard to believe, but there are fans of other teams who don't have to hold off on celebrating a 3rd down stop until they look around frantically to see if there is a flag.  Plays like Bush PF against State last year, Winovich last night, the multiple roughing the kickers that have cost us dearly in the last 3 years.  These plays cannot and should not happen.  Since Harbaugh took over, we have been handing teams gifts in the form of crushing penalties at key times.  Under Harbaugh, we seem to be drastically lack mental discipline and that is very surprising to me.  If anything, I thought that Harbaugh was very detail oriented by these teams are anything but that.

4.  Unless our offensive line drastically improves, I am not sure what any QB we have can do.  We don't get consistent push to run the ball and the QBs are immediately under pressure from everywhere.  Patterson looked pretty good but the kid can't work miracles.  Half the time he was not even getting time to make one read.

4.  On a lighter note, McCaffrey looked pretty damn good in a very difficult spot.  Nico Collins looked the part.  I liked the read option and RPO stuff early.  The team collectively got swarmed and was kind of scrambling after the first quarter so to a large extent we went away from it, but I would like to see more of that going forward.

TL;DR - Everybody has tomorrow off so we get an extra day to drink this one away.  Cheers.  Go Blue.




September 2nd, 2018 at 9:45 AM ^

Why don’t you just go to those Snowflakes threads then and read those?  I decided to start a new thread to discuss a few specific things. None of this is “hot-take-y” and last time I checked, there isn’t a rule banning Michigan football threads on a Michigan football blog.  If you don’t like it, bye.

Slippery Rock …

September 2nd, 2018 at 12:24 PM ^

Everything about this is  “hot-take-y”. You thought it out, though and put more effort than a one sentence rant, so +1 to you. This is a Michigan sports blog, after all. 


If if you want my incoherent rant, I do not understand the overall feeling that Shea was great but the line was letting him down. I think he will do well, and I think he is a good player, but I did not see a significant plummet of efficiency when mcaffrey was in. I think if there is any blame to be placed on an opening day loss to a ranked opponent on the road, it should be spread around evenly. 


September 2nd, 2018 at 12:47 PM ^

No, a hot take is “Harbaugh’s attitude sucks” and “fire Pep Hamilton.”   There is a difference between a take and a hot take.    Nobody said that Patterson was “great” I said he looked pretty good.   For the most part he did.   It is not that easy to complete passes with a defense of tackles arm down your throat.


September 2nd, 2018 at 9:41 AM ^

Unless our offensive line drastically improves, I am not sure what any QB we have can do.  We don't get consistent push to run the ball and the QBs are immediately under pressure from everywhere.  Patterson looked pretty good but the kid can't work miracles.  Half the time he was not even getting time to make one read.

This is something I've been ranting about on other media a bit - it's great that we got Shea Patterson, but you do need to address the other elements of the offense, and if you are in a situation where you know positions like OT might be an issue, then you have to account for it in the gameplan somehow, even if in kooky ways. 

Laser Wolf

September 2nd, 2018 at 9:45 AM ^

The whiffs in O-line recruiting and lack of development of the guys we’ve brought in is going to continue to cap what this program is capable of. It’s frustrating because overhauling an O-line is a years long project rather than one good offseason, and doesn’t really seem like it’s our project has even started in earnest.  


September 2nd, 2018 at 10:34 AM ^

Guessing why we may see guys pushing to take the tackle spots as the season progresses.  I think they may have hit on a couple of the young guys, hence the talk before the season that JR and JBB may get pushed out later.  Really hoping they progress, because we have turnstiles at T right now.


September 2nd, 2018 at 11:35 AM ^

Missing on Wilson and Petite-Friere and losing Newsome hurts, not that I blame them. Hopefully Hudson and Mayfield will develop. Our o-line should be better next year, unfortunately we prolly lose a lot on defense. It does seem unlucky that so many 4-star recruits can't be put together into a more successful o-line.


September 2nd, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

well it was a conscious choice to constantly recruit inside players and no tackles...after every commit, many people here including me were screaming..."yet another guard, where are the tackles"....after runyan, stewart, filiaga, etc... the biggest issue was OT when he took over and it was the one spot that wasn't addressed the first two he lives with it.   


September 2nd, 2018 at 9:49 AM ^

If we have not seen it by now, we will never see it . . . isn't it funny how all of our QBs always look ineffective in the same way?  

Some are a little more artful at it than others, but the result is always the same: One 3rd-and-long too many does them in.

It's because of the OL.  Until that is fixed (if ever) they are always going to look like late-2017 O'Korn, no matter who they are.



September 2nd, 2018 at 9:43 AM ^

It would be nice to have a general snowflake thread though that is not specifically offense, defense, etc., so that threads like "What are your expectations now?" can go in there.



September 2nd, 2018 at 9:46 AM ^

Apparently you are either unaware of the existence of Snowflake threads or feel your hot takes are so much better than everyone else’s they deserve their own thread.

The good news is they exist and yours don’t.

Save the time and trouble.


September 2nd, 2018 at 9:59 AM ^

A lot of non-believers in Shea Patterson after 1 tough game on the road.   We have to remember that he hasn’t played in a game since October of 2017 and coming off knee rehab.  He’s picking up a new offense with new teammates.  That doesn’t get ironed out in a few months of practice.   Clearly he had to shake off rust.  O-Line and play calling didn’t help, that’s been covered ad nauseam.   Remember the hot takes on how terrible Ruddock was after Utah?  We’d have taken Ruddock back in a heartbeat last season, right?  People need to step back from the ledge.   Let the line gel and SP get in a groove.  For God sakes do not go 5 wide again!   Like a starting pitcher he wasn’t the sharpest last night but he fought through it to have a shot at tying and he’ll have great games.  Maybe in a few years we’ll wish we had 1 or 2 more season with Shea at QB.  


September 2nd, 2018 at 10:29 AM ^

Yeah, Shea is better . . . he saved a few 3rd and longs that our other QBs would have bonked.

But there's always that next 3rd and long that does you in.

With Shea, we give up possession on the opponent's 45 instead of our own 35, so yay! 

(Waves tiny flag.)



September 2nd, 2018 at 11:00 AM ^

Last night was exactly like the Utah game:

  • New transfer QB playing first game at night on the road
  • Playing against a big, mobile QB
  • Home team gets ahead by 2 scores, Michigan plays catch up
  • Stupid mistakes here and there that seemed to cost us the game (Miscommunication between Rudock & Perry vs. crucial penalties against ND)
  • Shows promise towards the end, but it's too little to late

I'm not in a "the sky is falling" mood. I'm not happy, but I still have plenty of hope for this season. Put MSU or PSU in the same game, and it doesn't look all that great for them. It's really starting to feel like our fans and the media "experts" are going to push Harbaugh out of Ann Arbor. 

For the people who view everything as black and white, and decide to disregard any sort of context or perspective, I understand the reaction. But those people need to take a break from following this team. It's putting an unnecessary amount of pressure on the team and the coaches. If this keeps up, we will have another Brady Hoke, or another Rich Rod on the sidelines sooner rather than later. 


September 2nd, 2018 at 3:17 PM ^

I'm not saying Harbaugh is perfect, but he is the best we are going to get and it's not even close.

I'm not sure how this can be said with any degree of certainty these days. I still very much would like to believe it's true but I'm no longer convinced this is the case. And it's a revamped offense because the one he trotted out last year was an abject disaster.


September 2nd, 2018 at 3:27 PM ^

Harbaugh utterly failing to develop an offense after four years is what’s going to push him out of Ann Arbor. 

Zero excuses for how pathetic the offense was last night. Your Jim frickin Harbaugh and you’ve had four years to install your system, recruit and develop your players, and build an offense...and yet after four years we’re still stuck at square one from his first season. This disgrace of an offense is Harbaugh’s fault and no one else’s. He’s the one responsible.

The guy who everyone says can’t coach (last name rhymes with Tanklin) put together a lethal offense by year three. Yet the god’s gift to coaching, Jim Harbaugh still can’t get the o-line to do squat in year four. 

How long is this going to take?? Is another 8-5 season acceptable?