Moving Forward

Submitted by Lucky Socks on September 9th, 2014 at 10:55 AM
I totally get the frustration after Saturday's game. But being an optimist, I want to try to spin the conversation towards the future. What will is take to nullify what we saw against ND?

Let's say I started the season with a 5/10 satisfaction. App State was nice, but did nothing to move the needle. ND moved me back to 2/10.

Beat Miami (OH) better happen.
Beat Utah and Minnesota - I'd be at 3/10. Move it up to 4/10 if we look really good, and the outcomes are clear by the 3rd quarter.
Win @Rutgers - add another point. They could be a challenge, and a road night game against a conference opponent would be a step in right direction considering our recent history. So I'm hypothetically at 5/10.
If we can rattle off these wins, then the Penn State game is the next huge benchmark. If we can win that without looking like we were trying to lose it, I might forgive the ND fiasco because our season overall would be at or above my preseason standards.

I'll worry about the second half of the season when we get there. But the spoiler is that we probably need to beat one of our rivals. My realistic hope for this season was 9-3. Despite the change in circumstances (ND suspensions, our ineptitude) that's still intact. But if we're going to lose 2 more games, we better lose competitively. If we win, it should look like we're the better team - except MSU and OSU. I'll take any type win on those dates.

So, how much will it take for our coaches to build back back to your pre-season baseline? Smooth sailing into Penn State does it for me, and a role reversal under our lights would move me into actually happy territory.



September 9th, 2014 at 10:59 AM ^

I doubt anything nullifies that, not if you live near or interact with ND fans in your daily life.


If this team makes it to the MSU game without any more losses, they are right on schedule for what a lot of us thought this year would be like.  As painful as that loss to ND was, its the manner of the loss not necessarily the loss that hurt.


I think anyone who thinks its smooth sailing to the State game or any other game is kidding themselves.



Lucky Socks

September 9th, 2014 at 11:04 AM ^

The way we lost was straight out of 2013. I hated it. And I'm definitely not counting on smooth sailing for the next 4-5 games. I'm just saying, as an optimist, that's what it would take for me to accept the possibility that MAYBE Saturday was just a series of bad breaks that snowballed into a disaster.

My condolences while you navigate the aftermath amongst ND fans.


September 9th, 2014 at 11:01 AM ^

Just posting to say that ND might actually be really good this year.  It's more fun to bash our team than praise the other one, but , there it is.

MSU will probably be a loss, and who knows about Ohio at this point.  The B1G is down - a lot - this year and if we can't post better than 7-5 then there is something very wrong with this program.


September 9th, 2014 at 11:42 AM ^

is certainly a possibility.  They were faster than I thought they'd be and very well coached.  Golson makes them better for sure. 


But, my concern is us, we just don't look like the other good teams in college football, not physically, not speed wise, not blocking or scheme.  We are a long way from even being mentioned in the same breathe with the other top 25 teams.


September 9th, 2014 at 12:43 PM ^

So you guys are telling me Notre Dame 2 games into a season with 2 new coordinators, missing 6 players who start or contribute inculding top WR, top S, and top CB,  playing 19 RS FR or true FR ND pulled from the same recruiting base as UM, and a QB who lost 12 (13) games of playing experience last year but looked like a 4 year starter with just spring and fall practice with a new pretty good and could be a top 10 team?

  • I thought teams needed a long time to integrate a new OC (or DC)
  • I thought teams struggle when they play so many FR and RS FR
  • I thought teams need time to develop QBs who were away from real football games for a year
  • I thought when you lose top line starters on both side of the ball - numerous ones - you could never be expected to blow out a team of similar ilk
  • Or have I just been fed a lot of excuses in this program for years?

Hmm... just curious what it says about our staff and program.

Don't answer.  It says everything.


September 9th, 2014 at 3:38 PM ^

I'm not sure that it is really pertinent to how good Michigan is/could be this season as much as how bad they are/might be....

A really good team would be expected to roast a pretty bad team something like, say....38-0, barring a last minute, touchdown saving flag, that could be 31-0, where the really good team pretty much dominates every aspect of the game. That happened and should be expected if ND is really good and UM fairly bad. 

The worrying part is.....based on all the factors mentioned in other comments regarding the lack of experience/playing freshman, new coordinater/scheme, multiple role player starters not playing, it would be quite a feat for ND to be really good....though admittedly possible, I guess. 

Much more likely that ND is at best a mediocre team and that means that we would be more than pretty bad, looking at the result. 


Maybe we learned some important hings in that game where the OC and DC can make adjustments and get them to a much higher level, but looking at the basic gaps in the on field product on Saturday and what looked like an exploitable roadmap for beating this team, I think that is a tall order. 

I had somewhat middling expectations coming into this year that have been adjusted downward to a great extent, though I am watching the next few games intently for anything that tells me they are going to be able to patch the holes in a sinking ship. I hope so.

Wolverine Devotee

September 9th, 2014 at 11:08 AM ^

Just beat miami u to a pulp.

If Michigan doesn't beat state or ohio this year, I want a change. Those are my requirements. No more embarrassments, no more bullshit. Beat the teams you're supposed to and

I don't know what more to say. Win. If this staff can't win big games, fire up the flight tracker. I'm not saying I want Hoke fired, but we need to see REAL IMPROVEMENT. NOW.


September 9th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

He's saying in a perfect world, he would like to see Hoke succeed at Michigan. But if push comes to shove and Michigan doesn't beat state or ohio, he thinks Hoke should be fired. (I think that's what he means)

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


September 9th, 2014 at 11:45 AM ^

The only people who have actual "requirements" in this matter are David Brandon's bosses and the people who contribute craptons of money to the athletic department. And perhaps a small number of high-level and well-connected season ticket holders.

The rest of us get to bitch and pissmoan, which is basically farting into a hurricane in terms of having tangible effect.


September 9th, 2014 at 11:14 AM ^

We can be very mediocre and still win 9 or 10 games. I do think ND is really good and Saturday was a very fluky pasting.

MSU looks like an auto-loss but every other game is winnable. If we win less than 8 I'll be disappointed. 9 or more and I'll be happy enough, I guess.


September 9th, 2014 at 11:18 AM ^

As bad as last week was, there are positives to build off of. We get a week to catch our breath a bit with Miami (NTM), then a good test in Utah. Not too intimidating, but not a cupcake either. It'll be a good test to see if ND was a fluke of all the bad things going, or if it's a sign of things to come.

Minnesota looks attrocious, two unconvincing wins against baby seals. Plus they match up well to our strengths. Should be another good week for the team to work on improving Michigan.

@Rutgers is the trap game for me. They look better than advertised and it's a road night game. The team needs to show they can handle the situation here. The regional demographics should make this a relatively friendly road game though.

Penn State will be a huge challenge for our secondary. Hackenburg is probably the first guy we see again that can consistently exploit small windows like Golson did. Their OL isn't nearly as good as ND, so our DL will need to step it up to get pressure. LBs will need to be good in their coverage drops as well because PSU will use TEs to exploit the seam. I like our offense against them, but after last week, who knows. I like our chances at home under the lights, but it'll be a nail biter.

All in all though, the schedule to that point sets up favorably for a team learning the ropes of a new system. There's some tests along the way, but Michigan should have a talent advantage that should carry them if they can play just solid football; they don't need to be extraordinary.

By the time the state game rolls around, we'll know a lot more about this team.


September 9th, 2014 at 11:28 AM ^

Rutgers scares me, regardless of how good they look. Our guys, especially quarterbacks, have been absolutely horrific on the road at night the past several years. I think that might be what concerns me the most about our staff: not being able to prepare our kids for any sort of hostile environment.


September 9th, 2014 at 2:03 PM ^

but it isn't a trap game. A trap game is one that the team is likely to be flat for because they're looking ahead to the next game or hung over from the last one. NTM would be a trap game if they were any good. I suspect the team will view Utah as a big chance to redeem themselves after the ND fiasco and turn the season around. I think M is more likely to be too hyped up for Utah than to be flat.


September 9th, 2014 at 11:42 AM ^

The Ohio State game. Nothing will ever be more important. And for two additional reasons this year. Firstly, 0-3 against OSU under Meyer and 2-12 in the last 14? Yeah, please no. Secondly, I think OSU is dealing with some problems just like Michigan. Not *the same* problems, but not insignificant problems. Right now, my honest expectation is, being a good coach, Meyer has those problems fixed by late season. And, my other honest expectation, which I have no choice but to hold given the last two seasons, is that Hoke will not make the same improvements and Ohio State will look far better by November and will show it on the 29th of that month. Prove me wrong, Mr Hoke. 

I think an MSU win is too much to ask (THIS year. It had better damn not be in 2015). And this year, as much as I hate to say it, I'm OK with that IF Michigan can beat the Bucks. MSU fans like to dismiss our rivalry with OSU as if the only reason it exists to Michigan fans is so we can say they're "#2". I've heard them talk like that my whole life, even when Michigan dominated both them and OSU. Most of us don't live with day-to-day interaction with OSU fans, so MSU fans simply can't grasp how we could care about beating OSU more. To me, what that reveals about MSU fans is that for them, a rivalry isn't about tradition and the teams on the field as much as it's about getting to be a petty, obnoxious shit to people when your team beats theirs. Good for them. They don't get it and never will because they've never been and never will be Rival 1A to anyone, ND will always have USC, Michigan will always have OSU. Michigan is in a tailspin, I do feel like the "bottoming out" either has come or is close, let's begin the climb by doing what has always mattered most: beat Ohio State. That will nullify a lot for me. 


September 9th, 2014 at 11:30 AM ^

I'd like to see a 50 point game against Miami. Should see that.

Based on the ND game alone beating Utah will only be possible because playing in the Big House. Still a coinflip.

After that too hard to tell.