My takeaways from this game

Submitted by michgoblue on November 13th, 2010 at 10:56 PM

So I have had some time to reflect on this ugly game, and to let my instant (over) reactions pass.  Some thoughts for the MGoCommuity to comment on:

1.  Great effort by the D.  Better tackling, better fundamentals.  But, let's not get too excited.  Purdue's QBs couldn't hit the side of a barn.  There was virtually no passing attack.  Given that we have no pass D, this played to our advantage and masked our biggest problem.  My hat is still off tothe D (hell, I don't even wear a hat), but let's keep expectations reasonable.  The D played well against a pathetic offense. 

2.  Demens is really good.  A marked improvement in the run D.

3.  Ditto Avery.  Less to go on here, but I just like his aggressiveness.  Almost had a few picks.

4.  The offense - obviously, a bad outing.  They are obviously a lot better than the results showed.  To me, this is just one bad game, and nothing to get worked up over.  Young QBs will vary widely from game to game.  This one was in the rain (with some wind) which didn't help.

5.  Denard is still a raw talent, but I think that it is becomming obvious that he has a long way to go before being annointed as the next Pat White only better.  He is fast.  His speed is always a threat.  He also has a great arm.  But, he really lacks touch, and makes a ton of bad decisions.  Also, for a fast guy, he lacks shiftiness.  Doesn't mean that he can't be great, but he has a ways to go.

6.  Tate - I think that RR needs to work him in more, but the way he played today didn't exactly go far in making a case for this.  Terrible outing, but his first really bad day all year, so, again, moving on.

7.  Kicking - holy hell, we need to find a FG kicker.  THis is the worst thing I have ever seen.

8.  Special teams - the return game is sub-par.  I don't think that Gallon is ther answer, but I don't really know who is.  Also, could someone block for him?  Just a bit, maybe?

9.  Coaching.  7 wins.  WE may end up with 8 (or 9?).  But even at 7, we are improving.  I think that there is virtually no chance that RR gets canned.  This is a good thing.  3 wins in 2008, 5 wins in 2009.  At least 7 wins in 2010.  The trajectory is up.  Coach stays. As for GERG - who knows.  He really is dealing with more injury / youth than any DC  I have ever seen. 

Just my thoughts.  Agree / disagree?  Comments?



November 13th, 2010 at 11:44 PM ^

I kept waiting for that "This season as Smith's songs" post to jinx us. Yes, I'm referring to that Smith's classic, "Big Mouth Strikes Again." Could one be off-base suggesting these lyrics refer to Danny Hope:

"Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said I'd like to smash every tooth
In your head

Oh ... sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking
When I said by rights you should be
Bludgeoned in your bed"

Instead, I think today was GERG and the defense's "How Soon is Now," moment:

"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"



November 13th, 2010 at 11:54 PM ^

my takeaways from the game breaking down plays and watching them in slow mo:

1) Purdue ran alot of defensive formations were they had 8 guys in the box with no deep safeties in the middle of the field..  For pretty much 90% of the offensive plays when Michigan had a "bad" running play = Purdure had 8 guys in the box.  Purdue had 8 defenders, we had 5 linemen and 2 RB's/TE in the backfield.  8 defenders against 7 blockers = Offensive running play fail.  When Michigan had a "good" running play, Purdure had < 8 guys in the box.  The coaches need to run more bubble screens and find a way to get a receiver running down the middle of the field when defenses line up in this type of formation.  Slot guy in motion, RB / TE out of the backfield, something!!  Offense needs to do a better job reading the defense before the snap and check away from a running play to a pass play when the opponent loads the LOS like this...... Continuously......On the final drive when we scored and put the game away, we finally did address this issue by putting 3 blockers in the backfield.  And wow and like magic, we ran down the field against them and scored the put away TD........ 

2) I will let the UFR come out to tell for sure, but it appeared that Lewan did not have a very good day.  It really didn't matter which lineman Purdue had on him, they pretty much had their way with him today.  One play during the game, on a basic running play, a Purdue LB threw Lewan to the ground.  Be prepared, but the UFR could be ugly for Lewan.....

3) Purdue's DL won a majority of the battles in the trenches against our OL.  Purdues entire DL is really good.....

4) Roh had some good plays today, but he needs to work on his running containment and lane/gap assignments on running plays.  He takes himself out too many running plays doing his bat out of hell pass rushing on just about every play.  If Roh can get stronger and develop a bull rush as a change up to the speed rush, I think he could be compared to Ryan Kerrigan for the next couple of years........

The turnovers were killers but were were able to overcome them for a 2nd week in a row.  If we do this again the next two weeks, it could be ugly.  Our defense look pretty good. Offensive coaches need to do a better job calling more plays that takes advantage of what the defense is giving us, not trying to "force" the read option down their throats when then have a numerically advantage inside the box.


November 14th, 2010 at 2:17 AM ^

Purdue had the advantage of a slippery wet ball + wind with it's defensive decisions. The plays were there for the offense to make (such as the Int where #16 threw it to Tacopants instead of the two WIDE open receivers), we just didn't make them. As a coach, you make choices to put players in a position to be successful. RR must have seen that the simple pass plays were yielding poor results, thus it would be better to play it closer to the vest. The biggest thing we learned about this offense is how much we rely on the ability to plant a foot and change direction. We were not able to gain traction anywhere on the O, and suffered for it.
<br>Ultimately we got the W. It is important to remember that things are never as good as they seem and things are never as bad as they seem.


November 14th, 2010 at 9:01 AM ^

In the past the bubble screens had great success especially with Vincent Smith. Did they do that at all here?.  Yes, Denard made a few perfect passes but his overall accuracy has been way down since Indiana. It certainly seems that when a passing play is called Denard is determined to throw it even if he could scrambe for big yards.


November 13th, 2010 at 11:53 PM ^

production of this team has not been as good as everyone was claiming after the Illinois game. Last weekend was an anomaly. In the Big10, IMO, the offense has sputtered. Sure, they can move the ball, but finishing seems to be their main problem. Turnovers certainly don't help. I hope they can put together a complete game next week without the turnovers.

If we can play turnover free football and move the sticks, we should be in good shape.


November 14th, 2010 at 12:53 AM ^

Yards Per Play in each B10 game

Indiana 12.8

MSU 6.0

Iowa 6.1

PSU 6.3

Illinois 7.3

Purdue 4.9

So actually it seems as if today and Indiana were the outliers.


For comparison, in 2006 (thought to a be a pretty decent offense), our average was this:

Wisconsin 5.1

Minnesota 7.5

MSU 5.9

PSU 4.9

Iowa 4.0

Northwestern 4.6

Indiana 6.1

OSU 6.1


November 14th, 2010 at 3:44 AM ^

Scoring is highly variant and has a somewhat direct correlation to yardage.  For the most part, if you're not succeeding in yards per play, you have a lesser chance of putting up points.  The more yards per play, the less variance and the better chance that you put up more points.  

So to say the offense has slowed down in B10 play is false.  Just because they haven't scored as much doesn't indicate that they haven't been performing at the high level they were in OOC play.


November 14th, 2010 at 8:11 AM ^

Thus far, Michigan is scoring 35.3 ppg in six Big 10 games.  Last year, they were scoring 23.3 ppg at this point against the same schedule.

Even if you exclude the Illinois game (which makes no sense, because it's a Big Ten game against a pretty good defense), they are still scoring 29 ppg.

So, when you consider that Michigan only scored 30 against UConn, 28 against ND, and 42 against an FBS 'snack cake' (with the starters playing the whole way), scoring doesn't seem to have come to a screeching halt in Big Ten play.


November 13th, 2010 at 11:58 PM ^

Denard didn't lose a step but it might be the knee brace or something. He banged that knee, got the brace, and then was a little off against Michigan State. If toussaint gets caught from behind by linebackers because of his knee brace, denard might not be invulnerable to its unbalancing effects. Maybe he doesn't wear it anymore but it's a thought since he's been banged up so much.

Hoken's Heroes

November 14th, 2010 at 12:02 AM ^

is because he's hurt. His legs are like rubber now. It's the one downside of having him bare such a heavy load. Maybe next season we'll have someone step up and and be a productive back. Vince Smith is doing the best job he can but let's face it, he is just too small.

A Case of Blue

November 14th, 2010 at 12:40 AM ^

At this point, I'm not sure why they don't at least let Hagerup try a kick or two.  In the beginning of the season, he was obviously jittery and it was a little much to ask, but he's handling punts quite well now, as well as kickoffs, and I know he kicked in HS ... I mean, I don't think it would make our kicking game any worse to try it.


November 14th, 2010 at 12:50 AM ^

1)  Found a way to win, even with 5 turnovers and lousy weather.  Speaks well for the effort and the progress.  We don't have moral victories, we are not some typical middling Big Ten program, we require victories. 

2)  Any one else see Moundros out there today?  This team fights to the last bell.  As long as we fight hard and work hard, I can root and support this team come what may.  Such a pleasure to have a team that plays hard and does not think they are entitled to victories because they are at Michigan!

Sac Fly

November 14th, 2010 at 3:07 AM ^

... was exposed today on the offensive side. Hopefully he was just rusty, but perry dorrenstein was destroyed today by kerrigan. This is not good because next week I would be very surpised if J.J. watt does not line up against him, and the next week vs. the buckeyes and their best pass rusher.

McFarlin 2.0

November 14th, 2010 at 3:57 AM ^

Denard seems to lack "shake and bake" in his running.  Denard runs more like a VERY FAST outside receiver then a shifty running back. Is that to say Denard is stiff in the hips? Not at all, but I don't think cutting is his strong point. He seems to hop around and doesn't really plant his feet when he cuts. 


November 14th, 2010 at 8:16 AM ^

To say it was a bit rainy and windy is an understatement. My clothes are still not dry, and it was almost 24 hours ago when I arrived in West Lafayette.  The bottom line is that it's hard to play a spread n shred offense in a driving rainy, cold day. I really thought that it was stubborn of Calvin McGee & RR to not just run out of the I form. Our offense simply doesn't work in a sloppy, cold game.

I think the lack of big runs by Denard is more attributted to how dinged up the guy is at this point in the season. I am just happy about how he keeps coming back and starting game after game. He is tough, resiliant, and we can count on him. His biggest mental mistakes come when he is scrambling out of the pocket, and that will improve with experience.

Taylor Lewan cost us two drives yesterday, and he is either really good or really bad from game to game. When he is an upperclassmen he will fck sht up.

Our defense DIDN'T GIVE UP A TD this week. Read that again. And again. I know Purdue is so low on starting players we saw  3 QB's on the field in  3 plays, but this is a huge improvement for our defense and their confidence.


November 14th, 2010 at 11:03 AM ^

...except the recommendation to go I-FORM RAGE.

I'm too lazy to perform the requisite exhaustive research right now, but I'm pretty sure our use of the I-form hasn't resulted in much success this year.  Off the top of my head, I can think of fumbles against Iowa and Purdue.  I suspect there are also some goal-line no gains sprinkled in there, too.

I-form is not our friend this year.


November 14th, 2010 at 8:49 AM ^

Right after the game mercifully ended, I thought: "Wow, this is similar to what we used to do so often - WIN even though we were looking ahead." It's a good thing to be good enough again to have some games, like the next 2, be winnable AND be bigger than games against the littlest of the "Little 8."

Now, on Sunday morning, I still feel that way. We WON while not playing our best. It's so wonderful ("tremendous" even...) to be able to do that again!



November 14th, 2010 at 9:22 AM ^

is poor decision making at times.  He just makes some crazy throws.  He does have great touch at times and usually has good accuracy.  He hasn't shown the greatest ability to throw the long ball but hasn't been asked to throw many long balls.  As far as his running, he's incredibly shifty and fast.  But he could learn to scramble a bit more on passing plays as others have pointed out.  And he needs to learn to avoid the unecessary hit by sliding occasionally or running out of bounds.

As for Tate, he's just a bit rusty.  Give him more minutes and I think his accuracy and decision-making will be superb.  But, understandably, he's going to be limited to spot duty as long as Denard is healthy.

I think the QB play will likely be much better next week - at least in terms of errors.  Denard's shown an amazing ability to learn and improve.