Myth Busting

Submitted by chunkums on August 16th, 2011 at 9:32 PM

I figured I would post this as I read more and more myths surrounding the program and "what Michigan needs" etc.  If you can think fo any others, feel free to post them.

Myth:  Michigan needs a big bruising back in its pro style offense.  

Debunked:  Ronnie Hillman, Hoke's last RB was a little tiny speedster who wrecked fools, including BCS opponent/10 game winner Mizzou.  Also, I would call Jahvid Best an above average college running back in a pro system.

Myth: Devin Gardner is a spread quarterback and we need Shane Morris to be our savior as soon as possible.

Debunked:  Devin had the strongest arm in his class according to when he was recruited, and according to Al Borges,throws a beautiful deep ball.

Myth: Brady Hoke hates zone blocking.

Debunked:  The actual quote was: “Right, wrong or indifferent, when you’re zone blocking all the time -- when you’re playing basketball on grass -- you practice against that all spring, you practice against it all fall and then you’re going to play a two-back team that wants to knock you off the football,” Hoke said. “I don’t think you’re prepared."

Notice the bold.  Furthermore, please take note of game footage from SDSU in which they did a very large amount of zone blocking.

Myth:  Michael Shaw is a weak runner.

Debunked:  Just like... watch some actual game footage and stop getting him confused with Carlos Brown.  Dude runs hard.


So what are some other Michigan myths that need debunking?



August 16th, 2011 at 9:41 PM ^

Myth- Offensive lineman need to average 330 across the board to run the football.

Fact- If you can't get to your block, it doesn't matter how big you are. Foot work is just as important as leverage for lineman. I believe this years O line will prove this beyond doubt.


August 16th, 2011 at 10:02 PM ^

Myth #1: Wisconsin gets at least four yards every time it runs the ball.

Myth #2: All of Wisconsin's linemen play at least ten years in the NFL.

Myth #3: See #2, only for running backs.

Myth #4: Wisconsin's offense can't be stopped. It is the best offense ever.

- - -

Really, there's nothing in the Big Ten ("Ohio" included) that tires me more than the praise of Madison MANBALL.

True Blue Grit

August 16th, 2011 at 9:49 PM ^

Myth:  Vincent Smith is too small to play in the Borges offense.

Debunked:  He's quick, elusive, can catch passes, runs hard, plays tough, and can easily be used as a change-of-pace runner in certain situations.  Also has 2 years experience under his belt.


August 16th, 2011 at 10:03 PM ^

Vincent Smith is one of my favorite players on this team. He's small but works his butt off and has a huge heart. He is polite and reserved, and is a warrior. He would run through a hail of bullets to get yards. I hope he has a big time year.

ND Sux

August 17th, 2011 at 7:35 AM ^

great heart and determination, and tough for an undersized back.  Hopeful for Shaw's senior season too.  He could be great if he stays healthy. 

Rumors of DOOM in the Michigan backfield are greatly exaggerated.  We just need to stay healthy and continue to improve on the OLine. 


August 17th, 2011 at 4:02 PM ^

Borges is basically going to have full control over the offensive personnel and playcalling (Hoke may offer input from time to time but it is "Gorgeous" Al's show).  His leading rushers in the past have been guys like Hillman, Kenny Irons, Cadillac Williams, and Skip Hicks.  Lots of skinny dudes and no real big ones.  Ronnie Brown played a lot for him at Auburn but was definitely 1B behind Williams and the biggest back in that group (Brandon Jacobs) is the guy who transferred for lack of playing time.

Guys like Shaw and Fitz more closely resemble the guys he has had the most success with in the past than guys like Hopkins, Cox, and Rawls do.


August 16th, 2011 at 10:23 PM ^

Myth: Vincent Smith is unsuccessful in 3rd and short yardage situations.

Reality: In the first 11 games of 2011, Smith went 7 for 11 in 3rd and fewer than 3 running situations. These included conversion of a 3rd and 1 on Michigan's 11 against Notre Dame (you might remember the 87 yard explosion 2 plays later), and 12 yards on 3rd and 1 on the game tying drive against Illinois.

On 3 of the 4 failed plays, no Michigan RB would've gotten the first (blown plays, free blitzers, etc.) Regardless of the blame, a 68% conversion rate on 3rd and short, when the opposition knows what is likely coming, is pretty darn good with a still-healing knee.

This is not to suggest Vinny is the BEST 3rd and short option, this is just saying he's not a bad option at all.


August 16th, 2011 at 10:33 PM ^

To piggyback on the stop irrationally hating Vincent Smith train:

Player A as a sophomore: 150 car, 662 yd 4.4 AVG 5 TDs(receiving and rushing)

Player B as a sophomore: 136 car 601 yd, 4.4 AVG 7 TDs(receiving and rushing)


In case you couldn't figure it out player A is Mike Hart and player B is Vincent Smith. Obviously, Smith isn't as good as Hart, but he wasn't this albatross of doom that made it impossible to win. Furthermore, he has looked far more explosive since spring started which fits with the true timeline of recovering from his injury. To borrow jamiemac's phrase, "give the ball to Smith 10-15 times a game and good things will happen."


August 16th, 2011 at 10:24 PM ^

How about the myth that Hoke meant "zone blocking on every play of every practice" with his quote (that you bolded for us).  I think we all get what he meant by it.


August 16th, 2011 at 10:35 PM ^

I think a lot of your logic/evidence is faulty.

An example:

Myth: Devin Gardner is a spread quarterback and we need Shane Morris to be our savior as soon as possible.

Debunked:  Devin had the strongest arm in his class according to when he was recruited, and according to Al Borges,throws a beautiful deep ball.

Devin having the strongest arm in his class according to Rivals...a source, which is giving an opinion that is 2 years old now.  Furthermore, what does having a strong arm have to do with being an accurate passer at all depths of passing (even deep).  Also, just because Borges says that he throws a beautiful deep ball doesn't mean that A) it isn't the frequent coach praise to build self-esteem and 2) that he would make a good pro-style QB.

That said, I am happy with Devin and think that he will adapt and be a phenomenal QB - I just don't see your argument as rock solid.


August 16th, 2011 at 10:53 PM ^

Well Devin is also crazy tall and was a five star prospect coveted by many programs.  The only reason he isn't considered pro style is because he happens to be fast as well as a good passer.

Edit:  I don't mean to be nasty here, but I think Devin would still be a highly wanted quarterback even if he was slow.


August 17th, 2011 at 8:38 AM ^

He is fast but he is not Denard / Vick fast. His 5-star rating had more to do with his arm than his legs.
<br>Devin is a tall qb with a strong and reputedly accurate arm. Sounds like a pro-style qb to me. The fact that he can run will only make him a more effective pro style qb. See Troy smith and Vince young.


August 16th, 2011 at 10:40 PM ^

Myth/Misconception:  A Third Down Running Back is used on third and short.

Debunked:  A Third Down RB is used on third and long who is a good receiver, pass blocker and shifty enough to make people miss and hopefully break a big run/reception.


August 17th, 2011 at 1:27 AM ^

I love when people think that yelling and shaking keys are mutually exclusive. One of the most annoying guys I've seen at a Michigan game was this dude who apparently decided he would make it his life's work to bitch at people during the entire game for shaking keys, even to the point of not being involved in the game and instead give us a firm upbraiding.


August 16th, 2011 at 11:18 PM ^

Myth: HC prior record really matters when hired as UM head coach.

Gary Moeller was something like 6-24 at Illinois.  Lloyd was 0-0.  Hoke is 3 games under .500 for his career.   Rich Rod was something like 62-21 when he came in. 

What matters is how they understand Michigan football, and the program and how they can utilize those resources to build a successful program AT Michigan.

mad magician

August 17th, 2011 at 3:55 AM ^

Coordinating the offense or defense is not a prerequisite for becoming a successful head coach. Perhaps that will be my myth.

Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer and Pat Fitzgerald are three examples off the top of my head of head coaches with no prior coordinating experience. 

I must point out Hoke was the Associate Head Coach at Michigan in 2002. That's invaluable administrative experience, and being a head coach is just as much about being Program CEO as it is being an Xs and Os guy. It was also a big vote of confidence from Carr, an acknowledgment that Hoke had the makings of a good future head coach (few would have envisioned Michigan back then, but funny how things work out). 

I posit there are even some benefits of being a career position coach that I think override a lack of coordinating experience. First off, position coaches have a more personal and direct relationship with players; coordinators are slightly removed. When Hoke talks about "touching kids" on the recruiting trail, I see the old D Line coach. Hoke's general affability is rooted in his days coaching a small group within a team. It's also why I think he is inclined to emphasize fundamentals and technique more than scheme. Those, after all, are the priorities of any position coach. 

Anyway, a summation: there is no one prescribed path to becoming a head coach. A head coach succeeds or fails based not upon where he has been before, but what he does once he arrives. 


August 17th, 2011 at 8:56 AM ^

The "small spread back" vs "big pro style back" is a big one.  Everything that makes a running back valuable in a pro system makes him just as valuable in a spread offense.  Chris Perry and Tyrone Wheatley would have been monsters in last year's offense. 


August 17th, 2011 at 9:36 AM ^

Our secondary is full of smurf's.

Debunked by the fact that we have two six footers and two five eleveners projected to start.  Which is on par or better than most of the Big Ten.