Official Snowflake Thread: Offense

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on September 21st, 2013 at 11:27 PM

Per statements last week, this will be the official snowflake thread for thoughts regarding the offensive playcalling / coaching. There will also be a similar thread for defense. Special teams and coaching snowflake threads can be created as needed by volume, but this thread will be primarily for thoughts on the offensive performance. 



September 22nd, 2013 at 1:17 AM ^

You don't take a jersey number away like that if a player isn't performing. That just seems wrong. But I do think they should have made the #98, and all of the other legend numbers, a tribute only for one game rather than an entire season or longer. 


September 22nd, 2013 at 1:19 AM ^

Not sure punitive measures are going to work too well on a QB that's already a wreck mentally. It's not like it's an attitude problem or lack of trying. If anything, it's trying too hard. More pressure isn't going to help.


September 22nd, 2013 at 12:43 AM ^

ball out from his own QB, shows how bad it was on offense most of the night. The o-line continues to be the most glaring flaw on offense. Gardner's turnovers can be corrected, the o-line play on the other hand, looks like it might not get any better as the season goes on. I expected the o-line to have issues early in the season, but I expected some slow, but sure improvement game to game. The o-line has not shown any improvement through 4 games, and in fact I would argue it has regressed instead the last two games. A lineup change may be in order, but I am not sure it would help.

The receivers still aren't great, but I have seen some flashes from Chesson the last couple of weeks that may indicate he could be a bigger target by the end of the season.

It is real simple though, the o-line play in it's current state is not good enough to win the Big Ten title. Regardless of what else  get's corrected (turnovers, etc.), the o-line play will hold this team back if it doesn't improve.


September 22nd, 2013 at 12:55 AM ^

We better see a lineup change on the Oline. The thinking behind starting Miller instead of Glasgow at Center I believe was that although Glasgow was bigger and a better blocker, Miller was better at snapping the ball and knew the playbook better. Well I think having over half out runs blown up at the line of scrimmage by a DT is hurting the rhythm on offense at least as much as an occasional botched snap. The runs are a wasted down right now and the play action is a joke. And I'm pretty sure I predicted every single one of Devin's called keepers. Miller's got a great attitude, but he's not cuttin it.


September 22nd, 2013 at 12:40 AM ^

My biggest fear is that Devin Gardner's confidence is destroyed irrevocably.

He's good enough for us to win every game this year. But, as Spielman said, he's just afraid out there now.

How do we get him back to the confident, I can defeat the world and look good while doing it quarterback we had the first two weeks.

AFTER THAT concern, is the OLine. Miserable.


September 22nd, 2013 at 12:41 AM ^

My biggest fear is that Devin Gardner's confidence is destroyed irrevocably.

He's good enough for us to win every game this year. But, as Spielman said, he's just afraid out there now.

How do we get him back to the confident, I can defeat the world and look good while doing it quarterback we had the first two weeks.

AFTER THAT concern, is the OLine. Miserable.


September 22nd, 2013 at 12:47 AM ^

The line can't block well enough to establish a rhythmic running game, and we don't have any weapons on the outside to establish a vertical threat to keep defenses honest. The result is an offense trying to run the ball at defenses with 9 in the box. Furthermore, those defenses are blitzing from all 9 of those positions, because there is no fear of being burned deep. Get used to runs of 0 yards or less.

Wolverine Devotee

September 22nd, 2013 at 12:48 AM ^

  • If Devin does not fumble for a TD, Michigan wins by more.
  • Stop running Devin
  • Stop running Fitz to the outside
  • Stop calling QB draws on 3rd and short when everyone in the stadium and watching on TV knows the playcall
  • 3 straight games now and pretty close to all if CMU takes the INT by the goalline back, of teams taking turnovers back for TDs. This is becoming a thing.
  • What happens in non-conference, stays in non-conference. Michigan is 0-0 in B1G. Ultimately, I don't give two fucks about non-conference play because the goal is to win the B1G Championship and go to the Rose Bowl. 



September 22nd, 2013 at 12:49 AM ^

On replay, I thought there were several plays where other guys besides Gallon, were in fact open, but Gardner didn't get the ball to those guys. Not sure if it was lack of confidence with Gardner, in terms of being afraid to committ anymore turnovers, or he just didn't see them, but there were open receivers at times who were being missed. Gardner was simply out of whack most of the game.


September 22nd, 2013 at 4:47 AM ^

I wouldn't disagree with that statement. We're sure for another drop. There are just too many problems for this team to overcome:

- Fit's inconsistent vision

- Pass protection

- Poor blocking from.....well everyone, most notably the Funchess

- Gardner being an absolute turnover machine and not being able to check down on his passing reads and just sticking with option #1, no matter how DOOOOOMED the play is.

- numerous defensive deficiencies that do not fit this thread so I'll avoid them.

I said 9 wins before the season started. I'll be happy and thanking The Lord almighty for 8. Dear God we suck worse than anyone expected.


September 22nd, 2013 at 1:14 AM ^

My snowflakes (I actually just re-watched the offensive snaps in slo mo, oww my eyes)

  • A lot of the early running struggles were the result of TE whiffs, primarily Funchess. It looks like his good game against Akron wasn't not a trend. Hard to keep a guy like that off the field, but he's a huge liability in the run game.
  • Gardner looked absolutely destroyed mentally. The indecision, run and pass, was palpable. He had a lot of little hitches in his delivery that caused balls to come out late and behind receivers, and his delivery mechanics seemed to break down and he was side arming it a lot. Even scrambling, something that comes naturally to him, he was taking a lot of false steps towards the LOS only to back off and let defenders catch up to him.
  • After it was clear we were taking the ball out of Gardner's hands to settle things down, UConn was 8 or 9 in the box for most of the 2nd quarter and all of the 3rd, making it tough sledding. Obviously in a normal situation you'd like to call some quick slants and hitches and/or play action to loosen things up, but it seemed like neither Borges or Gardner was willing to put the ball in the air.
  • Pass pro was ATROCIOUS. Miller got beat a lot. Schofield had trouble with speed rush. Fitz was not blocking well at all either. Not exactly what you're looking for when your QB is shaken.
  • Miller... Ugh. I don't know what the coaches see in him in practice, but man he looks really rough out there. I don't know if his fundamentals break down during the game or what, but he snaps the ball and stands straight up and lets the defender get into and under him pretty consistently. I'm guessing there's no one else that can snap the ball consistently at this point.
  • Something I didn't notice live, the long pass to Chesson that he slowed down for but ended up long was into the wind. I wonder if that's why he had a hard time reading it.

The bye week is just what the doctor ordered. We need some time to get things straightened out and need time for Gardner to trust himself again.


September 22nd, 2013 at 1:30 AM ^

I don't know why Funchess hasn't been moved outside. He's got enough speed, the frame and size to just pluck balls out of the air. As already pointed out, he's a terrible blocker.


September 22nd, 2013 at 3:13 AM ^

However, against the likes of Akron and UCONN you would expect that those areas would still good enough to have an advantage. You can't argue that UM's o-line shouldn't be better than Towson's, regardless of the youth. Towson gave up zero sacks to UCONN, for comparison.

Also not sure what the 2011 class has to do with RR, that was the new coaching staffs recruiting class.

PDX Blue

September 22nd, 2013 at 2:27 AM ^

I can't chalk this stuff up to, luck, a bad bounce here and there, or youth. When it happens consistently, my feeling is that it is symptomatic of a sloppy team. Getting out of the way of a punt that you are not catching is fundamental.

True Blue Grit

September 22nd, 2013 at 7:44 AM ^

The way this team looks now, MSU, Iowa, NU, and Ohio are all losses.  The 2009 team started out 5-0 too, so none of us should be feeling very confident right now with 4-0.  I hate to say it, but Gardner simply might not have the mental toughness to  become a championship QB.  Other teams have figured out he's very easy to rattle and get out of sync.  

I actually am trying to still be optimistic, but when the team follows up one bad effort with another against very undermanned teams, something is wrong.  Our only hope is we get things fixed in the next two  weeks somehow.


September 22nd, 2013 at 7:52 AM ^

1. Devin needs to learn to throw the ball away when there is pressure and his first read is not open. The 10 yard losses just kill any momentum that offense has going, and it might make sense to go to a quicker, 3-step drop passing game for him with Gallon, Dileo and Funchess running combination routes from a stack. I would also ditch the waggle or any play that causes Devin to actually turn his back to the D. Simplify the game for him.

2. I'd like to see more of Funchess and Butt in the short-to-intermediate passing game.

3. Chesson is a joy to watch as a blocker, and I love that they are starting to target him.

4. I like that Borges has a package with 3 OT, because that might allow us to be a decent off-tackle team by the end of the year. MSU has a 300-pound 3rd OT that smoked ND continually, and, given our youth and lack of push on hte interior, this might be a decent option.

5. Fitz really impressed me tonight, and I simply cannot believe how quickly and well he has recovered from his horrific injury. It is a testatment to him and the training staff at Michigan.

6. The break comes at a good time, and I think that Chris Bryant should get a very long look at LG this week. If Glasgow can even be passable at center, this seems like a sensible option given how easilly Miller has been mauled this year. Kugler will put on the requisite weight this offseason, and he should be our center starting next year.


September 22nd, 2013 at 8:08 AM ^

Coach Hoke already said they would look at the o-line during the bye week. I'm hopeful they can figure out a better configuration. Execution is still an issue - did anyone else see Lewan totally allow that 16 yard sack? He barely touched the guy!

I'm really worried about Devin's mental state right now. I feel awful for him, and this season depends a lot on him so I hope he can get his confidence back, get better at knowing when to throw the ball away and realize he's not going to make a play every single down, and start looking more like the Devin we saw and loved last season. I also question the play calling, but I don't know enough about football yet to know if Borges is good generally or not. I hope Coach Hoke will make coaching changes, if necessary. Passing on 3rd and 2 when we had a chance another first down seems like a strange decision. Also, why aren't they using Green more in those short yardage situations? Can't he be our new Grady until he takes over as starter, whether it's this season or next?

Mostly I blame the coaches, which makes me so sad. I love Coach Hoke's enthusiasm and passion. I thought he would be more effective than Coach Carr and Rich Rod. I'm getting concerned now though, because I don't think our team is effectively using their talent, and that seems like a coaching thing to me. Does Alabama ever execute this poorly, even in a loss? That's an honest question, not rhetorical. It seems like Coach Hoke's first season, the coaches got the very best out of everyone, and they had a good season as a result. That wasn't the case last season or apparently this season. It makes me nervous for his longevity. Good coaches who last seem to always get the best from their players.


September 22nd, 2013 at 8:36 AM ^

It seems like there's a trust thing on two levels: Devin doesn't trust himself and he doesn't trust the line. And he's putting all the presure on himself to make things happen. The problem is, only winning and success fix that. I'm sure they've had great practices where he feels he's back to his old self, and then he gets into a game, and the head issues creep back in. It's a tough situation to be in. 


September 22nd, 2013 at 8:52 AM ^

Another poor performancre, but another W on the schedule.

- Obligatory blame for the interior oline. They played like crap ... again.  Although they showed flashes I can no longer say it was great offensive execution, rather poor defensive execution by UConn with the way they have played of late.

- Gardner's confidence is in the dirt. His decision making is absolute sh*t. Needs to throw ball away and not turn his back to the line of scrimmage when scrambling ffs. He also needs to stop zeroing in on Gallon and make better throws. Too many times as I'm sure everyone has noticed Butt/Fucnhess/Dileo are wide open but he chooses to not go through his progressions. Gardner also needs to learn how to properly tuck the ball when running. It pains me to see how he holds the ball away from his body like a loaf of bread. 

 Coaching Staff 

Funk - why you no shuffle oline ...... ever?  why players get no push ever? 

Hoke - I love his cool demeanor but he's not getting the players to respond... at all. While I never saw him as the great coach that some view him as,I see nothing more than a great motivator and people person.


September 22nd, 2013 at 9:15 AM ^

Devin is the reason we have been terrible. He's shell-shocked or something with the turnovers, and it's affecting him badly.


Get the guy to calm down and just play the game. Stop throwing to Tacopants, Gallon is not that tall. Secure the football. Stop running backwards. Throw the ball out of bounds. Do those things and we'll be a-okay. 


September 22nd, 2013 at 9:17 AM ^

none the less; i am hoping for improvement each and every game from this point on. That being said, I am starting to become concerned.


This bye week comes at a good time, I am hoping we see some changes on the oline, however, i just don't think it will make a huge difference, I'm sure there is a reason why guys like Bryant aren't starting. At this point, I wonder if Schofield could move back to guard and shift Braden to RT, Glasgow to center? I don't know, something has to start clicking.


For now, I think Funchess needs to be used more, I said it last week, we seem to target him early, he makes plays, and then we go away from him...I also like Jake Butt, he needs to be targeted more. My hope is that Chesson gets better every week, he seems to be heading in that direction. If teams continue to throw 8-9 in the box, Gardner has to find these 3 guys consistently. Chesson has got to learn how to stretch the field, if he and Gardner can connect a few times, this will help tremendously. Overall, the lack of use with Funchess is puzzling, he's not a great blocker, but with Williams back, try putting Funchess in motion, move him around, I liked how they used him as a H-back early in the game, but then they went away from it...did Funchess play in the 2nd half?

Backfield, including Gardner:

If we can get a game like Fitz had last night, over time, this will help Gardner. We have to get Gardner confidence early by running quick slants, screens, and allowing him to pick yards up with his feet, this should help his confidence, he has to start learning to manage the game better. I would still try to find a couple of plays per game for Derrick Green, I know the interior has struggled, but give him or Deveon some plays up the middle and let them bang a little. Fitz still dances too much, i know he needs to in the backfield, but even some of the runs past the LOS, he still seemed bouncy instead of just running forward.


September 22nd, 2013 at 9:30 AM ^

My thoughts are still a jumbled mess.  I might still be drunk.  

Right now Michigan can't run up the middle because the interior line can't block.  Michigan can't run outside because the Tight Ends can't block.  Michigan can't throw deep because the O-line can't block long enough to give Gardner time to throw it, plus we don't have anyone getting seperation.  That leaves the short passing game, which teams can sit on.  So Michigan isn't even 1-dimensional, they are half a dimension.  Gardner needs to calm down and not try to do everything on 1 play.  

Everything starts with the offensive line.  If we don't improve the B1G will eat us alive.