This proves the point. It's lack of talent, not coaching.

Submitted by wolverine1987 on November 14th, 2009 at 2:55 PM

IMO this game proves one thing, that the lack of talent we have on D is the culprit for this season. There has been much debate of late on the board, with some increasingly blaming RR and GERG, others pointing out the talent and experience issue as the main culprit. But this game tips the balance of evidence fully on the lack of talent IMO--we were not out-schemed in this game, we were not out-coached, nor were we out-motivated. We knew exactly what they were going to do, they had no surprises for us, yet they showed up and did it. After a decent start (for us) we simply could not stop a team with no trickery and little tendency changes. Very simply, we are not good, were are a very bad defensive team, and IMO no D-coordinator on earth would have changed that this season.



November 14th, 2009 at 3:27 PM ^

obviously nothing is 100% on players, or 100% on coaches. and you can say the scheming could use some work, but on both offense and defense, i think the fact that you're teaching a bunch of new players a new system really limits how much you can do as far as adding schemes and making changes from week to week.

the players have got to learn the basics before you can open up the playbook, and right now we're in the learning the basics part of the process. bigger improvement should come in the offseason, but from week to week during the season, you're just trying to get guys to do the things they weren't doing correctly last week. you don't have the luxury of modifying a basic scheme for next week if the players are still learning the scheme from last week

which i would say is why we suffer in second halves, because we just don't have the capacity to make too many adjustments


November 14th, 2009 at 3:09 PM ^

There are a few things that could have been done to make us more competitive on defense. First, why weren't Campbell and Sagesse used in a D-line rotation with Martin and RVB? They both have size and strength and Martin wore down (as you would expect) in the second half. Why didn't Fitzgerald even see the field? He has more size than both Roh and Brown, and could have had a better chance at slowing down Clay. Next, I didn't see much of a response from GERG to Toon's routes. How do you not pay more attention to him, especially in the third quarter when you had the halftime to think about it? Finally, I still see horrible angles and positioning by our LBs and safeties. Those are coachable things. I think this game could have been more manageable on defense precisely because UW is somewhat predictable.

The lack of talent mantra is getting old. At some point, you need to coach up what you have and this D staff has completely failed in this regard. Unfortunately, next year's defense is going to be much worse with no Graham.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:53 PM ^

First of all, I'm not sure if you were watching, but Campbell was completely ineffective when he was in. The only reason he batted down the ball (the one play he actually made), was because he didn't get any push and was like ten yards away from Tolzien when the pass was thrown. Also, if you watched him against Iowa, he was getting blown back off the line every time they ran the ball. He just doesn't seem strong enough to hold up at the point of attack right now.

Fitzgerald has barely seen the field on defense all year. Why do you think he would be able to step in and make a difference in this game? Because he's bigger? Why not have Sagesse at linebacker? He must outweigh Ezeh by 30 or 40 pounds.

As to the response to Toon's routes, I have no idea what the fuck you're even talking about. Tight ends were running free and we couldn't stop the run, but yes, by all means we should pull out all the stops to shut down one receiver. Not to mention that warren was right there on one of his touchdowns. It's not Gerg's fault that he couldn't make a play.

Are you actually blaming the angles taken by our defense on Gerg? I suppose it must be his fault that Kovacs and JT Turner are slow. I didn't see too many instances where our defense lined up out of position either.

In short, you didn't make a single valid point. I know it's easy to second guess the coaching and to imagine that only if they'd done X, Y, or Z, that our problems would be solved, but you're just flat out wrong. Dick LeBeau, Charlie Strong or Will Muschamp couldn't do better with this defense., just do us a favor and shut the fuck up. Of course, if the negs keep coming like they've been, we at least won't have to hear from you 'till monday.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:53 PM ^

First off, Campbell and Banks both played today. Quite a bit.

Second, did you not see Brandon Smith on the field? That takes care of your Fitzgerald whining.

Horrible angles by the LBs and safeties are down to reaction and speed. That is indicative of low talent.

The lack of talent mantra is not old - there is literally no way to fix it DURING THE SEASON.

Tell me how the defense gets worse with at least 18 of the two-deep returning, along with introducing JT Turner, Emilien, Hawthorne, Jones, Fitzgerald, B. Smith and Campbell to increased playing time, and these guys get another 10 months of weight training and preparation in the same scheme?

You sound like someone who got his talking points from Tony Kornheiser or Drew Sharp. Next time, step away from the keyboard before you started typing ill-informed nonsense.


November 14th, 2009 at 10:24 PM ^

Sure, I'll tell you how the D probably gets worse next year -- BG gone for sure and DW probably gone. Also, if we continue to play the 3-4 with smallish D-linemen. JT, Emilien, Hawthorne, and Jones haven't even seen the field this year, have they? Fitz and B. Smith have played one game each. I hope I'm wrong but the D is likely to be worse next year before it gets better (hopefully) in 2011 and 2012.

On the flip side, I think the offense will be better with Molk back, Tate with another year of experience, and some of this year's pleasant surprises (Roundtree and V. Smith) getting bigger and stronger. Losing Molk before the B10 season was a huge setback for the O-Line.


November 14th, 2009 at 4:15 PM ^

When you give up 30+ for the 4th straight game, there is plenty of blame to go around to everyone (coaches, position coaches, players, etc).

No need to waste energy who is to blame more! At this point, it really doesn't matter.

Need to continue to work this final week to get better and extend the season for one more game!

"The past is history, the future is a mystery, the present is a gift we must cherish"

West Texas Blue

November 14th, 2009 at 2:58 PM ^

How the hell can we implement a "non-vanilla" scheme when we're under our 3rd D coordinator in 3 years and we start 2 walk-ons? Once we get talent in, kids get reps in G-Rob's defense, and kids get experience, then we'll be able to implement a strong, diverse scheme.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:00 PM ^

Our scheme doesn't seem line it has changed much since the begining of the season. I think M is pretty simple to prepare for. The names may change, but the overall play doesn't.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:20 PM ^

Fat chance of that. One sour comment doesn't get the fact, sometimes even 100 sour comments doesn't lead to a ban (see: Belch), though I have nothing against Belch. It's good to have the other end of the spectrum voicing an opinion that's more than a one line flame on the team/coaches like the above post.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:02 PM ^

I've seen the well written Diaries showing our attrition on defense. Still, our defense is VASTLY underperforming given our talent. Not many teams in the country have an all-American at DE and a future 1st round pick at CB. Our safeties are not great, but we have some above-Big10-average players on defense. We are doing less with more.

West Texas Blue

November 14th, 2009 at 3:07 PM ^

Hmm, last time I checked, there were 11 guys on the field for the defense. All teams have to do is neutralize those two (run away from Graham, run designed rollouts away from Graham, throw the ball at all DBs not named Warren), and a team has an effective gameplan against other D players who are young, inexperienced, and we have no depth.


November 14th, 2009 at 4:42 PM ^

As much as I hated the B10 network's announcers for the game (my personal favorite is when, after Tate took a sack, the announcers proclaimed that "RichRod was livid and very upset with his QB for not throwing the ball away." They then cut to a shot of RichRod calmly talking to tate and patting him on the helmet. Anything to play into the "RichRod screams at his players all the time" meme I guess), they kept pointing out the designed rollouts away from Graham. It is quite easy to gameplan around 2 defenders when the other 9 make mistakes so often.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:44 PM ^

Greg Robinson is not a garbage side of the road coordinator that we just picked up cause "what the hell." He knows what he is doing and is fairly accomplished doing it. The holes that you see in the secondary are just that, humungous holes, that cannot be plugged regardless of the scheme. I have been critical of the entire coaching staff, but not today. Michigan looked liked a well coached team, playing with a lot of motivation. Today was the first game where I actually watched and thought that they just don't have the horses on D. I am more comfortable with RR than I have ever been after watching that game, as strange as that may see.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:08 PM ^

Yeah, the defense played with its tail between its legs and that was all on the players.

The coaches didn't have much to scheme against when it comes to scheming against Wiscy, but you could just tell the players weren't in the game. Especially towards the end.

Maybe that's on the coaches to keep the morale up (Most likely), but the coaches can't go out there and win the game. I think it's about 65-35 players-coaches in terms of blame for the game.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:10 PM ^

why there's already starting to be a quiet meltdown after this game....we're a terrible defensive team, shown on many, many, many, many occasions by our performance on the field and statistical analysis of that performance and the reasons for it.

that's what we saw again today. how anyone can watch this game and all of sudden say "that's it i'm done." is beyond me. nothing surprising happened today, and as the OP pointed out, if anything this game proved even moreso that we're working with less than ideal talent

Bando Calrissian

November 14th, 2009 at 3:12 PM ^

For those of us who think it's coaching, there's no changing our minds. For those of us who think it's talent, there's no changing our minds, either.

At the end of the day, we're arguing on the internet and our team is 5-6 and staring at its first consecutive bowl-less seasons since the the early 1970's. There's no sugar-coating that. The blame has to be laid at someone's doorstep.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:17 PM ^

The blame falls on everyone's footsteps. The issue for me is that when you have clear proof why a team is struggling on defense (attrition, new coaching staff, etc.), it is hard to listen to Bob in Ann Arbor complain that the coaches are at fault. Yeah, GERG has made some bad calls, but the coaches are not telling the players to miss tackles and be slower than WRs. That's on the talent.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

I'm so tired of everyone willing to just say its lack of talent. Honestly, is the talent so bad that we're freaking 1-6 in the Big 10 and have no legitimate chance of keeping teams under 30 points per game? I'm not expecting GERG to pitch shutouts, just figure out how to keep em to FGs and try to keep the score under 30 to give our offense a chance. I'm not in favor of yet another coaching change on D, but GERG has shown NOTHING thus far that warrants him being here next year. And, I hear that he's not much into recruiting either. GET OFF YOUR F_ING ASS AND DO SOMETHING WOULD YA!!!


November 14th, 2009 at 3:28 PM ^

Honestly, is the talent so bad that we're freaking 1-6 in the Big 10 and have no legitimate chance of keeping teams under 30 points per game?

You're watching the same games I am, right?

Yes. Yes it is. No amount of coaching in the world can correct for the issues with fundamentals and with bad decisions that we've seen pop up time and time again this year.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

I think coaching should still be able to keep opposing teams at 30 points per game in the Big 10. I've offered detailed thoughts in other posts, so I won't do it again. I simply won't dump ALL of this on lack of talent. That is a cop out and a free pass to the defensive coaching staff. They are not entitled to that sort of exemption of blame for this colossal mess.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:58 PM ^

and if you're not lying, this should end your resistance:

You're getting ready to play Michigan. You watch game film and see that there is a mile wide gap in the middle of the field because the entire D-secondary has to compensate for a redshirt freshman walk-on safety that is a little slow. What do you do?

(a) throw the ball repeatedly at Donovan Warren?
(b) run at Brandon Graham?
(c) exploit Jordan Kovacs all game long?

I imagine you'd take C. If Michigan tries to cover Kovacs, it exposes other areas of the team.

If you've got one weakness, other teams are not stupid, they are going to exploit it. Face the facts.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:17 PM ^

We clearly are deficient talent-wise. That said, I wish Robinson would stop going to the well with the blitzes on 3rd down in our redzone; they never get there.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:29 PM ^

I'm specifically thinking of the redzone. The closer you are to your own goal line, the less room the offense has to operate in the passing game - but you negate that advantange if you vacate multiple defenders from the zone by blitzing them. Our blitz has gotten absolutely shredded in the redzone this season.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:24 PM ^

You know, that play when they handed off to Clay and he ran through arm tackles.

Or that pass by Tolzien to Toon (3X) when he was free by 5-10 yards. You can't scheme to leave guys that open.


I agree. UM has been outcoached at times this year; they were just out-talented today.


November 14th, 2009 at 4:31 PM ^

We had the same talent in both the first and second half. It was 17 - 21 at the half. In the second half we scored 7 and they scored 24. It is a combination of problems for us on D... both talent and coaching. coaching can't completely make up for lack of talent and talent can't completely make up for coaching problems, but certainly they feed off eachother. We look horrible on D and it is the coaching that should have our guys ready to play and be in the right space. Our guys rarely look like they know what they are doing.

If you disagree why don't you start by telling me the coaching and scheme moves that Michigan made in the second half to prove that it is obviously about talent and not coaching. I eagerly await your response.


November 14th, 2009 at 6:56 PM ^

I watched parts of the game, and what I saw was a defense that just didn't have the men to compete with a good team. Coaches put Ezeh where he needed to be, but he just missed tackles left and right. The coaches didn't do anything special with Brandon Graham, but he was still a beast in the game because he could make plays when they presented themselves. UM called the right play on the TD over Warren - Warren just didn't get his head turned around in time to swat the ball away.

This team has been outcoached at times, but today was a game where the talent level between UM and Wiscy was pretty significant, especially on defense. UM's offense had the ball for less than 6 meaningful minutes (ignore the last drive) in the second half and came away with 7 points. The defense gave up scoring drives of 10, 8, 10, and 15 plays. This was Wisconsin coming out and imposing its will on a young team with little depth.


November 14th, 2009 at 7:58 PM ^

I don't think I need to justify the contrarian view that our coaches didn't do anything in the second half to overcome the Badgers because I stated that the coaches are not blameless, and that the only thing someone could say was that we didn't scheme to overcome what was clearly, to most any viewer, an overwhelming talent deficit on D. You said we got outcoached, I asked for an example--you didn't come up with anything other than "they outplayed us in the second half". That is not an example, in fact you could argue it reinforces my point.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

Are there any plays, any schemes, any...anything you can point to to support that?

I didn't Wisconsin pulling out clever trick plays or finding creative ways to neutralize our offense. In fact, I don't think I saw anything that made it look like we were being outcoached. Once they got their lead, they just went back to running the ball for the majority of their plays. It doesn't take an offensive genius to come up with that, and I'm pretty sure that Rodriguez and Robinson could neutralize that if their line wasn't more experienced and stronger than ours.

I did, however, see our defense make the same mistakes and the same kinds of blown coverage that we've seen all year.


November 14th, 2009 at 3:18 PM ^

Ezeh for example ( I know dead horse) has constantly been put in the right place and does not react as a MLB should be reacting. Kovacs, Williams, Mouton, are all guys who have been put in the right place and blown assignments.

That is just guys who dont have a high Football IQ and are prone to constant mistakes. The fact is that these Junior and Senior classes are woefully bad and lack a lot of talent.

You can coach them up all you want but when put on the field they are simply not good enough at this level to get it done!