Reminder: Things are never as good/bad as they seem

Submitted by MGrether on September 1st, 2012 at 11:45 PM

Yes, this is a reality check. A kick in the teeth, with the taste of blood and astroturf to pick out of our mouths for the next 6 days. With that said, we squared off against a darn good squad and fought to the end. We had opportunities that we did not capitilize on, especially early. Passes that sailed just too long or were dropped. Holes that were missed. By the time we got anything resembling a rythem, we were down by 3 scores and it was all but over. This put the defense out there for a way to long and... well... the talent gap definetly showed as we bounced off their backs like water off a ducks back.

A note on the offense... There seemed to be a hesitency around how much to run Denard; deciding way to late to screw it and let him run. Not that this would have radically altered the outcome, but I think we would have approached the first 25 minutes differently and kept the game a bit closer. 

With that said, I am still very high on this team. I like out chances against the rest of our schedule (barring more injuries). I like that we will go against MSU having already faced smash-mouth team that is even bigger & tougher then Sparty. I think this will make us more prepared for their 60 minutes of unnecessary roughness. I think the coaches can use this film to teach some very good lessons that we would not have otherwise received by plaing a patsy.

Losing sucks, especially on the big stage with everyone watching. However, once this team clicks (especially on offense), I think we can win any game on the rest of our schedule (please not I did not say we will, just that we can). We are definitely not a top 4 team, but we can establish ourselves as a legit # 6-12 team and contend for the BiG Championship this year.




September 2nd, 2012 at 1:30 AM ^

...Yet.  I mean, Rodriguez left us with no depth and a limited number of players that fit what we want to do.  Hoke kicks ass on the recruiting trail.  In a couple years, we'll be as close to them as we can be without fucking over a bunch of kids with oversigning.

And with Mattison, the defense will be at least as good as theirs.  Borges I'm less convinced on, but I'll let him get players who have skill sets that fit the style he's most comfortable with.  The OSU game last year makes me optimistic with him.


September 1st, 2012 at 11:52 PM ^

Things are also much different with Fitz and Countess in the game. Borges barely ran Denard at all in the first half which was very surprising.

Here's to a healthy Countess and Lewan next week and a defense that can stop Air Force. Fitz for 200 and 3 TDs. You heard it here first.



September 2nd, 2012 at 12:14 AM ^

I think Borgess was so focussed on showing the new and improved Denard passing game that he forgot that Denard was our best rushing option.

(I refuse to accept that Denard could not have broken a few long runs given the chance.)


PS - I think Devin will be an awesome receiving option given a few more games reps.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:27 AM ^

Al saw a team bringing extra bodies in the run game but not able/willing to really pressure his QB.  His lizard brain reads 8 in the box as pass every time.  In a way he's right because there were plays to be made (open receivers missed, balls dropped, and the occasional Devin looks over the wrong shoulder).  In another way he's super wrong because we left our biggest round in the chamber until the game was already decided (Denard's first carry came on a 3rd and short when the score was 21-0, his second made it 31-7).  Maybe Bama stops everything since they didn't have any issue with our non-Fitz backs, but I do wish we'd given our best player at least one chance to do what he does best before the game was decided.


September 1st, 2012 at 11:52 PM ^

For posting this. Everyone needs to take a step back from the ledge. The players did not play well and the coaches did not coach well. I did not expect us to get smoked by Bama but did anyone expect us to dominate them? I figured at best we could keep it close and stike at the end. Michigan fans are the most "realistic" fans I know. We are not as delusional as Suckeye, Little Brother, or SEEEEEECCCCC fans. Let's pull it together and win the B1G this year while beating Sparty and Ohio. Go Blue.



September 2nd, 2012 at 10:08 AM ^

The reality is, Saban has had 6 years of Hoke-Like success on the recruiting trail. We have had... 1 1/4. Once Morris is a Junior, I will much more frustrated if we are getting our @#$ handed to us by Bama. However, at this point winning the BiG is the next big step that is reasonable for our boys to achieve.


September 1st, 2012 at 11:59 PM ^

Today we saw the fruits of RR's years of terrible defensive recruiting.It was a rotton, moldy, fruit.

In 2014 this will be a great game. In 2012 it was a mismatch. There really is nothing else to say. Bama whipped us and whipped us good.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:01 AM ^

This game is not a B1G game. Its not a bowl game. Its a nonconference game.

If the goal is the B1G championship, it is still in reach. And this team can still get there.

Learn and move forward, and remember:


Go Blue


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:03 AM ^

Looking at that Bama team, most of them will probably be first or second round NFL draft picks. We were practically playing a bad NFL team.  Although this was an ugly, ugly loss, where practically everything that went wrong could... there were still lots of positives that make me optimistic about the team.

Jack Daniels

September 2nd, 2012 at 12:08 AM ^

I wasn't upset with the outcome of the game.  I was upset Countess was injured on ST and Lewan was injured playing in a 14-41 game with 4 minutes left.  If both are out for an extended period of time, well, I might just go punch a dolphin.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:14 AM ^

Those of us who didn't drink the Koolaid saw how big a mountain this would be all summer. Really, we saw how this game would go in the Sugar Bowl, when an aggressive defense throttled Michigan's offense except for a couple of key Junior Hemingway catches. Lose Hemingway and you have this offensive performance.

The question was whether Michigan could hold Alabama to a low score. That didn't look good, since Bama was known to be returning an all-world OL and we were replacing our DL (which carried the whole team on its back in New Orleans) with guys not known to be world-beaters. Alabama's gameplan would be to punch us in the mouth.

This is exactly what happened. It looked awful, and there were some bad breaks and a bad play here or there, but nothing here was surprising. The one time Michigan got torched by the passing game, it was backup corner Courtney Avery (filling in for injured Countess) slipping on the turf and getting burned. If Countess is in there it doesn't happen. Further, Debard's first pick was a horrible no-call on illegal contact or PI--not his fault at all.

Since this was about what I expected, or only a bit worse, I still thing a B1G title is a realistic possibility. No one else can exploit our weaknesses like this, and a year of coaching will see players grow into their new roles in ways they were not able to against the defending champions.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:25 AM ^

Your post was spot on.  Michigan was not ready physically for this game.  Hoke and company are going to need another year of beefing up the front 7 in order for this squad to be where we want them to be. It was incredibly frustrating to watch Bama do to UM want UM has done to many a team over the years. 


Hats off to Bama. 


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:29 AM ^

Things could be worse!  Fox could have stated the bullshit Ace Williams was spewing a couple weeks ago as fact at halftime during a moralistic crusade against pot.

Oh wait, that happened.  Ugggggh.

Gorgeous Borges

September 2nd, 2012 at 12:33 AM ^

I'm more worried about the injury status of Lewan and Countess; if they're out for a long term period, this loss could be even worse than it seems.

Also, this loss is even worse because had we beaten Bama, they would have had a lot of excuses for losing. They played a true freshman and a redshirt freshman running back against us. They had to replace a ton of NFL talent. They had a new offensive coordinator.

We committed a lot of penalties (looking at you, Taylor Lewan!). When the announcing crew is calling block in the back before it even happens, you know that your team is not executing well.

Denard threw two picks, one of them for six, so that's not over by any means, which is the thing we most hoped he'd improve in the offseason. One of the picks was the result of a good job of the middle linebacker jumping the route; the other one was just a terribly thrown ball to a wide receiver that had fallen down.

We couldn't run the ball for shit against Bama without our starting running back; that actually says very little about Michigan, as very few teams, even very good ones, could do that.

Poor Bellomy.

Not much progression in the offseason for Denard. It was basically the sugar bowl game, but with more pick-sixes and no turnovers on the other side.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:42 AM ^

Ok. We're not watching the same game. The first pick happened because the Bama DB got away with illegal contact by throwing the WR to the ground and out of bounds, not a WR stumbling. The second was a legit pick by a smart DB. Also, on one of the long "overthrows" to Gardner, he cut the route inside instead of following the sideline, which is where Denard put it. If he keeps his route, he gets hit in stride like Gallon. Also, see dropsies in the first quarter on slant routes. This was an ugly game for sure and won clearly by the better team, but you are clearly just upset and not looking at the game's film.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:52 AM ^

LOL @ this:

   One of the picks was the result of a good job of the middle linebacker jumping the route; the other one was just a terribly thrown ball to a wide receiver that had fallen down. 

Milliner pushed Roundtree out of bounds 20 yards down field while the ball was in the air. That was PI...not a terrible throw. The second was a terrible throw, he threw behind the slant and didn't see the backer sitting underneath, he did not "jump the route" he was reading Denard the whole play.



September 2nd, 2012 at 12:38 AM ^

Dude come on, that *was* as bad as it seems.

It was horrible, we got absolutely throttled.

The thing is, not only did they outplay/beat us, but in addition to that we just kept tripping over our own feet.  It's a stretch to find *anything* we did well.  Concluding otherwise is delusional.  

Other than Gallon and Norfleet, and I guess Hagerup, everyone on our team had an awful game.  

We shit the bed in a game we would've had to play our absolute best for it to be competitive.  The result was...  what we just saw.

Is the sky falling?  No.  

Do I still think we'll go 9-3 and win our division?  If I had to say yes or no I'd still say "yes" but I'm nowhere near as confident in that as I was 24 hours ago.  


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:59 AM ^

illegal contact on the first INT. Not that it would have made a difference in the overall outcome, but Denard on that particular throw probally wasn't expecting the WR to get shoved out of bounds and have it turn into an easy INT.

Denard certainly didn't look good passing the ball, but the questionable offensive playcalling and lack of a running game put him in a tough spot. Trying to complete a ton of 3rd and longs against Alabama wouldn't end well for most of the quarterbacks in the country. I am not going to jump to conclusions about his development based on this game. I still think Denard will prove to a better passer in the long run, than he was last season.

I didn't expect a win, but I didn't think it would be this ugly. Regardless of how good Alabama is, this wasn't a good showing and several areas will have to get better if the goal of winning the Big Ten is going to be reached.


September 2nd, 2012 at 1:17 AM ^

Tonight.  Or Miami (NTM) so take it with a grain of salt.  We are not MNC caliber yet, maybe in 2-3 years.


That said we could have been (IME) more agressive on O running Denard etc. but that would have meant Saban not calling off the dogs as early on D.  Live and Learn (This means you Al B.!)


September 2nd, 2012 at 1:19 AM ^

dave brandon....lets not go berserk with the matchups with the best teams so soon....

we need real playmakers all across the team before going against the best MUCH better depth...


September 2nd, 2012 at 1:32 AM ^

The fact that such key guys got significantly dinged up in the first game and in such a wallop bodes poorly for the remainder of the season. I mean, Denard basically picked up where he left off in the Suger Bowl and now the big oh no on the oline has happened in game one! Jesus...


September 2nd, 2012 at 3:41 AM ^

oh wow, thank you so much for giving me this "reality check".  for a minute there i thought maybe i went off the deep end with my thoughts on my wife, kids, work, etc.  now i know i was just being silly in thinking that i should kill myself because we lost to alabama.  it's really amazing what the internet can do for you...i mean my life would be over if not for this one thread by MGrether. 



September 2nd, 2012 at 3:53 AM ^

...says the kid with the simpons/Fonzy avatar..."Aaaeeee"/ oh wait, you probably don't know who that is.  you see, Happy Days was a show back in the "old days", you know, when tv was actually good.  yes, i know, get off my lawn.

you see i could throw jabs at your personal life too but i'm not a gaybasher.


September 2nd, 2012 at 8:16 AM ^

There are some items of note in the box score which we can definitely take and run  with in a positive way,  and indeed, they may even bode  well for the rest of the year. Just a few things of note, I think: 

 - First quarter aside, we played them to the tune of 20-14 for the remainder of the game, which I find at least respectable. On a high level, that would seem to say that this staff and this team are still pretty good with in-game adjustments. That bodes well.

 -  For those down on the rushing and lack of use of Denard's feet, the 69 yards net rushing would be the 6th best performance against Alabama's run  defense if this had been last year. Against a team that allowed less than 1000 rushing yards last year, that  ends up being essentially an average performance against the Crimson Tide by comparison.

- We held them to 3 of 10 on 3rd down conversions, even if it didn't look like that. We were 3 of 12 ourselves, but again, this would be a normal performance even when compared to how other SEC did against Alabama last year. I will take that, and again, it makes me believe we'll do better with conversions in the conference. 

- 9 TFL and 3 sacks by our defense against Alabama is almost the best overall showing in those categories when compared to how opponents did  against them last year. Actually, the only team that recorded more sacks against the Crimson Tide last year was North Texas. We can bring pressure well enough. 


SC Wolverine

September 2nd, 2012 at 5:11 PM ^

Perhaps you are right.  But you have to admit that we had receivers open all night.  If the plan was to realize that we can't really run against Bama but should set up the pass, then the opportunities were there.