Sunday Snowflakes

Submitted by 1464 on November 11th, 2012 at 3:29 AM

So, technically it is Sunday.  I've been stuck working at the bar since the second I left my home after 4th and 2.  I was late, but what the hell else was I supposed to do?  Did anyone else see that Michigan game yesterday, what a comeback.  So here is your official "Let's not push everything off the front page because I want to critique our punt return formation" thread.

As per usual, I will not post my opinions in the OP, as to not destroy the sanctity of the snowflake thread.  I will, however, assume all you chuckleheads are asleep and be the first to post my thoughts in the replies...

Topics du jour of the day:

Denard vs. Devin

The QB rushing record

Mattison / Borges feelings for the week

Holy shit did you see that catch that Roundtree made?

Brunette girls (even sure thing brunettes, they still count too)

How good is Northwestern?

Do we even have a shot at Indy?

At what point(s) did you think we would win or had no hope?

Magnets, how do they work?

EDIT: I see BiSB has nuked a Denard vs. Devin thread already.  Keep it civil in here guys, as I think that is a legitimate talking point, even though I think most of us desperately want to see Denard start and understand that there is a 0% chance otherwise.  That doesn't mean some of us can't be extremely impressed and somewhat fickle.  If nothing else, this topic points to the fact that we have two very solid options.  Which is something.  Also, it points to boo for the coaching staff in regards to letting us flounder against Nebraska.



November 11th, 2012 at 3:41 AM ^

I'm glad you asked, bwgrudt1484, here is what I think:

Borges has officially added the "draw the other team offsides and throw the deep pass" play to our repetoire.  Notice that there were times that NW did not jump, and our offense had to look to the sidelines for the ACTUAL play call.  I count this as a point for Borges.  This will work 1-2 times a game on average, but will help out our sorta dismal OL in the fact that the DL can't key off the snap count.

Last year I suggested Denard may be our Juice Williams, but Denard is more like Barry Sanders.  An amazing talent that spent quite a bit of his time on an underperforming team.  Makes bad plays more often than most (Barry had sooo many rushes for loss) but was so electric that it more than compensated.  Even without a rushing record, Barry was the best pure talent at his position in the history of the game.

I now expect our defense to get the stop.  When we went up in the 4th, I thought the game was over.  I award 612 points for Mattison.  When did this change of opinion happen?  Even though our defense let in the TD, I was confident that we would stop them until we didn't.  This says a lot.

Devin has a more well rounded game.  I know there are a lot of Denard lovers, of which I include myself, but Devin made more "wow" throws in two games than Denard has all year.  He had the pick to almost lose it, but that comes with this being his second start.  Denard has been the most giving player I ever remember playing for the good guys.  He deserves to start when he is healthy, but I expect to hear some grumbling that wasn't there before when he throws his next pick.  This is a good sign for next year though.  Shane won't have to fumble through his true freshman year as the starter.

How many miracle catches can our receiving unit have until they are no longer underrated?  We don't have any Braylon's on our team, but we always seem to have someone show up at the right time.  I definitely think Gallon gets looks in the NFL next season.

Who did Nebraska sell their soul to?  The devil couldn't even pull off the tricks that they have.  They should have four losses.  I don't think they are that good of a team.  They will get embarassed in the Rose Bowl if that future comes to pass.




November 11th, 2012 at 7:01 AM ^

Yes, I think they are coached and I think Gardner is very good at it. But, I think what you saw is that the purpose is not necessarily to draw them offsides but rather to expose the defense. Gardner did this at least a few times and checked into a better scheme for the run which got us a few more YPC. Of course, he also drew them offsides a few times which was great.


November 11th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

You argue that the WRs don't get enough credit for their miracle catches, yet you say that Nebraska isn't a good team because they have miracle wins. I agree that Nebraska isn't as good as your typical Rose Bowl team, but then again the Big Ten is not as good as if normally is either.


November 11th, 2012 at 4:09 AM ^

Also, I live and work in the Columbus area.  If the past weeks have given me nothing else (outside of two wins), they have given me the pleasure of bragging that our backup QB is every bit as good as OSU's Heisman candidate. OSU fans turn funny colors when you push this argument hard.  It's wonderful.

And... Brady Hoke will enter his 3rd year as a Michigan coach undefeated at home.  Awesome.  Has that happened?


November 11th, 2012 at 5:05 AM ^

I thought Devin looked very good and showed remarkable poise. I kept thinking to myself that he did a good job of letting routes develop by not being in too much of a hurry. Honestly, I feel like we should see a CREATIVE combination o Devinard. Sadly, I don't have faith that we will.

I kept thinking to myself that Northwestern did a much better job of finding our weakness and exploiting it, and I wished we would do the same. Sad panda.

I blamed the late NW TD in the first half on Norfleet and Borges: Norfleet for obvious reasons. Borges for that frustratingly unproductive dive play on 2nd down, deep in our territory. It went for 2 yards and forced us into a 3rd and long which we obviously didn't convert.

Throughout the game I was frustrated with Thomas Gordon, Cam Gordon, and Joe Bolden.

I was happy with Fitz, Lewan, and Roundtree.

I remember thinking with 18 seconds left, "I've seen enough miracles work against us.....I think today we have our own miracle". But never in a million years did I envision a catch of a lifetime like Roundtree's.

Sadly, I don't see Nebraska losing. %^•@&K!!!!!!


November 11th, 2012 at 8:48 AM ^

These are the two serious and valid criticisms of Devin's game at this point, but given that this was ony his second start at the position, i'd be surprised if there isn't significant improvement both from effort and simply adjusting to the speed of the game as he grows more comfortable/experienced.

Yost Ghost

November 11th, 2012 at 12:43 PM ^

I love Denard as well yet agree the Devin is a more rounded QB. I have been saying since the MSU game last year, when many were ripping on Devin, that we hadn't seen enough of him to know if he can be good @ QB. I think that debate is over.

I wish Hoke would have tried to play him in Lincoln when it became apparent Bellomy wasn't up to the task. Even with having taken no snaps under center in practice I still think he was a better option.

As much as I have enjoyed his coming out party thus far I still saw vertical opportunities that he missed because he had locked in to scrambling. That will get better with experience.

I sure hope Devin gets that medical red shirt.

P.S. - Happy with Fitz's production but not with the TO.


November 11th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

Devin definitely looks like a great pocket passer, especially for someone who was a serious dual-threat QB prospect. He's got some fast feet, but I love his pocket presence more than anything else about him. Looks like he's got a good future ahead of him at QB. That being said, I do miss Denard. There's nothing like seeing him break off a big run. 


November 11th, 2012 at 6:28 AM ^

The OL is pathetic...If you told me we had the top prospect for the upcoming NFL draft at LT, I would think we would at least have a great unit, but man, our OGs and Meahler are terrible as a group. There is no push in the running game and too many times do they let there man dictate the pass rush  in throwing situations. 

I also noticed that the CBs on our team are horrible at getting off of blocks. The DL and Lbs did a great job of taking their man on the option (the qb) but then it seemed like noone was there to take the pitch man. This needs to change before OSU


November 11th, 2012 at 6:38 AM ^

You forgot to add Morgan to that list of frustrating players yesterday. Don't get me wrong, the whole defense was unacceptable but it was fitting they had to make the play to end the game. The o line is awful and its time to stop making excuses and im tired of the coach speak. Even though Fitz isnt the same as last year, hes making strides, but there just isnt anywhere to run. DG has poise and instincts out this world. Just a very heady guy to go along with his athletic ability and arm talent. Also noticed two coaches reactions. Pat Fitz on the late hit on Coulter was a little weird. Coach Hoke's reaction to winning the game in OT was great to see as he's usually more reserved.


November 11th, 2012 at 6:38 AM ^

With regards to Gardner at QB, after 2 games as a starter, he is now 28-47 for 520 yards, 2 INTs and 4 passing TDs as well as 3 rushing TDs, which is good for an overall QB rating of 172.09, if that particular stat intrigues anyone. Yesterday was another good performance from someone that wasn't even in consideration to play QB this season a few short weeks ago.

As for the QB rushing record, Denard Robinson is 306 yards from 4,481, which would be one more than Pat White. Assuming he played in the remaining regular season games and one bowl, that would mean an average of at  least 102 yards rushing per game. 



November 11th, 2012 at 7:14 AM ^

For the first time, I think we saw what Borges wants to do on O actually work. Fitz had a better day running, but the OL is still atrocious which is keeping the O down. But unlike the Minn game, yesterday seemed to actually have the routes get people open in the passing game. If this is any indication, man, Borges really likes to unleash the dragon. This O seems to be predicated on superior athletes and 'out executing' the opponent, which I can't say I'm a of.


November 11th, 2012 at 7:28 AM ^

I have been a "fan" of Pat Fitzgerald for a long time but I lost a lot of respect for him when he was jumping up and down like a 7th grade girl who had just won Jonas Bros tickets after that late hit on that last drive. Even though the hit itself was not that violent it just seems strange and maybe even immature to celebrate personal foul penalties like that made against your team given that they have the potential to injure a player. I just have never seen a coach celebrate a late hit like that.


November 11th, 2012 at 8:01 AM ^

Excellent simile: great way to start off my day.  I was also extremely irritated by Fitzgerald's "fitz" on the sidelines, and his celebration of a late hit.  I think he was actually overcelebrating to "congratulate" the refs after the late hit, and should have been called for a 15-yard personal foul, which would have been an offsetting penalty.



November 11th, 2012 at 11:12 AM ^

Take a look at the beginning of this video. You can't miss him in the late 20s.

By the way, I'd add that while this was a pretty dumb thing to celebrate, I'm not sure it changes my opinion of him at all. Was it over the top? Sure. He still does a good job coaching at a non-ideal spot, his players play tough and disciplined football, I've never heard anyone say he or his program lacks class and his teams usually lead the conference in academic measures. I'd be perfectly happy if Northwestern won every game except ours.


November 11th, 2012 at 1:27 PM ^

But he is also one of the biggest whiners when a call doesn't go the way he thinks it should have.  It would have been more entertaining to watch his temper tantrum if the ref hadn't thrown the flag.


November 11th, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

I also noticed that he's great with taking advantage of the free plays that the opponents' defenses give him. He did it against Minnesota too. Definitely an impressive quality. I also like that he's not afraid to stand in the pocket and take the hit after throwing the ball. The kid is fearless.


November 11th, 2012 at 7:48 AM ^

I, for one, am thankful for our win against NW, as I am thankful for this new hit video


However, I am severely depressed about Nebraska's happy dance with the general bloody-mindedness of the universe


November 11th, 2012 at 8:08 AM ^

There isn't a blog-wide ban on discussing Denard vs. Devin. It's a fair (although in my mind overblown) topic of conversation. There is, however, a blogwide ban on creating the same damn thread that has been created many, many times without providing anything new, especially when the conversation is one that is ALWAYS a shitstorm that ends with someone getting banned for calling someone else a f*cktard. 

As for the magnets, they work because Mattison tells them to.


November 11th, 2012 at 8:28 AM ^

I'm pretty sure Fitzgerald was being extremely sarcastic with that celebration, after working the refs all day, and honing a grudge about the helmet-less play with Persa last year.

I think Borges is clearly more comfortable in this sort of offense than a spread. 450 yards when you can't run for shit is a good day. I still think we are a better offense with Denard, merely because our running game is a non-starter without him. These weren't two good defenses we lit up the past two weeks, so I think comparing Denard vs, Alabama, ND, and MSU to Gardner vs. Minny and NW isn't particulalrly balanced.

I thought Gardner was again very good - the receivers made him look good a few times (aside the obvious throw to end regulation, the long pass to Roy on our first TD drive was well behind him, and Roy made a good grab), and it seemed like he was close to throwing two more picks. However, I was really impressed with his running, great nose for the first down line.

In the run game, this felt a ton like the Minnesota game - mostly nothing happening, one big run. However, it seemed like we started to gain some traction with Fitz at the end? our last two touchdowns featured some decent runs.

I was surprised to see so much Bolden and Ross - presumably because of the option? It seems to me like Ross is the better player at this point. The option didn't seem to suit Morgan's playing style, either.

I would be fine with never seeing Colter & Mark again, at least, not against us.
Demens made a bunch of big sticks - great game for the senior.


November 11th, 2012 at 8:19 AM ^

1. Devin v. Denard

I am going to go on record (and incur some serious negs) or saying that I like our offense a hell of a lot more with Devin at qb. I love Denard - he is my favorite m player since Woodson - but he is just not a complete qb and his limitations consistently allow good defenses to stop our offense. Not all of this is on Denard - some of it is a result of the Denard Borges fusion simply not working out well - but it exists and I fear that it will not hangs with 2-4 games left. it is great to see a qb make NFL looking throws, check off of his first target and know when to scramble. Devin is a true "dual threat" as he can hurt you with his arm or his legs. At this point, Denard is not.

That said, once Denard is ready to play, he deserves the start. Guy has given too much to this program and to this staff for him to sit his final few games. And, despite limitations, on more than kne occasion, he has brought out magic to win us games. But, devin is too got at qb to sit - Borges needs to get both of these guys involved, be it in the 2-qb set or in some rotation.

2. Our OL

No point in overanalyzing this. They are terrible this year and are killing us. How much of fitz and maybe Denard) having crappy 2012 is on them? I would say a lot. Hard to run with no holes and Hard to throw when you are running for your life.

3. Defense - they got a key stop, but man did they look bad today. Shitty tackling, many open lands, missed assignments ad limited pressured up front.

4. Corners

Good thing thing that some of those long passes were over thrown, bc our corners did allow too much separation. Also, please thank your diety g choice forth existence of kovaks.

5. WR

Gallon and tree - awesome game. Made some great catches and got nice yac. Without devin here, though, this position group is woefully thin. Also, question: why is funchess not a WR? I know the TE / WR distinction can blur, but it seems like he is needed more here.

That's all I got.


November 11th, 2012 at 8:58 AM ^

2. Yes, they do. They look even worse when we can't pass effectively and defenses can key on the run with extra guys in the box.

3. At times they handled the option decently, at others they didn't at all. There were more than a few occasions of overpursuit instead of staying at home that allowed the option the edge, especially with a very late pitch. Ryan went for the QB kill a little too often when playing the pitch might have forced the play inside where there were more bodies. But the option is damned tough to defend.

I'm a little more concerned about when Simeon came in and they were getting serious mismatches and finding the middle of the field wide open.


November 11th, 2012 at 8:28 AM ^

Some of Devins success also comes from the inability of the oppossing teams to prep for him.

If you are the DC of the opposition, you have tons of game tape of Denard and his running game. Do you assume Denard is going to play and prep the team for him? Of course.

This prep for Denard calls for LB blitzes and putting 8 guys in the box. But the Devin comes in and this doesn't work so well. Now you need to cover play action - but you haven't practiced this all week.


November 11th, 2012 at 8:30 AM ^

I just can't get over how well Gardner has played, and I wonder why he wasn't given reps at QB all season to provide insurance for Robinson.  Gardner = win over Nebraska, IMO.

If Robinson can't go next week, I think that Gardner should get the start against Ohio State, even if Robinson is healthy for OSU, if only because Robinson will likely be too rusty from all the misssed time.  

I haven't heard anything about Bellomy's status lately.  I saw Kennedy warming up with Devin pre-game, but didn't see Bellomy all game.  I know he's listed as injured, but havent' heard anything more.  I wonder if there is something else going on.  At this point, Bellomy's gonna be the odd man out, with Devin being the man next year and Morris as the man in waiting.


November 11th, 2012 at 8:54 AM ^

I was about ready to throw my remote through the TV if Mattison blitzed again on 3rd down leaving wide open WR's for NW downfield after we miss 30 tackles trying to sack Colter..  Good god that was so frustrating...


Then after the 3rd blown 3rd and long blitz he finally backed out of it and we stopped them..  Weird