Tony Elliot : “We became a National Championship caliber team ...”

Submitted by Sten Carlson on December 29th, 2018 at 7:39 PM

... when the offensive line improved.”  

I said this in another thread, but it seems appropriate here — Michigan’s OL, although improved — isn’t yet championship caliber.  When facing an good opposing front 7, the run game often stalled and Shea was under pressure.  Unfortunately, Higdon didn’t do a whole lot of creating on his own, and Shea is still a work in process as a pocket passer   

Michigan has a great OL class, and still has young elite guys who redshirted.  Coach Warriner did a fantastic job, but everyone knows, football is one (and lost) in the trenches.   If it took Dabo several years to get his OL and QB combo where it needed to be to compete for championships, it may be that that same dynamic is effectively limiting Michigan still.  

Let me add guys, please let’s not digress into complete negativity.  Yes, this season ended badly, but when we look at the OL and QB play of Alabama, Clemson, OU and ND, can we really say that Michigan is on par?  ND’s were exposed today, so drop them out.  Yes, play calling and schemes on both sides of the ball may need to be adjusted.  But the bottom line is going into this season OL and QB were  HUGE questions.  They both improved, but maybe — just maybe — they remain as such. 



December 29th, 2018 at 10:09 PM ^

I don't think our defensive personnel will drop too much. The problem is the man-to-man-ONLY-defense. Seeing many teams used the same strategy (for example, use 4-5 WR set and run in the middle) to "caught" our defense off the guard is deeply concerning. This is not personnel issue. It's the coaching inability to adjust (not just in game, but between seasons). It's sad that our fate has been defined by the inept of our OC and DC as well as HC (who should recoginize the issue) before the season started, and no cure can be found in the past few years. Sample size is enough, don't blame the players. The coaches failed them.


December 29th, 2018 at 10:36 PM ^

Your narrative is false.  Michigan ran more Cover 2 zone this year than any other year.  It doesn't matter what scheme you run per se...the DT's we're just ok to good.  

Michigan's OL should be and needs to be excellent next year.  Michigan's offensive philosophy should look like Alabama's.  Alabama is running RPO, spread concepts and two TE smash mouth concepts.  

That being said, Michigan put Shea in position to make throws.  He didn't throw the ball to open receivers on multiple occasions in the 2nd half.  He underthrows wide open guys.  It seems like he struggles with zone coverage some.  That doesn't ansolve the coaches, but it's not totally their fault.


December 30th, 2018 at 9:14 AM ^

Obviously you don’t know how practices work. The 1s don’t really go head to head during game prep. The scout team will mimick the opposing team’s schemes and tendencies to prepare the team for those games. Meaning Shea and the first team offense see plenty of zone in practice considering plenty of teams incorporate zone. 


December 29th, 2018 at 9:55 PM ^

This is a bad take.  The predictability of the offense makes life hard for RBs.  Other great offenses get great RB play because the defense has to cover other options.  Higdon would have been a monster moreso at Oklahoma, Ohio State, Alabama, etc.  The scheme tries to do so much that it sucks against good defenses.  This is the NFL pre-innovation offense.  At this point either go modern no-huddle spread, or what Jimmy did at Stanford.  This hybrid shit is garbage.


December 30th, 2018 at 9:27 AM ^

Higdon was a monster at Michigan.  Who would argue that?  Are you saying that Tru, Turner, and Evans would be Monsters at OSU or Alabama?  They would certainly be better, but these guys are not on any level like the RB's that Alabama or Clemson has.  Evans, Turner, and Tyler...each of them individually would be no better than 4th string on AL or Clemson's team.


December 29th, 2018 at 9:55 PM ^

it prob is his fastest ever, with bush, gary, solomon, etc.   bush covered up a ton and allowed them to do so much. 

slightly different D with gil, furbush, watson, kinnel, etc logging huge minutes.  harbaugh loves those kind of tough, smart players (and i guess brown does too) but theres little room for error in that situation

Sten Carlson

December 29th, 2018 at 8:04 PM ^

I saw plenty of throws to them, but for whatever reason, those WR screens don’t work well for us.  You have to protect to get the ball out to those great WR’s.  Shea wants to bug out as soon as there is pressure.  Now it’s a scramble drill.   Shea is good on the run, but you don’t base an offense on that.  

Sten Carlson

December 29th, 2018 at 7:54 PM ^

Are you serious?  

Tony Elliot said THIS was their best OL ... maybe that’s how.  Same with UGA last year.  OU’s OL is awesome, as is Alabama’s.  

Michigan’s OL — for a variety of reasons — was broken.   It stopped leaking oil this year enough to manhandle weaker front 7’s.  Against ND, NW, MSU, OSU and UF, no push, poor PassPro.