What positives can we take away from the Alabama game?

Submitted by UMgradMSUdad on September 1st, 2012 at 11:39 PM

The game was not pretty; it was a beat down.  I do, however, see some areas for hope.

Dennis Norfleet looks to be an emerging star on kick off returns.

The team fought to the end.  

We got this loss in our first game, and it's the most talented team on our schedule.

Any other positives you can think of?

 

Comments

FrankMurphy

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:40 AM ^

Devin is a legit WR. There were more than a few times that he gained a step on Millner (who will probably be one of the country's top corners), but Denard just overthrew him. 

Will Campbell finally seems to be living up to his potential.

Dennis Norfleet is a ninja.

Bluebells and maize

September 2nd, 2012 at 12:52 AM ^

Ummmmm.... I guess if I had to name the first positive that comes to mind- Bellomy's only pass at least touched a Michigan player before it was intercepted? More seriously, Gallon's cloaking device still works at times and kick returns look improved.

bosefus

September 2nd, 2012 at 12:54 AM ^

I have some positives and negatives to take away from the game.

First the negatives to get them out of the way:

Borges = Debord 2.0  ex: Run up the middle doesn't work, gains 1-2 yrds per attempt so keep doing it. Quick pass to the flat gets you 6-8 yrds so abandon it.

Denard is not a pocket passer but yet we still try to keep using him as one. Get away from the pro style offense until he leaves, since he has too much talent not to be on the field, and we will be fine. ex: following the receivers before he throws to them resulting in interceptions; overthrows, late throws, under throws, and he had plenty of time in the pocket in this game to show he had what it took to be a pocket passer. I may get negged for saying this but is ok since I'm just giving an honest opinion of what I saw. Denard has plenty of heart and will to win. The coaches need to put him in a position that gives him that opportunity based on his abilities.

No identity on defense or offense. There didn't seem to be any leaders out there getting the team fired up, and working together. Maybe I missed something here, at least I hope so.

Depth, as stated on this site numerous times, reared it's head as players got injured and we didn't have a comparable backup.

 

As for the positives:

Younger players. There are several young players that look like they are going to be able to contribute early which is great to see and will be benificial as the season progresses to fill in our depth.

We seem to have some decent receivers with Gallon, Gardner, and Roundtree. Just need to get the ball in a position to make a play.

Offensive line is better than anticipated. With the turn over from last year we seem to be ok in that area.

We didn't get to see a field goal but the punting was decent as long as we avoid punting beyond the coverage.

Second half. This is still a second half team like last year. Alabama scored only 10 points I believe in the second half which is an improvement over the first half. The team needs to build off of that.

Wolverman

September 2nd, 2012 at 12:59 AM ^

 It wasn't as bad as it looked on offense. The WR where getting open, Denard had time but over threw and under threw a few passes. The running game and defense cant possibly play any worse.

 Special teams looked good minus punt returns. We should probably get someone returning punts who will return a punt. Denard last year was running 20 times a game VS. bama he ran like 5 times. apparently the loss of fitz wasn't enough they figured they should hand cuff Denard too. We ran the same run play every single play which consisted of 5'6 vincent smith up the middle ( not that rawls faired any better)

 We learned we have to work harder if we want to compete at the op of college football.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:04 AM ^

I'm positive ...  we need to work on tackling.

- our sacrifices were insufficient to make AMHG go dormant.

- Norfleet is going to have big returns against teams inferior to Alabama.

- all the other teams on our schedule are inferior to Alabama.

- adjusting coverage to Hagerup's booming punts is a good thing.

ILL_Legel

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:37 AM ^

I got to watch the football team I love for the first time in many months.

I can tell I am getting older because this loss didn't bother me at all.  The better team won.  Our team will learn a lot from this game. 

I saw some good leadership and I saw a glimpse of future stars.  It's all going to be OK and when I get back to the States in 3 years Michigan will be competing for a national championship.

This game is the beginning of the journey to championship level play.

blue42.hike

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 AM ^

Positives? Team 133 just got thrashed on both sides of the ball. Only positive I can think of is that game is over and all we can do now is take care of business in the next 11 games.

uminks

September 2nd, 2012 at 2:09 AM ^

At least we know how much work Brady will have to do to get Michigan back to Elite status. Things can only look up. Hopefully the team will improve, and our spread running game will re-emerge and the defense will start tackling better. ND looks to be the next toughest. Hopefully we will improve enough to smash MSU at home. After mid year, this game will be a distant memory and we will be in the hunt for the Legends division title.

NoMoPincherBug

September 2nd, 2012 at 6:17 AM ^

Big Will played fairly well and had a sack.  He was active all night but the problem was that no one else on the D Line...other than Nathan Brink (!) and Pip for a frosh, played even remotely decently.  One man can not carry an entire DL.  It will be interesting to see how they grade out, but I saw Brink make a few plays which was nice to see.

Craig Roh...great kid...dissappointing career.

Gallon...one hell of a football player... Gardner showed flashes of potential, no doubt he will be an NFL WR if not a QB.  Kovacs played hard as usual but his physical limitations kept him down vs. a great team.  T. Gordon played OK was late over the top a couple of times...

Speaking of Safeties... Bama has some KILLER safeties!  Where do they find those kids?

Seriously Bama played like they are on Performance Enhancing Drugs, they were flat out fast and badass....Michigan didnt help any by not being able to hit passes in the first half.

MGJS SuperKick Party

September 2nd, 2012 at 7:32 AM ^

The sun came up today.

We are all classier than Delvon Roe.

The team showed some serious fight after getting punched square in the jaw in the first quarter.

Norfleet looked good as did Hagerup and Wile.

We don't play a team that good until bowl season

Seriously, they are the defending national champs. I know fanhood makes us want Michigan to win, but sometimes you need to take your lumps to improve not only as a player, but damnit a person too. I was proud of my team for not quitting throughout the game.

Bobby Boucher

September 2nd, 2012 at 8:54 AM ^

My only two positives were:

Devin Gardner getting utilized.  He didn't display All-Conference WR play, but he showed that he is the most physical play maker and if he could just hold on to the ball this would be a different team. 

Devin Campbell getting into the backfield.  He got pushed around a lot, but he did get in on a sack on a play that he was double teamed.  I call that a victory in of itself.

Every thing else was pretty much a negative.  All the other Devins got manhandled. 

M-Dog

September 2nd, 2012 at 8:55 AM ^

The game helps prepare us for Michigan State who is like a poor man's Alabama this year - great defense and a running-oriented offense anchored by a beast at RB and a game manager (at best) at QB.

Expect MSU's game plan on both offense and defense to be similar to what Alabama did.  MSU does not have the players that Alabama does, but then again, they don't have to beat us by 27 points, only one.

 

M-Dog

September 2nd, 2012 at 9:26 AM ^

The "Big Ten" style of football is alive and well.

How did Alabama beat us so soundly?  Did they spread us out and confuse us with trick plays?  Did they dink and dunk us with a five-wide passing attack?  Did they do anything trendy at all?

No, Alabama out-Big Ten'd us with dominating line play and a smash mouth running game.  Like Wisconsin on steroids (perhaps more than just "like").

Their trick play was the Waggle.  Let me repeat that:  Their trick play was the Waggle.  This is the exact same statement that we used to make derisively about Llloyd Carr.  

The Big Ten style of football can be pretty effective when it's executed well with elite players.  Wisconsin would be back-to-back Rose Bowl champions if only they had better talent on defense.  Like the kind of talent Michigan can recruit. 

The direction that Hoke is trying to take the program is the same direction Saban took Alabama six years ago, which is also back to our Big Ten roots.  

We'll never recruit quite as well as Alabama because of technicalities like rules and ethics, but we'll still be among the tops in the nation.  With our recruiting and a slightly less conservative Big Ten game plan than in the past . . . Hoke won't punt on 4th and 2 from the opponent's 36 yard line . . . we can and will go toe-to-toe with the elite teams in the country.  

dragonchild

September 2nd, 2012 at 12:32 PM ^

Virginia Tech dominated the line last year (granted it's because Molk and RVB were injured) and still lost.  It's a big thing, but it's not everything.

I watched the game on-line afterward expecting to see a slaughter.  It actually wasn't, so much.  We always said from the start that if we don't limit turnovers this won't even be a game.  Denard basically gave Alabama two free touchdowns.  Turning those turnovers into touchdowns is far from automatic, but consider if we take away those two picks and replace them with TDs.  Final score is. . .

Michigan 28, Alabama 27.

Now, for a reality check.  Alabama didn't pull all its starters, but it certainly eased off the gas once they were spotted a 21-point lead.  Second, while Alabama's inexperienced secondary got exposed as vulnerable to the big play, it's still quite unlikely Michigan would've scored two more TDs that day.  Alabama controlled the tempo from the opening kickoff to the last whistle; this was their game to lose and they did nothing in particular to lose it.

All that said, this wasn't a beat-down so much as an implosion.  Not that that's good news -- Denard is still throwing picks, Bellomy has the absolute worst possible rating (-200) and interception rate (100%) a QB can possibly have, and now we have sloppy tackling to go with our list of problems.  It was ugly.  My point is that the media is going on and on about how Michigan got dominated.  I disagree.  Michigan was overmatched, sure, but that was a known factor going in.  The line got pushed around much like they were against Virginia Tech, but the linebackers were usually where they needed to be and overall I was pleasantly surprised by the pass protection.  Granted it was partly because of Alabama's contain strategy, but Denard didn't get sacked until late in the fourth quarter.  They had a chance after all; they just didn't do what they had to do to win.

The silver lining is that you can fix problems on execution, and we have a great staff for doing just that.  Denard may always be a pick machine, but we probably could've stopped half of Alabama's scoring drives with better tackling and you KNOW Mattison isn't going to leave that issue unaddressed.

To heck with this game, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  But as far as the rest of the season goes, I'd have been more worried if Michigan just flat-out looked lost.  I wound up seeing a team that would've fared a lot better if not for mistakes that can and will get corrected over the course of the season.