What would you like to see change on offense?

Submitted by Eye of the Tiger on January 23rd, 2011 at 12:04 AM

In 2010, our offense was our strength, but let's face it, it was a bit wobbly and inconsistent.  Everyone knows about the turnovers, but I also felt we had increasing trouble running the ball and getting yards on 3rd down. Oh, and that "failing to score after driving" thing.  

A lot of people have speculated (rationally) that we'll see a drop-off in productivity (in terms of yards) as we transition from spread-and-shred to "west coast spreadish" or whatever, and Brian has demonstrated the concerns many of us have about, regardless of rhetoric, Borges bringing more "square pegs into round holes" solutions.

On the other hand, maybe there are things we can do a lot better once we incorporate some more formations, short passing routes and so on.  I, for one, think a hybrid offense is both plausible and, in some ways, desirable.  

I'd like to see:

*More time-killing drives, so we can keep our young defense rested and tire out some of the big, lumbering front 7s we'll face 

*More dump-off pass options when receivers are covered downfield, thus cutting down on interceptions

*More screens without the word "bubble" in them, to take advantage of when our opponents blitz us

*More crossing routes to our stable of fast slot receivers, complete with downfield blocking for more YAC

Now, I'm not saying we move all the way to West Coast in year 1.  This would be a huge mistake.  But if Borges is smart, he'll expand our offense's repertoire rather than try to transform it overnight.  Personally, I think these additions--alongside the spread-and-shred stuff that worked for us this year--would help cut down on turnovers and give us more options for controlling a given game.  

What changes do you think would be both advantageous and reasonable to expect?


Action Jackson

January 23rd, 2011 at 12:15 AM ^

Keeping Denard from being injured in every game. He needs to be involved heavily in the offense but he doesnt need to be the WHOLE offense. Someone needs to step up and help take the pressure off him. How about a power run game. That usually helps.


January 23rd, 2011 at 12:17 AM ^

You make a sincere post , but as soon as you started talking about time of possession I had to invalidate your post as you must be Marty Mcfly sent ahead from 1985.   

Everything can be better but seriously we had a sophmore at qb starting for the 1st time and 1 Senior on the field and we finished 2nd in FEI.  The criticism of the offense needs to stop.

The best we can hope for is that Borges clicks with Denard and we are #1 next year.

Yourfree?  Just leave. If I have to hear about "smashmouth" football anymore I'm going to puke.


January 23rd, 2011 at 12:21 AM ^

There is huge improvement the offense can make. FEI is great and all, but you have to score points on a more regular basis. The offense's performance against Wiscy, OSU, Miss. State, etc. was appalling at times. Youth can account for a lot of that, like you stated, but the running game sans Denard has to improve.

Playcalling got a bit repetitive as well, fwiw. I agree that maturation will lead to more points, though. So will a competent kicker.


January 23rd, 2011 at 12:39 AM ^

The O has a lot of room for improvement I agree.   Scoring points is much more random than people think.  With a play here or there we could have scored 30+ on Miss St pretty easily.  The key is being able to move the ball and we did that as well as anybody.

This has been beaten to death but in the MSU game we marched down the field the 1st 3 possessions and should have scored every time.  I think we scored 30+ against Wis.  Not sure how appaling that is considering they were a top 10 team.

I'm not sure how everyone got so spoiled but many of Lloyd's best offenses don't come close to the 10 offense.


January 23rd, 2011 at 12:45 AM ^

All of the points against Wisconsin came in the second half. They let up a bit in the third because they were up 24-0 and then they turnded the D back on in the fourth.

The Mich State game is a perfect example of a young offense, though. Not as many mistakes in execution and we'd of had at least a closer first half.


January 23rd, 2011 at 2:33 AM ^

I hate how the points we scored in the second half of games don't count because the other team let up. The only reason everyone repeats that tired shit is because we didn't win the game. I am guessing the national champs like the fact that when they were down 24 to Alabama everyone decided to keep stats in the 2nd half.


January 23rd, 2011 at 3:31 AM ^

Michigan had the ball more in the third because Wiscy scored quicker than they did in the first half mainly due to having better field position on a few occasions. Wisconsin didn't quit defensively but they likely felt safer at 24-0 than at 0-0 or 31-21. The offense was also helped by two turnovers in one quarter, which isn't something that happened under the 2010 defense very often. The offense could never assume that they had the defense to back them up.

The offense was dangerous, for sure. But when you have three three-and-outs in the second quarter it doesn't exactly help you. Neither does missing a field goal from 30 yards. The execution wasn't at the level of a top team. The offense was explosive but not consistent.

You can't go an entire half of a game, at home, and not score and still be considered a great offense.


January 23rd, 2011 at 4:33 AM ^

Auburn scored once in the first half of the Alabama game and 0 points at home the second half of the Mississippi State game. Oregon scored once in the first half against Cal this year. Making up rules about when you score, where you score, and how you score are ridiculous. Such as this:

When you go an entire 2nd half of a game and eke out a 3 point win, you can't consider that a great offense. This is why Auburn's offense wasn't very good.

When you eke out a 2 point win and against a shitty Cal team and only score once in the first half, you can't consider that a great offense. This is why Oregon's offense wasn't very good.

Basically, you are saying that the offense being good or not is dependent on when they play well. It is also pretty dumb to say that if you win, then you can count the offensive stats but if you lose, you can't. You even went on to break it down to individual games and which quarters they played well in. This is why I said that was fucking dumb. That is like saying "see, our defense held BCS-bound and Big East Champion UConn to only 14 points, therefore our defense was inconsistent but really wasn't that bad."


January 23rd, 2011 at 6:11 AM ^

How about the seven points the entire game against OSU? How about the 14 scored against Miss. State? Or the 17, at home, against a Michigan State team that ended up ranked 39th in points against? Again, the offense was good. The offense was explosive.

It wasn't elite because they didn't score enough. You can gain all the yards in 1:30 that you want, but if you don't put points on the scoreboard, it doesn't matter. Oregon scored two more touchdowns a game than Michigan did, on average. Oregon scored at least 37 points in ten games this season. Michigan scored 37 or more in four games this season. Their offenses aren't comparable whether you look at one game or the whole season.


January 23rd, 2011 at 6:29 AM ^

Jesus tap dancing christ I feel like I am taking crazy pills.

What about the 67 we put up against Illinois, who had the 37th best defense or the 550 yards and 28 points against Iowa, the 15th best defense? See, that is what happens when you have a really fucking good offense that is extremely inconsistent because you are starting a first year true sophomore QB along with an entire team of underclassmen who turn the ball over too many times. This is why you can't just cherry pick numbers when the offense plays bad....because they played really well at other times. Usually you use end of the season stats because, you know, that means you look at the entire offense, not just those that fit your argument. Even if you say our scoring offense wasn't good, it was still in the top 30 in the nation. That is pretty fucking good. And when you point to all of the good defenses we might not have played well against, you aren't point out anything other than offenses do worse against good defenses. I never said our offense was as good as Oregon's....not many offenses in the history of college football were. Like it or not, this offense was arguably the best you or I or anyone has seen in our lifetimes.

This offense set numerous University of Michigan football records. That is pretty fucking good.


January 23rd, 2011 at 4:32 AM ^

I personally don't think we were in that game. This means absolutely nothing when you look at what our offense did. I can tell you with certainty that Wisconsin didn't give up in the 3rd quarter and then turn it back on in the 4th quarter as some might have you believe. That isn't very smart. Were we in the Iowa game that everyone thinks the 2nd half stats shouldn't count? Considering it was a one score game with 8 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, yes we were. Does any of this actually matter? No...unless you are delusional enough to think with an offense like Michigan's that any one of our opponents gave up in the 2nd half because they thought they had it in the bag.


January 23rd, 2011 at 1:00 AM ^

The O has a lot of room for improvement I agree.   Scoring points is much more random than people think.  With a play here or there we could have scored 30+ on Miss St pretty easily.  The key is being able to move the ball and we did that as well as anybody.

No, it's not the key.  If it were, we'd be talking about installing new "yardboards" at Michigan Stadium, instead of scoreboards.  And I can't imagine that you genuinely believe what you're saying about yardage being less flukish than points scored, or you wouldn't be arguing that "the O has a lot of room for improvement."  If we truly were one of the 10 best offensive teams last year, there wouldn't be much room for improvement. 

We scored 32.8 points per game last year.  That's decent.  It's not great.  Toss out the 22 points we scored in the three overtime sessions, and we averaged 31 points per regulation game.  Most national-championship teams these days are scoring 40 ppg or more.  Oregon, Auburn, Stanford, OSU and Wisconsin all did so.  We've still got a ways to go to catch up to those offenses.


January 24th, 2011 at 4:13 PM ^

is aided by having a field goal kicker that can kick accurately, or a defense that can consistently get stops to give the offense good field position. Thus, the offense was good at moving the ball but often had to move the ball farther than top teams in the country; this led to reduced scoring output. Thus, in order to observe how well the offense and only the offense performs, yardage statistics are a better metric to use. It's true that yardage isn't perfect--good defense and special teams can shorten the field an offense has to travel--but the offense and only the offense is responsible for gaining yards.

On a side note, it would be an interesting diary to look into how Michigan's offense ranks in scoring offense when special teams and defensive points are removed from the equation.

*shines Mathlete signal in the sky*

Eye of the Tiger

January 23rd, 2011 at 12:32 AM ^

Because they have the personnel on defense to rotate in 20+ players a game.  We lacked that depth.  Meanwhile most of our opponents, especially the ones that drubbed us, could and did  pound our sorry defense into submission.  Not that it was too hard.  But our terrible defense was also a tired defense.  So why, pray tell, would being able to hold on to the ball for a larger proportion of game time not be an effective way to mitigate our biggest failing?

This is the problem with the new school rejection of ToP as a useful metric...it fails to take into account the context.  The exact inverse of the problem with the old school insistence on ToP as a necessary strategy.  Yes, sometimes playing relentlessly uptempo works to your advantage, as it did for Oregon every game this season save the last one.  But for us, I only saw one Big 10 conference game in which it did--Illinois.  In every single other game we could have benefitted from being able to control the tempo of the game.  

I'm not--and wasn't--saying we should drive 9 minutes every drive.  I'm saying I'd like to see us have the ability to do so when it's strategically advantageous.  


January 23rd, 2011 at 12:45 AM ^

We didn't really play up tempo all that much.  Are base play was a qb iso off tackle how much more ball control do you want?   

If you go ball control or fast tempo it doesn't matter the key is getting 1st downs.  The reason the defense wore down is we had few subs and they couldn't get off the field.  It had nothing to do with the offense.

The argument makes no sense.  Our base play is Denard off tackle.  Should the coaches instruct him to fall down and not score to keep the clock moving?

Old school or new school TOP is stupid.


January 23rd, 2011 at 1:07 AM ^

I dont know what team you watched every saturday. Are pace was pretty up tempo, sometimes we would go three and out in less then a minute. Look at the Wisconsin game are defense played great till they where tired, you can not have your defense on the field that much it just doesn't work.

Eye of the Tiger

January 23rd, 2011 at 1:32 AM ^

Your defense is too young, fundamentally unsound and running a confused scheme.

Oregon, we were not.

Our offense and defense will both be more mature next year, but our defense is unlikely to be as good or deep as Oregon's, so we should still aim to keep them off the field so they're at least well-rested.


January 23rd, 2011 at 12:44 AM ^

Denard actually hadn't had any success running the ball prior to that play.  I don't think that's a play that requires a ton of set-up carries by Denard.  Any time the QB advances toward the line of scrimmage, the defense has little choice but to bite. 

I'm all for keeping that play in the book (and I think we will), but I don't think we need to call 10 QB isos a game to set it up.

Black Socks

January 23rd, 2011 at 12:20 AM ^

What you said about passing.  I can remember numerous occasions when it was third and five.  Denard would be rolling out and have the primary receiver open for an easy first down.  He tried to force it further downfield with minimal success.  With maturity and coaching he will make good decisions in these scenarios and our offense will be better for it.