why this 5 - 0 is different to me

Submitted by Wolverman on October 1st, 2011 at 3:46 PM

 We're 5-0 again , but it feels different. Last few years the offense clearly carried the team through multiple shootouts and close games. The difference this year has been the play of the Michigan defense. I'm excited , the Michigan defense has given up a total of 10 points the last 3 games. The have only given up 51 all season , a 20 point improvement over last year at this point. While the level of competition has been simular the last 2 years, Michigan has done a spectacular job of forcing turnovers.

 I still get a knot in my stomache when the field goal unit comes out,but gibbons has done a LOt better of a job this year on field goals. it's funny that most of the pre season polls had us losing to minnesota , I wonder how this will change the predictions for the rest of the season.


Oaktown Wolverine

October 2nd, 2011 at 5:44 AM ^

I can see the excuses keep piling up as the season goes on. Northwestern's Persa was not 100%, MSU's Offensive line wasn't up to par, Purdue has lots of injuries, Iowa has a new QB this year, Illinois turns out to be Illinois, Nebraska has been shell shocked in the BIG, and Ohio is transitioning. There will still be the naysayers even as the Wolverines continue their amazing run. Enjoy the win people, our defense just shut out a team in BIG Ten conference play!


October 1st, 2011 at 7:59 PM ^

So your honest argument is that a 7-6 Minnesota team in 2008 was worse than this 2011 Minnesota team that is currently 1-4 and looking to go nowhere?

Would you be shocked to see this Minnesota team go 0-8 in the BigTen and finish 1-11?  They have @Purdue then it is all downhill from there with Nebraska, Iowa, @MSU, Wisconsin, @Northwestern, Illinois. 


This 2011 Minnesota team will be lucky to go 2-10. 


How are they better than the 2008 Minnesota 7-6 team, and please don't base it off of a single game that the 2008 team played and ignoring the many losses that will most likely come for this 2011 Minnesota team.


October 1st, 2011 at 9:56 PM ^

Stop digging yourself a hole.

You are officially arguing that going "4-0 against N. Illinois, Bowling Green, Montana St. and Florida Atlantic" is worse than going 1-3 against North Dakota State, Miami of Ohio, USC, and New Mexico State.

Maybe Kill is a better coach than Brwester, but this 2011 Minnesota team that is currently 1-4 and could very well go 1-11 or 2-10 is no where near as good as a Minnesota team that went 7-6 in 2008.

I think it would be wise to admit you are wrong.


P.S. the 1 team that this 2011 Minnesota team has beaten is officially 0-4.

Jon Benke

October 1st, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

Each week, you can see a few guys getting better and better, especially the young guys.  This team recruited talented defensive players, they just did a piss poor job of coaching them once they got here.  Coaching and teaching is a huge part of what we see now.


October 1st, 2011 at 5:34 PM ^

I'm assuming you meant if Coach Rod was still the HC? I don't know if Minnesota would score 21 on a GERG-led defense, they are quite poor this year. Minnesota may be the worst in the Big Ten this year.

That's neither here nor there, however; great job by the team today, both players and coaches. Coach Hoke looks like he has the team going in the right direction.


October 1st, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

Agree that we look better no matter who we are playing right now.  As for how good, the next two weeks will give us the answer.  Maybe our D is fairly good and all these other teams don't completely suck.  The Gophers didn't look good, but they took USC to the wire at the Coliseum. SDSU was undefeated coming into that game.


October 1st, 2011 at 3:52 PM ^

I think the fact that our Defense has improved EVERY week bodes very well for this team.  I feel with the improvement of the offense I feel we can be a very dangerous team in the B1G!  


Go Blue!


By the way, I am starting to get a bit of a man crush for Big Will and the "Count"!


October 1st, 2011 at 3:57 PM ^

My hope is that people here quit doggin' on Borges.  Every week he's added a substantive wrinkle, a different look.  The playcalling today was remarkably diverse AND balanced.  Michigan finally had a RB break a hundred yards, too.  Toussaint would've had about 130 if it weren't for the holding call that negated a 37 yard TD.


October 1st, 2011 at 3:58 PM ^

The shutout has me incredibly excited, and there's no denying that the defense is much improved. But I'm still of two minds about it. Consider:

-Last year we beat a BCS team in UConn (granted possibly the worst BCS team ever, second maybe to Pitt in 2004). It was a dominating performance, probably equivalent to the SDSU game this year.

-While we struggled with UMass, the Eastern game last year looked eerily similar to this year's edition. Instead of the D struggling it was the O.

-We beat a Western team with a hyped QB two years ago too

-The enigmatic Notre Dame

-Minnesota - Gray < Indiana + Chappell

I still think we're a much better team than last years...But I still don't think we've done enough to shake off the feeling of the last few years. I'm excited for B1G play, and for us to see what we're worth against a very good Persa-led Northwestern.


October 1st, 2011 at 4:08 PM ^

 The adjustments at halftime , the tackling and the DB's being within a country mile of the other teams wideouts are enough to have me pumped.

 I've been tough on Denard this year , but i'm not worried about the offense, mainly because i've seen what it can do in years past. Borges is a good offensive coach so I have faith they'll improve


October 1st, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

Last year we beat a BCS team in UConn (granted possibly the worst BCS team ever, second maybe to Pitt in 2004). It was a dominating performance, probably equivalent to the SDSU game this year.

RR's teams arguably peaked in week one all three years. In 2008, we took a Utah team that would finish 12-0 down the wire. In 2009, we led WMU 31-0 at halftime. Then in 2010 we dominated UConn. Problem was, we seemed to regress thereafter.


October 1st, 2011 at 11:51 PM ^

I've seen it tossed around, and up until now, it really fit. Today it goes much closer to the trash heap. Why?

Because if, in fact, "-Minnesota - Gray < Indiana + Chappell", then the scores of those games must be considered.

M vs Ind - Barely Win



October 1st, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

Our four biggest problems last year:
Denard's health
The defense
The kicking game
The red zone offense

All of those problems have been improved greatly this year.


October 1st, 2011 at 4:03 PM ^

Last year i felt week by week we were regressing and being exposed for our weakness..this year i feel we are getting better each week and seem to be clicking as a whole team


October 2nd, 2011 at 1:25 AM ^

Agreed.  Every game last year I thought 'thank God we barely won that game, but next week... ugh, I don't want to think about that".  Felt like we were surviving on luck more than skill.

I know feel like this team is going to get better and better each damn week and could have the slight chance to run our remaining schedule, though we haven't been on the road yet which I think is our last big test to clearly pinpoint how good this team is.  I feel like this team has some swagger, but also the desire to win and to fight for that win all game long.  I saw multiple times last year where the players just stopped giving their best because they didn't have confidence in their team and themselves.

Hoke's a smart, lovable guy who I can't help but love, even if he coached for a different team.  He's a great motivator and knows how to interact with others, his biggest strength in my opinion.  He lets Mattison and Borges do what they want for the most part it seems.  Mattison is going to create an incredible defense soon.  Borges, I'm still iffy but today he really, really turned me around.  There is not one shread of doubt that this staff is top-to-bottom, the best staff we could ask for (in reality at least).


October 1st, 2011 at 4:14 PM ^

This 5-0 is different...


Because it's a new year.  New coaching staff.  Different personel everywhere.  Can we please stop comparing past years?


October 1st, 2011 at 4:18 PM ^


The major difference, to me, is that the Big Ten appears to be way worse this year. Iowa looks worse, Purdue lookd worse, Ohio State looks worse, Michigan State looks worse. Minnesota is somehow worse. Northwestern is probably worse since Persa isn't 100%. Illinois may be better but Liuget dominated that game last year, as much as a defensive player can in a game where both teams score 60+.

With how bad the rest of the league looks, besides Nebraska/Wisconsin, the expecations should be at least 10 wins at this point. Put the same team in last year's schedule, and expectations probably drop to 7-8 wins. This should be a great opportunity for Michigan and Hoke to build up a lot more goodwill in the event next year doesn't go as well with a much tougher schedule.


October 1st, 2011 at 4:43 PM ^

Agreed, the improved secondary play and actually having depth across the board on D has been pretty huge. Minnesota probably gets a first half FG against last year's team and a cheap TD against the backups in the 2nd half.


October 1st, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

This is different simply because we have a DC.  In past seasons, Michigan put up enough points to win but the defensive side of the ball sucked.  Granted, these are still RR's kids but with at least a competent DC, and with the D now being able to make a stop or two, Michigan is going to pick up a couple of Ws from that alone.

Loved the play calling today.  Amazing.  Tough football and the spread can coexist.  Who would have thunk it?!



October 1st, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

....but as great as the playcalling was, and as well as we played, it seems to me that playing a Minnesota team that is less threatening than a baby seal with mono still leaves us with some tests to come. However, this 5-0 is different to me because I think we can compete and win games in the Big Ten we could not have last year, and it is because  of some of the things we saw here once they opened the play book a bit. 


October 1st, 2011 at 4:41 PM ^

What I see is improvement, particularly on the D, as the season progresses.  This seemed to be lacking the last few years on the defensive side of the line.  I look forward to huge gains on the D as Mattison continues to teach and gets the recruits he wants.

I'm still processing that we got several field goals. Eyes saw it, mind still won't accept it.


October 1st, 2011 at 4:54 PM ^

First time I can remember that Denard did not have to carry 75% of the offence.  And he did NOT get beat up.

If we can carry this pattern forward, watch out Big 10!



October 1st, 2011 at 5:24 PM ^

This season does feel different than the last 5-0 season. Defense is palpably better, kicking game is better, offense is effective and interesting more diverse.

Break the season down into three miniseasons:

Part 1: WMU, ND, EMU, SDSU - a bit of luck and sheer magic was involved in beating ND, but ND is arguably not that strong; our magic was stronger on that amazing night. WMU and EMU were outclassed. SDSU can play and would be competitive against the other teams in mini-season part 1. The defense still gave up a lot of yards, but with each game, it got tighter and more robust. It was also getting turnovers which were lacking over the last several seasons. The offense looked creaky and seemingly all the good stuff was from the same playbook of last year. 

Part 2: incomplete, Minn, NW, MSU, Purdue - Minnesota is obviously not a strong team, but the complete domination suggests that the defense is really better, and the offense showed a lot of new looks, and plays AND the players executed them well. Did you notice that Kovacs wasn't a leading tackler in the Minn game?  That is a strong positive sign.Last year, the team could beat other teams with a great offensive show, but DR would be 90% of that. Today, how many carries did he have? He passed well when he was asked to, but really didn't have to do that much - a really good sign. The defense made 3 and out stops regularly and pressured the QB without having to blitz. The next three games will decide the course of the season. Is the great upward trend on defense going to continue?

Part 3: to come, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, OSU - if the defense is in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring and rushing yards yielded, these are all competitive games.

Go Blue!