Why as a program do we refuse to embrace the passing game?

Submitted by UMxWolverines on November 25th, 2018 at 12:42 PM

We've had some pretty good QBs and wide receivers come through here have we not? How many all Americans did we have in the 90s and 2000s? We even had some pretty good ones in the bad years of the 2010s in Greg Mathews, Junior Hemmingway, Jeremy Gallon, Roy Roundtree, and Devin Funchess (what a waste between him and Devin Gardner). Darboh and Chesson we're probably the best. It seemed like the first two years under Harbaugh we embraced the pass more with those guys, we just didn't have a running game that was good enough to pick up a few yards when we needed it. Now we have one and we're bound and determined to run it up the middle no matter what, despite having Nico Collins, DPJ, and Tarik Black. 

What is it where coaches are bound and determined to run the ball? Nostalgia? The only coach to really embrace the pass seemed to be Gary Moeller and that's just based on watching old games as he was fired when I was only 1. 

Even Tressel who ran primarily MANBALL knew what he had in Troy Smith and Pryor and scored 42 on our vaunted defense in 2006. Urban has just taken that and made it even better. OSU fans don't have some nostalgia about running manball, they just want to win. 

Like I said earlier, I think we embraced the pass more when we had Fisch, and the route combinations seemed to make more sense. I just hate to see the guys we have now be wasted by nostagia of a time where we were considered underachievers, the same thing we are now. 


I Like Burgers

November 25th, 2018 at 1:36 PM ^

To me, this is 100% it. In his very first game vs Utah we did go deep quite a lot. Except bad things happened. After that, the deep pass got shelved with Rudock for at least half the season until there was some trust again. And even then, deep shots were rare.

I think he just doesn’t trust 50-50 shots down the field because of this 2 bad things can happen logic.

B1G or Bust

November 25th, 2018 at 12:55 PM ^

We have Black, Nico, and DPJ. Three receivers that any program would love to have.

But we’re content with running into stacked boxes and play action in 2nd/3rd and long.

Then we roll out the McCurry package in the biggest game of the year.

 I’m genuinely lost as to what Michigan’s offensive identity is? Wearing down vastly overmatched teams?


November 25th, 2018 at 1:08 PM ^

Content to run into stacked boxes with Tru Wilson*

I'm not sure why in the biggest game of the season our walk on RB and WR were playing over Higdon and Black. Higdon would rip a 15 yard run and in comes Tru to stall the drive. Love his heart and his pass blocking, but if we are going to try to win the game with our running backs, then do it with the one who is likely to get drafted next May.

Still love Harbaugh as our coach, but man I wish he would be a little less set in his ways.  


November 25th, 2018 at 1:37 PM ^

That actually makes sense under the guise of "multiplicity". If you want Evans to be really effective as a pass catcher, you need him to be a credible threat to run out of the same personnel groupings before motioning out.

Of course, like most of this year's offense, I'm sure it could have been done better. 


November 25th, 2018 at 8:40 PM ^

That swing pass to Evans for the second TD shows that the coaches can call plays well-suited for him.  And then they go back to running him off-tackle into a pile where's he's stopped.  And this is nothing new, they've been doing it all season.  I can't fathom why experienced professionals paid to run this team kept doing that when most of us noobs see that as a bad idea.  All season long.

Goggles Paisano

November 25th, 2018 at 12:57 PM ^

For fuck sakes, it wasn't the passing game that lost yesterday.  We scored 39 points and had success even with the big drops by the TE's.  We had success all year throwing the ball and it got better each week.  If you all want to bitch and moan about yesterday, it falls squarely on the defense and the lack of pass rush.  That is why we lost and the only reason we lost.  

Our offense has been fine all season. It is ball control and physically punishes the Defense as the game progresses.  This is why we had so much success in the 2nd half of games.  It would have been fine yesterday to had we been able to generate some pass rush and get off the field.  

I don't know if you are specifically talking about yesterday, but there is nothing to point at other than the pass rush.  This is a good football team that had a darn good season.  It is not broken.  


November 25th, 2018 at 6:44 PM ^

Very few teams hold OSU to 30 or less. And they're gonna pull everything they have out for us. To think you can play ball control against them was dumb. I don't think anyone expected to give up 62 either, but they score quick and often and you have to at least be able to match it somewhat. We tried to play ball control in 2016 and failed, why would it work again? 


November 25th, 2018 at 8:51 PM ^

We played man coverage (mostly) and it failed.  We played man coverage with a nickel corner who was getting burned, repeatedly. 

Haskins had been exposed previously that if you hit and hurry him, his accuracy drops.  M's D never went after him, giving him plenty of time to find receivers matched on Watson or linebackers.

Asking a good defense to hold an opponent under 30 points isn't an unreasonable request.  MSU pulled it off, even spotting them 2 free points.


November 25th, 2018 at 1:32 PM ^

Clearly we watched 2 different games. Game has evolved, O dominates. Thinking our best approach to win, especially against a team like OSU with a solid qb/athletes, is grind out D is dumb. 

14 of those points scored down 20+ in Q4. Scores 0 points and like 25 total yards in the pivotal Q3. 

Reggie Dunlop

November 25th, 2018 at 1:46 PM ^

Yep, yep, yep.

Nobody was complaining two days ago when this game plan rattled off 10 straight wins. They rode the same horse that got them there. So did OSU. Look at every score prediction and Michigan pretty much hit the mark offensively.

On defense, Don Brown bet the house that our press man coverage and pass rush would neutralize their speed passing, and he was wrong. Dead wrong. Anybody who wants to fire this guy and fire that guy and scrap everything and change the entire operation is an idiot. 

If we played against the JT Barrett offense with our 2018 offense, we win. And next year without Haskins, that's probably what they'll be. That's how this works. This staff has us in the ballgame. Hoke and Rodriguez had us hoping for miracles. Keep playing at this level and we'll win our share. I understand today is about venting. Vent. But think about what you're saying. Nothing here is broken unless we run up against another team of 5 stars and an NFL QB. And even then, I'll trust Don Brown over anybody else on earth to take another crack at it.





November 25th, 2018 at 8:58 PM ^

What pass rush?  In those 10 wins we frequently saw DLs and LBs chasing quarterbacks and causing hurries.  M sacked him twice on organic DL pass rush with Winovich and Gary, and that was it.  Isn't the idea of press coverage to allow an extra man to blitz?  I don't remember much by way of blitzing, or much zone coverage even when it was clear Watson and linebackers were getting torched.


November 25th, 2018 at 12:57 PM ^

It's amazing, because we've seen it so many times in other teams, even in ourselves at times.

When Michigan threw the run game out and went pass pass pass yesterday for that briefest moment, Shea did great.  Take three attempts to get ten yards each time, one will work, and you keep the ball.

It's coaching malpractice to ignore that, but I doubt these guys will adjust.