Wisconsin Snowflakes: The Defense

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on November 18th, 2017 at 3:35 PM

This will be the repository for your thoughts and hot takes on the defensive performance in our game against Wisconsin. 



November 18th, 2017 at 3:36 PM ^

Defense played great but understandably got worn down late. Metellus getting hit with a phantom PI (which came out extremely late) early in 4th to extend a drive really took the wind out.

Brandon Watson would be starter material if he could turn his head around. JKP got toasted early, not sure why he was in the game over Thomas or Watson but obviously that did not end well.


November 18th, 2017 at 3:54 PM ^

Metellus and Kinnel are miserable in coverage, then JKP gets beat deep today too.


I don't know why any team would try to run the ball against this defense. Just send four guys into the secondary and pick on the safeties in coverage, because calling what UM's safeties do "coverage" is one hell of a stretch.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:00 PM ^

Kinnel has never provided safety help over the top for a CB in man coverage since he's been here. Every other cfb game I watch seems to feature a FS that lays wood right as the ball arrives despite the CB in coverage. Every Michigan game features Kinnel loping over just in time to dodge the falling down WR or hop over the CB in coverage with dramatic fashion. Either he's too slow, has terrible technique, or is just straight up soft.


November 18th, 2017 at 6:38 PM ^

There's still a few holdover players from the Hoke era which play simply because the team is so young. They would be buried in the depth chart if it weren't for the recruiting dropoff (20th in 2014, 37th in 2015).

I've alaways felt Kinnel to be one of them, Watson the other (can be okay at times, serviceable at best), McCray I feel like still tends to be exposable (5th Yr, but maintain Top-10 recruiting and I don't see him seeing the field), sad to say but even Crawford and McDoom (yes, not Hoke, but passed quickly by freshman) may become buried soon.

I'll stop there, because I don't want to sound like I'm insulting these fine young student athletes, and I genuinely love the attitudes and character of our players I"ve mentioned, but the bottom line is, when you don't have the depth, you play a lot of guys who, when not in a resurrecting program, would be special teams contributors more than in the 2-deep.

Hell, even Speight and O'Korn are technically both Hoke holdovers. Peters as a rs. Fr. is already head and shoulders better than Speight, who was clearly propped up by a bevvy of future NFL, 5th year, WRs, TEs, RBs, and FBs.

However, Harbaugh's ability to identify and develop talent is clearly second-to-none, Long, Hill, Hudson, Peters, Black, are great examples.

As much as this loss hurts (and the season as whole), barring injury, I believe we win this one in a great finish. Many teams' seasons are sabotaged by injuries at key positions, this year was ours. 2018 was always going to be a "drought".

But mark my words. The future is very bright with Coach Harbaugh at the helm. We just lived through the 2 worst UofM coaches in Michigan's entire 100+ year history. Optimism with the previous 2 head coaches was just that, "optimism".

Harbaugh is clearly taking this program in the right direction.

Choosing to feel otherwise just betrays your own emotionality and irrationality.


November 19th, 2017 at 2:52 AM ^

Yes, but I consider exact the need for transfer QB an absolute fault of Hoke's poor recruiting.

The same way I would argue Jake Rudock was a "Hoke holdover". Rudock was a consequence of Hoke' abysmal QB recruiting/development.

A program like Michigan should pretty much never (save for extremely rare instances) have to go around testing the waters for QB transfer, the depth should be there, always.

And looking at it now, UM would have liked to take 1 or 2 more QB transfers in 2015 and 2016.

So yes, O'Korn (and Rudock) were absolutely "holdovers" (or "stop-gaps") if you like, courtesy of Brady Hoke.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:24 PM ^

cough up leads regularly agasinst good teams. So please don't tell me they played great. When we took the lead I said to myself," were done. They will score and score again."

Since Don Brown has been the coach against a good team his defense cannot hold on to a lead. That is not elite defense.

On the offense, other teams make great plays. We drop balls and miss assignments. it all points to coaching. We are suppose to have the QB Whisper as coach and yet even the play by play announcer comment on the lack of good QB play.

The millions of dollars for Michigan football coach's salaries should earn them the Golden Fleece award.



November 18th, 2017 at 6:54 PM ^

Totally disagree.

They quit once Peters went down.

The game was over at that point. Defenses can't really maintain intensity when there's no chance to win.

Go back and look at their faces when Peters went down. Completely tragic.

You can spout off as many slogans as you want, but this team isn't winning anything with John O'Korn as QB. 

I respect anyone who ever puts on a football helmet and takes the field, but I'm not going to pretend even for a second that everyone didn't know this game was over (and our season) once Peters left on a cart.

The defense is absolutely Top-10, even with holes and poor depth at certain position.

But if the offense can't stay on the field, and they don't have even a snowball's chance in hell to get a first down. The defense can't stay "up" for that. And I wouldn't want them to either. Better to save your body.

Criticizing Don Brown for "not being elite" is bonkers my friend.


November 18th, 2017 at 3:43 PM ^

Is pretty damn good. It's top ten good. I wish they had managed to hold Penn State to field goals or Wisconsin to field goals, but they didn't. I do think they need to look at third and long defense. They aren't getting safeties invovled in the passing game, and they blitz so often from the linebacker level that it often leaves slants open. It's probaby just complaining when I shouldn't, but it's frustrating how often they are giving up third and long. It probably does hurt them a bit that teams generally know they are blitzing and playing man behidn it. 


November 18th, 2017 at 3:46 PM ^

This defense is the exact opposite of bend, but don't break. They either get a quick stop or give up a touchdown. When was the last time this defense held a good team to a field goal when it mattered?

This has been a problem all year. If a team gets a couple chunk plays on a drive, our defense just quits and allows them to walk in for a touchdown. It just seems like they are so fragile mentally.

Perkis-Size Me

November 18th, 2017 at 3:46 PM ^

None of what happened today is on Don Brown or the defense. They played well enough for Michigan to win.

But when Peters went down, I think everyone in the stadium knew that Michigan was going to lose. Everyone knew what we had in O’Korn, and what that is is next to nothing.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^

This game was over before Peters got hurt. It ended when UW went up 14-10. O'Korn played just as good as Peters would have. He was actually pretty accurate and seemed to make pretty good reads, but was plagued by dropped passes. This team is not good enough to win right now without the defense holding good teams to field goals, which isn't happening.


November 18th, 2017 at 3:48 PM ^

Peters left, and the defense just folded. I get its a lot of responsibiltiy holding a 3 pronged team on one perverbial "leg." And, Wis just went into clock killing mode, so likelihood of turnover decreased dramatically. Just deflating all around.   

Lil boy blue

November 18th, 2017 at 3:51 PM ^

Not on defense but 3rd and longs killed us on the TD drive that permanently took the lead.

Can't score 10 on the road and expect to win. We put together an offense and UW doesn't score 24 .... 7 of which were in ST


November 18th, 2017 at 3:51 PM ^

Does Don Brown have any other pitch than a high fastball down the middle?

Changeup? Curveball? Anything?

Sometimes you need to not bail the other team out by being overly agressive and running yourself out of the play on third and long.




November 18th, 2017 at 4:17 PM ^

He did do a soft coverage on a third and long at least once today and it worked.

The D did let down after Peters got hurt, but some of it was just being gassed after we couldn't move the ball & kept getting 3 & outs in the 2nd half.

I am sick of our shabby safetys showboating then getting torched. If you are lock down then showboat away. But until then, shut the heck up, cover your guy, and wrap up in run support.

Not upset on the one TD drive though. JKP is a true freshman doing true freshman things and the TD pass was a laser into a tight window.


November 18th, 2017 at 3:51 PM ^

Just worn down and bad matchups against frosh (4th yr OL against Solomon, JKP in the slot, etc) that were just enough to give UW some opportunities.

Critical that Dwumfour, Vilain, Paye, Kemp, Uche, and others get serious with S&C this offseason because the D needs real depth in the front 7.


November 18th, 2017 at 3:57 PM ^

The first 40 minutes were amazing.

Then they allowed 232 yards and 8 yards a play and 17 points on the last 4 drives. I don’t get what happened. They went from amazing to awful in the blink of an eye.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:19 PM ^

Part of it was fatigue, part of it was they just emotionally deflated after Peters was knocked out of the game.

Bottom line is the "Punt" column today was pretty damned accurate. Wisconsin is an experienced team & has been doing for 15 years what Michigan will do in the future. But we just aren't there yet.


November 18th, 2017 at 3:58 PM ^

But they have this continual weakness in the red zone. Cross our 20, and you might as well put 7 on the board.

They didn’t force MSU, PSU or Wisconsin to try a field goal until yielding I believe eight straight TDS in those games.

It’s unbelievable.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:28 PM ^

of variance in speed (downhill full-speed) eventually causes huge RPS collapses on 2 drives per game. The youth on the D gets a little off kilter and the opponents gashes UM for 3-4 big plays and 7 points.

Its strange that such a "top" D can have such a high TD:FG ratio because the red zone D stinks. Very strange.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:15 PM ^

I have been saying it all year! This defense lays down in the face of adversity. They give up a few plays on a drive and then they quit. In some ways, I would rather have a bend, but don't break defense. The three and outs are great, but, every once in a while, it would be nice to force a team to kick a field goal when they drive into our territory.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:02 PM ^

Defense is good but not elite. They’ve been propped up by playing maybe the easiest slate of quarterbacks a team can in the power 5.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:31 PM ^

David Long played either. And with Hill out, tough one. Thought we had a real shot at 10-7 but Hornibrook, who is average at best, did make 2 nice throws late.

Doubt we see Peters before the bowl game, if then. For his own sake too. He looked almost “out”. Am I just pissed but does it seem that we get enough sacks, very few are “punishing hits”.

And the punt return. If that ball bounces at all, the returner gets out of the way. Instead, it just stuck in the grass like Velcro. Unreal. DPJ almost. Looked simultaneous. Then the fumble.

Next week with JOK? Hard to think upset. And Meyer will definitely want style points. May not be pretty.

Worse, If Ohio wins out they will be the 4th seed, count on it. And don’t even look at next year’s schedule.

But, please, lay off JH. Assistants deserve criticism but I fear the day Harbaugh leaves.


November 18th, 2017 at 5:15 PM ^

They were dominant in the first half, gave the offense great field position time after time.  You can't expect any defense to keep doing that on the road without any offensive support.  I'm glad most of these guys will be back next year.  Offense can only get better next year.  Should be fun to watch.



November 18th, 2017 at 9:50 PM ^

Don Brown's defense puts a ton of pressure on the safeties. If you don't want to get burnt through the air against competent pass offenses (see PSU this year and Colorado last year), you really need elite athletes at safety in this defense.

Here's the problem: Michigan hasn't recruited any elite safeties under Harbaugh. It's basically the only position that UM hasn't recruited well, which is probably going to be problematic for the future. I will say that Michigan has had some bad luck on perfectly thrown balls down the field, but our safeties are consistently getting beat in coverage.