November 20th, 2010 at 8:59 PM ^

I agree with your line of thought. I do think there is some validity to the argument that we rack up points and yards when we're down 20 and our opponent might have softened up a little bit.

But at other times I look at the bigger picture and realize my standards for "sporadic offense" have probably become "doesn't score for two consecutive possessions".

With a better defense those offensive struggles against good teams would seem less pronounced.

that is my hope anyway.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:08 PM ^

Wiscy, like a lot of schools, plays their best game against Michigan.  They don't play their best game against Minnesota or Purdue.  Wiscy was bigger, stronger, and older, and pushed Michigan around.  Earlier this week, I said Wiscy was "rock" and the only question was whether Michigan's defense would be "paper" or "scissors."

Sadly, Michigan's defense looked like a bunch of broken, one-legged scissors trying to chase rocks up and down the field today.  Luckily, it isn't a permanent situation.  They need to get older.  That's all.  RR will eventually have enough personnel out there and will find players who are both big and fast.

RR isn't stupid, and he will find a way to adjust.  He has said that he uses many different fronts in different situations.  As his personnel becomes more experienced, he will be able to use a bigger playbook.  One of the great things about having DB as the AD is that DB knows football.  He and RR will discuss a lot of things this offseason.  Maybe DB will be able to give him a POV to which he previously hasn't had access.  I am guessing DB will give him some very educated feedback in how to tweak things for the Big Ten.

This team really isn't that far away from being very good again.  I am expecting more improvement next year.  No overhauls are needed: just a few more tweaks and some players getting bigger and older.  The team is still 7-4; I'm not ready to cash in this season just yet.

Magnum P.I.

November 20th, 2010 at 9:21 PM ^

I'm not cashing in on the season by offering some critical analysis (or regurgitating Chait's critical analysis). There is a space for reasonable discourse between FUUUUUUUU and "Hater!" While acknowledging above that youth is certainly an issue, I think our personnel could be deployed more effectively. I agree with Chait that it put our players at an almost insurmountable disadvantage to be in a three-man front and to have Vinopal serving as our strong safety, effectively.

Also, while I'm sure that teams get more excited about playing the Big House than playing Indiana, I don't like the excuse that opponents bring their A-games against U-M and that explains why we perform worse than the Purdues and Minnesotas of the world. College football teams prepare and play hard against everyone, unless it's a case of a team giving up on a coach. Wisconsin sure didn't come out flat against Indiana last week, and if there's ever a Big Ten foe to come out flat against, IU's your team.

I think we can be good next year, too. I've lost confidence in the "one-year-older" rationale for that, though. We need new defensive leadership--someone that players can look to and feel confident that their potential is being maximized. It's no secret why blue chip defensive recruits choose the schools they do. They're investing in their future, and they want to go to a school where they will get the absolute best training at their position. That means staff who have a record of sending kids to the league or, at least, churning out top defenses in their conference.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:29 PM ^

This is not meant to be an excuse by any means, but Michigan can't win games by sneaking up on anyone like those other schools do. We've been kicking people's butts for so long that we are a huge game for pretty much anyone we play, regardless of our record. This is why I think its silly when people say "what good teams have we beaten?!" Everyone brings their A game against us which is why I think we have been winning the games we're supposed to win and losing to teams that are objectively better than us. We just can't sneak up on teams who would take a team like NU, Minnesota or Purdue lightly.

Again, not an excuse. We need to get to a level where we're not overmatched by teams by a wide margin. And I think with all the young kids we have currently and them growing as they should, that will happen next year.


November 20th, 2010 at 8:48 PM ^

The defensive front was way undersized last yr in a 4 man front.....who the heck thought it would be better this yr in a 3 man front minus brandon graham?  DUH....

This defense has been flat ran over every single week, can't stop the run can't get to the passer.....both of those is on the defensive front. 

Vanbergen, out of position he needs to be in a 4-3 as a sde, not interior dline

Martin, out of position as a 3 front nt, again he needs to be de in 3front or dt in 4front...

Roh, out of position still needs to be 4front rde

Patterson/Banks  4 front sde....


I admire the effort these guys give but the whole defense rests right here with no defensive tackle able to come in and play next to Mike Martin that can take the heat off the dline, ie let martin be a dt and not a nt, vanbergen be a sde, roh/black be rde's.... 

We witnessed today a dline just get ran over no matter how much they subbed they just got their tails handed to them....and they are bigger this yr then last yr and last yr was a 4man front and did a better job!  


November 20th, 2010 at 8:53 PM ^

about the offense the issue with the program is that we don't field a competitive Big 10 defense. After setting out all the familiar reasons for this state of affairs, Wojo is saying that time is about up to correct it. I took from his comments, and the quotes from Brandon, that they are in for one more year to see if the D carries it's part of the bargain. No excuses.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:13 PM ^

A good article by WoJo, but I take a couple of issues:

  1. The offense wasn't immensely successful in the 1st half, but they only had 4 real possessions (the last one was shortened by the halftime), and the first two they moved the ball reasonably well.  That FG was a chipshot and should have been converted after going 60 yards.  The first drive had 7 written all over it if Denard had been a bit more accurate.  So while 110 or so yards might sound bad, over basically 4 drives that isn't horrible.  Plus, the return game didn't do them any favors.  Wiscy played well, but there were points left on that field.
  2. The idea that Wiscy won playing a style UM used to employ is not really correct.  Wiscy is a power-running team with few playmakers at the WR position.  UM teams of old used to chew them up because while the Badgers would try to line up and run them over, UM had the big, veteran players on the line to hold them up and force throws.  UM, by comparison, had NFL-quality WRs that could stretch the field, playmakers UW ususally didn't have save for Lee Evans.  Wisconsin's style has a ceiling, and that is basically this year's team - a veteran-ladden team that can run you over if you are small but isn't overly dynamic.  Sure, 10-1 is a great record, but this team would be smoked by the likes of Oregon, Cam Newton-led Auburn, Stanford, Ok. St., and even TCU.  Yeah, those are elite teams, but UM could definitely get to that level with more experience.

I agree that RR needs to really fix the defense, and I'm not sure how he'll do it.  If some great DC shows up on the market, then I want to see him go for it.  But right now, next year's defense will hinge largely on the young players making strides forward, and I'm not sure if that jump will be significant or merely incremental.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:39 PM ^

"sometimes you miss tackles because you're just not strong enough yet."

The roster lists 8 DL (not counting John Ferrara), 6 LBs who have been in the program since Fall, 2008 or before.   Rogers and Kovacs, too, have been in the program at least that long.  Barwis was touted as a miracle worker.  What happened?  Can someone explain?

Wojo makes the point that once Michigan was the team that was physically dominant.  And they were.  But they aren't now.  They hadn't been in some past years.  Some contributors to this blog blamed Carr and Gittelson for that, and Barwis was supposed to be the solution. 




November 20th, 2010 at 10:57 PM ^

The fact that Kovacs went from being a walk-on to a decent B10 player in about 2 years seems pretty remarkable to me, and points to some solid player development.

No matter how hard to push them in the weight room, you can't make most 18 and 19-year-olds as strong as 21 or 22-year-old linemen who have been playing in an offense for 4-5 years.  Wiscy is a very good team with a dominant running attack, and it showed against UM.  It also showed against a whole bunch of other teams.  This defense will get better, and I do think that a shift in schemes is necessary, but the S&C coach can only do so much. 

Edward Khil

November 21st, 2010 at 12:18 AM ^

"Manhandled" is too strong a word.  Michigan's offense scored 28 points against both Iowa and Wisconsin.  (Granted M was completely manhandled in the first half against Wisconsin.)  And Michigan averaged 6 yards a play on offense against MSU (even including those three interceptions, urgh).

So the only thing Wojo is saying that others haven't is that UM's offense was manhandled by three teams.  And it's not true, except for the first half today.

As for the D, RR is right.  Nothing's going to help until at least the bowl game, at which time some players can come back healthy.

At this point, I just want one more win.  It would be sweetest if it came next week.  But, otherwise, we'd better be able to beat an also-ran from another conference.


November 21st, 2010 at 1:02 AM ^

then 7-5 might be harder to get than this year.  The schedule next year is tougher than this season.  Remember Nebraska will be on the schedule and we have to go to MSU.  Thereare no guarantees that next season is 9-3 or better.  Eight wins next year is not good enough to retain this staff.  They should have eight this season.

Unfortunately, I'm chaulking up next Saturday as a loss, since it seems that Roh an Smith will be out and Martin is no where near 100%.  That's 2/3 of the D-line and our most productive RB.  I don't see a lot of evidence that we can be more competitive than today next saturday.


November 26th, 2010 at 2:05 AM ^

What is going on you son of a gun? I see there is a bout of message board infidelity ;^). Pertaining to the Wisky game, a lot of things were ugly not a great performance. Denard still struggling with some decision making and on defense, I am not sure what the answers are besides "talent". Anyway, I think Rich gets another year and he should. Hope all is well Wolfman.


I am going back to my dumpster