Wojo as usual with a reasoned take on last night.

Submitted by wolverine1987 on September 4th, 2015 at 10:33 AM

"Jim Harbaugh can lift a program and light a fervor. But apparently, it's not so easy to fix an offense."

"They still struggled to run the ball, and missed on several big plays. The defense did a solid job containing star back Devontae Booker but couldn't stop quarterback Travis Wilson. If you're into comparisons, the Wolverines looked markedly better than a year ago, when they lost at home to the Utes 26-10, but the turnovers looked remarkably similar."

 

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/columnists/bob-wojnowski/2015/0…

Comments

Wolverine 73

September 4th, 2015 at 10:41 AM ^

Can't jump to conclusions, I know, but if Rudock (the man who is careful with the football) turns the ball over three times, that speaks volumes about just how bad the guys behind him have looked.  Maybe a few games against lesser teams will help iron out the kinks, but QB play more than anything else was depressing last night.

I Like Burgers

September 4th, 2015 at 11:08 AM ^

I'm far less worried about the picks than I am about missing wide open WRs deep for TDs.  Those killed us way more than the INTs.  If he and the offense can't hit those passes, they are screwed.  The OL and RBs will see 8-9 guys in the box and wish us luck on the deep ball.

tedheadfred

September 4th, 2015 at 11:43 AM ^

Hit that first overthrow and our running game looks way better. Hit the first two and it could have been. Win going away. There is just no substitute for being able to stretch a D vertically.

I saw more good throws to open receivers deep in this game than I did in the first 6 games last year. And that was against a real D.

coldnjl

September 4th, 2015 at 12:11 PM ^

With the thin air, those footballs were going to go a tad farther than they normally would have...also, there was significant wind activity that was evident on some of the punts. My conclussion is that throw may have been on the money at home.

Also, let's not forget that at least one of those TO is due to an inexperienced WR.

I Like Burgers

September 4th, 2015 at 1:28 PM ^

They weren't just simple missed passes though.  There were three plays where the WR was a good 2-5yds open with no one in front of him and Rudock missed by a good 5 yards on the pass.  If he hits on any of those its a TD and a much, much different game.  So on that part, yeah missing out on three easy TDs is a bigger deal to me than a simple drive ender.  The pick 6 was just bad.  No debate on that one.

The worst part to me is going forward.  Utah laid out a pretty good plan for shutting down the offense.  Load the box and dare Michigan to throw deep.  For an offense that didn't show an ability to run, that's bad news.

Although I will say, I'm not all gloom and doom here.  The gameplan was good, the play calls were good, the team just didn't execute them.  And it felt like a different kind of non execution than in Hoke's system.  You could see what they were trying to do, and that they have the makings of a good offense, its just not there yet.  So I'm equal parts optimistic they can figure it out, and equal parts "well shit, we just don't have the pieces this year."

aiglick

September 4th, 2015 at 11:48 AM ^

I'm just glad we took the shots downfield. Would have been nice to connect on them but we didn't really even attempt them last year.

I also think we got more chunk yardage in that one game than about half of last season.

There are no moral victories but I thought there were positives. It would be nice to make a decent bowl this year.

SWPro

September 4th, 2015 at 12:41 PM ^

Given the reasons we were excited to get Rudock as a transfer the picks concern me alot. I expect him to safely miss some deep balls but he isn't supposed to turn the ball over 3 times.

 

That said the defense looked good. Peppers and Bolden make some great plays.

 

Jake Butt looks legit.

 

Chesson and Darboh were better than I expected.

 

The running game. Ugh.

Chick Evans

September 4th, 2015 at 12:58 PM ^

Disagree here, Rudock was never billed as a home run threat. He's a cautious guy who limits mistakes and keeps TO's to a minimum. You think that the INT's didn't kill us? A pick 6 from the 50 yard line as we're driving to tie the game killed us. A pick in the red zone in the first half killed us. 

Overthrows for incompletions don't directly lead to points for the other team. Plain and simple, if we didn't turn the ball over we win that game. 

His Dudeness

September 4th, 2015 at 1:50 PM ^

Agree. Rudock isnt great at the long ball. If he was, he would still be at Iowa. At this point we have a QB who has some things he does well (5-20 yard passes) and some things he just wont ever do well (20+ yard passes). It would have been nice to hit one of the two wide open deep bombs, but that's just not something Rudock does well.

He will hit a few this year, but not many and that's just tough tits. Utah kind of forced us to throw the ball a lot more than we would have liked last night and it made Rudock throw a few more picks than he usually would. He's not Russ Wilson. He is a guy who has strengths and weaknesses that Coach thinks will mitigiate some of our teams weaknesses. Let's just hope our O Line can get better at run blocking throughout the season and I think we will see the team get better. It will put Rudock into his comfort zone and put the team in a spot where they can be successful.

jblaze

September 4th, 2015 at 10:41 AM ^

didn't instantly morph into Devin Gardner (from last season) and didn't get nervous. His timing and rhythm aren't there with the WRs/ he's used to the way his WRs played and were coached at Iowa.

Give him some more time to work with the WRs and he'll be fine. For example, on the 1st missed deep ball, it looked like Darboh slowed down, but Ruddok thought he'd keep running after the DB was burned. It's just simple coaching.

lilpenny1316

September 4th, 2015 at 10:42 AM ^

At least you knew they were going to do.  As bad as the running game was, we have opportunities off playaction.  Our first playaction pass on first down should have netted us a TD.  They'll get better over time.

reshp1

September 4th, 2015 at 10:45 AM ^

http://www.mlive.com/wolverines/index.ssf/2015/09/column_jim_harbaugh_h…

This one's pretty good too, and touched on a lot of what I felt after the game too.

In many ways, Thursday's loss felt incredibly familiar. The Wolverines still have major issues on offense, as was the case for the back half of the Brady Hoke era. The quarterback position is still far from optimal, as senior Jake Rudock tossed three critical interceptions, over-threw open targets and failed to produce a consistent rhythm offensively.

The book on Rudock coming into the season was that he was a quarterback who lacked flash, but avoided turnovers. On Thursday, he found a way to lack flash while turning the ball over -- which is a lethal combination. The offensive line struggled to move people, again, especially in the run game. Michigan slugged its way to a putrid 2.6 yards per carry. Backs missed holes. Linemen missed blocks. On the ground, it was a performance Michigan fans have seen over and over and over again in recent years.

But at the same time, things felt a bit different, too.

Typically a proverbial graveyard in recent years, the third quarter actually proved to be a stanza that brought Michigan back to life. Harbaugh and his staff adjusted at halftime, got Rudock into situations that better suit his game, tweaked a few blocking assignments and ultimately found themselves back in the game by the time the fourth quarter began. A year ago, a 17-3 deficit with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter would've likely been the finishing touches. A fumbled snap here, a blown coverage there -- and, all of a sudden, it's 31-3 and the wheels were off the tracks.

On Thursday, though, Michigan hung around. It wasn't great, but it hung around. The Wolverines out-gained the Utes 236-157 after the break.

Gohokego

September 4th, 2015 at 11:14 AM ^

If I'm Morris and Speight I leave the program now and still have 2 years of eligibility left. Harbaugh is bringing his guys in. If Morris didn't get a chance last night he will never get one. Okorn will be starter next 2 years then Peters or whoever else Harbaugh brings in.

Steves_Wolverines

September 4th, 2015 at 10:50 AM ^

I know I received a ton of downvotes for requesting a change at QB to Morris. I only said this because I believe that the "OR" on the depth chart was legit, and that we actually had a real QB competition this fall. I think Morris can do more. He's more mobile, he has a much stronger arm, and he may have better chemistry with the receivers.

If he solved his one glaring problem, putting touch on the ball, then I think we should give him a chance. He can't be the same QB we saw last year.

UMFanInFlorida

September 4th, 2015 at 10:58 AM ^

But we've seen him in all of two games now?  The bowl game against K St. was his first career start and it showed, and the second was against Minne where any quarterback would be under duress w/ the state of that OL.  Never mind the fact he was banged up.

People are so quick to jump to conclusions based on so little evidence here.  The fact is we just haven't seen much of what Morris can do.  I for one would like to see more.

I Like Burgers

September 4th, 2015 at 11:11 AM ^

Morris' Kansas St game wasn't a whole lot different than Rudock's game against Utah.  Lots and lots of short passes.  And yeah, he makes some bad decisions from time to time, but he has shown an ability to throw deep.  And in the end, if Rudock can't throw deep, that may be more beneficial to the offense.

Blue Mike

September 4th, 2015 at 11:48 AM ^

So Morris should start a game just so you can evaluate whether or not he is a good quarterback?  How many games would you give him?  Are you a fan of burning games to evaluate talent?  Because that went really well last year.

If Morris was good enough to start, he would have been out there last night, end of story.  Harbaugh has had plenty of time to evaluate him in practice, and decided that Rudock should start.  That should be good enough for you.  

i'd like to see more of Morris, because that would mean he's a really good quarterback who Harbaugh trusts to win games.  Until then, I don't want to see Morris on the field.

 

mGrowOld

September 4th, 2015 at 11:01 AM ^

1. He's a local kid

2. He was extremely over-hyped coming in leading people to believe he was (and still could be) the second coming of Drew Henson

3. He throws the ball real hard

4. He recruited actively for Michigan and was clearly the face of his incoming class

Hell I agree 100% with what you wrote but I have to admidt that after the pick 6 I'm asking myself "why not Morris for a series to see what he's got."

 

late night BTB

September 4th, 2015 at 11:51 AM ^

Everyone feels bad for Morris.  I get it.  This is big boy football.  If Morris was good enough to start he'd have shown this the past 9 months.  He hasn't .  

Throwing him in there for a series doesn't accomplish anything but start a QB controversy, and ensure you lose the game.  

Barbell method.  Go with what you see in practice and stick with it, 1/3 bad decisions a game be damned.  If Rudock does this during the next 3 games and looks like shit in practice, then pull him.  

You guys think it's like Madden, where you just swap players.  'Let him have a chance, give him a shot'.  He's had probably 5000 chances in practice and hasn't emerged to JH as the better QB.  Get over it, kid is nice, but he was overrated and a bust at Michigan.

Steves_Wolverines

September 4th, 2015 at 11:05 AM ^

I would say that Harbaugh went with the QB that he felt gave him the best chance to win a road game against a Top 30 team in a season opener. 

And if Morris is really as bad as you believe, why is he listed as #2 (OR 1b) on the depth chart? Shouldn't he be buried behind Gentry and Speight?

All I'm saying is that he needs a fair shake at proving himself in a live game. If we can blow the top off coverage, then we open the running game. Rudock is proven that he can't throw the deep ball. That's his M.O. Ask any Iowa fan. Ask anyone who watches a ton of B1G West games. He just doesn't have the arm to threaten teams with the deep ball. All I'm saying is give Shane a chance.