WTKA Roundtable 12/1/2016: In Defense of Tony Boles

48 minutes


[Eric Upchurch]

Things discussed:

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment two is here, Segment three is here.


  • Speight still hurt in this game
  • The officiating, with a lot of examples.
  • Harbaugh’s other reason for saying something.
  • “Why didn’t we have a 2-point play?” is a terrible take says not happy Brian.
  • The NFL will say what you need to know about M’s offensive line.
  • Speight’s improvisation was what this offense was living on.
  • Craig names the greatest running back of his 3,000 years on this earth
  • Leatherwood, Filiaga or Wilson: which does Sam think could start at LT next year?



December 2nd, 2016 at 8:45 AM ^

Boles just glided. It's too bad he wrecked his knee, but as it turns out, that was the least of his problems. What a talent. Vaughn came out of nowhere and was leading the nation in rushing for part of that one season, but he got nicked up and lost some carries to Ricky Powers (I believe). Vaughn is the first (and only, if I recall but I could be wrong) Wolverine football player to go pro after his redshirt sophomore season, but that is about to change.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Indiana Blue

December 2nd, 2016 at 8:17 AM ^

but seeing "2 point play" irked me.  I have zero experience to be a football coach, but if I was, I would have a gadget play that the team would have worked on every day in practice JUST to be used against ohio ... if the need arose.  Kind of reminds me how Boise State was ready to win against Oklahoma (err - I think it was Oklahoma) by having a gadget 2 point ready to pull off the win.   Thanks for the reminder .... not !   ugh ...

Go Blue!


December 2nd, 2016 at 8:47 AM ^

I'm no football coach either, but I have been around long enough to know when to read a situation.

To your point, I certainly would have such a play in the book.  I'd bet money they do.  But this game was very much a story about how the offense couldn't execute consistently.  The defense was gassed and the refs were giving OSU everything, but neither offense was having the sort of day where they could get two yards if they absolutely needed it.

If they tried to do a two-point conversion, one of three things would've happened.  One, it's a pass and OSU mugs the receiver, no call.  Two, it's a run and it gets stuffed because the O-line blew an assignment or the RB screws up the blocking.  Three, it's a misdirection and it gets blown up because a lot has to go right on a day when nothing was.

For that matter, Michigan had won the game.  Perry was interfered with, no call.  The defense got held on the long Samuel run in 2OT, no call.  The spot was probably short; more importantly, that doesn't matter.  The review was just show; it was a very close call and a game-deciding one yet that was the fastest video review I'd ever seen.  The refs had made up their minds.  It's hard to argue Harbaugh was wrong when Michigan wins a legitimately called game.  You can only do so much to overcome that kind of handicap when the opponent is genuinely good.


December 2nd, 2016 at 9:34 AM ^

When I looked at the 3rd down run, it seemed like Samuel's knee was down a half yard or full yard short of where they marked him down.  A more correct spot maybe influences Meyer to kick an FG instead.

I'm tired of hearing about the B.S. argument in my mind that we blew the game.  Penalties are part of the game and they were not being called.  A B.S. encroachment penalty on OSU's second TD drive, instead of a false start penalty, changed the complexion of that drive.  The defense may have won the game in the 4th quarter, but a B.S. PI call extended the drive.    How is it suddenly the defenses' responsibility to make up for screw jobs by the refs?

1 percent

December 2nd, 2016 at 10:15 AM ^

You can look at it and say the game came down to one step.

On Samuels 3rd down scramble Glasgow had him penned into the corner. He was about to lose 10ish yards setting up a 4th and 18. Samuel turns back to the short side of the field and Glasgow jumped inside instead of keeping his position ... The 1-2 steps he took let Samuel outside of him and get down to 1 yard short.

I agree with you though. This game came down to officiating. Michigan still had chances, in spite of that, to put the game away.

You Only Live Twice

December 2nd, 2016 at 10:29 AM ^

Also tired of radio chatter about how we had "the chance" to put the game away.  We were 7 pt underdogs and outplayed OSU at home.  Ohio outgained us late?  Yes, with the ref influence.  We didn't gain enough?  Yes, with the ref influence.  I can only speculate what effect this would have on players and coaches knowing what they do on the field will be subverted by officiating.  This is the reason why the Committee placed us 5th.  Washington has to win to stay where they are, and if they don't, we move ahead of them.  Not Colorado or anyone else.  I thought the phrasing was interesting where they said the gap between #4 and #5 was slim - this was not said to "appease" Michigan fans. (Marcus hinted at that yesterday afternoon).  The Committee was simply making a point about who they view as the better team.


December 2nd, 2016 at 10:48 AM ^

We should've converted on 1st and 2nd down so we wouldn't have to convert on third down.

We should've forced a turnover on 1st and 2nd down so the refs couldn't screw us on third down.

According to radio chatter, our schedule was fraudulent because we had 8 home games.  I guess that's more fraudulent than playing a home game against Chattanooga(!?!) or South Carolina State(!?!).

According to radio chatter, we lost 2 of our last 3, so we sucked down the stage.  Yeah, winning @Indiana, @Rutgerz and at home to no-QB, no-Malik McDowell Sparty is waaay impressive.  And beating Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota is wicked good.  

Radio chatter don't matter.


You Only Live Twice

December 2nd, 2016 at 10:19 AM ^

It's easy to yell from my couch, "Throw the ball!!"  Coaches and players knew by then it was no longer down to our ability to execute.  We would have been tackled in the endzone with no call.

If nothing else, all the damn conversation has shined the brightest spotlight possible on why conference based officiating has to go the way of the dinosaur.  


December 2nd, 2016 at 10:15 AM ^

Maybe most times. But this sounds like secretly bitter angry Brian. He went after a guy for suggesting we go for the win with the 2-pt conversion as if it was the worst call or complaint ever. He sounds like a man conflicted about whether to bitch about the officiating (which he should do more of IMO) or bitch about only football plays (which matter, but weren't the only influence on the game). 


It also sounds like Brian is getting fed up with us, the posters, on his blog, which, come on man - we provide traffic to your site. We aren't your enemy. We all root for the same team. Some of us just disagree with how much one thing affected the game over another. This podcast was rough to listen to, and Brian's attitude and mood were part of that. See, now we're even.

1 percent

December 2nd, 2016 at 10:25 AM ^

Going for two I would have had no problem with but it shouldn't be a spur of the moment thing. You should have an idea prior to the 40 seconds between TD and XP that you're going for it and what you're going to call.

It wasn't a horrible phone call, it was a dude venting. Not the best call, not the worst.


December 2nd, 2016 at 1:08 PM ^

Yeah, when he gets mad it does come out.  I didn't think that caller was saying all that much different than most; the offense sputtered and got predictable, and why the heck not try to win instead of plugging along in overtime.  It's not the same situation, but Meyer could have gone for the tie on 4th down but called for the first because if you have a chance to end it, you end it.  I'm fine with Harbaugh going for 1, but this isn't a game where you are going to just trade shots with OSU on a short field, especially with no real running game to speak of.

Brian can say and do what he wants, but doesn't mean he always comes across great or, honestly, all that objective.


December 2nd, 2016 at 12:21 PM ^

I found his rant about the caller suggesting we go for 2 really uncalled for. You can disagree with him all you want but he trashed him for daring to have an opinion that wasn't Brian's. Brian's point about OSU's kicker is valid but their are valid reasons to go for 2 as well. Our defense was obviously worn down after playing almost all of the 4th quarter. Plus our offense had been struggling so giving them one play to win isn't the worst idea. I was really disappointed in Brian for that.


December 2nd, 2016 at 10:14 AM ^

The corollary to the Cole facemask is an uncalled hands-to-the-face/facemask that the OSU RG got away with to Glasgow's facemask, mid-1st quarter IIRC. It's basically the same situation. A lineman grabbing a defender's facemask. It was called on Cole. It wasn't called on the OSU RG. The PI on Hill was called. The PI on Conley wasn't. The unsportsmanlike on Harbaugh was called, the unsportsmanlike on Weber wasn't (nor was Urban's running up and down the sideline like a douche. That IS unsportsmanlike conduct in basketball!!!)


December 2nd, 2016 at 10:34 AM ^

Brian said we ran Chesson so the McDoom take is bad. We ran Chesson once in regulation and once in OT. Both times it worked for positive yardage (9 and 5 with a shoestring tackle to save a bigger gain.) Wisconsin ran Peavy 6 times for 70 yards against OSU. I would have liked to see MOAR JET SWEEPS!!!


December 2nd, 2016 at 10:36 AM ^

When I was in school and Tony was the RB, some guys I knew went to HS with him. They told me that Tony used to be a dealer and carried drugs around in his briefcase in HS.  I didnt want to believe them at the time, but it turned out sadly that they were probably right.  He was one talented RB.


December 2nd, 2016 at 10:40 AM ^

Mike Hart averaged 5.0 ypc in his career. De'Veon Smith averaged 4.9 ypc this season. What is it? Whose offensive line was better? Who was the better back? You can't have it both ways. If the 2016 line is average, than Smith is the GREATEST RB EVAH! I think they are both good. Smith had to share carries with three other backs.


December 2nd, 2016 at 1:13 PM ^

I think Mike Hart was a really good back at UM, but people act like he was a god at times.  I think counting stats like ypc are rough for running backs if you share carries and/or go through coaching transitions, but at the same time I'd argue Smith in a Carr offense is probably a lot like Perry or Hart.  He's a grinder and could absolutely put up big numbers.  And like Hart, he's a really good pass blocker.

And those mid-2000 ish lines were good but certainly not elite.


December 2nd, 2016 at 2:08 PM ^

Hart had the best vision and instincts, for lack of a better word, of any running back I've seen at Michigan.  I'd want him if I had a mediocre line.  He's going to get  you something when there's not much there to be had.  But I'd take Wheatley, Biakabatuka, or Boles if I had a good line.  Those guys were more likely to rip off big gains after the line got them to the second level.


December 2nd, 2016 at 3:08 PM ^

...this is a very interesting thought and the more I consider it, the more truth I see in it. Wheatley was bigger and stronger and faster than anyone at UM who ever played the position. Might he be better than Hart with a good line? Maybe. I can't argue otherwise. But, no one, no one ever, could do more with so little as Mike Hart. Whatever existed in the first 10 yards of the LOS, he got. And then one yard more. He didn't fumble (until his last game) for four years. Plus, with the possible exception of A -Train (I still lean to Hart) he was the best pass blocker out of the position I have ever seen. Maybe Jim Brown was better (guy was death to blitzers) but that's an impossible standard.   


December 3rd, 2016 at 11:44 AM ^

I'm older then most of you so I've seen Ron Johnson (going way way back), Billy Taylor, Tony Boles,Tyrone Wheatley, Timmy B, A train, Hart, and others I have probably left out. My impression of Hart was a very good back lacking elite speed to turn the corner. Overachiever. Not quite elite like Zeke Elliott, Wheatley, etc.

Imo, Wheatley was the best I've seen. Speed and power. Heck, in high school was a sprint and high jump champ. Loved Hart but not quite in the sams class."

Not sure why all the outsized gushing for Hart. Guess if you didn't see someone play, they are "off the list.


December 3rd, 2016 at 3:46 PM ^

..I played BB against Johnson over at the IM so, yeah, i saw him play. Saw all the rest you mentioned plus Carl Ward, Jim Pace and Gordon Bell. Many other fine backs. I would put Bell near the top but not at Wheatley's level.

Wheatley should be in the conversation but he didn't read at Hart's level around the LOS (no one ever has; Biakabutuka in his senior year was close), he didn't get the most out of every carry, the way Hart did, and he wasn't nearly the pass blocker Hart was, though he was competent or better.  

So. I get the Wheatley POV---he is near the top of my list, too.

But Mike Hart is the best I have seen, but I don't quite go back to Tom Harmon.



December 2nd, 2016 at 11:01 AM ^

Good points on the WRs and Butt dropping catchable balls vs. Iowa and OSU.  This was very disappointing.  Not every throw is going to be perfect, especially when the QB is under duress. 

The opening drive vs. OSU, Butt dropped a ball and also had a bad penalty. 


December 2nd, 2016 at 11:12 AM ^

GBW names Mike Hart #1, and he had a lot of great games and yards,  but if I were drafting a RB, I'd take Wheatley or Biakabatuka.  In my foggy memory, those guys changed the games they were in to a different degree.  Jamie Morris is also my childhood memory of greatest Michigan RB, but I can't actually remember any of his games.

Mich OC

December 2nd, 2016 at 3:59 PM ^

Definite overreaction to the "should have gone for 2" take. Michigan was outgained 137-5 in the 4th quarter. In overtime, it took OSU 2 plays to score and they made it look easy. It took Michigan 7 plays to do the same, coming down to a 4th down play with a razor thin margin for error that they converted. Not very repeatable.

Your team is on the ropes, you're on the road and not getting any calls from the officials, and your injured QB is looking worse and worse as he takes more hits. And you know OSU gets the ball 2nd in the next overtime, which is another disadvantage for Mich. Why wouldn't you want to shorten the game and end it right there? It's true their kicker has missed twice already, but a whole season's worth of data shows he's pretty good.

A pretty convincing argument can be made to go for two.. To dismiss the take as terrible doesn't make sense.


December 2nd, 2016 at 11:41 PM ^

Yes, go for two.

The picture above of Sp8 tells you all you need to know why his mechanics and velocity are bad.

Compare to Tom Brady who looks to be standing on the tips of his toes throwing the ball.

That which you see there is why Peters should be given serious consideration for next year regardless of spring ball.

Can't fix what Wilton got wrong and without him straightening up and properly distributing his weight from right foot to left foot .... it won't be much better than what we have seen so far. And against teams who can cover and you need to throw open guys, forget it.