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09/22/2018 - 11:04pm A nice game for sure! Run…

A nice game for sure! Run blocking was better, pass blocking was better, the big plays were there, and the defense was murdering people.

I'll save any negative comments for later in the week. I'm upgrading my prediction to 8-4. We'll beat the tomato cans. We'll win one of MSU/Wisconsin. But we have to keep improving to be in the game with PSU or OSU.

09/19/2018 - 12:59am I completely agree here. We…

I completely agree here. We have years and years of data that this strategy does not work against the good teams. We try it exactly the same way, it fails, then we try to do what should have been done in the first place, and we're too far behind for it to work. Plus, the defense is gassed from the 3-and-outs. Ballgame.

And we're doing exactly the same thing this year, and folks are rationalizing it the same way. I love this site, and these people are very, very smart, but damn. It's the same rationalization. We're practicing, we're repping, we're planning constraints. Trust in JH.

No.....this IS the philosophy. The whole damn thing. Run into stacked boxes because we should be able to. Don't take what the defense gives, because we should be able to do what WE want. Difficulty set to HARD, because that's the way to do it. Run seventy kabillion formations just to run left. Rep power, inside zone, outside zone, stretch, because we're Michigan and dammit we can be good at all of it. But don't scheme to stop a double A gap blitz, ever. Did you ever think that Warinner commented as such because that is the only plan going forward? I'm afraid it is.

Sorry, I'm ranting incoherently.

I'll stop. Look, I hope I'm wrong. Please, Michigan football, prove me wrong. Show a creative, effective gameplan starting next week in conference play. I want to watch live again, I want to be impressed. Show that Shea can be given freedom and can burn the hell out of that stacked box at will. Show that WMU and SMU were glorified practices. Show that the only reason that you didn't have ANYTHING for the good teams on the schedule was because of personnel.

Please. Show this.

09/18/2018 - 7:12pm It's not a case of not…

It's not a case of not understanding. It's more of a feeling of resignation. This was being repped because this is Michigan under JH. Bang into that brick wall because that's what you do.

(warning: intentional run-on)

So always do that, until OH SHIT it's halftime and we're down 17-0 and crap now we better pass and OH SHIT it's not working because we haven't repped that enough because of brick wall banging and that team is actually good and shit we should have assumed we needed to pass but oh well at least MANBAW.

(intentional run-on over)

The difficulty slider is always on HARD because we are not trying to do EASY enough. The Michigan way.

 

09/17/2018 - 8:50pm So much this.

So much this.

09/17/2018 - 8:48pm I wanted them to pass to set…

I wanted them to pass to set up the run from the get-go. Two (really three) failed drives against OSU/PSU and maybe MSU/Wisconsin and we're likely down 14-0. And we all know that JH has that explosive offense ready to go to come from behind. Especially on the road. Ugh.

Yes, the offense was firing after that. Because we were passing more. Let's do that from the start, instead of running into a brick wall for most of a quarter. It's a dangerous move.

M needs to be more aggressive and creative. I'll say it until I see it.

09/17/2018 - 8:43pm Gotta agree here -- at some…

Gotta agree here -- at some point the AD has to be smart. Don't schedule a tough game first. Find some way to straighten out the schedule so we don't have an *impossible* task every two years. Seems Warde is soft as ten-ply. I wish Hackett would have stayed on.

09/16/2018 - 11:55pm Excellent points Delhi. This…

Excellent points Delhi. This is the kind of back-and-forth that's great on the site.

2. Nice comments here. Absolutely true. But I guess what I was meaning here was that early in the game it's always very similar (run first) and often it's a run on early downs. I didn't say that, this is just on further reflection.

3. I agree that good things happened. The reason I said it like that is it appears that's how JH sees it. We seem reluctant to "release the hounds" with the pass game until it's necessary (or way past necessary) and that's frustrating with a mobile 5* QB and good receivers. Yeah, I know, pass pro has been sucking and we don't want Shea killed, but it would be nice if we could do something to keep an opponent guessing. I like the comment on the defense. 

4. Yep, you're right. I suppose what I meant was "early in the game", but I didn't put that in there.

5. Disagree here, creativity can help relieve the pressure of the sellout LBs and 9-man boxes and can help the line long-term. Let's put some hesitation in the defense.

Again, thanks for the smart points and keeping it civil. Refreshing on here for sure.

09/16/2018 - 1:30pm This thread should be…

This thread should be deleted. 

09/16/2018 - 12:59pm The more I think about it,…

The more I think about it, JH isn't just in Bo's coaching tree -- he wants to run the offense just like Bo. I wouldn't be surprised if his thoughts go something like this:

1. We want to control the game with our run offense. (A decent idea)

2. Opponents stacking the box? It doesn't matter, we are Michigan, we are the best and should be able to impose our will. (Outdated philosophy - 70s and 80s)

3. Passing to open up the run? Well, when you pass, three things can happen and two are bad. (True, but outdated, and doesn't consider personnel this year) 

4. So, we can pass when we have to, but they have to be conservative passes to flat/sideline. (Bad things still can happen, and limits the damage the passing game can do)

5. Creativity? Nope, not really necessary, we are Michigan (see #2)

We know for a fact that opponents how what's coming, and teams that are equal in talent know how to stop it. Just in the East, we have two teams with more talent than us (OSU/PSU) and one team that plays to our level every year (MSU). In the West, Wisconsin's run game is superior to ours. Without creativity, we go 7-5 this year.

I've been watching the same passes to the flat and waggle plays for 35 years. Michigan has not progressed, and they're being left behind by innovation (speed option, etc) and superior recruiting.

Also, the reason that Michigan doesn't seem to have an identity is because our identity (be tougher, run between the tackles even against superior numbers) doesn't really work against teams with a pulse. When that happens, we haphazardly throw in pass plays without any seeming rhyme or reason and then try to get back to our faulty "identity" ASAP.

It's Hoke with better players. And, it's boring as fuck, even when it works.

09/15/2018 - 11:51pm JH will not implement more…

JH will not implement more of the playbook. This is his playbook. He hasn't "opened it up" since he's been here. Not sure why people think he will.

Brown will not adjust. He hasn't adjusted significantly since he's been here. Not sure why people think he will.

7-5. What a waste of our first damn good QB in a decade.

09/15/2018 - 11:33pm Vanilla is what we have...it…

Vanilla is what we have...it's what we are. JH opens it up when he feels like he has to, and not before. Don't think you're going to see more flash against better teams, because I don't think it happens. It's still sludgefart, but at least with Shea, it's better sludgefart. It's almost like JH says, "oh, okay, fine, we'll pass now." This year, unlike the past two, we have a good QB...not utilized to his potential, but competent for sure. We've been saying, "it'll open up" for years. It won't.

Against OSU/PSU/MSU/Wisc, JH will be too stubborn, wait too long. That's one reason why we'll finish 7-5. Offense circa 1982.

Not the only reason, of course, but this is the offense thread.

09/15/2018 - 11:04pm Don Brown has not adjusted…

Don Brown has not adjusted significantly since he's been here. No confidence he will now.

It's a decent defense, maybe top 25, but with a DL not getting push, they're not world-beaters.

09/11/2018 - 10:39pm Regarding "saving" things…

Regarding "saving" things and not "putting it on film":

Throughout JH's tenure, he has shown that he doesn't save much. Most of the time, the constraints and counter-tendencies we expect later in the season have never come, and my guess is they won't. Right now, the Harbaugh legacy is being super-conservative and losing games because of it. At some point, you have to let your talented players show that talent.

Nope, we'll run the same vanilla gameplan, and it will be totally effective. We'll win by a similar score, but when the great teams on our schedule load the box, I see us having no answer, stubbornly banging that head against that wall way too often. We have a philosophy problem.

That said, Shea seems to be a huge improvement, but will he be utilized effectively against the good teams -- where he will have to be allowed to carry us? I sure hope so, but I'm not confident.

08/29/2018 - 10:26pm Oh man, the psyche - do you…

Oh man, the psyche - do you want to go there?

I'm staring at another 8-4 season. A horrific schedule (makes ya wonder why Michigan is a doormat in the conference), a un-proven road team, a D that tends to brain-fart in big situations, and a better but still questionable O leads me to think that we will lose most, if not all, of our big games.

In previous seasons, I'd be very sad about this, but now I'm just kind of accepting/apathetic. We're fourth-best in the B1G East, behind teams that are slimy and dirty in many ways -- but of course no one cares. We're the ones that got punished, called out by our hometown media. But I digress.

Why the apathy? The aforementioned slimy, dirty programs are allowed to succeed despite it all. Our QB whisperer coach hasn't molded a good QB here, our manball coach seemingly can't recruit enough quality OL, our receiver with the most promise breaks the other foot. Our D is coached by the same folks responsible for the brainfarts. The refs clearly hate our coach and our program - are we the Lions of CFB?

I just can't do it. I can't get up for the games like I used to, because I know horrible things are going to happen. I'm apathetic. I've been a fan since I was little, when Dad showed me the wonder of Michigan Stadium and the men in Maize and Blue. But it's just not there. Of course, the tipping point has been coming for a while. OSU skates and lucks into Meyer, PSU skates, MSU skates, and now OSU skates again. And we stretched too much.

Fuck it.

02/21/2018 - 1:21am Posted a few days ago....

The answer, at least for me, was posted a few days ago. The Pac-12 defenses are not as good as Big Ten defenses, especially against the run. Leaving aside JH's NFL-caliber QB for a second, his sytem worked, because P12 defenses weren't built to stop it. Look at the top-flight defenses we face....OSU, MSU, PSU, Wisconsin, all built to stop the run first. Further, we have had to be even more run-heavy due to a lack of quarterback competency - and, no, Speight was never competent at the level we needed him to be compete with the above. So we are running an offense that our rivals are built to stop.

Innovation is what's needed, not re-tread NFL washouts and unwanted college castoffs, only brought in because they run JH's system -- and make no mistake, that's why they're here. We are a "system", little different that Hoke's "manball rawr" outfits, but with marginally better offensive recruiting. Marginally at best, since OL recruiting has been seemingly left to coaches who kinda suck at recruiting and who are further fighting an uphill battle due to record, focus on academics, etc.

On defense, we brought in a young (-ish) fire-pisser to go with one of the best veteran D coaches around, and then surrounded him with other clearly talented coaches. On O, it's JH's system and that's that. Coaches are kept or brought in to run it. And in the B10, the system just ain't gonna work as run-heavy as it is, because that plays into our rivals' strengths.

Right now, M is a story of two philosophies.

01/02/2018 - 10:43pm Michigan sports rises!

Tonight's game was a great cure for the football woes! Team was firing on (most) cylinders and was a pleasure to watch. What's nice, too, is that this doesn't feel like a team that must live and die with the three-ball. Matthews and Rahk were slashing, albeit against a bad team, and Teske showed a nice midrange game. Lowers our team variance a bit, and that's a good thing. If I'm in charge, Livers starts. We're a Sweet 16 team given the right matchups....

01/02/2018 - 10:33pm Beilein needs to make the right call....

Time to roll with Livers as the starter, with Duncan off the bench. Freshman caveats apply, but we're much better with Livers in there....

Make the right call, JB, and increase the potential of your team!

01/02/2018 - 5:20pm DPJ and the team

Offensive personnel has not improved this season, and in fact many players have appeared to get worse. That's coaching. 3 OCs and 2 OL coaches leaves no room for skilled WR, QB and RB coaches.

Drevno clearly blows, and has blown since he's been here. But, you know, Jim's buddy. Pep is a tire fire (who thinks hiring someone who failed with the fucking Browns was a good idea??), but you know, NFL. Jay isn't a good RB coach, but, you know, nepotism.

And, yeah, Jim really doesn't seem to care as much. Dream job? He looked like a zombie in his presser.

Being a fan of this team is an exercise in enduring pain.

 

01/01/2018 - 10:34pm It's the coaching...mostly

We didn't get better through the course of the season. The entire offense doesn't just look bad, it looks lost. That's on offensive coaching....3 partial OCs is why the play-calling is disjointed and lacking identity. A grad assistant coaching WRs explains lack of development there. Our nominal RB coach is a family hire and clearly out of his depth. Hell, we have two OL coaches with opposite philosophies - a recipe for disaster.

The defense is a one-trick pony that doesn't seem to be able to situationally adjust and chokes under pressure across the board. DB is great against tomato cans, but not against quality opposition. He does it his way, no matter what, and with the way offenses change it up, that doesn't work.

We don't have great personnel on offense (we have some on defense), but clearly not everyone sucks horribly. The problems are systemic, and that's on the coaches. Also, and I hate to say it, but we seem dumb on both sides of the ball. Playcalling and execution is far from ceebral on offense, and we get fooled easily on defense.

Gonna be a long offseason, and barring coaching changes, I see 7-5 next year, with losses @ND, @MSU, @OSU, Wisconsin, and one other.

Ugh.

10/11/2017 - 9:34pm Napoleon

Napoleon will rule all of Europe, as long as he can stay out of a land war in Asia.....

10/11/2017 - 9:32pm Drevno

DRiving EVerything iNtO the ground.

10/11/2017 - 9:17pm Deja vu

Fuckin' deja vu, man.....we're back to the Sludgefart of Haplessness. And my M-PTSD is back in full force. Looks like I'm back to watching the games on the DVR. Ugh.

I have so many comments.....but they're all up here 100x. Fuckit, no need to re-hash. But there are MAC offenses better than ours.....this should not be.

10/11/2017 - 9:17pm Deja vu

Fuckin' deja vu, man.....we're back to the Sludgefart of Haplessness. And my M-PTSD is back in full force. Looks like I'm back to watching the games on the DVR. Ugh.

I have so many comments.....but they're all up here 100x. Fuckit, no need to re-hash. But there are MAC offenses better than ours.....this should not be.

10/10/2017 - 12:38am DPJ

If DPJ ran 9 routes in HS, maybe he could run one of those when he is head-up on a smaller CB.

I'm not arguing with your point, but rather questioning the offensive (appropriate word here) staff's judgment.

10/08/2017 - 10:10pm MGoQuestion

MGoQuestion: Hey Jim, do you have it in you to fire your buddy Tim Drevno and turn the OL over to Frey?

10/08/2017 - 2:52pm Intensity vs. Talent and Coaching

My first instinct was to reply that we need to bring the same intensity to our rivalry games that MSU/OSU/Rutgers do. But yesterday clearly showed our lack of talent -- and coaching to maximize the talent we do have -- on the offensive side of the ball.

Our QB shows flashes, but isn't at a level we'd like, our RBs don't show consistent ability, our WRs are young and can't get consistently open, and our OL is a tire fire. With all that, we do have some talent, but there is a clear lack of coaching ability on this offense. No one seems to improve! Adding to that, the offensive gameplanning is not cohesive and lacks the creativity that can make up for talent deficiencies. When we lack coaching and talent, not much can be done.

That being said, D'Antonio and Meyer seem to get their teams to play nasty and able to impose their will on other teams. Where's our edge? 

10/08/2017 - 1:23pm Regarding ability, not high-level

Double.

10/08/2017 - 1:23pm Regarding ability, not high-level

These are not high-level offensive coaches. They are friends and relatives, in some cases shoehorned into unfamiliar positions to keep them around. 

09/24/2017 - 2:03am Agree

I agree with most of this. Over the course of the season, it has seemed like the offensive gameplan has been overly "safe" - extra protection, emphasis on running, especially on 1st and 2nd down, and calling pass plays with sideline/back of EZ routes. I think this was done because, even though WS was seen to have the mental abilities necessary to play QB at a high level, the coaches knew he couldn't make some of the throws without mistakes.

With JOK, the coaches seemed to start safe and then once they saw him settle in, they opened things up with more receivers.. His mobility also surely played a role here.

--OR--

Either Pep or Drevno was more in charge of calling plays in the 1st half and 1st part of 3rd quarter, and that was abruptly changed by JH.

Either way, I say keep rolling with JOK and the playcalling in the last 25 minutes of game action.

09/24/2017 - 1:30am Better

I expect M to beat OSU roughly 50% of the time. I expect them to beat teams like PSU and Wisconsin most of the time. I expect M to contend regularly for Big Ten titles. I expect M to be in the playoff a couple times per decade.

With one of the best coaches in the country, I expect better than 80%.

And yes, that makes me a disappointed and grouchy fan a fair bit of the time. Doesn't change the expectations I have.

P.S. I just went back and edited for repetitiveness. I hate this place sometimes.

09/24/2017 - 1:17am Backup

That backup QB played better than the starter had all season.

But yes, they were pretty bad (except for one drive) and dirty as hell....makes me think there needs to be additional punitive measures for repeated targetings by a team, up to and including an immediate forfeit.

09/24/2017 - 12:44am What I've learned

We seem to be better off with JOK than with Speight. It's a shame it took an injury to find out.

We still have a crap running game.....essentially the same as it's been for a decade or so.

We still have a crushing defense...same as it's been for a couple years now.

We miss Fisch....also, Drevno looks like a mistake hire. Everything he has been a part of on this team has been underwhelming. An important question for the next few years - will JH break ranks with his choice that hasn't worked out?

We still love to bash our RB's heads into a brick wall....hey, it's Michigan, right?

The mystique is coming off of JH a bit. OL and QB recruiting, assistant choices on the offensive side, and perhaps a misjudgment about the starting QB situation have served to chip away at Harbaugh's legendary status a bit. Happy to have him of course, but he is ultimately responsible for our offensive woes.

 

09/24/2017 - 12:13am It's O'Korn now....

JH can't possibly go back to Speight, can he? JOK came in cold and was clearly better than Speight at any point this year. With the bye week to run with the 1s, he has to be the guy.

09/23/2017 - 10:23pm Watching the 3rd quarter on tape....

Watching the 3Q on tape tells me that O'Korn is a big step up from Speight in game situations, even without first-team reps. Nice to have on-target throws.

09/20/2017 - 6:47pm Yep...

This was the "we can't do much because our personnel make too many mistakes" gameplan. Hopefully we don't need it eventually.

09/18/2017 - 9:26pm I'd go farther

We're watching, waiting, hoping and praying for a good season. But speaking for myself only, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, because this feels (yes, I know, feelingsball) just like 9-3/8-4 with a bowl loss on top of it. This offense is hot garbage, not being able to run with consistency* and QBed by a player who (1) is clearly playing "not to fail", which will keep him from success and (2) doesn't have that high of a ceiling to begin with. A team with a QB who only has "game-manager" talent making crippling mistakes in many games is not destined for good things**. Right now, OSU, PSU and Wisconsin are Ls, and probable one of Indiana/MSU as well.

Unless we get better.....I hope we get better.

* Yep, we've had good runs on sweeps and end-arounds, but as the talent gap closes, those will be less/not available. We can't run inside when we need to.

** And, no, I don't consider 9-3/8-4 "good things" in year 3 with a coach who is supposed to be one of the top 3 or 4 in CFB. 

09/12/2017 - 10:04pm So....

So, they pretty much just have to get Rashan ANGERY on the first defensive series....

Good to Know......but who's dumb enough to be in charge of that?

09/09/2017 - 10:01pm They may be limiting the game

They may be limiting the game plan because Speight just can't seem to complete many passes required of a Power-5 QB. And more evidence is mounting that he fumbles at key times.

But as most have said, he must be the best we have when the position is graded as a whole. Sad that a program like Michigan can't have an adequate QB each and every year....

09/09/2017 - 2:29pm Not even....

Not even a top-50 D1 QB.

09/09/2017 - 2:04pm he's the "game manager" who

double

09/09/2017 - 2:04pm he's the "game manager" who

he's the "game manager" who "doesn't make mistakes"......

09/09/2017 - 2:02pm WS...

WS with 2 turnovers.....how is the guy with tons more upside "worse" again?

09/09/2017 - 1:51pm 9-3

This is a damn 9-3 team. Legit D for sure, but we're not beating anyone worth mentioning with this hot garbage* offense....

Peters must really suck to be behind Speight and O'Korn, or it's the elephant in the room - Harbaugh wedded to the veteran versus the young guy with more upside.

Ugh.

*When I say hot garbage, I of course mean as compared to what the expectation is.....

01/10/2017 - 3:46pm Thanks, Jabrill

Thanks for the memories and the often electrifying play. Good luck in the NFL. Get that money!

01/01/2017 - 12:16pm Perhaps a B+ is more appropriate

Jim doesn't have his own QB, and also that QB was pretty much injured for the biggest games this year. Also, the OL clearly is a notch below what is expected at Michigan, and has been for many years. Lack of a game-breaking RB -- though Evans may get there -- and WR has also hurt M. These things are on the previous regime.

That said, the staff went too conservative in the games we lost at critical times, and the playcalling and substitution patterns were head-scratching at times as well. Don Brown has also seemed to make some mistakes in big games, most notably changing scheme at the start of the Orange Bowl. Further, M still can't play well on the road in big games. Those things are on the staff.

So, as was said above, we can love our staff, but we can also think things need to get better. 10-3 is a nice record, but going to hell in our biggest games - and I include Iowa here -- is frustrating for sure. We'd be better off with a single OC and a more "clever" playcalling strategy. Still, we seem to fall back on the idea of "out-executing" our opponents at critical times, and we're not good enough to do that. It would be much more effective to put the players in situations where they can more easily succeed - as in, hey, let's run that sweep with our speed back instead of our bruiser.

In closing, why the hell can't we get Greg Frey back here from Indiana? I wouldn't be upset seeing Drevno hired away......

12/08/2016 - 9:27am Six-team playoff

Six teams is the way to go....use two bowl games as the play-in round...there are a million of them anyway, and you can rotate who gets what like they are doing now.

12/01/2016 - 11:56pm You said it...

On the road against decent teams we suck. In the second half we suck b/c JH goes Lloyd and we lose intensity. 

JH goes Lloyd......that's the issue in big games, especially on the road. I guess I can see why. We had an all-world defense this year, but if we tire 'em out, what good is it?

I wonder if he was this way at Stanford, or if he figures this is "the Michigan way". I sure hope he learns (or re-learns?) how to play to win in big-time games. 

11/13/2016 - 1:48pm Dead-on

Dead-on comment about this happening to (almost) every team once a year. 

A road, night game. Unfamiliar environment. Seemed like a game where Michigan was down a notch in every facet, including play-calling. RS Soph QB, dinged up to boot. And we didn't get breaks, we had turnovers, and there was O'Neill.

A perfect storm, really, but at least we still control our fate.

It is frustrating though, that this team has been ass on the road for a decade or more. 

Also, Brown seems like Durkin in important games. Scheme is off, can't stop the run. I would think Brown would be an upgrade, so it must be the Jimmies and Joes.

With better players, maybe this team doesn't lose road, night games in a couple years.

11/13/2016 - 12:36am Tightness....

This was so reminiscent of an old Bo/Carr game....the team is good, really good even, but once or twice a season, they lose a game they shouldn't lose. On both sides of the ball, everyone is down a notch, and it seems to affect the coaching staff as well. The game was coached tight and played tight. With everyone puckered, a fired-up opponent and some shitty officiating was what it took.

And, for the love of GOD, if your QB is obviously hampered by injury, why doesn't the backup get a sniff? Does he suck that bad....maybe so.

But, fuck, welcome to 10-2, maybe even 9-3. All the highs this year for fucking 9-3.

At least we had the highs, though.....

11/07/2016 - 6:59pm New tagline

"This is not boredom; this is porn..."

This should be the new tagline...it can't be, you know, but it should be.