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11/06/2018 - 10:16am I think that's why we're…

I think that's why we're seeing Jon Jansen added to Inside Michigan Football.  Probably make some changes for next season.  I always wish they could find someone like Ufer, hard to find that mix of passion, intelligence and effort.  Ufer put a huge amount of preparation into the announcing.  Creating poems, knowing the players, and just loving Michigan.  He was both play by play and color commentary.

im guessing Jansen will take color commentary and someone new will b picked for plat by play.

11/01/2018 - 9:34am Interesting, not one "Tell…

Interesting, not one "Tell me about..." question. I realize Don Brown is a good story teller, and uses that technique to evade providing real football info. Like his response on Rashan. But I also remember Harbaugh going off on tangents to evade giving too much info. 

I think the questions set the interview, and create the answers provided. Because that how questions and answers work. Yes Angelique got a slam down when she pushed about Rashan's injury status a few weeks ago. But why not follow up by asking why his Mom had to defend Rashan's decision? And you can even make it easy by using a leading question like, "Rashan's Mom posted information, but is it different as a parent of the player than the coach?"

maybe some parents don't want any info out there to create a story?

the people asking the questions set the tone and create a good or bad interview. All these coaches love football and love talking to recruits, so they have interesting things to say.

11/01/2016 - 5:54pm Agree IF

I agree with that if you are in the opinion he used the crown of the helmet.  I think that's what you mean by led with the helmet.  I do not have that opinion, he didn't lower his head enough to be the crown.  This of course is pretty loose on what everyone thinks the crown of the helmet is.

It's pretty hard to run into blocking someone without having your helmet contact the player, often in his helmet, since frequently the height of your heads match.  

My feeling is that everyone is confused on the "defenseless" part of the rule, which is a different situation than the plain "spearing" as I remember it from high school football.  And spearing with the crown has always been against the rule at many levels of football.

My memory of the ESPN broadcast was that one of the announcers tried to describe Frey as the defenseless player.  I realize this is pretty open in the rule, but I take the spirit of the rule to mean a defenseless player has to be occupied in throwing or catching the football, not just existing on the field, or running after someone to tackle them.



11/08/2015 - 12:17pm Harbaugh is very thoughtful

Harbaugh is very thoughtful on the names he mentions and the credit he gives to everyone on the team. Comparing the press conference to all the articles out in publication, it is really interesting to see how much coach controls the narrative.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

01/08/2015 - 1:04pm Alpha Dogs

Hate hiring other Alpha Dogs.

09/26/2014 - 3:48pm I disagree Seth

in the Utah game both empty backfield formations were used to basically let Gardner run the ball for 5-8 yards.  All spring they installed an offense that requires the QB to follow his reads, and Devin is still struggling at that for some reason.  As a game progresses and your players fail to execute, you available tactics start getting reduced.  As an example, I thought Al Borges calling the slant pass on fourth down was a perfect call.  The slant pass had already gotten an explosive play TD against MSU.  He knew MSU would be sending all the LB's and Safeties into the middle of the OL, not only would the slant be open, but no one was back there to tackle.

Unfortunately the TE or WR who needed to block a blitzing corner back for less than a second failed to do that and Denard was tackled.  Result, all fans state, "what a horrible play call!!!!"

I think the staff of this blog have a hard time understanding the core of what Space Coyote is saying about teams and execution.  I suspect (but can't directly know) that is comes from very few people on this blog ever having spent time in a team sport.  The intangibles about team unity, leadership, etc. are meaningful things, just hard to quantify and directly connect to success.  But we should understand from the UFRs that any failed execution of a task can ruin a play.  If 11 people are all learning something new from a new OC, the change of 1 in 11 failing is higher than it is for 11 people averaging 20 starts with 3-4 years in the same system.  That's why the statement of "youth" while simplistic is so very relevant.

I certainly feel the emotions of a fan.  I watched the DVR's Utah game on Sunday night, not knowing the final score, and went to bed feeling bad about everything despite just spending the weekend on my sailboat, one of my most favorite things.  My sadness is not for myself, as I don't need the win/loss record of Michigan football to be a validation for who I am as a person.  My sadness is for the players, especially Devin, who have spent most of the school hours in weight rooms and film rooms instead of just hanging out on campus or playing video games, or creating blogs about their opinions of the universe and their spot in it. 

But I'm not really in a position to change this.  All I can do is watch and hope.  I think the progress is there.  I also know from my experience in team sports, my experience in teams in the Navy, and my experience in teams in my profession, that if this progress gets to a certain point, the consistency will appear to suddenly kick in, and we'll all be wondering why they didn't just do that from the beginning of the year.  Unless of course we realize that they always were, and it just had to reach the right, let's say tipping point, for the results to show.


09/16/2014 - 12:29pm Players release anyway

Just because you are in the NFL style formation doesn't mean you have to stay until it is kicked. I watched the Appalachian state game punts for both teams and independent of the formation, the punting team players took off down field as soon as it was clear there guy was not rushing the punt. Also note that Michigan blocked a punt around the shield.

Everyone treats this as a black and white decision, but it isn't, and you can watch the first few seconds of a punt to see what players at the line do. Appalachian State was not immediately releasing, even when they had the shield formation. The punt team players were still reacting to the receiving team. They stayed to block if the player tried to rush instead of dropping back to set up as a blocker for the punt return.

09/10/2014 - 4:16pm Thus Lewis

That is why lewis has been running with the ones all off season and camp. Also why Taylor started emerging as the CB being talked about. And Peppers, obviously. Should Mattison have wasted a year when he had three with clear talent and one good veteran? I wouldn't have waited.

09/09/2014 - 3:54pm I agree

I think this was a little too much selection bias on the data. Unless the expectation was that everything was great for the Michigan offense in the first half. I feel that we just didn't have enough time to nhave more of the playbook accomplished, and ND was prepared for everything. Some of it still worked, but not consistently enough to complete a drive.

The app state game seemed like Gardner had plenty of time to asses the situation. I think Nuss wants him to do that and while we may eventually get the Nascar package back, it is not going to be the base. But the ND game overall is an example of players not executing how they did the previous week. Not the coaches changing the tendencies.

09/04/2014 - 3:48pm Or they are mentors

I see it more as they truly like helping and teaching young people. Especially when they lived the path these kids want to follow. I'm not saying it isn't work for them to do it, but I don't think they have to strain themselves to do it.

09/02/2014 - 1:56pm Were you not aware

Of the circumatnces on Gardners redshirt? Pretty sure it was closer to, "yep he stopped playing, but practiced when he could with that back injury.

So I think the rules would allow it and it fits the definition. But Hoke seems to be taking an approach that is pretty close to Beilein, in that, if they have the talent and skill to play, they will play. It's what the kids want, and really what Hoke wants. After three solid years of recruiting isn't it clear they have the stable full? With or without redshirts, you can still only get. Four years out of a player. This is a positive feedback loop, as quality players move on to the NF l faster, more quality players want to play there.

It also allows Hoke to have great incentive for players who need mental maturing like Hagerup.

09/02/2014 - 1:15pm But the other WR did get targets

Nuss was able to get at least one catch to Norfleet, Chesson, and Darboh. This game was as much pre-season practice as it was a game, and Hoke always likes to get a variety of players on the tape so they can learn. The question was never "will ND put double coverage on #1?" It was always, can our second and third options punish the secondary as well, and then when that is adjusted to, unleash the ground pounders.

Even though this is not the Rich Rodriguez run spread, it is a system with multiple choices from the same look. Yep, that one draw play didn't work, but the next time it looks like a draw play, someone behind the LBs will be open.

Also, did anyone notice Chesson being used in a motioned H-back role, and providing key blocks on run plays nearthe LOS? Add in the downfield blocking with the punt coverage and I think you have the winner for "Vincent Smith Memorial Title of 'Toughest Pound for Pound'" he even has the DL roar to the gods down pat.

08/31/2014 - 1:15pm Watch the one incompletion again

Devin saw Funch get open and was too excited when he threw the ball and it ended up behind Funch. The two lobbed TDs you point out should have been lobbed. Second TD Funch rubbed the defender off on a pick, and ended up in space with no one around within 15 yards. Devin had to side step in the pocket and consciously altered that throw because there was no defenders around and he wanted to throw without getting completely set. Third TD was a jump ball play to the tallest, jumpiest person on the field (this year, all hail Gallon rocket boots).

Now compare that to Shane's decision making on his interception, throwing a bullet through a window that was never there.

08/31/2014 - 1:05pm 3rd TD

His second TD was the stiff arm to the DB. You are talking about the "grab the rebound" TD, i agree with your assessment though. The defender was exactly where he needed to be and his hand was lined up with the ball. Unfortunately Funchess reached over and in front of his hand and grabbed the ball first.

08/21/2014 - 11:04am And was getting interceptions

I remember being at The Game when an interception sealed the win. Woodson was almost completely behind the receiver and just out jumped the WR and took the ball. So Woodson was baiting QBs as a freshman, like Blake was as a redshirt sophomore.

I think that they want Jabrill at corner, but there is less to learn at nickel. Now that he has learned Nickel he is learning corner. He won't start at corner because there is good talent there with more experience. I also think that the Nickel might be an easier spot t bring a blitz from, and Peppers size with his speed, makes him a nice asset for that also.

08/14/2014 - 3:19pm agree

Mags is the leader in experience, so putting him next to Cole helps train Cole to be his LT backup better than putting someone who is trying to learn LG.  Everything in the Inside/Outside Zone scheme primers indicated that the repetitions are required because the secret sauce is combo blocking and the timing and decision making involved in executing those against the variation of defensive formations/shifts.

I think this whole "experimention" has just been to increase reps for all such that any backups aren't coming in cold.  It increases risk to the starters for "gelling" and honing their skills, but that has been part of Hoke's strategic approach since he arrived.  Everyone has forgotten how much he had to restate that he wanted rotation on the DL and that's why he wouldn't name a solid starting lineup for that group.  Yet the first season went pretty much as expected with Mike Martin staying in almost 100% of the time, same with Ryan Van Bergen.

They know the starting 5, but they aren't betting everything on the starting 5.

08/13/2014 - 3:03pm I don't think the checks were there

From the deep analysis on this site, and comments elsewhere, it seemed that Borges could create rather tricky and complex passing plays that would confuse a defense that had not seen them yet, or been able to practice against them. But those plays didn't have any checks, nor were they similar to any of the running plays, letting the defense know from the start it was a pass. Denard always seemed to have trouble making his progressions properly, and Devin never really had the time to make the progressions that the more complex routes needed to develop.  Denard example is throwing the pass to Roundtree in the Alabama game AFTER he was already thrown out of bounds.  Devin would refuse to throw the ball away once the protection broke down before his third step, and then would initiate his patented spin move, which thows all the routes out the window, causes misbalanced throws off the wrong foot, and makes you carry the football like a loaf of bread while people are trying to jellify your rib cage.

Even if our runs get stuffed at the line every time, at least the run fake pass play should make the defense hesitate at least a little, and hopefully people will be open within a three step drop.

There are a couple of phrases I expect to define the identity of this team offensively.  Some announcer is going to compare the Devin to Devin connection with the Benny to Bennie connection of the 1920's.  And we will also refer to Nuss's play calling as "using the pass to setup the run".  Not that he will call pass plays first, but that the run plays will be stuffed until the passing starts opening up the defense by getting the safeties out of the box.

Borges was never able to get the safeties out of the box for running plays, and only made it worse when he put two tackles together.  But his pass route complexity was a thing of beauty, when combined with a short shifty receiver wearing rocket boots.

08/04/2014 - 1:57pm I thought it was from the Book of Armaments

"Five is right out!"


07/31/2014 - 2:17pm Great response to Brian

Many phrases become cliches, but only from people using them incorrectly or globally, nit because they aren't true. Your response identifies the key element of any team functioning well, communication and trust. For me, the larger fix, or the fix to the larger problem, was changing Borges for Nussmeier. The quote from Taylor Lewan that sticks with me was from a post game press conference where he responded to a question on the poor OL play with, "people are thinking too much and just have to go and block". I believe he thought that was the correct leadership thing to do, and would be if the only problem had been short term effort. But the two weaknesses were inexperience and complexity of scheme. That issue is best dealt with internally, both trying to teach the inexperienced players AND going to your coach and saying, "You are asking for too much too fast."

Does that make Taylor a bad player? Not at all. A bad person? Nope. But he was a poor leader, and he was chosen as a captain, so did he fail in his job? Yes.

Does this mean the new leaders will fail? Maybe. But the season hasn't started, anything is possible, so why not start out on the side of hope?

07/31/2014 - 1:54pm Also

Weren't those stars recruited by the previous coach? I think college players are at a critical age of adulthood where their coaches and mentors are very critical to their own effort and drive. Also change in general is hard on everyone, but change at a time when you are figuring out many things in life for yourself is harder. Trusting that your coach is telling you the right thing is easier when he has always been your coach.

Hoke almost has that this year, and the few players who weren't at least sound like they have bought in to Hoke.

07/31/2014 - 1:54pm Also

Weren't those stars recruited by the previous coach? I think college players are at a critical age of adulthood where their coaches and mentors are very critical to their own effort and drive. Also change in general is hard on everyone, but change at a time when you are figuring out many things in life for yourself is harder. Trusting that your coach is telling you the right thing is easier when he has always been your coach.

Hoke almost has that this year, and the few players who weren't at least sound like they have bought in to Hoke.

07/29/2014 - 2:49pm what is dirty?

I've heard this comment made about the Seattle Seahawks right before and after they shutdown Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl.  Why are only the champions cheating?  I haven't looked up the rule recently, but I thought for the first 5 yards and before the ball is in the air the reciever and corner back got to play good ol' American football.

Kind of like this,



or this,



07/18/2014 - 7:43pm quotes out of context are a problem

Of course I have no idea what your intention was beyond just having an eye catching title, but what you selected, out of the context it was in, certainly makes it hard to get the gist of the article.  And it's why I usually dislike it when someone postst a link but does not summarize what they've learned from the article.

As an example, here is the entire paragraph where you extracted your quote;

"What I want to be sure of is that athletics exist in an appropriate balance with everything else the university does. Athletics isn't part of the mission statement of the university. We're an academic institution, so I want to work on the appropriate balance between athletics and academics," he said.

Overall I think the new president has a great focus on preserving what is important and distinct about the University of Michigan without forgetting the the primary goal of a University is academics and the research that is enabled by academics.  For example take this quote from the article

"Athletics seems to be part of the culture here at the university in a historical sense. Generations of students, and now alums, say part of their link to the university was the shared excitement of attending sporting events, and sharing in the joys and disappointments, and the spectacle of intercollegiate athletics," he said. "I think the alums I've spoken to, as well as the students I've spoken to, uniformly speak fondly and it's part of what they remember and part of what they value as part of the university experience. It's a great part of the culture."

And maybe that is what you were trying to communicate also.  But your title certainly skewed that viewpoint.




07/02/2014 - 7:21pm Amen Brother

I had a discussion with my brother about mid season.  My position being that Hoke was frustrated with performance of the "experienced" players and pushed all his coaches to start giving younger guys (guys recruited by Hoke) a chance to play.  My brother responded with, "you can't just try to get time to play young guys to give them experience, you have to play to win and put the best people out there".  My response was, "the scary thing is, I think that's what he is doing."

I'm expecting that 2014 sees a dramatic reduction of burned redshirts.

06/17/2014 - 12:44pm Jake Ryan will be fine

Much has been made over this change not fitting Jake Ryan. I agree that he has to learn new keys, since he is in the middle instead of on the edge. But the difference between him and Beyer, as far as Hoke and Mattison would comment, was that Jake was onorthodox, but could correct for it with his athletic ability. I think that ability was to be able to correct for over aggressiveness. It is similar to the advantage Woodson had as a corner. Woodson would bait the QB into a throw b not maintaining proper coverage, and then closing the apparent gap in time to make the interception. I saw the same ability with Jake in that he would over pursue to cut off the outside run lane for the running back, yet when the running back juked inside, Jake could twitch back into a collision course. Go back and watch the Sugar bowl where the running back starts to run backwards to try and get away from Jake, and fails.

Add to that the A gap blitzing when the correct slant is called by the DTs, and I think we will soon be back to listening to the lamentation of the women.

06/08/2014 - 12:06pm Hmmmm

Guess that's why it is such an amazing accomplishment when a horse does win all three in the same season.

06/06/2014 - 2:15pm I agree this is more permanent

Mattison has commented many times that he wants the defense to be symetrical and to not have the D line flop around in response to motion changing the weak and strong sides. Add in the increase of up tempo preventing substitution and time to align, and having the base defense be an Over responds to that.

04/28/2014 - 2:13pm read this Space Coyote article

posted at MaizenBrew  4-3 Over

The interesting thing to me is that the SDE moves out and takes the 4-3 Under SAM responsibility of contain.  The SAM comes off the line and takes the gap inside the SDE.  This does make the DL more symetrical than the 4-3 under, and I think that is what Mattison has been recruiting in DT's and DE's.  So now Taco and Frank are both in the first team DL, and most importantly there shouldn't be any more flip flop of the DL on the first motion of the offense, just minor adjustment left or right in reaction to the change in strength of the motion man.  Brian's repeated concern has been the loss of Jake Ryan's slashing ability, but I think Mattison wants to use that for blitzing up the middle, and in the Spring Game there was a classic example of Jake Ryan overpursuit when he got into the backfield "too fast", and missed the running back, although the disruption caused resulted in a stop at the LOS.  And you can't have the confidence to do that if the corners can't cover the quick routes.


04/23/2014 - 1:26pm Hard to appreciate

when it's not that funny.

04/11/2014 - 2:59pm His Family said it's the system

in the next few paragraphs the quotes from Horford talk about it being a good system IF the Big player gets a lot of minutes.  Then following that he states he wasn't given sufficient minutes to get the experience to apply what he was learning in a game experience.  So either he is just skewing the truth a bit so that it doesn't label Beilien's system as "bad for big men", or in reality he is upset about not getting playing time up to now, and doesn't think it will change in the future despite the fact that he has the most experience.

I think that he's not confident he would be given the majority of minutes, whatever the situation is with Mitch and the other recruited 5's and 4's, and with his degree complete, this is the perfect time to make a change.  To me the biggest factor is that he has his degree and can go anywhere without waiting out a year.

It does make me wonder what happened with Beilein's attempt at putting in to "bigs" at the same time.  Did the coach just not think it would work?  That seems to have been something they were trying to do to make Glenn happy, so Glenn could go to the 3.

I don't really expect a clear answer, I wouldn't give one either.  This is a good message of "I learned great things at Michigan, thus I'm as good as anybody on that team, but I want the prime minutes for my last year.  Everyone wishes me well."  doesn't leave Michigan in a bad way, and puts it out there for what he's looking for and what he could do for a school looking for his talent.

01/29/2014 - 3:27pm Frank Clark as a comparison?

I know that I don't have the time, but if you really wanted to determine whether Hoke was consistent or not in managing his players who have off field issues you could compare timelines of Frank Clark and Darryl Stonum.  I did a google search on Stonum to find an article with two timeline points;

Michigan wide receiver Darryl Stonum will redshirt due to DUI plea

Stonum was arrested for DUI on May 6.  He pleaded guilty June 3rd, and the article dated Aug 7 states that Hoke has decided he is suspended for the season and will use his redshirt to return to the team if Stonum fulfils his punishment obligations given by the court.

I suspect that you would find Hoke to be very consistent in that until the player is proven guilty by the appropriate Non-Football judicial system, the player remains on the team.  Once that player is found guilty and punished by the Non-Football judicial system, then Hoke makes his own judgement on how the player will be involved with the Football team.  Gibbons clearly cannot be on the team because he is no longer a student.  Stonum could have returned to the team if he had completed his punishment from Washtenaw Courts.  He did not complete his punishment and was subsequently kicked off the team.

As I said, I don't really have the time to go further, but I expect that despite the reason given for Gibbons not playing, Hoke did suspend him during the time the judgment was given to the school, but in reality the final expelling not delivered.  Potentially Gibbens was appealing the decision.  To have stated what was going on off the field for Gibbons until the final decision was delivered would have been inconsistent with how Hoke handled the other issues.



01/13/2014 - 2:01pm Are you saying

that you do not believe that Hoke initiated the hiring when he saw that Nussmeier did not get the HC job at Washington? That Hoke didn't decide to fire his close colleague of five years because it was necessary for success AND there was an excellent opportunity for an OC who was looking for more independence in his job? I can understand the point of view that Hoke is a figurehead. I just can't believe it knowing how complex organizations work and what is required of leadership. Primarily making difficult decisions on limited information.

I think the only contribution Brandon provided Hoke was the assurance that whatever Hoke needed to succeed, Brandon would pay for it. I see this as the same situation as when Hoke wanted Mattison.

01/10/2014 - 3:02pm Moeller

Went elsewhere to be a head coach for awhile and then Bo brought him back as OC just before Bo retired as HC. Its all part of building a coaching tree.

01/10/2014 - 2:30pm Doubt it

He didn't hire anyone when Saban brought him to Alabama. Same with Scot Shafer hire and Gerg as DC. They all equally work for the headcoach. Hoke would have replaced Funk if that was the problem.

01/09/2014 - 3:39pm I agree

Brian does a great summation of his viewpoint on Borges and analysis of the offense under Borges' control.  Year 1 the team did have luck, but I think that was just the turnover karma swinging back to the positive after it hung out on the downside for Rodriguez.  If you tally up the number of point scoring drives in 2011 and 2010 they come out nearly the same.  The biggest change was the defense actually defended things.

Year 2 I would summarize as "Denard is still the only running attack".  Or basically, Borges just couldn't put Denard on a shelf while trying to run the pro-style plays he knew the rest of the offense needed to practice so that they would be proficient in 2013, or at least serviceable.  Of course Hoke only had one half of his massive OL haul in recruits, so how much would it have helped putting Denard on a shelf?  Hard to say if we gained anything from adding the complicated passing schemes when our best recievers were Gallon and Gardner.

Year 3 is where I think Borges just couldn't admit it was going to suck no matter what.  Not only was the OL massively young, but Borges couldn't make the decision to just pick one thing and stick with it.  I think the improvement of MSU's offense this entire year is all about practicing the same base plays all year and adding the counters once the base is perfected.  Every coach that comments on this site repeated this comment that Michigan has no base.  It was reflected in the opposing teams gloating about, "we knew what was coming".

The point I lost faith was during reading Brian's diagnoses of the play where Funchess is in the slot but had to be on the line AND covered up by the WR.  How is that NOT a Running play?  That play is flawed on the drawing board.  High school players would not have covered Funchess and instead joyously streaked into the backfield looking for the TFL!

Prior to that, I was really putting it on the pressure that Michigan must win year in and year out despite having incredibly young players.  While I think Borges made a mistake expecting too much from young players, the part that couldn't be fixed was his apparent lack of understanding in how the opposing team uses video to scout you.  I ignored the signs when he brought out that insane OL formation against PSU that he had "surprised" Minnesota with.  I mean, in reality I couldn't tell if that was his brain child or Hokes.  But designing a play where you are blatantly telling the defense "it's a run" is just inconceivable.

I do think the game has passed him by, and despite his knowledge and eloquence, this is the right thing to happen.  And is the best for the team.

01/09/2014 - 1:58pm Great info

Not really diary material though. You did a good job shadow boxing the quotes from the press release , but I expected more author content for a diary.

01/09/2014 - 1:28pm I think the mistake

everyone makes with this line of thinking is that the coaching staff structure has many levels instead of being flat.  All the coaches are hired and fired by Hoke, evaluated by Hoke, assigned to their position by Hoke.  Just like Rich Rodriguez hiring and firing his DC.  No staff changes beyond the coordinator.

I agree with Don, we would have heard of something from Michigan if it's going to happen, because Hoke would have decided it all at the same time.  If he wanted a package deal from Alabama that would have been arranged in the dark secret place where Brandon does all his negotiating.

Check the recruit responses to the firing.  They are pretty consistent with "I haven't heard from Coahc Borges for a couple of weeks".  That's pretty close to how long Lane Kiffin has been "consulting" with Alabama.

01/09/2014 - 11:46am They are two slightly different metrics

FEI is a drive based analysis, so having at least one play in a drive as "explosive" will label that drive explosive. When I read the Mathletes description my understanding is that he is rating each first down achieved by how many yards beyond the goal of a first down were achieved. In other words how many explosive first downs does a team achive, rather than explosive drives.

As a quantitative analysis I think this shows that Nussmeier achieves improvement that is independent of the state of the program. Granted it is only two cases on opposite ends of the spectrum, but how much data does any single coach generate? The fact is, in his last two jobs he created improvement on these metrics, with first unproven or limited talent, and then again with proven talent.

The question I ask myself is "why did Saban tire of him in two short years?" I assume Saban knows more than what we can analyze, and there is the fact that he hired him from Washington and must have done so expecting improvement, which he got. So why the change? My conclusion is that as soon as the master recruiter, Lane Kiffin, became available room was going to be made for him, and OC was the only position that wouldn't be an insult.

11/20/2013 - 3:56pm Can't be just talent

The freshman would have been on the field at the beginning of the season if the abilities they are showing now were the same two months ago. Where were the freshman for Akron and UConn? Now I am not saying they are less talented. I believe the star ratings in general. But you have to know a lot to apply whatever talent level you have properly. That knowledge only comes from time in practice.

For example, if Green can learn to pick his feet up and stay choppy until he is out of traffic, he will double his yardage output. He is good at hitting shoulder pads, but for some reason, possibly practice, he still gets tackled at the ankles and legs. He is not Mike Hart, he is tall, so he has got to pick his feet up whe the safety dives down to chop him.

11/13/2013 - 3:54pm Arguing too far apart

From everything I read, both Brian and Space Coyote indicate that coaching is the issue. What I see in the discussion is that they are both missing the point the other one is trying to make. The "can Kerridge block" discussion is a good example. Space Coyote is explaining how the play is designed and that it is a good playcall in that situation. Specificaally, it mimics a comment Borges made in response to a lack of "bubble screen". Borges stated he would prefer to have a running back filling the space the slot LB has abandoned, because he sees it as a mismatch in the offenses favor even if the slot LB stays home to cover the back. The wrinklr Brian is trying to point out is that since the fullback has been added the slot receiver must be on the line along with the outside WR, and that makes the slot ineligible and thus no need to cover him. Brian's point is that the alignment of the "good playcall" makes it a bad play call because it telegraps run and now the defense has the advantage such that an easy block for Kerridge becomes a difficult block, and the design of the play makes that block critical! In short a play call that is difficult to execute is a bad play call and not the fault of execution.

Brian argues this position, because he has watched the RR offense at WVU. In the design of RR's plays, the slot is still eligible, and if the slot cover blitzes down to stop the run the the QB is coached to pick the bubble screen option, or pop pass, or whatever you want to call it. It is the constraint play that keeps the defense honest and maintains the offensive advantage on blockers. If you make your slot ineligible to catch a pass, you have removed the fear of constraint from the defense and they will punish you. Even the talent gap between Michigan and UConn couldn't make these kinds of plays succeed.

10/22/2013 - 1:05pm good point on the checks

I'm sure that Michigan prepared for uptempo, but seeing it in the game was a different story.  They did get better as the game progressed though.  Especially the secondary getting themselves lined up.  And once that started happening faster, then Indiana could see that things were set, and then waited for the coaches to indicate whether or not to check to a different play.

For me, it is like every other scheme.  If your team can't execute it efficiently in the bread and butter plays, then you can never get to the counters.  And despite having scout teams, you'll never have a coach say, "yeah we practiced up temp, and it was clear that despite practicing it for 1 and a half days this week, we never really got our team to line up quickly, and of course our scout team has only practiced it for a couple of days, and Indiana has been doing it for a season and a half now."

This year many facets of the Michigan team are nice lumps of iron being shaped in a forge, they aren't pretty yet, or ready for tempering, but at least they are starting to look like a pointy weapon.

I think many negatives will be assigned to the LB corp for this game. Yes the secondary got burned early, but later on they were in position, and just didn't have the technique to make at least two more picks or PBUs 

10/11/2013 - 10:03pm What are you basing that on?

I see very few JB stars that stayed to senior year except the ones who didn't have NBA potential.

10/09/2013 - 5:44pm I hope it stays with Dileo

The attitude you need to be a punt returner is different than kickoff return. On kickoff return you never get hit before you catch it. Catching a punt is like looking up while running around in traffic. Norfleet is a jitterbug, but Dileo's got the attitude of, "you're not hitting me I'm hitting you." You need that for the first five steps of a punt return. After that, if you are still running, then it's a foot race, and Norfleet doesn't seem to have that all out sprint speed Breaston, Carter, Woodson, Howard, etc. had.

10/01/2013 - 6:48pm Soooo...

The answer is "No".

09/25/2013 - 5:37pm is this the same play for TD?

Is this the same play as the TD after Michigan's interception?  That play looked like everyone sealed their man inside.  How did the defense respond on that play?

I think the picture pages are great for analyzing one play in isolation.  And if the goal of this analysis is to say, "hey the OL did a pretty good job blocking, but the defense was ready for it, and Fitz should have slammed up into a LB for 1-3 yards forward instead of dancing for a -2.

Now the conclusions that are made in the article go beyond what I think the single play can provide.  Primarily the unstated assumption is that this is as  best as Michigan can block it.  But every now and then a play loses on RPS.  How did this play and this team execute when RPS even?  That's why I'm asking if this was the same play that also got a TD at a very critical moment?

To extend this into other analysis I've seen on the board, or in comments to other front page analysis, there was a comment that the speed pitch is great, but Borges better not call it for MSU because they weill surely have an answer.  The problem I see with that is the speed option has only been called as an audible by Gardner.  The first time he made a bad decision to keep AND failed to secure the ball.  The second time he made a great decision to pitch, maybe even helped by UConn studying film and saying, "Gardner never pitches to Fitz, annihilate Gardner", which ends up as a TD.

Basically, if we are going to try and analyze the game plan, we need to sort through all the different play calls (hard to do without a playbook) and then compare results on the same play call against the variations of defense put up against it.

Or we could limit our conclusions to only what the single play against a specific defense tells us.  On this one I see us almost win on a play call that was defensed perfectly.


09/24/2013 - 2:25pm Who are the maulers?

To me there is Taylor, and then an inexperienced Kalis. Miller is small but non-Molkian, Glasgow is an inexperienced walkon, and Schofield is the serviceable Generic RT. compared to last year we've only added Kalis as the true Hoke prodigy. Why are we running outside zone? Maybe, just maybe it leverages our most experienced OL?!? And it is in response to last years weak interior line issues?

What I see is that all teams have a much greater ability to prepare than in years past. Hell recruiting stats don't even go back ten years. So now you have poor talent teams able to review everything a team did in the last game. It takes a lot more experience than Michigan has now on offense to continually add new things when last weeks new things were execution failures. I think what we have seen is a team that ignored CMU and took two weeks to prepare for ND. Then all the emphasis on being unorthodox to defeat talent hit a panic button in the team and inexperience melted down and Senior playmakers stopped trusting and took high risk paths to try and mitigate.

At the end of UConn, it looked to me that Fitz was finally trusting the holes would be there and stopped immediately looking for the cutbacks and alternates. By doing that he is going to give the OL confidence they are doing it correct immediately, instead of waiting for the film on Sunday.

This team lacks confidence, and it starts with Gardner. He was playing to not screw up at UConn.

Or Dr. Evil stole his MoJo.

09/23/2013 - 6:28pm Games played is important

Just attending practice only gets you so far. Then experience is everything. Playing against your own team in practice can never be as intense as a real game, especially for something as physically exhausting as football. Then there is the quantity of inexperienced players that can start to have an exponential effect. A team can have a successful play if one person makes a mistake. But two or three mistakes? And then that blown play limits the options for the next play in the series. This is why the coaching types more frequently defend the coaches against the execution. In video games it sounds like players just have physical talents that vary but 100% execution is assumed, thus failure is only caused by "the scheme".

So count up all the games started by the listed startersand backups, compare that to other teams, and then tell me Michigan is not "young".

09/18/2013 - 2:00pm It's the RB?

I agree with the analysis on Toussaint, and I am thinking that maybe the coach we should be raising an eyebrow at is one Fred Jackson, and not Funk. But I also remember Gorgeous Al emphasizing that you don't rely on freshman running backs because that is how you get your QB killed.

Overall I think this game was on Gardner and his lack of experience. Going forward every defense is going to target Gallon as the threat, until Gardner makes them aware of Dileo,TE's and most importantly Jehu!

I expect to see Jehu on Kick Off returns and replacing the reynolds/jackson sightings.

09/17/2013 - 8:55pm Reminded of 1998

During one of Hoke's coaching clinic tours, he kept bringing up his preparation mistake with the 1998 team, and the result against Syracuse. Basically the point was, everyone needs to practice the fundamentals. Mattison seems to be repeating that in his press conference. The players seemed so eager to learn that he accelerated the installment of technique to the detriment of fundamental importance. Now I don't know what it takes to install more LB blitzes, but when the offense is only putting three guys out to catch covering them with five players and sending both LB's seems to be something that needs doing.

It also makes me think that if you can trust your front seven to be gap sound on every play there really is no reason not to hop them up on goofballs.

That said, I have faith that progress will be made this season. And the bye weeks come up early this year, so I am ready to just think about U Conn from this point forward.

09/17/2013 - 4:39pm The coaches comments on youth

These comments are the ones I pay attention to the most. I think everyone is forgetting the CMU game results entirely by some of these grasping at straws reasons. It is similar to comments like, "Hoke's strategy is execution over scheme". That statement makes no sense. Schemes never work if they aren't executed. Coaches call a play on first down with the widest range of choice. When the execution causes failure, the next choice is greatly resticted. Borges, like many coaches seems to have few choices on third and long. Oregon has fewer choices on third and long, once you are in third and long the defense has the advantage, and their acces to scheme expands!

Go watch the post game press conferences again everyone, the most dodged question was the one about, "didn't you notice in practice that players were not preparing as they had the previous weeks?

Everyone thought this game was in the bag except Akron. It is as simple as that. Well, and Devin panicked multiple times. Hopefully Captain Red Zone got it all out of his system and can go back to his super hero results. I'll give him the deflection in traffic, but the non-pitch to Fitz was ego or mental freeze, the pass to double covered Gallon instead of wide open Funchess was playground mentality football, and the pick six was the scramble panic flub that he did in the ND game. The one everyone said "He knows to not do that again"