|This will not end well. (image via USA Today)|
Denard Robinson is a terrible (passing) quarterback. He was, is, and probably always will be. I have been saying this for years. He's capable of good games (Ohio State in 2011, for example), but that's not the norm when he faces decent teams. Over the past two seasons, he has 26 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Last night he was 13/24 for 138 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions; he also fumbled twice and got sacked 3 times. There's no excuse for the poor decisions he makes, the poor footwork, the turnovers, and the inaccuracy. Even his Hail Mary interception at the end of the first half was terrible because he overthrew every single dude on the team; you're not trying to beat the opponent deep in that situation - you're trying to complete the pass and get yards after the catch. And all that stuff happened with Notre Dame missing starting safety Jamoris Slaughter and starting corner Lo Wood.
Vincent Smith and Al Borges d'oh. Michigan was moving the ball really well at one point in the first quarter, and then Al Borges had to go ahead and call that play where Vincent Smith throws the ball to the other team. That was a huge turning point in the game, because it seemed Michigan was on its way to scoring before that play. Of course, Smith should know better than to throw it, but he's a running back. Hell, Michigan's actual quarterback threw four picks of his own, so who's to say that Denard wouldn't have made the same poor decision? I thought Borges called an okay game, but that was a huge, huge mistake.
Hooray for Jeremy Gallon. I thought Gallon was pretty consistent throughout the night in all phases of the game. He made good decisions on punt returns, ran well after the catch, and had a couple nice designed runs.
J.T. Floyd rabble rabble rabble. He did not have a good game. He is not good. I take that back. He isn't good at covering, he isn't good at supporting the run, and he isn't good at taking on blocks. However, he does have a knack for tackling wide receivers when they catch the ball in front of him. So there's that.
Freshman safety anger. I hate hate hate playing freshman safeties. I've mentioned this before. All safeties should redshirt or be limited to special teams. Jarrod Wilson got caught flat-footed in the second quarter and then had to grab onto Tyler Eifert to prevent a touchdown pass. Pass interference, first down, then touchdown. Wilson also picked up a holding penalty on the ensuing kickoff. All that attrition in the defensive backfield over the past few years has really hurt the team.
WTF on Notre Dame's touchdown? Notre Dame lined up in pro left with trips to the right on the 2-yard line.. Michigan put four guys down with Jake Ryan as the middle linebacker and safety Jordan Kovacs about 7 or 8 yards off the ball. This is problematic because a) Notre Dame has six blockers to block five guys and b) Jake Ryan isn't a middle linebacker. Ryan's read step took him to Notre Dame's left (presumably because that's where the uncovered gaps were), but he was also moving backward on the snap. Quarterback Tommy Rees simply took the shotgun snap and ran right behind his center and right guard, who were double-teaming Quinton Washington. Washington didn't do a bad job of holding up, but that's just setting up your defense to fail. Put Desmond Morgan or James Ross in there, and maybe your MIKE has a chance of making the right read.
Jake Ryan's role needs to be re-evaluated. I think the coaching staff is asking too much of him. Sometimes he's a SAM linebacker, sometimes he's an inside linebacker, and sometimes they put him at defensive end, even in running situations. He can't hold up at defensive end against the run. Leave him on the edge and then move him around in obvious passing situations to get after the quarterback. He's a quality player in some aspects, but he's not a freak athlete that can be moved around at will.
Where is Michigan now? Out of the top 25. And that's probably where they deserve to be. They were overrated to begin the year, and now they're probably in the range where they deserve to be. The loss of Junior Hemingway has hurt because Denard doesn't have a go-to guy, and the lack of playmakers on the defensive line has turned this into a mediocre defense. The linebackers and safeties are fine, but the defensive line and cornerbacks are weaknesses right now.