Sunday, November 4, 2012

Michigan 35, Minnesota 13

Devin Gardner was solid in replacing injured starter Denard Robinson (image via Bleacher Report)
Thanks goodness for Devin Gardner.  I am fairly confident that Russell Bellomy could not have duplicated Gardner's performance from yesterday.  The junior wide receiver/quarterback finished 12/18 for 234 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception; he also ran 10 times for 21 yards and 1 touchdown.  Gardner obviously isn't the same type of electrifying runner that Denard Robinson is, but that passing performance was pretty much on par with anything Robinson has done this year.  Gardner had three passes of 45-plus yards and did a great job of keeping plays alive with his feet.  There are still things to improve (the one INT was a poor decision, he holds onto the ball too long sometimes, etc.), but he looked much more ready to play QB than Bellomy has at any point.  This should give Michigan fans hope.  And I know I beat this drum a lot, but how much more excited would you be if Gardner were a redshirt sophomore instead of a true junior?  That burned redshirt in 2010 really irks me . . .

Michigan's receivers stepped up when needed.  This was something we haven't seen in the past few weeks, but I don't remember a single drop in this game.  The receivers pulled in some nice receptions, including Jerald Robinson's sliding 22-yarder and a couple balls caught in traffic by Jeremy Gallon, Drew Dileo, and Roy Roundtree.  Gardner has a stronger arm than Bellomy, and I think the receivers are probably a little more comfortable catching Gardner's darts than Bellomy's soft tosses.

Here is where I grumble about cornerbacks.  Teams have been picking on J.T. Floyd for the past few weeks, and once again he was beaten several times.  Minnesota freshman quarterback Philip Nelson missed on several, but sometimes it didn't matter because Floyd bailed him out by getting called for pass interference two or three times.  Raymon Taylor didn't have a great game, either, and picked up a pass interference call himself.  I am looking forward to a time when Michigan can put two solid corners on the field at the same time.  Taylor has a chance to be one, but it's been a while since the Wolverines had two.

Don't say Michigan never gets the benefit of refs' poor calls.  Jeremy Gallon's 10-yard touchdown catch wasn't a catch; the ball was moving in his hands the entire time.  Roy Roundtree's 47-yard catch probably wasn't a catch; the ball was moving the entire time.  However, both of them were called completions on the field, and they were difficult to overturn.  In both cases, if they had been called incomplete on the field, I think they would have been upheld as being incomplete.

Jake Ryan wheee!  Ryan struggled a little bit early in the game, but he turned it on afterward.  He finished the game with 9 tackles and 3 tackles for loss.  The speed at which he plays for a guy who's 6'3", 242 lbs. is pretty ridiculous.  He now has 65 tackles and 12 tackles for loss, both numbers surpassing what he did in 2011 (37 tackles, 11 tackles for loss).

The future of the defensive line is bright.  I was very concerned about Michigan's defensive line coming into 2012 after Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen graduated, and those two have certainly been missed.  The drop-off at strongside end hasn't been very noticeable with Craig Roh playing fairly well, but Martin has certainly been missed at nose tackle.  However, Michigan has several guys starting or in the rotation who should return next season, so they should be able to maintain this level of play.  Weakside ends Brennen Beyer and Frank Clark, defensive tackles Quinton Washington and Ondre Pipkins, and strongside end Keith Heitzman all look solid, and that's not to mention the incoming freshmen or the redshirting freshmen (Chris Wormley, Tom Strobel, Matt Godin, Willie Henry).

Working on Saturdays is lame.  There's just not the same level of excitement when you know you could just fast forward the DVR and see the final score.  On the plus side, I could fast forward during timeouts and between plays so I didn't have to listen to the Big Ten Network's terrible announcers.  Sometimes Chris Martin talks just to hear himself, and he says very little of substance.  He does a good job of discussing defensive back play, but anytime the discussion wanders into the other 18 positions on the field, he's mute-worthy.

66 comments:

  1. Comments for anyone:

    * On the subject of CBs, it would be fun to have two NFL-level guys (specifically, two guys where clear NFL potential can be seen, as opposed to the seasons(s) where Leon Hall and a still-developing Morgan Trent were playing together) at the same time. Seems as though there's been only one all these years ...

    * I thought Gardner was great overall yesterday (especially when put in context), but his throwing motion still hurts my eyes. He still seems to be shot-putting it. Any thoughts / comments on that?

    * What do you think Gardner's ceiling as a QB is? To me, he still looks like a great athlete from some other position playing QB. Much better than Bellomy and quite a few other QBs, but still odd-looking ...

    * Finally, with the understanding that Gardner hadn't taken many snaps prior to the Nebraska game _and_ (making a leap of faith, maybe) with the understanding that Bellomy was looking competent in practice, how do you think Devin would have done in that Nebraska game, relative to best-case-scenario Bellomy, had he been forced into action?

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    1. I really don't care how Gardner gets the ball to where it needs to go, as long as it gets there. It's not pretty, but it worked.

      I'll get to the rest later...gotta run out...

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    2. Considering the wasted red-shirt, his high school situation, facing a pretty big coaching transition, and then moving to WR - it's not a surprise that Devin is still so raw at QB. It's a shame for him personally because while he has plenty of talent, he's not the sort of elite talent that the NFL is going to wait around on and patiently develop.

      Hopefully he focuses on QB this entire offseason and next season. There is still a lot of time to improve. Maybe we'll all get lucky and the red-shirt gets granted afterall.

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    3. Who cares if Gardner having an ugly throwing motion. He can throw it as far as he wants and that's what matters.

      The Gardner should have played at Nebraska thing is stupid. Sorry but it is. The guy hadn't taken a snap all season. At that point Bellomy was the better option. Gardner + a week of practice + Minnesota's defense is not the same thing as Gardner + zero practice + Nebraska's defense. Sorry but this was the rule all year with Gardner's position switch. In game injury means Bellomy plays. Pre-game injury means Gardner plays. It amazed me that Michigan fans and television commentators are confused on something that Hoke and Co. have pointed out all fall.

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    4. @ KB

      The point (that I've made) is that Gardner should have been getting reps at QB all season. He should have been prepared to go into that Nebraska game if Bellomy struggled and/or got hurt.

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    5. I think Gardner's ceiling is as a borderline NFL pick as a QB. I mean, we've seen Ryan Tannehill turn from WR into a first-rounder. But Gardner will likely end his career less experienced than Tannehill, from what I recall of Tannehill's college career. I could see some team trying to take Gardner as a QB in the later rounds of the 2014 draft, but mainly I see him as a WR prospect going forward. We'll see what kinds of strides he makes as a QB in the next year or so, though...

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    6. @Thunder

      I'm really surprised to hear you say that. I don't see a single trait Gardner has that would separate him from the pack of NFL-caliber receivers. He's tall and fast, but not on a level that will stick out at the NFL combine and he's so raw in every respect of receiver skills that I just can't see him working there. His skills at QB are far more refined and he demonstrates far better instincts. He has a long way to go as a QB too, but I don't know that hands and ball awareness are things that can be taught that easily by the time you're 20 years old.

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    7. @KB

      I agree with you. Michigan made their bed BEFORE the Nebraska game by moving Gardner to WR. THAT was the mistake. Throwing Gardner in unprepared would have been unfair to everyone.

      I can't say how feasible it was for him to work at WR AND QB, but given how raw he looks he obviously needed reps at the position if he was going to improve.

      The logic I've disagreed with is "if Denard is hurt we're screwed either way". Minnesota showed that's not true - we can win games without Denard.

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    8. Well, he's 6'4" and 210 lbs. with good leaping ability and good speed. There's a lot that separates him from other guys. I don't think he's a first-rounder or anything, but teams are much more likely to go for a big, raw receiver prospect as a practice squad guy than a developmental QB prospect.

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    9. @ Lanko

      "We're screwed either way" doesn't mean we'll lose every game. Minnesota isn't very good. We could have beaten UMass without Denard, maybe Illinois without Denard, etc. But MSU is a loss, Notre Dame is a loss, Air Force might be a loss, so on and so forth.

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    10. Well, obviously the backup isn't going to be as good as the starter so we're not going to win games we lost with Denard. That doesn't make the quality of the backup irrelevant, which was the gist of that line of thinking. The games that matter are the games on the margin. With Bellomy those games include Minnesota. With Gardner, it might have made the difference for Nebraska, and therefore potentially the conference title.

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    11. @Thunder

      Leaping ability doesn't really matter much for WR. Hemingway was a jump-ball expert and it wasn't because he was tall or athletic it was because he was strong and got himself in position well. He had WR skills that translate to coming down with the ball. Gardner does not. Whatever track or basketball skills or attributes he has are largely beside the point.

      I don't think Gardner has good speed relative to NFL WRs. He's not even getting that much separation at the college level. He's fairly fast, but he's not exceptionally fast.

      There was a Michigan basketball player a few years back that some people might remember named Brandun Hughes. He was tall and super athletic, but it just didn't translate to basketball very well. He didn't have the skills or the know-how to play the game. He never had a real position or anything he did that gave him an edge, but his athleticism and jumping ability was very evident. I'm concerned Gardner is going to end up a similar case, though he's already had more success as a college athlete than Huges did and far more recruiting accolades.

      As for NFL - I think teams are more likely to invest in a QB than in a WR. If Gardner gets his mechanics fixed and starts passing more consistently there's a place for him in a league where Cleo Lemon can start games and Tarvarius Jackson is a multi-year starter. I wouldn't bet on it - but I think his NFL future will come at QB well before it comes at WR.

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    12. Leaping ability doesn't matter for a wr? once again lankownia's idiocy shines through.

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    13. @Anon

      It's pretty low on the list of things that matter. You've got to be able to get open, catch the ball, anticipate/time your body, judge the ball in the air, take a hit, run after the catch, block, etc. Being able to 'leap' isn't a big part of the job description, it's just a nice bonus.

      I can't think of a single play where Gardner's leaping ability translated into a catch. Can you?

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    14. Gallon's TD catch wouldn't have been possible without his leaping ability. Hemmingway relied on his leaping quite a bit last year, if you remember. The ability to high point the ball and bring it down seems to be big for this coaching staff.

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    15. Yep, Gallon's leaping ability helps - but what it does is it equalizes him to a player who is 6'1 in terms of reach. More important is his timing, his strength, his positioning and his hands. Leaping ability is not why Gallon is a good receiver.

      Ditto for Hemingway, who was not a great leaper but WAS a great receiver when it came to jump balls.

      I've made the comparison to rebounding before. Yes, it helps to be 7'2 or jump out of the building but the best rebounders are those guys who anticipate well, position themselves well, and are strong and determined enough to fend of their opponent. Gallon is like Jason Kidd - a great rebounder for his size. Hemingway was Dennis Rodman.

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    16. Gardner is like Charlie Villanueva in this analogy. The tools are there, but the skill is not.

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  2. 1. I think Dileo dropped a pass early, which got me thinking: "Not again." However, the rest of the game was pretty good.
    2. Garder's first test against a porous Minnesota secondary was just what he needed to get started. Next week, against Northwestern. If Denard is not coming back, then the schedule works out in our favor to get Gardner lost of snaps before a real test in Ohio.
    3. Garner's wasted redshirt, ARGH!
    4. It seems like they throw a lot more to JT Floyd than to R. Taylor. Can you speculate if that's because QBs/Off Co.'s feel more comfortable going against Floyd v. Taylor or is that just circumstances of Floyd covering the opposing team's best WR? And what is your perceived level of speculation v. comfidence in your answer.
    5. Gardner seems effortlessly fast, and he seems to throw a nice deep ball. I'm pretty sure that Gardner's bomb to Dileo would either never have gotten there or would have gotten there too late for Dileo to still be open.
    6. To your good and surprising competence of the DLine, I have a similar negative feelings about the OLine. While it seems like Mattison has done a masterful job of filling in players, I'm very skeptical (still inconclusive) about Borges' ability to do the same with the OLine. They are missing assignments and not getting push for our RBs/running QB. IOW, it seems like we started the year being very skeptical up the middle of the DLine, now you say, "Hey, I think we're deep up the middle because of X and Y players who are doing well, both starters and serviceable replacements"; whereas, if for starting OLine, I think we're saying: "Argh, the starter isn't meeting my expectations and I'm terrified if we needed to rely on replacements."
    7. thanks for the write-up.

    --TriFloyd

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    1. Given that Denard was available if needed and did some warmup work, I'd expect him to be back for Ohio.

      I don't think Borges has much involvement in developing the OL, but yeah, the scheme and the ability are just not matching which is frustrating when you know that Lewan is a 1st round NFL pick, Barnum and Omameh are proven to be good in a different scheme, and Schofield has talent as well. This should be a team strength but clearly it is not. Seems like that's on the coaches to me.

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    2. I think opposing quarterbacks and coordinators are going after Floyd because he's Floyd. His speed has always been questionable, and I don't know that I've ever seen him make a play with his back to the ball. All of his pass breakups and interception seem to come when he breaks forward on the ball. Taylor has made a couple nice plays on the ball, and while he's not a superstar, I think he's less likely to get beaten in a foot race than Floyd.

      I think Darrell Funk is the guy to look at when it comes to developing the offensive linemen. Maybe it's just a question of talent, though. I thought Greg Frey did a very good job with the offensive line when he was at Michigan, and the biggest culprits this year (Mealer and Barnum, in my opinion) never got on the field for Frey. Granted, they were two years younger at that point...but Lewan and Omameh were ready to play as redshirt freshmen. I don't think Barnum/Mealer are up to the level of, say, Perry Dorrestein or Mark Huyge.

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    3. Dileo didn't drop that pass so much as the cornerback broke it up. It wasn't an unforced error by any means.

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    4. Barnum had earned starting jobs ahead of people like Schofield (who was supposedly neck-and-neck with Huyge). They play different positions, but Barnum was a quality player in the spread. Not sure what all the issues are now, but I don't think it's about him being a bad player. Mealer might be a different story since he's a career backup until a dearth of talent left a void he could step into.

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    5. We never really saw Barnum play in the spread. His first year of starting was in 2011, when Michigan was already a pro-style-ish team. Other than that, he was a garbage time backup.

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    6. I thought he was hurt in 2010 as well...but yeah, he never proved it - but the praise from insiders and coaches has always been there. It's hard to believe he's just a terrible player after all that background praise, but it happens...

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    7. Lots of praise in the offseason turns into so much hot air.

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    8. @Thunder

      This is true. But when you hear it from two different coaching staffs, with very different philosophies and values, AND you hear it from a bunch of players, the evidence is more convincing.

      But yeah - Jerald Robinson is a good example of how hype doesn't always translate...though he still has time to emerge, I suppose.

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  3. Against a better defense, some of those passes would have been INT. Gardner's talent is good but a bit raw. That said, his passing game is more of a threat than Robinson's, and his running game is good enough to move the chains. That's all that's really needed.

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  4. The OL was like a sieve early on, it was painful to watch. I still can't believe with all Sr's and Jr's starting they can be that incompetent.

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  5. I thought Gallon caught the ball. His hands were moving that's for sure, but the ball was in his possession when he became down. What made it look bad was him putting it down and then deciding that might not have been such a good idea and picking it back up.

    Either way, that kid has some way serious hops.

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  6. RE: point #6...Wouldn't the blame for poor OL play fall on the OL coach (Funk) if it is indeed the fault of coaching rather than just poor play by the players themselves?

    Personally, I think the fault lies mainly with Mealer. I know people might be uncomfortable saying anything bad about Mealer because of all the crap that has happened to him and his family...but if we ignore that and just discuss his play...well, it hasn't been good and that shouldn't really come as a big surprise. Mealer is a 5th year senior who has never seen the field except in mop up duty until this season and I don't think he ever spent much time practicing at center (which is the most challenging position on the OL) until this off-season. His snapping has been fine but he gets manhandled frequently by the opposing interior DL, is terrible at blocking in space (he has had numerous missed blocks on screens that would have been big plays otherwise) and is most likely the guilty party in many of UM's baffling screw-ups in OL assignments as it is the center's responsibility to make the OL corrections based on his read of the defense.

    Again, I want to point out that I am not trying to "bag" on Mealer. He simply is a backup quality Guard being forced to start at Center. That is a recipe for disaster for any OL. I just hope that Jack Miller, who is almost certain to be the starting center in 2012, can fill the role more ably...unfortunately, I am not hopeful; if he were better than Mealer, he would probably be starting right now.

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    1. Miller is still small-ish for a starting Big Ten offensive lineman.

      Mealer practiced at center throughout his career. He obviously wasn't one of the top one or two guys, but he's been snapping the ball all along.

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    2. I would really like to know what happened in fall camp that led to the swap of Mealer and Barnum at OG/OC, after Barnum had been playing OC in the spring. I'm guessing that Barnum struggled with the snaps. From a quickness and build standpoint, you'd think Barnum would be the OC and Mealer the OG.

      Slightly undersized or not, it's not a good sign that Miller is not in the mix. Mealer is killing more than his fair share of drives because he cannot reach block DT's with any quickness. I'm thinking if Miller was decent at all, the coaches would be getting him some snaps rather than having him sit behind a sub-par OC. Michigan's historically good OL are almost always in the mix for playing time their second season.

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    3. WOTS is that Barnum was struggling with the snaps, while Mealer was much more consistent. If I had the choice between a bunch of botched snaps and a few missed blocks here or there, I'd take the missed blocks every time. I think it was the right choice, although Mealer's obviously not perfect. And it's not like Barnum is doing well as a blocker, so Mealer just might be the best overall player there.

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    4. How undersized is Miller? According to his rivals profile, he was 6'4 268. If he bulks up to 300lbs isnt that big enough?

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    5. Miller is 6'4", 288 right now.

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  7. Gardner was awesome. I hope anyone who still though Bellomy was the better QB after last week's debacle is ashamed of themselves.

    Gardner is a very different QB from Denard. Whereas Denard has a great arm, Devin does not, but he makes up for by putting good touch on the ball. He threw some of the nicest looking and most catchable passes we've seen in the last few years yesterday. Those throws to Gallon were spot-on - the long one, and the TD pass. He'll make his share of mistakes of course, and we'll all be bemoaning the wasted red-shirt, which seemed silly even at the time (though it might have been Rodriguez's last gasp effort to get a message across to Tate Forcier.) But Devin also seems better at tucking and running out of the pocket, which is something Denard just doesn't have for some reason. His stats don't really reflect how well Devin looking running the ball, and that TD, in particular, was impressive. We'll need that play making next year with a transitioning and youthful OL.

    We can all agree the coaches decision to move Gardner to QB MIGHT have cost Michigan the Nebraska game, right? He's clearly a better QB than Bellomy. They might not have won, but they also might have...

    One added bonus of Gardner at QB, is no more Gardner at WR. Dileo and Gallon seemed to see the ball a lot more, and they're better wide receivers than Denard. Yeah, they're short - and you want to call them a 'slot' specialist, but Lance Moore plays outside WR for the Saints while mega-receivers Colston and Graham work the slot. Welker plays outside receiver in 2-WR sets. Etc. And Gallon again showed he has excellent jump-ball instincts on fade routes. We DON'T need to recruit people specifically for fade route duties.

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    Totally agree on the DL next year. At a minimum, we'll have a competent unit with Ojemudia, Clark, Black, Washington, Pipkins, Heitzman. And the freshman will help too. And Jake Ryan is a beast. He's good enough to play DL when they need him to, even though I know Thunder isn't a fan of it.

    I don't EVER recall a Michigan linebacker being the sort of playmaker that Ryan is, going back through to the 80s.

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    The CBs are fine. Considering we lost Countess to injury, I'm pretty happy with where we are at. If you're expectation is two NFL-caliber guys, you're going to be disappointed nearly all the time.

    The guys we have are solid and we have reliable depth in Avery. Taylor looked real good in run support from what I saw. I'm glad that injury from MSU ended up being not such a big deal.

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    1. I'm not expecting two NFL first round-caliber players every year, but I do expect that we'll have better corners than we have right now. Obviously, there's going to be a drop-off whenever a starter gets hurt like Countess did, but Floyd was the other starter, anyway. Opponents have realized he's a weakness; it's just that guys like Philip Nelson haven't been able to exploit that weakness.

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  8. Hopefully we'll have two solid CBs next year, with Countess back and Taylor with a year of experience. Floyd just doesn't have the speed to be a top CB. JT getting beat over the top still scares me.

    The middle of the OL was brutal at times. I bet we will be just as good if not better next year in those spots. Not so much at tackle if Lewan leaves.

    I wish Gardner would have gotten more reps at QB during garbage time in earlier games. He needed to be the back-up against Nebraska. The staff over-estimated the readiness of Bellomy.

    Was surprised by Heitzman. He is really starting to play well. The front 7 on D looks promising for next year. I think the biggest question is who replaces Kovacs at safety.

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    1. I'm not worried about Kovacs getting replaced. They can either move Gordon over to SS or plug in Marvin Robinson. And I think Jarrod Wilson will be a pretty solid player if they need him to play FS.

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  9. You're wrong Mangus both of those catches were legit, just like Junior's grab in Iowa City last yr, the only difference was these hacks got it right. And I thought we wouldn't know whether Devin's medical rs would be approved or not til after next season? did I miss something?

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    1. I disagree.

      And Michigan's staff does not expect Gardner to get his redshirt.

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    2. Where did you hear that? I don't recall hearing that although I don't doubt you on it.

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    3. I've heard it from insider-y sources.

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  10. I think this is the appropriate forum to discuss perils next year. Defense is going to be fine, excluding iffy cornerback depth. If Countess comes back 100%, our starting two is fine, Avery at nickel, then ???.

    There isn't one position on offense I feel good about, excluding Gardner at qb now. I know Minn's D sucks , but it looked like he was making competent reads, and much more accurate passes than Denard.

    WR? Plenty of bodies, no elite talent.

    OL? 3 non rs freshmen, 4 rs freshmen, 4 true freshmen. Need More experience. If Lewan stayed I wouldn't worry at all.

    RB? An absolute stable without elite talent.

    Really hope we can pull in Green and Treadwell.




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    1. Well, I'll feel pretty good at TE next year, assuming Funchess can bulk up. At WR, we'll have a couple of proven playmakers in Gallon and Dileo, and I want to see more of Darboh before I come to any conclusions. If you have a QB who can deliver the ball on time and on target, it can make your WR corps look a lot better.

      OL is clearly a concern, but we do have some very highly regarded players who will be redshirt freshmen next year. It may sound scary to have to play them, but that's not unprecedented. Hutchinson, Backus, Baas, Long, Lewan . . . they all started as RS frosh. At the least, having a senior Gardner taking snaps behind them can help. We had a very young line in '97, actually, but having a senior Griese starting helped mask a lot of transition hiccups there.

      At RB, I don't know but I don't think Toussaint is 100% healthy. He doesn't seem to have the step he had last year. If he can regain it, we should be in OK shape.

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    2. Yeah, I think they'll keep Avery at the nickel corner spot. That seems to be a true position to these coaches, and not just a spot to use a guy they're grooming to take over on the outside.

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    3. TE we'll have Funchess, stud, Williams - blocking, and then freshmen. The starter has great talent, but the depth is iffy.

      As long as our RS freshmen are all future first round picks, (Baas was 1st pick 2nd round) yes I agree we'll be fine. However, the probability of that happening isn't very good. I really wish we held onto Jake Fisher. I really wish Rich Rod had some quality depth for us. There was a point we had more slot receivers than DL.

      If we have a great QB, yeah it would make the line look a little better, but we don't have a great QB and we don't have stud receivers. Gallon is a proven playmaker. Calling Dileo a proven playmaker is a bit of a stretch though. He had a quality game against MSU, and he's a reliable target, but proven playmaker? That title doesn't suit him.

      Gardner wont be able to get anyone the ball if he doesn't have any time to throw, he's not that experienced yet. The one thing I really like about Gardner is I think he'll be a smarter QB than Denard. Denard tries to fit deep throws even when he has 15 easy yards in front of him to run, and he's very inaccurate. Gardner seemed to go through his reads vs. Minn, and when he couldn't fit anything in, he'd take off.

      I don't know of Toussaint is going to stick around. He's really hurt his draft stock this year, but he also has a daughter to take care of. A practice squad might be too tempting for him to stay.

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    4. Are you on drugs? Toussaint going to the NFL after this season? That's insane and never going to happen. The best way to take care of his daughter given where he's at right now is to get his degree.

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    5. He's a rs junior. He'll have his degree after this year.

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  11. I really disagree with you saying both catches being incomplete. I'm not watching the tape as I type this so this information may be wrong, but on the Roundtree TD the ball is clearly in Roundtree's possession, then his back hits the ground, then the CB rips the ball away. However, he hit the ground first meaning the play ends there and it was a TD. The Dileo TD was harder but he moved the ball away from the CB meaning he had enough control to do that. I think that should be a catch. The constant rule changes of what is and isn't a catch (between NCAA and College) is confusing so I may technically be wrong according to the letter of the law, but I think whatever the rule is, both should be catches.

    The NCAA/NFL need to simplify the catch/incompletion rule so it makes sense. I think if the WR has possession when the WR is down (college and NFL changes obviously what down is) then it's a catch. If the WR isn't down but the ball hits the ground and pops out then it's not a catch since the WR wasn't down. In the NFL as long as the WR isn't touched by the DB he needs to maintain possession since touching the ground doesn't mean the WR is down. I think that's an easy and common sense rule that's easier for the officials to make the right call (who likes waiting 2-3 minutes every time there is a questionable catch) and for the players to understand the rules. Now it's so confusing as to what constitutes a catch that 3 officials can see the call and all have different rulings.

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    1. That's fine if you think the rule SHOULD be something else, but the bottom line is that's not the way it's interpreted by the referees. They want the ball to be fully controlled, and in both cases, the ball was moving throughout the play. The referee essentially acknowledged as much on the Roundtree(?) catch when he said "The play stands as called." That terminology suggests that the replay was iffy, so they're simply going with what was called on the field. The Gallon(?) catch was "confirmed", which suggests that the replay officials think it was correctly called...but I disagree with them.

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    2. the ball on the Gallon TD only got knocked around/came loose after he had been down for more than a second when DB Derrick Well's foot kicked the ball out of Gallon's hands. that is why the TD was confirmed. Gallon caught the ball, had possession, had two feet in the endzone. by the time Well's foot (accidentally) kicked the ball out of Gallon's hand's it was already a touchdown.

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  12. Magnus, calls like those two catches are why replay exists. Calling a completion is the right thing to do so it can be reviewed later. Most of the grumbling involves getting absolutely boned on replay, and this is nothing new. We understand those calls are difficult to make in real time. What we don't understand is how these replay guys can make calls like the big Roundtree catch-ish thing last week.

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  13. " Jeremy Gallon's 10-yard touchdown catch wasn't a catch; the ball was moving in his hands the entire time."

    I've got to disagree with this. The way some people define a catch has become way too complicated. He had the ball in his two hands, got a foot inbounds and the ball never hit the ground during the play. That's a catch to me (and to the officials, evidently).

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    1. When he landed out of bounds, the ball appeared to still be moving. He "caught it" twice in the air, and it didn't stop shaking around all the way until he hit the ground, when it rolled off and bounced on the turf.

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  14. I also disagree with Magnus on the catches. Specifically on Gallon's TD, the ball was moving but only because Gallon's hands were moving. The ball was firmly and completely in his control the entire time and to me it was clearly a catch. And really quite a spectacular one at that.

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  16. Also, Magnus, I don't think you're justified in whining about the people who bitch about Michigan never getting bailed out when your prime examples are two catches that were AT MOST controversial...in a blowout against Minnesota. Contrast that with Michigan getting shafted when a big game is on the line, like Iowa last year or Penn State 2002, or Notre Dame 2005, or MSU 2005.

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    1. I think this had the potential to be a much different game if Michigan didn't get some of those calls. If things had started to go south, there's no telling how much confidence Minnesota would have gained or how much Devin Gardner would have lost.

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  17. Magnus, as usual I find myself in substantial, but qualified, agreement with you.

    Devin Gardner position play in 2012:
    The team was not prepared for the loss of Denard Robinson in the Nebraska game. You move Devin to WR if, and only if, we have a good Plan B for Denard. We didn't. It cost us the game. You know as well as anybody that the Michigan coaches say that the expectations are always for the position, not the player. The Michigan staff let down the position of QB in the Nebraska game.

    Devin Gardner redshirt in 2010:
    We only know in hindsight how desperate were the off-field disciplinary issues with Tate Forcier, in early 2010. We needed Forcier later that year; we probably could have used him last year too. It would have been a good thing, if the discipline of Forcier had worked. True, the discipline of Forcier may have come at a heavy price if it meant the loss of a redshirt year for Gardner. But let's look into the future. Will Gardner be the starting QB in 2013? Maybe. Were you hoping for Gardner to be Michigan's starting QB for another two years? Did you want a redshirt year for Shane Morris? Do you think that Morris might be a five-year player at Michigan? I take an optimist's view that while we will treasure Devin Gardner in 2013, we might not miss him in 2014.

    Recruiting a QB every year:
    You are right. Absent really unusual circumstances, you need to recruit a very good QB every year. You've said it before. It's true.

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    1. Whether Morris starts in 2014 or not, RichRod was still a fool to burn Gardner's redshirt year for a few plays in garbage time. He later realized his mistake and came up with the medical redshirt angle which probably won't work.

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    2. Yes, I was hoping for Gardner to be the starting QB for another two years (2013 and 2014). I see no reason to burn Morris's redshirt unless he's excellent, and I'm not convinced that he'll be ready as a true freshman. And he COULD be a five-year player. You never know.

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  18. Good grief, those were both catches and they were called rightfully so. We're getting to the point where those catch deniers are going to ask for a 5 sec "hold it & secure" time before a catch can be called a catch. Absolutely ridiculous!

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  19. Get his mechanics fixed? He's had three years to do that, so I doubt we're going to see any major changes in his mechanics before he's in the NFL draft.

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    1. Different coaches, different schemes, different positions. Gardner hasn't had consistent coaching. I'm hoping that changes over the next year.

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