Sunday, September 15, 2013

Michigan 28, Akron 24

Devin Gardner
A win is a win. A hundred years from now, nobody will remember this day. So there's that. Otherwise, this was ugly. Good teams struggle sometimes. Is Michigan a good team? I think they're pretty good. There's still hope that this season will end magically, but let's be honest - with a questionable interior line and wide receivers, an injury to the best defensive player, and no real stars on defense, perhaps Michigan fans should re-calibrate. That's not say that things like this are okay, but poop happens.

The list of people who need to step up is long. I feel like this post could turn into a long list of complaining, but I'm going to try to make it brief:

  • Devin Gardner. Gardner (16/30, 248 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 1 fumble lost; 10 carries, 103 yards, 1 touchdown) was forcing throws all day long. Even some of his early completions were hotly contested. He ran the ball well, but he seems overconfident in the abilities of himself and his receivers, as if every one of his throws should be completed just because their helmets have wings.
  • Graham Glasgow, Jack Miller, Kyle Kalis, and Michael Schofield. Glasgow and Miller are getting physically overpowered by guys who aren't 5-star Notre Dame recruits, and Glasgow is making some poor blocking reads in the run game. Glasgow and Kalis look lost out there against twist stunts, and even the redshirt senior Schofield had some whiffs.
  • Joe Bolden. I used to be on the Joe Bolden bandwagon by suggesting he's a starter-quality inside linebacker, but I'm not sure if that's true. I don't think it's an indictment of his entire career, because it's still early in his true sophomore year. However, I think it's clear that James Ross III and Desmond Morgan are significantly ahead of Bolden, who struggles in pass coverage and is inconsistent stopping the run.
  • Raymon Taylor. Taylor gets picked on quite a bit, and I don't see him responding in terms of his coverage. He's a feisty player and a decent tackler, but teams throw on him short and deep.
  • Matt Wile. The punter should be Will Hagerup, of course, but Hagerup likes to get himself suspended. Instead, Wile is out there, and he's been inconsistent. Yesterday included 21- and 22-yard shanks. On four punts, he averaged just 33 yards/attempt.
  • Dennis Norfleet. Norfleet still overestimates his strength. Sometimes he cuts upfield into traffic when he could run laterally for another step or two and outrun the defender. Normally, I wouldn't promote running laterally. However, Norfleet is a space player, and he's put in space on special teams and by Al Borges's play calls; he has room to run, but he thinks he's still in high school where he could run through some tackles. Plus Norfleet still takes too many chances on punt returns.
Good for Akron. Amidst all this, I feel like I've neglected to mention Akron's hard play and their game plan. If I'm a MAC opponent, I'm going to beat pressure and the soft defense by throwing quick slants, hitches, etc. and hope I can keep the chains moving. They also capitalized on some deep throws, which you have to take once in a while. Defensively, I thought Akron did a good job of causing trouble for Michigan's interior line with stunts and disguising some coverages.

By the way, Akron maybe should have won. Thomas Gordon was beaten on the final play of the game. Akron receiver Zach D'Orazio tried to pull a version of the Drew Dileo touchdown against Notre Dame. Fortunately, Michigan put pressure on quarterback Kyle Pohl, who overthrew the ball by a foot or two. D'Orazio was begging for pass interference, but that seemed desperate. Hell, Gordon probably should  have grabbed D'Orazio to potentially save the game, but there was barely any contact. If Pohl had a fraction of a second longer to wait, we all would have been very sad.

On the plus side. I like that Al Borges and Devin Gardner decided to involve Jehu Chesson, who looks like he might have game-changing speed at some point. In the open field, that kid is going to be tough to catch. He burned some people on punt coverage, caught 1 pass and broke some tackles for a 33-yard touchdown, had an end-around for 2 yards, and returned 1 kickoff for 19 yards and showed a nice burst. I also liked what I saw from defensive tackle Willie Henry, who got some penetration and Jarrod Wilson, who seems to be moving in the right direction toward being a solid safety. Those are some up-and-comers. Fitzgerald Toussaint had 19 carries for 71 yards and 1 touchdown, but a couple nice runs were called back for holding; he also has improved his pass protection.

What it means for UConn. The Huskies are 0-2 after losing 33-18 to Towson and then 32-21 to Maryland. Despite the record, Michigan should have learned from the Akron game that they can't take anyone lightly. The game will be at 8:00 p.m. next Saturday. If Michigan comes out with another lackluster performance, then I'll be greatly concerned. If the Wolverines win by 25 points, then maybe this was just a blip on the radar.


  1. I'm still kind of reeling from yesterday's game. Some players that I thought were solid starters are now back to question marks. I really hope a few young guys on defense step up and become valuable contributors. I'm also hoping Chris Bryant gets a shot at starting.

  2. Is it possible to replace GG at this point or is it to late? I also dont like Miller. They dont seem to pick anything up and on run plays they dont get any push. Are Bryant, Branden or the walk on at this point up graders?

    1. I think they could still replace Glasgow, but I don't know if it will happen. I don't really believe Braden could be an upgrade at this point, and Burzynski just isn't a legitimate option, in my opinion.

  3. Also DG will not play like that again ( I pray) so I dont think we need to worry about losing to UConn. Norte Dame hangover for sure

  4. The only thing that gives me comfort is that Michigan won 8 games in a row, then beat Tebow led Florida, after the Horror (and getting murdered by Oregon). It is possible for pretty good teams to just have awful days.

    1. The response to losing against Toledo wasn't so hot though.

    2. True on post-Toledo...but that Michigan team was horrible. This team may not be great, but it's far from horrible.

    3. Comparing the 2007, 2008 and 2013 Michigan teams is silly. I'd say we're much closer to 2007 than 2008, but I think the 2013 team is a tad better. The 2008 Toledo game, our team wasn't much better than Toledo, and it showed on the field. The 2007 team, I don't want to talk about... too many bad memories...

      I've been saying this since last year, I don't think Gardner is as good as some people think. Last year he was forcing way too many balls, and needed Jeremy Gallon to bail him out on numerous occasions. I don't know if it's that he is the starting man now, or that he has been to camps this summer, but something isn't quite right in his thought process and he needs to correct it. He need to learn to sit back, go through 3 or 4 reads (if the OL will allow it), and then if nothing is there use his legs to make a play. This season I see Gardner doing this way too often:

      Looks go Gallon and holds eyes on Gallon until trying to force a throw. OR
      Looks to Gallon, if not open he'll quickly rush to his next reads, and then try to scramble to extend the play. OR
      Goes through 1 or 2 reads, and really locks eyes on his target allowing a linebacker in zone or a DB in a zone to make a play.

      He needs to learn to read a defense first, and trust his receivers second. I believe Gardner has the skills necessary to be a great quarterback. He just needs help putting everything together.

      I'm really hoping Borges is the quarterback guru he thinks he is, because he doesn't seem to have any intention of hiring a quarterback coach looking at all his previous stops. I think Gardner would benefit for a QB coach tremendously, maybe one with a little more playing experience than Borges. Just my .02

    4. Point I was trying to make was that it doesn't matter. Toledo or App State - this is a different situation, different team. Chad Henne, Nick Sheridan, etc. are long gone.

    5. It's a different situation because these are different teams and we won, but it's a very similar situation. App State/Toledo/Akron - Michigan should never lose to any of these schools. App State wasn't an FBS program. Michigan has never lost to a Mac School before Toledo. Akron was 1-11 the past 3 years in football. If we had lost to Akron we would've been the laughing stock of football again, just like the App State game, and RR regime. It is a similar situation.

      I really hope it was an off day for everybody. I'm hoping Ryan and Avery are going to make the team substantially better on Defense, and the problem is with the chemistry on the OL, not the overall talent.

  5. I like your write-up ... it's the right balance of objective analysis and credit to Akron where credit is due.

    Yesterday's game was disconcerting. I'm eager to see the demeanor of the team come the Connecticut game. I'd be very happy to trade flashy plays and a blowout victory for a nice boring 35-10 win where it looks like the basic execution is there.

    1. second that. write up has good balance.

  6. I think Bryant or Braden is going to get a look against UCONN. Bryant has been said to be a mauler and he can't be much worse than Glasgow in pass protection.

    I think the plan was to try and keep Gardner from risking injury in the first half because he had some wide open running lanes and never took off. He's shown the willingness to take off if nothing is open but in the first half didn't do so at all.

    I like that Fitz in the second half seemed to want to create more instead of just following his blocks. He has to be frustrated that he is getting hit in the back field so often. Borges plan to use him on screens, wheel outs, and options is a nice touch to get him into open space. On the Gardner pick, it looked like Fitz was going to have a big gain if Gardner lobbed it instead of side arming. Same thing on the option.

    D-line is just plain bad right now. Undersized and no pass rush from the ends. Black had some nice pressures and Pipkins seems to get some pressure also but the ends aren't really doing much at all. I rather Michigan go big and start Black, Pipkins and Washington together to try and atleast stop the run.

    1. I agree on Bryant and maybe Braden, too. Hoke also said that Gardner was a little beaten up coming into the game, so I think they were trying to protect him (or he was trying to protect himself).

      I don't think the defensive line is terrible, but they're not good. Wormley isn't doing anything, Black is a liability against the run, etc. They definitely have weaknesses.

    2. Braden seems to be behind Magnuson now. He fell to 3rd string behind a walk-on at guard and is now 4th on the tackle depth chart. I think we need to let the offseason hype on him go.

      Bryant...he reminds me of Jerald Robinson. Lot's of talk and calls for him to play, but never shown it live. I suspect pass pro may be a problem for him, and who cares if you're a mauler if we're running outside zone?

    3. We're talking about guard not tackle. Braden is either 2nd or 3rd at guard. Hoke said in one of the pressers that Braden was back at guard so that could explain Magnuson also.

      Bryant has been hurt the past couple seasons. Last year, many expected him to be the starter prior to injury. Being a mauler helps with power running plays something Michigan wants to do. Michigan is more effective running iso's right now because Kerridge is a solid lead blocker. With the tight end's lack of production when it comes to blocking, I'd expect more of that. The fact of the matter is Glasgow is not getting a push and is getting beat constantly in pass protection.

    4. Braden was supposedly move away from Guard once it was determined he wasn't competitive there. I hadn't seen he was moved back, but Bryant seems like the 3rd option there, not Braden.

      As for Bryant - expectations are often wrong. Before he got hurt it seemed that Burzynski and Mealer were ahead of him. That could have changed, or not, had he stayed healthy.

      Michigan has been saying they're going to run power for 3 years. Everyone was saying that Kalis is a beast-mauler too. We have Lewan and Schofield and, is Glasgow or Miller really the one guy keeping us from running power. I doubt it. Maybe it's the TEs, but plugging Bryant in isn't going to change the offensive philosophy overnight, IMO.

  7. I'd like to think that yesterday's performance can be written off as simply a hangover from the ND game, but the problem is, it shouldn't have lasted the entire game. When they went into the locker room at halftime only up 7-3 having played terribly, that should have been when they woke up and got their heads in the game. That didn't happen (but for a couple of good looking drives in the third quarter). The lack of push on both the offensive and defensive lines through three games remains a serious concern.

    1. I don't think it's that easy to flip the switch. What you said in this comment could be applied to any David vs. Goliath game in the history of the world. These are human beings with emotions. They get mentally frustrated, confused, nervous, etc. Young guys like Glasgow, Miller, and Kalis haven't been in this situation before, where they're getting beaten regularly and might lose a game they shouldn't lose.

    2. One other mitigating factor... Akron's NT (McCray) was a 4* kid who started as a freshman at Florida State. He had some nagging injury problems as an upperclassman and wound up at Akron for a graduate year. He'll get a look by the NFL, so he's not your typical MAC DL.

      On some of those zone plays to the right side, they were asking Glasgow to reach McCray when he was lined up over center, without much help from Miller. I thought that was pretty tough duty and McCray obviously made UM pay. He should have been more of a focal point in UM's game prep.

    3. I didn't really think Michigan tried much zone to the right, so I don't know how much that would have affected them. Personally, I thought Michigan was terrible at blocking the Power play that Hoke loves so much. They were getting beaten at the point of attack, and the playside double-teams were unspectacular.

  8. saw alot of Wormley and Henry on the D line yesterday and hardly any Pipkins. I dont think that

  9. I predicted we'd be 8-5 and lose to ND before the season, so at 3-0 my recalibration is still tracking positively. I think 9-4, maybe 10-3 if we get significant improvements before November. That said, while I did think we'd get upset somewhere by an inferior team, I never believed Akron was a possibility.

    The offense is almost exactly what I expected - we can't run, and Gardner has to create everything. The OL is the problem Ditto for Funchess who remains to be exactly not what everyone describes him to be (a "matchup nightmare"). Until he blocks he's just a tall WR, a rich man's version of Jeremy Jackson. The Williams injury hurts. When he's back,it would not surprise me if Butt started taking away some of Funchess' snaps.

    Gardner has covered up for the OL, but they're struggling in both pass pro and run-blocking. Some people talked themselves out of this being a problem but the facts of having 3 new starters that hadn't play, including a walk-on, were always there. Steve Hutchinson ain't walking through that least not with any eligibility left. The OL will continue to be exploited and it's not going to get better until these guys get more experience and improve. [Or maybe it was just opposing defensive coordinators being stupid yet again...]

    The one surprise is that Gardner doesn't look to have improved his turnover issues very much. The

    Defensively, I'm not sure what the issues are, but I don't think the problem is talent. Countess, I think, continues to play really well, at near all-conference level. Taylor - many shots the opposition has taken at him, he's handled it pretty well. We have no major deficiencies, but Heitzman, Wormley, Henry, and company aren't making enough plays. I think they need to stick with the proven DL players (Wash, Pipkins, Black) a little more heavily than they might like.

    Not sure I buy that Bolden is a problem. Maybe he had a rough game, but if the coaches didn't feel he had earned time they have the option of sticking with Ross and Morgan on pretty much every down.

    Still think the defense is going to be very good. You hate to see that many big plays, but it happens to any mortal defense. Hopefully Wormley, Taylor, Wilson, etc. are learning from this stuff.

    All in all, this was probably a good thing for the development of this team. Too close for comfort, but disaster averted. What doesn't kill you...

    1. I think Bolden is playing because the coaches want to rotate players a lot. Everything they've done says they want to rotate players as much as possible with the exception of safeties. He is the 3rd ilb on the chart but doesn't really have much competition either. Losing Demens has hurt in pass coverage, the middle of the field has been wide open in cover 2 zones due to the linebackers not dropping enough. Both Morgan and Ross are good against the run but struggle against the pass.

      I think Funchess has been every bit the match up issue that was realistically expected in the passing game. He is too tall for most safeties and to fast for most safeties. I agree that it is about time to give up on him ever becoming a complete tight end but he can be just as effective from the slot or on obvious passing downs.

      I think part of the reason why Michigan is only rushing 4 is because the coaches don't trust the pass coverage. If they blitz it takes away the ability for the safeties to play cover 2 over the top. Taylor, Wilson and the linebackers are still liabilities in the pass game. Taylor is a good tackler but lacks recovery speed to really be left in man coverage against good receivers. He is probably best suited for the type of defence Michigan is playing right now, bend but don't break. I'm fine with Michigan not blitzing if that is the reason. I rather force teams to sustain long drives than give up big plays over the top. Michigan does have some depth on defence, not elite depth but the dropoffs aren't big, so getting worn down shouldn't be an issue.

    2. I don't think Raymon Taylor is terrible or anything. He's better than JT Floyd. But I'm not convinced that he'll be the best option to start for this year and next.

      Bolden gets less time than the other guys, but I see consistent problems in run fits and pass coverage. When he's in there, I think the ILB play drops off. Again, he's not terrible, but it's a concern.

      I think Funchess is definitely a matchup problem. Just watch him blow past the entire Akron defense. His blocking will improve, but you can't cover him with any one player. The safety that came up on that 48-yard touchdown catch wanted absolutely nothing to do with tackling him.

    3. Good post. I had many of the same thoughts. Taylor is going to be passed by one of the freshmen (Stribling/Lewis). It's just a question of when. A lot of UM's good CB's have seen increasing playing time and starts in the 2nd half of their freshman years, so I would not be surprised to see that this year.

      I have been down a bit on Bolden (compared to his hype) since last year. He just does not react quickly enough to be a good starter. Maybe he improves, but you could argue that's largely an instinctive thing. He is one of the back-ups who I believe is getting too much playing time (along with Wormley and R. Glasgow). Bolden and RJS not developing into good, potential starters may be a reason UM has been "over-recruiting" LB of late (along with Poole and Ringer moving on). Have a feeling that Gedeon will be stealing snaps from Bolden by the end of the year.

      If Funchess is not careful, he will wind up as a passing-down specialist only. His blocking is atrocious - defenders are running by him like he is not there and he got away with a couple holds/bear-hugs against Akron. If I am not mistaken, Butt started at the Y tight end on Saturday. Once Williams is back, I think we only see Funchess as an H-Back.

    4. I think Bolden's reactions/instincts are fine. What I mostly find problematic is his inability to take on blocks correctly, which I think is fixable.

    5. Funchess needs to be a fast TE, not a slow WR.

      If Funchess is too tall and too fast why has his production been so modest? He averages 2 catches a game, last year it was barely over 1. Was a nice catch and run vs Akron's Akron. Almost all his production has come against bad teams that lack talent: Air Force, UMass, CMU, Akron. Against BCS conference teams his career high is 29 yards (against Iowa), otherwise he has reached 20 yards other times. Against teams with competent defenses he's a guy who will get you 10-20 yards a game, and the blocking probably loses you a lot more than that. He's an easy cover and his numbers reflect it.

      He can get there, but right now if you think he's a matchup nightmare, you're dreaming. He's just a guy you have to pay attention to, but easily accounted for.

      Completely disagree that we should give up on him. Just the opposite. Once he develops that blocking he WILL be the matchup nightmare that people want him to be. Right now he is just a slow WR - an easy cover. Once he can makes defenses pay for sticking a DB on him (by blocking them into the ground), then they'll have to put the LB on him, who he's athletic enough to blow by those guys consistently. He can get there, he's a talented kid, but right now Williams is the better football player...maybe Butt too.

    6. @PS

      I think Taylor is doing what he is asked. Stribling/Lewis may have more talent, but I think they may have a bit to go before they pass Taylor.

      Funchess was a passing-down specialist last year, but this year there is no Kwaitkowski type to substitute in for him, and Borges has not shown a willingness to bring down TE participation. Despite significant talent deficiencies the last couple seasons, they play a lot of 2-TE and that's not going to stop.

      Michigan has been over-recruiting LB since Hoke came to town. I don't think it is going to stop. Bolden is a good player with good talent - what he does should have no effect on recruiting for '14 and '15.

    7. You're too smart for that argument, Lanknows. You don't seriously believe that Funchess's production is entirely a function of his lack of talent and/or lack of being a tough matchup. Deep down, I'm sure you realize that it depends on who's throwing the ball. Funchess got a lot of targets from Denard Robinson, then very few from Devin Gardner. Coincidence? Now Gardner looks for Jeremy Gallon almost every time. Is it because Funchess isn't good, or is it because Gardner and Gallon are so close? I'm not saying they're purposefully squeezing him out, but sometimes guys just feel comfortable with each other.

      And the BCS conference thing is kind of nonsense. He was a true freshman last year playing tight end at around 225 lbs. or whatever he was. So far this year he's had two good games and then an okay game (against Notre Dame: 3 catches, 19 yards). He's on pace for 28 catches, 522 yards, and 4 touchdowns, and that even includes a game in which his quarterback was decidedly off the mark against Akron. You've got to walk before you can run.

    8. I meant too fast for linebackers and too big for safeties, not too fast for safeties also (that'd be Calvin Johnson).

      In the past 2 games he has made highlight reel type plays with good run after the catches on both,2nd on the team in yards and receptions, how much more production do you want relative to the rest of the team? We're talking about a college tight end who plays for a team that like 70% of the targets go to one player.

      Any time a tight end is 2nd in receiving on a team they are being productive. You don't have to be Gronk or Jimmy Graham to create match-up issues.

      Regarding Taylor, as I said early I think Mattison is game planning the best he can with the players he has. He has been a pretty aggressive coordinator in the past but if he can't leave guys one on one how can he be aggressive. Just because Taylor for a large part is keeping things in front of him doesn't make him a good player. He still gets beat over the top on a regular basis and really doesn't deflect many passes either.

    9. @Thunder,

      I don't think the QB has as much to do with it as the level of competition. Your argument doesn't hold water because Denard didn't throw to Funchess much either - 6 catches in 6.5 games against BCS teams with Denard, 4 in 5 games with Devin in 2012. Pretty similar ~ 1 catch per game.

      As for projecting the rest of the season - he came out impressing last year too, then tailed off dramatically. I mean - air force's secondary... I don't know how one can dismiss how he's yet to have an impressive game against a quality opponent. If you're going to be impressed by 3 catches for 19 yards well, that's another subject.

      I see a guy who can get open against teams that lack talent. But a BCS team is going to have DBs that can cover him. Any team that scouts knows that putting a LB on him is a problem but...why bother, when he can't block anyone? That's no DC's idea of a nightmare.

      Funchess doesn't lack talent, he lacks technique, skill, and probably still size. His receiving gets him on the field but he's so far from being a complete football player. Ideally, he would have red-shirted, bulked-up, and learned to block before he saw the field.

      Love his potential and think he'll be an all-conference player. But not this year.

      He's better this year, but last year he was a 1 catch a game guy, and this year he might be a 2-catch/game guy, maybe 3 if it goes well.

    10. @Anon

      Funchess made a nice catch-and-run, but that safety's "attempt" at a tackle was a complete joke. A competent secondary holds that to a short gain.

      If Funchess was getting open more often, Gallon would get targeted less often. Even when Denard was QB and not throwing to Gallon every play, Funchess wasn't getting much.

      TEs have to block and catch to be great. It's that simple. If they're that great as pass threats, they'd be big WR. If they're that great at blocking they'd be tackles. Their value is contingent on being able to do both, forcing the defense into tough choices. Right now, the defenses facing Michigan don't have to make a tough choice - they only have to respect Funchess as a receiver.

      I have to give Funchess his due. Defenses do have to pay attention to him. If you ignore him and treat him like any TE, he can burn you. But that respect and attention isn't enough to make him a good player.

  10. This is a really young team, playing the week after a huge national rivalry, national TV game (have i mentioned that Bryan Kelly needs to just shut up, his administration chickened out) against a team with some coaching that has been around the block a couple of times and that had obviously been working real hard on this specific game for a good long while.

    In other words, what we had here was just about the absolute perfect recipe for a disaster.

    Coaches talk and talk and talk and talk about taking every play/game/opponent seriously, and maintaining consistency of effort. Some lessons however, can't be taught, but rather have to be learned.

    To borrow a notion from Hockey, and with the exception of Chesson maybe, we didn't have any jump in our legs anywhere, at any position, on either side of the ball and really, at any point in the game.

    I really don't think the problem here is that we suck, either in general or at specific positions and specific names. i think the problem was/is that we're young and kids are stupid.

    You can trust me on this one as I know a couple things about stupid kids.

    1. I don't think we're a young team. Our depth is, to be sure, but no true freshman start. Lots of 4th and 5th year seniors dot the starting lineup. The most important positions, with the exception of OC and FS are manned by experienced vets (LT, RT, RB, QB, WR, NT, DT, MLB, SLB, SS). No team is all 5th year seniors.

      While you might be able to excuse the 1st half of Akron as a 'hangover', that should have been a splash of ice water that would have made the game a non-issue by Q4.

      The concern is that the weaknesses that were exposed in (each of) these first 3 games aren't going to magically disappear.

    2. You have some Seniors at WR and Tackle, one TB, a QB with some age and some starts but not yet double figure starts at QB.

      On defense, you have a safety .... thank God, maybe two or three if you count Furman (I do), a couple Defensive Tackles, a Senior athlete that has played all over but has struggled to find a home, a Junior LB with a lot of snaps, the rest of this team is young and a big percentage is way young. Mattson pointed to it the other day and I quote,"That's just us."

      Veteran kicking thankfully, although Wile maybe needs to be holding down only one job at a time which if that happens, young punting is likely in our immediate future.

      On the two deep and especially across the board, this is a real young and inexperienced football team.

    3. Nearly every coach says they have a young team nearly every year. It's a convenient excuse, because - yeah - every college team is filled with young guys.

      Offensively, most everyone who plays is an upperclassmen. TE is young, so is Kalis. Our interior OL is inexperienced but not really young (Glasgow and Miller are in their 3rd year.) You can include second year's Chesson or Norfleet but the vast majority of WR snaps are taken by seniors (4th or 5th year).

      Defensively, here are our starters by year on campus: 3, 4, 5, 3, 3, 2, 5, 5, 2, 3, 3. Ross and Wilson are the young guys there.

      Inexperienced? I could see that as a debate, but they're not young. Certainly not enough so to warrant mentioning other than at some specific position groups.

      The freshman that play are the 3rd TE and 3rd CB (sometimes). In this day and age, it's normal to rely on freshman, but Michigan, this year, does not. Having some sophomores here or there, or making up a bunch of the backups on the line doesn't make this a young team, compared to other schools.

      Plus - like you pointed out - the specialists are vets, even with Hagerup's suspension.

  11. Comment on the Wile punting situation:
    I was at the game, and at half time, Wile and Kenny Allen were punting together. Every single punt Allen looked like the better punter. Better hang time and consistently 4 or 5 yards further than Wile. I have no idea why this kid isn't punting the ball. Wile should be kicking off and kicking long field goals, thats it.

  12. Thunder, what's your take on the refs reviewing the second to last play (didn't seem that close to me) to and not resetting the time. I'm not much for conspiracy theories, but that and the lack of a pass interference call on Michigan (Wilson?) in the end zone made me think refs were trying to help Michigan out. My