Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nebraska 17, Michigan 13

"Devin Gardner Runs for His Life" would be a good subtitle for the 2013 season (image via Monroe News)
Goodbye, Darrell Funk. Okay, I've been wishy-washy on Funk's place on the staff, but this game sealed his fate, in my opinion. For the second week in a row, Michigan allowed 7 sacks. For the second week in a row, Michigan had negative yards rushing (-21 this game after -48 last week). These are the types of performances that get guys fired in the middle of the season. I'm not necessarily suggesting that will happen, because Brady Hoke is a very loyal guy and Funk's father just passed away. However, the final straw for me was in the fourth quarter when Nebraska lined up defensive end Randy Gregory at inside linebacker over right guard Erik Magnuson. Michigan slid the protection left, matching up right tackle Michael Schofield on Gregory. Schofield promptly made about a 3% effort to pick him up, allowing Gregory to have a 6-yard running start on an overmatched Fitzgerald Toussaint. Sack. When your fifth-year right tackle can't handle a slide protection, that's probably all you need to see. The current situation on the offensive line reminds me of when Jay Hopson was Michigan's linebackers coach and we saw guys like Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton regress. I would be surprised if Funk returns in 2014, and if a move is made earlier, the Wolverines do have former Michigan left tackle Adam Stenavich on staff as a graduate assistant.

Graham Glasgow at center equals a broken record. In each week since Glasgow was moved to center, Michigan has suffered from at least one bad snap. In this game there were two - one that sailed up and one that rolled back to Devin Gardner. Even the snaps from under center seem a hair slow. Glasgow is not physically or mentally capable of playing center at this point. He's just not. Those of you who were complaining about Elliott Mealer and Jack Miller playing center, this is what you get. I think people take the snap for granted, but college players are capable of being bad at snapping . . . and it's extremely detrimental.

Michigan's defense is still pretty good . . . It was frustrating that Michigan lost to a team that was missing so much offensively, but the Wolverines were consistently in bad field position once again. Michigan's inability to drive the ball on offense makes the opponent's job a whole lot easier. Nebraska's first scoring drive went 9 plays for 44 yards; the next went 8 plays for 56 yards. The drive at the end of the game went 14 plays for 75 yards, but that's one long drive in the whole game. Overall, Nebraska averaged 3.0 yards/carry and star running back Ameer Abdullah was held to 3.9 yards/carry.

. . . but Nebraska was beaten up offensively. The scary/sad thing is that Nebraska was missing its starting quarterback and the two starting offensive guards, plus right tackle Jeremy Sirles got injured mid-game and wide receiver Kenny Bell wasn't 100%. Michigan is mostly healthy on offense (aside from Amara Darboh, who was supposed to start at wide receiver, and backups like Russell Bellomy, Joe Burzynski, and Drake Johnson) but still can't produce. An unhealthy Nebraska offense produced 17 points. A healthy Michigan offense produced 13. That leads me to this.

The offensive play calling was terrible. Nebraska blitzed the hell out of Michigan for the vast majority of the game, and Michigan ran . . . two screens. Two screens in 32 minutes of possession against a blitzing defense? One problem appears to be that Al Borges only has two screens in the play book - the throwback screen to the tailback and the middle screen to Devin Funchess. If you want to beat a blitzing defense, you have to screen, you have to hit hot routes, and you have to spread the field laterally. That sounds like a spread offense, doesn't it? Instead, Michigan ran up the middle and tried to hit deep routes for most of the game. Brady Hoke and/or Al Borges has a basic philosophy of packing things in tight and overpowering the defense, but Michigan isn't capable of that right now. Almost every shotgun/pistol formation for Michigan involves at least one tight end, tight stacks, tight bunches, etc. Go four- or five-wide and try to get rid of the ball quickly if they blitz; throw it deep if the opponent doesn't blitz or can't get a pass rush. We've established what Michigan can't do; now let's try something different.

Michigan did absolutely nothing with two turnovers. The commentators mentioned that nobody had turned the ball over, and they said that the first team to create a turnover might win the game. Hah. Cam Gordon forced a fumble from Quincy Enunwa, and Dennis Norfleet recovered a Jordan Westerkamp muff. Those were the only two turnovers in the game, and they resulted in a total of 3 points for Michigan; those 3 points came after Norfleet's recovery, some terrible offense, and a Brendan Gibbons field goal that bounced off the right upright and through the goal posts.

Maybe we broke Devin Gardner. There are a lot of factors in Michigan's failures over the past few weeks, but ever since Gardner started taking care of the ball, Michigan's offense has taken a nose dive. After his two early picks against Penn State, Gardner has thrown 6 touchdowns and 1 interception. Aside from the offensive explosion against an Indiana team with no defense, Gardner has been sacked 14 times in two games and refuses to try to fit the ball into traffic most of the time. It's almost as if he over-corrected and now refuses to take risks. Other than a bad throw to Jake Butt - on which it looked like Gardner expected Butt to come back to the ball instead of cutting in - Gardner didn't take risks putting the ball in the air against Nebraska. There has to be a happy medium somewhere in between flinging 10 interceptions and getting sacked 14 times.

82 comments:

  1. This post is a good barometer of the state of the team. You're usually loathe to do anything more than cock an eyebrow at coaches, and now you're in "WTF" territory.

    I can't blame Gardner at all. I'd be terrified and hesitant if I were him at this point, too.

    Also, the muff rule is stupid.

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    1. The problem is that there are consistent problems that aren't getting fixed. As a coach, I pride myself on trying to make fixes from week to week. That doesn't mean making wholesale changes in personnel or philosophy, but giving kids help where they need it, putting them in positions to succeed, etc. You can't just say "Be better at what you've been doing." You have to work toward that, but you can't count on it until they show they can do it.

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  2. Finally. I've been clamoring for Funk's firing for several weeks, as I have never saw a Michigan offensive line like this one. Got to fire him now and get somebody who knows a thing or two about coaching the O-line. I feel for Gardner man. There isn't much he can do except being conservative, as the O-line is screwing him up every time. He has no time to throw. He has to run for his life on so many snaps. And that bad snap from Glasgow... Several curse words came out of my mouth. They just wasted a down and 10 yards like that? Wow. I saw the list of injuries (many who were starters) from Nebraska and said, if we can't beat this beat-up Nebraska team we won't win a game the rest of the season. Northwestern almost took Neb down, and Iowa is tough. OSU will run up the score on us for their BCS bid. I am so furious as a fan/alum. Heads must roll, and we must get coaches who are actually worth their salaries.

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    1. Can't wait to read the..."Lets See More of"... column..... really who do we want to see more of on this team???... maybe Morris, lets play for the future and give him some snaps/ experience. There were breakdowns everywhere, even sure handed Delio blew it.

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    2. Morris would be worse. He needs to stay on the bench.

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  3. I have been clamoring for Funk's firing for a while now too. I have been questioning Funk ever since the middle of last year when we saw Omameh and Barnum regressing badly. He has got to go, and the sooner, the better.

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  4. After seeing this quote:

    Gregory: "They had certain tendencies. Whatever formation they came out in, we knew what they were going to throw at us."

    I've had enough of Borges. Next year,find someone else

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  5. "we saw guys like Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton regress."

    To me, that comparison is apt...for last year. Omameh and Barnum (can't judge Mealer because he never played much.) Everyone's offseason take was OMG those guys sucked because they can't pull. "It can't get worse" Mgoblog said. Nevermind that pulling was a smart part of an offense that could not move the ball and was producing less than it had the year before that and the year before that, despite the same personnel (save Molk).

    What you have this year is the 2010 defense, with the OL as the secondary -- inexperienced guys thrown out there willy nilly and panicked position changes. I believe Hopson was already gone (?) by then. This is worse - because unlike 2010, you can't even blame injuries (JT Floyd missed time and Woolfolk was ranked #2 or whatever in the TTB countdown and was lost for the year - it'd be like losing Schofield). Also, the OL actually has talent, which that secondary had none of (except a RS Soph walk-on named Kovacs) and a DE/LB named Gordon (FR).

    At this point I actually wish Lewan had gone pro because then the 'inexperience' excuse would be legitimate.

    Also, BTW, our fans suck. I made my annual pilgrimmage back to the big house this week and the atmosphere was best described as "grouchy". A couple a-hole 'fans' decided to berate Lewan as he entered the tunnel at the half. He proceeded to get in a screaming match with them. They deserved it, but man...the whole thing was a s*%tshow.

    Also also - not sure this came through on TV or not but Gardner's body language was terrible all day. Even before the game he was slouching and walking real gingerly. I don't think he's over the beating he took last week.

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    1. This is pretty much spot on.

      Gardner looks pretty hurt. He's much more tentative to run north-south and doesn't look as quick. His happy feet have gotten worse, and it's understandable.

      In 2008, we were starting random dudes and a converted defensive tackle on the offensive line. We had a little white freshman at running back splitting time with a mooseback made of glass. We had laughably overmatched QBs. The team averaged almost 150 yards rushing per game.

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    2. I meant to say pulling was a "small" part of the offense, not smart. Point is - even with limited players, you have to find things that they do well and stay away from what they struggle with. We see the opposite of that with this staff - in the QB, the OL, the TEs. We are not playing to our strengths and exacerbating our weaknesses. Again.

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    3. DG clearly did not fully recover from last week. Who would be? I'd be on my deathbed had I got the sacks and tackles Michigan State gave DG. His jersey was almost black with mud. And he took more hits this week. My God. We would've had a winning season if Pryor (I know, I know, I can't stand him either) committed to Michigan or RR didn't put all of his eggs in one basket and found another QB. RR's running game was always there and he never saw this type of negative yardage crap.

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    4. I am sorry to hear that a few rednecks decided to argue with Lewan at half. WTF does that do? We also have a few dumb fans of our own, although ours are nothing compared to the lowlifes associated with Ohio State.

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    5. Michigan State broke Gardner like Ivan Drago broke Rocky, except i don't think Gardner will be back in round 2. He looks like a man throughly disinterested in playing football. The season is a complete failure, best to put in as many young guys now, including Suger Shane and get them ready for war next year.

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    6. I don't think so. DG is tough and a great baller player overall. Did you see his post-game interview? He is not disinterested in playing football. He is just frustrated with the state of team right now. Let's hope Shane can sit back for a few years and learn the system. I think DG comes back for 2014.

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    7. Slashing and burning any season is batshit crazy. That kind of shit IS what gets you fired.

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  6. The Defense was average and when the Team really needed a stop, for the D to come up big...they layed an egg.., yep, give up the longest drive of the game, the game winning drive! The whole team is abysmal, coaching especailly, not one area could be called great or even good.

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    1. I'm having a really hard time blaming the defense for anything. They gave up 10 early, then proceeded to shut down Nebraska until 2 minutes left in the game. Also, the coaches fiddled with the lineup for whatever reason.

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    2. It would've been good to see the D making a big stop at the end, but man... Offense screwed up the defense all game. I hope our defense was better, but our defense is pretty good overall.

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    3. Plus, the D got screwed on the false start no-call on Nebraska's 4th down play. It should have been 4th and 7 around the 35, not a first and goal at the 5.

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  7. RE: Coaching Changes

    I think Funk should be gone at the end of the season, or at least after the OSU game. I don't see what firing him now gets you except more chaos. It's not really about this year's performance to me as much as it's about the dropoff last year and the failure to develop Miller, Bryant or any of the 4 highly regarded RS Freshman. Between those 6 guys, there should be enough to field 3 competent linemen.

    Borges is the tougher call. His playcalling doesn't fit what he has - that's for sure, and hasn't since he's come to Michigan. First the QB and Receivers, now the OL. There is an argument to be made about personnel not fitting what he wants to do, but how long can you wait for that? We won't have the personnel next year either. Will we in 2015? No one has any idea. 2014 is going to be a another transition year that I'm not sure Borges has earned.

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    1. He better be gone. Keeping him around is like not firing Greg Robinson in 2010. I hope Hoke's head is not stuck in his ass. If Hoke can't see that Funk has to go, he needs to go too.

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    2. Firing GERG midseason wouldn't have fixed anything either. Sometimes people get scapegoated for bigger problems. GERG wasn't a good coach, but he's also not the disaster M fans made him out to be. I'm positive he doesn't deserve all the credit, but Texas is undefeated since he was made the DC there. Likewise, Funk's done well enough other places to consider him not the worst OL coach on the planet.

      I think Funk has not done a good job but I think the biggest blame here falls on Borges and his play calling. You can call long-developing pass plays when your OL has proven it can't block it. You don't have the personnel, so adjust. It's not like this was impossible to predict when Miller and Burzynski have been practicing with you for three years, and the kids obviously weren't stepping up enough to beat these guys out. You know it's a problem - but ignore it. You know your TEs can't block either - but ignore it.

      Borges has stuck his head in the sand, calling what he wants to call. Perhaps in 2011 that would have been acceptable, but 3 seasons in, it's disgraceful.

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    3. I think Borges needs to go. Besides being a very rigid and uncreative playcaller, he's also the QB coach, and his record there isn't stellar. I don't like calling for people to be fired, but for Borges and Funk I'm afraid it's justified. Perhaps Fred Jackson too, given our dropoff at that position lately. (Jackson deserves the right to officially retire, though.)

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    4. Jackson definitely should be able to retire.

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  8. Prediction: Gardner is gone.

    Or it will take some serious convincing for him to come back. Why return for more of this garbage? The playcalling is bad, the OL is an embarrassment. Gallon is gone, so is Toussaint. Seriously - what does Gardner gain by coming back next year? If things go well - he can redeem his legacy, but there's no reason to think they will. A new coordinator would be his third.

    Some might argue the NFL won't take him. I disagree because they draft on potential, not production, but there's another option. A 5th year transfer a la Russell Wilson, Mike Cox, Ryan Mundy. I know he's already started his grad studies, but I imagine it's very possible to finish them elsewhere or even get a second grad degree (many programs can be finished in a year).

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    1. I think DG comes back. OL should be improved when Funk's canned and guys get a year older. Michigan's close to his home and he has the starting spot locked up should he decide to come back. Why would he go to another school where he has to rebuild chemistry and playbook for just one year? NFL won't take him, because his stats aren't very good and he is seen as turnover prone (which is partially true, although OL is to blame). There are plenty of QBs who the NFL teams will jump on this year's round before they take DG. DG will also improve his stock by honing his skills for another year. I am willing to bet that he stays for 2014.

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    2. This OL isn't getting older, it's getting younger. Add 3 years of experience on the interior and subtract 5-6 at tackle. Even that assumes Glasgow, Bosch, Magnuson keep their jobs and aren't passed over by freshman.

      The playbook is not a good argument - Borges playbook is constantly changing hodge-podge. He'll have to learn more stuff staying here than leaving, the way Borges operates. I mean, he could go to half the programs in the country and run zone-read stuff he's familiar with. Heck, he could go to Arizona, their starting QB is graduating. (Not saying that will happen, just saying there are options.)

      I think Russel Wilson is a pretty good example of what Devin could acheive elsewhere. He certainly could stay, but it's tough to 'hone your skills' without an OL or coherent offensive philosophy.

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    3. The tackle positions are getting younger, yes, but the interior will be a year older, so it does balance out. I'm fairly optimistic about next year's offense if we can get adequate coaching. We lose Toussaint, but I think Green can replace him. We lose Gallon, but return Funchess and Chesson and add Darboh. We return all the TEs. If we can get functional OTs, I think it can be a good offense. But the coaching needs to improve.

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    4. +3, -5. That is not balancing out. That's a young interior getting slightly older and the tackles going from 5th year NFL players to total noobs.

      I don't understand everyone's fascination with Darboh. We've had so many offseason hype projects not pan out lately - but I guess we'll just do it again. Everyone forgot Jerald Robinson?

      Funchess is a TE, because - I don't know why exactly, but I guess there are no other options. So your receivers next year are Chesson (who looks OK, but so very very far from Gallon) and then some guys who haven't played before and may or may not be ahead of Dileo and Jackson. Losing Gallon is enormous and can not be underestimated. I guess you can hope the recruits can help (I do like Canteen very much) but you're not going to have much depth at WR, even if you can find 2 good starters somehow.

      Toussaint is a vastly superior back to Green. Recruiting rankings are often wrong and watching these guys make it clear why Toussaint is getting 90% of the carries.

      Returning all the TEs is huge for Borges but...Williams and Funchess were freshman last year and should have improved their blocking dramatically -- doesn't look like it happened, so why should we expect it to next year?

      Top that all off with the chance that Gardner departs and we're the downside for this offense is very very low.

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    5. Lanknows, Gardner will not depart. I am almost certain of it, although college athletes have done stupid things.

      Yes the tackles leave, but now all of our line will be filled with 2nd and 3rd year players. The interior will be a lot better. I think the overall numbers in the depth chart will compensate.

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  9. Good write up. I think most of the points you're making are really spot on. This team is in a bad place offensively, and optimism is hard to come by, even for next year.

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  10. Hey good write up as always, Magnus. I'm just not confident Hoke will get rid of Funk. This was a winnable game

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    1. If Funk isn't fired after this season, than Brady Hoke is a moron and needs to go.

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    2. I'm not confident that it will happen, but I believe it will. After this stinker of a year, someone's head has to roll on offense. Funk, Borges, and/or Jackson might not return next year. I don't expect all three to go, but I think something will change.

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  11. So would you fire Funk now and Borges later? And maybe have Jackson retire too? Personally, I conjecture that you can get a GA that's played the position before to coach it well, but I don't think you can really find a solid offensive coordinator until the season ends. Do you think there's some way to get someone other than Borges to call the plays? How likely do you think it is that we do see some changes? A lot of people seem pessimistic but I do believe Hoke has eyes and probably isn't happy with the play calling.

    Thanks

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    1. Fred Jackson is probably retiring when his son graduates. Mike Hart and Tyrone Wheatley would probably be top candidates to replace him, though the former is likely more available than the latter.

      I had forgotten that Stenavich is on staff, which is a positive.

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    2. That would mean Fred Jackson is retiring after this season (his son is a senior), which I don't care much about anymore. I'd love to get Tyrone Wheatley on our staff. He is older and a bit more experienced than Mike Hart (although I love both guys as a fan), and come on... Wheatley is a legend. I think his presence and loyalty for the program alone will fire the guys up. If Hoke doesn't make changes to the staff, I will call for his head as well, although I am just another voice in the internet. GO BLUE

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    3. I would hire Mike Hart in a nanosecond if Jackson retires. His attitude and football IQ seem excellent, and I think he could help those guys run with a chip on their shoulders.

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  12. So, the finale straw for you in terms of Funk's employment was on a disgraceful lack of effort by a supposed NFL-ready right tackle? Explain to me how that is, at all, Funk's fault?

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    1. It wasn't really a lack of effort. It's not like he tried, but not hard enough. Schofield looked like he didn't even recognize that the guy running straight into him might need to be blocked. Yes, I think that's partly Funk's fault.

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    2. It showed how guys aren't coached very well. It is an indication. That's just one indication, but there are plenty of evidence for that. Funk is a disgrace.

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  13. If Hoke wants to be successful, he needs to get rid of the MAC-level coaches he brought with him. Some of the coaches he brought along are ok -- like Mark Smith for example. But Funk needs to go, Fred Jackson eventually needs to go, and eventually I think Borges needs to go as well. I can't imagine a guy that fat can actively coach guys. Let's get some Michigan men up in here. Wheatley would be absolutely great for FJ's replacement. Wheatley has a lot of experience with coaching running backs and he was a legend here with several years of NFL experience. He would fit right in. Get an OL coach who played for Schembechler, Moeller, or Carr. Let's go!

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    1. I hate the xenophobia around the Michigan culture. Going after a "Michigan Man" is what got us here in the first place. This breed of extreme myopia will hamstring the entire program if we don't let it go.

      I was hoping Pitt would go 0-fer so they'd fire Paul Chryst and we could pick him up, but that's not happening now.

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    2. no xenophobia, man. M guys are more likely to be loyal and understand what's like playing here. I am open-minded to a great coach outside of the school. All I am saying is that we have some great alums in football too.

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    3. Do you really know if Wheatley or any other Michigan guy can actually coach? Sure he has experience, but you don't know if he's actually good. Any idea if these anonymous former Michigan linemen can coach? Seriously, this whole idea that only Michigan men can coach Michigan is ridiculous. It's pretty much the only reason we hired Hoke, and I'm not sure that's going to work out. Instead of being insular, how about we just go out and hire the best damn coaches available, regardless of previous ties to Michigan.

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    4. Wheatley is the running backs coach of the Buffalo Bills, so yes, I would say he can coach. That's why he might not be available; he's already in a vastly superior position and might be ticketed for an even higher one.

      xusai, you can't say "no xenophobia, man" and then spout off the exact xenophobia I'm talking about. Despite superficial appearances, the culture at Michigan HAS changed over time. Bringing in football alum just because they're alum is pretty much nepotism and little more. Also, I don't know what "loyalty" even means in the context of assistant coaches. It's just another bullshit buzzword used by the bluehairs.

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    5. "Going after a "Michigan Man" is what got us here in the first place."

      Hmm, I'd say it was hiring a total outsider and cleaning house on the staff when we had a good, if perhaps not great, program already in place. I thought Carr's staff was pretty good overall (look at the number of NFL guys he produced) but just needed a little more creativity in playcalling and a willingness to take more risks, like on 4th downs. The 2008 Citrus Bowl showed that they were capable of doing that. But Rich Rod let everyone go (except Jackson) and we've been dysfunctional ever since. I'm not saying the answer now is to hire nothing but M guys, but we had a solid, stable program and needlessly tore it all down. It's hard to build it back up now.

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    6. As if every new head coach doesn't clean house.

      Carr's staff WAS pretty good. Why an heir apparent wasn't groomed from within is beyond me.

      This is more of the xenophobia I keep harping on. Rich Rod's shortcomings had little to do with him being an "outsider" (the stuff the Michigan crowd didn't like about him outside of football are shortcomings of the FANS, not Rodriguez). All the cries of "We need a MICHIGAN MAN to coach this team!" were inane. No, we don't need someone plucked from the coaching tree. We need someone who wins games and can recruit the Midwest. Austerity and stubbornness are a recipe for disaster if you're not correctly oriented. If you're driving into a lake, don't keep driving into the goddamn lake and think it will solve anything.

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    7. Not all new coaches clean house. John Beilein kept a couple of Amaker assistants at first - and Amaker was nowhere near as successful as Carr. Beilein recognized that continuity was important for the sake of the current players, as well as recruits.

      I have no "phobia" of outsiders. I thought Rodriguez was a good hire. But I was disappointed that he fired so many of Carr's coaches. That pretty much guaranteed a rocky transition, because players who had been in the system for 3-4 years suddenly had to deal with entirely new coaches. I remember Mike Hart saying a few months later that it felt weird coming back to campus when everything was totally different. I think Rodriguez alienated a lot of current and former players by cleaning house, when he didn't need to. He took over a program that hadn't had a losing season in 40 years. It needed some changes, but he threw the baby out with the bathwater. And we've been struggling ever since to get back what we've lost.

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    8. What does Borges's weight have to do with anything?

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    9. Beilein also paid pretty heavily for retaining those assistants, as only after cleaning house did he achieve legitimate success. Bad example.

      It's not like Rodriguez surprised anyone by bringing his own crew. Everyone in the AD knew well ahead of time. Bill Martin et al bungled the end of the Carr era horrifically. Rodriguez certainly made mistakes, but pinning this stuff on him is asinine. Watch it be 20 years down the road and people will still be blaming Rodriguez for everything. It's like he's a Batman villain who deliberately sabotaged Michigan football.

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    10. All right. I've never said we should not hire an outsider. All I am saying is that M guys are more likely to be loyal. Wheatley, for example, continuously moved up the coaching ranks and is now in the NFL. He is more likely to come to M given his ties to the school and the fact that he grew up in the Detroit area. We have a lot of football alum. Let's take advantage of those connections if there are great coaches who went to Michigan. If they can hire a great coach without any ties to Michigan, fine. Bo was an outsider to start with as well. But they are more likely to be loyal. That's all I am saying. Please don't name me a xenophobe.

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    11. Good lord, Tommy Amaker's assistants? That's James' example of how to properly manage a transition? Belein needed to blow those guys out of there to finally become successful at UM.

      And who, exactly, from Lloyd Carr's coaching tree has gone on to any notable success since 2007? Ron English? Stan Parrish? Mike Debord? Vance Bedford? Steve Szabo? Seriously - go look at the assts from 2007 -- not a SINGLE guy amongst that group who has done anything since 2007 to suggest they are even a top-level BCS asst.

      RR's biggest problem (in terms of assistants) is couldn't bring enough of his guys, i.e., his defensive coordinator b/c UM at the time was too cheap to pony up. He tried to kluge together someone else and (to his discredit) never figured it out.

      UM needs to hire the best person for the job. If he came from UM, great; if not, I don't care.

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    12. Just to add 2 cents to the "cleaning house" argument...Urban Meyer retained 3 assistants when he got to Ohio, and replaced 5. Not exactly a total house cleaning.

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    13. If Beilein hadn't kept some of Amaker's assistants, he may have lost Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims - and then his time at this school might have been torpedoed before it got off the ground, kind of like how RR's was. Getting to the tournament in 2009 bought him the capital to survive that third year.

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    14. Also, just because a guy doesn't go on to become a coordinator or HC doesn't mean he isn't a good position coach. Loeffler, Campbell, Bedford and Stripling were some Carr assistants who were very highly regarded. (Szabo too, although he admittedly was getting up there in age.)

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  14. Im going to call for an outside the box pick for OC next season: Mark Mangino. He is a Broyles Award winning OC and his Kansas teams usually had good O. Hes desperate enough to get back into coaching since he is a te coach with ysu so money should not be an issue. And its been 4 years since the issue so that shouldnt be as bad.

    Big Nate

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    1. That is certainly "outside the box."

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  15. And Mangino is fat too, like all good OC.

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    1. Well, Borges can barely move because he's so fat.

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    2. Just saw a pic of Mark Mangino, and you're right he's even fatter than Borges. I just can't imagine guys that big and slow can actively coach guys. You have to move around to show guys what the hell they have to do. If they're that fat, can't do it.

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    3. And yet Mangino has a decent track record of success (better than Borges). The main knock on Mangino is that he has a long track record of bein a jerk. Also the increasr in fat jokes from other fandoms. But he is definitely someone Michigan can get that has good experience as a coordinator (Loeffler, for instance, would come but his OC track record is...uninspiring)

      Big Nate

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    4. @suduri xusai and others - I'm all for a civilized discussion about the coaching staff, but once you start into the pejoratives and personal insults about coaches, you've crossed a line. I get it, we're all passionate about Michigan football, but calling coaches "a disgrace", "morons" and making the "fat" comments is juvenile and has no place here, imo.

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  16. Thunder, I know everyone wants Funk GONE, but do you think Brady Hoke will actually fire him? Do you think Dave Brandon will step in? I would've fired him after the Michigan State game. I think at the end of the season Hoke and/or Brandon should hint to Borges that he's done, and let him "resign" so that it looks better. I sure hope Funk and Borges leave at whatever expense. I personally think Hoke might let go of Funk, because he might think his job will be in jeopardy if he holds onto him.

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    1. Yes, I do think Hoke would fire him. It's not a done deal - especially if there's some improvement in these last three games. But I would think Hoke realizes that the team is underperforming, and when you rush for -21 yards against the #85 rushing defense in the country, then things have probably hit rock bottom.

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  17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAncfWQnXbk What bullshit

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  18. The Answer (IMO)

    Same answer that was needed in 2010 -- hire an autonomous coordinator who function as the Head Coach of the Offense/Defense. If Rodriguez had done that with Scott Schafer, instead of hamstringing him with a bunch of bush-league 3-3-5 holdovers from WVU, the defense would have probably avoided disaster.

    Same thing needs to happen on offense now. Hoke needs to let someone outside of the Michigan coaching tree come in and do their own thing with their own people. My preference would be for a spread-oriented guy, but after recruiting pro-style personnel for 3 years a pro-style candidate makes more sense.

    We desperately need a plan - a coherent vision for what Michigan's offensive identity is.

    The defense is going to be killer next year. The offense won't have to do that much, but what we've seen the last two weeks is that even moving the ball forward at all is under question.

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    1. Well, I wish I could be sure our defense would be "killer" next year, instead of just "solid", as they've been for three years. What guys have emerged as potential impact players for next year that we didn't have before? Countess and Ryan have all-conference potential, but who else? Guys like Ross, Morgan, Bolden, Clark, Ojemudjia and Taylor all seem to have peaked as decent starters, but not stars. Pipkins is a bust, and Heitzman isn't much better. Of true and RS freshmen, Henry has looked the best, but no one has made you sit up and take notice and say "this guy's going to be really, really good". Thomas, despite all the hype, really hasn't played, nor has Hill. Stribling, Lewis, Strobel and Charlton, a few flashes, but no guarantees. There's a lot of finger-crossing needed to get us from where we are now to "killer" next year.

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    2. Well, anonymous, our defense has been better than 'solid' the last few years, IMO. It's been really good on 3rd downs especially...this year, there has been a dropoff on that front.

      FEI rank the last 3 years: 16, 26, 19 (before Nebraska).

      I would expect the natural progression for a lot of these players would lead to great improvement. I don't know why you'd assume that Ross, Bolden, Clark, Ojemudja have peaked. I'd think just the opposite. Pipkins in no way shape or form is a bust. Normally when you see these flashes from true freshman, it's a sign of future stardom.

      Finger-crossing is what happened with the OL. Hoping that people who haven't played can. For me, the defense is totally different - you're just looking for improvement and consistency. Reasonable expectation, not just hope.

      DL: Wormley, Pipkins, Henry, Charlton - these guys are just scratching the surface but have flashed their potential. Ojemudia, Clark, Beyer, Heitzman all back too. Recruiting will inject immediate talent in Mone...and maybe even Hand. The key thing is getting Pipkins healthy and rotating in consistently. Heitzman is nothing special and Beyer's ceiling not too high, but everyone else can be very strong.

      LB: Expectations for Ross were sky-high, and he's disappointed some, but still has that star potential. Ryan-Ross-Bolden-Morgon-Gedeon all back. LBs often aren't fully formed till they're upperclassmen. Think of the improvement in Morgan between now and when he was picked on 2 years ago.

      DB: This is where you'd hope to see the most improvement. Wilson is skilled but has been tentative at times. The other safety spot is a bit unclear. But... Countess-Taylor back, Stribling/Lewis/Thomas not freshman anymore. I know they've gotten beat but Stribling and Lewis I think will be excellent players for us. We should be able to handle more one-on-one coverage. Peppers is entering into the mix and could make an impact with ripple effects to the rest of the secondary. You've seen Wilson play much better this year and I think that will happen with both him and Thomas next year.

      I think the wins and losses are really clouding the fact that this defense is still very good.

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    3. Ross and Morgan are pretty fantastic. The scheme isn't designed to get them making a bunch of flashy plays. Pipkins isn't even close to being a "bust" and lambasting the freshman is asinine. Try, you know, being a little smarter about this.

      The linebackers at least will be dominant next year. The line should be at least better, depending on the recovery of Pipkins. We just have to replace Thomas Gordon in the secondary, really...and continuity alone should give us a hand.

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    4. I don't know that the line will be better. It could be, but I think Black and Washington are quality players. Replaceable, but we don't have too many proven performers on the interior. Henry and Pipkins are the only two that really have emerged as being playable so far and Pipkins health is a big concern. So NT/DT is a question, to some extent but...

      I like our talent and don't expect to get blown off the ball. The ends should be better, as no one leaves, and the interior should be 'not bad' at worst. Plenty of talent here and good coaching - we'll be fine. Hoke and Mattison have proven they can take guys like Heininger, Campbell, and Washington and turn them into quality players on the inside. We have plenty of candidates.

      Agree with the LBs being dominant. Should be MSU caliber with Morgan and Ryan in their 5th years, Bolden and Ross as juniors, and some decent prospects behind them as well.

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  19. Lots of people are ignoring the possibility that Hoke is, in fact, delighted by Al's strategy. Hoke has clear abilities (recruiting, navigating the rubber-chicken circuit, getting along with his players), but I think he's sufficiently dim and stubborn to pursue a run-at-all-costs plan on offense. I really believe the selection of plays on that side of the ball is a reflection of Hoke's desires rather than Al's inclination.

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    1. I don't think he's that stubborn. The last year he was at Ball State, they aired it all over the place. I believe the shotgun was their base formation.

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    2. Hoke is certainly stubborn, but not so much that he'll ignore issues from season to season. During the season, it's "Fort Schembechler" and he's going to defend his players and coaches. That's what he should do. If changes need to be made in the offseason, I think he'll make them.

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  20. Both Funk and Borges need to go…the only question is whether Hoke has the balls to do it or whether Brandon has to show Hoke the door along with them. The youth excuse just doesn't fly, not given the fact that this team has gotten WORSE, not better, as the season has progressed. With a young team with lots of talent (allegedly), the exact opposite should be happening. Granted, Borges does not have a lot to work with, but he's done an awful job with what he has, far worse than pretty much any other coach with comparable talent.

    There is something really fundamentally wrong with this team that has nothing to do with talent. This team has no spirit, no fire and no toughness. The players are not developing and getting better. That's all on the coaches.

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    1. Yeah. (at least) Funk needs to be canned as soon as possible. The sooner the better.

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    2. I agree, but I would fire them both immediately. They are currently both doing so poor, their dismissal would be addition by subtraction. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, could do a better job the Funk and Borges currently. I honestly think I could call a better game then Borges right now.

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  21. Thunder - You pointed out last week that without an effective offensive line, there is nothing you can do with play-calling. How has that changed?

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    1. The play calling after Dennis Norfleet's muffed punt recovery salted that away for me. Two runs up the middle behind Michigan's terrible interior line, then a pass, then a field goal. That was a terrible sequence. A lot of coaches will go for the home run there, and while I respect the idea that going for a home run isn't a surefire success, going into a shell isn't good enough.

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  22. I wonder if Borges' wife has asked him about the play calling? My wife doesn't know a thing about football and she has asked on numerous occasions while watching the last several games (without me saying a word about the play calling), "Shouldn't they try running a different play?"

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  23. Last week on another site a new story was mentioned that stated that Brandon watches the game fils with the coaches on Sundays. All you folks calling for coaches to be fired might want to consider what that means about his relationship with the senior coaching staff. Hoke, Mattison, and Borges are not operating in a vacuum. It is inconceivable that the details of the game on not discussed during film review. This means that Brandon is well aware of exactly what the play callers were thinking, their assessment of what worked and failed and why, and what action they intend to take to fix any issues revealed.

    Brandon is not coaching the team, but you can be pretty sure that the coaches enjoy his support for their plans. If Brandon thought that Brady was stupid or "dim", or that Borges did not understand how to call a game, or Mattison was making to many errors on the defense, they'd be gone. I have no idea if Funk will be returning, but the top three guys will be back.
    -UncleFred

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