Monday, October 13, 2014

Michigan vs. Penn State Awards

Devin Gardner (image via CBS Detroit)
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Justice Hayes. Hayes adds a speed element that's no longer present in the offense without Derrick Green. Any outside rush attempt by De'Veon Smith is doomed from the beginning, and Hayes has the quickness to hit some of the holes that Smith can't. Michigan doesn't have a complete back on the roster, so Hayes is the relative "home run" threat. That is to say that he can occasionally run for 6 or 7 yards before first contact brings him down.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Russell Bellomy. Bellomy is just as bad as when we saw him throwing 4 interceptions in 2012. His two passing attempts included a near pick six to middle linebacker Mike Hull and nearly a second interception for defensive tackle Anthony Zettel. As a redshirt junior, I hope Michigan thanks Bellomy for his hard work and lets him move on with his life or transfer after this year. His career numbers are like this: 4-for-23, 46 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions. I cannot remember a second-string quarterback at Michigan that was so ineffective, and the team can surely trot out a walk-on who can do just as poorly.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Willie Henry. Henry obviously hurt his hand while sacking Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova last week, and he was reportedly in uniform but sidelined and wearing a cast against Penn State. The Wolverines struggled on the interior to start the game, and Henry is a difference-maker. Unfortunately, his strength of using his hands will probably be impaired by the injury. Michigan needs him if they want to beat the quality teams on their schedule, beginning with Michigan State in two weeks.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. Michigan's defense was mostly excellent on Saturday night.

Play of the game . . . Devin Funchess's 43-yard touchdown catch. Quarterback Devin Gardner chucked a deep ball that had every intention of getting intercepted by Penn State safety Ryan Keiser. Like a middle schooler with ADHD, Keiser attempted to field the ball like a punt with his hands at waist level. And like a good athlete with a shred of good coaching, Funchess swooped in front of him with his arms extended to snag the ball. He pulled it right out of Keiser's limp hands, bobbled it for a second, and then reeled it in as he crossed the goal line.

MVP of the game . . . Devin Gardner. I really want to give this to Matt Wile for hitting all three field goal attempts (from 45, 42, and 37 yards), including the go-ahead score to make it 16-13. However, we all saw how poorly the offense moved without Gardner on the field, and I'm confident in saying that Michigan would have lost that game if Gardner did not return. Bellomy was extremely close to turning it over on a couple occasions in just two drives. Luckily, cornerback Jourdan Lewis picked off a pass in Penn State territory, close enough for Wile to drive in a field goal despite Bellomy being behind center. Without Gardner, Michigan loses the game. Without Wile, perhaps a backup kicker or some lucky plays by the offense would have earned the Wolverines enough points to prevail.

61 comments:

  1. Running Smith east-west with the O-line in its current state is just another indication that this coaching staff is incompetent/stubborn/both.

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    1. Or, maybe it could also be incompetent and stubborn to continuously run the ball into the middle of the line time and time again. I'm sure if that was happening you'd make the same arguement.

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    2. Reading comprehension f-a-i-l.

      "Or, maybe it could also be incompetent and stubborn to continuously run the ball into the middle of the line time and time again."

      If the line is lousy, yes -- it would be incompetent and stubborn.

      In this (Smith E-W) we have a very obvious problem (Smith's lack of speed) that *should* result in a rejection of the idea by the staff. Only Hayes/Norfleet could be expected to do anything in that situation. (Not that they're good or anything ... just better than Smith in that situation.)

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    3. So just be so completely obvious in our play calling that teams will already know Smith is running inside, and anybody else outside? Got it! Makes total sense.

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    4. Anonymous of 11:23 P.M. says: "So just be so completely obvious in our play calling that teams will already know Smith is running inside, and anybody else outside? Got it! Makes total sense."

      Anonymous of 6:43 A.M. responds: I made no comments on predictability. But, I'll explore your idea. :) If running Smith sideways on a sweep makes almost no sense (because of his lack of speed), yes, that would tend to make the offense more predictable. There'd be a constraint. You seem to be suggesting, though, that he *needs* to be run that way every so often to keep the defense off-balance. Is that correct? I hope not. If they know he won't be effective on a sweep they won't bother watching for that play. They'll just catch up and run him down as necessary. See? For similar reasons no one is asking Norfleet to block the nose guard.

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    5. Yes, running a sweep with smith once in a while to keep the D off balance would make some sense. Not every single outside sweep smith has ran, was doomed.

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  2. Without Gardner this offense can't move... If he is not playing vs MSU I don't see how we score or even get positive yards
    I think we amassed a total 4 yds of offense in those two series bellomy was in.. It amazes me that he was a 3 star dual threat QB "rivals" ... And it was mentioned in an earlier post but his lack of development is really eye opening and alarming..hope people can get healthy for the big game coming up

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  3. I feel bad for Gardner just as I did for Denard, as both have been saddled with a coach who is completely incapable of properly taking advantage of their abilities, while chronically, relentlessly and inexplicably trying to shoehorn them into an offense that not only fails to take advantage of their abilities, but emphasizes the weakest parts of their game.

    Attacking and then firing Rich Rod was a colossal mistake. We'd be winning football games 52 to 38 about now and having fun instead of slogging through this mess. Give him the kind of money we're paying coordinators today, and we'd be winning 52 to 18.

    I really hate I Formation football.

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    1. Agree, agree, and agree...
      Look at top 25 and see who runs a zone-read /spread off.. Compare who runs "I formation"
      Would love Mullen from miss state on sidelines in big house next year wearing a headset

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    2. I don't think that's a good measurement. More teams are running spread offenses now, so it's only natural that more of them will be in the top 25. If most teams were running the I-formation, then more top 25 teams would be running it.

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    3. @Thunder

      Your response implies no causation, but there's a reason more teams are running it right? They're not just blindly falling trends. It's because it works! Even a few years ago when it was closer to 50-50, the majority of top 25 offenses were spread offenses.

      This attitude is indicative of THE problem with Michigan football. Stubborn refusal to accept that things have changed. You can win with an antiquated offensive scheme, just as you can win with Trent Dilfer as your quarterback. But you have to have a talent advantage to do it. You need a dominant defense or a physically imposing OL. It's an obstacle to overcome, a self-imposed sanction.

      At this point it is blatantly obvious. The vast majority of teams that outperform relative to their talent have spread schemes and the teams that underperform relative to their talent have "traditional" offenses. Denying the spread's superiority in the face of overwhelming evidence is the modern football version of insisting the world is flat.

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    4. You know who fits great in this system? - nobody. It's just a bad system. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Drew Brees don't sit around in the I-form (which we don't even run much of) or take the majority of snaps behind center.

      You can win with any system. Wisconisn's got a well-oiled machine running behind dominant OLs. MSU's killing it with defense. Alabama/USC have won with talent. But you look at Auburn, Oregon, Texas A&M, Baylor, MIss St and you have to ask why there is such a discrepancy. The reason is obviously scheme.

      Michigan, at this point, is waiting around to recruit the next Andrew Luck. It's going to take, well, a lot of luck.

      Or you know, a coaching change.

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    5. I don't always see eye-to-eye with you, Lanknows, but I have to admit--you're killing lately with your posts here.

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    6. Lanknows @11:10 -- "Michigan, at this point, is waiting around to recruit the next Andrew Luck."

      Well put. That's what it's going to take. Oh, and a dominating offensive line and a strong defense that keeps the score low so the offense's 24 to 35 point production is sufficient.

      I am not a fan of spread-for-spread's-sake ... there are plenty of poor spread teams in the country. The spread is by itself no substitute for a good defense (but it complements a good defense nicely). Still, it's the more-and-more common offensive scheme, which means the upcoming players are familiar with it. And it seems to be an offensive scheme that can be made simple-and-effective to start with, then juiced up as talent and experience is gained.

      The sad thing is it does not have to be either/or ... there's plenty of football out there that has elements of both traditional smash-mouth as well as spread/speed. Just look south to Columbus. It can be done. The question is will it be done at Michigan? We can hope the current debacle is waking some people up.

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    7. Thanks lanknows...that was my point... Well said, and I agree completely.. Most of my mich friends wanted RR out because he ran a "gimic" offense.. Looks who's laughing now..

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    8. Shit, I pretty much never see eye-to-eye with Lank, and I think he's been killing it. What have you been eating, bro?

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    9. Anonymous @12:31 -- I'm not sure I would have wanted RR to stay, or to have him back. His defenses were horrible, and his offense was ineffective against good teams. OSU and Mississippi State *embarrassed* him ... absolutely man-handled his offense and reduced Denard to trying to wiggle out of very good containment.

      RR's success at Arizona has yet to be proven ... yeah, 5-1; yeah, beat Oregon ... but Oregon is not a powerhouse this year, and UA just lost to USC. And two tough road games (Washington State and UCLA) in the next two weeks where we'll see what UofA is made of.

      Better than Hoke, yes. The coach to lead Michigan to the heights of college football? No.

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    10. I've been here for years.

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    11. @Don

      No one is going to convince anyone about anything wrt Rich Rod but I'll say this anyway.

      Everybody's offensive is ineffective against good defenses. That's why they are good defenses. Rich Rod was in year 3 of a transition and had everybody coming back for year 4. He had yet to install tempo stuff. He had yet to install the power stuff (remember the Iowa game in 2010 when we ran I-form for half the game? remember when he ran his beer-truck FB up the gut at WVU?). Compare where THAT offense was in year 3 to where our offense is in year 3 and 4 of Hoke. Heck, compare that O to where our defense is now (solid but still not off elite.) Everyone is all "give it time" with Hoke but no one wants to acknowledge that Rodriguez's offense was just starting to hit it's stride in 2010. The evolution was far from complete.

      The defense is another story of course, but it didn't seem entirely broken (the way the offense does now). It was mismanaged and bungled and hiring GERG was dumb. Rodriguez's biggest mistake was choosing his position coaches over Schafer. If he had done the opposite, I believe we'd be competing for a national title right now.

      All in all, there are a lot of parallels between Hoke's D and Rodriguez's O. The big differences are: year 4 vs year 3, institutional support, and the starting point (i.e., "cupboard").

      As for Arizona -- come on man. That team is obviously not a national title contender yet but what Rodriguez has done in 3 years is pretty damn impressive. And BTW, the Ducks are still a top 10 team, so credit where it's due. Rich Rod has put Arizona into the upper tier of the Pac12, a conference that is vastly superior to the Big 10. He's one of the best coaches in America. An 8 or 9 win season is nice progress for that program and he'll probably exceed it.

      The rationale at Michigan was that he couldn't handle a "big boy" conference, and that's been completely blown out of the water.

      With Oregon struggling a bit without Kelly and USC facing sanctions, Rodriguez has a real opportunity to make that program into an elite title contender.

      Also keep in mind he's doing this with a QB in the same class as Shane Morris.

      But he's not tough enough they said -- look at Denard and Devin and Gallon and tell me who isn't tough.

      It's not about 5-1. If Rodriguez even treads water with 7 and 8 win seasons in the Pac12 it's proof he didn't deserve to be fired at Michigan and treated as though he was an incompetent yokel. Wasn't it about a year ago or two where Brandon issued that statement that barely disguised his hostility and contempt towards Rodriguez and his refusal to credit any of the players that Rodriguez recruited for the '11 season's success?

      Rodriguez is a very good football coach. That is abundantly obvious. Maybe not 'right' for Michigan, but that says more about Michigan than him.

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    12. I'm not saying the I-formation or the spread is better or worse. I'm simply saying that it's not a very scientific way of determining the best offense, just to say "Look, more top 25 teams are doing this than that other thing." Spread offenses tend to be run at a higher tempo; perhaps an I-formation team run at a high tempo might be up there, too.

      Several years ago the 3-4 defense was all the rage in the NFL. There were several good defenses running the 3-4, so it seemed almost every team was becoming a 3-4 team in the hopes of replicating what the Steelers had, for example. It seems like people are copycats, and they want to replicate what they've seen to be successful. I'm not saying the spread *is* in that situation, but it could be somewhat similar.

      I'm simply saying that I-formation teams can have success in college football. What it takes is the right coaches and the right players. Obviously, Michigan doesn't have those guys in place right now.

      You went through and named several teams (Wisconsin, USC, Michigan State, etc.) who largely run pro-style offenses with good success. That's why I continue to make the point that it's Jimmy's and Joe's, not X's and O's. If Jim Harbaugh or Nick Saban came to Michigan, they could probably find some success with this offense because of the way they coach.

      Personally, I think Michigan is improving. It might be too slowly to save Hoke's job, but there are signs of progress.

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    13. @Thunder

      Yeah, you are mathematically and logically correct to point out that there SHOULD be more spread teams in the top 25 than not, but it's missing the larger point that these offenses are more successful and have been for many years. What's been observed "scientifically" for many years is now evident to even a statistics-allergic "bottom-line" pragmatist. The guy who said "see" when Oregon lost to Alabama/USC/Stanford now has to confront the fact that the vast majority of the best teams are winning with innovative offenses (at least compared to the "pro style" 90's style offenses).

      There are certainly trends and some things are cyclical, but there is also evolution. I don't think anyone out there thinks 4 WR sets are a gimmick anymore (Warren Moon era run-n-shoot) or that dual-threat QBs are a thing of the past. It's more likely that the statuesque pocket passers of the 70's-90's are the 'fad'. Football started out with QBs running the ball and now it's gone back to it. The evolution of the passing game led to a focus on that, but the accuracy and precision of the west-coast offense reached it's zenith and then it was on to the next dimension or spreading people out and 'reading' defenders to create a numbers advantage.

      Yes, I-form teams CAN succeed. But as you say, it requires a talent advantage. Why not use the schematic advantage AND the talent advantage. The two are no longer mutually exclusive, if they ever were.

      I'm not arguing that talent ultimately wins. It usually does, and it's harder to out-scheme people than out talent them. But what's happening right now is that Michigan is BY CHOICE getting out-schemed. There's nothing wrong with copying what works. Bo wasn't a football innovater by any stretch, but he borrowed liberally from what worked at the time. It wasn't until the late part of his career that he was behind the curve in terms of scheme. When Moeller came in he brought a lot of innovation (3 WR sets, more downfield passing). The point here is that Michigan has never been a stody "old school" program when it's been successful. When we've looked backwards, we've lost.

      If we keep shooting ourselves in the foot on scheme we will give up the advantage in talent for good.

      Michigan is improving - relative to what? Last year's offense? The 2010 defense? I'd rather set the benchmark a lot higher to at least some respectable units like the 2009 offense and the 2012 defense. Compared to those units this team is not improving.

      Tempo has nothing to do with it though, because the OP (Anon whatever) presumably meant Top 25 ranked teams (not Top 25 offenses), though it could easily have been interpreted differently. Also spread teams generally still fare better even after adjusting for pace (yards per play, etc.) because there is a tangible benefit to tempo (defenses not being ready) and the offense dictates how fast it goes.

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    14. Lanknows @ 2:07 --

      Time will tell how good Rodriguez is. If he bubbles along at 8-4 or 9-3 the fans here in Tucson will be very happy. I do give credit where credit is due -- he's done well in his first three years -- but I'm not near ready to put him on the same stage as Saban, or Meyer, or Malzahn, or Chip Kelly when he was at Oregon.

      I have never in my lifetime seen Rodriguez string together the victories to get to the next level ... the "elite" that you speak of. He stumbled at WVU by losing to Pitt in 2007. There's no reason he should have lost to USC this past weekend ... USC being a team with limited scholarship players and a rash of their own injuries to deal with. Let's see him go 11-1 and beat a real team in a bowl game before the label "elite" comes anywhere near Rodriguez or Arizona. (And I see they dropped to 16/17 in the polls with Oregon -- the team they beat -- well ahead of them.)

      But let's not confuse my "Not RR" stance as saying "Yes Hoke." I had hopes for Hoke early on, but I no longer do. He's lost and he's toast. In year four of his reign, with this talent, Hoke should have a solid 8-4 / 9-3 season in the bank. Instead, he's 3-4 with the very real prospect of ending 3-9 or 4-8. There's no excuse for that. Hoke is failing on the big stage and *nothing* he does at this point is going to redeem him.

      With the playoff system choosing only 4 now (and 8 soon, no doubt), Michigan has to get to the point of being an annual top-8 team to be part of the discussion. They're not going to get their with Hoke; they wouldn't have gotten there with Rodriguez; and unless they pull a rabbit out of their hat they're not going to get there anytime soon.

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    15. @Don

      That seems like a double standard, to put it mildly. You compare any coach to the very elite and, well, they probably won't match up. Saban's been the best college coach over the last couple decades. Kelly is the unrivaled innovator - this generation's Bill Walsh. Too early to say if Malzhan and Meyer will be quite at that Hall of Fame level, but chances are pretty good and they've won national titles while establishing signature identities on offense.

      You can nitpick any coach, even Saban or Kelly for losing to Auburn or Stanford or whatever. Nobody is going to go undefeated every year. Yes, WVU lost to Pitt - they also beat Georgia and Oklahoma in BCS bowls.

      You say Hoke "should be 8-4 or 9-3" in year 4. It appears Rodriguez is already in that neighborhood, in year 3, at a school without the advantages that people ascribe to Michigan (including talent.)

      The reason for Rodriguez to lose to USC is talent. Arizona's is a notch or two below Michigan's right now. USC still has ELITE talent at most positions. Ty Isaac was a 5th stringer on USC and people here are super excited about him. Their roster is filled with 5 star athletes who considered Michigan and passed. They lost a ton of depth, yes, which means playing young guys. They're not at their pre-sanction level, but talent is still talent and USC is a quality team.

      No one is saying Rodriguez's Arizona team is already elite. But, like at Michigan, like at WVU, his team has improved each year. There's no logical reason to say that Rodriguez couldn't have taken Michigan to the top 4-8 in season 4, 5 or 6. If Brandon had faith in him, he could have pushed him to bring in a high paid DC (like Hoke got) and let him do his thing.

      I hate to make it this simple but look at Solomon compared to Morris. It's night and day.

      There's no guarantee, of course, but if Rodriguez can take WVU and Arizona to be a top 10-15 team there is zero reason he couldn't have turned Michigan into a top 5 team.

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    16. Don at 3:46..
      RR has beaten 4 top 10 teams in the past 2 &1/3 years while at AZ... Mind u this would be like doing it in the big10 at Purdue... Big wins? He has plenty, when has hoke beaten a ranked team much less ranked higher? In the last 4 years?? His only big win is vs VA tech w RR players...
      Look at OLE MISS and MISS state as teams that play fast on offense and tough on defense.. This is the future of football and its where kids want to play... Here is something to look at..
      2 QB's in 2011 class both 3 stars and were dual threat.. Both ranked 5.5/5.6 rivals rank..
      One is russel Bellamy and the other dak Prescott at none other than MISS STATE... With equal offer letters, see for your self... Look at the results.. Bellomy looks like he couldn't play in HS and DP is in the running for heisman..
      What is it at Michigan??? Coaching?! Player development? Offensive scheme? Who knows,,, but it's alarming how poorly these players are developed...
      RR is doing things with a RS QB and frosh RB that hoke can't do with a 5 year senior...

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    17. Actually Rich Rod went 11-1, 11-2 and 11-2 between 2005 and 2007, with Bowl wins over #8 Georgia, #3 Oklahoma and somebody else.

      So ...... by your your own criteria, Rich Rod be elite.

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    18. "Yes, I-form teams CAN succeed. But as you say, it requires a talent advantage. Why not use the schematic advantage AND the talent advantage. The two are no longer mutually exclusive, if they ever were."

      that comment from lanknows hammers it home and not much else need be said - athletic and schematic advantages are certainly not mutually exclusive so why not attempt to beat opponents with both??

      and the comment re precision and accuracy of west coast offenses transitioning to spread offenses reading defenders / boxes - the success cannot be disputed, nor can anyone dispute the logic / reason of those systems. if you can spread teams out, read defenders / boxes, and add threat of QB running, it just adds so many more dimensions to offense - and quite simply, its easier to execute at college level (which is huge for team like um whos main excuse is lack of execution). not only more logical, its easier to move the ball, get players into space, and hit explosion plays in those systems (spread to run or spread to pass).

      its extremely difficult to find very smart, very accurate pro style QBs year after year to satisfy hokes vision of pro style offense in college (was easier when um could win most games 20-17 but teams move the ball and score much more in modern game), plus those systems require elite OL to consistently block stacked boxes at LOS and those systems also require elite RBs and playmakers at WR and TE in order to offset the statues with limited running ability at QB. only handful of teams are really good at pro style offense year in and year out (top 15 level), logically. its just much easier to hustle to line, spread the field, relay play calls based on viewing the box and numbers advantage, and attack the D where theyre weakest or play off of read defenders - makes more sense than saying "here we come" with our brusing power O, you have to stop us 40 times per game. spread to run or spread to pass, whatever your poison, theyre simply more effective more often than traditional offenses

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    19. First of all, I am sick to death of I formation football. Seriously, I hate it with a deep, and abiding passion.

      Having said that, I really don't think you need to have a talent advantage to run it. You simply need to block it for a back that can see the holes, make the cuts and punish second level tacklers.

      After that you need an accurate QB with enough arm strength to throw the out routes and the occasionally deep ball to a guy that can get over cheating safeties. All of those guys are out there, every single year.

      I am simply sick to death of controlling the clock, shortening the game, keeping their offense of the field and any of the other multitude of mindless platitudes promoted by the unthinking progeny of St. Bo. And don't get me wrong here, I love Bo, I wish to God we still played his defense or at least some of it. i would like to lengthen the game, control the scoreboard, let their offense back on the field hoping to god to keep our offense off the field and break triple digits on somebody, preferably OSU ... in the erstwhile Horseshoe.

      That was some seriously ugly football we played against Penn State. Win or not. And while I am a serious believer in the Raider Creed. It doesn't have to be that ugly.

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    20. Everyone is right ... how could I be so stupid? Rodriguez is the greatest coach of all time!

      Had he stayed than surely Michigan would be reeling off undefeated seasons by now!

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    21. I repeat, 11-1, 112, 11-2 with bowl victories over #3 Oklahoma and #8 Georgia who I believe plays in the SEC.

      Had the dumbass Michigan Men not gone all stupid and started talking to each other with their dumbass Bo impersonations about "Michigan Football", we'd be having fun about now.

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    22. I'm a regular reader of both this site and mgoblog, I would encourage any remaining Hoke supporters and those who wanted Rich Rod gone to read this thread - Lanknows made the most compelling argument I've seen in favor of the spread offense and Michigan's inability to modernize the program, and I don't believe anyone can refute these points.

      You only need to understand simple math to comprehend why the spread is a superior offense. The idea of reading a defender - and consequently using the QB to remove a defender from the play - is incredibly simple. The Eagles, with one of the slowest QBs in the NFL in Nick Foles and going up against the most talented defenses in the world, have used this simple concept (among other) to create one of the most potent offenses in the league.

      Well said Lank.

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    23. @Roanman

      Arm strength really isn't nearly as important as a quick mind (i.e., decision-making) and accuracy. It absolutely IS harder to win with I-form because you remove the QB on run plays and you add in a non-threat FB on pass plays. You're playing 10 on 11.

      Yes, it can work if you execute it (like every other system) you just have to execute it BETTER because you're making it harder for yourself. Which means you either have to be more talented, more experienced, better coached, or all of the above to win.

      Out routes and deep balls are part of every offense.

      @Don

      Your sarcastic post isn't that much farther off-target than your serious one. You're "he's not Saban or Kelly" argument is almost just as bad as saying he's the greatest coach ever. Rodriguez is a really good coach and he probably would be winning at Michigan. He might not be undefeated, but neither is Saban or Kelly.

      @Anon 12:29

      Thanks

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    24. Lan,
      Ur spot on!!
      This is where football is going even SABAN.. Doesn't Alabama have the #1 dual threat QB for 15 class.. There is a reason he let nuss go

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  4. Let us enjoy this win!

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    1. Like we would enjoy a room-temperature glass of water on a hot day. This win is meaningless. It provides no lasting value. Michigan is still bad, and against teams better than Penn State (which is most teams) Michigan loses.

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    2. I really hope you two Anonymous people are the same person - would be an excellent troll job.

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  5. I'd nominate Jourdan Lewis for MVP, though don't object to Gardner.

    Deveon Smith isn't a good match for this offense. We're better with Gardner in the shotgun overall, but it seems to me that Smith is only effective when Gardner is under center because it allows Smith to get going---and be effective. I'm not saying Smith is not good---it's a mismatch.

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  6. I'm not going to say much more about Bellomy, but I've never seen a college QB at any school look as helpless as him out there. It seems mean even sending him out on the field.

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    1. YouTube of his high-school highlights:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4om8v56FCw

      10-3 his final year; 18-8 over two years.

      It's a highlight film. Still, he looks at least competent. From this we can conclude:

      1) He played in a below-average league so his talent stood out as above-average
      2) He has regressed under Michigan coaching
      3) His high-school team was better than Michigan's current team

      I feel sorry for him. He's probably thinking what a colossal waste his time at Michigan has been.

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    2. "Helpless" is right. When he went out there, I thought "Did he get smaller?" I can not believe he is 6 ft 3 in, 210 lbs (which is a decent size for a QB). He looked completely out of place. And that's not to mention his actual play.

      It is terrible that in year 4 we are in the same place as we were in Hoke's first year in Ann Arbor -- completely screwed if the starting QB goes out.

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  7. On Hayes - that is the silver lining of the Green injury. The coaches are forced to play him instead of rotating Green and Smith, who are pretty similar backs. Smith seems to run tougher, Green seems to have a bit more burst, but they are similar backs. Interesting how this will all shake out next year with everyone back and Isaac added.

    On Bellomy - I have to agree about the 5th year thing. That was bad.

    Ben Gedeon - everytime I see this kid he seems to be flying around the field. Seems like he's going to be a good player.

    It's interesting that this team reflects the recruiting philosophy of the coaches. Very deep on defense, tons of LBs, big slow skill position guys.

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    1. See ya Russell. Thank Michigan for giving you a scholarship for tuition and board for 4 years.

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  8. Shane Morris should start against MSU. Devin Gardner just can't get this offense going. Obviously, pairing a white QB with a terrible OL, slow RBs, and WRs who don't get open will be the solution to our woes.

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    1. Dude, we should watch games together... Couldn't agree more...

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  9. Jesus! We win and you still bitch!!! The worst fans in college football are right here at Michigan. Its absolutely unbelievable.

    Good on the boys for getting the win going into the bye week. Hopefully they can take the momentum into East Lansing and pull out a win.

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    1. Not me. I'm still on Cloud 9 from that Akron win last year.

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    2. Dude, celebrating that win is like enjoying a day at the beach while a hurricane is coming tomorrow...

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    3. That is tomorrow's hurricane but not today.

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    4. At least we beat Akron and didn't lose to them like, you know... Toledo or something.

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  10. We do have some horrible fans. Every three years if a coach doesn't win a national championship, Internet posts say to fire him. Support your team! The team includes coaches. It's like you guys don't want to win so they will fire Hoke. Unbelievable. Your negative talk only hurts the team's moral and recruiting. Both hurts the team's future. so to anon above, I agree with you

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    1. Something tells me you didn't say the same thing 4 years ago. I did. I also still agree that all the negativity is pointless, but honestly...where the program is at...making a change is the only decision that makes sense.

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    2. Lanknows, this all feels like you are just trying to "get back" at fans for wanting RichRod gone. Sort of like a "told ya so". For the record, I didn't want RichRod gone, but he is. I don't want Hoke gone, but he will be soon. I don't like the turnover, it hurts the team, it hurts recruiting it hurt morale. A lot of people are saying Gardner is the product of many different coordinators in the course of his career and that has hurt him. Well guess what, the same thing will be true for Morris. The coaching turnover needs to stop, period.

      Stick with your team, through the highs and the lows. Supid bandwagoners are ruining this program.

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    3. Well, I admit, it is hard to resist that reaction.

      I agree with you that turnover is hard. It hurts the program. But sometimes it's necessary. Hoke lost me when he started Morris, which I was very vocal about saying was preposterous. Then he went out and did it...

      Hoke has screwed up far too many things. Rich Rod messed up a lot too, but it was mostly off the field garbage that didn't really matter. He made a few key mistakes on defense and he had a few recruiting blunders. It was all stuff that was fixable. Learn and move on.

      With Hoke, it runs far deeper than that. He is making recruiting mistakes, he is making personnel mistakes, he is not developing his players, he is making poor strategic decisions during games, and the team just flat out looks poorly coached. Unlike with Rodriguez, we get worse every year. It needs to stop.

      I sat through the 3-8 season, watching every game. I watched the 5 win season right after that and it was incredibly frustrating. It's not about highs and lows. I'm no bandwagon fan...This coaching staff is just simply flat out BAD. They need to go. Not all of them necessarily, but Hoke is the guy in charge and he is simply not an effective head coach at this level.

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    4. Lanknows, I don't think you know what you are talking about. He sat Gardner to light a fire under his ass. He knows how to motivate his players more than you know how to motivate them sitting on your ass behind a computer. I'm just going to leave it at that and let you stew about RichRod for another 4 years. Jesus H Christ people, give it up.

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    5. @Anon

      That was a semi-reasonable argument to make...until halftime. By then Morris showed (again) that he wasn't half the QB Gardner is. If it was motivational, he would have pulled Morris and put in Gardner before the injury forced his hand.

      He didn't. He stuck with Morris drive after drive. After the half it went; Punt. Punt. Interception. Fumble. Punt. 5 drives, 0 first downs, 2 turnovers. 6 yards. One obvious concussion.

      Gardner comes in --> TD.

      To motivate? What a joke.

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  11. For the record. I don't think Michigan should hire somebody who is running a Rich Rodriguez/Gus Malzhan type spread to be our head coach. That ship sailed when we foolishly fired Rich Rodriguez. We can't afford another painful transition. This program is on the edge of a cliff.

    I think our best bet right now is to get a defensive-minded head coach who can build on the momentum (and talent) that Hoke and Mattison have built up. I have no problem with Michigan maintaining a defensive-focus. That should be priority #1.

    We can stabilize the program with a strong defense and ANY offensive system. That said, we can't stick long-term with a pro-style/antiquated/retro identity-free offense as currently constructed. We can't just count on having a 5-star bonanza that will outclass Ohio State and the SEC schools. We must win with a modern offense AND the talent advantage we have had.

    The OC I'd like to see is a passing spread, maybe from the "air-raid" family tree, that incorporates some of the personnel we have on this roster and can build on the Tom Brady legacy. I think that's the smoothest transition we can realistically hope for without sacrificing our long-term ability to contend for national championships.

    One coaching candidate who I see as a real option for a smooth transition is Terryl Austin. Especially if he can convince Mattison and Manning to stick around for some continuity and make a savvy "head coach of the offense" type hire and not be slavish devoted to the 90's pro-style offensive scheme like Hoke was. I wouldn't even mind if he kept Nussmeir around if he gave him some power and let Funk, Ferrigino and the other Hoke-buddgies go.

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    1. I love the people that think you can just go ahead and cherry pick the good coaches for the next staff. You all need a serious reality check.

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    2. Agree. I hope Hoke can win enough to keep his job. Michigan fans are so pathetic these days. They are so out of touch with the reality of football.

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    3. @Anon 11:32.

      It may not be realistic, but I think there are certain coaches who would allow for a semblance of continuity. Even Rodriguez kept Jackson around. I don't know why a new coach with the right relationships couldn't keep some guys around. It's not likely, but it is possible.

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    4. The new coach would be wise to keep at least 2 assistant coaches. HCs around the country do it all the time. Players need some continuity.

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  12. We needed this win. That said, Hoke still needs to go unless there is some miracle and they win out. I knew he wasn't the guy for the job when he said he wouldn't have prepared any differently after losing 31-0 after the ND game. Hindsight is 20/20, but that was one of the dumbest coaching comments I have ever heard. He doesn't get the big picture, period.

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    1. Yup. Hoke won't beat MSU, and he won't beat OSU with this team. The best record would be something like 6-6, and that won't save his job.

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