Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Michigan vs. Indiana Awards

Drake Johnson (image via MLive.com)
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Drake Johnson. Johnson had 16 carries for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. His longest run was a 32-yard burst, and he had several runs that gained chunks of yards. A caveat applies due to the weak opponent, but he has more speed than De'Veon Smith, more power than Justice Hayes, and better vision than Smith or the currently injured Derrick Green. This likely will not be a flash-in-the-pan appearance for Johnson. While success will be harder to find, I would not be surprised if he's the starter next week at Northwestern.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . De'Veon Smith. Smith has had ample opportunities this season, playing in all nine games, getting the second-most carries on the team (77, compared to Derrick Green's 82), and not doing a great deal with those chances. Sure, he leads the team with 5 touchdowns, but he's a short-yardage and goal-line runner. Perhaps he should be leading the team in touchdowns even if everyone were healthy, because he's able to plow through linebackers and defensive backs for some extra yards. But Smith's vision isn't Mike Hart-like, which many fans said early in the season, and he's not quick enough through the holes that he sees. On a team that lacks big plays, your bell cow at running back shouldn't be a guy so ponderous.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Willie Henry. Henry got hurt against Michigan State last week, and I am not sold on his replacement, Chris Wormley. Wormley seems to be good for one or two good plays a game, but he's not consistent enough. Wormley's motor has always been a question mark for me, and I have yet to see him play a full game of good football.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Delano Hill. Hill was in on 3 tackles this past Saturday, but he was again missing tackles and getting out of position at free safety. He did have a nice blitz in the third quarter, but otherwise, I was not impressed. I don't know the answer, but Hill isn't it right now. He has been a liability the past two weeks, although the impact in this game was minimal because of the opponent.

Play of the game . . . Drake Johnson's 16-yard touchdown run to end Michigan's scoring. Johnson burst up the middle, juked a defender to the right, and then high-stepped through a tackle attempt before crossing the goal line. It was a fun ending and a welcome sight for a team that has lacked suddenness at the running back position. Honorable mention for this award goes to Amara Darboh for blowing through a solid tackle attempt on a quick screen. Not a ton of yardage, but fun to watch.

MVP of the game . . . Drake Johnson. He offered Michigan fans some excitement when there was very little else to get the heart pumping. De'Veon Smith wasn't getting the job done, and Justice Hayes is mediocre. Jake Ryan also had a very good game (11 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles), but the linebacker position hasn't been as concerning as the running backs.


  1. I can dig this write up, except for one part. Less of Delano Hill. It's like you said, "I don't know the answer."

    Wormley's motor. Should this bring Aaron Wellman into question? Maybe he's physically unable to keep the intensity up from a muscle or endurance side of things.

    1. I don't think Wellman has anything to do with Wormley's performance. The guy absolutely tears through the line a couple of times a game and just plain disappears for the rest. That's not a conditioning thing.

    2. I think Thunder is suggesting we play 10 on 11. LSLOTG should really just be titled "haterade".

      Blaming Wellman for one guy doesn't make sense. The whole team looks slow, IMO. Wellman or recruiting strategy? - hard to say.

    3. I would be in support of trying virtually anyone at FS other than Hill. Dymonte Thomas, Watson, Taylor, etc.

    4. Thomas has had a lot of chances. IMO, he looks worse than Hill. And Hill beat him out for PT last year too.

      Did Watson burn his red-shirt?

      I've suggested Countess or Taylor at safety many times. At this point, I've given up on the idea.

    5. @Lanknows - I dont see a slow defense. I think our defense is pretty fast, actually. Maybe not Bama-fast, but definitely one of the fastest in the conference.

      The offense, though, is just slow. Slow QB, slow RBs, slow WRs, slow TEs.

      There's a weird disconnect. I think its much more on coaching than Wellman.

  2. Not to belabor the point, but Justice Hayes stuck his face in there three of four times against guys coming at him with both size and pace and stood them right up. He deserves an honorable mention or an attaboy on that issue, at least.

  3. I am not expecting much from Johnson based on his 4th quarter performance the Indiana I-want-to-go-home-nows. I don't see much power in his game, certainly not relative to Hayes. He was decisive and fast (relative to the Indiana Nonchalants). I think Hayes is our best back, Smith second, and Johnson third but it's certainly up for dispute. Johnson earned some more carries for sure.

    I don't see Clark or Thomas as an improvement on Hill. He's your likely starter next year and so he needs to play as much as possible.

    Agree on Henry. He's one of our best players and we need him back ASAP.

    Game MVP: Nate Sudfeld's shoulder

  4. LSMOTG: Magnuson at TE

    Everyone's been griping about Williams and justifiably so. People forget he is in the same class as Magnuson and Kalis, because Williams has been playing for so long, but he's a guy who should have red-shirted just like they did. Anyway, he's still struggling.

    My take is that if you're going to have an easy-to-cover non-threat at TE he might as well be able to block. Magnuson seems to have been beaten out at OG and OT and may have found his calling as a blocking TE. Being one-dimensional is better than betting terrible.

    Also NW is the kind of team that we could have success running against. Maybe a new look O with Magnuson and Butt in the 2-TE sets and Drake Johnson at RB can deliver the kind of game Hoke wants to see.

    I've given up on the idea of 4-WR sets (or at least Butt and Funchess as nominal TEs in more open formations) but maybe with Magnuson out there we can come closer to "the best 11 guys" than we are with the uninspiring group of Heitzman, Kerridge, and Williams getting so many snaps.

    It's worth a shot.

  5. Is it just me or do we absolutely have the slowest Wide Receivers in college football today? Darboh at least held onto the ball this game but talk about molasses in the winter.