Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

Jake Ryan
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Devin Gardner running the ball. Gardner is the best runner on the team. Better than Devin Funchess, better than Justice Hayes, better than De'Veon Smith, better than Dennis Norfleet, better than a healthy Derrick Green. Gardner sprained his ankle against Penn State, so I guess I understand if the coaches were trying to protect him against Michigan State. Regardless, this team can't pass the ball consistently, and there's very little running game. Gardner ran the ball 4 times for -18 yards (including 2 sacks). He has to be a part of the rushing attack if Michigan wants to find success.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Williams. He's not a good blocker, he's too slow to be any kind of running threat, and he doesn't have good hands. If Michigan can't put a better tight end out there - if Keith Heitzman really can't do it, if the coaches are set on redshirting Ian Bunting - then they should just spread defenses out more and hope the running backs or Gardner can find creases. Williams is a liability.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Raymon Taylor at safety. I think the time has come to make an adjustment in the defensive secondary. I do not believe this will actually happen, but Michigan needs better safety play. Jeremy Clark is a liability, and Delano Hill isn't ready to play safety at this level. Hill got completely lost in man coverage when he allowed MSU wide receiver Tony Lippett a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown, and Hill got trucked by quarterback Connor Cook. The Wolverines need more consistent play at safety, and Clark/Hill aren't going to give it to them this year.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Delano Hill. I have never been a fan of Hill, and he has yet to make a play that seems to warrant his playing time. He did luck into a fumble recovery after Jarrod Wilson forced the ball out and it bounced into Hill's hands, but that's not enough.

Play of the game . . . so few options. I'll go with Chris Wormley's 8-yard sack on Connor Cook. It was Wormley's only entry on the stat sheet, but it was a somewhat impressive bull rush right through the Michigan State offensive guard, pushing him back into Cook.

MVP of the game . . . Jake Ryan. He had 12 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. That's the best I can come up with. Nobody stood out. The quarterback was bad, the offensive line was bad, the wide receivers dropped all kinds of balls, the defensive line got pushed around, and the secondary couldn't tackle.


  1. The MVP should be that tent stake. It gave us something to talk about other than how bad Michigan football really is.

  2. This reads like a list of things wrong with the Hoke regime:

    * QB running isn't part of the plan, even when you have a talented runner at that position. (Aside: There are probably a few people in the fan base who believe that this would be a 9-3 team with John Navarre at the controls.)

    * A. J. Williams, full stop. He _looks_ like what they want, so he gets to play.

    * Raymon Taylor at safety? Nope -- too small (just like Josh Furman at linebacker, eh?). Next question.

    Aside: Delano Hill appears to be a classic workout warrior. Would you agree? Any chance he could get big (sorry) enough to move to linebacker?

    1. Regarding Delano Hill, I do get the vibe that he's a "workout warrior." I was not a fan of going after him coming out of high school, and what I heard was that "he's an athletic freak" and "he's the best athlete on Cass Tech's team." Well, okay, but he doesn't look like a great football player. I mean, he could develop into a player, but I have never heard his football skills praised, only his athleticism. I do not see him growing into a linebacker in this defense.

  3. Well - Agree "maybe" with DG in with one caveat (as long as he can run). Which he couldn't and therefore you have a less capable QB.
    Delano Hill is back for the first time after a broken jaw and then an MCL sprain. Why don't we give him some games to literally shake off the rust.

    1. Hill obviously has time to shake off the rest. Nobody else seems to be challenging him for playing time. As soon as he came back from injury, he was on the field. I don't see how Dymonte Thomas could be much/any worse.

  4. Magnus, what the hell do you think is happening in practice that makes the coaches think some of these players are ready or even well-suited to their position? Hoke consistently talks about how well they practice, and I'm starting to wonder if he knows what a good practice looks like.

    1. they work really hard, they compete, and generally demonstrate the sweat and "physicalness" hoke seems to think win football games. aj williams is such a perfect example of hokes inability to deviate from his radical view of 1970-1990s michigan football as forever pinnacle of collegiate football excellence - the kids not good enough at any aspect of the game / TE position to warrant any PT yet he still trots out there bc he works hard during practice and satisfies hokes idea of TE (who care about film evidence or actual results??).

      the man just will never understand / accept modern college football - he will never adapt or evolve, and consequently his teams have been awful. this will never change - so obviously hoke needs to go. successful college coaches are innovative and constantly on cutting edge (unless youre kirk ferentz or someone like that who has perfected their style of play and maintains their identity while happily posting 8-4 records with everyone understanding thats the ceiling - however ferentz is smarter than hoke and does much more with less resources).

      if gardner is not running, this offense will always fail vs good teams, constantly counting on 11 guys effectively doing their jobs en route to slow methodical 12 play scoring drives is recipe for disaster with inaccurate QB, inexperienced OL, slow RBs, below average WRs and a fanatical head coach. this team has 2 elite athletes on offense, 87 and 98, other than that, no one is going to make someone miss and house it.

      spread them out, dont use TEs if theyre not good, run your QB and generally "put your players in best positions to make plays and succeed" - but its hoke way or the highway, so they will continue with the square peg in round hole offense in order to satisfy hoke - and theyll continue to lose.

      wow, i feel so bad for gardner - love to see him as 5th year senior in spread system where hes threatening teams with his legs and making the simple quick reads and throws that lesser athletes are using to shred defenses all over the country

    2. As a coach, I think you walk a fine line between putting players on the field who practice well (aka they do things right in practice, line up correctly, work hard, etc.) and who play well (hit hard in games, create turnovers in games, etc.). I have found myself trying to find that line, too. I have players who practice well, but they shrink from the pressure in games. I also have players who are somewhat lackadaisical in practice, but they make big-time plays in games. Ultimately, I don't think you can find a team of 22 guys who are all perfect practice players and also play well in game situations. There are always going to be at least 1 or 2 guys who screw up in practice, but who earn their keep when the whistle blows on Saturdays.

  5. I want to know why the tent stake is what is we are talking about and not the cheap ass shot of a Spartan OL at the knee of one of our Michigan DL?!?!?! Did Dantonio apologize for classless cheapshots or helmet twisting?

    1. That stuff has gone on his entire tenure. And yet it goes ignored by the local media. Instead we have a story about a stupid tent stake and how Michigan disrespected MSU - all the while MSU's coach is running his mouth.

      Instead D'antoni is praised as a hero when he is an absolute clown and joke of a person. These are PRE-MEDITATED AND INTENTIONAL hits. These are discussed beforehand. Just like the assault of Denard's neck that went largely ignored.

      But when you go out and lose to a team that does that, this stuff gets validated. Once we hire our next coach who will curbstomp MSU, we will be able to highlight the unsportsmanlike conduct. Once we win this game, WE CAN THEN GO AND TALK ABOUT HOW A BUNCH OF CLASSLESS THUGS THEY ARE - but you have to win first.

      This is why I am amazed that any Michigan would ever even consider rooting for MSU in any game.

      A story about anything Michigan is a NATIONAL story.

      A story about MSU is a regional story. No one outside of this state gives a crap about the school. Its actually an advantage because it gives them free reign to do whatever they want. They are the Freep lap dog and have been since the mighty mean RR "yelled and practiced too hard"

  6. Let's see less of the 2nd TE -- been true for almost every game of the Hoke era, regardless of the OC.

    I've been calling for Taylor or Countess since the end of last year.

    The reason the coaches won't play Taylor or Countess at safety is the same reason they won't play Furman or Thomas at LB. It's the same reason they don't view Hayes or Norfleet as a "primary" running back. They are fixated on a vision of 1990s football that all but eliminates the possibility of schematic advantage and necessitates either having superior talent or "out-executing" - neither of which is close to happening.

    I'm pretty optimistic about Hill. We pulled him away from Iowa and they tend to recruit safeties well. He's small, so if he's playing for this staff, that must mean he's really good. The coaches must not think much of Clark if they're willing to throw Hill out as a starter against MSU coming off an injury. I think we should give Hill a little more time. He did alright early in the year, but he did struggle this week. It's unfortunate he burned his red-shirt last year for special teams.

    This was the first game Ryan looked a bit like himself. He looks significantly bigger and slower this year. Putting him at MLB was a huge mistake by this coaching staff, and we miss his presence on the edge. I think our coaches underestimated the value of teams trying to react to his presence on offense. He was a guy the QB had to worry about, now he's just another guy.

  7. I appreciate you still doing this.

    This season feels like the Lions final year during the Matt Millen era. We knew everyone would be fired, but we still had to wait and watch the train wreck. Hopefully who ever comes in next, can clean up this mess.

    1. Michigan isn't quite as terrible as the Lions (Michigan's defense is still pretty solid), but I see what you mean. You can't help believing that there will be a whole new staff in 2015.