Monday, November 16, 2020

Michigan vs. Wisconsin Awards


Cade McNamara (image via Freep)

Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Hassan Haskins. The team's leading rusher had 1 carry for 6 yards. The end.

Hit the jump for more.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Erick All. All made 2 catches for 1 yard. He was also targeted on a fade route. To be fair, he got interfered with but it wasn't called. Also to be fair, he's 6'4" and 242 lbs. and couldn't outmuscle 5'10", 180 lb. cornerback Donte Burton.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . anyone, anyone at all, who looks like he's interested in playing defense.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . anyone who appears disinterested, which is a lot of people.

Play of the game . . . Cam McGrone's tackle for loss, because that was roughly the only play on which Michigan played defense.

MVP of the game . . . Cade McNamara? He only played a couple series on offense in relief of Joe Milton, but he was responsible for 8 of Michigan's 11 points. He was 3/3 for 74 yards and 1 touchdown on his first drive, and he also threw the 2-point conversion to Giles Jackson. Altogether, he finished 4/7 for 74 yards and 1 touchdown.


  1. I know the popular notion is that Harbaugh needs to "move into the modern era" on offense, but do you think he's gotten away from who he is, and is stuck in a no man's land offensively?

    1. a) I don't think he's gotten away from who he is, because he rode Colin Kaepernick and the pistol offense to the Super Bowl. Going to a spread look isn't a big departure.

      b) Unlike some others, I do think he has ceded control of the offense to Gattis. Unfortunately, I do not think Gattis has figured out who he is as a play caller. And it's not helping that he has a weak OL, which makes any kind of execution difficult.

  2. Lanknows here. Thanks for keeping the blog going. In a disaster of a year, Michigan is having a disaster of a season. Some bloggers (no names) dont have the stomach for it -- they want the team to show up in losses and against OSU but they dont do it themselves. Thanks for showing up and gritting it out.

    Anyway. What is there really to say? This is a legitimately bad team and with their 5 best players out for various issues there isnt any real hope it will be better this year. Some of us underestimated the rebuild needed - particularly on the OL and in the secondary. And then to lose cornerstones like Paye and Hutchinson.

    If you are bad at OL, DL, and CB -- you are bad. It's not complicated.

    The RB rotation - who cares about the damn deck chairs. They can give 20 carries to the this guy or that guy or 3 carries to 7 guys. They're not going anywhere behind this OL. Michigan has it's deepest and most talented group of RBs it's had in at least a decade and they can't do anything. Contrast the tatters of our OL with the Wisconsin assembly line, which is what Michigan had under Bo. Wisconsin replaces the best back they've ever with a 3 star and a freshman and rushes for 300+ yards on Michigan. RBs don't matter.

    Milton? He needs to put more touch on the ball but he also needs people to catch the damn thing. And a semblance of a running game. But if anybody thinks McNamara or anyone else is going to save this team they're in for disappointment. Milton's been one of our best players. That's not saying much which says a lot.

    Coaches? well I guess everyone is on notice now but what's the point until the seasons done. I'm probably most disappointed in Nua and Zordich. Nua seems like a massive dropoff from Mattison - losing him may be Harbaugh's biggest failing. Mattison could take guys like Heininger and Van Bergen and turn them into plus starters. Zordich has been a stalwart for the entirety of the previous 5 seasons and then this. Maybe those guys showed some improvement this week and maybe Wisconsin didn't have to bother? On the DL we're just not

    Gattis? Well, Harbaugh took a risk. I'm not one to advocate firing anyone after just a year or two on the job but Michigan needs to find something these next few weeks. We've seen glimpses of good stuff - cool plays and clever tricks - but still the lack of identity since Rich Rod's offense. But you can criticize anyone, even proven guys who will get snatched up the day after they are fired: Harbaugh Warriner and Brown.

    As a program, Michigan is in real danger of becoming Illinois or Purdue. Not Texas or Nebraska or FSU or UCLA or some other team that used to be excellent, but legitimately irrelevant. A lot of our fans are taking things for granted but there's not much that really gives Michigan an advantage over others. Only so long that you can wring value out of "we were awesome before 1940 something and have a lot of fans". I really worry about where this program (not one team but the program) will be if they fire Harbaugh. But I know there are many who can't wait to kick him out the door.

  3. What happened to our LBs? Ross is lost in space, and McGrone has disappeared

    WRs/TEs can't catch the Rona in the badger locker room, but that doesn't excuse the false hype surrounding Milton. He is everything that was feared, nothing that was needed
    I feel for Charbonet. Put him in Madison, and he's a heisman candidate; Haskins would lead the conference
    Sorry to say it, but Harbaugh has lost the team. Time to move on. Will they? Doubt it, but my hope is he places program before self, and takes a much needed break

    1. I don't know what happened to McGrone/Ross. They seem to have regressed. The biggest difference between last year and this year is LB coach Brian Jean-Mary. FWIW, I sat in on a Zoom clinic with Jean-Mary this off-season, and I was not impressed. He's supposedly a great recruiter, but he didn't seem to have his feet under him back in the spring. Maybe he was just adjusting to the personnel or figuring out the defense himself, but I did not leave that clinic feeling like I learned anything.

    2. I think McGrone and Ross are trying to make plays to compensate for defensive shortcomings..and abandoning gap control and technique.

    3. Eh, perhaps. McGrone is playing too high too often for me to buy into that. Ross just seems lost ... as in, he's there but not in pursuit. Both he and Hawkins are letting ball carriers come to them (ceding yards), rather than taking an angle and "making a play"

      If I saw mistakes based on aggression, I could say it's youth. We just look passive & NOT like the Brown "hair on fire" LBs/Safeties we've seen in the past

  4. Regarding the running back thing, there are systems and there are players. In New England, for the most part, the receivers didn't matter, because the system and the QB made up for it. Brady's receivers were never/rarely anything special, but he made it work for 20 years.

    At Wisconsin the OL is so good that it doesn't matter (much). But it helps that a) 50% of Michigan's DL was hurt and b) the team really didn't seem too interested in playing.

    Maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't think Michigan had any drops on Saturday night. The only one that was close to a drop was the first INT, and I think the Wisconsin safety (Burrell, I think) got a hand on it. At the very least, he had very tight coverage on Eubanks. That wasn't an easy catch.

    I agree that Mattison was a huge loss. I've long thought that Mattison was the second-best DL coach in the country, behind Larry Johnson.

    1. Look how much Mattison got out if Ryan Glasgow! Undersized but was effective. There's not just a drop off in the DLine now, but also at LB. And life gets harder for the DBs when the DLine is not getting pressure on QBs.

    2. Speaking of Cade NcNamaras arm strength, Joe Montana said he couldnt throw a pass farther than 55 yds. But he is the best QB I've ever seen.

      joseph dreamed dreams

  5. I agree 100 percent on Mattison. With Hoke and Mattison, the DL was as good as it's ever been at Michigan (I'm not advocating for a return to Hoke by any means, but he'd make a great DL coach).

    I rewatched some games from 2015, and loved the offense that I saw. That was a first year deal, and even though they had moments when they had trouble moving the ball, I that the offense looked cohesive and well thought out. The last two years, I've thought just the opposite. It's like they throw some crap against the wall, hoping something will stick. I know if I was Harbaugh, if I'm going down, I'm going down doing what I know best. It's too late now though.

    Defensively, I don't see any way the staff thought this group could manage their scheme. Add to that the fact the Buckeyes have torched our man coverage the last two years SHOULD have forced some kind of zone coverage change going into the bowl game and into fall camp (since there was no spring). I think there is hope that the DL can come around a bit(moving Kemp to DE is a good move I think..I also think Welschof should get a look there, not on the inside). The LBs seem to be pressing and trying to "make plays", not play fundamental defense..a problem McGrone has always had a little.

  6. Is the highly ranked talent on this team simply too young? Or is it over rated? Or is it under developed? Help me out. I thought there was a ton of speed on this squad.

    I do not believe the ship is sinking. Too many injuries at this point to compete with good teams, yet this will not be the norm. Next year, UM will return to normalcy, at least new normalcy. 9-4 or 8-5

    1. I think it's too young and it's underdeveloped. Some of these guys shouldn't be playing. Just think of the guys who shouldn't be playing right now:

      Karsen Barnhart, Zak Zinter, one CB, Taylor Upshaw, Gabe Newburg, one WR. There are first- or second-year guys that we shouldn't even know what they look like athletically.

      Barnhart is a good example. He was a high school tight end in 2018. Now he's starting at offensive tackle and facing off against Isaiahh Loudermilk.

  7. Milton had his worst game which is not a surprise since it was his first start against a (probably) elite team. I know Indiana is off to a nice season but beating Michigan and PSU doesn't have the shine on it when everyone and their sister can do it. Wiscky to me is on another level.

    I don't know how many balls the receivers dropped this week because I watched less than half the game. I do know they were already well into double digits after 3 games and the 1st pass of the game should have been caught by a senior tight end. He was open enough and the ball was there. Catch it. The second INT was on Milton obviously and it was brutal. Game over right there and then the team gave up right then. I've been on the field when teams quit and everyone knows it. You can't always tell on TV but you know it on the sideline and locker room. Anyway...

    After that, I don't care if you're Tom Brady you're not going to win against a good team like Wisc with no run game, receivers who have failed you, poor pass protection from an OL featuring a glorious trifecta of a walk-on, a true freshman, and position-switch, an OC who seems to not really have a coherent plan in place, and a demoralized team and defense. They're just lucky there was nobody in the stands to watch them give up.

    I just don't see how a QB decision matters for this year. QB is pretty low on the list of this team's problems. But if we're going to talk about it, I'm all for giving more snaps to McNamara because Michigan needs a savior and Joe Milton ain't it right now. Throw some stuff against a wall. Hell put the freshman out there. There's very little to lose.

    OTOH if you want to build to next year you keep Milton in the game somehow and let him take some lumps and learn some lessons. I would definitely find a way to try to build him up though. Maybe have him play some basketball against one of the bball centers to practice arc this week.

    If I'm Harbaugh I'd let both QBs play against Rutger. Rotate series or quarters whatever and see if you can find a hot hand. Or even just a spark. Let this week's practice THE IMMEDIATE take precedence over everything else. If you have two starters you have none but Michigan doesn't have much of anything right now, either way. I wouldn't even limit this to the QB position, I'd do it on the OL too. LB too. Every spot.

    My only hopes left for the next few weeks of the season are that this team puts up some fight and shows some character. That's all. It's not about wins and losses but about if these guys are going to stick around and try to build something for next year or just fold up and quit. It's on the coaches and the players both.

    Maybe these guys should be watching some Devin Gardner against OSU footage.


  8. While I'm disappointed in the defense, I don't think this is too terribly unexpected. We knew CB would be a problem and most should have known DT would still be a problem. Going against Wisconsin with these same players and scheme was always going to be a challenge...then you remove Hutchinson and Paye and you get the running game we saw Saturday night.

    Offensively is where I continue to be blown away by a lack of cohesion and adaptability. Michigan was down so quickly against Wisconsin and that might explain some of the lack of cohesion - but we saw the same things against MSU and Indiana. What I call "adaptability" I mean the ability for the coaching staff to anticipate (whether in the week of practice or during the game) how the defense is going to react to the offense and put together plays that punish that reaction.

    Wisconsin did this fantastically early in the game when they ran a reverse to punish what they knew was an energetic & flowing defense. They recognized they did not need to set up a base play during the game to get the defensive reaction they wanted, and they got chunk yards from that play.

    How many misdirection plays has Michigan run this year? How many double moves have we seen from the WR corp? If defenses are playing tight against our small/quick WR's would an occasional pump fake come in handy? For the flaws we've seen from Milton everyone knows he can hit the 10-yard out...where's the out and up to punish the CB who jumps that route? If defenses are anticipating quick passes/screens to the WR's where's the fake screen and slant/go route?

    Ultimately the offense needs to be able to anticipate and adapt to what the defense is/will do and I haven't seen that. And if they can't do this then they are stuck. If the offense can't move the ball and defense can't stop the run or create turnovers it will be another few long weeks.

    1. Post more NoFunForYou

      That's my problem with Gattis. We have all these Analysts on staff to scout opposing team's tendancies, but we never go into a game with planned matches or compromising situations that force a defense to adjust