Florida State 33, Michigan 32

Florida State 33, Michigan 32


December 31, 2016

Mike McCray II scored his first career TD (image via NewsOK)

Jabrill Peppers is worth 1 point. I predicted a 24-20 win in my game preview (LINK), but that was before any of us knew that Peppers wouldn’t play in the game due to injury. It turns out Peppers hurt his hamstring on Thursday and didn’t have enough time to heal up before kickoff. I tweeted out just before kickoff that I thought Michigan would lose the game without Peppers. It was going to be a tight game, anyway, and Michigan needed Peppers to make a difference. His replacement at Viper was Josh Metellus (with some Noah Furbush at SAM). Metellus did return a blocked extra point for a 2-point conversion, but he did very little on defense and left some plays on the field that Peppers might have made. His replacement on punt returns was Jourdan Lewis, who did nothing with the short punts. His replacement on offense was . . . the same guys who haven’t been playmakers all year long.

Hit the jump for some more thoughts on last night’s loss.





Jake Butt is probably worth 1 point, too. When you find out you’ll be without a Heisman finalist for the bowl game, at least you can rely on the Best Tight End in the Country. Unless he suffers the first significant injury of his career in the second quarter. After the game, Jim Harbaugh said he thought it was an MCL or ACL injury. Every team suffers injuries, but Florida State’s most significant injuries (Derwin James, Jesus Wilson, etc.) happened months ago. It’s much tougher to prepare someone when the starter gets injured the day before the game or in the second quarter.

Jabrill Peppers’s Michigan career was disappointing(ly short if it’s over). You get the #3 recruit in the country in 2014, and you think he’s going to be a high-impact player from day one. He didn’t do much his first three games and then hurt his knee, ending his freshman season. He played 12 games as a redshirt freshman, then missed the bowl game. He played 12 games as a redshirt sophomore, then missed the bowl game. That’s 27 games out of a possible 38 and 0 bowl games. Michigan didn’t need him to beat Florida last year, but they needed him to beat Florida State this year. One punt return touchdown, one interception, 10 career pass breakups from the #1 cornerback in his class, etc. Don’t get me wrong – Peppers did some amazing things in a Michigan uniform over these past two seasons. But he has only played in 71% of the possible games, and now he’s probably headed for the NFL.

I need to look at the 92-yarder again. Somebody else might beat me to this, but I’m going to have to take a look back at the 92-yard touchdown pass that “beat” Jourdan Lewis. Defensive coordinator Don Brown gave free safety Dymonte Thomas a hard time when he came off the field, so maybe it was Thomas’s fault, but the defense appeared to be faulty either way. Some postulated that Michigan was in Cover 2, but strong safety Delano Hill was sitting in an underneath zone. Others said Thomas needed to midpoint the two verticals (a go route for outside receiver Nyqwan Murray, a post route from the slot guy), but you can’t have one guy playing deep while everyone else plays underneath zone. There is no defense that exists that leaves a free safety and everyone else underneath. After looking at it a few times last night, I think it was either a combination coverage (since Stribling was playing man on the opposite side), or it was a coverage that not all of Michigan’s defenders checked into. Either way, it was an embarrassing effort, and I wasn’t impressed with the pursuit by Lewis or Thomas after the catch, either.

Wilton Speight is Denard Robinson right now. I took criticism several years ago when I talked about how Robinson was “not a good quarterback” because of his inability to throw the football. I said that even during the 2010 season, when he completed a respectable 62.5% of his passes for 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Guess what Speight’s completion percentage was going into the Orange Bowl? It was 62.5%. (You cheated, Steve. I know you did.) Robinson completed a bunch of his passes on short hitches and bubble screens, but anytime he had to throw the ball downfield, he couldn’t make the reads and didn’t have the accuracy to get it there. Speight is in the exact same boat, except instead of bubble screens, he’s hitting tight ends and fullbacks in the flat. Instead of hitches, he’s hitting tight ends and receivers running 3-yard crossing routes. Speight missed numerous open receivers downfield, including some absolutely terrible throws. Jehu Chesson was wide open in the endzone on a throwback and couldn’t even get a fingernail on the ball. On the final series, Speight badly overthrew Kekoa Crawford for an incompletion, and the final pass was 8″ over the head of Chesson, resulting in a pick. Speight looked rattled and befuddled throughout the game, and that’s how he has looked in most big games this year. And just like with Robinson in 2010, Michigan can’t win football games against elite teams without a solid passing threat from the quarterback.

The offensive line played terribly. Freshman left guard Ben Bredeson got abused in the first half. He couldn’t handle FSU’s quickness, nor could he identify whom to block. He let Matthew Thomas stop De’Veon Smith in the backfield when Michigan had a 1st-and-Goal from the 2-yard line, and he was too late to handle FSU’s interior line stunts. It’s not all on Bredeson, though. Fifth year senior right guard Kyle Kalis couldn’t handle the defensive line, either, and backup tight end Ian Bunting got run around by Josh Sweat. Speight was under pressure constantly, and it seemed like at least one assignment was missed on every single play. Even when Speight wasn’t facing immediate pressure, he had happy feet and was backing away from throws rather than stepping into them. He made some nice throws while taking hits early in the season, but maybe the shoulder injury caused him to be gun shy, because he flinched away and tried to throw off his back foot way too often in this game.

De’Veon Smith had one nice run but it’s time for a new era. Smith had a nice 13-yard run that ended with him leaping over Florida State cornerback Marquez White, but he once again struggled against an elite team with 2.3 yards/carry (16 carries for 36 yards). Meanwhile, backup Chris Evans had 8 carries for 49 yards, including the go-ahead 30-yard touchdown with 1:57 remaining in the game. We knew the offensive line would struggle, but Smith can’t create for himself.

When will Michigan have a Dalvin Cook again? It’s been too long since Michigan had an elite talent at running back. I know Cook is a special talent (20 carries, 145 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 62 yards) and every team wants someone like him, but there are chances for success behind Michigan’s offensive line. This isn’t the 2013 unit that got crushed on every single snap by even middling defenses. We saw one of those available opportunities when Evans busted the 30-yard touchdown. Speed kills. Playing someone like Smith on most downs is a recipe for failure. I’ve said it over and over and over again, and I will go to my grave begging for running backs that have big-play ability. Cook is a speedy back who’s also elusive and has some power. Those backs don’t grow on trees, but they can be found. And when you get them on your roster, you have to play them.

Jourdan Lewis is a great player, but he picked a bad time to play his worst game in two years. I posted this on Twitter last night and got some flak, but that’s how I felt and feel. Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois was only 9/27, but he had 222 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. A few of those completions came against Lewis, including the game-winning touchdown. He was beaten over the top a couple times, and seemed to be a little lackadaisical when chasing down a couple plays. It wasn’t a terrible game (he did have a nice PBU), but he’s capable of playing better.

Mike McCray scored a touchdown, so that was nice. He was beaten on a long pass by Dalvin Cook, but that’s not on him. You can’t match up a 248 lb. inside linebacker on the nation’s best running back split out wide and expect the linebacker to win. He did the best he could and made the tackle immediately after Cook caught it. Later in the game, McCray did a great job of rolling with Francois and made an interception that he returned 14 yards for a touchdown.

Michigan finished 1-3 in their final four games. For all the bluster about how this was a national championship-caliber team and the best squad in the Big Ten, this team went 1-3 down the stretch against Iowa (L), Indiana (W), Ohio State (L), and Florida State (L). Ohio State and Florida State are powerful teams with tons of talent, but that’s not the case with Iowa or Indiana, the latter of which still gave Michigan trouble. Sure, those three losses were by a total of 5 points (1 to Iowa, 3 to OSU, 1 to FSU), but that’s a disappointing finish for an “elite” team. The truth is that Michigan has a mediocre offensive line and a mediocre quarterback. An elite defense can only take you so far. People say “Defense wins championships” and use the 2000-2001 Baltimore Ravens as an example, but at least they had Priest Holmes and Jamal Lewis at running back, two of the elite running backs of their time, and Hall of Fame lineman Jonathan Ogden. Michigan has De’Veon Smith and Erik Magnuson.

107 comments

  1. Klctlc
    Comments: 25
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Klctlc
    Dec 31, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    Thanks for doing this so quickly. Check your site fire thing this am for some sanity and pain relief.

    I really thought the coaching was a little off too. I am still on the bandwagon and think Harbaugh and his staff are the best thing we have had in years. However, they failed to abandon D. Smith when it was clear he was not going to help. In addition, they appeared to be trying to keep FSU off balance by sticking to a lot of run calls. FSU’s defense destroyed the OL last night and didn’t need to do anything special to stop us, go 4 wide or something? Or is the talent on this team just too young/limited?

    Two questions. Does this reinforce a true QB competition next year? I really believe after watching O’korn play, that Harbaugh had no real competition at QB this year and he was stuck with Speight. Harbaugh loves competition. What is the buzz you have heard on Peters? McCaffrey may be talented but he needs 15 – 20 lbs to pull a Henne, so it is Peters or nobody in my opinion

    Drevno. Does he deserve some of the blame here? Against OSU and FSU (and really Iowa too) we could not run the ball at all. Plus against FSU, pass blocking sucked too. How could all these fifth year seniors be so bad? We have not recruited OL well the last two years either, other than Brederson, so I don’t see how next year is actually worse?
    Does Drevno deserve blame here? I just can’t believe these guys cannot run block.

    Is it the chicken or the egg, do we need a better OL to help our playmakers or do we need better playmakers to help our OL?

    Even with the busted coverages, I though our D was solid. For the second game in a row they had so much pressure on them because the offense was so inept early.

    • Comments: 1993
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 31, 2016 at 10:45 AM

      My sense was that Michigan went to more spread stuff late in the game when the FB/TE stuff wasn’t working (and after Butt got hurt). Not coincidentally, that’s when Speight started to step up his game. But when you only play two WRs most of the year and lose your third guy (Perry), there’s not a lot of chemistry when you go 4- or 5-wide.

      I think Harbaugh encourages competition at all times, but I would certainly be looking for a challenger to Speight. I don’t know how much better he can get. He had the past three years to develop chemistry with our senior receivers (albeit not always as a starter), and it didn’t really seem to happen. I think we have to accept that maybe he’s just not going to be an accurate downfield thrower.

      Yes, Drevno deserves some of the blame. He’s had two years to develop some of this talent. The players also deserve blame, and so does recruiting. Michigan has a bunch of guards on the roster and very few tackles, and the best tackle prospect got hurt against Wisconsin. Kyle Kalis should be better than he is by now. I can’t blame Bredeson too much for getting worked against some experienced, talented defensive linemen.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 281
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Dec 31, 2016 at 10:50 AM

        I would be very surprised if Speight wins the QB role in 2017.

        In fact, I think if he does win that spot, it’s a bit of a red flag.

        If 2017 is going to be a reset/reload year, let it be so: bring in the new guy.

        • Comments: 2778
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 31, 2016 at 1:44 PM

          You should not be surprised. Malzone and McCaffrey are not going to be better in 2017. O’Korn would be a fool to stick around.

          It’s Peters vs Speight and Speight is going to be a heavy heavy favorite.

          • DonAZ
            Comments: 281
            Joined: 8/12/2015
            DonAZ
            Dec 31, 2016 at 2:19 PM

            Well, I’m right and you’re wrong. Pffft. 🙂

            Seriously, we’ll see. I get that Speight comes back with a year of experience, and experience goes a long way in avoiding dumb stuff. But if Speight is a deep-ball threat QB, I’ve not seen it. From what I recall, Peters has that deep ball with touch. Yes, he’s young; yes, he may not have as much pocket savvy as Speight. But maybe — just maybe — Harbaugh will trade off some that for a QB that can go vertical.

            • Comments: 2778
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Dec 31, 2016 at 2:38 PM

              I mean, that’s always the case with backup QBs until we see them play.

              I have nothing bad to say about Peters other than he has zero experience and will still be very young. Experience counts for a lot at the QB position.

              He may be able to complete deep passes 3 times as often as Speight and it won’t matter if he’s taking sacks and throwing INTs 3 times as often.

              • DonAZ
                Comments: 281
                Joined: 8/12/2015
                DonAZ
                Dec 31, 2016 at 4:10 PM

                No question — it’s a balance between the attributes present. I guess what I’m saying is that Harbaugh may willingly trade off *some* poor judgment to get some vertical accuracy.

                One-for-one sack or INT for each deep connection? No. But an occasional sack or INT for a more consistent vertical game? Maybe.

              • Comments: 607
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Dec 31, 2016 at 4:22 PM

                Experience at QB really isn’t that important at all, except when you don’t have very much in the way of physical skills, and have to make do.

                Manziel and Winston both won the Heisman as RS freshmen,never having seen the field before. Mariota was also a big star as a RS freshman, after being an unheralded 3 star recruit. Jake Browning is only a sophomore and is having a spectacular year, far better than Speight.

                Lack of experience will not be an excuse if Peters is not at least as good as Speight next year. It will be some combination of lack of latent and poor coaching.

              • Comments: 2778
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 31, 2016 at 5:01 PM

                Having first round NFL talent can overcome a lack of experience.

                Tom Brady sat on the bench for 3 years and couldn’t play ahead of Brian Griese. I guess some might say he lacked enough talent.

                • Comments: 607
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 5:08 PM

                  In college, yes. He eventually became a good to very good college QB, but he didn’t get to be a great QB until he got to the pros. Different game.

                  The point remaining that it’s not that unusual for QBs in their first or second year on the field to be big stars and highly productive. Lack of experience will not prevent him from being better than Speight, even a lot better.

                • Comments: 2778
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jan 02, 2017 at 6:27 PM

                  I would say O’Korn deciding to comeback tells you something about reasonable expectations for Peters.

      • Comments: 2778
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 31, 2016 at 1:43 PM

        Speight’s a red-shirt sophomore – he can certainly get a lot better (as Navarre, Brady, and many more have).

        His decision-making and pocket presence are already elite – and those are the skills that usually develop with experience – but accuracy and consistency can improve too. Speight seemed to be streaky and that kind of thing could settle with experience

        … and a better OL.

        • Comments: 1993
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 31, 2016 at 1:46 PM

          The difference, in my opinion, is that Speight is inaccurate. It’s not that he’s holding onto the ball too long (generally, although that was an issue a couple times) or that he’s not making the right reads. He’s just not making wide-open throws. There are many coaches who think you can’t fix an inaccurate QB. You’ve either got it or you don’t, and Speight…doesn’t have it.

          • DonAZ
            Comments: 281
            Joined: 8/12/2015
            DonAZ
            Dec 31, 2016 at 2:20 PM

            Does Brandon Peters? I seem to recall that was one of his attributes — deep, accurate, nice touch.

          • Comments: 2778
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 31, 2016 at 2:32 PM

            His accuracy is inconsistent. Important distinction IMO. At times he is very accurate but seems to be streaky with it. Comfort-level seems to be a big factor.

            It would seem to me that Speight could improve at getting into the mental space where he is consistently accurate.

            • Comments: 1993
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Dec 31, 2016 at 2:33 PM

              No, he is flat-out inaccurate on downfield throws. Which is exactly what I’ve been saying. I discussed that in the whole Denard vs. Speight section.

              • Comments: 2778
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 31, 2016 at 2:40 PM

                He’s also inaccurate on short throws, at times.

                • Comments: 1993
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 2:45 PM

                  You’re choosing to be obstinate. Every QB misses deep throws, intermediate throws, and short throws. The ones who make them more are considered to be more accurate. Speight is very inaccurate on deep throws, but that doesn’t mean he’s 0%. He’s more accurate on short throws, but that doesn’t mean he’s 100%. This is dumb and should not need to be explained. You know exactly what I’m saying, but you’re choosing to argue because…you must just be in that mood.

                  If you have any statistics or information to refute my statement, then feel free. Otherwise, I don’t know what point there is in discussing it.

                • Comments: 1
                  Joined: 12/31/2016
                  Bluein614
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 3:49 PM

                  For those thinking somehow Speight should get points for experience over Peters, I found it very telling how much better the QB play was for Florida State with a freshman QB who has taken a bunch of massive hits all year long including a couple last night. I know his overall stats were not great but his misses were on target and had to be defended. The winning td was a beautiful throw. Other than the INT to McCray he was impressive against a great defense. I personally believe Harbaugh would have been better off playing and developing Peters this year. I believe the wins and losses would have been the same as Spieght is just not a good QB and really hasn’t progressed.

              • Comments: 2778
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 31, 2016 at 5:08 PM

                My point is that he was streaky in regard to accuracy. The inaccuracy issues weren’t just on the deep balls they were on short stuff and wide open intermediate stuff too. Last night was a microcosm of Speight’s season.

                When he was on he was making plays and finding open people. When he was off he was missing wide open receivers even without pressure on him.

                To me this is something that can be improved upon. If he was just inaccurate consistently that would be different. We’ve seen him be extremly accurate for entire games. We saw him be accurate in the 4th quarter last night after being extremely inaccurate for most of the rest of the game. To me that’s streaky.

                I would draw a comparison to a guy who shoots 30% on 3s game in and game out and a guy who can get hot and hit 4 of 6 one game and go 0 for others. The streaky guy is more likely to figure out what contributes to the successful times. The consistently bad guy probably just can’t shoot 3s.

                • Comments: 1993
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 5:35 PM

                  He wasn’t streaky in deep ball accuracy. For example, on 3rd-and-10+, he was 7/19. On 3rd-and-7 to 9, he was 15/28. I remember reading stats about his downfield accuracy, and they were bad, but those are the only stats I can find right now that approximate his downfield throwing (in)abilities. If you compare them to other QBs in the Big Ten – even Hornibrook/Houston from Wisconsin, Lunt from Illinois, etc. – he was off. He was inaccurate. Period. The end.

            • Comments: 607
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Dec 31, 2016 at 4:25 PM

              If you’re saying he’s accurate…except when he isn’t, that doesn’t mean much.

              • Comments: 2778
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 31, 2016 at 5:03 PM

                There is consistently inaccurate and inconsistently inaccurate. Up to you to see the difference.

                • Comments: 607
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 5:58 PM

                  Sorry, but that term is meaningless. I defy you to prove that anyone else has ever used the term “inconsistently inaccurate” to describe any quarterback in history.

                  Since you’re the one inventing it, it’s your responsibility to explain it in a way that makes sense (which I doubt you can). It’s not our responsibility to assign meaning to babble.

                • Comments: 2778
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 6:16 PM

                  I would invite you to look up the definitions of consistency and accuracy to disentangle the ‘babble’ in your mind.

                • Comments: 607
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Jan 01, 2017 at 8:09 AM

                  The fact that two words have meaning independently does not mean that their opposites have meaning when one is used to modify the other.

                  Your description has no meaning, and you are conspicuously unable to show otherwise. You saying it does doesn’t make it so. It’s on you to prove it, not on us to prove it doesn’t.

                • Comments: 22
                  Joined: 1/2/2016
                  peterfumo
                  Jan 01, 2017 at 7:25 AM

                  It would be unusual statiticsly to be consisntly inaccurate. In other words, flip a coin 100 times and it will frequnetly come up heads or tails multiple times in a row, not head one toss, tails one toss, heads one toss. Overall, Speight is inaccurate on long throws. I am sure there are times when he will bunch a few together.

                • Comments: 2778
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jan 02, 2017 at 6:30 PM

                  That’s the point. Humans are not coins – they behave differently under different stimulus.

    • Comments: 2778
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 31, 2016 at 1:40 PM

      I thought they stuck with Smith too long too. In that context you need play-making and the D knows you are passing anyway. Smith’s blocking has value but not enough to offset giving up a the threat that Evans offers.

      I think Drevno has to get some blame. Not too much yet, but the failure to reach Kalis or get any red-shirt freshman up to speed is there.

      We need a better OL to help the play-makers. We have numerous 5-star talents and NFL players at the skill positions and they’ve rarely made big plays.

  2. DonAZ
    Comments: 281
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Dec 31, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    I can’t argue with this somewhat downcast take on the game and the team.

  3. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 151
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    crazyjoedavola
    Dec 31, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    – This game just further proved to me that Michigan is not a playoff caliber team, they are a good team with a good coaching staff but nothing more than that. There are too many holes on offense to be considered a contender

    – I’ve only seen the game once, and I am not going to watch it again, but it seemed like Ben Gedeon was having a horrible game. He missed a bunch of tackles, was a step slow on multiple occasions, and should have be flagged for PI more than that 1 time in the endzone

    – The days of me thinking that Harbaugh can make a contender out of 3/4 star talent are long over. He is a good coach and I am glad to have him, but there is no magic wand, his teams are not automatically tougher or execute better just because he is the coach. He needs better players than what he has at Michigan right now to beat elite teams. So either he needs to recruit at Saban/Meyer level or we have to live with 10-11 win seasons being the absolute ceiling

    – This team still looks mentally weak to me, I absolutely zero doubts that FSU would at the very least tie the game when they were getting the ball back down 3 with 2 minutes left. All I was hoping for was overtime at that point, but of-course Kenny Allen couldn’t force a touchback, the kickoff coverage was a disaster, and then the defense couldn’t hold in a critical moment. Very similar things happened against Iowa and OSU at critical moments

    – Next year will most likely be a step backwards, I am thinking 6-8 wins, and after that we’ll see if Harbaugh can make a run at it with his upperclassmen

    • Comments: 1993
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 31, 2016 at 10:51 AM

      I think Michigan is/was a playoff-caliber team, but they would have been beaten in the playoff by Alabama, if not the rest of the teams.

      I agree that Gedeon didn’t have a good game.

      I don’t know if I agree with your third point. This game was a poor barometer of what Harbaugh is capable of doing with his players. He did as much with less in 2015. Michigan might win this game if they had Peppers and Butt available, OR if they had been injured weeks ago so Bunting, Metellus, or others could have repped at those spots. Losing 2 of your top few players had a big effect on this game. Would you be saying the same thing if those guys were available and Michigan won by 10 points?

      I think Michigan will be better than 6-8 wins next year, but I agree that it will be a step back.

      • crazyjoedavola
        Comments: 151
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        crazyjoedavola
        Dec 31, 2016 at 12:52 PM

        Michigan could have been in playoffs this year, they were literally a 50/50 spot away from it, but they are not a top 4 team. They somewhere around a top 10 outfit.

        If Michigan found a way to hold on against Iowa, OSU, and FSU obviously my opinion of Harbaugh’s coaching ability would have been different, but the fact of the matter is that they repeatedly failed to a win games that they could have won. I am not a type who blames injuries or refs, in crucial moments this team did not make plays and ultimately that falls on the coach.

        As far as next year, I think that the offense will once again be mediocre and the defense will take a step back, that coupled with a tougher schedule makes me think that 8 wins is a ceiling. Just off the top of my head, Florida, PSU, OSU, and Wisconsin are looking like losses, and there are other tricky games on the schedule.

        • Comments: 2778
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 31, 2016 at 1:49 PM

          So you are saying your entire opinion of a coach hinges on literally an inch? Because that was the difference in losing or winning in any of Michigan’s 3 losses.

          • Comments: 2778
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 31, 2016 at 1:52 PM

            an inch, or a ref call

          • crazyjoedavola
            Comments: 151
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            crazyjoedavola
            Dec 31, 2016 at 2:33 PM

            No unlike some people I don’t blame the refs or injuries… Darboh did not make the catch against Iowa, and the defense allowed 1 player to beat them all game… Hill took a useless PI against OSU and the defense allowed Samuel to escape in 2nd overtime when they had him dead to rights, on the most important kickoff of the FSU game, Kenny Allen failed to do what he was doing all game long, and the coverage had themselves a massive fail… That is what I blame, over and over again this team failed at crucial moments and that is what cost them the playoffs and the win in Orange Bowl… blaming the refs and injuries is for cowards on another Michigan site, thankfully that does not take place too much here.

            • Comments: 2778
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Dec 31, 2016 at 2:43 PM

              Many ways that Michigan lost or could have won, of course. You don’t have to ‘blame the refs’ to acknowledge that one more call goes your way and the game does too. Game of inches is a cliche but also a truth.

              Deciding your opinion of coaches based on what amounts to a coin flip is … well, something.

              • crazyjoedavola
                Comments: 151
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                crazyjoedavola
                Dec 31, 2016 at 2:47 PM

                So if the team losses every single game by 1 point, or by a coinflip call then the coach should get a pass? Ever heard a saying “good teams find a way to win and bad teams find a way to lose”? I’ve actually stated that I think that Michigan is a good team and Harbaugh is a good coach, but we should dial the expectation down a tad of what he can do with mediocre talent.

                • Comments: 2778
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 3:12 PM

                  If a coin lands tails 20 times in a row there is probably a meaningful issue. 3 tails in a row is not uncommon.

                  Michigan has won and lost close games under Harbaugh, including this year.

                • Comments: 2778
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 3:23 PM

                  You can knock Harbaugh for getting into a coin toss situation against Iowa, but those events are going to happen sometimes on the road, even if we get to Alabama level someday.

                  No shame in getting to a coin-toss situation @OSU and FSU. The bigger issue is that Michigan was dominated by FSU for most of that game.

                • Comments: 607
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Dec 31, 2016 at 4:43 PM

                  The whole “finds a way to win” thing is really meaningless. It’s just that the teams that get things breaking their way are the ones we consider to be good.

    • GKblue
      Comments: 164
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Dec 31, 2016 at 12:42 PM

      ” Michigan is not a playoff caliber team, they are a good team with a good coaching staff but nothing more than that. There are too many holes on offense to be considered a contender”

      These were almost my exact words this summer. So as the season progressed and we were in the conversation I was a little surprised as I expected 10-2. Wait until Iowa I said, and damn. Can we beat OSU, we almost did. Almost. So, while I am conflicted between disappointment in how the season ended and a ten win season, I knew we just had too many holes on offense.

      Next year the defense will not be as seasoned and unless we get a dependable OL to go with at minimum a better than serviceable QB I’m not sure we meet this years record. I would like to see a dedicated OL coach, and an OC that will improve upon our play calling.

      • Comments: 2778
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 31, 2016 at 1:56 PM

        The schedule is a lot more favorable next year. The deck was always a bit stacked against this team by having Iowa/MSU/OSU on the road at the end of the year, without much of any road challenge before that.

        Win or lose, the Florida game will help this team be better next year and getting OSU and MSU at home is huge.

        It may not be a better team — the defense will be less talented and experienced and the offense is a total wildcard — but the record COULD be better with a few good breaks instead of bad breaks.

    • Comments: 2778
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 31, 2016 at 1:46 PM

      “he days of me thinking that Harbaugh can make a contender out of 3/4 star talent are long over. ”

      ” This team still looks mentally weak to me,”

      WCB is that you?

      • crazyjoedavola
        Comments: 151
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        crazyjoedavola
        Dec 31, 2016 at 2:37 PM

        No I thought of it all by myself… if only they kept on feeding the greatest Michigan back of all time Smith (for no gain) I am sure we would have wiped the floor with FSU… we at least we can’t blame that FB named Ty Isaac for this loss because he didn’t even play. Isn’t that right Lan?

        • Comments: 2778
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 31, 2016 at 2:44 PM

          I would not blame our 4th string RB, no. I blame the OL.

          • crazyjoedavola
            Comments: 151
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            crazyjoedavola
            Dec 31, 2016 at 2:50 PM

            lol… I’ll agree with you there… I knew they would get wrecked in this game, but still watching a bunch of highly ranked seniors playing the role of a turnstyle so well… is… very frustrating.

            • Comments: 2778
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Dec 31, 2016 at 3:07 PM

              It is and I admit I didn’t see it coming. Not shocked, but at the same time I thought we’d see a step up in performance from Iowa and OSU games.

    • Comments: 8
      Joined: 9/18/2016
      Chowman
      Dec 31, 2016 at 3:31 PM

      Yeah it was probably a little wishful thinking that Mich was a playoff team this year. I don’t think OSU deserves to be there either. Michigan had its destiny in their hands and let it slip away. Agreed that this team at times had critical mental lapses. None of our LBs were a match for Cook. Cook is an elite talent and would of made anyone not named Jabril Peppers look slow. That being said, I do think Cook would of been a physical mismatch for JP.

      Next year will be a challenge. Don Brown is looking at a complete rebuild. Blocks are there, they just need to gel. Biggest concern will be the CBs. Lewis had a bad game, but he was a shut down corner the rest of the year, and don’t know that any of the back ups got enough game reps to be ready. Offensively, Speight needs to make great strides and hopefully Peters can push for reps. The big issue is the OL. Good news is Kalis is gone. Bad news, if there was anyone better on this roster, he’d of been playing. We get zero push in the run game, and there are way too many missed assignments in pass protection. Any sort of stunts or twists completely baffled this OL.

    • Comments: 607
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Dec 31, 2016 at 4:32 PM

      It was pretty clear watching this game, and the playoff, that our overall speed and athleticism are still a level below where they need to be to compete at an elite level. We have a very good overall defense, but our linebackers and safeties are slow and easily blocked, and we only have one high level pass rusher. Same on offense. We have a non-running QB, Evans is our only decent speed at RB, and Darboh and Chesson are not going to make big plays against a tough defense. OLine is a whole other problem, and if Drevno doesn’t make some progress in player development next year, Harbaugh needs to find someone else.

      • Comments: 2778
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 31, 2016 at 5:15 PM

        Neither HIll nor Thomas are slow. Quite the opposite.
        The defense was elite. Gedeon is fast for a MLB. Peppers wasn’t just fast he was crazy fast for a LB. McCray was the weakest link there and he’s not super fast but if you expect it to be a lot different in the future you’ll probably be disappointed.

        Hurst and Charlton are both elite pass rushers and the pass rushing stats were very good for Wormley and Glasgow too.

        No doubt the offense lacked elite speed and playmakers other than McDoom (young), Evans (young) and Peppers (hurt). Looked like Chesson had the skills but it was never there for him this year for reasons that remain mysterious to me.

        The skillposition talent and speed should be better next year. Inexperience will be there, but at the skill positions this is less critical than at OL, QB, LB, and S.

        • Klctlc
          Comments: 25
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Klctlc
          Dec 31, 2016 at 7:45 PM

          Agreed on Chesson. My hunch is the problem was Speight. He and Chesson just could not connect. Rudock had issues early last year, but figured Chesson out later on. This could be the accuracy issue Thunder alluded too. It seemed as if they playbook was definitely dialed down late this year as far as the passing game went. Some of that was OL issues and running, but I also wonder how good Speight was at checking out of the plays. Rudock seemed to excel.

        • Comments: 607
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Dec 31, 2016 at 11:30 PM

          Well, when you watch the defense of a team like Alabama or Clemson, or even FSU, and compare that to ours, the difference is obvious. No, Gedeon, Hill and Thomas aren’t slow compared to you and I, but compared to how fast Alabama’s guys close on the ball, it’s not even close. I agree that it’s questionable whether we’ll see much if any improvement next year. We may have a very good haul at LB, but they are still a notch below Alabama’s, and may take at least year before they’re at their peak.

          And no, other than Charlton, none of those guys approach elite status as pass rushers. Hurst had 4.5 sacks in 13 games, Glasgow had 4 and Wormley had 6. Demarcus Walker had 16, by comparison.

          The kind of speed and athleticism it takes to compete for a national championship is on a much higher level than what it takes to compete for a Big Ten Championship. The beatdowns that the Big Ten representative in the playoff have taken the last two years show that pretty graphically.

          • Comments: 2778
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 02, 2017 at 6:33 PM

            You keep comparing us to Alabama. Michigan is not going to out talent Alabama. Neither is anyone else probably – yet teams manage to compete for national titles besides Alabama.

          • Comments: 2778
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 02, 2017 at 6:36 PM

            The kind of talent we need is Peppers and Gary and Thomas and Lewis and Stribling and Wormley and Charlton. We just need more of it and we need it on both sides of the ball.

            I think the majority of college fanbases would hear Michigan fans whining about talent and laugh their faces off. We’re going to have probably more kids drafted this year than any team besides maybe Alabama.

      • Comments: 2778
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 31, 2016 at 5:40 PM

        I think having a non-running QB is a real liability in college football. I am still bummed about Viranmontes just because I would have liked to have seen a true dual threat QB at Michigan. He probably would have ended up at FB or LB eventually but it would have been nice to see Harbaugh think about what he could do with a guy who could throw and pass.

        Michigan needs to have an elite passer to have a good QB. Running QBs just have to be solid passers to be good QBs, or even excellent ones.

        • Comments: 607
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Dec 31, 2016 at 11:38 PM

          Agreed. It takes a very valuable dimension away from your offense, and gives the defense a lot less to worry about. You can still have a very good offense and a very good team without one (a la Washington), but to make up for it and compete against teams that do have one, you’ve got to have everything else working right. An elite OLine, a very accurate QB, and top-notch skill players with speed and big play ability. And even then, as observed, you can still get throttled by a really good defense that doesn’t have to account for the QB taking off and running.

          We will just have to hope that Peters and/or McCaffrey can be the kind of pro-style QB we need (and that our OLine gets where it needs to be quickly), because Harbaugh has basically committed us to that kind of offense for the foreseeable future.

          • Comments: 2778
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 02, 2017 at 6:38 PM

            Put another way – it removes the margin for error.

            I think we’ve seen Hurts and Barrett illustrate how damn useful it is on 3rd downs and redzone situations to have a guy you can run behind 10 blockers.

            And for anyone complaining about the injury risk element — Barrett and Hurts made it through the season unscathed while Speights (who is also much bigger) did not.

            • Comments: 2778
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jan 02, 2017 at 6:39 PM

              I would actually like to see Michigan have designed run package plays – even with Speight at QB. He’s elusive enough and big enough and smart enough as a runner.

  4. Comments: 857
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Dec 31, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    Florida States offensive line wasn’t any more impressive than ours as far as I was concerned, but ….. DELVIN COOK > Devion Smith.

    Big quick Nose Tackles have given us fits all year. People around me were mad at Braden and Magnuson, I’m anxious to watch the every offensive play thing on MgoVideo ….. see who I’m mad at.

    Bunting looks to have pretty much the identical game as Butt, which is interesting. He made a nice catch and then looked bad blocking twice that I picked up.

    Dymonte Thomas gained ground on Delvin Cook on one big run which I find to be amazing. Continued gnashing of teeth over dumbass burned redshirt. McCray had the nice pick six, but Cook ran away from him a bunch and not in the like they were scared of him way.

    Corner Backs are gonna get beat sometimes. This is just a fact of life, a law of nature, I don’t care if your CB is the best possible cross between Charles Woodson and Deion Sanders, but I thought that Jourdan Lewis looked tired, borderline exhausted.

    It felt like we made nice adjustments at halftime, the other reason I want to watch the every snap thing. I will also say this, last night was the first time in many many years that i had the old feeling that we didn’t get beat, we just ran out of time.

    • Comments: 1993
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 31, 2016 at 10:54 AM

      I thought FSU’s offensive line was slightly better than Michigan’s, but not significantly. Cole Minshew at OG looked about the same as Bredeson. But Roderick Johnson at LT is better than anyone Michigan has.

      Thomas can run. I wasn’t surprised at all. He just hasn’t had a lot of reasons to run like that this year, because things are usually kept in front of him.

      I agree that CBs are going to get beat sometimes. But in a tight game like this, it can’t happen if you want to win. It could have happened against PSU and it wouldn’t have mattered, but it did matter last night.

      • Comments: 2778
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 31, 2016 at 2:47 PM

        I think Thomas was responsible for more big play busts than anyone else on the defense. His speed also wiped out a bunch of would be big plays though. Since the NFL drafts on potential I suspect our weakest DB on the season could still get drafted. We missed Jarrod Wilson’s reliability this year.

        • Comments: 2778
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 31, 2016 at 2:48 PM

          In his defense – Don Brown’s scheme isn’t easy and this was his first year in a new system and third in three years. Not easy on a safety.

    • Comments: 2778
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 31, 2016 at 2:00 PM

      The difference was in the OLs, not the DLs.

      I thought Bunting replaced Butt too. I don’t agree that Butt was worth a point. The offense was totally shut down with him in the game. We really need two-way TEs to emerge — guys who can block and catch. Asiasi and Wheatley have given us plenty of reason to be optimistic.

      • Comments: 1993
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Dec 31, 2016 at 2:07 PM

        The offense wasn’t doing well, but Butt had 3 catches for 28 yards before he left in the 2nd quarter. Bunting had 3 catches for 40 yards in 2.5 or 3 quarters. Bunting did a good job, but then who’s taking Bunting’s place? I like Asiasi and Wheatley, but it’s not clear that they’re as good of route runners and have as good of hands.

        • Comments: 2778
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 31, 2016 at 2:51 PM

          We have 4 solid options at TE. All of them bring pros and cons to the field. I don’t doubt that Butt is the best overall option at this point but I don’t think the dropoff is significant enough that it would have led to a score.

          Peppers, yeah – his replacement was time share including a true freshman and unheralded career backup.

          • Comments: 1993
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Dec 31, 2016 at 3:48 PM

            I think Butt could have been an option on the 2-point conversion attempt. I think he potentially gets a first down that someone else doesn’t get. Yeah, I think it’s possible that the injury cost us a point.

  5. Comments: 14
    Joined: 8/31/2015
    coyote57
    Dec 31, 2016 at 10:57 AM

    I don’t want to pile on here… tryin’ to stay upbeat and all… but feels like its been 20 yrs since the Wolverines had a “Michigan Offensive Line”. [Yeah, there’s a kid here or there, but I’m look at the whole, not the parts]. The Kids often look confused, lack of surge off the line, someone please tell me there’s better coming up in the underclassmen and in the pipeline. A better OL coach coming our way… something.

    Is it lack of talent, coaching, both?

    Why can’t UM seem to get the OLine back to Michigan Standards?

    • Comments: 2778
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 31, 2016 at 2:04 PM

      It’s been 5 years. Lewan/Omameh/Molk/Schofield/Huyge. 4 of 5 started in the NFL. Plus a couple veteran TEs that could block and catch.

      Just a coincidence this was the last successful season with a major bowl win? I think not.

    • Comments: 2778
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 31, 2016 at 2:17 PM

      The OL has been undone by coaching transitions more than anything else. The change from zone to spread to west coast to power has not gone smoothly, to say the least.

      The other big issue is just not enough scholarships being allocated to OL, especially under Hoke. Hoke essentially assumed that nearly every recruit would pan out and gave himself no room for error. Predictably, it didn’t work. I was bitching about the 2014 OL shortly after the 2011 season ended and the ’12 recruiting class was signed.

      Darrell Funk was awful was a big reason for it too. Drevno is already better than him but the jury is still out on if he can get Michigan to where it needs to be.

  6. Comments: 8
    Joined: 9/18/2016
    Chowman
    Dec 31, 2016 at 12:47 PM

    This team had some definite deficiencies that stood out once the talent level of their opponents got better. I don’t see Speight as the answer at QB. He regressed as the season went on, and he really had the “deer in the headlights” look last night. Granted the OL was horrible AGAIN. Good news is Kyle Kalis played his last game as a wolverine. Bad news is there was anyone on the roster that was better, he’d of been playing. OL will be the biggest question mark going into next season. Followed closely by CB and QB. We really haven’t seen much of the back ups Lavert Hill or David Long, but the few plays Hill was out there last night, he didn’t give me a warm and fuzzy.

    Finally it was a fitting end to Jabril Papper’s career at Michigan: DNP. I know I’m in the minority, but never has a player been so hyped but delivered so little on the field. Too many games that he played he was MIA on the stat page. I get it, some contributions can’t be measured in stats, but 1 career interception, 1 career punt return for TD? The results just didn’t measure up to the expectations!

    • Comments: 2778
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 31, 2016 at 2:19 PM

      Remember that Stribling and Lewis didn’t look great as freshman either. They ended up all conference players. Hill getting out there at all on this defense, ahead of other options is reason enough to be excited.

      • Comments: 8
        Joined: 9/18/2016
        Chowman
        Dec 31, 2016 at 4:39 PM

        Just more concern that next year could be rough!

        • Comments: 2778
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 31, 2016 at 5:28 PM

          It could be. CB is a huge question and there will certainly be a dropoff. On the bright side Michigan has a lot of young talent and if Clark can return they’ll have a potential all-conference vet on the roster. Remember that Clark was splitting snaps with Stribling last year and when Peppers went down it was he (and Stribling) who soaked up his snaps.

          The Clark injury didn’t end up costing us much this year…until yesterday.

    • Comments: 607
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Jan 01, 2017 at 8:31 AM

      If I were going to make a list of reasons we lost, Speight would not be that high on it. He had nothing resembling a great game, certainly, but he brought us back and gave us a chance to win a game we probably had no business winning, despite having terrible pass protection, very little in the way of a running game, and receivers getting no separation most of the night. Yeah, he missed his share of throws, but he made some tough plays under pressure, too. And how often did he really have time back there?

  7. Comments: 3
    Joined: 12/17/2015
    MGoStrength
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:00 PM

    1. Why do we keep running sweeps that consistently put us in long down & distances?

    2. Not having a good o-line is killing us. I just can’t believe we’ve had so many good recruits (Kalis, Bosch, LTT, Dawson, Kugler, etc.) that have not panned out. I just hope Bredeson, Onwenu, Newsome, Ruiz, & Herbert pan out. But, it probably won’t be any good for a few more years..can’t believe how many times we’ve said that.

    3. Deveon is what he is. But, I’m excited about Evans’ future and also about Samuels and potentially Harris. It’s just a shame that the o-line won’t be developed in time to help them much. Hopefully they can make enough plays on their own and we can be creative enough in our play calling to get them the ball. You’d have to think Crawford, McDoom, Evans, DPJ, & Bunting/Wheatley/Asasi would give you enough playmaking options.

    4. We haven’t had a big playmaker at WR in a while. Hopefully DPJ will be that.

    5. Speight has been hot & cold. I trust Harbaugh et. al and he’s improved, but Peters or McCaffrey will have to beat him out, it’s not going to get handed to them. How much can any of them realistically do if the o-line can’t get the running game going?

    • Comments: 8
      Joined: 9/18/2016
      Chowman
      Dec 31, 2016 at 1:37 PM

      I do believe RB and DL will be the strengths of the team next year, w/ or w/o Najee Harris. What do they have? 5 or 6 DL recruits for 2017? Was pointed out in another forum that Ty Issaac was MIA? Anyone heard any rumors of him being told not to comeback? I know he’s had his ups and downs since coming to AA, and I think there’s a number crunch for scholarships with this incoming class!

      • Comments: 1993
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Dec 31, 2016 at 1:49 PM

        Ty Isaac was standing on the sideline. He was there. He just didn’t play at all.

        Michigan has 7 defensive linemen in the 2017 class right now.

        • Comments: 8
          Joined: 9/18/2016
          Chowman
          Dec 31, 2016 at 3:18 PM

          Thanks! The RB rotation is a mystery sometimes? the 7 DL that’s w/o Tufele and Solomon right? I know MI was still on their radar. Can’t the team taking 9 DL. Some of those 7 going to be lost or told no room for them?

          • Comments: 1993
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Dec 31, 2016 at 3:46 PM

            I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see Michigan take 9 defensive linemen if they’re the right guys (Tufele and Solomon), but I don’t expect that to be an option. At least one of those guys is going to go elsewhere, IMO.

    • Comments: 2778
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 31, 2016 at 2:23 PM

      I agree about the OL but the recruiting stars seem to not be as meaningful at this position as others. They need to attack the situation with volume. A 6 or 7 person recruiting class is very much needed, especially since 1 or 2 of them will likely be needed to start as early as next year.

  8. Comments: 2778
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    Lots to digest here after a month off, but first some disagreements with the post.

    Jake Butt isn’t the best TE in the country.

    Peppers career wasn’t disappointing.

    The Denard/Speight comparison is…. how to put this kindly … incomplete.

    Smith created for himself all year, and did again last night. Breaking tackles is creating. Evans is better in the open field and was probably a better option last night once the team went into desperation scoring mode, but badmouthing Smith for the hundreth time (perhaps literally) after how awful the OL was seems petty.

    Michigan has never had a RB as good as Cook, ever. You have to look at QBs like Harmon and Robinson to match his talent level. There’s nothing to go ‘back’ to.

    Anyway, I would guess you get your wish next year with Evans as the presumed starter. Don’t be surprised if it means the sack rate rises.

    I don’t know how to reconcile the comments about not being able to put a 250 pound LB on a RB in coverage. Every LB has to be able to cover. It’s not 1988. You can’t bemoan people being undersized at LB while also saying that bigger people can’t be expected to cover. As with RBs, the guys who have size/power and speed are rare talents. You usually have to pick your limitations

    “He did the best he could” – again you’re letting McCray off easy for his limitations. Clearly that’s not happening at some other positions. This is called playing favorites.

    I know the loss stings and negativity is going to win the day, but the 5 points thing does matter. The defense played well enough to win this team a national title. Glasgow makes that tackle on the last kick return and the game probably ends with a W. The refs don’t favor OSU so heavily and we probably get a W. One play different and we win vs Iowa.

    The offense was just not good enough — it’s that simple and there’s one big reason why.The QB was mediocre and did miss wide-open throws. The RB was not a big play guy. The pass catchers had disappointing season. But all of it ultimately goes back to a bad OL. Speight and Smith and Evans and everyone else produces a hell of a lot more often if they get competent blocking. The OL issue became abundantly clear last night and unfortunately there’s not a lot of great reasons to think it will be better next year. Time to go tackle-hunting on the grad transfer market.

    • Comments: 1993
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 31, 2016 at 1:55 PM

      No, Jake Butt isn’t the best TE in the country. I capitalized it because he won the Mackey Award. It was somewhat sarcastic. He’s a good player, but he’s not the best TE.

      The Denard/Speight comment is accurate when it comes to passing. Obviously, Denard was a better runner. That’s obvious.

      Every LB has to cover, yes, but that’s not on McCray. It’s not something he can change (unless the coaches ask him to lose 20 pounds to get quicker). He physically can’t do it. It’s not a technique issue. It’s like blaming Speight for being unable to outrun safeties, or blaming Chris Evans for being unable to block Demarcus Walker.

      • Comments: 2778
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 31, 2016 at 2:25 PM

        That’s kind of an important distinction re:Denard.

        You seem perfectly fine with criticizing Smith for his lack of speed, but McCray can do nothing about it?

        • Comments: 1993
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 31, 2016 at 2:30 PM

          You’re looking at the Smith vs. McCray thing wrong. I criticize Smith because there are better players behind him (IMO), or at least players who should play more. The same cannot be said for McCray. If there was a backup WILL who I thought could cover Dalvin Cook split out wide, then I might be making a case to replace him.

          I know that Evans and others can break bigger runs than Smith because I’ve seen it. I haven’t seen Devin Bush cover people down the field. He’s probably faster, but I don’t know if he’s better right now – we haven’t seen it.

        • Comments: 2778
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 31, 2016 at 2:55 PM

          You’re back to arguing Smith shouldn’t start again? Thought we moved on from that.

          I think there’s a parallel to playing 200 lb. RB in place of an everydown back — playing a nickelback instead of a LB. You’ve seen Brandon Watson and Tyree Kinnel cover people.

          • Comments: 1993
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Dec 31, 2016 at 3:44 PM

            No, I didn’t say Smith shouldn’t start. You’re putting words in my mouth. See, you’re looking for arguments today. I said there are other players who should play more, and you even said so in an earlier comment. Now you’re basically arguing with yourself.

            • Comments: 2778
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Dec 31, 2016 at 5:30 PM

              You said “there are better players behind him”. If assuming that you think the best players should be the starters, then yeah I guess I”m putting words in your mouth.

              I said that Evans is a better player for that situation. Not that Evans is a better player than Smith right now — because I don’t think he is.

              • Comments: 1993
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Dec 31, 2016 at 5:41 PM

                I’ve said numerous times that Smith should be the starter. I said it in the preseason countdown. I’ve said it throughout the season. That doesn’t mean he’s a good starter.

                Evans is a better player than Smith right now. There’s evidence aplenty. In close games against good opponents, Evans outpaces Smith. Last night is just another example. It happened against Iowa and OSU, too. This isn’t a case where Evans is racking up stats against inferior opponents or late in blowout games. In all three losses this year, Evans performed better than Smith. It doesn’t mean Evans is perfect, either. But the evidence is there. You just don’t want to accept it.

              • Comments: 2778
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 31, 2016 at 6:31 PM

                My takeaway here is that you are saying the better player (Evans) shouldn’t start over an inferior player (Smith). I disagree.

                We can debate Evans Smith another day, as we’ve done in the past on this issue. There’s a lot more to RB than YPC. I think Harbaugh chose the right starter – the best overall RB on the team.

                Maybe I’ll dig into situational stats or blocking stats at some point but I don’t know if I care. I love Evans and look forward to him being the starter next year. I wish he would have gotten the ball more in the Orange Bowl because the situation dictated this his big play skills were needed… but until MIchigan went into aggressive passing mode he wasn’t anymore successful than Smith because the FSU DL was obliterating the UM OL.

  9. Comments: 2778
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:32 PM

    Now for stuff I agree with.

    You are right that this is not a national chapionship caliber team. They were totally dominated through 3 quarters and they were very lucky to be as close in this game as they were. It could have been 40-0 but FSU made costly turnovers. Michigan didn’t deserve to win this game.

    Speight missed a ton of wide open throws. If that’s not due to injury then I expect he’ll need to improve quickly or get beaten out by a younger player very soon. How he played in the 4th quarter was a massive improvement. Right now, Speight has shown us he has what it takes to be an excellent QB, but he needs to get more consistent with his accuracy. Also – credit to the kid for standing in again and again against that pressure and avoiding any INTs or fumbles. Gutsy, albeit inconsistent, performance.

    The OL was awful. Not mediocre – awful. People need to stop pretending like this isn’t by far the weakest link on the team. The OL single-handidy prevented this team from winning a national title. If they are even average by Michigan standards this team is in the playoff and beats FSU handily.

    No question Peppers was missed. That’s an all-american multi-position defender and 1st round draft pick. You don’t replace guys like that overnight. Tough to see how hard he took the situation.

    Lewis had a bad game. He’s been overrated by M fans and we saw that here and it stinks. Not the way you want to see such a good player end his career.

    It was a very disappointing end to the season. I need to think more about if the season as a whole was disappointing but I lean towards yes given the expectations. Yet another reason to trust objective expectations (which were about dead-on) for this team over homers (including myself).

    • Comments: 1993
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 31, 2016 at 1:50 PM

      I don’t think many people have denied that the OL is the weakest point on the team. I guess some people might say QB, but even if that’s the case, it’s a close 1-2.

      • Comments: 2778
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 31, 2016 at 2:29 PM

        I don’t see it that way. Speight is OK. His stats were decent. He had good moments and bad moments but avoided pressure and turnovers very well all season. The pass blocking wasn’t always awful but against good defenses he took a beating.

        The old adage goes that you can have a bad OL or a bad QB, but not both.

        Michigan had a bad OL and an average QB.

        That QB was a first-year starter with 2 more seasons to be better. The OL had three 5th year seniors.

        • Comments: 1993
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 31, 2016 at 2:32 PM

          The whole “bad” thing is semantics. Michigan is #49 in Adjusted Line Yards and #27 in Adjusted Sack Rate. Out of 128 teams.

          • Comments: 857
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Jan 01, 2017 at 7:14 AM

            Does a QB with ‘escapability” influence the Adjusted Sack Rate calculation?

        • Comments: 2778
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Dec 31, 2016 at 2:58 PM

          It’s not semantics. Michigan is in the 100s in other OL stats.

          We don’t have to rehash the old argument but you’ve never addressed the argument of how you would feel if Michigan’s recruiting class finished in the 40s. Out of 128 teams.

          • Comments: 1993
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Dec 31, 2016 at 3:41 PM

            That’s somewhat inaccurate. They’re #114 in exactly ONE other OL stat (Passing Down Line Yards).

            Your other comment is comparing apples to oranges. Recruiting rankings are inherently biased and skewed toward bigger teams. New Mexico fans aren’t keeping the lights on at Rivals and Scout. Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, etc. fans are. It’s extremely difficult for smaller programs to get high-ranking players. The highest non-Power 5 team in recruiting rankings is #44 Memphis.

            Advanced stats are designed to take away bias. Therefore, you have teams like New Mexico, Bowling Green, Middle Tennessee, Toledo, Tulsa, etc. creeping up higher than #44 in some categories.

          • Comments: 2778
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 31, 2016 at 5:36 PM

            OL performance is inherently biased to teams that get high level talent – which recruiting rankings do a decent job at.

            Michigan had a top 5 defense in part because they got top 5 talent.

            It’s not apples and oranges. Either you are getting elite talent or not. Either you are performing at an elite level or not.

            Maybe ranked 100+ in “only” one stat but Michigan was 77 and 80 in other OL stats. Out of 128. That is bad. They are in the 40s in other – that is bad by Michigan standards and that is bad by the standards of other top 10 teams.

  10. Comments: 69
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    coachernie
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:51 PM

    We were 3 starters down, 2 of which were All Americans. Lets remember that folks.!
    Another good but not great year. After all those decent but not great years under Carr…. I will take this year and look forward to the #3 ranked recruiting class and 2017.

    Happy New Year folks! Go Blue!

    p.s. Totally agree, Lewis stunk it up, played himself out of the 1st round. Praying for quick, full recovery for Butt and an All Pro NFL career.

  11. Comments: 2778
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 31, 2016 at 3:03 PM

    I’m surprised more people aren’t bemoaning Jordan Glasgow’s missed tackle on the kickoff return. 60 yards right there that FSU almost certainly doesn’t make up.

    Other random thoughts:

    Kenny Allen had one helluva game. Great punts, kickoffs, and perfect as PK. Just flat out awesome.

    Stribling was a boss all game. Not the first time we saw a team perfectly content to go at Lewis.

    Darboh Chesson and Butt – like they’ve done all year – failed to deliver enough big plays.

    The DL was good, as they’ve been all year, but Charlton and Hurst were the two stand-outs. Too quiet of a night from Glasgow, Wormley, Gary, and Godin. Can’t criticize really, but as with Lewis, we needed a little more.

    • Comments: 1993
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 31, 2016 at 3:47 PM

      Allen did a good job…until the final kickoff. He screwed up, and so did Glasgow. I don’t feel like going after a walk-on safety who can’t bring down a 6’3″, 225 lb. wide receiver running full speed. But yeah, the tackle should have been made.

      • Comments: 2778
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 31, 2016 at 5:37 PM

        That’s a good and fair point, but Glasgow’s played well above walk-on level all year.

        Did Allen screw up on the final kick off? Is he supposed to kick it through the back of the end zone every time?

        • Comments: 1993
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Dec 31, 2016 at 5:43 PM

          Yes, Allen did screw up. You could even see Harbaugh yelling at Allen after the kickoff to “kick it” and pantomimed booting the s*** out of the ball. It was the only returnable kick all game, IIRC.

          • Comments: 2778
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 31, 2016 at 6:26 PM

            Doesn’t that say more about how well Allen was kicking all game? That he just missed yet another touchback doesn’t seem like a screwup to me.

            I don’t know what a good touchback percentage for a kicker is – looks to be about 70-80% – but nobody is doing it close to every kick.

            http://www.footballdb.com/college-football/stats/stats.html?yr=2016&conf=&mode=O&sort=kotb

            But OK – good kickers do it more often than not. Judged by that play alone, you can say Allen failed at his objective.

            Still – a great game overall.

  12. Comments: 857
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Jan 01, 2017 at 6:43 AM

    I’m reasonably sure that Thunder will forgive me for directing a link to MGoBlog, particularly since about everyone here bounces back and forth anyway, but I thought that this post would be useful for some of us to consider, reflect on and possibly even meditate over the embarrassing level of mental health demonstrated during the Buckeye’s pasting from Clemson.

    http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/evolution-buckeye-loss-perspective-fans-enjoy
    .

  13. Comments: 857
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Jan 01, 2017 at 7:09 AM

    My second favorite part of yesterday’s football is the following quote taken from a piece on NCAA.com which reverts to colloquial English in the following sentence. “The bruising back, coming in at 6-2, 228 pounds, took the handoff to the left, shook off two would-be tacklers at the line of scrimmage and bursted free down the left sideline for a game-breaking score.”

    I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt with that colloquial thing. New Year, trying to be nicer …. it won’t last.

  14. Comments: 1993
    Joined: 7/13/2015
    Jan 07, 2017 at 9:40 PM

    This post officially has the most comments of any TTB post ever with 107.

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