Donovan Peoples-Jones had his breakout game. I predicted a breakout game for Peoples-Jones with 100+ yards and a touchdown, but it was even better than that. He caught 4 passes for 90 yards and 3 touchdowns. I did not think SMU’s secondary would match up well with Peoples-Jones, and they didn’t. He had his way with their defensive backs all day, and the only thing that prevented him from going off even more was questionable offensive line play. I don’t think Peoples-Jones will get a lot of opportunities to have days like this due to the offensive line and a questionable offensive philosophy altogether, so let’s enjoy these 90-yard days while we can.
Hit the jump for the rest of my quick thoughts on the game.
Michigan’s spread offense sucks. When Michigan goes to its trips looks right now, it looks like a team that is just dabbling in the spread. Earlier in my coaching career, we were primarily an I-formation team. If we got down late in the game, we would run some trips formations, 2×2 formations, etc., and do some really easy, obvious things (bubble slant, hitches, curl-flat, switch verts, etc.). That’s where Michigan appears to be right now with its spread offense. They put three wide receivers out there, run inside zone, and use the antiquated playbook of a high school staff that had no idea how to throw the ball effectively.
Khaleke Hudson deserved to get sent to the showers. Hudson needs to learn how to tackle. Quarterback William Brown was wrapped up, and Hudson flew in to the pile, making no attempt to use his hands, arms, or leverage to take him down, and he didn’t bother going for the legs, either. He simply ran into Brown, leading with his helmet. I don’t care if he turned his head to the side a little bit. It’s stupid, it’s unhealthy, and it’s fundamentally unsound football.
If Hudson goes down, teams would be smart to target his backup. I know Jordan Glasgow’s brothers turned out to be very effective starting walk-ons, but both were solid athletes for their position. That’s not the case for Jordan, who’s subpar as an athlete and has yet to flash playmaking ability in his fourth year on campus, save for a pick-six against Wilton Speight in the spring game a couple years ago. Noah Furbush doesn’t have the versatility of Glasgow, so it limits what Michigan can do defensively, but if you’re trying to get your best eleven players on the field, SAM-linebacker-sized Furbush is a notch or two above Glasgow.
It’s time to talk about the safeties. Now that we’re in year three of the Don Brown era, it has become apparent to everyone – most notably other offensive coordinators – that the weakness of Michigan’s defense is the safety position. SMU is not supremely talented at quarterback or receiver, though Josh Proche is a pretty good wideout. Josh Metellus had a 73-yard interception return for a touchdown at the end of the first half, but otherwise, safeties Metellus, Tyree Kinnel, and Brad Hawkins had a very rough day. Hawkins blew a coverage that led to a 50-yard touchdown pass in the first half. Metellus had at least two pass interference penalties, and Kinnel had one. With as much as Michigan likes to play man coverage, they need to recruit more cornerback types to play them at wide receiver. These guys who are 5’11” and 205 lbs. aren’t getting it done.In my opinion, Michigan needs to recruit a bunch of 6’1″ corners and explain to them that they can come to Michigan and play a bunch of man coverage. I think the point of recruiting guys like Metellus is to involve them in the run game, but Michigan’s front seven is so good at stopping the run that the safeties don’t need to get that involved.
Michigan needs help at running back. It continues to amaze me that Michigan can’t run the ball better, both from an offensive line and running back perspective. The offensive line has been discussed ad nauseum, but the running back depth gets less attention. With starting running back Karan Higdon out, Michigan trotted out Chris Evans until he pulled a hamstring (or suffered a cramp) and then went most of the rest of the way with walk-on Tru Wilson. Sophomore O’Maury Samuels got a couple carries at the end of the game. Evans needs space to make things happen, and Wilson is just average. He showed some patience and can be decent behind a good offensive line, but Michigan doesn’t have that right now. The Wolverines had better hope Higdon comes back soon, and they need to find a replacement for him for 2019.
The officials took center stage on this one. SMU got 7 first downs on penalties, and Michigan totaled 13 penalties for 137 yards (SMU had 6 for 60). Michigan was indeed undisciplined, and they deserved every penalty called on them, except the pass interference call on Tyree Kinnel when the ball was thrown 5 yards out of bounds. It was a bit of a boring game to watch because there were so many stoppages in the third quarter. I would have been very antsy if I had been sitting at the game – between the injury timeouts (mostly for cramping) and all the yellow laundry on the field, it made for a long afternoon. The one saving grace was that the teams ran 72 times (compared to 52 passes), so the clock kept running, while some games might have featured a bunch of incomplete passes. The game script helped this one end after 3 hours and 24 minutes; for a comparison, Notre Dame was 3:22 and Western Michigan was 3:12.
You need to login in order to vote