Michigan State 14, Michigan 10

Michigan State 14, Michigan 10


October 8, 2017

 

Let’s start this off with some fun. Some people claim this was a flop. Some people insist it was legit. Watch the gif in the above tweet and tell me whether it was fake. I originally thought it was a flop, but if you look at O’Korn’s name plate on the back of his jersey as he gets up, it’s sort of bunched up and then suddenly seems to get yanked down. That would be a tough thing to fake. Maybe it was a slight pull and O’Korn exaggerated it, but with MSU’s penchant for dirty play, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if someone one the sideline yanked him down as he got up. After all, Chris Frey very clearly threw O’Korn to the ground 8 yards out of bounds on another play, and Jacob Panasiuk ran over O’Korn at the end of an interception return.

Well, that wasn’t exactly a showcase night game. For all the hoopla surrounding night games, when your clunker of an offense puts up 10 points while spending a third of the game in a monsoon, maybe it would be better to have that noon kickoff without quite as many eyeballs. Michigan purposefully held off on having big recruiting weekends so they could have this showcase (here’s the visitors list), and now those recruits who were finally there probably walked away with a sour taste in their mouths.

Hit the jump for the rest of the game recap.

If it doesn’t rain, I think Michigan wins. Let me get this out of the way: Both teams had to play in the elements. However, I’ve talked before about how John O’Korn has looked good every step of the way, except for the wind and snow of his Indiana start last season. He looked pretty solid in the first half of this one, too. Then the rain came, and he threw interceptions on three straight drives. Meanwhile, Michigan State didn’t do jack squat in the rain, either. They had only 66 yards in the second half and didn’t score any points. They dropped a couple snaps, but they were fortunate enough to fall on or pick up the fumbles and avoid any turnovers.

Bad weather is John O’Korn’s bugaboo. In the first half of the game, O’Korn was 10/19 for 112 yards. When Michigan came out after halftime and the elements were more of an issue, O’Korn was 4/11 for 53 yards and 3 interceptions until the final drive of the game. On the final drive of the game, he was 2/5 for 33 yards (both completions were checkdowns to Karan Higdon). Overall, that second half saw him go 6/16 for 86 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. There seems to be a consistent problem with O’Korn when the weather is poor. People talk sometimes about hand size being a huge issue for quarterbacks when it comes to poor weather, and maybe O’Korn has small hands. Maybe he gets affected mentally by the bad weather. I don’t know what that reason is, but as soon as I saw the forecast for high winds and rain, I got extremely nervous about this game. Hopefully the weather is good for the rest of the year, because Wilton Speight isn’t coming back anytime soon.

The offensive line is terrible. I don’t think it’s as bad as the 2013 unit, but it’s not a great deal better, either. Right tackle Nolan Ulizio finally got replaced by someone . . . and that someone was Juwann Bushell-Beatty, who wasn’t any better and immediately was overpowered for a sack. Against unheralded, no-name defensive linemen, Michigan managed only 2.6 yards/carry and gave up 4 sacks. I respect the coaching that takes place at Michigan State, but the Wolverines have too much recruiting acumen and NFL experience to be performing at the level they are.

The offensive play calling needs revamping. Michigan’s receivers are inconsistent. The top guy (Tarik Black) is gone due to injury, and the other guys struggle to get separation. They’re pretty young overall. Donovan Peoples-Jones is a physical specimen, but he’s not a great route runner and doesn’t have great field awareness. Grant Perry is the top route runner, but he’s somewhat limited, too. The tight ends are solid, and Michigan’s running back situation right now is so-so. Michigan State can say similar things – they’re not great at receiver or tight end, and the running backs are good but don’t have a good offensive line. Yet Michigan State has consistently managed to manufacture yardage over the years by using misdirection, screens, etc. to keep defenses guessing. Other than the jet sweeps Michigan runs/ran with Jehu Chesson, Eddie McDoom, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, the imagination in Michigan’s offense is non-existent. Furthermore, Michigan tried a misdirection screen on the series after MSU ran a misdirection screen; Michigan’s screen went poorly, because that idea was already planted in players’ minds.

The defense is outstanding. I’m not in the mood to talk about the stuff that went well, frankly, so there’s not much I’m going to say here. Some early issues with eye discipline got fixed, and Michigan State had just 66 yards and 2 first downs in the second half. Both of the first downs came on MSU’s final drive and were aided by an offsides penalty and a fluke play on which QB Brian Lewerke happened to be tackled down onto one of his own players and rolled over for an extra two or three yards. I also thought Bryan Mone played perhaps the best game of his career. It wasn’t a perfect game, and there are some issues, but the defense isn’t the issue.

Hats off to MSU’s coaching. With all the crap they went through in the off-season – much of it deserved – it’s been a heck of a coaching job by Mark Dantonio and friends. They keep bringing in unheralded guys from the states of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, etc., and now they’re 4-1 with a win over the #7 team in the country.

What does it mean for the rest of the season? First of all, it means Michigan isn’t the #7 team in the country. They’ve been overrated all along. Even with their starting QB, they’re not #7. Michigan doesn’t have weapons on offense, and the offensive line can’t create yardage when they need to do so. Second, it means you can probably chalk up a loss in almost any game in which the weather is unfriendly. Third, this was a game that Michigan needed to win in order to have a chance at double-digit wins in the regular season. Games against the top teams on the schedule – OSU, PSU, and Wisconsin – are looking like losses. This looks like maybe an 8-4 team.

54 comments

  1. Comments: 3
    Joined: 9/24/2017
    bluegoinggray
    Oct 08, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    Sadly, I agree. Unless something changes dramatically on offense, 8 – 4 sounds about right.

  2. Comments: 26
    Joined: 1/2/2016
    peterfumo
    Oct 08, 2017 at 2:19 PM

    Frustrating game. Does anyone think the problems on offense stem as well from coaches having too many ill-defined jobs? In a quest to accumulate coaching talent, has Harbaugh focused to much on the on who does the job rather than on what the job calls for? If Drevno is a great OL coach than make him your OL coach, and if he insists on being OC and semi-OL coach, than maybe he needs to go. As an aside, Chris Frey is one dirty player.

  3. Comments: 25
    Joined: 1/10/2017
    Julio
    Oct 08, 2017 at 2:22 PM

    Thunder, if you’d be in the mood to answer random questions, here you go. (I noticed you haven’t posted on MGoBlog this morning. Probably a wise move …)

    * Adjusting for age and experience, how do you feel about Bredeson and Onwenu as linemen? Do you think Ulizio can ever reach Huyge level? (Notice that I’m not asking about Hoke recruits.)

    * How much of the bad O-line performance do you think is due to coaching?

    * I recall Crawford and McDoom being praised for their skill level as recruits. I realize they’re only second-year players, but I hoped that they’d be farther along his year. Any thoughts on them as players (adjusting, again, for age and experience)?

    I’m more open than usual to listening to the Legion of Doom posters this morning.

    • Comments: 2276
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 08, 2017 at 4:56 PM

      I don’t expect much out of linemen who aren’t yet to their third year in the program. But I will say that I would expect Michigan’s offensive linemen to be better as a whole than they are.

      I would say about 40% of it is coaching. About 40% of it is youth. And 20% of it is due to lack of talent/recruiting.

      I hoped Crawford and McDoom would be further along as players, too. Personally, I think Michigan has a mish-mash of talent at WR. They have a bunch of slot guys (Perry, McDoom, Crawford) and not many guys who belong on the outside (Ways, Peoples-Jones). Part of that is due to the injury to Black, and part of it is due to youth. I think we’re depending too much on someone like Crawford, who’s not as talented as Mario Manningham. Manningham was ready to be a #1-type target as a sophomore, but Crawford was never talented enough (IMO) to be a #1 guy, at least not early in his career. McDoom’s drop in the 4th quarter was inexcuseable, but I still think he has the athleticism to be a good player. Ideally, I think he should have redshirted last year.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 08, 2017 at 7:30 PM

        3 seniors and 2 sophomores on the OL last night. With 2 juniors available on the bench (Runyan, Ulizio). Youth?

        I don’t think it’s fair to EXPECT sophomores to be good starters, but typicially guys on the NFL track are at least doing OK. Onwenu and Bredeson are on schedule IMO. In other words they are earning their snaps ahead of veterans. That’s not a them problem, that’s a problem with the juniors and seniors above them.

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 09, 2017 at 4:03 AM

        I believe the following. Harbaugh has done one heck of a job at UM. Worth every stinking cent. I will say this about Harbaugh. He isn’t a perfect coach but the biggest error in his coaching tenure was the first full recruiting class where he recruited very well across the board but didn’t land enough lineman. I think he lost the kid who is a tackle at the last minute and not all the recruits are going to pan out.

        I digress, but only get two OL was a HUGE mistake. An absolutely terrible miscalculation. UM had very shallow depth on the OL which was before Newsome got injured.

        The one thing UM needed was OL. Harbaugh did it right recruiting many qb’s. He has done okay recruiting good rb’s although no one has hit.

        He did a great job at lot of positions but he miscalculated the OL issues and only addressed last year. As Thunder stated earlier, young OL are hard to depend on early in their career.

        It’s understandable that Peters hasn’t won the job. I can give a pass in so many areas but his lack of OL recruiting is hindering this program in the worst way. I agree that Bredeson and Onwenu are on their way. I hope. I pray that Ruiz and Filiaga and others can develop. I think we may see progress later in the season but Harbaugh missed the boat. He didn’t evaluate the OL situation properly.

        I don’t think anyone on this board can dispute the above especially since Onwenu was principally a DT in high school. If they had landed the one kid (Stanford) then it wouldn’t be so bad. Is Swenson playing. Look, there is no way to spin it.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 3611
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 08, 2017 at 3:06 PM

    I agree with almost everything above but I think you’re taking it too easy on O’Korn by saying he looked good except for when there was bad weather.

    “In the first half of the game, O’Korn was 10/19 for 112 yards.”

    That’s less than 6 YPA, almost exactly what he averaged in the second half.

    More importantly, there were 7 1st half drives and there was no success beyond the scripted 1st drive – which was mostly led by a surprisingly forceful run game. That’s not looking good – especially when those drives were generally pass-heavy. For the majority of the half – Michigan was not moving the ball. O’Korn was part of that.

    I’m not saying the weather had no effect nor am I trying to bag on O’Korn. He was OK, despite the turnovers, under the circumstances. Which is the same thing I said when Speight had his share of mistakes (Iowa excepted).

    My takeaway from MSU is that O’Korn looked about like what Speight looked like earlier in the year. In other words, QB wasn’t and isn’t the primary problem with the offense. The QB isn’t going to rescue the offense from it’s OL issues, lack of reliable play-making, and dubious play-calling/strategy. You can win with Speight/O’Korn but they’re not going to carry the offense on their backs or overcome the other problems. They’re not awful, they’re not great, they’re alright.

    • Comments: 2276
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 08, 2017 at 3:55 PM

      Yards per attempt is not the be-all, end-all stat.

      O’Korn was definitely a part of the meager offense in the first half, but he was making some pinpoint throws.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 08, 2017 at 7:34 PM

        Yes, I agree about YPA. But I don’t know how you can say he looked good when you you pair the YPA with the total lack of scoring (beyond the first FG drive).

        I made a similar argument for why Rudock wasn’t playing “excellent” in 2015 OSU.

        It’s a team game but if a guy is playing good to excellent, you need to put some points on the board. Especially somebody as influential as the QB.

  5. Comments: 169
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Oct 08, 2017 at 3:11 PM

    Comment and/or Observation:

    I’m tired of the Anti/Fire Drevno jaw – he was given 5 yr extension at a million$ per annum – Drevno ain’t going anywhere and bottom line is any deficiency that exists with Drev is really completely on Harbaugh as Drev’s work is evidently quite acceptable to the Harbs.

    Real questions need to be pointed at Not the Coaching of the OL but the Recruiting of the OL. I’m on record on this site that Harbaugh messed up when he didn’t recruit 5 OLs in the 16′ class. Why didn’t he?

    I’m also on record on this site that challenges the idea on whether or not Harbaugh can Build a Team vs Coach a Team and Harb’s lack of decent Ol recruitment is a hint of this.
    I.e – some people are good coaches and the perception is such that this list includes Harbaugh; and some people are good at Building a team but not necessarily a good coach – Elway is an example of this; then there are persons like Belichick, Tom Landry, who can do both!

    To me the school is still out on whether Harbaugh can Build a Team as well as coach one and I’m willing to consider that Harb’s success at Stanford had more to do with his hiring of David Shaw vs his own ‘great coaching’ – similar to Michigan’s success these past 3 seasons: more akin to great DC hires in Durkin & Brown vs Harbaugh’s great football team building mind.

    Also is Harbaugh really deserving of the ‘Great QB recruiter/developer that Michigan fans blindlessly & mindlessly believe?
    Harbaugh has put how many QB’s into the NFL from his college coaching stints? Josh Johnson from USD; Luck from Stanford and Ruddock – 3? Dantonio has developed more to the NFL who were rated lower with essentially the same amount of college HC tenure as Harbaugh. There others in the college ranks as well who actually have a better QB development resume than Harbaugh.

    Point is Harbaugh may in fact be very over paid for his abilities but at this point we’re stuck with him & Drevno. He’s gotten Michigan back to where they are at least beating most of the teams they’re supposed to butt still not beating the rivals and the best.
    Also, Harbaugh hasn’t won anything going on 7 seasons now at the FBS level: No division titles, no Conference titles, No NAtional Championship contention and almost every great coach of any traditional football power university has won a NC in 4 years or less………..

    The school & legacy of jim Harbaugh is still out and he hasn’t yet earned or produced results at a lofty level of that which he’s being paid.

    As I See It…………..INTJohn

    • Comments: 2276
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 08, 2017 at 3:49 PM

      Re: building a team vs. coaching a team
      What makes you so inclined to give Shaw credit for Stanford? Sure, he was there with Harbaugh, but he didn’t have to build Stanford, either. All he has done is maintained Stanford.

      Re: QB development
      Harbaugh produced Johnson, Luck, and Rudock in 10 years as a college head coach, including 3 years at San Diego (not a hotbed of talent). Dantonio is in his 11th year as head coach at Michigan State, and his 14th overall. He has produced Hoyer, Cousins, and Cook. Saying Dantonio has produced more than Harbaugh at QB seems misguided, if not flat-out incorrect.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 08, 2017 at 7:35 PM

        Unfortunately, Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan is making it look like Shaw deserves the bulk of the credit for the rushing offense at Stanford.

    • Comments: 28
      Joined: 9/18/2016
      Chowman
      Oct 08, 2017 at 4:53 PM

      You’ll have a tough time recruiting 5* OL when you’re not putting them in the NFL. Michigan’s history of having great OL going to the NFL is just that: HISTORY. As far as Drevno he ain’t that and a bag of chips. If JH is so tied to him, then maybe that’ll be the anchor that takes him down. You look at what Brian Kelly did at ND after last years debacle of a season. Gutted his staff. And after being drubbed by Clemson, Urban brought in a new OC. There’s no loyalty in college football if the ultimate prize is a NC. This UofM fan base isn’t going to accept 1 win against rivals in the 3 years. There’s no way this team beats OSU with this offense. That only win was against a 3-9 MSU team. There’s absolutely ZERO excuse for JH and this coaching staff to not have a functional OL. It’s to the point I miss Kyle Kalis!

    • Comments: 2276
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 08, 2017 at 8:46 PM

      a) You’re not going to insult me and cuss me out on my own website. Grow up.

      b) I’m not going to give credit to MSU/Dantonio for developing Foles when he spent one season there and then transferred, spending his final four seasons at Arizona. Foles had 8 passing attempts at MSU and 1,396 at Arizona. I’d say Arizona had significantly more to do with it.

  6. GKblue
    Comments: 235
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Oct 08, 2017 at 3:56 PM

    I thought the OL looked surprisingly good at the start of the game when we were primarily running the ball.

    • Comments: 28
      Joined: 9/18/2016
      Chowman
      Oct 08, 2017 at 4:54 PM

      MSU adjusted, UofM didn’t or couldn’t. At times in the 2nd half, O’korn was running for his life, It was like the MSU DL was unopposed. That Isaac fumble was the turning point. The wheels fell off after that!

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 08, 2017 at 7:39 PM

      While I agree with the observation, it’s worth putting the shoe on the other foot.

      We dismiss this regularly when somebody comes out with their brilliantly scripted first drive against us. We give Don Brown a pass because he comes back and shuts them down shortly after adjusting. Justifiably so.

      In short, the first drive of a game is often an outlier. I’ll leave it to the X&Os experts to disect what Michigan did that first drive and if it is repeatable for the rest of the year. I sure hope so….but have my doubts.

  7. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 08, 2017 at 4:49 PM

    1. Harbaugh inherited the Hoke offense and he hasn’t done enough to turn it around. It’s by far and away the biggest disappointment. Harbaugh is stuck in offensive purgatory. He is still playing with 2nd teamers in key positions.

    Things don’t look brighter unless Ruiz and Filiaga and a tackle come into the equation. The TE’s look fine.

    • Comments: 28
      Joined: 9/18/2016
      Chowman
      Oct 08, 2017 at 4:57 PM

      OH stop with the Hoke’s players rhetoric. It’s year 3! Excuses are for losers! JH isn’t doing the job! If this season doesn’t get drastically better, I’d expect a shake up in JH’s coaching staff!

      • Comments: 2276
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Oct 08, 2017 at 4:58 PM

        I do not think Drevno will be back after this year, whether it’s by Drevno’s choice or Harbaugh’s.

        • Comments: 28
          Joined: 9/18/2016
          Chowman
          Oct 08, 2017 at 5:19 PM

          I hope you’re right. Just think after 3 years and little of no progress it’s time for a change!

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 08, 2017 at 5:16 PM

        I do hold Harbaugh accountable. Fact is that these guys are Hoke players and Hoke wasn’t very good identifying offensive talent. I hold Harbaugh accountable and he has not done enough the first couple of years recruiting to deal with the offense. It was only last year where I thought the talent level increased but all these guys are frosh.

        There you go.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 08, 2017 at 7:41 PM

          The Hoke players who started were….Cole, Kugler, Perry? Hill?, Bunting? The majority are Harbaugh guys.

  8. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 198
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    crazyjoedavola
    Oct 08, 2017 at 4:54 PM

    I predicted a 6-8 win season and a loss to MSU so this is not surprising to me, but I am disappointed that in year 3 of this regime there is still not identity on offense, and the OL and QB play is very poor. It’s like with exception of a strong defense, this UM team is the direct opposite of Harbaugh’s Stanford teams. Which makes me think that his success at Stanford was greatly aided by terrible Pac 10 defenses and their complete unfamiliarity with the power offense he was running.

    On another note I think that Dantonio can bring a high school team to the Big House and make them competitive. No one prepares his teams better against Michigan than Dantonio. If the coaching staffs were switched Michigan would win this game by 20.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 08, 2017 at 5:11 PM

      1. Yes. Switch staffs and UM wins.
      2. Think about this. UM is losing close games with a great defense. Do you know how hard this is to do?
      3. I am absolutely shocked that UM has this great defense under Harbaugh but the offense is abysmal. I can’t figure it out. I thought by this time we would at a minimum have this power running game. Yeah…that happened. It’s like the offense is a better version of Hoke manball. Not a compliment.
      4. Can Don Brown coach offense? Maybe give Mattison the reigns on defense and have Brown coach the offense and balance things out? Yes, I am joking.

    • Comments: 28
      Joined: 9/18/2016
      Chowman
      Oct 08, 2017 at 5:17 PM

      I think it’s more about which coordinators he’s brought in. I think Shaw was a big piece of Stanford’s success offensively. I think JH has done well, 1st with Durkin and now with Brown. I’m not sold on Drevno. He’s supposed to be this big time OL coach, the OL isn’t much better than it was when Hoke was here! Pep Hamilton hasn’t impressed either. The offense is stale and predictable. WTF haven’t we seen more screens to the RBs?

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 08, 2017 at 5:28 PM

        Read this quote from Dantonio. He says, paraphrasing, they are really well coached. They ran 40 different formations in the 1st half.

        Too much. NFL level. Spending all of their time learning plays rather than practicing execution.

        • crazyjoedavola
          Comments: 198
          Joined: 8/13/2015
          crazyjoedavola
          Oct 08, 2017 at 9:11 PM

          The funny thing is that this is exactly what the criticism was of Borges, that his offense was way too complicated for the players to execute.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 08, 2017 at 9:14 PM

          Yes, this was thinking many criticized but because it’s Harbaugh we let it go. Clearly some of the goodwill is wearing away.

  9. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 08, 2017 at 5:07 PM

    1. Harbaugh inherited the Hoke offense and he hasn’t done enough to turn it around. It’s by far and away the biggest disappointment. Harbaugh is stuck in offensive purgatory. He is still playing with 2nd teamers in key positions.

    Things don’t look brighter unless Ruiz and Filiaga and a tackle come into the equation. The TE’s look fine. Speight isn’t the answer. JOK isn’t the answer. Higdon isn’t the answer. Isaac isn’t the answer. Evans isn’t an every down back. Crawford isn’t the answer.

    It’s a hodge podge of guys who are basically 2nd teamers. It’s a middling Big Ten offense. It’s a offensive staff of middle management. My gut tells me that UM is stuck in this neutral position until UM gets a high end qb, high end rb and a great center and tackle to add with existing guys.

    I think Harbaugh is great. I believe in him. I think program is on the upswing. I think Don Brown is great and better times are on the horizon. I do believe unfortunately that UM is still another year away…meaning 2019. That is how bad we are at key positions.

    UM is going to be in every game because of it’s defense. It’s offense is going to continue to be poor until the talent improves. As one poster said, UM should go back to basics and spend time trying to become good at 1-2 running plays. It needs to scrap and go back to basics.

    I think Harbaugh needs to make a change upstairs or take over the play calling. It’s a mess. Look at last night. Coaching arguably was the worst player on the field.

    Lastly. This needs to be said and I have said it on other boards. UM knows how to lose close games at the end against quality competition. It chokes. It finds ways to lose. The defense can’t punt or play offense. This to me is a reflection of a go to player. Both Speight and JOK aren’t great players. Neither is anyone in the backfield. Nobody to run behind. There is nothing to hang their hat on to finish a game.

    This team is great at TWO things.

    1. It has a great defense with a great DC staff.
    2. It is great at choking games and because it has role players on offense.

    Better times are ahead but not until the players change. PSU has big time players. So does OSU UM doesn’t. Ask yourself this simple question. Why is the UM defense so far ahead of the offense?

    Answer: Because Hoke left cupboard full on defense (McCray, Hurst, Mone, Kinnel, Winovich, Furbush, etc.)

    Hoke left the cupboard bare on offense and Harbaugh hasn’t done enough on the recruiting front early in his tenure to change the direction. Still behind the curve. Higdon and Evans are not what I would call big time backs. Where is Peters or Walker whereas Bush and Gary and Hudson and Hill are making contributions. Recruiting misses? Coaching issues? We have a mid level offense. See Florida as our twin brother in pain.

  10. Comments: 762
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 08, 2017 at 5:41 PM

    I thought JOK was a bit reckless. Even in the first half, he was trying to make throws when easier targets were available; taking sacks when he should have thrown it away. I think what we got was still better (in flashes) than 2017 speight, but not 2016 speight

    Agree on your sparty & Dantonio section:
    “Hats off to MSU’s coaching”

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 08, 2017 at 7:43 PM

      I thought JOK showed improved pocket presence from last year, and encouraging continuation of what we saw in Purdue. I did not agree with Herbstreit’s criticism.

      That said, it’s possible that the OL is going to get in his head….

  11. Lanknows
    Comments: 3611
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 08, 2017 at 7:45 PM

    I go back to the question I had when Harbaugh was hired. Is a one-dimensional (non-running) QB too much of a handicap? Not if you have elite talent (at QB or skill positions) or an elite OL — but that is really hard to do.

    • crazyjoedavola
      Comments: 198
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      crazyjoedavola
      Oct 08, 2017 at 9:13 PM

      Well Harbaugh acquired a mobile QB, he made him into a TE.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 08, 2017 at 9:24 PM

      Having seen Gentry run, this does not leave me with feelings of regret. He seems right where he belongs.

      • GKblue
        Comments: 235
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        GKblue
        Oct 08, 2017 at 9:32 PM

        If Gentry has a shot of playing on Sundays, TE is his better position I think. He continues to improve at TE, now if we can just get the ball to him.

  12. Comments: 9
    Joined: 9/19/2016
    newtopos
    Oct 09, 2017 at 4:26 AM

    What is the best place to get stats broken down by half? I didn’t think MSU even got 66 net yards in the second half, but I didn’t see official numbers and was only looking at the drive-by-drive totals. Thanks.

  13. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 09, 2017 at 5:15 AM

    I have a great suggestion for Harbaugh and staff. Lol.

    Here we go. Not for this year but next year.

    Dear Coach,

    What type of offense do you want next year? Do you have the talent at qb to pass yourself to victory? Speight is going to be coming off an injury. Has he proven to be a great passer? Is Peters ready? Hasn’t played a squat of football so probably going to be a learner curve even if he is the starter.

    I digress. So again, what type of football do you want to play with a great defense and a less than ideal qb situation? Here is a suggestion. Why don’t you use the talent you have to play power football.

    You rave about Mason at fullback. Seems logical. You have a hard running back in Higdon. Maybe Samuel? You are obviously going to be starting Ruiz at center. No other option. You have supposedly a road grader in Onwenu. Cole and Kugler are gone. You have another road grader supposedly in Filiaga.

    So from what I can tell you don’t really have a lot of options other than to play power football. Why not spend the entire off season working on running between the tackles and develop one thing to do well. You seem to have the pieces to run the ball next year.

    Running the ball would compliment a good defense. Seems like a good match made in heaven. Please fix the offense.

    Loyal Fan

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 09, 2017 at 10:40 AM

      Why would you base your entire offense around something you can’t even do well at a basically competent level?

      OL is the weakest unit on the team. This “road grader” stuff is made up by fans. If a guy is big he is called a road grader. Kyle Kalis was called a road grader. Ben Braden too. Frey is recruiting agile OTs.

      We don’t have a difference maker-back. We don’t have an elite QB. So you want to run a vanilla scheme based on what? Because we recruit fullbacks?

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 09, 2017 at 12:21 PM

        O.k. Let’s play. What is your solution LK.

        Let me hear it because I am all ears. Are you calling for Peters next year or would you like to play the entire Speight game again?

        Do you want to do the entire diversified offense with Speight being given the keys to the offense? Can you tell me who are going to be our tackles in pass pro?

        Let me know because I want to hear it. By the way, please see Brian’s comments below from mgoblog.

        • Comments: 539
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Oct 09, 2017 at 12:21 PM

          Under pressure. I am down with Tim Drevno glaring at this juncture. He got dealt a tough hand. So far he’s blown it. He comes in late and takes a flier on Ulizio; Ulizio just got yanked for Bushell-Beatty. More egregious was Michigan’s OL recruiting the year after. Despite an obvious, crying need for tackles Michigan took zero—zero zero zero.
          They inherited Erik Swenson and dicked around with him until January despite the fact they knew they had no desire to take him. Then they got blindsided by Devery Hamilton’s Stanford flip. Replacing those guys was… nobody. Michigan added Stephen Spanellis, who’s 100% a guard, and has since played Ben Bredeson exclusively at guard despite the fact that he was supposedly neck and neck with Newsome for the LT job last year. So instead of two redshirt freshman tackle bullets Michigan has nothing but Ulizio and Brady Hoke’s leftovers.
          Michigan has one highly touted tackle in Drevno’s tenure, freshman Chuck Filiaga. Michigan had to know about the looming hole there and they’ve utterly failed to address it. That goes back to Drevno. Add in the disjointed OL in year three and it might be FCS head coaching time

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3611
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 09, 2017 at 1:05 PM

            Seriously though. Where was this tough talk in the offseason when he was talking about addition by subtraction? Where was it when the recruiting class was getting dissected and analyzed?

            More bad news about OT: A lot of people think Filiaga may be an OG. So next year you are hoping for a miracle recruit, a miracle recovery from Newsome, and some development from Frey with Steuber and company.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 09, 2017 at 12:36 PM

          Since I’m not a football coach my solution is hire somebody who is a really good football coach. That’s done. Let the man do his job without half-baked theories.

          But if you need me to come up with half-baked theories, I will.

          1. Get rid of Drevno.
          2. Find a more creative run-game coordinator/OC that utilizes dual-threat QBs.
          3. Start recruiting dual threat QBs.
          4. Pare down the playbook and establish an identity.

          Those are obviously long-term solutions. I have no real answers for the short-term. They have to make lemonade out of a crap OL, backup-caliber QB and RBs, and young WRs and TEs.

          I was hoping that someone out of Evans, Crawford, McDoom, DPJ would break out and that is simply not happening. So what are you going to do?

          Grind on. Get better. Overreacting to (another) narrow loss with some sort of dramatic change is still not going to be a panacea. We’ve already done that – new QB, new RT, new starting RB, new TEs. But no matter how much we shuffle personnel it doesn’t fix the problem. If there was an answer on the bench – dude wouldn’t be on the bench.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 09, 2017 at 12:39 PM

          Brian is spot on the OL. Though quite slow to get here. It’s what I’ve been saying all along. If you go back to the Swenson saga you’ll see critical comments from me. If you go back to any recruiting class in the last X years I say they need to focus on OL and get more numbers on OL. Others think it’s about talent and development (as if there is a choice between that and numbers).

          Brian is also spot on here:
          “Whatever Harbaugh MUST do he’s probably already doing. He has a track record, and he’ll either follow that up with more of the same or not. We’re oddly locked in: few coaches trying to establish themselves at a new school come with the pedigree that Harbaugh does, so he’ll get a ton of time and a bunch of rope and we’ll see where it goes.

          It’ll probably go really well once they aren’t carrying the baggage of someone else’s screwups on top of their base rate. But I mean, go ahead and yell about how unacceptable everything is, I guess. We are dying to hear about your feelings.”

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 09, 2017 at 12:25 PM

        What is the ONE thing you can hang your hat on potentially right now with UM and it’s offense. ONE thing.

        I would say it’s the fact that Ruiz and Onwenu and Filiaga are supposedly big run blockers. That is what they are really known for coming out of h.s.

        So unless you have a better idea (want to hear it), I would suggest potentially going that direction of running power football. Higdon runs hard. Mason supposed to be tough. I am at a loss…give me ideas because this one is at least an idea.

        Thank You. I want to hear it. If you don’t have a solution then you are part of the problem?

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 09, 2017 at 12:55 PM

          Not power running game, that’s for sure.

          You want to hang your hat on recruiting hype? Pick any handful of highly touted recruit on offense from the last 5 years. How’s it going?

          Ruiz is a true freshman. Filiaga is too. Cole belongs on the interior. Onwenu is not quite ready.

          I think the approach on Saturday (pass to run) was the right call. The only real option. It’s what they have to do the rest of the year, IMO, despite a backup QB.

          But the rain…I think they probably should have had a better Plan B for the rain. I think they should have had some direct snap stuff to Evans or Isaac in the bag of tricks. 10 blockers on 11 guys, without being handicapped by a QB doing nothing.

          I am not sure any of it would have worked. The spotlight was on Drevno to earn his salary and the HC job he wants – that was before the season started. He has not delivered.

          Same questions I asked this offseason when people tried to blame Hoke or inexperience for the OL struggles… Why aren’t Ulizio or Runyan ready? Why isn’t JBB, or a RS Freshman, or a departed option like Dawson making a leap? Why did it take so long for Kugler to get to competency?

          All this positional shuffling was a red flag. The worst case is upon us. The dark cloud I’ve mentioned since Cincinnati finally rolled into town Saturday night.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 09, 2017 at 12:56 PM

          Fans and fan reaction are a different problem than what the football team does. My ideas have zero influence on the team. Same for you. Sorry.

  14. GKblue
    Comments: 235
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Oct 09, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    LK I think a couple of your points made here were right on. (You posted well, I’m frustrated)

    On another board in the game thread I heard calls that Brown was owned and out coached. This was in the first half, he adjusted. This loss wasn’t on him. At least on defense we have a coach who drills mano e mano, stay in your lanes, do your f’n job and rely on your teammates to do theirs.

    Secondly, the first series or so running was scripted. I agree. We did well, at the time and I thought we were even reasonable in pass pro or in picking up blitzers. At first.

    Then came a turnover and our shit got runny. O game and the play calling wasn’t the same. We were out coached offensively. JOK in a monsoon, how’d that work out for you? JOK himself has admitted he tries to do too much.

    Against Indiana I want to see an offensive identity established, a return to basics if you will. I read where Dantonio said (paraphrased) we were well coached, we used like 50 formations. I thought immediately of Borges, only I don’t think of Drevno as a mad offensive genius.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 09, 2017 at 10:43 AM

      The game seemed to turn on the Isaac fumble. We were moving the ball, but the combination of the turnover and the red zone failure after 2 successful-feeling drives was disheartening. Those 2 drives were our best shot and we got 3 points out of it.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 09, 2017 at 12:35 PM

      Yes. I agree. Something has to change on offense. I am over the MSU loss. They deserved win in almost every facet of the game. UM doesn’t deserve a W for that performance. Complete team loss with the possible exception of the defense. It was abysmal and the staff deserves to hear some major complaining.

      I agree with you GK. This offense needs to simplify things. It has uncertainty at the qb situation. It has a great defense so it needs to figure out something on offense. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be throwing the ball. I would even support seeing more of Ruiz. I personally would go to Higdon and start running power football and with safe roll out passes. I can’t think of anything else to do. Give Higdon a break with Isaac and grind.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 09, 2017 at 12:58 PM

        And, on the other hand, one play away from winning the game. The defense was excellent, as usual. The special teams was OK. The QB was OK. The OL and skill position guys were bad and the offensive scheme deserves to be questioned.

        The TEAM is far from abysmal. The offense is.

        • Comments: 539
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Oct 09, 2017 at 5:51 PM

          The overall performance was abysmal. 5 to’s and a drop pass at the end. Coaching was abysmal.

          When coaching and offense is abysmal I think you can call the performance abysmal. Defense and ST’s excluded.

          Got to give MSU credit for winning. Dantonio owns UM.

  15. Lanknows
    Comments: 3611
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 09, 2017 at 1:49 PM

    Big picture time:

    8-4 is the new 9-3…but barely. Our win probabilities per S&P:

    7 wins 8 wins 9 wins
    21% 35% 27%

    On the bright side – the chances of a 10+ win season is higher than 6 or less!

    Left on the schedule ahead:

    3 games we should lose (35% or less chance against OSU, Wisc, PSU)*
    3 games we should win (80% or better chance against Maryland, Rutgers, Minnesota who are all quite BAD). **

    The big swing game: Indiana.

    Suddenly, the Indiana game is huge. Lose to Indiana and it is officially a bad season where we are headed for 7 wins most likely. Bad media coverage, a bowl game no one cares about, defections from the recruiting class…

    Win and we’re back on schedule, more or less, with very high likelihood of 8 wins plus hopes of pulling an upset in the big 3 games.* This is when we start thinking about how close PSU was to losing to Iowa. What Don Brown did to them last year. How if we can just catch a few breaks like MSU seems to catch every damn year… We’ll start fantasizing about getting back even for Saturday with a huge upset on the road…

    Indiana is a MUST win.

    *FWIW the math says we have a nearly 70% chance of finding at least one upset in these big 3 games. I’ll tell you how I feel about that after seeing us @ Bloomington.

    **The math also says there still a 40% chance we drop one in the 3 games we’re all counting as sure wins. FWIW I think the math is off here because of Maryland’s QB situation

    • Comments: 140
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      coachernie
      Oct 09, 2017 at 7:42 PM

      I see the Indiana game as close but we win it. We regroup a bit to pull away in the 4th qtr. Our D once again stands tall to limit the Hoosiers to 17 pts.
      Mich 24
      IU 17.

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