Michigan vs. Air Force Awards

Michigan vs. Air Force Awards


September 18, 2017

Zach Gentry (image via Scout)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Zach Gentry. Gentry’s snaps seem to have increased over the past week or two, and his targets have, too. After not recording a reception in week one, he has 3 catches for 71 yards in the last two games. It was mentioned during the broadcast yesterday that Tim Drevno sees him as being similar to Coby Fleener at the same age, except a better blocker. That’s saying something, considering Gentry is still a terrible blocker. Regardless, Michigan needs offensive playmakers, and Gentry can get separation from linebackers and safeties.

Hit the jump for more awards from Saturday’s win.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Michael Onwenu. The guy whiffs on blocks and doesn’t move his feet. He’s a step down from Kyle Kalis, in my opinion, and Onwenu really seemed to struggle late in the game. I can’t help wondering if that’s due to his conditioning and size at somewhere around 350 pounds or so. If Runyan isn’t the answer to start, maybe he should be used as a relief pitcher once Onwenu hits a certain pitch count.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Michael Onwenu. Okay, I’m half-joking here because I think the defensive personnel decisions have been good. But if Onwenu’s conditioning really is an issue, then maybe he would be better off playing defense, where there’s a lot of rotation and he would only end up playing 50% of the snaps or so.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. Don Brown and Co. are doing a great job.

Let’s see more of this guy on special teams . . . Eddie McDoom. McDoom has good speed and seems like the type of athlete who would excel as a kick returner. He has some agility, but his game is a lot about speed and then planting his foot to get upfield.

Let’s see less of this guy on special teams . . . Kekoa Crawford. I already called for less of Will Hart last week due to shanked punts, so this week it’s Crawford’s turn for the bright spotlight. He’s averaging 18.3 yards/return as the leading kickoff returner, and the lowest return average since 2008 for a starting kickoff returner was Martavious Odoms’s 21.21 yards/return in 2011. Crawford looks indecisive, and you can’t be indecisive on kickoff returns. Give someone else, like McDoom (or Donovan Peoples-Jones) a chance.

Play of the game . . . Donovan Peoples-Jones’s 79-yard punt return touchdown. The best thing about Peoples-Jones’s return was that he showed vision and anticipation. This wasn’t one of those returns where a hole just opens up, the returner hits it, and he outruns everyone. The return started to the left, he cut it all the way back to the right sideline, and juked the punter enough to be able to tiptoe down the sideline into the endzone. Hopefully, that’s an inkling of what’s to come.

MVP(s) of the game . . . Devin Bush, Jr. and Quinn Nordin. I thought Bush played an excellent game at middle linebacker with 11 tackles and 1 sack. Air Force put stress on Michigan’s defense, and playing about 5 yards off the ball at MIKE, Bush was all over the field chasing down running backs and the QB. Ben Gedeon would have been fine, too, but there are some middle linebackers at Michigan over the past decade or so who may not have been able to make some of those plays – and might have allowed for an upset. It’s nice to have a MIKE linebacker who can play sideline-to-sideline. Additionally, kicker Quinn Nordin made 5 field goals in a game that was pretty close until the end. He scored 17 of Michigan’s 29 points. Quite literally, this is a 13-12 loss without his contributions. Obviously, other guys are capable of making extra points and some of those field goals, but Nordin is a huge part of this team because of the difficulties scoring in the redzone.

65 comments

  1. Comments: 682
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Sep 18, 2017 at 6:53 AM

    With Black out for the season, I would not risk DPJ on kickoff returns too…we need him healthy (and hopefully productive) at WR, or our offense is going to struggle even more.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Sep 18, 2017 at 5:28 PM

      Agree. McDoom. It’s not like he is going to replace Perry at the slot so unless he isn’t dropping puns or kickoff’s then give it a shot. Plus Crawford needs to spend more time working on his routes and catching. Jack of all trades, master of none.

  2. Comments: 169
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 18, 2017 at 8:41 AM

    Nordin is the 1/4 season MVP. Hope they don’t let him walk to his classes. Find some Transportation Majors to cart him around campus in a rickshaw.

    It took Schembechler 10 years at Michigan to finally figure it out to find a decent field goal kicker. I’m glad Harbaugh wasted no time in signing one!

    The Mighty Quinn…………….INTjohn

  3. Comments: 762
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Sep 18, 2017 at 8:57 AM

    I said the same about onwenu last year. Hopefully he can develop, but that’s a big body to move for an entire game, all season long
    Agree on kick return too. Even if not mcdoom, while DPJ wasn’t staying at Receiver, he seemed more logical than our #1WR

    ” if Onwenu’s conditioning really is an issue, then maybe he would be better off playing defense, where there’s a lot of rotation and he would only end up playing 50% of the snaps or so”

  4. Comments: 978
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Sep 18, 2017 at 9:42 AM

    Small play of the game. Hidden gets two for the price of one … with a helmet.

    • Comments: 978
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Sep 18, 2017 at 9:43 AM

      I hate spell check. Higdon.

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 3611
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:03 AM

    Nice post.

    With Black out, I think Crawford, Perry, and DPJ will all have more responsibility at WR. Will be interesting to see who slides in on the back end of the WR rotation – Ways, Martin, McDoom, Collins? Schoenle has gotten some run but mostly blocking so far.

    Second McDoom as a candidate to pickup some of the return duties. He looks like a natural in the open field.

    I can’t think of a single concern with the D right now. Everything is going as well as could have hoped. The 3 biggest worries going into the season were CB, DL depth, and backup LB. Hill, Long, and Watson all look solid so far. DL depth addressed through scheme (3-3-5). Backup LB is still somewhat of a question but Gil made a surprise start and looked solid and Wrobo got some time.

  6. JC
    Comments: 148
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:18 AM

    Offensive adjustments are needed. Not just because of the red zone touchdowns, but, as a comment read yesterday, Speight hasn’t had a stellar last 6 games.

    Is Runyan going to solve our problems?
    Would rolling the pocket a bit to let Speight keep moving help?
    Is it spreading receivers out and throwing quick air raid passes?
    More DPJ and McDoom screens? The end arounds will be real predictable.
    It’s not ALL on Speight.

    I don’t know what will help, but I’m hoping we see it soon, because I feel like Purdue will put up a good fight at this point.

  7. Comments: 5
    Joined: 12/17/2015
    Gobluex2
    Sep 18, 2017 at 12:32 PM

    Thunder – of course you cover this in your well-written posts, and I recognize there is no single answer. But what factors do you think best explain the offense’s drop off from last year? Darboh seemed to bail out Speight often, whereas Crawford has been less than reliable. Do we actually miss Kalis, Braden, and/or Magnuson? Smith was tough and great in pass protection, but, to date, Isaacs seems to be a superior runner. Clearly Butt was great, though his senior year wasn’t as outstanding and the young tight ends seem to be playing well. Could any of this reflect swapping Fisch for Hamilton?

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 18, 2017 at 3:29 PM

      A Not-Thunder Answer:

      1. Inexperience – we return only 3 starters at their positions and 4 total.

      2. Randomness – we make a big deal out of big plays but Michigan can improve 0% these next 3 games and none of the following will happen again: 1/10 in the red zone, 2 pick-6s, 5(6?) fumbles.

      3. Pass protection. Seems like they’re using more max-protect stuff but still having problems.

      4. Tougher schedule. Florida D > Colorado D. Air Force D > UCF D. Cinci D > Hawaii D.

      5. Speight not playing as well as he did early last year (probably mostly because of reasons 1-4)

      But to back it up for second. Michigan is currently 49th in S&P offense. Last year they were 41st. Maybe the dropoff isn’t as severe as perceived?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 18, 2017 at 3:36 PM

        Sorry — only 4 fumbles. That could def happen again over 3 games. Point retracted.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 18, 2017 at 3:32 PM

      Fisch to Pep could be part of it. But with Harbaugh/Drevno continuity you would hope this isn’t too big of an issue.

      Then again – man look at Don Brown in Year 2. Historically that’s a huge bump and we’re seeing that bump so far at Michigan look big enough to offset losing 9.5 starters on D.

      I’m not seeing Pep/Fisch as too big of an issue, but it could be a factor in the many just-missed plays. Let’s hope so.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Sep 18, 2017 at 7:29 PM

      I think UM misses Magnuson but all of these excuses are just not hitting the key variable which is Speight just isn’t that good of a qb. A good qb would probably be able to deal with some changes.

      Would you prefer Smith than Isaac, Evans and Higdon? Probably not although Smith gives you better pass protection. Still have Hill at HB. You have Cole, Bredeson and Kugler and it doesn’t seem to be hurting UM running the football.

      Darboh and Butt I can see making a difference but what’s the excuse when Speight is hitting Gentry, Eubanks and McKeon along with some other intermediate pass plays with Black. It’s not like Crawford and Black are some small wr’s. The targets are pretty big and run halfway well.

      If you told me that this was the Rudock 2015 year and now Speight was in his first year with all these new OL and a new OC and everything then I could buy into this excuse argument. There is no way around the fact that Speight and this offense should be playing better. Did the rb’s play last year? I haven’t even mentioned that Bunting and Wheatley also played. What about McDoom?

      Drevno may be pulling back on the calls because of his lack of confidence in his qb. I saw this with Harbaugh and staff at Iowa last year where they got real conservative at the end and wanted to rely on the defense.

      The bottom line is the shackles need to be removed on the play calling and offense needs to be challenged to play better. They have so much confidence in their defense and ST’s that they aren’t putting too much risk on the shoulders of Speight. It makes sense but this is going to come back and bite UM when they play the tough road games.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 18, 2017 at 8:14 PM

        QB: Was Speight also “not a good QB” last year?

        RB: Pass blocking could not have been the only reason Smith played ahead of others last year. Michigan runs the ball – a lot. Perhaps staff was willing to sacrifice big plays for consistency. Smith didn’t fumble and turned many a 2 yard carry between the tackles into 4. Can his backups?

        WR/TE: We’re worried about size? Shouldn’t we be more worried about something like catch rate? Route-running, not letting the ball bounce around, etc.

        OL: Isn’t it more likely that Drevno is “pulling back” on calls due to OL inexperience than his returning starter QB? Max protect reflects a lack of confidence in OL and makes WR getting open harder.

        Playcalling: You want the staff to put more responsibility/risk on a QB that “just isn’t good”.

        • Comments: 2276
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Sep 18, 2017 at 9:08 PM

          Speight was a mediocre QB in 2016 (#41 in PER, tied for #40 in YPA, tied for #58 in TDs, #62 in yards/game, etc.). No, he wasn’t a good QB. He is/was mediocre. I know this is a very difficult thing for you to accept, but it’s true.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3611
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 19, 2017 at 12:42 AM

            How did CJ Beathard and Jake Rudock rate?
            They were #46 and 47 in 2015 in YPA.
            Beathard was #106 last year.
            So Speight ranked better than either ever did.

            Maybe these are all ‘mediocre’ QBs. I don’t have a hard time accepting that. But they’re all NFL draft picks too.

            So is there a better number that accounts for playing in a different type of offense? There is. Per ESPN’s QBR rating.

            Rudock was #10 in 2015.
            Beathard was #34 that year but feel to 101 last year
            Speight was #22 in the Country in QBR last year.

            That seems about right. Not quite as good as Rudock but not far off….as a sophomore.

            And Beathard’s tumble tells you that a good QB (drafted 3rd round remember) doesn’t play by himself and is subject to influence of teammates, opposing defenses, and a dose of bad luck perhaps too.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3611
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 19, 2017 at 12:57 AM

            You want to compare Speight’s yardage and TDs to Falk, Mayfield, etc.

            Points for consistency I guess. I remember when you gave DPJ a surprisingly low TTB rank because the Michigan offense would hold back his volume numbers.

            Calvin Johnson was a mediocre college player too.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3611
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 19, 2017 at 1:07 AM

            3rd team all conference as a sophomore
            12-3 as a starter
            stats superior to an NFL 3rd rounder
            stats comparable to the 5th year senior he replaced

    • Comments: 2276
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 18, 2017 at 9:17 PM

      The biggest thing affecting Michigan’s offense is the inexperience, in my opinion. There’s too much of it, and all the receivers are new. Jake Butt and Amara Darboh bailed out Speight on numerous occasions, and Speight hasn’t figured out who his safety net is yet. Grant Perry is the closest thing, but Perry doesn’t have the same catch radius as someone like Butt. It doesn’t help that Speight’s mechanics are wonky.

      The guy we miss most on the OL is Magnuson, IMO. He wasn’t great, but he was very reliable. Teams (other than OSU) didn’t get instant pressure or big plays on Magnuson.

      As for swapping Fisch for Hamilton, I do think Fisch was a little more creative of a play caller than Hamilton. I’m not impressed with Hamilton so far, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to work with right now – freshman WRs, sophomore TEs, a mediocre QB, etc.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 3611
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 18, 2017 at 4:09 PM

    Another nugget from at advanced stats.

    Success rate on run plays is down from 43% last year to 37% in 2017. That doesn’t sound like much, and maybe it’s not 3 games into the season. BUT it means going from 69th in the country (very very bad for a power conference team) to 108th in the country (horrendous even by MAC standards).

    Made worse is that this value is not opponent adjusted. So despite an easier schedule (first 3 2017 games vs. 2016 entire season including OSU,FSU, Colorado,Wisc, Iowa, etc.) we are successful less often on the ground right now.

    These numbers reflect the inconsistency I’m seeing on the field. It is why while you’re all NAVARRE SUCKS!, I’m all FRED JACKSON SUCKS about our run game.

    The success rate values take into consideration context (down and distance) and tell a different story than the respectable YPC numbers everyone is mostly happy about.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 18, 2017 at 4:20 PM

      Before anyone asks – what about the pass game success rate?

      It sucks too. 99th in the country (horrendous) dropping from 52nd in the country (meh but acceptable) last year.

      So Speight sucks? No. Speight is the same guy who got us respectable results last year. The run game personnel turned over almost entirely.

      Moreover, there’s more noise in these results because Michigan runs a lot more than most teams. They’re running on 68% of standard downs (+6% from last year, top 30 rank) and 40% of passing down (same as last year but still top 30-40 rank).

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 18, 2017 at 4:25 PM

        In other words there is ~2 games worth of data for pass plays compared to ~3 games worth of run plays.

        80 pass play vs 130 run.

        Larger samples are more meaningful.

      • Comments: 2276
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Sep 18, 2017 at 9:11 PM

        It’s funny that you label the passing offense “meh but acceptable” when ranked #52, but you insist Speight is a good QB when he’s ranked between #41-65 in various categories.

        “Meh but acceptable” is a pretty accurate description of Speight, at least as far as expecting an 8-4 to 10-2 season. That’s not good enough to win a championship.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 19, 2017 at 12:48 AM

          Speight was #22 in total QBR last year, ahead of McSorley, Falk, Kizer and many others. He was #43 in passer efficiency. Not great, also not bad for a sophomore 1st year starter.

          Certainly good enough to win a national title with an elite D and strong run game.

          Not like they were far off last year despite a weak run game.

  9. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 18, 2017 at 5:20 PM

    The first thing I read was that Onwenu is a step down from Kalis? Ouch. Biggest insult I have read on this board. Not saying it’s not true but that means Ruiz or Runyan?

    Does Onwenu go back to defense?

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 18, 2017 at 8:16 PM

      This happens almost every time a disappointing senior departs. I can’t believe his backup from last year didn’t magically become far better than him! Put in the backup! Rinse (memory). Repeat.

  10. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 18, 2017 at 7:34 PM

    Speaking of Gentry and the TE’s. If I were this staff, I would focus on passing to the TE’s and running the ball. Play Lloyd ball and start trying to play more field position but pass and run but to the strengths of Speight. Max Protect to big targets. Play action fakes. 2nd and 6. 3rd and 3’s. Boring offensive football but need to get Speight back to being performing like an average qb and this team can win.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 18, 2017 at 8:19 PM

      One post:
      “The bottom line is the shackles need to be removed on the play calling and offense needs to be challenged to play better.”

      Next post:
      “Play Lloyd ball and start trying to play more field position… Max Protect to big targets. Play action fakes… Boring offensive football “

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Sep 18, 2017 at 10:20 PM

        Yeah. Did I miss something? Remove the shackles means to stop trying to protect Speight by throwing in areas where the ball can’t be intercepted whereas throwing over the middle to TE’s is more in line with his talents and the staff will have to demand better throws.

        Boring offensive football is not going to spread or throwing bombs. High percentage passing. 3rd and 3. My comments were consistent.

        I guess everything is subject to interpretation. Sort of like those statistics.

        • Comments: 539
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Sep 19, 2017 at 12:04 AM

          Another perspective for LK.

          http://theozone.net/2017/09/michigan-monday-red-zone-follies/

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 19, 2017 at 1:03 AM

          “Throw the ball where it can be intercepted” is taking chances, not “boring football”.

          We’ve been one of the worst run-blocking teams in the country for the past few years. One of the main problems is that we’re rarely in 3rd and 3. That’s because we can’t run the ball consistently.

          A short pass game might be an answer. That’s not what play-action is.

  11. Comments: 169
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 18, 2017 at 11:47 PM

    Most can see that Sp8 is not a great passer and yet Harbaugh the Great evaluator of all things QB says Sp8 is “a very accurate thrower”……..
    maybe this is Harbaugh not wanting to throw sp8 under the bus but then Harbaugh turns around and blames Sp8 for muffing the handoff to Isaac in the Cincy game. So Harbaugh does in fact throw Sp8 under the bus.

    If what Harbaugh is saying about Sp8 being Very Accurate is true the only conclusion one can come to is that Sp8 is missing on purpose. He’s also been throwing into coverage when in the Air Force game Perry several times was wide open, yet sp8 didn’t throw to him.
    Maybe Harb’s & Drev think they can beat Penn State 27 – 24 with Nordin kicking 9 field goals; lol

    Something’s going on with this Team, offensively, and it isn’t good. Coaching, chemistry, locker room friction, Something is going on and it isn’t good. Its beyond the woeful performance on the field.
    There’s any number of teams who have young & inexperienced players every year – its college! but those teams can still score touchdowns once in awhile.
    Michigan with all the talent and all the “Great” coaches and can’t score a few TD’s against marginal Cincy & USAF defenses??? 5 total after 3 games??
    Something is wrong with this team and it starts with the coaches.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Sep 19, 2017 at 12:14 AM

      I’ll go along with that. You bring up an interesting theory about chemistry. I have thrown out the theory about having a lack of identity. The closest power running back they have is Higdon believe it or not. They don’t have it seems a reliable #1 catching wr in Crawford and Speight is way to inaccurate and inconsistent which makes for a hodge podge of offensive woes.

      I believe (as do others) that UM needs to get back to boring simple football of establishing the run. Run Hill more? Play action fakes and over the middle passes to the TE’s since Speight can’t throw very well to the sidelines with an occasion long ball (think Streets). Think Brian Griese Sr. year football.

      They need to move the chains and play somewhat field position but Speight is going to have to do his job with certain over the middle of the field throws and not think he is throwing to an 8 ft Gentry.

      If you limit the mistakes which I think is why Harbaugh and Drevno are throwing lower risk passes so Speight can miss high and it goes out of bounds then it makes sense because your defense can win a lot of games. It unfortunately can’t win against great teams without some offensive help and you have to assume Nordin isn’t going to make 5 field goals at Wiscy and PSU.

      Check out the Ozone link above and how Gerdeman makes the point when it’s 3rd and 8 and he doesn’t want his qb to throw. That isn’t a good sign.

      • Comments: 762
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Sep 19, 2017 at 9:06 AM

        Best part:
        “1-of-6 passing while in the red zone. In fact, this season he is 1-of-12 throwing the ball in the red zone. The most amazing thing about that stat? The one completion went for a loss of one yard, which means that each of his incompletions gained MORE yards than the one pass he actually completed”

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3611
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 19, 2017 at 10:41 AM

          Lot of learn’n goin on on TTB this week. We learned -1 < 0 and the median of 1 to14 is also 8.

          • Comments: 762
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Sep 19, 2017 at 11:30 AM

            Yep, we learned that those devoted to stats will ignore bottom-half performance, and “spin” the numbers to “middle third” 👍

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3611
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Sep 19, 2017 at 4:21 PM

              …where basic math is spin

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 19, 2017 at 12:59 AM

      It’s blocking mostly. Check out the sack rate, run game success rate, etc.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 19, 2017 at 1:07 AM

      Harbaugh is right.

  12. Lanknows
    Comments: 3611
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 19, 2017 at 10:43 AM

    Bill Connelly weighs in on the dark cloud:

    https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2017/9/19/16332218/michigan-wolverines-football-2017-offense

    He doesn’t cast blame on players or coaches.

    I will again assert my hypothesis that last year’s results indicate the pass game should turn things around. The outlook for the run game is far less rosy.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Sep 19, 2017 at 2:02 PM

      So LK, when is this good qb going to make an appearance? I think he is mediocre and you think he is good and will play better.

      So doesn’t a good qb overcome some flaws in the team? Vince Young, Michael Vick or Cam Newton were great. Hard to find that level. Troy Smith and Kerry Collins were very good. Brian Griese and McSorley are/were good.

      Maybe our definitions of good and mediocre are the problem but I expect a good qb to be accurate and can overcome some obstacles. Sort of how like Speight played against Colorado where he scrambled for that first down. This is how I define good. Someone who isn’t Vince Young or Troy Smith but is rock solid. A good qb.

      When should I expect this good qb? Should I expect a consistent level of performance over the rest of the season? Someone who throws 3-1 td/int? Someone who plays well on the road?

      What I am asking you is give me the parameters going forward of what a good qb should bring to a team. Saying that he wins is like saying McMahon was the reason the 85 Bears won. JOK could have won all 3 of these games and I don’t think he is good. I think he (limited views) is that he is at best mediocre.

      Maybe this is all performance inflation. I’ll tell you what I think Speight needs to do going forward.

      3 to 1 td/int.
      40% red zone conversion for td
      win all but 1 game on the road
      60% completion
      consistent performance

      I’ll give you the GOOD thumbs up after the season. Throw out RU and maybe one other game. I hope you win LK. Guy has good enough support to get it done. For all the supposed flaws on the offensive side he has a very good defense and good kicker as it stands. That is a good tradeoff at least for the W and starting with good field position.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 19, 2017 at 4:17 PM

        What does “good” look like? I’ve asked before.

        If it’s Speight against Maryland or Rudock gainst Florida – I want that. But we are not going to get that every game from Speight, probably ever. Rosen, Mayfield, and Darnold don’t do that every game either. We should get it a few times a year, though. Preferably in clutch situations. That, to me, is “good”. Not elite, but “good”.

        We are not going to get that level even MOST games unless Speight gets better than he was last year. We didn’t get it most games from Rudock either in 2015. Sometimes we are going to get Florida Speight just like sometimes we got Utah Rudock (or MSU Rudock or OSU Rudock for the excuse-makers out there).

        We haven’t seen many signs that Speights getting better yet. I am disappointed in that. Speight has disappointed me, because I was expecting him to look better and produce more. Comparing Cinci to UCF/Hawaii — Speight looked worse.

        Does this make him “mediocre” or “bad”. I don’t think it does. The track record (last year) is better than that. So to call him mediocre or bad you have to assert that he actually got worse as a player.

        I can’t really say Speight has been good this year. His numbers are not good. The passing efficiency is woeful. He has not – as you say – overcome the flaws of his team. Not to the extent we want or expect.

        So is that him getting worse? That’s where the dispute goes down. This is where I get into sample size. One game can go either way. Some number of passes can go either way.

        At what point is it just normal variance and at what point is it a trend? We, all humans, tend to underrate randomness. This isn’t even up for dispute.

        So, I’m looking at the QB who we had last year. Solid – not great. I’m asking WHY he is doing worse this year. I’m asking IF he is really doing worse this year. I know his production is worse but is it HIM or the stuff around him.

        There is no sure answer but I’m looking at the big picture. I’m not going to get caught up in the outliers or change my opinions on a guy based on a game or two.

        My point is simple. Speight is not the weak link on this offense. He wasn’t last year either (Iowa excepted perhaps). It’s not likely that he actually got worse as a player. He doesn’t deserve your abuse.

        ———————-

        Speight is not the savior. Too bad. I wish he were. Neither is Isaac, Black, DPJ, Kugler or anyone else. Why is Speight supposed to overcome the flaws of the team but the actual FLAWS OF THE TEAM are not subject to any criticism?

        That question is this whole topic boiled down. There is a double standard when it comes to expectations. Which is fine except when it turns into criticism that affects the team.

        • Comments: 762
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Sep 19, 2017 at 6:06 PM

          You go on about randomness, but of 15 games started, how many do you think we’re “good?” “Mediocre?” “Bad?”
          I think what’s certain is that WS has a few nice throws this year, but has made some questionable decisions, and the “random events” of allowing footwork to go awry has increased this year
          Maybe Maryland was the outlying random event?
          As far as abuse, who’s abusing the guy? All I’ve seen (here) is performance-based criticism. It’s a message board, try not to let it get to you

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3611
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 19, 2017 at 7:30 PM

            Iowa and Cinci were Speight’s 2 bad games. Those are the games where he played the worst, IMO.

            Maryland absolutely is an outlier. As Florida was an outlier for Rudock. I don’t think that should be the expectation.

            As for abuse – see the comments from the team defending against it. As for this board – people have been predicting Peters would take over since Spring. Our 3rd team all conference starter as a sophomore, with a 12-3 record, and by some measures a top 25 QB performance on the season….”fans” want him benched. Maybe that’s not ‘abuse’ but it’s disrespectful to say the least.

            • Comments: 762
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Sep 19, 2017 at 11:08 PM

              I’d throw in all three games this year..

              Last year, Jimmy put the clamps on the offense AS SOON AS speight threw that pick in ELansing
              CBus was ugly (I’ll give you the injury, but three turnovers killed the team
              First 3 Qtrs in the Bowl was ugly, but the OL didn’t help
              Two pick6 and overthrowing a sure TD against Florida had speight himself crediting the win to Brown & his young D
              AirForce made even Brian & Ace thrown their hands up
              You conceded Iowa & Cincinnati
              That’s seven that I chalk up as either BAD, or at least not good
              Maryland is your only example of GOOD, and I won’t argue that

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3611
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 20, 2017 at 12:05 AM

                1 good game all last year yet 3rd team all conference and 10-3…would have been 11-2 if not a d collapse against FSU.

                Man – Deveon Smith must have been some kind of superstar.

                • Comments: 762
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Sep 20, 2017 at 12:29 AM

                  Wait, that was you who only came up with one GOOD game. I simply agreed

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3611
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Sep 20, 2017 at 12:13 PM

                  Nope. I just named one.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3611
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 20, 2017 at 12:09 AM

                Maybe you can explain how Michigan had the 28th best passing O in the country last year when their QB had 1 good game?

                I wonder what you think about CJ Beathard (3rd round pick) performance against UF compared to Speights.

                • Comments: 762
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Sep 20, 2017 at 12:38 AM

                  How many 300yd games did speight have? 2
                  How many games did he throw 3 TDs? 2
                  *each game was against a team with a losing record
                  I don’t know which games you consider GOOD, because I can’t point to anything else

                  Speight is mediocre. Film is out, his NFL supporting cast is gone, and his mistakes now have him stuck in his own way

                  But keep trying

                • Comments: 762
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Sep 20, 2017 at 12:41 AM

                  Iowa played a top D. With what Florida lost to the draft and graduation, we don’t know what speight played against yet. All we know is that he managed two pick6s and an overthrow on a sure TD

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3611
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Sep 20, 2017 at 11:23 AM

                  Florida has had a top 20 D year and year out. We don’t know if they’re top 5 again, but they’re a near lock to be very good again.

                  If Speight had elite supporting talent – a plausible argument BTW – then how come the offense wasn’t much better when it had an NFL QB at it’s helm in 2015?

                  Why the same struggles against OSU, an inferior performance against PSU and MSU, etc.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3611
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Sep 20, 2017 at 11:24 AM

                  Funny that you’re willing to say Speight is terrible but on the opposite side of the LOS we have no idea what we are seeing.

                  Again – a double standard.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3611
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 19, 2017 at 4:20 PM

        I think Speight overcomes plenty of obstacles. I see it on most passing attempts.

        I don’t think Speight is as good as Vick and the others. I don’t think it’s reasonable to compare him to people like that.

        Rudock? McSorely? OK – we can go there. Those are peers.

        If you’re putting him in a elite class with Vick you’re already outing yourself as unreasonable. (Either you think Speight is elite and you are arguing otherwise, or you have a ridiculous baseline of expectation.)

  13. Comments: 111
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Sep 19, 2017 at 11:49 AM

    Not that it matters, where is Nate Johnson? Last I heard from him he dropped 2 punts in the spring game. He hasn’t even been mentioned in our possible WR options. I really liked him out of high school and thought that maybe the staff saw something to stick him as the PR in the Spring.

    • Comments: 2276
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 19, 2017 at 12:00 PM

      He moved to cornerback after the Keith Washington transfer.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Sep 19, 2017 at 2:32 PM

      Johnson doesn’t quite look at athletic or as quick as McDoom. Johnson would have made some contributions in the Hoke or RR era. Hard to get on the field with the current talent. Maybe Johnson should play qb? That was a good one huh?

  14. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 19, 2017 at 8:01 PM

    LK, First things first. How about a new rule between us. Before either one of us replies to the other person’s words let’s both agree to READ the words in the context. If we don’t remember what each other said then let’s say something (I may be mistaken you said).

    Here is a perfect example of you recently at least, taking something I did not say and applying to your argument. Please see your post above and what I said below.

    So doesn’t a good qb overcome some flaws in the team? Vince Young, Michael Vick or Cam Newton were great. Hard to find that level. Troy Smith and Kerry Collins were very good. Brian Griese and McSorley are/were good.

    New comment: I didn’t compare Speight to Vick. LOL. I used Vick and Young as a reference for Great. I used Troy Smith and Kerry Collins as a reference for very good. I used Griese and McSorley as my definition of good and where you using the word ‘good’ should mean from a performance level.

    So I will have to read your above comments but you define good (will now go read) and then tell me what Speight needs to do to become good. My definition may be different than your definition but let me go read your posts again.

  15. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 19, 2017 at 8:26 PM

    O.k. LK. Here is where we agree. YOU are saying (If I understand you correctly) is that a FEW times this year we are going to get a good qb like Rosen or Darnold? I hope so. I don’t even think Speight has to be Darnold level good to very good but I’ll take that as long as one of these few good games is against OSU, PSU, Wiscy or MSU.

    A good qb, according to your comments if I understand correctly, actually should be 2 out of those 4 games at a minimum. Good games against IU and Purdue and mediocre games against PSU and Wiscy don’t in my mind equate to a good qb because of the level of competition. I’ll give you an outlier here and there but a good qb is consistent. I think I am being more than fair. I am setting the good bar (pun) at a bare minimum.

    Now to the point we disagree. Look, being the qb is more important than being the RT or RG. My friend and I agree on this issue that a very good qb (not Speight) will overcome shortcomings on an offense. A good qb can do that but probably not to the same extent. Great players are few and far between. Very good players are more easily produced. Good players exist plenty in the aggregate and when they play qb they hide many warts on the offensive side of the ball.

    Comparing the warts of Higdon or Crawford is not the same as comparing the warts of Speight because he touches the ball on EVERY offensive play.

    The qb is going to be the focus of the offense. NCAA or NFL. Is the right fielder as important as the Pitcher in the aggregate? I’d rather have a poor TE and LG and RT combined than a poor qb. Welcome to the big time. I can’t protect Speight from justified criticism. Gardner was a poor Sr. qb. It’s the high profile position. It get’s the lion share of the credit and lion share of the blame which is why in the NFL they are the highest paid players. Surprise.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 20, 2017 at 12:02 AM

      Nobody is arguing with the importance of the QB.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3611
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 20, 2017 at 12:08 AM

      Just because the QB is important doesn’t mean that there are only 20 good QBs in the country while there are 100 good RBs and 1000 good OTs or whatever.

      Michigan had the 28th best passing offense in the country last year. Having 3 NFL receivers and good pass protection was certainly a big part of that. But Speight was too.

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Sep 20, 2017 at 1:34 AM

        I see. We are discussing last year. Interesting. Does the defense get that option? Does Rashan Gary or Maurice Hurst get to use that UM lost Lewis and NFL starter Gedeon and Wormley and Charlton and Henry?

        Are you saying that Speight is limited and needs a senior rb and a great OL to succeed as an average qb? Has Black been a big disappointment relative to Darboh and Chesson? Have the TE’s not been productive? How about Perry?

        Here is what’s funny. I think there are some variables to the lack of production by Speight on some series and plays. However, time is running out. As I have said, the staff needs to start simplifying things for Speight and this offense and hopefully they are productive this week. Let him do his job and if he can’t do it then he can’t do it.

        Remember this LK, Gardner doesn’t have a good line and needs help? How long did that excuse go on? Put McSorley on this team and UM is a threat to be in the BCS playoff. Speight has plenty of talent albeit some of it needs development but you are making it sound like Speight has no rb’s (same essentially as last year), a legit left side of the line, plenty of TE’s and an entire Spring and Fall to develop chemistry.

        What was your view on Gardner a few years ago? Curious.

        • Comments: 762
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Sep 20, 2017 at 9:14 AM

          Lank doesn’t want to talk about this year. Everytime a 2017 stat shines light on how poorly QB play has been, he either changes a number, spins the stat, or brings up beathard getting drafted — which has nothing to do with speight in 2017
          Someone once said, the best thing about stats is they’re based on facts, and aren’t overwhelmed by emotion. Here’s where we sit currently at QB stats:
          Wilton Speight Stats:
          95th in Completion Percentage
          88th in Completions Per Game
          80th in Passing Efficiency
          76th in Passing Yards Per Game
          65th in Passing Yards
          32nd in Passing Yards Per Completion

          A quarter through the season, that’s not “fine”

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3611
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 20, 2017 at 11:20 AM

            JE – You are right. I don’t think 3 non-conference game tells you as much about a player as an entire season.

            You are also right that stats can be used to twist facts. Part of that is thinking about sample size.

  16. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 19, 2017 at 8:31 PM

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