Michigan vs. Notre Dame Awards

Michigan vs. Notre Dame Awards


September 3, 2018

Chase Winovich (image via Yahoo)

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Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Chris Evans. Something must have been going on with Evans (discipline, injury, etc.), because he’s a potential playmaker and only touched the ball 4 times in the season opener against Notre Dame. I heard in the off-season he was working in the slot, and Michigan is short on receivers. But all Evans got was 2 carries for 1 yard and 2 catches for 37 yards. The coaching staff needs to find a way to get him the ball.

Hit the jump for more awards from Saturday night.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . backup quarterbacks. I’ve never seen a quarterback cramp up in a game like Shea Patterson did. The weather will be cooling off in the near future, so cramps won’t be a huge issue. But with all that Michigan went through last year with backup quarterbacks forced into action, it sure would have been nice to get through game one without needing the #3 quarterback to come on the field because the #1 quarterback was cramping and the #2 guy hurt his knee in practice.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Brad Hawkins, Jr. I know Hawkins was beaten deep for a touchdown shortly after entering the game, but I thought he played well overall and showed some good athleticism. Even on the touchdown, he got his hands on the ball. I’m not saying he should start over Josh Metellus (who was kicked out of the game early for targeting) right now, but I would like to see Hawkins get some snaps in the coming weeks to give him some experience. From what I saw, I think he has a good chance of replacing Metellus later this year or taking Tyree Kinnel’s spot in 2019.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Devin Gil. The battle has been ongoing to see who would replace Mike McCray II at WILL linebacker, whether it’s Gil or Josh Ross. Gil missed an opportunity for a sack, and I thought Ross looked quicker than what I remember from last year. I would be leaning toward Ross playing the WILL spot at this point.

Let’s see more of this guy on special teams . . . Ambry Thomas. He had a kickoff return for a touchdown and looked pretty good doing it. He looks stronger this year, and he has good long speed.

Let’s see less of this guy on special teams . . . Will Hart. Hart had a botched hold that ended up losing Michigan 11 yards and a chance for a field goal. I’m not a fan of playing the backup walk-on punter as the holder. (Yes, I know Hart started this game, but Brad Robbins was supposed to be the starting punter until he got injured.) The holder should be a receiver or a backup quarterback, your better athletes who are used to making plays with the football in their hands.

Play of the game . . . Ambry Thomas’s 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Michigan’s offense was unable to do much, but Thomas got the juices flowing on a middle return where he showed some strength, vision, and speed toward the end of the 2nd quarter. That helped Michigan get within two scores of Notre Dame at halftime. A three-score deficit would have seemed insurmountable with the way the offense was playing.

 

MVP of the game . . . Chase Winovich. Winovich did have a bonehead late hit that extended a drive and allowed a touchdown, but he lived in Notre Dame’s backfield all night long. The Fighting Irish have an excellent offensive line, and Winovich made them look average. He finished with 6 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 quarterback hurries. With the interior defensive line unable to push the pocket, having an edge rusher who could chase down Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush was necessary to keep this game from getting out of hand.

20 comments

  1. Comments: 226
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 03, 2018 at 7:17 AM

    Patterson cramping up the way he did was somewhat alarming. Made me wonder abit about Michigan’s hydration regimen. There’s a reason why Gatorade was invented and ACC & SEC schools play and practice in heat & humidity more severe than what occured in South Bend Saturday eve and like you, I’ve never seen any QB cramp up like he did. Patterson should be aware of this too having played in the South but his focus is on Game Play. Where were the trainers?
    Keeping these guys hydrated…………….INTJohn

    • Comments: 794
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Sep 03, 2018 at 8:39 AM

      Just a symptom of overall poor preparation for this game. Inexplicable.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3760
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 03, 2018 at 9:56 AM

      Seems like a bunch of ND d players had to come out too.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 3760
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 03, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    Hawkins showed why he got moved away from WR.

  3. Comments: 921
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Sep 03, 2018 at 11:16 AM

    Let’s see more of Ambry on offense, as well as PR. Can’t keep one of our most explosive players on the sideline

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3760
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 03, 2018 at 12:29 PM

      I agree. It would seem to be better to put Thomas out there in 4 and 5 wide sets than say McKeon.

  4. Comments: 4
    Joined: 1/28/2016
    tuske14
    Sep 03, 2018 at 2:31 PM

    I am absolutely flabbergasted by the negativity directed towards this team on social media after the first game of the year. Was it great well no…but there is a ton to build on. Braylon can eat a bag of dicks

    • Comments: 794
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Sep 03, 2018 at 2:55 PM

      Are you surprised that in Harbaugh’s 4th year, with what was supposed to be a lot of returning talent and vastly improved quarterbacking, people aren’t impressed by “having a ton to build on”? “It’s going to be fun and exciting watching this team develop” was the phrase for last year. It didn’t even happen then, and it flies like a lead balloon this year.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3760
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 04, 2018 at 3:04 PM

        “Supposed to be vastly improved quarterbacking” sounds like offseason hype.

  5. Comments: 563
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 04, 2018 at 1:21 AM

    My honest assessment of this past game is that primarily this is a coaching problem on both sides of the ball. Brown is too aggressive. Hamilton/Harbaugh are way too conservative.

    This team actually can be pretty good but the coaches stand in the way. They have an inflated belief in the ability of the defense and don’t trust the qb and want to mitigate risk.

    You take Saban and you have him coaching this team, they beat ND.

    • DonAZ
      Comments: 389
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      DonAZ
      Sep 04, 2018 at 8:27 AM

      “and don’t trust the qb and want to mitigate risk.”

      I think this is true … I don’t think Harbaugh trusts his QB yet to run the offense from the QB position. Key word: “yet.” Will he gain trust in Patterson as the season progresses? That’s the key question.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3760
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 04, 2018 at 3:05 PM

        Or is the lack of ‘trust’ more about the OL?

        • DonAZ
          Comments: 389
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          DonAZ
          Sep 04, 2018 at 3:20 PM

          It could be both. But with a leaky OL, I would like to think a creative QB *might* be able to make something of a bad situation on occasion?

          I did not see the game, but I read of Patterson being sacked for a 16 yard loss, taking Michigan out of field goal range. Also some chatter about Patterson not throwing the ball away at the right times. Those things *might* be one of the reasons Harbaugh does not *yet* trust Patterson to do as he sees fit.

          I don’t really know anything, of course … just speculating / musing.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3760
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 04, 2018 at 4:46 PM

          I appreciate the sentiment to not put it all on the LT. Too often we fans boil down problems to one thing. Typically it’s a head coach, QB, or player who made an obvious and costly gaffe. It’s worth thinking about more complex explanations. Unfortunately “coaching” probably isn’t much better…

          The consensus take (which I agree with) is that Patterson played well. Not perfect, sure, but he was harassed pretty steadily whenever Michigan tried to do anything that took sustained protection. The fact that so many are directing their ire at “coaching” probably tells you all you need to know about the QB’s play.

          I thought Michigan’s playcalling was a dramatic departure from previous times. Shotgun every down (or close to it). Spread personnel (mostly). Passing while the OL run blocks (i.e., RPO). Lots of short passes of various form. Not being too predictable on run/pass downs. The offseason rumors were true!

          Nothing earth shattering in regard to scheme but a seemingly wise approach to address problems at OT. Clearly others disagree – which is fine. I have my quibbles (would have liked more Evans, less McKeon, and few more 50-50 shots downfield) but overall the gameplan seemed encouraging.

          As for the LT – the consensus opinion was that it was very bad and I don’t know how you watch that game and see otherwise. There was no sign of the rumored offseason progress. There was no indication that Runyan earned a starting spot seemingly with little competition. JBB seemed better overall though still not remotely good in pass pro. It’s a problem but we knew it was a problem, barring a miracle. The game was confirmation of what was expected. No miracle.

          We can put the OT problems on ‘coaching’ for sure. Harbaugh fired the guy chiefly responsible even though he was a close confidant. Clearly that’s not enough for some people.

          Silver lining is the hope is that ND has a level of talent at DE that Michigan won’t see again until OSU, by which point you hope things are figured out better. To be clear – HOPE being different than expectation. Hard for anyone to envision the story against OSU’s DL playing out any better right now. Still…

          My big takeaway (relative to reactions I’ve seen) is that it’s not so terrible as it seems. Again, Michigan lost a close game on the road against a good team. They outgained ND. They moved the ball despite the OT issues. It came down to ND making a few more plays and getting a few more calls to sustain drives. Again, the game was still in play at the end. Michigan didn’t come through.

          Some see this as systematic failure that falls on the coach. That seems like emotional reactions to me. I see it as coin flip game that landed tails for us. It happens and will continue to happen sometimes. I get that we feel like tails has landed too often. I feel that way too. Still, that’s how it is sometimes. Anybody who is been to a casino appreciate it. You can whine, analyze or Move On. Yelling about “coaching” is the former to me unless you actually know what you’re talking about. Most (including me) do not know better than Harbaugh.

          An argument for Move On is this: the season objectives are dinged, not broken, by a non-conference lost. The current structure of CFB is such that the Big Ten champ very very likely makes the playoff.

          So what was lost? Temporary frustrations that will fade mostly.

          There were good things (QB, run game consistently moving forward, WRs, DEs, 2nd half defense, Thomas). There were bad things (LT, DTs, TEs, RB pass protection, dumb penalties, kicking). Losing to ND is frustrating but hopefully once the emotions have worn off a bit our fans can get behind this team again.

          People should remember that there were jokes going into this game about “first to 14 wins”. That kind of turned out to be true – we just didn’t expect ND to get it in 2 drives. For it to happen ND had to string together multiple 3rd and long conversions. Call me an optimist but I don’t think you’ll see many teams capable of doing that to Michigan again. Levert Hill may get beat deep again, but probably not more than a time or two.

          ND just outplayed Michigan by a bit. I don’t think deep analysis is needed in this case. I don’t think whining does any good. So I’m Moving On. The season is in front of us and I’m planning on enjoying it.

          • Comments: 794
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Sep 04, 2018 at 7:05 PM

            It’s fair to say that if by a coach’s 4th year, every close loss is still being put down to “bad luck” or “bad calls”, it’s probably neither of the two. Unlike in a casino, very little happens in a college football game by purely random chance. Once you get past the coin flip, it’s almost all about who does controllable things better. The fact that a game was close and could have turned out differently based on a small number of plays does not in any way mean that the winner was “lucky”. It means they made more and better plays than their opponent.

            And for those who are saying “don’t panic, it’s early” or “it’s only one game” are glossing over the fact that neither of those is the case. This is Harbaugh’s 4th year and his 40th game at Michigan and he is most definitely not trending upward as a coach.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3760
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Sep 04, 2018 at 7:53 PM

              I didn’t say anything about luck.

              If 2 ~even teams play 10 times each might win 5 of them. That’s up to variance. How the cookie crumbles.

              You can view the loss as evidence of an absolute. That Michigan would have lost 10 out of 10. The final score and yardage indicate otherwise.

              You can take every game as referendum on the coach. That’s up to you. I don’t see it as valid or productive.

              Michigan’s been in a bunch of close games against elite teams under Harbaugh. The butt whoopins like PSU have been rare. To me that means something. Maybe there’s some legit failing on Harbaugh’s part as to why they’ve lost more close ones than they’ve won. Or maybe it’s just variance, like in Vegas and things will settle out over time.

              • Comments: 794
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Sep 05, 2018 at 6:55 AM

                Yes, you did say something about luck, even if you’re not admitting it, or even realizing it. But no one could have watched our game and think we lost because of pure luck. We lost because they did the important things better than us, superficial stats like overall yardage notwithstanding.

                And no, every game is not a “referendum” on Harbaugh. But every game IS an additional and valid piece of evidence about what kind of coach he is, and what he is and is not capable of. And the longer Harbaugh goes without any significant wins, the less likely it is that he’s ever going to be an elite coach for us. You can only say “in an alternate universe he would have won this game” so many times. At some point he has to actually win real games against quality teams, not just look like he could have. And the clock is ticking.

                • DonAZ
                  Comments: 389
                  Joined: 8/12/2015
                  DonAZ
                  Sep 05, 2018 at 9:01 AM

                  “And the clock is ticking”

                  I tend to agree with this. I wish it weren’t so, but reality can’t be avoided.

                  That’s why I think the MSU game this year is really, really important. That’s a game Michigan should win, because it’s against a team Michigan has an advantage in talent, both overall and at many key positions.

                  If Michigan loses to MSU this year, then a win over OSU is essential. Another season with losses to our two chief rivals will put some heat under the seat of Harbaugh. Again, I wish it weren’t so, but it’s true.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3760
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Sep 05, 2018 at 1:09 PM

                  @Don

                  I agree.

                  @WCB

                  I don’t think that game was pure luck.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3760
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Sep 04, 2018 at 7:56 PM

              Trajectory? Rich Rodriguez won more games than the year before every season. Who cares.

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