Michigan vs. Penn State Awards

Michigan vs. Penn State Awards


October 23, 2017

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Brandon Peters. Peters has only played a couple snaps this season, which included a handoff and a quick pass to Mo Ways for 4 yards. I wasn’t one of the guys longing for Peters against Penn State, but if Michigan can pull away from Rutgers, it would be nice to get Peters some snaps.

Hit the jump for the rest of the weekly awards.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . John O’Korn. Get Peters in the game and/or show some creativity by putting in a Wildcat package for someone like Chris Evans, which was rumored in the offseason.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Kwity Paye. Paye got some run on Saturday night, and he responded with 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 0.5 sacks. That’s not bad for a true freshman from Rhode Island that not many recruiting gurus took note of, though he did get voted into the Under Armour All-American Game. Chase Winovich needs a break sometimes, and maybe Paye is the guy to provide it.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Mike McCray II covering wheel routes. I like McCray and think he gets a bad rap sometimes, but he shouldn’t be covering wheel routes or running backs lined up in the slot.

Let’s see more of this guy on special teams . . . Ambry Thomas. Thank goodness Thomas seems to have permanently replaced Kekoa Crawford as the kickoff return guy. Thomas had 3 kickoff returns for 87 yards (29 yards/return), including a 43-yarder. It only took the coaches half of a season to figure it out.

Let’s see less of this guy on special teams . . . Brad Hawkins. I’ve been rather confused for a few weeks why Hawkins – who was not known for his speed coming out of high school – has been back as the secondary kickoff return guy. He had 2 returns for 26 yards on Saturday (13 yards/return), and he’s averaging 14 yards/return on the year. I don’t know why Michigan’s coaching staff has continued to put non-playmakers back to return kicks.

Play of the game . . . O’Korn’s 23-yard completion to Kekoa Crawford. It was Crawford’s lone reception, but we’ve been talking about Crawford not making any plays for weeks. I’ll give credit where credit is due. He made a great adjustment on a ball that O’Korn had to throw early when he knew he was going to take a huge hit. It was a nice play from both parties.

Player of the game . . . Khaleke Hudson. It’s hard to pick anyone out in a 42-13 blowout loss, but I thought Hudson played pretty well. He would have had the play of the game and potentially a momentum-changer if he had been able to hold onto an attempted screen that Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley threw from his own endzone. Hudson jumped and got both hands on it from point-blank range, but he wasn’t able to maintain possession as he fell to the ground and it forced PSU to punt. Hudson ended the game with 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and the aforementioned PBU.

65 comments

  1. Comments: 725
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 23, 2017 at 7:17 AM

    Great to see Paye out there getting after it, but I think my favorite play was the Crawford catch. I’ve been harping about him since Florida, but that was a good one

  2. GKblue
    Comments: 218
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Oct 23, 2017 at 8:14 AM

    Excellent summary Thunder. What I like about these is that sometimes I tend to focus on plays good or bad. You must take good notes!

    I believe as you do that when we can get him on the field Peters has to get game experience. Hudson and Paye are the future.

    The Crawford play was as well executed as the DPJ drop was disappointing. I don’t know if it is the “blind squirrel” analogy I have read, but the offensive playcalling had occasional life. We have to execute.

    Defensively Brown’s aggressive approach fell short. I think they knew going in that McCray would have to play the game of his career. Give credit to PSU playmakers and offensive coaching staff. It seems they can actually scout another teams tendencies and weaknesses.

  3. Comments: 154
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Oct 23, 2017 at 8:51 AM

    Yeah, I’m 4 playing Peters more. These next 3 games are a good opportunity to give him significant reps.

    Michigan is not going to win the division and at this point full focus should be on beating OSU and preparing QB play for next season. JOK will not be back and Sp8 may not be but even if Sp8 returns, Peters is the only other QB that could be given decent playing experience.

    The next 3 games provide that window and then too, Peters will have valuable experience if needed vs Wisky & OSU.

    Moar Peters…………..INTJohn

    • Comments: 19
      Joined: 11/17/2015
      funkywolve
      Oct 23, 2017 at 11:29 AM

      I’m not sure how much of a blow out the next 3 games are going to be. None of the teams are that good but both Rutgers and Minnesota have pretty good defenses, at least according to FEI. Rutgers has the 43rd ranked defense according to FEI and Minnesota’s is 38th. Maryland’s defense is 68.

      While the defense should dominate these 3 teams, I’m not sure the offense is going to steamroll any of them.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 23, 2017 at 11:40 AM

        Yep. Haven’t had a real blowout yet, even against Cinnci.

      • Comments: 154
        Joined: 12/24/2016
        INTJohn
        Oct 23, 2017 at 6:22 PM

        It doesn’t matter to me if the next 3 games are blowouts or not. Michigan should win these next 3 games no matter who is behind center so give Peters some decent playing time. 15 to 20 minutes in each and if the games do turn into blowouts then maybe even more.

        Its time to focus on the only thing left to salvage any semblance of joy to this otherwise mundane season and that is to put full focus into beating OSU. This one game at a time stuff I usually subscribe too but there are exceptions to every rule and this season at this point is I think an exception. Play Peters at least 45 to 60 minutes between now & wisky and focus full bore on beating OSU. Jus sayin as an idea.
        I have not necessarily approved this message………….INTJohn

  4. Comments: 725
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 23, 2017 at 8:55 AM

    I’d like to see Peters too, but do people really think he’s the answer, now?
    It’s almost November, and he’s been on campus nearly two years; if he isn’t beating JOK outright, it should be a concern

    • GKblue
      Comments: 218
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Oct 23, 2017 at 9:32 AM

      Most don’t think he is “the answer”, but some of our more vocal friends do. I am in the camp that says if we can give Peters snaps to prepare him for the future we should. See what he can do under game speed and stress and give him an opportunity to adjust.

      Another fear is that JOK will get thumped and Peters will be sent in cold against a Wisky or OSU and look lost like Bellamy at Nebraska. If we go up by a couple of TDs get him in there, give him significant snaps while preserving the win.

      And maybe, just maybe he is more of a gamer than (I/we) expect. Can’t know what we don’t know.

      • Comments: 725
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Oct 23, 2017 at 9:50 AM

        Yep, agree that I’d rather get him plenty of reps before getting tossed into an emergency!

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 23, 2017 at 11:23 AM

        Peters has already played some snaps this year. FWIW

  5. Comments: 19
    Joined: 11/17/2015
    funkywolve
    Oct 23, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    Maybe it’s just me but I thought JOK was the offenses best player against PSU. If there hadn’t been 3-4 outright drops he would have completed something close to 70% of his passes.

  6. Comments: 105
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Oct 23, 2017 at 10:37 AM

    The offensive line is an absolute wreck. From what I can tell Mason Cole and Ben Bredeson were horrible Saturday. If those 2 guys aren’t playing well this team will probably squeak out a few more wins against lower ranked opponents but will be thrown around vs OSU and Wisconsin. The bigger problem, in my mind, is the line scheme and the play calling. That would mean Drevno, Frey and Pep Hamilton. Unless at least 2 of those 3 are let go after the season (probably all 3), this team is going to be stagnant.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3600
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 23, 2017 at 11:29 AM

      Pep and Frey are brand new. I’m not sure how much of the OL issues you can pin on them.

      It’s mostly Drevno, though Harbaugh’s recruiting decisions factor in as well. How many RBs, TEs, and WRs you need before you address the gaping wound on OL. And before somebody tells me you couldn’t predict Newsome – that’s one guy going down. A position group, even QB, can’t end up among the worst teams in college football based on one guy going down.

      If we’re dolling out blame I’d go 75% Drevno, 15% Harbaugh, 10% Frey. I’m not even sure that’s fair to Frey given his tackles are Cole, Ulizio, and Bushel-Beatty.

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 3600
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 23, 2017 at 11:20 AM

    Seems like people are agreeing on Peters but I wonder if everyone’s talking bout the same thing.

    Thunder says: “if Michigan can pull away from Rutgers, it would be nice to get Peters some snaps”. To me that sounds like typical backup QB role. Meanwhile, GKB says “under game speed and stress and give him an opportunity to adjust.” sounds like bring him in when the game is still on the line. Or am I misreading?

    I personally agree with the former, but I don’t think think Michigan should risk losing to Rutgers to develop a backup QB who is still so far from being ready to start (according to all insider reports). Losing to Rutgers would be devastating from a perception and recruiting perspective IMO. Can’t do it.

    And again, the target date for Peters is 2019. He may be called sooner than that but the long-range vision needs to be what’s best for the program which is having an A+ starter at QB at some point. That’s more important than a B- backup, as we’ve seen with O’Korn. In other words – don’t break Peters. He’s not the guy right now but there’s a chance that he’ll be the guy at some point.

    • GKblue
      Comments: 218
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Oct 23, 2017 at 12:01 PM

      I think Thunder and I are thinking similarly. He says if we can pull away, I said if we go up by a couple of touchdowns get him in there. Unfortunately, a couple of touchdowns may be as close as we will get to pulling away this year.

      As far as dealing with game speed and stress, Peters will feel it when he gets out there from adrenaline alone not to mention a hostile defense. He hasn’t had many snaps this year.

      I did not intend to confuse the issue or risk losing against Rutgers.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 23, 2017 at 12:12 PM

        I’m on the same page. Thanks for clarifying. Hopefully at some point Peters can come in and be comfortable, so I imagine each little bit helps.

    • Comments: 140
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      ragingbull
      Oct 23, 2017 at 1:18 PM

      okorn is a B- player? wow, the difference bw A and B on your grading scale must be staggering

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 23, 2017 at 4:11 PM

        At most places I went to school a B was pretty much average. With grade inflation it’s probably more like B+ these days.

        O’Korn’s play is a little worse than average IMO, relative to D1 starting QBs. I suspect he’s well above average if we’re adjusting for backups.

        The stats maybe say he’s better than that. 57.2 adjusted QBR would put him at slightly above average for a D1 starter (if I’m interpreting the number correctly).

        So maybe it depends if you are comparing him to power conference starting QBs or all D1 QBs.

    • Comments: 502
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 23, 2017 at 4:28 PM

      Agree. UM should win the game but if they get up 28-3 then make the switch and get Peters some serious snaps for a couple of series.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 3600
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 23, 2017 at 11:39 AM

    I think McCray deserves the criticism. It’s 2017 – covering receivers is part a linebacker’s job. If you’re just a run stopper then you shouldn’t be starting. I don’t know why he gets a “well, he can’t be expected to do that!”. Why not say JBB can’t be expected to pass block? And QB…

    I think the big difference between this year and last year was that Michigan could cover up McCray better. He was one weakness in coverage and the safety could help. This year, they have more guys to cover up in coverage and no Peppers erasing so much in the flats. So safeties have a tougher job, but they’re also not as good.

    There’s a significant step back in athleticism and experience when going from Peppers – Hill – Thomas to Hudson – Metellus – Kinnel. Sometimes this doesn’t matter – against PSU it was a huge difference.

    • Comments: 2223
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 23, 2017 at 11:54 AM

      This is dumb. It’s a scheme-related issue. I wouldn’t expect Wilton Speight to run a triple option offense. I wouldn’t sit here and criticize him in Air Force’s offense and say, “It was a keep read! Why can’t you just outrun the defense to the sideline?!?!?!” That would be a coaching or a personnel issue.

      Mike McCray does have an issue with covering backs out of the backfield. We could be Mike Valenti and scream “MAKE PLAYS!” or we could sit here and say, “Look, this doesn’t work, so let’s make an adjustment.” That’s what I’m suggesting here. You have two inside linebackers who can cover running backs, so put the other, faster guy on the running back.

      We make statements like this all the time. Nobody expected Nick Sheridan to be Pat White back in 2008. When O’Korn came in against Indiana last year, I said, “He’s a backup from Florida/Texas in bad weather.” There are fair expectations, and there are unfair expectations. There are physical limitations, and there are mental limitations. McCray isn’t screwing up with identification of wheel routes or anything. He’s simply physically incapable of covering certain guys in space. There’s no point in criticizing him for that, because he can’t change it.

      • Comments: 502
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 23, 2017 at 12:07 PM

        Yes. Brown deserves the blame, not McCray. In fact, is there any linebacker that can cover Barkley? Not many. Brown didn’t want to play outside his aggressive scheme and he met his match.

        The bigger concern is opponents have now figured out how to exploit the aggressiveness. You saw it with MSU. You definitely saw it with PSU.

        I think Brown has to start mixing up the coverages a little more. He is way too predictable. I think he is a fine DC.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 23, 2017 at 12:26 PM

        I think it’s dumb to think there’s a scheme in modern football where LBs don’t have to cover RBs or TEs.

        I think what’s dumb is assuming that MLB is a totally different position from WLB even though our coaches have repeatedly said they are essentially interchangeable. You can try to get one guy one type of role more often than other but they both have to be linebackers – and that means covering people pretty dang often.

        Defenses have to react to what it happening. So yeah, we can say blitz McCray every down but that is going to be a really predictable and make for an easy defense to defeat. If we have a crap CB we can say the same thing – blitz him every down that guy can’t cover. That’s dumb.

        I think it can be argued there is no point in criticizing any college player at any time. That’s not really the point.

        If McCray is so limited physically that he can’t cover anyone they should put somebody else out there who can.

        • Comments: 2223
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Oct 23, 2017 at 12:54 PM

          LOL. I guess we need a remedial discussion of football.

          There are essentially 5 guys on offense who can catch passes. Assuming your 3 or 4 defensive linemen can’t cover those 5 guys, that leaves 7 or 8 defensive players who can cover those 5 guys. Take the FS out of the equation who might be playing the deep middle in Cover 1, and that leaves 6 or 7 guys. Therefore, the defensive coordinator can choose which defenders he wants to have cover the running back(s), and that still leaves 1 or 2 guys free to blitz or support the run.

          Mike McCray, whether you like it or not, plays the WILL. The WILL in this defense is what we call the primary adjuster, which means that if we need a LB to be plussed outside, McCray is the guy who does it. You can say all you want that the two inside linebacker roles are interchangeable, but you’re being ignorant if you think Michigan plays them that way. They don’t. If they did, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. There’s a reason that Devin Bush is always the guy who stays inside the box, and that’s because Don Brown wants it that way.

          If you think Michigan should play someone else instead of McCray, then fine. Go ahead and call for the fifth year senior captain who’s #2 on the team in tackles to be benched. It’s not going to happen, and it wouldn’t do us any good if it did. There aren’t any linebackers standing on the sideline who could do the job any better. But until we find a better over WILL than McCray? I don’t want McCray covering guys like Saquon Barkley and Ty Johnson and Dalvin Cook all over the field.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3600
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 23, 2017 at 4:30 PM

            OK – let’s get rudimentary.

            Michigan doesn’t play 1-on-1 assignment football all game long. They vary the calls. If they don’t – they get picked apart. They lose. That simple.

            That’s before even account for different position groups the offense throws out there. Modern football requires LBs who can cover people. That simple. You can’t just designate one LB to play the run and another to play the pass.

            Brown takes chances. He blitzes different people from different places to be unpredictable. This requires his players to be versatile. This is part of his defense (and pretty much any half-decent defense). If McCray doesn’t fit in that he doesn’t fit in that. Get Uche or Gil out there and let them learn.

            But let’s be clear: I’m not calling for McCray to be benched. I’m pointing out he’s above having his limitations called out – just as we acknowledged Stribling’s limitations in run defense or Peppers limitations in one-on-one coverage deep.

            There wasn’t “nothing he could do about” about those weaknesses, and it wasn’t a failure on Browns part that they were extant.

            I’m not absolving either Brown or McCray. McCray is a limited player. Brown has to coach to limit his exposure.

            That makes McCray a problem and Brown the guy that has to find a solution.

            • Comments: 2223
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Oct 23, 2017 at 9:51 PM

              Apples and oranges. Stribling’s limitations in run defense, for example, were largely due to a lack of effort. He played like a softy when teams ran at him. That’s not a physical limitation – it’s a mental one.

              “That makes McCray a problem and Brown the guy that has to find a solution.” Ummmmmmm…that’s exactly what I’m saying. Did I or did I not say in this post that I want to see McCray covering running backs less? All this arguing just to agree with me? Odd.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3600
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Oct 24, 2017 at 9:48 AM

                I don’t agree. Stribling wasn’t a very big dude. McCray can work harder in the film room to anticipate and read faster. It’s a mental and physical game.

                I said both are part of it. You can’t just absolve the guy with the deficiency. You can’t absolve the coach who puts him out there as if it doesn’t exist.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 23, 2017 at 12:40 PM

        It’s probably not McCray’s FAULT he’s a limited player.

        No more than to the extent it’s Speight or O’Korn’s fault that they are limited players. But many are happy to put their limitations in the spotlight and call for them to go to the bench because of them. What is the “point” of criticizing them exactly?

        This is not a personal issue about blame, it’s just the reality of a limited player. Michigan can’t just put McCray out on running downs anymore than they can try to put JBB out on running downs.

        Anyway, I see McCray taking bad angles on the wheel routes – misjudging either his speed or the RBs. This is a problem repeatedly. You need to compensate for your limitations. Dirk Nowitzki isn’t out there trying to swat shots he tries to play competent defense by anticipating and being in the right place. Not a scheme issue, just a player recognizing his limitations.

        McCray is getting a free pass. And that’s fine in a vacuum if you are philosophically opposed to doing that to student athletes. Clearly that’s not the case in this space. If you are going to criticize players for their limitations then it seems arbitrarily inconsistent to not do it here.

        • Comments: 725
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Oct 23, 2017 at 12:56 PM

          There’s only one QB on the field at a time. The difference is, McCray shouldn’t have been the guy assigned to Barkley. We have Bush & even Hudson as better options. In fact, going man-coverage against this PennSt squad probably isn’t too smart

          “No more than to the extent it’s Speight or O’Korn’s fault that they are limited players”

          • Comments: 502
            Joined: 9/13/2015
            michymich
            Oct 23, 2017 at 4:34 PM

            The O is a major mess. It’s embarrassing that UM is average at best on O. Alarm bells should be going off in Harbaugh’s head. Things have to change otherwise UM is going to be 4th place next year in the East.

            Now to D. I am not worried at all. The talent level is high but I will be more worried if coach Brown doesn’t acknowledge this week that he was outcoached and ALL the blame is on him for deluding himself that he could cover Barkley with McCray and did nothing to adjust. Brown had his first terrible coaching performance. This performance is worse than anything Hermann put forth and up there with GERG.

            It’s true. I could have structured a defense better than Brown did on Saturday. It was beyond awful. I believe Brown is going to fess up about his performance this week and own it 100%.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3600
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 23, 2017 at 6:00 PM

              I don’t know that you can expect that a defense turning over 10 starters should come in and shut down a top 10 offense that has put up 500 yards on everybody else.

              It could have gone better of course. I’m sure Brown will own that. But some of this disappointment is self-generated by fans. Sometimes you are just outgunned and PSU waxing Michigan doesn’t require deep soul introspection from Brown. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again — the results speak for themselves.

        • Comments: 2223
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Oct 23, 2017 at 1:12 PM

          Physical vs. mental limitations. I do not believe John O’Korn is incapable of getting to his second or third read. I do think McCray is incapable of covering Saquon Barkley.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3600
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 23, 2017 at 4:34 PM

            If McCray is as incapable as you say then someone else should be out there. I don’t think he’s incapable of seeing a wheel route developing and going to the spot where the throw will be instead of ducking inside a blocker to go to where the player is.

            They aren’t playing 1 on 1 – McCray is defending a player running a route.

            I don’t know what gives you the impression that O’Korn is capable of being successful at making multiple reads behind an OL like this.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3600
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 23, 2017 at 4:59 PM

            So what is different about the speed limitations of Deveon Smith and Mike McCray?

            • Comments: 2223
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Oct 23, 2017 at 9:57 PM

              Here’s the difference: There were other guys capable of playing running back instead of Smith. On the flip side, I’m not sure there’s another WILL linebacker who can approximate McCray’s play.

              But you’re distorting the argument. This isn’t the equivalent of saying “Take this guy out of the game.” This is saying “Alter your scheme to help cover up this guy’s weaknesses.” You don’t run De’Veon Smith on toss sweeps; you run him inside.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3600
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Oct 24, 2017 at 9:54 AM

                That’s only if you limit the position to one basic skill.

                Smith was slow as a runner but did everything else well.

                McCray is slow in coverage but does everything else well.

                We have people on the bench who are faster but don’t have the all around game.

                It’s the same thing.

                On offense you dictate the playcalls, so yeah, don’t run the sweep. On defense you react to the playcalls. Michigan could sub out Smith when it was time to run outside. They can’t sub out McCray when it’s a pass call.

                But maybe they should start to try. Gil’s done pretty well whenever I’ve seen him on the field.

      • Comments: 121
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        coachernie
        Oct 23, 2017 at 5:22 PM

        Good grief…it took half the season to figure out what we all knew from last year??!!…McCray should play inside the box and not out in space??!!
        Again….I say that this Coaching staff has been horrendous and I’m being nice here.

        • Comments: 2223
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Oct 23, 2017 at 9:59 PM

          “Again….I say that this Coaching staff has been horrendous and I’m being nice here.”

          I really can’t take you seriously when Michigan is #22 in scoring defense, #11 in rushing defense, #5 in passing defense, and #5 in total defense after losing 10 or 11 starters.

    • Comments: 502
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 23, 2017 at 12:09 PM

      Disagree. Brown blew the game plan. McCray is not equipped to handle Barkley or most linebackers. Brown should have had some zone mixed in and focused on the main weapon.

      He did not. McCray wasn’t the problem. A safety should have been over to help McCray and blitz less. Brown was the issue. Thunder is right.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 23, 2017 at 12:27 PM

        The 2 aren’t mutually exclusive.

        • Comments: 502
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Oct 23, 2017 at 12:49 PM

          The way you presented it was that McCray was the primary problem. I see it as Brown as the primary problem on Saturday night. See my post below in regards to Brian.

          UM got burned by being overly aggressive. It was Barkley and McSorley and Hamilton against UM. Do you think Brown would have the same game plan if they played again this weekend?

          I think we both know the answer.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3600
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 23, 2017 at 4:43 PM

          Yes. The problem with McCray not being able to cover people is primarily a McCray problem. Brown has to deal with it one way or another but it’s not a problem of his creation. The expectation is for the position. The position is LB and Bush manages to cover people without getting burned pretty regularly.

          Thunder’s fix is make the defense more predictable. (or maybe take a time machine to the 1970s?)

          My fix is… no fix really… McCray is presumably the best option we have but maybe he needs to get rotated out a bit more so that teams can’t just exploit the matchup.

          There’s a reason you don’t see so many 6’4 250 LBs playing off the LOS anymore. You have to be a gifted athlete at that size to play LB in the modern game. The guys Michigan is recruiting now are 6’0-6’2 and 205-230. Theres a good reason for that.

          • Comments: 2223
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Oct 23, 2017 at 9:53 PM

            “McCray is presumably the best option we have but maybe he needs to get rotated out a bit more so that teams can’t just exploit the matchup.”

            Why are you arguing with me but repeating exactly what I’m saying? I have no idea what you’re arguing. You’re just arguing to argue.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3600
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 24, 2017 at 9:58 AM

              Maybe I misunderstood your argument but it seems like you’re letting McCray off the hook and blaming Brown.

  9. Comments: 502
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 23, 2017 at 12:01 PM

    When you think of all this stuff, bottom line is UM should be better on offense. I understand what happened Sat night. PSU is great on offense and just punked Don Brown and the defense. Defense is fine. Brown will learn from this and next time a superstar is on the other side he won’t be so cocky.

    PSU can make a lot of teams look bad with Barkley, McSorley and Hamilton. It was amusing how some people just didn’t want to give McSorley some love and thought he should threw hail Mary’s but he has great touch. Some of those passes on Saturday night were NFL level. He has great touch and the guy knows how to play qb. Kudos to PSU. Just at another level offensively. Will give any team a fight in college football.

    It’s offense that is the concern. It’s still looks like a mess. I wouldn’t start Peters but I would start working him into the rotation going forward and building his confidence. Keep it simple but Harbaugh should win these games but he has to start building for next year.

    I don’t just mean Peters. I mean Ruiz. I mean Filiaga. I mean Walker. I hope to the high heavens that Newsome can come back 100%. I doubt it. UM is a mess. Maybe Mason should start getting some reps. Next couple of weeks I’d like to see some more of these guys if UM gets up on their opponent.

    Lastly, Harbaugh needs to figure out who is the OC. Either keep one of Drevno and Hamilton or get a new guy. Offense is an absolute mess. It’s Brady Hoke lite. Insult of the highest order.

  10. Comments: 502
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 23, 2017 at 12:41 PM

    From Brian. Yes.

    Opposition defenses facing Penn State have made them drive the field, save for the occasional Barkley outburst, by playing zones with a lot of guys deep and making it easier underneath. This has sort of worked. Michigan refused to back off and got ripped

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3600
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 23, 2017 at 4:51 PM

      In other words Brown ran his defense. The one that puts him in elite company every year.

      Maybe you want Brown to be less aggressive. Have a Plan B. Play bend but don’t break. OK, whatever. I like Don Brown the way he is.

      Hindsight is 20/20. Our offense is terrible and we weren’t going to win by playing soft and letting PSU score slightly less often. Brown needed to take chances – try to generate some turnovers. We almost had 2 defensive TDs this game.

      Brown went with what got him here and he got beat. Will take more than 1 game against a top 10 offense to change philosophy.

      • Comments: 502
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 23, 2017 at 5:25 PM

        No. wrong. I’ll keep this brief. Sometimes your opponent has superstars and you have to adjust. Would you play the same way if you were playing Michael Vick?

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3600
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 23, 2017 at 6:02 PM

          If only Brown had played Barkley before.

          • Comments: 502
            Joined: 9/13/2015
            michymich
            Oct 23, 2017 at 9:39 PM

            If only Brown had seen more tape of this future Heisman trophy winner. It wasn’t like Barkley was a pre season Heisman contender or that he had burned other teams out of the backfield with passes. Not like he had done well on a big stage like the Rose Bowl. Flew under the radar.

            Not like Brown had a lot of time at half time to make adjustments. Not like PSU had 300 + yards in the 1st half.

            Who knew the guy could catch out of the backfield.

            http://www.espn.com/college-football/player/_/id/3929630/saquon-barkley

            • Comments: 502
              Joined: 9/13/2015
              michymich
              Oct 23, 2017 at 9:42 PM

              Also, I had no idea that McCray couldn’t cover out of the backfield.

              I also had no idea that if PSU scored on big plays that would be worse than them driving down the field and settling for a fg once they got in the red zone. Stupid me.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3600
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 24, 2017 at 9:59 AM

          Brown was very successful against Barkley before. He tried to do it again. 1/2

          • Comments: 725
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Oct 24, 2017 at 9:22 PM

            *1/3

            • Comments: 725
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Oct 24, 2017 at 9:26 PM

              2/3

              *Stupid Detroit public school education

      • Comments: 725
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Oct 23, 2017 at 8:43 PM

        Dang, I’m in near-complete agreement with Lank here
        Brown is fine. Let another LB, or better yet a Safety cover dalvin cook & barkley type Backs

        • Comments: 502
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Oct 24, 2017 at 2:24 AM

          Here you go LK. From the Ozone.

          Sure, Michigan would have a better idea of how Penn State would attack Don Brown’s defense, but would Brown do anything about it? He sure didn’t seem interested in fixing the issues at the time they were happening.

          As bad as this matchup was for Michigan, it was world’s better than Don Brown sticking with linebacker Mike McCray on Saquon Barkley in pass coverage. Barkley caught three passes for 53 yards with a 42-yard touchdown. The Wolverines were fortunate that was all the damage Barkley did through the air.
          This was the first time I have ever seen a glitch in Don Brown’s matrix.

          It turns out, this was a defense just as stubborn as Michigan’s offense.
          Penn State kept going to the well and Don Brown never bothered to take the bucket from them. He just kept asking if they were still thirsty and if they needed anything else.
          “Yes, can you please put Mike McCray on Saquon Barkley?”
          “Consider it done. Now drink up.”

  11. Comments: 105
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    Oct 23, 2017 at 9:58 PM

    Sliding the conversation over to Brandon Peters. I’ve heard rumors for 2 years now how he either 1) can’t learn the playbook and 2) doesn’t have command of the huddle or the leadership skills to command the offense. Flash back 2 years to the Signing of the Stars. If you look back at the event he was introduced and looked TOTALLY uncomfortable onstage. To go a bit further, the other players were smiling, laughing and enjoying themselves in the spotlight. But Peters (not Butt Peters) just sat there with a frown on his face the WHOLE time. No one talked to him and I could tell he was out of his element. Not saying that he has to be the life of the party or dance around like some of the other players were but I am starting to wonder if these were the first warning signs of a confused, possibly reclusive young signal caller.

    Regardless, I still think you throw him in there and see what you have.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3600
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 24, 2017 at 9:59 AM

      let’s not

  12. Comments: 154
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Oct 24, 2017 at 6:16 AM

    All the bitching & bickering about coaching, players, scheming & matchups. What is so difficult about grasping the fact that Michigan just flat out got beat by a better team in Penn St.? And nothing short of the 2nd coming of Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard & Charles Woodson was going to help to alleviate the score differential? Move on!

    ……..and then the statement about “breaking Peters”. Really ? Is Peters a dainty delicate littow flowah? Isn’t this D1 football? Play the man! Or are you supposed to cater to a D1 players every lil bowel movement with some nice soft Charmin? Harbaugh himself said you learn Football by playing football & its time to give Peters some semblance of significant playing time.

    ……..and the crap about the coaching staff: again Really?
    Drev was signed to a million$/yr 5 year contract – he isn’t going anywhere.
    Pep was signed to a million$/yr 4 yr contract – he isn’t going anywhere.
    Frey was signed to a haf mill$/yr 3 yr contract – he isn’t going anywhere.
    ……..and Brown is as good as it gets!

    Warde approved the money but Harbaugh approved The Men!
    If ur gunna bitch & complain then direct it at The HC! especially into the 3rd season.
    I still have Q’s regarding Harbaugh being able to build a Team but maintaining a stable coaching staff into the future is imperative and Harbaugh is addressing this…………INTJohn

    • Comments: 725
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 24, 2017 at 7:19 AM

      These posts are getting worse

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM

        I’m sure many say the same about me but I stopped reading.

  13. Comments: 502
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:51 PM

    This is a great observation: I had forgotten about this but when a team exploits some variable in your offense or defense then more than likely opponents are going to keep going at it. From Mgoblog.

    You’d think after watching Dalvin Cook vs. McCray they wouldn’t let that matchup happen with Barkley, but they did—Hudson blitzes were too aggressive.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3600
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 24, 2017 at 7:31 PM

      People acting like McCray covered Barkley all game. This is a risk Brown took on some plays, not all. Because that’s what Brown does to be unpredictable – blitz from all over. Sometimes this means slow LB or even DL covering people they will lose a 1-on-1 matchup with. The solution, just as much as “don’t do that” is find some DL or LB who are fast enough to do it.

      Brown lives with that risk so that he can increase the chances that he creates pressure, which creates sacks and turnovers. The approach almost generated 2 defensive TDs. Almost wasn’t good enough this game. It was never going to be. Playing soft wasn’t going to be.

      The bigger point is that we shoudn’t act like this is some philosopical problem given the body of work.

      Too aggressive? How many times have we complained about the exact opposite. In this one game, maybe, but you ride or die with Brown because Brown is awesome.

      Brown demands a certain level of talent and experience from his back 7. We’re not there. yet.

      • Comments: 2223
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Oct 24, 2017 at 8:59 PM

        The one turnover was when we played Cover 2. It doesn’t have to be blitz-blitz-blitz with bad matchups on the back end all night.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 25, 2017 at 12:18 AM

        and it wasn’t. Brown called a lot of different plays, like he always does.

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