Preview: Michigan at Indiana

Preview: Michigan at Indiana


October 13, 2017

RUSH OFFENSE vs. INDIANA RUSH DEFENSE

Michigan is #63 in rushing offense (167.8 yards/game) and #84 in rushing average (3.98 yards/carry). That’s on the heels of 2.6 yards/carry against Michigan State last week. Ty Isaac leads the squad with 61 carries, 365 yards, and 5.98 yards/carry, but a fumble last week got him removed from the game for a stretch and he seems to have been hampered by an injury for the past couple games. Meanwhile, Karan Higdon had 12 carries for 65 yards last week and ran hard. It’s anyone’s guess who gets the ball most in this game. On the offensive line, Michigan replaced right tackle Nolan Ulizio with Juwann Bushell-Beatty, who isn’t very good, either. On the other side of the ball, Indiana is #67 in rushing yards allowed (152.4 yards allowed/game) and tied for #39 in yards allowed per carry (3.61). Ohio State and Georgia Southern fared well against the Hoosiers, but Penn State and Saquon Barkley averaged just 1.05 yards on 37 attempts. Senior middle linebacker Tegray Scales (6’0″, 230 lbs.) and senior weakside linebacker Chris Covington (6’2″, 230) lead the team with 42 and 32 tackles, respectively. Overall, Indiana is #35 in tackles for loss, led by Scales (6.5) and Covington (4.0). Fifth year senior nose tackle Nate Hoff (6’2″, 310) is Indiana’s toughest defensive lineman. This is a stout front that will give Michigan’s soft offensive line issues.
Advantage: Indiana

Hit the jump for more on the matchup.

PASS OFFENSE vs. INDIANA PASS DEFENSE

Michigan is #75 in passing offense (218 yards/game) and #98 in passing efficiency rating. Backup-turned-starter John O’Korn replaced Wilton Speight last week after Speight was lost for the season against Purdue, and O’Korn played decently until the rains came in the second half. O’Korn went 6/16 with 3 interceptions in the second half of the game. O’Korn also played poorly in the wind and snow against Indiana in 2016 in his only other start for Michigan, and the hope is that the weather is good for the remainder of the year. Michigan’s #1 wide receiver, Kekoa Crawford, has 7 catches in five games. Slot receiver Grant Perry operates as the top guy right now (18 catches, 224 yards, 1 TD), and O’Korn seems to have a good rapport with tight end Sean McKeon (14 catches, 179 yards). Michigan has allowed 16 sacks this season, which is tied for #109 in the nation. The right side is particularly vulnerable to pass blocking issues, and the backs aren’t very good at pass protection, either. Indiana is tied for #32 in sacks (14), including 3.5 from Scales, 2.5 from backup defensive end Allen Stallings, and 2.0 from 3-tech DT Jacob Robinson (6’4″, 285). Fifth year senior cornerback Rashard Fant (5’10”, 180) had 17 pass breakups last season and 22 in 2015, so even though he only has 3 so far this season, he’s a guy who can make a play on the ball. He and free safety Jonathan Crawford (6’2″, 203) each had 3 picks last season, but Crawford is the only guy to register an interception this year. Michigan has a questionable offensive line, a backup quarterback, and very little consistency at wide receiver, so this will be tough sledding against a decent defense.
Advantage: Indiana

RUSH DEFENSE vs. INDIANA RUSH OFFENSE

Michigan is #6 in rushing defense, giving up just 87 yards/game this season. The 2.62 yards allowed per rush ranks #5 in the country, only 0.3 yards behind #1 Washington. On a per carry basis, Michigan State had the most success of any team when they ran for 3.95 yards/carry last week, largely on the back of scrambling quarterback Brian Lewerke (15 carries, 61 yards, 1 TD). Inside linebackers Devin Bush (41) and Mike McCray II (34) lead the team in tackles. Defensive end Chase Winovich has 7.5 tackles for loss, and three guys are tied at #2 with 5.5 tackles for loss (Bush, McCray, and Maurice Hurst, Jr.). The Wolverines are tied at #21 nationally with 40 total tackles for loss. Indiana is #79 in rushing (148.8 yards/game) and #105 in average yards per rush (3.59). Morgan Ellison (6’1″, 225) leads the team with 358 yards and 5.19 yards/carry. Meanwhile, quarterback Peyton Ramsey averages a respectable 3.49 yards/carry, even counting sacks against him. The offensive line averages 305 lbs., but they’re fairly young – only one player is even in his fourth college season. Indiana runs a lot of inside zone, which makes sense, considering the personnel.
Advantage: Michigan

PASS DEFENSE vs. INDIANA PASS OFFENSE

As good as Michigan is against the run, they’re statistically even better against the pass. Michigan is #2 with just 126 yards allowed per game and #4 in passer rating against them (note: MSU is now #2 after giving up just 1 TD and grabbing 5 INTs so far this year). Overall, Michigan is #1 in total defense by more than 15 yards. Sophomore cornerback Lavert Hill has stepped up as Michigan’s top cornerback with 5 pass breakups and 1 pick returned for a touchdown. The Wolverines are tied for #11 in sacks, despite going sackless against Michigan State last weekend. Winovich (5.5) and Bush (4.5) lead the team in sacks, and that’s not mentioning one of the best interior pass rushers in the game, Maurice Hurst, Jr. Indiana is #46 in passing offense (259.6 yards/game) but #81 in passing efficiency. Redshirt freshman quarterback Peyton Ramsey (6’2″, 210) has taken over the QB position, and he has thrown 6 touchdowns against just 2 interceptions. He completes 68.5% of his passes, and he has a couple very good targets. Redshirt junior wideout Simmie Cobbs, Jr. (6’4″, 220) has 33 catches for 370 yards and 3 touchdowns; and senior tight end Ian Thomas (6’5″, 248) has 16 catches for 224 yards (15.9 yards/catch) and 3 touchdowns. Indiana is #67 in sacks allowed (11 so far), but 9 of those came in the first two games against Ohio State and Virginia, when the less mobile Richard Lagow was behind center.
Advantage: Michigan

ROSTER NOTES

  • Indiana players recruited by Michigan include: DT Juan Harris
  • Indiana players from the State of Michigan include: Orchard Lake St. Mary’s LB Kenny Arnold
  • Running backs coach Mike Hart (RB 2004-2007), quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan (QB 2006-2009), and offensive coordinator Mike DeBord all played or coached at Michigan

LAST TIME THEY PLAYED . . . 

  • In a snow and windstorm last season, John O’Korn earned his only other college start at Michigan prior to last Saturday
  • O’Korn went 7/16 for 59 yards and ran 6 times for 19 yards
  • De’Veon Smith had perhaps his best game as a collegian, rushing 23 times for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Michigan 20, Indiana 10

PREDICTIONS

  • Michigan runs for 110 yards
  • Simmie Cobbs outmuscles Michigan cornerbacks for 80 receiving yards and 1 touchdown
  • Michigan 20, Indiana 10

49 comments

  1. JC
    Comments: 148
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Oct 13, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    With how our offense started to gel vs. Purdue, I truly thought we were taking a turn, and this would be a legit 10-2 season. Our defense is other-worldly, and there will be a 30 for 30 about Don Brown sometime in the future. Our offense looks like there should be some brown stains on the sheets from how often it shits the bed.

    20-10 seems optimistic. I think 13-10 could be the score of this game. Or maybe 12-10. I don’t know. Nordin for heisman.

    • Comments: 2277
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 13, 2017 at 9:21 AM

      I’m not totally willing to throw our offense under the bus yet. Again, O’Korn has looked pretty solid whenever the weather is good. He looks terrible when the weather is bad. If the weather is good tomorrow, I don’t think we’ve seen any evidence that O’Korn will perform poorly. And if he plays like he did against Purdue, then we should be fine.

      • GKblue
        Comments: 235
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        GKblue
        Oct 13, 2017 at 9:36 AM

        Regardless of weather (and I agree with you) I would like to see the offense scripted to allow him to get comfortable and in the flow of the game.

        Secure the ball in the exchanges, easy passes, maybe a roll out if he is comfortable with that. Anything to avoid unnecessary happy feet or the premature launch codes. Pray for decent field position and no turnovers.

        • Comments: 762
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Oct 13, 2017 at 10:32 AM

          Just win, please

          GK, lol:
          “Anything to avoid unnecessary happy feet or the premature launch codes”

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 13, 2017 at 12:31 PM

        ” I don’t think we’ve seen any evidence that O’Korn will perform poorly. ”

        I would argue we have his entire career, save Purdue.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3610
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 13, 2017 at 12:33 PM

          Harsh but true. I don’t think it’s all on O’Korn, who is a fine backup. But I don’t see any reason to think he will rise up to play well against a defense with a pulse. Still – given the run struggles, he may be our best bet tomorrow…

        • Comments: 2277
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Oct 13, 2017 at 12:41 PM

          Naturally, you omit the other portion of the sentence, because you like to stir the pot and ignore relevant information.

          O’Korn in good weather during his Michigan career:
          32/45, 421 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception

          • Comments: 14
            Joined: 11/15/2015
            brandywine
            Oct 13, 2017 at 12:57 PM

            I think you have a point, but wasn’t the weather OK for a good portion of the MSU game? They had opportunities to advance the ball but O’Korn too often bailed early and ignored open receivers. That’s seems irrespective of the weather

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3610
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 13, 2017 at 4:27 PM

              Exactly. Yes. The 1st half of MSU did have 2 fumbles but the bottom line is that they didn’t score or move the ball well through the air (as evidence by JOK’s weak YPA).

              If your bar for good QB is not throwing INTs, you have a very low bar.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3610
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 13, 2017 at 4:04 PM

            Most of which was against Purdue. That’s a bigger factor than weather.

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

        Mgoblog had a good suggestion on their podcast. The staff needs to make a move on the RT. Put Ruiz or Runyan and RG and move Bredeson out to RT.

        Keep JOK until he proves he is bad. For all his mistakes on Saturday he is still probably better than Peters who I would like to be ready when he takes over the position. Or McCaffrey.

        Speight or JOK. Does it really matter? Maybe just a little with Speight. I can almost assure you that if UM gets this OL issue figured out at RT and matures a little then UM can grind out wins. Higdon and Evans and Isaac can get it done with this defense. Glad to see the rumors about Thomas getting some PT on returns.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3610
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 14, 2017 at 11:11 AM

          More shuffling probably costs you a bit in 2018. OT should (hopefully) be manned by one of the freshman and Newsome (or improved versions of Ulizio or JBB if he’s not ready) next year.

          Ideally we have a locked-in interior core of Bredeson-Ruiz-Onwenu for the next 2 seasons. OT is harder to find talent at, but easier to get by with inexperience.

          If Runyan or Ruiz was the answer they’d be playing already I think. Positions less of an issue than just the availability of competent players.

          If they develop Bredeson right, he could be an all-american. If they shuffle him from place to place like they’ve done with Cole he could be….well, like Cole.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3610
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 13, 2017 at 12:30 PM

      Purdue is a very bad defense pass defense. MSU is a very good pass defense (despite their reputation heading into the M game).

      Indiana is somewhere in between but much closer to MSU.

      This is meaningful for what you should expect for our O and O’Korn specifically.

  2. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 198
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    crazyjoedavola
    Oct 13, 2017 at 10:50 AM

    I think this will be a close game, I won’t even try to make a prediction on who will win because I haven’t seen Indiana this year and Michigan is very inconsistent on the road. What I want to see is for Michigan to establish some sort of an identity on offense. Are we a zone team or a power team? are we a pro team or a west coast team? We need to establish what we want to run and get better at it through repetition. This is year 3 and we had more of an identity in year 1.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 14, 2017 at 6:38 PM

      That is a good point. UM had more of an identity in year 1. After the IU game, I really hope UM continues down this path of just trying to run the ball 70% + power (quick traps and sweeps) with primarily Higdon and then throw on shorter distances and grind.

      It’s okay to punt with this team. Punting is good. Punting gives an opportunity to play field position. Punting keeps the game close rather than a turnover with a short field. See MSU game.

      I am encouraged that staff sees the limitations of this team and is adjusting accordingly.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 13, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    Though Thunder has M as the #63 rushing offense in productivity, it should be noted that advanced stats are less favorable for our run game:

    Rushing Success Rate 39.0% rank 98 – ouch
    Rushing IsoPPP 0.93 rank 54 – early season big plays still factor in here
    Opportunity Rate 34.2% rank 102 – this is the OL stat. woof.
    Power Success Rate 80.0% 20 – Pretty good! Kahlid Hill effect?
    Stuff Rate 19.5% 66 – bad

    The good news? Indiana is even worse!

    Rushing Success Rate 38.8% rank 99
    Rushing IsoPPP 0.78 rank 105
    Opportunity Rate 32.8% rank 114
    Power Success Rate 73.1% rank 48
    Stuff Rate 18.3% rank 59

    • Comments: 762
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 13, 2017 at 8:57 PM

      It sucks that this year, I start my opponent scouting with
      “let’s see… what do they suck at?”

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 14, 2017 at 11:13 AM

        Always that way though. 2006 Michigan had a great D but OSU exploited their weakness: slow OLB and no secondary depth.

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 14, 2017 at 7:47 PM

        Hilarious. What is it that we the least worst at huh?

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 13, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    I don’t buy the excuse-making for Isaac and O’Korn. Each has talent and shows flashes of it at times, but they are career backups as 5th-year seniors for a reason. The issues are going to bubble continue to bubble up.

    There are no easy answers for this offense. I’ll be interested to see what the coaches can draw up. I’m inclined to think they need to take some shots downfield and/or with Isaac. Robinson-to-Hemingway prayers. Find a way to get DPJ or (supposedly practicing again) Harris downfield. Find a way to throw it to Evans or Isaac out of the backfield.

    My guess is that Higdon gets the most carries of the backs. He has been the most consistent.

    • Comments: 14
      Joined: 11/15/2015
      brandywine
      Oct 13, 2017 at 12:46 PM

      The “easy” answer is better field awareness from our QBs. While not explosive the offense has run the ball decently, and there have been open receivers. JOK can’t find them, Speight wasn’t pulling the trigger quick enough. When pressure breaks down, JOK has to be able to hang in and hit the guy in the flat for short gains. The offense can work with that.

      Of course, there’s little evidence JOK can avoid his happy feet. So you’re right, it’s not an “easy” answer.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 13, 2017 at 4:25 PM

        Ha. Well, I’m not so sure getting “awareness” from a 5th year player is in the cards, easy or not.

        I do disagree with your characterization of the run game – it’s been awful all around and inconsistent but the one thing it’s done fairly well (at least early in the year) was busting out some big plays. That may be disappearing but… we better hope not all the way like it did against MSU.

    • Comments: 2277
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 13, 2017 at 12:53 PM

      Isn’t it odd that a “career backup” quarterback has 20 career starts? And Isaac leads the team in carries, yardage, and yards per carry. Despite having just 2 more carries than the next guy, he leads the team in rushing yardage by 118 yards. Maybe he’s a career backup, but nobody else on the team is anything more than that.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 13, 2017 at 4:10 PM

        I’m not saying they don’t deserve to play or aren’t the best option. They’re just limited players.

        That’s the reality the Michigan offense faces. Howard, Baikabatuka, or Edwards aren’t walking in the proverbial door.

        The excuse-making is encouraging some unrealistic hopes, IMO.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 13, 2017 at 4:11 PM

        O’Korn started as a freshman and then was benched hence-forth. I could use words like “failed starter” but I think “career backup” is more appropriate.

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 13, 2017 at 12:33 PM

    HUGE game for this season. Thanks for the preview.

    Go Blue!

  6. Sextus Empiricus
    Comments: 2
    Joined: 9/30/2017
    Sextus Empiricus
    Oct 13, 2017 at 8:12 PM

    I’m pretty sure those two could be surgically separated if they wanted to be. I wouldn’t want that.

    I see a big bounce back. Indiana is good but not MSU defensively vs. big brother good. The Offense has something to prove… and the weather is going to be perfect (for Magnus’ sake.)

    Thanks for the content. This site is great – conjoined or not.

  7. Comments: 140
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    coachernie
    Oct 13, 2017 at 9:22 PM

    I believe they snap back with a closely contested win.
    Mich. 20
    Hoosiers 16

  8. Comments: 762
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 14, 2017 at 4:27 PM

    That was ugly. Time to just take wins, any way they come

  9. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 14, 2017 at 4:45 PM

    Immediate Reactions:

    We have a number 1 RB. Higdon has looked like the best back for several weeks. He’s been the toughest and most reliable all year. Now that the playmaking has surged ahead, he should be the primary back. Get that guy the ball 20 times a game.

    We have a number 1 QB. Errr had. I think this game definitively dismisses the weather theory, eh? Anyone calling for Peters should ask themselves how turning to the backup has worked out over the last ever. I’d love to see a list of when the game 1 starting Michigan QB was replaced by a better backup. I think it’s right here:

    Our D is good…but not THAT good. They’re going to need the offenses help to beat OSU/PSU/Wisc. This is the points given up by Michigan through 6 games: 2015: 6.3, 2016: 10.3, 2017: 14.7. Those numbers aren’t perfect but they’re an indicator of the step back on that side of the ball. Still really good, probably as good as we could hope for, but not as dominant as in the last 2 years.

    Levert Hill <— The Truth

    How about that run game! Against a defense with a pulse. Highly encouraging performance on the ground. I'm very happy about it – but part of me wonders if it was something Indiana let happen while taking away the pass game.

    Another not very impressive game from Harbaugh/Hamilton. One very nice playcall (negated by a penalty) but otherwise a lot of dubious ones in the pass game. O'Korn's lack of vision, decision-making, whatever you want to call it needs to be better mitigated. He's pretty accurate but his decision-making is non-existent to awful. Speight's not back there to make the right read anymore. The obvious stuff (fades to mcdoom) is obvious. 1 bomb to DPJ wasn't enough. 1 QB run wasn't enough. The screen game is meh. The TE's and backs still not as involved as they could be as pass threats.

    My hopes for beating PSU have steadily declined with each game. I would love to be proven wrong.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3610
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 14, 2017 at 5:15 PM

      http://www.espn.com/college-football/boxscore?gameId=400869658

      That makes me feel better…

    • Comments: 762
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 14, 2017 at 5:16 PM

      QB is the worst part of the team this year. WRs messed a few up, but OL created holes for once, and kept JOK clean. I think the OL is improving

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 15, 2017 at 10:58 AM

        I don’t agree. I think it’s tough being a QB when you have the worst QB protection in the country (or close to it), WR who aren’t getting open or fighting through contact to snatch the ball, and no consistent run game.

        O’Korn was bad yesterday – but it was probably the worst QB game of the season. The WRs might have been worse. DPJ didn’t seem to go all out on the long ball, Perry let a catchable goes through his hands, McDoom let Fant intercept a ball without no fight, etc. McKeon dropped a couple I think. O’Korn wasn’t the only problem.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 14, 2017 at 7:12 PM

      I thought the play calling was fine. Didn’t see a problem for the most part in fact I thought it was the best play calling so far. They played it fine and I wouldn’t trust JOK. Rely on the defense.

      Here is where I would disagree with you LK. I think the defense is very good but they were playing an up tempo team and was not getting a lot of help from that O. They were a little worn down. IU can put some points on the board.

      Here is what I take away from this game.

      1. Maybe the staff has figured out how to proceed on the O?
      2. IU is a worse version of PSU. PSU is going to put up points on this team.
      3. JOK is going to have to play very well and hit some big passes. Or maybe just make the right reads.
      4. I understand why Harbaugh had no other choice than to go with Speight.
      5. UM is going to need to put 27 pts on the board on offense. Good luck.
      6. Higdon can succeed with a competent qb and a simplified offensive scheme.

      This game is coming down to Drevno and Harbaugh not getting cute and Brown devising a good game plan to offset Barkley. I have noticed teams are starting to read the UM blitz packages more.

      • Comments: 762
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Oct 14, 2017 at 7:41 PM

        Player usage was questionable. Walker should have gotten more carries, vice running Evans
        Still don’t like McDoom out wide. He’s a slot, and not a very good one either

        • Comments: 539
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Oct 14, 2017 at 7:56 PM

          Yeah. I agree. What is the love affair with McDoom outside. Are they trying to tell me that they have no speed outside? Losing Black hurts. This has been a huge loss. Not quite Newsome level.

          I think the staff get’s that the best pass catchers are the TE’s. Good news. I think the staff has finally figured out Higdon is the premier back. Good news. I think they have also figured out they can’t pass block so that tells me (amateur) that UM should be throwing slants to Perry, play action to TE’s and running the ball with Higdon and punting half the time.

          Here is the PSU gameplan on offense. Ball control. Shorten the game. Run the clock and try and get PSU to go 70 yards on offense. Try and keep them to fg’s. UM isn’t beating PSU in an offensive shootout. Just get to the 2nd half while still being in the game.

          I have to imagine that PSU is going to be at least a 10 pt favorite?

        • Comments: 539
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Oct 14, 2017 at 7:59 PM

          I thought the Walker run was impressive. Encouraging.

        • GKblue
          Comments: 235
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          GKblue
          Oct 15, 2017 at 5:34 AM

          I can envision Evans used a bit more out in space as a set back or slot receiver and will still get a few carries. Let Walker prove his worth as an RB, give him at least a few carries at PSU and going forward.

          On the Higdon TD in overtime I had to laugh. I am glad he runs aggressive and yet had the vision and enough speed to bounce out on a poorly blocked run. Last year our back just runs into the pile.

          In the end what works is great what doesn’t the fans vilify. This year Evans just hasn’t been able to create and doesn’t hit the crack with the speed Higdon does usually. Walker seems to run with a bit of violence.

          Just happy with the win.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3610
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 15, 2017 at 11:03 AM

          Walker? Dude. He’s 4th string for a reason.

          Evans isn’t the guy we hoped he was but he is still quite good in the open field. He was huge 2 games ago! He’s been swarmed these last 2 games on most of his carries. The shots he has gotten he hasn’t taken much advantage of, but they’ve been way too few to deserve moving down the depth chart.

          Walker had a decent run yesterday but this doesn’t offset that Evans is a better player and has been since he stepped foot in AA.

          Now if you want to make a case that they should try to develop Walker by taking snaps from the 5th year senior, you could make a case I guess. I don’t agree – and that’s not how Harbaugh rolls anyway.

          • GKblue
            Comments: 235
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            GKblue
            Oct 15, 2017 at 11:35 AM

            I can’t say I strongly disagree with any point you made LK.

            I also can’t say what actual receiver skills Evans has, but I know he has skills with the ball in his hands in the open field. We agree.

            I can’t say that our offensive coaching staff has the creativity to use him in screens, quick slants or play action passes.

            What I can say is I’d like to see Evans in play even as Higdon seems to be ascending.

            What I can say is Walker may have earned a few more carries, and our sixth year senior better clearly be better in practice or I start to look to the future.

            Now “and that’s not how Harbaugh rolls anyway.”, shouldn’t stop my thought process or yours. Truly.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3610
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 15, 2017 at 12:04 PM

            We mostly agree. I’m all for getting Evans the ball and using him in the slot more.

            Moving him around between slot and RB is enticing. This kind of stuff is fun to talk about but we do it every offseason and then you only see it a handful of times. Most of the movement is FB to H-back or vice versa to spice up blocking schemes. Above my pay grade (fan = $0) to evaluate effectiveness.

            Walker’s averaging 3.8 ypc on the year. The only indicator that he is earning more carries is that he got one yesterday.

            I’m not above questioning coaches but I think the burden of proof lies on the fan when you are talking about a proven HC at Harbaugh’s level. Hoke – OK. For Harbaugh, you better have some legit reasons that go beyond “he looked good the one carry he got” or “threw a nice ball in the spring”.

            I think Harbaugh has earned a baseline of respect. And I mean, you hear this every week. People call for Shane Morris or Ty Isaac or John O’Korn then they get what they want, it’s unsatisfying, and on to the next backup we go. At some point you just have to admit the coaches probably know better.

            Put another way — when does it look like Harbaugh played the wrong guy. That means not – when did the starter suck – it means when did the backup come in and significantly outplay the starter?

            Maybe Devin Bush should have played more last year – but Ben Gedeon appears to be a quality NFL player. Levert HIll got a shot last year against FSU when Peppers went down. Kinnel doesn’t look like an improvement over Thomas. Maybe Hurst should have started, but he was already getting more than half the snaps and Godin appeared to be tracking well to make an NFL roster before he was hurt. etc.

            In other words – Harbaugh’s been making the right personnel calls all along. I’m sure someone can dig up an exception or 3 but given all the decisions made that’s like a 95%+ success rate.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3610
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 15, 2017 at 12:33 PM

            In more overheated Harbaugh defense against nobody in particular: I saw this:

            First 32 games at current stop: Meyer: 29-3 Harbaugh: 25-7 Saban: 24-8 Kelly: 22-10 Dantonio/Swinney: 19-13 Franklin: 18-14

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 14, 2017 at 7:29 PM

      The pass plays seem all over the place. I would agree. I liked the first bomb to DPJ. JOK got to hit these passes. The 2nd one was fine but bad read.

      I’d rather see 6-7 types of pass plays and figure out what UM can consistently do well. If you run the ball 70% of the time then you don’t need a lot of pass plays.

      I mentioned this at least a month ago. Figure out what pass plays you can run during the week and run them over and over. Goto pass plays. Goto run plays and then have a playbook of basically 12 plays (6 run) with 2 innovative trick plays (shuffle pass) and then be content to punt and play defense. You get the point. Cut the playbook in half.

      This system is just way too much for the level of talent. Isn’t that sort of what Schembechler did back in the day? Woody? I think JOK needs a separate playbook from Speight.

  10. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 14, 2017 at 6:34 PM

    Good test next week. Some free advice to the staff. Keep it simple and it’s okay to run the ball and punt. Think Higdon and TE’s and how about some naked bootlegs.

    If we get JOK from the last two weeks then don’t bother watching the game. JOK throws a decent ball and he can get a long ball but he needs to improve on the reads which is probably not going to happen.

  11. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 14, 2017 at 7:03 PM

    Too bad this running game wasn’t around to help out Speight. Tell LK I have seen a bigger sample size and I would prefer Speight over JOK. I would definitely take Speight and Higdon as a tandem with Drevno and Harbaugh calling off guard trap plays.

    Ask LK if he can take Speight and JOK and combine them to form a better product?

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3610
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 15, 2017 at 11:08 AM

      Thanks for letting me know.

      To answer your question – I think Speight is your answer. Give him a better OL, consistent run game, or some reliable WR and you’ll see his accuracy improve. I say this because I can remember way way back long ago to the first half of last year.

  12. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 14, 2017 at 11:59 PM

    Kugler noted that he went the wrong way with his block on that overtime touchdown run.
    “I messed up,” Kugler said. “But you have a back like Karan, he’s going to make you right sometimes when you do some bad things. He’s a hell of a back. We’ve got three or four really good backs, and we trust all of them back there. Karan got his touches today and balled out.

    Yep. Can’t trust this line yet and ‘we’ need a special back to bail out both OL and qb play. Uggh.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3610
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 15, 2017 at 11:10 AM

      Higdon’s not a special back. He is a good back. He had an excellent day.

      Our hopes for the rest of the year hinge on OL improvement being real and the coaching staff’s ability to call plays that fit around O’Korn’s limitations.

  13. Comments: 2277
    Joined: 7/13/2015
    Oct 15, 2017 at 12:13 PM

    I was feeling pretty good about my 20-10 win prediction until there were a few minutes left in the game and Indiana made their comeback.

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