Preview: Michigan vs. Air Force

Preview: Michigan vs. Air Force


September 15, 2017

RUSH OFFENSE vs. AIR FORCE RUSH DEFENSE

Michigan is #47 nationally with 204 yards/game on the ground, and most of that (123.5 yards/game) is coming from fifth year senior running back Ty Isaac. Isaac (8.0 YPC) was expected to be the #3 back coming into the season, but he has overtaken sophomore Chris Evans (3.4 YPC) and junior Karan Higdon (3.7 YPC). The Wolverines usually try to hit a jet sweep or two per game, and those targets so far have been Eddie McDoom (4 yards), Donovan Peoples-Jones (44 yards), and Kekoa Crawford (uhh…a fumble). Michigan is #53 in rushing average (4.74 YPC) and only has 1 touchdown, so there are things to fix, mostly up front. There has been some talk that right guard Michael Onwenu is on thin ice, and redshirt sophomore Jon Runyan, Jr. is a possibility at that spot. Air Force is #10 in rush defense, although their only game so far was against VMI…except AF was also #10 nationally in 2016. They gave up 3.4 YPC, which was tied for #15 in the country. The Falcons run a 3-4 defense with undersized linemen, notably 263 lb. nose tackle Cody Gessler. The leading tackler so far this season is senior inside linebacker Jack Flor (8 tackles), followed by senior cornerback Marquis Griffin (5 tackles). Senior Grant Ross leads the team with 1.5 tackles for loss. Both inside linebackers are 225 lbs., and senior outside linebacker Ja’Mel Sanders is 6’1″, 200 lbs. They’re undersized but get to the ball quickly.
Advantage: Michigan

Hit the jump for the rest of the preview.

PASS OFFENSE vs. AIR FORCE PASS DEFENSE

Michigan is #75 in passing yardage (219.5 yards/game) and #78 in passer efficiency rating. Quarterback Wilton Speight is averaging 7.4 yards per attempt (tied for 61st) due to hitting some big plays over the top, but he has missed some shorter throws and had both of his interceptions returned for touchdowns. Fans have grown restless and are wondering what’s behind door #2 or perhaps door #3, largely because of Speight’s 51.9% completion rate. Slot receiver Grant Perry leads the squad with 8 catches and 112 yards, including a 33-yard catch-and-run against Cincinnati. The Wolverines are tied for 106th with 6 sacks given up, and the right side of the line has struggled in pass protection. Air Force sacked VMI just once, and that came from 283 lb. DT Santo Coppola. Ross was third on the team with 3.5 sacks last season. Last season the Falcons were tied for #40 with 30 sacks, so their blitzing defense can get to the quarterback, and they were tied for #22 with 15 interceptions. All of their interceptors do not return in 2017. Their defensive backs all have good size, except for junior corner Robert Bullard, who is 5’9″, 180 lbs. Air Force is #1 in pass efficiency defense but finished #83 in 2016.
Advantage: Michigan

RUSH DEFENSE vs. AIR FORCE RUSH OFFENSE

Michigan is #3 in rushing defense (39.5 yards allowed/game) and #1 in yards allowed per rush (1.39). Safety Tyree Kinnel (15 tackles), middle linebacker Devin Bush, Jr. (14), and sophomore Viper Khaleke Hudson (10) are 1-2-3 in tackles, and both Bush and Kinnel are tied for the team lead with 3.5 tackles for loss. The Wolverines are tied for #11 overall in tackles for loss. Michigan has been running a bunch of 3-3-5 looks despite a historical lean for…uhh…something else, and offenses still seem to be sorting out how to deal with it. Air Force is #1 in rushing offense and averaging 7.1 yards/carry, but that was against VMI only. Last year they averaged 4.99 yards/carry and finished #3 in rushing with their flexbone attack. Nutty fact: in the VMI game, no fewer than seventeen (17!) players carried the ball, while only ten ran the ball in the entire 2016 season. Senior Tim McVey (5’9″, 190 lbs.) plays slotback for the Falcons and has some solid straight-line speed, while quarterback Arion Worthman (5’11”, 201 lbs.) is a decent runner (674 yards, 6 TDs in 2016). Air Force’s offensive line averages approximately 281 lbs., but they play low, which negates some of the size advantage Michigan has. Air Force will probably get a good chunk of yardage, but Michigan has the size and speed to make up for bad decisions.
Advantage: Michigan

PASS DEFENSE vs. AIR FORCE PASS OFFENSE

The Wolverines are tied for #34 in pass defense (156.5 yards allowed/game) and are #11 in pass efficiency defense. They returned 2 interceptions for touchdowns last weekend against Cincinnati, and there hasn’t been a huge dropoff in production after losing their top six defensive backs from 2016. Michigan has also made 10 sacks, which is tied for 4th in the country. Hudson (3.0) and Bush (2.5) lead the team in sacks. Air Force is #98 in passing (190 yards/game) but #2 in passer efficiency on 10/14 completions for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns. The aforementioned McVey caught 3 passes for 77 yards, and sophomore receiver Geraud Sanders (6’3″, 210 lbs.) caught the 2 touchdowns, though he’s a backup. It was more of the same in 2016, when Air Force finished #8 in passer efficiency due to yardage, but had only a 14-to-8 TD-to-INT rate. Worthman is both a better runner and a better passer than 2016 starter Nate Romine. He can threaten downfield, but Michigan might have an elite defense.
Advantage: Michigan

ROSTER NOTES

  • Players from the State of Michigan include: Clarkston RB Nolan Eriksen, Ada Forest Hills WR Adam Farah, Mason DE Stone Miller
  • No Air Force players were recruited by Michigan

LAST TIME THEY PLAYED…

  • Denard Robinson ran 20 times for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Devin Funchess (4 catches, 106 yards, 1 TD) and Devin Gardner (5 catches, 63 yards, 1 TD) led the team in receiving
  • Air Force slotback Cody Getz ran 26 times for 130 yards (5.0 yards/carry) and 3 touchdowns
  • Michigan 31, Air Force 25

PREDICTIONS

  • Air Force runs for 260 yards
  • Wilton Speight throws 2 TDs and 1 INT
  • Michigan takes control of the game by the end of the first quarter
  • Chris Evans leads the team in rushing with 90 yards
  • Michigan 32, Air Force 14

60 comments

  1. Comments: 982
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Sep 15, 2017 at 7:29 AM

    I love the way the military academies play football.

    Although I’d really like to see this running game get stuffed but good.

  2. Comments: 763
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Sep 15, 2017 at 9:22 AM

    I’m hoping to see something out of our other running backs

    *and fit QB/OL play to be decent enough for backups to get some snaps

  3. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 198
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    crazyjoedavola
    Sep 15, 2017 at 10:13 AM

    It will interesting to see how disciplined our young defense with be with reading their keys against the high tempo tripple option. AFA will get their yards and points so our offense has to stop shooting itself in the foot. I think that Higdon can have a good day against that defense.

  4. DonAZ
    Comments: 351
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Sep 15, 2017 at 12:04 PM

    So, how long have you had that photo in waiting for just this preview, hmmm? 🙂

    I’m thinking — feeling, hoping, wishing, longing, whatever — that Thunder’s general appraisal is correct: we hold the Academy to a couple of touchdowns, and otherwise our offense grinds them down.

    I recall some of the concern the last time we played Air Force. We did okay there as well.

  5. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 15, 2017 at 12:21 PM

    Dang. That score prediction really scares me but I can’t necessarily disagree. I think it will be close too. Defense is till young and raw and I am interested to see them with this challenge. Bush has yet to prove to me that he can handle a big physical downhill running team but that won’t happen this week. He may be a key to stopping this AF offense.

    Speight is going to have to play better this week. Hope the fans encourage him with positive reinforcement.

  6. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 15, 2017 at 12:23 PM

    Whoops…saw the wrong prediction. I am predicting

    UM 24
    AF 14

  7. Comments: 2
    Joined: 8/25/2017
    Stew Gotz
    Sep 15, 2017 at 1:51 PM

    The Onwenu observation is interesting. The right right side of the oline is noticeably weaker than the left. Better teams will exploit that bigtime. We need to clean that up asap before we get into the meat of the schedule

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 15, 2017 at 5:35 PM

    I would not be shocked by anything (blowout W or narrow loss). Hopefully our talent prevails.

    Cannot emphasize enough what a stupid scheduling decision this is. Little to be gained, much to be lost, less transferable experience gains than a conventional opponent.

  9. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 15, 2017 at 11:07 PM

    I agree with you. Was Brandon trying to put on a halftime military appreciation show? Brandon danced to his own tune.

  10. Comments: 539
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Sep 16, 2017 at 1:33 PM

    Very competitive game in 1st half. Defense is doing it’s job and seems to be making progress as the game goes on.

    If you would have told me a few years ago that UM would have no real identity on offense I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Seems like UM is still transitioning in almost every phase on offense. Run and Pass which is why they struggle in the red zone. I am inclined to believe that the staff realizes it can’t do anything particulary well on offense. It seems like it can’t run consistently well or obviously pass very well.

    Hard to maintain a drive when either a run or pass fails out of every 3 attempts unless you have game breaker.

    • Comments: 763
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Sep 16, 2017 at 3:05 PM

      I’m sure I’ll catch crap for this, but it starts with Speight. GD airforce loads the box and dares speight to beat them, but he can’t

      • Comments: 763
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Sep 16, 2017 at 3:06 PM

        *starts with him
        Crawford & Evans didn’t help; Isaac danced a bit too much, and OL should have been able to do more, even if outnumbered

        • Comments: 539
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Sep 16, 2017 at 3:30 PM

          I think you would agree. Speight isn’t a good enough qb to be championship level without a better OL and running game. If you give him those two things along with a very good defense and ST’s then he can win a championship. He needs help and he didn’t get it today. That drop by Crawford still irks me.

          Now is the time to make some changes on the OL and see if it helps. These rb’s have defenders in the backfield just after the snap of the ball. This offense needs to establish some inside the tackles yardage to set up play action.

          • Comments: 683
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Sep 16, 2017 at 10:40 PM

            Nice idea, but what changes do you suggest that would have a short-term impact?

        • Comments: 683
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Sep 16, 2017 at 10:38 PM

          Isaac simply refuses to put his head down and fight for tough yards. The first couple games, he was getting good gains, but it seemed like he was getting most of his yards on outside runs, runs in space. I figured, what the heck, he gets the yards where he sees them. But today, it became very clear that he is avoiding the tough contact, and has been all year.

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Sep 16, 2017 at 3:26 PM

      This is an offense that would make Brady Hoke proud.

      Crawford. Awful. Seems like some potential changes may need to happen on Oline. UM can’t seem to run inside the tackles. I thought Speight was more than reasonable relative to his median performance level but he is going to need a stronger running game to open up the play action fake. He isn’t a guy other than an occasional scramble who throws well enough when the receiver is covered.

      The entire offense is best described by 3 letters, meh. I could take a nap when this offense is on the field. Good news is Black is legit and DPJ may be on his way.

      It’s the Don Brown era on defense. It’s the Brady Hoke era on offense. As myself and others were saying, it’s the red zone that tells the story about whether an offense is good or not. It forces the OL, rb’s and qb to be sharp and this offense is the opposite of sharp.

  11. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 16, 2017 at 3:49 PM

    The big winner today was confirmation bias.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3610
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 16, 2017 at 3:50 PM

      Unless you expected Speight to turn the ball over.

      • Comments: 763
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Sep 16, 2017 at 4:13 PM

        Luckily his fumble was recovered by the good guys!

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Sep 16, 2017 at 5:49 PM

      If you were a casual observer and watched the game what would be your assessment? My friend texted me the following and he isn’t a Michigan fan. He said, what happened to the offense? I wouldn’t have needed any previous experience with UM football to observe a problem with both the ol, rb & qb.

      Especially in the red zone. My question to you LK. When does confirmation bias turn into reality?

      • Comments: 763
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Sep 16, 2017 at 6:15 PM

        My GF have 16y/o boys, so we always have a houseful
        I hear a lot of grief about our O, but mostly about QB
        Granted, I disagree when I hear “he sucks,” but they don’t have a bias; these boys just happen to see some obviously blown opportunities

    • Comments: 683
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Sep 16, 2017 at 7:25 PM

      No bias was needed to see that Speight is not a particularly good quarterback. Again.

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Sep 16, 2017 at 7:43 PM

        I think Speight played and threw the ball well for his ability. Read whatever you want out of that.

        Speight is the guy. The staff needs to scale this system back for this qb. Have to prioritize the run game. Whatever it takes. Stop with the spread. Maybe next year with potentially Peters. Play to his limited strengths and get the inside running game going. It’s the only way. IF UM had a great OL then maybe the spread passing game could work.

        • Comments: 683
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Sep 16, 2017 at 9:05 PM

          Fine. His “ability” just isn’t that great. There are a lot of throws that he just plain sucks at.

          And the inside running game isn’t going to work any better than the spread with the Oline we have.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3610
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 16, 2017 at 8:11 PM

      Everyone saw what they expected to see.

      …Unless you expected turnovers from Speight.

  12. Comments: 763
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Sep 16, 2017 at 4:17 PM

    Today was similar to Central Florida last year. AF stacked the box and dares us to beat them through the air, but since our pass game has regressed, we had no answer
    *no this is not all on speight… but last year he was able to do more when forced into passing situations by interior teams

    • Comments: 539
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Sep 16, 2017 at 6:20 PM

      I do believe there is a legit point to be made on some play calling. I also believe the play calling is hampered by it’s talent. Here are some solutions.

      1. DPJ needs to play. UM needs a big weapon for Speight to get the safeties out of the box and over onto the perimeter.

      2. More first down play action fakes. I’d rather sacrifice being behind the chains early in the game to get safeties further back.

      3. I’d like to see a fullback to help out the rb’s and the interior OL. The spread offense isn’t working for Speight because he isn’t Brees who surveys the entire field. This team needs a good blocking fb.

      4. Less wr’s and more TE’s. In fact, I would have the qb, fb, rb, 2 te’s, 1 wr, and 5 OL. More of these sets. This offense needs to get the running game and play action fakes going to succeed. The spread should be for a really good passer and not for Speight.

      • Comments: 763
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Sep 16, 2017 at 9:00 PM

        Disagree michymich
        Teams are already stacking the box. Bring in more TE & FB, and you’re only making it easier. Playaction also means the OL has to sustain their blocks longer…
        The reason for putting more Receivers out there was to force the Defense to account for those skill players, opening things up a bit. My assumption was that from these formations, we would move to a quicker passing game. I’m not sure that fits speight’s game though, as he tends to 1) hold onto the ball too long; and 2) his throws tend to ‘float,’ making no play an actual ‘quick pass’

        • Comments: 539
          Joined: 9/13/2015
          michymich
          Sep 17, 2017 at 2:10 AM

          Having 2 te’s and more blockers will give the OL help. It will require UM to establish the run game and make a commitment. Once teams feel the run is likely then that is when the play action works.

          In fact, I just heard Dinardo basically say the same thing I am saying. The offense needs to establish the run and then develop the pass game off the tailback run play action. He gets it. Our qb is not a great passer and isn’t going to beating teams with his pinpoint passing. He needs a run game to freeze the safeties and linebackers. Less passing is the answer with Speight. 3rd and 4. 2nd and 3.

          You bring in more blockers to account for the stacked box. Now the problem is also that UM doesn’t have a grinder but lots of tweeners. Note how the successful big run plays tend to be on the perimeter off the left side.

          All I am saying is you are going to be disappointed with Speight throwing more passes. Do you really want Speight passing the ball in 2nd/3rd and long? I want to see them let Speight go more to TE’s underneath. Bigger targets and ball isn’t traveling as far.
          65/35 run/pass. Make some changes on play calls and in the OL.

          What was amusing is I thought Speight played o.k against AF. Team is not a championship caliber team. It needs to rely on it’s defense and ST’s and win UGLY.
          70

  13. Comments: 169
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 16, 2017 at 9:45 PM

    When are you fuking idiots going to admit Reality?

    Quit your fuking bitching about the players and the way they play…….

    Like Napolean said; ” They’re are no bad soldiers only bad officers.”

    You fukers don’t want to admit that the problems is the bad coaching staff on offense – including HARBAUGH!! His offensive coaching staff is nothing but a bunch of OVERPAID LOSERS starting with pussy ass DREVNO!

    The Honeymoon is OVER!! Harbaugh & Co! Earn your money offensive coaching staff or start giving it back! The offense coaching staff ain’t earniing their money – overpaid wortlhess pieces of pretentious fraudulent SHIT!! How Murahkin! All BS!!

    And you Michigasn fans quit raggin on the players!! Time to start reamin offense coachin staff ass!!
    They’ve earned it!……………..INTJohn

  14. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    3-0. Dominant W over UF – an SEC power that looks to be a top 20 team. Another against a tough Air Force team that was 10-3 last year.

    Great start to the season.

    Not very Michigan-fan of me to not grumble, I know. I can pick apart the flaws of the the team and players all day. But let’s have a little perspective. This was supposed to be a 9-3 team after replacing nearly 20 starters. They look like a 9-3 team right now. Over 7 years we had exactly 1 season where we reached 9-wins and it took some good luck to get there.

    Harbaugh has ramped up hopes quickly. That’s mostly a good thing. But if you can’t enjoy an impressive 3-0 start I feel bad for you son.

    • Comments: 683
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Sep 17, 2017 at 10:36 AM

      If you think this start has been impressive, I feel bad for you, son. Last year was an impressive start. This year isn’t even close to that.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 17, 2017 at 11:02 AM

        Last year’s schedule through game 3 was easier and the defense wasn’t as impressive.

        This year’s performance against UF, in game 1, dominant, away from AA was more impressive than last year’s struggles in game 3 against Colorado.

        Lest we forget that Michigan was getting wooped for a big chunk of that game and that the final result was skewed by a couple special teams TDs. Lest we forget the opponent D scored a TD there too.

        We didn’t do as well against the Cinci as we did against UCF and Hawaii. That I admit. Maybe that means a lot to you – not me.

        Anyway Air Force went 10-3 last year — they are no cupcake.

        Michigan is far better prepared for the upcoming schedule than they were last year.

        • Comments: 683
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Sep 17, 2017 at 11:51 AM

          See, when you say stuff like “Lest we forget that Michigan was getting wooped for a big chunk of that game”, which is patently and demonstrably false, I know you’re flogging a losing argument just for the sake of it. We got outscored 21-7 in the first quarter against Colorado, and we outscored them 38-7 over the remaining three quarters. One quarter is not a “big chunk of that game”

          And yes, when you’re trying to argue that we’re off to an impressive start, how we did against Cincy compared to how we did against similar opponents last year (when we really DID have an impressive start) is completely relevant and important.

          As far as being better prepared for the upcoming schedule this year, based on what? Speight’s vastly improved red zone passing? Our offensive line’s grinding smaller, weaker defenses into submission? We won another 6 games straight after a 3-0 start last year, in large part very impressively. If you think we’ve shown we’re going to do better than that this year, based on our first three games, I do indeed feel sorry for you.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3610
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 17, 2017 at 1:24 PM

            There was 4 minutes left in half when Michigan had their first drive beyond 40 yards. It was 24-21 at the half, thanks in large part to special teams TD (blocked punt). Special teams is part of the game but that’s also some good luck coming through. Michigan was outplayed in the first half.

            It was a 3 point game in the 3rd Q when Colorado’s starting QB was knocked out of the game. He was averaging 10 yards an attempt and had 3 TDs.

            His backup was 0-7. And Michigan outscored Colorado 14-0 in the remaining quarter and a half.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3610
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 17, 2017 at 1:27 PM

            The Cinci game was disappointing. The UF game was encouraging. I think one is more important than the other.

            Anyway, I think this is a bit of revisionist history. Running for 2.9 YPC against UCF last year wasn’t particularly encouraging. Speight was a lot better though. Giving up nearly 300 yards rushing to UCF was also disappointing.

            • Comments: 763
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Sep 17, 2017 at 2:06 PM

              The Central Florida comparison was regarding lesser teams loading the box and making our QB beat them. Last year speight could do it, this year it’s a step bacl

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3610
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 17, 2017 at 2:35 PM

                There are things that are better about this team so far. There are things that are worse. The 2 seasons are not identical but overall our start has been more impressive this year.

                The Run O has not had a Hawaii performance. Speight has not had a UCF performance. The D has not been gashed by a run game or Colorado’s QB. The D has not been tested this year – but they’ve been more dominant. Our punting looks worse. Our kicking looks better. Etc.

                There are differences, but anybody seeing a big step back from last year is guilty of confirmation bias. I say this as someone who expected the D to drop from top 5 to top 15-20, the QB to improve, and the team to finish 9-3.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3610
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 17, 2017 at 1:30 PM

            The defenses we’ve played are better this year.

            Playing on the road is tougher than playing at home.

            I will say that our defenses probably haven’t played as tough of a test as last year. Air Force is weird but it’s not really helpful for the future. UF and Cinci are just flat out bad offensively. So maybe our D isn’t especially well prepared for PSU and beyond.

            Those 6 games were fun. Going to Iowa totally unprepared for a real road test was not.

  15. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 17, 2017 at 10:45 AM

    For the Navarre-Sucks crowd. — You are hopeless. And that’s OK. I’ll try to talk some sense into you anyway. I don’t expect it to work.

    After Florida it was “sure he made some plays but the turnovers are killing us!”.
    Now it’s “the lack of plays-making is killing us!”


    The Florida D looks like the truth. They forced 3 INTs from Tennessee’s QB. They did that CJ Beathard too. That means nobody has thrown fewer picks than Speight since they played Alabama/Hurts. FSU had 3 TOs against them too. LSU had 2. In the gauntlet Florida has faced going back the last 6 games (LSU, FSU, Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Tenn) only Alabama has done better than Michigan at producing offensively AND at avoiding turnovers.

    —-
    What does a good QB look like. Jake Rudock has been brought – and Speight’s numbers over last year match his. People forget that 2 years ago people wanted Rudock benched also. But he looked reliable and accurate his last 4 games so let’s remember those forever.

    What about 2017 college QBs. Sure would be nice to have Josh Rosen, right?

    OK sure. I agree. Rosen is better than Speight. But Rosen also makes mistakes that ‘cost his team the victory’ in a narrow game. He had 22 incompletions yesterday, 2 INTs, including a pick 6. That’s one of the best QBs in the country – mistakes happen for everyone.

    Maybe it would be nice to have Sam Darnold – arguably the best passer in the country. Darnold is better than Speight. But Darnold is also affected by a pressure. With a true freshman at RT last night, the Texas DL dominated. Darnold had 23 incompletions, 2 INTs, including a pick 6.

    This is college football. Even the best make mistakes.

    ————-

    Maybe this is about standards. Some of you think we NEED to hold Michigan to a higher standard. We must be Alabama. Anything less is failure.

    OK – but be consistent about it. If you need Speight to be Rosen/Darnold you better also need Isaac to be Barkley/Chubb, you better need Crawford/Perry/Black to be James Washington and Dante Pettis. And you better expect our OL to do better than giving up 2 sacks to Air Forces collection of definitively NOT NFL talent.

    ————–
    Our D is strong. If they are strong enough to shut down PSU/OSU/Wisconsin is TBD. Looks like Purdue will be a better test than we expected which is a good thing.

    Our O is weak. But they are also young. If the O is going to get into the top 20 or even top 50 we are going to need better play from the OL. The QB needs to be more accurate too. But Speight has 1 TO in the last 2 games, an excellent track record of TO avoidance, and is 11-3 as a starter. His stats are solid, his play is solid, he is not immune from getting rattled by strong defenses – like most any QB.

    • Comments: 763
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Sep 17, 2017 at 11:38 AM

      It’s almost like you feel better about yourself if you insult others

      This isn’t about speight-hate, it’s about legitimate problems with the offense, including the most important position on the field
      Please do not compare him to rosen, darnold and other Heisman candidates. Those guys make huge plays; mistakes are still criticized, but not nearly as much as the guy who cant get the offense scoring. Speight is NOT among “the best”

      I’ll try your way: is speight “fine?”
      9th in conference QBR Yards & YPA, and bottom of the barrel in TDs thrown, Completions, and Compl Percentage. I stopped checking because it was obvious after a few categories that the eye test is confirmed
      http://www.espn.com/college-football/conferences/statistics/player/_/stat/passing/sort/passingYards/id/5

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 17, 2017 at 1:00 PM

        Didn’t you insult me personally in the last thread?

        If you want to self-identify as part of Navarre Sucks you can – and I won’t argue.

        • Comments: 763
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Sep 17, 2017 at 2:09 PM

          *If* my post about you being a mess should have been more clearly critical of your posts (and not you), I apologize

          But it’s ironic for the most condescending poster here to be so sensitive when he gets a little back

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3610
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 17, 2017 at 2:26 PM

          I’m pointing out your hypocrisy. No interest in an apology. No sensitivity – I kept explaining my perspective right after noting it.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3610
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 17, 2017 at 1:12 PM

        None of the guys above him have played Florida. Have any of them played a decent D yet? Would you really rather have Tanner Lee?

        Speight’s stats being middle-of-the pack so far is no great affront to Michigan football history.

        I very explicitly said Speight was not as good as Rosen/Darnold. The point is you killed him for mistakes – mistakes that that even excellent QBs make.

        He made big plays in game 1 and 2 and you killed him for turnovers. He avoided turnovers and in game 3 and now you’re killing him for not making big plays.
        You set the bar at Rudock even though he already met that bar over a season.
        You set the bar at an NFL-backup’s 5th-year senior last 4 collge games.
        I could go on…

        You just want to complain about the QB – it is your right. And I’m going to keep pointing out how whiny it sounds.

        • Comments: 763
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Sep 17, 2017 at 2:21 PM

          Middle of the pack?!? Even when I use stats, you have something wonky–a lie in this case–to come back with. In which categories is speight “middle of the pack?”
          Florida D is a lame excuse. None of the costly mistakes (two pick6 & overthrown sure TD) were great plays by the D; speight gave those plays away. Nothing about the Florida game had anything to do with the last two games, against inferior talent. He’s not near the same guy the two aforementioned QBs are; not even close

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3610
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 17, 2017 at 2:27 PM

            I clicked on your link.

            It had Speight 8 of 14.

            • Comments: 763
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Sep 17, 2017 at 2:31 PM

              9th in QBR, 8th in YPA (middle would be 7th). Bottom of the conference every other category
              *a conference that’s been down in QB play in recent years

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3610
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 17, 2017 at 2:37 PM

                a pack is not one spot.

                With 14 teams 8th is just as much in the middle as 7th.

                • Comments: 763
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Sep 17, 2017 at 2:41 PM

                  Good grief…
                  What about Completely, Comp%, and TDs? Two inferior defenses–one with a new coaching staff, and the other with as much inexperience as ours–yet we aren’t even “fine” right now

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3610
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Sep 17, 2017 at 3:19 PM

                  LOL. And I get accused of moving the target… You sent me a link with a ranking and then asked where I got it from. I answered and you want a different measure.

                  I already answered that too – they’ve played a tougher defenses. That matters. Thunder posted this same link when Speight was 13 of 14 and I said he would move up when the started to level out. It did. He has. That’ll continue.

                  The completion percentage has been poor. If that’s what you want me to say.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3610
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 17, 2017 at 10:36 PM

                I literally used the link you gave me. It said he was 8th. You accused me of lying. Then cherry-picking.

                Keep digging.

                Pick any stat you want though – it’ll be be better in a week, and 2, and beyond…just like I said it would be 2 weeks ago.

                • Comments: 763
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Sep 17, 2017 at 10:55 PM

                  I don’t question your integrity, just think you’re wrong: his QBR is 9th, not 8th or 7th
                  And I didn’t say cherry-picked, I said ignored. Which, to this point, you still have ignored the three categories where speight is dwindling at the bottom of the conference

            • Comments: 763
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Sep 17, 2017 at 8:52 PM

              Moving the target? You can’t be serious. I pointed to FIVE statistical categories where speight was underperforming. You cherry-picked two, changed the stat, and then lumped it “in the middle”
              At the same time, you completely ignored the three where he’s at or very near the bottom of the B1G…

              As for “tougher defenses,” Cincinnati & AF are hardly tougher (and certainly less talented) than Texas, aTm, and even WMU & Memphis. Again, the Florida D had little to do with speight’s pick6 & awful overthrow, so it’s lame to point there

              Moving the target:
              “9th in conference QBR Yards & YPA, and bottom of the barrel in TDs thrown, Completions, and Compl Percentage”

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3610
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 17, 2017 at 2:28 PM

            Nobody said he was the same guy.

            Those guys make the same mistakes sometimes…usually against a good D.

      • Comments: 539
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Sep 17, 2017 at 1:52 PM

        Hey je93,

        I want Speight to succeed. Like most reasonable fans I don’t put all the blame on his doorstep but I am still having a difficult time understanding the LK Speight fan club perspective. It’s like he is trying to convince us that Speight is actually a very good college qb. I don’t see it. I am not trying to be mean toward LK but he was also trying to sell us that Speight is/was a viable NFL qb prospect who was an early entry.

        Not trying to beat up on Speight but I see some version of Navarre. Better but nothing to write home about. All I am trying to say is that UM is going to be at a disadvantage when they play a very good team with an opposing qb who is very good. That’s it. Speight can win with a very good defense and ST’s but he is going to be a liability against better teams. See FSU and OSU.

        Am I unreasonable? Am I victim of confirmation bias? I see both good traits and bad traits. I see problems elsewhere but tell me I am wrong when I say I see a mediocre qb. If he turns out to improve then I will say you are right. Until that time then I see what I see. What is ironic is that it may be LK is confirming his own bias in regards to yearly statistics.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3610
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 17, 2017 at 2:24 PM

          I am trying to convince you Speight is doing OK. He is fine. Acceptable. Not THE solution. Not THE problem. He is not bad.

          I never said he was likely to be an early entry guy – I said it was on the table, a possibility. This was brought up in the context of Peters pushing him for a starting spot. Speight hasn’t improved the way I hoped. He hasn’t even improved the way I expected yet. I’m disappointed in that.

          Still – Speight is an NFL draft pick. So was Navarre. He’ll probably set some records, as did Navarre. Maybe calling him a sure-fire NFL pick means a lot to you. It’s not that high of bar for a Michigan QB. Last years performance was on par with Rudocks and better than Beathard. I don’t know why this needs to be argued. The played Florida back to back. Speight was better.

          Perhaps you can say that guys around Speight generated that for him. Considering where Darboh, Chesson, Butt, Peppers got drafted – maybe. Considering Smith, Magnuson, Braden, Kalis – maybe not.

          I was not excluding myself from confirmation bias. My views did not change after Air Force. I don’t think anyone’s did. There is nothing ironic about that.

          I see good and bad too in Speight, like most. You want to call Speight average or mediocre or not great? Go ahead. The offense is playing worse than that as a whole. They have been highly inefficient. They are below average overall for a power conference team.

          So maybe there are bigger problems than an average QB playing average ball? Maybe look past the most superficial and lazy thing to do – criticize the QB. I get that perspective if you’re a casual fan, a big NFL guy – but if you’re a hardcore Michigan fan commenting on a Michigan football blog, I expect more.

          Maybe that’s just my version of Navarre Sucks. Expecting Michigan fans to look deeper than Lions or Buckeye fans.

          • Comments: 539
            Joined: 9/13/2015
            michymich
            Sep 17, 2017 at 5:53 PM

            Here is a question: Is Speight better or worse than his last 3 games of last year?

            2nd question: Should Speight be doing better against weaker competition or is that offset because of new players?

            3rd question: Would you be able to put together his statistics over the last 6 games and compare to his first 6 games? You can remove OSU and just use 5 games.

            I agree Speight isn’t terrible overall. I do believe he hasn’t been good enough for this team which is where the criticism is coming from the hard core fans.

            4th question: Can you find a Michigan reporter who thinks UM can win some big games on the road (PSU/Wiscy) with Speight at his current level taking into account all of the other positions on the team? His aggregate performance so far applied on the road. On or Off the record is fine. Not coaching staff. Not his teammates or his family members.

  16. Lanknows
    Comments: 3610
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 17, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    Solid prediction on the score – not far off on the score. But seemingly we got there very different than expected. AF had only 160 yards rushing, not 260. The Evans prediction was a weird one and obviously did not go very well. Likewise to ‘take control’.

    I’m not at all disappointed because I saw what I expected. I think that goes for most of us. That game is going to change zero minds about anything. Just more data in the bin. Discard what you don’t want to hear. See more of what you expect. Goes for me, and seemingly for others too.

    Hurray! Ugh! Navarre Sucks! The OL Sucks! 3-0! We aren’t Alabama! Etc.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3610
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 17, 2017 at 1:16 PM

      For all the consternation about this team — we are undefeated, ranked 7th by Media/Coaches, advanced stats have us as the #11 team. Maybe that’s talent and reputation talking, but advanced stats also have us at #22 best performance on the season (i.e., Not taking roster/last year into consideration).

      Imagine if we’d have lost a game!

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