Michigan 65, Bowling Green 21

Michigan 65, Bowling Green 21

September 27, 2010
Quarterbacks Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson celebrate during Saturday’s 65-21 victory over Bowling Green.

Yesterday was a pretty ridiculous good time.  It’s hard to learn much about Michigan’s team in a game like this, because everything worked.  The Wolverines had 721 total yards, which is only six few than Michigan’s all-time record for yardage that was set last year against Delaware State.

A couple new things I noticed . . .

1. Michigan used a “heavy package” that included two tight ends in the backfield with the QB and the RB.  Michigan is getting to the point where they can install new packages and formations without confusing the kids too much.  We’re starting to see how many different looks Rich Rodriguez and Calvin Magee can show, and at least for now, they all seem to be working.

2. Michigan used some defensive packages with four cornerbacks.  As far as I know, Michigan hadn’t used a nickel or dime package in a couple years.  Last year’s adjustment to multiple wide receivers was to put linebacker Steve Brown and one of the free safeties on the slot receivers.  This four-corner look might not be a legitimate option against a talented Big Ten team like Ohio State, but it could be used situationally.  Showing it against BGSU gives those kids a chance to practice it, and it also gives future opponents something for which to gameplan.

There were also several old themes revisited, many of which have been addressed here earlier.  I won’t go into too much depth on these, but they were worth noting . . .

  • Devin Gardner redshirt vs. Tate Forcier.  Gardner had some good moments but still looked awkward at times.  I’m on the record as saying that Gardner’s redshirt shouldn’t have been burned, at least not so early in the season.  This game seemed to support my theory.  Gardner finished 7/10 for 85 yards and 1 touchdown, while rushing the ball 6 times for 25 yards (4.2 ypc) and 1 touchdown.  Meanwhile, Forcier set a Michigan record by going 12/12 for 110 yards and 1 touchdown, in addition to 4 rushes for 30 yards (7.5 ypc).
  • Vincent Smith is still not as good as the other running backs.  He did have a nice touchdown run where he actually ran through a tackle.  But by the end of the game, Fitzgerald Toussaint had 2 carries for 66 yards (33 ypc) and Michael Cox had 6 carries for 56 yards (9.3 ypc).  Still, Smith (12 carries, 62 yards, 5.2 ypc, 2 touchdowns) tied for the most carries with Michael Shaw (12 carries, 59 yards, 4.9 ypc, 1 touchdown).  Even freshman Stephen Hopkins had a better average (6 carries, 33 yards, 5.3 ypc), although Hopkins put the ball on the ground.
  • Cameron Gordon and Jordan Kovacs are slow.  Gordon couldn’t catch up to a 265 lb. tight end a couple weeks ago, and this week he got torched by a MAC wide receiver on a screen pass that turned into a 71-yard TD.  Jordan Kovacs was also unable to gain any ground on Tyrone Pronty that play.  It’s not good when both of the team’s safeties are so lacking in foot speed, but that’s where Michigan’s defense is right now.  It would have also helped if Thomas Gordon and James Rogers gave better efforts . . .
  • Michigan needs to rush more than three to get to the quarterback.  The Wolverines had three sacks (two by Ryan Van Bergen, one by Jonas Mouton), and at least two – maybe all three – came on plays where Michigan sent more than three rushers.
  • Denard Robinson is good.  He had 5 carries for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was 4/4 passing for 60 yards.  All that happened in about half a quarter of play.


  1. Comments: 21383
    Michael S
    Sep 27, 2010 at 1:24 AM

    James Rogers got held pretty bad on that long TD.

    Gardner has a much stronger arm than Forcier, and he's a more dangerous runner. Right?

  2. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    @ Michael S

    I couldn't tell that Rogers was held on that play. He looked out of position to me in the first place, but like I said, maybe I just didn't see a good angle.

  3. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    @ Michael

    I forgot to respond to the second part of your comment:

    Uhhh…maybe? It's more of a mental thing than a physical thing right now.

  4. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 1:33 AM

    By the way, to others trying to post:

    Your comments will not be approved if they're full of cussing, name-calling, and generally immature internet-tough-guy behavior.

  5. Comments: 21383
    Internet Tough Guy
    Sep 27, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    Agree with all of your points, but it's funny watching/reading you struggle with your admission that Denard is better than Tate. And it's not close, BTW.

    Anyway, what's your solution to the MIKE situation with Obi right now? Demens to replace him? Defensive shift involving Herron or Kovacs or someone to allow him to get off the field? Hope he gets better?

  6. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 2:14 AM

    @ Internet Tough Guy

    Denard IS better than Tate. I'm not sure where in this post it makes it seem that I'm having a hard time admitting that. Denard has been a big surprise, but even the most adamant supporters of Denard probably didn't expect Robinson to be THIS good, at least not at the beginning of his sophomore year.

    I don't really have a solution to the MIKE situation. I'm okay with Demens getting some snaps, but I think Obi is better than Demens right now. I don't think that a Herron/Kovacs shift is going to happen.

  7. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 3:34 AM

    I don't think the comparison you make between Gardner and Forcier is fair. Forcier was throwing a lot of screen passes, which bumped up his stats (though we all know they're not as easy to complete as they look, a pretty consistent critique of Robinson is that he only throws short passes, and I think the same needs to be extended to Forcier). Gardner, meanwhile, would've been 8/10 with two touchdowns if Hemingway hadn't dropped that ball inside the five. I don't think you can hold this up as proof that Gardner isn't good enough to play, because I think he played quite well.

    I also think your representation of Fitzgerald's skills is not entirely honest. Number one, tiny, tiny sample size. Number two, yes, he averaged thirty three yards per carry, but he really should have averaged sixty six yards per carry, and only had the one carry. If Gordon not being able to chase down an MAC WR is a bad sign, what about Toussaint not outrunning a MAC DB? I mean, it looked a lot like he was just coasting, but he got a big hole and ran through it and got chased down. I didn't find it as impressive, I guess.

  8. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 3:52 AM

    @ Mongoose

    It's not about Gardner being unready to play. He had good stats and did well. No offense, but too many Michigan fans are turning this into a referendum on Gardner. It's not.

    Let's just pretend that Gardner and Forcier are equal players right now (although I think Forcier is better at the moment). But assuming they're the same, why does Gardner need to play in 2010? You're not getting anything from Gardner that you can't get from Forcier, and now Gardner won't be eligible for a fifth year.

    Toussaint was wearing a knee brace and coming off a knee injury that kept him out for three weeks. I'm going to forgive him for getting run down. What running back wears a knee brace and can run full speed?

    Furthermore…Fitzgerald Toussaint's FIRST carry of his career was just as long as Vincent Smith's season-long from 2009 (37) plus his season-long from 2010 (13) plus his game-long against BGSU (37 + 13 + 11 = 61). I know you weren't saying anything about Smith, but it puts those 61 yards in perspective.

  9. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 3:55 AM

    I'm incredulous at the Smith bashing. Yet another game where he bests Shaw in YPC and yet he gets targeted again.

    I'm on board with giving Toussaint, Cox and the others a shot but their body of work is too limited to declare them better than Shaw. Sample size and circumstance. Its one thing to arrogantly think you know better than the coaches, its another to just ignore at the evidence and declare Smith not as good as the other backs.

    Another spurious conclusion is about Michigan needing to rush more than 3. Sure, most teams need to rush more than 3 to get pressure, but just because Michigan had sacks against BG rushing 4 doesn't mean its the right strategy.

    You're seeing what you want to see.

    Last weeks conclusion was "didn't learn anything new". I think it applies to this week as well. BG isn't a good team and the performance against them means next to nothing in regard to the upper half of the big 10.

  10. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    why does Gardner need to play in 2010?

    There are a number of possibilities

    a) he received a recruiting promise

    b) RR prefers having a QB who can run as the backup ands wants Gardner to be ready if Denard is hurt

    c) RR felt he needed to send Tate a message (given Tate's great attitude since week 1, this may be a great thing for his development)

    d) RR thinks DG will turn pro after 4 years anyway

    e) RR doesn't want QB recruits thinking they have to wait till 2015 before they can start

    f) some combination of some or all of the above

    I'd rather DG was redshirting too but…let it go man. Its not as simple as you're pretending. RR has his reasons. Its not like he's unaware of the benefit of RSing people.

  11. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:07 AM

    @ Lankownia 11:55 p.m.

    Yes, it's a limited sample size…again. But every limited sample size goes against Smith. Yeah, Cox only got a few carries…but he was better than Smith. Yeah, Toussaint only got a couple plays…but he was better than Smith. Yeah, Hopkins only got 6 carries…but he produced more yards than Smith.

    At some point, the small sample sizes get big enough to become meaningful.

    And for what it's worth, I acknowledge that Shaw had lower YPC, but I also thought Shaw's blocking was worse.

    I am seeing what I want to see. What I want to see is more pressure on the quarterback, and Michigan was able to do that by sending four or more rushers.

    I agree with you – I don't think we learned a great deal of new information this week. Which is why many of my talking points were linked to posts where I…made the same points previously.

  12. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:13 AM

    @ Lankownia 12:05 a.m.

    a) If that's true, then it was a silly promise.

    b) At this time, Gardner's running stats are worse than Forcier's.

    c) Did you perhaps think that Forcier's attitude in Week 1 was the result of Gardner playing ahead of him for no reason? You'd be pissed, too, if you were better than a guy playing ahead of you and you went from 12-game starter to 3rd-string QB.

    d) How could Rodriguez possibly know such a thing? How could anyone know?

    e) Do you honestly think that Rodriguez should sacrifice Gardner's 2014 eligibility because some 10th grader out there might want to start earlier? Come on…

  13. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:52 AM

    "every limited sample size goes against Smith"

    except for most individual games, and nearly every game against quality teams. Your statement just ignores the bulk of the evidence.

    I'm referring to Smith vs. Shaw here. Smith is generally the better back. Yesterday was the 3rd game of the season where that was the case.

    As for Cox and the other guys, yeah – if they can do it against first string players on teams better than BG, then you'll be proven correct. …I hope thats the case, if Smith really is our worst back that means good things for this team… But they haven't done it, and you're going with your personal dislike for Smith and taking it as a foregone conclusion that other will do better in his place…even though the coaching staff doesn't think so.

    I have an easier time swallowing the idea that Cox and Toussaint are better than Smith because of the absence of evidence. We just don't know, we just have the coaches judgment and a few carries against bad teams. But with Smith vs. Shaw theres a big enough sample and its clear that Shaw hasn't proven himself to be the superior player.

  14. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:06 AM

    @ Lankownia 12:52 a.m.

    That's fine. I'm on the record as saying that I think Cox is the best runner on the team, and I also said that Toussaint would be the best offensive recruit from the Class of 2009 (Smith was also a member of that class).

    I'm not in love with Shaw, so let's not pretend that this is a Smith vs. Shaw thing. And I harbor no ill will toward Smith – I just don't think he should be getting so many carries.

    Also, your take on Smith vs. Shaw is factually/statistically incorrect:

    Smith was better against UConn.
    Shaw was better against Notre Dame.
    Shaw was better against UMass.
    Smith was better against UConn.

    Furthermore, their season statistics:

    Smith: 44 carries, 172 yards, 3.9 ypc, 3 TDs
    Shaw: 44 carries, 245 yards, 5.6 ypc, 5 TDs

  15. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:07 AM

    P.S. In the above post, I meant to say that Smith was better against UConn and BGSU. I put UConn twice.

  16. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:07 AM

    RE: Gardner

    a) if a promise was what it took to get DG to commit, then it was far from silly. Promises happen. I'm convinced Shaw got one and thats why he's at UofM (if you recall he started his first game over mcguffie, minor, brown and others, and then sort of disappeared after that – 2 carries that whole game)

    b) are you saying Tate is a better runner? Probably not, so why raise a stat you now to be limited and meaningless. This kind of pointing to weak stats doesn't help your case.

    c)Thats plausible, but deserved or not, Tate seems to have become less selfish, more appreciative, and a better team player over the last few weeks. If Tate is maturing as an individual and a teammate, RR should get some credit for that.

    d)RR doesn't know. No one can predict the future….which is exactly why its silly to stay he "burned" his RS needlessly. Lets wait to judge that in 2013, or at least till the end of the season.

    e) I'm listing a number of reasons. see f. Again, its not as simple as you pretend. The bottom line is: there are no positive recruiting ramifications to redshirting DG. There are, however, positives to playing him. DG was a 10th grader once too and what he saw was a wide open QB situation at Michigan, multiple QBs getting snaps, including true freshman.

    DG's 2014 eligibility is not being sacrificed. How you possibly know such a thing will even be an option? How could anyone know?

  17. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    a) I don't buy your theory about why Shaw plays at U of M.

    b) Tate might not be a more talented runner, but he made better reads and produced more yards. You say it's meaningless, but those are the stats. They can't just be ignored.

    d) It's not too early to say that Gardner burned his redshirt. His redshirt WAS burned needlessly. He didn't do anything in previous games that Forcier couldn't do, and Forcier performed better against BGSU. We're 1/3 of the way through the season, and there's still no reason for Gardner to be playing.

    "DG's 2014 eligibility is not being sacrificed. How you possibly know such a thing will even be an option? How could anyone know?"

    Ummm…it WAS sacrificed. That's a factual statement. Unless Gardner gets a medical redshirt in the next few years, he'll be gone after 2014. Kids don't redshirt after their freshman year unless they get injured, which is impossible to predict.

  18. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:20 AM

    the season stats are differentiated only by the umass game. we already covered that.

    According to my boxscore Smith and Shaw had the
    same ypc against ND. Smith had the longest run and more rushing yardage. Shaw did better in the air though…I don't know, it seems besides the point to quibble about who sucked less against ND, who gameplanned to stop the RB. Lets call it a push.

    Shaw has only proven to be better in the UMass game. 1 game – thats it. and it was against an FCS team!

    Theres also last year to consider when most games show Smith to be the better player. Maybe he's hurt, but if so…he's STILL coming out to be the better player more often than not. So lets give him the benefit of the doubt, eh?

    I'm being argumentatitve here. I think Smith and Shaw are pretty ho-hum. I just prefer Smith's running style because he breaks and avoids more tackles, though Shaw seems to be improving on that front. I just don't see how you can argue one is clearly better than the other.

  19. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:26 AM

    a)So what explains Shaw starting game 1 of his career, getting just 2 carries in that game and barely (if at all) seeing the field after the first series.

    Then…the rest of the year he hardly plays.

    Looks like a promise to me.

    b)no only can small sample sizes be ignored — they SHOULD be

    c) Its is not a factual statement. DG could redshirt any of the next 3 years. He could get hurt and take a redshirt. He could decide to turn pro. Any of these would make the 2010 redshirt decision irrelevant in regard to his 2014 eligibility. Regardless of the likelihood of these events, my point should be clear. We just don't know.

    "He didn't do anything in previous games that Forcier couldn't do, and Forcier performed better against BGSU. "
    Agree 100%. I'd prefer the coaches kept the redshirt option on the table, but I trust they have their reasons.

  20. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:29 AM

    @ Lankownia

    Here's the thing, though. Neither running back has been great. But against UMass, Smith was STILL mediocre. The only game of Smith's career in which he's been especially good was DSU in 2009.

    And like I said…my argument really isn't about Shaw. It's this: Smith isn't getting the job done, and other people either CAN get it done or deserve the chance to try.

  21. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:37 AM

    a) Injury? Shaw has been dealing with injuries every year until this one.

    b) Sample size schmample size. I'm not going to wait until our backup QBs each get 30 carries to make a determination on who's running the ball better. There's a good chance that neither one will get enough carries to ever get a good enough sample size for you people. In the meantime, the statistics say Forcier ran the ball better.

    c) Of COURSE we don't know. But players DON'T redshirt after their freshman year unless it's an injury. They don't. It doesn't happen. Like, ever. That scenario is so unlikely that it's not even worth considering. And if Gardner was PROMISED a chance to play as a freshman, do you really think he'd settle for redshirting as a sophomore or junior? That's preposterous.

  22. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:40 AM

    By the way, Gardner's 7 carries this year have resulted in 21 yards (3.0 ypc). Gardner has more physical talent, but running the zone read option isn't all about physical talent. It's about making the right read and taking advantage of defensive breakdowns.

  23. Comments: 21383
    Blue in South Bend
    Sep 27, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Look I'm not a huge Shaw fan (at some point, JUST RUN FORWARD DAMNIT)… but he's averaging 5.6 yards per carry, whereas Smith is averaging 3.9. They're provide pretty similar production on most runs, but at least Shaw has some home-run-hitting ability. Smith wasn't exactly a burner before the ACL, and I'm not sure he's 100%.

    But seriously, Thunder, don't make us guess; how do you really feel about the DG redshirt decision?

    Also, I'm curious what you thought of the Odoms penalty (I think they called it a crackback block, but didn't label it as such). The play was already outside of them, and Odoms hit him above the waist.

  24. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    I am curious on your take of Gardner's running against BGSU. It appeared that a few of his reads were excellent and he seemed to have plenty of room to run but looked hesitant when it came to actually making his move. DG turned what should have been a 8-9 yard gain into a 2 yard gain on his first run as he ran laterally rather than cutting quickly up field.

    Do you feel this was the case with Devin: solid reads but lack of agressiveness in running up field? Or am I completely off on this?

  25. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    The one thing that the entire redshirt issue rests upon is the presumption that Devin Gardner would stay for a fifth year. I liken this in ways to anyone (and I don't think there are many) who would be upset Vinopal and Dileo's redshirts are burnt.

    There are two issues at play here. First off, it's pretty obvious that if Devin is as good as we think he's going to be (and his work ethic and limited time in the system indicate so), we're making a huge assumption that he would stay five years, especially after enrolling early. With summer school, he might have a degree in hand by end of school year 2012-2013. Then what would he do for 2 years? Ross?

    The academic issue isn't the main point, however. The issue is that if the coaches want to play the kid, we're all beating a dead horse. Plus, if getting Gardner game time now helps the team win in 2012, for whatever unforeseen reason (what if Denard leaves early, silly, but with that speed who knows, and Tate gets injured in 2012?), the redshirt should be well and truly burnt.

    And, by 2014 I trust this coaching staff will have at least 2 more QB prospects (Sousa and/or other as yet committed folks) who would be, at youngest, redshirt sophomores who would be ready to play.

    The Gardner redshirt issue is jejune and should be put to bed.

  26. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    I'm not impressed by Gardner yet. For lack of a better word, his play looks slow. His passing is very inconsistent. The completion to Stonum was a horrible throw (nice adjustment by Stonum).

    I'm with ya on Vincent Smith. Meh. Shaw isn't a ton better. I really hope that Toussaint getting caught from behind was a matter of wearing that knee brace. Cox looked okay but he also made one bad cut/read.

  27. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    in your critique of Gardner, I think it's valid to point out that he had a wonderful TD pass to Hemingway that bounced off Junior's hands and onto the ground, PLUS another TD pass to Kelvin Grady that was called back for Molk crossing the LOS (again).

    Even if you don't want to give Gardner the Grady pass (I won't argue that hard if you don't want to) Gardner goes 8/10 for 120 ish yards and 2 TDs – as many yards as Tate on 4 less throws, plus as additional TD.

    What's I'm saying: Gardner threw the ball better than Tate yesterday. I agree that his running looks "unrefined".

  28. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    @ Blue in South Bend 8:28 a.m.

    I thought the penalty on Odoms was a bad call. It should have been on a non-call, IMO.

  29. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    @ Logan 9:32 a.m.

    Gardner's running is a part of the reason why I'd like him to be redshirting. Good zone read quarterbacks don't head for the sideline every play, which is what he does. He did that kind of stuff in high school because he could outrun everyone, but Tate and Denard get their yards when they cut the ball up the field. He needs to cut the ball up and be a little more physical of a runner. I don't think he's scared of contact, but he just hasn't realized the speed of the college game yet.

  30. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    @ Anonymous 9:54 a.m.

    It is presumptuous to think that Gardner would stay for a fifth year, but he would at least have the OPTION. Let's say Denard's the starter through 2012, and then Gardner becomes the starter as a fourth-year senior in 2013. In the fifth game of 2013, Gardner breaks his wrist and is out for the rest of the year.

    That's it. The end. He'd be a backup for three years, play 4+ games and his college career would be over. How ready is he going to be for the NFL after starting 5 games?

    I'm not EXPECTING that. Obviously it's impossible to know for sure what's going to happen a few years down the road.

    We're weighing a freshman year against a fifth year. We're not getting much out of him as a freshman, but he COULD be a juggernaut as a fifth year senior. The pros of preserving his eligibility outweigh the cons.

  31. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Cam Gordon's speed is very worrying. I think a switch to Mouton's spot may be in the cards if he puts on additional weight in the off season, with perhaps Robinson moving to the deep safety (don't know if he's any faster, though). I would deeply love experience at the safety position, but at some point, we're going to a deep safety that can run someone down in the open field.

  32. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    @ chitownblue

    I wouldn't say that Gardner threw the ball better. I think they both threw it equally well. And yeah, Gardner WOULD have had more yards, but it also seemed the playcalling while Tate was in there was more conservative.

  33. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Right now it's pretty clear we have 3 pretty good quarterbacks. Gardner is certainly more ready to play as a freshman than Denard was, but we had no choice but to have Denard suit up. This year we did have a choice and we've still burned the Gardner redshirt. Was this a knee-jerk reaction by Rodriguez in response to his displeasure with Tate during the offseason? I don't know, but now you have Gardner looking at the prospect of sitting 3 years behind Denard just so that he can start for one year and leave? I just hope that he'll stick around given that those are his reasonable prospects for playing time for the future.

  34. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 4:52 PM


    All I'm saying is this: if you're going to argue Smith isn't effective you should also include Shaw. Their effectiveness is pretty much indistinguishable. If you give the blocking/catching edge to Smith, he should be the starter…and the same applies for Shaw. Its silly to seperate though two based on, essentially, a long run or two against UMass.

    I'm not arguing that Cox and the other guys don't deserve a shot. IMO, they do…

    As for sample size issue…you can believe what you want. If you want to flip a coin once and decide that they USUALLY land on heads, thats your prerogative. I'm just letting you know that citing stats that are so limited only serves to undermine your argument, not strengthen it.

    Anon 12:10's suggestion to move Cam Gordon to WLB seems viable to me. Robinson, Vinopal, or perhaps a 2011 freshman could take over the safety spot in a year or two (or maybe Woolfolk again if some of the CBs show they're ready). But a viable candidate has to emerge for that to happen. Until then, Cam's the man.

  35. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    "We're weighing a freshman year against a fifth year"

    And this is exactly the flaw in your argument. You should be weight the freshman year (and the numerous benefits that come with it) against the A CHANCE for a 5th year.

    You wouldn't weigh a lottery ticket as worth a million dollars would you? Obviously this is an exaggeration of the risk/uncertainty involved, but it shouldn't be treated as a 1for1 exchange.

    Vince Young redshirted but didnt stick around for year 5. Antonio Bass would have never made an impact on the team if he had redshirted.

    I agree it would have been nice to keep the redshirt option on the table, but its not as simple as trading the 2014 for 2010.

  36. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    @ Lankownia

    Shaw is MORE effective than Smith. I'm not saying Shaw is great. But the statistics show that Shaw is better. He has better rushing stats, better receiving stats, and is more of a big-play threat.

    As for sample size, I'm not flipping a coin once. It's been shown multiple times that these other guys have outperformed Shaw. How many times does another RB have to outperform Smith before you (and others) will admit that he shouldn't be getting starter-level carries?

  37. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Lets think about it this way. IF both DR and TF go down with an injury at any point during the next two seasons, there is value in not bringing in a QB who has never played a live snap before.

    If you think the 2 QBs hurt at the same time scenario is unrealistic, you're not paying attention.

    I think I need to list all the benefits of DG "burning his RS". The list would go at least 10 reasons deep and all of them would be indisputable. The list of the benefits to red-shirting are much smaller, but obviously the potential of a 5th year is significant.

  38. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    @ Lankownia

    Vince Young is not an apt comparison. Yeah, he redshirted as a freshman and then left after his redshirt junior year…

    He also won the starting job as a redshirt freshman and kept it through his redshirt junior year. If you think Gardner's going to beat out Robinson in the next year or two, you might have an argument. Personally, I think Gardner's going to be riding the bench until Robinson leaves.

  39. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    "But the statistics show that Shaw is better."

    No, they don't. You're arbitrarily choosing a limited sample size to make your conclusion. If you choose a different sample size you'll reach a different conclusion. The Shaw argument is based entirely on long runs against UMass. Smith has been better at nearly every other game (including ND, BTW, Shaw's ypc average was technically smaller)

    "It's been shown multiple times that these other guys have outperformed Shaw."

    It has? I know Cox and Fitz have better ypc averages but thats going against weak opponents, and typically their second stringers.

    The day fitz/cox/shaw outperforms smith against a quality opponent is the day I'll agree with your assessment. Lets hope it happens against MSU.

  40. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    @ Lankownia 1:04 p.m.

    Dude…having a third QB isn't necessary. It hasn't been necessary for Michigan in…I don't know how long. I mean, Michigan has PLAYED three quarterbacks in recent years, but the third QB wasn't necessary (Cone, Kennedy, and Sheridan in 2009; Feagin in 2008; Cone and Sheridan in 2007; etc.).

    Like I've said previously in this discussion, when Michigan was up by a billion points on Saturday, they would have been just fine with Jack Kennedy handing off the ball and throwing a bubble screen or two.

    And if both guys are INJURED and can't play in crunch time…then sure, burn the third guy's redshirt. He's either going to get the job done or not, but honestly, no coach out there really expects his team to not miss a beat when his third string QB goes into the game. When your third QB has to play, your offense is almost always going to slow down, whether he has a few garbage time snaps or not.

  41. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    @ Lankownia

    I'm done arguing with you. We're not going to convince each other. The difference is that I have stats to back me up, and you don't. But I've spent too much time discussing this issue with you.

  42. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Wasn't saying Gardner = Young or Bass…just listing a couple examples that show the future is unknown.

    I think its possible that if Tate establishes himself as the better QB in '10 (which seems quite possible) and Denard continues to do his thing, DG will realize in 2011 (or even 2012) that red-shirting makes more sense than not.

    Its also possible that Denard gets hurt at some point over the next few years, DG takes over and never relinquishes the job because he's so damn good.

    The point is that a lot can happen over the next 3 years. Lets not assume that the present situation will hold true for the duration of that. All we have to do is look at our view of Tate vs Denard from 1 year ago to see how fast things change.

  43. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    "I have stats to back me up, and you don't."


    Heres stats that back me up.

    2010 rushing against BCS teams:

    Smith 3.2 ypc vs Shaw 3.0 (21 carries to 20)

    2009 rushing against BCS teams:

    Smith 3.4 ypc vs Shaw 1.5 (23 carries vs 17)

    Combined 2009-2010 vs BCS teams:

    Smith 3.3 ypc vs Shaw 2.3 (44 carries vs. 37)

    I'm pretty sure the receiving stats favor Smith too.

  44. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Lankownia, Shut up. You're complaning about sample size andthen you conveniently ignore all the stats that dont back up your argument. Shaw played in 2008 too and had better numbers than Smith behind a shitty OL. Both these guys are pretty equal thie year except Shaw was way better than Smith against UMASS, and Shaw has a better career YPC than Smith. But those stats dont fit your argument do they? Just stop. Who cares. Smith isn't good. i don't even know why you two are arguing.

  45. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 6:23 PM


    I'm ignoring the outliers and irrelevant (or less relevant data): UMass and other non-BCS teams. Its ridiculous to draw conclusions from FCS opponents. Those stats should be excised from any meaningful analysis.

    Smith didn't play in 2008, but if I include those stats, Smith still bests Shaw 3.3 to 3.2 ypc against BCS teams (which, BTW, is most teams Michigan plays).

    I'm arguing because the stats say that Shaw is better against weak competition and that Smith is better against good competition.

  46. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    Anonymous 1:54

    Good rebuttal. Despite lankownia pretty clearly showing the error in calling Shaw a superior back to Smith(or any other back on the roster, really), you really put this away with your very mature "shut up" remark towards a guy engaging in a critical discussion with this websites owner. If you lack the mental capacity to engage in a similar debate, just state that instead of resorting to petty name calling with your dismissive tone. Don't just say Smith isn't "good," use something other than a game against an FCS team to make a point.

  47. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    This is what I was talking about.

  48. Comments: 21383
    Sep 27, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    @ bada bing

    Yeah, this discussion reminded me of what you said…

  49. Comments: 21383
    Sep 28, 2010 at 3:15 AM

    ok so i was reading comments and i gave up about half way thru because they were mostly about ur RB situation. some of them were calling u out on the "need to rush 3 to get pressure." im a texas fan. i watched about 10 plays of michigan on defense against nd(texas was on at the same time). i can easily tell u that michigan needs to rush 4+ per play if they want to get pressure. that deep bomb to rudolph was because crist had a year to pick a receiver because michigan only rushed 3. its hard enuf for ANY school to pressure with 3 but especially if ur DL isnt outstanding(no offense). i dont understand how u guys cant see that michigan needs to rush 4+ per play to get pressure.


  50. Comments: 21383
    Sep 28, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    @ horn

    The deep bomb to Rudolph was PARTLY because Crist had a year to pick a receiver. It was also partly due to having a redshirt freshman position changer playing safety, as well as the lack of speed of that safety.

  51. Comments: 21383
    Sep 28, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    @bada bing and @Thunder

    I agree with bb's comments from the last thread. Magnus Thunder takes a view point that is sometimes different than the majority, even if its unpopular or negative. Some view this as pure negativity, others realize its just the outcome of critical thinking. If this site was the same old rah-rah fluff, I wouldn't be reading. Given.

    Now, if you can't see the difference between my argument regarding Smith/Shaw and "OMG how dare you? Denard is the best"…then I don't know what to say.

    Theres a lot of good content here, but I don't see any value in rehashing what I agree with. Its more interesting to debate/discuss/argue the stuff that I disagree with. When it happens, I've commented and explained why I disagree. If I perceive a flawed argument or see mislead statistics, I've said so.

    If you just want a pat on the back, here ya go: good job.

  52. Comments: 21383
    Sep 28, 2010 at 10:54 PM

    u can fix one but u cant fix the other


  53. Comments: 21383
    Sep 29, 2010 at 1:17 AM

    @ Lankownia 5:15 p.m.

    I don't just want a pat on the back. I'm obviously okay with criticism, because I hand out plenty of it. But some of the arguments on here end up being more vociferous than what they're worth.

  54. Comments: 21383
    Sep 29, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    If you're throwing logs on the fire, you can't complain about the heat.

You must belogged in to post a comment.