Michigan vs. Army Awards

Michigan vs. Army Awards


September 9, 2019
Zach Charbonnet (image via MLive)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Jon Runyan, Jr. Ryan Hayes had an excellent debut against Middle Tennessee State last week, and this week he fell back to Earth. He was (from what I could tell) responsible for two sacks, both of which resulted in fumbles by Shea Patterson. I think he will be a good player in the long run, but he’s not ready yet.

Hit the jump for more.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Zach Charbonnet. Why bench the guy who has 190 yards of rushing offense in his first two games? Because he’s coming off knee surgery and has 41 carries in two games. He’s Michigan’s best running back, but the Wolverines need to find a guy or two who can spell him. Tru Wilson has been out with an injury, and both Christian Turner and Ben VanSumeren have squandered their opportunities with mental mistakes and sloppiness.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . a defensive tackle. It is amazing to me that Michigan doesn’t have a true defensive tackle taking regular snaps. I mean, it is actually rather preposterous that not one is even available. The position has so far been almost invisible through two games, with Carlo Kemp and Ben Mason taking the majority of snaps; defensive tackles have combined for 15 tackles and 0 tackles for loss through two games, but Mike Dwumfour and Donovan Jeter – the two true tackles to have taken snaps – have a total of 0 tackles so far this year.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Jordan Anthony. Starting middle linebacker Josh Ross disappeared in the second half of the Army game, quite possibly due to Army really liking to dive at defenders’ knees. While Ross made 9 tackles before his disappearance, Anthony made 3 in his absence.

Play of the game . . . Lavert Hill’s interception. Halfway through the third quarter, Michigan was down 14-7 and Army had the ball on Michigan’s 5-yard line. On 3rd-and-Goal, Army ran a play action pass that resulted in pressure on quarterback Kelvin Hopkins, Jr. To avoid a sack, he lofted a pass that was gobbled up by Hill at the 2-yard line and returned for 20 yards. If Army had punched the ball into the endzone at that point and gone up 21-7, I don’t think Michigan would have recovered to win the game.

MVP of the game . . . Zach Charbonnet. Charbonnet was the only running back the coaching staff trusted, and he responded. He makes very few mental errors, picks up the right guys in pass protection, and runs hard. His 33-carry, 100-yard, 3-touchdown performance was reminiscent of workhorse backs in the past, most notably Mike Hart. Those 33 carries are tied for #21 all-time at Michigan for the most in one game. (For some perspective on how much Michigan relied on Hart: he tied or topped that mark four times during his freshman season.)

28 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1213
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Sep 09, 2019 at 7:09 AM

    I don’t see practice obviously, and I know that the defensive line is no place for a freshman anymore than the offensive line is, but I’d have my freshmen d linemen out there for there thumping at least some.

    • Avatar
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      Roanman
      Sep 09, 2019 at 7:09 AM

      their

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1575
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Sep 09, 2019 at 8:04 AM

      I wouldn’t roanman, not in a nail biter against army. We were one lousy play from disaster

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1575
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Sep 09, 2019 at 8:05 AM

    Agree on protecting ZC. RBs do matter, and without him we don’t have an offense

    Who would have thought that 10 days ago?

  3. GrandLake
    Comments: 67
    Joined: 8/22/2019
    GrandLake
    Sep 09, 2019 at 8:54 AM

    If Mazi Smith and Hinton aren’t playing against Army and Dwumfor and Jeter have zero tackles I cant see the Wisconsin game being being much fun to watch unless Mich can put 40+ points up.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5445
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 09, 2019 at 9:10 AM

    They went with a 3 man line this game with Uche playing almost every down. Jeter and Mason combined snaps in the single digits. Hutchinson, Paye, Kemp all graded out pretty well per PFF.

    It’ll be interesting to see if this sticks going forward. Seems like the best personnel but also seems like asking to get run over by Wisconsin. Maybe not though.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3317
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 09, 2019 at 9:36 AM

      They went with a 3-man line because of the offense they were facing. That was Brown’s answer against Air Force a couple years ago, too. You need a balanced defense to combat the option, because they can check to anything from play to play due to the offense’s (often) balanced 2×2 alignment. So you have to go with a 3-3, a 4-4, a 6-2, etc.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5445
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 09, 2019 at 9:52 AM

        Great point. I do wonder if it’ll stick out of necessity. This was a game where I thought Ben Mason could be useful not facing a size disadvantage. But he barely played. Jeter presumably is limited but he was still out there a few snaps. Meanwhile Uche playing well…

      • Avatar
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        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Sep 09, 2019 at 10:28 PM

        YES, Thunder has it right! 3man front gives up the middle, but right to our LBs. It’s the outside stuff that can bite you. This is what Brown meant by “working on Army” all camp

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 5445
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 09, 2019 at 9:17 AM

    FWIW – PFF gave ZC a below average grade for the game and the OL got 4 of the top 5 grades on the team. I thought ZC was a critical reliable player with Patterson fumbling and the other RBs screwing up.

    My MVP would be Hutchinson. Army tries to grind you and he was a warrior who almost never left the field on the frontline. The D closed the game. All 3 of the DL really deserve a ton of credit for this one. This was Kemp’s kind of game and he showed up.

    • GKblue
      Comments: 319
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Sep 09, 2019 at 9:36 AM

      FWIW – PFF not much this time.
      ZC was the go to effectively bailing out JH’s vision of what to do against Army. He was my MVP also, but no complaints for your choice of Hutchinson. It is a team game and the defense came up big.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5445
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 09, 2019 at 9:50 AM

        Yes – ZC was the go to. But he’s also the last back standing after attrition and screw-ups. If a vet back like Tru Wilson or Higdon or Smith has 100 yards on 33 carries the narrative is probably different. ZC is a freshman 2 games in – so this stands out more. And of course the recruiting ranking. And of course looking to break the 5-star RB curse is exciting…

        The big question I have is – if Patterson is dinged enough to not be an option on the run game, but you want to play it safe by rushing it — why wasn’t McCaffrey in the game to offer some balance. If ever there was a spot…

        • GKblue
          Comments: 319
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          GKblue
          Sep 09, 2019 at 10:09 AM

          Well first you and everybody else has questioned JH’s lack of substitution as you described. Agree.

          Secondly, from a blind statistical stand point the RB narrative might very well change with a different back or a different opponent. ZC (or substitute whoever you like) did what he was asked and we won.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3317
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Sep 09, 2019 at 12:02 PM

          From what I’ve seen of McCaffrey, he’s not ready for the RPO/passing stuff in tight situations. Yes, he’s a good runner, but if I were Army’s defensive coordinator, I would have brought an extra guy off the edge to stop the zone read and dared him to beat me by throwing the ball. I don’t think Michigan’s coaching staff trusts him to do that yet.

    • Avatar
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      je93
      Sep 09, 2019 at 10:32 PM

      Lol, PFF 🙄

  6. Avatar
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    Joined: 9/28/2015
    PapaBear
    Sep 09, 2019 at 9:45 AM

    Any word on Josh Ross? Injured?

  7. Avatar
    Comments: 23
    Joined: 8/20/2015
    Jetski
    Sep 09, 2019 at 10:43 AM

    Let’s see more of this guy on offense: healed Shea Patterson. Obviously he was healthy enough to stay in the game, but apparently this (along with every modern) run offense is predicated on the QB’s ability to keep. Shea is not 100% and Harbaugh didn’t trust the fumbles to stop. He was still capable enough to throw downfield and scramble a few times when things went bad.

    I can’t help but think that a healthy Shea running the football completely changes the complexion of this game. Harbaugh decided that running the ball with ZC and not making mistakes was the way to go – after all, turnovers is literally the only way army scored all game. Still I hated that game and think, actually believe, that a healthy Shea would have transformed this game. Let’s hope that either he is ready to go or that Dcaff is ready to run the full offense in two weeks.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3317
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 09, 2019 at 12:00 PM

      I agree. This is one of the trade-offs when you have a QB who’s unwilling/unable to run in a shotgun, spread, inside zone-oriented offense.

    • GrandLake
      Comments: 67
      Joined: 8/22/2019
      GrandLake
      Sep 09, 2019 at 12:02 PM

      Really need healthy Shea because if coaches don’t have faith in DM at home vs Army I can’t imagine him being successful in Madison – that is a tough place to play. The injured Shea theory is interesting because he did not really appear all that hobbled and actually did have a decent keep run close to the end of reg. And his passing didn’t look that bad other than a few throws (Tarik Black had 2 balls hit him right in the hands that he dropped). If those are caught he is 21-29 for the day. Not a bad outing.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 5445
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 09, 2019 at 11:44 AM

    QB1, RB1, WR1, LT1, RT1 are all out or limited in some degree. That’s half your projected preseason starters. Even with good depth at RB and WR and solid debuts from young OTs that’s a lot to lose over a few weeks.

    Combine the above with a rookie OC and making some significant changes in the way the offense operates.

    Maybe polyanna perspective but I think Michigan’s offensive struggles are somewhat justified. Still disappointing given the expectations, but in hindsight it’s reasonable. Most any team is going to struggle for a minute when this many starters go out.

    Early bye weeks are annoying but this year’s seems to come at a pretty great time. Let’s get some people healthy and let’s get the offense’s execution issues cleaned up.

    • JC
      Comments: 258
      Joined: 8/17/2015
      JC
      Sep 09, 2019 at 1:34 PM

      It’s possible Steuber was RT1, it’s possible Mayfield is RT1. I think Harbaugh had a presser where he said Mayfield was an inch ahead of Steuber.

      WR1 is debatable.

      After seeing these two games you think Wilson is RB1?

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3317
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Sep 09, 2019 at 1:43 PM

        From everything I heard and saw, Stueber was the guy at RT. Not that he was miles ahead, but I never heard that Mayfield was ahead.

        I don’t necessarily think Wilson was RB1 in talent, but the coaching staff did publicly name him as the starter twice.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5445
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 09, 2019 at 2:18 PM

        You’re right that some of these are close but it was general preseason consensus. I think ZC could have passed up Wilson but I don’t think he gets 30 carries if Wilson is healthy. The point holds even if it’s LT1 and RT2 instead. Still starting OT4, a freshman RB, etc.

    • Avatar
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      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Sep 09, 2019 at 10:40 PM

      None of the this has anything to do with not taking what army gave. If I could upload screenpics, I would; army lined up 7-10yds off our WR, even on 2-3yd to go plays. Why? They knew JH was hell-bent on running it up the middle … with no read … from the Gun … into a loaded box

      The reason for concern is we’re still not out maneuvering our opponents. It’ll bite us when we play equal or greater talent (again)

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3317
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Sep 09, 2019 at 10:49 PM

        In our high school offense, we have checks built in to throw hot routes to uncovered receivers, at corners who are playing soft, etc. If our QBs don’t take advantage of uncovered receivers, I get on their case. If we can do it in high school with 0-star kids, then Michigan should be able to do it with Patterson, Black, Collins, etc.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1575
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Sep 09, 2019 at 11:47 PM

          Exactly. This isn’t even chess. It’s checkers. Backyard football teaches you this, even before HS

          I’ve been a huge Harbaugh supporter & defender, but have no idea how to at this point

  9. JC
    Comments: 258
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Sep 09, 2019 at 1:31 PM

    This covers everything, great write up.

    I feel like his mother, but we needed 33 carries out of Charbonnet to pull this one out, and that shouldn’t happen. Knee surgery within the year, he’s a freshman, and we’re running him 33 times. Insane.

    The only thing I’d change is let’s see less of this guy on offense: dropped balls. Bell had a great game, but now other players are coming down with a case of the dropsies. Patterson overthrew some, sure, but from what I remember quite a few slipped through fingers that were right on the money.

    When DPJ comes back, I believe the WR play is going to be lifted all around. A, team mentality-wise, and B, him occupying one of the best DBs on the field.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3317
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 09, 2019 at 1:47 PM

      I agree with the Peoples-Jones thing. Of the returning receivers, I thought he would benefit most from the change in offense. Collins is a big target but isn’t really a “speed in space” guy, and we’re still not really sure what we have in Tarik Black. Peoples-Jones is the guy who has size, speed, and strength, as well as the open-field skills to have 2 career punt return touchdowns, an 80-yard catch-and-run against MSU, etc. All of that isn’t a coincidence. Black has had a couple mildly big plays on blown coverages/opponent mistakes (Florida in 2017, MTSU in 2019), but Peoples-Jones has shown he can make things happen on his own.

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