Michigan vs. Illinois Awards

Michigan vs. Illinois Awards

October 15, 2019
Cam McGrone (image via Detroit Free Press)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . anyone who doesn’t fumble. Zach Charbonnet fumbled. Tru Wilson fumbled. Christian Turner tried to fumble, but his knee was down first. The fumbling at Michigan has been ridiculous this season.

Hit the jump for more.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Christian Turner. Turner’s performance this year has been very disappointing. He misses pass protections, has yet to break an explosive run, and just doesn’t seem to be bringing a lot to the table. His longest run this season has gone for 11 yards, and that’s in 37 attempts. By contrast, someone like Hassan Haskins has long runs of 15, 18, and 29 yards in the last three games, on a total of 26 carries.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense, part 2 . . . Ben Mason. Unlike many people out there, I don’t mind fullback usage. There are ways to use H-backs and fullbacks in a spread offense, particularly out of the pistol formation. But Mason sucks right now. This is what happens when you spend all your time practicing at defensive tackle. Michigan tried to throw him a pass in the flat; it was a bad pass, and it doesn’t help that Mason is very stiff now that he’s 270 pounds. But after he didn’t catch it, he acted like a stereotypical football meathead and lowered his shoulder to run through an unsuspecting Illinois cornerback, costing Michigan 15 yards in penalty yardage.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Mike Danna. I’m glad Michigan has Danna, who has made a couple plays and has been a key piece of Michigan’s defensive line rotation. He made 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. Seriously, he has done a very good job, but…

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Kwity Paye. Paye just brings a whole different element of explosion and violence to the defensive end position. His leverage and power will be needed against the Penn State Nittany Lions this coming weekend. Hopefully he comes back healthy after getting injured against Iowa.

Play of the game . . . Hassan Haskins got Michigan on the board with a 29-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

MVP of the game . . . Cam McGrone. McGrone made 11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble on Saturday. It was against Illinois, a pretty weak team, but he seems to keep getting better. His athleticism is right up there with Devin Bush’s at middle linebacker, and he’s starting to diagnose plays faster. I think the NFL is really going to like him when it comes to draft time in 2021 or 2022.


  1. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Oct 15, 2019 at 8:19 AM

    Maybe stop running Turner into a pile of bodies? Dude is tiny, and will not break tackles like ZC & Haskins. RB talent matters, so get him in space!

    I just hope the coaches don’t do to him what they did to Evans: pile a bunch of weight on him, compromising his speed & quickness

  2. Comments: 48
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 15, 2019 at 8:38 AM

    Let’s see less of Jim Harbaugh coasting into halftime with a lead. My wife thought I was crazy screaming at the radio in the car Saturday with 55 seconds to go in the half, Illinois just scored and we had a missed opportunity to score. Jim pumping the brakes right before the half swung the momentum in this game. The second half completely changes if we are able to move the ball down the field and put some points on the board before halftime. We were up 28 only to let them think they were still in the game with all the penalties and eventual scoring drive before the half. The difference between a good team and a great team is knowing when to put the game away for good. We had beaten them physically and for some unknown reason our coach decided to leave the mental door cracked instead of slamming it shut. Don’t think for one moment that teams like Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Notre Dame or any of the other top tier teams wouldn’t have done it. Has Harbaugh lost his killer instinct? It is one thing to show poor sportsmanship in the 4th quarter by running the score up, there is a lot of ball left to be played at halftime.

    BTW Thunder, Thank you for always giving us great content. I know your season is in full swing and things get crazy. Hope your team is doing well! 2 more weeks until the playoffs.

    • Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Oct 15, 2019 at 8:52 AM
      • Comments: 48
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Oct 15, 2019 at 9:03 AM

        Yikes, someone needs to change up their halftime routine! We have all watched flat teams and clearly something isn’t getting through to them. There has to be someone on the staff who is looking at trends throughout the season and how the team can improve….

      • Comments: 400
        Joined: 12/24/2016
        Oct 15, 2019 at 9:41 AM

        Why start with the 2nd half? how about the Start of the game – 1st 1/4:

        MT St.. Fumble & 0points
        Army. Fumble & 0 points
        Wisky. Fumble &. 0 points
        Rutgers. (Yeah who cares) 0 interest
        Iowa. Punt & 0 points
        Ill. TD 7(SEVEN) POINTS!!!!!!! YAY!!

        Some1 needs to change their entire weekly game preparation
        Jus sayin………..intjohn

        • Comments: 48
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Oct 15, 2019 at 9:48 AM

          Hard to disagree with those outcomes. Either their scripting of the first series is the same every week so that opponent knows exactly what they are going to do or someone doesn’t understand how to watch film and counter their tendencies. At times is feels like we are playing to not lose rather than playing to win.

    • Comments: 36
      Joined: 11/17/2015
      Oct 16, 2019 at 1:29 AM

      Amen. Look at OSU last in the UM game. They were up 21-6 and then gave up 13 points right before the half. They got the ball with about 40 seconds left in the half. Did Meyer and OSU say ‘let’s take a couple of kneel downs and get into half and regroup’? Nope. They went down the field and got a FG at the end of the half to regain a little momentum.

  3. Comments: 30
    Joined: 9/3/2015
    Oct 15, 2019 at 8:55 AM

    To further your point, in addition to those runs, Haskins also had a 28 yard run on (IIRC) a Down G play to the right where Mayfield pancaked a DB.

  4. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 15, 2019 at 9:43 AM

    I’d like to see more Uche. In general I think Don Brown has done a stellar job managing the DT depth issues. Jeter is either hurt or an offseason hype bust so Hutchinson, Danna, Paye have all chipped in inside. They can do more of that though if Uche is playing more.

    More generally, Brown seems to be tweaking personnel here and there and pushing the right buttons since Wisconsin. Mason, Anthony, and Woods seem to be have lost roles to Danna, McGrone, and Hill.

    • Comments: 4
      Oct 16, 2019 at 1:04 PM

      Agreed. Gotta get Uche on the field more.

  5. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 15, 2019 at 9:50 AM

    I often say that RBs don’t matter but fumbling and pass pro absolutely does. That’s where I see improvement from freshman to senior is most notable. That’s why I was immediately impressed with Charbonnet. That’s why I was a huge fan of Vincent Smith.

    Turner has been a huge disappointment to me. He looks like the most talented ball-carrier in terms of big play potential but if you can’t do the other stuff you don’t get the ball. He’s the 2019 version of Ty Isaac or Michael Shaw. Hopefully he turns it around.

    Haskins had a nice day but it was Illinois. He looked good and didn’t fumble was the main thing. Keep giving him the ball but ZC and Wilson should probably get opportunities. I think they both have solid history with holding on to the ball, but they’re on notice.

    Is there any chance that the heavy rotation is contributing to the fumble issues?

  6. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 15, 2019 at 9:51 AM

    So Thunder is it fair to say the nickname is appropriate – Bench Mason

    • Comments: 400
      Joined: 12/24/2016
      Oct 15, 2019 at 12:23 PM

      OOOPs, I was trying to touch the lil square to start my post on my IPad when the screen skipped and inadvertantly hit the downthumb to your comment – my bad and I couldn’t undue it so thought I’d hit the green thumbs up to average you out.
      My screen sometimes skips a lot cause right now I’m in an area where I don’t get a good wifi internet signal.

    • Comments: 1
      Joined: 7/25/2016
      Oct 17, 2019 at 5:46 PM

      Ben was one of my favorite players…until he wasn’t.

  7. Comments: 400
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Oct 15, 2019 at 12:17 PM

    Holy Shit I finally found a direct Gattis & Harbaugh explanation of jus wtf Speed In Space is:

    This was from March so no wonder on my part I had not come in contact with this write up as March is Spring Break Month and I was busy partyin’ at South Padre Island and/or hangin at the beach and Clayton’s Beach Bar.

    According to Gatis its a tight end heavy “pro-spread” (Sooo thats why we ain’t a bin seein all of those RPO bombs to the WR’s, I guess) We shouldn’t be, I guess.
    Harbaugh said Michigan already has the kind of talent & players to run this offense (hmmm sooo ahh like why aint it ahappenun then jah immy boi?)
    Gattis also commented that he’s not going to change/overhaul the offense but work within whats already in place be4 he arrived………

    Now I understand “Speed In Space” – its a new catch phrase by the coaching staff to describe Samo, Samo”. Now that I get that, I can stop anticipating when this new fangled thing we were all looking for would show up.

    Only really ‘new thing” I gather was that Michigan, according to Gattis, is Michigan would NEVER! Huddle………….

    Now IF Gattis can just get them to NEVER FUMBLE!
    I’m now soooo enlightened………….intjohn

  8. Comments: 1
    Joined: 9/4/2018
    Oct 15, 2019 at 8:11 PM

    Mason cost us 15 yards and a possible TD. His blocking however, was just fine. You can’t blame him for what was a pretty crappy throw on a play where Patterson had little pressure and made a pretty sucky throw.

    • Comments: 400
      Joined: 12/24/2016
      Oct 15, 2019 at 8:42 PM

      Mason also fumbled near the goal line on the first series against Wisky. Wisky was up 7-0 and Michigan had hit a long pass to set up Mason’s run inside the 5. Looked like Speed In Space was offense was actually working but He fumbled and set the tone for the rest of the half. Chaos theory at its finest but what IF Mason doesn’t fumble and Michigan scores to tie that game?
      Against Ill his absolute stupid 15 yard dead ball penalty at the goal line costing Michigan again a possible 7 points.
      Point is Mason has committed 2 ‘unforgivable’ sins inside the five at the goal line in 2 separate games costing Michigan a possible 2 TD’s, hence Bench Mason.
      I get it…………intjohn

  9. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Oct 15, 2019 at 9:37 PM

    I don’t blame Mason, at all. He was moved to D, gained a lot of weight, and lost significant practice time with 1st team O

    The decision to put that on the field rests with the Head Coach

    • Comments: 359
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Oct 16, 2019 at 8:06 AM

      Agree JE, excepting the personal foul near the goal line I could have done without. That was on him.

      • Comments: 359
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Oct 16, 2019 at 8:15 AM

        Let’s keep an eye on another ball player’s career here, namely Michael Barrett. Hopefully he will rise to being a great viper – we can use one. He also has been moved around a lot, LB was a position of need at the time he was pulled from the offense.

    • Comments: 400
      Joined: 12/24/2016
      Oct 16, 2019 at 9:13 AM

      I don’t ‘blame’ Mason either for the fumble nor necessarily for the penalty…….
      Its all on the coaching staff, ultimately.

      But I still ‘get’ the sarcasm of ‘Bench Mason’ (I’m an unapologetic sarcasm fan & it doesn’t matter to me what the topic or my own personal views might be. I’ll always appreciate good sarcasm.)

      Even the penalty I think actually is to some extent on the coaching a staff. You play the game , the way you train & practice – one will always subconsciously & psychologically revert to your trainning. Somewhere along the line such a dumb penalty is an indication of undisciplined trainning habits and that is on the coaching.

      Now I think I’ll get back to sarcasm………….
      Thanx…………INTJohnny Luzsha

  10. Comments: 27
    Joined: 9/25/2019
    Oct 16, 2019 at 10:56 AM

    I read this comment sometime back (don’t remember where):

    “That used to be the credo of the maize and blue, especially on defense. ‘They come at you in waves,’ opposing coaches would say. Despite having better talent than most of the rest of the league on paper, that talent out-worked everyone, regardless of the lack of necessity at times.”

    That’s what I’d like to see more of, most specifically on the offensive side of the ball. This team has the killer instinct of Mother Teresa.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 16, 2019 at 12:06 PM

      “This team has the killer instinct of Mother Teresa.”

      I’m going to steal this line for when it’s time to yell at my own football team.

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