Michigan vs. Maryland Awards

Michigan vs. Maryland Awards


October 5, 2015

Michigan suffered a big loss with Mario Ojemudia’s injury.


Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . 
Drake Johnson. Johnson looked a little slow in the first half, and I do think he has lost a half-step or a step since last year. I guess that happens sometimes when you tear an ACL, especially for the second time. His best asset before the injury was his speed, and he also showed pretty good vision last year. But once he caught the screen pass for a 31-yard touchdown, he seemed to find his confidence a little bit. He finished the game with 13 carries for 68 yards and 1 touchdown, plus the touchdown catch. He should probably be the #2 guy going forward.

Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Ty Isaac. I was all for Ty Isaac getting some extra carries in this game, especially with De’Veon Smith out due to injury. Then Isaac completely laid an egg, fumbling twice on just 6 carries. He finished the day with 6 carries for 17 yards, 2 fumbles (1 lost), and a 15-yard roughing-the-punter penalty. Coaches teach runners to carry the ball “high and tight,” and Isaac interpreted that to mean “low and loose.” After the second fumble, he didn’t see any more offensive snaps. That made things tough with no De’Veon Smith and Derrick Green getting dinged up, so it was Johnson who picked up the extra slack before turning it over to fifth-stringer Ross Taylor-Douglas on the final drive.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Ben Gedeon. It looks like Mario Ojemudia will be out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury, so that leaves a big hole at a spot where Michigan couldn’t afford to lose someone. His backups are Royce Jenkins-Stone, who’s just a guy, and redshirt freshman Lawrence Marshall, who appears to be working his way out of the doghouse and hasn’t shown much yet. The Buck linebacker spot needs to generate a pass rush, and Jenkins-Stone can’t provide that. I might take a look at Gedeon for Buck linebacker, because he’s aggressive and athletic. He has been playing inside linebacker, so someone else might have to start getting more reps on the inside to allow Gedeon to slide over. Unless Marshall or a true freshman (Shelton Johnson, Reuben Jones) is ready, some reshuffling probably needs to happen.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. After two straight shutouts and fifteen straight quarters of scoreless ball, things are looking pretty good.

Play of the game . . . Jake Butt’s 44-yard catch on a screen pass. It didn’t result in a score, but Butt caught a nicely designed screen pass in the right flat and eventually got tackled 44 yards later. Quarterback Jake Rudock faked a jet sweep to Jehu Chesson going right and then faked a handoff to the tailback going left, which distracted the defense long enough for things to get set up for Butt. He had Chesson and a couple linemen out front, and Butt patiently waited for them to get their blocks before stiff-arming a couple guys on his way to the big gainer.

MVP of the game . . . Desmond Morgan. Offensively, it was a group effort with nobody truly standing out. The whole defense obviously played well in the shutout. But Morgan ended up with 9 tackles, 2 pass breakups, and 1 interception. He was a solid tackler in the running game, and he made a nice diving interception on a tipped screen pass. He did have a pass coverage lapse or two when he simply wasn’t quick enough to stick with the running back, but overall, it was a very good day for the fifth year senior inside linebacker.

20 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1252
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Oct 05, 2015 at 6:59 AM

    I thought the big play for Drake Johnson was his run into the red zone late in the game, where he made a couple bends around guys and then lowered his shoulder and just pounded a guy and a half about three yards backwards. That was some serious Rob Lyle stuff right there and about as fine an example of finishing a run as I’ve seen in a while.

    I must really like Jourdan Lewis because the hit he took on his pick really bothered me. I can’t ever remember feeling so relieved to see a kid run off the field.

    Gedeon is a good choice too.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 24
    Joined: 9/3/2015
    Joby
    Oct 05, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    Thanks for these posts. I believe that is Wilton Speight pictured, and not Desmond Morgan (notice the lack of height differential with Butt). What a tough break for Ojemudia and for Michigan. He was rapidly making strides in this position, and I agree that this would be the best way to get Gedeon on the field more, assuming he can learn the position quickly enough and not overpursue or give up the edge too often. I wish a medical redshirt was a possibility for Ojemudia, but I think the rule is that the player must play less than 30% of the season, which would disqualify that possibility.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3544
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 05, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      Yeah, a medical redshirt would not be a possibility for Ojemudia.

      I think you’re right that #3 in the picture is Wilton Speight.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 48
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nick.
    Oct 05, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    Isaac had a great opportunity to show what he has to offer this team as the lead back for this game and he completely whiffed. Bad YPC could still get him another chance, but turning the ball over and penalties will see him riding the bench. I don’t recall, but was he turnover prone in his limited time at USC or in high school? Maybe he was trying to do too much to prove he was the guy?

    Ojemudia loss will be a big one. He has played some really good ball the last few weeks. Not sure there is a comparable player to insert into that position. RJS is the guy they have tabbed to fill in and he is not the same type of player.

    O’Neil still seems to be the steal of the year. Picking him up was a great find. Kick and flat out punt and pin them deep.

    Was nice to see Peppers finally get a decent return this week. This kid has been itching to get loose on one.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5873
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 05, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    I have to admit I’m increasingly baffled by your takes on the running game situation.

    We learned very little about RB this week. The Maryland game is just an affirmation of the previously assumed hierarchy. Smith is #1 and that is was and will be clear. Johnson is #2, though not equipped to be an everydown Harbaugh-back running between the tackles. Isaac is #3 even if he is the backup. Green is #4. This is what I said last week and it only solidified.

    Johnson’s been the 2nd RB to get a carry 4 games in a row. The only game he didn’t was Utah, when he was hurt. Sounds like the #2 back to me.

    The idea that Isaac had any realistic shot of displacing Smith against Maryland was laughable. It was one thing when it was the offseason and Smith had only been rumored to be the #1 guy, but another when he established a stranglehold on the position.

    Look, I thought Isaac would have a good game too, not the debacle that went down, but he’s still not as good as the 2 guys ahead of him. Isaac DOES appear to be better than Green as long as he can hold on to the dang ball but even that’s in a little bit of doubt. The updated stats say Isaac’s gotten good blocking on 54% of carries, while Green’s at a pitiful 30%.

    The only real surprise this week (to me anyway) was that Green got as many carries as he did. The Green supporters are dwindling. I suppose you can argue our depth took a hit this week, but that’s only if you assumed Isaac was a viable candidate to unseat Isaac. He wasn’t. He was 5th string at USC and now he’s 3rd string at Michigan. Seek your savior elsewhere.

    Not that Michigan football needs one. Smith’s a load and he’s playing with even more drive and confidence now that his OL is opening some holes once in a while

    Lets see more of this guy: DeVeon MFing Smith!!!

    Isaac’s got some talent but if he’s not going to hold onto the ball or block it’s hard to see him graduating to the #1 RB spot after Smith departs. With two more seasons in Ann Arbor there is plenty of time to get better, but if you’re theorizing about his long-term NFL prospects I think H-back is more realistic than RB.

    Isaac’s a tweener. Too tall for FB, too big for RB, not fast enough for WR, not blocky enough for TE. Sounds like an H-back to me after some development, but he’s a junior now, so that’s probably not happening. I think he stays at RB and keeps getting better, but right now I’d be a little surprised if he finished his college career in a Michigan uniform.

    My hopes for Isaac are the same as my preseason hopes for him. Slim down, learn to block, and establish himself as a 3rd down back.

    The Isaac truthers being brought into the realm of reality is good, but most f them are just going to move on to Shane Morris, Drake Harris, or some other backup. Meanwhile, the case that Jim Harbaugh knows what he is doing just gets stronger every week. Why there was any doubt, I don’t know. I’m quickly evolving into a “trust the coaches” guy, because these guys are earning it.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3544
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 05, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      Speaking of baffling, I don’t see how you can say that Johnson is/was the #2 back. The starter missed the game, and Ty Isaac started. Isaac is the #2 back. You keep saying to trust the coaches, but then you say stuff like “Drake Johnson is the #2 back.” If he was, then he would have started. He didn’t.

      That could change going forward. In fact, two fumbles in six carries suggests that perhaps it should change. But you are/were wrong about Johnson being the #2 guy. It’s weird that you sit there and say “Trust the coaches” when the coaches are doing something different than what you say they are/should be doing.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5873
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 05, 2015 at 2:24 PM

        The #2 back doesn’t have to be the backup starter. The #2 back is the guy who gets the second most carries (or receptions, or perhaps most accurately snaps). The #2 back is often the 3rd down guy. Most teams these days don’t even have a primary back, they rotate their top two who typically bring different skillsets. Thunder and Lightning – that’s what Michigan has.

        Check the depth chart. Johnson is #2. Isaac is OR with Green for 3.

        The OR that had been there in previous weeks was lingering doubts about injury, and as stated previously he’s been the 2nd back in every game he has played.

        Because Michigan is so power-oriented they are going to have a primary guy who can pound the defense time and time again. That’s not Drake Johnson. But Drake Johnson is the #2 back and he has been that since he’s gotten healthy.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3544
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Oct 05, 2015 at 2:35 PM

          Oh…I didn’t realize we were changing the meaning of “#2.” That’s very interesting.

          Justice Hayes was the third down back last year. Was he also the “#2 guy?” The answer is no. He was always listed at least third on the depth chart.

          I think you’re making it up as you go along.

          I’ll grant you that Drake Johnson is the #2 guy on the current depth chart for the week of Northwestern. But he hasn’t been the #2 guy until this week. Your discussion of “concerns about injury” is projecting. You have no real idea of why he was #3 or lower on the depth chart.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5873
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 05, 2015 at 3:53 PM

            Michigan didn’t have a primary back last year, they had a rotation. By the end of the year Johnson was the #2 guy. He never lost that job, he just got hurt.

            There’s too many examples of Thunder and Lightning combinations around to point to just one. I know you go by Thunder but that doesn’t mean you get to ignore Lightning completely.

            Vincent Smith was the #2 back in 2012, even though he was almost exclusively a 3rd down back, because the only primary back that mattered was Toussaint.

            Isaac got 3 of the first 4 carries, because Johnson remained in his ‘lightning’ role. When Smith comes back it will be Isaac who goes to the bench not Johnson, and that was true before the fumbles. He started, good for him, but he was third on the team in carries.

            Anyway, this is a stupid argument. Johnson is listed #2 on the depth chart. He has been that or tied for that every week of the season he has been healthy. He has been the #2 guy in to get a carry every single week of the season. I don’t know what to call that other than the #2 back.

            He has 2 fewer carries than Isaac in one less game and despite being eased back into action. After BYU the coaches said the depth chart was clearing up and one week later it’s in print. What I said last week (Johnson is clearly #2) was true. I’d be surprised if that changed anytime soon.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5873
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 05, 2015 at 3:56 PM

            When I say Johnson was the #2, I mean behind Green – who was the starter before he was hurt. Obviously Johnson was the primary back (that was healthy) by OSU.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3544
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Oct 05, 2015 at 8:32 PM

            It’s just so silly that your excuses include stuff like “He was the second back to get a carry because he was playing the Lightning role.” If someone else starts, you’re #2. And when that other starter is already #2, you’re #3.

            I agree that things are different now. It’s a new week. But this is the first week where that’s true.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5873
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 07, 2015 at 9:00 AM

            I said Johnson was #2. He is #2 on the depth chart I have no need to make “excuses”.

            The only thing keeping the “OR” on Johnson was his injury. His role has grown as he’s gotten healthier. Nothing else has changed.

            The Ty Isaac fantasy appears to be stronger than reality.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3544
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Oct 07, 2015 at 9:55 AM

            I know Johnson is the current #2 guy on the depth chart. As I have said multiple times in this thread, that has not been the case up until now. It’s not a difficult concept to understand. Ty Isaac was #2 before now.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5873
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 07, 2015 at 2:04 PM

            Except that Isaac wasn’t. Has Isaac ever even been listed as the #2 back without an OR beside his name?

            The difficult part to understand is why Drake Johnson’s injury and healthy aren’t being considered in this argument. Isaac was the de facto #2 back against Utah (he got twice as many carries as Green that week but it was 4 to 2, so it’s not like there was great separation there). Still, even then, his position was marked by OR. It’s not different than Poggi and Houma and the backup TEs – there wasn’t a clear guy and who plays first is situational based on playcalling.

            Ignoring the injury is no different than saying Terrance Williams is the #1 WR for the Cowboys. Maybe temporarily, but in the grand scheme: Nope – that’s Dez Bryant, he’s just hurt. Once he is healthy the #2 guy will go back to being #2 and the #3 guys will go back to being #3.

            What you’re missing is that the lack of clarity at RB was injury-fueled, not based on equivalent performance. The #2 guy was hurt, so he got an OR next to his name until he could handle the workload.

            As Johnson got healthy, the thing was already “solidifying” according to the coaches. This predates the Maryland game so nothing that happened there changed it. Except ‘solidifying went to concrete. In other words, it’s not because Isaac “disappointed” but because Johnson is getting healthier. The wheels were already in motion.

            The only change is that the #2 guy is healthier. That’s it.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1331
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Oct 05, 2015 at 3:22 PM

      I actually thought that Green seemed to be running with some energy and a bit of a burst his first few carries, but man, the guy just does not run hard through contact, and does not seem to be able to find holes and change direction to hit them when the initial opening is not there.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3544
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Oct 05, 2015 at 8:40 PM

        Unfortunately, Green seems to get the yards that are initially created by the line, and he can’t get anything else. It’s pretty disappointing that when we get the #1 running back in the country, that’s all he can do. Of course, I don’t think he was the best RB recruit in the nation, but I would still expect more from a #1 ranked player at his position. He’s not a terrible back by any stretch, and you’re probably in good shape when he’s the #4 back, but you still expect more from someone like that.

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 5873
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 05, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    I like the suggestion for Gedeon. It seems like Michigan coaches have gone to some length to get his athleticism on the field.

    The thing about the Buck spot is that for all the claim that’s an aggressive pass-rushing spot, I think that’s getting overstated. Ojemudia didn’t really get that much rush too often, but he was very good and completely dominated snaps at the position.

    What he was good at was being smart, keeping contain, and consistently putting himself in spot where the offense couldn’t make plays on him on the edge. He’s going to be badly missed in every game, but northwestern, OSU and other teams that attack the edges aggressively are going to be most dangerous.

    Obviously RJS and Marshall are going to get a shot, but I agree with Thunder that throwing Gedeon and maybe even Furbush into the mix is a great idea.

  6. JC
    Comments: 273
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Oct 05, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    Prediction 3 interceptions before the game is a bold move. Happy it was right.

    Losing Ojemudia hurts, but I’m excited to see what RJS can do as a starter.

  7. Avatar
    Comments: 142
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    coachernie
    Oct 05, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Laughable people want to tar and feather Issac after one bad game. Heck Tom freaking Brady threw 4 INT’s against Buffalo a few years back; everyone has a bad day.
    Issac remains the only ‘classic’ RB we have with a combination of talents. He needs to fix some things and I know Coach Wheatley will get him straightened out. Issac is our #2 back and will continue to be so going forward. Drake has lost a step, anyone this side of Stevie Wonder can see that. He’s not the same, yet, maybe ever.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5873
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 07, 2015 at 2:08 PM

      “Tar and feather” or call the 5th string transfer from USC what he is – a 3rd string player?

      What’s laughable is people thinking they know better than Harbaugh and that the 3rd or 4th string guy should start over the 1st and 2nd string guy because…what exactly? Recruiting hype? YPC against UNLV?

      I don’t know what “classic” means, but I know that most “classic” cars spend most of their time in a garage and require a lot of extra maintenance.

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