Michigan vs. Ohio State Awards

Michigan vs. Ohio State Awards

November 27, 2012
Denard Robinson broke these tackles in his way to a 67-yard touchdown

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Denard Robinson.  Robinson carried the ball just 4 times in the second half.  If the coaches aren’t going to trust him to throw the ball at all, then he needs to run it.  Michigan has no runners who are capable of being dynamic except Robinson.  I would like to see Robinson make a full-time switch to running back for the bowl game, because Fitzgerald Toussaint has a broken leg and the other guys just can’t do the job.  Robinson won’t play quarterback in the NFL, so it’s not like he needs the stage of the bowl game to show off his skills.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Vincent Smith.  This goes hand in hand with the usage of Robinson, but Smith can’t be an every-down back.  The Michigan coaches should have learned that by now.  Al Borges tried to slam him up the middle with a weak interior line, and Smith went nowhere.  Throw him some screens and run the inverted veer with him, but don’t line him up in the “I” and expect to gain yards on the ground.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Frank Clark.  Clark was in the doghouse during the offseason, and he’s not the most disciplined player on the field.  But Clark is superior to Brennen Beyer in almost every other way.  The kid bats down passes, puts pressure on the quarterback, and makes plays.  Unless the coaches are still working out the issues of Clark’s off-season troubles, Clark needs to be the starting weakside end.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Joe Bolden.  I’ve said it before, but Bolden’s just not ready for these big-time games.  He took a couple bad angles on Saturday and missed some tackles.  I do believe that he’ll be a solid player in the future, but the game’s just moving too fast for him right now.  He’s a perfect example of why freshman linebackers should redshirt.

Play of the game . . . Denard Robinson’s 67-yard touchdown run.  While the Wolverines trotted out Robinson at quarterback with a minute and some change left, it seemed as though Michigan was going to be happy with the status quo going into halftime.  He couldn’t beat Ohio State with his arm and everyone knew it.  He took the snap, went left, and gained a chunk of yards.  On the next play, he took the snap, faked a handoff, and then gave three blockers time to get out in front of him to the right.  He burst past his blockers, withstood two Buckeye tacklers who tried to crunch him between themselves, stumbled, and then outran everyone for a 67-yard touchdown that put Michigan up by 7 points.  Of course, Ohio State drove down and kicked a field goal before the half, but that was still a four-point swing in the right direction for Michigan.

MVP of the game . . . Jake Ryan.  Ryan didn’t score any touchdowns, but he filled up the stat sheet on the defensive side of the ball and did a good job of mostly hemming in OSU quarterback Braxton Miller.  Ryan finished the day with 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles.  Michigan still had a chance to win the game because the defense kept them in it, and Ryan was the best defensive player on the field.


  1. Comments: 21381
    Nov 27, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I agree with all of this. I really feel bad for Vincent Smith, because I thought he really played hard against OSU, ran with little help on some rotten playcalls, did his usual good job of blocking, and then falls victim to observations like this post, because he is so badly miscast by Borges & Co.

  2. Comments: 21381
    Nov 27, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Fire Al Borges! Fire the entire offense!

  3. Comments: 21381
    Nov 27, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    While I'd like to see Denard take a few snaps at QB for old times sake, I agree with you about the move to RB. Bowls are about a) rewarding players, especially seniors and b)looking ahead to next season. I think the team would benefit a great deal from Gardner practicing full time at QB and getting most of the bowl snaps. I've been arguing for a couple years that Denard is headed to RB at the NFL so it could actually help his draft stock (and make him some more money) to play RB. Would be great to see him make one last TD pass though…

    Kinda with you on Smith except that Rawls didn't look much better. It's kind of like the Smith/Shaw thing – they both suck, so it's doesn't really matter. They might as well pound it forward with Hopkins or see what Hayes has to offer (probably not much)… or more Smith – whatever. If the OL isn't going to block it doesn't much matter which mediocre ball-carrier you throw in there.

    Clark does look like the most promising WDE and should get the majority of snaps, but Beyer seems to be better against the run. We need a rotation there. Beyer's got talent too and should play. He'll be needed next year – maybe at SDE, maybe as the designated run-stopper. Beyer seems to be following Craig Roh's career arc, right down to being miscast as an OLB early in his career.

    Bolden's going to be a key player next year, so I'm glad he didn't red-shirt. And Ross is a perfect example of why not all freshman need to. In an ideal world, sure, the red-shirt is nice, but given Michigan's depth and the lack of returning experience at LB – they need these guys to take the accelerated path. Besides, the way these coaches are recruiting the LB position I don't think they're going to miss Bolden and Ross too badly 4 years from now.

    Ryan is a beast. Glad to have him back for next year.

  4. Comments: 21381
    Nov 27, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Great work this season, Magnus/Thunder. Enjoy reading the blog, as always.

  5. Comments: 21381
    Nov 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    If Borges is going to keep the inverted beer, let's have Smith teach Toussaint how to run it.

  6. Comments: 21381
    Nov 27, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Magnus, do you think that Clark is better against the run than Beyer?

    • Comments: 21381
      Nov 27, 2012 at 7:30 PM

      If there's a difference, I think it's negligible. Beyer had 18 tackles and 0 tackles for loss. Clark had 25 tackles and 9 tackles for loss, but only 2 of those TFLs were sacks.

    • Comments: 21381
      Painter Smurf
      Nov 27, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      I think the coaches like Beyer because he is a good practice player and is pretty disciplined (like Nate Brink). But they need to reduce his minutes next year because he has absolutely zero pass rush capabilities. Clark and Ojemudia both give off the vibe of playmakers, so UM should have a decent rotation at WDE next year. The position was a relative weakness this year.

  7. Comments: 21381
    Nov 27, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    How much improvement do you think will see from this year to next on the d line

    • Comments: 21381
      Nov 28, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      I think the defensive line will improve, but not by much. Heitzman won't be much of a drop-off from Roh, and if anyone beats out Heitzman (Wormley, Strobel), then that's a positive. Washington should be better. Pipkins should be about as good as Campbell, I think, and Jibreel Black could be like Van Bergen and bounce back and forth between 5-tech and 3-tech. Beyer/Clark should improve. I don't think the defensive line will be dominant, but it should be marginally better.

    • Comments: 21381
      Nov 28, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      WDE: Clark/Beyer/Ojemudia this year – all return next year. NET GAIN
      SDE: Roh/Heitzman this year – Heitzman and Wormley/Strobel/Beyer. SMALL NET LOSS
      DT: Campbell/Black this year – Black/Pipkins, maybe Wormley. NEUTRAL
      NT: Washington/Pipkins this year – both return. NET GAIN

      IMO, it's going to be significantly better next year. You basically replace Roh with more snaps for Heitzman and a rotation of younger players who, like Thunder said: it's a positive if they beat him out. Then Campbell gets replaced by more snaps for Black and Pipkins who have both displayed very good potential. With everyone around them improving, the DL should be very good. Plus, you never know which recruit from '12 or '13 could be a breakout player (Godin, Henry, Hurst, Poggi, Charlton, etc.)

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