Michigan vs. Wisconsin Awards

Michigan vs. Wisconsin Awards


September 23, 2019

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Mike Sainristil. Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis promised Michigan fans #speedinspace when he was hired. During the spring and then the summer, Jim Harbaugh said Sainristil was the starter at the H receiver position. We’re three games into the 2019 season, and the supposedly healthy Sainristil has yet to touch the ball even once. Not on jet sweeps. Not on screens. Not on kick returns or punt returns. Not on downfield shots.

Hit the jump for more.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Nick Eubanks. Or Luke Schoonmaker. Or any second tight end. Eubanks isn’t speedy in space, and neither is Schoonmaker. Michigan threw the ball to Eubanks on an arrow route, which is somewhat similar to a bubble. Why isn’t that throw going to someone who is actually fast?

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Chris Hinton, Jr. Call me crazy, but I think your freshman 5-star defensive tackle should be playing defensive tackle on the goal line rather than your 229 lb. walk-on WILL linebacker. I know, I’m an outside-the-box thinker, but that’s why you guys read this blog, for my revolutionary ideas.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Jordan Anthony. I’m still baffled that Rivals ranked Anthony as a 5-star linebacker, but that idiocy notwithstanding, I am not impressed with what I have seen from the redshirt sophomore. Michigan needs Josh Ross to be healthy, and maybe the guy rotating in should be Cam McGrone, not Anthony or Devin Gil.

Play of the game . . . none. I was not impressed with any portion of Saturday’s game, including the opening long gain by Ronnie Bell. Even that play wasn’t on time and reflected the fact that Michigan can’t run even a single clean offensive play.

MVP of the game . . . Aidan Hutchinson. In my opinion, Hutchinson has been the best player on the team so far in 2019. On Saturday he had 9 tackles and 1 pass breakup. He’s been excellent, even though it didn’t matter much against Wisconsin.

23 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1228
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Sep 23, 2019 at 6:52 AM

    I wouldn’t believe anything Gattis said at this point. It’s pretty obvious now that all the hype about Sainristil was nothing more than made up bullshit, to try to sell the whole “speed in space” notion. Again, he’s not even TRYING to do what he promised with this offense.

    And yes, Michigan doesn’t seem able to be able to run even one well-designed, well-executed play, especially in the passing game. We’re back to our old ways of every pass seeming to go to a guy who is tightly covered, falling down, or going out of bounds. Every other team I watched Saturday seemed to have no trouble running plays where a receiver got nicely open, the quarterback hit them with nice easy pass, and then they ran with it for a while. Not us.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 5
    Joined: 4/11/2017
    Shiban
    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:15 AM

    Magnus – very curious on your comments on Sainristil. Does his omission from the games indicate to you that perhaps Josh Gattis is NOT in full control of the offense and that at the end of the day Harbaugh is making personnel decisions? I can’t imagine that Gattis wouldn’t want to get Sainristil on the field, especially since he seemed to have a big roll in all of spring and fall.

    Separately, are we really a meritocracy or is there significant player loyalty being deployed by the coaches? For example, Sainristil is a true freshmen but Eubanks is a much older player who has paid his dues and so they are playing him? Perhaps this has something to do with the rumored locker room issues / the lack of dynamism throughout this offensive transition.

    It seems to me what we are seeing on the field is different than what we’ve seen in spring practice.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3256
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 23, 2019 at 10:14 AM

      First of all, everything that happens within the Michigan football program is Jim Harbaugh. He’s either making the decision or he’s allowing the decision to be made. So when it comes to Sainristil not playing (or whoever), it’s up to Jim Harbaugh, regardless of what he tells the media.

      That being said, if the offense isn’t performing well and Gattis is calling the shots, it’s an indictment of both of them.

      I do believe that there’s a meritocracy, at least as much as almost anywhere else. I think the best guys are playing, or at least the guys that the coaches think are best. Zach Charbonnet started right away, even with the presence of a few older guys. Ronnie Bell has wasted no time ascending the depth chart and becoming a target magnet, even with older guys present.

      I think the whole operation is very disorganized, from the top down. Harbaugh is going hands off, and Josh Gattis isn’t as good as Josh Gattis thought he was going to be. Ben McDaniels hasn’t shown that he’s capable of helping to develop the quarterbacks, either. It’s a mess right now.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5314
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 23, 2019 at 12:12 PM

        By this logic it would be Warde Manual’s fault. Or HIS boss. Or the regents that guy has to answer to. And aren’t those people elected? Blame the people who voted. Or didn’t.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5314
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 23, 2019 at 12:17 PM

        Sometimes a good manager makes a bad hire. I know we feel like the offense has been a problem since Harbaugh got here but it is only these 3 games where it is clearly a deficiency in coaching.

        Before that the issue was maybe some underperformance relative to the talent level (top 25-40 range instead of top 10-20 range) and situational ineptitude. It was never flagrant failure at this scale.

        Gattis probably deserves time to figure it out but he’s also got to produce enough to instill some confidence that it will get a lot better.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 5314
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:33 AM

    Where is the easy stuff? The free yards set up by alignment. The pitch and catch short throws. The uncovered WRs downfield generated by reads. It’s been missing since 2010.

    Personnel is a secondary issue but yeah. Eubanks has been getting used as a WR all season. This is inexplicable unless the freshman just don’t know what they are doing. If you’re using TEs this way you need to be exploiting the advantages of being “multiple”. That’s not happening either.

    The spring “starter” is irrelevant, but Michigan has 4 good WRs and other options off the bench. Use them. If the freshman aren’t ready and the starters are tired, there are walkons with decent speed who can be out there instead of TEs.

    This is basic. We dont need to use 2 TE in 3 WR sets. Our TEs are nothing special to justify this.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5314
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:44 AM

    I think Smith and Hinton just aren’t ready yet. Better to keep the redshirt on if so. Maybe they can get there by October or November but I’m not counting on it.

    Many bagging on Don Brown who is as bona fide as it gets for a DC. Have teams solved him? I really doubt it. DJ Durkins dominant D fell apart when his DL was decimated too. Brown is living that life now.

    On the first 3 plays there were 3 different DL configurations. Uche at LB and DE. Hutchinson at DE, DT, and NT. This is either “being multiple” or it’s throwing poop at the wall.

    Ben Mason on the 2-deep was a red flag and it has gotten even worse with Jeter and Dwumfour injured. Too much is asked of Hutchinson and Paye. Those guys cant be subbed out. I think Mattison saw this coming.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1228
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Sep 23, 2019 at 10:55 AM

      You raise something similar to what I was thinking about Mattison. But I wonder if he saw more than just an impending roster hole at DT. I wonder if he saw that Harbaugh, for whatever reason, was no longer the same guy he signed on with, and that the program was on its way down, not up, as a result. Was his departure the canary in the coal mine?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5314
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 23, 2019 at 12:04 PM

        I think there were multiple factors.

        Being a bit taken for granted in AA especially compared to the favored coaches like Brown and Warriner.

        Being overqualified for a positional coach role.

        Losing 3 NFL players off the DL and replacing them with not much.

        Staring at retirement with nothing to lose.

        A massive load of cash.

        Mattison has an ego and this is his last hurrah. In AA it was going to be a grind with these DTs. A difficult and thankless task for less pay than he could elsewhere. Reason to stay is one – loyalty. Loyalty to the school he spurned before and the school whose fans have no interest in loyalty going in the other direction. Fans who want to fire the one prestige coaching candidate they can realistically get. Who want to fire the NFL OC he hired. Who demand the program exceed their historical performance. He saw the ugliness of the Hoke years first hand and I think he didn’t want to be involved with a situation where the rage cannon was going to be fired his way.

        So I think Mattison’s decision is entirely rational if you consider the above. As long as he can stomach the betrayal to the Harbaughs and be OK with not coming back to Ann Arbor it’s an easy decision.

        Lack of faith in Harbaugh? Maybe. I don’t see any way to tell this from the outside. He was here beside JH for 4 years. He always had options to go where he wanted. He chose to stay 4 times. So this kind of change would have been sudden. I’m skeptical your theory has any legs but who knows.

      • Klctlc
        Comments: 77
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Klctlc
        Sep 23, 2019 at 12:30 PM

        Honestly I am not sure what I am more depressed about There is talent on offense and theoretically they could turn it around. (I doubt it), but defense is screwed because of the DL. Thunder put Jeter as 1b or whatever and he was right. DL is in trouble. No size and no depth. D. Brown had Wormley, Henry, Glasgow, Hurst,etc. to make up for his “solve it with aggression”. Problem is teams can take there time now because we can’t get any interior pass rush and if you have a decent OL you can get 3 – 4 yards easy? Was D. brown a genius or did he just have superior talent?

        That is what seems so hopeless here. They don’t even have a nose tackle on the recruiting board for 2020 or 2021??? WTF. I know Jenkins projects to nose tackle, but isn’t he like 240lbs right now? Can they bring over an OL or too?

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5314
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 23, 2019 at 1:09 PM

          Brown didn’t have superior talent at BC.

          Maybe not as good as he looked with elite talent but that’s true everywhere. Put Saban at Purdue and see how genius he looks. She how effective swapping OCs every year looks with 2 and 3 star talent.

          We tried to hire an offensive genius but the thing was his genius moment was already behind him.

          Coaching. Talent. Experience. They all count. We lost Mattison and 3 starters on the DL. Then we lost 2 of the 3 DTs left on the roster. This is a rebuild year on the DL. Brown can do better than these first 3 games but this isn’t going to be another top 10 defense unless Jeter and Dwumfour get healthy AND make major strides relative to last year.

          • Klctlc
            Comments: 77
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Klctlc
            Sep 23, 2019 at 1:20 PM

            You need to count the last two games of last year too. Also where is the focus on dL? If you miss on either mazi or Hinton, next year is the same result. I just don’t buy the day four hype and Jeter appears to be a bod. We are not on any top nose guards or 3 techs for 2020 or 2021? Plus we lose kemp

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5314
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 23, 2019 at 2:34 PM

            There’s a lot of potential answers for 2020. Dwumfour and Jeter should be back. Smith and Hinton should be ready to contribute as backups at least. Hutchinson is now and will be an option to flex inside if there are capable players at Anchor and WDE. Michigan doesn’t need all of these options to work out but they need some.

            The issues in 2018 have already been covered. Aubrey Solomon, James Hudson, Rashad Weaver too many recruiting misses and failure to retain talent. Was workable until Wino and Gary were hurt.

            They do need to recruit and develop better. But nobody else is walking into the door right now. Right now they are down to 3 DL they can trust and all of them fit best at SDE.

            Don Brown’s job is to mitigate the damage to whatever extent he can. Obviously he has considered putting the freshman out there. Clearly he’s trying all kinds of things. Didn’t work at all against Wisconsin. We’ll see if there are answers going forward.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5314
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Sep 23, 2019 at 2:35 PM

              My best guess for answers

              1. Get Jeter or Dwumfour healthy
              2. Move Hutchinson inside full time
              3. Slide Paye to Anchor full time
              4. Danna and Uche split the WDE role

            • Klctlc
              Comments: 77
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Klctlc
              Sep 23, 2019 at 3:30 PM

              Lan,

              I appreciate your comments and I know I am being a bit reactionary now, but man the drop off in DL in just two years has been significant. Hopefully your are right, but whoever did DL recruiting the past 3 years really missed the boat and that includes Solomon.

              Honest question though. What worries you more offense or defense right now? I know the problems are bigger than that but what do you see as fixable in the next 4 games?

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5314
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 23, 2019 at 4:20 PM

                I am more worried about the offense and it’s not close. They have the personnel to be not just good but excellent and they are very far from it. Gattis looks like a disaster right now.

                We can blame it on fumble randomness and certainly things look a lot better without all that but even then it’s disjointed. Our best plays are improvised. One week we run every play the next game we pass every play. Nothing makes sense. Each game has looked worse than the last one so far. It is obvious to everyone that on offense we are getting out coached.

                It IS fixable because these same players were solid last year. Gattis is a rookie and rookies deserve patience. But we need to see some signs.

                Against Rutgers I want to see a simplified playbook, balanced playcalling, and players who look like they know what they are doing. A basic building block. The potential start of a turnaround.

                The defense is what it is. It’s not going to be great but Don Brown and some good health should be able to sort things out enough to show improvement over the next 4 games. That’s not saying much when you give up 5 TDs to 2 punts to start a game, but I don’t think they’ll be outright bad. The hope here is that it was a Wisconsin thing and not a season thing.

                My concerns on defense are more long-term. The lack of DT and CB talent in the pipeline is rather alarming.

                • Klctlc
                  Comments: 77
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Klctlc
                  Sep 23, 2019 at 6:44 PM

                  crazy thought. Bring onwennu to NG. Hayes to lt and runyan guard, or filigia to replace onwennu. I think the OL can still improve with that scenario. I have to think against run heavy teams Onwennu at NT, kemp at 3 tech, Paye at weak side and Hutchinson at strong side is pretty formidable line. For spread/passing teams go back to what you have today. I know the thought will drive all the true coaches on this board crazy, but I am at a loss what they can do to solidify DL. Don’t you think they would have pulled the “play in emergency only” lever on Hinton and Smith already?

    • Avatar
      Comments: 163
      Joined: 9/15/2015
      ragingbull
      Sep 23, 2019 at 3:45 PM

      theyre not getting better than don brown right now. sure, he has his flaws but hes a very good coach.
      its tough when you cant really trust your DL to hold up in the middle and even guys like hutchinson and paye who usually hold their own vs the run do not convert naturally to pass rushers.

      and the # of missed fits, missed assignments and missed tackles was truly staggering. metellus is usually pretty solid but he missed tackles and didnt make what should have been a fairly routine INT on the hash.

      grey, hill and thomas all blew run fits spectacularly, losing leverage, not playing physical, etc and didnt play with great eye discipline.
      they were not communicating and blowing simple crack replaces which led to big plays and conversions (the one i recall most being grey and woods).

      not to mention how demoralizing it can be to play D when your own O has repeatedly shown their incompetence and realizing its gonna be a fight to move the ball at all let alone score.

      im not absolving brown – they were terrible. players did not look confident and played poorly and thats partly on the staff. they were outcoached. wisc had a good feel for what michigan wanted to do (basically what brown has done since hes been here) and how to attack it. they used motion effectively to crack holes in the D, though it was often due to someone busting or not playing fast enough.
      but even when brown schemed up good calls, his players didnt even come close to executing it.
      hutchinson blows up a run in backfield for what should be a loss or no gain but the CB loses contain and allows taylor to bounce a big one – when someone tried to make a play they were usually let down by a teammate.

      they got spanked all around, the players and the staff. im with you though, i like don brown and dont think theyre doing any better than him right now

  5. TheWolverines24
    Comments: 6
    Joined: 5/17/2017
    TheWolverines24
    Sep 23, 2019 at 10:17 AM

    This offense is not going to look good until Shea can actually read a defense and get the ball out on time.

    So, never.

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 300
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 23, 2019 at 2:26 PM

    I’m just guna unload……… Thunder send me a bill for therapy.
    I see up there the “Mereitocracy” word – I’ll come back to this in a minute but first…………
    I signed on this site almost 3 years ago becuase I found myself interested in Michigan football recruiting/recruitment. How did that interest occur? I actually had never paid much attention to it until Hoke’s final year and recruits started bailing from the Michigan program and then when Harbaugh was hired I was right there with everyone else falling on my knees and slobbering all over Harb’s boot straps with my arms embraced around khaki covered ankles hugging them to my head. All we needed then was a QB and an OL and all would be solved – just a matter of time before Michigan is beating OSU & back to National Prominence.
    Ruddock arrived and Florida is destroyed in the bowl game & after season ’15 all of us could taste it, we’re almost there……….. just gotta fix the OL and Harbaugh has continued his QB magic by putting Ruddock into the NFL.

    And then signing day ’16 arrived and its going to be a big, a huge class for Harbaugh to mold the great fututre of Michigan Football. We all want it , to experience it, to see it happen once again. The next day tho I was dismayed, confused, my thoughts even shaken and this is when I began to have doubts about Harbaugh………..

    You see I believed he was a Great Coach and a Great Quarterback Guru and that he would build Michigan back into Greatness. Yeah lead The Team to The Promised Land. But that ’16 Class realy began to set me free of The Harbaugh Mystique and I began to question all I believed that I knew about him. In questioning what I thought I knew of him I began to seek out answers to my questions rather than just embrace my prejudices regarding Harbaugh Greatness and I started to realize that Hey! Maybe, just maybe this guy really doesn’t know what the fuk he’s doing- maybe he’s just gotten realy realy LUCKy…………

    To Ruddock: the general consensus by the Michigan fan base was that Harbaugh had miraculously sprinkled QB pixie dust on the Iowa castoff and POOF! Into the NFL a he went. Lets set this lie straight: Ferentz was stuck tween a rock & a hard spot by the Beathard Clan (we know right? Beathard’s of NFLdom) when they gave him an ultimatum: name Beathard the Younger as starter or he’s going to transfer. So whats Ferentz supposed to do? “Do I want ann NFL caliber QB for 1 year in Ruddock or do I want one for 2 in Beathard? So he names Beathard starter and since there will now be No Competition Ruddock starts lookin to leave. Was good timing for Michigan (& Harbaugh) But Ruddock had been coached by Ferentz for 4years so I’m like thinking maybe, just maybe Coac Ferentz might have had a lil bit to do with Ruddock’s success and not ALL of it is ’cause of Harbaugh’s QB pixie dust.

    Now back to that ’16 class that realy began the doubt. Michigan’s big problems were on the Offense Line and I’m waiting for signing day looking forward to all of these Ol’s that Harbs is guna sign. 30 signees if I recall and I’m thinkin at least 5 minimum OL right? Prolly 6 – should get 6 anyway ; maybe even 7! Out of 30 signees? Hell Yeah ! I mean shit thats how you build a Team right?! I’m not a coach or anything and shit even I know that. You build a team by getting OL’s.
    And Harbaugh only signed 3!!! THREE fuking OL’s when I’m thinking he needs to sign 6! THATS when I started having doubts about whether or not Harbaugh could Build A Team………. back in ’16 – his first full class IF Jim Harbaugh could actually Build a Team.

    Need a break and then I’ll be back…………..INTJohn

  7. Avatar
    Comments: 300
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 23, 2019 at 2:49 PM

    Page TuhOooo:
    On Meritocracy…………. Well this concept that Harbaugh began throwing around almost immediately after his hire had a lil bit of influence on me too and this is when I began to get a feel for his fucking hypocrisy. Doubt is creeping in to my head & heart and I’m getting a sense of pure hypocrisy. Yeah Harbaugh’s Meritocracy on Building a Team. Yo Kay………

    So when he’s puttin the staff together I’m sure there was no shortage of experienced talented young guys out there; you know up & comers who’ve paid there dues and would love to have an opportunity to further their careers & experience by working for & with a great coach like Harbaugh at a great University like Michigan, great football heritage, etc……….. There literally had to be thousands, right? Pick of the litter I would think, right? So who does Harbaugh hire as part of the staff? yeah you know where this is going.
    His completely inexpereinced as an asst coach SON! Had to be hundreds if not a thousands of young asst’s out there who had more expereince and were certainly of more MERIT than Harbaugh’s kid So by Merit I guess Jim Harbaugh thinks Merit is synonymous with Nepotism , pure & simple nepotism. No Merit to it.

    So this was another of the lil red flags, the bell in the back of the head that I can barely hear but over time keeps getting louder and LOuder and LOUDER that maybe Jim Harbaugh isn’t quite all he’s presenting himself to be……….

    Nuther break…………..INTJohn

  8. Avatar
    Comments: 300
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 23, 2019 at 3:50 PM

    Puh age three:
    Of course winning cures everything, right? Well to some extent, yeah, but it has to be taken in a context of what is the big picture definition of ‘Winning’. Often times Winning is synonymous with Competing, not just keeping score; and Competing always has to be corregraphed with an overall Big Picture Strategy. One can win in a tactical sense but lose in a Strategic sense and one can lose in a Tactical sense but win Strategically – of course I’m referring here more to Military & Political ends than simple football but there is Strategy & Tactics involved in any kind of Competition………..

    Back to ‘winning’: In terms of what Harbaugh’s success means here at Michigan has to be measured by what was the Big Pictuure purpose to hiring him in the first place. Was he brought to Michigan to pound Rutgers 78-0? Is that his purpose here at Michigan? To beat lower level teams of less talent by outrageous margins? And Michigan isn’t Northwestern or Iowa either where ‘expectations’ must now be introduced to the equation; expectations that exist because of such a rich Michigan footbal tradition to begin with.
    Harbaugh was brought to Michigan to beat OSU at least once in awhile and to win East Divy & B10 Championships – in this he has not done what he was hired to do – He has not done his job.

    Some think all Michigan needs to do is get more & more talent. That whenever Michigan has the Talent like that of OSU, hmmm………? Truth is that historically even back to the days before Bo, OSU has almost always had more talent, top to bottom on the roster than Michigan and yet Michigan competed so well to defeat them on a regular basis. This is why OSU hates Michigan so much! Cause on paper they KNOW they’re better but they would still often get defeated by Michigan. Because its often about Competing! Not just winning.

    So am I OK with Harbaugh as Head Coach at Michigan? Well given with why I think he was hired and what he’s accomplished relative to that purpose coupled with his pay grade; No I’m not OK at all and after about 5 years now of the same things with him considerring what he’s being paid I’m ok with parting ways at the end of this season. Its not my call tho. But this team this season from what I’ve seen will be destroyed at home by Notre Dame, probably lose at home to MSU and by the time The Game rolls around there will be so few Michigan fans interested in attending The Big House simply to witness the slaughter that The Big House will resemble the sea of Red that I saw when Notre Dame just played Georgia…………

    There has to be a better way…………….INTJohn

  9. 17years
    Comments: 234
    Joined: 2/6/2018
    17years
    Sep 23, 2019 at 8:54 PM

    It shouldn’t anything at all like this in Jim Harbaugh’s 5th year. I never thought he could be let go from the team. But I’m half expecting it now.
    There’s talk Urban Meyer might be hired. Well, stranger things must have happened in life.

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