Ohio State 42, Michigan 13

Ohio State 42, Michigan 13


November 29, 2015


That was uglier than expected. 
And frankly, it was uglier than it should have been. For all the talk of Jim Harbaugh being a master motivator, most of the team laid an egg on Saturday. I suggested on Twitter that maybe Michigan should have hired Brady Hoke as a special consultant for Ohio State week. Obviously, that was a tongue-in-cheek comment, but Hoke took worse teams and went 1-3 against the Buckeyes, including a couple close losses and some exciting performances from Devin Gardner. We knew that Ohio State would run tempo, which would be a problem for Michigan’s defense, which was already missing two starting linemen and a key backup. The immediately concerning thing was that Ohio State was making plays early in the game. An unblocked inside linebacker facing a quarterback in the hole is a win for the defense – and normally a dream come true for a linebacker – but Joe Bolden whiffed and J.T. Barrett scored a touchdown. If you can’t make that play when you’re fresh, then it’s going to be a long day against a team that runs tempo.

Hit the jump for the rest of the game recap.

What else does Michigan have at linebacker going forward? Defensively, the most glaring issue has been Michigan’s linebacker play. The scary thing is that Michigan’s top four linebackers in the rotation are seniors. The only non-senior to play a lot of snaps this year is junior Ben Gedeon. Michigan made the questionable decision to move redshirt freshman Chase Winovich to tight end; I heard good things about that move in the off-season, and then he didn’t play at all this year on that side of the ball. Redshirt freshman Noah Furbush became a special teams standout late in the year, and redshirt junior Allen Gant saw some time on defense and special teams without doing anything noteworthy. Toss in redshirt freshman Jared Wangler – who I didn’t see on the field at all this year – and the injured Mike McCray II, and that’s your 2016 linebacker crew, everybody. Get ready for walk-ons and freshmen.

Speaking of Joe Bolden. I am always hesitant to pull out the d-word when it comes to players, because after all, they’re amateurs. And sometimes players develop late in their careers. But I’ll say it here: I’m disappointed in Bolden. He was an Under Armour All-American, the #2 inside linebacker, and the #75 overall player in the 2012 class. He has been playing heavy minutes since his true freshman year. He has generally had good defensive linemen in front of him, and his position coaches have been well regarded defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and D.J. Durkin. His troubles with tackling and pass coverage are somewhat inexcusable for a senior captain. It’s hard to think back on his career and see more than one or two impact plays. A four-year contributor and two-year starter at inside linebacker should have more than 5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery to show for his time, and a log of his missed tackles would be quite extensive. I don’t know if Michigan will be better post-Bolden, but I certainly expected a lot more from him by this point.

Freshmen will be freshmen. In the modern game of football, it is necessary to play freshmen. You can’t recruit if you won’t play freshmen, and with scholarship limits, you’re lacking athleticism at certain places if you redshirt every single one of them. At the same time, I worked with a high school coach at one time who said, “For every freshman or sophomore you start on varsity, you lose one game.” Inexperienced players just aren’t mentally equipped to play the game at a high level, in big games, etc. (Of course, as the paragraph about Joe Bolden points out above, sometimes seniors aren’t equipped, either.) There are numerous examples, not least of which was the roughing-the-punter penalty against freshman safety Tyree Kinnel. Early in the game, Ohio State was punting from its own endzone, and Kinnel made an ill-advised dive toward the punter; he missed the ball, took out the punter’s leg, and rightfully deserved the penalty. It was a good call. Instead of Michigan receiving the ball in plus territory, Ohio State kept it and scored a touchdown on the drive. Later in the game, Jabrill Peppers caught a screen pass and made most of Ohio State’s defense miss while cutting across the field; freshman wide receiver Grant Perry decided not to block the nearest defender, and Peppers was tripped up by the resulting shoestring tackle attempt, taking away a possible touchdown. I guess you have to live with these types of mistakes, but they can be momentum-changers. I would be naive to think that either play was the difference in a 42-13 ballgame, but there’s a tiny chance that the outcome is different if Michigan doesn’t rough the punter. A few years back, freshman fullback Sione Houma was on the field in the bowl game with a chance to tackle South Carolina punt returner Ace Sanders, but a freshman fullback is no match for a slot receiver in the open field (note: Houma was replacing senior linebacker Brandin Hawthorne on the punt team after Hawthorne got himself suspended for the game).

When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. De’Veon Smith is Michigan’s hammer. He is a hammer. Every defender looks like a nail. He ends the regular season with 4.15 rushing yards/carry. Certain people will say that the offensive line is not doing its job up front, but there are holes and plays to be made. Smith missed a couple gaping holes yesterday and ran into a pile of bodies instead. Based on chatter I’ve heard and the running back rotations after the last several weeks, I would not be surprised if both Derrick Green and Ty Isaac are elsewhere next year. Michigan needs to recruit as many running backs as possible in the 2016 class in the hopes that one of them can pan out. Unfortunately, Matt Falcon and his ACL issues take one bullet out of the chamber, but Chris Evans and Kiante Enis both deserve a look at running back, and hopefully Michigan can pull in Kareem Walker, too. I wouldn’t be opposed to Michigan continuing to look at additional options, either.

Michigan’s receivers aren’t so bad after all. The receiver position was the big question mark early in the year, but they came on as the year went along. The Jake Rudock-to-Jehu Chesson connection was fun to watch over the past several weeks, and Amara Darboh made some amazing catches, including a diving long ball against Ohio State. Chesson caught 8 passes for 111 yards and 1 touchdown, while Darboh caught 4 passes for 68 yards. Both of them return next year, along with Jake Butt (5 catches, 54 yards). If solid quarterback play can show its face next year . . .

Jake Rudock love. It’s a little disappointing that Rudock doesn’t have another year of eligibility, because it clearly took him half the year to get in sync with Michigan’s offense. But he bridged the gap so we didn’t have more growing pains, while the Wolverines have successfully redshirted Shane Morris for the year (barring something weird happening in the bowl game). I never understood Iowa fans’ consternation over him as a quarterback, even though things worked out for them in their 12-0 regular season. I also didn’t understand why some Michigan people didn’t want Rudock. A comparison of stats between 2015 Rudock at Michigan and 2015 C.J. Beathard at Iowa:

Rudock: 64% completions, 2,739 yards, 7.7 yards/attempt, 17 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 138.88 PER
Beathard: 60.7% completions, 2,354 yards, 7.8 yards/attempt, 14 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 139.26 PER

Keeping in mind that Iowa played only one ranked team (Northwestern) and missed three of the top defensive teams in the conference (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State), I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that the Hawkeyes would have been just fine with Rudock, too. Toss in the fact that Iowa was #32 in the country in rushing and had a 4.83 yards/carry average (Michigan was #93 and had 4.12 yards/carry), and that takes a lot of pressure off the QB. The quarterback wasn’t the issue – injuries and coaching were the problems.

Early favorite for the 2016 quarterback job? John O’Korn.

Overall, it was a good year. It was not a great one. Michigan lost to Ohio State in a blowout and to Michigan State in a heartbreaker, but I had the Wolverines at 8-4 going into the year. You could say that Michigan was a dropped punt snap away from being 10-2, but you could also say they were a few inches away from being 8-4 or even 7-5 (losses to Minnesota and Indiana were possible). Ultimately, you get what you earn, and Michigan earned a 9-3 record. We saw development at most positions, with the possible exceptions being running back and linebacker. Michigan had three straight shutouts, and for a while, the Wolverines were the top defense in the country. Jake Rudock set a school record for passing yardage in a single game, Jehu Chesson tied a school record with 4 TD catches in one game, and Chesson caught 8 touchdowns in a five-game span. (Looking at historical stats, that’s the best scoring stretch from a receiver over five games since Derrick Alexander caught 8 touchdowns over four games in 1992.)

What’s next? We might see a rematch of the 2011 Gator Bowl matchup. Michigan vs. Mississippi State is a very real possibility in the Outback Bowl this year.

77 comments

  1. crazyjoedavola
    Comments: 191
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    crazyjoedavola
    Nov 29, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    I think this game also served as an indication of how good OSU actually is when firing on all cylinders. They obviously are much more talented than their play during the majority of the season indicated and had themselves a terrible game against MSU, but the gap between us and them is very wide at this point in time.

  2. DonAZ
    Comments: 514
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Nov 29, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    Yes, uglier than expected. But I’m not sure what could have been done, even in retrospect. The combination of Michigan’s missing pieces and Ohio State motivated after their own loss the week before spelled trouble.

    Seriously … put on the 20/20 shades and tell me what Michigan might have done differently that would have materially altered the outcome of that game. Bring a safety or two up into the box (as I’ve read elsewhere)? Michigan’s defensive line wasn’t getting that much push, and J.T. Barrett is a pretty good passing QB. Give him a little time and he’ll find receivers.

    MSU poked the bear with the foul-weather / poor-OSU-coaching victory over OSU; the bear woke up and took a big bite out of Michigan’s ass. The Ohio State team that showed up yesterday would have killed Michigan State. The Ohio State that showed up yesterday beats most teams in the country.

    The truth is Ohio State has the athletes and the depth Michigan *hopes* to have. One day we may well have that same depth. I suspect we’ll see a lot more attrition over the winter than just Ty Isaac and Derrick Green. I suspect we’ll also see other graduate transfers as Harbaugh attempts to patch-and-repair the mess left by Rodriguez and Hoke.

    The post-game press conference showed a Jim Harbaugh who was visibly unhappy about the loss. Changes will be made, in player personnel and coaching.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3658
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 29, 2015 at 4:29 PM

      Well, penalties are still a big issue. That’s something that could have been changed. Not by the coaches, necessarily, but by the players. I think that’s the one thing that sticks out. Michigan had 7 penalties for 72 yards, while Ohio State had 5 for 39 yards. That roughing-the-punter penalty erases one TD for Ohio State and potentially gives Michigan a scoring chance. So that’s anywhere from 7 to 14 points of a difference. Instead of a 29-point loss, that’s a 22- to 15-point loss.

      Scheme-wise, I think Michigan looked discombobulated at times on defense. They got caught a couple times being unsure who should be on the field, and they were running a 3-man front (basically a 3-3 stack, IIRC, though I want to go back and look) that they did not appear ready to execute.

      Again, maybe not the difference between winning and losing, but we would feel considerably better if this were, say, a 35-28 loss. Losing by 4 touchdowns is a kick to the gut.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5998
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Nov 30, 2015 at 12:51 AM

      I would be disappointed and surprised if there were any changes to this coaching staff. Durkin leaving is about the only thing that wouldn’t be to shocking, but it seems a year early for that. And given what Michigan has coming back next year on defense (most everything besides LBs, Wilson, and probably Lewis and/or a DLmen to the NFL), Durkin would improve his stock well enough to get a good power 5 job if he comes back for one more year.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 183
        Joined: 9/3/2015
        suduri xusai
        Nov 30, 2015 at 4:29 PM

        If he’s smart, he won’t leave for Maryland job. He won’t last there. Hopely the entire staff returns, but I am the LBs were most disappointing of the position groups. It won’t bother me much if we have to get another D-coord/LB coach.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 142
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    coachernie
    Nov 29, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    The Honeymoon is over with me and Harbaugh.
    Hoke could have loss to both MSU and OSU and bet he wouldn’t have had this…
    “The 29-point loss is Michigan’s worst loss as a ranked team since 1968 (when it lost by 36 to Ohio State)”
    Harbaugh – Over Rated!!!

    • DonAZ
      Comments: 514
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      DonAZ
      Nov 29, 2015 at 12:36 PM

      “Harbaugh — Over Rated!!!”

      You are either joking, or you’re a fool.

      Other than Urban Meyer or Nick Saban, name another coach — one other coach — that could have provided a different result for the season and this game**.

      Anyone who thinks Michigan would be better off with a different coach is delusional.

      ** And don’t say “Hoke” based on previous years. Hoke would not have been 9-2 going into that game, and Hoke facing that same OSU team under the same circumstances would have lost by a score of 49-3 or something worse.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1353
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Nov 29, 2015 at 4:33 PM

        Well, the fact that we wouldn’t be able to get anyone better does not necessarily mean that Harbaugh deserves all the hype. We did about as well this year as could have been expected, but the team did not really improve over the course of the season (again). Harbaugh still has a lot to prove here, and he’s not going to get 3-4 years to prove it. He has a tougher schedule next year and no obvious fixes to the team’s major weaknesses of this season, but if he doesn’t win at least 10 games, and beat at least one of OSU/MSU, there will be serious doubt whether he can get the job done.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 4
          Joined: 11/30/2015
          AZBlue
          Nov 30, 2015 at 1:23 AM

          Not sure if serious…..If you are please name me 5 coaches better than Harbaugh not named Saban, Meyer (grrr),or Belichek.

          I doubt you could find more than a handful of experts that predicted 8 or more wins for M this year,

          I saw lots of improvement in the receivers, non-Butt TEs, and Rudock over the year. Even folks like Braden, and D. Thomas who I had checked-off as non renewed 5th years going into the season were at least decent by the end of the year. Where you did NOT see improvement was in the run game – though pass blocking by the OL seemed much better – which is a ??, and in the defense where injuries on the DL hit hard and teams began to figure out how to exploit our weakness at the LB position.

          I still contend that we DID beat MSU this year….then we beat ourselves. Next year’s schedule is actually easier in my opinion, outside of the two rivals on the road (who should be weaker on paper…for whatever that is worth). Colorado at home is our hardest non-con game and we do add Wisconsin but it is at home and WI is about PSU level imo unless they improve greatly in the offseason.

          I agree with Magnus that if this had been a closer loss the mood would be much brighter in these parts. Maybe it would have been under Brady…so we would have had that to console us despite our 4-8 record.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1353
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Nov 30, 2015 at 6:51 AM

            As far as major college coaches better than Harbaugh, Saban, Meyer (sorry, you don’t just get to exclude them because they undermine your argument), Stoops, Fisher, Dantonio, Swinney, Patterson…that’s seven just for starters.

            Eight wins were predicted for Michigan right on this site…I predicted that too. It wasn’t that rare.

            And yes, some players started to show signs of life this year, but our LBs, RBs and OL didn’t at all. And as a TEAM (the real improvement that matters), we were not playing any better at the end of the season than we were in September. Our last four games were two bare wins against mediocre teams, that could have easily been losses, one solid win (against a team MSU destroyed) and a resounding loss. I would not call it an impressive finish to the season, certainly not compared to a lot of other teams.

            And no, we almost beat MSU this year, but they actually beat us. It was not the result of just one flukey play. Our defense went soft and allowed a big TD drive right after our last score, or it wouldn’t have mattered. Harbaugh got conservative and tried to kill the clock instead of going aggressively for the first down that would have finished things on our last drive. Dantonio had his team playing tough right until the end, and Harbaugh didn’t. It was not luck..it was Dantonio outcoaching Harbaugh.

            As far as next year’s schedule, did you also forget Iowa on the road, in addition to OSU and MSU? Not to mention Wisconsin. Is it going to be any easier to come out of that with fewer than 2 losses? Don’t think so. Everyone said that State was going to be down this year, too, and we know how that turned out.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3658
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Nov 30, 2015 at 8:26 AM

            I disagree with several of those choices. Swinney takes elite talent in the ACC and hasn’t done a ton with them until this year. Jimbo Fisher won a national championship at a place that is well known for questionable practices; could he win as much if he ran a clean program and didn’t allow players to get away with everything off the field? Dantonio was essentially beaten with his own built-up program by Harbaugh in his first year. Etc.

            So…yeah…you might truly believe those things, but I’m not convinced.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5998
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Nov 30, 2015 at 12:52 AM

        Ernie ain’t no joker.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 183
      Joined: 9/3/2015
      suduri xusai
      Nov 29, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      I second that. Harbaugh is miles and miles better than Hoke. He’s not overrated. Yes, we laid an egg yesterday. But this is Harbaugh’s first year with a depleted d-line with 3 starters out against one of the best running teams in the country. Hoke would’ve lost to a lot more teams than 3 this year. We were in every single game except against Ohio. Get some perspective.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3658
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 29, 2015 at 4:35 PM

      You know, I think a one-year honeymoon is about all anyone can expect. But like others have said, I don’t think there are many guys who could have come in and done better with what Michigan had. If you look at Ohio State when Meyer was hired, he had Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, and a lot of defensive talent in his first year. Harbaugh’s first year included a graduate transfer Rudock and De’Veon Smith at the two most important offensive positions.

      Urban Meyer is a good coach, right? How many games would he have won if he were hired at Michigan in 2015? He wouldn’t have gone 12-0 like he did at Ohio State. He probably loses to a Tom Herman-led OSU and Michigan State, at the very least.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1353
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Nov 29, 2015 at 6:26 PM

        Well, the real test for Harbaugh is next year. That’s where someone who is truly an elite coach, as opposed to a perennial 2-3 loss guy, will show his chops. We’ll know what to expect for the future (at least as long as Harbaugh sticks around) by the end of next year.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 183
          Joined: 9/3/2015
          suduri xusai
          Nov 30, 2015 at 4:31 PM

          I agree. He got to show further improvements across the board next year with at least 1 more win in the regular season. I hope he can do that. Plus, by the year 4, Harbaugh machine will be rolling and i am talking about a perennial top-5 outfit.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 115
    Joined: 9/28/2015
    PapaBear
    Nov 29, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    Are you not high on Kareem Walker?

    Why would Isaac transfer? Sit out another year or go D2?

    Thoughts on Taysom Hill coming in? May add to offensive dynamic?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3658
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 29, 2015 at 4:39 PM

      I am high on Kareem Walker, but he’s not a Fournette or Derrick Henry.

      Isaac doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Michigan’s current staff.

      I don’t like the idea of bringing in Taysom Hill unless you’re certain you have an extra scholarship to give. He’s injury-prone. If I have a choice of bringing in a good freshman prospect or an injury-prone Hill – when O’Korn is still available at QB – I’d rather go with the freshman prospect. But only Harbaugh knows how the roster will shake out, and even he will probably get surprised by a transfer or two.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5998
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Nov 30, 2015 at 12:56 AM

        Wow. That’s pretty surprising to hear. You are usually pretty even-headed about this sort of thing, Thunder. Hill is a no-brainer.

        1 year of scholarship for a guy with that ceiling…at the most important position on the field… Yeah, you defer the scholarship to a HS kid for one year to get a potential all-american at QB.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3658
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Nov 30, 2015 at 8:22 AM

          Rudock was a pretty decent QB, and it took him half a year to get settled. By the time Hill would get settled, there’s a decent chance he’d have his third season-ending knee injury.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 12:34 PM

            What if he is healthy?

            What if he DOES get hurts but in the meantime wins you a game @MSU.

            If you’re argument against Hill is Jake Rudock…your argument is not very good. Michigan is trying to scratch its way to 7 wins without Rudock.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3658
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Nov 30, 2015 at 12:38 PM

            As I said, I don’t think it’s worth the gamble. I understand the pros and cons. I disagree with you.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 12:47 PM

            Fair enough, I just don’t see how it’s a ‘gamble’. You take a recruit in ’17 instead of ’16. That’s not insignificant in terms of investment made, but for the chance at an all american QB, it’s a tiny price to pay. That kind of performance is something you would spend 5 years of scholarship to nurture and develop at the position. Michigan would get a shot at it for investing one. That’s a bargain a la Russel Wilson.

            And look, I get it – I’ve read the hype about O’Korn and I know people are expecting an upgrade from Rudock at this point. That’s fine. But there’s no harm in having competition and there’s massive value to having a high end backup (see OSU last year).

            Put it another way — maybe it lets you keep a red-shirt on Peters.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3658
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Nov 30, 2015 at 1:24 PM

              If we’re talking about unlimited scholarships, then I would be okay with it. As things stand right now, we’re recruiting for some spots that are glaring weaknesses going forward: offensive tackle, linebacker, wide receiver, etc. Quarterback is not a glaring weakness. Now if you tell me that 2 or 3 quarterbacks are transferring for sure, then yeah, I’d take Hill. But as things stand right now, I don’t see a reason to take a chance with Hill.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 1:29 PM

            Is 2016 recruiting going to fix it anymore than 2017 recruiting?

            WR: no – not a glaring weakness

            LB: no – we have bodies here, we lack talent and experience coming back. A freshman isn’t going to change that.

            OT: probably your best argument here, as we need a guy in 2017 probably and a RS Freshman is about 20 times more likely to help than a true freshman.

            That said, the extra scholarship will come at the expense of the least-needed spot in the class, not the most needed spot. If it means one less RB or not taking a 4th or 5th WR…I think that’s worth it. You can get that guy in ’17 instead and be fine when you need him.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3658
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Nov 30, 2015 at 1:34 PM

              Michigan essentially has zero WRs outside of Chesson and Darboh (both seniors in 2016), and we need to throw everything we have at the RB position in order to get some production.

              Also, we DON’T have bodies at linebacker. That’s patently false unless you’re talking about position changes. We have McCray, Furbush, Gant, Wangler, and Gedeon. Gedeon is the only guy with significant experience, and he’s gone after next year. That’s only 5 linebackers going into next season.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 1:42 PM

            I don’t get why Morris and Speight’s imminent transfers would effect the situation here. They are not viable starters. If O’Korn goes down, Michigan is left grasping at straws, just like this year had Rudock gone down. The only upgrade after the Rudock-O’Korn swap is that Peters will be around and the freshman like Gentry won’t be quite as raw. Neither is going to be as good as Hill.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3658
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Nov 30, 2015 at 1:47 PM

              At some point you have to use scholarships on other positions. I know there will be attrition at QB, but we don’t need Morris AND O’Korn AND Gentry AND Malzone AND Speight AND Peters AND Viramontes AND Hill on the roster. That would be eight scholarship quarterbacks. I would gladly revise my opinion if some departures were written in stone, but as of November 30, 2015, I’m not a fan of bringing in an 8th QB.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 1:53 PM

            Zero WRs? WR is arguably the deepest position on the team.

            Michigan has two guys who are very good to excellent in Darboh and Chesson. Then they have a couple of solid-looking backups in Harris (high upside if/when healthy) and Ways (a Thunder-favorite) plus Jones (just a guy but serviceable). To this they will add 2 or 3 or 4 high-end recruits. At slot you have Perry (who was good, for a freshman), Peppers, and at least one other recruit. Maybe you have Cole if he gets his Braylon Edwards on.

            Michigan does need WR in ’17 but again, that’s a place where freshman can help and again the mix of Harris, Ways, Mitchell, Hawkins doesn’t scare me at all – especially on a team that loves to play 2 TEs and almost never goes 4-wide.

            The WR position right now is in a better position than it’s been since maybe Manningham was around. Maybe we don’t have a 2013 Gallon/Funchess caliber of talent all lined up for 2017, but it didn’t look like we had that lined up in 2011 either.

            If you are posing the question of adding a 4th WR to the mix (counting Enis as a WR) or adding Hill and then taking a WR in 2017 instead of 2016 I am taking Hill all day.

            Like I said: no-brainer.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3658
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Nov 30, 2015 at 2:00 PM

              I’m not talking about 2016. I’m talking about the future. Yes, Chesson and Darboh are good for next year, but beyond them, there’s nobody proven. I do like Ways, but Harris and Jones have shown nothing. Perry showed that he can be a decent slot guy. And counting on Peppers to be a slot receiver is a stretch. I don’t count Enis as a WR, because we need every body available competing at RB.

              I don’t like counting on freshman wide receivers. Yes, they CAN be effective (Mario Manningham, for example), but more often, they need time to learn the offense, improve their route running, etc. The vast majority of wide receivers we’ve seen come through Michigan are not capable of carrying any kind of significant load as true freshmen.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 2:10 PM

            I think QB departures are imminent. If not now, then imagine if Hill is brought in. I would be shocked if Morris isn’t gone and a bit surprised if Speight doesn’t see the writing on the wall too. There are others who could be gone, position switches possible, etc.

            I mean, I agree that 8 QB scholarships are too many, I just don’t think it’s reasonable to assume everyone is coming back anymore than it’s reasonable to expect all the 5th year guys to be back. The coaching staff is clearly expecting attrition and QB is one of the most obvious spots to expect it to happen.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3658
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Nov 30, 2015 at 2:11 PM

              That’s fine. Like I said, I’ll be glad to revisit the idea if/when that happens.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 2:26 PM

            RE: WR

            For 2016: we aren’t talking about relying on freshman, obviously

            For 2017: we aren’t talking about relying on freshman either (unless you assume like 8 guys are all going to not pan out)

            Harris came in for a surge of hype before the season (a la Darboh a couple years back). There was even talk of him unseating Darboh or Chesson (think what that means.) He’s obviously not ready physically yet and comes with health concerns but he’s a significant piece to have in the mix. The talent is there. Jones is just a guy, so I’m not really counting on him, but he’s OK for depth.

            What’s the worst case scenario for 2017: Ways, Perry, and one of Hawkins or Mitchell and/or a ’17 recruit? That’s not so awful.

            What’s the best case scenario for 2017: Harris plays up to his talent level. Ways is a Darboh-caliber complement. Mitchell and Hawkins and Enis and Cole are all pushing for targets behind then upperclassmen.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 2:28 PM

            Either way, if you are entertaining Hill you are debating hypothetical. It’s more likely that there is a QB departure than it is that Hill is available to M.

            I think the only real ‘risk’ here is that you piss off Peters and/or O’Korn…but I dont think Harbaugh cares about that much more than he cared about Morris or Speight’s preferences.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1353
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Nov 30, 2015 at 9:36 AM

          Sorry, but Hill is definitely not a no-brainer, for reasons given below, among others. We have bigger needs if we’re looking at grad transfers.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 12:32 PM

            Your argument for not adding Hill includes Shane Morris as rationale. Your argument is invalid.

            We are going to lose at least 2 QBs to transfer and perhaps others to position changes. The best guy we have is O’Korn, who might be good, but if so, let him compete with Hill. The top option for backup is a freshman. We can do better.

            If Rudock had gone down this year, things would have gone very badly. I’d rather not be in that position again.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1353
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Nov 29, 2015 at 4:43 PM

      Bringing in Hill would be a big mistake. We already have six scholarship QBs slotted for next year’s roster, seven if you include Viramontes, and there’s plenty of talent there. If this coaching staff can’t develop a quality starter and a decent backup from among that group, then they need to look for another job. We’re going to have major losses at virtually every other position group after 2016, and we need to get as many guys as possible at other positions into the pipeline next year, because we’re going to be depending a lot on sophomores and redshirt freshmen in 2017. We can’t afford to waste an eighth scholarship on another QB, and on a player that won’t be around for the long term, anyway.

      If the coaches want to grab a grad transfer, a LB would make a lot more sense. Even a RB if they clean a little house.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5998
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM

        I’m not so sure there is going to be an epic drop-off that you project in 2017.

        The scariest spots:

        WR: this is a position where historically freshman, let alone sophomores, can play. We’ll have Perry, Ways, Harris and a bunch of well regarded recruits including guys like Mitchell and Hawkins who are pretty well developed physically already.

        TE: Sure, Butt will be missed, but this is a position brimming with talent.

        OL: arguably the biggest worry but Cole, Dawson, Kugler will be Seniors, Newsome a JR, and then you have the flood of Harbaugh recruits rising up. If we have Drevno still, I won’t worry too much about it. It’ll be a down year, but that’s true regardless of ’16 class recruiting.

        DL: also an area of concern but Mone and Hurst can anchor the line, freshman can play here, and recruiting seems to be going VERY well.

        LB: should be better than 2016!

        CB: OK, yeah, this is a spot that’s a total unknown. 2 years is a long time though for identifying secondary talent and we’ll have Peppers probably/hopefully still here for his junior year.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1353
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Nov 30, 2015 at 1:32 PM

          WR is probably the least of our worries in 2017…even though we lose Darboh and Chesson, Perry, Harris and Cole will be in their third year, and Hawkins and Mitchell in their second. Probably enough to choose from there. TE is not “brimming with talent” if Butt is gone. Bunting has promise, but Hill is not a pass catching threat.

          OLine is a very big worry. Kugler and Dawson being seniors doesn’t do a lot for me. If they were as good as their hype, they’d be playing already. It’s not like the competition is that great or that much more experienced. We’ve got a big roster hole due to losing three guys, and there’s only so much that can be done about it, other than crossing our fingers and hoping for another Cole.

          We’ve just seen the effect of only having two viable DTs. We have no DT recruits in 2015, and only one so far in 2016. Everything else is finger crossing.

          LB-who knows for 2017? All we have on the books after 2016 are projects..no one who projects as an impact guy.

          Same with CBs and safeties…we lose Hill and Thomas, and are left with a lot of low-rated projects. Peppers will not stay very long.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 1353
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Nov 29, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    Hopefully we can make it though an offseason not dripping with undeserved manlove for Harbaugh, and look at this program in the cold light of reality. On the one hand, 9-3 was about as good a result as a rational person could have hoped for, given our talent level, but at the same time, it’s hard to imagine a 9-3 season that could have been more damaging to the morale of the team and the fanbase and to the reputation of the program. We were playing not one bit better at the end of the season than we were at the beginning, and we lost the two games that really mattered in the most demoralizing and humiliating way possible. Despite winning more games, we finished the season very much like last year, as an irrelevant laughingstock.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 183
      Joined: 9/3/2015
      suduri xusai
      Nov 29, 2015 at 3:03 PM

      I get the frustration, but the future is bright. Let’s not get too sad. The OSU loss was bad. But Harbaugh had a depleted d-line and no runningback against one of the most talented teams in the country. OSU crushed Alabama and Oregon last year. It’s completely loaded with talent, unlike our roster. Give him some time.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1353
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Nov 29, 2015 at 4:21 PM

        Unfortunately, that’s exactly what everyone said after Hoke’s first year. And sorry, but injuries are not an excuse. Everyone has plenty of guys banged up this late in the season. As far as OSU being “one of the most talented teams in the country”, they sure as heck didn’t look this good against very many of the other teams they played. MSU went into their stadium with a backup QB and won, while we couldn’t even keep it close at home. Rutgers and Hawaii were the only teams that did worse against them than we did.

        As far as giving him time, this year was it. If he can’t start winning games that matter next year, if he starts off 0-2 against OSU and MSU, his seat will get very hot, very fast.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3658
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Nov 29, 2015 at 4:44 PM

          As far as injuries go, yeah, everybody has them. I think Michigan had kind of an unfortunate situation, though, with the injuries coming in a concentrated area. The top two nose tackles (Glasgow, Mone) missed the biggest game of the year. Meanwhile, I had Ojemudia as the #14 most valuable player going into the year, and you could have made an argument to place him higher on the list considering the questionable backup situation at the Buck spot. Lo and behold, we’re allowing 307 rushing yards to Indiana and 369 to Ohio State toward the end of the year.

          Things would have been more manageable if we lost a DT and a CB and an OL, rather than three heavy contributors on one unit. It’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes, but it was still a big factor, in my opinion.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1353
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Nov 29, 2015 at 4:52 PM

            Well, don’t forget, State had multiple injuries at LB and OL, and they were without a three-year starter and high NFL draft pick at QB for the Ohio State game. Didn’t seem to faze them one bit.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 142
            Joined: 8/12/2015
            coachernie
            Nov 29, 2015 at 4:53 PM

            What excuses will be made for Harbaugh when we win 7 or 8 games (max) next year. Have you looked at the schedule???….MSU & OSU & Iowa away and Wisconsin back on the schedule.
            This was the year to make noise, mostly 4 & 5 year players on the 2 deep and a favorable schedule.
            Bring in Les Miles!!!

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3658
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Nov 29, 2015 at 4:57 PM

            Michigan State’s defense was not on par with its past defenses. They still had some struggles. They were starting from a better spot, and their offense could run the ball and control the clock. That helps your defense stay fresh. Michigan State ran 51 times for 203 yards (3.98 yards/carry) against Ohio State, while Michigan ran 25 times for 57 yards (2.28 yards/carry).

          • Avatar
            Comments: 183
            Joined: 9/3/2015
            suduri xusai
            Nov 29, 2015 at 5:29 PM

            You know, as for MSU Dantonio had several years to pick and develop his players. The depth is there. That just wasn’t the case with Michigan. MSU just has more depth and balance across the board.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5998
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Nov 30, 2015 at 12:58 AM

      Definitely playing a lot better when you consider that Glasgow and Ojemudia were gone. The difference in the offensive passing game is night and day. The run game didn’t get much better, maybe a little. The D looks like it got worse on paper, but some of it was that they just didn’t see offenses like Indiana and OSU early in the year.

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 1307
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Nov 29, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    As luck would have it, I had great seats for watching JT Barrett operate, I’d have to say that his performance running the option was about as close to perfect as I’ve ever seen. It might have been easy for him since there were holes and seems everywhere but at least a couple times, he created just beautiful lanes for himself by sliding with Elliot for an extra step, pulling it and cutting it back himself. Very impressive.

    I thought who was not impressive yesterday was Durkin, We got tempo’d all day. There were times when it looked like a cluster doodle out there. I don’t think we had our best possible defense out on the field ever and confusion reigned in general on at least several occasions..

    Worley confessed to being gassed which is nuts in a TV game. I had forgotten how much downtime there is for commercial time outs mostly because at home, TV timeouts is when I fill up the next bowl of Munchos or whatever. There is no excuse for gassed in a game with so many breaks.

    Ruddock hit a couple just gorgeous balls into just the tiniest of windows. The long ball down the sideline was exceptional.

    I did thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s just a hellacious hit on one of their safeties. That one was pretty much right in front of me, I was laughing out loud when he made contact because he took a three stride windup. The Buckeye kid, to his credit could see it coming for sure and hung in their like a man only to just get crumpled. I clapped for him.

    As for coachernie, I’d go with moron.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3658
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 29, 2015 at 4:46 PM

      I think there is an excuse for getting gassed – Wormley’s 300 lbs. and had to play a lot, because there was nobody behind him. TV timeouts or not, the defense was out on the field a ton in the second half. That wears you out.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1307
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Nov 29, 2015 at 8:14 PM

        Ok, I’ll confess to having never played anything within 120 lbs of 300 lbs. so I’ll defer on that issue. Player participation indicates Wormley never left the field, so ok, I’ll repent of that one. I also have to say that I can’t remember hearing Godin’s name even once. There was a raft of Gedeon, Bolden, Wormley, Wilson, Lewis and Hill for sure.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3658
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Nov 30, 2015 at 8:20 AM

          Godin was out there some, although it wasn’t pretty when he was.

  7. Avatar
    Comments: 183
    Joined: 9/3/2015
    suduri xusai
    Nov 29, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    The most alarming part of all this is that our LBs have played like crap yesterday, as Thunder mentioned. I’m disappointed at Bolden and Morgan, too. Two seniors, playing like crap. Hoke’s linebackers were always decent and made plays. I don’t know what the hell happened to the position group, but I think Harbaugh might want to think about how to revive that unit, including letting go Durkin if it comes to that. And I think Durkin will be making a terrible career mistake if he goes to Maryland as the HC–it’s going to be a doormat for years to come.

    And our woes with D-line… We NEED more and more D-linemen. I don’t ever want to see us getting blown out at the line of scrimmage. We have to expect injuries, especially at the D-line where the contacts are most fierce. I think we would’ve kept it close had we still had the three starters we lost. PLEASE F-IN RECRUIT MORE D-LINEMEN!

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1353
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Nov 29, 2015 at 4:25 PM

      There are no more. We have no DT/NT recruits in the 2015 class, and we have only one in 2016. After next year, the cupboard is pretty bare. And frankly, even next year, the problem will not be not having ENOUGH Dlinemen, it will be not having any great ones. We have plenty of good ones, but no elite, first-round level guys. That’s fine against a Northwestern or a Maryland, but against the OSUs of the world, it gets us gashed.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3658
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Nov 29, 2015 at 4:48 PM

        To be fair, Rashad Weaver could end up playing DT, and we’re likely to get Rashan Gary. There’s also a possibility of landing Keyshon Camp or Chris Daniels, although Daniels seems headed to Oklahoma. So we could feasibly have 4 defensive tackles in this class (Elliott, Weaver, Gary, Camp/Daniels).

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1353
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Nov 29, 2015 at 4:59 PM

          Well, Weaver is very small for a DT, and a serious project to boot. Very unlikely that he will be a contributor on the interior in 2016 or 2017, if ever. Gary could be, but he is not the kind of guy we typically beat out other top schools for, so I’m not inclined to put him down as “likely” until signing day.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1307
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Nov 29, 2015 at 8:21 PM

        Elliot and Onwenu are committed. That’s two more than no DT/NT recruits. Yeah, yeah, Onwenu is coming in at Guard, but if somebody walks up to him and says, “Hey Mike, wanna play some nose?” Do you really think he’s gonna pass?

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1353
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Nov 30, 2015 at 9:47 AM

          Sure, we can switch a bunch of O linemen over to defense, but even if they pan out (and there’s no guarantee), that just diminishes our prospects on the offensive line, where we certainly are not flush with talent, after losing three guys who would have been seriously in the mix in 2017/18.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1307
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Nov 30, 2015 at 3:04 PM

            One guy ain’t a bunch. Onwenu is but one guy, although he weighs as much as a crowd.

            Elliot is a flat out DT/NT. a highly rated and much offered one, at that.

  8. Avatar
    Comments: 48
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nick.
    Nov 29, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    Anyone who didn’t see this outcome as a real possibility hasn’t been watching football with an object eye. This team has been down right poor when it comes to the running game. Sometimes it was the O-Line, but lately it has been Smith (who has fought an all injury for the better part of the season) running up the backside of his lineman instead of hitting a hole. I see a kid who takes 10 yards to get up to speed and has limited vision. Our best running has come from end arounds and trick plays with the exception of a few blasts here or there.

    Our passing game from Rudock has been the saving grace for the last few weeks. It also showed our competitors that Rudock was our only offensive weapon. All they had to do was play good coverage and put some pressure on him because they knew we would not be able to run the ball..

    Defensively I would have liked to see our safety play closer to the line and rely on our corners to shutdown Barrett. Our linebackers have been a problem all year and much like our running backs they couldn’t find the holes to fill either. They were really good at standing behind the D-line and chasing down runners as they passed by them.

    I don’t think that Durkin put enough pressure on Barrett either. Yet I understand that with the lanes the linebackers were leaving open it may have not done any good.

    This was a tough game to lose, but on all avenues it showed how far we have come, but how little they have done it with. This team is grossly under manned and played well given all the holes. I expect some turnover and some more competition to round out the summer. Let’s finish with a bowl game and then get started for next year.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1353
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Nov 29, 2015 at 5:05 PM

      By that, you mean pretty much all of the fanboys over at MGoBlog. The few of us who dared to state the obvious, that our chances against OSU were fairly slim, got chased out of town.

      And I think this game shows more how far we have yet to go to compete at a championship level. Our offense is going to have to be rebuilt almost from the ground up, starting next year, and we need much better LB play and overall speed on defense to contend with the best offenses out there.

      • Blue in NC
        Comments: 46
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Blue in NC
        Nov 29, 2015 at 6:07 PM

        I am surprised with the tone of your comments. It’s a tough loss but there is reason for optimism. Yes, LB and RB play was a disappointment, but QB, TE, secondary and WR play were all greatly improved IMO. DL was stellar until the falloff at the end of the year.
        And I disagree with your terrible offensive outlook. We have to find a good RB and replace a QB but most of the line returns (even if it was only average) and WR and TE will be a strength if Butt returns. I like Harbaugh’s chances to find a decent QB and if we land a good RB, I feel the offense will be slightly improved overall. The defense will be weaker at LB but at least as good overall and probably deeper.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1353
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Nov 29, 2015 at 8:18 PM

          Well, nowhere did I say our offensive outlook is “terrible”. But let’s face it…our current personnel on the Oline are not championship level, and, given that 4 of 5 are 4th or 5th year players, probably do not have a great deal of room for improvement at this point. Given that, and the fact that we lose a capable and experienced center with no clear replacement, the chances of the line being any more than marginally better next year are not that good. We will not be winning championships until all of them, with the possible exception of Cole, are replaced with experienced and more talented players, and we’re looking at 2018 or 2019 for that. Same with RB. No one on the roster right now is capable of making an impact against a good defense. We will not be competing for championships until guys like Green, Isaac and Smith are replaced by better talent. And replacing the QB is part of rebuilding the office from scratch. Our prospects there aren’t bad, likely better than this season, but we’re still behind teams who return a quality starter. WR has good prospects for next year, but TE hinges on Butt…if he stays, we’re golden, if he leaves early, we’re back to square one. An offense that is only “slightly improved” won’t be good enough, as we discovered Saturday.

          Defense? Only as good as last year if Lewis stays. If he bails early, we have no good replacement. And our fundamental weakness at LB is likely to remain in 2016, regardless of how good the rest of the defense is. It is very tough to win championships without speed and playmaking ability at LB, and we have no one with that kind of promise on the roster or incoming.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5998
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Nov 30, 2015 at 1:05 AM

            The OL will improve due to continuity. The scheme and coaching staff will be stable for the first time since 2013. All the Harbaugh hype has people forgetting the fact that yes, indeed there was a major change in scheme for the OL. Drevno’s good. We’ll return 4 guys who are multi-year starters and veterans.

            So yeah — there’s plenty of room to grow and a lot of reasons to expect significant improvement in the run blocking. Pass blocking should bump up too, though AJ Williams may be missed there a bit and if Smith does get replaced he’ll be missed too.

          • Klctlc
            Comments: 84
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Klctlc
            Nov 30, 2015 at 3:27 PM

            Windy City stop already some of your comments are just crazy.

            The world is not ending and Harbaugh is a great coach. You say he has to win next year, but you also say our OL is not championship caliber? What is it? Most O lineman redshirt, so using your logic we can’t begin to hold Harbaugh accountable for another year on one of the most vital areas of the team?

            Yes there are serious risk to next year, but I like our chances. Give Harbaugh sometime to build his depth and instill his “vision”.

            Christ, what are you gonna do if he goes 7 – 5 fire him? and bring in who?

            Lighten up Francis, you are giving us Chicago based fans a bad name.

  9. Avatar
    Comments: 1307
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Nov 29, 2015 at 8:29 PM

    I caught Grant Newsome coming in for what I thought at the time was Cole, evidently Cole moved over to the right side for at least a series. You absolutely can’t miss Grant Newsome out on the filed, the kid looks like a building out there. Fortunately, he seems to not move like building..

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3658
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 30, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      Yeah, they were moving Cole around a bit. Unfortunately, when they moved him to the right side one time, Joey Bosa ran right around him and crushed Jake Rudock’s shoulder into the turf.

  10. Avatar
    Comments: 1307
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Nov 29, 2015 at 9:44 PM

    I think that some of the concern about Linebacker recruiting is over done.

    While I’d really like to see Viramontes stick as a QB because I think he could conceivably make Tim Tebow look like a sissy out there, realistically you have to think he’s a Linebacker. I’ve heard from people who claim some knowledge of football that former QBs tend to make good on defense.

    If you watch his film, you have to really like Dytarious Johnson, his ratings be damned.

    Brad Hawkins looks to me like a Box Safety playing Wide Receiver and as big and thick as he is at 18, I think he could easily grow into a linebacker. As an aside, I really enjoy his video, as much for little #5, his QB as for “Big Play” Brad himself. #5 is as cute as can be out there and is really good ….. although tiny.

    At least a couple of these kids whose names keep getting bandied about are going to fall to us, I’d really like to get Devon Bush, even ahead of some of the higher rated kids. He looks maybe special to me and I think he loses some points for being under 6′ tall.

    Dontavious Jackson has that Butkus thing going on where he hits you with his chest and then either crushes you into the ground or tries to throw you for distance, depending on his fancy at that given instant. That wouldn’t necessarily be my favored technique if I were coaching the kid, but it is fun to watch. As big as this kid is at 18, you have to wonder if he can grow into a Buck or even a DE. I also think you really have to like the idea of Dytarious and Dontavious lining up side by side.

  11. Lanknows
    Comments: 5998
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Nov 30, 2015 at 12:48 AM

    Nice post Thunder. I agree with pretty much everything besides the RB stuff (of course).

    Bolden stunk, and deserved to be called out. The bleak assessment of the LB situation is, unfortunately, spot on. Anyone clinging to the fantasy of somebody like Furbush or Wangler stepping into a starting spot and being an improvement over Bolden is delusional. There’s no replacement for Morgan on this roster right now. I expect a grad transfer to fill the gaping need, just like Rudock did at QB. He won’t be great, but he’ll help.

    I’ve said my part on RBs many times. If the OL is making holes, why aren’t Drake Johnson, Jabril Peppers, Derrick Green, Ty Isaac, Kiron Higdon, or Sione Houma producing? Why didn’t Fitz Toussaint or Thomas Rawls produce in 2012? The OL is the obvious answer.

    I predicted 10-2 to start the year, but once we lost to Utah, I was at 9-3. The way it ended against OSU is the first truly disappointing game of the year.

    Some of it is excusable (Michigan lost 2 of it’s 4 best DLmen, OSU is really dang good), but some of it is not (the defense scheme should not allow a team with this talent to get run over like that.)

    It’s a shame though, because Michigan may not have a defense this good for another 20 years.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3658
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 30, 2015 at 7:48 AM

      I’m not saying the OL is plowing defenses, but there are certainly yards to be gained for players with good vision and quickness.

      Peppers led the team in rushing despite not being a regular RB. I don’t think that’s a good example of players not finding rushing yards. He’s arguably – or maybe even not arguably – better than Smith and the other guys right this minute.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5998
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Nov 30, 2015 at 12:39 PM

        Peppers is in the conversation for one of the most talented and dynamic players in college football. I agree he is better than Smith, and he’s probably better than any other RB we can feasibly get. A guy like that is SPECIAL.

        A guy like THAT runs for 4.0 ypc… Kind of tells you something about the OL run blocking.

        And yeah, OK, if he was a fulltime RB maybe you bump that up, but it still tells you that the OL is failing badly. As you argued, there are RBs all over the Big 10 rushing for 5 or 6 ypc. Michigan didn’t get anybody putting up that production and it’s not for a lack of talent at the position loaded with 4 and 5 star recruits.

  12. Avatar
    Comments: 22
    Joined: 11/15/2015
    brandywine
    Nov 30, 2015 at 1:35 AM

    The gap in talent and sheer athleticism between these two teams is astounding. What stands out though, is that our benchmark, OSU, is arguably one of the two most loaded programs in the country with Alabama. That our aspirations are this high is only a great thing.

    The last time UM’s talent and program felt reasonably even with OSU was 2005. Since then, the paths have splintered dramatically. OSU’s offense zoomed forward from the Bellisari/Zwicks to Smith to Braxton to now sporting arguably the most dominating offense in its history. A run/pass attack like OSU’s current one may have spanked the Michigan of the early 2000s as well. On defense, OSU has held steady even if it seems they now have more explosive pass rushers. The program never took a major step back and has benefited from years on years of consistency behind it.

    In the meantime, Michigan cratered itself and is now working from the ground up. The program can no longer lean on 40+ years of consistency in standard of play and coaching and methods and results. Trying not to be dramatic, but Harbaugh’s job is to do what Dantonio has done: build a mean top 10 program from the ground up. And he has to do it while his chief rivals are at historic highs.

    This is simply to say that when Michigan begins to compete blow by blow with current era OSU, he will have accomplished something incredible. OSU has been a top 5, national championship contending program for 10 years. Even trading wins means Michigan will have neared the top of the mountain. For now, Michigan has been recruiting the wrong guys several years and has work to do to restore the talent and athleticism to any point comparable to the bucks.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5998
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Nov 30, 2015 at 12:42 PM

      Is it really astounding? Michigan has been trying to get OSU’s leftovers for nearly a decade now. Michigan has great talent, but OSU has elite talent: 5-stars at every position group and 4-stars as the floor.

      The gap is real. Michigan, by virtue of it’s scheme, isn’t going to beat OSU until it can win up front on both sides of the ball and find a couple playmakers a la Barret, Elliot, Miller, and Thomas on offense and Bosa and all those LBs and Safety types they have on D.

  13. Avatar
    Comments: 1307
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Nov 30, 2015 at 7:23 AM

    I have a 6:57 email from my buddy who sees some PSL practices and talks to the kids some. He’s telling me I’m gonna love the next Hill brother, faster, quicker and stronger at the same age. He was mostly right on Delano. So ….. I’ll say it again, from your keyboard to God’s ears.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3658
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 30, 2015 at 7:45 AM

      The thing I’ve heard about Lavert Hill is that all his speed and quickness doesn’t translate to making plays on the field. We’ll see. I know he had a TD catch in the state championship game, so that’s at least one play he’s made.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1307
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Nov 30, 2015 at 8:02 AM

        Yeah, nobody likes my pet kid, Stefan who has done nothing but make plays on offense, defense and special teams for four years now. People like the measurables, mostly because you can measure them, I guess. I haven’t watched Hill’s video, but probably will tonight.

        Yeah Bulldogs, by the way.

  14. Thunder
    Comments: 3658
    Joined: 7/13/2015
    Nov 30, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    There’s a lot of discussion about the future in this post and in the comments, and deservedly so. I’ll just say this regarding some of the names being tossed out as potential future contributors:

    Some of the guys being mentioned already have one foot out the door. That’s one reason why I’m looking at some of these positions as big recruiting needs when they might not seem like it on paper.

You must belogged in to post a comment.