|Happier now? No? Yeah, me either.|
Michigan lost last night. I’m not sure if you heard, but it was bad.
Michigan’s defense is still atrocious. Matt McGloin, a former walk-on who has been the borderline third-stringer for the Nittany Lions, completed 17 of 28 passes for 250 yards and 1 touchdown (plus 1 rushing touchdown). Furthermore, the Wolverines were unable to force a turnover even once. Running back Evan Royster was averaging 64 yards a game until this point, and he torched the Wolverines for 150 yards on 29 carries; his 5.2 yards per carry average would have been significantly higher if Penn State wasn’t simply trying to run out the clock at the end of the game and slamming into a stacked line. The defense got one important stop in the game, but a hurting offense – missing its top two tight ends and its starting quarterback, and with a hodge podge offense line – put up 435 yards and 41 points.
Vincent Smith isn’t good at running. You all know my thoughts on where Vincent Smith belongs in the pecking order at running back on this team, but here’s where he ranks among the rest of the Big Ten’s lead rushers. Smith had 9 carries for 24 yards against a depleted Penn State defense and behind a solid offensive line. Stephen Hopkins had a slightly better day running the ball, and Michael Shaw’s lone rushing attempt went for 4 yards. I wish I had a good reason for offensive genius Rich Rodriguez only being able to squeeze out the tenth best yards per carry average for a running back in the Big Ten, but I don’t.
White, UW: 86 carries, 570 yards, 6.6 ypc, 9 TD
Edwin Baker, MSU: 124 carries, 800 yards, 6.5 ypc, 7 TD
Leveon Bell, MSU: 95 carries, 585 yards, 6.2 ypc, 8 TD
Dierking, Purdue: 67 carries, 403 yards, 6.0 ypc, 3 TD
Clay, UW: 160 carries, 887 yards, 5.5 ypc, 13 TD
Royster, PSU: 117 carries, 600 yards, 5.1 ypc, 4 TD
Dan Herron, OSU: 129 carries, 634 yards, 4.9 ypc, 12 TD
Leshoure, Illinois: 158 carries, 780 yards, 4.9 ypc, 6 TD
Robinson, Iowa: 172 carries, 806 yards, 4.7 ypc, 10 TD
Vincent Smith, Michigan: 79 carries, 349 yards, 4.4 ypc, 4 TD
Darius Willis, Indiana: 64 carries, 278 yards, 4.3 ypc, 4 TD
Bennett, Minnesota: 104 carries, 444 yards, 4.3 ypc, 2 TD
Trumpy, Northwestern: 74 carries, 307 yards, 4.1 ypc, 2 TD
Freshmen play like freshmen. On a long completed pass thrown by McGloin last night, I remember seeing freshman cornerback Cullen Christian, freshman free safety Ray Vinopal, and redshirt freshman wide receiver-turned-free safety-turned-quasi-linebacker Cameron Gordon converging on the play. I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more inexperienced defense. And that doesn’t even include the pain of watching a perfectly positioned Terrence Talbott watch a ball whistle right past his perfectly positioned arm and into the belly of a PSU wide receiver.
Denard Robinson runs the ball TOO MUCH. Holy crap, Rich Rodriguez. When are you going to learn that you’re driving Robinson into the ground by running him 27, 28, 29 times a game? Sure, Robinson had 27 carries for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had a great game (running the ball, anyway). But he also missed time due to injury for the sixth time out of eight games. If he’s such a valuable runner, put him at running back and give the snaps to a quarterback who can actually pass the ball, Tate Forcier. While I haven’t been a fan of changing Robinson’s position up to this point, the gaping hole at running back makes me think the Forcier/Robinson combo in the backfield might not be such a bad idea after all. In case you’re wondering, Robinson is averaging 20.5 carries a game so far this season.
So much for the bye week. We thought Michigan would be able to heal its injuries and put together a good game plan for a struggling Penn State team. But Mike Martin re-injured his ankle injury and missed most of the game, Denard Robinson got dinged up again, and running back Michael Shaw totaled one carry. Meanwhile, Michigan’s defense couldn’t cover the flats, couldn’t break on deep balls, and couldn’t stop a paltry running game. And Jeremy Gallon still looks like a lineman trying to catch the ball; instead of letting a kickoff go into the endzone for a touchback, he dropped the ball and then kicked it out of bounds at his own 2-yard line. I don’t really feel like the week off helped this team at all.
Greg Robinson is gone after this year. I’m almost sure of it. Somebody’s head has to roll after this year’s performance, and Rodriguez will be lucky if it’s not his. But I do not expect Greg Robinson to return in 2011, whether the defense has been littered with freshmen or not. This is the worst defense in Michigan history and perhaps the worst in the country.
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