Penn State 43, Michigan 40 in four overtimes

Penn State 43, Michigan 40 in four overtimes


October 13, 2013
(image via Penn Live)

Michigan deserved to lose. You win when you deserve to win, and Michigan didn’t deserve to win. From the offensive play calling to the offensive line’s incompetence to the quarterback’s decision making to the defense’s inability to get pressure and cover short passes to the special teams’ inconsistency, Michigan didn’t deserve a victory. Penn State didn’t play their best football, either, but they looked less incompetent.

The coaches have lost confidence in Devin Gardner as a passer. There was a time when Brady Hoke and Al Borges would have let quarterback Devin Gardner air it out in a game like this, but instead, they chose to curl up into the fetal position – almost literally – and try to luck their way into a victory. Despite averaging just 2.8 yards/carry on fifty-four  rushing attempts, Michigan turned overtime into mostly an unproductive rushing effort. Michigan ran for 1, 1, 0, 3, -3, 8, 0, 0, and 7 yards in overtime, with that last 7-yarder coming on a Gardner scramble. The biggest offense came in the first overtime, when the play call/execution resulted in Gardner running from the 23-yard line on the left hash to the 23-yard line on the right hash on 3rd-and-8, presumably in an effort to “center” the ball for kicker Brendan Gibbons. Gibbons’s subsequent 40-yard field goal was blocked by defensive tackle Kyle Baublitz.

The offensive line is/was a mess. All-American left tackle Taylor Lewan left the game in the second quarter with what looked like an injury to his left side, perhaps a hip or a rib. He was replaced by right tackle Michael Schofield. Left guard Chris Bryant was presumably replaced for poor performance after some poor blocking; in came walk-on guard Joey Burzynski. Redshirt sophomore Graham Glasgow was playing left guard two weeks ago and has had several mental mistakes in his two games at center. Right guard Kyle Kalis took a senseless 15-yard penalty and was replaced for a short time by Burzynski before returning. The right tackle for the second half was redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson. Another walk-on, Erik Gunderson, also saw significant playing time in certain packages. Overall, by the end of the game, the only guy in the same spot as two weeks ago was Kalis. Meanwhile, running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green were swarmed in the backfield the entire game, totaling 30 carries for 28 yards.

Offensively, the lone bright spot was Devin Funchess. Tight end Devin Funchess had his second consecutive 100-yard game with 4 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had a couple key drops, but a tight end with 263 yards and 3 touchdowns in two games is pretty impressive.

Damn freshmen. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but a huge chunk of this loss falls on the shoulders of freshman cornerback Channing Stribling and whichever defensive coach was responsible for putting him in there. At the end of regulation, Stribling entered the game and was beaten on two long passes by the average Brandon Felder and Penn State standout receiver Allen Robinson. On both occasions, Stribling had chances to knock down or intercept the passes, but he mistimed his jumps and/or misjudged the ball, failing to get even a finger on either pass. The game was just moving too fast for him, which is why I hate having to play so many young players. In a year or two, those will be picks or knockdowns for Stribling. The same thing goes for Jake Butt’s failure to catch a back shoulder fade from Gardner in overtime; Butt showed his hands too early and failed to plant and go up for the ball. Instead, he settled for trying to catch it with his momentum going away from the ball and into the sideline. Both of things contributed to linebacker Mike Hull being able to bat the pass away at the last second despite not turning around for the ball.

Michigan can’t run the ball, and that’s not going to change. At this point in the season, I feel pretty confident in saying that nobody but Gardner will be able to run the ball effectively. Gardner even carried the ball 24 times, and he’s not going to hold up with that type of responsibility on his shoulders. I hate to say this, but Michigan needs to ditch the runs from under center and become a team that throws the ball 40-45 times a game. They need to get creative with their screen game, including bubbles and slip screens; they also need to find a way to get Dennis Norfleet on the field in regular packages and incorporate him into the offense, both as a scatback third-down replacement for Toussaint and as a slot receiver.

Despite the 43 points, I thought the defense played pretty well overall. Nine of those 43 points came in overtime. Additionally, two of Penn State’s touchdowns came after Gardner interceptions, which gave the Nittany Lions the ball on the 14- and 20-yard lines, respectively. They ran the ball 44 times for 85 yards (1.9 yards/carry) and 2 touchdowns, from the 1- and 2-yard lines, respectively. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg completed 23/44 passes for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he was also sacked 4 times and intercepted twice, while a large chunk of that yardage (79) came on the final drive in regulation when they beat Stribling.

Frank Clark is coming on. Clark had 3 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 2 fumble recoveries, one of which he picked up and ran 24 yards for a touchdown. He’s had a little bit of a fire lit under him after the first couple games of the season, and hopefully that fire stays lit. After barely showing up on the stat sheet early, he’s now sitting at 15 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 5 quarterback hurries, 2 fumble recoveries, and the aforementioned touchdown return.

What does this all mean? Well, I don’t think Michigan has a shot at winning the Big Ten this year. They’ve been playing with fire all year in close games with Akron and UConn, not to mention Notre Dame or the closer-than-it-should-have-been game against Minnesota last week. It finally bit them in the butt. The closest thing remaining to a team Michigan should  beat easily is Iowa, but they always seem to play Michigan tough, especially in Iowa City. Michigan also has Indiana’s number over the years, but the Hoosiers can put some points up on the board (41.7 points/game). Michigan State is going to feast on Michigan’s running game, Nebraska’s tough, Northwestern is good when healthy, and Ohio State is probably going to crush us. This is probably going to be ugly down the stretch.

46 comments

  1. Comments: 21557
    Oct 13, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    I wasn't able to watch the game (long story … mostly good) and I guess that worked out pretty well. I *did* get a headache looking over the play-by-play on ESPN. I was reminded — VERY unpleasantly — of Lloydball while looking over the 4th quarter.

  2. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Team and program isn't going anywhere, the youth excuse is over, this is year freaking 3 and they look like a team with a first year head coach. How do you insert Bryant into the mix and then run no power at all and stick with the stretch into 8 man fronts.

    The biggest fear has to be that Moneybags Brandon will only care about butts in seats and this fanbase has shown they are willing to come to games no matter the product put on the field.

    They got one of their good old boys to lead the way again and I'd bet the loyalty factor will cost us as guys like Funk, Borges still have jobs for the coming years despite getting worse year after year.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      Fans SHOULD be willing to come to games no matter the product put on the field. Hell, this team is 5-1, and they're 24-7 since Hoke's arrival. Why would fans stay away?

  3. Comments: 21557
    DonAZ
    Oct 13, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I did not get a chance to watch this game … at a wedding. That said, I've read enough reports here and elsewhere to get the picture — a combination of poor play and poor play-calling allowed Penn State to win a game they should not have won. The easy excuse is that this is a "young team," but I'm not so sure that's a valid excuse. I see true freshmen playing well on other teams. So it makes me wonder if there's truly something to the complaints about the coaching. I think there is. I think there's reason to call into question Funk as O-Line coach, and I think there's reason to draw into question Borges as OC. Neither will change as Hoke values loyalty and will reward it with his backing of those coaches. So we have a sub-par team that will likely be sub-par this year and quite possibly next and the year after.

  4. Comments: 21557
    Oct 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    We have 3 games left at home and 3 away. After watching the ineptness on offense and defense, I think the best they will do is 8 – 4. Which means another year of no B1G Championship. Last one was a share with Iowa in 2004. A very disappointing season and really shows a lack of coaching the kids up or a lack of talent, probably a bit of both. The line play in particular has been just atrocious, and that is supposedly a key area that Hoke prides himself in stressing! Obviously Hoke deserves at least as much time as Rich Rod was given, but I can tell you the alumni ($$) are taking notice!

    Sat., Oct. 19 vs. Indiana * Michigan Stadium 3:30 p.m. ET
    Sat., Nov. 2 at Michigan State * East Lansing, Mich. TBA
    Sat., Nov. 9 vs. Nebraska * Michigan Stadium TBA
    Sat., Nov. 16 at Northwestern * Evanston, Ill. TBA
    Sat., Nov. 23 at Iowa * Iowa City, Iowa TBA
    Sat., Nov. 30 vs. Ohio State * Michigan Stadium TBA

    • Comments: 21557
      Rob Pollard
      Oct 13, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      I have never been as high on Hoke as others were (at least as they were, before this PSU game) but it would be 100% crazy to even think of firing Hoke after this season, even if U of M goes 7-5 (which is quite possible) or 6-6 (really unlikely, but again, possible).

      You need to give a HC at least four years, unless they do something unethical or are just completely terrible in the first 2-3 years. Hoke has had one very good year (2011) and last year wasn't so much bad as it wasn't very good. He's got a really good recruiting class coming in, as well.

      But he NEEDS to get the OL fixed next year, which should also do wonders for the non-QB running game. There are no excuses four years in for a bad OL.

      Until then, it will be a frustrating 2013 season, esp if Lewan is out for any length of time. Too bad, as the B1G is such a mediocre conference, that even with a good team, you should be able to go 9-3 or 10-2. But that's not U of M right now.

  5. Comments: 21557
    Oct 13, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    I am furious as well. We're looking at a 8-4 or 7-5 season.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      LOL ….. furious ….. Seriously?

  6. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Despite all that we should have won if Gibbons makes one of the 3 game winning [email protected]#$% FG tries… I'll give him a pass on the first one since it was from 50+ but the other two (especially the last one) were a gimme.

    @ Gordon G
    If alumni ($$) were taking notice we would have hired Les Miles in 2008 or Jim Harbaugh in 2011. Say what you will but our "alumni" never have and never will have a say in who gets hired. OSU loses Tressel and a few months later they went out and hired Meyer, we had a full year to hire a coach (Martin knew Llloyd was retiring in 07) and we ended up with Rich Rod.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      As John U. Bacon showed in his book, Martin was absolutely incompetent in hiring replacement for Carr. Honestly, I am not sure if Brandon had enough time in hiring the "right" guy. I think he hired Hoke based on Hoke's connections with the Michigan program and many alumni players and coaches who really liked the guy. I think 2014 and 2015 are when we really should judge Hoke's performance, but I really thought Hoke and coaching staff gave the game away with poor play-calling and horrendous O-line development.

    • Comments: 21557
      Anonymous
      Oct 15, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      But Bacon's book didn't take into account the fact that Martin was never, ever going to hire Les Miles, and that is why he was "out of contact".

  7. Comments: 21557
    Gio
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Don't know what hurts more: my throat from yelling at the television or my head from the beers consumed in complete frustration!

  8. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    This was a total team effort and by team effort, I mean coaches and players alike.

    QB not getting plays off in time
    OL not being able to block anyone
    Punter kicking the ball into the endzone
    DBs not timing their leaps properly and not knocking down Hackenberg's moonballls
    Missed blocking assignments on FG attempt
    Gibbons gets one blocked and misses two others
    D can't make a stop on 4th and 1 with game on the line

    You can blame the coaches all you want, but players were in position to make plays and they couldn't get it done. Like I said, total team effort.

  9. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    I agree with pretty much everything previously stated. I love Hoke but we will soon find out if he is loyal to a fault. Funk needs to be fired in January regardless of how the last 6 games go. Borges needs to put more pts on the board and get more creative but most importantly he needs to improve step for step with His qbs since we don't carry a separate qb coach. Despite all the hype and all Gardner's effort it appears he has regressed. Same as Denard last year. Youth is not the issue. If Hoke stays loyal and gives theses guys another year I believe next season will be big10 championship or bust for our beloved Brady and at this rate it is bust. Unfortunate because I really like Hoke and the defensive staff he has put together but in today's game you can't afford to get by on being a good ambassador and recruiting. It must translate to wins. I was the eternal optimist this year until week 3. I really thought this team was special. Now after the last month I see they are especially mediocre and it rests on the coaching staff.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:54 PM

      I disagree on Hoke. I think he could go 8-4 this year and next and not feel much heat from the administration.

    • Comments: 21557
      Anonymous
      Oct 13, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      Which tells me mediocre is fine for them as long as one of their "guys" is leading the way. Never a good combo and that again comes back to the whole do they want to win or just do well enough to get butts in seats.

    • Comments: 21557
      Anonymous
      Oct 15, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      Mediocre is better than terrible, which is what we were before Hoke. If Hoke put up these results right after Carr, I don't think there would be much heat on him. But because he came in after Rich Rodriguez, his seat is positively chilly.

      Also, Funk should be fired "regardless of how the last 6 games go"? That's not a reasonable thing to say. What if they start to block people?

  10. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Just remember Richrod turned down Bama before Saban got the gig in 2006. So he had the wool pulled over everyone's eyes. Despite the criticisms of both staffs we won a bcs game with his talent and our 2 best linemen are his recruits. All that and I still could never stand the way he never took responsibility for the failures on the field. He was just an epic #!?clown. But he is still a godfather of the successful spread offense. Enough about the past. The current staff deserves the heat, not for the way they played last night but the way this team has played for the last month.

    • Comments: 21557
      Anonymous
      Oct 13, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      Rich Rod's offenses were always explosive against bad teams, but they struggled against good teams in part due to lack of recruits but he barely had any time to get his guys. Gardner would have looked great in that offense. Running the 3-3-5 is what ended up costing him his job. That defense can only be effective if all 3 defensive lineman are nfl quality guys that can demand 2 blocks on any given play.

      Public perception is everything in college football and Rich Rod had a pretty bad perception to Michigan fans in general. Things like recruit rankings and winning(more so at home than in general) is what most fan's care about. Something Hoke has done a good job of so far.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:06 PM

      The 3-3-5 doesn't work the way you think it does. It's a slanting defense that is in many respects very similar to that which Bo ran back in the day.

      RR didn't have a ton of future NFL guys on his defensive lines at West Virginia or much of anywhere else excepting maybe DBs on some of his defenses that handled pretty good some big time teams defensively, Georgia (I think) and Oklahoma being two notables that I can come up with without having to look.

      What he did have at WVU was a DC who really understood the 3-3-5 defense. Here he had GERG and whatshisname.

    • Comments: 21557
      Anonymous
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      WVU's level of competition was terrible. For the 3-3-5 to work in against halfway decent teams, the atleast one of the 3 lineman has to take on two blocks every play. They do this by attacking the gap, pretty much the same way one-gap 3-4 lineman do. Ideally your nose(really all downline man, but thats going to be rare) can play 2 gap but he doesn't necessarily have to. Essentially their sole responsibility is to keep everyone else clean. Otherwise the line reaches the second level in every play.

      Slanting just means attacking a different gap then you are lined up on. If you have an even front 3-3-5 then it is almost always going to be a slanting defense but a 3-3-5 can easily operating out of a odd front with no slanting except to confuse the offense.

      Charlie Strong is one of the big names for the 3-3-5 defenses.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:55 PM

      Any defensive system can work at the college level, whether it's a 4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5, 3-3-5, etc. It just depends on whether you have the right coordinator and/or the right personnel.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 14, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      I'll clarify.

      The 3-3-5 as run by West Virginia typically lined up it's defensive linemen on somebody's nose and slanted on most every down. They weren't looking to soak up blockers, they were serious about blowing up gaps and hitting ball carriers. Double teams sometimes happened, but weren't a huge concern because their stacked linebackers were reading their own DLs and moving opposite the direction of the defensive lineman's attack, stepping into the gap he didn't take up and thus making the defensive lineman "always right" or maybe better put in this case, correct. A double team most frequently meant somebody next door was unblocked. It was/is a slick little run defense. If you watch the old film, Bo did a lot of it first.

      It's arguable that Don Nehlen who coached Quarterbacks for Bo in the late 70's (pause to consider once again Ricky Leach throwing a football and then laugh like hell) took facets of Bo's defense with him to WVU where he gave it to RR and Casteel as he did hire Dennis Brown, a Michigan quarterback and then coach, to DC for him at West Virginia. Brown may have been DC for RR's first team or two.

      I'll agree that WVU's conference schedule was never all that tough, but I watched them kick a #3 ranked, Bob Stoops coached, Sam Bradford led, Oklahoma team's ass with it without anything that approached the big time personnel that the Sooners trotted out that day ….. at least on their defensive side of the ball.

      They hung with a #8 ranked Georgia team that also had a serious personnel advantage to win a shootout with it the year before.

      It's a neat concept, people hate it here because we had mediocre guys who had no concept of how to run it. Among the few things I fault RR for is being too stubborn to put it down until he could get a guy that understood how to employ it.

    • Comments: 21557
      Anonymous
      Oct 14, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      The whole point of taking up two blockers is that the linebackers are "clean". It is very difficult to run any defense without that. In order for you to run an effective defense without atleast one d-lineman taking up 2 blocks you either need your front 7 to consistently win one on one match ups. You also better have some beast safeties to other wise you are begging for long runs with a mixed tackle.

      That Oklahoma team was playing without their freshman all american runningback and had a freshman quarterback. They played Georgia Tech the year before and Georgia the one before that and allowed 35 points in both those games. Are you trying to say that allowing 35 points is an effective defense? The won those games by out scoring the other team. Rich Rod teams will always put points up. A Rich Rod-Mattison team would be a great for Michigan football.

      Any time you only have 3 down line man regardless of the type of defense it makes your linebackers alot more important. Michigan did not have good enough linebackers to run that style of defense while Rich Rod was here. I think they currently do, but not back then.

      I prefer 3 down lineman sets but think it is hard to pull off unless you have a good plugger at nt. Take a look at Alabama, since they don't have a Terrance Cody type nose any more, they have been running more and more 4 down lineman sets. Defense even more so the offenses have to be adjusted to personnel. My point is Michigan did not have the personnel to run that defense as a base set and be effective.

  11. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    My 6-year-old asked why they kept running the same play. I still don't have an answer.

  12. Comments: 21557
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    It's scary to see no more guaranteed wins on the schedule. Maybe I'm too pessimistic after the loss yesterday but I'm worried about a 2-4 finish. I see losses in our remaining 3 road game (@msu, @NU, @IA). Our best road win under Hoke was against a 7-6 Illinois team who lost 6 straight games in Big Ten play. I'm hoping to go 2-1 in home games vs IN, Nebraska, and OSU.

  13. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Hoke will never be the football genius propelling the team to championships. His role is as a recruiter and face of the program. Having Mattison coaching defense should be adequate for that side of the ball, although I thought he should have dialed up pressure on Hack last night more often than they did. Also we need to do something about tight ends killing us. Not sure who that falls on exactly.

    But Borges needs to let loose. When he does, the offense can be very good and they showed it at times last night. But they have to do more against a team that couldn't stop Indiana. There were missed opportunities such as Funchess in the endzone, Chesson's drop, Butt's play (in which the LB raked his arm before the ball came and face-guarded).

    Anyway, I guess the point is that unless Borges lets loose and makes play calls that make sense for his personnel, the team will be no better than mediocre vs their expectations. Hoke is not going to be the mastermind and needs a coaching staff who can fill that role.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:58 PM

      I also wondered why Michigan didn't dial up more pressure against Hackenberg. Young quarterbacks need to be blitzed, in my opinion. Matt Millen and Joe Tessatore kept talking about the maturation of Hackenberg, but that was less about his maturation than the failures of Michigan's defense.

  14. Comments: 21557
    Oct 13, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Offensive gameplan: play musical chairs with the offensive linemen so it's a tire fire, mix up lots of obvious playcalling with random complicated plays so none of them have any likelihood of success, accurately pinpoint which plays we're the worst at and run then repeatedly in important situations for no reason.

  15. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    This lose was all about coaching. Gardner made some idiot throws early where he was locked in to Gallon the entire time from when the ball was snapped, but the receivers also dropped some catchable balls in which they got both hands on. In the second half of the game he was the only one making plays and took a beating doing so, but with the game on the line the coaches completing took the ball out of his hands. The running game was not working at all besides Gardner scrambling or draw plays but that is all that was called at the end of the game.

    Stribling had no business being out there. He made a great effort but at the end of the day Michigan has 3 other very experienced and tested starters corners, they should have been on the field not Stribling. Going back to coaching, why is Michigan's best corner not on Penn State's best receiver with the game on the line? I haven't seen it again but surely they didn't play zone so why is a true freshman matched up with a guy with 45% of Penn State's receiving yards? Sorry, if I got that wrong but I haven't seen the replays to see how they were lined up.

    Other than the last drive of regulations, I thought the defense played fine. They made some plays causing turnovers, got more pressure than before and shut down Penn State's running game.

    If Michigan rather play conservative and take the ball out of Gardners hands, its going to be an ugly rest of the season. If they let Gardner do whatever he can out there, Michigan should be fine. If all your play makers are in the passing game, doesn't it make sense to you know call passing plays?

    • Comments: 21557
      MFan4Life
      Oct 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      Take the ball out of Gardner's hands? This line of reasoning really mystifies me. Gardner carried the ball 24 times!! Denard only had one game last year in which he ran more than that. The big problem is that we are relying TOO much on Gardner.

  16. Comments: 21557
    EGD
    Oct 13, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    I agree that Michigan should stop trying to establish the run and just let Gardner air it out. That would give us the best chance to win.

    • Comments: 21557
      MFan4Life
      Oct 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      Gardner throwing 28 times is more than enough for this team to be successful. He barely completed 50% of his passes. If you go to an "air-it-out" offense with him, he'll probably throw 5 picks a game. Defenses will blitz the hell out of him and he'll probably spin into 5 or 6 sacks, too. We HAVE to get some kind of running game going. The OL has to be fixed somehow. There is no way to scheme around it. Given Gardner's decision making and accuracy, putting more of the game into his hands is suicidal. He already accounted for 361 of Michigan's 389 total yards.

    • Comments: 21557
      Anonymous
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      How successful was the running game? Take away Gardner's scrambles which are really passing plays and the rest of the backs probably got around 2 yards a carry. Michigan's best plays are passing plays by far.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      I agree that the OL needs to be fixed. How exactly does that occur in mid-October? The coaches have played basically every non-freshman, and true freshmen aren't going to be the answer. At this point, I think we have to assume that the offensive line cannot be fixed. The thing you have to do as a coach is scheme your way into making that as irrelevant as possible. You can't just keep running power power power stretch stretch stretch and assume that it will automatically fix itself. Something needs to change.

  17. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    THUNDER, PLEASE TELL ME THERE'S A CHANCE OF BORGES GETTING FIRED AFTER THIS SEASON.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Dunno about Borges, but Funk definitely has to go. He doesn't deserve the 200k salary and should coach middle school or something. Never saw a Michigan O-line function this badly.

    • Comments: 21557
      Anonymous
      Oct 13, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      Both need to go, and to be perfectly honest, I think Borges is more dangerous to Michigan. I think the offensive line would look so much better if Borges knew that you have to pass on first down when your OL is horrible. The OL is BAD, but it probably isn't as bad as it appears to be, if it doesn't have the pressure of the D knowing that you're going to run every first down, then the OL won't be under as much pressure.

    • Comments: 21557
      Oct 13, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      Yes, I think there's a chance, but it's probably a small one. I think if the season continues to go as it has been going, someone on the staff will have to be axed, if only to satisfy the public. I might be wrong, but I think Darrell Funk might disappear after this year (unless things get fixed). If that doesn't change the production next year, then I think Borges might follow him out the door.

    • Comments: 21557
      Magnum P.I.
      Oct 13, 2013 at 11:07 PM

      I wish Al and Funk would just "retire" after this season. It's the only way out of this situation, I think.

  18. Comments: 21557
    Oct 13, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    My biggest point of contention is how different this team looks when on the road. We're undefeated at home, but haven't beaten a team with a winning record on the road since Hoke got here. Hostile environments and all that, but the differences even in things like game plan are far too variant between stadiums.

  19. Comments: 21557
    Magnum P.I.
    Oct 13, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    I think we are good enough on defense to compete for a Big Ten championship. PSU's last regulation scoring drive was horrible, but I blame the coaches for that, namely for not sending more pressure when that strategy had worked against Hackenburg all game and for not gluing Countess to Robinson. Common sense, to me. I think we have the tools to be a strong defense, just need to stop being so damned cowardly in how we manage big situations.

    On offense, we are a disaster. For two reasons: (1) as you said, the coaches have lost confidence in Gardner's passing; and (2) because everyone knows this, defenses are loading the box to stop the run. Until (1) changes, we are going nowhere on offense. I completely agree with Magnus that we have to have a fundamental shift in offensive strategy. Pass, pass, Funchess, Gallon with the option for a QB scramble. Only afterward, run the ball. This has to be the way forward. Will Borges have the humility to realize this and adapt? I highly doubt it. Coaches are a proud people.

  20. Comments: 21557
    Nick.
    Oct 13, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    The play calling has been suspect since Borges arrived with Hoke here. He has consistently blown games by going into being passive instead of trying to win. Al did this again last night. If Brady cannot figure out that he is not capable then they both need to go. Let Mattison run the darn thing and find an offensive coordinator worth a crap. I understand we are VERY young on the O-line, but Gardner cannot hold the ball for 10 seconds and expect to be protected the entire time. He has been average or below average at best running this offense. We get to see a glimmer at times, but nothing very consistent. If the offense is too complicated then find a QB who can grasp it or find a new system. Hackenberg looked like a seasoned vet last night, not perfect, but. better than Gardner.

  21. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Hi Mangus, just wondering…If I call Dave Brandon do you think he'd answer? His phone number is listed on MGoBlue. I wanted to talk to him about Al Borges.

  22. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 13, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Is it Hoke or Dave Brandon that has the power to fire Borges?

  23. Comments: 21557
    Anonymous
    Oct 14, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    Thunder, do you sleep at night? I noticed you make threads at 6 AM and you're still approving comments close to midnight.

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