Press Conference: Hoke, Koger, Van Bergen

Tag: Brady Hoke

25Sep 2011
Uncategorized 47 comments

Michigan 28, San Diego State 7

Denard Robinson had 200 yards rushing in Saturday’s 28-21 victory (image via LA Times)

What is this “defense” thing everyone keeps talking about?  Aside from the Notre Dame game, Michigan has allowed only 6.7 points per game.  Admittedly, those other three opponents have been mediocre – two MAC teams and a decent squad from the MWC – but this is still a somewhat impressive turnaround from last year.  The Wolverines held San Diego State’s rushing attack to only 4.2 yards per carry and forced quarterback Ryan Lindley into completing fewer than 50% of his passes.

Weekly Denard Robinson blurb.  I’m not sure how I feel about Denard Robinson’s play right now.  I love the kid for his heart and attitude – and considerable running skills – but something just isn’t clicking.  He finished the game 8-for-17 passing with 93 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.  Those numbers are horrible, and that’s the third week in a row that his completion percentage has been lower than 50%.  And while it would have been great for Kevin Koger to grab that pass that hit him right in the stomach, the bottom line is that Robinson is extremely inaccurate and making bad decisions.  He threw one pass into double coverage that had no business being thrown, and the other he threw the other pick to a blanketed receiver.  If Michigan keeps winning, then it doesn’t really matter what his completion percentage is.  But if his inaccuracy bites the Wolverines in the butt at any point – and it probably will – then you can bet that some members of the Michigan fan base and the media will start wondering if Devin Gardner should get a shot at quarterback and if Robinson should move to running back.  On top of the scattershot arm, it seems to me that Robinson looks a bit slower this year than he did last season.  Perhaps he’s worn down or defenses are faster this year; I know he had a 53-yard touchdown run and 200 yards rushing overall, but something seems different.

Craig Roh reads Touch the Banner.  Having been spurred on by my call for him to be relegated to a backup role a couple weeks ago, Roh has since responded with two solid games.  This week he had 2 tackles; one was a short yardage stuff of running back Ronnie Hillman, and the other was a sack of Lindley on which Roh forced a fumble.  It’s slightly disappointing that Michigan could only manage one sack on 48 attempts, but it seemed like San Diego State started taking shorter drops and getting the ball out quicker as the game wore on.

Running back argh.  First, I would like to say that I thought Vincent Smith (9 carries, 49 yards, 1 TD) had his best day running the ball at Michigan – except for the fumble.  I know he’s had better games statistically (118 yards vs. Eastern Michigan last week, 166 yards against Delaware State in 2009), but those were into gaping holes.  Smith actually took short gains and turned them into long gains or a touchdown this week.  Hooray for him.  Fitzgerald Toussaint had a solid day, too (13 carries, 67 yards).  But dammit, I’m going to start beating the Michael Cox drum again.  Stephen Hopkins is my new whipping boy.  Hopkins needs to sit his butt on the bench and not see the light of day unless he’s a lead blocker or running down the field on special teams or something.  Not only is he slow, but he fumbles.  In six carries this season, he has fumbled twice; in 43 career carries, he has fumbled three times.  If you’re going to be a fumbler, you should at least offer a little bit of reward for the risk; he’s averaging 3.9 yards a carry in his career.  Fine, Toussaint and Smith are the top two backs, whatever.  But if you’re going to give a third guy a carry, for God’s sake let it be Cox (8.9 yards a carry) or Michael Shaw (5.2).

Jake Ryan is a dreamboat.  That dude is just a playmaker.  He’s always around the ball and always making things happen.  Going back to the spring when he had a sack and an interception returned for a touchdown, Ryan has been a stud.  In four games this season, he has 13 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 fumble recoveries, and forced the interception that Brandon Herron returned 94 yards for a touchdown against Western Michigan; he almost had a third fumble recovery on Saturday, but Thomas Gordon beat him to it by a fraction of a second.  Ryan still does some fundamental things wrong, but this kid looks like a future star.  Also, he has pretty hair that the ladies surely love.

Speaking of future stars.  Blake Countess got a lot of run on Saturday, and he looked more than capable.  San Diego State started picking on him, and Countess responded with 7 tackles and a pass breakup.  The true freshman cornerback was in good position most of the time, and when he was beaten, it was on pinpoint throws by a fifth year senior quarterback.  While I hope that starter Troy Woolfolk can return soon after aggravating his sprained ankle, it looks like Michigan has a capable backup if Woolfolk needs to sit out next week.

On SDSU’s list of things to review this week: option responsibilities.  Seriously, three dudes jump the pitch man, and nobody accounts for the quarterback?

Congratulations to Brady Hoke.  I know it must be tough to coach against the kids he coached last year and the coaches he worked with last season, but it was classy all around – except for the words of former SDSU lineman Kyle Turley, who is a certified douche.  San Diego State’s head coach Rocky Long had nothing but good things to say about Hoke.  I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I imagine it’s pretty rare for a college head coach to take another head coaching job . . . and then play his old team the following year.

When I get old, I want to look like Greg Mattison.  He’s still all barrel chested and stuff.  He must eat his spinach.  That dude still looks like he could wrestle a bear.  And my money’s not on the bear.