|This probably won’t make you feel better, but I tried.
Some bullet points the day after . . .
The 4-man front was better. I’m not going to rail against the 3-3-5 as a scheme. Unlike what many people think, the 3-3-5 stack can work against all kinds of offenses. However, Michigan doesn’t have the personnel or the coordinator to do it successfully. I got a tip from a helpful insider prior to the game that Michigan would run more 4-man fronts this week, and that proved to be true. I might be wrong, but it seemed like Michigan reverted to the 3-3-5 more as the game went along, and the defense got worse. Regardless, bouncing back and forth between defenses week after week is a ridiculous philosophy. I wish Michigan had run a 4-man front all year long, like I advocated prior to the season.
Denard Robinson can’t do it by himself. Somebody else needs to step up and make some plays. Yes, he fumbled the ball in the red zone in the first quarter (a play in which he carried the ball in the wrong hand, something I pointed out two months ago), but running backs and receivers need to make plays, too. I’ve been supportive of Roy Roundtree all year long and he’s actually exceeded my expectations, but this was a game he likely wants to forget. By last count, I think he dropped 5 balls yesterday (although a couple should have been flagged for defensive pass interference).
Vincent Smith meh. Does Vincent Smith have some kind of blackmail material on Rich Rodriguez? Smith and Michael Shaw each had 8 carries, but Smith had 17 yards and Shaw had 53. How does that make any sense whatsoever? Smith has been improving over the past few weeks, but holy jeebus. Even Fitzgerald Toussaint – who can best be described as “mostly injured” – came in and almost outrushed Vincent Smith on only four carries. Here’s a hint, Coach Rodriguez: if you’re going to run the ball up the middle, put in somebody, anybody, other than Smith. If you’re going to pass the ball or run the zone stretch to the outside, put Smith in there. It’s really not that hard. Oh, and by the way, Coach, if Vincent Smith “isn’t a fumbler” (your words, not mine) then why has he fumbled in – correct me if I’m wrong – five out of the last six games?
Jordan Kovacs, meet the lateral. Okay, so the first half is ending. Time has run out, but the ball is still alive. It’s in the hands of one Jordan Kovacs, a former walk-on with a great deal of gumption and not much in the way of athleticism, who has intercepted a Terrelle Pryor pass and is weaving his way down the field in hopes of scoring a touchdown. Should he a) lateral the ball to a speedier, more athletic teammate or b) keep the ball and get tackled? I really wanted him to pick “a.” He chose “b.” This is an example of why Kovacs, in my opinion, can’t be on the field if Michigan wants to field an elite defense. I understand that he’s the best strong safety on the roster this year, and I’m fine with that. But if you’re looking for reasons that Michigan lacks the ability to stop an offense, consider that perhaps the defense’s third or fourth best player is a walk-on safety who is literally the last player in the secondary that you want having the ball in that situation.
You know who shouldn’t be playing free safety? Well, you might know. But the coaches don’t. That person would be Courtney Avery. Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s play a tiny true freshman at free safety who usually plays cornerback, but is a year removed from being almost exclusively a high school quarterback. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Especially if you ask Dan Herron, who thoroughly enjoyed his 32-yard touchdown run right past a poorly angled, overmatched Avery.
Like Nostradamus I am. After Michigan’s punt that rolled down to Ohio State’s 2-yard line, I swear to God, I said, “This is going to be a 98-yard touchdown run.” I can’t prove it because I said it to myself because I don’t like watching Michigan games with other people, but I said it. Of course, it wasn’t a 98-yard touchdown run – Dane Sanzenbacher got called for a hold at Michigan’s 9-yard line.
Here we come, Insight Bowl!