Michigan vs. Ohio State Awards

Tag: Greg Robinson

29Nov 2010
Uncategorized 8 comments

Michigan vs. Ohio State Awards

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Denard Robinson.  What?  Yeah, you read that correctly.  I hope that in years to come, Robinson can stay healthier than he did this year.  Earlier in the year, I wanted Robinson to run the ball less.  On Saturday, I wanted him to run the ball a lot.  Well, he ran 18 times for 105 yards, but dislocated a couple fingers on his left hand and missed most of the second half.  Sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles, I guess.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Butterfingers Roundtree.  I’m not sure what happened to one of my favorite players on this year’s team, Roy Roundtree.  He was perhaps the most dependable receiver on the team over about the first nine games of the season, but dropped a couple passes in games 10 and 11, then dropped five passes (I think) against Ohio State.  He had several chances to make critical catches and couldn’t seem to keep his focus for some reason.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Courtney Avery.  The presence of Avery might allow Troy Woolfolk to return to free safety in 2011.  I really like what I’ve seen from him in the second half of this season.  He needs to get stronger and work on his tackling, but I look forward to seeing him develop over the next few years.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Greg Robinson.  Bye, Coach Robinson.  I hope you land on your feet somewhere.  A lot of people are mad at you, but I kind of feel sorry for you.  Maybe at your next destination, the head coach won’t force you to run a style of defense that you don’t understand.

MVP of the Ohio State game . . . Jordan Kovacs.  I know I mentioned yesterday that I wish Kovacs had tossed the ball to a more athletic teammate after he intercepted a pass at the end of the second quarter, but Kovacs played a solid game.  He ended the day with 17 tackles and the interception.  Good for him.

31Oct 2010
Uncategorized 9 comments

New defensive coordinator?

Defensive line coach Bruce Tall

Rumors have begun to float that Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has been or will be replaced by defensive line coach Bruce Tall, at least in the interim.  Rumors are also beginning that the search for a full-time replacement has begun.  I am not vouching for the validity of these rumors, just reporting that they exist.

Bruce Tall’s coaching history:

1985-86: Tight ends and special teams coach at Cornell
1987-92: Defensive line coach at Ohio Wesleyan
1993-97: Defensive coordinator and linebacker coach at Northeastern
1998-2001: Defensive coordinator and linebacker coach at Harvard
2002-07: Safeties coach at West Virginia
2008-10: Defensive line coach at Michigan

31Oct 2010
Uncategorized 23 comments

Penn State 41, Michigan 31

Happier now?  No?  Yeah, me either.

Michigan lost last night.  I’m not sure if you heard, but it was bad.

Sad bullets:

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.

6Sep 2009
Uncategorized 5 comments

Michigan 31, Western Michigan 7

Wow. That’s the one word that kept coming to mind as I watched the game yesterday. This is such an utterly different team than the 2008 incarnation that it’s difficult to imagine Steve Threet and Nick Sheridan running this type of offense.

It’s clear that Tate Forcier is the driving force behind this offense. Any argument to the contrary would be insanity. He didn’t run the ball particularly well and needs to work on his reads on the zone read option. That being said, except for a couple hitches, Forcier threw the ball very well and directed the offense better than anyone else on the roster can. He looked like a veteran quarterback on the first TD pass when he scrambled and directed Junior Hemingway to head downfield. His second TD pass to Hemingway brought back memories of Henne-to-Manningham. And Forcier’s play action fakes on Rich Rodriguez’s version of the waggle pass were excellent, not to mention his ability to square his shoulders and fling the ball to Koger for a TD and then that one-handed snag seen above.

Denard Robinson was adequate. His 43-yard touchdown run was, quite simply, electric. But keep in mind that it came on a broken play where he mishandled the shotgun snap; he was supposed to run the ball left or perhaps pitch it to Martavious Odoms who was coming behind him for a potential end around. If you take away that 43-yard run, Robinson ran the ball 10 times for 31 yards. He completed two short passes; missed badly on another in which he and the receiver weren’t on the same page; and threw a dangerous deep jump ball to Mathews that ended up incomplete. Robinson’s body language and decision making indicated that the game was moving a little too fast for him. Things will slow down for him and he could be a star down the road, but that time isn’t now.

The running game was a bit of a disappointment for me. Forcier made some poor reads, and Rodriguez seemed more interested in getting the ball on the perimeter than taking advantage of his stable of running backs and WMU’s poor defensive line. Some of this may have been due to the fact that starting fullback Mark Moundros was injured on special teams early in the game; without their best lead blocker, perhaps Rodriguez and Magee preferred to keep the ball on the outside. Regardless, the offensive line was a strength and even though starting running back Carlos Brown finished with 5.4 yards per carry, I feel Michigan could be even better at running the ball in the coming weeks.

Defensively, I was impressed with Greg Robinson’s schemes and Michigan’s tackling. There were several plays on Saturday where I thought WMU’s running backs would have broken tackles if they were facing the 2008 defense. But Michigan’s defenders seemed to stick to ballcarriers like glue. Not only were they tackling better, but the defense was hurrying to the football. If the first guy didn’t make the play, usually a second guy was there ready to clean up the mess.

In the second half, WMU quarterback Tim Hiller started getting rid of the ball quicker. He found a rhythm and started hitting underneath passes to his receivers. Greg Robinson might be served well by disguising coverages on the outside, changing the look from cover 2 man to a cover 2 zone. Suddenly, instead of driving the cornerback off with his initial burst, that cornerback is sitting underneath the quick hitch to the outside. A couple well orchestrated disguised coverages might be just enough to make Hiller think twice, which would give Brandon Graham, Mike Martin, and the rest of the defensive line enough time to get to the quarterback.

Offensive game ball goes to . . . Tate Forcier. He finished 13/20 for 179 yards, 3 TDs, and – most importantly – zero interceptions, fumbles, or sacks in his first game at Michigan.

Defensive game ball goes to . . . I was tempted to say Donovan Warren, but I’ll say Steve Brown. He finished third on the team with six tackles, including five solo. His new position at SAM linebacker appeals to his strengths, which are speed and physicality. Warren made several tackles and played very physical, but he picked up two pass interference penalties and a personal foul.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Denard Robinson. Until he can run the offense more smoothly and completely, he should be behind center less. I felt like the offense got bogged down when he was in the game. His passing was subpar and jittery, and it seemed like WMU’s defense didn’t respect his ability to do anything but run. (Honorable mention: Nick Sheridan and David Cone.)

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . J.T. Floyd. Floyd was in there as a backup to Boubacar Cissoko once Cissoko aggravated his shoulder injury. But especially in next week’s game against Notre Dame, with Jimmy Clausen throwing to Golden Tate and Michael Floyd, Michigan can’t afford to put Floyd in there at cornerback. He got burned a couple times – including the 73-yard TD pass, on which Troy Woolfolk was also at fault – and he’s probably just too slow to be playing corner. If Michigan had any depth at the CB position, Floyd would probably be a safety. Hopefully Cissoko gets healthy and freshman Justin Turner steps up his game in the coming week. Otherwise, I’m afraid we should expect a rain of deep balls from Clausen next week.

MGoBlue’s official game information.