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Catching Saquon Barkley: Michigan Football 2018

Discussion in 'College Sports' started by Zososoxfan, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    4,619
    Michigan Football in 2018 is about a very talented and deep football team with a couple of major question marks playing an absolutely brutal schedule in year 4 of the Harbaugh era.

    The Michigan defense this year should be elite (top 5). They return every starter other than the very talented NT Mo Hurst. The DL features one of, if not the, best pairs of DE in Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich. These dudes are tireless future NFLers. At DT, Mike Dwumfour is expected to start and is getting lots of good press out of camp. He will be paired with 5* true soph Aubrey Solomon who had a pretty solid freshman year. Behind the starters are a slew of talented but untested young guys (Vilain, Paye, Kemp) and some upperclassmen who haven't overwhelmed but help solidify a rotation (Mone, Marshall).

    The LB corps are led by future NFLers Devin Bush at MLB and Khaleke Hudson who plays the Viper position in Don Brown's D (a hybrid Safety/LB position). At the WLB, there are a lot of bullets in the chamber with Devin Gil, Jordan Anthony, John Ross, Singleton, and a couple other guys who could potentially see the field.

    The secondary is headlined by future NFL CBs Lavert Hill and David Long. Both of these guys are shutdown Corners and together, they make life miserable for WRs. They have very capable backups in Ambry Thomas and Brandon Watson. The safeties were good last year, but finished on a down note. That being said, they are young and should be better this year. Tyree Kinnel and Josh Metellus are upperclassmen that hopefully can take steps forward this year. They have talented but untested backups (JKP and Woods).

    It's worth mentioning the coaches here because I think Don Brown is the best DC in College Football. The guy lives and breathes college ball and made BC into a perennial overachiever with less-talented players. The longer he stays, the better off the program will be. Zordich has done very well with his CBs and Mattison is an overqualified College DL coach. There's a lot of good minds in that room.

    The offense should be improved this year by virtue of incoming transfer QB Shea Patterson (from Ole Miss) and a better organization of offensive coaches. Namely, the offense presumably got rid of the sources of its personality disorder by losing Tim Drevno and Greg Frey and bringing in OL coach Ed Warriner. Everything out of camp indicates that the playbook has been simplified and the OL is vastly improved. Honestly, it's a low bar but a believable statement based on the above.

    Patterson is a 5* QB with substantial SEC starter experience. He is not a big guy, but apparently he throws a great long ball and is a solid scrambler. If the OL struggles, that scramble ability will become increasingly important. Part time starter from last year Brandon Peters in the backup and with that experience hopefully is a capable backup. Behind Peters is uber-talented but not ready yet Dylan McCaffrey. There is another development QB behind McCaffrey who is super raw named Joe Milton.

    I'm more bullish on the OL than most because the middle of the line should actually be very good. Cesar Ruiz was born to play Center and has been dedicated to the position at a high level for his entire career. Ben Bredeson is easily the OL with the best report card from last year and is the starting LG. Mike Onwenu is a giant man and is the presumed RG. The OT is where it gets iffy. Most reports have Jon Runyan Jr. as the starting LT. Not ideal and definitely the biggest area of concern for the entire offense. I peg Juwan Bushell Beatty (JBB) as the starting RT at the moment. He was excellent at run blocking last year but was disastrous against the pass. There are a few capable backups in Hudson and Spanellis, but OL is the position I want to see no injuries.

    RB is very settled with the 2 starters Karan Higdon and Chris Evans back from last year. They've added a couple of FBs who may play more.

    TE is a position that hopefully the team can lean on to get the OL and WR some assistance. Sam McKeon had the best season last year as a true 2-way TE and he jumped a couple of more senior guys to do that. Zach Gentry and Nick Eubanks are your more receiver-like TE and I expect one of them to go into a pattern on almost every pass play. There are some really talented young guys who will get some minimal amount of burn this year (Schoon, Muhammed).

    The WR group is super talented and super young. DPJ is a 5* that should've had better stats last year but poor QB play really hurt. Tarik Black looked even better in an injury-shortened year last year, and he just fractured his OTHER foot, so he will be out for a substantial part of the season at least. Fortunately, Nico Collins is a Kelvin Benjamin doppleganger (think NCAA Benjamin) and should make a suitable counterbalance for DPJ. Grant Perry is the only WR who is not a frosh or soph (he's a senior) and he is a very capable slot WR. Oliver Martin and Nate Schoenle may figure in, but not hugely so.

    Quinn Nordin was a very highly rated kicker and had a pretty good freshman year, other than some midseason yips. Punter is a total shoulder shrug and will likely be an underrated mess. DPJ is a super talented Punt Returner and I don't know who to expect for Kick Returns.

    The schedule is an absolute bear this season. @ND presents a stiff Week 1 test that will not give this team a chance to gel before being required to perform with real stakes on the line. Nevertheless, ND's offense sounds like it's a bit of a mess and I think this D can carry the team to a low-scoring sloppy win.

    Western Michigan and SMU at home should be straightforward wins.

    Nebraska at home will show how quickly Scott Frost can get this program going in the right direction. I think he will overachieve this year, but struggle with serious squad limitations. Win for M.

    @Northwestern and vs. Maryland should be wins and I don't think they will be that close.

    Then, it gets brutal: vs. Wisco, @MSU, vs. PSU. I think M can get 2/3 here. But all 3 in a row is a tall order with Wisco presenting a huge challenge, MSU presenting a test that is always tougher than it appears, and PSU that I think will be substantially worse than last year, but that still has a lot of good pieces.

    Rutgers and IU should be wins.

    @OSU I will pencil in as a loss every year until M can show that they can compete and actually win this game with any kind of consistency.

    Prediction: 10-2 with losses vs. Wisco and @OSU.
     
  2. Dick Pole Upside

    Dick Pole Upside Member SoSH Member

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    WR and S positions the biggest question marks in my mind.

    True freshmen getting buzz and potential playing time: T Jalen Mayfield, DE Aidan (son of Steve) Hutchinson, and WR Ronnie Bell. Joe Milton getting lots of buzz as well. New red shirt rules may afford him a few snaps early in the year.

    Even with the tough schedule, I’m more optimistic than 2017.
     
  3. SoxJox

    SoxJox Member SoSH Member

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    A pretty good summary, but this caught my eye. Unless you can substantiate that beyond the laminate observations of Barkley and Gisecki departures, I'd ask for some deeper assessment of why you feel this way. Behind Barkley in the subsequent 2 recruiting years, PSU has brought in 2 RBs that each have arguably been in the top 3 nationally - Miles Sanders and Ricky Slade. Sure, they've yet to prove themselves at a Barkley-like level, if that is even possible - but "substantially worse". No.

    In Gisecki's wake comes RS JR Jonathan Holland at 6'4" / 254 and RS SO Danny Dalton 6'4" / 247 (from Marshfield, MA). Sure, both were "only" 3*s coming at of high school, so I'll acknowledge so expected decline there. But "substantially worse". We'll see. Oh, and we can't forget incoming FR TE Pat Freiermuth (from Andover, MA - I'm seeing a Bay State theme here), the #9 TE recruit in the country according to 247Sports.

    Trace McSorley ain't contributing at all to a "substantially worse" performance.

    PSU's offensive line is as healthy and experienced as it's been in over 10 years. Zero contribution to "substantially worse".

    I'll grant some concessions on the D-line. This is the one area of my greatest concern. RS JR Shariff Miller and RS SO Shaka Toney showed great promise last year. They'll need to step up as a leaders, but I don't see any reason why they can't fill that role. They have ample depth with SO DE Yetur Gross-Matos and top-rated FR Jayson Oweh coming in. DT will be an area that I am sure will receive great attention early. PSU moved younger players - like PJ Mustipher - in various schemes last year that provided experience, but they'll need to step up. "Substantially worse." I don't see it rising to that dramatic level.

    The LB core, anchored by RS SR and leader Koa Farmer, will be solid. The addition of Micah Parsons (#1 LB nationally) and Jesse Luketa should not experience any drop off. "Substantially worse"? Not by my measured eye.

    The D-secondary should be rock solid with John Reid returning at CB, and bolstered by very capable and experienced CBs in Amani Oruwariye, Zech McPhearson, and Tariq Castro-Fields. Mixing in experienced Nick Scott and highly-rated Lamont Wade at Safety adds assurances. I don't see "substantially worse" here.

    Special Teams should be rock solid. Returning punter Blake Gilligan (#3 punter in the B1G last year @ 43.2 YPP). To replace Tyler Davis, they'll likely be placing kicking duties on the foot of highly-recruited Jake Pinegar (#6 PK nationally). Punt returns likely will be handled by (4.43 speedster) FR KJ Hamler. Punt returns likely will fall to Ricky Slade, much the way they used Sander behind Barkley last year.

    Bottom line: I don't necessarily see PSU winning the national championship, but I'd be surprised if they don't finish somewhere near where they did last year - not substantially worse.
     
    #3 SoxJox, Aug 28, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
  4. Soxfan in Fla

    Soxfan in Fla Member SoSH Member

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    6,887
    MSU presenting a challenge that is always tougher than it appears??? Never change Wolvies. Never change. MSU is not only better than um this year. but is easily the better program over the last 10 years.

    MSU returns 40 of the 44 on the 2 deep from last years 10-3 squad. They are better on offense and and very similarly rated on defense to um. I think you’re also underestimating the loss of Hurst. That guy was a beast and made everyone in your front 7 better.
     
  5. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    I will certainly defer to your expertise as you clearly know the PSU team really well. IMO, the biggest loss for the program other than Barkley was Moorhead. Franklin is a great recruiter and a solid program manager, but I don't think he's considered much of an X's and O's guy. Moorhead did a great job at Happy Valley and I think his loss will be felt. This year, PSU will likely be OK since McSorley is very good and has a good command of the playbook, but I'd still keep an eye on playcalling. Also, PSU was incredibly good last year and probably should've gone undefeated in the regular season, so matching that performance will always be a challenge.

    As for more granular analysis, I'd say the loss of 3 NFL picks in the secondary is also a significant challenge. The recruiting is there so the kids stepping in could possibly be as good, but it's unlikely. Cabinda and Smith are gone from the LB group. The DL also took a hit with significant injuries before the season even started.

    Edit: One other thing I'll add--I think Barkley is a generational talent and will be hard to replace too, even with highly touted recruits.
     
    #5 Zososoxfan, Aug 29, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  6. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    You're absolutely right that MSU has been the better program over the last 10 years. However, before that you have to go back to 1987(!) for a year where MSU finished ahead of UM in the Big10. I think the teams are pretty even this year, but that's why they play the games right?

    Last year's MSU team was pretty lucky to end up with the record they did. 6 wins were by 8 points or less and only 1 loss was close (NW). I'd also say that they were unlucky to have a bad record the year before. Dantonio has established an excellent football program there, but his recruiting has never caught up to his coaching acumen. Harbaugh has brought stability back to UM and I think the team will be consistently more competitive for the remainder of his tenure.
     
  7. berniecarbo1

    berniecarbo1 Member SoSH Member

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    I say they are 9-3 with losses to Wisconsin, MSU and tOSU. I ask this every year but where do you guys put Harbaugh at this point? If he can't get them over the hump this year, how much more time do you give him?
     
  8. terrynever

    terrynever Member SoSH Member

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    Franklin will leave the Xs and Os to his coordinators. His main skill is with recruiting. There are 17 freshmen listed on the new depth chart, including a freshman scholarship kicker, Jake Pinegar.
    The Nits have a 5-star RB recruit named Ricky Slade who will make an impact this season. Same goes for 5-star WR freshman recruit Justin Shorter, who is recovering from a minor injury. Then you have two true frosh LBs, Parsons and Luketa, who are already in the rotation, listed as second teamers on the depth chart.
    Relying so much on true freshmen is always dicey. But the two LBs weigh between 230 and 240. They are physically set already. Shorter is 6-4 and 226.
    This is going to be a fun year in the Big Ten. McSorley makes Penn State legit contenders. But it is the true freshmen who can take this team to the next level.
     
    #8 terrynever, Aug 29, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  9. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    As long as he'll stay. More seriously, if JH wants to stick around for another decade of mostly 9-3/10-2 seasons with a handful (say 3-4) of Conference Title Games sprinkled in, the program should look at that as a huge step forward considering the wild rollercoaster of the past decade. I have no illusion that UM could get a better coach for the short term (2-4 years). Expectations were higher coming in but you still have to square them with the current reality.
     
  10. trotsplits

    trotsplits Member SoSH Member

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    Hurst will definitely be missed. But I feel pretty good about Mike Dwumfour at DT and Aubrey Solomon (5* true soph) at 3-tech. If you want to squint and find problems with the defense you might look at depth at DE or overall boring S play. I suppose.

    Otherwise, not much talk nationally about bad OL play last year (and how it may or may not improve this year). IMHO, this had more to do with QB problems than anything.
     
  11. snowmanny

    snowmanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I think he's been a relative success as well. This program was bordering upon irrelevant. Year 2 they were a coin flip 4th down spot from the playoffs. I would absolutely take the above.

    Also I would like to add that Penn State and MSU pulling out those wins this weekend is annoying.
     
  12. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Hard to overstate how bad that was. Ooooof.
     
  13. Needlenose's Pole

    Needlenose's Pole Member SoSH Member

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    Disappointing start. I'm somewhat surprised by a couple of things:
    1. After a long summer of hype about how much stronger, more cohesive, and assignment-smarter the OL would be with Warriner as their leader, that was easily UM's worst unit on the field vs. ND.
    2. Defense got smacked around early and ND was able to find space at will, it seemed. They adjusted but the first few possessions were dreadful.
    3. Peoples-Jones, for all his academic prowess and 5-star, #1 WR recruit pedigree, continues to make amazingly puzzling decisions in the PR game.
    4. Second in hype only to the OL improvement, strength and conditioning staff did a fantastic job on the before/after glamor shots, trumpeting body transformations like a fitness mag, but the team got pushed around quite a bit tonight, and it's never a good look when your QB1 has to tap out after 3 quarters to go get an IV. Granted, he was running for his life a good bit, but it's not like they were playing in Miami.
    5. Clock management. How in the world is it OK to snap with the play clock down to 10 so often when you're down 2 scores in the last few minutes of the game? There was zero sense of offensive urgency until it became too late. Play calling was only marginally more imaginative than last year.

    For all the horsepower on this coaching staff, most of the above should not be happening.

    Patterson looked overmatched for the most part and I was surprised McCaffrey was the call once Patterson's lack of conditioning started to show. I almost wonder if a healthy Peters sticks around long if the pecking order remains the same.
     
  14. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    I watched this whole game. I’m a bit of an ND fan but I like your coach.

    The O line sucked.

    I thought both of your QBs were good, but too much pressure to give them a fair analysis.

    The broadcast was killing the clock management but I thought Michigan had plenty of time but they could not block anyone so that didn’t even matter. The clock management wasn’t great but that was down on my list of things that mattered.

    I thought the playcalling was fine too, but a lot of plays got busted because of the pressure.

    Michigan did do a ton of dumb shit, ejection, the awesome DE hitting the QB late (4point play) and a few other things.
     
  15. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    19,080
    Ha I am the opposite. I'm a Michigan fan via grad school, but I don't like our coach.

    Now 1-6 against OSU, MSU, ND.
     
  16. berniecarbo1

    berniecarbo1 Member SoSH Member

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    ....9-9 in last 18 games and the program has not beat a ranked opponent on the road since....2006? That stat was mind boggling to me.
     
  17. canderson

    canderson Fomenting voting confusion and angst since 2016 Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Perhaps Michigan and Texas can play a game deep in the wilderness. A black hole might develop.
     
  18. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Man, that is stunning. I was there in 06-07 (so yeah I was at the App St game). That's a long ass time ago.
     
  19. twibnotes

    twibnotes Member SoSH Member

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    Something is wrong with Harbaugh. He’s on an antidepressant or something. He’s not the guy they signed four years ago.
     
  20. PaulinMyrBch

    PaulinMyrBch Don't touch his dog food Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    How’s this one? When they kick off next week, Michigan will have gone a full calendar year without a WR catching a TD pass.
     
  21. wonderland

    wonderland lurker

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    I’ve thought the same thing. It started last year. I thought at first it was the wardrobe change that was throwing things off but it’s not. Maybe concussions catching up with him but medication makes sense too.
     
  22. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    That's what made Saturday so surprising--the fact that it was the same problems recurring. It's no secret that UM had bad OTs coming into the season, but to completely gloss over it by spreading 5 wide (at least once) and not keeping TEs/RBs in to chip (IIRC, I didn't record and have no interest in rewatching anyway) was asinine. But really, the worst part of the entire game has to be the lack of any urgency at the end of the game. The team looked like it didn't even have a hurry up offense. In sum, the offense looked like a slightly better version of last year's shitty iteration (mostly due to QB play). JH started off his career at UM by showing lots of nuanced wrinkles on offense (especially in the run game) to get good matchups and keep defenses guessing. That profile has completely gone missing. JH's calling card was looking at the team, finding its strengths and weaknesses, and gameplanning to emphasize the good and mitigate the bad.

    On defense, the loss of Hurst was more acute than I thought. Winovich and Gary kept getting pressures on the edges only for Wimbush to gash them because the DTs were being blocked to Bolivia. However, it should be noted that Winovich and Gary over-pursued often and for players of their caliber, more should be expected. The LBs could've spied a bit more, but overall I was OK with the D. The LBs played OK and the secondary didn't quite look as sharp as last season with the same personnel. The second TD was a great play by an undersized WR over a DB in position. Have to give lots of credit to ND too--their OL looks very very good and Wimbush was effective. Their defense looked big, fast, athletic and completely overwhelmed a bad UM OL.

    It's real hard not to hit the panic button furiously, but I will wait to see how UM plays the next two weeks against weaker competition. There's a chance that ND is a real contender this year and I'm holding out hope that Saturday was mostly a confluence of bad events.
     
    #22 Zososoxfan, Sep 4, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  23. twibnotes

    twibnotes Member SoSH Member

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    It’s mind boggling how bad the offensive line is. Of all the things that have gone poorly under JH, that is the most surprising.

    I want to believe, but the trend is awful. I’ll be stunned if we’re not discussing coaching candidates in Oct.

    Michigan football should be as fun as sports get...yet it’s truly become a miserable fan experience.
     
  24. Soxfan in Fla

    Soxfan in Fla Member SoSH Member

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    6,887
    One of the things I mentioned up thread was that you would miss Hurst more than you think.

    The next 2 weeks will tell you precisely nothing. You’ll beat up on an average WMU and light up the scoreboard for 70 on a horrendous SMU. What will that tell you? Really nothing unless the WMU game is a massive struggle.
     
  25. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    You were correct about Hurst, full stop. I was surprised with the snap count among our DTs though, with Marshall and to a lesser extent Mone getting as many snaps as they did at the expense of Solomon and to a lesser extent Dwumfour. In other words, I was surprised at how little I saw Solomon and how much I saw Marshall, but I wasn't able to track down snap counts.

    As for the next two weeks, they will tell us something. In 2013, Michigan beat Akron and UConn in weeks 3 and 4. However, those wins were by 3 and 4 points. So even though that team was 5-0 heading into Happy Valley, I don't think anyone had any illusions of that team's quality. Of note, they lost some close games that year with @MSU and the bowl game vs. Kansas State being the exceptions, but I digress...Right now, I'm trying to determine if I think this team can still somehow go 9-3 or if it's more likely to go 6-6. The next two games are important data to inform that opinion. To address you point more directly, smash WMU and SMU and I'll feel a lot better about Nebraska, NW, and Maryland. I remain unconcerned (for now) about Rutgers and IU.
     
  26. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Since we last checked in, I think results for UM's opponents have been more important than UM's. Namely, Nebraska lost to (underrated) Troy, Temple beat Maryland, BYU beat Wiscy in Madison, and Akron beat Northwestern. I aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalmost forgot that MSU also lost to Herm Edwards' ASU team in week 2! They had a bye in week 3. But for MSU, I will wait to see how they do against a surprisingly good IU team this week before commenting further (other than a hearty Nelson HA-HA!).

    Martinez didn't play in the Nebraska-Troy game, but NU also lost to Colorado in week 2. This reinforces that NU is likely a year away from really competing. This will still be a good test for UM since NU has 10 (!) sacks through 2 games, although they are giving up lots of yards (especially thru the air). Their offense has been moving the ball relatively well too. Notably, t
    hey are 9th in penalties yards ATM (although UM not far behind at 11th).

    I had been really impressed with Maryland last season and the beginning of this season, but this loss to 1-2 Temple was a beatdown. Maryland was outgained by ~250 yards. I thought that game had potential to be close, but now I really don't think so. Dunno if this has to do with Durkin's shenanigans.

    The biggest upset of the week in the B1G though, goes to Wiscy. The Badgers outgained BYU by about 80 yards, but Hornibrook had a terrible day going 18/28 for 190 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Wisco looked like the team to beat in the West and while that may not have changed, their stock has to be down after that. They still have a top 10 defense, but the offense is not keeping up.

    Northwestern was another team that looked ready for a good season, but a loss to Akron is a significant setback. Thorson threw the ball 53 (!!) times and completed 33 for 383 yards, but also threw two picks and had a strip sack fumble. NWU was up 21-3 at half (at home), and coughed this one up. The defense is not good. This matchup looks less scary than it did in August.

    As for Michigan, there have been a few notable developments. On D, Carlo Kemp has come into the DT rotation in a big way and has given the DL the push it needed to get the results from the DEs. Winovich has been an animal all season and while Gary is not the pash rushing threat everyone hoped for, he has been a beast against the run. Mone is a very large human and is serviceable at the other DT position, but this D would still benefit from Solomon coming back from injury and giving the DT position a higher ceiling. The LBs have been pretty much as expected with Josh Ross getting more snaps at WLB. We have also seen a fair amount of rotation at the position, with Furbush getting the most snaps out of the backups. The secondary is notable because they are not the complete shutdown unit they were last year. In fact, 5th year senior Brandon Watson has probably been the best CB ahead of last year's terrific performers Hill and Long. In any event, those guys are still good and UM has an outstanding group of CBs. At Safety, it hasn't been as good. Metellus has been very solid against the run and did have a pick-6 last week, but he isn't the best in coverage. That would be normally fine if the FS Tyree Kinnel was good in coverage, but he hasn't. Hawkins has been getting more snaps at FS and this is something worth watching as the season progresses.

    On offense, the headline has to be Shea Patterson's solid play. There are some gripes to be had, but the bottom line is that his QB play so far is better than anything UM saw last season. UM is 13th in completion percentage (71%) although on very few attempts, some of which can be chalked up to opponents/schedule. Relatedly, DPJ, Gentry, and Collins have solidified themselves as the leaders of this receiver group. DPJ is getting ridiculous separation regularly and busted out for 3 TDs last week. Gentry is a yards/catch machine and had 4 catches for 95 yards last week. He is 6'8'' and a matchup nightmare. Collins is also a 6'4'' catching radius savant, but he has also shown real speed to get behind the D. His route running probably needs some work, but he is a real positive to the pass attack. There are other solid receivers too, led by senior slot Grant Perry, RS frosh Oliver Martin, and TE McKeon. Michigan played without starting RB Karan Higdon last week and it showed. Evans is a solid RB2 and is a perfect compliment for Higdon, but Higdon has a more effective style for this team. RS Soph Tru Wilson has also starting getting snaps and he is the best blocker of the 3. The OL has looked predictably better against weak opponents. The team is averaging over 5 yards a carry and has done so while intentionally tying one hand behind their backs to practice specifics. They are still protecting the OTs a ton (as they should), but the interior hasn't been as good as hoped. They have already given up 6 sacks (couldn't find the breakdown per game), but more alarmingly they have given up 75 yards in TFLs (5.3/game). All that said, I've read some stuff that says the OL is still way ahead of where they were last year (low bar, I know). The hope is that Shea's escapability, improved play from receivers, and some marginal improvement by the OL can give this team enough balance when paired with the very good D to win some big games.

    In the other direction, IU looks to be actually fairly solid this year, but faces a stiff test against MSU on Saturday. In other news I will try to keep off my mind for another month or so, OSU looks like the best non-SEC team by a mile and a half again. FML.

    Also adding that UM just got the commitment of 5* #1 Safety prospect Dax Hill!
     
    #26 Zososoxfan, Sep 19, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  27. Dick Pole Upside

    Dick Pole Upside Member SoSH Member

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    I don’t care that Nebraska sucks. I loved every second of crushing a Scott Frost team.
     
  28. trotsplits

    trotsplits Member SoSH Member

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    Depth is showing up - 78 players saw action yesterday. Gary/Winovich rested the second half. Frost is lucky that Harbaugh isn't Urban Meyer or he might have taken a 70 point loss
     
  29. Soxfan in Fla

    Soxfan in Fla Member SoSH Member

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    Depth is showing up? Every team plays down to their 4th string in a 46 point blowout.
     
  30. trotsplits

    trotsplits Member SoSH Member

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    Well, five RBs got efficient carries yesterday. The maligned OL turned over by the 2nd half and continued their improvement as a position group. This is a good thing.

    Sorry you don't have an MSU board here to read. Or a blowout yet. Maybe CMU gives you that opportunity. Oh, wait...
     
    #30 trotsplits, Sep 23, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  31. Dick Pole Upside

    Dick Pole Upside Member SoSH Member

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    I don’t think Harbaugh was doing Frost any favors. McCaffrey was launching bombs deep into the 4th quarter. It was glorious.
     
  32. Soxfan in Fla

    Soxfan in Fla Member SoSH Member

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    Typical. You clowns beat up on a crap team and act like you're the kings of college football. Something your fan base has been doing for 100+ years. Your team has accomplished nothing so far this season. Let’s see if they can beat someone with a pulse.
     
  33. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    I don't see anything in @trotsplits posts that reflects any notions of grandeur. You're projecting. Also how do you know about the pretentiousness of the 1918 Michigan fanbase?

    On the point about depth, we've seen second stringers on defense (Marshall, Dwumfour, Glasgow, Furbush, Hawkins, etc.) show that they can play meaningful snaps. I also think it's good that young players on OL, WR, and QB are getting more snaps due to blowouts since those positions were inexperienced coming into the season.

    The NU game was good because the OL really dominated and even pass blocked well. Higdon showed he's clearly the most talented back of the group and will let everyone else (namely Evans) slot where they belong. Patterson had another high accuracy day. We saw the FB Mason get more involved. The defense was stifling, although they got a bit lucky on a couple of plays (including the INT) before this game turned into a laugher. ST continue to be a strength. Penalties and targeting continue to be a problem.

    NWU should not be overlooked because Thorson is still a good QB and their D has a good front 7. The loss to Duke isn't looking as bad and last week was generally weird. I'm sure they are considered another team without a pulse, unless they beat MSU.
     
  34. Soxfan in Fla

    Soxfan in Fla Member SoSH Member

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    Northwestern is the first decent team since ND that they’ve played.
     
  35. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    Urban played nice on the goal line three years ago when Ohio State was up 29 on Michigan. Also, Harbaugh beat Rutgers 78-0 two years ago. What the fuck does this even mean?
     
  36. The Needler

    The Needler lurker

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    Is it really “playing nice” when you give it to your all-America RB on fourth down from the two and a half? Yeah, he could’ve kicked the field goal, but he also could’ve had his subs or scrubs in the game, instead of passing on first and goal and then trying to punch it in with Elliott. So let’s not give him the good sportsmanship fair play award just yet.
     
  37. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    Considering it's pretty -EV to telegraph a handoff on fourth and goal from the 3 especially when your QB is a running threat, I'd say that's playing nice enough. Urban is far from a saint. So is Harbaugh, but I didn't make the original dumb comparison.
     
  38. The Needler

    The Needler lurker

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    It seemed like a harmless joke referencing the very commonly understood belief that Urban Meyer loves to run up the score. It's in the Michigan thread, where OSU fans should be expected to have a little bit thicker skin.
     
  39. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    I don't expect OSU to show UM any quarter since I wouldn't want to give any in the unlikely event UM were to ever find itself in that position. For all other opponents (excluding MSU and maybe PSU), once a reasonable person would believe that the result is beyond a doubt, I would play backups since these are still kids not getting paid.
     
  40. trotsplits

    trotsplits Member SoSH Member

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    I've never understood the occasional trolliness from other fanbases on this board. If Michigan/Harbaugh is overrated and irrelevant, why did they bother to call my opinions "dumb"?

    Urban Meyer rampages on inferior competition in order to maintain OSU's ranking. I generally don't have a huge problem with this, FWIW. Notwithstanding the '16 Rutgers game (which admittedly may have been a personal response to Chris Ash scheduling a NJ satellite camp with Urban Meyer on the same day that Harbaugh held a camp in Paramus), I don't recall too many games when Michigan leaves in their #1's or gets overly sophisticated late in blowouts.
     
  41. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    So, a nervy win over NWU gave us some more info about this team. I think the key takeaway here though is that the team took an early punch to the mouth on the road and was able to come back for an unimpressive but important win.

    On defense, the team did pretty well after a horrific first quarter. NWU's drives ended as follows: TD, FG, TD, Punt, Punt, HT, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt. NW had 158 total net yards (giving up 44 on sacks and TFLs). UM had 374. The story on D was Gary coming off with what looks like a recurring issue with his shoulder from last season. He had to take frequent rests after the injury last season and wasn't quite himself either. The good news is that lots of DL picked up the slack. Dwumfour had his best game (sack, TFL), Kemp continues to build on a good start, Mone and Marshall were in rotation, and Kwity Paye (2 sacks, 2 TFL, and 4 solo tackles) and Hutch are starting to get more snaps and are having an impact. Winovich is an absolute beast and at least once beat a double team for a solo TFL. Finished with a sack, 3 TFL, and 8 solo tackles! He's an All-American. At the LB level, Josh Uche announced himself for realz with 2 sacks and 2 TFL. Bush had a relatively quiet game for his standards and Hudson sat the first half due to targeting. Glasgow was solid but unspectacular filling in. Ross was fine as well. In the backfield, Kinnel made a ton of tackles but was and likely will always be overshadowed by Metellus and the 3 stud CBs.

    On offense, Shea got off to a slow start but really showed some nice throws and moxie in the 4Q. The OL had its best game by far giving up only 1 sack (a coverage sack that Shea should've thrown away) and 5 TFLs for -13 yards. UM rushers finished with a 4.3 average on the day, led by Higdon's 115/2 TD, but it felt like a slog. Hats off to NWU who has a borderline top 25 D though. The front 7 in particular showed that it is legit good. If Shea can't punish teams loading the box, then the team will struggle against good defenses. 15/24, 196 yards, 1 TD, 0 Int was barely good enough. 7 rushes for 35 yards is encouraging though. Receiving was a mixed bag. DPJ was quiet with 2 catches for 14 yards. Gentry and Collins were solid though, with 3/46 and 6/73 respectively. Eubanks is also starting to show up (2/45) and with McKeon having a quiet season so far, it will be interesting to see how the TE pecking order develops. There are some bigtime recruits behind those 3 as well (Mohammed and Schoon). No Chris Evans this week and I'm surprised at how little Grant Perry is getting targeted.

    ST was very good with Will Hart consistently booming 50-60 yarders and Nordin converting two short FG. Coaching was kinda whack this game and after Mason plowed in 3x in goal-to-go situations last week, the coaches tried everything but that and had to take 2 short FG as a result.

    Maryland comes into A2 next after a bye week (yay). In week 4 they stomped Minny in a fairly surprising result. Hill had 14 pass attempts in that game. I think they will have a stiffer test on Saturday.
     
  42. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Welp, the first half of the season has come and gone and UM enters a murderer's row of Wiscy, @MSU, (bye) PSU. Time for rubber to meet road, right @Soxfan in Fla ? ;)

    Maryland has some nice pieces, most notably with effective jitterbugs and slot ninjas on offense and some quality pass rushers on the DL. UM handled both of these very well and soundly beat Maryland at home 42-21. On the positive side of the ledger, the OL had a terrific game allowing rushers 171 net yards (at 4.3/pop) and Patterson going 19/27 for 282 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. Higdon went over the century mark again and Gentry had 7 catches for 112 yards to lead receivers. Patterson's INT was on a scramble where he threw it where only Gentry could get it, and the DB made a great and fortunate play to secure the pick - I have no issue with that play.

    On the negative side, Rashan Gary did not play and two other UM DTs got banged up (Dwumfour was carted off and Kemp came off late). If all 3 are out against Wisco, that could be a real problem with Taylor coming to town. If one or two play, I would be significantly less worried, with Mone and Marshall still available at DT and DE well-covered.

    Wisconsin has a pretty soft schedule the rest of the way, with UM and @PSU (to a lesser extent @NW and @Purdue) left as real challenges. They will come into the Big House likely eager to establish the run game and make things easy on Hornibrook. Hornibrook absolutely destroyed UM last season, threading passes thru NFL-tight windows all game. For his career though, he has been much more trick-or-treat than that. Taylor meanwhile has cracked 200 yards in a game twice already this season, and hasn't finished with less than 100 yet. In Wisco's loss and @Iowa, he finished under 5 yards a carry (and 0 TD) and I think that is the reasonable goal for UM on Saturday. Do that, and UM can force the ball into Hornibrook's hands where UM's pass rush and solid CBs can go to work.

    This is a night game and while not quite a must-win (UM still has divisional games with @MSU, PSU, and @OSU), it would do wonders for the team's confidence and keep them relevant to the national conversation. The offense may need to pick things up since the DL is banged up but Wisco's D isn't up to par compared to years past. Wisco is 55th in defensive S&P+ with UM second only to Auburn. But, Wisco's offense is as good statistically as the eye test, they rank 8th compared to UM's 25. As with any tight matchup, HFA and ST will likely play a part. UM's ST have been outstanding this year, and they're ranked 8th in S&P+, but Wisco is no slouch at 25th. Should be an incredibly fun matchup.
     
    #42 Zososoxfan, Oct 8, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  43. Dick Pole Upside

    Dick Pole Upside Member SoSH Member

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    4,153
    Well then... that was impressive.

    I could do without the dumb gadget plays that seemed to kill momentum, but other than that I loved the pass-to-set-up-the-run game that wore down Wisconsin in the second half.

    The defense was inspired, even if Hornibrook played one of the worst games of his career.

    The long run by Patterson, and the TD run by McCaffrey validated some of the RPO sets installed into the offense.

    Solomon was back, as well as Evans and Dwumfour. Pleasant surprise.

    Michigan will go into the game with Sparty with some confidence.
     
  44. trotsplits

    trotsplits Member SoSH Member

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    It worries me a little that teams are causing Patterson to hold the ball too long with zones and deep safety drops. I suppose the OL is giving him time to hold the ball too long - and he's not chucking INT's - but the WR's probably need to find some holes. MSU will not give us as many chunk running plays this week.
     
  45. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Big big win. Michigan completely shut down Wisco's passing game, Chryst inexplicably abandoned the run game in the second half, and Michigan's offense led by the OL, Patterson, and Higdon got UM over the hump. While the stats look great, this game was 13-7 at the half (although Nordin shanked a FG right before half) and remained close-ish through the 3rd before Hill's Pick 6. IOW, while I'm very encouraged by this performance, there's enough to criticize to not get carried away. MSU won a huge game against PSU (I didn't see this and haven't heard much yet, so I would like to know just how the hell this happened) and PSU is still going to be a tough out with McSorley, but UM obviously still needed this one first.

    Story of the game has to be UM's run game. 48 rushes for 320 (net) yards, good for a 6.7 average. Higdon had 19 rushes for 105 net yards (5.5/carry) and a TD, but UM also ran several bona fide RPOs, highlighted by Patterson's 81 yard gain in the 2Q. Patterson would finish off a later drive with a rushing TD. UM is finally starting to resemble his successful early UM teams running the ball out of a variety of formations and schemes (Power, Zone, Down G, traps, etc.). JH has finally adopted more QB running and McCaffrey's long TD run and Milton's cameo showed that JH likely intends to keep doing this going forward. All praise should go to Ed Warriner, the new OL coach, who has turned a big question mark (albeit a talented one) into a strength. While the interior line was expected to be pretty good (and has exceeded expectations by successfully picking up most blitzes, pulling effectively, and even doing reach blocks), the OT should get plenty of love. Massive human Juwann Bushall-Beaty (JBB) has been a monster in the run and has improved significantly in pass blocking, while guard-shaped Jon Runyan Jr. has been very sound at LT. The TEs have been helping a ton too, with McKeon giving the key blocks on Patterson's run and even Gentry being a positive in the run game (to my eye). Patterson was still effective throwing the ball (14/21, 0 TD, 0 INT, 2 PT Conversion) enough to move the chains. He is a little skittish in the pocket and eats sacks unnecessarily, but as any UM fan should tell you--take the bad with the good. Collins had 4 receptions and the 2 PT conversion and DPJ had 3 catches. No one else had more than 1.

    The defense was without Rashan Gary, which is always going to set off alarms, but fortunately did have Dwumfour, Kemp, Mone, Marshall, and a returning Aubrey Solomon at DT. Chase Winovich has passed Gary IMO in terms of importance to THIS team, although Gary's combo of size and quickness will likely make him a higher draft pick. Nevertheless, the D was outstanding and Wisco only had 49 plays and 11 first downs compared to 69 and 21 for UM. No one player stood out statistically, but all 3 levels played very well. I guess I would highlight the secondary since they had 2 picks (1 for a Pick 6) and completely shut down the passing game. Wisco's receivers dropped 2-3 catchable balls, but otherwise Wisco just flat out struggled. UM is also starting to get more advanced with their coverages and not just going with vanilla man or zone and relying on pressure to stir the drink. Specifically, they did a little trap zone coverage that confused Wisco on the Pick 6. Once UM got out to a lead, Chryst made the mistake of trying to pass his way out of it, and in the 3Q Wisco threw on 3rd-and-short situations at least twice and didn't convert. Herbie said it on the broadcast, but Wisco is not built to score quickly and Hornibrook had a bad game.

    So onto Sparty and Mork. Looking back on their schedule, they should absolutely get credit for the huge win @PSU, beating an IU team that has been pretty frisky in the first half of the season, and the L to NWU isn't bad. So really, it's just the loss to ASU that stands out as a bad result. The defense is as advertised and is a top 25 unit, but the offense is pretty bad. MSU has dominated the last decade going 8-2 and winning some memorable games. The last 3 games have all had a final margin under 10 and it's going to be a battle on Saturday in EL.

    Michigan S&P+ Ranks - Overall (4), Offense (27), Defense (1), ST (16)
    MSU S&P+ Ranks - Overall (33), Offense (75), Defense (21), ST (36)
    Line MSU +7
     
  46. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Isn’t someone else in here located in Tampa? If so, lmk. I’m trying to get a Group together on the Tampa side since im not a big fan of the official alumni get together in st Pete. I’m in the gandy area but would head a bit north if one of you all is nearby.

    Go blue, beat state!
     
  47. trotsplits

    trotsplits Member SoSH Member

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    399
    Defense held MSU to 0-12 on 3rd downs and less than 100 total yards. Michigan's offense left points on the field (hat tip to MSU's front 7) and gave away a fumble leading to lil bruh's only score. Otherwise they closed nicely.

    Can't wait to get to A2 for the Penn St game. The bye comes at a good time because they get to put the MSU win back in perspective - I'll always take a win against those jabronies, but Michigan didn't beat a good team.
     
  48. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    19,080
    It simply doesn’t get more dominant
     
  49. Average Reds

    Average Reds Dope Staff Member Dope V&N Mod SoSH Member

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    A complete performance today. Nothing else to say.
     
  50. trotsplits

    trotsplits Member SoSH Member

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    399
    Never a doubt. PSU misses their old OC more than they'd like to admit. Also loudest crowd I've heard in Michigan Stadium since the '11 OSU game.
     

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