2013 Michigan Wolverines Football: Strugglin'

sachmoney

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Paul Myerberg did his preview for Michigan:
 
 
In a nutshell: The Wolverines are very close to being the most complete team in the Legends Division, and likely the second-most complete team in the entire Big Ten. Nebraska has a positively superb offense but is long on question marks defensively. Michigan State's defense is superb, as always, but the offense remains a major issue after last season's distressing struggles. Meanwhile, UM has a good-to-strong offense – solid with the potential for more – and a young yet productive defense. Basically, Michigan's offense is not as good as Nebraska's, nor is its defense as good as Michigan State's – but combined, this is the most complete team in the division. The issue is that the Wolverines are extremely young.
 
 
My take: Michigan goes no worse than 9-3 in the regular season but no better than 10-2, losing at least twice from the group of Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State. While there's tremendous potential nearly throughout the roster, I'm not overly confident in UM's ability to factor into the championship race. But Pasadena is very much in play, with that coming down to two factors: one, whether UM can take care of business against Nebraska, and two, whether OSU runs the table. The team has that ability; Michigan might also be a year away.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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Yep.  I don't have much faith in Jeremy Jackson or Joe Reynolds.  They've been in the program forever and have had their chances previously. 
 
It's all on Gallon and Dileo at the moment.
 
The door's open for Chesson to step up. 
 
Borges said that having a year in the program is really important, which is why I think it would be a little unfair to expect anything out of Ways, York, or Dukes.
 
However... beginning NEXT year... (*drools*)
 

sachmoney

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Of the important figures of Michigan football in the NFL right now, Brady has been kind of a missing lynx. Great to see Tommy back at Schembechler Hall talking to The Team. Hopefully his speech carries through with not only the seniors, but the younger guys. I feel good about this season. The schedule is light and Jake Ryan should be back for the big games. I'm just happy that CFB is back. I'd rather be terribly frustrated with Michigan football during the season than happy during the offseason.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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Two more significant commitments for Team 136: CB Shaun Crawford, a four-star recruit who has also set age-group records in the 100 and 200, and rising DB Tyree Kinnel. Currently a CB, but projected at S. Both from Ohio.

Along with George Campbell and Damien Harris, this class is already off to a ridiculous start.

Harris had 6 TDs in his opener last night.
 

sachmoney

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Team 134's captains are Lewan, Ryan, Cam Gordon, and Courtney Avery. This is only the third time in team history that there are 4 captains. It is also interesting that Thomas Gordon and Devin Gardner aren't captains. Avery had his knee scoped and will be out two weeks by the way.
 
The team also released its depth chart.
 
Toussaint is the starting running back. Green and Smith are listed 5th and 6th respectively (don't count on this being the actual order). Shallman is listed as a fullback behind Kerridge and Houma. The starting wide receivers are Gallon, Dileo, and Chesson or Jackson. Butt is third on the tight end depth chart behind Funchess and Williams. On the line, Kalis has the RG job, Miller has the C position, and Glasgow edged out Bryant for the LG position. Expect the battle between Glasgow and Bryant to remain tight, as it was rumored that the coaches wanted Bryant to win the job.
 
Defensively, the DL starters are Clark, Washington, Black, and Heitzman. Gordon is the starter at SAM with Morgan at Mike and Ross at WILL. Countess and Taylor are the starting corners with Wilson and Thomas Gordon at the safety positions. Dymonte is behind Countess for the nickel role. Hollowell and Stribling would probably be competing for the corner spot if Countess slots in at the Nickel. 
 
Nothing really concerning. Just resolving the battles we've all known about.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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I think all the true freshmen are listed at the bottom of the chart at their respective positions. I don't think it's the actual depth chart in the case of the RB's and D. Thomas.

I'm not surprised Gardner wasn't elected captain. He's still got a year left (unlike any of the other captains) and he's only started a handful of games. T. Gordon is a little more of a surprise to me. Heavy on locker room leadership with the elected
 

sachmoney

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That's why I included "don't count on this being the actual order." I believe Brandon Moore was first on the depth chart last year and Funchess and Williams got most of the action. Thomas being behind Countess makes sense. I mean, he's behind our best CB for the nickelback position, so that's not really a big deal. I'm actually excited about what Stribling can do. From what I saw from the scrimmage HL (I know, I know), he was involved in a lot of breakups. I believe he was one of the kids that enrolled early too, so he has that jump start.
 
Gardner not being captain is a huge surprise. However, he's going to lead no matter what and he's going to be doing press conferences and representing the team. It's strange that they went with 3 defensive players, no Gardner and no Thomas Gordon. I think we can all agree on that. I have no problem with the guys they chose though. Hoke puts an emphasis on the older guys leading, so it's more of a collective effort. 
 

Dick Pole Upside

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Thomas Gordon suspended today for violation of team rules. Very disappointing.

Silver lining: Dymonte Thomas to see significant action?

P.S. Damien Harris with 352 yards rushing and 5 TDs last night. Nearly 600 yards rushing and 11 TDs in first two games!
 

sachmoney

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WayBackVazquez said:
The Sugar Shane Morris era has begun, and I am happy.
Is it an era if he's on mop up duty in a blowout? :)
 
I'm glad he's getting reps. QB is probably the thinnest position on the team. If Gardner gets hurt, we're fucked. I know it's low pressure, but it's good to get those first snap jitters out of the way. He looks okay. Borges is simplifying things for him. Not making him use the entire field, rolling him to his comfort zone. 
 
We've used 6 RBs this game. Burned both Smith and Green's redshirts. Those two look like...thunder...and....thunder. The defense looks great too. They're doing what they should be doing, so that makes me very happy. The OL looks good.
 

twibnotes

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Is it an era if he's on mop up duty in a blowout? :)

I'm glad he's getting reps. QB is probably the thinnest position on the team. If Gardner gets hurt, we're fucked. I know it's low pressure, but it's good to get those first snap jitters out of the way. He looks okay. Borges is simplifying things for him. Not making him use the entire field, rolling him to his comfort zone.

We've used 6 RBs this game. Burned both Smith and Green's redshirts. Those two look like...thunder...and....thunder. The defense looks great too. They're doing what they should be doing, so that makes me very happy. The OL looks good.


I know it is only Central Michigan, but the thing I was most excited about today was the o-line. Nice to see some running lanes, which were tough to come by last year.

Beat ND.
 

WayBackVazquez

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I don't like to be negative when the Team wins comfortably, but my thoughts on Gardner's and Morris's ceilings are well known. I don't think Gardner is the best QB for this team this year, but most importantly, next year. I think this is a team that may win nine games with DG at QB, but will probably win eight games with Shane at QB and DG at receiver. I'd prefer the latter, considering what it means for us next year.
 

sachmoney

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thehitcat said:
Damnit...http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/090213aac.html  Sad for the kid.  He was probably 3/4 on the depth chart but could have helped this year.  Hopefully he's able to work himself all the way back.
Yeah, it's always disappointing when a kid gets hurt. Johnson looked decent on Saturday as someone who wasn't projected to be much. In fact, he was the second RB to get in after Toussaint (though, I wouldn't read into this too much). He was also expected to factor in some on special teams. Hopefully, he can work his way back, but he'll have a lot of competition. He was probably bordering on being behind Green and Smith and I'd predict that he'll be behind them by the time he recovers. On the bright side, it doesn't look like there'll be a highly rated running back recruit in this next class, so he won't have even more competition.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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sachmoney said:
Yeah, it's always disappointing when a kid gets hurt. Johnson looked decent on Saturday as someone who wasn't projected to be much.

... On the bright side, it doesn't look like there'll be a highly rated running back recruit in this next class, so he won't have even more competition.
True, but Damien Harris is off to quite a start, so Johnson will likely still be buried behind Green, Smith, and eventually Harris.
 

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thehitcat

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WayBackVazquez said:
 
Are you implying that I should give a shit whether Florida kicks in money for a stadium for its crappy NFL team?
QFT aside from the fact that it's the Dolphins so they could get folded and I'd be OK with it. 
 
Big day for UM as the athletic facilities arms race for D1 universities is seriously taking off between Pickens at OK St. and Knight at Oregon (just off the top of my head) plus keeping the Ross School at/near the top to draw more students and eventually monied alumni.
 

sachmoney

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Notre Dame is a huge game for Team 134, but there will be a lot of recruits in the attendance as well. We got the commitment of Dymonte Thomas at the last UTL. Who will we get this time?
 
Sam Webb's recruiting article. I don't see any commitments eminent though.
 

sachmoney

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Domer said:
Good win. I'm going to drink a lot now.
Your guys caused me to drink a lot, and I'm sure you're going to cause many more fan bases to drink more.
 
I'm ecstatic right now. Not a great D performance, but cut out the TERRIBLE PICK, and we might win every game this season.
 

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Bring on the Zips!! :)   Also was that the Chicken Dance they blared over the speakers in the immediate aftermath of the game? 
 

twibnotes

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It's great to win a game where the Q also learns a valuable lesson or three. Bring on the zips, indeed
 

sachmoney

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I'm not going to be able to watching the Akron @ Michigan game live between volunteering at a beer fest and going to UConn-Maryland, so hold down the fort for me.
 

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Hail to the Victors, was really impressed with a Gardner tonight . Aside from the pick in the end zone, he played a great game. To echo Sach's comment I also got the vibe during this game that that could legitimately run the table this year. Although at Northwestern is looking like its going to be a real test.
 

sachmoney

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Eh, I have to temper my excitement a little bit. I do think we're capable. I've felt this way for a while, but from what I've seen from the defense, I'm concerned. The D didn't look great last night and at times, felt incapable of making a stop. Mattison has been rushing 4 and dropping 7 in coverage. They only got one sack and gave up 314 yards. That's not terrible, but that's not great. The fact that the offense had to do as much as it did is what worries me.
 
Offensively, the run game looked weak. Toussaint averaged 3.8 per carry. It seemed like ND's LBs were flowing easily into the backfield to at least slow down the run. There was still some hesitation that hurt as well. That'll need to improve as the season goes on.
 
Again, I'm bullish on the season and I'm ecstatic about the win. There's a lot the team needs to improve on. Plain and simple.
 

WayBackVazquez

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WayBackVazquez said:
I don't like to be negative when the Team wins comfortably, but my thoughts on Gardner's and Morris's ceilings are well known. I don't think Gardner is the best QB for this team this year, but most importantly, next year. I think this is a team that may win nine games with DG at QB, but will probably win eight games with Shane at QB and DG at receiver. I'd prefer the latter, considering what it means for us next year.
Gardner is a turnover machine. We may lose five conference games.
 

twibnotes

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Gardner is a turnover machine. We may lose five conference games.


Incredibly bad, and DUMB, performance
 

Dgilpin

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Incredibly bad, and DUMB, performance


At what point do you realize Gardner is an average talent and start to get Shane Morris some meaningful snaps
 

twibnotes

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Dgilpin wrote:
At what point do you realize Gardner is an average talent and start to get Shane Morris some meaningful snaps
Gardner shows plenty of talent but its useless if his decision-making is awful.

I doubt they will give up on him in any case
 

Dgilpin

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The team is fine. The quarterback is awful.


You can't let a Akron march up and down the field like this , Gardner is mostly to blame. But the defense needs to stop them in the second half .
 

twibnotes

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Fitz!!!

Edit: Holy shit, for those of us watching on Gamecast... is the Defense really this bad?


I'm starting to think that Jake Ryan is even more important than we thought
 

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Wow, what a shit show yesterday. Every time I thought Mich got some momentum, another horrific mistake or blown assignment would occur. That being said, I think y'all need to take back a step from ledge a bit. College football is great because these KIDS are not professionals and there is a ton of volatility week to week. I'm not justifying that performance - it was embarrassingly bad. But, this team is certainly good enough to win a lot of games. Again, if they play like they did yesterday, we're likely looking at 7 wins, but with some better execution, I think we're still looking at 9-10 wins. I think this was a classic case of letdown coming off of the ND win combined with a team that THINKS it has NC-level talent, but really merely has good/great B1G talent (still top 3 in the conference IMHO). #1 priority is getting Devin to play more conservatively. His play alone nearly cost the game. #2 is tweaking the offense, so that the limitations on the interior are masked (although Schofield didn't cover himself in glory either). The TE are also apparently allergic to blocking. #2 will also be mitigated a bit if those players develop over the course of the year, not an unreasonable premise. #3 to me, is getting the D to play more aggressively. All game, the corners were playing off and there was minimal pass rush with 3, 4, and sometimes even 5 rushing. The blame for #3 is probably close to equal between the coaching staff and the players.
 
All this being said, coming out of this game with a win is huge. This was a wakeup call for sure, but I think the win keeps the players more engaged going forward. Instead of getting all depressed over a horrendous loss, these guys should be motivated as hell to make sure games like this aren't as close going forward. Considering the upcoming 2-3 games, those motivations should take precise effect.