The Head Coach Has no Khakhis - Michigan Football 2019

Zososoxfan

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So yeah, Michigan's shellacking at the hands of Wisconsin this past weekend has me and a lot of the fan base rattled. What happened this weekend? What happened this year? And what does this all mean for the future?

JH fired his OC from last year because the offense was a relic and slow and couldn't compete at the highest levels even when paired with a talented defense. The new OC, Josh Gattis, has a great pedigree having coached the Deep State PSU teams and more recently at Bama. When Mike Locksley took the Maryland job, Gattis was tapped to be his OC. But JH intervened and got Gattis to come to A2 instead. 3 games in, and the offense looks substantially worse than last year. The OL didn't make any holes and was porous in pass pro. Play designs against Army didn't include constraint plays to punish the Cadets for overplaying Option A. Perhaps the biggest offense is not getting all of Michigan's talented WRs the ball enough. Shea Patterson doesn't look any better than he did last year.

The defense took a step back as was expected when a ton of NFL talent departed. There is a huge deficiency of DTs on the roster and the coaches aren't ready to trust the promising true freshmen yet (that's defensible perhaps).

While I'm not ready to write off the season, expectations have been dialed back considerably. Rutgers, Illinois, and Indiana still look like wins, Maryland and MSU will be battles. PSU and Iowa are likely stiffer battles, and UM will likely be heavy dogs against ND and OSU. 8-4 would probably be a good result, 9-3 would take some luck, and 7-5 is a real possibility.

For the first time, the fanbase has had to consider what happens if JH has a bad record this year (7-5 would qualify, 8-4 would likely be considered OK depending on the games themselves) and things don't look much better next year. At this point, I'm just hoping the offense looks discombobulated because of big changes, but I'm not sure that's true. This team needs to have a productive couple of weeks heading into Iowa because otherwise, things could get ugly quickly.
 

terrynever

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Gattis was a WR coach at Vandy, PSU and Alabama. Michigan is his first OC job and he walked into a volatile situation. Jury is out on Josh, too. Scapegoat material in December?
 

BJBossman

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Who is Michigan going to get that is honestly better?

What is the direction of this conversation if they correctly spotted the football in 2016?
 

kenneycb

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Probably nobody. And the same because the football was correctly spotted but Michigan fans are delusional. Like their head coach.
 

Zososoxfan

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Probably nobody.
That's why the rest of the year is so crucial. The remainder of this year will tell fans whether JH has slipped and there are in fact better guys out there, or alternatively, whether JH can right the ship and he is still among the elite coaches in the game.

And the same because the football was correctly spotted but Michigan fans are delusional. Like their head coach.
FOH with this. I'd like to think you're better than this.
 

kenneycb

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Well the fact that people want to fire Harbaugh and the constant whining about the Ohio State spot, which was correct and also three years ago, shows that there is a heavy dose of delusion. A different spot probably wouldn't change the fact Harbaugh can't develop a mildly competent QB or run a good offense. I am also augmenting my view with my personal experience of going to Michigan for two years. Michigan fans have a higher sense for what they should be in football compared to reality. It's a top 10-15 program. That's great. It's not Ohio State, however. And the last 20 years proves that out definitively.
 

Zososoxfan

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Well the fact that people want to fire Harbaugh and the constant whining about the Ohio State spot, which was correct and also three years ago, shows that there is a heavy dose of delusion. A different spot probably wouldn't change the fact Harbaugh can't develop a mildly competent QB or run a good offense. I am also augmenting my view with my personal experience of going to Michigan for two years. Michigan fans have a higher sense for what they should be in football compared to reality. It's a top 10-15 program. That's great. It's not Ohio State, however. And the last 20 years proves that out definitively.
I don't think the fanbase considers itself any more than what you stated--it has taken longer than it should have to get there, but I think the fanbase has come down from delusional overall. Fans want the team to compete with OSU every year, but the reality is the team is there every 2-3 years. It sucks, but it's undeniable as you said.

w/r/t JH, people are starting to ask the question about what comes next and when and considering how this season has gone so far, it's the appropriate time. I'm not advocating to fire JH, but the program is now fully his, along with the carousel at OC and the dearth of talent at DT. I don't consider asking those questions delusional. Your point about never having a good offense is false.

w/r/t The Spot, that game was close and any time Michigan is close to beating OSU is an inflection point. Fanbases commiserate over close calls that go against them all the time. I'm still heated about the intentional grounding call in SB 46 and any number of other calls against my teams over the years. This is not unique to Michigan. In hindsight and outside of the heat of the moment, The Spot was probably called correctly, even if my memory tells me that the whole game was reffed like shit.

To that point, I think Michigan getting to even a Big10 Championship game does make some difference, in recruiting for example. Does it change the fact that JH hasn't developed a good QB yet as you correctly pointed out? No.

I won't respond to whether JH is delusional.
 

BJBossman

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Well the fact that people want to fire Harbaugh and the constant whining about the Ohio State spot, which was correct and also three years ago, shows that there is a heavy dose of delusion. A different spot probably wouldn't change the fact Harbaugh can't develop a mildly competent QB or run a good offense. I am also augmenting my view with my personal experience of going to Michigan for two years. Michigan fans have a higher sense for what they should be in football compared to reality. It's a top 10-15 program. That's great. It's not Ohio State, however. And the last 20 years proves that out definitively.
It wasn't remotely close to correct for multiple reasons.

1) the lineman that Barrett ran into, his rear was clearly short of the marker.
2) Barrett's head ran into said rear
3) the ball never got past the helmet
4) even if Barrett got past it, it wasn't forward progress because your own teammate can't stop your forward progress. By the time he was down he was clearly short of the marker.
5) this spot was about as accurate as the Vinny Testaverde one in 1999.
 

Zososoxfan

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Michigan beat an overmatched and significantly injured Illinois squad to improve (?) to 5-1. Record-wise, this is fine. If you've been watching the games, it is not. The defense is fine for the most part and where I expected it to be. Hutchinson has been excellent on the DL, McGrone has stepped in pretty well for Ross, and Dax Hill is getting real reps. Surprises include the decent to good play of Vince Gray and Brad Hawkins and Don Brown showing that an old dog can learn new tricks, namely a zone blitzing scheme and defending crossing routes. Metellus and Hudson have also been notably good. Was hoping to see more from the Freshmen DTs but overall the D is as expected.

But, the offense. My word. Boasting 4 very good to great WRs and 4/5 returning OL + QB and this offense is still terrible. The offense last year wasn't terrible but was overly reliant on the run and didn't have the ability to go tempo. Instead of fixing those issues, the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater and the offense no longer has an identity and no longer does anything particularly well. The offense's problems start with Shea Patterson at QB. He is unwilling or unable to run the ball out of the option and he is very slow and bad at going thru his reads. His WRs are supremely talented but haven't sharpened their route running enough as a group (DPJ and Bell are better, but Nico and Black have been criticized on this front). The OL has been asked to learn a new offense and has struggled in doing so. RBs have been OK, but big culprits of too many fumbles. Eubanks is showing signs of life as a real 2-way TE and so have a couple of backups, but they're not the big weapons yet and not the biggest problem.

All of this goes out the window now that the challenging back half of the schedule is here:

@PSU (night, whiteout game)
Notre Dame (night game)
@Maryland
MSU
@IU
OSU

OSU is clearly in the top echelon of 5-6 teams, PSU and ND are ~top 10 teams, IU is hard to tell with but currently ranks just outside the top 25 by advanced metrics, and Maryland is not a patsy and ranks in the 50s. PSU struggling with Iowa last week gives me some hope, but Iowa at home is a different beast. More tellingly IMO, is the fact that Michigan continues to struggle. I think 8-4 and JH wont take too much heat, but if the season finishes at 7-5 or worse, people are going to lose their minds.
 

mauf

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Michigan beat an overmatched and significantly injured Illinois squad to improve (?) to 5-1. Record-wise, this is fine. If you've been watching the games, it is not. The defense is fine for the most part and where I expected it to be. Hutchinson has been excellent on the DL, McGrone has stepped in pretty well for Ross, and Dax Hill is getting real reps. Surprises include the decent to good play of Vince Gray and Brad Hawkins and Don Brown showing that an old dog can learn new tricks, namely a zone blitzing scheme and defending crossing routes. Metellus and Hudson have also been notably good. Was hoping to see more from the Freshmen DTs but overall the D is as expected.

But, the offense. My word. Boasting 4 very good to great WRs and 4/5 returning OL + QB and this offense is still terrible. The offense last year wasn't terrible but was overly reliant on the run and didn't have the ability to go tempo. Instead of fixing those issues, the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater and the offense no longer has an identity and no longer does anything particularly well. The offense's problems start with Shea Patterson at QB. He is unwilling or unable to run the ball out of the option and he is very slow and bad at going thru his reads. His WRs are supremely talented but haven't sharpened their route running enough as a group (DPJ and Bell are better, but Nico and Black have been criticized on this front). The OL has been asked to learn a new offense and has struggled in doing so. RBs have been OK, but big culprits of too many fumbles. Eubanks is showing signs of life as a real 2-way TE and so have a couple of backups, but they're not the big weapons yet and not the biggest problem.

All of this goes out the window now that the challenging back half of the schedule is here:

@PSU (night, whiteout game)
Notre Dame (night game)
@Maryland
MSU
@IU
OSU

OSU is clearly in the top echelon of 5-6 teams, PSU and ND are ~top 10 teams, IU is hard to tell with but currently ranks just outside the top 25 by advanced metrics, and Maryland is not a patsy and ranks in the 50s. PSU struggling with Iowa last week gives me some hope, but Iowa at home is a different beast. More tellingly IMO, is the fact that Michigan continues to struggle. I think 8-4 and JH wont take too much heat, but if the season finishes at 7-5 or worse, people are going to lose their minds.
Put another way, Michigan plays ND, MSU, and tOSU at home; if Harbaugh can’t manage to win even one of those three, people are going to start asking whether the program is headed in the right direction.
 

Average Reds

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I don’t know if Shea Patterson is hurt or if he's just lost his fundamentals, but his arm slot has dropped several inches and he’s throwing like a different (decidedly mediocre) QB. And that’s the single biggest issue they have now.

Dylan McCaffrey is out of concussion protocol and if Patterson struggles early against Penn State I expect a change.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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Patterson has had an oblique injury that he has been working through for weeks. It has negatively affected his running and throwing. His mental game (reads) hasn’t improved much since he arrived. The waste of the WR corps, both in terms of development and utilization, is criminal. The team plays surprisingly soft (even the defense to some extent) for a Harbaugh team. I’d like to see McCaffrey as well.
 

twibnotes

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QB is definitely the biggest problem with this team. Patterson is either still hurt or just unable to make the decisions needed to run the new offense. It’s hard to watch bc he does seem to have some skills, but nothing comes easy.

I’m midway through John Bacon’s new book, and it hit me: Harbaugh seems like a much better guy than I expected but, thus far, a much lesser coach.
 

Zososoxfan

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I don’t know if Shea Patterson is hurt or if he's just lost his fundamentals, but his arm slot has dropped several inches and he’s throwing like a different (decidedly mediocre) QB. And that’s the single biggest issue they have now.

Dylan McCaffrey is out of concussion protocol and if Patterson struggles early against Penn State I expect a change.
Catching a detail like that is awesome--thanks for sharing. The only sport I know enough about to make analysis like that is soccer.

Patterson has had an oblique injury that he has been working through for weeks. It has negatively affected his running and throwing. His mental game (reads) hasn’t improved much since he arrived. The waste of the WR corps, both in terms of development and utilization, is criminal. The team plays surprisingly soft (even the defense to some extent) for a Harbaugh team. I’d like to see McCaffrey as well.
QB is definitely the biggest problem with this team. Patterson is either still hurt or just unable to make the decisions needed to run the new offense. It’s hard to watch bc he does seem to have some skills, but nothing comes easy.

I’m midway through John Bacon’s new book, and it hit me: Harbaugh seems like a much better guy than I expected but, thus far, a much lesser coach.
JH as the QB whisperer has been blown to shreds since Ruddock left. Peters, O'Korn, Shea, etc. none of them have shown significant improvement under JH's tutelage.

I've read some rumors that in the past couple years JH has had to start taking beta blockers and that has affected him. I have no idea if that's true or what the side effects of beta blockers are, but I thought I would put it out here to try and learn more.

As for Michigan football, JH will get to stay for at least the next 2 years or so because (1) his buyout would be very expensive and (2) he has helped raise the floor of the program from the RR and Hoke days (damning with faint praise to a degree, but I digress). Even if this season ends in 7-5 (I happen to think 8-4 is where it lands), that is a disappointment only because of the expectations coming into the year. Fair expectations by the way due to JH's salary, the program's investment, and recruiting. There is a lot of talk about how JH has had a revolving door at OC. Drevno, Fisch, Hamilton, and now Gattis. Early on, JH was considered to be a de facto OC, but that has definitely diminished over time. Nevertheless, the argument goes that the constant changes has made establishing an offensive identity difficult and young guys struggle to develop because they're asked to do different things each season. I don't know if there is any veracity to this line of argument though, since that would take an analysis of coordinators at successful offensive programs and trying to tease out whether there is any real transition costs to changing offensive systems (and if so, how long is that transition).
 

Dick Pole Upside

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I think the general theme of development has been a disappointment under Harbaugh. I'm trying to think of a current position group that is significantly better over the past few seasons, despite some good recruiting classes.

The OL is not as good as it could be, despite the good work accomplished by Warriner... TEs haven't shown much... RBs... WRs... QBs... The offense is nowhere near its athletic potential.

Maybe on the DL you could say that Kemp, Hutchinson, Uche and Paye have advanced. The LBs? McGrone is emerging but who else? Despite his stats, I don't think Hudson is any better than he was TWO seasons ago. DBs... meh.

Brown did a good job with the talent on hand the last two years, but I'm not seeing anyone actually getting better (outside of those D-linemen) on the defensive side of the ball, either.

I just don't see it.
 

The Needler

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As for Michigan football, JH will get to stay for at least the next 2 years or so because (1) his buyout would be very expensive and (2) he has helped raise the floor of the program from the RR and Hoke days (damning with faint praise to a degree, but I digress). Even if this season ends in 7-5 (I happen to think 8-4 is where it lands), that is a disappointment only because of the expectations coming into the year. Fair expectations by the way due to JH's salary, the program's investment, and recruiting.
Are they really fair expectations? He has coached his team to the 9th best winning percentage in FBS since he got to Michigan. 7th best when excluding Appalachian State and Boise State, which each play obviously inferior schedules. The other teams above him are Bama, Clemson, OSU, Oklahoma, Wiscy, and UGA. If the expectations are that Michigan be better than most of those teams over a 5-year period, I think those expectations need to be adjusted, and the coach that is going to bring it there is going to be pretty hard to find.
 

dhappy42

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Are they really fair expectations? He has coached his team to the 9th best winning percentage in FBS since he got to Michigan. 7th best when excluding Appalachian State and Boise State, which each play obviously inferior schedules. The other teams above him are Bama, Clemson, OSU, Oklahoma, Wiscy, and UGA. If the expectations are that Michigan be better than most of those teams over a 5-year period, I think those expectations need to be adjusted, and the coach that is going to bring it there is going to be pretty hard to find.
The expectations aren’t fair, but they are what’s expected: beat OSU, MSU and Notre Dame at least every other time and contend for a national championship every few years.

Schembechler’s record in his first four seasons was 38-6. Harbaugh’s was 38-14. But Bo (against whom everything is measured) went to two Rose Bowls in that time. And lost both. Harbaugh’s teams have lost four straight lesser bowl games.
 

Average Reds

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Schembechler’s record in his first four seasons was 38-6. Harbaugh’s was 38-14. But Bo (against whom everything is measured) went to two Rose Bowls in that time. And list both. Harbaugh’s teams have lost four straight lesser bowl games.
Your first paragraph is on point, but the bowl comment isn’t really a fair comparison.

Back in the day, bowls were the most important game that teams played. Now, unless a team is in the playoffs, no one gives a damn, and most of the draft prospects will decline to suit up. (Note: the last draft prospect Michigan had who decided to play in a meaningless bowl game was Jake Butt. He tore his ACL. That’s never going to happen again.)
 

BJBossman

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Are they really fair expectations? He has coached his team to the 9th best winning percentage in FBS since he got to Michigan. 7th best when excluding Appalachian State and Boise State, which each play obviously inferior schedules. The other teams above him are Bama, Clemson, OSU, Oklahoma, Wiscy, and UGA. If the expectations are that Michigan be better than most of those teams over a 5-year period, I think those expectations need to be adjusted, and the coach that is going to bring it there is going to be pretty hard to find.
Yes. Wisky is the only unacceptable one on that list.
 

dhappy42

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Your first paragraph is on point, but the bowl comment isn’t really a fair comparison.

Back in the day, bowls were the most important game that teams played. Now, unless a team is in the playoffs, no one gives a damn, and most of the draft prospects will decline to suit up. (Note: the last draft prospect Michigan had who decided to play in a meaningless bowl game was Jake Butt. He tore his ACL. That’s never going to happen again.)
You’re right of course about bowls then and bowls now not being comparable, but the comparison I intended to make is that Bo’s teams (first four years) were contenders for the #1 ranking whereas Harbaugh’s teams haven’t been in the the top four.
 

BJBossman

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You’re right of course about bowls then and bowls now not being comparable, but the comparison I intended to make is that Bo’s teams (first four years) were contenders for the #1 ranking whereas Harbaugh’s teams haven’t been in the the top four.
Again. They were a correct spot from the playoff.
 

kenneycb

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Again. They were a correct spot from the playoff.
Except that wasn't the call that was made, it won't change at this point, and he did not go to the playoff, no matter how many frame-by-frame, conspiracy videos people make on YouTube on either side of the argument.
 

BJBossman

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Except that wasn't the call that was made, it won't change at this point, and he did not go to the playoff, no matter how many frame-by-frame, conspiracy videos people make on YouTube on either side of the argument.
The video doesn’t lie. Vinny Testavrde got a more accurate spot.
 

Zososoxfan

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I think the general theme of development has been a disappointment under Harbaugh. I'm trying to think of a current position group that is significantly better over the past few seasons, despite some good recruiting classes.

The OL is not as good as it could be, despite the good work accomplished by Warriner... TEs haven't shown much... RBs... WRs... QBs... The offense is nowhere near its athletic potential.

Maybe on the DL you could say that Kemp, Hutchinson, Uche and Paye have advanced. The LBs? McGrone is emerging but who else? Despite his stats, I don't think Hudson is any better than he was TWO seasons ago. DBs... meh.

Brown did a good job with the talent on hand the last two years, but I'm not seeing anyone actually getting better (outside of those D-linemen) on the defensive side of the ball, either.

I just don't see it.
I agree with this sentiment on offense and that's the real problem. JH is considered an offensive coach and the offense really hasn't developed NFL caliber players. The one minor exception being OL with Mason Cole, JBB, Braden (PS), and Graham Glasgow. Considering it took a long time to just get the Michigan OL pipeline full enough to start primarily upperclassmen though, I'd give this position group a pass. I also expect 2-3 of this year's OL to declare and get drafted (Ruiz, Runyan, Onwenu) and finally some highly rated guys coming in behind them (namely Filiaga). WR will also look a lot better when the Black, Collins, DPJ group gets drafted but even then these are guys who are clearly talented enough to get drafted but have had mediocre college careers. Darboh and Chesson are doing alright though.

But I think the defense and Don Brown deserve a ton of credit for development. You mentioned the DL has developed some good players, but I think it's all 3 levels with the secondary being very strong, and LB producing well enough.

DL: Taco, Gary, Glasgow, Hurst, Winovich, Wormley
LB: Gedeon, Bush
Secondary: Delano Hill, Kinnel, Lewis, Long, Peppers, Thomas, Wilson

In sum, if I'm a defensive recruit I take an offer from Michigan seriously. If I'm an offensive player, I look at other options, PT, system fit, etc.

Are they really fair expectations? He has coached his team to the 9th best winning percentage in FBS since he got to Michigan. 7th best when excluding Appalachian State and Boise State, which each play obviously inferior schedules. The other teams above him are Bama, Clemson, OSU, Oklahoma, Wiscy, and UGA. If the expectations are that Michigan be better than most of those teams over a 5-year period, I think those expectations need to be adjusted, and the coach that is going to bring it there is going to be pretty hard to find.
I don't have a problem with JH's results to date and while there is a portion of the fanbase that does, I agree that those are unfair expectations. I think these questions are being asked primarily because of the expected results of this season and how bad the team has looked thus far. Year 5 is a good time to look at a program because guys JH recruited are now up and down the roster. This team should have the players he wants and run the system he wants, but it feels farther away than even last year because the transition to a new offense has gone so poorly.
 

dhappy42

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Again. They were a correct spot from the playoff.
Hey, I’m sticking up for Harbaugh.

Fan disappointment is based on unrealistic expectations and his team’s failure to occasionally beat better teams in big games, especially Ohio, no matter the reason or excuse. But Michigan has beat Ohio twice this century. That’s not on Harbaugh.
 

BJBossman

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Hey, I’m sticking up for Harbaugh.

Fan disappointment is based on unrealistic expectations and his team’s failure to occasionally beat better teams in big games, especially Ohio, no matter the reason or excuse. But Michigan has beat Ohio twice this century. That’s not on Harbaugh.
It's not even an excuse. it's a fact.

They stopped him short. The game was over.

Replay proved it.

An Ohio-based crew miraculously ignored the evidence.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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... But I think the defense and Don Brown deserve a ton of credit for development. You mentioned the DL has developed some good players, but I think it's all 3 levels with the secondary being very strong, and LB producing well enough.

DL: Taco, Gary, Glasgow, Hurst, Winovich, Wormley
LB: Gedeon, Bush
Secondary: Delano Hill, Kinnel, Lewis, Long, Peppers, Thomas, Wilson...
I see your point, but many of those defensive guys you mention were inherited by Brown and Harbs, and the number of Harbaugh defensive recruits who improved and are NFL quality (Bush, Long) is small. I think it is arguable whether Peppers was better when he left compared to when he arrived. I suspect you might disagree, but I think Gary is Exhibit A in underdeveloped/underproductive talent (though it obviously didn't hurt his draft status).

I also agree with you that some of the offensive underclassmen will declare and leave. They're in a tough position, because it's hard to see how they get any better, so they'll probably take their chances as Day 3/UDFA selections.
 

Zososoxfan

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I see your point, but many of those defensive guys you mention were inherited by Brown and Harbs, and the number of Harbaugh defensive recruits who improved and are NFL quality (Bush, Long) is small. I think it is arguable whether Peppers was better when he left compared to when he arrived. I suspect you might disagree, but I think Gary is Exhibit A in underdeveloped/underproductive talent (though it obviously didn't hurt his draft status).

I also agree with you that some of the offensive underclassmen will declare and leave. They're in a tough position, because it's hard to see how they get any better, so they'll probably take their chances as Day 3/UDFA selections.
Well, but a low-rated inherited recruit that blossomed is exactly a sign of good development. Looking back to the 2013-2018 classes, there are enough low rated guys (3 stars and low 4 stars) who improved significantly to demonstrate this isn't a weakness:

c/o '13
Taco
Gedeon
Delano Hill
Hurst (3*)
Stribling (3*)

c/o '14
Winovich
Brandon Watson (3*) (had a good college career until OSU last year)

c/o '15
Kinnel

c/o '16
Bush
Lavert Hill
Uche (3*)
Hudson (3*)
Metellus (3*)

c/o '17
Hawkins (converted from WR!)
Paye (3*)

c/o '18
McGrone
Vince Gray (both guys breaking thru early)

As for Peppers and Gary, I think you just have to look ad hoc for some guys. Peppers came in under Hoke and definitely got caught a bit in the transition. But he definitely wasn't stunted by his time here. I have a lot of respect for Rashan Gary but he had a lot of injuries in his 3 years and he decided he wasn't going to risk his health before going to the pros. That is totally fair and understandable and his prerogative, but I don't think that should count as an example of poor development.
 

dhappy42

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I agree with you and even I think you have to let it go.
Agreed. I’m over that one. It’s the missed roughing-the-snapper call in the 2015 game against MSU that still burns me. Wildest final play I’ve ever seen.


It capped off a horribly officiated game in which an MSU lineman shoved LB Jake Bolden into QB Connor Cook and a ref ejected Bolton for targeting.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4f0U7xnkiQ
 
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Dick Pole Upside

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What a weird team. They can look so good when they play with confidence, and so soft and unprepared when they get punched in the mouth.

The conditions last night were no joke, so full marks for the Wolverines.
 

Zososoxfan

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What a weird team. They can look so good when they play with confidence, and so soft and unprepared when they get punched in the mouth.

The conditions last night were no joke, so full marks for the Wolverines.
I don't know about soft--I think they disproved they are soft last week @PSU. As anyone who follows this team closely can attest, the offense looked infinitely better against ND predominantly by returning to running plays and schemes from last year. Last year's offense was terrible against ND in week 1, then spent the next 3-5 games figuring out a new base, and refining it until the last 2 regular season games. Going into this season, the hope was that 'speed in space' would build on the good parts of last year's offense and feature the slew of good skill players on the roster. Instead, the coaches threw the baby out with the bathwater for the first half of the season and finally against PSU and ND they reversed course.

Here's where it gets fun--the Wolverines have 3 winnable games before OSU and they will look GREAT in those 3 games. I for one, will not fall for this charade (once again) and will prepare for the annual OSU dickstomping (close finish edition).
 

Dick Pole Upside

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They seem to have found something right around halftime of the PSU game. Most likely a return to some of the 2018 offensive principles that brought success, as you have suggested.
 

Average Reds

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They seem to have found something right around halftime of the PSU game. Most likely a return to some of the 2018 offensive principles that brought success, as you have suggested.
Haven't been in the thread for a while, but it seems clear to me that Patterson was playing through an injury (which they finally admitted was an oblique) and he has now recovered. He's a different QB and the team is rolling because of it.

IMO, Harbaugh deserves criticism here. McCaffrey should have been playing during the "easy" stretch of the season to let Patterson recover. Of course, when Harbaugh finally made the move during the Wisconsin game, he was promptly concussed, so Patterson had to play through it.

Another year of "what ifs ..."
 

Zososoxfan

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Do you mean during the last five years Harbaugh’s been coach? Or this century?
Both. I'm not advocating for JH or DB to get fired, but this is another extremely troubling data point. I don't think Michigan got outcoached Saturday--this year's edition of the shitshow was more about execution. Oddly and brutally, it was Seniors Metellus and Hudson on Defense that cost UM. Similarly, UM's strength on O--it's WRs--dropped key passes that killed drives. Michigan couldn't generate rushing yards, but the passes were there and were just missed. In addition, Michigan's lack of elite DTs finally caught up to them as well. True freshman Hinton actually did a pretty good job in this game getting more snaps than he had all season.

Not sure what else Michigan can do at this point to get some occasional wins against OSU. Michigan has only been competitive in 3 losses in the last 20 years. Even mighty Bama under Saban has lost games to Auburn, LSU, and the occasional matchup against other SEC foes. Maybe things feel different if UM pulls out those 3 wins, but the trend is there regardless.
 

dhappy42

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Both. I'm not advocating for JH or DB to get fired, but this is another extremely troubling data point. I don't think Michigan got outcoached Saturday--this year's edition of the shitshow was more about execution. Oddly and brutally, it was Seniors Metellus and Hudson on Defense that cost UM. Similarly, UM's strength on O--it's WRs--dropped key passes that killed drives. Michigan couldn't generate rushing yards, but the passes were there and were just missed. In addition, Michigan's lack of elite DTs finally caught up to them as well. True freshman Hinton actually did a pretty good job in this game getting more snaps than he had all season.
Yes, re execution, fumbles (including the lucky bounce non-fumble) and penalties were the most of the difference. That said, OSU is simply a better team. They're ranked #1 for a reason. A win would have been a big upset. And that's what The Legend of Bo was built on, #12 Michigan upsetting #1 OSU in 1969.

Not sure what else Michigan can do at this point to get some occasional wins against OSU. Michigan has only been competitive in 3 losses in the last 20 years. Even mighty Bama under Saban has lost games to Auburn, LSU, and the occasional matchup against other SEC foes. Maybe things feel different if UM pulls out those 3 wins, but the trend is there regardless.
Even if UM had won the close losses, they'd still be 6-14. The reason I asked the 5 or 20 question is because I think the 3-17 record shows that the problem -- whatever it is -- is not Harbaugh. That said, JH was hired to fix it and obviously hasn't done so yet. I'm not sure that he can. UM culture is different from OSU culture in a way that's less conducive to building a football program that is consistently in the top 10. UM hired a new president the same year it hired Harbaugh, a provost from Brown named Mark Schlissel. I remember hearing him interviewed on the radio in 2016 or 2017 and being stunned when he displayed near total disinterest in the football team. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but it's inconceivable at places like Alabama, Clemson and OSU. Hardcore Michigan fans and some important alumni may want Michigan to be in the same league as Alabama, Clemson and, especially OSU, but I think the university would be happy to be Stanford. John Bacon, who has written a few books about Michigan football, told me recently that the team's collective GPA is higher now than ever... as if anyone cares.

Edit: I wasn't stunned that Schlissel wasn't interested in Michigan football. I was stunned that he didn't at least pretend to be interested.
 

Zososoxfan

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Yes, re execution, fumbles (including the lucky bounce non-fumble) and penalties were the most of the difference. That said, OSU is simply a better team. They're ranked #1 for a reason. A win would have been a big upset. And that's what The Legend of Bo was built on, #12 Michigan upsetting #1 OSU in 1969.



Even if UM had won the close losses, they'd still be 6-14. The reason I asked the 5 or 20 question is because I think the 3-17 record shows that the problem -- whatever it is -- is not Harbaugh. That said, JH was hired to fix it and obviously hasn't done so yet. I'm not sure that he can. UM culture is different from OSU culture in a way that's less conducive to building a football program that is consistently in the top 10. UM hired a new president the same year it hired Harbaugh, a provost from Brown named Mark Schlissel. I remember hearing him interviewed on the radio in 2016 or 2017 and being stunned when he displayed near total disinterest in the football team. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but it's inconceivable at places like Alabama, Clemson and OSU. Hardcore Michigan fans and some important alumni may want Michigan to be in the same league as Alabama, Clemson and, especially OSU, but I think the university would be happy to be Stanford. John Bacon, who has written a few books about Michigan football, told me recently that the team's collective GPA is higher now than ever... as if anyone cares.

Edit: I wasn't stunned that Schlissel wasn't interested in Michigan football. I was stunned that he didn't at least pretend to be interested.
MGoBlog user content is a mixed bag to put it kindly, but I thought this long-form post got it right:


Some money quotes:

As a fanbase, ultimately we need to decide what’s more important: A) amateurism and the student-athlete experience and 9-4 / 10-3 type seasons without B10 championships or the playoffs, or B) shifting to a semi-professional enterprise and competing for B10 championships or the playoffs. … It is absolutely, 100% a binary decision – you simply can’t have both.
The goal of this diary is to hopefully get people to understand – through data – that Harbaugh has basically done as well as anyone can possibly do (and has more than met Michigan’s historical standard) without going down path B.
Here’s where I need to take a little detour and just state right now that if you insist on burying your head in the sand and don’t believe that paying recruits (etc. “cheating”) is 1) happening in college football despite the mountains of evidence, and 2) preventing Michigan from recruiting better, then the rest of this diary is not for you. Just don’t read it and please don’t bother commenting. Debates where both sides can’t agree on the facts don’t lead to anything, and I’m frankly not interested in wasting time.
[T]he point of all this isn’t to point the finger at OSU or any other school. Frankly, I don’t give a fuck if these schools want to pay kids (many of whom are likely not super financially well-off) lots of money to play football for them. In fact, I can find no moral argument against it – isn’t this what American capitalism is all about, the ability to monetize your God-given skills without prejudice or penalty? All I have to say is good for OSU and these southern schools – not all of these kids are going to make it to the NFL, and at the very least they are getting some sort of compensation for their skills and unbelievably hard work in the meantime. There is no moral indictment of OSU going on here from me (at least in terms of money; Meyer sheltering a wife-abuser is a completely different story).
 

Dave Stapleton

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As far as recruiting, Michigan has been ranked number 10 by Rivals 2 out of the last 3 years and number 4 in 2017. They've also had their fair share of 5 star recruits. Is recruiting really the issue?
 

dhappy42

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MGoBlog user content is a mixed bag to put it kindly, but I thought this long-form post got it right:


Some money quotes:
Thanks for linking that. I've mainly given up reading MGoBlog.

It's not only about paying recruits. It's also about rejecting recruits who don't meet some minimum academic standard.
 

dhappy42

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As far as recruiting, Michigan has been ranked number 10 by Rivals 2 out of the last 3 years and number 4 in 2017. They've also had their fair share of 5 star recruits. Is recruiting really the issue?
Rankings don't describe the qualitative differences very well.

Over the last five years, OSU's average starred recruit has been a 4-star. Michigan's has been a 3.5-star. That's the about the same difference as between the LSU/Clemson/Georgia 2020 recruiting classes and and the Oklahoma/Michigan/Texas A&M 2020 classes.
 
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Average Reds

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I don’t think Harbs should be canned (doesn’t look like that’s happening), but what in the holy hell is going on vs. tOSU. They are non-competitive.
After being competitive in the early contests, the defense has laid an egg two years in a row.

If anyone deserves to be canned for that. It’s Don Brown, because he got completely out coached.