With their Big Ten Championship hopes in the balance, Denard Robinson went down with a pinched nerve in his elbow (the Ulnar Nerve) and I proceeded to watch the remaining 2 1/2 quarters, watching the bid to the Big Ten Championship slip away.
The issue on Saturday was not the defense. They played very well and were led by Craig Roh, who had one of the best games all year. The reason for the 23 points given up then you ask? The defense was simply on the field for far too long. A casualty of the ineptness of the offense. Yes, we had just as much time of possession, but that was due to our lead prior to Denard getting injured AND because we ran the ball a lot and kept the clock moving.
This loss was on the coaching staff. The play calling was terrible again, and the game against Nebraska resulted in the third game this year in which the offense did not find the end zone. It looked like they would, and then Denard got hurt. For those of you that don’t know a pinched Ulnar Nerve in your elbow is a lot like hitting your funny bone, except you can’t feel your 4th and 5th fingers in your hand. This would make gripping a football extremely tough, and throwing it even tougher. It would be very tough to judge where the ball would go and damn near impossible to be accurate.
Now initially I thought that it was possible that Denard had broken his wrist and they were having him wear a jacket on the sidelines to disguise it, but according to the coaching staff, this was not the case. Regardless of that, Denard went down and the team, particularly the offense completely unraveled. The pass blocking has been decent the whole year, but there is hardly any push during the run blocking; unfortunately that trend continued in Lincoln. We have ZERO road graders and they get very little push, which is part of the reason why Fitzgerald Toussaint has become utterly useless. At this point, since they aren’t making holes, we might as well rotate runningbacks (give Thomas Rawls a chance) and hope that someone can break something open.
Then in comes redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy. Now, the first mistake the coaches made was not giving Devin Gardner any snaps at quarterback the past couple of weeks. I mean what in the fuck were you thinking? And to say that they have confidence in Bellomy, I know you’re not going to throw the poor kid under the bus, but I mean holy shit was he terrible. Sure he got thrust into the fire against an okay Nebraska defense in a night game, but fuckin’ a, had this kid ever played football before? I mean what has he been doing for the last year and a half sitting on the bench? He looked like he had never even seen the playbook before, not to mention the fact that he looked like he had never thrown a football before.
This is one of the first times I have seriously questioned the coaching staff. Specifically Al Borges and Brady Hoke. Mr. Greg Mattison, you keep doing your thing. How you ever got a defense to be tied for first in pass defense with our secondary is beyond me. Give this man any amount of money he asks for, and keep him here for life.
Borges meanwhile has continued to show a terrible selection of play calls. I mean, why would you run a read option with Bellomy? Why are you having him run the offense that is designed for Denard? Why is Bellomy even in the game? It got to the point where I would have rather seen an unprepared Gardner. How much worse could it have gotten? Some people said to me you can’t move people around during the middle of a game and change their positions, but with the Big Ten Championship potentially on the line, fuck it, why not? You should do anything personnel wise to win. It has to be done. I’m not saying win at the risk of endangering a kid or breaking rules, but Gardner could have been better than that without preparation.
Also, why was Drew Dileo not thrown any passes? Dileo was coming off a 4 reception, 92 yard game and help set up the winning field goal against Michigan State and yet he was targeted 0 times. Yet, Jeremy Jackson was targeted 5 times and had two drops. Not that it really matters because Bellomy doesn’t posses the ability to get the ball to Dileo, but it’s curious. Why do our receivers rotate so much when we have no depth? I would really love to know Borges’ thinking behind this.
Some fun stuff, Bellomy’s stats for the Nebraska game:
He also had 5 rushes for 0 yards. Fucking WOOF.
Here are his career stats:
Jesus H. Christ.
I do not care how unprepared Devin Gardner was. He could have completed three passes without throwing three interceptions. Anyone who ever complained about Denard and wanted a “real” quarterback, congrats. This is what a “real” quarterback got you. Perhaps people should be thankful that they got to witness one of the best playmakers in the history of Michigan football, instead of bitching about his mechanics. Be thankful that he helped us win some games and got us a Sugar Bowl victory, even if it was against a garbage Virginia Tech team. I loved Chad Henne, but how many BCS bowl games did he win? 0. Who cares about stats. You should only care about Big Ten Championships, Bowl Wins and National Championships.
I could rant on for years about how pathetic the offense was, but there’s really no point in beating a dead horse. In summary, Gardner wasn’t ready to run the offense (allegedly), Bellomy is useless, and yet again, we have no offense without Denard. The defense did their job, and while it wasn’t their best game of the year they were still pretty effective. But, the game as a whole was a travesty and there aren’t any real positives to take away from it. Now everyone should be a Spartan fan this weekend and cheer for MSU to beat Nebraska, as we begin our quest to win out and somehow make it to Indianapolis.
At least the basketball team looked amazing on Thursday night.
I hope this year is as fun as it looks like it could be…sure it was only against Northern Michigan…but don’t ruin this for me.