Ugh. I’ve been waiting to write this for a long time now. It’s long overdue, but I just couldn’t bear to re-live this game. I was going to just combine this with the Bowl Game preview, but obviously decided not too.
This game. Man, where to start. If you had told me that Michigan would have been winning at halftime and then they would be getting the ball to start the second half, I would have told you that we would have been in stellar shape. The issue here was not with the team. Nope, this loss, like the Nebraska game was on the coaching staff.
The defense played absolutely great…again. I mean, I don’t know how many more times I can keep saying the same thing. Everyone should thank God that Greg Mattison’s daughter lives in Ann Arbor, and begged him to take the job so that his grandson could see his grandpa. The sheer and utter fortune that was given to Michigan is unbelievable. Was this karma reparations for dealing with Rich Rodriguez? I’m not sure.
Nope, I don’t have a problem with the defense. Less than 400 yards against, they kept Braxton Miller in check, and they kept them to only 26 points, 6 points in the second half. Mattison did what he does best. He made halftime adjustments and made do with what he had and did an absolutely phenomenal job. My hats off to him and the defense. There’s nothing really to do other than nitpick, and it’s not worth at this point. The defense did what they were supposed to do, they gave Michigan a chance to win.
Offensively. Al Borges’ killed us. Plain and simple. His playcalling in the second half was an absolute train wreck. My biggest question, why was the playcalling more creative for the Iowa game? This is the last game, this is THE Game, this is OHIO STATE. Why on EARTH do you go into a conservative shell in the second half? Why weren’t Denard and Devin Gardner on the field at the exact same time ever? I mean honestly, Ohio State made their defensive adjustments at halftime, they knew that when Denard came out it was a run, and they stuffed us. They dared Borges to change his gameplan and he shit the bed.
You have dynamic playmakers, why not utilize them in any possible way that you can think of? This game isn’t on any of the offensive players. Denard was outstanding running the ball, and Roundtree had an absolutely unreal game. It is unfortunate though that Devin Gardner was exposed a bit, at least his inexperience was, and he picked a bad time to have his worst game of the year. But I’m still not going to put the blame on him, a month before the Ohio State game, he was deemed “not ready” to play quarterback, and it was only because of Gardner that we didn’t lose out. I’m not going to throw him under the bus now because of one bad game. Al Borges on the other hand, didn’t adjust when Ohio State did. You can’t just sit there and assume that they won’t change it up. We were shredding them in the first half, and yet, when it came to crunch time, no new adjustments. How is that possible or logical?
It’s tough to produce when you keep going three and out. Terrible playcalling, that gave little chance for success, and you mount up three and out’s. It’s an absolute wonder that the defense didn’t break down and give up more big plays, let alone the fact they didn’t give up a touchdown in the second half. The 4th down playcalling was pathetic. Literally pathetic. It gave the offense no chance for success. Denard goes in and everyone knows he’s getting the ball and running it so they stack the box with 10 guys, where the hell is he supposed to run?
It’s games like these that are the most frustrating. Games where you dominate and then just piss it all away later. Unique and creative playcalling could have befuddled Ohio State and given Michigan a chance to win. Denard and Devin were not on the same field for a play once the entire game. Something like that is completely unexcusable. Especially when they were on the field multiple times together for the Iowa game. It’s not like they didn’t have time to practice it or something. What’s going to be an even bigger killer is when you see Denard and Devin on the field at the same time in the Outback Bowl. It’s maddening.
It’s really just a microcosm of the season. At least for two of the losses. Play a team close, terrible playcalling and bad execution on offense gives you a loss. Alabama wasn’t gonna happen no matter what the playcalling was, and Al Borges is on the hook for letting Russell Bellomy play in the Nebraska game. It is what it is, I guess. I can say this though, my predictions weren’t too shabby.
Recruiting: It looks like Michigan will have 3 scholarships left, perhaps 4 if Will Hagerup is dismissed or if Taylor Lewan leaves early, after receiving commitments from 4 star Guard David Dawson and 4 star CB/S Delano Hill. Yes, David Dawson was the recruit who had his scholarship pulled because he wanted to take visits, and yes, he was the recruit that I was convinced was going to land elsewhere. Little did I know, that he wanted to come back to Michigan very badly and regretted not staying committed. There is far more to this story than we will ever know, but I’m just glad he is back. Let this be a lesson to the fan base to never bad mouth a guy that decommits or high school recruits in general. They’re just kids, people.
Delano Hill was an Iowa commit until this week, and is also Dawson’s teammate at Cass Tech. Michigan will now have 7 players on their roster from Cass Tech (if all their recruits sign) so it’s safe to say that we have a little pipeline going. Hill isn’t as big as Gareon Conley, the CB who decommitted to go to Ohio State, but he is a capable replacement. Perhaps even better since he can play corner or safety. Only time will really tell, but anyone that the coaches want in the class and accept, I am happy to have. This staff has earned the benefit of the doubt with recruiting until proven otherwise.
For the last three scholarships, I’m praying that one will go to Derrick Green, the best runningback in the country. Green was high on Auburn and Tennessee but both teams fired their coach, and with Michigan moving Dennis Norfleet to cornerback, the runningback depth is even less now. Green would probably be the starter from day one, and from what I’ve heard, that is what he wants.
Leon McQuay III is a bit of a reach, but I’m hoping that something will convince him to come to Michigan. Like Hill, he can play safety or corner, but I would think they will keep him at corner. This kid also has the talent to play right away, and I’m hoping that they can reel him in.
The last spot is up for grabs right now. Michigan has offered a lot of offensive lineman (perhaps to take Taylor Lewan’s scholarship if he declares for the draft), and it seems as though they are looking for a wide receiver or a defensive back as well. I honestly don’t know which direction the coaching staff will go, but they definitely need more depth at wide receiver after Jerald Robinson just left the team. A lot will depend on Green and McQuay, that is for sure. Unfortunately the best wide receiver in the country, Laquon Treadwell has eliminated Michigan, although this isn’t much of a surprise. He wants to play in an Air Raid offense where he can get 10-15 targets a game and the quarterback is throwing the ball 50+.
It will be interesting to see where everyone ends up, but if they could get Green, McQuay III and a wide receiver, this would be an unbelievable class. Wanna hear a scary thought? Michigan will have a 27 player class this year and had a 25 player class last year, which means that 52 of their 85 scholarship players will be in their first two years of NCAA eligibility. Patience over the next two years is going to be an absolute must. But thank God that Devin Gardner is getting his medical redshirt and we will have him for the next two years to help ease the pain. Just don’t expect any Rose Bowl appearances in the immediate future.