Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wolverine Wednesday: Asks What Now?

There are really two parts to this question in my mind, this year and next.

This year is pretty clear, the games against Nebraska, Northwestern and Iowa are now must wins.   Nebraska and Northwestern are struggling like Michigan and Iowa continues to rebuild.    I think we all are resigned that OSU is not a winnable game for the Wolverines.  9-3 isn't terrible but it isn't great either.  The big discussion that OSU and Michigan would play in back to back games never happened.  Be prepared for anything at this point, from Michigan winning their next 3 games to losing the next 4.  This week will be key to see where the players head is at.

Next Year:

Brian at Mgoblog took this question from his mailbag, so I will steal a piece of his good work.

We look to be good on defense: 

That will not be the case on next year's defense. A projected starting lineup:

  • DL: Clark (Sr), Beyer (Sr), Pipkins (Jr), Henry (Rs So)
  • LB: Morgan (Sr), Ross (Jr), Ryan(Sr)
  • DB: Countess (Rs Jr), Taylor (Sr), Wilson (Jr), J. Clark (Rs So)
The situation on offense is much more frightening. Michigan hasn't been able to move snap one away from Fitzgerald Toussaint, which is an indictment of Michigan's recruiting or development or both there. Michigan hasn't had a QB who wasn't massively turnover prone since Borges arrived, and there are zero seniors on next year's OL. Does a starting line of Magnuson-Bosch-Glasgow-Kalis-Braden featuring four sophomores and a junior who is a former walk-on entice? No.

The problem as Brian points out earlier in his post, is the 2010 recruiting class was a disaster.  Do you remember that one, let me remind you:

Still around: Richard Ash, Courtney Avery, Jibreel Black, Drew Dileo, Devin Gardner, Jordan Paskorz, Jake Ryan, Jeremy Jackson, Will Hagerup (sort of)

Transferred out : Ricardo Miller, Cullen Christian, Marvin Robinson, Carvin Johnson, Jerald Robinson, Ray Vinopal

Left due to academics : Demar Dorsey, Antonio Kinard, Austin White, Davion Rogers, Conelius Jones

Left due to injury: Terry & Terrance Talbott

Left due to football not working for them: Ken Wilkins, DJ Williamson, Stephen Hopkins, Christian Pace

That is one dumpster fire of a recruiting class, who would be seniors this year.    The ghost of Rich Rod still haunts this program. 

The 2011 class wasn't much better when David Brandon let Rich Rod coach the bowl game, missed out on Jim Harbaugh, and gave Hoke 3 weeks to recruit.    Since Michigan got rolled in the Gator Bowl, I'm guessing that wasn't one of this best decisions as AD. 

The bottom line is Michigan is in a hole that is going to be difficult to dig out.  I'm sure Big Al and Brady reminds David Brandon that every time he walks into the video room to watch tape with both of them.   Next years schedule has ND, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State on the road. 
(Side note: how in the hell is Michigan playing back to back games in East Lansing?  I know they had to change the schedule and conferences - but at least play that game at Ford Field if they can't have it Ann Arbor - Michigan also travels to NW again next year).

As much as we all want Big Al to hit the bricks, he probably won't be fired unless Michigan goes 0-4  and ends up in the Pizza Pizza Bowl with a .500 record.  We are looking for Big Al to turn around the offense like GMat did with the defense.  I think we all know that is not happening, he is no Greg Mattison.

We have at least a couple years of bumpy road, with the hopes that Share Morris is pretty good.

There has been a ton of good work after Saturday's train wreck.   Here is a poster on Mgoblog's board, that researched Brandon's Red Letter games he spoke about at Hoke's hiring and how he has done to date:

Notre Dame (home) – W
Michigan St. (road) – L
Iowa (road) – L
Nebraska (home) – W
Ohio St. (home) – W
Virginia Tech (bowl – neutral site) – W
Total in “red-letter games”: 4-2

Alabama (neutral) – L
Notre Dame (road) – L
Michigan St. (home) – W
Nebraska (road) – L
Iowa (home) – W
Ohio St. (road) – L
S. Carolina (bowl - neutral) – L
Total in “red-letter games”: 2-5

Notre Dame (home) – W
Penn St. (road) – L
Michigan St. (road) – L
Nebraska (home) – TBD
Iowa (road) – TBD
Ohio St. (home) – TBD
Bowl – TBD
Total in “red-letter games”: 1-2, with four such games remaining

Brady Hoke in “red-letter” games to date:
Home: 6-0
Road: 0-7
Neutral site: 1-2
Total: 7-9

Draw you own conclusions on Hoke's  Red Letter record.   (not sure I agree with Iowa being on the list)

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