Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Michigan Tuesday: Trying to Level Set Michigan's Football Program

I hope many of you play golf so you get this example.  Have you ever had a great round and go out and shoot a 76?  Your driver is in the middle of the fairway and your irons are hitting most of the greens.  Your putter is on fire and you feel like today you have finally figured out this game.     Then you go home, turn on the TV and the PGA tour is on and wonder where you could have taken out 8-10 strokes from your round.   The game those PGA professionals are playing is a completely different then what you just did. 

The best college football program is the Alabama Crimson Tide.   What they did last night was another crushing example of where Michigan is not as a football program.  Lets start to address some of the excuses we have been using for the past 10 years. 

  • The SEC gets all the talent - Alabama gets the best of the best but Michigan recruits at the same level of Georgia or others.  There is a gap here but not to the level as an Alabama to Indiana.   Michigan needs to develop its players much better then it has.

  • Youth can't win in college football - We used that one a few times this past season, didn't we?  Look at the game last night, it was cluttered with true freshman.   We need to start expecting more from our young players.   Yes, they will make mistakes but they also might be the most talented.   The 3 QB's that played were two true freshman and a sophomore.   The WR the caught the game winner in OT was a true freshman.

  • Your dead with a back-up QB - Ohio State beat Michigan this year with a backup and now Alabama brings its back-up off the bench and wins the National Championship.  Not to mention that Jake Fromm was a back-up at the start of the year as well.

  • Play Calling - We never talk about Nick Saban's team being aggressive with its play calling.  Last night, when Tau came in, he not only turned the page of the play book, he grabbed a completely new one.   Alabama won the game by throwing the ball downfield and being aggressive.   The dink and dunk offense Michigan ran this year, was hard to watch.   You just can't run on everyone. 

Those are just 4 examples of where Michigan is lacking.  I believe in Harbaugh but this year was a head scratcher and didn't feel like a step forward but two back.  Is it coaching? Is it lack of depth? Is it a lack of talent?  The answer is probably all of the above.   Still Harbaugh and staff has to do better and get more out of the guys in Schembechler Hall.   Wisconsin does it every year, MSU was supposed to be a dumpster fire and over achieved with its talent this year.   The issue is we don't want to be in the discussion with the Wisconsin's and MSU's of the world.   We want to be in the playoff conversation and watching the game last night just showed us how far away we actually are.

Change is tough and here are two examples via the University of Arkansas:

    • Michigan made it official that Dan Enos has joined the offensive staff.  Look for Pep or Tim to take NFL jobs as those head coaching spots are filled.  Dan's role is TBD but I believe they are waiting for more staff changes to make it official. 

    • Change in the way the Wolverines will take care of their body under new S&C guy Ben Herbert:   “My overall philosophy encompasses a lot of different things,” Herbert said. “I think everything starts from a development standpoint, with how well you take care of your body, the types of foods that you eat, your meal frequency, the types of fluids that you put in your body — we place a huge emphasis on water.”  -----  “From a weight room development standpoint, the most important thing right out of the gate for our young guys when they come in is developing their lower body and developing their back,” Herbert said. “A lot of guys spend a lot of time (bench) pressing in high school. They don’t spend a lot of time pulling and they don’t spend a lot of time training their lower body. That’s where we see our biggest gains.
      “Teach guys how to eat well, teach them how to hydrate properly, teach them how to train the right way, focusing on lower body and back development, and we set them up for a great result.”   I don't know anything about S&C but I like what I'm hearing and trying a new way. 

  •  Andre Rison's son - MSU WR Hunter Rison is transferring from MSU for more playing time and a different offensive philosophy.   Hunter liked Oklahoma when he was being recruited.


Unknown said...

Per the poll posted on this site Michigan will play the #3, 5, 8 and 11 teams-3 of them on the road plus Northwestern on the road. Challenges represent opportunity. If this team makes it through as a 1-loss team they will be in the CFP.

Otherwise, I see Enos as the OC and QB/WR coach with Drevno sliding to O-line and Hamilton finding employment elsewhere.

Unknown said...

Bama has the best o line in the country...they can plug 5 star after 5 star in...so I could play QB behind that line!!!

Unknown said...

Bama has the best o line in the country...they can plug 5 star after 5 star in...so I could play QB behind that line!!!

Goose said...

Wait.....I thought central Florida won the national championship. Is bama claiming another one😊

Tim said...

What impresses me is that not only does Bama have talent everywhere but they all seem like they know what they are doing, no panic in their eyes and they all do their job.

Their entire team has the attitude of Michigan's d-line. Even with losing Mo Hurst does anyone really feel our d-line will take a big step back? No, because we have talent and coaching to have next's years line just as good. Alabama has that mentality for every position group on their team.

Hopefully someday we'll get there...

Voice of Reason said...

Bob, I like your post and I love your passion and like you and so many fans I wonder when is it going to be our turn? With that said, I really don't think that Michigan is that far away from competing for a National Championship. We look at them with awe…too much awe.

When we compare ourselves to the Alabama's and Ohio State’s I agree with what Sam Webb said this morning in that we can compete with their top 30, it's just that the 31-85 level of players (the quality depth) is where we need to catch up on. These schools have at least a 15-20 year head start on Michigan when it comes to that type of depth. There are so many holes to fill left from previous coaches that it will likely take another two years or so to develop that kind of depth.

Is some of the problem coaching? No doubt some of it is, however, but Harbaugh can only bring in those coaches that are available to come here and keep those who want to stay; plus even Nick Saban could only do so much while he was at MSU. It wasn't until he got to Alabama with boosters that would (cough) "help recruit" the top talent in the nation that he started to win. This is the same Nick Saban, but with more (cough, cough) “help.”

When it comes to the question of our freshman verses their freshman, we’ve got to look at the details; “comparing apples to apples” as they say. When I was studying for my doctorate I learned that you have to pay close attention to the details or else you’re likely to come to the wrong conclusion. Our freshman on defense statistically stood with the best in the nation this season and overall did very well. They will be in the running with the Alabama's and the Georgia's next year. The Special Teams are on track. Nevertheless, I would dare to say that not even all (five star) freshman are equal. Not all freshmen are Mason Coles, or Rick Leach’s; currently Alabama and OSU have more of them than we do at present. Even our outstanding freshman DP-J made his share of mistakes. We can blame the coaches but freshmen make mistakes period. You have to assume that even Alabama’s freshmen screwed up during the season and we never saw it. When DP-J took those kick offs back to the house he looked like one the freshmen players at Alabama-Georgia...but he was one of ours. When freshman Chris Evans played those outstanding jaw dropping games…he was one of ours. Everyone else’s guys always seem to look better than ours.

Nevertheless, our offense because of the OL and QB position groups are still a work in progress but I feel that 2018 will be the first time in many years that our QB position (albeit young) will be stacked from top to bottom. We have some nice pieces on the OL but we’re not certain who the top 5-8 players are, let alone have a group of third string five stars like Alabama...yet. But because Coach Harbaugh is reviewing the details, he has an outstanding S&C coach that can soon develop top linemen that will have Michigan talent with Wisconsin’s strength. Now that’s awesome..."Hold onto your butts!" It’s coming. IMHO!!!

Bob said...

Well Done VOR!

Scott K said...

none has been adorned with a more fitting handle.... VOR, you stand up to your tag. Great insight.