Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Mental Block

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh looks for answers after Northwestern scored a touchdown in the second quarter.
David Guralnick, DET News 
Football coaches do a great job at teaching kids how to run block, block down field, pass protect, and cut block, but can they address a mental block?  My guess is no, Jimmy is known to solve all the world's problems with a NJ Strip and a glass of milk.

This team/program has a mental block when they play on the road and maybe even when they play at night.   Michigan is clearly uncomfortable in any situation that is not a noon kick at the Big House.  I would say, it must have something to do with Harbaugh, but this issue was here well before he even got to Ann Arbor.

Even Joel Klatt from Fox said, Michigan didn't even warm up well and wasn't sharp.   Usually this is an offensive problem but for Michigan it effects both sides of the ball.  The defense tonight gave up 17 points in the first half and 21 at ND.    In the second half of both of games, 3 total points.

Jimmy and staff is going to have to change up some things, maybe even bring someone in to exercise the road and night demons.

  • 2nd half defense
  • Paye and Winovich 
  • Shea scrambling for first downs 
  • Higdon for +100 yards 
  • Fighting back for a win after being down 17
  • Michigan fans in attendance - Truuuuuuu
  • I thought the offensive line played really well 
  • Uche sack to seal the game
  • Will Hart's Punting! 
  • Big Ten officials
  • The holding call from Mars! 
  • Gary has a shoulder injury
  • Sleep walking in the first half 
  • Can't stop the quick slant pass 
  • Too many penalties 11
  • McKeon dropped pass 

Playing on the road is never easy, but Michigan seems to make even more difficult.   Michigan will not beat MSU or OSU on the road playing like they did today.   This staff has to figure this out if they are going to reach their goals of a Big Ten Championship.  

A win is a win and Michigan got one today, no matter how it looked.  


Goose said...

Very concerning the way this team looks in the first half on the road. Warm ups might need to look more like a full practice to get these guys into the right head space before road games.

EzmoB said...

JH needs to start having practices at night outside under the lights. Get these boys to play in that environment before the actual game. We were so dam flat footed in the first half.

These dam refs, are you kidding me. That holding call on Higdon while being tackled! That needs to be brought up with the big 10 I doubt much will happen there though.

Bob tell me if you saw this, Nico has a real bad understanding of where he is on the field. He made some great catches but he does not do well are the catch. Twice I can remember he came up short for the first down and it looks like he is very easy to bring down.

michael czechowski said...

Collins has terrible field and situational awareness. 6'4" 218 and he plays much smaller.

Tommertoffo said...

Amen to the above three comments.
Pulling out a win after falling behind on the road by 17 is a big deal. That alone will improve this team's mental toughness.

To me, you "mentally prepare" for road/emotional games by starting offensively with what you do best - run the ball, play action. You don't try to fool the other team. Pound it at 'em. Defense too: why open up with such pressure?

Higdon is really good.

Unknown said...

I have absolutely no concern about this team whatsoever. The o-line is playing much better than last year. Huge upgrade a quarterback including the backups. The only thing that I see is a couple of slow starts but I honestly believe that they'll figure this out continue it approved from week to week.

Goose said...

Let me ask the big house blog army a question. If the crimson tide had just won a game against a 1 & 3 northwestern team by 3 points on the last drive of the game would they be in the locker room acting as if the just won a national championship, or perhaps would the mood in the locker room be entirely different? I'm wondering if Michigan has gotten comfortable being a good team & not a great one.

Tim said...

Goose - good question and thought.

If Bama did what we did they would not be celebrating like we did. No way.

I look at this as - hopefully - a stepping stone to greater things to come. I realize NW not overly good, but they are better than Rutgers, Maryland, Purdue and IU.

After 17-0 I thought we were done. How many can honestly say they thought Michigan would win after spotting NW 17 points. I don't know when the last time we overcame a 17 point deficit on the road was, but my guess is Lloyd Carr was the coach.

To your point - we did not emulate the professionalism that Bama embraces. However, NW might be the best team we have beaten on the road for over a year. Being down 17 and coming back takes guts especially throwing in the worst penalty call many of us can remember.

I get frustrated with Michigan's play and their playcalling. I am not saying we are back nor am I saying we have turned a corner...but after their play Saturday maybe...just maybe...we are getting that killer instinct back that we have been missing for 10 years.

Bob said...

Nico might be Michigan's most talented WR, but sometimes it looks like he just checks out mentally (like most of the team in the first half).

The problem is, this team thinks they are great when they play at home. When they get on the road, they are somewhere between average and good. They have to figure this road and night time issues as Wisconsin will be a night game now in the Big House. With Fox, BTN, ESPN, and ABC showing night games, Michigan is going to get more then its fair share of them.