October 12, 2017 at 4:42 pm #175961
With rain blasting down and a driving wind whipping directly into his face, John O Korn breaks the huddle facing a third and 3 in a four point game.
And then, in a moment that summed up the evening perfectly, Michigan s offensive coaching staff asked its quarterback to stare into a monsoon, take a snap from the shotgun — with an empty backfield and five wide receivers — and figure it out.
It didn t work.
Of course, it didn t work. Why would it have worked?
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The result was an interception. And while it was just one play, it served as a microcosm of U M s 2017 season. An offense that makes no sense. A passing game that s asking its quarterback to do way too much and a coaching staff that has yet to find an answer.
Michigan s ugly 14 10 loss against Michigan State on Saturday night didn t feature new problems. It simply highlighted what was already there. The offense is disjointed. It has been this way all season. And little appears to be improving.
Not enough good things, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh speaks during his postgame news conference after Michigan State s 14 10 win on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in Ann Arbor. Video by Nick Baumgardner/DFP
Get Wilton Speight out of there. This is all on one guy. The fix is simple.
This was, for weeks http://www.wolverinesjerseyedge.com/louis-grodman-jersey-c-57.html, the battle cry from hordes of Michigan fans. It was wrong then. And it s wrong now.
O Korn was far from perfect Saturday, but he was far from the only person deserving of any blame. Heck, he probably ran his way out of more sacks than he ended up taking — as Michigan s offensive line continued to sputter without any sign of significant improvement in pass protection.
U M s receivers were struggling to get open five weeks ago against Florida Ben Bredeson Jersey, four weeks ago against Cincinnati, three weeks ago against Air Force and two weeks ago at Purdue. Why anyone thought this would magically change after one improvement week is beyond me.
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Each of Michigan s three running backs have lost a fumble this season. Karan Higdon was flagged for a holding penalty that wiped out a touchdown pass. Sean McKeon fumbled after a big gain. Eddie McDoom dropped a wide open throw on the final drive. Nolan Ulizio was yanked from his right tackle spot.
The fundamentals were bad. But the play calling — as it has been all season long, save for the Florida game — was probably worst of all.
Michigan s passing game — designed by Harbaugh and first year passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton — is as bland as dry toast. The Wolverines are asking their quarterbacks to make NFL throws down the sideline and into the end zone.
U M s quarterbacks aren t pros right now. Michigan s receivers are, for the most part, first time starters, not NFL veterans. The 35 yard go route down the sideline into a tight window has worked one time this season. And the guy who caught it — Tarik Black — is out with a broken foot. Yet there it is, time and time again — even in the pouring rain.
We look back at five of the biggest plays from Michigan State s 14 10 upset of No. 7 Michigan at Michigan Stadium on a wet and wild night in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Oct. 7 http://www.wolverinesjerseyedge.com/taco-charlton-jersey-c-59.html, 2017. Video by Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press Wochit
Fades into the end zone to receivers who can t get open, from quarterbacks who don t quite have the touch to make them. Constant personnel variety. A combination of zone and gap rushing attacks. And nothing, at all, that looks creative.
This is an inexperienced college football offense being asked to do way too much. And that, folks, is on the coaching staff.
They are extremely well coached, Michigan State s Mark Dantonio said after the game. They ran 40 different formations in the first half.
Forty formations. Three points.
More Michigan grades Offense collapses http://www.wolverinesjerseyedge.com/ty-isaac-jersey-c-58.html, wastes a defensive gem
This offense runs with a mirage of creativity, but that s all it is. A mirage. And until they find something to hang their hat on, these problems may remain.
Michigan is now converting just 34.1 of its third down attempts. The Wolverines are averaging just 3.98 yards per rush attempt. U M has just four touchdown passes in five games against six interceptions. Michigan entered the game ranked No. 104 nationally in first downs per possession at 1.04.
On Saturday, the Wolverines had 1.13.
Better, but not really.
Hamilton s making 1 million this season. Offensive coordinator Tim Drevno s making 1 million this season. Everyone knows Harbaugh s making a whole lot more than that.
Through five games, it s hard to argue the old bang for the buck has been there if you re Michigan.
Stuck in the mud. Stuck in the rain. Stuck completely.
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