Iowa 24, Michigan 21 Comment Count

Ace November 23rd, 2013 at 4:04 PM

I started writing this post at Heiko's apartment before my laptop battery mercifully bailed out, giving me a few minutes to think on the drive home. Time heals all wounds, they say; this wasn't nearly enough time.

Michigan got an early gift when Jake Ryan's crushing hit on Iowa QB Jake Rudock on a play-action rollout—sound familiar?—led to a fluttering pass that Brennen Beyer intercepted and took back seven yards for a touchdown. The defense came away with two other interceptions in the game; Blake Countess baiting Rudock for his second pick led directly to the second Wolverine touchdown, a two-yard pass to A.J. Williams that Iowa had completely dead to rights until Devin Gardner comically stiff-armed Tanner Miller to the ground in the backfield.

Left to its own devices, the Michigan offense could muster just one more score in the game, a nine-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon to give them a 21-7 halftime lead.

The Wolverines finished with 158 yards on 57 plays (2.8 ypp); the Greg Davis-coached Iowa offense managed to tally 407 yards (5.5 ypp) despite freezing temperatures and a howling wind. At one point in the second half, Al Borges called for back-to-back reverses—the first one worked; the second predictably failed miserably. Iowa adjusted to Michigan's fake-bubble-based run game and that was all she wrote; the defense, down both starting linebackers by the end of the game, couldn't stop the inevitable comeback.

Eight three-and-outs. Eight.

Gardner fumbled on a draw play on Michigan's final offensive possession, their first turnover of the game; it was unfortunate, to be sure, but at this point it's pretty tough to blame the guy:

I watch him play and feel no anger, just sadness. Michigan is left with no reasonable option but to put him out there despite the fact that he's obviously not close to the same player he was last year or at the start of this season, clearly hurt, and being put in a position in which few—if any—quarterbacks could succeed. Gardner gives this team the best chance to win; he's also battered, skittish, and quite possibly flat-out injured.

Crazy things happen in football, which is why we keep watching. It'll take something beyond any reasonable expectation of crazy for Michigan to even stay competitive in The Game on Saturday.



November 23rd, 2013 at 4:11 PM ^

Honestly, at this point I want OSU to beat us 2008 or 1968-style. The worse we look the better the chances that there ar changes on the coaching staff.


*prepares to be slaughtered*

Bando Calrissian

November 23rd, 2013 at 4:17 PM ^

I never want Michigan to lose. But, honestly, if we lose next week, I would hope said loss to say something definitive about this coaching staff. Not that I trust Dave Brandon to make a competent decision about it anyway.

Really, I think next week ultimately doesn't matter. Dave Brandon doesn't want to admit failure. He'll watch this ship go down. Hell, we know he watches it on Sunday mornings with the coaching staff, even if it annoys the living hell out of them to have the AD sitting over their shoulder watching film. This was his first major decision, just like Tommy Amaker was for BIll Martin. And DB has shown to be far more vain about this kind of stuff than Martin ever was. He's not going to give an inch, even if it's glaring that a change needs to be made.

Bando Calrissian

November 23rd, 2013 at 5:10 PM ^

It's how he handles the minor mistakes. Or, should we say, the "trial balloons" he floats out there, then instantly reverses by telling the fanbase someone else screwed up or that we all just misunderstood. The giant noodle. Seat cushions. The MMB and Jerryworld. Soon, the decision to go with a DJ at Crisler for the Arizona game so they can sell the alumni band's seats.  If he can't face the music with the little things, what makes us think he's going to change course when it comes to firing someone he's repeatedly stuck his neck out for? 

Brady Hoke and "The Process" by which we got Brady Hoke are his legacy at Michigan. This is bigger than buildings and budget surpluses. If Hoke flames out, Dave Brandon ends up with egg on his face. And it seems to me he's inclined to ride it out as long as he possibly can before he has to admit defeat.


November 23rd, 2013 at 5:51 PM ^

You guys are being way too harsh on Brandon.  The guy has been incredibly successful running large organizations, and there's no reason to think he won't be successful running the athletics department.

Exactly what failures are you referring to over the past three years?  Replacing Rodriguez, which everyone wanted him to do?  Finding a staff to turn the football team around in one year and win a Sugar Bowl?  Rebuilding Crisler and Yost arenas?  Going to the NCAA basketball championship game last year?  Finishing 2013 with our highest standing in the Directors' Cup since 2007?  Raking in another cool $100 million from Steve Ross?

Do I agree with all of his decisions?  Of course not.  Has he made some decisions he has probably regretted himself?  I'm certain of it.  Everybody makes mistakes.

We are very fortunate to have a guy who played football for Bo, and went on to be a successful CEO at two different large companies, leading our athletics program.  He is a gigantic improvement over Martin, who knows nothing about football and has no idea how to manage people (and is an egomaniac to boot, which seems to go with the territory).

I am with you on coaching changes being needed.  But nobody's going to talk about that in the middle of the season, and rightly so.  It's too soon to give up on Hoke, especially with the recruiting success, but I think you can count on Brandon to counsel Hoke regarding the performance of his assistants, something Martin never would have been capable of doing.

Bando Calrissian

November 23rd, 2013 at 5:57 PM ^

Incredibly successful running large organizations? He closed out his term at Domino's by running an ad campaign admitting "We sell a shitty product." He had years to fix it. He didn't. So they tried admitting what they sold was shit, and they still sell shit. And this is a guy who made his first fortune selling junk mail. Cardboard pizza and coupon mailers. At least Bill Martin had experience with the IOC.

And Dave Brandon "practiced football" for Bo. Let's be clear.


November 24th, 2013 at 10:43 PM ^

Was over $25/share just prior to the market crash, the crash that decimated a very large number of stocks throughout the world.  During that time, early 2007-late 2008, while Brandon was the CEO, new recipies were developed.  These new recipies were fielded just after the crash, and with the rebounding stock market saw stock prices and earnings gradually return to pre-crash levels.  Dave Brandon was there throughout that process.  There, you've been educated, so the next time you want to take a shot at Brandon, you will know that Domino's Pizza wasn't his failure, rather it was his success.  Now you can avoid looking foolish.


November 23rd, 2013 at 8:51 PM ^

a joke.

Hoke defenders can't have it both ways -- you can't say, Hoke isn't winning and hasn't had the chance with his own players and, oh by the way, did you see what he did in year 1?  Won a Sugar Bowl.  Yeah, that's right, Michigan did, with players recruited by Rich Rodriguez and, while I will admit that the defense was much improved, there is little doubt that had Rodriguez been permitted to stay, a condition would have been the complete dismantling of his defensive staff.  It is not a stretch to conclude that new staff would have improved Michigan's defensive performance as well.  So at the end of the day, you have Hoke winning the Sugar Bowl with talent recruited by Rich Rodriguez and he has done absolutely nothing in the 2 years since.  If anything, the skill players he has at his disposal are playing worse in year 3 than they played in year 2.  Exhibit A - Devin Gardner. 


November 23rd, 2013 at 10:10 PM ^

The senior leadership on the 2011 team was actually mainly recruited by Carr.

I think you are misunderstanding the argument a little.  I think it's more that this year's team is very young (owing to the massive attrition in the 2010 class), and that 2011 is an example of what Hoke can do when he has a more experienced team at his disposal.



November 24th, 2013 at 7:36 AM ^

Weren't Beilein's basketball teams mediocre until he fired his staff and made some strong hiring decisions? Brady Hoke is a good football coach and a great recruiter. All we need to do is fire the offensive staff, fred jackson and darrel funk specifically, and start building off the foundation that brady hoke has laid with his stellar recruiting classes. Stop calling for carpet bombing of the program. That's absurd.


November 23rd, 2013 at 10:03 PM ^

Bando, I know you don't like the guy, but your examples don't make sense.  You give multiple examples of Brandon reversing course after a public outcry, so why would he not do so in a case like this?

If he's hearing it from donors and season-ticket holders (and I can only imagine he is), then I'd bet he'll have a candid conversation with Hoke about changes that need to be made after the season.  I could see this being similar to Beilein's situation after year three.  



Bando Calrissian

November 24th, 2013 at 2:15 AM ^

My point is the fact that every about-face the DB Athletic Department makes is done in such a way as to deflect attention away from themselves. So what we can take from these little 180s is the fact that these decisions are made in very particular ways with possible responses pretty well calculated. 

Brandon isn't going to be able to do that with this situation. Any decision he makes in regards to Brady Hoke will be directly projected onto him and his legacy, and Brandon cares pretty deeply about that. So what I'm trying to say is that a Hoke decline gets a longer leash than would be expected, because if Brandon doesn't like to take blame for being wrong about the little things, he's loathe to be assertive on the big things.

Remember, this is a guy who needed a bowl prep season plus two full days of awkward sitdowns to fire Rich Rodriguez, even after everything that happened in that Ohio State game and the subsequent Football Bust. Not to mention the bowl game. Contrast that with Lane Kiffin's bag being left on the bus at USC, and you wonder just how Dave Brandon's vaunted "Process" is employed by other ADs who need to make important decisions.

Willis Ward

November 23rd, 2013 at 6:06 PM ^

I know you said you were prepared to be slaughtered, but come on. And don't say "us" if you are going say garbage like that. There are over 100 kids working their asses off to beat OSU. And you're sitting there, probably without a degree from Michigan, and saying you hope that "we" get destroyed.

Jesus, people. Wait 7 more days to trash the program. Calling for coaches to
be fired is fine and fair but get behind these kids.

Get off my lawn!


November 23rd, 2013 at 6:24 PM ^

I won't cheer against those young men (ever), but how is my sentiment that a loss next week might be better for the program than a win any worse than the myriad of people shitting all over Devin week in and week out? I sort of want them to lose so that those guys can find themselves in a better situation next year. One final implosion by Borges could equal release. I'm willing to take the numb pain now over sustained pain for the next several years.


November 24th, 2013 at 12:36 AM ^

I don't even blame the coaches. The truth is that that offensive line didn't earn their scholarships this year. They didn't work hard enough in the weight room, they didn't focus enough on the practice field, and they utterly failed to compete on the field of play. It's hard to win when you cannot gain an honest yard(against MAC teams) on a QB sneak. I've been watching Michigan football for 30 years, and I've never witnessed a Michigan line so worthless and weak.

It was this blog's position that Rodriguez could not be blamed for the unprecedented cluster blank that was Threetsheridamnit. It is complete and utter hypocrisy to hold that belief, and at the same time expect Borges to construct any semblance of offense behind that group of matadors.


November 24th, 2013 at 1:50 PM ^

In his third year RR was starting 2 of his own recruits who were performing well (Lewan and Omameh) along with an undersized center that he and his staff (Frey and Barwis) had prepared to succeed.

In his third year Hoke has not produced a single OL who is productive.He and his coaches have failed to develop players like Jack Miller. His recruits aren't even providing quality backup service.

When you mention Threetsheridan you are referring to RR's first year. When you talk about this year's OL you are referring to Hoke's third year. It isn't hypocritical to expect  a coach to improve over a three year period. RR improved every year he was at Michigan, ultimately forming the team that would win 11 games in 2011 (despite Borges throwing away the games against Iowa and MSU). Hoke has regressed each year.


November 26th, 2013 at 8:42 PM ^

My point is that he's comparing RR's first year to Hoke's third year. It's reasonable to have higher expectations of a coach in his third year, especially where the first year coach inherited almost zero offensive tools and the third year coach inherited a solid team that was capable of winning more that 10 games and was trending upward.


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:14 PM ^

No points in 2nd half. Nothing new about AB. He just needs to go. Disgusted, but won't stop me from watching next Saturday.

Hope DG is not too hurt.

Also hope Harbaugh rumor is true, but doesn't look like it.


November 23rd, 2013 at 4:20 PM ^

There's a laughable rumor on The Site With Zero Credibility by That "Insider" suggesting that Michigan will pursue John—not Jim—Harbaugh, the coach who won a Super Bowl last season and then inked an extension. You can give up any hope of that happening now. It'll be less painful that way.