Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Michigan vs. Notre Dame — What Happened and What it Means — Part II
In the previews, GBMWolverine stated Coach Borges had two choices, pass on Notre Dame’s weaknesses, or take the conservative, safe route. One thing for sure the first half showed that Coach Borges did not take the safe route of starting out with inside read, but instead let it fly, and for a short period of time the strategy was making some progress, then the poor advised throws came, literally one after another.
The offensive line’s interior still struggled to create a big crack for Fitz Touissant. Fitz bounced out and hit the edge a few times for yardage, but still Michigan will be better off when the blocking creates some seams in the middle.
Coach Kelly stuck to his self-proclaimed prophecy of running a power offense that yielded few mistakes. Six turnovers against two was the final count in favor of the Irish. But Michigan’s defense played the run pretty well. Wood is a very fast tailback and can explode at the edge. Last night when he did break contain, the next level cleaned up well enough to prevent the big play. Kelly remains firm in his commitment to forsake the cute and fluffy in favor of effective and operative.
Michigan’s receivers continue to show that collectively as a group they are adequate for team success. The key continues to be quarterback accuracy. There will be better days ahead for this group.
There were indeed other mistakes, such as Q jumping offside during a critical time, and Floyd allowing a tight end (albeit one of great ability) to run right past him after a very poor attempt at press coverage. But there are always a few mistakes in games. Those mistakes shut the door on Michigan’s chances, but it was the offensive mistakes that threw the score Notre Dame’s way.
Coach Hoke chose to kick off and depend on the defense for a stop at game’s end. With the time remaining that was a sound strategy and the two mistakes blew up the choice.
So, what happened was simple and obvious. Now on to what the game means for the future.
In part the above question depends on attitude. On the one hand, the defense showed signs of improvement and never gave up. Coach Mattison did all he could to keep Notre Dame’s offense down to minimal damage. It could be argued that Denard scored 10 of Notre Dame’s points. So, again this could be used as an incentive and motivation for continued improvement. A better defense could make a big difference in the conference, perhaps the ultimate difference. Notre Dame has a decent power game with one of the better offensive lines in the country. The defense may not have neutralized Notre Dame, but few points were actually scored on this unit, and again most of the points were a result of Michigan charity.What does this game mean for team leadership? Denard Robinson is the team leader. He fouled the game up: he knows it, everyone knows it. The disappointment is that a seasoned veteran made the poor choices he made. Michigan starts the conference next week and the team leader cannot be thrown under the bus in public. He is a turnover and touchdown machine, and again, he is what he is and will remain so until his career is over. But senior or not, he cannot repeat such strategies and play superman against teams like Michigan State that will blitz his face every play and kill his team’s chances. The coaches will form their own manner of sledgehammering this fact home. But Denard, strengths and weaknesses considered, is by far the most viable option to take Michigan to victory. Here is a leader that will immediately acknowledge failure, but here is a leader that can bounce back.
So, Michigan actually made some progress in this bitter loss, and the team can get down or continue onward into the Big Ten with visions of working hard and securing victories. This staff will not allow a lay-down. But next week will be tough against an improved Purdue team on the road. It has been stated that Coach Hope has circled this game on the calendar. Michigan is used to such treatment.
The goal of conference success is obtainable, but several key games may be decided by mistakes, mistakes Michigan cannot afford if the team wants a shot at the Legends crown.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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