Sep 14, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) runs the ball in for a touch down in the third quarter against the Akron Zips at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Akron at Michigan — What Happened and What It Means — Part II


Posted at 12:00pm — 9/17/2013

Michigan Football: Akron at Michigan — What Happened and What It Means — Part II

Bad Day-Ugly is Ugly
Akron Turned Away From The Gates of Glory
Michigan Embarrassed- But The Season Continues

And so now starts the dissection of how Michigan got into the position of needing a nice game saving play by the Michigan defense. First off, Michigan started the game off well enough to threaten taking clear control. But that button was never pushed. Michigan could not run the ball well enough. The middle of the line may absorb the blame, but running backs that go down easy are no help either. Michigan used many formations and backfield sets, all of which yielded average at best results.

Then, the second and largest problem of the day started to evolve, killing turnovers and mistakes. Again, Michigan’s quarterback followed the pattern of being a turnover machine or touchdown maker. The turnovers were responsible for at least 10 of Akron’s points and broke any possibility of Michigan running up enough points to secure control of the game. Three interceptions and two fumbles indicate more than just a bad game, as the Michigan quarterback described his day.

Again, the same pattern continues, one that weekly is stated will not be repeated. That pattern is a failure to make simple reads and view the field with normal vision, avoid turnovers, and manage the game. The pick six parade continues with another easy interception for a touchdown by an opponent.

There were times in the game Gardner was rattled, not just by pressure, but also internal mentality. There was one routine pass in particular where Gallon was crossing and Gardner’s throw was probably four feet or more behind Gallon. The trigger was hesitant and late. Events like that indicate a quarterback thinking too much about the adversity occurring during a game.

Ball security remains an issue as all too frequently Gardner holds the ball out in vulnerable positions. Some coaches hate to force a talented skill player to reign in the ball and secure it tightly against the body, but one of the killers of an offense is turnovers, plain and simple. The first fumble was a result of not protecting the ball sufficiently. Gardner was somewhat surprised by the quick rush, but the best medicine is simply to duck and tuck, turning enough to prevent defenders from having an easy shot at the ball.

Sep 14, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Akron Zips quarterback Kyle Pohl (16) is hit by Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Jibreel Black (55) as he passes the ball in the second quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Pohl attempted to manage the game to the best of his ability. He did not take an actual sack and when he was rushed many times Pohl just got rid of the ball to live for another play. Gardner, being the superior athlete made clearly inferior decisions, due in part to the Superman syndrome and partially due to fundamental skills.

Third point, the defense basically gave up nothing in the first half point wise and was then stretched to the absolute limit in the final few seconds. There are many points to be offered regarding the change of fortune.

Did Akron make great adjustments with the spread at halftime, or did Michigan simply wilt some under the spread attack? The conclusion here is that Akron provided more than sufficient time for Pohl to find receivers and that falls upon the defensive front.

Michigan dropped safeties incredibly deep, and Akron, like Notre Dame, attacked the defense accordingly and successfully. The difference was that Akron got isolation on the deep sideline and hit two big plays. The back seven was put under severe distress and this article will not tackle the obvious question of whether scheme, personnel, or a combination of both was/were the culprit. The culprit may simply be a continuing inability to get consistent pressure on a quarterback by the front four.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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