Nov 9, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Jibreel Black (55) reacts to a fumble recovery in the second half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan Stadium. Nebraska won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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


Posted at 12:00pm — 11/12/2013

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

Michigan, especially early, ran Tuossaint into the middle against inside blitzes for a gain of between minus two and no yards. Going to the tackle slot yielded only one or two yards. Green was able to stretch the yardage by one or two yards on the above plays. Still, Michigan’s usual offensive product went something like this: first and ten, second and 11, third and 11 and punt. The offense is almost going backwards on probably half of Michigan’s snaps the last two weeks. Watching backs in other games have running slots two or three yards wide and obtaining big results is near depressing.

Nov 9, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive end Jason Ankrah (9) and linebacker Michael Rose (15) move to tackle Michigan Wolverines running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (28) in the third quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It is painful to watch Fitz Toussaint’s attempts at pass protection. It is buffoon like to actually believe that he is the best Michigan has. Constant discussion occurs about how difficult this task is. But on one play yesterday, Toussaint actually reached out and touched a pass rusher like the tribal Native Americans counting coup by touching the enemy. If he is healthy enough to run the ball, he is healthy enough to take out someone’s legs, anyone, forget about which guy is mine, take someone out, anyone! While not enjoying criticism, the failure of Toussaint on pass blocking is egregious. It may well be better to just send Toussaint out to the flat and hit more screens. But that means be quick, as the blitz will arrive in two or three seconds.

The line, as Spielman pointed out is outnumbered. They have also appeared to be confused. But blocking five against six or seven rushers mathematically and physically does not work. The antidote can be zone blocking to take up space and quick offensive schemes that burn the blitzers, making blitzing a true risk, reward venture, not the current high reward results defenses are achieving.

Giving up 17 points to a wounded Nebraska offense is not a football sin, but unfortunately with the Michigan offensive woes, it was enough for a Cornhusker win. Two points: opponents are taking away Mattison’s coaching moves with the hurry up offense (subs are limited) and poor Michigan tackling let Nebraska off the hook. There were several times Michigan had players behind the line and dove or whiffed, instead of driving and wrapping. Sometimes this indicates lack of speed, and sometimes this indicates sloppy technique.

Michigan did not defend Nebraska’s option plays (numerous versions) well at times and this led to the game-winning touchdown. On this play Clark held the edge, waited as long as he could and then took out the quarterback. Raymon Taylor was blocked into the endzone making the pitch open, and Ross was shielded off by a big tackle and stopped in his tracks, letting the play have a big alley for the easy touchdown. The scenario of Michigan giving up long drives to lose games is disturbing.

Aug 31, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Thomas Rawls (38) quarterback Shane Morris (7) and fullback Sione Houma (39) celebrate a touchdown by Rawls second half against the Central Michigan Chippewas t Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

What does this mean? To the writer this means that Michigan is now playing for next year and tryouts start Monday. The long list of secondary players will continue to be evaluated, but it looks like the youngsters will get more time. Look for more “experimentation.” Coaches need to gauge attitudes and efforts. Coaches have a choice of working on the fundamental mistakes this offense continues to make or focus instead on normal game planning. Next week is a travel week against a Northwestern team that hits the edge hard and has enjoyed some time to heal from wounds. Northwestern’s offense gives Michigan fits. The question is how well Michigan’s offense can score on the average, but hard playing, Wildcat defense.

At this time, there are more questions than answers. Unity, loyalty, commitment, will all be needed as the season concludes. The concept of lack of leadership, as a problem, is rejected by this writer as unfounded. The problems lie on the field, and this group has had plenty of leadership opportunities.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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Tags: #GoBlue Big Ten Conference Coach Al Borges Coach Brady Hoke Coach Greg Mattison Football Go Blue Michigan Football Michigan Wolverines Nebraska Cornhuskers

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