Michigan Football: Responding to the 4th and 2, playcalling, the kick
Coaches make decisions, most of the time based on likely outcomes and how the game is flowing. The consequences are always taken into consideration and big calls are universally cannibalized by those who have never had to make a critical on the spot call.The call to go for the 4th and 2 deep in NW territory is simply a coaching decision. All day yesterday, teams on TV went for fourth down, ran the ball, and came up with mixed results. Sometimes you win on the call, and are a genius; sometimes the bear wins and you get stuffed. My call would have been to kick the field goal, only because Michigan could not run the ball in obvious running situations. On the previous play, Michigan could only run for a yard or so. First down running plays were by and large successful yesterday, but when Michigan had to run against a stuffed defense in obvious running situations the results were not good.
Because I would have kicked the field goal, certainly does not mean that was the proper call. There is easy justification for going for the first down. The conditions favored Michigan; wind, rain, position, etc. The end result indicates again how far Michigan is from being a true dominating running team. Again, it was a coach’s call, and one that can certainly be explained either way. It was not in the totally boneheaded category. The players probably appreciate the fact that Hoke went for the first down (or touchdown).About playcalling:
The playcalling was not grossly incompetent yesterday. Every team has formation and packages that tip the probability to the defense, just Like Hoke said last week. However, Michigan has gone beyond normal predictability the past few weeks. But on Saturday, Michigan went against tendencies and formations a few times with no success. The only play I have severe problems with was the big sack when Michigan was in field goal range. Slow developing pocket play and Devin took off backwards for a huge loss. I would have ran a 3-stepper, short pattern from the gun, or just run the **** thing for a yard and take the kick. Frankly, with the level of quarterback play now displayed, I simply would not have given Devin a chance to muck it up.
Borges is not on the field when a quarterback throws five or six passes that should have been picked. On the other hand, this is how NW plays pass defense, the backs jump routes. When a team cannot run and the quarterback continues to make bad reads (as in no reads) a playcaller looks bad. When the ball can be run for five yards a crack, people look smart. Michigan ran that nice little quick draw that acted like a counter to the bubble screen with decent results when it counted. Gallon had big drops, that makes a playcaller look stupid to some, but is a fallacy. Devin is a great kid and a great athlete, but is a risk or reward player that drives coaches nuts, and the reality is Michigan has no other option with the current state of the pass protection. Yesterday, I watched many quarterbacks manage the game with far less ability. But with no protection, management ability is lessened, or even eliminated. Take McCarron and put him at Michigan and he would be a footnote with the current state of the offense. Borges yesterday was not grossly deficient.The play:
With 18 seconds MICHIGAN FOUND A SPOT in-bounds against the deep protection umbrella and Gardner completed the pass. Failing to get out of bounds (Northwestern’s intent) 11 seconds were left and the field goal team immediately ran onto the field and clearly got the play off with one second left. I am not sure that Gibbons was moving, but a back can move backwards. Here is the big point: the standard for getting a field goal team in place, set, and kick is 15 seconds, so a great deal of credit must go to the Michigan sideline staff and players for pulling this off. As Gibbons said, Dileo is the best holder in the country; he has the hands, can run, and can pass out of the formation.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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