Michigan Wolverines: The Foundation — Part IV
Rebuilding An Interesting Challenge
The last topic for foundational success is organization. This includes the staff, recruiting, coaching, and game management. This is a mixed area for the Michigan program. The staff is made up of good people, but the results have not been up to advanced expectations. Countless times, player development has been called into question. One side maintains the necessary level of coaching is not present and the other rightfully points to an inordinate need for young players to see the field. There is no need to put the coaching group under a microscope; that is the task of Head Coach Hoke and Brandon, both direct observers.
The recent assignment changes and one more year of player experience could, perhaps, even should assist player performance. Recruiting is going very well; discount the panic about Michigan only having six recruits at this time of the year. Michigan has already claimed a quarterback and by transfer, a high level running back, two positions that had to gain depth. The defensive line must still gain at least two or three meaningful players. The offensive line must not retreat to previous years that yielded only one offensive lineman. The in-state player situation is interesting in that Michigan is not flooded with highly rated players. But the top five prospects may be an uphill recruiting battle.
Some will scream that organization and recruiting has failed if the prime in-state crowd is not gathered. Michigan is spreading the net. The net is wide and one-by-one solid student athletes continue to choose Ann Arbor. The pessimists scream that Michigan is so bad that opponents are negatively recruiting the Michigan program. That will happen regardless, and if things go over the top phone calls are made. But collectively the administration ignores negativism and sells the benefits of the campus.
Game management must improve, and this goes far beyond who wears a headset, or who does not. The military prepares for the unexpected with situational protocols. The view here is that Michigan would do well to do the same. Tapes of tons of games, Michigan and others combined, yield coaching moves and decisions that win games and errors that lose games. Every team has a two-minute drill (that is now more of a one-minute drill).
The management needs to go far beyond this basic. What is the protocol when the team has fifty seconds, one timeout, seventy yards to go for a win and forty yards to go for a tie; the defense blitzes every time in end game situations, and no tight end is available?Who will make the decisions? What is the protocol for 18 seconds, twenty yards, and no time outs? The same goes for the defense. Coach Mattison had his protocols more in order; the players many times did not get it done (see South Carolina’s late touchdown).
Coaches need to practice these protocols beyond two point conversions and two-minute drills. The addition of Coach Nussmeier should help, unless some force within the network hinders his decision-making ability. With the way Coach Hoke manages, this fear should be minimal.
Next up will be a more detailed look at the offense and what may be done to improve its on-field performance.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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