Rants, comments, thoughts and funny - mostly funny - on all things Michigan and college football.

If you have ideas, tips, links or pictures for the blog, e-mail us at: MichiganZone at gmail dot com.

Thanks for checking out the M Zone. And if you enjoy the site, please pass the link on to a friend or two. We'd sure appreciate it.

Twitter: @MZoneBlog

Facebook/MZoneBlog

Best Of Tat and Tresselgate

M Zone Videos

Best Of MZone 2.0

Best Of The Original MZone

Tosu Favorites

MZone Archive

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Steamrolled

Well, that really sucked. What can you say about the Rose Bowl? USC was fantastic. Michigan? Not so much.

It was pretty much a team effort, too. The offense was horrible for most of the game, until USC went into prevent mode. The offensive line failed to open holes for Mike Hart. They also did a horrible job of protecting Chad Henne. And Henne responded very poorly to the heavy rush, holding the ball too long at times, and committing two killer turnovers in the game-changing third quarter.

The defense was solid in the first half, holding the Trojans to just three points. But the second half collapse was massive. Some might say all the genius talk about Ron English should be tossed out the window. I disagree. I think he was brilliant this season. Why? He realized he had a great front seven and a weak secondary. So he kept the pressure on the QB all year and it worked for 11 games against teams that just weren't good enough to handle that front seven. But the last two teams have the talent and the coaching staffs to be able to exploit such a weakness as that secondary and that's what happened on November 18 and January 1. If this Michigan team couldn't get pressure on the quarterback - against a good quarterback - they were going to give up points. They were able to hide this weakness against overwhelmed offensive lines and bad to mediocre QBs, but not today.

Hey, at least our kicker was better than theirs today.

So where to go for Michigan? The same place we go every year after losing the Rose Bowl. We have to get back there next year. This season was much more enjoayble than last year, though disappointing at the end. But there's a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball, and Michigan should be one of the teams in the hunt for the national title next year.

But that doesn't make me feel any better right now.

35 comments:

nathanp2112 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nathanp2112 said...

As usual, you are on the mark Benny - no excuses, it's simply that the better team today won.

Despite the fact that Meechigan had a very respectable season, there's inevitably going to be those who aren't satisfied - any bets on how long it will take for www.firelloydcarr.com to fire up? All the same bandwagon idiots that show up every time things are going well will be the first to sign up, I'm sure.

On a different subject, y'all surely missed the Fiesta Bowl ending (since it was after midnight your time) - wow, best damn game I've seen all season. Their win tonight is more of an argument for a playoff....Boise State should get a shot at the title (thank you Lloyd Carr for supporting a playoff!). I know all of you mid-major haters will disagree, but you're all biased!! (hehe)

Lastly Benny, I need to thank you and Yost for all of the entertainment this season - I found your site by accident and even though I was never Michigan fan before, I am now. You both have provided hours of fun and also some great material for me to send to the one Buckeye fan I know (I'm pretty evil that way). Can't wait until next season!!!

Can't spell Lloyd without 2 "L's" said...

Yeah. Wow. Being off for 43 days hurt Michigan, but I don't think it cost them the game. The offense was out of rhythm all game, which may have been helped along by the long layoff. I would like to think that if the game was played in October or November that the results would have been different, but I don't know. I would like to think that had they made the right call on the USC fumble at the two, it would have been different, but I doubt it. The game boiled down to two things: 1) USC pressured Henne. If he wants to be a professional quarterback he's got to stop doing his Scott Mitchell impression everytime he's a got a guy breathing down his neck. Great arm, accurate, smart...can't handle pressure well in the pocket. His pocket awareness sucks.

2) Michigan didn't pressure Booty-Booty-Booty. He had all day to throw, and Morgan Trent, well, lets just say that Jarrett reminded me of the of Maynard, and Trent reminded me of Marcellus in Pulp Fiction

Out of Conference said...

Tough loss. I really, really hated to see that happen to Lloyd Carr. He really deserved a win in that situation. Not to take anything away from Southern Cal; they played a good game.

Glad to see anon's banned as well, although it forced me to get an account. So formally known as Jim is now "Out of Conference"

-Jim

Barry said...

so, rather than allow open dialogue of the faults you refuse to acknowledge, you're going with banning anon comments for the first time? Classy move, guys.

I don't see how this season was so magical. We beat absolutely nobody worth mentioning. Sure, ND was a great victory at the time, but they've proved to be an overrated team. Who else? Wisconsin? Does anyone else remember almost losing to Ball State?

It's another January 2nd and we've got another 2 loss season, another loss to OSU, another loss in a bowl game, and even another loss to USC in the Rose Bowl. Was this year better than last? Of course, but with a 7-5 finish, it would have been hard to not be better.

You guys need to open your eyes and strive for something more than "an enjoyable season."

Yost said...

Barry,

Banning anons isn't about a fear of "open dialogue." It's about getting sick of trolls from other schools with nothing better to do than clog up the board.

And if you read the board, we do mention the faults. In fact, I got criticized for it for being too "negative." Furthermore, nobody said it was a "magical" season. Not after the way it ended. But it's not a complete disaster either.

So open your eyes and strive to leave a comment more meaningful than that of the now-banned Anons.

John said...

that's the problem with UM fans yost, they are too reasonable for college football. 'bama fans expect to get nick saban as their coach. OSU fans expect a nat'l championship EVERY YEAR. Fill in the blank SEC school expects to have a nat'l championship every year. in the NCAA, your fans have to have these unreasonable expectations.

In Ohio, we are livid if OSU loses even a single game. People wanted tressel fired after the vince young/texas debacle. yet, if the bengals or browns go 8-8, its a good year. i'd compare UM fans to how bengals fans are reacting to the end of year choke: it sucks, but things have been worse.

Hornet1978 said...

Im sorry guys..I was pulling for you hard...Benny you nailed it when the O Line did not give Henne protection all day.

Too bad...would have loved to see Michigan with the AP National Championship trophy this year.

Go Blue in 07!

spike said...

As a Michigan fan, I'm used to getting my heart broken - it's like clockwork with these guys. Like a beautiful, but unfaithful woman right when you're about to leave her, she says "Don't go! I've changed!"

USC deserves all the props, but damn, couldn't we have at least taken it to the wire?

Sigh, at least the Domers are worse than us.

I'm so fucking pissed.

dtw2phx said...

I woke up and recalled Lloyd being 'released'. Really???



Damn...it was only a dream. :-(

Richard Cranium said...

No way should they even think of firing Lloyd. You guys are there and next year I will be hoping you win every game except for one again. It looked like your O line was really sucking wind out there. Were they just out of shape? The defense did a good job but the lack of offense again killed you guys and Lloyd didn't make any adjustments it seemed at half time

Chadwick said...

I was hoping that this year was going to be different, but in the end it was the same result. Sure Michigan managed to escape September without a road loss, but November and January sure did tarnish a good season. Hopefully things will turn out better next year, but one thing is for sure, the pass defense must improve. That effort yesterday was ridiculous.

Jim said...

I don't think you need to be a "hater" to be critical of the job Lloyd Carr's done over the last few years. His teams lack heart and fire--you can see it in their body language everytime they face adversity. It's not the team I grew up with. Bo may have had an iffy bowl record, but I always *expected* him to win. Now, I'm pleasantly surprised when we win a big game. That can't be right.

There's a difference between being unreasonable and expecting the best. We're Michigan, not Arkansas or Texas Tech. We're the winningest program in college football history and we should expect to compete for the Nat. Championship every year. Lloyd's a good coach, but good isn't enough. It's time we took a page out of Nebraska's playbook and sent Lloyd off to the MAC, where 9-10 wins is good for a round of hearty handshakes and free pie at the diner.

TitleIX said...

here's a link to an article in today's Det. Freep
The quotes from Malone and Carr are jaw-dropping and prove what a problem coaching is...
ya can't fix it if you don't even recognize it.
ugh

TitleIX said...

oops...
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007701020398

Patrick said...

Jim and others-

I agree with the assessment of the Carr-led teams - they have mostly lacked heart and fire, despite having tremendous talent. And truthfully, I can't figure it out. I'm a Notre Dame fan (sorry - I'm not trolling, I was genuinely looking for Michigan fan input), and I can't figure out how a team that played with such intensity on that Saturday in South Bend has looked downright mechanical and lethargic in every game since, even against OSU. (And, truth told, I think that ND played better in that game than most people think ... and I mean that as a compliment to the total and complete asswhooping you handed us.)

So - as a non-Michigan fan who still ends up watching 6-7 games a year thanks to the ESPN family of networks, I ask - why is it that Lloyd Carr seems to only be able to get the troops up for one game a year? (2006 v. ND, 2005 v. Penn State, 2004 v. Iowa, 2003 v. OSU, etc, etc)

Benny Friedman said...

Jim, I don't know what Lloyd Carr coached team you're watching, but it's not the same I've been seeing.
Michigan teams "lack heart and fire?" That's just overused bullshit that stupid TV commentators like to use. When you're being dominated, as they were yesterday, it's going to look like you lack heart and fire. Did they lack heart and fire against tOSU? They could have easily given up when they fell behind, but they didn't and came an onside kick short from maybe winning that game.
Hell, even many off Lloyd's critics would say they face adversity well - it's when they have it easy, like against teams they should beat that they run into problems.
You claim we should compete for the national title every year. Didn't Michigan compete for it this year? I think they were three points short of making the title game this year.
Yes, tOSU has won four out of five and Michigan has lost four straight bowls. Things aren't perfect and adjustments need to be made. But to compare Michigan to Texas Tech or Arkansas is "hating" at this point.

AntRant13 said...

Wisconsin is the best team in the Big 10....

TitleIX said...

et tu posting Benny????
or is SiC playing Halloween again?

Jim said...

Whoah, easy there Benny. We'll have to agree to disagree. I don't know about tv commentators, and I'm not on the sidelines or in the huddle (hell, I'm not even in the state anymore), I'm just commenting on what I've seen--heads down, walking back to the huddle, 1000-yard stares on the sidelines. It wasn't just when they were down big, it started earlier, and it wasn't the first time. It's also not every time. I don't mean to paint with such a broad brush, but this just wasn't something I ever remember worrying about with Bo- (or god help me, even Moeller-) coached teams. It may not be fair to compare Lloyd to Bo (and I know he wasn't perfect, either), but that's my standard.

And my reference to Arkansas and TT was directed at critics who say Michigan fans are unrealistic to expect National Championship contention every year. Of course we were in it this year, but that's been more the exception than the rule. Lloyd's teams will always be good enough for 9-11 wins, but why does that preclude discussing the potential for better? Nebraska looked at Frank Solich and saw what some (including myself) see in Lloyd Carr and decided to make a change. Is Callahan the answer in Lincoln? Who knows, but I give them credit for making a move.

Hey, I don't mean to run the guy down. I don't want him run out of town on a rail tomorrow, but I also don't see why discussing the possibility of a change is such sacrilege.

Kirbdaddy said...

Antrant, you are a moron. Wisconsin beat an Arkansas team be three points that lost to USC by 36. And UM beat Wisconsin, so obviously, Wisconsin is not better than Michigan.

troyman8221978 said...

As a Trojan I just wanted to come by and say how dignified the Wolverine faithful are from the pre game talk to post game reaction (the steamroll picture is priceless and shows me you guys dont take yourselves too seriously).
That said PC is tough for anyone to beat with some prep and I agree with many that Lloyd Carr does not seem to inspire the team when he needs to. Reminds me of USC coach Larry Smith in the 80's when he lost 2 straight Rose Bowls when favored in each (Smith was a Mich asst. at one time).
In any case you guys WILL BE BACK next year...too much talent not to. I would rather not play you in the NC if we both get there as the revenge factor would be unfavorable to SC.
Fight On! and Go Blue!

nathanp2112 said...

Imagine that......the CarrHaters are back out. Must be January.

mattathias said...

You're slighly off, Troyman. Lloyd Carr looks more like John Cooper. He just can't win the big games. He ended a great season with a embarrassing, horrible loss. Way to fuck that up.

No creativity, no originality in play-calling. Did Lloyd even do anything to try to motivate the team? This was not the team that beat ND back in Sept. Michigan choked, plain and simple. Why? Because they played not to lose, instead of to win. That's how chokejobs happen. I mean, where were the trick plays like those done by BSU or Troy Smith's ridiculous play action TD against us? At least try to catch the defense off guard!

Despite all this, you have to be out of your mind to suggest firing Lloyd Carr. He should retire after next season, when he sees his babies Hart, Henne, Long, etc. off to the NFL. Then breathe some new life into Michigan's football program

Troyman, I would like to return the compliment. Honestly, I hate USC;s program (I just do), but the fans were very classy. The fight song and the "V" get very annoying, but I was very pleased with the respect and class shown by the USC fans. Thank you very much.

As for UM fans, where the hell was the noise? It was dead silent. I was in the alumni section and i tryied to get the fans to make some noise.

MGoBlue93 said...

As for UM fans, where the hell was the noise? It was dead silent. I was in the alumni section and i tryied to get the fans to make some noise.

I don't know what section you were in but I was in tunnel 4 seats and the USC and U of M faithful on that side of the field were often commenting on how obnoxiously loud the swath of Maize and Blue in sections 10-15 were... of course there wasn't much to cheer about in the 3rd quarter. I think I only heard The Victors 3 times in the whole second half.

Yost said...

'93,

Actually, it was pretty quiet in my section of the RB. Some fans cheered but it was evenly split between those cheering and those not.

On a couple plays, folks seemed to get loud, but not like SC fans did.

MGoBlue93 said...

Yost... that's too bad then. After the RB, I was under the impression that collectively, U of M fans didn't really sit on their hands.

Me and a couple friends remarked that we never heard noise (at least in the 1st half) like that in the Big House.

This poster is a bit hoarse today from singing The Victors as loud and as often (at least in the first half) as I could.

You and the others who posted about this being a home game for SC were right though... too bad the Tournament of Roses still considers the PAC 10 the host team and gives them a bigger allotment.

But then again, it doesn't help when douchebag students and VIP club members put the password for buying RB tix for sale on eBay and CraigsList.

GO BLUE!

Jason said...

Mike DeBord must be fired, immediately. It's called the quick slant, Mike, and it may, just may, have the possibility of slowing down a fast rush. Don't get me wrong, USC is a hell of a team, but our coaching staff failed the players in this game, and DeBord has to go RTFN.

mattathias said...

My post right here has no point but to express the sorrow that I still feel after our loss. I come here for some solace. My heart is still broken.

surrounded in columbus said...

Yost/Benny,
i spent most of yesterday in the air, so, like our switch to the shot gun formation, these comments are both admittedly a day late and a dollar short (and no, title ix, i haven't been posting anything, or trick or treating).

both your posts are good assessments of monday's debacle. your disagreement on English highlights what i think is the most troubling question- how much of this is the coordinators, and how much is Carr?

i have a hard time knocking the players for this game, especially the way it unfolded. we're tied 3-3 at half. neither team sent a different group of players out at half. but it was clear that USC's coaching staff called a completely different game on offense, and we didn't.

after the first series of the 2nd half (when SC passed for 9 yds on 1st down and then couldn't run for 1 yd in two plays), it was clear that USC made a conscious decision to just pass (we'd call it "abandoning the run", instead of the more positive label of "trying something different").

we on the other hand, made a decision to keep trying to run/pass long w/ deep drops, regardless of its initial ineffectiveness. was that DeBord's idea? or Carr's?

same on defense. after SC went all pass/all the time, our D still struggled to pressure Booty, leaving him time to wait for his receivers to work the field. was the decision not to blitz/take chances English's? or again, Carr?

USC's adjustments weren't particularly brilliant- they didn't need to be. they tried something different and we didn't counter. and that's my real gripe over this game.

my angst w/ the play calling was not that it didn't work. it's that it didn't change. i may not know half as much about football as Lloyd, but i do understand the concept of throwing good money after bad.

if we had gone w/ a blitz package, maybe we'd have been burned by big plays. but could it have been worse than the way were burned anyway?

and if we had gone 4 wide in the shotgun sooner, could we have had anymore turnovers than we did?

Lloyd made some real progress this year, changing coordinators and schemes. but the team that pounded ND never really improved after that. no new wrinkles, no new adjustments. Tre$$ell & Carroll had 12 weeks of the same game film to plan against. we didn't do much of anything different in the last two games than the previous 11.

11-2 is great, and realistically, much better than anyone suspected in the pre season. but looking at next year, we are going to be a favorite. if we want to see a shot at an NC, we're not only have to continue to innovate/update during the off season. michigan will need to adapt/change things during the season and sometimes during the games.

t2tman said...

When are you guys going to wise up and understand that Lloyd IS the problem? If he continues to get out-coached and out-recurited the Michigan will become a non-relevant 9-3 team like Alabama thinking about the good old days

surrounded in columbus said...

twt- i don't think anyone doubts Lloyd is the problem (michigan fans may be arrogant, but we're not known for being stupid).

the struggle isn't w/ spotting the problem. the trouble is finding the answer.

Lloyd made a lot of changes in the off season (finally). we went from 5 seasons in a row a opening road game loss, and at least three losses each season to 11 wins. is he going to keep making changes? or has he come as far as he can go?

if he's topped out, do you dump him now? seriously? who fires an 11-2 coach?

do you nudge him out? he's 62ish. he's going to retire in a few years on his own. is it better to let him set his own schedule? again, who fires a coach w/ his resume after an 11 win season?

michigan fans, even the more rabid Lloyd bashers know that's not going to happen.

and finally, w/ whom do you replace him? certainly not someone like Nick "let's just rent a place instead of buying" Saban. while you don't want the program to become 3 loss irrelavant, you don't want to become the coaching carousel that Bama is now, or the constant rebuilding project that ND and Nebraska have become.

i think everyone amongst the michigan faithful sees that Lloyd is the problem. it's the solution that's not so clear.

Brian Buchalski said...

a couple of things come to mind that haven't been mentioned yet.

1- the more things change, the more they stay the same. i can hardly believe that i'm going to revert to a couple of the old excuses from the bo schembechler era, but i do think that with some perspective that it is now apparent that the national championship (at least michigan's chance at it) was settled in in columbus back in november. i felt that the wolverines played a pretty strong & passionate game that day & left it all out on the field. so that, with the combination of the long layoff and i'm not surprised that we looked flat in the rose bowl. just like during the ten year war of bo-woody battles, i think that the bowl game ended up being a bit anti-climatic. i'm curious to see how osu plays next week.

and let's not forget that when you really get down to it, bowl games are—in their essence—nothing more than exhibition matches. not true title fights despite what everybody seems to be clamoring for these days (but that's another discussion).

2- secondly, let's not forget about the general homefield advantage that a school like southern california enjoys in a game like this. i'm from michigan and i've been to california a few times and there's definitely a different atmosphere out there, especially coming this time of year with the temperature difference. it's not a major excuse...but i'd be curious to see how schools from the warmer climates would generally fare if they had to play a january game in the midwest after a five week break.

3- lastly, although i'll admit that lloyd carr's record in the big season ending games has been disapointing the past 3-4 years (what...three straight losses to osu & four straight bowl defeats) lets keep in mind that those seven losses have come against some damn good teams. i've been watching college football for a good twenty years now and i can honestly say that the recent editions of usc, osu, and texas have been some of the best teams i've ever seen.

three straight losses to ohio state, but two of them were on the road and all three against troy smith (who's big game heroics i can only compare to michael jordan). he just refuses to lose...and god i hope the detroit lions find a way to draft him.

also, you figure that two of those rose bowl losses have been to the usc juggernaut and practically on their home field and then add in the third rose bowl loss against texas (led by usc-killer himself, vince young) and i'm hardly ashamed of my team.

of those seven recent losses (4 bowls & 3 to osu), the only one that bothers me was the alamo bowl against nebraska last year...but i'm hardly embarrassed about losing to any of those other teams. admittedly, it does make me wish we could have snagged that rose bowl from texas a couple of years back...damn that one was close.

michigan has been good recently...unfortunately we've been repeatedly victimized by some of the best larger-than-life (and heisman winning) college football players of all time, e.g., vince young, troy smith & matt leinert. it'd be nice to get one of these guys on our side for change. i can't wait to see how ohio state fares against the wolverines in the post-troy smith era, although i've been impressed with usc's ability to reload.

these things run in cycles sometimes and i wouldn't be shocked to see michigan run off a winning streak against osu over the next few years for instance, but we'll see.

of course...some of this is just dumb luck. how does wisconsin get to go the rose bowl 3 times in about 10 years and win all three games while playing shit pac-10 teams while we get stuck against all-time greatest editions from washington & southern cal. fuckin' badgers.

BC in SC said...

I agree with Brian's No.2 point, I grew up in MI and I remember the first time that I was in a sunny, warm climate in December....I was in a bit of fog and I didn't get over that in a day or two. I didn't realize there were places like that in December and I was still in a bit of that fog when I returned to cold, gray MI.
I've been watching M in Rose Bowl games for over 35 years and, especially when we play SC, we look as though playing and winning a football game is not the sole reason we went there. Yet that's everyday for SC kids...their in their own yard.
I don't believe any coach will ever be able to change those kind of emotions.

texaswolverine said...

I don't think USC was a clearly superior team. Michigan could (and should) have won the game. But there are a couple of things we did (and didn't do) that I just don't understand.

First, it was clear from the git go that USC would blitz -- almost every down. Corners, safeties, linebackers . . . We never hit the hot route. The sacks came after a fair time to deliver the ball. I don't blame the O line: 5 can never block 6 -- let alone 7. Either the receivers weren't reading the blitz and running the hot route or Henne wasn't reading it. I suspect it was more of the former -- but I don't know. But the coaches never made any adjustments to to the dilemma. Why not? I have coached football -- though not at the college level -- and I assumed we would make this adjustment. Never did.

Defense is problematic. They picked on Trent all day (and night). Anyone who has watched Michigan this year (except at ND were Trent blanketed an overrated Smarjdia) would do the same. He's not a bad corner. But he can't cover forever and that is what English asked him to do. I love English and I hope he's with us forever -- but he got too conservative in the 2nd half. I really think if we blitzed Booty more, he would have been a much diferent QB. And, although Jarrett is a great receiver, on 3rd and 7, I want to see him go over the middle and catch the tough pass in traffic. Harris lit him up in the end zone the one time he tried and he couldn't hold onto the ball. OSU lit us up when the front 4 couldn't get pressure and USC watched that tape.

Overall, I think we recruit great athletes and they deserve a little better coaching -- especially from Carr and DeBorg. As a grad, Carr embarasses me -- not because he loses big games -- but because his public personna is inconsistent wit a great academic institution. He treats halftime reporters (who ask perfectly reasonable questions) with disdain. He consistently acts as though people who question his decisions are idiots. Maybe they (we) are -- but the answer to that problem is to answer the question -- not dismiss the questioner. He's boorish.

I love Michigan. I have three degrees from the University and I worked in the Administration. I just wish we would lose our tunnel vision about the Athletic Department and encourage it to hire people that are at the top of their fields like we do in the Med School and the Law School and the Philosophy Dept. etc. ( I could go on forever).

GO BLUE.