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Monday, November 19, 2007

Looking back only because I must

There's really not much to say in terms of what transpired on the football field Saturday except that the better team won. And while it was probably not a great effort by the Bucks, it was a very smart one.

Defensively, Tressel quickly realized that Henne was still hurt and couldn't beat them passing. Thus, Tosu wisely loaded up to stop Hart (after a few opening runs that gave me hope) then watched as Henne's balls fluttered harmlessly all over the field (and in and out of the hands of Michigan receivers the few times he was on target).

Offensively, once the Bucks got the two-score lead - and with his own QB having an off day - Tressel decided to just run, run, run knowing, like a Woody Hayes/Bo Schembechler Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust showdown from some bygone era, Michigan would be unable to move the ball against his defense.

It really was that simple: take what the other team is giving you and get out of dodge with a victory. Period. Style points be damned.

While there was the false hope of never really being out of it due to both the closeness of the score and some decent starting field position in the second half, the truth of the matter is, one glance at the stats on the giant Michigan scoreboard revealed it would take a small miracle for the outcome to change.

Worst of all, was the grim resignation as I watched this game unfold. The above wasn't something I thought of as I sat down to write up this post-mortem tonight, those were things I actually turned to my buddy and said as we were subjected to the ugliness on the field. It wasn't rocket science, it was a beating by Buckeye squad right out of the 60s.

The sad fact for Wolverine fans is that this team really isn't that good. I don't know that we so much underachieved as over-achieved. Our offensive line never was a force that we thought it would be (except for Jake Long). Mario Manningham showed up about 50% of the time. The defense proved it wasn't just the spread that could ding them but pretty much just running it right up the gut (see: Wisco & Tosu).

I could go into the minutia of what transpired on the field, but why? What is really the point unless I want to get frustrated all over again by an effort that produced a whopping 14 yards in the second half. I mean, it's almost comical when our biggest plays of the day were a couple of PI calls (although, seeing how our receivers were playing, in hindsight, I'm guessing OSU DBs are wondering today why they even bothered since the balls most likely wouldn't have been caught anyway).

I will say that there is simply no underestimating how different a team we are/were without Hart and Henne at 100%. One only has to look at how average Oregon is without Dennis Dixon to see what the loss of a team's top playmakers does. And Michigan had two of its best hobbled much of the season. Would it have made a difference Saturday? Sadly, I can't say for sure.

Here's the worst thing about this loss is that there is no shock or outrage on my part. I bleed maize and blue yet it's almost, dare I say, not surprising. I guess I now know how Buck fans felt in the 90s.


srudoff said...


This screen shot pretty much sums up The Game. How the hell was Hart supposed to run through that? I checked the play tonight on the Tivo and it was a handoff - it looks as though your line is setting up a screen.


Feelin' Blue said...

Wait sru, is that real?

My heart is broken. Yeah, we sucked. Mike DeBord should be fired because he is clearly the worst OC in the nation. Lloyd Carr is only guilty of being a class act and loyal to his staff--I wouldn't put it on him. And Henne should not have been playing if he was so injured.

We telegraphed everything. OSU knew our every move. Now I have to patiently wait another year.

My dad is an OSU alum. I talked to him on the phone afterward and he said that he would be enjoying the victory a whole lot more if I didn't sound so sad. What's even more sad is that I am supposed to be an adult.

Feelin' Blue said...

Oh, and I can't wait for Manningham to be gone. He is a BUM. This season he has been so selfish. He chastised Mallett when he should have been encouraging him, and he was dropping passes all day b/c he was too busy thinking about the NFL. He has amazing talent, but I would not want him on my team. Good fucking riddance.

Dezzi said...

feelin' blue

That screen shot is the vaunted "zone blocking" scheme that works wonders! Can't you see, none of the Buckeyes were in the "zone" where each lineman had to block...

I remember this happening on my 7th grade football team once... I was backup running back and the line didn't really block, making me get hit by about the entire defense. The coach decided to take a lineman who never ran the ball... tell the defense the play, and then have the entire offensive line not block so that he would get hit.

Things like that these days will get a coach put in jail... but at the time, it showed the guy that trying to block and get hit by only one person isn't as bad as getting hit by 3 or 4 at the same time!

TitleIX said...

nope, sru is dead on. if you let that play run, Mike ends up on the RIGHT side of the line while everyone else (including the fullback goes LEFT)....
there was another play when the wide receivers went one way at the set and Chad had them all switch sides the other way......
were ALL the receivers wrong about where the hell to line up? or did Henne not know the difference between the strong and weak side????

the answer is C.
no one had a damned clue.

Da Vest said...

Yes, this is how it felt to be a Buckeye in the 90's. I still remember quotes from the M players back then saying that tOSU was really not a rival anymore, MSU was a harder game, etc.

I actually hope you guys can bring in a top shelf staff. DeBord is out of his league. One thing I see in the current staff is an inability to develop players. Seems like a number of the players were as good as freshman as they were as seniors. Whether you love or hate Tressel, you have to admit the one thing they guy can really do is develop players. Many come in as three star recruits and leave as first round draft picks. What in the world happened to Manningham? He should have been a highlight reel at every game. Now he can't catch a cold. If you have NFL aspirations, the last thing you want to do is pack it in at a game that issued 1200 media passes.

In the 90's tOSU had tons of talent, yet the guys couldn't play as a team to save their lives. I get a bit of that same feeling about the current M squad.

And I hope you don't go after Miles, mainly because I can't get past thinking the guy is smoke and mirrors, while Kelly looks like the real deal. It'll be interesting to see what Martin comes up with.

pacman said...

A fitting end...

Looking back on the season it seems the that 8 game win streak in the middle had a pair of complimentary bookends for the start and finish of the season. In the first two games we were embarrassed and humiliated because our defense couldn't do crap. In the last two games we were embarrassed and humiliated because our offense couldn't do crap. I guess you have to at least give a small tip of the hat to English for getting his group of men to improve. DeBord simply deserves a kick in the ass at the Ann Arbor city border line along with a "Don't bother coming back".

I also had some thoughts about what has happened this season as relates to Carr especially - and the entire coaching staff. Let's think about the changes in Carr's contract - and the unprecedented change he got for his staff.

Everyone knows that when you're in a do-or-die battle that when and if you create a "fall back" plan - falling back is almost always what happens. In order to overcome a major obstacle (aka Slimy Sweatervest from tOSU) and to win a war (UM vs. tOSU) you MUST be 100% committed. So what was the thinking in Carr's mind when he made those contract changes? I'm thinking he must have been thinking something along these lines: "Ok, I'm currently 1-5 against Tressel. There's no way I'll ever get back to 50% in this series before I WANT to retire. If I win next year (2007) I can retire and go out on top. If I lose next year, there's no way the Michigan faithful will support me any more and I may even get fired. So, either way 2007 is my last year. Tressel has forced me into retirement before I really wanted to - but this is the way it is."

Even if my guess as to what was in Carr's mind before the season started is only 10% true - that's enough to wreak havoc on yourself, your staff, and your young men on the team. I think Carr may very well have mentally sabotaged this season before it even got started. And now, looking back on the results for the year, I think the outcomes actually support this hypothesis.

Carr is a class act. He's a good man and he's done a lot of good for UM and Michigan football. Thank you for 1997 and all of the accomplishments! That said, Carr signed the surrender papers to Tressel last winter in his contract. It's now time for him to step aside to allow someone else to step up to the task of gaining domination of Tressel.

I wish Carr all the best. I pray NONE of his assistants will become our next head coach. And I pray that Martin will have the wisdom and ability to bring in Miles or Kelly.

Feelin' Blue said...

DeBord should be fired. He is a terrible OC, and any consideration of him as head coach should be ended immediately.

I agree that Les Miles is a good coach, but he might be "smoke and mirrors." I say go after Brian Kelly. Or--and I really want to know what everyone else thinks about this--go after current GVSU coach Chuck Martin. 38-game winning streak. He might be our Tressel, minus the Uggs.

monkeyPi said...

Yost -

Not to be melodramatic, but I disagree when you say that you know what it's like to be a Bucks fan in the 90s.

UM's only lost six of the past seven. At the time of Cooper's firing, OSU had lost 10 of its last 12 (with one tie).

To know the true despair OSU endured during the 88-2000 era, UM would still have to lose five of its next six.

So trust me, it can get worse.

Brother 1 said...

As a buckeye who suffered through the JC era, we feel your pain. However, the big difference is OSU came into The Game undefeated 3 times in the 90s (93, 95, 96) and lost. That's 3 potential MNCs crushed. Each time we were regarded as the better team and had a better record. In the 2000's UM has only been undefeated once, but so was OSU. It can get a lot worse...
Les Miles is definitely "smoke and mirrors". Do his teams looked well coached to you? Or just really talented and overcoming basic mistakes... Seems more like John Cooper than Pete Carroll to me.

Jeffster said...

Overall I was really surprised by lack of Michigan team speed. Getting faster, quickly, needs to big priority of new coach, if they want to supplant the Buckeyes.