Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FMQ Week #14 - Rivalry Week!

I started writing this post when I heard that Muschamp had the 1,000% confidence vote of the University of Florida AD, Foley.  I wondered what 1,000% guaranteed vs. the good ole 100% or even 110% backing got you.  Does that mean even if the AD changes his mind, he more or less has to fire Muschamp 10 times before it’s actually in effect?  Anyone know?  Anyone?

And then I wanted to create a list of what I wanted in a head coach and supporting coaching staff seeing as how there’s going to be so many schools looking for the perfect fit. And before you simply write “Saban” on a piece of paper and mail it to the MMQ, know that Saban and Bama “found” each other.  Meaning that the school’s moral character and desire to win at all costs matched up nicely with the Saban moral character and desire to win at all costs.  On paper they fit together where in the past, Bama had coaches that didn’t fit.
And on paper, I have to say that Michigan has exactly the kind of coaching staff with the resumes you want to have, at the University of Michigan.  So what’s not working in Ann Arbor right now?  If they all have the experience, the pedigrees and list of successes, especially the coordinators…. what’s not working?

I’ve gone back and reviewed this year’s and last year’s columns and to a certain extent, the offensive statistics from each year.  Michigan improved for the most part week in and week out last year….and I suspect, but didn’t double check, that was true for the first season under Hoke.
This year, not so much.  In fact, Michigan’s Yards Per Play fell every game this season
(thanks mgoblog) and that should be a concern in and of itself.

But while that had me scratching my head, I couldn’t help but think that the skill position guys weren’t that much different from what Michigan had last year.  Yes, there’s a Denard piece missing….But Denard was missing from the Nebraska game forward last season.  And Michigan was still able to move the ball and was awfully close to beating the suckeyes last year.
So what gives?  Why can’t a team that was “decent” at moving the football from point A to point B last year not do the same thing this year?  Is it stubbornness on the coaching staff?  Are they truly trying to force an offense to do something that a lot of the kids that have been recruited to play at Michigan are simply ill-equipped to do?  And if the answer to that question is yes, I have another question.  Why, being smart, intelligent coaches do they continue to force an issue or a goal that can never be achieved with the personnel they have on hand?

I cannot answer all of the questions that I have about Michigan’s offense.  Quite the contrary, I seem to find myself asking more as I have watched this team “not” develop and mature the way an offensive team should.  And that was always a hallmark of a Michigan team.  Each week, Michigan would get a little better.  They would do something that made them a little better than the prior game.   And by November…They were a force to be reckoned with.  That’s the key….HOW MUCH BETTER ARE YOU PLAYING IN NOVEMBER???
I haven’t called for the firing of Hoke or Borges.  I’m not sure why, but I believe I’ve been handed something by the athletic department that I’m supposed to understand and see that as soon as they get the right people in place, well, Michigan will be just fine.  But isn’t part of being a great coach making sure the right people are in place and then instructing them to the best of your ability?  Am I missing something?  Where’s the give and take during the instruction?  Where’s the feedback loop, positive or negative, that is telling these coaches, “Hey, its’ working great!”  Or, “Dude, stop what you’re doing because you’re going to get somebody hurt…or worse.”

I should actually re-state the last and say that the feedback loop is there and it’s in full color.  Michigan can’t run the ball no matter what and even the least knowledgeable football person out there can see that.  But it’s clear to me at this point that the coaches are simply ignoring the feedback and trying to do something that regardless of what their heads (and feedback) are telling them they SHOULDN’T do, the coaches are forcing players into doing something the coaches WANT the players to do….
Michigan Coaches WANT to be a run first pass when necessary team
Michigan Coaches WANT to control the ball and snap to the QB under center..
Michigan WANTS offensive balance and they want it their way…

But none of the opponents is letting Michigan do that.  Opposing teams are taking away the one thing they know that Michigan wants to do.  And when the opposing teams do that…Michigan has no answer.
And that’s what’s frustrating so many fans now.  Michigan coaches want to play Alabama football with Michigan players…and they simply do not have that kind of personnel.  Period.  That cannot be the players fault, EVEN THOUGH THIS COACHING STAFF WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE THAT THE PLAYERS NEED TO EXECUTE and AREN’T EXECUTING THE WAY THE PLAYERS SHOULD! 

Again, as my kids say to me all the time…No dip, Sherlock.  But if you’re telling me that a 5’10” 190 pound tailback needs to carry the ball 45 times a game and gain at least 150 yards per game for this offense to be successful…you’re not going to make that happen no matter how often you tell the offensive line they need to execute. 
Banging heads against the wall and expecting different results is called what again?

So, do I fire the coaches because of that?
I’m not quite there yet.  But if there’s a chance of winning The Game Saturday, I think you need to throw the playbook out this week and try something a little radical.   I would start with Indiana’s game against OSU and also look at what the Illini did right.  There’s weakness on the suckeye defense, and that needs to be exposed.

Is the MMQ starting to believe that the upset can happen?  Hey, Michigan is home and anything’s possible.  If there’s one thing I THINK Hoke can do, its pump this team up for this particular game.  Whether or not this collective of coaches can GAMEPLAN a win and do the unexpected is a different story.  But if Michigan comes out with a Fitz off-tackle on first down of the opening drive…I will call for the firing of at least Borges come Monday, regardless of the game's outcome.

The table is set.  Suckeyes are coming into Ann Arbor riding a how ever many game winning streak…just like 1969…. Absolutely no respect on the suckeye side whatsoever…and a team that has shown ability during the season, but just needs to find the confidence to execute.

Yes, the makings of a “classic” upset are in place.  Can Michigan deliver?

Iowa (+3) @ Nebraska:  Corn vs. Corn…Michigan definitely played the Black Birds better away than the Cornhuskers at home, and had a chance to beat each team late.  So, taking that into consideration, who wins this game?  If the Iowa team that turns the ball over willy-nilly shows up in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers win walking away…If on the other hand, the Cornsukers show up…Well, let’s hope it’s the Huskers…

Take the Huskers and lay the 3 for $50
Domers (+14) @ Stanford:  Here’s another one where I WISH I knew which Jekyll or Hyde team was showing up…If the Stanford team that destroys teams like the Cardinal did to Cal last Saturday shows up…the domers don’t have a chance.  But if the Cardinal that lost to Utah and USC shows up…The domers could win this thing straight up….Still, I have a feeling the Cardinal could win and the domers cover…

Take the domers and the 14 for $40
Miami @ Pitt (+3):  Pitt is sliding into November as are the Hurricanes.  I thought this was an easy pick until I reviewed each of their last three games…Now I see where the 3 points is coming from.  I liked Pitt getting 3 at home and I guess I still do…

Take Pitt and the 3 for $40
Gophers (+14) @ Sparty:  Is this the SAME Gopher team that held an explosive Wiscy Offense to 20 points and if yes, I think they can hold Sparty to 20 and score a couple of points themselves…

Take the Gophers and the 14 for $50
Bama @ Auburn (+11):  This line has moved a little as the money comes in on Bama.  Latest check shows it’s back down as low as 10 on some sites, so Auburn fans are putting their money where their mouth is, also.  I said I was taking points this week and as much as I want to take the points with Auburn at home here, Satan has made me sorry in the past for doing that.

Take Bama and lay the 11 for $40
Oregon @ OSU (+21.5):  This has to be the screwiest line I’ve ever seen, and I know why it isn’t 35.  After last week’s barfing in the bed by the Ducks, the odds makers don’t know what to do with this game.  I believe that the Ducks find their heart and come Quacking Back, so to speak, and at least play their way back to respectability….

Take the Ducks and lay the 21.5 for $40
Ohio @ Michigan (+14.5):  Unbelievably, this line has moved a full point and a half (opened at 13 and quickly moved to 13.5) and is now sitting at 14.5.  Wow.  Does anyone know what this game means to the guys wearing the Maize and Blue?  Do the odds makers remember that until the Cornhuskers, Michigan was undefeated in the Big House under Hoke?  Is ohio that much better?  I don’t think so….

Take Michigan and the 14.5 for $75

Why not?  It’s late and doubling up is getting tougher…

Michigan-Huskers-Gophers  $50

Starting BANK:       $782
TOTAL BET:             $385

BANK:                       $397

And just because I may not get the chance to include on Monday:

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