Thursday, January 4, 2018

What's Up With Michigan Wolverine Football?

It's been a while....... but not much to talk about on the high school football front. I thought I would throw out something on University of Michigan football.

The Wolverines finished with a disappointing 8-5 record. Now you may say, "Chris how can a Spartan fan like you say a UM football season was disappointing when you guys finished 3-9 last season?" Expectations from many Michigan fans was a legitimate shot at the B1G East title even though most of the players from the 5th and 6th nationally ranked recruiting classes of Brady Hoke had departed for the NFL, Michigan finished 4th. Most preseason rankings had Michigan right around 10th or 11th in the country, Michigan finished unranked.  Michigan once again lost to their two biggest rivals on the schedule at home. That makes Harbaugh 1-5 against the two rivals. Some Michigan fans boasted that even though they hadn't beaten a team that finished with a winning record during the regular season, that they were a better team than others because they were picked to play on New Year's Day. Well, Michigan was rewarded with a loss against unranked South Carolina in a game that generated the 3rd lowest ticket sales in the bowl game's 32 year history.

Now all is not lost in Ann Arbor. The defense, led by guru Don Brown was one of the best in the country, after all they finished 3rd in total defense. The total defense ranking of #3 in the country is a bit misleading though. UTSA (who?, exactly) was ranked #5 in the country in that same stat. A better stat to look at is scoring defense, that is the only stat that matters other than wins and losses. UM was a solid #13 in the country in that stat but still ranked behind schools like; UTSA, Troy State and Wyoming. 

Michigan must make improvements in a handful of areas. The QB and O-line positions are the biggest concerns. Mississippi transfer Shea Patterson may help at the QB position, but lets face it, at this point he isn't a savior and his best ball came against South Alabama, UT-Martin and Vanderbilt, plus there is a very good chance that he sits 2018. Harbaugh's record at developing QB's at UM should be a concern at this point. He did a nice job with Jake Rudock, but putting it bluntly, he was working with a 5th year guy who had a solid career in a similar offense at Iowa. McCaffery looks like a solid option in 2018, but has anyone really seen this kid play and can Harbaugh be trusted to develop him? 

The offensive line needs a new coach and maybe Tim Drevno and Grey Frey need to move on. Rumor has it the Florida State wants Frey. If FSU wants him, let him go. Bring in an alum who played at the next level and let him coach. Pick any of the former All-Pro players who would be willing to work with the quirky Harbaugh.

The receiving corp needs some major work and could benefit from the alumni base that played in the NFL as well. Seriously pick a guy. I know what your thinking, just because they played doesn't mean they can coach. While that might be true, they would demand respect from a talented receiving corp, that relies on their athletic ability while running poor routes. Show them what route running is all about. 

Finally, Harbaugh needs to go into the submarine again. This grandstanding (believe me, that is what it is) is exhausting and only serves him and not the program. The traveling overseas is a great experience for the kids, but it doesn't appear to do much else. Team cohesiveness appears non-existent (the team, the team, the team was always touted by the great Bo Schembechler), recruiting rankings are starting to drop, showing the only thing that matters is results on the field (I wonder if Rashon Gary is regretting his choice at this point.) I also think (IMHO), that he really needs to start showing loyalty. Maybe he is a loyal guy, but he doesn't appear to show it with his players. It seems to me that sometimes it is better to go with a lesser talent  (easy folks, every player at Michigan is uber-talented, even the 3 star guys are very very good players) and play the guy that works the hardest, is the best teammate and puts the team and Michigan above all else; then ride that guy out. Seriously, did you ever get the feeling that all 3 QB's were looking over the shoulder after every play this season? Meritocracy, which Harbaugh's boast all the time is great on paper, but the most talented teams don't always produce the best results (unless you combine the most talent with the best coach aka., Alabama). I get that talent is only half of that meritocracy equation, but how is it that other programs like Wisconsin and Michigan State succeed (B1G titles) with lesser talent. I would argue that not only is their coaching solid, but it is one that uplifts players and shows loyalty to them as well. I think it could be argued that the players from those schools think their coaches are good guys. I wonder if the players at Michigan think that about Harbaugh? With all this said,  the future should be bright at Michigan, they were one of the youngest teams in the country this year, but some things need to change. 

One last thought, maybe Habaugh's personality is better suited for the NFL where everyone is a high paid pro and they just do their job. Michigan can't find a better coach than Harbaugh, but is he the right fit in the place where once everybody thought he was the perfect fit?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't give them an extra win they were 8-5. And Harbaugh needs to be fired

Chris Schultz said...

Lol

Anonymous said...

9-3 next season. Losses to OSU, Wisconsin, and either MSU or PSU. They will split with them. There is not enough there. QB's are awful, O-line is worse, WR corp is limited. No explosiveness. Offensive scheme is outdated and easy to defend.

Defense will be good. That will be their only hope.

Chris Schultz said...

Seven tough games for UM next season. I see them finishing anywhere from 10-2 to 7-5. Obviously they will have to beat some winning programs to achieve either, but I anticipate that they will right the ship and lean toward 9 or 10 wins. Too much talent and too many resources at their disposal to finish with 5 losses again. Of course they better find a QB they like and some coached to coach them up.

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Anonymous said...

How come everyone wants to talk about Harbaugh all the time? That is part of the problem it’s all about Harbaugh all the time. The one million dollar man has done nothing, except visit the Pope and pose for all those pictures on every billboard and bus in Ann Arbor.
What about the Spartans who return 18 starters and may be a top -0 team next year?

Anonymous said...

Harbaugh makes 9 million and his coordinators make over a million each. They travel to meet the Pope, don’t care for how Harbaugh makes it all about him instead of the kids he coaches.
Dantonio doesn’t do anything too loud or to get personal glory. Does anyone even realize MSU returns 18 starters next season and could easily be a top 10 team in the nation?
Why don’t people want to talk about that?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is the wake up call that is needed in Ann Arbor.
Hopefully this is the off season where they get back to work and become humble once again.
I have a feeling that with Enos coming in changes offensively will be made to get the QB
Patterson/ McCafery into the running game. Peters is not the guy. But it seems as if the successful teams are using a dual threat at QB.
At the very least the defense returning 9 starters should at least keep them in most games.
the road schedule is brutal however-Notre Dame MSU and Ohio.

Anonymous said...

Michigan St will go 8-4 next year after losing to Ohio St, Penn St, Michigan and either Arizona St or Nebraska.

Anonymous said...

See what I mean? State gets no respect. But I think they like it that way.
Mark Dantonio is a way better coach and understands what it takes to develop players.
Harbaugh spends too much time glorifying himself.
8-4? We’ll see!

Anonymous said...

8-4 is a good record. Unless you are Michigan. That’s what got RR and Hoke fired. Haurbaugh has two 10 win seasons. This year was expected to be a bit under that. 2018 & 2019 are the years Harbaugh must win the East. If not, then people can complain all they want and in my opinion it will be justified.

Fielding Yost said...

B1G needs to switch up divisions. They are unbalanced Go back to the leaders & legends divide up penn st. um msu and osu. Sure Nebraska will be better but it will take some time. Keep Nebraska & Iowa in west (leaders division and Rutgers and maryland in east (legends division) rank the other ten 1 through 10 and divide up. Make your schedules for 5 years and every 5 years revisit the issue keeping 2 mid level teams on each side.

Anonymous said...

Agree, good point!

Anonymous said...

What's up with MSU?

Anonymous said...

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

BEING THAT ALL HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHOOLS IN MICHIGAN ARE UNDER THE MHSAA RULES.

#1 WHY AREN'T ALL THE SCHOOLS MANDATED TO REPORT TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL STATS? (WEEKLY)
#2 WHY WOULDN'T COACHES WANT TO PROMOTE THEIR TEAM AND INDIVIDUALS THROUGH MHSAA?
#3 WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED TO ENTER STATS AT THE END OF THE YEAR? (WITH NO TRACKING RECORD)
#4 WHY WOULDN'T ALL COACHES IN THE HURON LEAGUE WANT TO PROMOTE THEIR PLAYERS THROUGH
YOUR BLOG? (SOME TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT AND SOME DON'T TOUCH IT WITH A 10 FOOT POLE)