Monday, October 4, 2010

Indiana: Where Greg Robinson is on his last leg

The story of Michigan's skin-of-their-teeth win against Indiana will invariably be another stellar performance by Denard Robinson; his last minute touchdown drive the notarization of his already unbridled Heisman campaign. Unfortunately, that's not the real story. The real story is that Greg Robinson's defensive schemes do not work. No longer is this a question of defensive talent or improper personnel. No, sadly, this is far more systematic: Greg Robinson's schemes Do Not Work.

I've been advocating a man coverage package for the last three weeks. Robinson has shown it sparingly. Not that I'm more qualified to run this defense, but Robinson's inability--or maybe stubbornness--to show new looks is far and away the most disappointing aspect of this season. Play after play (and now game after game), teams are running quick slants and seven-yard hitch routes and absolutely shredding Michigan's defense. And it's not that the defense looks athletically overmatched. They look unprepared and poorly coached. With one of the most potent offenses in the country and the Heisman front runner manning the ship, Michigan's eventual 7-5 or 6-6 finish will fall squarely on Robinson's shoulders. I'm not usually quick to call for peoples' heads, but unless there is drastic improvement in the coming games, consider this my desire to see Robinson canned as soon as possible.

On to bullets that aren't the most depressing thing I've ever watched
  • As if you didn't know, Denard is still the real deal. He will win the Heisman this year barring the most unforeseen collapse in football history. Or serious injury. Also, if he becomes human, Michigan loses every game on the schedule. If you ever wondered why Michigan started 4-0 last season and then finished 1-7, look at the defense this year and the super human running the offense. Then look at the box scores.
  • Vincent Smith just doesn't look right. I don't know if it's lingering issues from his knee or not, but on most runs, he just doesn't look to be quite as shifty as I remember him from last year. Then again, that TD run was the fastest he's ever looked.
  • Courtney Avery changed his number to 5, which is probably for the best seeing as he and Odoms will be on the field for punt returns.
  • There was absolutely nothing positive from the defense.
  • Speaking of Junior Hemingway--and this is not to take anything away from Tate Forcier or Devin Gardner--but Michigan doesn't win that game in regulation without Denard, or rather, with any other quarterback under center. It's a tie game with less than a minute left and Michigan is able to get man coverage down the field in an obvious passing situation because Indiana is terrified of Denard's running ability. Either that's the worst play call of the year or Denard really is able to take it to the house on any play. Given what we know, it's the latter.
I don't know what else to say, in all honesty. Michigan State is going to crush Michigan on Saturday. Penn State might be winnable still because of their incompetent QB situation. Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio State are out of the picture. It's time to be terrified about making a bowl game again this year.

 Fire this owl. Now.


Nick Coston said...

Do you seriously want JT Floyd and James Rogers on islands all by themselves against Mark Dell and BJ Cunningham? That's not a winning strategy.

Dave H said...

The hysteria in these post-win posts is bordering on the absurd. "The most depressing thing I've ever watched." Really? Get a grip. Also, NOW is the time to be terrified about making a bowl? After we've just won another game to go 5-0? It's just so silly.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. Last week you predicted a 42-38 Mich victory. And, you also point out how dismal the defense is at times. Yet, with the final score almost exactly as you predicted, and the defense playing as dismal as predicted, you KNOW think that the coaches should be fired and the entire team sucks? Man, you need to reconcile your pre-week expectations with your post-game emotions.

Andrew Kahn said...

Dave, I think Chris has learned from last year. Past performance, more so than past RESULTS, are a good indicator of what to expect going forward, and this defense is bad enough to cost UM several games. Granted, I'm with you: The chances of this team not becoming bowl eligible are remarkably small. Call me crazy but 9 wins is still a possibility in my mind.

Chris, glad to see you criticizing Greg Robinson, but I think you may be overestimating the talent he has. He should be doing more wtih what he has, no doubt, but he doesn't have the most functional personnel either.

Anonymous said...

what a fuckin stupid post!!!!

Chris Gaerig said...

I think there's a difference between pre-game predictions and the way the game plays out. To watch this game and not feel immediate pangs of terror as Michigan goes into a pass-heavy Big Ten schedule (and the teams that aren't pass heavy--OSU--are just more talented) is ignoring not only what happened last year but the overwhelming amount of evidence that says this defense is going to cost the team a lost this year.

I know everyone is excited because this offense can do a lot of good things, but seeing the offense stall in the second half against the worst defense they'll see the rest of the year was disconcerting. More importantly than defensive results, though, is trying something new. This is very clearly not working and Robinson seems unaware or unconcerned. Something needs to change.

Against the weakest stretch of teams on Michigan's schedule (Bowling Green, UMass, Indiana), the three teams are a combined 86-124 (69.35%) through the air for 953 (7.7 YPA). And none of them have passed for worse than 61% or 7.7 YPA.

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

The game played out EXACTLY the way EVERYONE on planet earth predicted. Lots of offense by BOTH teams. NO defense by EITHER team. Yet, as this EXACT scenario plays out, we're all surprised?

How about this:
UMASS o-line bigger than MSU
IU pass game better than MSU
UConn run game = MSU

Conclusion: UM has seen everythign MSU will throw at it in one form or another. UM will be fine....

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

Chris, agree that pangs of terror are in abundance this year. But, isn't this EXACTLY what we've all predicted since game 1? Now that it's playing out, it's nosurprise. Yes, UM will lose a few (who know's how many), but being 5-0 is AS GOOD as any of us thought at this point int he season. No surprises in UM's play so far.

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

We should all take the same advice we give the players. Don't get too hyped up when ya win, nor too depressed when ya lose. We're 5-0, no more, no less, and past performance does not predict future results. I'm expecting some loses coming up, but until that happens we're still undefeated! With the low expectations of the defense this year, let's wait until we actually lose a game before throwing any coaches under the bus...

Chris Gaerig said...

Right, we're 5-0 and that's something to be happy and proud about. It's the best we could hope for and, who knows, college football is a wacky world where we could technically still go undefeated.

But I'm trying to look at this as realistically as possible. I wouldn't say that this is exactly what we predicted before the season. I predicted the defense becoming functional on the way to an 8-4 record. I don't see anything functional about this defense. In fact, I think it's much, much worse than last year.

I'm giving Robinson a few more games before I really go on the irrational fan path, but it's really disheartening watching this team try the same thing over and over again and watch it fail miserably each time.

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

From a post made on August 18 (about Troy's injury):

"Michigan's defense just went from having the potential to be a middle of the pack Big Ten squad to easily the most vulnerable defense in the Big Ten, if not one of the worst in the country."


"For now, put on your Maize and Blue colors and just stand there as God sprays you with a water gun. It's about to get ugly."

I think these comments you made on Aug 18 are spot-on and you nailed it. This defense should be NO SURPRISE to anyone. The fact that it's coming true is indeed frustrating...I just hope the offense can keep us in some of the close games coming up.

Chris Gaerig said...

Stop using my own words against me....

I may not be overreacting now as much as I overreacted to the apparent improvements the defense made in the first week or two. I had gotten pretty excited that this defense wasn't so cavernous through weeks one and two and now, well, this.

I am still concerned about Robinson's schemes (I'll be doing a couple of posts this week about them), but maybe I won't call for his crucification just yet.

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

Your concern about GERG's schemes is just. We may be about to get sprayed with that water gun you mentioned! :-)

But, if ya don't have the talent, ya don't have the talent. I'm still convinced that if we could get some talent in the door GERG can do wonders. I just can't figure out why recruits are not lined up at the door with all the opportunity to play...scratching my head over that.

Chris Gaerig said...

"I just can't figure out why recruits are not lined up at the door with all the opportunity to play...scratching my head over that."

Justin Turner
Vlad Emilien
Anthony Lalota
Brandon Smith

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

Yeah, forgot about those guys (fruedian?)....Are today's athletes too impatient to work hard and "pay their dues" before they see the field? Is it that simple?

Chris Gaerig said...

Yeah, I agree with you. I wrote this a while ago in which I said:

"The most logical answer is probably that they aren't getting the kind of playing time they think they deserve. But for a program and coach that prides itself on competition and the ability to earn your place on the team, it seems hard to believe that these players are leaving solely because they're not playing. Is Barwis' strength program too difficult to endure when you're relegated behind a few walk ons on the depth chart? Does Rodriquez take out personal gripes against players by sticking them on the bench despite more logical choices (see: Tate sitting against UConn as Devin Gardner frustratingly burns a redshirt)."

I'm as confused as you are, but unfortunately, there's evidence that suggests that highly ranked recruits may not necessarily see the early playing time that looks to exist. Highly touted recruits probably don't like being passed up for walk-ons.

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