Funchess

Go Blue Blog: The Jackhammer

Well, if last week was rock bottom, this week, Michigan brought out the jackhammer to dig down even deeper. Gary Nova carved up the defense, the offense struggled at times, a late field goal was blocked, and this was just a mess. The real shame of it all is that Michigan lost to Rutgers and this is getting seen as progress because the team didn’t get blown out. Maybe next week, they’ll actually win. But if they don’t, don’t worry guys, because, according to Devin Funchess, “wins are just a statistic.” (By the way, Herm Edwards disagrees.)

It is absolutely staggering to me how these guys, both players and coaches, continue to act as though everything’s fine in their statements. Don’t tell me “it’s just a scratch” after your arm gets cut off. There are eight simple words that somebody needs to say, and it’s astounding to me that someone hasn’t said them already. Ready, guys, here they are:

“We need to get better and we will.”

Such a statement acknowledges that this program is not where it needs to be, while simultaneously expressing confidence in the players and their ability to get the program to where it needs to be. Seriously, how has nobody thought of this?

Hoke Watch: It’s not “if,” but “when.” And “when” can’t come soon enough.

Go Blue.

Follow me on Twitter @KSchroeder2325.

Go Blue Blog: Pretty Much A Mess

I’m going to keep this short because I’m sure we all want to forget about this game as soon as possible. The Academic Fraud-Committing Chickens won 31-0. Start to finish, it was never really a game. This Michigan team has some bright spots to it. They’ve got two really good running backs in Green and Smith and will add a third, Ty Isaac, next year. The defensive line and linebackers were solid again. But this game shows that in order to be successful, every unit has to be working. On offense, the line was atrocious, and on defense, the secondary was atrocious, in part because of injuries to Peppers and Taylor. In both cases, weaknesses there crippled the team.

Devin Gardner, while he has improved over last year, still reacts to pressure very poorly and was never able to get anything going. On the other side of the ball, it’s not going to matter if the line can get pressure if the opposing team’s receivers are wide open all the time.

Special teams was no better, with Wile shanking two field goal attempts.

So that’s it. The game’s over and in the past. We still lead the all-time series by 7, and it’ll be 8 once the game from 2012 officially gets vacated, and it’ll be 9 once Notre Dame commits another violation that results in this one getting vacated. And sense Notre Dame’s chickening out of the series, it looks like it’ll be that way for a while.

Looking ahead to next week, Funchess, Taylor, and Peppers need to get healthy and the offensive line needs to put in some serious work in practice this week.

Long-term – while I’m not saying this team can’t turn it around and put together a good conference run, I’m nowhere near as optimistic as I was a week ago. Little Brother looked good for a while against Oregon and Ohio’s still going to be tough. Even if Michigan is able to win the rest of their games, I have a hard time believing 9-3 with losses to all three rivals in his fourth year at Michigan would be good enough for Brady Hoke to keep his job. I like Hoke as a person. I like that he really loves Michigan. But is he the guy that’s going to make Michigan great again? I’m really starting to think the answer there is no. Hope he proves me wrong next week and makes all the necessary adjustments and next week, I’m here talking about how great Brady Hoke is and that he should get a lifetime contract.

I hope.

Anyway,

Go Blue!

Follow me on Twitter @KSchroeder2325.

Go Blue Blog: Exercising the Demons of 2007

Okay, I know it was just Appalachian State, but if we’re going to beat up on a cupcake team, I like that it was them if for no other reason than the symbolism. We all know what happened in 2007. And you know what, it still hurts, because Michigan football hasn’t been the same since. Saturday’s win doesn’t erase what happened n 2007, but it was nice to see the team do what they should have done then.

Now on to the actual game. The team looked really good. For all the concern about the offensive line, they were solid, at least in pass protection. Run blocking still needs some work, but the linemen got better as the game went on, and Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith were able to find some holes and break some big runs. The line should be even better against Notre Dame, as Graham Glasgow will be back at center for the Maize and Blue.

I love the way Green and Smith run the football. They’re tough backs, can break tackles, able to find holes in the defense, and even though they may not have blazing speed, Smith especially showed the ability to kick it into another gear in the open field.

How good was Devin Funchess? After last year, I expected him to be one of the better receivers in college football this year, but even I didn’t think he’d look this good. Michigan’s receivers need some work, and Gardner needs to work on getting some more guys involved, but I’m not worried about the receivers as long as Gardner has number 1 to throw to. Funchess is going to be a match-up nightmare for opposing teams this season.

Now, on to Michigan’s quarterbacks. I really believe in Shane Morris. I think he can be the next great Michigan quarterback. I liked what I saw from him is the bowl game last year, considering it was his first career start, and he was a true freshman. Having said all that, I wasn’t impressed with what I saw from him on Saturday. His decision making and accuracy still needs improvement. But, after seeing how much Devin Gardner has improved in those areas, I’m totally confident that new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will help Morris improve and realize his potential. And it’s not like Morris is short on time to do so, as he’s only a sophomore.

As far as Gardner goes, I realize it was just Appalachian State, but Gardner looked 300% better than he did last year. His accuracy was a lot better, with the exception of his lone incompletion, where he missed Funchess, and, with the exception of one play where he held on to the ball too long, he was making better decisions and not forcing things. If this is the Gardner that shows up every week, this is going to be a very good Michigan football team.

On the other side of the football, the secondary still needs some work. Jabrill Peppers is not going to be the superstar corner some were expecting him to be this year, but it’s worth noting that those expectations were always a reach, as Peppers is a true freshman. While I don’t think he’ll be a superstar right away, he can still make an impact on this team, and I really think he’ll do that. From what I saw Saturday, I see no reason that superstar potential can’t be realized later in his career at Michigan, though.

The defensive line looks to have improved immensely from a season ago, and they are incredibly deep. At linebacker, we knew Jake Ryan and Desmond Morgan were going to be good, but I really liked the play on Joe Bolden on Saturday as well.

I see no reason why this team can’t go into South Bend and win, and if I was a gambling man, my money would be on Michigan to do so. Really, I think this game is going to be won up front. Funchess is going to be a gigantic problem for Notre Dame, and if the offensive line can give Gardner time to get the ball to him and open up holes for Green and Smith (and I think we’ll see more from Drake Johnson, too), then it’s going to be a very long day for the Academic Frauds Irish.

Go Blue!

Follow me on Twitter @KSchroeder2325.