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: Time to Clean House

Brady Hoke and Dave Brandon have to be fired and they need to be fired immediately. To let these two continue to represent Michigan football and the university as a whole is a colossal embarrassment to a great program and school. The fact that these two have kept their jobs as long as they did after what occurred Saturday is downright disgusting. Let’s take a quick look at the timeline of the events (all times Eastern):

Saturday: Shane Morris, already playing on a badly-injured ankle takes a vicious shot to the head and shows concussion-like symptoms. Morris stays in the game for another play, then comes out, only to re-enter when Devin Gardner’s helmet came off during a play and had to sit out the following play.

Sunday: Morris is diagnosed with a “probable, mild” concussion. This information would not be released until Brandon does so in his statement.

Monday, 12:30 P.M.: During his press conference, Hoke apparently doesn’t know Morris had a concussion and says that Morris would have practiced on Sunday if not for his ankle injury. Hoke had said that when Morris was leaning on offensive lineman Ben Braden to remain upright, it was because his ankle had given out.

Tuesday, 1 A.M.: Dave Brandon finally releases a statement saying there was a lack of communication between coaches and trainers. He admits Morris was diagnosed with a concussion and Morris should not have come back in the game.

Tuesday, 7 P.M.: A “Fire Brandon” rally is held on the Michigan campus. By this point, a petition has been going around demanding Brandon’s dismissal.

Wednesday, 1:30 A.M.: The petition hits 10,000 signatures.

So, what I would like to know is, even if Hoke didn’t think that Morris had a concussion on Saturday, why was Morris kept in the game after “his ankle gave out?” Why, when Gardner had to come out for a play, didn’t Hoke call a timeout so Gardner could stay in? Why, since third-string quarterback Russell Bellomy couldn’t find his helmet to go in for that play, didn’t Hoke send in a different QB, or Will Hagerup, or just run another one of his patented 10-man plays, and just snap the ball directly to the running back? Why didn’t anyone tell Hoke about Morris’ concussion before Hoke held his press conference Monday and said Morris would have practiced Sunday were it not for his ankle? Why did twelve hours go by between Hoke’s press conference and Brandon’s statement? And, why did Brandon feel the need to wait until 1 A.M. to release his statement?

Since the start of last season, Michigan is 9-9. We know Hoke is a lousy coach, and his lack of success would almost certainly get him fired at the end of this season. But his lack of awareness and concern for the well-being of his players needs to get him fired now. And it’s not like this is the first time he’s done something like this. Last year against Ohio, he told Devin Garnder he didn’t want to see him limp even though Garnder was playing on a broken foot. In 2004, at Ball State, Hoke was sent a letter of reprimand after players got frostbite during a disciplinary workout.

This goes beyond winning and losing. To anyone asking if everyone would be having the same reaction if the team was winning, the answer is 100% yes. As bad as it is that Hoke kept a concussed player in the game, he made it far worse by not taking even an ounce of responsibility. That is why he should be fired. If, on Saturday night, Hoke had just owned up to his mistake and said something along the lines of “It has come to my attention that Shane was showing concussion-like symptoms during the game. I did not notice this and I should have. I screwed up and I apologize to Shane for my mistake.” I feel like this becomes another item on the list of reasons why Hoke gets fired in January. Instead, he kept trying to convince us that our eyes were mistaken, and 54 hours would pass before Brandon finally admitted that Morris was concussed.

The players deserve better. The fans deserve better. The University of Michigan deserves better. Time for someone to finally do the right thing in all of this.

Fire Hoke. Fire Brandon.

Go Blue.

Follow me on Twitter @KSchroeder2325.



Go Blue Blog: Rock Bottom

Well, that was bad. I’m going to keep this short because I want to forget this game ever happened. The defense was awful and the offense was worse. Shane Morris got hurt and was inexplicably left in the game. I’m guessing Brady Hoke figured that since you throw with your arm, it’s okay for your quarterback to injure his ankle. Morris wasn’t great, but given the offensive line’s inability to block anyone, the fact that he’s a sophomore making his second career start, and the aforementioned injury, I’m not ready to give up on him.

The defense was just all-around lousy this week. Minnesota had no trouble running on Michigan and since nobody has trouble throwing on Michigan, stops were hard to come by.

Hoke Watch: I know mid-season firings aren’t that common, but I will be legitimately surprised if Brady Hoke still has a job on Monday morning. Same goes for Dave Brandon.

Go Blue!

Go Blue Blog: Source: Jim Harbaugh Likely to be Michigan’s Next Coach

Now, before we all start celebrating, let me just say that this is essentially “I know a guy who knows a guy who knows Dave Brandon.” Not exactly confirmation of anything. May not even be true. If it is; great, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Also, if Michigan ends up being bad enough that they’d fire Hoke, I’m not exactly sure Dave Brandon doesn’t get fired as well. So, let’s take all this with a grain of salt and cross our fingers and hope it’s true.

Go Blue!

Follow me on Twitter @KSchroeder2325.

Go Blue Blog: Well, At Least We Can Still Win the Big Ten. Right?…Right?

Look, let’s just say it: this team isn’t very good. The young guys still need to develop and the upperclassmen aren’t playing like upperclassmen. Through four games, Michigan has as many wins as they do games where they didn’t even make it into the red zone. “Inept” doesn’t even begin to describe the offense Saturday, and it starts with Devin Gardner. No, the offensive line hasn’t been great, but neither has Gardner. I still think his passes look better than they did last year, but his decision-making is every bit as poor. So, I was really glad to see Shane Morris come into the game late. Hoke has yet to name a starter for the Big Ten opener against Minnesota, but I really hope it’s Morris. Yes, Morris will make mistakes; he’s a sophomore. But if Michigan’s going to have a guy at quarterback making sophomore mistakes, I’d rather said quarterback actually be a sophomore, and not a fifth-year senior.

On a positive offensive note, Derrick Green impresses me more each week. Saturday against Utah, I was particularly impressed with his patience and vision. For the most part, he was doing a great job of waiting for the play to develop, then finding and hitting the hole. His week-to-week progress is encouraging, and about the only bright spot on this offense at the moment.

On defense, the front seven had their most impressive performance of the season. Unfortunately, most of the good they did was undone by a secondary that continues to be unable to cover anybody. It’s a big problem when the best player in the secondary is a true freshman. (Worth noting: the same can be said for the offensive line.)

Hoke Watch: This game isn’t going to do any favors for a coach who fans already want replaced. And at this point, I have no idea how anybody can possibly defend Brady Hoke. There is talent on this team.  Too much talent for this team to be 2-2 and not even get into the red zone in half its games. Which is why I’m still somewhat optimistic about the future of Michigan football, even if they can’t turn the season around in conference play. I don’t think this program is in such bad shape that if they were to bring in a better coach in the off-season (*cough* Jim Harbaugh *cough*) that they wouldn’t seriously improve.

Go Blue!

Follow me on Twitter @KSchroeder2325.

Go Blue Blog: Bouncing Back

After last week’s debacle, I think we’re all pretty glad to be on the other end this week, beating Miami (OH) 34-10. Having said that, we need to acknowledge that this team is still not where they need to be. There was a stretch in the first half where they looked downright bad. The offensive line needs to give Gardner more time to throw, Gardner needs to make better decisions with the football, turnovers need to be eliminated, and on the other side, the secondary needs to step up.

Now that we’ve got the negative stuff out of the way, Team 135 did a lot right Saturday. Derrick Green had his best game yet, showing why he was the #1 running back recruit in his class. The offensive line created openings for him and he did a great job hitting the holes and getting to the next level. Amara Darboh stepped up in the absence of Devin Funchess, who was out with an injury. The front seven looked very good, despite missing Desmond Morgan. Shane Morris came in to get some snaps late in the game and had a nice run and made two perfect throws (that were unfortunately dropped).

On defense, Jabrill Peppers returned from injury and showed the potential to be the superstar corner that Michigan recruited. He’s obviously got the physical tools to be great, and he’ll only continue to improve in that department, but what I’m most impresses with about Peppers, especially at this early stage of his career, is how smart of a player he is. He just always seems to be in the right spot, both before and after the snap. I’m anxious to see him play against better competition.

Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room here: Brady Hoke. This week, Matt Hinton of Grantland wrote this column, talking with Brian Cook of MGoBlog about Hoke and where he’s taken the program. Safe to say, the patience is wearing thin at Michigan. Right now, unless Michigan runs the table from here on out, I have a hard time believing Brady Hoke keeps his job. I know what you’re saying: how could Michigan fire Hoke if they end up 10-2? Because the honeymoon’s over, that’s why. After going 11-2 in his first season, as of this writing, Hoke has gone 17-12 since. Against the Academic Fraud-Committing Chickens, Little Brother, and Ohio, he’s a combined 4-6. If they lose to Little Brother again this year, with the Big Ten being down this year, and no other potential impressive wins on the schedule other than Ohio, which itself looks a lot less impressive, after losing to Virginia Tech, who then turned around and lost to East Carolina, by the time Michigan gets to the Ohio game, I feel like it would be a foregone conclusion that Hoke would be let go after the season. If they beat Little Brother and lose to Ohio, it would be their tenth loss to Ohio in the last eleven years. That, coupled with what happened last week would be awfully hard for a fan base who’s already scouting out potential replacements to stomach.

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.


Go Blue!

Follow me on Twitter @KSchroeder2325.