They say a picture is worth a thousand words and you can definitely see it in this one. The whole week I was getting myself hyped up and excited for this game but for some reason I just didn't feel right. I don't know what it is, the years of Llloyd ball, or the expectations that are never met but I just had a bad feeling about this game as much as I tried to cover it up and get myself ready. The first drive when Troy Smith just let them down the field didn't help that one bit. Even the missed extra point didn't help. I knew it was something that happens in a Michigan-Ohio State game, something that would come back to haunt one of the teams, and I had a bad feeling it would be us, I was right when Ohio State was on their last drive down 2. I just had this feeling that Huston, what kind of kicker needs 6 years of eligibility?, would come back and hit a GW FG. Well I got half of it right as we were to lose the game regardless. My brother tells me after the game he saw it happen, he saw that he knew the Buckeyes were going to score a TD to take the lead and not win with a FG. Sort of like the feeling I had last year at the Rose Bowl as we were waiting for the kick, I just knew that we were going to get a piece of the kick but it would still somehow make it through the uprights.
For some reason we've allowed opening scoring drives all through the past two years, I believe the O-Zone went into that in detail in their preview and once again it happened. Then we settled down and held them to 2 FG's for the rest of the half, we made a great play on the defensive end to get a TD back and considering how awful our running game was in the first half I was thrilled to only be down 5 at the half.
I knew we would not be able to run successfully on the OSU D, not many have and I definitely didn't expect us to do so, and I knew any chance we had at being successful ended when Mike Hart got hurt again and sat out the rest of the game. Considering our lack of success running the ball I was definitely pleased with our playcalling minus a few calls that definitely stand out. One was running Henne on a QB draw on third down while we were up 6. That play made no sense whatsoever and I cannot believe that it actually happened. The other was the 4th and 4 pooch punt which has been discussed by many others already but everyone in that stadium knew when Rivas came out for the 51 yarder into the wind it was a pooch punt. My problem with that is, Gutierrez is the backup QB, it is The Game, our D was playing a terrible soft zone the entire game and would eventually get scored upon, why do you know at the very least run a fake FG there, anyone else disagree with me there?
The constant quick passes, screens, etc were great and was exactly what we needed to do to negate the LB's of Ohio State as much as possible. There were some plays that I hadn't seen, or don't remember seeing, that I liked such as the fake right, pass left play that we used a couple times. I think the O played as well as it could have without a running game and the QB draw on 3rd down just makes no sense to me and never will until the day I die.
The D started out ok but I definitely didn't like what I was watching. Zone, zone, zone, zone and more zone. I understand the need to play some zone due to the not wanting Holmes or Ginn to burn you but would it have killed anyone to play some of those guys a little bit tigher, maybe not run a zone once every few plays to keep them guessing? Granted I didn't watch the replay and will not, because as much as I've gotten better at accepting losses in the past few years I am definitely not at the point where I can watch video of a loss again, as much as people said the Rose Bowl was so great I never watched that again because it would cause too much pain and make me cry again.
With the performance that the D was showing I know I wasn't the only one uneasy at the fact of only having a 9 point lead. Have to give it to special teams, or is it Ted Ginn? For keeping us in the game with the extra field position we were able to get on his two muffed punts, if only we could've gotten one of them.
I've had this discussion with many of my friends and we all agree that we achieve the less with the most in the country. This distinction used to belong to Mack Brown and Texas but I think we have taken it over. Many people had ridiculously high expectations for this year, I thought our preseason ranking of 4 was too high and we definitely have proven that right again this year. The only thing keeping Michigan from being the biggest disappointment of 2005 is thanks to the choke job of Fat Phil and those criminals down at Tennessee, speaking of which did anyone else see this? From RJYH. Congrats to Vandy for beating Tennessee, it was awesome and helped make my day better.
Now where do we go from here? Big Recruiting weekend and of all the big names that showed up I thought none would come, and probably even less of a chance following that performance. We did receive one commitment from WR Greg Mathews from Orlando. A tall WR who can go up and get it, the Braylon Edwards portion of the offense that we were lacking this year. There are questions about his speed as he was clocked at 4.72 but I'm not too concerned about that, we have the burners that we need in Bass, Breaston and Manningham so he'll add another dimention to the offense that we definitely need back.
After Miami's loss to Georgia Tech I think that opens up another BCS berth to Ohio State which would then jump Wisconsin into the Capital One Bowl and us to the Outback Bowl. Although even if Ohio State somehow does not get an at-large berth I still think we end up in the Outback Bowl since Ohio State would take the Capital One berth and Wisconsin already played in the Outback last year. That scares me considering this team is not very good and to tell me we would have to play the loser of the SEC championship game, or Auburn or Alabama in a bowl game does not appeal to me.
In closing I think the biggest problem I have with our coaching is the complete predictability it has at all times. Ian from Sexy Results says it best on his latest entry:
- I can't say why, but there are probably more Michigan football blogs than any other kind. And I have to give them credit; I've never really followed them all that much before this year, but thanks to your blogging in 2005, I knew exactly how they were going to blow the Ohio State game."
Whenever I get asked by my friends out here what is so wrong with your program, you just went to back to back Rose Bowls, everyone has down years, that is my main problem. Any one of the Michigan bloggers who are big fans but obviously do other things with their life outside of football can tell how what plays we are going to run and when and see that they get stuffed by the opposing defense. Now tell me an opposing defensive coordinator who gets paid to do this for a living and spends hours upon hours studying film won't be able to pick up on it as well? Something must be done, some changes must be made and soon, otherwise we could be heading down the wrong path.