Observations on the humiliating Gator Bowl thumping: Michigan 14 Mississippi State 52
Mississippi State converted 6 red zones into 42 points, and Michigan managed 7 points in 4 red zone trips. The Bulldogs scored 7 points off two Wolverine turnovers, and another 3 points off a blocked punt.
Offense finished with 342 net yards with only 88 on the ground, 17 first downs, and were 2 of 15 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. After the first drive of the game, the Bulldogs manhandled our offense. They planned to shut down Denard Robinson and our running game, and they did. They executed their game plan, and we didn't. Denard was 27 of 41 for 256 yards, 2 TDs, one interception and ran for 58 more yards for 314 yards of total offense. We didn't win the turnover battle, and the Bulldogs converted our mistakes into 10 points. Johnathan Banks had two pass break ups and an interception for the Bulldogs. After we got down by 2 scores, we lost our poise and composure while they gained confidence.
Defense was as bad as its been all season. We look worse than a poor high school team with continued missed tackles and poor pass coverage. Our defensive backfield looks totally unprepared to cover the passing schemes. Defense has no leader, no leadership and certainly no coaching preparation or adjustment. Mike Martin didn't look like a NFL caliber player today, and neither did anyone else wearing the Maize and Blue. Martin assisted on one tackle. If this team spent the last 4 weeks preparing for Mississippi State, and working on "fundamentals," it sure wasn't evident in today's performance. The Bulldogs rolled for 485 net yards, 26 first downs, and they held nearly a 12 minute time of possession advantage. They converted 14 of 22 on 3rd and 4th downs. Relf was 18 of 23 for 281 yards, 3 TDs and an interception to end the first half. Relf had 30 yards and a TD while Vic Ballard had 76 on the ground for 3 TDs. Kenny Demens had 13 tackles. The Bulldogs showed they have a capable pass team along with a solid running game. We were no match for the Bulldogs with a Division III defense. All of the defensive coaches should be fired along with the entire coaching staff. Let's hope David Brandon doesn't disappoint us with his "review" of the Michigan football program. This game was enough of a review for anyone, Wolverine fan or not. Even our opponents want Coach Rod and staff fired; Ohio State has called us out as "not living up to our end of the rivalry."
Special Teams may not be Division III, but more like Division II caliber. A blocked punt, the second of the season led to a field goal for the Bulldogs. We did have a better second half with a nice punt return by Hemingway and a few good kickoff returns by Odoms, but the Gibbon's missed field goal was ridiculous. How can you be three scores down, and make a decision to go for a field goal while you are in the red zone? These type of decisions show why Coach Rod is not a Big Ten caliber coach. I'm sure we'll all wish him well at his next destination.
For those who still believe that Coach Rod and staff should be retained, you are only fooling yourself. He and his "staff" have had 37 months to build their team including a solid defense and special teams, and they simply haven't done it. Don't expect any change in 2011, defense is not a priority for this coaching staff. We are an inferior team and football program to Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska and Penn State in our conference and on the same level as Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern and Minnesota. We are no longer a Top 10, Top 25 team or program and under the current staff, we are far from that level for 2011. This current team and its current recruits will be hard pressed to pull wins in 2011 at home with Ohio State and Nebraska or on the road at Iowa and Michigan State, and it would not surprise me to see both Notre Dame and San Diego State beat us behind Kelly and Hoke. If this premise is accurate, we'll be hard-pressed to finish next year's schedule better than 7-5 or 8-4 optimistically and we could very well finish 6-6 or even 5-7. The only sure wins on our schedule are Eastern and Western Michigan. Wins over Northwestern, Illinois on the road and Minnesota and Purdue at home would be hard fought and not automatic with the current team and coaching staff.
The coaching situation MUST change!!! There is no doubt in my mind that most Michigan fans including former players want a new head coach and coaching staff. Most people who want the change want a "Michigan Man," and certainly the top candidate is Jim Harbaugh. Hopefully, he would be willing to accept the position although he will certainly be a top candidate for NFL head coaching positions as well. Most Michigan fans feel helpless because we all wanted to support Coach Rod, and we all wished that he would turn around the program. He didn't and now it is time for him to leave, and take his West Virginia staff with him. He was simply not a good match for Michigan football nor the Big Ten. He has proven he can be an effective head coach, but not for the Michigan football program. We need to bring back a top defensive coach who puts defense first, and a Pro-Style offense. Whether it is Jim Harbaugh, Brady Hoke, Mike Trgovac, etc., we need a change and we need it this week. Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Observations on the first half of the Gator Bowl: Michigan 14 Mississippi State 31
Mississippi State converts 4 red zones into 28 points, and Michigan can only manage one red zone for 7 points. The Bulldogs score 7 points off one Wolverine turnover, and another 3 points off a blocked punt.
Offense is self-destructing! We scored first, but then the Bulldogs have manhandled us and forced two turnovers. Denard Robinson is 11 of 15 for 151 yards and 2 TDs, but also a costly interception that was converted into a TD. We have no running game! The Bulldogs have shut it down. Denard has 7 carries for 60 yards, but Vince Smith has only 12 yards on 6 carries. We have 216 yards of net offense, 10 first downs and only 56 net yards on the ground. Junior Hemingway has 2 catches for 38 yards. Roundtree and Odoms caught TDs. The play call of a reverse at the 21 was utterly ridiculous and absolutely stupid. The Bulldog "curve ball" with Coach Diaz having the linemen back up drew Taylor Lewan on procedure. We have only converted 2 of 6 3rd and 4th down possibilities.
Defense is continuing to be embarrasing to watch for the Michigan faithful. We look worse than a poor high school team with continued missed tackles and poor pass coverage. Our defensive backfield looks totally unprepared to cover the passing schemes. Defense has no leader, no leadership and certainly no coaching preparation or adjustment. The Bulldogs have rolled for 256 net yards, 16 first downs, and they hold a 9 minute time of possession advantage. The time of possession advantage allowed the Bulldogs to run at least 48 offensive plays in the first half. They have converted 10 of 13 on 3rd and 4th downs. Relf is 12 of 17 for 135 yards, 2 TDs and an interception to end the half. Relf has 43 and Ballard has 42 on the ground for one TD each and Perkins has added 36 yards. The goal line defense error with Obi Ezeh running in late was unexcusable, and certainly reflects poorly on the coaching staff.
Special Teams continue to be terribly weak. A blocked punt, the second of the season. Our kickoff returns are no threat. 5 kickoff returns by Odoms for 100 yards, 20 per return.
We get the ball to start the second half down 3 scores. Does this resemble the Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Iowa games? I think so. We would have to score 4 second half TDs to get back in this one. I think Coach Rod's epitath has been read.