Observations on the loss to the Ducks, 27-31!

1-Oregon had five red zone opportunities to three for us; they scored 17 points and we scored 15 on those opportunities. That was the difference in the game, more red zone opportunities created and more points capitalized from those opportunities. Ironically, the offensive plays were almost dead even, 73 to 75. The Ducks had 21 first downs; we had 19. They had 361 yards in total offense, and possessed the ball 35:01 for a ten minute advantage. Oregon was 6 of 17 in 3rd down conversions and one of three in 4th down. Clemons was 15 of 23 for 159 yards and Fife was 5 of 8 for 95 yards; they had 254 yards passing, but no TDs in the air. Parker had 5 catches for 61 yards and Whitehead had 72 yards on 22 carries with one TD. Our defense didn't lose the game, and did a good job in the second half limiting the Ducks to one field goal in two red zone opportunities. Our defense could manage only one sack against a well-prepared offensive line for Oregon. Again, our defense didn't lose this game, but they couldn't win it for our pathetic offense.

2-Special teams really let the team down today, but they didn't lose the game for us; that be the offense. We missed two extra points, had a punt blocked for what turned out to be the winning touchdown, and had a punt returned for a touchdown. We had a high snap on a fake punt that resulted in a turnover. Our punt and kickoff returns looked weak, and our coverage overall on punts and kickoffs was mediocre. On the bright side, we did block a field goal, made a two point conversion, deadened a punt on their 2 that led to a short 33 yard TD drive and recovered an onside kick (two plays by Edwards). Our special teams put our offense in a position to win the game; our offense simply couldn't do it in the last two minutes. We were too gassed and tired, and couldn't execute the five foot vertical jumps needed to catch most of Navarre's passes.

Special teams is about coaching and that is one major reason why we didn't win today.

3-Our offense looked absolutely pathetic, and is the major reason why we lost the game. Navarre was 29 of 56 for 364 yards, 3 TDs and 2 picks; he was also sacked four times. As usual, he was in position to win a big game for us, but couldn't do it; that will be his legacy at Michigan. It is unfortunate, but he simply can't win big games. Michigan fans, including myself, want to see him win the big ones, improve and earn all the accolades he deserves; unfortunately, that isn't looking to be his legacy.

He was 5 of 16 in 3rd down and one of three on 4th down. He did some good things in a come from behind effort, but it was too little too late with poor decisions and overthrows. Perry had 11 rushes for 26 yards. Our coaches lost confidence in our offensive line, and we didn't run at all at the end of the game. Our total net offense is 354 yards, all through the air with 364 net and -10 rushing. Edwards had 13 catches for 142 yards, but no TDs. Breaston had 7 catches for 112 yards and two TDs. Avant had his best game as a Wolverine with 6 catches for 98 yards and his first TD. We were forced to punt eight times compared to only six times for Oregon (mostly in the second half).

4-We had three turnovers (two interceptions and a blown fake punt) to Oregon's zero; the only mistake they made was the blocked field goal that resulted in a touchdown. We negated that opportunity with a blocked punt for a touchdown and two missed extra points for a special teams 6-7 point advantage for them. Penalties were about even, and although always a factor, they really didn't make a difference in the game.

5-Coaching was a huge factor in the game, and Oregon had a definite advantage in game preparation on offense, defense and special teams. It was very obvious that we were outcoached. One obvious difference on special teams was our fake punt that was really another turnover resulting in a touchdown for them. Another was the lack of use of Breaston on both punt and kickoff returns. Here we have a game difference maker, and we are choosing not to use him. Instead, we use Curry and LeSueur. How stupid is that? This was the fourth consecutive year that we've lost our road opener: Oregon, Notre Dame, UCLA and

6-I am so sick and tired of hearing what a great quarterback John Navarre is and how he is going to be drafted and be playing on Sundays. The earlier Heisman candidacy for Navarre was sheer lunacy. The people who put Navarre on that level simply don't know anything about football. He is way too slow, lacks mobility and is prone to sacks, isn't a good decision-maker and is prone to turnovers, consistently has tipped passes and/or balls thrown into the linemen at the line of scrimmage, consistently overthrows his receivers even when they make great leaping catches, etc. He is simply an above average Division I NCAA quarterback playing on a good offensive football team. I think Gutierrez or others could lead our offense if needed, and perhaps even better.

After he takes his usual quarter or three to warm-up, and if the defense is playing prevent, he can complete passes. That is why he has a high completion percentage. He puts our offense in the position where we have to play catch up. How many three and outs did we have at the beginning of each half? That is not indicative of a good senior quarterback who has started 32 games at a Division I football powerhouse.

7-Michigan's heralded offensive line allowed 4 sacks and gained -10 yards rushing with no rushing first downs and no rushing touchdowns against the Oregon Duck defense who played without their star defensive tackle. So much for a goal of 200+ rushing yards a game.

I was most impressed with Steven Moore who stopped our last red zone opportunity with an interception, ran back a punt for a touchdown and covered Braylon Edwards most of the day holding him to zero touchdowns including a pass break up in the end zone. Moore also had 7 tackles. Moore gets the game ball, and game MVP in my book.

8-Player participation notes: Rembert did play at tailback, but not Underwood so he must still be hurt. Reid led the defense with 9 tackles; Shazor had 8. I think individually that Jackson and Diggs did not play their best games as Wolverines; Diggs has 6 tackles and Jackson 5. Jackson had no pass break ups or picks which was supposed to be part of the move to free safety. Woods is improving, and contributed with 7 tackles. Our defensive line didn't have a good game with only one sack; we did have several good hurries and pass rushes, but the first half was a disaster for the defensive line. All in all, our defense only allowed 17 points; the blocked punt and punt return were special team errors. The worst defensive play was the 19 yard touchdown run by Whitehead, and the second worst defensive play was the 15 yard TD run by Fife on the option; those plays were uncharacteristic of our usually solid red zone rushing defense.

9-Iowa remained undefeated as did Ohio State today. They will be our competition for the Big Ten title along with Minnesota and Purdue. Michigan State also defeated the Irish, but at South Bend. Wisconsin and Penn State will be factors, but not contenders for the title; Indiana, Northwestern and Illinois will fight it out for the cellar. The Sugar Bowl is out, but the Rose Bowl is still a possibility.

The better team won today; the Ducks deserved the win! It was a great game plan, and great execution. Even though we came back and showed the Michigan character that we are all proud of, the blocked punt for a touchdown was the final turning point. We just didn't have enough left for the final two minutes to pull out the win, and Oregon's defense won it with a pick by Moore on our last red zone opportunity and a 4th down stop on the last drive. Let them celebrate in Eugene; they deserve it!

Observations on the first half with Oregon, 6-21!

1-We obviously don't look very good so far. Oregon has had three red zone opportunities to none for us. They capitalized on two of three for 14 points. They have moved on us easily; we look very unorganized defensively. We have missed tackles and assignments. The Ducks have 13 first downs and 234 yards in total offense, and possessed the ball 19:25 in the first half. Oregon is 5 of 10 in 3rd down conversions and one of one in 4th down. Clemons is 11 of 16 for 110 yards. Dey, Parker and Williams have 3 catches each. Whitehead has 51 yards on 10 carries. It could easily be 28-0 at half. Our defense has created one score and held them out for a 13 point advantage, and we have forced three punts. Our lack of preparedness and Oregon's demonstration of preparedness shows a huge coaching advantage, Belloti and staff over Carr and staff.

2-Special teams has really let the team down. We miss the extra point to lose momentum on our touchdown. We have a high snap on a fake punt. We give up a 60 yard punt return for a touchdown.

3-Our offense looks pathetic. Navarre is 6 of 13 for 44 yards, and has one sack. Perry has 9 rushes for 20 yards. Our total net offense is 38 yards. Edwards has 4 catches for 46 yards. We have only 2 first downs, 2 of 8 on 3rd down and have had to punt five times. I'm beginning to believe we'd do just as well with Gutierrez in there.

4-It is real simple: our defense can't contain their offense, our offense can't move against their defense, and their special teams have outperformed ours. We have the second half to turn things around; if we don't score on our first drive, it could be a long afternoon. We must even up time of possession and create some red zone opportunities in the second half (at least 3).