Observations on the loss to the
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
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
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