Sun & Bluesday: Terrible Terry B

By Johnny Ginter on September 17, 2013 at 11:15a
53 Comments
image courtesy of MGoBlog

Michigan came into the Akron game riding that special kind of high that comes with putting a douchebag coach and fanbase in their places during a primetime game where they looked dominant.

Akron came into the Akron game 1-1, 37.5 point dogs, and coached by Terry Bowden. None of that would portend well for a team even on its best day, much less a MAC team on the road at one of the largest sporting venues in the world that is inhabited by some of the most occasionally present fans in the world. Did I mention that Akron is coached by Terry Bowden? I feel like I might've, but I just want to reiterate: Akron is coached by Terry Bowden. And the ghost of Chuck D'Amato.

But Akron has another weapon up their sleeves, and that is the psychic force of nature that is a group of players under the auspices of one James Patrick Tressel. I find it hard, nay, impossible to imagine a scenario where even Jim Tressel, university administrator, doesn't help teams beat Michigan through sheer force of will. It didn't work out this time, but man it was fun to watch while we were all thinking it would.

Once again, my good friend Ace Anbender from MGoBlog joins me to break down the game that was.

Quarter 1

I missed the first seven minutes of the 1st quarter because I was out getting groceries, but that's okay because the eight minutes that I did see was more than about half of the Michigan student section did (they didn't see any of it because they didn't show up). Anyway, there was a long TD pass from Gardner to Funchess and Akron hit a long field goal. Other than that, pretty boring. 7-3 Michigan.

Johnny: Do Michigan students not like donuts? What would entice them to games instead, pithy bon mots and foie gras?

Ace: I think the students realized they like beer and sleep more than donuts and less sleep, then most of them stuck with the drinking once they caught a glimpse of the game—I find it difficult to blame them for this, and I usually go pretty hard on the student apathy angle. Foie gras would only invite the wrath of the locals. (I'd probably be one of those locals, but this isn't about my moral outrage about force-feeding animals for personal pleasure. This is about a terrible football game.)

image courtesy of MGoBlogThat about sums it up

Johnny: BON MOTS IT IS!

Quarter 2

To be fair, in 2007 Ohio State did lead a very crappy Akron team only 3-2 going into the half. To be even fairer though, Michigan looked incompetent at times on both offense and defense and wasn't getting better. Michigan's offensive line in particular looked terrible, and Devin Gardner killed a potential TD drive by throwing his prerequisite interception. And then he did it again. If Akron doesn't miss two field goals, they lead. Instead, 7-3 Michigan.

Johnny: I don't believe in hangover games. I do, however, believe in coaches watching gametape of systemic problems and then exploiting those problems for their gain.

Ace: Like, for example, realizing that your quarterback is totally unstoppable on the inverted veer, which happens to be the only run play your team can execute with any efficacy, and then running that play because the opposition literally cannot bring said quarterback to the ground? Yeah, that sounds like a good idea!

Instead, Al Borges played it conservative, tried to protect his quarterback, and called for a bunch of zone stretches and powers that the interior line—quite terrifyingly—couldn't block against bleepin' Akron. Oddly, he still called plenty of those waggles that usually get the backside DE a free shot at Gardner, so even when protecting his quarterback he didn't really protect his quarterback.

It's hard to blame Borges too much, however, when Gardner is coughing the ball up four times, including another gift pick-six. I'm not saying I was ready to do something rash after that play, but if there'd been matches in the press box, we might've had a Thich Quang Duc situation on our hands.

Quarter 3

The assembled 90,000 Michigan fans nodded sagely as the Wolverines came out flatter than a pancake and Akron put together an impressive TD drive to take the lead. No wait, "nodded sagely?" I'm sorry, I mean "started to boo loudly." Akron put together a touchdown drive to take the lead, and then Borges then woke up and called a bunch of power/read running plays to help Michigan add a couple of their own, effectively ending my fun? Maybe? 21-10 Michigan.

Johnny: Still seems like the defense for you guys continues to be soft in the middle of the secondary.

Ace: Indeed, though I think the problem starts on the outside—the safeties have actually played really well. Michigan has now given the majority of the snaps to three different players in three games at nickel field corner (first Channing Stribling, then Delonte Hollowell, and this week Jourdan Lewis—the first and last being true freshmen) while moving their best cover corner, Blake Countess, down to nickel. Countess has played very well; everyone else, not so much. Michigan played bend-but-don't-break again Akron (sigh), giving plenty of cushion on the outside and allowing slant after slant after slant, and then both Raymon Taylor (the other starting outside corner) and Lewis got beat over the top for huge gains despite the aforementioned cushion. There's a huge dropoff between Countess and the rest of the corners and it's hampering Michigan's ability to do anything but play vanilla coverage and hope they don't die via a thousand cuts. Death narrowly averted, I guess.

Also not helping matters is the fact that the linebackers aren't getting enough depth on their zone drops, which contributed to some of Akron's success passing over the middle. Again, Greg Mattison is getting limited by his personnel's, er, limitations.

Quarter 4

Then things got interesting. A Gardner pick six put Akron back in it, and if it weren't for an endzone pick, Akron would've regained the lead. Michigan's offensive line continued to look like utter crap, and allowed the Zips to stick around. Terry Bowden then summoned his eldritch horrors of the night, and goat sacrificed his way to the lead with a TD. Michigan responded, took the lead, and set up an epic Akron comeback touchdown that will echo in the halls of college football history.

Except, instead of that, they were stopped inside the five repeatedly within the last 30 seconds of the game and Michigan somehow escaped 28-24.

Johnny: Uh, soooo... what the hell was that?

Ace: I don't know. Pick a position group and there's a serious concern. Quarterback? Devin Gardner Turnover Machine Activated. Running back? Fitz Toussaint is missing open cutback lanes, and he needs those because the offensive line can't open holes against Akron, which, again, is Akron. The defensive line can't generate any pressure on their own. I covered the concerns about the linebackers and defensive backs earlier. As a bonus, the special teams were a disaster, with Matt Wile shanking three punts, Brendan Gibbons missing his only attempt, and the archaic pro punt formation nearly costing Michigan a blocked punt and a big return. The sunniest possible view after this game is that it was the proverbial letdown and Michigan still escaped with a win; it's impossible to look at this game objectively and not see major issues that go well beyond stuff you'd file under "intangibles", which—like you—I don't put much stock into anyway.

Overview

Johnny: Again, I'm not a big fan of saying that a decent team had a poor game because of "hangover" or "looking ahead." If there are problems, they exist. They can be fixed, but that doesn't mean they're flukes or whatever. The win over Notre Dame was thrilling, but the luster on that has already begun to wear off.

Here's what I think happened: Akron's defensive line was just good enough to wreck havoc on a generally really bad Michigan offensive line, and that led to problems all over the field on the offensive side. Gardner almost single-handedly lost the game for Michigan, accounting all four Michigan turnovers. Michigan fans might point to his 351 yards of total offense and while he's deadly on scrambles, but his decision making under duress remains terrible. Fitz Toussaint will never create for himself, ever. If the hole is there, he'll hit it and do okay. If it isn't, automatic two yard loss.

Defensively the secondary is a mess. Akron should not be throwing for 300 plus yards on anyone (they didn't even get that against James Madison), but the middle of the field is almost always open in Michigan's defense when teams feel like exploiting it. Countess has been opportunistic, but aside from him there's really no one to fear too much in the backfield at this point.

This was a bad win by what I still think is a decent team. But Michigan has a ton of gigantic, glaring holes in their team that need to be addressed ASAP or Big Ten season will be very difficult for them.

Ace: Aside from your frankly bizarre crusade against Toussaint, who's a decent—not great, but definitely decent—back when he's actually getting blocks, I agree with all you said above. In lieu of providing any more analysis of a game I'm doing my best to forget (thank you, Elmer T. Lee), here are my final thoughts in terrifying GIF form.

53 Comments

Comments

RedStorm45's picture

"looking ahead..." to UConn?? Lol.
P.I. on the last play.  Some other, um, questionable, calls/no-calls.

hail2victors9's picture

The last play, no.  I disagree.  The call against Akron in the endzone on Michigan's previous drive, no.  That was a bad call and not P.I. 

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

Matt's picture

Tend to agree with Ace re: JG views on Fitz -- he's a good, not great, RB, but not as bad as JG making him out to be. 
With Michigan's great haul on O-linemen in the last few classes, I'm a bit confused re: why the O-line is stinking up the joint.  Presumably they'll come together eventually.
If the DBs are so bad, why isn't Dymonte Thomas getting more PT?  

BeijingBucks's picture

I am confused too... We were under the impression that UM was getting the bodies to Finally play cHoke style football. Is this it?  Seriously????
I found it spectacular (read: annoying as all get out) last weekend how the Bucks are ascendant and the rest of the B1G is at best holding serve. 
If these putzes screw up the Bucks SoS.... 

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

cwgraham's picture

Well Hoke has been doing a great job of recruiting offensive lineman, but you have to remember they're all young at this point. The first real class of his and the one where he first took a bunch of them was the 2012 class. The 2013 class then had even more highly touted guys. But that makes them all either redshirt freshman or true freshman right now at the position that takes the longest to develop.

jccavanaugh's picture

Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, Joey Bosa...vs this O-line. I am looking forward to this.

blueinsconsin's picture

I don't think you should be too thrilled about your defensive line at this point

Not here to troll...Go Blue

BucksfanXC's picture

Our defensive line bragging rights, as demonstrated above, is entire the DEs. This is where you guys also have a bright spot, especially with Lewan. So your Tackles vs our DEs should be a good fight. But both or weaknesses along these lines, your Gs and our DTs, will be a battle. We will see how both develop and stay healthy over the next two months. I look forward to it.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

blueinsconsin's picture

Agree 100%.  I should have said your defense as a whole (not to Michigan's isn't struggling as well).  The defensive woes are covered up b/c it seems your offense can score at will right now.

Not here to troll...Go Blue

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Here's another way of looking at it: are both the Buckeyes and Wolverines expecting too much from their freshmen and sophomores? This is a recruiting site, which is why most of us visit, but there is a huge jump from ballyhooed high school senior to college player who can hold his own, let alone dominate, at the college level. I think fans sometimes fall in love with a recruit or a particular set (i.e. our D-line, Michigan's O-line) and create completely unrealistic expectations for those players. For every Sammy Watkins, there's a guy who takes until his junior or senior year to develop or who never makes an impact at all, something that's hard for fans for recruiting nuts to totally digest sometimes.

carence's picture

Our defensive line vs your offensive line thrills us greatly!

BUCKfutter's picture

our defense has problems (see linebacker). line isn't one of them, especially when schutt and diesel get back mid-season.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

CHESAPEAKE-VA-BUCK's picture

It was great to root for the Zips. It will be interesting to see the adjustments meatchicken will make going forward, they looked decent enough playing N. dame but after playing the Zips, the luster is gone.

"Woody is a God-fearing man. It's good to know that he's afraid of somebody." --Archie Griffin
 

blueinsconsin's picture

Man, I almost put that game behind, then read that...I appreciate these posts, though, nicely done.

Not here to troll...Go Blue

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Ah, I cannot wait to see how many time Kyle Kailis gets his ass kicked and humiliated by the Buckeyes defensive line... I think we should have an ongoing stat tracker on that during The Game!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

fear_the_nut70's picture

You mean Kylie, don't you?

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Fear, what up?  11W is a great site isn't it!  So glad I don't have a Facebook account and walked away from those other forums.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

He isn't worth the effort to see if I spelled it right - but thanks for taking the time to grade my post!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Yeah, you beat me too it, Kalis was the one who said there would be a mass exodus to "up north" and he was leading the charge.  Then we end up with the best available coach (universally recognized as the second best coach in all of CFB) who is putting one awesome recruiting class after another together, had an undefeated season his first year at the helm and have us ranked in the top five early season.  No ill will towards the young man, but hope he comes to regret his decision and crass behavior.  Don't get mad, get even.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Exactly!!!  I will enjoy the show watching his assignment blow by/around/over/through him all day!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

BUCKfutter's picture

usually, when a minnow is hanging around to almost pull a huge upset (a la appy state a few years back), all i can think of when watching is "man, they are just playing out of their minds." on saturday, all i could think of was how terrible akron is. and they STILL almost won.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

hail2victors9's picture

I have to agree.  There was no gimmick.  There was no under-the-radar playmaker types.  There were no trick plays.  Not even a hurry-up offense.  That was what was truly alarming to me.  They just were better than Michigan's defense on so many plays.
Now Michigan was definitely not helping their cause on offense.  In addition to the turnovers, Penalties (including approximately 50 rushing yards called back), drops, and negative run plays on 1st and 2nd downs made for a lot of 3rd and longs.
 

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

BUCKfutter's picture

still, i wouldn't completely write you guys off.  too much talent.  we had a similar game vs ohio u the year we went on to play texas in the fiesta. game didnt end up as close, but we were losing in the 2nd half.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

RedStorm45's picture

We also lost 35-3 (or whatever that horrendous score was) at USC the following week.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Hoke has been a .500 coach all his career and although he has been bringing in recruits, they still have to be coached! He got completely out coached by Urban, The Ole Ball Coach, Saben, and Bowden to name a few.  It will be interesting to see if he can step up his game because bringing in good recruits and not winning will backfire in a big time hurry - especially if he continues to get his ass kicked in during The Game.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

BeijingBucks's picture

Well at least Gardner is guaranteed to improve after that outing. Nowhere to go but up! And I wouldn't worry so much about the B1G record.  No one other than the Bucks really wants to do anything.
Pelini?  He's done.  PSU? Nope.  Wisky? Not quite yet? MSU? Bollman nuff said... And so forth

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Idaho Helga's picture

I could see the Wisky offense hanging 60 on TTUN if the game was next week.   Unfortunately, they don't play them this year.   Their next 4 games are UConn, Minnesota, Penn St and Indiana.  If they struggle with ANY of those their November is going to be very, very ugly.

theDuke's picture

Hhahaha! that gif is great.  Thanks ACE & Johnny! I'm starting to warm up to the idea of some scUM insight on 11W. 

theDuke

boojtastic's picture

That gif is decidedly not great. Prolonged exposure has been known to cause erectile dysfunction.

hodge's picture

Interesting to see what kind of schemes Herman draws up to exploit Michigan's secondary woes.  With the emergence of Braxton's passing abilities and the receiving corps, it could be the ticket to a victory this year in Ann Arbor.

BeijingBucks's picture

Well Hodge last year's telegraph 'Ok we're gonna run Hyde straight at you' was the ticket to victory.  Passing game is a la mode.  This year has the potential to get ugly early unless GoBlow makes tremendous strides in ALL areas.

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Squirrel Master's picture

I definitely don't think UM is that bad but I have been saying and now feel very confident that Notre Dame was way overrated! I think UM will finish with a decent record this year. I think Notre Dame will get exposed though and it will really diminish the win for UM.
I would even go so far as to say Cal might be better than ND. They might not have ND defense but at least they can score on just about anyone. Especially when Purdue almost beats them.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

How is it no one brings up the bad spot(should have been a 1st down), and the clock going from 24 seconds to 15?

Akron got screwed.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

cwgraham's picture

Because the ball was actually spotted for the first down and when they reviewed it they determined he was down short. The clock then wound up not being a factor because that last play was 4th down. Even with more time left it's Michigan's ball.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

They were wrong.

And It was 3rd down. The 4th down play was when he tossed it into the endzone.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Squirrel Master's picture

I think he was saying the next play was 4th down so how much time was on the clock wouldn't have mattered.
They got it correct IMO. He was down short of a first down. I think they spotted it further back than what I saw but even at the spot I thought it should have been would have still been short.
Either way, UM got lucky! The PI on the previous drive in the endzone was bogus. UM should have never gotten that TD to go up.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Ethos's picture

if they still had time they could of tried for the 1st down instead of the TD on 3rd and get 4 more downs to still get into the end zone.  Time is an extremely important factor in football.

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

It was a big botched call. Not as big as ASU-Wisky, but big nonetheless. What I can never understand is why the refs just don't take their time to confer and make the right call. Instant-replay, review booths and cameras, and all those refs on the field and they still fucked it up by hurrying. Once they stopped the play from happening, it should have been obvious to take the clock back to when Akron was lined up and ready to go. Cost them at least one play that could have won the game.
I don't buy into the whole "home cooking" as far as intent, but they get caught up in the moment and lose their heads. They're paid to be the ones who keep theirs.

buckz4evr's picture

I'm not ready to say Missagain sucks, although they do, just yet.  Let's wait to see a few more games before we can say how good or bad they are.  I just don't want everyone to get overconfident by putting a W in the win column for us.  We have problems, too.  Back in the 90's they pulled a few major upsets so I never trust them completely.  Wait, did I say the 90's?  Maybe we can be confident.....

Hovenaut's picture

I think Jim Tressel, in indirect conjunction with Terrence, has provided adequate film material (for future review) on the sly.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

ScarletNGrey01's picture

I wonder if Hoke will end up being Michigan's John Cooper, great recruiter but will have problems winning the big games?  Time will tell I guess.  After the way he handled the "Michigan tumor" situation I'm finding it a little harder to dislike the guy, even though TTUN is our mortal enemy / rival.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

blueinsconsin's picture

He did win the Sugar Bowl in year (whether they truly deserved to be there is another story).  I think when 2015 and 2016 come around we'll be able to better judge just how good of a coach he is after his recruiting classes start to become upper classmen. 

Not here to troll...Go Blue

lax20's picture

I truly believe Brady Choke is their John Cooper.  Great recruiter, but lousy coach.

osu07asu10's picture

What gave it away, his "use" of the headset on game days?

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

John Cooper won 9 conference titles, two Rose Bowls, and finished 192-84-6 in his career. He was hardly a lousy coach.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Agree with BuckeyesvsWorld. In the process, he changed the way that we recruit, taking a more national approach.
When Coop left, it was time for him to go, but he won 10 or more games on a regular basis there for a while (when, it should be noted, it meant a little more with largely 11-game schedules).

ITWASME's picture

Terry Bowden then summoned his eldritch horrors of the night, and goat sacrificed his way to the lead with a TD.  

I just about died laughing!

gobucks96's picture

Michigan's QB play, 7 tds and 7 ints. Hoke's QB turn the ball over far too much for an conservative offense..

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

He puts the ball on the ground when hit as well!  Going to be fun to see who on this year's defense gets to do the 'Boren' pose!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Scarlet_Buckeye's picture

I'm literally scared to death (at the moment)... Gallon is going to eat Roby alive.  I have *NOT* been impressed at all with Roby (this season).  He certainly is NOT playing up to the level that an "All-America" should be.  Too many times I saw him left behind against Cal.
Meanwhile, Gallon has been looking VERY impressive.
Roby better get it together, or it could be a long day come Michigan day.

McKraut's picture

Don't hit the panic button just yet brother... we still have 8 games to be played between now and then, and if Roby isn't stepping up to the plate, we have a lot of young talent itching to prove they deserve the chance. In the snaps that Armani Reeves has had he's looked much improved from last year and he's directly slated as Roby's backup... Roby is going to notice the pressure to perform very soon, or else Urban is going to decide he's not one of the top 11 and park him on the bench.

Either way, it's a half moot point because Wishagain's O-Line better not play that sloppy in The Game or Gardner won't have the time to throw the ball to Gallon (or anyone else) any ways.

Our Honor Defend... ╭∩╮( º.º )╭∩╮ M******n

pjtobin's picture

SCum sucks!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

tjk_419's picture

I went to this game...because I like to troll and a hot girl asked me to go. I heard one OH so I naturally yelled back IO. It was nice to hear 105,000 people dead silent for the entire game. Also seeing the student section half full was pretty cool. As for the game, Gardner has no feel for his blinds side and makes his decision to who he is going to throw to before the snap. Michigan is not close to being good because they were getting owned in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Ohhhhh so nice to hear all the Michigan fans complain the entire game about how Gardner sucks