Thursday, October 29, 2009

GBMW: Doc4blu -- What Happened and What It Means -- Penn State

GBMW: What Happened and What It Means – Penn State

The prediction for last Saturday’s game was PSU a winner in the 7-10 point range. That prediction was sent to the bottom by a defense that gave generous options to the PSU offense and an offense that probably handed over 10-14 points in real scoring opportunities. Take away those double killers and a spread of 7 was about right. But in sports if ifs and buts were candy and nuts applies.

First off, the writer still maintains that PSU is a better team than Iowa. This begs the question; how did Iowa beat PSU? The answer is that PSU played like Michigan did Saturday, offensively. Iowa just does not give much away and PSU was in the giving mode that particular Saturday with five turnovers.

Offensively, Moye had his moments, but did not run roughshod over the Wolverines. Royster was also held under control for the most part. Clark looked very good from the stands and for the most part was given plenty of time on key plays. The PSU tight ends are dominating, likely the best pair in the conference, maybe even nationally. Believe it, this pair is athletic and big. Quarless is a big time player. Add in Powell. Shuler, and Zug and the Lions really do have some serious weapons in the passing game. There is/was a big difference between UM and PSU regarding receivers. It is not that hard to see why many had the Lions in the top six before the Iowa loss.

The prediction was for the deep outs to hurt UM bad. This did happen on a few occasions, the first when PSU needed a play. The other prediction was for Royster to be played tough by loading the safeties and the tight end going down the seam for major damage. This certainly happened, and frankly it happened too easily. The zone blitz match up was discussed as possibly going either way and it went south with Obi covering a monster down the seam, albeit three or four yards behind in coverage. What was most unexpected was UM’s corners giving PSU easy plays for eight yards to the wideouts who were basically uncovered up to 12-15 yards.

Another key discussed was whether or not UM could pressure Clark. The answer for the most part was no, with the exception of Brandon Graham. Yes, Clark did go down a few times but this was of little consequence.

The turnovers are a plague worthy of middle age Europe, with no end in sight. The weather was a little on the foul side but really not enough to cause five turnovers. Holding the ball properly and seeing the field were the factors.

The Michigan passing game continues to press and go backwards. When Tate throws the ball to a target it is dropped, and when the receiver breaks open so wide everyone’s eyes light up, Tate throws the ball short into the ground. Then when the guys finally hit a nice 20-30 yard pattern (lately a deep out), the ball comes back because of a penalty. Add to this, bad snaps and qb fumbles, two or three times a game, and there is a pattern of more errors than completions. No passing game can withstand such inefficiency. Simply put, this team cannot run over people for four quarters running the ball 75% of the time. A passing game that is at least adequate must appear for UM to beat Illinois or Purdue.

By the way, in watching Tate warm up well before the game, he appeared to be reasonably healthy. He worked his shoulder some early in warm-ups, but that is common and not of great concern.

The team did not quit, but when given a chance to get back into the game, the chance was squandered. The biggest long term squandering was on first down. This team will likely punt if yardage is not gained on first down. There is no margin of error like in a pro passing attack. If a ball is dropped on first and ten, or if a runner is tackled behind the line, the chances for success are close to slim.

Mesko was superb and let us hope some honors come his way, he is deserving for many reasons, most of all by his performance on the field.

So what this means is that the Illinois and Purdue games provide by far the best opportunity for Michigan to gain that 6th win to become bowl eligible. And so the statement that has been made for the last three weeks still applies; Purdue and Illinois are the most important games on UM’s schedule, after Notre Dame. Illinois may turn loose the juice. He is, after all, pretty well rested. Illinois has some firepower to cause serious match-up problems for UM, regardless of how bad the Illini have played to date. Purdue is a match-up problem due to the quick hitters that demand top secondary play.

This team cannot give up and likely will not. Yes, UM has a higher standard than 6-6, but the reality of people throwing around the unreality of UM winning the next three may be a bridge too far.

The writer’s biggest concern is the recent regression in penalties, turnovers and poor execution. This is very difficult for a young team with moderate talent to turn around, not impossible but very difficult. Yes, the term moderate was thrown out indeed. There is more than moderate potential, but potential nets zero points on Saturday’s, performance does.

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Written by Doc4Blu

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