Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mailbag question: Mental breakdowns

Mailbag question: Mental breakdowns


Two weeks ago, you answered a question about team-wide outbreaks of mental errors (thank you). We talked generally about it, but after the Penn State game, do you think Michigan has a specific problem?

The offense and special teams look like the keystone cops ... Three penalties then the snap through the end zone; fumbles; horrible passes; bad decisions; roughing the kicker. We look untrained in basic football skills -- D. Rob looks like a fish out of water in the pocket; we can't snap, avoid fumbles, catch. Regarding mental discipline, we looked like boys playing men. Look at our punt returns: Dropped (but went out of bounds), then we took out our own returnee, and then Matthews hung around a bouncing punt that missed him on pure luck.

It's not just one player who demonstrates a lack of mental skill it's many. It's not one game; it was a whole season and several games this year. It is not the talent that should be identified as the problem it's mental breakdowns. The performance we're getting out of our talent is frequently abysmal. Whose responsibility is that?

I thought Coach Rod was the best possible hire, in terms of winning. I find it hard to believe he can't do better, but the facts are starting to convince me.

Thanks, Guanxi


Thanks for the question.

Michigan is definitely shooting themselves in the foot here in Big Ten play. One could say the progression has been from a derringer, to a magnum, to a shotgun, and the problem is approaching last year’s bazooka ending. Turnovers are part of the game, but the mental mistakes by our own team, players, coaches are just not good. And that comment is kind.

What concerns us very much are the unforced errors including this week the poor snaps that cost Michigan a safety Saturday, the five men in the backfield (again), dropped passes, and the biggest factor, namely, all the turnovers.

A team will rarely beat quality opponents when it self-destructs. The last three games have been filled with turnovers. Some will blame Michigan for making the mistakes while others will credit the other teams. For us, this is a trend and there are way too many turnovers for this team to have a chance, especially against a Penn State. Iowa had turnovers to make the game close, but PSU and stingy old Joe were not near as generous. One reason why this team did well early in the season (besides an easy schedule) was it took care of the ball and did not turn the ball over.

The biggest factor in our opinion is youth; Michigan is a very young team and is still learning a new system. On defense Michigan must have some system stability, three new defensive coordinators and schemes in three years is a recipe for unforced errors.

As far as the talent level, Michigan needs to start recruiting defensive players more heavily. Add to this statement better defensive recruits as well. People want to complain about the defense and that is fine, but until UM gets some better players on defense, through recruiting, expect no "miracles" from the defense, the defensive coordinator, the defensive coaches, etc. The analogy of coaching to a chess match only goes so far. If a chess player has lost a pair of rooks and the opponent still is in possession of such power, look out; only serious blunders by the opponent could save the day

We remember when Coach Robinson was brought in many people thought all the defensive problems would vanish with the exit of Coach Shafer. Well this year has proven that one man was not the problem. If you look at the stats from last year and this year there is not much difference, except for the fact that this year the defense has a somewhat more competent offense to help them out once in awhile.

As our friend MaizeMan reiterates over and over again: Recruit, Recruit, Recruit; this will get us out of this problem.

Thanks for stopping by Go Blue Michigan Wolverine
If you have any questions please E-Mail

Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Recruits can fumble, line up wrong, have poor fundamentals and lose focus at key moments....recruiting will not fix what ills this program.

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