Sunday, July 10, 2011

Matt Chandik's Michigan Review 2010

By Matt Chandik
2010 season: 7-6 (3-5 Big 10)
Vs. Connecticut W 30-10
@ Notre Dame W 28-24
Vs. Massachussetts W 42-37
Vs. Bowling Green W 65-21
@ Indiana W 42-35
Vs. Michigan State L 34-17
Vs. Iowa L 38-28
@ Penn State L 41-31
Vs. Illinois W 67-65 (3 OT)
@ Purdue W 27-16
Vs. Wisconsin L 48-28
@ Ohio State L 37-7
Gator Bowl: Vs. Mississippi State L 52-17

And here we....go.
Wait, let me grab of a bottle of tequila first. Okay, we're good.
Michigan's season was a tale of one good units and two fucking train wrecks for units, so it's only acceptable that the best be saved for last.
Quarterback/running back/fullback/wide receiver/tight end/left tackle/left guard/center/right guard/right tackle/defensive end/defensive tackle/linebacker/cornerback/safety/kicker/punter/waterboy/coach/athletic director/savior of the world Denard Robinson was a revelation for Michigan last year. After spending a year backing up 84-pound starting quarterback Tate Forcier and completely unable to hit water with a pass if he fell out of a boat, The Dreadlocked One began the season showing good accuracy, a strong arm and a whole lot of HOLY FUCKING SHIT DID YOU SEE THAT RUN? moments. In his first start, he broke the Michigan school record for most total yards in a game by quarterback with 383 yards. No big deal. Denard was so unimpressed with his new, shiny record that he decided that, well, here we go.
Five hundred and two yards. 502. No, seriously. Denard Robinson managed to do in one game what an average team managed to do against Michigan's defense. Scratch that, that doesn't make it sound impressive, but Robinson simply dominated Notre Dame. Yes, I know, it's Notre Dame, but come on, it remains impressive when a guy pairs 244 passing yards with 258 rushing yards in the same game. While teams eventually started slowing him down because of the fact that a 6-0, 190-pound guy shouldn't be carrying the ball 25 times per game in addition to his 25 passes per game and because Michigan's running backs failed more than Ohio State's compliance department, Robinson still became the charter member of the NCAA's 2,500-1,500-yard club. Robinson ended up with 18 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 2,570 passing yards, 1,702 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Not bad for a guy who can't tie his shoes.
Michigan's running backs blew ass last year, though it's entirely plausible that at least half of the blame belongs to Rich Rodriguez (WHO GOT FIRED, BITCHES! HAVE ANOTHER SHOT!). Rodriguez is the same guy who thinks that running to the wide side of the field on EVERY MOTHERFUCKING FIRST DOWN will work because, well, he's a goddamned offensive guru, fuckers. The same offensive guru decided that barrelling 5-6, 160-pound Vincent Smith (less than a year removed from tearing an ACL) into the middle of the pile out of the I-formation on third and short was a good idea. The same offensive guru decided that Michael Cox wasn't good enough to usurp carries away from, well, anyone. The same offensive guru thought Michael Shaw might break a tackle for the first time in his life. HE'S A FUCKING OFFENSIVE GURU! The running game was a giant clusterfuck of crap. Smith looked tentative and scared to put weight on his damaged leg (Hey, Rich, you're allowed to redshirt kids after their freshman year. Look it up.) and truth is, you can't really be a 5-6, 160-pound starting back in the Big 10. Shaw is a poor man's Carlos Brown. Blindingly fast, but zero agility, zero tackle-breaking ability and zero ability to avoid injuries. Stephen Hopkins may be the first person to ever have his 40-yard dash time calculated in days, not seconds. Cox is apparently fumble-happy and it's a 50-50 chance that he knows his own name, let alone what 36 Trap Right Double Pump means so, yeah, that's why Denard Robinson was broken in half every game.
The receivers were as inconsistent as any position. Roy Roundtree may be the most maddening receiver in the country. On some plays, he'll be wide the fuck open like against Notre Dame and Illinois and make some great plays. Roundtree broke Michigan's school record for most yards in a game with 246 yards on nine catches against Illinois. Holy fuck. Did anyone even pretend like they were going to cover him? I mean, the guy's 170 pounds soaking wet. It can't be that hard to cover him. He finished with 935 yards on 72 catches and seven touchdowns, but of course chose the Ohio State game to highlight just how Jekyll and Hyde he can be. Roundtree (suck it, Purdue) dropped as many passes as he caught against OSU (five) and appeared to pussy out of going over the middle several times. Mind you, that's probably partly because Big 10 officials don't ever call pass interference against former Buckeye safety Jermale Hines, but still, you've got to catch those, Roy.
Darryl Stonum took time off from drinking and driving to make an appearance last year. Stonum, whose hype has far exceeded his actual production at Michigan, caught 49 passes for 633 yards and four touchdowns. While Stonum's biggest impact two years ago was on kick returns when he broke the Michigan record for kick return yardage in a season, the OFFENSIVE GURU, MOTHERFUCKERS that is Rich Rodriguez (Did I mention he no longer works at Michigan? DO ANOTHER SHOT!) decided to trust Jeremy Gallon, who is smaller than Verne Troyer and fumbles if you breathe on him, as the primary kick returner and reduced Stonum to being a bystander during some big games. That'd probably make me drink, too. Junior Hemingway spends more time at the training table than Carlos Brown did, which is saying something. When healthy, he's as fast as a turtle running in cement, but he's usually a reliable target who turned in a 32-593-4 line last year. Kevin Koger and Martell Webb were basically just blockers. Webb was a more reliable blocker, but his hands were as dependable as Charlie Weis' discipline at Old Country Buffet.
The offensive line had its ups and downs for Michigan. Redshirt freshman Taylor Lewan flashed potential, but also showed a propensity for moronic penalties. Left guard Stephen Schilling had a solid year, but never lived up to the hype that followed him after he was a five-star recruit. Center David Molk's entire body hates him. He's one of the best centers nationally when healthy, but that's starting to become as common an occurrence as Lindsay Lohan passing an alcohol test. Patrick Omameh was better than expected at right guard. He's arguably the most mobile offensive lineman in the country and was a major reason for several big Denard Robinson runs (see the earlier 87-yarder against Notre Dame, but lacks strength and power after coming to Michigan as a 250-pound defensive end. Right tackle Mark Huyge was meh and should be replaced by redshirt sophomore Michael Schofield.


Fuck me in the ear, I need a drink. This is going to be painful. Quite simply put, the Wolverines were awful, putrid, terrible and atrocious to watch. Watching Michigan's “defense” was about as fun as the thought of fucking Lindsay Lohan after she's been on a two-week bender after her latest release from prison. It wasn't pretty. The 3-3-5 was a fucking wretched abomination for a defense. If you're going to play with three down linemen, do what Alabama does. No, not run off kids who aren't good enough (fuck, if Rich Rod did that, they would have had about eight players on the entire roster), but play with 300-pounders who can move and a 785-pound nose tackle who can't be moved (Hi Terrence Cody!). Mike Martin, who's probably a few tacos short of 300 pounds, is a damn good defensive tackle...when he's not getting triple-teamed every fucking snap. Unfortunately, that was the case quite often last year as Michigan had no one to take pressure off Martin. No offensive coordinator who faces Michigan will let his center try to single block Martin (with the possible exception of Ohio State's Michael Brewster) and for good reason. Martin is quick, does a good job of staying low and is exceptionally strong, but again, he was swallowed up as a nose tackle in whatever the fuck Rich Rod (FIRED, FUCKERS! Calls that defense. Despite being woefully misused and banged up for a good part of the year, Martin still managed to post 37 tackles, six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. The second-best defensive lineman was Ryan Van Bergen who was – you guessed it – terribly fucking misused. Van Bergen would be (will be?) a great fit as a 4-3 power end and a pass-rushing defensive tackle in a 4-3 in obvious passing situations. In obvious running situations, though, he was not s'good last year. In his defense, his defensive coordinator (eat a bag of dicks, Greg Robinson!) and his head coach (It truly is hard to fathom how much this guy fucked up) tried to use him as a quasi-defensive tackle all the time, and that failed just a bit. Still, RVB managed 37 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He and Martin should be better fits for new head coach Brady Hoke's 4-3, but fuck, it didn't do them much good last year.
The linebackers were pretty shitty, too. Craig Roh, who's a defensive end by trade and NOT A FUCKING COVERAGE LINEBACKER YOU MOTHERFUCKING ASSHATS, was awful in coverage, because, y'know, HE'S NOT A FUCKING COVERAGE LINEBACKER. Obi Ezeh still thinks that the ball he's supposed to chase is buried in the offensive guards' chests. Jonas Mouton was good enough to get drafted in the second round of the NFL draft (which, LOLChargers), but he sometimes did as many bad things as he did good things. Kenny Demens stepped in at middle 'backer for Ezeh and showed flashes, so there's hope that he won't suck in his remaining time in Ann Arbor. Cam Gordon was a safety to start the year and a linebacker to finish it. After getting some legendary recruiting hype (HE'S LIKE SEAN TAYLOR AT MIAMI, ONLY BETTER!!!!!!!!), he was decidedly, uh, not s'good. He was roasted in coverage by Kyle Rudolph in week two and was generally pretty horrid in all things coverage during the season. He was noticeably better at linebacker, so there's hope, but that's all it is now.
Oh, fuck, it's the secondary. It's like the retarded adopted kid in the family. You try to pretend like he doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, but fuck, man, this is one retarded kid. Troy Woolfolk, who was supposed to be the best of a bad bunch of defensive backs, had a leg that preferred to explode than play another year for the dipshit that is Rich Rodriguez (FIRED! CELEBRATION SHOT!), so he was out. That meant J.T. Floyd, who couldn't outrun a turtle sprinting in molasses, as one of the starters, and James Rogers, who had more position switches (two) than starts (zero) heading into the season were the starting corners. How the fuck do you think this worked out? NOT FUCKING WELL. Charles Woodson (Praised Be His Name) and Leon Hall, they ain't. Floyd got routinely owned and Rogers was pretty terrible, too. Picking which one of these two is my favorite is like picking who I'd rather fuck between bald Britney Spears or post-prison Lindsay Lohan. (Lindsay Lohan, for the record. She'd be batshit insane and there's a .00000001 percent chance she could eventually look as good as she did in Mean Girls. Think about it.) Anywhoo, it wasn't good. One corner who did show flashes, however, was Courtney Avery. Avery was a traditional Rodriguez recruit in that he was short, skinny and may or may not have played his position before. Avery was a high school quarterback who didn't play corner, but earned a Michigan offer as a corner in a summer camp and was the most impressive freshman defensive back of a beleaguered group that included Terrence Talbott, Ray Vinopal, Cullen Christian AND NOT FUCKING DEMAR DORSEY BECAUSE MICHIGAN'S ADMISSIONS REQUESTED THAT YOU NOT BE A FELON OR A DUMBASS BEFORE GETTING ACCEPTED, THOSE FUCKERS! Avery is actually expected to be a starter this year and he got noticeably better as the year progressed. Talbott got some playing time and was decidedly “meh” as an undersized freshman CB who needed a redshirt and probably isn't a Michigan-caliber player. Vinopal was pretty bad with the exception of a few plays and transferred to Pitt. Christian was bad all-around and transferred to Pitt. He still has Mark Dell's name branded on his forehead after being burned by 10 yards despite giving up a 10-yard cushion in the Michigan State game.
The safeties, yeesh, not s'good. Jordan Kovacs is actually pretty good in the box, despite being small and slow, but he's not exactly Ed Reed in coverage. He does what he can and actually put up 116 tackles, but a big part of that is due to Michigan's defense NEVER GETTING THE FUCK OFF THE FIELD NO MATTER THE DOWN AND DISTANCE. GET OFF THE FIELD! He tacked on 8.5 tackles for loss and two picks, but his coverage really, really needs help. However, he's the least of Michigan's concerns.
Vinopal and Gordon split the safety job and were equally shitty, but Carvin Johnson showed promise before being sidetracked by an injury. He's expected to be a strong contender for the starting FS job, but he's a little slow for that spot. Either way, he will not be worse than anyone that was the FS last year.

Special Teams

Holy shit, this was like watching Ohio State fans try to read. Just absolutely painful. Brendan Gibbons and Seth Broekhuizen battled to see who could suck more, and this was a fucking battle until the end. It was hideous.
Gibbons earned the starting job by virtue of sucking less in preseason, but turned to absolute shit during the season. The lefty version of Garrett Rivas (minus the made field goals) was a whopping 1-for-5 in field goal attempts and mangled an extra point attempt just to be on the safe side. He also routinely fucked up kickoffs and is generally a waste of a scholarship. Broekhuizen was the “better” of the two, though that word should probably not be used. He was a stellar 3-for-9 on field goals and, like Gibbons, added a missed extra point as the cherry on top of the sundae. With Gibbons clearly in the lead for the “Worst Kicker Ever” trophy, Broekhuizen made a gallant attempt to come back with two kickoffs that went out-of-bounds. Quite frankly, there is no winner in this. We all lose. The kickers were so bad that Rich Rodriguez routinely decided to say, “Fuck it, I'm a (FIRED!!!) offensive guru, fuckers” and would go for it on 4th-and-eleventy billion yards to go, which, in retrospect, wasn't a bad idea.
Jeremy Gallon joined in on the shitshow as the primary kick and punt returner. He averaged a pathetic 4.3 yards per punt return and 21.89 yards per kick return. Not good at all. He also routinely fumbled and looked scared to return the ball. Now, you might think to yourself, “Self, didn't Darryl Stonum do a pretty good job of kick returns the year before?” and you would be correct. However, you are not Rich Rodriguez, therefore you don't make the Michigan-related decision. Stonum had a return for a touchdown against Notre Dame in 2009 and averaged more than 25 yards per return. This was, apparently, not good enough for returns in 2010. Hell, you try recruiting a 5-8 guy who can't catch, can't protect the football and could pass for a middle schooler and not finding somewhere to use him. IT'S HARD! Gallon needed to do something, amirite?
Freshman punter Will Hagerup didn't suck, which is always a good thing. He averaged more than 43 yards per punt and was fairly consistent. He occasionally had shanks, but then again, who doesn't?

Bottom Line

I can't stress how happy I am that Rich Rodriguez is done at UM. His tenure was a failure of epic proportions. As it turns out, you can't have a 3-3-5 defense without the proper personnel. You DO have to recruit the offensive line and not just a bunch of 5-8 slot dots. There ARE three units in football, not just one, and paying attention to the two that Rodriguez neglected would be the best way to go about it. The Rodriguez era caused me to throw more remotes, yell angrily more often, curse out more players and generally hate a sports team that I like more than ever before. It was fucking brutal, and so was this recap, but there you go.

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