Following the #GreatUtahLetdown of 2015, M bloggers are back at it...taking to their keyboards to help articulate just what it was that we all watched last night. While we haven't quite reached Brady Hoke levels of panic yet, yesterday was a stark reminder that our torch and pitchforks are still out in the garage ready to go.
CAUTION: Guarded optimism ahead!
But on the road against a decent team, Michigan simply made too many mistakes, big and small, to expect to come away with a victory. They'll be better than they looked tonight, there's little doubt of that. There'll also be rough patches. Home games against lesser teams lie ahead until BYU comes to the Big House, by which time the Wolverines should look more impressive.
At least there was Harbaugh, a sensible gameplan, and a solid outing from the defense. That's something to build on. If this turns out to be an anomalous performance from Rudock, this squad still could be very good. After all the offseason excitement, it's painful to wait through the development process, but even tonight it wasn't hard to see that the process is underway. It just might take a little longer than we had hoped.
I think Harbaugh called a good game. Conservative but the opportunities were there – Rudock just didn’t cash in. We didn’t try anything tricky beyond maybe tossing into the 2nd level over the middle, but in the middle we’ve apparently got a guy in Butt that could be catching pills from Tom Brady on the off chance Gronk hurts himself by doing something weird.
On the ground, De’Veon Smith’s toughness is so impressive but he just never had the space. I watched from field level and haven’t seen any replay yet—my questions: is he not hitting the holes, and/or is he not quick enough to get through the holes or were there just not enough holes? That’s got to get better as well.
The Michigan program is not yet back to the point where it is reasonable to expect wins in every game, but Coach Harbaugh has been given all the tools that he asked for when coming to Michigan. Whether or not he has taught all the needed tools that Team 137 needs to win this year will prove out during the season. The first real marker is the result of this opening game with the Utes, but more significant games follow.
Ruddock is clearly here to play that Griese game manager role. That seemed to backfire in game one. I'm pretty sure Shane is not the answer, but if it's a risk reward situation, I'm all for risk. And if that risk brings in Shane or someone further down the depth chart, I've got no problem with that. Same for any of the other skill positions. Ate too many donuts while being coddled by Brady? There's a hungrier kid behind you that might get your spot, so either get tough, get better, or get out of the way so we can have a bigger recruiting class. If I am to criticize, I would say I'm disappointed that there are not more underclassmen already on the top of the depth chart, which is either a function of poor evaluation or upperclassmen loyalty, neither of which I have time for.
Overall, while it was a loss at the end of the day, there is not really a whole lot to be incredibly discouraged about. Michigan lost a game they were underdogs in to a very good football team. All of their problems, except maybe the athleticism of the linebacking corps, are coachable and they should improve as the year goes on. We are still looking at a team that wins 7 or 8 games and now they will watch the tape, come home and prep for Harbaugh's first game at Michigan Stadium against Oregon State.
This team will get better. The bar was set against Utah and now they will have to raise it each week as they keep improving. The box score looks a lot like a game from last year, but there was enough there to suggest they will figure it out.
The Michigan Football team looked very similar to Michigan fans last night, they looked good and terrible at times and clearly don't know how to win. The difference between Utah and Michigan is one thing, the QB position. Utah's QB threw one pick that didn't matter, Michigan's QB threw 3 that stopped it's team from scoring points and gave the other team 6. The reason Rudock is here, is to protect the ball and not turn it over. He did just the opposite in his first game as a Wolverine. All 3 picks were targeted at the true freshman Grant Perry. The first pick seemed to be an issue of the true freshman WR running the wrong route the other two were Rudock's fault and the third pick was a killer.