Burning Dog Poo and the Human Response

In the aftermath of the almost-catastrophic Akron game, Michigan bloggers took to their keyboards to say things. Here's a roundup of Akron reaction.

There should be a hangover from the previous week. Notre Dame, as shitty as it looks like they are, was still a rival opponent on a huge stage. Michigan should be looking ahead to the Big Ten...and probably should be thinking about resting up for a torrid November. Michigan should look at Akron and think they are inferior, that they deserve no respect, and that the game is a joke. Michigan should be ill prepared, and unable to get motivated for a noon kickoff. Noon kickoffs in September are for the bottom feeders.

And given all of those things, Michigan still should have won 156-0.

They should have lost. So here on Sunday instead of a deep pit in your stomach as you brace to face your colleagues Monday…it’s merely a headache and a sense of bewilderment. This will take a while to shake off. One caller to WTKA Sunday morning said Michigan got beat in every position group and on the sidelines Saturday and that’s pretty much correct.

Gardner played most of the game in a lower gear as if he didn’t need to play full out to roll up and down the field. He clearly can’t operate in a “kinda-on” mode. I don’t know if that was direction from the coaches or whether that was just in his head. He was out of sync with the receivers, threw balls late and didn’t look to take off running when he needed to. That is until Michigan was down. Moving forward Gardner needs to see Ohio State across the ball and go full on until the coaches tell him to stop. And it bugs me that three games in, that the backs can’t seem to make the first defender miss or at least pay for it.

Yes, it was more tense than it should have been.  Yes, it's annoying, especially after the Notre Dame game had us, as fans, dreaming of Pasadena or more.  But it's an early season hiccup, one hopefully that will provide lessons which will be learned.  No one promises 55-7 routs, no one promises easy victories.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't want those things, it just means you need to recalibrate your expectations and understand that sometimes things like this happen.  You work to get better for next week, and the next week, and the next week, because it means something to you.  You have a right to be unhappy, but only if you do something about it.  This is more difficult for fans, because they can only cheer and hope and root.  They can't practice harder this week, clean up the fundamentals, work on the decision making.  But the players can, the coaches can, and that's what you're left to hope for in this case.  That they do learn the lesson here and take it to heart. 

On the road to East Hartford, where we hope for better days.

The Wolverines should have learned a valuable lesson from this near miss. At the post-game press conference, Taylor Lewan was greatly irritated by a lack of practice intensity this week (at least on some days) and indicated that the Seniors and Captains should have done better in that area.. If Lewan’s intense attitude is a good sign, and it is, preparation for Connecticut next Saturday will be intense. There are lots of areas to improve while winning as the season progresses, and this game was but another opportunity to do so.

In the end, Michigan outgained the worst FBS team outside of Georgia State by seven yards—seven very critical yards, as it turned out. Gardner's 248 passing yards and 103 rushing yards were offset by his four turnovers, including his second pick-six in as many games. The offensive line struggled to open up holes against a very small Akron defensive front. The defense, for their part, allowed far too many passes over the middle and couldn't muster a good pass rush until the game's final play; they gave up big plays, too, as both Raymon Taylor and Jourdan Lewis were beat for big gains over the top.

"This is an embarrassment," Taylor Lewan said after the game. Even with the victory, there's no argument here.

Maize & Go Blue:
Michigan got beat in every area of the game on Saturday except the scoreboard, and Brady Hoke said as much in the locker room after the game. Some glaring weaknesses were exposed to be sure, but how the team responds in practice this week and at UConn next week will set the tone for the rest of the season.

It has been a strange seven days for Michigan football, going from the ultimate high of beating Notre Dame to barely avoiding a monumental upset at the hands of a team that has won just four games over the last three-plus seasons. And now, nothing can be taken for granted the rest of the season.

Touch the Banner:
A hundred years from now, nobody will remember this day. So there's that. Otherwise, this was ugly. Good teams struggle sometimes. Is Michigan a good team? I think they're pretty good. There's still hope that this season will end magically, but let's be honest - with a questionable interior line and wide receivers, an injury to the best defensive player, and no real stars on defense, perhaps Michigan fans should re-calibrate. That's not say that things like this are okay, but poop happens.

Maize & Brew:
My expectations for the season were lowered this weekend. Notre Dame looked pedestrian against a bad Purdue team for much of the night, adding to the worry. I don't see this team making it to the Ohio State game undefeated, and a win over the Buckeyes seems less and less probable with every passing week. My gut tells me that Gardner needs to come back to a stronger all-around roster next season if he wants to put a Big Ten title run together.

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