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11 hours prior to this posting, veteran Bucknuts poster MrMrClark remarked ( http://ohiostate.247sports.com/Board/120/Denard-AND-Gardner-14305562/1 ) about UM's lack of using Denard and Gardner in tandem. Seems that was all Freep writer Drew Sharp needed to get his inspiration for today's column in the DetroitFreePress:
Michigan's offense doesn't fool anybody, much less Ohio State
Drew Sharp: November 25, 2012
COLUMBUS — A wave of scarlet and gray swarmed the field as time expired, Michigan once again tattooed with a loss to its nemesis. The congestion proved too great for the vanquished and the victorious coaches to meet for the customary contrived postgame graciousness.
Brady Hoke couldn’t find an opening through the masses to shake hands with Urban Meyer.
“It’s not a story,” Hoke insisted as he dejectedly left his postgame news conference.
But in fact the moment proved emblematic of not just a game, but an entire season. When seriously pushed, the Wolverines never pushed back.
Their 26-21 loss to Ohio State applied the appropriate red nose and squirting lapel flower to the collective collegiate and professional football season in the entire state of Michigan that’s fitting for jumping out of the trunk of a Volkswagen. When measured against season-opening expectations, the Wolverines proved no different from the Lions or Michigan State.
All three failed miserably.
Mediocrity should never become a consolation.
But that’s precisely where Michigan remains in Hoke’s second year. They detonate scoreboards at home with an explosive offense, but take them away from Ann Arbor and they become physically and strategically deficient. Until they’ve proven they can beat a good, ranked team on the road, the Wolverines cannot be taken seriously nationally.
“It’s hard to win when you turn the ball over four times and don’t covert third-and-short opportunities,” Hoke said.
It also doesn’t help when your offense turns frustratingly predictable in the second half. Three turnovers certainly contributed to Michigan never once advancing into Ohio State territory after halftime. But offensive coordinator Al Borges’ lack of imaginative play-calling while shuffling Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson at quarterback offered no mystery to the Buckeyes’ defense.
It was pretty easy figuring out Michigan’s “plan.”
They ran when Robinson took the snap. They threw when Gardner took the snap.
How’s that for deception?
Robinson — who didn’t attempt a pass in the game but ran 10 times for 122 yards — insisted that he wasn’t injured.
“I can throw,” he said referring to the still-recovering ulnar nerve injury to his right arm. “We went with the plays Coach was calling and we thought would be successful. I do feel comfortable throwing the ball.”
But it begs the obvious question: Why didn’t Hoke and Borges use Gardner and Robinson together more in the backfield?
They used that tandem so effectively in last week’s blowout victory over Iowa. But Hoke said they didn’t employ that package much against the Buckeyes because Gardner and Robinson hadn’t worked together much in the backfield prior to the preparation for the Iowa game.
And there rests both the biggest complaint about Hoke in his first two years and the greatest concern as the program moves forward. He never fully maximized Robinson’s special talents because the young man never became the dual quarterbacking threat that would’ve made the difference in the road losses that ultimately cost Michigan a crack at the Big Ten championship in Hoke’s two seasons.
Where might Michigan stand now had Hoke done the smart thing and made Gardner his starter last year, and converted Robinson into that Percy Harvin multiple-option hybrid that would have made the Wolverines’ less one-dimensional offensively?
They wouldn’t be a no-big-deal 8-4 and probably headed for yet another New Year’s Day date in Orlando for the Lloyd Carr Invitational.
Instead, they’re now eight years removed from their last Big Ten championship, the longest conference title drought since the 14-year stretch in 1950-1964.
It was an emotional loss for the departing seniors. Only pride was at stake on this afternoon, and sometimes that’s enough motivation. Nebraska had already wrapped up the Legends Division berth in next weekend’s Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis. The Wolverines’ primary objective was that of spoiler, ruining a perfect season for the Buckeyes in Meyer’s first year as the program’s warden. Ohio State is 12-0 with no place to go in January because of NCAA sanctions.
But there was no ambivalence to Meyer’s message to Michigan. If the Wolverines don’t step up in the big games, their title drought might linger a little longer.
BK Bits: Plenty going on so let’s get started!~This morning OSU Offered every 5star in Tex,Fla,& Ala...I will have more throughout the day!
Here is another article from Sharp:
► 1) What was the turning point in the game?
Michigan's failure to convert on a fourth-and-3 on its first possession of the second half dramatically shifted momentum in Ohio State's favor.
Brady Hoke called a time-out and inserted Denard Robinson at quarterback for the play. Robinson admitted that he made the wrong read, taking the play inside rather than stretching it a little farther outside. Robinson got tackled for a 2-yard loss.
The Buckeyes took the ball and moved down the field for a go-ahead field goal. But that play established their physical dominance at the point of attack for the remainder of the game.
Hoke made the right call going for it. Robinson didn't properly execute the play.
► 2) Why can't Michigan play well on the road?
The Wolverines are careless with the football. Remove Alabama from the equation because U-M was losing that game pretty much no matter what happened. But losing the turnover battle by a wide margin was the difference in losses at Notre Dame, Nebraska and Saturday at Ohio State.
It's a pretty simple for road success. Run the ball. Stop the run. And protect the ball!!
Michigan couldn't do that and that's what separates the truly good teams from the pretenders.
► 3) Should the Buckeyes be open for second-guessing by not taking the bowl ban last season?
I don't believe so. As someone who has covered more NCAA investigations than he would care to remember, I can assure you that penalized teams must always leave the NCAA infractions committee something to hammer them with even after they self-impose punishment. Even if Ohio State accepted a bowl ban after last year's 6-6 regular season, the NCAA still would've hit it with another one-year ban. That's just how the NCAA operates.
they're all butt hurt like we knew they would be. love it!! they'll be back to their usual arrogant selves soon enough.
I thought the article was perfectly reasonable. No butthurtness that I could see.
Being that he's a Michigan writer, I got a kick out of his honesty in answering that third question (second post above:)
I don't believe so. As someone who has covered more NCAA investigations than he would care to remember,....
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