Sunday, November 10, 2013
What we learned: Week 11
By Chantel Jennings
Michigan dropped its first win in the Big House under Brady Hoke, and the Wolverines dropped further in the Legends Division. This team is still a pretty big mystery, but here are three things we learned about Michigan on Saturday.
1. They're in trouble. Coming into the Nebraska game, I had said that 2-2 in November would be a probable outcome for the Wolverines. After seeing how this group played, 1-3 wouldn't be a bad guess either. The offense still doesn't have an identity and couldn't find momentum at all. There's a good chance the Wolverines split their road games at Northwestern and Iowa, and even though we always say records don't matter for The Game, play does. And the Wolverines are not playing at a level that's going to be competitive against the Buckeyes. This team realistically could finish the regular season 7-5.
2. The defense is more clutch than the offense. In past years, late in a game with a win on the line, it would've made sense to put your money on the offense. Denard Robinson was a playmaker, and while he wasn't the most consistent guy in the world, he often created something out of nothing. That clearly isn't true about the offense this year. The defense gave up a late 75-yard drive to the Cornhuskers, but even so, it consistently is the more clutch group on the field. And if there's a game that comes down to either Michigan's offense in the red zone or its defense, the D might be the better choice.
3. There are too many issues on offense. With football there isn't usually a simple answer when teams are struggling, but with the Wolverines there are just too many issues. The offensive line is a place to start -- it lacks chemistry, and the interior linemen aren't getting enough push. This was the second game in a row that Graham Glasgow has snapped a ball completely over Devin Gardner's head. Which brings us to Gardner. He doesn't have the same pocket presence he appeared to have early in the season. Gardner has looked disjointed and is clearly struggling, but part of that can be blamed on the fact that the Wolverines don't have a run game. Fitzgerald Toussaint or Derrick Green need to take the pressure off Gardner, but they haven't. There's that O-line again. The wide receivers and tight ends have been good this season, and Jake Butt is a bright spot showing growth in an offense that has appeared stagnant. But overall, there's a lot to fix and not much time to do it.