Playing ugly just looks to be the 2019 Michigan football offense’s season plan. Though the defense put another elite performance up, this offense is just downright gross. Like stink face gross.
But, even though the offense is doing its best to piss everyone off, how about that defensive performance? That’s back to back elite performance from Don Brown’s boys in response to the Wisconsin whooping.
These offensive highlights won’t be a ton of fun to watch but the defensive clips are fun. So, here ya go:
Here are my takeaways from Michigan’s win over Iowa:
1. Hello, Defense
Couldn’t really gauge the defense last week, even after shutting out a “Power Five opponent”. But they showed up with a vengeance against the Hawkeyes.
No, Iowa isn’t close to an offensive juggernaut but they are a good, powerful team that weighs on its opponents. But the Michigan defense was more than ready.
Only allowed one (1!) rushing yard for the entire game, racked up eight (8!) sacks, forced four turnovers, including three picks off Nate Stanley (who had yet to throw a pick this season) and a fumble on the first offensive play of the game for Iowa.
And did I see adjustments by Don Brown?
After getting burnt playing man-to-man on a 3rd and 22 with Iowa backed up to its goal line in the 2nd quarter, Don Brown made the adjustment on similar plays by moving the safeties over the top of the corners. That allowed the defensive line to get into the backfield and force a stop.
And then after getting burnt by crossing routes for the last 6 games, he actually went into a zone coverage. Khaleke Hudson missed a tackle on one big gainer but the play was there to be made.
Michigan’s defense has allowed just 3 points in the last two games in total. With the offense sputtering, the defense has figured it out at the right time.
2. Someone Wake Up the Offense
“This isn’t what I ordered”
That’s pretty much every Michigan fan’s feeling right now when looking at this offense. It was supposed to be better. It was supposed to be electric. It was supposed to be #SpeedInSpace. But it isn’t. It’s a mess and is showing even more growing pains than anyone imagined at this point in the season.
As The Athletic’s Chris Vannini said, this game looked like every Michigan State game over the last two years. Great defense with just an ugly offense.
One big issue is the lack of explosiveness. Not sure if the Michigan offense knows this but you’re allowed to throw the ball down the field more than once a game. But to be real, I’m not sure if it’s the lack in confidence in the offensive line to pass protect or a miss in reads from Patterson that is the problem here but something needs to change.
Overall, this is far from a one-issue thing. Implementation was clearly sloppy, play calls have been questionable and problematic at times, and execution from the quarterback, offensive line, running back, and receivers have caused issues as well.
You can see the frustration with Josh Gattis on the sidelines as mistakes and missed opportunities continue to pile up. We’ll see if the staff and players can get this figured out before it ends their Big Ten title hopes.
And no, I’m not putting anything into Jim Harbaugh’s coachspeak of the offense hitting its stride.
3. Stock Up
- Don Brown
- Just when everyone was jumping off the bandwagon, his defense puts up one of its best performances in the last three years. Adjustments were made to clean up deep ball and crossing route issues. Iowa is Iowa but this was a good performance. But let’s see if he has it figured out through November.
- Ambry Thomas, Lavert Hill and Daxton Hill had outstanding games.
- Pass Rushing
- Eight sacks for the defense which only had six in total coming into the game. And this was against one hell of an offensive line that has multiple NFL draft picks along it.
- Undisciplined Hawkeyes
- Normally, when you play Iowa, you play a team that makes few mistakes and self-inflicted wounds. However, they were a mess in this game. Bad turnovers and drive-killing penalties.
4. Stock Down
- Big Plays
- Michigan’s passing offense is like driving a Ferrari the speed limit. You have the firepower. Open it up every now and then. Nico Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, and Ronnie Bell look like afterthoughts at times as the offense only put up four (4!) plays that racked up 15+ yards, two of which were runs. Even Urban Meyer pointed it out during halftime. It’s a big problem for this offense and something Josh Gattis and Jim Harbaugh needs to figure out.
- Viper Position
- It’s almost unfair to always compare it to Jabrill Peppers so I’m gonna just compare it to his 2017 performance. Khaleke Hudson just hasn’t been the same player he was two seasons ago. I’m not sure if he’s tempered his aggressiveness back after being kicked out of multiple games for targeting or what but he just hasn’t made the impact that the Viper position needs to make in Don Brown’s defense. He made some plays as a pass rusher late in this one but that kind of impact is needed throughout the game.
- Calling for the Backup
- Has Shea played well enough yet? No, not at all. It’s been a problem that needs to be figured out quickly. He had some horrible reads and at least one horrible throw in this one. But fans saying that Joe Milton is “better” is always funny. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see him a little bit more but there’s a reason he’s the third-string quarterback. I’m gonna go ahead and trust the coaching staff that sees these players every single day to make that decision.
- Now, when McCaffrey returns and if he shows the ability to have patience in the pocket and throw accurate passes, and Patterson continues to struggle, we can revisit the “play the backup” discussion.
- Offsetting Penalties
- Penalties should be one-for-one. If one team gets multiple flags and the other only gets one, it shouldn’t offset. We should be using math here. Like in the fourth quarter when running out of bounds on punt coverage offset a blindside block (personal foul) and a hold by Iowa. That’s just dumb.
- My Preseason Prediction
- Already missed badly on the Wisconsin game and then picked Iowa to win this one. It wasn’t way off and is 4-1 after week six but still wrong.
Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog