Michigan football: Harshly grading the Wolverines after win over Army
If you’ve enjoyed having your Michigan Wolverines being ranked the No. 7 team in the country, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Because even though they hung on to beat Army 24-21 in double overtime on Saturday in the Big House, they are sure to fall in the ranking Sunday after that uninspiring showing that really should have ended in a loss.
This team, one I foolishly bought into a year ago and did so again this year, is another disappointment. I had them No. 1 in my Big Ten rankings in the preseason and picked them to win the conference and make the playoffs, but I’m changing my mind. This team, based on Saturday, just isn’t that good.
Here is what I liked (a little) — and didn’t like (a lot) — from Michigan’s Week 2 overtime win over Army:
What I liked
1. The final score, a Michigan victory
For all the flaws in Michigan’s game — and we’re going to get into all of that in a minute — the Wolverines still won this game to moved to 2-0. This narrow victory might have been ugly, but it’s still a win all the same. Being 2-0 was the goal after two games, and that’s what Michigan has done. Mission accomplished.
What else did I like? Absolutely nothing. So let’s just go ahead and take the next two items that are usually in this category and drop them down to the next section. It was that bad.
2. Moved below
It had to be done in an ugly game like this.
3. Moved further below
This one too. Maybe I’m being mean, but I am getting tired of this team underachieving.
What I didn’t like
1. That a freshman RB had to carry the ball 33 times
Sure, I’m on board with the fact that Zach Charbonnet is a nice running back and he’s going to be a star during his three years in Ann Arbor. But Saturday turned into a joke. He had to carry the ball 33 times to get his 100 yards (right on the button) and the Wolverines pounded away on the ground with very little success, averaging only 2.4 yards per carry as a team. This was supposed to be a high-powered new offense, but it’s the same old garbage. The offensive line is underachieving again, and the other backs have proven that they can’t be on the field right now. How can a school like Michigan have only one running back they can trust? That’s ridiculous.
2. Shea Patterson simply has to be better
Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson came back for his senior year to do big things, but he’s been average at best these first two weeks, and that’s coming from a guy who’s defended him for two years against his over-the-top Michigan fan critics. He was loose with the football Saturday with a couple of fumbles, and he gained only 207 yards on his 29 throws. Michigan scoring only 14 points in regulation against a team like Army is an absolute joke. My finger first points at Patterson for that inefficiency,
3. Bonus ‘Didn’t Like No. 1’ : The high-powered offense is a fallacy
New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis was supposed to revolutionize Michigan’s offense, but it really doesn’t look any different from the boring, vanilla stuff that they’ve been running the past few years. I wonder what’s really going on behind the scenes. Does Jim Harbaugh still have him on a leash, and he’s yanking hard? Is Gattis afraid to just let things loose? This isn’t working out so far, and it needs to get fixed.
4. Bonus ‘Didn’t Like No. 2’: Using a bye week for major repairs
With this rare 14-week schedule, every team has two bye weeks this season. Michigan’s first one comes early, and what is supposed to be nice is that it’s a great time to build on what you have and add a lot of new wrinkles. These struggles, though, mean Michigan actually has to go back to the drawing board and fix everything they’ve already installed. It’s wasting a week that could have been special. What’s the Michigan offense going to look like when they return to the field in Madison on Sept. 21? I have no idea. And do I have to remind you that Wisconsin’s defense has opened the season with two shutouts against South Florida and Central Michigan? Is it going to get worse before it gets better?