Listening to Brady Hoke on Monday, you'd think Michigan had a wonderful day on offense against Ohio State. You'd think Al Borges called the game of his life. You'd think Michigan was put in position to win and the players just blew it.
In fact, here's more from that press conference, courtesy of AnnArbor.com:
"I thought he called a good football game," Brady Hoke said during a news conference Monday. "We do a couple things better, I think we'd all be much happier. I thought the playcalling was exactly as it should have been."
Michigan also didn't play Robinson and Gardner together, a formation that gave Iowa fits the previous week. Hoke said that had to do with timing, as well as the limited plays in the second half due to turnovers.
"Offensively, you’re a little bit out of your realm and your mojo, if you want to call it that," Hoke said. "Trying to do something that maybe wouldn’t be as successful? We just didn’t feel like it.”
Hoke doesn't regret the playcalling, saying execution just wasn't there.
Now, who are you going to believe: Brady Hoke or your lyin' eyes?
What was Michigan's biggest problem in the second half of the Ohio State game?
Michigan's offensive performance in the second half was a failure of coaching. Hoke and Borges aren't going to admit that publicly, mainly because expecting anyone to go around admitting their own professional failures with a microphone in their face is to fundamentally misunderstand human nature.
But even if Hoke won't admit it publicly, he has got to realize that the sheer predictability of Michigan's offensive approach killed the Wolverines' chances to get a win on Saturday. The defense did its part. It kept Ohio State close, never with more than a one-possession lead, meaning the game was always winnable as long as Michigan had the ball.
And yet in the second half, when the predictability of Michigan's offense really became clear, Michigan registered more turnovers (three) than first downs (two).
It's not just guesswork that Ohio State used to figure out Michigan's plays. Here's what Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator and safety said about the game to The Michigan Daily afterward:
“They were a little bit predictable in the first half,” said Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers. “You know, they put 16 (Robinson) back there, he was gonna run it. And they put 12 (Gardner) back there, they were gonna throw it. And after a while that became something that we keyed on.”
“The defensive coaches told us that we needed to stop No. 16 because we knew he wasn’t going to throw the ball because of his wrist,” said safety Christian Bryant.
That's, in a word, unacceptable. Brady Hoke can spin it as something else to the press since that's sort of what he does, but he's got to realize that such a coaching performance is below the standards of anyone in the Big Ten, especially Michigan.
Think about it: Al Borges had Denard Robinson at quarterback, a guy who would have obliterated opponents in Oregon's offense. Instead, Michigan appeared not really to know how to use Robinson, and Devin Gardner looked like a better fit for the offense by the end of the season.
Folks, if you're a coach and you don't know how to be successful with Denard Robinson at quarterback, that says more about you as a coach than Denard Robinson as a QB. And when it comes to Al Borges, enough has been said. Michigan can do better. It should do better.