The Holiday season is here and Christmas lists are being sent to Santa from all over the globe. Every Michigan fan has a wish list for their football team. Here is a list of five items I would love to see Santa deliver to Schembechler Hall in Ann Arbor.
1 - Consistency
The "golden ticket" item on my Christmas list for Santa is consistency.
It was really odd to watch the Wolverines falter late in the season due to lack of progression and consistency. Tate Forcier became a regular Joe come the end of the season.
Forcier has the intangibles, but lacked the awareness that comes with experience. He will get that as he grows as a college quarterback. You can't discredit the injury factor, but that is no excuse to make poor choices with the ball in game 12 of the season.
The defense also showed it had signs of poor consistency, giving up more points late in the season.
The Michigan teams you grew to love and watch became fierce and hungry as the season wore on. This defensive squad showed no heart until it was too late.
The Ohio State game was probably one of the better games, but still wasn't enough in the end.
And that was the story for the entire season.
2 - Coaching
Consistency and coaching go hand in hand. This season, it looked like the coaching staff hit a wall with the kids. The quarterback position stuck out like a sore thumb in that respect, as did the entire defensive team.
Coach Robinson will need to work on discipline, tackling, and coverage. On too many occasions it seemed the secondary was lost in space with blown coverage happening way too often.
I know Rod Smith can coach quarterbacks, but he was inable to calm Forcier down and give him the tools to succeed with a playbook that he was comfortable with. I'm not a man of x's and o's, but I can tell when a QB is lost, and that's what Forcier looked like.
I include everyone, Rodriguez and Magee, with this mismanagement of talent. At what point do the coaches decide to implement a playbook that the talent can manage? I don't understand why the coaching staff can't make the subtle halftime adjustments that are necessary to get the offense going in the second half.
It seemed as if a different team came out in the second half of the games late in the season. I know that it is necessary to stick to a game plan, but when you stop scoring in the second half, that is a major concern.
As an observer, you can only wonder what is going on.
3 - Route Running
I was less than impressed with the route running of some of the position players on offense. It seemed that the quarterback and the receivers or tight ends were often on different pages.
You often saw Forcier take three seconds, make a few reads, not see anything, and semi-tuck the ball and run. I don't mind that if he was playing like he did in the first half of the season, but as the year went on, he was turning to the run faster and faster.
He needs to trust his athletes as he said during the ND game or the Indiana game. He didn't seem to trust them as the season went on.
4 - Ball Control/Handling
The mishandling of the rock at Michigan was appalling this year.
Forcier, in particular, had an issue with holding on to the ball, as did Robinson. Michigan had 29 fumbles, 13 resulting in a turnover.
The Ohio State game makes this a huge issue, but overall, they did a decent job of holding on to the ball. Costly fumbles and interceptions hurt them throughout the season, but only with minimal concern. Forcier almost doubled his picks in that game.
Time of possession is another issue with this team. Michigan, as evident, needs the defense to get off the field on third downs. It was shocking to see that Michigan held the ball 20 minutes less than their opponents in the second half.
5 - Play 60 Minutes
Michigan was great at playing one half of football this year.
Some games it would be the first, others would be the second, but it was rarely both. This coaching staff is capable of getting them to play a full game, it just seems they fall flat way too often.
In respect to the offense, they would play a great first half and lay an egg in the second half, or vice versa. The defense would often play the same way. Good one half, poor the second, or just downright awful the entire game. This is something that the coaching staff needs to address this offseason.
Just a few things I would ask Santa for, being a Michigan fan and all. I look forward to the off-season and for the recruiting to heat up. Michigan looks to gain on both sides of the ball with the 2010 class.
As the Voice said in Field of Dreams , "If you build it, he will come."
Rodriguez is putting together pieces, and if he shows them enough, his recruits will come through in the end.