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Posted on Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 5:05 p.m.

Grades: Michigan football offense passes, defense does not

By Dave Birkett



Brandon Minor scores his second touchdown against Purdue on a 55-yard run in the second quarter. (Photo: Lon Horwedel |

Brandon Minor (154 yards rushing, 3 TDs) and Roy Roundtree (10 catches, 26 yards) had huge days that normally would be good enough for a Michigan win. Tate Forcier did lose a momentum-changing fumble in the third quarter and Mark Huyge drew a costly holding penalty that overturned a Minor TD, but it’s hard to complain about six scoring drives and two more that resulted in a missed field goal and a turnover on downs inside the Purdue 20. Grade: B Defense Michigan had its first two takeaways since the first quarter of the Iowa game on tipped passes, but Purdue still rolled up 494 yards of offense and 38 points. Boilermakers quarterback Joey Elliott torched the Wolverines’ abysmal secondary for a career-high 367 yards (a week after he passed for 59 against Wisconsin), and Michigan once again got slammed by the big play. Grade: D-minus Special teams Darryl Stonum had two big kick returns, Zoltan Mesko boomed a 63-yard punt and Jason Olesnavage made a career-long 51-yard field goal. But those positives were lost in a slew of mistakes. Olesnavage missed a key extra point (and a 48-yard field goal), and Purdue recovered an onside kick when Mike Jones left his spot early on the far side number. Michigan also failed to recover an on-side kick that Purdue tried to fumble away Grade: D Coaching There’s not much talent on defense, but there’s no defending the coaching on that side of the ball either. Michigan shouldn’t be this bad. Rich Rodriguez’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-10 at the Purdue 20 was debatable. Olesnavage had the wind at his back and, it turned out, a field goal would have won the game. Can’t argue with his reasoning though - he didn’t trust his defense. Grade: C Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Sun, Nov 8, 2009 : 7:38 a.m.

If you look at how highly rated players such as Mike Williams, Jason Mouton and Stevie Brown were coming out of high school, the question it a lack of talent or are these players not being "coached up"?


Sun, Nov 8, 2009 : 6:22 a.m.

how many of the defensive players are RR recruits? outside of warren, no other db would play D1 football. it is sad that you people can't see that there is no depth on that side of the ball. the fact that it is basically talentless is overwhelming. for all you people that criticize, what do you think that RR and the D staff should do? all you do is complain and say fire the coach, but offer no solution. bottom line is, you can not coach what isn't there. go to mgoblog, read about the defense and then you might have a better understanding of what is TRULY going on...

Man in the Mirror

Sun, Nov 8, 2009 : 1:11 a.m.

So a handful of Carr's recruits remain. Are they responsible for this years losing season also? Are they responsible for causing contention in the program and against the coach? Truth be told most of the kids that left after their first season under RR knew this program was going downhill fast. They don't have the luxury of 4-6 years to "see what happens" like Coleman and RR die hard supporters are giving him. Funny how they were scorned by some fans for leaving a program that they knew is going to Nowhereville.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 11:47 p.m.

barnz, if it's true that the players don't play for him, that's poor coaching as well. I can't blame players for not playing for him, he blames them for everything. When you point fingers at your players when things go wrong, you lose them. Coaches must take accountability for losses and defer it away from their players. Coaches who do that have players that will spill their blood for them. RR is not that kind of coach. And Stan, I don't think fans 'hate' RR. While some may, most don't. What they 'hate' is losing with no sign of improvement. You, however, seem to be so blinded by your love for him that you can't see bad coaching when it smacks you in the face. RR, regardless of how well he did at WVU, is doing an awful, awful job at Michigan. Sometimes what a coach does somewhere doesn't translate somewhere else. Ask Bill Callahan, Charlie Weiss and the fans of Nebraska and ND.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 10:34 p.m.

Dave, "Olesnavage had the wind at his back and, it turned out, a field goal would have won the game." I see claims like this all the time and it really bugs me. Have you ever heard of cause and effect? You can't just add and subtract points from a sporting event and simply assume everything else will play out as is. If Michigan makes a field goal there it changes the entire complection of the game... Which effects the strategy of the coaches, and the motivation of the players. The only points you can ever add or subtract during a sporting event with any certainty are the ones that happen on the last play of the game. That said... I wish they would've kicked the field goal.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 10:05 p.m.

This offense cannot score enough points to cover this awful defense.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 7:45 p.m.

Prediction: At the end of the season, M is going ot lose a third of its defense to transfers.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 6:55 p.m.

oh woa is me, I have no players. Its Lloyd's fault I can't coach. Maybe it was George Bush. I don't know.Please someone give me more excuses. I am running out of hillbilly cliches. Richrod 11/07/09.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 5:53 p.m.

D-minus is passing...the defense deserves a P for PATHETIC. One of the worst in Michigan history.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 5:53 p.m.

It's amazing that some of you are so blinded by your hatred for our head coach that you can't objectively look at the game and realize that it is indeed lack of defensive talent that lost this game.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 5:49 p.m.

Take a look at the big picture regarding UM football coaching...this is the worst record in the entire history of the program!


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 5:45 p.m.

Another shootout loss to Purdue. That now makes 7 losing teams we've lost to in two years. At least we're playing two winning teams to finish the season.


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 5:42 p.m.

Coaches=C? What game were you watching?


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 5:41 p.m.

Coaching = F. No more excuses please.