Where there’s smoke, there is usually fire, and Michigan fans that weren’t already hitting the panic button prior to Michigan’s 26-19 loss at the hands of South Carolina Monday afternoon are shaking in their boots a little bit more. The game itself doesn’t warrant much of a recap — 277 yards of total offense and 5 second half turnovers leading to a blown 19-3 lead midway through the third quarter about says it all.
There are few positives to take away from a game that fans hoped to see a strong showing from Brandon Peters after he sounded the burglar alarm on Shea Patterson ‘stealing something from his home.’ The opposite took place — we know the defense is elite, young receivers have tremendous potential, and Quinn Nordin can still bang through 50 yard field goals with ease. An offense that was on life support for most of the season didn’t have a pulse once again which is the real question mark heading into a defining year for Jim Harbaugh.
It certainly doesn’t rest all on the quarterbacks either. The o-line was miserable in pass protection and the play calling showed flashbacks of 1950’s football to put it kindly. Though the play calling flows through offensive coordinator, Tim Drevno, and passing game coordinator, Pep Hamilton, only a fool would believe Harbaugh doesn’t give his ultimate blessing.
This has been a constant issue going back to Michigan’s November loss in Iowa City last season which sparked a 9-8 skid for Michigan unthinkable at the time. In that Iowa loss, MSU in 2015, and OSU in 2016 a late first down would have iced all three games, but instead we are still complaining about a botched snap and a questionable spot.
Nobody is out of line to question if a new OC along with Shea Patterson and a little fairy dust will fix all of Michigan’s offensive issues. It is beyond concerning that in year three Michigan is coming off a season where it’s quarterbacks combined for nine passing touchdowns all season. No need to get your eyes checked — that does read NINE touchdown passes in 13 games which is less than the Naval Academy who’s offense doesn’t exactly thrive through the air.
It is beginning to feel like there may be more of an underlying issue with Jim Harbaugh as Michigan’s head coach. A massive overhaul on offense needs to take place for Michigan to compete for a Big Ten title in 2018. The defense will be even more loaded with the announcement of Chase Winovich returning to school to anchor the defensive line. Though the defense is elite, as we saw this year, the offense needs to sustain drives and put points on the board in order to win games. On the plus side, the offense really can’t be any worse than it was this past season.
Michigan won’t be a popular pick to win the Big Ten next season by too many people — a hungry team flying under the radar with a roster oozing with talent is a recipe for a team primed for a Big Ten title run though. Look for Harbaugh to make the necessary adjustments to reach a minimum of 10 wins in his fourth year.