Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media as he always does on Monday at noon to discuss the terrible loss to Michigan state, the status of his team and the outlook as U-M prepares for Indiana. During his presser he said more than a few things that are cause for concern.
1. "Vince [Gray] is our best corner. He's an extremely good player. I expect Vince will bounce right back."
I really don't like the idea of disparaging a player, but when the results are what we saw on Saturday, it is what it is. I'm not saying these things to trash Vincent Gray or talk poorly about him as a player or a person, but he wasn't up to the task on Saturday. True freshman wide receiver Ricky White racked up eight catches for 196 yards and a touchdown and was being defended by either Gray or Gemon Green. I'm sorry, but White might not be in the top ten when it comes to the wide receivers Michigan will face this season. Hell, Ohio State has at least four that are better in Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
If Gray is Michigan's best corner, even after being abused by White and ultimately benched for reserve cornerback Jalen Perry, Michigan is in for a long season.
2. "We're always willing and ready to adjust when necessary."
Really? Was that the case on Saturday because it certainly didn't look like it?
Michigan State took apart Don Brown's man coverage scheme with an average quarterback in Rocky Lombardi and a true freshman wide receiver in Ricky White. Throw in some successful screens and a very smart game plan and you have the inexplicable upset we all witnessed on Saturday.
On offense it was a similar approach. Michigan routinely ran inside zone plays that did not work against Michigan State's seven- and eight-man fronts to the tune of 4.5 yards per carry. That's not getting it done and obviously didn't get it done.
Harbaugh saying that they are absolutely willing to change up what they're doing if it's not working, is a flat out lie based on how the game played out on Saturday.
3. "I don't know [if the same five offensive linemen will start.] I don't know that yet."
The offensive line wasn't that bad, but this is not a problem you want to be dealing with in week three. The O-line struggled to open up running lanes, especially between the tackles, but I think that was more a product of Michigan being predictable and trying to win when there was no advantage.
The offensive line was a question mark coming into the season and apparently it still is one. I trust Ed Warinner explicitly, but a fluid offensive line rotation is not ideal, especially after what we just saw. Michigan State isn't very talented in its front seven, but they dominated the line of scrimmage by scheming correctly and because Michigan was too stubborn to counterpunch.
When watching Harbaugh field questions earlier today, I got the sense that he didn't believe half of what he was saying himself. I don't know how he can sit in front of the media and say things like "we're always willing and ready to adjust" when we all saw the opposite of that on Saturday. It almost feels like Harbaugh doesn't realize that we can all see what's going on sometimes. I understand that we don't see practice, but we were all watching on Saturday. It's happened in the past too.
It's two days later and Harbaugh still looked defeated. He's never liked dealing with the media, but Monday's presser felt different. Harbaugh still has a lot of contract left, but that loss to Michigan State really took something out of him. I'm really curious to see how he and the team look Saturday and beyond after the crippling blow from the Spartans.