Michael Taylor: The Losses, The Offense

Former Michigan quarterback Michael Taylor talks about the Michigan offense, and what it's like to suffer losses: "We had a losing streak ... in 1988 we opened 0-2, losing to Notre Dame and Miami in our first two games ..."

Former Michigan quarterback Michael Taylor:

"We had a losing streak ... in 1988 we opened 0-2, losing to Notre Dame (a last minute 19-17 loss at Notre Dame) and Miami (a last second 31-30 loss to then #1 Miami in the Big House) in our first two games. But Miami and Notre Dame were two of the best teams in the country that year - that was the year Notre Dame won the National Championship and Miami finished number two. But we knew we had a good team, and we turned it around. We went 9-0-1 the rest of the year, then beat USC in the Rose Bowl and finished number four in the country.

"The difference this year is that Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Minnesota aren't really top teams.

"Michigan has a mediocre offense right now; they aren't clicking. They aren't blocking; Rueben Riley is banged up now and he's playing out of position anyway, and Mike Kolodziej was rusty after missing five weeks. They aren't getting first downs and are going three and out a lot (Michigan was 3-14 on 3rd down versus Minnesota and 40-94 for the season ... 30-80 in games besides EMU).

"Chad Henne has yet to play well in the second half. He is not making second half adjustments in his own mind ... the same pass route will be covered differently by the defense in the second half. A quarterback has to always go through his reads and go to the proper guy, especially in the second half. Last year when in doubt he could throw it to Braylon Edwards, especially late in the game. This year he is not going through his progressions the way he should. Also, his footwork wasn't good last week; he was almost like Navarre back there in terms of immobility.

"And Henne hasn't played well in crucial times at the end of games.

"You can say, well Michigan missed two field goals in the second half last week and that's why they lost; but you have to score touchdowns ... they should at least be able to score one in each half. But in the 3rd quarter the offense hasn't scored one yet (Michigan has scored 51 points in the second half this year, 8.5 per game, compared to 118 in the first half, 19.6 per game).

"Should Michigan go to Matt Gutierrez? It's a complicated question, moreso with quarterback than other positions. There are long-term ramifications involved in changing QB's. Coach Loeffler and Coach Carr were both quarterbacks, so they are trying to make the best decision for the program there. But one issue is who will the players rally best around ... that's a big reason I replaced Demetrius Brown in '88 ...they coaches decided the other players played harder when I was in there. So it's complicated. But right now Henne has some flaws to work out.

"Another thing: Mike Hart didnt take a break in the Minnesota game, not one break. So therefore a guy with a bad hamstring, after 36 carries the week before, tired out out there. Against Michigan State adrenaline got him by, but not this past week. With a bad hamstring you're not in 100% game shape, and your legs will wear down. So whether it's Kevin Grady or Max Martin, they've got to get someone else in there. So far Grady is not seeing the holes that well -- and that is Hart's strong point. Max can dip outside as well as inside, but he cannot be fumbling with the ball deep in Michigan territory.

"It'll get better ... remember nobody has blown them out. It'll be a good tussle this Saturday, another 4th quarter game.

"We'll see if they do or don't make mistakes at the end, and if they get their weapons involved in the second half. "

Stay tuned for MT's look at the Penn State game.

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