ANN ARBOR—Several questions followed Michigan’s four overtime loss to Penn State Saturday night in Happy Valley, a loss that included the Wolverines coughing up a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
On Monday, Michigan coach Brady Hoke took full responsibility for one of those issues -- the delay of game penalty in the waning minutes of regulation that forced senior kicker Brendan Gibbons to attempt a 52-yard field goal that felt short of the bar.
“That’s me,” Hoke said. “Totally, totally. That’s my fault. I’ve got to help him and I let him down -- meaning Devin (Gardner).”
Asked whether or not a conservative approach offensively in the fourth quarter and overtime cost Michigan the opportunity to close out Penn State, Hoke believes the contrary happened.
“No,” Hoke said. “We threw the ball. At the end of regulation, we put ourselves in position to kick a 52-yard field goal with 20-seconds left. We could’ve just taken a knee and played for overtime.
“Did we think we could run the ball more effectively?” Hoke later added. “I don’t think there’s any doubt. Did we? No. Well then you got to change a little bit and I thought Al (Borges) did that during the course of the game.”
Senior tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint’s plethora of ineffective and inefficient carries, 27 for 27-yards to be exact, says differently, stopped often behind the line of scrimmage by a Penn State defense that was ready for it.
Freshman Derrick Green added three carries to bring the running back total up to 30 touches for a less than impressive 28-yards.
“We’ve got to get production from the back end,” Hoke said simply. “The running back.”
Offensive line update
Knocked out of the game in the first half at Penn State, senior captain and left tackle Taylor Lewan doesn’t appear to have suffered a major injury that could keep him out of this Saturday’s game.
“He’ll be fine,” Hoke said Monday. “I think he got a really, I think two things -- a little (bit of a) hip deal, was probably the most of it.
“He’ll play (against Indiana).”
With Lewan out, redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson came onto the field at right tackle, sliding senior Michael Schofield over to the left side in place of No. 77.
Redshirt sophomore guard Joey Burzynski also saw snaps at left guard in place of fellow sophomore Chris Bryant.
However the substitutions are sliced up, the offensive line was ineffective to say the least.
“Point of attack blocking has to be better and I know it can get better,” Hoke said. “Our fullbacks are pretty good lead blockers when we’re in 21.
“There’s times when everything is blocked on play side, which was, things that bother you, it was blocked really well and a guy is slipping off the back side because we didn’t do a good enough job of cutting off.”
As for an offensive line that features several first time starters and underclassmen lined up in between the two seniors on the outside, Hoke likes the personnel but admits it’s still a process.
“I think the talent is there,” he said. “It’s young talent, I mean, redshirt freshmen playing and they’ve got a long ways to go.
“We’ll go through Tuesday, Wednesday. And we’ll see (who starts against Indiana).”
Hoke reiterated that the position battle at left guard is open and true freshman Kyle Bosch, who did travel with the team to Penn State, remains in the mix to get some time.