This became an interception! Seriously! (Don't worry, Gary Nova still had an awful game.)
So I just watched the 13-10 Penn State win over Rutgers from a couple weeks ago in which Gary Nova threw five interceptions and let's just get this over with as quickly as humanly possible.
Personnel. Rutgers doesn't just list a starting FB and TE—they mean it, coming out in a 2WR I-form set on just about every standard down. They trotted out this formation a few times, as well, in which they'd start from their base I-form, then motion both the FB and TE into a trips set:
Otherwise, they went I-form on standard downs and shotgun on obvious passing downs with little exception.
Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
We decided to expand the recruiting-related star from composite top-100 only to top-250, since that still encompasses relatively elite prospects while not being quite as exclusive—limiting it to just the top 100 from each class left out some highly regarded players with impressive recruiting profiles.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Pro-style. As mentioned, I-form is their base set, and the shotgun pretty much exclusively came out in third-and-long situations. Ralph Friedgen's offense is like a time portal to 1990s NFL football.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? A mix of both gap and zone blocking concepts. Rutgers leaned heavily on zone running early, then added in more power later in this game. RB Paul James had to make something out of nothing either way for the most part; in very bad news for Rutgers, James tore his ACL the next week against Navy. He'll miss the rest of the season, and his backups aren't of his caliber.
Hurry it up or grind it out? Huddletastic.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
News bullets and other items:
It’s all in the statement
We don’t talk about injuries
Devin Gardner will be the starting quarterback against Rutgers
“Number one, thanks for coming as always. We appreciate you being here. Secondly, it was good for us as a team to get back on the field yesterday. It's always nice to get back to work, I think, coaching football and our guys getting together. They enjoyed the practice and what we got done. I think there is very much a competitive spirit and they’re excited about the opportunity to go to Rutgers and play. This is the two oldest FBS teams who play football, so I think that's an added plus.
“Rutgers [is a] very well coached football team, I think. They’re hard-nosed. You watch The tape, you watch them run around and they are 4-1. They had a close loss at home to Penn State early in the year. Led by a quarterback in Gary Nova who has broken the school record for touchdowns. Leads a very talented offense, very explosive. They have five returning starters on the offensive line back, so the experience level there. It's a physical team. Averaging 160 yards – 176 yards a carry [Ed: He meant per game. You’d think it’s been a long week or something] right now rushing and 30 points a game. Very active defense. They lead the Big Ten in sacks. They have some guys who really do a great job of chasing the ball. I think their quickness at the line of scrimmage is something that we’ll have to contend with and will present some challenges, but we’re excited about the opportunity. Playing at night is going to be a lot of fun and a great atmosphere.
Listen, there have been several apologies and statements that have been issued from the University, pledges to do better in certain areas including communication. To what extent do you feel you share in the responsibility and can help improve sideline communication?
“Well, I think from the start when you're a leader you’ve got to take responsibility, and I take responsibility for our student-athletes and I take it for their health and welfare. But I'll also make it clear that I don't make decisions when injuries [occur], and that shouldn't be a coach’s decision. That's why we have some of the best trainers, some of the best doctors in the country. We are fortunate here at Michigan because those are the type of people we attract and they will unchallenged have the authority to make those decisions.”
Hey coach, were you caught off by Dave Brandon's statement? It just seems like some of the information he released totally conflicted with some of the stuff you said on Monday.
“I don't think so. I think they worked very hard on getting it right in the statement. I think when you talk about evaluating the different things that we need to evaluate, I think that was all handled in the statement.”
[After THE JUMP: Statements about The Statement]
If you're in search of good news, look no further. The Big Ten just announced their intention to, among other protections for student-athletes, ensure that scholarships cover the full cost of attedance and are guaranteed for the duration of a S-A's undergraduate studies. The full statement from the Big Ten follows (also posted on the official Big Ten site with PDFs of the statements referred to in the second paragraph):
ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced today that it has notified the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of initial recommendations designed to provide enhanced benefits for student-athletes that are members in good standing with their individual universities as part of the NCAA’s new autonomy governance structure.
For the past two years, the conference has publicly stated its desire to continue providing student-athletes with an unmatched educational and athletic experience, including comments made by Commissioner James E. Delany at the July 2013 Big Ten Football Media Days, at the Collegiate Commissioners Association meeting on September 25, 2013, at the July 2014 Big Ten Football Media Days, and in statements issued by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors on June 1, 2014 and June 24, 2014.
The Big Ten will work to implement the following proposals through individual institutional action, conference-wide action or under the NCAA autonomy governance structure:
- Cost of Education: Redefine full grant-in-aid to meet a student-athlete’s cost of education, as determined by the federal government.
- Multi-Year Scholarships: Guarantee all scholarships. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be no impact on institutions’ commitment to deliver an undergraduate education.
- Lifetime Educational Commitment: Ensure that scholarships are available for life. If a student-athlete leaves a university for a professional career before graduating, whether the career materializes, and regardless of its length, the scholarship will be honored after his or her playing days are complete.
- Medical Insurance: Provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes.
The Big Ten has also agreed to address additional student-athlete welfare issues including, but not limited to, health and safety, time demands and comprehensive academic support by way of a “Resolution” that creates a specific pathway and timeline for implementation.
The Big Ten Conference is an association of 14 world-class universities committed to the pursuit and attainment of athletic and academic excellence. Big Ten institutions feature broad-based athletic programs which provide nearly $200 million in direct financial aid to almost 9,500 student-athletes on 350 teams in 42 different sports.
We look forward to working with the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC through the NCAA autonomy governance structure toward adoption and implementation of these proposals.
This is huge news and a big step forward for the rights of student-athletes. In addition, that's quite a loaded last line of the statement—the attention now turns to the other Power 5 conferences and the NCAA.
Glanzman, from the not-Copper Bowl.
[Ed-S: change of format; Ace is asking the questions]
Ace: It's sad that this needs to be asked, but here we are: If not for the fact that you're contributing to this blog, would you watch any more Michigan football this year, and why/why not? If you have tickets, what are you doing with them?
Brian: I dunno man, I just go. At this point it's a habit so ingrained that changing that is a legit scary thing. That's one of the most frustrating things about all of this: you can't just walk away. If this was anything other than sports you'd just go "this is dumb" and quit it. Like R.E.M. releasing Up. That was all, R.E.M., we are now done, thanks for Life's Rich Pageant.
I'm now in uncharted territory, though. Michigan's losing to Utah and I'm not feeling much of anything; against Minnesota I'm just laughing like a guy walking to the gallows. I don't even mind them losing very much because I'm not going into any games with hope something will happen, and every L is another nail in Brandon's coffin. I have no idea how close to complete that coffin is, what with reports ranging from nonexistent to juuuust about done, and at this point I really need that guy to not be in charge of our program anymore.
So... I would probably be going and sitting in mute sadness interspersed with outbursts of yelling at the coach when an obviously bad strategic decision is made. That's already what I'm doing.
I'm planning on going to the next two games and then seeing what happens before Maryland.
[After the jump, Butt.]
WELP. When you're a four point dog to Rutgers it's time to start keeping an eye on potential new head coaches.
Jim Harbaugh, John Harbaugh, Kevin Sumlin, and various others are not discussed because you know who those people are and it's unlikely Michigan secures them. They're passed over primarily because they're obviously desirable. You don't need to be told Jim Harbaugh seems like a good idea.
It's not worth the risk to hire anyone approaching retirement except in very specific circumstances like "this is the only head coach we've ever been any good under"—looking at you, Kansas State. So out go David Cutcliffe (60), Mike Riley (61), Gary Pinkel (62), and, uh, Kirk Ferentz (59), because it would be ULTIMATE MICHIGAN to go after Kirk Ferentz. I'd take Art Briles in a hot second even though he's 58, but he's also lumped in here or pipedreams since he seems impossible to pry out of Waco. 61-year-old Les Miles is also in this group. If he had a time, it was 2007. I'm not saying there's no chance… but there isn't much of one. And you already know all about him anyway.
Gentlemen of note, then.
Power 5 Head Coaches
Look before we name a name you're going to be all like "oh what if Michigan is a poor cultural fit with the spread shouldn't we go get a pro-style guy or something"… there just aren't many to consider. I included the obvious guy.
DAN MULLEN, MISSISSIPPI STATE
BASICS: 40-28 in his sixth season in Starkville. SEC record 17-24, which is actually rather good for a Bulldogs head coach. Was Urban Meyer's OC before that, and his QB coach at BGSU and Utah. 42.
PROS: Turned previously inept MSU into decent program. Young. High level experience in recruiting wars and as national-championship-level OC.
CONS: Has acquired a great deal of his wins against tomato-can laden nonconference schedule and still struggles to win half his SEC games. Reaction to recent suspension of starting OL for multiple in-game stomping incidents was from the Dave Brandon school of PR.
OVERALL: Desirability on a knife edge right now. If he follows up LSU win with season that sees Mississippi State end up a solid top 25 program he will be a hot name. Slip down to the 7/8 win level he's been at and it's questionable.
MIKE GUNDY, OKLAHOMA STATE
BASICS: Is a man. Is 47. In his tenth season at Okie State, 80-39 record with one Big Twelve championship and Fiesta Bowl win; two other ten-win seasons. Before that was Les Miles's OC.
PROS: Good coach who can insert any sentient being at quarterback and see that guy/spaceplant pass for 300 yards. Young for a guy with a decade as a head coach. Knows what he wants his program to be.
CONS: Availability questionable. Is currently at alma mater and has T. Boone backing him. Last time Michigan pried a dude away from his alma mater things went poorly, partially because of the reputation a man acquires when he leaves his home base. May not have left Oklahoma except for road games in 30 years.
OVERALL: If you can get him, hell yes. Probably can't get him.
[After THE JUMP: the last manball unicorn]
Frank Clark, Jake Ryan, and Joe Kerridge
Joe, you’re obviously part of the offensive group. Did you notice anything different about Shane in the huddles after he took that hit and through the rest of the game when you talked to him?
JK: “With Shane, I was on the sideline. I was focused in trying to pay attention to the game. I really didn’t have any communication with Shane throughout that part of the end of the game, so I wasn’t aware of any of the symptoms or anything like that.”
Have you noticed anything, seeing him around the building the last two days, that’s been unusual?
JK: “No. I haven’t seen him in the building, but that’s a question for coach Hoke.”
This is a question for Frank and Jake. Does the team get together after a loss like that and the fallout from it and has there been a team meeting? Does there need to be? Do you guys talk about it, and what do you do going forward?
JR: “I think just us as leaders need to bring guys up and get people’s heads up. After a loss like that that’s what you need to do, and we came in and we did what we needed to do. We got our film in, we got our practice in, and it’s just about keeping guys up and keeping guys focused.”
This is for any one of you. I’m wondering how much communication there is between yourself and maybe coach Hoke on the sideline when you see someone get injured or if you see something happen; if you can go up to him and say something or what that’s like on the sideline.
FC: “I feel like really that’s out of our power. If someone gets injured or things aren’t going in our favor, that’s our coach’s power. He controls everything at the end of the day, [and] we just follow the rules.”
Then if you have an injury, say, on the field, how much of a say do you have in getting back on the field? Are you able to simply tell them, ‘I’m fine’?
FC: “We play football. It’s a difference between being injured and being hurt. Anybody can play hurt, but not many people can play injured. But if you want to play football, if you want to go back on that field as a player he’s going to allow you to go back on that field if it’s not too bad.”
[More after THE JUMP]