things go poorly
About Last Week:
Note from Samuel L. Jackson to Big Ten defenders: hold onto your Butts.
The Road Ahead:
Utah (2-0, 0-0 PAC-12)
Last game: Bye
Recap: No recap. Bye.
This team is as frightening as: I am of two minds. The first is that Utah hasn’t played anyone yet, so their two blowouts provide us almost no information. They beat Fresno State by 32… which is the closest the Bulldogs have kept a game this year (they lost by 36 at Nebraska and 39 to USC). They also beat Idaho State by 42, and at least Idaho State has won a game this year. Over Division II Chadron State. By 5. The point is that if you think the transitive property of college football is unreliable, believe me when I say that the second order transitive property is slightly more unreliable.
On the other mind, Utah has an experienced QB, a very talented receiver, a couple of quality running backs, and a defense that can walk and chew gum at the same time. And Michigan really needs this one. Fear Level = 7.
Michigan should worry about: Dres Anderson. The wide receiver is averaging 27.8 yards per catch. Which is many.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: This will be Utah’s first road game of the year. It will also be Utah’s first game against a team with a pulse.
/checks Michigan for a pulse
/moves fingers to slightly different location on Michigan’s wrist.
HA. Totally feel a pulse. Knew it all along.
When they play Michigan: The clenching. So much clenching.
Next game: @ Michigan (UM -6), 3:30 Saturday (ABC/ESPN2)
Minnesota (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Last game: Woodshedded by TCU, 30-7
Recap: Minnesota’s team is designed around one thing: running the ball effectively. TCU stuffed Minnesota’s running game. The results were… predictable.
Minnesota ran for 2.5 yards per carry, and David Cobb was held to 41 yards on 15 carries. In the first half, Minnesota put up 111 yards of offense in nine drives. Those drives ended in three turnovers, five punts, and the sweet mercy of the halftime gun. By then TCU led 24-0, which they extended to 30-0 in the third quarter before calling off the frogs.
Mitch Leidner finished 12 of 26 for 151 yards (5.8 YPA) and 3 picks. And if THAT wasn’t enough, he ended up with a foot injury (reports are mixed between a broken toe, turf toe, and a general angering of the gypsy). He’s also coming off of a sprained MCL two weeks ago. His backup, Chris Streveler, is a redshirt freshman. I wonder if he knows how to throw a football?
I’m pretty sure “Flick the Booger” is actually Minnesota’s motto this year.
This team is as frightening as: Fighting a guy you’ve fought a bunch, and who you’ve beaten 39 of the last 42 times. Except this time he has one arm tied behind his back. And the other arm has turf toe. Fear Level = 3
Michigan should worry about: You know what you’d get from Leidner, and it is the kind of thing that Michigan is ideally suited to stop. If Streveler is in, maybe he gives Minnesota an added dimension of some kind. Like, he can throw a football. Kind of.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: The most frightening thing I could think of was “maybe Minnesota will be starting a freshman.”
When they play Michigan: Booooooooring. But in a good way.
Next game: vs. San Jose State, 4:00 p.m. Saturday
[After the jump: OH MAH GAWD IS THAT MILEY'S MUSIC???]
What this is: We yoinked Joe Pichey from MMMGoBluBBQ to share his tailgating recipes and Stubb's offered to sponsor it. This is one of those things where we really liked their BBQ sauce, and it turned out their CEO really likes this blog, and we like Joe's recipes, and our collective cholesterol goes up as a result.]
Over the last few years, the tri tip has gained popularity thanks to our friends out in California. These have been a staple out west longer than the Wolverines have been beating up on the Buckeyes. This cut of meat is working its way east and should be found in your local butchers shop. You may even be able to find them in your nearby Sam's Club or Costco. They are extremely tender and juicy and make a great sandwich. They can also be cooked in about an hour, so you don't have to commit an entire day to the smoker.
2-4 pound Tri Tip Roast
[Protocols following the jump]
How this works again:
- Readers predict the final score of a designated game by placing a guess in the comments, preferably in the format of [M score][hyphen][Opp score], for example "41-30" or "35-31 Michigan", or "28-24 Go Blue", or "38-34 Gardner FTW!" or "38-0" etc.
- The three guys who read this part holler at people who post in a different format
- First person (by timestamp) to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, I contact you for an address by your MGoBlog account email, and you give me some time to get that to you.
- If nobody got it right we push it to next week or let it go.
- Brian voices displeasure at the puns in the headlines.
About Last Week:
Yay somebody guessed 34-10, though I imagine JBM was thinking it would be like 31-0 by half and then we’d put in the scrubs or something. Don’t act like you knew it would be 10-10 at the half. Either way you’re getting your print.
This Week’s Game:
And On the Line:
From our latest line:
Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork has been serving the Michigan community since they lost The Game of Games. To all those who feel like THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE, whether your ticket stub isn't wide enough to hold the price, some dufus just lied to the NCAA for no reason whatsoever, they’re running the wrong punt formation, or they've threatened to leave your band behind, we here at Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork have the tools you need to threaten to get things done right.
Don't let another fiasco go by with mere grumbles, harshly worded letters, and mood-altering substances. Come on down to AAT&P and gear up with the same tools your ancestors used to rid their towns of demons and upstart agricultural institutions. Peruse our outstanding collection of rakes, scythes, rubber chickens, and other farm tools we totally didn't steal from Big Ten West schools.
Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. Nobody reads this; if they did they would write “Yabbadabbadoo” after their score and it would break MGoBlog. And the algorithm. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is banned in China. This is not the algorithm. It used to be.
News bullets and other items:
Ty Isaac’s appeal was unsuccessful, which means he has three years of eligibility beginning next fall
He currently is able to participate on the scout team
“Thanks for coming. It was good to get back on the field on Tuesday. Those practices, it was very physical. Had a great effort. It was another day for us to go out and compete and challenge with each other and prepare for a very good Utah team. It’s going to be great playing at home. You know, that always gets your players and coaches and everybody else, it gets them excited in the support that we’ve had, and we’re looking for that on Saturday.
“We’re not going to talk about injuries and I might as well bring that out now. And some of that is because you can say something about something and then you’re wrong. Everybody heals a little differently, and the other thing is for our kids. I want to make sure we’re doing a good job protecting them.”
Coach, what would you consider some of the biggest keys to beating Utah?
“Well, I think number one I think they’re third in the county in points scored. I mean, they’re explosive offensively. Good skill players. The two backs are kind of interchangeable in there. For the style of offense I think they really do a nice job of seeing holes. Travis Wilson has done a tremendous job when look nationally where he’s at. He’s second in pass efficiency. Gets the ball out of his hands pretty quickly.
“From the defensive side, I think they’re, depending on how they calculate it NCAA-wise, first in sacks and first in tackles for loss. Knowing Kyle [Whittingham] and Dave Christensen from [my] Mountain West time they both like to be aggressive defensively and then also on the offensive side of the ball.
“So for us, number one, we’ve got to improve. We’ve got to keep getting better every day we go on the field. I think from a defensive perspective keeping the ball inside and in front of the defense, making sure on those money downs, those third downs, [that] we can get off the field. Offensively, got to keep the sticks, got to be able to run the football, and also when you take shots you’ve got to execute.”
As someone who’s a guru in defensive line performance, is their defensive line- is it scheme? Is it the individual players that they’re so productive?
“Yeah, you know, Nate Orchard is one guy they’re using in a lot of different ways. As an outside linebacker, sometimes as a defensive end. I think from his athleticism that he has, he can cause you problems and then obviously he’s a playmaker for them so they’re putting him in some positions to make plays. I think up front they’ve got a quickness to them, and that’s something that can give you some problems. They spike a three-technique into an A gap, which is a coach’s nightmare but if you’re quick enough can be effective.”
[After THE JUMP: lots of tempo talk]
FORMATION NOTES: Michigan actually played their SAM linebacker extensively for the first time this year. Behold:
That is Jenkins-Stone over the slot. This mostly indicated zone coverage; almost everything indicated zone coverage, with the exception of that rolled-up boundary corner, who was often nose to nose with his man. More discussion of this in a bit.
On short yardage Michigan had this press man okie-ish look with one LB back: I called this "Okie one robber," FWIW.
Nickel packages were saved for passing downs for the most part.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Rotation has whittled down to an obvious starting front seven-ish with mostly obvious backups. The line is Clark/Henry/Glasgow/Beyer with Bolden/Ryan behind them and Jenkins-Stone as the SAM when they have a SAM. The primary backups are Ojemudia/Wormley/Mone/Charlton with Godin and Pipkins also fighting at the two DT spots.
The backup ILBs don't play and probably won't until Morgan gets back; Ross does spot RJS regularly.
They are still working through injury and uncertainty in the secondary, and this is a spot that will develop over time. Once Wilson is back it seems like Jeremy Clark is going to be his partner; he's gotten the most playing time of anyone so far and he seemed to be out there while Hill and Thomas rotated. Corner is still in flux but a dollar says Peppers is a boundary corner the rest of the year with Lewis your top field corner option and Countess preferred at nickel; Taylor is likely to spot Lewis and Peppers, or Lewis will spot Taylor and Peppers, to the point where calling two guys starters and one a backup is semantics.
EDITORIAL POLICY: I'm calling Frank Clark just "Clark" and Jeremy Clark "JClark." Jeremy can be just Clark next year.
[After THE JUMP: derp and darts from Miami, mostly derp.]
Red zone threat: check.
Utah is coming off a bye week, so they've only played two games this season: a 56-14 pasting of Idaho State and a 59-27 pasting of Fresno State. I chose to break down the latter pasting, which wasn't even as close as the final score would indicate—I stopped charting when Utah went up 38-7 while the video of that drive cut out due to a stadium power outage; from that point on, the backups took over.
Personnel. Seth's diagram says spread-to-pass because I told him the wrong thing based on the box score showing Utah with six touchdown passes against Fresno. They are, in fact, a spread-to-run outfit with a couple very dangerous receivers. As per usual, click the picture to embiggen.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread-to-run. While Utah's done most of their scoring and yardage damage through the air this season, they use their running attack to set up the pass, and while this is a little skewed by the pair of blowouts they've run the ball 100 times compared to just 59 pass attempts this season.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. While Utah mixes in some gap blocking, including a couple tricky variations on the read option that I'll highlight later, they're mostly focused on running zone read, inside zone, and a little outside zone out of the gun or pistol.
Hurry it up or grind it out? Very much hurry it up. Utah routinely got snaps off with 20+ seconds remaining on the play clock against Fresno State, and the only huddles occurred during timeouts. They're close to Indiana fast.
Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): With sacks removed, Travis Wilson gained 48 yards on nine carries against Fresno State, and last season he averaged nearly five YPC (without sacks removed) with five rush TDs. While he's not outrageously fast or shifty, he makes good reads in the option game, and his size (6'7", 233) allows him to cover ground quickly and fall forward for decent yards after contact. I'll give him a solid 6 here.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]