How’s your group doing through two games?
“Not bad. They’re doing okay. I thought the first two games we were challenged a little bit and I thought they handled it pretty well.”
Colorado’s got some receivers that are a little bit more of challenge…?
“Yeah, this’ll definitely be more of a challenge than the first two games. No disrespect, but it is what it is. They’re better receivers and the quarterback is a much better quarterback. He’s a guy that actually has time to throw, and he’s got three or four good guys to throw to.”
Clark’s had to step up. Talk about what your evaluation of him is.
“Yeah, Jeremy’s done a great job. And since spring. He’s been very steady and he’s improved. He had a couple glitches last year we’ve been working to get out and he’s trying to get ‘em out. He’s doing well.”
Is Jeremy a natural corner? He’s only played it for a year.
“He’s definitely the safety body, for sure. I think a lot of teams would love to have a corner with that length, and certainly his size and strength. Like I said, from moving from safety he did have a couple little glitches that he had in his game with his feet at corner. It’s a totally different deal, especially with all the pressing we do when you’re up in people’s faces. He’s starting to get it down. He’s working hard at it for sure.”
When you moved him in the first place, why did you do it?
“I think just because of the lack of depth at corner, and, you know, we had some guys at the safety position. I’d just say the lack of depth more than anything.”
[After THE JUMP: Jourdan Lewis’ health, eye discipline, and where Stribling’s improved]
SPONSOR NOTES: Oh man Sauce Castillo, you're in for it. You already turned El Assico(!) into a blowout. I'm supposed to talk about mortgages. Right: low rates right now, and Matt will take these rates and turn them into a home if you qualify for things such as loans.
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, he is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
FORMATION NOTES: UCF was a 3-4 front with a couple of adjustments. This is their base front; Michigan is in "ace diamond TE," with Asiasi at one of the FB spots.
On passing downs UCF would go to a nickel with two DL on the field and standup ends:
And they'd frequently line up their three DL right next to each other and shifted to the run strength of the formation:
Called this "pinched 3-4."
PERSONNEL NOTES: Michigan cut down on the rotation severely despite having a huge lead. With the exception of left guard, the starting OL got almost every snap. Non-LG starters (Newsome, Cole, Kalis, Magnuson) got all 81 snaps. Braden and Bredeson platooned at LG with Bredeson(49 snaps) getting the plurality of time. Bushell-Beatty and Onwenu came in very late in a 7 OL package.
At WR, Chesson and Darboh got most of the run in a game featuring a lot of heavy packages. Grant Perry got just 15 snaps. Butt was near omnipresent; Bunting was the next-most utilized blocky/catchy guy. Poggi and Hill are still splitting things down the middle.
Smith got about half the work at RB(37 snaps), with Evans, Isaac, and Higdon splitting the rest about down the middle.
[After THE JUMP: pass great, run not so much]
After finishing 99th in offense S&P+ last year, Colorado needed a new approach, and they've found one after bringing in co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini, the former Buffs receiver who spent the last two years on the Texas Tech coaching staff. While the holdover at OC, Brian Lindgren, still calls the plays, Chiaverini's influence is obvious; some staple Texas Tech plays have becomes integral parts of the gameplan, and Colorado has gone from a high tempo team to a ludicrously high tempo team.
I watched/charted the first three quarters of their opener against Colorado State—it was 37-0 Colorado heading into the fourth—and I've got Pro Football Focus's full grades from CU's first two games to assist me in breaking down their offense.
Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
Colorado is experienced at the skill positions, but not so much up front. We're not sure if Jourdan Lewis will be back this week; if he's held out, expect to see a lot of Tyree Kinnel.
[EDIT: Seth is on a plane and we didn't catch the errors in time; mentally remove a DL or ILB to get a legal, 11-man lineup for Michigan when they go dime. WR Bryce Bobo weighs 190 pounds; he is not a house on wheels.]
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Every non goal-line snap I charted was from the gun or, on a few occasions, the pistol. This team is about as spread as spread gets.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Mostly zone with some gap blocking mixed in, most notably on QB powers that CU likes to run in short-yardage situations.
Hurry it up or grind it out? As mentioned above, Colorado is an extreme high-tempo team. They currently rank third in adjusted pace, per SBNation's Bill Connelly. Michigan's greatest challenge in this game will be avoiding busts/misalignments and keeping contain against a team that wants to move as fast as possible and get to the edge. Here's CU getting three plays off, resulting in two first downs, in a 40-second span:
The announcers mention that Colorado's tempo is a significant change even though they were 19th in adjusted pace in 2015; that may seem crazy, but it's correct.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
The photo above may seem slightly larger than what we usually run at the top of a post. That happens when one attempts to keep all of their subject in the frame, and when said subject is a 6’5, 240 pound sophomore offensive tackle. The FBO crew travelled to Belleville High School last week to take in the Tigers’ game against Dearborn Fordson, and more specifically to take in four prospects. That set of four was headlined by left tackle Devontae Dobbs, who already holds a Michigan offer.
The complexion of the game changed rapidly, and as that happened so too did the complexion of our scouting. Patrick Lupro, a 2018 three-star CB, exited early due to injury. Kmare Carey, another CB, factored into none of the film we have because Fordson almost exclusively ran the ball, and when they did throw it wasn’t toward him. Julian Barnett, a 2019 WR to keep an eye on, had one nice catch over the middle on which he made two defenders miss before turning up the sideline and getting tackled. That left Dobbs as the prospect with the most film to sift through.
[After THE JUMP: video and scouting of Dobbs]
Gentlemen. We're two weeks in and the true cupcakes have been stomped. What is
1) the biggest pleasant surprise so far?
2) the biggest unpleasant surprise?
First responder gets Speight. Get to it.
Adam: 1) I had Wilton Speight resigned to the passenger's seat as recently as last month's Draftageddon, in which more rounds passed _between_ the selections of Speight and O'Korn (13) than passed before O'Korn went off the board (12). The ignorance is somewhat forgivable. Speight said yesterday that he basically learned his scout team assignment in 2014 and checked out. He got reamed in B-roll footage of a "Real Sports" piece on Harbaugh's arrival. He tore a groin and barely played in spring 2015. He got into a game against Minnesota later that year, and his performance was good enough to keep the Brown Jug but not good enough to unequivocally be anointed Rudock's successor. Fast forward to last Saturday, where it all ended on that first deep post completion to Chesson. With that one in the books, we'd seen enough throws of varying distances and degrees of difficulty to confidently assess Speight's ability to read the coverage and place the ball precisely where his receivers have a chance to reel it in while the DB does not. As it turns out, said ability is quite good. After 120 minutes as Michigan's starting QB, Speight looks very little like we expected him to, and that's been nothing short of a revelation.
2) Nitpicking is nitpicking, but the left guard platoon has been underwhelming. This was supposed to be a position manned by the more consistent of the two guards; Braden's return from injury against UCF didn't bear that out. He struggled, and though he has Bredeson to spell him it's hard to expect a true freshman OL to do much more than tread water. Braden's likely still recovering from injury, but I'll be nervously gnashing my teeth if the LG revolving door hasn't stopped spinning in two weeks.
[Hit THE JUMP for what we come up with besides “phew, so Quarterback’s alright.”]
[Sarah Phipps – The Oklahoman]
It might have been the worst week of matchups on paper, but in classic college football fashion, Week Two held some surprises in store for us: look no further than the game pictured above in which Central Michigan won on a controversial long hook-and-ladder type play with no time left to upset Oklahoma State, who was favored by three scores. In a weekend in which no two ranked teams faced each other, there obviously weren’t any high-stakes matchups, but college football always somehow manages to deliver some excitement if you’re willing to sit in front of a TV for long periods of time, tirelessly flipping through the channels to find it.
--- Firstly, we must salute our in-state brethren, the CMU Chippewas, for stunning OKLAHOMA STATE on what will surely prove to be one of the season-defining plays of 2016. After the game was extended due to an officiating error (Oklahoma State threw the ball away on fourth down as time expired and were called for intentional grounding, and the refs mistakenly gave Central an untimed down), Cooper Rush heaved the ball downfield to Jesse Kroll short of the end zone, who pitched the ball to Corey Willis, who reversed field and just barely got over the goal line to seal the 30-27 upset. It would have been a disappointing performance from the Cowboys even if they’d won (OSU had 1.9 yards per rush, and conceded four touchdowns and a ton of passing yards to Rush), but they lost in brutal fashion. Central joined its rival, Western Michigan, in upsetting a Power Five foe on the road who’d won ten games the year before. Oklahoma State looks to rebound next week against a pretty decent Pitt squad.
[more after the JUMP]