things go poorly
A snafu occurred and I have to re-do the second half for the defensive UFR.
Video clip problems? Try VLC.
|We fake zone left; Purdue bites like a mofo. Didn't they watch the EMU game? The SLB here â€“ nominally the guy supposed to cover Butler â€“ bites so hard it must be seen to be believed. Henne has an easy pitch and catch for a first down. (CA, 3)|
|M34||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||1||Hart||Zone left|
|...I think. The BTN is showing us the starting lineups as this play snaps.|
|You've got to be kidding me. You just #*$&ed it up on the last play, and you do it again? Get with the program, BTN.|
|Henne checks down to a covered Arrington, who gets blown up as the ball gets there. Should have dumped off to Hart or done something other than this. (BR, 1, protection 2/2). Ortmann picks up an illegal hands to the face; declined.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 10 min 1st Q. Question: do you take this penalty? Michigan would be in third and twenty-four on its 20 and is likely to draw or screen or something. You're probably picking up field position here and the chance of actually giving up a first down is miniscule, especially because Michigan is unlikely to even try for one.|
|Purdue with basically eight in the box, or as near as I can tell since the BTN is using a crazy camera angle. Manningham open against zone; Michigan takes the short completion. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Fullback shuffle results in a safety charging to the line at the snap. Oops. Henne sets and fires to the corner of the endzone, where Manningham is open by yards. Very reminiscent of last year's ND game. Oh, parabolas, welcome back. (DO, 3, protection 2/2) Replay reveals that Vinson slowed up inexplicably â€“ we did have a quasi-draw fake here with Moundros plowing a middle linebacker like he was a lead blocker â€“ and allowing prodigious separation.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q.|
|M9||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|BTN just barely gets to the play before the snap as we linger lovingly over Joe Tiller's visage. Purdue has eight in the box; Avril attacks off the snap, forcing Long(-1) back and occupying McLaurin; it's bad when a DE occupies two guys. Wait... what? This is Mark Ortmann getting driven back as Long moves to the second level. This is an unbalanced line with Carson Butler playing RT, and Ortmann as a strongside TE. Weird. Kraus(-1) can't get any push on his block and there's nowhere for Hart to go.|
|Oh, my God, it's unbelievable how often the BTN screws up down and distance. This is all on Carson Butler(-3), who lets his man go by and strip Henne as he prepares to throw. No chance for Henne here. (PR, 0, protection 0/3)|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-0, 6 min 1st Q.|
|M32||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||5||Arrington||Quick out|
|Purdue brings an extra guy in the box; corners playing a little soft but react quickly enough to prevent any YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M37||2||5||Ace Trips||Pass||5||Manningham||Bubble screen|
|Fairly predictable play here; the corner starts attacking as Henne starts his motion. We need some plays that punish that aggresiveness. Anyway, Arrington does a good job of holding the corner off and Manningham gets first down yardage. (CA, 3)|
|Eight in the box for the Boilers; they send five and it's picked up. Henne checks off, checks off, and comes to his third read, firing it in for a first down. McLaurin nearly drops it, but holds on. Excellent senior play from Henne. (DO, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O47||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||14||Hart||Inside zone|
|Seven in the box, obvious zone from Purdue. This is not a stretch, but an inside zone play that we've run occasionally. They key is on the nominal backside of the play: Kraus shoves the backside DT, then immediately releases to the second level. Long slants inside, getting in front of the DT and sort of sumo-ing him downfield. Butler manages to control the backside DE. Crease, secondary, Hart go.|
|O33||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||9||Hart||Zone counter|
|-ish. This is our play where we run what looks like a standard zone right but shoot the fullback at the backside DE. (Or LB in this 3-4 look from Purdue.) Long(+1) bursts off the ball, sealing the DE immediately. Boren(+1) drives the NT downfield; when Hart cuts back there's a major lane. NCAA-esque spin move gets him near the first down.|
|O24||2||1||I-Form Twins||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Sometimes I think our scheme puts too much emphasis on getting out to the second level, and this is a good example. We're running a zone left and Schilling mostly ignores the weakside DT, leaving Ortmann an impossible block. He does okay, getting enough of a shove to keep the DT from getting past the LOS, but all he can do is escort the guy to Hart. Hart decides "eff it," and bowls right through him for the first, but I think we sould have been much better served if Schilling had helped out on this guy and allowed Hart to explot what was otherwise a pretty big frontside hole.|
|O20||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|Eight in the box. Grumble. This would have worked anyway â€“ I think this play is designed to go outside â€“ except for shoddy blocking by both McLaurin(-1)
and Butler(-1). Butler's working with Long on a DE and they allow him to get to the outside; McLaurin just loses control of his guy. A delay allows linebackers to converge after a small gain.
|Purdue tips a double blitz from the right side of the line and comes with it anyway; Michigan picks it up. With time, Henne fires for Mathews; TV makes this look like an awful decision but from my vantage point in the stadium â€“ right on line with the throw â€“ he clearly had Mathews open and just missed. (IN, 0, protection 3/3)|
|A delayed corner blitz gets in unblocked as Long(-1) fails to read it and Hart moves too quickly to the other side of the line(-1). This was max-pro, too. Bleah! (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG (34), 10-7, 3 min 1st Q. Hurray for not quite as crappy kicker.|
|O37||1||10||Ace||Pass||26||Manningham||Out & up|
|Eight in the box with really soft corners. Manningham runs a little out and up; the short zone guys get nowhere near deep enough â€“ sucked up by the Arrington drag and one safety is trying to cover about two and half routes. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O11||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||11||Hart||Zone left|
|Not well blocked at all; Schilling falls down and gets no cut on the DT, who falls anyway, then falls again as he tries to get up. Meanwhile, the WLB splits Ortmann and Boren, grabbing Hart around the ankles. Hart falls on a prone OL, spins up, and waltzes into the endzone. I heart Hart. Hmmm. On replay, I take back part of the blocked poorly: Kraus(+2) owns the frontside DT here, pancaking him and creating the room Hart exploits; even if he fell down where hit he would have had six. (Replay)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-7, 1 min 1st Q. Lots of short drives in this game.|
|Schilling(-2) cannot get a block on the weakside DT; a late-blitzing safety blows past Moundros(-1); Hart is splattered.|
|M18||2||12||Ace 3-wide||Run||7||Hart||Zone left|
|Excellent job by Long(+1) and Kraus(+1) to seal the outside; Long has momentary help from a Butler brush block; Butler then moves out to a cornerback and whiffs(-1), forcing Hart back inside where a a tracking safety can haul him down.|
|Purdue threatens blitz, bailing out at the last second; the nickelback starts jumping a Manningham slant, opening up a spot for Arrington. Oddly, Butler is in the same area â€“ missed route? -- but no matter. Henne's throw is an ugly duck Arrington has to dig out, but he does. (CA-, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Batted by a leaping Avril after Ortmann had stoned him near the LOS. (BA, 0, protection 2/2).|
|M36||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|Don't like this. Purdue is heavily slanted towards the left side of the line and has an extra guy in the box with the corners playing soft. Result: DT slashing through line with both Boren(-1) and Kraus(-1) pivoting to try and do something about it, unblocked guys in the hole that mess creates, and a fortunate few yards.|
|Ortmann beaten to the inside by Avril, forcing Henne to chuck a dumpoff to Mathews from his back foot. This looked like interference live, but on replay it's an excellent play from the DB. (CA, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann -2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-7, 10 min 2nd Q.|
|This is atrocious: another missed play. We come back just as Manningham is getting an end-around. It's wide open; Manningham scoots down the sideline, picking up a killer block from Arrington(+1) and getting a first down.|
|M47||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|Shuffle; run against it(!). The strongside DT shoots behind Kraus but when that happens and there's no penetration from LBs or DEs on the frontside if the DT does not get Hart there's a bunch of room; here he's not even close. Boren(+1) does a good job on the backside guy; Moundros(-1) can't cut a weakside blitzer, who collapses on Hart after a nice gain.|
|O48||2||5||Ace Twins||Run||1||Hart||Zone left|
|I dislike these playcalls where we motion in Arrington to essentially play a third tight end. Purdue loads up with eight guys in the box and a cornerback in zone looming over the short side of the field. Doesn't really matter as Kraus(-1) is blown back into Hart's path, causing him to stumble, and a couple yards is all he can make.|
|O47||3||4||Ace 3-wide||Pass||12||Mathews||Er... out-slant|
|I bet this route has a name, but I am not aware of it: Mathews comes in motion to the top side of the screen, creating a bunch of three wide receivers; he runs what looks like an out route before cutting it back inside, making this slant-ish. Henne slings it to him with perfect timing. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|This is incredibly wide open with the corners playing in Lake Michigan. Arrington runs an out, makes the easy catch, then beats a late-filling safety for a few more yards and a first down. (CA, 3)|
|O23||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pen||-5||Butler||False Start|
|Not actually Butler's fault; Manningham lined up on the LOS.|
|Corner blitz runs right past Hart; since the DE to the same side has gotten inside of Ortmann it's an easy decision to take it outside, which is wide open. Boren(+1) got out on the middle linebacker; lots of room.|
|O14||2||1||I-Form Big||Run||2||Hart||Zone right|
|Boren(-1) lets his man penetrate dangerously; Butler also shoved back into a poor position. We've flipped the tack
les on this play, so Long is on the frontside and Ortmann the weak. The frontside penetration doesn't matter because Kraus(+1), Ortmann(+1), and Moundros(+1) have all cut their guys to the ground. Hart leaps over the mess for a first down.
|O12||1||10||Ace Big||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren just barely keeps his guy under control long enough for Hart to pass by; Schilling has no angle on the MLB and can't get a block; Hart can't cut back as Ortmann(-1) has missed his cut on the backside DE. There's a crease for a few yards until Hart meets the MLB.|
|O9||2||7||Ace Big||Run||9||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(+1) gets control of the DT, stalemates him at the line, and seals him away from Hart, though the frontside gets all jammed up. Ortmann(+1) and Schilling(+1) cut the weakside DT and the MLB to the ground â€“ nice job by Schilling on the second level â€“ and Hart springs through the gap into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-7, 6 min 2nd Q.|
|Again with the Arrington tight motion; Purdue has eight in the box with the lurking corner again. Boren's supposed to move out to the second level but the MLB comes to him; he does a decent enough job. There is a bit of daylight between him and Kraus; Schilling's(-1) guy runs down the line and tackles after a small gain.|
|M25||2||7||Ace 3-wide||Run||-6 (pen)||Hart||Draw|
|Schilling(+1) escorts the DT upfield; big gap up the middle; Moundros is nominally lined up at TE and plunges inside, stoning the MLB. Butler's got the OLB... sort of; he gets inside but Hart manages to get around him. Arrington(+1) does a great job on the corner; big yardage. Holding called on Boren... but no, not really. They screwed up the number. It's actually 85, Butler(-1), who gets the call. You can tell because they march off from four yards downfield; Boren never got downfield.|
|Primary threats are covered, so Henne comes down to his outlet. Great protection. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)|
|Arrington just in front of a couple defenders; Henne waited just long enough to get him open, throwing just as the defensive ends got free. Nice blitz pickup from Hart. (CA+, 3, protection 3/3)|
|M38||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||8||Hart||Inside zone|
|Hart decides to cut back behind Boren's okay block. On the backside, Kraus(+1) and Long(+1) have done the same double they executed previously where Kraus first explodes into the DT, knocking him back a bit, and Long picks it up from there. The guy ends up on his butt three yards downfield as Kraus is pounding a linebacker on the second level.|
|M46||2||2||Ace 3-wide||Run||0||Hart||Inside zone|
|Ortmann(-1) just escorts his man down the line to Hart; Long and Butler have had their double split, causing Long(-1) to peel off when it's Butler who should do so; Butler has no angle to block the OLB; the two meet at Hart at the LOS. Hart limps off and 110,000 people want to die.|
|M46||3||2||Ace Big||Run||0||Minor||Zone left|
|Kraus(-1) blown back, but we actually crease Purdue pretty well here save for the corner in man against the tight end â€“ Purdue has a no-BS 9 in the box this time â€“ who is unblocked and tackles at the LOS. This was a good day from Debord, but this playcall is truly inexplicable. It would be weird even with Hart in the game â€“ why do we insist on playing our crappy second-string TE and our meh fullback instead of our good receivers? With our kinda mediocre backup it's really, really weird.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-7, 1 min 2nd Q. Really bizarre.|
|O21||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||21||Manningham||Braylonian Fly|
|Henne drops back and lofts it up to Manningham, who cuts in front of the defensive back and leaps to take it away. Eerily reminiscent of one of the Braylon TDs against MSU in that exact corner of that exact endzone. Personally, I think we should be throwing this ball to Arrington all the time. Not sure how to chart this... is this a bad throw? A popup up for grabs? How to evaluate the catch here? Uh... (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-7, 1 min 2nd Q.|
|M25||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||-1||Minor||Zone right|
|Boren(-1) driven back; Long(-1) escorts his man to the ballcarrier; Minor has to go outside, where an unblocked linebacker awaits.|
|Checks down to Moundros open underneath. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M30||3||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||7||Manningham||Delayed slant|
|Accurate-ish, but a little low. The pass takes Manningham off his feet, preventing YAC, but does go for a first. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)|
|M37||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||7||Minor||Zone right|
|Running against seven in the box. Boren and Ortmann(-1) have trouble again â€“ Avril nearly makes a four-yard TFL. Minor cuts it all the way back across the formation, outrunning a linebacker to the corner. The LB dives and gets a hand on his foot, tripping Minor up after a nice gain. Minor limps off.|
|M44||2||3||Ace 3-wide||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Schilling's(-1) block is ineffectual; so is Kraus's(-1); the two DTs collapse on Brown.|
|M45||3||2||Ace Big||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Again we allow Purdue to stack the line with nine guys and run straight at theim. This is a long two yards, too, with our third-string back in the game. Linebackers slash into the backfield and there's nowhere to go.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 31-7, 11 min 3rd Q. I really don't get this packing the line thing. One of our big weaknesses going into the year was depth at TE/FB and our starting TE is out for the year. So what do we do? Use three at a time. Other than one Hart touchdown, it's been a disaster.|
|Purdue with eight in the box and soft corners. Manningham just runs and Henne flings it up there and it lands right in his hands right in stride; excellent coverage from the CB here, just nothing he could do about it except make it a slightly more difficult catch. (DO, 2, protection 2/2). Can I complain about the playcall here? I mean... they're ten yards off; we've done this a lot this year and Henne's thrown a lot of interceptions. Without a perfect throw two Purdue players have shots at this ball.|
|I think we tip this by putting Arrington tight to the end of the line and running that direction. Both backside linebackers jump and slant hard, getting to the playside of second level blockers Boren and Ortmann. Brown waits for the play to develop, finally choosing to cut up behind Long when Kraus knocks his man over, but the two linebackers meet him for a minimal gain.|
|O24||2||9||Ace 3-wide||Pass||6||Arrington||Quick out|
|Weird protection scheme that lets the defensive end in unblocked and has Brown pick him up. Would rather have Long block that guy, kthx. Is this blitz pickup for dummies? You just tell Brown to block the DE, shift the protection right, and let the more experienced guys on the line decide what to do. Downside: Brown against a DE. It gets Henne hit on this three-step drop (yay, Ortmann cut Avril: no batted passes.) Pass is on the money. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Max pro and no one is open. Henne bombs it out of the endzone... probably a throwaway as Manningham was covered. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG(35), 34-7, 9 min 3rd Q.|
|M33||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||9||Manningham||WR Screen|
|We motion Butler out to a pair of WRs at the top of the formation; I say "screen"; we run that screen. Purdue totally unprepared for it even though whenever we run the TE out there it's a screen; Manningham gets outside the linebacker and goes for good yardage. (CA, 3)|
|M42||2||1||I-Form Twins||Run||7||Brown||Zone left|
|Schilling(+1) cuts the backside DT; he falls. There's mass of humanity on the frontside, so Brown cuts it up behind Boren and Kraus. A linebacker grabs Brown's feet as he bursts through the line.|
|M49||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||Zone PA Screen|
|Okay. I complain about a lack of creativity all the time; this is probably the most hypocritical thing in the world. But we've never shown this play before... it's a zone left fake that turns into a long handoff. And it should work beautifully as the corner to that side jets in as soon as he sees the line move. But why are we debuting this with two minutes left in the third quarter of a game we lead by 27? Manningham drops it, BTW. (CA, 3)|
|Crappy read by Brown, who has a ton of room if he cuts it outside Boren; instead he runs up into linebackers. Mike Hart would never do this. Mike Hart would gain 15 on this play and bake peanut butter cookies while doing it.|
|Fired into not much space; Arrington hit as the ball gets there; no problem. (CA+, 2, protection 1/1)|
|FB shuffle. Nothing special here; no real hole but no penetration, either. Brown follows Moundros for a few.|
|O37||2||7||???||Pass||8||Manningham||Zone PA Screen|
|The sixth play the BTN fails to show us most of. This is the same screen Manningham just dropped â€“ you can tell because long is out there trying to help out on what looks like a WR screen; Manningham jukes the corner and fights for good yardage. (CA, 3)|
|Another cutback run for Brown keyed by the backside DT getting chopped to the ground. This time it's Kraus(+1); Boren gets out on the MLB after helping Schilling(+1) with his excellent zone block. Brown shoots up between them and is into the secondary, setting up Mathews nicely to get from the 10 into the endzone. A lot faster than Hart, yes.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 41-7, 14 min 4th Q. We should have put Hart's jersey on Brown for those Heisman stats.|
|Henne in the game... why? Well covered by Purdue. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|A pretty good run by Brown here with a quick, decisive cut up into the second level, where he meets an unblocked linebacker. His momentum (and some help from Long â€“ also inexplicably still in the game) carries him for another four.|
|I do still hate these calls on third and short; Purdue shoots guys into every gap except one, as the backside DT again gets cut, this time by Ortmann(+1). Brown manages to squeeze forward for the first down.|
|Purdue in a 3-4 look with a NT right over Boren. Schilling(-1) and Boren(-1) double him, both doing a crappy job. They get split; a blitzing linebacker and Moundros collide a couple yards in the backfield; the LB wins; Brown is swallowed whole.|
|Brown really needs to cut behind Schilling here like he did on some previous plays; the backside DE is charging hard and may track him down but Schilling's guy is beating him to the outside so when you continue outside you get thumped.|
|Butler delays, then releases out to the sideline after the WRs clear out the zone; Henne checks down to him. Butler evades one tackle and squeezes down to the 13, making an extra seven yards and letting Michigan go for it. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O13||4||1||Ace Big||Run||12||Brown||Zone left|
|This is all Long(+2) blowing his guy off the ball.|
|O1||1||G||Ace Big||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Same play; Kraus gets beaten and thrown back but the first tackle attempt can't bring Brown down and he falls into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 48-7, 10 min 4th Q. Charting ceases here; it's Potempa time.|
Yeah, no kidding.
Rock rock rock rock?
Much less so. First down breakdown:
- 11 passes for 151 yards.
- 20 runs for 108 yards.
It was a more balanced than that early; once the second half rolled around Michigan was heavily run-biased. Also, Henne mentioned a couple of incorrect checks early when he would see an opportunity for a run and Purdue would check into an eight-man front late. All told, this was the most balanced and aggressive gameplan of the year.
Purdue had Michigan's attention and the playcalling reflected that. I hope the staff won't curl up in a ball, figuring that a road night game against a team with a potentially crappy offense is a good time to call the Avalanche, especially given what appears to be a serious weakness in the secondary.
This, of course, is the occasionally frustrating part of the DeBord oeuvre: when there is a near 50-50 mix of run pass and Michigan is truly taking what the defense gives them, things like 48 points happen and things like the chart below happen and everything is very nice and it's like "finally, they will learn" and then they totally don't. Sometimes stuff like the Henne fumble happens, but the rewards are, in many situations, worth the risks.
I would also like to note something for the "possess the ball" freaks out there: Michigan didn't actually do a good job of possessing the ball, many times scoring quickly on a long completion or via the help of a long completion, other times picking up a single first down and then punting. The turnovers distorted this a bit, but Michigan had a whopping nine first-half possessions, which is as many as they had in the entire Eastern Michigan game. Purdue's style of offense helped Michigan out immensely by failing and failing quickly, allowing Michigan to assert their superiority.
This may give some insight into why Purdue seems so helpless against the better teams on their schedule: when things go wrong for the Boilers they go wrong quickly. Purdue has a lot of 45 second drives and their opponents get a ton of cracks at what's been a shaky defense the past few years. The results are halftime scores like 31-7 instead of 16-8 and little chance to steal victories in ugly, close-scoring games. On the other hand, when things are going well they go well quickly and scores balloon the other direction.
Charts. I've separated out Mallett and Henne on the Hennemallettchart. Results:
Obviously an outstanding day from Henne of the sort we all dreamed of in the preseason. No ugly interceptions on horrible reads -- the one ball Purdue could have picked up was inaccurate, not a bad idea -- and only two mistakes that can be blamed on the QB all day. Michigan can beat anyone in the country if Henne plays like that regularly... a brief glimpse up at The Horror indicates that is no slam dunk. Still, there is nothing to criticize; that was an All-American performance.
Protection: 35/42. Butler -3, Long -1, Hart -1, Ortmann -2.
One drop, that when Manningham's eyes got big on that zone PA screen we inexplicably debuted late in the third quarter, and a couple catches in the "1" category. A near-perfect day from this unit as well.
The Hart Chart went up on like Sunday or Monday or something ridiculous like that. Long still dominant; Boren rebounded from a tough outing or two; Schilling is approaching neutral as well. Note that this week's chart does not include Brown's carries, unfortunately.
Yeah, so how about Carlos Brown?
He seems like the exact opposite of Hart: a guy with questionable vision and little in the way of moves who has the speed to jet into the endzone if you give him a crease (and he sees it). The questionable vision could be due to inexperience -- he spent the spring at defensive back, then broke his hand -- and might develop in the future; Hart-like moves are not likely to. His two slashing touchdown runs were encouraging and he seems much less likely to get decapitated by a charging safety than Minor; he'll have a shot at the job next year. We're likely to see a four- or even five-headed rotation early.
What was the deal with all those tight formations?
Hell if I know. Several times we loaded up with two tight ends plus a fullback and plowed into the line with little success; on a couple other instances we motioned in Arrington and gave Purdue the same look. Also little success, as Purdue shoved eight and nine men to the LOS and sold out against it. I'm repeating myself from the table, but any formation that takes Arrington or Manningham off the field in favor of Chris McLaurin is probably a bad idea. The threat of those two guys virtually forces opponents to keep a safety back or play soft on the corners, loosening up the front. I don't think Michigan should singlehandedly combat spacing out
One oddity worth noting: Michigan seems to screw around with some new toy in every game, then shelve it. Against Oregon it was the TE-pull counter zone. Against EMU it was a twins set that covers up the TE. Against Purdue it was this tight formation. (Nothing of note happened in the Notre Dame, Penn State, or Northwestern games, likely because Mallett was starting and the playbook was restricted.) I miss the TE pull, which gave Michigan's run game misdirection and had an excellent suite of play action plays off of it from the fake-block TE drag to the TE actually blocking down on the DE, allowing Henne time to look for some deeper routes on the waggle. This other stuff not so much.
Pick someone. Henne, probably.
Carson Butler was responsible for getting Henne hit on the fumble, picked up a holding penalty on a Hart draw, and had a few other instances of shoddy blocking. (His false start was not his fault, however.)
What does it mean for Illinois?
Illinois, like Michigan, has thrived on turnovers in their wins and may not be that good defensively. One definite trend:
That's 6.6 YPA, 7.8 YPA, and 8.0 YPA against one good quarterback and two mediocre-at-best ones. They've gotten to the QB a lot -- 14th in sacks -- but the secondary looks ripe for the picking. Even last week's opponent, Jake Christensen did 17-25, 182, 1 TD. That's 7.3 YPA. Meanwhile, the rushing defense is 27th and did a decent job against PJ Hill (4 YPC) and a heavily utilized Iowa attack (also 4 YPC). More passing seems the order of the day.
Simple equation: protect Henne and light up the scoreboard.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Ohio State, #1 everywhere else, is also #1 in the BlogPoll but its margin is much smaller; South Florida takes 26 first place votes to OSU's 35. LSU maintains five, and Arizona State(?!) picks up one.
Elsewhere, we have a very AP moment as we drop Cal well behind Oregon after the Bears' loss to Oregon State, Hawaii continues its undeserved march up the ranks after an overtime victory over San Jose State, and USC, oddly, continues its plummet after a win, albeit an ugly, close one over Arizona.
Michigan -- gulp -- returns at #25.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- The LSU five: MGoBlog, Hey Jenny Slater, SMQB, Bruce Ciskie, and Cal Golden Blogs all stick with LSU, Ciskie after I berated him over IM for 45 minutes. The Arizona State outlier is Boi From Troy. More on him later.
- The poll's most negative LSU voter, Corn Nation, places them twelfth, a full six spots behind a team, South Carolina, LSU beat by 12, and two spots behind Virginia Tech, who they beat by 41.
- I said anyone who put Hawaii in the top ten should be horsewhipped; we have two horsewhipees. The very slightly less egregious is Eagle In Atlanta, ranking Hawaii #6. Meanwhile...
- My Opinion On Sports has Hawaii #3, then compounds this by putting Virginia Tech #2. An atrocious, unjustifiable ballot in so many ways: LSU again well behind two teams it beat, Hawaii #3 ahead of, well... nearly everyone.
- Boi From Troy ranks USF #14; Frank McGrath puts them #12.
- BFT also has Oregon #2, Michigan #12, USC #6, and a bunch of other random stuff that makes little sense, especially when the deltas are taken into account.
- EDSBS leaps Cincinnati up seven spots after a loss; when asked about this Orson said "I'M FORTY! I'M A MAN! PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS AN ERROR IN YOUR TONGUE-LASHING SECTION."
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
This week's Mr. Bold is, as you might imagine, Boi From Troy. Second: MOOS. Hang your heads in shame, for your ballots harm us all.
Mr. Numb Existence goes to Double Extra Point (ballot), which wins this award so often it's freaky. Other things DEP likes: white bread, vanilla ice cream, and the Ford Taurus. If that makes them sound racist, that's not the intent. Boring is what we were looking for. Boring.
Yeah, they won it again this week. Are they trying for this? Do they look at chocolate ice cream, shudder, and then say "I'll stick with vanilla, thanks". (Again, we're looking for "boring".) It seems pretty easy to try for a weird ballot -- just stick Hawaii in the top ten and diss LSU -- but consistently coming down with the least weird ballot is some kind of parlor trick.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award did not inflict pain this week because its winner, Dan Shanoff and Florida, had a bye. This week Boi From Troy wrests the award away from Dan -- not on the list at all -- right before USC plays... uh... Notre Dame. #&*$! There isn't a dire annoying-pundit-based college football poll award on the planet that can propel Notre Dame to victory against USC. Maybe Florida, squaring off with dangerous Kentucky, will go down.
(Note: it's a good thing BFT used his Trojan-biased random number generator this week, else the MZone would have won this and I would have to kill them.)
The winner is Jonathan Tu, who one-ups Saurian Sagacity by leaving USC completely out of his poll. Saurian Sagacity's own total omission of Florida from their ballot can't compare; they narrowly finish second. I believe Tu's winning margin of -12.46 is the highest score ever recorded in this category.
Same 1-2, though both have started including their teams in their ballots, bringing down the winning margins considerably.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number m
eans that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
MOOS is Mr. Stubborn.
Two minor changes: OU and Kentucky both down two; Kentucky to acknowledge SoCar's win over them.
Quick! To the time machine! Oh, the above picture would have been awesome four years ago. Now it's just like "hey, creepily tan Skeletor likes Michigan."
Jebus. WolverineHistorian is banging these out about as fast as I can link them. Here's 2002 Michigan State (the 49-3 game that was the deathblow to the Bobby Williams era):
...and 1977 Ohio State:
...and the most ridiculous catch of Jason Avant's career:
...and the immortal Buffalo Stampede game:
Obiiiiiiii. Little news from Carr's Monday press conference save the release of a depth chart that still features Obi Ezeh as the starting middle linebacker despite John Thompson's apparent return to health. Minor, rumored to be out for the year, is also on the depth chart.
What happened to Wisconsin? Hell if I know, but SMQB highlights one of the more bizarre occurrences in this year rife with them:
Whatever the circumstances, 438 yards and 38 points to Penn State is an embarrassment for a team that still considered itself a darkhorse mythical championship contender as late as two weeks ago. The Badgers' run defense over the last three weeks:
So the performance against Penn State was actually something of an improvement.
Great galloping Gilloolys. And this from a team that returned five of their excellent 2006 front seven, plus a defensive-minded coach with a terrific track record. There is no rational explanation for the crapfest that has been the Wisconsin run defense over the past few weeks.
One other item: Bret Bielema punted from the PSU 36 this weekend... with 18 seconds left in the half. What the hell is Penn State going to do with the ball at their own 36 and 12-15 seconds left? Other than kneel and flee to the locker room? Bielema, thy name is meathead.
Hart4Heisman, as advertised during the Purdue game, is up and going.
Elsewhere, the proprietor of the Joe Cribbs Car Wash, a displaced Auburn fan, took in the Purdue game. Relevant section of the JCCW's Arkansas review:
I spent the first part of last Saturday at the Big House watching Michigan blast hapless Purdue, and one of the things you can't help but notice is just how much Wolverine fans care about Mike Hart. Whether it's the endless stream of "20" jerseys, Hart t-shirts, the cries of joy when he spun off the back of a defender and scored on what appeared to be a lost play, the cries of anguish when he left the game with a limp and appeared on the JumboTron grimacing as his ankle got the once-over.
It occurred to me that perhaps not since the outpouring of admiration and respect Auburn fans offered Campbell, Cadillac and Ronnie, and Borges in 2004 have we cared about our players or coaches in anything approaching the kind of fashion you see here in Ann Arbor regarding Hart. I know as an SEC fan I'm supposed to never admit envying anything about a Big 10 program under any circumstances, but yeah, I was jealous.
I just bought a Hart jersey. I think football jerseys look ridiculous on non-football players, but... well... yeah.
Aftermath. Miles didn't get the opportunity to shake Rich Brooks' hand after the Kentucky loss, so he sought him out the next day:
"I thought out guys played their butts off," Miles said. "If I thought there were tired or showed lack of effort, or if in any way there was a hangover, I would have told you, O.K. I don't believe that. I believe that we played our tails off. Kentucky played awfully well. And we need to improve. There are pieces of our team that we need to get better at. If we can do that, we'll be right in the hunt. I like my team, I'm proud of my team. We finished second today."
Much more Michiga
n-y than those intemperate offseason comments.
(A note on that third OT strategy: yes, he called rock. Obviously the first down call was fine, as it gained six yards. Second down... eh. Third down I think it's acceptable in that situation because you know you have two downs for the first. Fourth down... well. Given Flynn's performance thus far in that game -- awful -- and the fact you were playing Kentucky and rolling over them, I think it's eminently defensible.
No one playcall is right or wrong. Things have a certain percentage chance of working; they work or they do not. It's like poker: only a long sequence of decisions can be critiqued. Some things are obviously unwise and can be criticized -- running stretch plays on third and short, attempting to bluff a bad player -- but it makes no sense to criticize borderline stuff in a vacuum. (Also, we don't know how much influence Miles actually had on that playcall. He's obviously content to let his coordinators coordinate; that may have been Crowton's decision.)
The thing that excited about the Florida game was the aggressiveness on fourth down that clearly demonstrated that Miles had an excellent grasp of game theory and won the Florida game. Calling a run or a pass on fourth and two is a nitpick, especially given the relative vectors of the LSU pass and run offenses. Noting that Miles understands something most coaches do not and that bodes well for his future school is not.
The way Miles coached against Florida was obviously right, but the end of the Kentucky game was not obviously wrong. Sometimes you lose. As long as coaching malpractice does not factor in it's best to look at the whole picture. The way the Kentucky game went down doesn't change my opinion except incrementally.)
Circle gets the square. Michigan put in an excellent performance in the Icebreaker, beating BC and losing narrowly to Minnesota. Western College Hockey has thoughts, as does Yost Built. Both are fairly sanguine about Bill Sauer's performance, which... like... what? His save percentage was awful both nights, he allowed guys to set up camp in the crease without so much as a pokecheck, and he foolishly strayed off the near post, screening himself and allowing an easy short-side goal to a Minnesota player. I spent most of the game between wincing and livid, cursing the gods of mono.
The rest of it? Highly encouraging. We're about to find out that Kevin Porter was almost entirely a creation of TJ Hensick but Michigan hasn't played as intelligently as this in a long time. Youth and enough depth to mak the threat of a benching very real will keep everyone on their toes, working hard.
One brief analogy: 2006 Michigan State Spartan hockey :: 2006 St Louis Cardinals.
Editorial Opinion: Slow again.
Some notes on official visits: the header of the above-linked article on TX S Keanon Cooper says that, unsure of Michigan's interest in him, he canceled his scheduled official and went to Kansas State (which was "all right," the recruiting trip equivalent of "it reminded me Nanking during the Japanese occupation"); Michigan got back in touch and rescheduled the trip.
Meanwhile, TN CB/S JT Floyd did make a visit this week, but this one was unofficial. The article above is just a few stats and pictures; nothing of note.
And then: McGuffie. The Matrix got shelved with an ankle injury in a season-opening loss, came back gimpy and managed 78 yards on something like 16 carries in another loss, and then blew up. Over the past two weeks he has over 500 yards and 10 touchdowns playing behind a nearly all-new offensive line in Texas 5-A.
Result? Scout moves him up into the top 50 and gives him a fifth star. Rivals, updating a couple weeks earlier, shoves him down to #197. Go figure.
McGuffie was also in the news for an unusual reason, as he was directly mentioned in several of Dennis Franchione's super secret emails:
One entry begins: "TOTAL MUM ON THIS: A certain highly-regarded prospect who has committed to Michigan showed up at practice Saturday wearing a USC cap, for which he took a lot of 'guff.'
The prospect is Houston Cy-Fair running back Sam McGuffie, one of the state's top recruits. He is referenced three times in the released newsletters.
Said newsletters are here if anyone wants to peruse them. There are hundreds of pages... so not likely. Since Franchione is so, so fired after this year I don't think we have much to worry about from A&M.
That's pretty much it. One speculative note: Steve Pederson getting canned probably means Bill Callahan follows him out the door sometime soon. This will probably not net Michigan anything. Jonas Gray was kind of pissed at the way Michigan recruited him and apparently had an "athlete" offer only, whatever that means. I don't know where a 5'10", 210-pound guy plays other than running back, and Michigan has two. Anyway, even if Gray opens up his recruitment it's doubtful he looks at Michigan. NE OL Trevor Robinson, a onetime Nebraska commit, re-opened his recruitment to include Michigan and Notre Dame but the scuttlebutt is the family is Husker through-and-through and if anything the potential departure of Callahan only increases the chances Robinson will recommit.
Please take the previous paragraph for the speculation it is, by the way. No sources on this one.