(Video links coming later.)
|For some reason, the local ABC affiliate decided that it was really important we see the last 12 seconds of Texas-Nebraska and then a frickin' local news commercial instead of the opening kickoff and most of the first play. By the time we get back, Sims is squirting through a small hole up the middle for a decent gain. Taylor(-1) tries to spin free of his defender, ceding ground and opening up the gap Sims exploits.|
|O27||2||3||Base 4-3||Pass||4||Quick hitch|
|Trent playing a good way off, essentially ceding this at the snap. I don't mind it on second and three. (Cover -1)|
|Think Sims made the wrong cut here and it's away from the desginated hole. Taylor(+1) stood his man up and may have pushed him back a bit but not enough to close the hole. When Sims cuts back Woodley(+1) and Taylor converge to make the TFL.|
|Sims again refuses to follow his fullback. Inexplicable, as Taylor's blown off the ball by a double-team and there's more room in the actual hole than his cutback lane. Filled by Burgess(+1), but this should have worked.|
|Harris(+1), blitzing, is the guy who bats it down. (BA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q. Really odd couple of runs from Sims where he looked to have room in the hole the play was designed to go into but instead decided to cut back into otherwise blocked defenders.|
|O24||1||10||Base 4-3||Pass||5||WR Screen|
|Tackle releases, trying to get a block on the corner. He's a little late, allowing Sears(+1) to come up outside of him and get an ankle tackle.|
|Douglas working Sears, in press coverage. Sears(-1) lets Douglas inside of him too easily despite setting up to the interior. (cover -1)|
|O40||1||10||Base 4-3||Penalty||-5||Illegal Formation|
|The play is a rollout pass that is caught by Douglas for 20 yards despite Harris(+1) coming up like a shot and leveling Tate as he throws. Douglas is wide open. (Pressure +1, cover -2)|
|O35||1||15||Base 4-3||Pass||4||TE Flat|
|Comes down to a checkdown (cover +1), who is tackled immediately by Burgess and Englemon.|
|Wide open in front of Hall(-1, cover -1), but dropped.|
|O39||3||11||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||Inc||Short post|
|We blitz two guys, though one is delayed. They don't get there in time (pressure -1), and Brodell is open in front of Hall(-1, cover -1) again. Fortunately, the throw is behind him and his attempt at a one-handed grab is not enough. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 8 min 1st Q.|
|Woodley(+1) beats his man badly, forcing Tate to step up in the pocket and take his eyes off his receivers. Harris comes up too hard and is sidestepped; Crable makes a late dive but can't grab him, and Tate escapes from a sack. (pressure +1)|
|Harris(+1) diagnoses and eliminates. That does not work on Dave Harris.|
|Harrison blitzes; is picked up. Tate finds Brodell downfield. The ball is overthrown badly, forcing a leaping grap from Brodell. Trent's right there for the tackle and may have had a play on a better-thrown ball. (CA, cover +1)|
|O38||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||2||Off tackle|
|Woodley(+1) gets his man pushed back, closing off the outside and forcing Sims back up into the middle where many blue shirts wait.|
|Some sort of horrible zone leaves Douglas open by a million yards on an eight-yard hitch. Hall is way, way off the LOS when the ball is thrown. Englemon comes over and makes the tackle. (Cover -2) Englemon(+1) does force a fumble, but it goes out of bounds.|
|Hey: Sims decides to follow the hole. Johnson(-1) is doubled and cedes the hole. Burgess(-1) does not diagnose the play quickly enough and is crushed on the second level.|
|Decent time for Tate, but he whe tries to step up and fire he's hit by Taylor(+1), forcing a wildly overthrown ball. (IN, pressure +1)|
|Read excellently by Trent(+1) who is there at the snap and tackles.|
|M36||3||8||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||10||TE Out|
|Can't complain about the coverage: Burgess(+1) is right there and forces a tough throw and catch from Tate and Chandler, which they make. (Cover +1, pressure -1).|
|Jamison(+2) does an excellent job to pop the pulling OL on this rollout and eventually cause Tate's stumbling sack. Crable did well to also get free and attack the quarterback, but he overran the play and nearly let Tate escape. (Pressure +2)|
|Crable(+3) is in instantly, sacking Tate and causing a fumble and a turnover. Branch(+1) recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-0, 1 min 1st.|
|O9||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||5||Off tackle|
|Young manages to squeeze through a small hole between Taylor and Branch (doubled). Taylor(+1) gets some push and makes an ankle tackle on the slashing Young.|
|O14||2||5||Base 4-3||Run||0||Off tackle|
|Taylor(+2) pushes into the backfield again, making a tackle for no gain with no help from the rest of the defense.|
|Chandler is open for the first down but Tate's throw is high and hard, possib ly because Woodley(+1) hit him just as he threw. (pressure +1).|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 2nd Q.|
|O19||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||1||Off tackle|
|Branch(+1) shoots inside the tackle, flows down the line, and tackles at the LOS.|
|Screen finds a lot of room. Reasons: we blitz one guy and everyone else is in tight man. The one guy assigned to Young can't get through three blockers, and he's into the secondary easily. Our rock, their paper. Note: Taylor is hauling ass downfield in case Taylor cuts back.|
|O38||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||1||Off tackle|
|Branch, Taylor, and Biggs all fire into their linemen, driving them back. Branch(+1) makes an ankle tackle at the LOS.|
|"False start, the entire line."|
|O44||2||14||3-3-5 Stack||Run||-2||Off tackle|
|Young decides to take this outside and must avoid Biggs(+1), so he bounces a little further out. Harrison is waiting for him there, so he goes a little further out. Trent(+1) defeats a block and shoots into the backfield for a three-yard loss.|
|Burgess crushes tate as he throws the ball. Miraculously, it's accurate by Trent â€“ lined up in press â€“ is stride-for-stride with Douglas, getting a hand on the ball. (cover +1, pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 4 min 2nd Q.|
|O2||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||3||FB Dive|
|Counter fake from young, then Tate hands it to the fullback. Caught a little off guard, the defense can't get him at the line, but it's a fullback dive.|
|We get to see this play from a field-level endzone camera because the director thinks this is goddamned Amelie instead of a football game. Jamison comes free and makes a tackle at the line but I have no idea what happened on this play.|
|Rollout and throw from Tate; good work from Hall(+1) to come up and tackle before the sticks. (cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, EO 2nd Q.|
|Brodell open in front of Hall(-1) in the zone. (cover -1)|
|M17||2||1||Base 4-3||Run||1||Off tackle?|
|Hard to tell what the design of this play is, as Michigan bashes its way into the backfield (Crable +1). Sims cuts back into the backside pursuit for about a yard.|
|Crable(+1) on the short route forces Tate to hesitate. By that point, Woodley(+1) is on him, forcing a pass out of bounds. (TA, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: FG, 3-3, 10 min 3rd Q.|
|Momentarily looks like it'll be a good gain, but Adams(+1) fills nicely to prevent much yardage.|
|Michigan telegraphs its blitz, which is picked up. Tate rolls and finds Grigsby in front of Hall. (Pressure -2)|
|All day for Tate, which allows Douglass to run a flag between Trent and Englemon. Trent in decent coverage but that's way too long to let Tate sit and survey. (Pressure -2)|
|M43||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||5||Off tackle|
|Bad time for Biggs to stunt inside. As soon as he goes, the corner is open. ORTP (Our Rock, Their Paper).|
|Douglas doesn't get the audible and fails to turn around for the ball.|
|Wow: Chandler is wiiiide open. (Cover -2, pressure -1) Tate almost throws this wide, but Chandler makes a good catch. WTF are our linebackers doing here? (-1 Harris, Burgess)|
|M11||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||1||Zone left|
|Branch(+1) and Jamison(+1) convince Young to go back inside; Taylor(+1) sheds a block and dives to make an ankle tackle.|
|Woodley(+1) stunts around, coming free. Branch closes him down from the outside, forcing a great read from Tate to get it to young for a postiive play. (pressure +1)|
|English brings the blitz, getting Woodley in unblocked. Burgess(+1) is in good enough coverage for Tate to throw it wide, hoping he can keep it away from him. (pressure, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: FG, 10-6, 2 min 3rd Q|
|Woodley(+3) with the sack and strip. Unfortunately, Iowa recovers.|
|Branch(+1) displays his improbable agility by stepping around the guard, then a RB trying to cut him. That forces Tate to scramble. Crable(+1) comes off his guy and runs him out of bounds, picking up a cheap sack.|
|Woodley(+1) almost picks up another sack; Tate manages to stay upright and gets off a remarkably accurate pass to Dominique Douglas. The ball comes flying out when he hits the ground: incompletion. (Pressure +1, cover -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-6, 11 min 4th Q.|
|I don't really know why teams try this on Trent. He's good in deep coverage, not so good short. He's in good position and may get a deflection on this. Hard to tell with no replay. Anyway: tough throw, tough catch, and a guy right in the receiver's grill. (cover +1)|
|Branch(+1) used as a spy here? He's 330 pounds! Anyway: screen. Branch doesn't try to get a pass rush, just standing his guy up, until the pass is thrown. He disrupts the timing of the play in the backfield, allowing Michigan to converge and tackle.|
|Play that got Ferentz all volcanic because Morgan Trent obviously grabbed Douglas. There seems to be miscommunication here, as Douglas is running an out and the ball is yards away from him. Even if it's PI, it's uncatchable.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-6, 9 min 4th Q.|
|With everyone in man coverage and a blitz coming, if Tate got out of the pocket this was going to be a good gain. He does and it is. Accursed QB scramble which doubles opponent's rushing yards!|
|O41||1||10||3-3-5 Stack||Run||0||Zone left|
|Uh... okay. WTF? Great job by Burgess(+1) to stand up a blocker, string the play out, and tackle.|
|O41||2||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||19||TE Cross|
|Woodley(+1) again beating the tackle and bearing down on Tate; despite the pressure Tate gets off a great throw to Chandler. (Pressure +1, cover -1)|
|Out in front of Grigsby. Decent coverage from Michigan. (pressure -1)|
|Chandler again. Too much time. (pressure -1)|
|Crable held; Tate steps up and delivers the ball accurately.|
|Jamison(+2) gets around the defensive end, forcing Tate to scramble. Woodley comes free, cuts off the outside, and sacks him.|
|M21||2||12||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||6||Bubble screen|
|Uh... okay. This is unlikely to get a first down and will thus wind the clock.|
|Tate's pass incomplete to an open receiver. May have been bothered by late pressure from Woodley.|
|Odd play. Tate stumbles going back; Michigan sends the house. Jamison(+1) is coming in but is tackled(!) from behind(!) by an OL... no flag. Anyway, Tate's pass is a looper off his back foot that Englemon steps in front of. (pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 20-6, 2 min 2nd Q. EOG.|
Wow, this is nice and late. When can we expect the 1998 Iowa UFR?
Shut up! I was almost dead!
Are you sure you didn't spend the day crying about Jemele Freakin' Hill getting 400k from ESPN?
Okay, one comment: she was obviously below-par when she wrote for the State News. A collegiate newspaper. At Michigan State. And now?
|Woodley||10||10||Two sacks that could have been five had Tate been even a little hesitant. Was beating the Iowa tackle all day.|
|Taylor||6||1||5||Has a tendency to get thrust backwards if doubled, but just plain good.|
|Branch||6||6||Forced one of our sacks even though he didn't get one for himself.|
|Jamison||6||6||Good day for him. Has more speed than Biggs and flashes surprising power at times. Wonder if he'll be used against Troy Smith rollouts... he made an excellent play that led to a Crable sack against Tate.|
|Crable||6||-||6||Three sacks though only one was properly his.|
|Sears||1||1||0||Has replaced Trent for one series each of the last two games.|
|Trent||2||-||2||Tested deep twice.|
|"Pressure"||11||9||2||Possibly harsh. Tate's experience was the difference between five sacks and ten.|
Pressure and coverage seem harsh to me when Iowa managed all of six points, but there they are.
How was this performance compared to the Penn State one?
Depends on who you're talking about. The defensive line probably played better. Michigan benefited from a lot of PSU blocking busts; the hesitancy of all three PSU quarterbacks also helped out. The Iowa offensive line, even minus Dace Richardson, is a far superior unit and Tate, for all his struggles, is veteran QB who makes quick, intelligent decisions. More than a few times he managed to get off an accurate pass in a situation when most other quarterbacks would have been sacked. Also: no busts from the line. Michigan just beat people to get to the QB.
The secondary, however, isn't quite living up to expectations. I wonder if the oft-times soft coverage is a response to the dominance of the pass rush and run defense: the assumption is that the only way to drive the field on Michigan is to hit a bomb of some sort and if you stay in front of the WRs ev entually the opponent will find itself in third and long and be forced to punt or try a field goal. (Note that this is a MUCH better assumption than it was last year when the run defense was sketchy and the pass rush was okay at best.) I believe that it's rare for the secondary to make a play unless the quarterback gives them an opportunity to. The way passing games are designed, a senior quarterback capable of looking off a zone and firing it accurately is going to move the ball down the field if not pressured. I guess we'll see.
What does it mean for Ohio State?
We're working on pressuring those rollouts that worked so effectively for Michigan State. Against Iowa, it was intermittently effective but also got Tate lit up or sacked a couple times. The free first down it represented went away. With Bacher and Kellen Lewis mobile guys behind dodgy OLs, we'll get plenty of practice doing that before OSU.
That same level of production from the DL against a better offensive line is encouraging, as was the wholesale shutdown of the Iowa running game. Faster backs weren't particularly useful against the Michigan front seven; the Tate scramble in garbage time doubled their rushing yards.
I still think Trent on Ginn and Hall on Gonzalez are decent matchups for us. Trent's deep coverage hasn't been impeccable but he hasn't let anyone behind him even when lined up with relatively small cushions, and that includes Derrick Williams, who may not be the world's best receiver but is pretty damn fast. Harrison (or Sears) on Robiskie or Hall... not so much.
What does it mean for Northwestern?
CJ Bacher should put on an extra helmet.
Right: yesterday was a bad day. I felt like the guy from Flowers for Algernon when he realized that at one time he was like smart and stuff but no longer. Today I'm still kind of bleah but I am recognizably human. Double-barreled UFR coming ASAP. Expect the D in an hour or two.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Fallers: Oregon and Georgia Tech are your main fallers after getting waxed this weekend.
Risers: I'm not sure exactly what caused Boston College to shoot upwards into the mid-teens. Could SMQB's impassioned case for the Eagles have had a widespread effect on the voting? (Although apparently not that impassioned: SMQB then predicted an FSU victory over BC). Surely it wasn't the Eagles' confirmation that yes, Florida State is a long way from its glory days.
Clemson managed to hop past Cal and Notre Dame on the strength of their 31-7 throat-crushing of Georgia Tech. I wonder if Charlie Weis will bitch out blogpoll voters now.
Rutgers and Wisconsin continue to crawl up the poll, as well.
Wack Ballot Watchdog: Wack ballots are given a pass this week due to illness.
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.
Mr. Bold is Dawg Sports. Unusual ballot features: Clemson #4, Wisconsin #6, Arkansas #7, Boston College #10. South Carolina? #23? Okay. Note that the ballots are falling in line as more and more of the season passes.
Mr. Numb Existence goes to the Sports Frog. Congratulations and stuff; your ballot is as per usual difficult to talk about.
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 remains in the hands of Badger Sports for placing the Badgers #11. Too bad Wisconsin doesn't play anyone with a pulse, like, ever. Otherwise the dark power of this award could be brought to bear once more.
Straight Bangin' Award is Boi From Troy's for a second week. He bumped USC to #8, passing a plummetting Oregon and static WVU, but is still pessimistic about the Trojan's chances to remain undefeated.
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 means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic-Depressive is also Dawg Sports. Kyle's ballot is either the work of deep reconsideration or general jumpiness, moving just about everyone around some.
Mr. Stubborn is Conquest Chronicles; top nine unchanged and only gradual movement afterwards.
Right: instead of a throat I have a pain and coughing factory. Blogging today will be light; UFR is Wed/Thurs again (sorry). In lieu of intelligent commentary in this space I present it from elsewhere.
Arrington's troubles are not over. More @ The Fanhouse.
FO's "Too Deep Zone" has a look at the increasing prevalence of two tight end sets in the NFL. Interesting reading since Michigan uses a lot of these sets, though TEs are getting mighty scarce these days.
Side note: with Bass and Manningham's knees messed up and Arrington's legal issues, to say nothing of the TE injuries, it's time to acknowledge that Angry Michigan Safety Hating God has morphed into Angry Michigan Receiver Hating God.
Tate joins the chorus. Unless everyone who's played us is just puffing us up, we have the best defense in the Big Ten... and it isn't close:
Q: How tough was their defense out there today?
TATE: They were pretty tough. With out a question, the best defense we have played all year. With how physical they are, their size, their speed, we haven't seen anything like that. That's for them. For us, I thought we did an unbelievable job going against them. It probably could have been a lot worse. They made it hard on us on a lot of things, with routes and things like that because their DB's are pretty quick. I think they scouted us pretty well. They were at the right depth and everything like that like they are supposed to be. A lot of credit goes to them, I mean they played really well and our defense played extremely well. You couldn't ask for more than that. They made it hard on us moving the ball. We had our chances also, we just missed them.
The MZone highlights the back of a recent Reader's Digest -- something that I admit I don't read religiously:
I love that the foremost Buckeye fan might have graduated from middle school and definitely has some Skoal in his pocket. Maybe he's the guy who left a comment claiming that "Troy alluded two defenders."
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to crawl into a hole and try to keep my lungs inside my body.
Remember: no looky at last week's ballot. Now that I see the finished product I have my reservations. Hell, I had reservations about the ballot as submitted.
- I've reconsidered a couple ACC teams. Clemson obliterated a Georgia Tech team that is actually kind of good. Sure, they were aided heavily by Reggie Ball's essential Reggie-Ball-ness, but CJ Spiller is fast. They kind of fluked their way into the Wake win but that still ended up a ten-point victory over a decent team. The BC loss was by literally the thinnest of margins -- one point -- and was pretty fluky overall, with a KO return for a touchdown and a missed extra point providing the difference. Clemson outgained BC by over 150 yards. They move up quite a bit. I hear SMQB's plea on BC, as well. Though the win over Clemson was, as discussed, fluky, but so was the NC State loss. The four wins over other actual teams -- Central Michigan, undefeated in the MAC, TCU-beating BYU, FSU, and Va Tech -- warrant a ranking in the solid teens. Up they go.
- I think I was unfair to Louisville, but the teams in front of them are beginning to roll up actual resumes and Louisville has no one of stature on theirs -- and how I love being able to say that about a schedule that contains Miami.
- Of course, neither does West Virginia and I haven't punished them nearly as badly, though they do slip behind Clemson. This is probably unjustified.
- I have a feeling that Pitt's run defense is just atrocious. Anyone who remembers Darius Walker blowing up for a billion yards in last year's opener could tell you that. Walker's a nice back but when he's streaking past your secondary, you have problems. Earlier this year, Pitt was cut to ribbons by Michigan State. Now it's Rutgers turn to shred the Panther run defense. What I'm saying: Rutgers probably not that good against a team that can stop the run.
Hate this week's ballot and expect the revision to have major changes. Fire away.
10/21/2006 - Michigan 20-6 Iowa - 8-0 (4-0)
These pictures of battered and confused quarterbacks groggily pondering what their names are and how this whole "standing up" business is supposed to go are coming fast and furious these days. The latest features a Hawkeye in the crosshairs and has a pleasing religious aspect:
Sorry, Steve Tate, but praying to Mecca isn't going to help you. Allah is busy telling CJ Spiller to go to Clemson (good call, Allah) and pulling Charlie Weis' ass out of the fire. You, like all the others, are at the mercy of large, impossibly fast men with evil intent.
Five sacks and some hilarious anger when a fourth-quarter quarterback scramble doubles your opponent's rushing yards, Michigan has hurdled its last reasonable obstacle in the runup to Football Armageddon. After Notre Dame there was still a five-game minefield of potential upsets. Each week we remained steadfastly fixated on the upcoming opponent, refusing to believe we would ever reach this point seemingly decades in the future, but it's here: an opportunity to rest the wounded, tune up, and come out flat a couple weeks in a row.
Oh, there will be "flat," I promise you that. Next week against Northwestern there will be a comedy of errors large and small that panic everyone. I feel it even now: as soon as Mike Hart cut upfield to make it 20-6, the nervous tension that had slowly worked its way into my spine disappeared and I sat, pondering the road to this point and the end on November 18th. There were a bunch of disturbing things in this game; we'll talk about those later. All I can think right now is: win, you bastards. Win.
Bothersome things about the offense:
- Henne's internal clock went off several times. That's fine. If your first couple reads aren't open it's time to start wondering about pressure. But instead of coming down to a checkdown, which is usually Hart, Henne starts scrambling ineffectively. Against PSU he found a couple receivers, but against Iowa there was a lot of getting tracked down by linebackers or DL when another moment or two scanning the field could have yielded a completion.
- Alex Mitchell was not so good. At all.
- The struggles in the first half with the run game were against seven guys in the box. We loaded one side of the line and zoned out there; every time we did Iowa slanted heavily towards the strong side.
- I hope Good Zoltan shows up against OSU. Against PSU, he was terrible. Against Iowa, great. Go figure.
- Why is no one talking about the ridiculously bad spot? No, not that ridiculously bad spot, the one on Michigan's second drive where Steve Breaston caught the ball right at the sticks and was marked two yards shy.
- No review on the second and goal Arrington incompletion? Personally, I think he was in on third down but it was close enough that whichever way it was called on the field was going to stand.
- The fumble call encapsulated everything right and wrong with replay: they got a critical call correct, but it took an army of incompetent monkeys and ten minutes to do it.
- Five sacks against a slippery quarterback like Tate is reassuring going into the OSU game, especially with Jamison and Crable -- our two fastest pass rushers -- stepping up big time. We are doing a better job of getting out on rollouts, too. One major advantage we have that OSU's opponents to date haven't is a second player coming when the quarterback avoids the first.
- Butler still makes a ton of mental mistakes but has the look of a future star.
- Internet rumors were generally right: Arrington did have a legal issue, though it wasn't one that got him suspended. Massey was out. The Hart one was never credible, IMO.