I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
No Michigan game this weekend, but that doesn't mean football stops.
I'm currently stuck watching Degrassi Junior High because my roommate turned the TV on first. Apoplexy! Those of you without this issue, be thankful.
|1||10||O35||Pass||11||A slip screen much like ours. Michigan's in a zone so only two guys head out to the right flank. There are three NW WRs, and they get their blocks. (CA)|
|1||10||O46||Pass||23||Bazanez drops this two inches over David Harris's outstretched arm. You can't defend that, and I think Harris's coverage was so good he gets a +1 here anyway. Dude gets deep on his drops. Sometimes too deep. (DO)|
|1||10||M31||Run||11||Say it with me: loss of contain. This is one of those plays that explain why Woods(-2) isn't the default option opposite Woodley, as he gets sucked inside by a Sutton juke and gives up the corner. Graham also gets sealed, but I think he's playing his responsibility here.|
|1||10||M20||Pass||7||Leon Hall(-1) is way, way off on this one, giving a 10 yard cushion at the snap and allowing a really easy completion when tigher coverage probably ends up in a sack. I don't understand this coverage in the slightest. There's only 20 yards left to give up, you can't give that big a cushion.|
|2||3||M13||Run||-3||Fumble, touchdown. Woods(+1) explodes off the snap, gets 2 yards into the backfield, and disengages, forcing Sutton wide. Hall(+2) steps around an attempted cut, puts his helmet on the ball, and then runs until there is no more room to run.|
|Drive Notes: Michigan Touchdown, 14-0, 9 min 1st Q. Some good playcalling and play on the first couple plays, then a Woods screwup that he immediately atones for. I don't get the really soft Hall coverage on the 20. There's only so much room behind you; it's time to step up. Fumble is a 10 or 14 point swing.|
|1||10||O20||Pass||18||MSU-like rolling pocket. Basanez finds a wide open receiver downfield.|
|1||10||O38||Pass||62||Uh. That was quick. This is Barringer's(-2) bust, though he was put in a bad position as he ended up moving forward at the snap because Michigan's attempting to disguise the coverage. This is the cost of doing business when you're trying to challenge the offense.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7, 8 min 1st Q. I am fine with this screwup, as it's one of the few we've had this year. Brandon Harrison has had some trouble with his angles and Jamar Adams will occasionally screw up but all four safeties have exceeded expectations.|
|1||10||O4||Pass||26||Jesus. Basanez rolls out and has a ton of time to pick Mr. Zone apart. Graham is well, well behind the WR, but when he has that much time...|
|1||10||O31||Run||1||Very nice job by Watson(+1) and Branch(+1), who stiff their blockers and collapse when Roberson attempts to dart through them.|
|2||9||O32||Pass||Int / Fumble||Basanez's wide receiver never turns around for the ball. Harrison reads, reacts, and picks the ball of then runs it down to the 15 and fumbles. Er. (+2); they did lose like 15 yards.|
|1||10||O17||Scramble||4||The rushers end up past Basanez pretty quickly and actual man coverage confuses him, causing him to take off. No, this isn't roughing.|
|2||6||O21||Run||5||Sutton goes off tackle. Burgess does as well as he can given that he's being blocked and there's a ginormous hole between Taylor and Van Alstyne(-1).|
|3||1||O26||Pass||Inc||They roll the pocket again. Basanez eventually throws it well behind Thompson when he shoud have run it, he had the first down easily.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 3 min 1st Q. Bad decision by Basanez ends the drive.|
|1||10||O21||Run||8||Clever little design here where the guard opposite Massey(-1) doesn't block him and lets him fly upfield, where a pulling guard removes him from the play and creates a gaping hole .|
|2||2||O29||Run||-2||Sweep to Sutton. Branch(+1) penetrates, forcing him outside where Burgess(+1) comes up and splats the kid. Nice play.|
|3||4||O27||Pass||Inc||Basanez has a guy right before the sticks who he misses. A catch here is probably a first down. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 2 min 1st Q. Northwestern has a number of blocking schemes that rely on the defensive lineman running himself out of the play that worked all night. The first instance is here.|
|1||10||O35||Pass||7||Soft man coverage by Mason and they throw an out in front of him.|
|2||3||M42||Run||33||Option pitch outside that's blocked well. Adams(-2) has the opportunity to cut off the outside but does not. Major mental error that's the difference between five yards and 33.|
|1||10||M25||Pass||Inc||Watson(+1) gets a quick interior pass rush which is followed up by Woods(+1) on the roll. Basanez is forced to throw the ball away.|
|2||10||M25||Run||3||Jamison(+1) holds his ground on the edge, forcing Sutton wide, where Burgess(+1) tackles Sutton securely.|
|3||7||M22||Pass||7||Michigan blitzes a safety; Basanez throws an out in front of Mason, who's playing off because his safety is futilely blitzing. As soon as the safety ran up his read was clear.|
|1||10||M15||Run||0||Watson(+1) again stiffs the intended hole. When Sutton cuts back he screws up the blocking angles of his offensive linemen, allowing Graham to shoot up unblocked and cut off his escape.|
|2||10||M15||Pass||4||Play action rollout. Jamison(+1) explodes into the OL and then gets a bead on Basanez, forcing him to throw immediately to a wide receiver only a couple yards downfield.|
|3||6||M11||Pass||Inc||Middle screen that Burgess(+2) reads all the way, arriving at the RB precisely when the ball does.|
|Drive Notes: FG(28), 14-10, 13 min 2nd Q. I really like Jamison; guy seems to burst into offensive linemen, knocking them onto their heels, upon which point he owns them. Burgess is playing very well; Watson is killing the center.|
|1||10||O20||Pass||Inc||Mason(+1) jumps this route and it's a good thing for Basanez that he chucks this one inaccurately because it's a potential interception if accurate.|
|2||10||O20||Pass||2||Shovel pass inside that David Harris(+2) owns. His little juke around the guard assigned to block him is sweet, and he follows it up with a badass tackle.|
|3||8||O22||Pass||14||Basanez rolls out and hits Philmore with a deadly accurate pass thrown at the last possible moment. Hall(-1) is in front of the WR but slows down as he approaches the sideline, offering the tiny window that Bas uses.|
|1||10||O36||Pass||Inc||All day to throw against a three man rush. Basanez has a guy wide open 12 yards downfield but he drops it. 3 MAN RUSH == DUMBS|
|2||10||O36||Pass||0||Screen that David Harris(+1) owns again... and if he didn't own it Englemon(+1) would have.|
|3||10||O36||Pass||Inc||Mason(-1) really should have been flagged on this one. I like that he's getting more aggressive, though.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-10, 7 min 2nd Q. I think we're even now after the Avant hold. Mason's having a game like the one he had against Wisconsin. Doubt we see anything like it against Ohio State, though. Them dudes is fast.|
|1||10||O20||Penalty||5||Morgan Trent(-1) is all over the WR's back.|
|1||10||O25||Pass||Int||Mason(+3) makes a spectacular diving interception. There's miscommunication here but even if they WR had run his route correctly he'd be sititng two yards behind him, slapping his hands in disgust.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 24-10, 3 min 2nd Q. Yeah. When Mason doesn't respect the opponent's speed he gets all up in the grill.|
|1||10||O20||Pass||16||Basanez dumps it off to Sutton as Harris gets pulled way off in zone coverage. There's no one within 5 yards of him when he catches the ball.|
|1||10||O36||Pass||Inc||We're in man this time. Branch(+1) stunts around and forces Basanez to throw the ball away.|
|2||10||O36||Pass||13||More Sutton. He catches this ball in the flat a yard behind the line of scrimmage. Hall comes up to take away the outside and Burgess(-2) has the inside but overruns the play. Sutton cuts behind both of them for the first down. This is a really important play: if Sutton's tackled they have a third and five from their 40 with the clock rolling under 30 seconds in the half.|
|1||10||O49||Pass||Inc||Basanez misses Herbert on a timing route in between levels in the zone.|
|2||10||O49||Pass||16||Basanez steps up into the pocket, avoiding Jamison, and fires downfield. We're in a zone again, and Harrris(-1) starts chasing Sutton, vacating a massive hole in the zone.|
|1||10||M35||Pass||35||Touchdown. Mason's(-1) beat deep and tries to interfere but the catch is made anyway.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 27-17, EOH. Bleah.|
|1||10||O20||Run||16||Another clever blocking scheme designed to open a hole in the line between the DTs. The OT immediately releases upfield and gets a block on Burgess while the OG kicks out Woods and a pulling OG uses Massey's(-1) momentum to open up a big hole. Not a smart play by Massey. He should know something's up when he's released and not fly upfield. Watson(-1) is stoned by the center here. Burgess does well to beat his block but again misses a tackle.|
|1||10||O36||Pass||Inc||A lot of time to throw but no one open. Bas eventually attempts to dump it off to Sutton but it's short.|
|2||10||O36||Penalty||-10||An obvious holding call on a Basanez QB sneak. Crable(+2) is lined up as a standing DT and just goes right around the NW offensive lineman to draw the call. He still makes the tackle.|
|2||20||O26||Pass||Inc||Philmore drops a slant that would have picked up 6-8.|
|3||20||O26||Pass||Sack, -16||More Crable as the standing DT.Van Alstyne(+1) drives between the tackle and guard, allowing Crable(+2) to wrap around, defeat a half-block by the center, and then close on Basanez to make a crippling sack.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-17, 13 min 3rd Q. Okay, let's track these holding calls for hint of bias. This first one gets called 100% of the time. Also: welcome to Michigan football, Shawn Crable. I don't know if he'll ever find a role against teams like Wisconsin, but he's been a really effective pass rusher.|
|1||10||O23||Penalty||-10||Holding on Herbert on an option. He was clearly holding, as Herbert had a death grip on the outside shoulder of Englemon, but this only gets called 75% of the time. Harris and Woods play this well, by the way.|
|1||20||O13||Pass||4||Shovel pass. Woods(+2) makes a great play, forcing Bas to pitch and then collapsing on the pitchman and making the tackle.|
|2||16||O17||Pass||Inc||Philmore is open past the first down sticks and drops a slightly high ball. He has to catch that.|
|3||16||O17||Pass||Inc||Rolled pocket. When Bas reaches the sideline he ends up with Branch(+1) bearing down on him with only a three man rush. He tosses it downfield and Michigan's all over the coverage. It's Burgess(+1) and Engelmon(+1).|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-17, 9 min 3rd Q. Second hold is clearly legit as well, though it's not a call you absolutely have to make.|
|1||10||O36||Run||19||Same play they gashed us with on the first play of the second half, this time to the other side of the field where Watson(-1) takes the bait. Burgess(-2) is very tentative here. If he is decisive he has an opportunity to meet this in the hole but since he sits back a WR calmly blocks him and Sutton has an easy path into the secondary instead of a minimal gain.|
|1||10||M47||Pass||6||Long handoff that we were doomed on from the start with one DB to a side with 2 WRs. Probably should have gone for more but the WR takes a weird path.|
|2||4||M41||Run||1||Watson(+1) moves around his man and makes the tackle on a shotgun counter trap.|
|3||3||M40||Penalty||-10||Holding on what would have been a first down. This one is pretty weak, as Branch spins past the center and seemingly just falls down, but I can understand how it looked to the ref. Branch(+1) draws it.|
|3||13||50||Scramble||7||Jamison(+2) comes screaming around the tackle and would likely have had himself a killer sack if not held. Basanez is forced to scramble futilely.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-17, 6 min 3rd Q. Third one is weak but I can see why the ump threw it. It looked like Branch had spun free and was about to kill Basanez before being taken down but Branch was falling mostly under his own momentum. Another impressive play from Jamison.|
|1||10||O37||Pass||Inc||Massey(+1) is all over this screen.|
|2||10||O37||Penalty||-10||Holding and thi s one is a must call as Watson(+2) owns Belding and would have crushified Sutton in the backfield without it.|
|2||20||O27||Run||5||Same gash play. Massey and Woods handle it better this time.|
|3||15||O32||Pass||Inc||Fields is open downfield and Basanez drops it in there about as well as he can but it's a little behind the wide receiver.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-17, 3 min 3rd Q. Basanez is not getting much help from his wideouts. They've had a lot of opportunities to make catches that may be somewhat difficult, but they're catchable. Avant would have caught them.|
|1||10||O20||Pass||-2||Play action screen. Hall(+2) reads the screen, beats the blocker, and makes the TFL. Good on yer.|
|2||12||O18||Pass||Inc||Goddamn, Tim Jamison(+2) is going to be a monster. On this play he engages with the OT and then just blows him up. He's about six inches from an impressive sack as Bas is rolling to his side of the field. Bas manages to get a pass off at the very last second but the receiver can't toe the line.|
|3||12||O18||Pass||0||No, you didn't block Shawn Crable(+2) on this screen. Where did you come from, son?|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 30-17, 12 min 4th Q. Three consecutive excellent plays. Top marks go to Jamison, though. He's a freak.|
|1||10||O20||Pass||18||Ton of time; Basanez finds a man open in the zone.|
|1||10||O38||Pass||1||Bails out and hits the checkdown falling out of bounds.|
|2||9||O39||Penalty||-10||Holding on Thiry, and this one is also definite as Thiry just tackled Jamison(+1)|
|2||19||O29||Pass||Inc||Basanez attempts to check down to Sutton. It's slightly overthrown and bounces off Sutton's fingertips.|
|3||19||O29||Pass||13||Completed Sutton checkdown.|
|4||6||O42||Pass||Inc||Sutton drops a sure first down.|
|Drive Notes: Downs, 33-17, 6 min 4th Q. This game will probably harsh the Sutton buzz in a major way. He got 50 yards on 10 carries, fumbled to Leon Hall, and has these two coffin-nail drops. He's still going to be a thorn for the next three years.|
|2||1||O45||Pass||7||Clearly in a prevent here, fine by me.|
|1||10||M48||Pass||Inc||Trent(+1) breaks on this ball and nearly intercepts it. A very nice play reminiscent of his EMU interception.|
|2||10||M48||Pass||5||Sutton checkdown again, another nice play by Trent(+1), this one an open-field tackle.|
|3||5||M43||Pass||Inc||Basanez is a little short on a downfield throw.|
|4||5||M43||Pass||Inc||Harrison(+1) pounds the final nail with a really nice zone read and close to get a PBR.|
|Drive Notes: Downs, 33-17, 3 min 4th Q. EOG for the D.|
Briefly: the refereeing?
Bad nocall on a PI on Mason; likewise when Avant was held on third down. One of the holding calls in the second half was bogus-but-understandable, one was obviously holding but not necessarily called every time, the other three are always called. Overall, fine.
You eviscerated the defense last week for giving up 420 yards and 17 points in regulation and they did it again, so...
Not this time. This was a much better defensive performance. As the Monday column mentioned, in the Iowa game the defense faced 11 drives; in this one they faced 16. Grant Mason got all up in the grill of Northwestern wideouts, Basanez was forced to make a large number of heroic plays to get the yards they did, and the defensive line made Northwestern line go splat (save for the times when they were outsmarted). There's a difference between Iowa killing drives by blocking someone in the back or dropping a pass and Michigan killing drives by treating Principal Belding like he isn't there.
The chart shows this clearly:
You will be healthy for
|Massey||1||2||-1||Is what he is.|
|Watson||6||2||4||I think putting the redshirt freshman center opposite him without help was... unwise.|
|Jamison||7||-||7||On his way. Redshirt last year is a blessing in disguise.|
|Burgess||5||4||1||Made more good plays this week and got rave reviews from a lot of people, but he also made some bad ones that were more subtle.|
|Harris||4||1||3||Unbelievably deep drops in coverage.|
|Graham||-||-||-||Didn't play much as Michigan spent most of the game in nickel.|
|Crable||6||-||6||Best game at Michigan. Clearly has a talent for getting to the quarterback.|
|Engelmon||2||-||-||Didn't play much.|
|Harrison||3||-||-||Hold onto the ball.|
|Barringer||-||2||-2||Monster bust was the only play I noted.|
Basanez was under duress much of the night and when he wasn't it was usually because one of the offensive linemen was busy practicing for his knots merit badge. Michigan alternated man and zone and got burned on it a couple times, but outside of that Basanez was largely forced to make great plays to move the ball. Some dropped passes helped and Northwestern shot itself in the foot some but it's hard to move the ball when the only way you can block the opponent is by holding them.
What has happened to Massey?
Probably nothing. He was getting some stats and what seemed like pretty good pass rush last year, but that seems like a mirage now. This year he has 23 tackles through 9 games but only 10 are solos. He has one sack and no TFLs outside of that. If I added up all the +/- I think he would easily finish in last. The move inside from a 3-4 DE to a 4-3 DT has hurt him. When was the last time you saw a 6'8", 285 pound defensive tackle? He just can't get leverage at his height and weight. He's fine in pursuit--witness the screen he tracked down against the Wildcats--but hasn't beat an offensive lineman all year when the play has been run directly at him.
Who was that masked man?
Charles Woodson got real tall all of a sudden, huh? Or are you talking about Jamison? It could be either. Each turned in a selection of tantalizing plays where they slapped the taste out of an offensive lineman's mouth and then chased Basanez like howling ninja banshees. Crable even made a good play downfield by blowing up a screen. I'm not exactly sure where Crable's role is on this defense--I still remember Calhoun loping downfield outside of him--but his main problem when rushing the passer is running right by the quarterback because he's too fast. This is a good problem to have.
Jamison... wow. He's maybe 250 or 260 and thus technically undersized but he explodes into offensive tackles. Either that or he teleports past them. If Michigan's defensive scheme can't find a starting spot for him next year it's the wrong scheme. No offense to Biggs or Van Alstyne but Jamison is on another level. If Woodley returns (and Mel Kiper recently said he was the "fifth or sixth" best junior defensive end, XOXOXO Mel) Michigan may have one of the best sets of defensive ends in the country plus Branch inside. That's geting ahead of ourselves, though. Hopefully he doesn't try to put on 15 pounds. He doesn't need to be any stronger from appearances and I'd hate it if he started plodding around.
Burgess played well, didn't he?
Much better than against Iowa, yes. Not great. He's a lot like Henne in that he clearly has all the athletic ability he could possibly need but is lagging mentally. He was in position to make an important stop on Tyrell Sutton on their last-ditch first half drive and overran the play. Leon Hall was in position on the outside there and there was no reason to allow Sutton a cutback lane. Later the Burgess pendulum swung too far the other way on a 20 yard Sutton run when Burgess sat and waited to get blocked instead of attacking the hole. He made a number of impressive plays when he read the play right but he's still a tick slow several times a game.
If he can understand what he's doing as well as Harris he'll play as well as Harris, and then we'll be cooking. That's a key thing to watch going into next season. It's a shame he didn't redshirt--how much better does Burgess play look if he's a redshirt sophomore with two years left? Now we have to hope he puts it together next year.
What does it mean for Indi... er, Ohio State?
I wouldn't expect to see much of Mason's super-aggressive side. He's broken that out twice this year against teams with sort of meh wideouts. Holmes and Ginn are not meh. I'd like to see it, honestly. Smith makes poor decisions when pressured, and that can come from the corners just as well as the DBs. That is playing with fire. Fire, eh, we're cool.
Assuming Woodley is back and healthy, and let's not contemplate the alternative, I would very much like to see Branch get the majority of Massey's snaps. I realize that I've said this for about six straight games, but by the time OSU rolls around we should have every DE on the roster healthy. Jamison and Woods have played very well in Woodley's absence and have made more big plays in the last two games than Massey has all season. Branch was a monster at DT early in the year. If we're concerned about giving up gashing running yards, make Woodley the strongside DE and allow Jamison and Woods to pursue. This is doubly important because Smith is mobile and as we've seen lately the difference between someone who can run down a rolling quarterback and, say, Van Alstyne or Biggs is often the difference between a punt and a first down.
My major concerns are twofold:
- The problems with our outside linebackers persist and the Ohio State running game finds just as much success as everyone else has this year. If the safeties can play two deep I'll feel much better because issue number two is...
- Getting beat deep. Michigan's been very good about cutting off the big play this year, and this game has the look of a low-scoring slugfest. Long touchdowns == bad, mmkay.
The third, lurking thing is that despite the plethora of spread offenses we've gone up against we haven't really faced a running quarterback. Stanton's morphed into more of a passer and hardly crossed the line of scrimmage against us. Robinson had a couple of QB draws and a scramble or two but mostly looked to throw. That probably has something to do with our linebacker-delay tactic, but I still consider the running-QB defense to be somewhat untested.
First... "McNair's sack pain lingers." Dude.
As Controversial Racial Politics Week winds to a close, we would all do well to remember that politics sucks and never do this again.
Also sucky: human nature. There are two ways to get known:
- Use your natural talent and bust your ass. (Door Number 1)
- Say really dumb, anger-inducing stuff. (Door Number B)
This is the way of things. Obviously the former is much harder than the latter. Unfortunately, sports fans are reminded of Door Number B's existence on a near-daily basis. It seems that there's a Drew Sharp in every major city across the country. Atlanta's version is Terence Moore, who just put out a "SEC SUX" article. This article garnered two types of reactions: intelligent commentary from Door Number 1 selectors EDSBS and credulous acceptance from the DNB crowd. Which is the appropriate reaction? Well, the only part of the article I really care about is this quote from "expert" Bill Curry ...
The SEC is going to win a bunch, but it's not going to dominate Michigan and Texas and Notre Dame, not like it used to.
For your information, Michigan has won four of its last five games against the SEC. You can Southern Speed my erect middle finger, Bill Curry; QEDMF. Kyle King has a more thorough takedown if you're interested.
The larger point is this: every year conferences are "up" or "down" or "overrated" according to people in the media because it's a really good way to get people riled up and have pointless circular arguments. These arguments are pointless because the major conferences are all approximately equal. They're circular because there's nowhere near enough data to make a determination. As Gunslingers put it:
First, the sample size is too small. The largest conferences are 12 teams, who each play 3 OOC games, so you'd think 36 OOC games might be enough. ... Second, there is a flaw in simply looking at raw numbers because those numbers represent actual matchups which might not prove a thing. ...
So it is of paramount importance that I state clearly and unambiguously that I believe nobody can say, with anything even remotely approaching factual certainty, that one conference is definitely better than another. There just isn't enough factual evidence to support any argument. And the factual evidence we have is flawed and unreliable.
LD then goes on to tilt at conference-superiority windmills anyway with a fantastic, balanced post that really shows the difference between the Doors. And I'm not just saying that because the Big Ten totally crushified all comers. (Must have gotten faster since Woodson's Heisman, eh, LD?) I invite you to compare and contrast it with Moore's piece. If you will permit me a brief digression into annoying blogosphere superiority talk, it clearly shows that the blogosphere is totally superior in this instance and many others. It's the difference between seeking answers and seeking attention.
As long as college football's nonconference portion is largely filled with nummy snacks for the teams that are actually good, the only proper response to "conference X is much worse than conference Y" arguments is to sadly shake your head at whatever Door Number B troll is wasting your time. These people are like your annoying little brother poking you: they do what they do because they need attention and have no legitimate way of getting it.
Relating to earlier themes... the demand for narrative and its pernicious effects on sports coverage has been a topic of discussion here and elsewhere (hey, there's Gunslingers again), so this TIC Slate article about how Star Wars is an art film has a relevant passage:
As literary critics have long pointed out, the arbitrary yoking together of events in the service of storytelling is one of the fundamental characteristics of all narrative. R2-D2 needs to hook up with Luke on Tatooine, just as Prospero's enemies need to wash up on the shores of his island, and Elizabeth Bennett needs to marry Mr. Darcy, for the narrative requirements of those stories to be fulfilled. The audience's willing surrender to narrative coincidence is demanded by the story's need to conclude itself.
The problem arises when the square pegs of narrative are crammed into the varying-shaped holes of sporting events whether or not they fit. Often the answer to the Question of Sports, The Universe, And Everything is no more meaningful than "42," but that don't fly on the television.
Penn State Paranoia Pool Day 3: (Found yesterday, posting delayed) Jim Harbaugh's DUI draws this from noted lunatic MarshCreek:
M may stand for Michigan in some places, but now it also stands for Menace to Society with regards to former Michigan QB Jim Harbaugh.
Remember not to drink your juice in the hood of South Central, Marsh.
PPP D4: Bullseye at 8:16. NYNY checks in:
With Big Ten Refs, if this game is close Saturday we LOSE, After Reply
last year's illegal hits on Mills and MRob which the refs ignored anything goes for Barry's boys tomorrow.
I sure hope the coaches and team realize it can NOT be close.
This is my learned opinion from watching us play.
Since Big Ten Wonk is back and kicking I also feel a need to fire off salutes. A salute to you, NYNY, for epitomizing the PPP!
The question is: what three coaches would you like to go drinking with the most? Also, which three would you avoid at all costs? I'm omitting the Evil Genius (hell yes) and The Orgeron (also hell yes) because they've been done. And I'm staying as far away from JL Cool J as possible because with the Ian and the masterpiece and the glaven.
- Kirk Ferentz. While writing my previews in the offseason I had cause to examine the season prospecti of most Big Ten schools. This is Iowa's. Page three, bottom right. I figure if I get him really, really drunk I can get the hookup.
I'm just sayin'.
You should totally hire me as like the strategery consultant, man, because I'm, like... watsome? Awesoot. Habtard. Good. And stuff. You need me, man. I need you. We're Abbott and Kornheiser. Oil and General Tso.
I'm Washing My Hair
Jim Tressel. Would totally torpedo my chances of picking anyone up. Conversations with girls in the vicinity would likely go like this:
Girl: So, who's Mister Rogers?
Brian: The Antichrist.
Girl: He kind of looks like a child molester.
Brian: Well... yeah. It's the vest, isn't it?
Brian: Wanna f***?
Brian: It's the vest, isn't it?
Also would probably creepily touch my arm and say "you look strong" after a few.
- Bobby Bowden. Projected conversation:
Bobby: You found Jesus, son?
Bobby: How about now?
Brian: NO. How exactly do you find Jesus?
Bobby: I think it involves beating up your girlfriend.
Bobby: If you play linebacker. You play linebacker, son?
- Hal Mumme. I have a goatee, so he'd probably end up turning me in to the FBI after checking me for explosives.
Take Home Lesson: Ferentz: hot daughter. Tressel: kind of looks like a child molester. There will be a quiz.
Goddammit. I was just going to link but that apparently didn't work out so well. Instead there's all this.
I'll keep this on the levelheaded, so let's just calmly point out the various other Whitlock-related posts that have shown up in the blogosphere.
Joey weighs in:
Regardless of who's right and who's wrong, who's racist and who's not racist, Whitlock's earnest belief that racial bias is the true story within the Charlie Weis story is troubling. That an educated, prominent black man immediately sees race should tell us that we need to talk about problems of race far more frequently and far more honestly.
Joey makes a good point that this whole thing has kicked up a lot of words from a lot of people and that certainly means that there's something deep and powerful underneath. It's my contention that Whitlock is the exact wrong person to spur this conversation since his transparent lack of said earnest belief actively hinders honest discussion.
Braves & Birds also checks in with a rundown of the different situations Weis and Willingham found themselves in at this point in their first years. I would also like to point out for those claiming that the media more enthusiastic about Weis than Willingham that, uh, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the caption "What a Difference a Coach Makes"? Wei... Wei... Willingham? Well goddamn.
The other side of the discussion can be found over at BomaniJones.com. Jones (a Whitlock colleague) wonders why it's always black "folks"like Whitlock and Scoop and Alan Grant pointing out racism and never white "people":
So why don't white people write about these things, leaving black folks to do it and, of course, instantly be marginalized as raving racist bastards? Should you not believe this marginalization, give a look to Whitlock's piece on Charlie Weis and then check this chat wrap.
He then glosses over whether or not Whitlock's charge is accurate with this:
If Notre Dame isn't acting with racism in this case, it's surely drowning in hypocrisy.
That's it. The charge is axiomatically assumed to be true. And then, just like Plato's Republic, the unexamined axioms give rise to something thoroughly annoying. In starts the argument ad raceium:
Getting white people to really discuss race is a tricky bag. The problem that might come up with a lot of people is how the persistence of racism flies in the face of all that Protestant Ethic shit. To say that racism is persistent sorta implicitly discount a white person's accomplishments.
Does anyone else notice a persistent air of condescension in these articles? White people who don't think racism is an ever-present scourge in every notable event involving black people and media attention simply can't or won't understand because they're white and have never experienced said scourge. Instead of having a possibly-valid opinion that charges of racism in a particular instance are bunk, the white person who objects to the charges levelled has so much pent up guilt about oppressing black people that he cannot acknowledge their truth without coming to a horrible self-reckoning. In brief:
So we've got two significant groups at play--those that don't know any better and those that do but are fearful of the repercussions.
And therefore blacks win. It's a neat rhetorical construct. Claiming that a specific event shows no evidence of racism is reinterpreted as an argument that no racism exists because racism is like God, you see; it's invisible, incredibly powerful, and everywhere:
But why don't white writers talk about this stuff? It's more about why don't white people talk about this stuff more. Part of it is that I don't think white folks ever have to think of how intricate and nuanced expressions of racism are in this era. Now that it's out of style to be overtly racist, racism manifests itself insidiously and systemically.
Ironic that the "intricacies and nuances" boil down to "all white people are racist all the time, they just can't help it." Nuanced view, that. Thus the mentality that anything negative that happens to black people must be racism. People hate Barry Bonds because he's a black man challenging Ruth/Aaron's homerun records and not because he's a creepy, prickly guy who blames everyone else for his problems. People think Terrell Owens is a jerk because he's an outspoken black man and not because he accuses ex-quarterbacks of homosexuality, holds out every 2.3 nanoseconds, and generally is a jerk. People booed the USA Basketball team because they were black and not because they played like crap.
To people like Whitlock and Jones, The Man is always lifting us white people up:
But I'll close with a bit of a synopsis--to fully address racism must be frightening for a lot of white people. It has to be hard on the ego to acknowledge that one has been helped by privilege after being fed the bullshit about this being a meritocracy.
Here's the flipside of that: boy it must be super for the ego to look on all your accomplishments and say "and I got here despite racism." And it must be nice to look on the plight (and it's a plight, no doubt) of the people you share a skin tone and thus a culture with and chalk it up to the God of Racism. Fully confronting the fact that perhaps the shared culture emphasizes values that are not conducive to economic success must be scary after being fed the bullshit about the man holding you down.
Are either of these passages true? No. The truth is somewhere in the middle, but the way the argument about race is framed in America today the middle is obliterated. Arguments like this only serve to belittle and (flipstyle!) marginalize those who disagree with your point of view and drive the racial wedge even further. Physician, heal thyself.
Cosign from the comments of the Jones post:
In response to a lot of the race talk I find myself having to explain that I don't hate white people, but its assumed whenever a black person talks about racism they automatically hate white people.
If you care to discuss don't bring that weak stuff in the comments that implies that I'm racist, because it immediately makes me not care about your opinion. Address the points and not the man.
|1||10||M26||Pass||No one||Sack, -1||Play action. Lentz gets beat by Coefield and Grady doesn't pick him up, forcing Henne to scramble. If he had a second or two he had an outlet.|
|2||11||M25||Pass||Avant||8||Slant to a well covered Avant; Henne hits him right between the numbers. (DO)|
|3||3||M33||Run||Grady||19||Grady finds a cutback lane here. Great job by Kraus to kick out Coefield after Lentz pulls around. Good read by Grady as the intended alley was nonexistent.|
|1||10||O48||Run||Grady||4||This is essentially the exact same play except Kraus can't seal Coefield this time. Steno limps off after this play, temporarily replaced by Kolo.|
|2||6||O44||Pass||Grady||Inc||Screen to Grady is thrown behind him. (IN)|
|3||6||O44||Pass||Avant||22||Henne's given all day by the offensive line and finds Avant downfield on a little in. (DO)|
|1||10||O22||Run||Grady||1||Ecker's man gets inside of him, as he's assigned to block the DE who's lined up inside of him as Lentz and Long head downfield.|
|2||9||O21||Pass||Manningham||20||Diamond formation screen. Manningham owns the unblocked DB, who was too aggressive on this one. (CA)|
|1||G||O1||Run||Grady||1||Touchdown, Grady plows ahead.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q. A good start. Coefield is the only guy on the Northwestern defensive line capable of making a play, but he makes one here and will make a few more.|
|1||10||M26||Pass||Massaquoi||7||Play action rollout that finds Mass open. Henne actually shows some touch on this one, giving Mass an easy ball to catch and allowing him to pick up a couple after the catch. (DO)|
|2||3||M33||Run||Grady||8||Fake end around that holds an OLB. Offensive line just crushes them here. Lentz kicks Coefield into the next county. OMG TEDY BRUSCHI!|
|1||10||M41||Pass||Breaston||8||Breaston's the checkdown on this play action. (CA)|
|2||2||M49||Run||Jackson||4||Fake the end around again. The DE isn't biting on it and comes down on Jackson when he makes a smart cutback.|
|1||10||O47||Pass||Breaston||Int||Bass and Breaston both run takeoffs and end up too close to each other. Henne tries to hit Breaston on the outside route but throws it too far inside, allowing Cole to pick the ball off. Breaston has plenty of room on the sideline here, Henne has to throw that a couple yards further outside. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 14-7, 6 min 1st Q. Kraus goes out for the game on the interception.|
|1||10||M25||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||Henne's pressured on the waggle and has to throw off balance. Both Mass and Ecker are running routes in the same area of the field. This ball is badly overthrown if it's to Mass but actually accurate if it's to Ecker... except for Mass attempting to catch the ball and almost knocking it to a defender. Er... call it (BA).|
|2||10||M25||Pass||Avant||6||Long handoff. (CA)|
|3||4||M31||Pass||Avant||Inc||Avant's open on a six yard comeback that Henne throws two yards wide of him. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7 3 min 1st Q. NO ME GUSTA. Get used to seeing Avant diving at a ball well out of reach.|
|1||10||M21||Run||Grady||-1||Coefield owns Lentz on this play, swimming right past him and crushing Grady.|
|2||11||M20||Pass||Breaston||6||Diamond screen #2. Tabb misses his block, otherwise this works for several more and perhaps a first down. (CA)|
|3||5||M26||Run||Grady||2||Oy. Northwestern has five, count 'em, five in the box on this play but no one even thinks of blocking Coefield and Bihl gets beaten badly by the NT. Bust + Bihl on this. I have no problem with the playcall, this should have been a gashing run.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, EO1Q. Last two drives are a perfect summary of the downside of this year's offense: shaky interior offensive line play and bullets wide of wide receivers.|
|1||10||M34||Run||Jackson||5||Not much off tackle but Jackson leaps forward over a fallen blocker for a few yards.|
|2||5||M39||Run||Jackson||8||Crushing blocking between Henige and Steno. Paul smashes McGarigle, and Jackson finishes the run with an extra couple.|
|1||10||M47||Run||Jackson||3||Bihl can't seal his guy, who fills the hole off the right side of the line.|
|2||7||50||Pass||Avant||12||Great catch by Avant on a buttonhook. Henne just fits this one in there between two defenders. (CA)|
|1||10||O38||Run||Bass||8||Reverse. Bass manages to get the corner on the NW linebacker because he's fast. He has two blockers, Bihl and Henne; neither actually blocks anyone.|
|2||2||O30||Pass||Grady||18||Malone got me on this one. Two receivers reposition themselves to the wide side of the field in this four wide set and I immediately think slip screen; they throw the flare screen to Grady, who makes about five before bouncing off a NW defender and rumbling for 13 more. (CA)|
|1||10||O12||Run||Grady||3||Grady picks his way well here, but there are NW players stacked up all along the line, and the last guy gets him.|
|2||7||O9||Pass||Paul||Inc||Paul's wide open out of the backfield and has a probable touchdown, but Henne is a yard off, forcing a diving catch from Paul. He drops it. (IN)|
|3||7||O9||Pass||Avant||Inc||This is obvious defensive holding, as Battle gets his hand around Avant's shoulder pads and locks onto him like a remora. Henne throws the ball away instead of looking for secondary receivers. (TA)|
|Drive Notes: FG(26), 17-7, 9 min 2nd Q. When we get the blocks and a couple of good passes, we march down the field.|
|1||10||M29||Run||Grady||3||We don't really see this play because we're looking at NW's linebackers coach.|
|2||7||M32||Pass||Ecker||13||Play action; Henne checks down to a wide open Ecker after a ton of time in the pocket. (CA)|
|1||10||M45||Run||Jackson||7||Faked reverse. Paul really crushes his guy; Lentz misses his or the hesitation caused by the fake would have opened up a big hole.|
|2||3||O48||Pass||Breaston||8||Slip screen. Breaston has an unblocked guy but gives him one of his patented quick cuts and shoots right upfield. (CA)|
|1||15||O45||Run||Jackson||5||Draw. Certainly seeing a lot less of these without Hart.|
|2||10||O40||Scramble||Henne||2||Play action; Henne has all day again but can't find anyone. Short option is definitely covered. (TA) OMG TEDY BRUSCHI.|
|3||8||O38||Pass||Avant||18||Northwestern rushes three and I think Henne figured that out in the fourth quarter of the Iowa game. He sits in the pocket and calmly drills Avant downfield. (DO)|
|1||10||O20||Run||Henne||2||QB sneak? This seems like a playcall specifically designed to prevent replay but Avant's catch wasn't even close to not being one. I don't get this.|
|2||8||O18||Pass||Breaston||8||Checkdown route; Breaston makes a guy miss and manufactures five from nothing. Franklin starts talking about a misspotted ball but it isn't. The ball is clearly at the ten by the time Breaston ends up down. (CA)|
|1||G||O10||Pass||Paul||Inc||Paul again wide open; this time he just drops it. Easy touchdown otherwise. (CA)|
|2||G||O10||Pass||Massey||10||Same route, same throw, different player, touchdown. Let me just say that Malone is on tonight. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-10, 3 min 2nd Q. That flat route was there three consecutive times. On the last drive, Henne threw it too far upfield. On this one a drop and then Massey. I have to think that Paul's drops were just jitters or they would have had him alternating with Brian Thompson.|
|1||10||O28||Run||Jackson||3||Straight ahead. Again I notice Paul shoving a guy halfway across the field.|
|2||7||O25||Pass||Breaston||20||Slip screen. Tabb and Avant make great blocks. Yeah... Tabb could have gotten called for holding here. (CA)|
|1||G||O5||Run||Jackson||0||Bad cut here. He's supposed to go behind Lentz and Long but there's nothing there. If he cuts back to the center of the field he has 2 or 3.|
|2||G||O5||Run||Jackson||2||They keep pulling Lentz down on the goalline and he keeps totally missing blocks.|
|3||G||O3||Run||Jackson||2||Meh. Again they pull Lentz. This time he does get someone but there's just not enough room for Jackson to cut behind him.|
|Drive Notes: FG(19), 27-10, 1 min 2nd Q. Discussed below.|
|1||10||O46||Run||Grady||5||Short side pitch we run with frequency to Grady. There's a small crease and Grady drives forward for 2 YAC.|
|2||5||O41||Pass||Manningham||14||Not quite a slip screen but the same in principle. Avant goes in motion to the far side of the field where Manningham and a third WR wait. Henne just throws it out to Manningham, who makes guys miss. The WRs hold their blocks. (CA)|
|1||10||O27||Run||Grady||1||Grady cuts back when the NW LB comes up and fills a hole as neither Lentz or Paul can block him.|
|2||9||O25||Pass||Avant||Inc||Avant open and Henne throws it well wide of him. Like those throws he's always missing Avant on in the endzone except on the 10. (IN)|
|3||9||O25||Pass||Tabb||3||Henne checks down to Tabb. The NW LB makes a good tackle. (CA)|
|4||6||O22||Pass||Breaston||Inc||No, that wasn't even close, Ron. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Downs, 27-17, 10 min 3rd Q. Brutal finish to this drive. Henne's just winging it all over the place.|
|1||10||O36||Pass||Grady||0||Screen. McGarigle reads this very well; I think Bihl is late getting out so by the time Grady catches the ball McGarigle is on top of him immediately. (CA) OMG TEDY BRUSCHI|
|2||10||O36||Run||Grady||3||Grady turns eight to ten yards into 3 here on a very well blocked play that he unnecessarily bounces to the outside. Miss you, Mike.|
|3||7||O33||Pass||Avant||Int||Stares Avant down the whole way and throws it directly to the linebacker in a standard zone coverage. Ugly. (BR)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 27-17 8 min 3rd Q. Clear evidence of injuries limiting effectiveness. Bihl's demonstrated that Kraus is the starter for a reason and Grady is not Hart. Henne, well, bleah.|
|1||10||M20||Run||Jackson||4||Good push but no crease from the OL.|
|2||6||M24||Run||Jackson||3||Draw. McGarigle easily defeats Lentz's block, holding the play down to a meh gain.|
|3||3||M27||Pass||Avant||Inc||Open, also two yards in front of Avant. Henne killing us. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-17, 4 min 3rd Q. Discussion of Lentz below.|
|1||10||M42||Run||Grady||13||Pitch play. This time Stenavich gets a downfield block and drives the linebacker well back. Bihl also gets a good block.|
|1||10||O45||Run||Bass||3||Another pitch, this one outside to Bass, who doesn't set his blocks up very well and just sort of runs fast to the sideline.|
|2||7||O42||Pass||Breaston||3||Slip screen to Breaston; NW is all over this one.(CA)|
|3||4||O39||Run||Grady||3||Pitch. Paul's block doesn't really kick the guy out and Grady has to slow up a bit.|
|4||1||O36||Run||Grady||1||Straight up the gut for the first.|
|1||10||O35||Run||Jackson||6||Fake end around again seems to give Jackson a crease up the middle. Henige falls down as someone falls on his leg and can't get a block downfield.|
|2||4||O29||Run||Jackson||6||Exact same play. Excellent block by Henige thi s time.|
|1||10||O23||Run||Jackson||2||Now we're running into an eight man line with two safeties pretty near the LOS. This is just the offensive line driving.|
|2||8||O21||Pass||No one||Inc||Faked slip screen into a fade downfield that apparently isn't open. Henne throws it away after a pump fake. (TA)|
|3||8||O21||Pass||Manningham||1||Diamond screen to Manningham. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: FG(37), 30-17, 14 min 4th Q. I find our lack of faith... disturbing. Go ahead, find the last non-screen Henne completed for a first down. Give up? Last play of Michigan's second quarter touchdown drive to Mike Massey.|
|1||10||M43||Run||Grady||2||Henige fails to block Shultz and he crunches Grady near the LOS.|
|2||8||M45||Run||Grady||2||Pitch play again. Northwestern has gotten wise to this.|
|3||6||M47||Scramble||Henne||8||They rightfully pick up the flag on this one. (Not charted)|
|1||10||O45||Run||Jackson||3||Michigan's abandoned any pretense of doing anything except running unless forced to throw.|
|2||7||O42||Pass||Ecker||13||First non-screen throwing first down since 3 minutes left in the second quarter. Ecker comes wide open on play action on a crossing route. Nice call. (CA)|
|1||10||O29||Run||Jackson||4||Decent run into an 8/9 guy box. Blocking has been consistently good for the last while here.|
|2||6||O25||Run||Jackson||12||Pitch to Jackson, and he sets up the outside blockers and then slices upfield smartly.|
|1||10||O13||Run||Jackson||4||Well blocked again but down here without deception or a missed tackle you're not going to bust it for more than this. At this point I am also thinking FG.|
|2||6||O9||Run||Grady||-2||Slips on his cut; later Carr will say that's because he cut off the wrong foot.|
|3||8||O11||Pass||No one||Sack, 0||No one open and a holding call on Lentz ends up declined. (TA).|
|Drive Notes: FG(28), 33-17, 7 min 4th Q. Effective, grinding drive.|
|1||10||O43||Run||Jackson||3||Run run run punt?|
|2||7||O40||Run||Grady||-1||run run punt?|
|3||8||O41||Pass||Thompson||5||Little dumpoff to Thompson. (CA)|
|4||3||O36||Run||Grady||0||Pitch play with a fake reverse that NW is all over.|
|Drive Notes: Downs, 33-17, 4 min 4th Q. Okay with me.|
|1||10||M44||Run||Jackson||1||Strange to have a game that I'm not panicking about.|
|2||9||M45||Run||Jackson||3||Kind of nice, though.|
|3||6||M48||Pass||Massaquoi||15||Waggle. (CA). That's all folks.|
|Drive Notes: More clock killing, 33-17, EOG.|
Even I, your somewhat annoying inner monologue, can see it plain as day.
Oh. Yeah. Chart:
|Team||Dead on||Catchable||Inaccurate||Bad Read||Throwaways||Batted|
Again I must offer the screen caveat: 11 were thrown. Ten were CA, one IN. This leaves Henne's downfield good/bad ratio at about 1:1 (14:12 to be specific). Henne did scramble for one first down, but five of Michigan's drives ended because Henne either missed a wide open receiver on an easy throw or found the open defender.
The best thing about Henne this year is that he throws a mean WR screen. That's only partially sarcastic--those throws are tougher than they appear and Henne has put every one on the money this year--but, yeah, it's sarcastic. I mean, dude went approximately 1/3rd of the game without completing anything other than some screens and a three yard dumpoff to Tabb on third and nine. It's nice that we had a semblance of an offense in spite of that, but it's not going to fly against OSU.
Anyone else get the Whitlock treatment from you?
It has to be said that Matt Lentz has been a major disappointment. A three year starter and fifth year senior, he was supposed to be a major part of the Line of Doom. Instead he's spent much of the year flailing ineffectually at the mean men in ugly jerseys. If I handed out +/- for offensive players he probably would have ended up -4 or so for several instances of allowing Barry Coefield--admittedly a pretty good player--to own him. Of course, if I did do offensive +/- I find it hard to imagine OL ever coming out of it on the positive side and he was tasked with opposing the best NU defenders (including McGarigle), but if you are demented enough to return to earlier editions of UFR I'll bet you a shiny nickel or three you find many citations of apparent poor play on his part.
He must have picked it up late for Michigan to successfully grind the game into pulp in the fourth quarter, but he's clearly been the source of many missed blocks and is a major contributor to Henne's happy feet.
Wasn't the play calling a little strange?
If you're referring to the fourth and six, yeah, but I covered that before. Of note is that Carr passed up a golden Punt Lloyd Punt situation: Michigan went on fourth and one from the Northwestern 36 with a ten point lead in the fourth quarter. Even a few years ago that's an autopunt and some unprintable epithets being hastily scribed in this space and then deleted, but on Saturday the Fear of Punt didn't even cross my mind. I knew he was going to go, and that felt good. Then he went for it on fourth and three trying to kill the game, Bob Davie said that he disagreed with the call, and that felt better.
What a strange person I am.
But didn't you want to strangle someone at the end of the first half?
Watching the game I was somewhat peeved, but after further consideration it was okay.
Right at the edge of halftime the case for attempting to punch it in from the goalline is significantly weakened because you don't benefit much by burying them inside their five since you don't get the ball back. Plus, reviewing the tape I was struck by a particular play wherein Tyrell Sutton escaped from Burgess on the quick-strike NW drive right before the half. Had he been tackled, Northwestern's total lack of timeouts would immediately have become very relevant and even a field goal attempt would have been unlikely. There might be some tactical merit in stripping that last timeout that doesn't exist for the first or second.
- First and goal from the five: Absolutely no problem with the run here. Burn time and getting a couple yards puts you in a very good position to score. Unfortunately, Jackson doesn't make the right cut and is stuffed at the line.
- Second and goal from the five: Run is okay. Case for passing can be made here if you expect Walker to take the timeout he did. Not being intimately familiar with Walker's tendencies I was actually surprised he took it--it's (wrongly) an unconventional decision.
- Third and goal from the three: Given you're at the three, how much more likely is a pass to score than a run, especially when you have an erratic quarterback? The answer is probably "somewhat," but it's not a huge gap. The run does have the incidental side effect of stripping the last TO. The options are very close; the run was certainly the conservative call but it wasn't necessarily the wrong one.
The offensive game plan was very good. It clearly focused on exploiting Breaston and Manningham on the edge against Northwestern's undersized defensive backs and grinding out yards against the Northwestern run defense. It minimized Henne's shortcomings once it became apparent that the whole going downfield thing wasn't working. Perhaps it's easy to look good against defense #117, but Malone wasn't dealing with a full deck of cards here, nor has he been doing so all year.
What was the deal with all the fake reverses?
They certainly do hold holes open that might not otherwise be there, but I think paradoxically they may reduce the effectiveness of actual reverses, since the defensive end/linebacker out there is constantly reminded that he has outside contain even if the play appears to be heading the other way. Michigan had a series of nice runs off the fake and benefited from it on at least a couple instances.
Strange timing to introduce a new wrinkle into the offense, though. There's a possibility that it was added with Ohio State in mind. Michigan may be attempting to lure OSU into falling asleep on the reverse or just preparing to use a ton of misdirection in an attempt to confuse them. Michigan's offensive line is ill-prepared to fight fair with OSU's run defense; expect some sand in the eyes.
Also: did you notice Bass take a pitch a la Derrick Williams? I did too. I would expect nothing from him against Indiana, but if they aren't cooking up something Basstastic for Ohio State I'll eat my hat. Darn tootin'.
How much are you going to miss Jason Avant?
One billion units of miss. If he doesn't have a long NFL career I'll be crushed.
What does it mean for
Indiana Ohio State?
FYQ; let's get serious here.
We need Hart back and healthy in a major way. I like Jackson but he's a poor man's Hart (though he might have higher top end speed). Grady has some advantages but is making the wrong cuts on a regular basis. Hart is clearly superior to both.
To win we will need Henne to play his best game of the year. I've maintained all year that Ohio State can be had through the air and I think that's been accurate. They have owned a few guys this year--most impressively Tate--but they've also given up big heapum yards to a few quarterbacks of varying impressiveness. Stanton put up 360, Young 270, Cupito 396. They haven't been terrible overall but they are 53rd in the country in defensive pass efficiency. Compare 53 to that ugly 3 next to their sick run defense and it's obvious where the (relatively) soft underbelly of Ohio State is.