Right, I promised a look at Crable's culpability or lack thereof in the field goal. Here's the setup:
Questions, and a sincere one to anyone who's blocked for a field goal before: should Banks have taken the man Crable let go? Is the double team on this DE here necessary? Is the guy on the interior here any threat? Does your opinion change considering this guy plays I-AA? Why does this always happen to us?
My answers: yes, no, no, N/A because I of what I think on the first three questions, one of us must have killed Jesus. I blame Leopold and Loeb.
Run Offense vs. Oregon
This, at least, looks like an area of little concern. Oregon was shredded like whoah by the Houston Cougars last weekend, giving up 205 yards on just 22 carries to Anthony Aldridge and getting outgained(!) in a 48-27 victory. This was no fluke. In offseason scrimmages similar events occurred:
At the start of fall camp, Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti was asked about the apparent dearth of run-stoppers in his front seven.
"There's no cavalry coming," Aliotti said, acknowledging that the Ducks would have to try to stop opponents without the benefit of a run-stuffing body such as Matt Toeaina, Haloti Ngata, Igor Olshansky et al.
During Friday's scrimmage at Autzen Stadium, his defense not only couldn't stop ballcarriers but often failed to get a hand on them.
Running backs Jeremiah Johnson and Andiel Brown, as well as quarterback Nathan Costa, scored on runs of 69, 39 and 62 yards, respectively. All three were untouched.
Oregon was badly hurt by the loss of two big-time DTs from their 2007 recruiting class and the departure of Dexter Manley II, a rotation defensive end, in the offseason. It showed against Houston and is likely to show again against Michigan.
The run game was the one area Michigan fan's couldn't quibble much with after the Appalachian State game. Normally this would mean nothing -- grinding a I-AA opponent to dust is expected, after all -- but we are going to take what we can get. Aside from one Justin Boren bust on Michigan's second drive, the blocking was somewhere between good and excellent all day. Mike Hart must have had some sort of injury to miss sections of the second and third quarters, but a 54-yard touchdown run that will unfortunately not live in Michigan lore seemed to indicate he was fine. He should be 100% for the Ducks.
Key Matchup: Michigan versus its own playcalling. Fullback shuffles and a refusal to use play action were fine against a I-AA foe but even if Oregon is a terrible defense they'll have more size and talent than the 'Eers of Doom did. Plowing ahead on 2/3rds to 3/4ths of Michigan's first downs, as they did in the WVU game and many games last year, will hamper Michigan's offensive efficiency.
Pass Offense vs. Oregon
Was Mario Manningham eliminated by a 5'7" I-AA cornerback last week? Sort of, but not really. I counted four separate instances in which Manningham beat that guy downfield, but only one was accurate enough to be completed. This, of course, begs the question "why not try Arrington?" as Arrington would have dominated those midgets on underthrown Hopeful Jump Balls, but whatever. I'm rambling. Uh. Anyway: Oregon had a statistically excellent pass defense a year ago, but they did that on the wings of things like "Rudy Carpenter, 6 for 19 for 33 yards" and "someone called Carl Bonnell who is not Isaiah Stanback" and "14 total attempts for Arizona". Though Henne didn't exactly establish himself a Heisman contender in his first game, he's probably closer to Nate Longshore, John David Booty, and John Beck than the aforementioned trio. All of the latter trio had excellent days against the Duck defense foreshortened by the massive blowouts their teams were laying on them.
Herein lies a reason I may have been excessively optimistic about Oregon preseason and a major factor in that crazy Michigan + 8 line: that was all smoke and mirrors and the Oregon pass defense is ugly. Houston, breaking in a new quarterback for the first time since Kevin Kolb debuted against Michigan, was not a good test for this theory as two separate QBs completed a lot of passes for no yards -- screens, most likely -- and a pick each.
Given that Henne's off-ness is not likely to repeat, and this I do believe to be true, Oregon is ripe for the picking here, though it remains to be seen just how competent the right side of the offensive line is against actual live bodies.
Key Matchup: Henne versus inaccuracy. Michigan will ask Henne to complete two or three of those passes he missed against Oregon; I figure someone will be open. He just has to hit them.
Run Defense vs. Oregon
Oh, boy, this will be fun. Take Apppalachian State and upgrade everyone on the team to a D-I level player and make their tiny little darty guy the avatar of rage Jonathan Stewart is. And then put them up against Graham, Thompson, et al. Result: yikes. It was just Houston, sure, but Jesus H. Christ:
# Player No Gain Loss Net TD Avg Long 10 Dennis Dixon 15 172 31 141 1 9.4 80 19 Brian Paysinger 2 14 0 14 1 7 14 22 Andre Crenshaw 7 48 1 47 0 6.7 16 24 Jeremiah Johnson 11 73 3 70 2 6.4 19 28 Jonathan Stewart 14 72 5 67 0 4.8 24 Totals 49 379 40 339 4
Holy clodhopping hell. I guess you can argue that an 80 yard touchdown run by your quarterback tends to distort things, but raise your hand if you don't expect Dennis Dixon to rip off something like ten yards a carry. Right. That's what I thought.
I don't necessarily buy the theory that Michigan will be more prepared to face Oregon's spread rushing attack than Appalachian State's because they are nearly identical. Oregon is a spread option run team that runs a zone read all the time, and the zone read is a basic play Michigan should already know how to defend given their run-ins with Texas and Northwestern and etc etc etc. No, Michigan was not taken by surprise. And, no, there's no reason to expect improvement. Chris Graham is a senior; Johnny Thompson is also in his fourth year in the program. The light, if it's not already on, is not likely to pop on now. Jonas Mouton and Obi Ezeh may offer some hope (in Mouton's case, if he's healthy enough to play) and the potential return of Brandon Graham from an ankle injury that limited his time against the 'Eers of Doom may help, especially if they make the 3-3-5 that did so well against spread rushing an option again, but I expect horror on an epic scale.
Key Matchup: Taylor and Johnson versus Oregon interior line. These two have to make more disruptive plays for Michigan to get Oregon in advantageous down and distance situations. If Michigan can't do it, they'll get tired in the pounding heat and there are evidently no backups.
Pass Defense vs. Oregon
Anyone who kept an eye on mgo.licio.us over the offseason probably knows about Dennis Dixon's inexplicable sojourn into minor league baseball this summer. Dixon, a talented player prone to baffling mental breakdowns, decided to pass up the chance to Akili Smith some poor team into drafting him and instead hit like .200 in summer league ball. This is not a wise decision, I think, when last year you got yanked for Ryan Leaf's untalen
ted younger brother because you threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
Aside from the whole buckets of interceptions thing, though, Dixon was a prolific passer at times last year: 61% completions, 341 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon's "win" over Oklahoma (albeit with two interceptions), and 263 yards and two touchdowns against Cal (albeit with three interceptions). However, after that Cal game his productivity evaporated. He could not crack 150 yards passing the rest of the season, threw nine interceptions to two touchdowns, those against Portland State and BYU, and generally was the main reason Oregon's talent-laden offense clattered to a spectacular halt as the team imploded over the second half of the season. Against Houston he was infrequently deployed but effectively so: 9 for 15 with two touchdowns and 134 yards. And no interceptions, even.
Still, Dixon's proven little other than he's extremely effective at winging balls directly into defenders hands. He's exactly like that Appalachian State guy in that respect, and Michigan should dare him to throw the ball.
Key Matchup: Safeties versus falling down. The best way to turn a crappy passing attack into a great one is to turn a five yard completion into a 70 yard touchdown.
Oregon kicker Matt Evensen might be pretty crappy: prior to this year he was called upon to attempt twelve field goals across two years. He made five of them. He was two for two against Houston, but there's the possibility of a miss or two here. Oregon was a dangerous punt/kick return team a year ago (29th and 19th, respectively) and has an advantage over Michigan's non-Breaston return units.
Key Matchup: Let's block some blockerguys.
- We get gashed early; more running equals more time on the field equals exhaustion equals more running.
- Henne's still off.
- Just worry.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- Dennis Dixon finds himself rattled and in full-on interception mode.
- Um... we bring up a safety and we find a couple linebackers? And fairies descend from the sky bearing a time machine we can use to go back to a time before this all happened?
- Screw it, I like the fairies thing. Let's do that.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 10 out of 10. (Baseline 5; +1 I Was Already Frightened; +1 for AND THEN WE LOST TO A I-AA TEAM, +1 for THAT RUNS THE SAME OFFENSE OREGON DOES, +1 for AAAAAARRGH, +1 for IT BURNS!!!!!!).
Desperate need to win level: 3 out of 10. (Baseline 5; -3 for It's Not Like It Can Get Any Worse, +2 for Mike Hart Deserves Better, -1 for If I Get Emotionally Invested God Will Smite Us Again, +1 for Those Are Some Ugly Uniforms, Though, Shouldn't God Smite Them?)
Loss will cause me to... yawn, create detailed post about Michigan's coaching search, have inexplicable heaving sobs at various times during the week. (Note to mom: kidding!)
Win will cause me to... yawn, create detailed post about Michigan's coaching search, privately concoct ridiculous national championship scenarios.
The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict: Unpredictable shootout coming with lots and lots of running. Presumably Michigan wises up too late about the dare-them-to-throw thing and gives up a touchdown or two aerially just to spite my assertions about how Michigan should play this game. Offensively, I don't think Henne was that bad against Appalachian State and the have no answer for Hart. Up and down it goes; in the final estimation I believe Michigan will piss away a field goal here and a touchdown opportunity there as Dixon runs to his heart's content and Michigan comes up with another loss.
The wildcard here, though, is turnovers. Oregon is liable to lose a lot of 'em, and if M ends up +1 or +2, which seems fairly likely, they should be in to win.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
- Oregon goes with the neon yellow helmets, green jerseys, and white pants.
- Henne looks much better, like 65% plus Manningham touchdown better.
- 34-32, Oregon.
With the talking. Russ Levine of Football Outsiders had already scheduled me to be on the new FO Seventh Day Adventure podcast, which, depending on how you look at it, is either great or awful timing. This is sort of an extended version of the various radio appearances I've done in support of the book, in case you're interested in what that's going like. Results (I call Morgantown a "hole"! I pick ND! Woo!):
There's a lot of discussion in there about Michigan and its future, it's not all Washington-Boise picks.
In case you were wondering... Garnet 'n' Black Attack, nee Cock 'n' Fire, asks this in the wake of the AP's decision to allow I-AA teams in:
Now, there comes this question of the BlogPoll: Will we allow FCS teams in? I, for one, would be opposed to this, since it would undermine the whole "We watch more games than the media pollsters" argument. If you add FCS teams, we'd be either excluding or including them more on gut feeling or a good win or two than on an actual examination of how they play, since there are very few that are consistently on television.
But I think it's a fair topic for discussion.
Yet another reason to wish this upset had happened to anyone else: any statements about how friggin' stupid this decision might look like sour I-AA grapes. But what the hell: this is a moronic decision by the AP that reflects the mentality of its voters. The AP voters can't even track the entirety of I-A, and now they deign to rank a team they very likely didn't even see play in their massive upset and will not see play the entire rest of the year. There's a reason Appalachian State was the biggest upset ever: I-AA teams cannont compete with the top I-A teams. And what if Appalachian State loses to D-II Lenoir-Rhyne this weekend? Do we rank Lenoir-Rhyne? Once you let I-AA teams in, why not D-II or D-III teams in? Should we put the NFL in there too? What about women's volleyball teams? Pollsters are already set an imposing task without having to consider whether or not a team that plays in an entirely different division should be ranked. But if your mentality is that you can look at a bunch of scores and then rank the teams, it makes sense. Thus the AP's decison.
Aigh. USA Today talks to the Appalachian State coach. Quotes of interest/disgust follow. How easy are we to prepare for?
Coaches and players did not begin looking at video of Michigan until the third week of August, Moore said.
Maybe our DTs should have done lots better?
"My center (Brett Irvin) is a redshirt freshman who hasn't played a game in more than a year. Will he be able get any movement on their tackles? And he hadn't played in front of more than 15,000 people."
Do we not have a dime package?
"We noticed that four- and five-wideout sets caused matchup problems for" Michigan's secondary, Jackson said. "It enabled us to create gaps in the defense."
Brown, the 6-6, 310-pound lineman, noticed Michigan's players were "out of shape. Their defense was struggling to get to the ball," he said.
(I don't actually know that I buy this: the D was much more effective in the second half and a large portion of the problem was with angles and playcalls.)
Hurray! This video of Oregon's win over Houston is remarkable since it's shot from one endzone. It shows: misrepresentations of the Duck D, slow-mo cheerleader sexytime, and a whole lot of zone reads:
We surrender. (Via the Diag)
Etc.: Hawaii's AD: kind of a dick. ESPN has a huge piece on Jalen Rose. Pirates don't say "arrgh"? OBVIOUSLY. Pirates say "HHHYYYYARRRRR." Also an Illinois guy disses the Big House, which is probably because he only saw it when Illinois was playing in it.
note: a few complaints about not being able to see the video. These clips are generated directly from the MGoVideo download of the game and so may be using supersecret awesome compression. I know asking this for a few video clips is lame, but if you download VLC it will play them. VLC plays everything. I'll try to figure out how to make the clips more user-friendly in the future. If you can't play them, please email/comment and indicate what you're trying to play them with.
EMO WEEK PRESENTS
the end of Ron English, Weis-level super genius.
This post's official song of woe:
Wise Up - Aimee Mann
This post's official clarification of "emo" as it applies to these songs: you've already had a tough enough week without me heaping Dashboard Confessional on you; also this would require me to have some knowledge of actual emo bands to do this. I am proud to say that I do not, and must make do with the more depressing recesses of my musical library.
This post's official August Strindberg quote:
Sometimes not seeing things can be a blessing.
Anyway. On with the show:
|O26||1||10||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|At the snap Michigan has a man over each receiver, a single deep safety, and two linebackers behind a four-man DL containing Crable, who played all of this game at DE. Terrance Taylor(+1) can't be moved despite a double. The play is fouled and delayed; the linebackers can converge without harrassment.|
|Two outside receivers drive off zone coverage, allowing the third guy on that side to run the slant-pirouette-out combo commonly referred to as a circle route and utilize that open space. (CA, 3, cover -1) Michigan stunts, BTW, and Taylor ends up falling down. If Edwards wanted to take off the entire back side was open. This will be relevant soon.|
|O32||3||4||5-wide shotgun||Nickel||Pass||68||Slant? (Replay)|
|Ugh. Johnny Sears(-1) turns his hips to the outside as this guy fakes going on a fade route and then cuts it back for a little slant designed to get the first down. Stevie Brown(-5) takes the worst angle in the history of angles, waving at this kid's ankles and turning an eight-yard first down into a touchdown. Welcome to Michigan Safety Hell. (CA, 3, cover -3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 11 min 1st Q. Seriously, what the *!. We've rotated through like five secondary coaches since Marcus Ray left and each one of them has had safeties who were complete bollocks.|
|O16||1||10||5-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||9||QB draw|
|Technically not Incredibly Surprising since it's the first time they've done it. Anyway, two deep safeties and our linebackers are in that half-split that indicates zone coverage. We stunt, opening up a big hole, and Ezeh (-1) is late reacting. Even if he's magically David Harris on this play the end result is likely the same, though: it's one linebacker in a sea of green versus this little nippy QB guy.|
|O25||2||1||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Penalty||-5||False start|
|Will Johnson(+2) defeats his block on a stunt and contains the QB; Crable(+1) comes up to help finish the play. Coverage caused the hestiation, this from Sears(+1). (Cover +1)|
|Can't find anyone. Cover +1.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 7 min 1st Q. Containment + coverage = punt. Savor this drive.|
|O35||1||10||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||6||Zone read handoff|
|Oh, the first of many, many, many of these that are infuriatingly successful. Corner blitz cuts off the outside but for some reason both of our DTs are slanting away from the LG-C gap. Johnny Thompson(-1) is hesitant and does not read the hole. And what the hell is Chris Graham(-1) thinking? He's setting up to take on a blocker, then decides that maybe the QB has the ball well after it's clear he does not and takes a couple steps upfield, running himself out of the play. Ugh.|
|O41||2||4||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read handoff|
|Unclear what happens on this play -- sadly, the BTN is just as retarded about showing blonde sideline reporters when the play is going on as other networks -- but by the time we're back to the action there's a significant hole on the right side of the line (it looks like we've stunted again) and the RB is squeezing up into it. It's unclear who slows him up by getting an arm on him, but the delay is enough to hold this short of the first down.|
|O44||3||1||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||5||Zone read handoff|
|They snap it quickly. Will Johnson(-1) slants up hard and collapses, opening up a hole. Our linebackers are tardy and allow blockers to get out on them; no chance we stop them here. A first indication we are totally unprepared on defense|
|O49||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Four times in a row might be a little much. Terrance Taylor(+1) fouls the intended hole and prevents the RB from attacking anywhere his linemen might have a good angle to block a linebacker. Thompson finishes. No stunt this time.|
|50||2||9||5-wide shotgun||Nickel||Pass||8||Slip screen|
|Easy pickings as we have only two guys out here covering three wide receiver. Harrison gets blocked but does manage to force it inside, where Thompson can make a tackle downfield.|
|M42||3||1||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Penalty||-5||False start|
|M47||3||6||5-wide shotgun||>3-3-5 nickel||Pass||11||Slant|
|This guy is wide, wide open. Ridiculously so. (Cover -2). Jamar Adams pounds him after the catch but BFD.|
|M36||1||10||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||4||Zone read handoff|
|We have an extra guy in the box this time, Jamar Adams. Another stunt just gets a DT out of position and Shawn Crable driven way downfield. The presence of Adams prevents this from becoming a large gain.|
|M32||2||6||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||9||Zone read handoff|
|This is ridiculous. It's time to bring up the extra guy in the box and stuff the run, right? No. six guys and then a tenuous corner but he backs off to pay attention to the wide receiver. As result there's no one to fill when the guy cuts back (Thompson was blocked out of the play, -1) and squirts for a first down. I mean, seriously, let this noodle-armed kid try all the 40 yard bombs he wants, put a safety in the box.|
|M23||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||19||Option reverse|
|Brown gets suckered in and is way out of position, but it's Crable(-2) who gives up contain instantly in a futile pursuit of a quarterback who isn't coming back his way. Senior... senior captain. AAAAAAARGH.|
|M4||1||G||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||-1||Zone read handoff|
|Blitz into it. Yay. They're swarmed under by three unblocked defenders.|
|M5||2||G||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Penalty||-5||False start|
|What the #$%*. Seriously. This guy is sitting at the five yard line and he is open by five yards. There is no excuse for the coverage to be so loose against this team inside the ten yard line. Adams whiffs a tackle (-1, cover -3).|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-14, 13 min 2nd Q. Completely inexcusable all around. Constant stunts when we should be able to run over their I-AA defenders, presnap position that leaves us dead and open to exploitation, complete irresponsibility by our senior captain, and then a coverage of OSU vintage that manages to leave a guy wide open inside the ten yard line.|
|M37||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Drive starts in Michigan territory after M -1 yard drive, crappy punt coverage, and incredibly weak late hit fifteen-yarder. Chris Graham(+1) reacts to this before the AppSt guy does and makes a tackle somewhat near the LOS, instead of getting blocked five yards downfield.|
|M35||2||8||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Pass||7||Middle screen|
|Graham(-1) fails to read this and since he's not slicing up to stop this as he releases he gets blocked and there's no one to recover.|
|M28||3||1||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||4||Zone read handoff|
|Bit of a cutback here. Crable's useless as a DE against the run, just standing up most of the time, and this hole is between him and a crashing Taylor. Thompson(-1) decides to rush up into a wad of players and then wave his arms at the passing tailback.|
|Coverage(+1) is good and QB can't find anyone. Crable(+1) chases him down after he decides to take off.|
|Pick play. This is again Stevie Brown(-3) completely failing to read the play and getting way out of position. There is no one to help. (Cover -2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-21, 10 min 2nd Q. Pretty sure this is Brown's last snap.|
|O35||1||10||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||2 + 15||QB draw|
|Turns into five wide as the RB motions out. Tim Jamison(+1) does a good job of getting some push and filling a hole, tackling him and forcing him back into linebackers. Except for the 15 yard facemask. (-2)|
|M58||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||5||Zone read handoff|
|Hey, you know what's a good way to get Brandon Harrison(-2) to overrun a play? Ask him to do anything at all! Crable slants inside right at the snap ï¿½ stupidity? Run blitz? Dunno. That would be a good way to force the tailback into the waiting arms of Harrison if he ever did anything on a blitz other than run upfield really fast. He manages to recover, but only after turning what should have been a two yard loss into a five yard gain.|
|M43||2||5||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||9||Zone read handoff|
|I mean, you'd think we'd wise up by this point: there is no deep passing game here. But our safeties remain way downfield holding their penises, or, in Stevie Brown's case, trying very hard to grab his penis but falling down and watching it score a touchdown. Anyway: Taylor slant towards the playside, guy comes off him (zone blocking!) to pop Grahaam and the RB finds a seam on the weakside. But by God, we hit these $#ers hard after they pick up 10 yards.|
|M34||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read handoff|
|THEY KEEP RUNNING IT. A I-AA TEAM IS TREATING US LIKE MICHIGAN TREATS MAC TEAMS. WE ARE TOO STUPID TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. This is a virtual replay of the last play, down to the double in the hole, but Thompson(+1) actually does a pretty good job of standing up the blocker and collapsing.|
|M31||2||7||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read keeper|
|Graham(+1) does a good job of reacting to this quickly, filling the hole with authorita and allowing Crable to tackle.|
|Incredibly surprising quarterback draw. I hate Michigan football sometimes. Guess what we do on this play? Stunt our pretty little asses off. There are no linebackers within 10 yards of the guy when he crosses the LOS (really? Really this guy doesn't warrant a spy?) and he gets the easiest 20 yards of his life. Debacle.|
|M8||1||G||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Penalty||-5||False start|
|M13||1||G||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||6||Speed option|
|Hey, I've called this play in NCAA 08. Thompson(-2) idiotically blows up the QB instead of keeping contain. Adams(+1) does well to keep thi
s down to the big gain it is.
|M7||2||G||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|No hole on the frontside thanks to a good job from the DTs. Can't help but think this is a TD, though, if this guy cuts it to the backside. He doesn't.|
|I hate Michigan football. We're still stunting!|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-28, 2 min 2nd Q. Abomination.|
|Brandent Englemon(+2) reads this and comes up to stop it in the backfield.|
|One of two times in this game that Edwards just wings a ball directly to a Michigan defensive back. Trent(+1) is the recipient of an easy interception. Isn't this an indication we should have been daring this guy to throw? I guess that assumes that we would occasionally have a defensive back within ten yards of his intended receiver. Withdrawn.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 17-28, 14 min 3rd Q.|
|O24||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||8||Zone read handoff|
|Crable(-1) runs himself right out of the play. Both DTs hold their ground but do little else. Ezeh(-1) is hesitant and gets blocked downfield; Graham is keeping contain on the other side. Completely ridiculous. The last eleven plays: nine runs, a screen, and a horrible interception. Clearly we are not getting the job done with six guys in the box. Where is Adams?|
|TV misses this play entirely.|
|I will note that the last two times AppSt was in this formation, they ran ISQD. This time: ISQD. What. The. Hell. Ezeh is on the line, covering another OL. Graham... I don't know where the hell Graham is going but it's away from the quarterback. Gaping holes. I mean, seriously, I beg you to watch this play and the other two ISQD. We're the stupidest team on the planet.|
|O46||1||10||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Pass||13||Slip screen|
|Same zone-read-fake to slip screen they ran earlier. This should be held down to a four yard gain but the runnerguy splits Graham(-1) and Harrison(-1) for a big gainer.|
|M41||1||10||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Pass||-2||Slip screen|
|Exact same playcall but this one to the other side of the field. AppSt coach-man, you are now the owner of our women and I know whenever you call ISQD it goes for like a million yards, but NOT THIS TIME!!! Trent(+1) blows by the block attempt and buries this in the backfield. Morgan Trent isn't out of San Diego. Is anyone on the team out of San Diego?|
|M43||2||12||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||2||Speed option|
|I'll give Harrison(+1) this: he contains the option better than Thompson did. With nowhere to pitch and Tim Jamison(+2) blowing a guy into his path, he aborts and cuts back. He gets a couple before Jamison hunts him down. Crable(-1) should have had him in the backfield but overran it.|
|M41||3||10||5-wide shotgun||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||27||Flag|
|Chris Graham has proven himself a pretty shitty football player, but you have to feel sorry for him when he's tasked with covering a wide receiver lined up yards and yards outside of im. Michigan sends four guys around the outside and leaves Will Johnson as a spy; the blitz gets there but it doesn't really matter because of the world's most obvious read. I'm all for this playcall as long as the guy in question is not Chris Graham but a cornerback. WTF. Do we have a dime package? The replay shows this idea in all its aborted fetus glory.|
|M14||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|No stunting this time, and no holes. Will Johnson(+1) pushes through and makes a tackle for a small gain.|
|M13||2||9||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read keeper|
|Crable crashes in and forces the QB to pull it out, but does enough of a job delaying him so that he can't make much. Graham(+1) keeps contain, forcing him back up into Ezeh for minimal gain.|
|M12||3||8||5-wide shotgun||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||Inc||Slant|
|Six guys cross the LOS; Edwards finds a completely wide open guy; he drops a sure touchdown. (Cover -3) How did this guy get so wide open? Adams(-2) and Sears(-2) both covered the same guy!!!|
|Drive Notes: FG(29), 20-31, 8 min 3rd Q.|
|M28||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|This is where the defense starts to turn effective until the game-losing drive. No stunt; Line remains tight; no holes. Jamison(+1) does the most work; both DTs absorb double teams and do not flinch.|
|Will Johnson(+1) discards his blocker as the ISQD approaches and grabs Edwards' leg; this slows him long enough for Thompson to get there and hold the gain down. Still: without this very good play from our DT, this goes for a first down.|
|No stunts; four receivers to the top side of the screen. Edwards' first read is covered (cover +1), and Jamison(+1) and Crable(+1) come in and sack him before any others can present themselves.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG (45), 20-31, 5 min 3rd Q.|
|1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Linebackers now reacting more quickly. RB runs right up his OL's back. Graham(+1) had held up well to the block attempt. No stunting.|
|O16||2||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||15||Zone read handoff|
|Something we haven't seen before: pulling linemen. Both RG and RT pull around the center as both Dts get sealed immediately. Graham(-1) runs himself too far outside and puts himself in line to get smashed by the pulling guard. There's a major hole right up the middle. Again: where is the extra guy in the box? Look at this play selecton! The only downfield passes on third and long since forever ago!|
|O31||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Will Johnson(+1) and Terrance Taylor(+1) win the battle inside; no room.|
|One blitzer, no stunts, and no pocket. Freaked out, Edwards starts to scramble; Crable(+2) disconnects and punches the ball loose. Thompson recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 20-31, 2 min 3rd Q.|
|Behind the receiver; he makes a nice catch. Graham hits him soon after. (Cover -1).|
|O32||2||4||???||Nickel||Run||-1||Zone read handoff|
|...probably. I don't remember and TV doesn't show this play. Crable +1?|
|AppSt catches M off guard and gets a guy wide, wide open as the D isn't set. Edwards chucks it behind him. (Cover -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 26-31, 14 min 4th Q.|
|O41||1||10||3-wide shotgun||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Adams drawn up for an extra guy in the box. They bring a WR in motion like they're going to run a speed option here but go with the same old standby. Taylor(+1) discards his blocker and makes a tackle at the LOS.|
|Thrown horribly wide. Missed route? Many of these receivers are young; the QB is a sophomore.|
|Receiver bracketed. (Cover +2) Edwards can't fit it in the tiny hole available.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 26-31, 11 min 4th Q.|
|O33||1||10||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Pass||2||Slip screen|
|Same play they ran earler; would go for five or six but the player slips to the turf.|
|Coverage(+1) is good; Jamison forces Edwards up and Taylor(+1) and Crable(+1) converge.|
|Six guys cross the LOS and this time no one is wide, wide open. Unblocked Crable(+1) keeps contain and sacks.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 26-31, 4 min 4th Q.|
|Another horribly misthrown ball directly to a Michigan defender. Englemon(+1) this time.|
|Drive Notes: Int, 32-31, 4 min 4th Q.|
|Corner blitz from Harrison is picked up; I believe they snapped this quickly to catch us off guard and it worked. Terrance Taylor(-2) is tasked as a spy on Edwards but ends up way too far off the line, sitting in nowheresville as a big hole develops. Insanely, he even steps well away from the obvious lane for Edwards to run up into. Thus enormous yards.|
|O44||1||10||4-wide shotgun||Nickel||Pass||-4||Double pass|
|Motions into five wide; supposed to be a trick play double throw here but the first throw is wobbly and by the time it's hauled in the receiver is swarmed under by Michigan defenders. He manages to gain a few yards and hold this loss down. +1 Ezeh, I guess, for reacting quickly.|
|O40||2||14||5-wide shotgun||Nickel||Pass||20||Short out|
|Two blitzers and this is just a short dumpoff that should be six yards except Jamar Adams(-2) overruns the play and slips to the turf. Result: 20 yards.|
|M40||1||10||5-wide shotgun||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||7||Slant|
|Again blitzing; again no short coverage. Ezeh(-1) misses a tackle; Johnson manages to clean up from behind.|
|This has to be some sort of sick joke. Again the blitz and again it's no use because there's no coverage(-2). Everyone is playing soft as if a touchdown is a bad thing at this point. More on this later.|
|Coverage is good for a moment; Edwards rolls out to avoid Jamison, and as he nears the sideline finds a guy abandoned by Ezeh(-2) for the dagger.|
|Drive Notes: FG, 34-32, 30 sec 4th Q. Oh, if only I could be surprised by this.|
How many profanities did you delete/change into $#! in this?
Three hundred fifty-two.
How did Michigan give up 34 points to a I-AA team?
Sheer wanton stupidity, lack of preparation, and an inability to adjust until it was too late. By late in the game it became clear that Edwards, while a fast little bugger, was as much of a danger to his own team as he was to Michigan when he sat back in the pocket and threw. This should be no surprise: he is a fast lit
tle bugger, a true sophomore, at a I-AA school. When Michigan deigned to have a man within ten yards of his intended target, he was often inaccurate and sometimes disastrously so. His only downfield (defined as 10+ yards) completions all day were the flag when Chris Graham was put in an impossible position and the final improvised dagger. Everything else was short.
And yet Michigan played a scaredy-cat zone with two-deep coverage most of the day when AppSt was grinding ahead with the same damn zone read handoff, which they ran 21 times. Twenty-one! They took what Michigan gave them. While the players bear a large portion of the blame here, the coaching preparation for this game was nonexistent. Even the "we were preparing for Oregon" excuse doesn't fly: Oregon runs nearly the same damn offense. I guarantee they line up in five wides and have Dennis Dixon run an ISQD three or four times. Defending a spread option draw or a zone read is absolutely basic. Appalachian State did not fool Michigan into a ton of broken coverages and missed assignments (though Michigan provided many of those on its own), it mostly just lined up and ran the same play over and over until Michigan proved it could stop it. Eventually, when the stunting stopped, the defense started chopping these down. By then they had given up four first half touchdowns.
Ron English no longer seems fit to coach a Pop Warner team. I mean, those guys can run the same play over and over again, too.
And the players?
Obviously Stevie Brown was not ready for prime time. He should call Sam Bernstein and get a lawsuit going against the Michigan Stadium turf -- he's proably got severe whiplash from two separate slip and fall accidents. Heck, Berstein's kid is already suing about the stadium edifice itself, why not go for the whole enchilada? Anyway, if you slapped a "21" on Brown, no one would be able to tell the difference between him and Ryan Mundy.
Johnny Sears was also culpable on the first Appalachian State touchdown, getting beaten by yards and giving up the inside in a snap. He wasn't even in a position to slow his opponent down on a five yard slant. The preseason hype on him is officially Grady Brooks.
Both were replaced. Brown got yanked after giving up his second touchdown in favor of Brandent Engelmon; Donovan Warren came in for Sears.
The other major culprits were the linebackers, all of whom were terrible. This is potentially forgivable for Ezeh, a freshman in his first game, but any hopes that Chris Graham doesn't suck go out the window. Johnny Thompson also had a bad day; Michigan's refusal to take David Harris off the field for even a moment last year now seems clear, as does the recruitment of Austin Panter.
Did anyone not soil themselves?
I don't know what to make of the defensive line. They sacked Edwards four times and harassed him frequently otherwise. Their performance against the run left something to be desired, though. art of that wasn't their fault, as they were often asked to stunt themselves out of position when an ISQD was coming, but there was a clear step down from last year. (Obviously.) I am unclear if the DTs or Jamison were responsible for any of the issues in the video above. It looks to me like both DTs took double teams on every play and mostly held up. Quick-reacting linebackers could have filled the holes in the line and held the gains down considerably, but I invite anyone with more experience/knowledge on the field to offer up their own opinions.
Also, Morgan Trent didn't do anything bad.
Where was Brandon Graham?
Graham had a lingering ankle issue that limited his time. He did come on periodically in the second half.
The emblem of stupidity, Crable had a good day with a bunch of tackles and a FF and a sack and a half but also was culpable on a number of plays, most egregiously the field goal of doom, upon which he blocked an outside guy instead of an inside guy... but I'm not entirely sure that's his fault. I'll expound on this more later.
What about this: "Everyone is playing soft as if a touchdown is a bad thing at this point. More on this later."
Ah, yes, Michigan's fundamental inability to understand game theory. It wasn't quite as bad as the Appalachian State coach nearly immortalizing himself with one of the all-time great blunders in college football history by kicking his winning field goal on first down with 30 seconds left, but it was pretty bad. On that play in question, the opponent is on the 33 yard line facing a second and three. There is approximately a minute left. In order, you fear:
- A moderate-length first down that puts them in chip-shot range
- A first down of any sort that puts them in makable FG range with the potential for another 10 or 13 yards
- The remote possibility this Edwards kid can bomb something down the field for a long touchdown.
Michigan blitzes six and then sets up a gentle umbrella zone that has no one anywhere near the simple out that gets AppSt the short first down and sets them up for the dagger. Michigan did a similar thing on the 20-yarder on second and fourteen, blitzing a ton of players but making it irrelevant because of soft coverage behind it. If Edwards has to hold the ball one second longer on either of those plays, he is buried under winged helmets. But combining a noodle-armed QB with a blitz and then "coverage" nowhere near the receiver in question is idiotic.*
*(Note that this is a great strategy on third or fourth down and long, when the picket-fence zone plus blitz usually results in a dumpoff that ends up short of the sticks. Using it on second down is dumb.)
Will shred us. Our linebackers are clueless, we're going to spend the entire game in a nickel against four and five receiver sets, and the Ducks' talent level is vastly higher than Appalachian State's. Only errors from Dixon will keep us from playing Purdue 2006 opposite them; thankfully Dixon is the kind of guy who makes tons of errors. I figure the preparation levels will be better, but I also don't buy that Michigan can not be prepared to defend 21 instances of a basic running play. The defense sucks.
UPDATE: I spilled a liquid on my laptop's keyboard. It reacted poorly; I tried to tell you this above. Instead of a mostly lucid, vaguely misspelled note the above happened on two keystrokes and then the post published itself. It was not an outpouring of existentialist dread at the coming D UFR.
Which aforementioned is delayed by all these shenanigans, naturally, and because the keyboard I'm now typing on is the size of a postcard, which slows the typing thing down. ETA: 1 or 1:30. Brace thyselves.
EMO WEEK PRESENTS
The blogpoll! Completely devoid of any Michigan at all except for six voters who are not good at voting!
This post's whiny emo song:
William, It Was Really Nothing - The Smiths
This post's August Strindberg quote:
What people call success is only preparation for the next failure.
Note: if you see last week's poll it's a cache thing, I think. Refresh should cure it.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Ah, movement. Most notable is the drop of former #3 Michigan from the poll entirely after losing to Appalachian State, which you will note is not even a state. Six voters still have Michigan in their ballots, perhaps in a misguided attempt to suck up or something. Michigan checks in at #19 on the RazorBloggers' ballot, #20 on those of Pitch Right and Mountainlair, #22 on that of Gopher Nation, and #25 on the ballots of Bruins Nation and Loser With Socks. Why? I dunno.
Elsewhere, Georgia Tech gets the week's biggest bump for pummeling Notre Dame. They debut at #17. Cal leaps into the top ten by beating Tennessee; Georgia's thorough defeat of Oklahoma State lifts them four, and for some reason Nebraska's win over Nevada is found thrilling by poll voters.
On the downside (other than Michigan, obviously): both Virginia Tech and Texas tumble four spots after decidedly unimpressive openers. This mirrors a three-spot fall for Texas in the AP, but Virginia Tech remained steady at #9 there; here they fall to #12.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
The wackest ballot is that of SMQB; all ballots bow before his when it comes to wackiness because SMQB ranks only on on-field accomplishments, even in week one. This results in things like #23 Southern Cal and #7 BYU because Southern Cal "struggled" against Idaho, winning 38-10, and BYU had an impressive victory over perennial Pac-10 bottom-feeder Arizona. This might make some sense if the Blogpoll was used for anything other than entertainment purposes as an effort to keep momentum bias from harming teams that are expected to be not good, but since it isn't it seems pointless.
Note: the CSS below is messed up. Sorry. Will fix ASAP.
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.
Unsurprisingly, SMQB is Mr. Bold.
Mr. Numb Existence is a Syracuse blog of convoluted name: Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. Congratulations. Once again, the only thing to say is "this ballot looks completely reasonable."
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 has been captured by Bruins Nation for a second straight week; if (when?) UCLA implodes they'll tell you they saw it all coming.
Straight Bangin' can no longer win the Straight Bangin' award because it's no longer possible to undercut Michigan's ranking. Instead, our victor is Addicted To Quack, Michigan's week two opponent. AtQ watched Houston rush for eleventy jillion yards; he is unimpressed. I am saying "unimpressive? wait until you see Michigan's rushing defense!"
That is what I am saying.
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 the possession of Florida blog Saurian Sagacity, which reacted strongly -- but not quite as
strongly as SMQB -- to opening day events. USC down #6! Clemson up from the low 20s to #9! Wisconsin from unranked to #10! Etc. But I wonder what Hawaii did against Northern Colorado that warranted at twelve-spot jump?