Remember when we were arguing with Rutgers bloggers about which athletic director was worse?
The Dot Com. Thanks to the kind assistance of Drew Montag from UMGoBlue.com I've acquired the rights to MGoBlog.com, now a valid place to point your browser to get to this location. No more "blogspot" when explaining this place to your friends.
In the offseason I might move off blogger to a Wordpress blog located there; we will see. There are Wordpress plugins that would allow the blog to have a better commenting system, diaries (probably), and other cool stuff that I've wanted to implement for a while. Downsides: given the levels of traffic MGoBlog is receving, a dedicated server might be required, which is more expensive than the current hosting thing, and this place has amazing google juice. It's on the first page for "Michigan Football," in front of MLive and GBW. (But behind the MZone. Damn you, MZone!) Giving that up would suck. But it's under consideration.
Ads, Ack. Ah, grim "monetization." As this is now a profession it's unfortunately a requirement. If you don't have adblocking you are probably noticing a big banner on the right hand side of the blog. I am testing out some ad stuff; I hope this isn't too bothersome. At the moment I'm pretty annoyed with the Ad Council stuff -- it moves! I hate it when ads move -- and this might be temporary to the extreme; I hope to strike a balance between irritation and paying rent. Any suggestions are welcome.
Stubhub stuff. If you're looking for tickets to the game, the left sidebar has a number of Stubhub affiliate links. Like this one for Ohio State. It helps the blog if you use them, and you like helping the blog, right?
First, Alan Weymouth on the last game and the upcoming one:
Obviously, another flat week for Michigan. Alot of second and third string guys playing significant minutes and I think this had something to do with the problems we saw.
Defensively, we stayed out of the that godawful 3-3-5 alignment this week, and controlled the run game for the most part. Michigan tried to work on keeping contain and did a decent job for the most part...but Crable loves to freelance and doesn't always carry out assignments. I really don't like him at DE. Most of Eastern's yardage came from the QB run at the end of the game. We still showed some vulnerability to the zone read. and until our DEs carry out their assignments, we'll have those kinds of problems. I don't think we'll see alot of true Zone Read stuff this week, but with Illinois on the horizon...
I thought Slocum looked good. He drew alot of double teams for a guy who played his first game this week. Ezeh and Logan played pretty well. We're still not good at recognizing the draws, and that really needs to be fixed this week. We've improved a great deal on recognizing screens though. Ezeh in particular looked much better against all the screens. The secondary made a few plays this week, Trent with a couple of nice PBUs. Good tackling will be a must this week against Purdue, as they rely on alot of YAC.
Offensively I'm still shaking my head. Henne makes some of the dumbest throws I've ever seen. Is it just me, or is he still throwing the ball like Braylon is playing WR for us? Run game dominated. I liked Ortmann at tackle... I'd prefer Mitchell at guard and Schilling in the weight room. I have some real problems with Schilling. He's turned out to be a better pass blocker (generally) than run blocker which is opposite what we were told. He doesn't seem able to really get a lot of movement on his guy inside, and often gets knocked around a bit. The one sack was obviously Schilling getting owned by the EMU DT. We also had a few breakdowns in the protection scheme up front that nearly got Henne sacked as well. Most of this I blame on our interior 3. Boren is having trouble getting to those DTs in the A gap. I've always been told that these Zone blocking OLs should keep their shoulders square to the LOS, but Boren often ends up out of position here. Perhaps he doesn't quite have the quickness neccessary to play C. Might be one of the reasons we see some fumbled snaps here too.
I think we can run on Purdue. They've given up yards each week in the run game. The question will be, can we control the numbers in the box. If Henne doesn't start getting things together, Purdue could give us alot of trouble by shutting down Hart.
All in all though, this game doesn't worry me like the Illinois game. The Illini are on a roll, and we still aren't there defensively. We've got alot of work to do between now and then.
Run Offense vs. Purdue
Mike Hart's broken 100 yards in every game of the season so far and is a good bet to do so again. Purdue's unlikely to be as horrific against the run as the 2006 edition of the Boilermakers, but they might not be far off. Witness this remarkable stretch of the Minnesota-Purdue game. Minnesota takes the kick to open the second half, and...
Qtr Team TStart StLn Result Plays Yards Time
3 Minnesota KO 15:00 34 TD 5 66 1:42
3 Purdue KO 13:18 20 TD 9 80 3:41
3 Minnesota KO 09:37 25 TD 7 75 2:27
3 Purdue KO 07:10 10 TD 10 90 3:43
3 Minnesota KO 03:27 12 TD 12 88 4:18
4 Purdue KO 14:09 36 TD 6 64 1:16
4 Minnesota KO 12:53 35 TD 10 65 4:03
The game was 24-3 Purdue at halftime; no meaningless TDs against token opposition these, except insofar as the Purdue defense represents "token opposition" even when it's trying hard.
Seven straight kickoffs, seven straight touchdown drives of significant length, four of them Minnesota's. The Gophers did large chunks of this on the ground, picking up 232 yards on 6.3 YPC, then promptly going out and rushing for under two YPC against OSU. It was less of a bloodbath against Ohio State, but the Wellses combined for 159 yards on 33 carries without breaking anything longer than twenty yards. The evidence points to a run defense that's still pretty crappy.
Mike Hart, meanwhile, leads the nation in yards and has worked himself back into the Heisman picture despite playing on a trainwreck of a team that lost to Appalachian State. Some of this is sheer mind-numbing repetition -- 44 carries against Penn State, 30 inexplicable ones against Northwestern -- but a large portion of it is just Mike Hart's ineffable ball of awesome.
One disturbing recent trend: Michigan's stretch game is getting overplayed to good effect by defensive tackles. Against Penn State, Northwestern, and Eastern Michigan, Hart was often forced to deal with tackles who had blown overmatched center Justin Boren into the backfield. Sometimes this was okay; sometimes a second player got penetration and killed Hart's carry. The predictability of zone-left-zone-right-zone-left-zone-left has allowed opponents to sell out against it and slant hard to whatever side the offensive line steps to. When Michigan has deigned to misdirect it has been extremely effective, but those instances have been few and far between against opponents Michigan apparently does not respect.
Most teams would look at a sluggish 4-2 Michigan team versus anyone who's 5-1, no matter how fraudulent, and file them in the "respectable" category, which would mean a heavy dose of play action and the zone counter stuff, and likely a big day for Hart. I remain skeptical, however, and think we might see more of the same unless Michigan finds itself down. The thing I'll be watching for early: can Purdue get any DL into the backfield? Michigan's gone up against some good ones of late, but early in the season this wasn't a problem against Oregon and ND, largely because the guys they had in the middle of their defense sucked. Purdue might be that bad -- a quick check shows 2 TFLs each for their starting DTs -- and Hart could rumble downfield at will even without the EXTREME TRICKERY of a counter or two.
Key Matchup: Justin Boren and Random Right Guard against DT penetration. This was the key last week and is also the key this week. Michigan's struggling badly against 4-3 DTs slanting into the backfield. Some of this is on DeBord, but some of it is on the offensive line. Michigan's tendency to rush for negative yardage (with a freakin' senior version of Mike Hart) has killed many a Michigan drive this year.
Pass Offense vs. Purdue
Would you believe that 34% of Notre Dame's total yards on the season were Jimmah and Evan Sharpley passing the ball against the Boilermakers? It seems impossible, but the two combined to go 34 of 52 for 377 yards and three of those "touchdown" things that everyone seems to be talking about Notre Dame not getting any of. (They also threw two picks between them.) Even if Joe Tiller called the dogs off up 23-0 at halftime, Notre Dame narrowed the margin to 26-19 in the fourth quarter: these were no mere garbage time feats of strength.
It's tough to tell how meaningful any other QB performance was. OSU's Todd Boeckman completed 58% for 200 yards and 7.4 YPA but threw three interceptions. CMU's Dan "I've Got A" LeFevour also went nuts, throwing for 364 yards on 54 attempts with two touchdowns to one interception, but Purdue led 31-0 at halftime and likely spent the second have in a leisurely prevent. The rest of the players on the schedule are awful. But so is Notre Dame, who promptly flew out to LA and won against UCLA with a whopping 140 yards of total offense, returning to glory and reclaiming the nation's worst offense in one fell swoop. Anyone capable of giving up 377 yards passing to them has to be a bottom-barrel sort when it comes to pass defense.
Meanwhile, Michigan is 83rd in passing efficie
ncy but has some mitigating factors. True freshman Ryan Mallett started half the season (half of the Oregon game, all of Penn State and Notre Dame, and half of Northwestern) and while he shows promise he's also completing less than half his passes. Chad Henne wasn't much better in the soul-crushing opening 90 minutes of the season and managed to throw two ugly interceptions against Eastern Michigan, but is a senior with a track record that's mostly good at this point. Against Eastern and Northwestern he was efficient and accurate, which might not mean much against actual defenses; this is where we refer you to the 377 yards Notre Dame put up.
Henne had time in the pocket and sliced apart two middling secondaries; given that Purdue is 76th in sacks and might not have Cliff Avril, the only Boiler with more than one, he should have time. Given the 377 yards, he should have open receivers. This should, emphasis on "should", be a field day. It won't be given Michigan's general malaise this year, but the opportunity is there.
Key Matchup: Chad Henne vs Regular Inexplicable Decisions. Henne's thrown four interceptions this year, and all of them have been questionable to downright awful decisions. Michigan can't afford to kill another promising drive by throwing it into double coverage in the endzone.
Run Defense vs. Purdue
Purdue has faced two MAC teams currently ranked 100th and 113th in total defense, a I-AA team, and two virtual I-AA teams in Notre Dame and Minnesota. Against these teams, they've averaged 45.4 points per game. Against Ohio State, they trailed 23-0 late in the fourth quarter before picking up a garbage-time touchdown. OSU is second in total defense and first in scoring defense. Michigan, despite their performance against Oregon, is at neither of these two extremes.
This is a sizable unknown, especially because nominal Purdue starting tailback Jaycen Taylor is out and nominal Michigan starting linebackers Chris Graham and Johnny Thompson may or may not play; definite starting defensive tackle Will Johnson missed last week's game and may not be 100%, though he's expected to play.
One thing we're sure to see plenty of is the zone read and its misdirection-laden ilk, which torched Michigan in the first couple weeks of the season and has been intermittently effective since. The additions of Brandon Graham and, recently, Marques Slocum has given the Michigan defensive line depth it desperately needed, allowing tubby but effective Terrance Taylor to get a blow when he needs it and preventing offensive linemen from getting out too quickly on Michigan's crappy linebackers.
Kory Sheets is a fairly good Big Ten back and will slash his way for 3 or 4 yards per carry. Curtis Painter isn't John Navarre but neither is he Dennis Dixon; Michigan will have to watch for his scrambling and the occasional zone read keeper. CJ Bacher and EMU's Andy Schmitt had some sporadic success scrambling; Painter will probably find a similar number of opportunities to run.
Key Matchup: Taylor/Johnson/Slocum versus the interior Purdue OL. The linebackers will be confused and hesitant; the safeties will have to play back; the Purdue offense lives on shortish second and third downs... Michigan will have to get penetration from the DL to get the Boilers out of their offensive comfort zone.
Pass Defense vs. Purdue
For a brief recap of the season to date and how useless it is for making projections, please see "Run Defense." Curtis Painter's numbers were silly fantastic against a wide array of useless teams until meeting a brick wall in the form of Ohio State; Painter did rack up 268 yards and a touchdown but required 60 passes to do it, completing "just" 31. This seems to confirm this blog's preseason diagnosis of Painter as a scattershot passer with major accuracy issues likely to stop throwing so many balls to the opposition.
That theory will be put to the test against a Michigan secondary that's suddenly jumping routes, blanketing receivers, and making plays on a regular basis... against Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. Purdue has Dorien Bryant, Greg Orton, and Selwyn Lymon. They are way, way better than any group of receivers Michigan has faced since Oregon, and everyone knows how that went unless you blacked out from the pain sometime in the second quarter. (And if so, wow what a comeback! We won 45-32! Don't look this up anywhere!)
This could go in many different directions: we jump stuff that Painter throws to anyway, getting picked off, or they pick the right time for a double move and torch our potentially questionable safeties (or overthrow it by six yards); we lay off and they complete YAC stuff underneath; Warren blows a tackle and turns it into 20 yards. I don't know. I suspect both teams will alternate good plays with bad ones and this is mostly a draw.
Another potential issue: the Boilers have an outstanding tight end in Dustin Keller and Michigan's linebackers have been liabilities in coverage much of the year. Andrew Quarless is still waving his hand twenty yards downfield, futilely hoping Anthony Morelli will throw him the damn ball.
Key Matchup: Warren, Trent, and Harrison versus YAC. Michigan's been excellent about jumping the short routes at key times the past couple weeks, but against teams with mediocre receivers. Purdue has the ability to get any of its top three guys deep; Michigan will probably have to lay back more and tackle securely. All three corners have had issues with this at times, especially freshman Warren.
After a year of hideous performance, Purdue's Chris Summers has made a remarkable turnaround. He's 8 of 10 on the year after going 8 of 20 last year; Purdue has a major advantage at kicker.
Dorien Bryant returns both kicks and punts; senior receiver Desmond Tardy also chips in. Both Bryant and Tardy have kickoff return touchdowns, albeit against weak competition. Given Michigan's occasionally shaky coverage teams, this could be another problematic area.
Bryant is unlikely to get a significant opportunity on a punt return with Zoltan playing excellently; Purdue's counterpart is thoroughly average. A slight Michigan advantage here.
Key Matchup: KC Lopata, please don't suck.
- Another defensive tackle spends his day escorting Boren into the backfield.
- It's AppSt redux in the zone read.
- Henne throws another brainlock pick or two.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- Michigan's suddenly competent secondary sticks to the receivers like whoah.
- We test out the Purdue secondary early and find it to be vaporware.
- We kick a goddamn field goal or two.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 5 out of 10. (Baseline 5; +1 for Ack Spread Option, +1 for Ack Better Record, -1 for Very Likely A Fraud, This Team, +1 for But Then What Are We?, -1 for 34% Of ND's Total Yards? You Suck, -1 for Hart Will Tear Them Apart).
Desperate need to win level: 10 out of 10. (Baseline 5; +1 for Apparently This Team Is Close To Falling Apart At The Seams And A Loss Against Purdue Could Easily Be The Start Of An Ugly Death Spiral, Or At Least That's What Multiple Tipsters Tell Me, +1 for We Should Probably Emphasize That DEATH SPIRAL Thing, +1 for This Really Is A Hinge Game, +1 for Have I Mentioned The Death Spiral?)
Loss will cause me t
o... doodle "Brian Miles" surrounded by hearts on my trapper-keeper.
Win will cause me to... well... basically the same thing.
The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:
Michigan is not a particularly good team, but Purdue's limp defeat at the hands of OSU despite three interceptions of Todd Boeckman -- a phenomenon that looks fluky as hell given Purdue's results against Notre Dame -- indicates that they aren't much of one either.
Michigan's offense is going up against what looks like a bad defense potentially missing its best player; the Boilers don't have the sort of defensive tackle capable of slashing into the backfield like Michigan's last three opponents, and Chad Henne appears to be back and functional against a team with little pass rush and a potentially wonky secondary. Let's not get ahead of ourselves -- Michigan is not a good offense and will stop themselves from time to time -- but 30-40 points is likely against this D given the number of opportunities Purdue's pass-mad spread will give them.
Defensively, I expect the corners to stay aggressive and the safeties to stay conservative. Michigan will give up a number of completions over the deep middle after play action suckers the linebackers up, plus a double-move or two against excessively aggressive corners and some short YAC-y throws against excessively passive ones. However, an array of Michigan pressure, the occasional jumped route, and the occasional Painter misthrow will force Purdue to punt after picking up a first down or three frequently.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
- Hart: 35-208-2
- We yield one ugly, long touchdown.
- 32-27, Michigan.
Video clip problems? Try VLC.
|A true ISQD here, with a wide receiver lined up at QB. Taylor and BGraham(+1) fill this hole, BGraham beating blockers while Taylor was just let free and had to fend off the block of a tailback. Stewart, blitzing, also helps out from behind.|
|O19||2||11||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||10||Zone read PA|
|Shotgun handoff fake with a pulling guard to take on the DE left unblocked on the backside. Crable can't beat him. Ezeh(-1) suckered in by the playfake and is a yard or two from the LOS, attempting to bat the pass, as the TE finds the seam behind him. Englemon(+1) with an immediate, solid tackle. (Cover -1, pressure -1)|
|Funny: this is a play we run, pulling the TE across the formation to scrape the DE, then release â€“ Butler had a nice gain on this early in the Oregon game. On this play they playfake; Crable(-1) bites inside. Coverage(+1) is pretty good but there's no contain and the QB can scramble for the first.|
|O34||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||6||Zone read counter|
|We blitz Ezeh from the outside; they pull a tackle around but use counter action to show a run to the left. Logan(-1) bites, getting blocked off and sealed by the EMU line; Ezeh picked off by the pulling tackle; Crable(-1), slanting inside at the snap, is shoved out of the play. Good, quick fill by Englemon(+1) holds it down.|
|O40||2||4||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read counter|
|Corner rolled up tight, threatening blitz. Similar play but this time they have their TE off the line and he pulls as well. Logan(+1) does a better job of recognizing, fending off a block to tackle despite the DL letting a big hole develop. Ezeh helps, too. (Taylor -1)|
|Trent(+3) jumps the slant, batting it up in the air. Adams(+1) intercepts and takes off. Great play from Trent. (Cover +3)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. Trent having a Jeremy Lesueur sort of renaissance back there... so far.|
|O24||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||4||Jailbreak screen|
|Good play by Ezeh(+1) to hop around the vanguard here and tackle this after a moderate gain.|
|Dunno if it's just this copy of the game or if this was universal, but the TV cuts out right before the snap.|
|Michigan sends a corner blitz from the side where the trips are; Eastern sends one guy deep, then has another guy running a little stop route right at the sideline and another on a short cross. Adams has to try to cover two guys; he covers neither. (Cover -1)|
|O43||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Taylor(+1) absorbs a double team, and fills this hole with help from Crable and Graham.|
|Little out by the slot guy on a half-rollout by the QB. Ezeh prevents any YAC; Harrison fell down or he might have had a play on the ball. (Cover -1)|
|Hey... Slocum! Good first play from FLMS(+1), standing up EMU's guard and filling the hole. His tackle attempt is whiffed as the tiny dude spins out from it, but the delay allows Ezeh(+1) and Logan to collapse. Ezeh forces a fumble that Eastern recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 5 min 1st Q. I feel like Dr. Z â€“ an old crotchety game charter â€“ but, well, I love Dr. Z: this PBP guy is awful about down and distance. Please, just get the yardage right once. Also, this i the hilarious drive where after a timeout they pull their offense off the field and we put out 14 freakin' guys in response. Wooo good coachin'.|
|M14||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Hey, wow. Taylor(-1, maybe harsh, but...) can't absorb the double team, this time, getting shoved inside by the guard and handled by the center as DE Crable flies upfield. Big hole. Brandon Logan(+2) takes on a blocker, gets outside of him, and delivers a thumping tackle to the tailback. Maybe this isn't a +2 last year, but by god I'm just excited to see a linebacker make a tough play this year.|
|M13||2||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|Rollout after the zone read fake is cut off by a charging Jamison(+1), who forces the QB back inside and cuts him off from most of his routes. Logan(-1) gets lost on a RB wheel route that Warren(+1) has totally locked down, leaving a drag Chris Graham-open; ball is too far in front of the receiver as the QB never got set. (pressure +1, cover -1)|
|M13||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||6||Zone read PA|
|No rollout this time; QB spooks though he should have time to get some guys open and runs up into three or four zone defenders.|
|Drive Notes: FG(26), 10-3, EO1Q. It would be helpful if Ezeh and Thompson could have numbers spaced a bit further apart.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||-3||Zone read counter|
|A guard and the TE pull around this time, but to no avail as Slocum(+1) has surged into the backfield. The mess impedes the guard, allowing Crable to shut off any holes, and the TE gets caught in the wash. After some hopping around, several Wolverines croosh like bug.|
|A one-yard drag route is batted into the air by the receiver and falls incomplete. Wasn't going anywhere anyway. (Cover +1)|
|Ezeh(-1) and Logan(-1) both read this very, very slowly â€“ when OL release downfield, guys, find the running back â€“ and once
the back is through the defensive line he's ten yards away from the linebackers. Logan(-1, again) compounds his error by getting pancaked by his guy and letting him outside of him; Englemon fills too late to prevent the conversion. (Ezeh did much better with his block.)
|O32||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read counter|
|First stunt of the game gets Jamison(+1) in unblocked; he lunges at the RB's feet, but misses the tackle. The delay he causes allows Michigan to converge. Ezeh dodges a blocker to finish.|
|O34||2||8||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||10||Zone read PA|
|Looks precisely like the premature scramble that ended EMU's field goal "drive", as the QB charges towards the LOS after the playfake. Ezeh(-1) charges at him, opening up a hole for the QB to exploit. Ball at the receiver's feet but completed for the first down. (Cover -1). Ezeh might have been damned either way here -- staying back means he can scramble -- but a scramble brings up third down.|
|Double move of some sort, as the QB pumps before letting a deep ball go. Englemon is step for step, locates the ball, and gets the PBU. (+2, cover +2, pressure -1)|
|O44||2||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|Similar to the last first down for EMU; Michigan in man this time. Adams(+1) in good coverage; throw in front of the wideout and Adams helps prevent a difficult completion. (Cover +1)|
|Jamison stunts around as Michigan blitzes a fifth guy, but Eastern reads it and the center moves to pick him up. Jamison(+2) blows right through the guy, battering him to the turf and sacking. (Pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-3, 10 min 2nd Q.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||6||PA Bubble Screen|
|Okay, transitioning to the bubble screen terminology. This is a zone read fake to a bubble. Harrison is blitzing and Trent is playing off, so there's a lot of room; Trent makes a nice open field tackle. (Cover -1)|
|Excellent coverage(+2) allows Michigan's line to get some delayed pressure. QB rolls out and throws it away.|
|O26||3||4||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||5||TE Circle|
|Zone blitz w/ Ezeh coming and Crable dropping off. The TE pirouettes just in front of the sticks, getting something of a pick from the umpire, and catches it. Logan with an immediate tackle but can't prevent the first.|
|O31||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||10||Zone read PA|
|QB rollout after the playfake similar to a couple earlier instances of this. Both linebackers and Adams(-1) bite; the Adams bite opens up a spot for the WR at the sticks on a curl. (Cover -1)|
|Coverage(+1) good enough to get the defensive ends to the QB; Patterson(-1) gives up contain and the QB exploits it for a few yards.|
|O46||2||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||12||Zone read screen|
|Similar setup to many of EMU's plays; no rollout this time and a simple throwback screen. Ezeh(-1), in man, gets caught up in the blockers; Crable(-1) fails to read this, though that minus might be harsh. This is a hard play to read.|
|Schmitt steps up and fires to a receiver; Englemon there with the ball and rakes, but he's a moment to late. (Cover -1)|
|M29||1||10||Ace Trips||Nickel||Pass||-8||Double Pass|
|At least I'm pretty sure that's what this was supposed to be. The only reason for EMU to come to the line would be to make sure the initial throw was backwards, and the outside WR doesn't even try to block his guy. That's Trent(+1), who shoots into the backfield and tackles the guy before he can even think about throwing.|
|Oh the immense loathing; no reason to to recognize this and get one or both safeties to the line ASAP. At the very least Ezeh(-1) and Logan(-1) should do better here.|
|Outstanding job by Trent to sit on this and break the play up. (+2, cover +2.) He's turning into a nice guy to have on these short routes because his makeup speed allows him to do this and risk the double move, especially against iffy wideouts.|
|Drive Notes: FG(41), 16-8, 2 min 2nd Q. Eastern playing well, and their offensive design makes it hard for us to leverage our talent advantage.|
|O43||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||-14||Chop block|
|BGraham(+1) draws the penalty by beating his man and forcing Schmitt to scramble. (Pressure +1)|
|O29||1||24||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||2||Draw|
|Why is this a 14 yard penalty? Who knows? Ezeh(-1), blitzing, runs right by this but Taylor(+1) fends off a double team to help out Crable(+1), who dropped off into a short zone and read this quickly.|
|O31||2||22||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||10||Post|
|We blitz; don't get there (pressure -1). Schmitt unloads to a receiver blanketed by Warren(+1, cover +2), who breaks up the pass. An unfortunate confluence of events ends up with the ball on Warren's back and the receiver grabs it for the catch. A total fluke.|
|Crable(+1) ducks inside his guy, getting pressure, but allowing Schmitt to flush. Taylor(-1) runs right upfield, allowing Schmitt to get around him, and he takes off down the sidelines. Can't tell who's fault it is downfield, but Jesus, guys. On replay: Logan(-1) had no idea what was going on.|
|M45||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Crable(+2) discards the tackles and closes for w
hat should be a two-yard TFL but misses the tackle(-1). The guy squirts through for a Hart-like two yards.
|M43||2||8||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||9||Zone read PA|
|Ezeh(-1) reads the play action, then turns around and starts running away from the LOS attempting to cover the deep middle and leaving no one to prevent Schmitt from running.|
|M34||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||8||Zone read handoff|
|Slocum(-1) can't handle the double; Logan(-1) is unblocked but doesn't cut the hole off and hold this down to three.|
|M26||2||2||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||5||Jailbreak screen|
|Logan(-1) cut to the ground; Ezeh(+1) does a better job and holds the WR up.|
|M21||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Warren sent on a corner blitz; Logan charges up but misses a tackle; Warren(+1) comes from behind to hold it down.|
|We miss this play but as we come back Schmitt has just missed a wide open receiver (cover -2)|
|M19||3||8||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||9||Stop|
|Zone blitz; Crable drops off and sets up, but a short sideline stop route is wide open for the first down. Disappointing. (Cover -2)|
|M10||1||G||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||10||Zone read keeper|
|BGraham gets some penetration, forcing a cutback into Crable and Taylor. Hey! Whoops! This is a touchdown because Crable(-2) gave up outside contain on the QB.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown (XP blocked), 16-14, 10 min 3rd Q. This personal foul on Warren looks superweak. Also: is this the weirdest way to get to 14 points you've ever seen?|
|O26||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||4||Zone read PA|
|Stop route. Trent, playing off, comes up hard and sort of tackles with his shoulder. Prefer it when Michigan plays tighter against these guys, who haven't so much as tried a downfield pass. (Cover -1)|
|O30||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read counter|
|EMU loves counters. Our line slants in, Crable getting pushed past where he's supposed to be, as EMU pulls around the TE to block a blitzing weakside linebacker. Englemon has crept close to the LOS as an extra guy in the box; he halts the advance long enough for Logan, the blizter, to recover.|
|O33||3||3||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|Logan sent as a blizter to the side of the PA fake; this is the same thing they did in the first half that often suckered up a linebacker or provided a run option for the QB. This time Logan(+1) spins inside, cutting off the easy scramble for the first down and forcing Schmitt to run outside, where Adams(+1) keeps contain. A last ditch throw to the sidelines is broken up by Harrison(+1, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 23-14, 5 min 3rd Q.|
|O23||1||10||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Same wide splits that hurt us badly against NW; this time no stunting and Crable blitzes between Taylor and BGraham; BGraham(+1) beats his man and collapses on the ballcarrier as he passes.|
|BGraham(+1) get the sack, but we're watching the wave instead of the play.|
|O20||3||13||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||10||Out|
|This out is like three yards short of the sticks, so like whatever on third and thirteen, but Warren(-1) misses the tackle and turns this into a potential first down. Fortunately, Englemon(+1) comes up and delivers a thunderous blow that's also a great form tackle. The ball pops loose; Michigan recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 33-14, 2 min 3rd Q.|
|There's a hole here for the back, but Crable(+1) has beaten his guy to the interior and closes it down.|
|One linebacker, Logan(-1), lines up outside over a slot receiver; Ezeh(-1) in the middle. Both are extremely hesitant, allowing this obvious ISQD to get good yardage when Taylor and Crable get creased. Poor recognition.|
|O14||3||1||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||-4||Zone read handoff|
|Crable(+3) schools the OT, darting past him into the backfield and making a TFL without any help. Nice play.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 33-14, 15 min 4th Q.|
|O18||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|A Harrison corner blitz leaves a short receiver wide open; EMU's QB throws it wide. (Cover -1)|
|O18||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||2||Zone read PA|
|QB decides to run this up too quickly, IMO; no chance for a route to develop. (Cover +1, though, as the short routes appeared covered). Greg Banks(+1) gets on the correct side of the OL and closes down.|
|O20||3||8||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Batted|
|M sends two blitzers between one of the big DE/DT gaps; the EMU TB picks up the unblocked guy. BGraham(+1) beats the LT, forcing the QB to throw, and then bats the pass. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 33-14, 12 min 4th Q.|
|Torrent doesn't have this play on it.|
|An incredibly surprising zone read keeper with EMU's WR/QB guy in there. Jamo(+1) keeps contain, forcing the QB back inside, where Slocum(+1) is waiting after impressively discarding a double team. He tackles violently. Learned that from the F Lion, I bet.|
|O34||3||9 td>||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Hitch|
|Warren(+2) all over the wide reciever, breaking the pass up and forcing a punt. (Cover +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7 min 4th Q. EMU gets the ball back with 3 minutes left and Anton Campbell is in the game... sorry, Anton, but that's a sure sign charting is over.|
How much should we panic?
Meh, not much. Your baseline panic for this year -- already high -- should be sufficient.
I was unimpressed by the D in the first half, as they only forced one three-and-out and often let Eastern pick up a first down or three before getting the ball back, which contributed to the low number of possessions and the relatively close halftime score. Then they gave up that touchdown off the onside kick and everyone was like "here we go again" just in time for the D to go the rest of the game without giving up a first down. (There was a garbage time TD, yes, but who cares?) Take away the fluff (blocked PAT conversion, FG from KO return, garbage time TO) and the D gave up ten points. That's not bad.
|Jamison||5||-||5||A couple points for keeping contain; didn't exactly blow up OL.|
|Taylor||2||4||-2||Little impact; starting to get harsher on the DTs on these shotgun zone read plays.|
|B. Graham||5||-||5||Relatively quiet day but still had a sack.|
|Crable||8||7||1||Alternated great plays with bad ones; second week in a row his irresponsibility has cost Michigan a big QB run.|
|Banks||1||-||1||Played as a DT|
|Ezeh||3||8||-5||Very hesitant. Hasn't made a play yet. Still young.|
|Logan||4||9||-5||Not a fan; where's Mouton? And how bad can Panter be?|
|Trent||6||-||6||I was really, really wrong about him, and happy about that. Will have to watch for double moves.|
|Warren||5||1||4||Quickly becoming a typical Warren day: three instances of blanket coverage that become incompletions, one badly missed tackle. I'll take it.|
|Englemon||5||-||5||Wow. He's been good... nearly impactful. How did Brown get the starting nod?|
|"Pressure"||5||3||2||Almost entirely three-step drops.|
|"Coverage"||19||14||5||Do I like this secondary? Can I?|
The biggest takeaways: another weak day for the linebackers; on the other hand, I think that's the highest collective score I've ever given a Michigan secondary. The fact we were playing Eastern Michigan undoubtedly has something to do with it, but over the past two weeks Trent, Warren, and Harrison have been jumping all sorts of quick routes, breaking them up and forcing interceptions. Meanwhile, if Englemon keeps up this level of play he'll be Michigan's best safety since Marcus Ray in 1997 -- big if, given the whims of Angry Michigan Safety Hating God, but a possibility. Vance Bedford? More experience for the lot of 'em? Ron English? An artifact of playing crappy teams instead of Oregon? Dunno.
Purdue will provide a real test.
Amorous Big Cat Enthusiast!
Indeed: Marques Slocum, after two years, one awesome/embarrassing Facebook quiz, a MIP, and five games on the bench, finally found his way to the field. And thank God for that. He saw a fair share of meaningful snaps as part of the defensive tackle rotation with Will Johnson out of the game and did well with them, holding up against double teams and occasionally discarding an offensive lineman like it was a non-Nextel phone. Nextel is da shit.
Standard disclaimers about level of competition apply, but he looked very good. Hopefully he'll be a part of the rotation from here on out.
So... is this defense getting better? Might it not suck?
Again, standard opponent quality disclaimers apply, but I think it is. The addition of BGraham to the defensive line and the insertion of Warren and Englemon into the secondary has made a world of difference. Graham appears to be our best defensive lineman, and the other two are replacing Johnny Sears, who was Michigan's worst player in the opening two week debacle, and Stevie Brown, who played a prominent role in The Horror by falling down on two separate AppSt touchdowns. If Slocum can maintain his level of performance against Big Ten foes, Michigan should have a 6-8 man rotation on the defensive line; the secondary suddenly looks okay.
One continual sore spot: the linebackers. Not having Thompson for the past two games hurts, but none of the four guys who have seen significant time has done anything to impress. I wonder just what's wrong with Mouton.
Things are verging on all right, though... I feel somewhat okay with Purdue coming in this week, which was inconceivable after Oregon. A quick look at next year: Michigan returns every defensive lineman in the two-deep save Crable, their top three corners, and three of the four linebackers who have seen time; the departure is Chris Graham. They could be pretty good... e
xcept we're obviously going to die at safety.
Trent and Warren ended multiple drives by jumping three-step drops, once causing an interception. BG and Jamo were both excellent.
Pick a linebacker.
What does it mean for Purdue?
The Boilers are down Jaycen Taylor but still retain the services of Kory Sheets; they've been electric against the weak sisters of the college football world but were something less than that against Ohio State, needing a late meaningless touchdown to break a shutout. This is something of a trend in West Lafayette: last year Purdue obliterated all comers except for Wisconsin and Penn State, against whom they scored a total of three points. Michigan's thoroughly proven that their run defense is not the caliber of Ohio State's this year, but the numbers versus the Bucks were really, really ugly:
Painter threw 60 times, completing just over half his passes (naturally)... I'm relatively confident Michigan can hold down the Purdue spread. Which is, I'll grant you, a completely insane thing to think. More tomorrow.
Chart? Chart. Hart Chart. Boren again comes in for a hammerin', as EMU's Jason Jones spent large portions of the game driving him into the backfield, but maybe it's the predictability of the scheme?
One other note: the plague of fumbled snaps has not stopped with Henne's return, which implies that the problem is with the center. Maybe that switch to guard should be permanent?
A potential break. It's actually a strain, but...
Purdue defensive end Cliff Avril could miss Saturday's game at Michigan with a right knee strain.
That would be a big loss for the Boilers, as Avril was their most accomplished defensive player entering the year. Over at Boiled Sports, they're pessimistic as hell... for some reason. Join the club, kids.
Most relevant personnel loss ever. Yeah, Minnesota's backup fullback is transferring. We are assured victory now. Burn(!) on the outgoing coaches:
"I was not happy with what was going on," said Becker, a Wayzata graduate. "I was a (Glen) Mason recruit, and Brewster has his own ideas. It wasn't about wins and losses."
More disturbingly, receiver Mike Chambers also said "screw you guys, I'm going home" a couple weeks ago. Chambers had 19 catches as a freshman and six this year and was likely to be heavily featured in the future in Minnesota's new spread offense.
Mason must be cackling as he watches highlights of the Minnesota-FAU game in his rec room. But Minnesota's tight ends are going to kick ass, right?
More like SHAMaker. Zing! Good god. Basketball media day went off recently, so a flood of stories are coming out all covering the same press conferences and suchlike and so forth and so on. They all basically say the same thing: Tommy Amaker was a very, very bad coach. This one from the Ann Arbor News' Nate Fenno is the most damning. Take a gander:
"Last year, the discipline wasn't pushed out of us. There weren't consequences. Either we win or we lose. There wasn't nothing at stake. A lot of guys' mindsets were like that,'' sophomore DeShawn Sims said during Tuesday's media day at Crisler Arena. "Now, it's all win.''
But wait! There's more!
"(The seniors) didn't really want to play, and our coach felt like he had to play them anyway,'' Sims said. "Even though we were young, we were getting mad on the sideline. 'Put us back in. We believe we can win the game.' ... They didn't take it like that. They thought we were just coming for their jobs.
"The four years wore on the (four seniors). They got used to playing. We were coming in hungry, wanting to do whatever we could to win, even though we didn't have as much experience or talent as the other guys. People saw when we came in that we gave it our all, no matter what time of the game we were in. Some of the guys didn't like that.''
Jesus Christ! It's not uncommon to hear this sort of "now everything is different" sentiment when a new coach's first season rolls around, but rarely does the condemnation of the previous regime get framed so explicitly. Given the shambles Amaker left Seton Hall's program in, much of that has to be on his head. (The rest, of course, is on Courtney Sims and Lester Abram.) Harvard will be a fallout-laden crater where radiation zombies chew on the marrow of the freshly deceased by 2018 if Amaker is suffered to remain there. And their zombie basketball team will average 20 turnovers a game.
Media day video from MLive:
Ooooh! I...! Ooooh!
"So many times in all of these guys' lives, they are told that they can't do something," Harbaugh said. "They are told, 'No, you're not big enough, you're not fast enough, you're not strong enough, you've got too many players hurt this week, you can't possibly think or expect that you can beat USC.' And they hear that hundreds and thousands of times, and this football team yesterday said, 'Yes.' As a team, they said, 'Yes, we can win.' It was about the team, the team, the team, the team."
Summer: accuse Michigan of leading you away from the history degree you craved so and attack their academics multiple times. State that Bo's program -- it's still Bo's program -- is cutting kids loose without a care in the world for their fate.
Fall: paraphrase Bo after upsetting USC.
Seriously, dude, screw you. The gall.
(Note: I searched for "angry yosemite sam" to find the picture above, which was the second hit. Why? Because it was featured in an MGoBlog post that argued people who though Troy Smith did anything other than suck were crazy. It argued this very well, citing Smith's uneven to flat bad performances in every 2004 game other than Michigan, and made a convincing case that preseason hype around him was ludicrous. I wonder how that worked out? I guess we'll never know.)
You suck. This letter appeared in the Ann Arbor News on the second.
There'll be one less fan at Michigan Stadium
After sitting through the Penn State game, I have decided never to step foot in Michigan Stadium again, and that's a big statement coming from an Ann Arbor native whose grandfather worked excavating the old farm so the stadium could open in 1927!
I stopped going to the University of Michigan hockey games because of the rude chants, and now they have hit the Big House, courtesy of our illustrious students saying "You Suck'' in unison with the marching band's help. How rude - I'm totally embarrassed to be a U-M Wolverine fan!
Bad enough to hear the boos.
My second gripe is the fact that season ticket holders do not come to the games. I sit in Section 42, Row 70, and 90 percent of the fans are not the same every week.
Everyone stands up for each play and I miss every goo
d play - why? My suggestion is to shut up and sit down. If everyone would have some game day etiquette, we could all see the game. The entire student section stands the whole game - I'm glad I'm not over there.
So I'm going to stay at home and miss all of the great tailgate with friends and great fans from other colleges who come to the Big House to try to enjoy the game.
It's my choice, but I need to make a statement and forgo the madness.
Steven Majors, Dexter
Dear Steven Majors,
You suck. Good riddance.
Everyone Under 200
(Sidenote: I have gotten a couple of emails from middle-aged folk disappointed with the "You suck" being appended to "Temptation" after a third-down stop these days. These concerns might be valid (though personally I can't get exercised about "you suck"; as student section cheers go that's tame). Mr. Majors' general attitude is not. )
New digs. Sadly, Big Ten Wonk is no more, and even if Wonk has fancy new digs with Ken Pomeroy over at BasketballProspectus.com, he is no longer Wonk. Still, the new BP is guaranteed to be the best place for college basketball coverage anywhere and will be closely monitored around these parts.
Lies! The Chicago Trib rips into Comcast's anti-BTN commercials; I co-sign. No matter who you think is in the right in this particular kerfuffle, Comcast's public stance has been pretty loathesome. The Big Ten Network puts forth its argument -- these are the games, we have second pick three weeks, third pick three weeks, and half of everyone's basketball schedule -- and Comcast says...
"In virtually all cases, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 have chosen not to carry [the games that air on BTN]," Ruggiero said.
Eh. I'm not under any illusions the BTN exists for my health, but at least they aren't talking crap about the quality of games on the BTN whilst simultaneously negotiating with the SEC to create an identical channel.
Etc.: Michigan Monday; Les Miles' "loose morals" revealed in all their hideous taffy glory; midseason heroes from MnB; What the Deuce explores the Michigan coaching search through the lens of The Office.
|O29||1||10||I-Form Twins||Pass||10||Mathews||Slip Screen|
|What, no zone left? This game of all games? My world... crumbles! (CA, 3) Okay... this is the second week in a row this has been called a bubble screen. I think I may have to change the lingo here.|
|O19||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||1||Hart||Zone right|
|(U) == unbalanced line. Michigan lines up the TE on the same side of the field as its WR on the line, which makes him an ineligible receiver. Boren(-1) is blown back into the backfield; Ortmann(-1) blown back. Hart submerged under three Eagles... I think maybe we need ways to punish DL who slant so heavily on the snap.|
|I can't believe teams still jump when our QBs do the finger thing.|
|O13||2||4||Ace 3-wide||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|EMU overshifted with two linebackers threatening blitz on the weakside and the line shifted heavily to the strongside. This time, Boren getes out in front of the EMU defender and gets him moving downfield; when Schilling comes to help out the guy gets blown back. A guy from the backside comes to tackle, but Hart is already moving forward and downfield; first down.|
|O8||1||G||I-Form Big||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Away from the two TEs. Again the EMU NT just sort of runs downfield, avoiding contact, until Hart decides to cut up the middle, at which point he's doubled and his momentum is moving in the wrong direction and he can't possibly halt anyone's advance. Didn't even have to block him.|
|O4||2||G||I-Form Big||Run||-2||Hart||Zone left|
|This time the NT shoots into the backfield between Boren and Schilling(-1), who was asked to make a very difficult block. Kraus(-1) is beaten on the frontside; his man tackles for loss.|
|O6||3||G||Ace 3-wide Tight||Pass||-9||--||Sack|
|Schilling(-3) schooled by Jason Jones, the NT we've been talking about all drive; Henne with no chance. (PR, 0, protection 0/3, Schilling -3)|
|Drive Notes: FG(31), 3-0, 9 min 1st Q. Weird drive from that NT guy, either getting immediate penetration or screwing around. Schilling has proven himself not quite ready for prime time the past few weeks, but he's young.|
|M1||1||10||I-Form Big||Run||20||Hart||Zone left|
|Yikes. This turns into a big gainer but was perilously close to disaster. Kraus gets drive backwards by his guy, cutting off the outside; Hart cuts behind. Fortunately, Boren(+1) has gotten the other DT sealed and Jake Long comes out to the second level, sees a linebacker fly up into the hole, and seals him as well. Hart just squeezes through. Then he's off.|
|I-Form personnel with Hart split wide. Mathews runs a simple little out against obvious zone. (CA, 3, protection 1/1) So weird that we pass on first down, which we do very rarely, and tip it by sending Hart out wide.|
|M26||2||5||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||14||Hart||Lead Draw|
|Again EMU loads the backside and run blitzes; we run a draw into it that should never, ever work. Outside blitzer slips and Hart dodges the other guy, is into the second level, and makes the most of the blocking there. This breaks the record; it's nice that he schooled some guy on it.|
|Same tactic from EMU with six on the LOS and two more near it, this against three wides. The corners are playing very soft; Henne takes advantage with a simple stop route; Arrington picks up plenty of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O44||1||10||Ace Twins (U)||Run||6||Hart||Zone right|
|McLaurin instead of Moundros. EMU with a straight eight in the box, showing man. EMU NT Jones blows into the backfield past Schilling much like PSU's Ollie Ogbu did a couple weeks ago, but he can't quite reach Hart. Butler(+1) does a good job on the DE; Ortmann smacks a DB, and this could be a big gainer but for Boren(-1) falling at the feet of his second-level block, the MLB. Why go fo the cut here?|
|O38||2||4||Ace 3-wide||Run||1||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(-1) beaten by the EMU DT, causing Hart to cut back. Don't know why, though; he should have kept going to the frontside, IMO. Hart manages to escape the DT; unblocked backside DE closes and tackles.|
|EMU drops seven into a picket-fence zone around the first down line, then drops off further as the routes develop. Protection is very good, so Hart jogs out of the backfield for an outlet; Henne hits him for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O31||1||10||I-Form||Pass||31||Arrington||PA Out & Up|
|I love this: after the completion, Hart comes off for a breather, so we break out the double-fullback backfield and run our first straight non-waggle play action of the year off of it. Uh... okay. It works, I guess, as Arrington has a step or two on his guy. He leaps to catch a slightly overthrown ball. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-0, 2 min 1st Q. Wow, horrible coverage from EMU on replay. I don't know why we aren't going deep to Arrington more often... he may not have the breakaway speed Manningham does but he's not bad and he can do that Braylon thing where he just takes balls a way from well-positioned defenders.|
|Arrington hit on an out against the same deep-ball terrified coverage. (CA, 3, protection 2/2). Arrington(-1) lined up off the line, however. It comes back.|
|Butler sits down in a hole in the zone, and Henne fires it in there. Smooth; excellent protection. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Henne scans downfield, comes down to McLaurin (maybe), and pumps but thinks better of
it; Hart's snuck out of the backfield again; Henne dumps it off for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
|M45||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Mathews||Long handoff|
|John Beilein! Woo. Git ur Izz on. This long handoff is thrown a bit in front of Mathews, but why has Mathews stepped back from the line? I don't know who to peg this on. I go with Mathews since I've seen Henne throw a billion WR screens and they're all on the money. (CA-, 2)|
|M45||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Mathews||Out & Up|
|Don't think Mathews really sells this route, as his cut into the out is really shallow and his man stays step for step. Henne has no short options and decides to bomb it anyway, keeping it away from the safety and to the outside. Mathews almost makes a great circus catch, but the EMU guy manages to rake it out. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Henne finds the open guy as a Mathews in drags one of the zone defenders out of a spot that Arrington occupies. Ball is behind the receiver and ends up a tough-ish spinning grab; Arrington makes it. (CA, 1 (I'm loosening my catch guidelines), protection 2/2).|
|Ugly all around from the right side of the line; Schilling(-1) gets beat to the inside by the DT and can't help outside; Ortmann(-1) takes the outside guy instead of the inside guy. An untouched Eagle hits Henne as he throws; the resulting throw is a duck into double coverage. Tentatively BA, but this doesn't seem like the world's greatest read. (BA, 0, protection 0/2) This could have been open if Henne put it outside of Hemingway. Would have been tight... but doable.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 10-3, 13 min 2nd Q.|
|M26||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||15||Hart||Zone right|
|Excellent job by Long(+1) to cut the backside DT to the ground. Hart uses the opening created by this and Boren again having some trouble with the DT. Moundros(+1) pounds the linebacker out of the picture, Hart reads it and flies up into the secondary for excellent yardage.|
|M41||1||10||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||11||Hart||Zone left|
|Can't decide if Carson Butler is supposed to let his guy inside of him or just does a lousy job; think the latter given Hart's vector. Hart sees the block there, and bounces it out. Moundros(+1) kicks out the linebacker; both other linebackers are engulfed by second-level blockers, Hart again into the secondary.|
|O48||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||-1||Hart||Zone right|
|Ortmann(-1) and Boren(-1) both let their guys penetrate; Hart can usually get away from one guy in the backfield but not two.|
|O49||2||11||Ace 3-wide||Pass||6||Mathews||Long handoff|
|Decent gain; this ball a little behind the receiver. (CA-, 3)|
|Welcome to the offense, kid. Henne stands in and fires just as Boren(-1) is getting driven back into him... this is a mildly tough throw. Hemingway has broken open on his route; he ball lays in perfectly for him. As Hemingway turns up, he slips, otherwise another two or three was possible. (DO, 3, protection 1/2)|
|O20||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Hart||Zone right|
|Jordan forces Schilling back, cutting off the frontside; Hart decides to cut back as he sees a hole behind it. Long has again cut a guy out of the play, providing the hole; Hart batters his way into a couple linebackers for a decent gain.|
|O16||2||6||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||12||Hart||Zone left|
|Caught 'em slanting the wrong way. DE heads inside, LB blitzes and seals himself as Butler moves out to the second level; Moundros cuts the outside linebacker, Hart has no problem making it to the second level.|
|O4||1||G||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||4||Hart||Iso|
|No zone blocking here, just a straight-ahead fire off the ball. Butler stalemates his guy, the DE, and Moundros seals his guy to the inside. Hart has a walk into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown (XP blocked and returned), 16-5, 7 min 2nd Q. I swear this PBP guy has given a line and yards gained that are contradictory like three times on this drive. Michigan is on the twenty: "Hart to the fifteen for a gain of four." Aaaaargh. Meanwhile, at one point in this drive they get to talking about some Eagle from Oklahoma and Mason launches into a recounting of the various schools in the area... is it any wonder the first one out of his mouth is Tulsa? BTW: It's this Jones kid who blocks the XP, too.|
|Two-minute drill before halftime. Henne takes a short stop that's sort of ill-timed and poorly thrown, removing YAC potential. (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)|
|Jones shoots past Schilling(-1), the other EMU DT moves around Boren(-1), and Henne has two guys breathing down his neck from the center of the field. (TA, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Plenty of time; Henne comes down to the drag route and throws it imprecisely, preventing Mathews from picking up much after the catch. (IN, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 16-8, EOH.|
|M20||1||10||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|EMU leaves a big gap between the strongside DT and DE; both Kraus and Long move to the second level immediately. Boren just barely gets across said DT, who's driving him into the backfield but falls, perhaps because of an assist from Moundros. Hart manages to squeeze through.|
t be a designed counter, as Moundros heads to the nominal backside to block the defensive end, who's usually left to his own devices on these plays. Hart takes what looks like a stretch handoff, then cuts back behind the penetration of the backside DT. Butler(-1) whiffs his block, Hart makes the guy miss, sort of, but said guy grabs his jersey and starts dragging. EMU converges.
|M32||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||1||Hart||Inside zone|
|Jones splits the double team of Schilling(-1) and Ortmann(-1), meeeting Hart in the hole.|
|I believe this was tipped at the line. (BA, 0, protection 1/2)|
|M33||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||16||Arrington||Deep out|
|The NFL throw, right on the money 15 yards downfield. Good pocket. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M49||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(-2) beaten again, right off the snap. Hart runs past the DT, but his momentum stops. he decides to cut past the backside DE, and pops out for four.|
|Eastern's linebacker does a great job reading thins and attacking, allowing the defense time to recover and tackle. (CA, 3)|
|Arrington gets bumped, but pushes off to get separation and inside position; Henne hits him. (CA, 2, protection 2/2) Ortmann(-1) beaten by Jones, getting Henne hit.|
|By the way, Moundros has been our "running back" the past few plays with Hart getting a breather. We run play action that probably doesn't fool anyone. Hemingway's circle route gets him a step on a DB biting on the slant; Henne lays it in smoothly. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1) This time we keep a TE in to block so the backside DE doesn't get a free shot at the QB. This might have been a bad read, as live it looked like he had a guy open deep.|
|O24||1||10||Ace Twins (U)||Run||24||Hart||Zone left|
|Kraus(+1) and Long(+1) crease the front side of the defense; EMU has blitzed the linebackers so once he's through there's n one on the second level. One "woop" on the safety and it's a coast to the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 23-14, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|Virtually the same play as the 7 yarder on the second drive, except this time they're running to the strong side of the formation. Hart again cuts behind an aggressive slant from Jones. Moundros cuts the backside DE out of the play. Long seals the backside DT; Kraus the MLB. Second level blocks from Schilling and Butler are excellent. +1s for all! (We are finally punishing a team for excessive slanting to the playside, BTW.|
|O11||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||4||Brown||Inside zone|
|Brown runs into a wad of people, pushing the pile forward. No real creases.|
|O7||2||6||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||3||Hart||Inside zone|
|Jones beats Schilling(-1), eliminating the possibility of going inside; Hart cuts out, where mountros and Butler have gotten Hart the corner. An eastern safety reads this and fills immediately, holding the gain down.|
|O4||3||3||Ace Twins||Pass||-15 (pen)||Mathews||Pick play|
|Hart offset; obvious pass. Henne hits a wide open Mathews; the reason he was wide open was a blatant pick from Arrington. There are ways to do this legally; this was not one of them. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|This is actually a perfect throw right to the front corner of the endzone but Arrington slows up on his route, misjudging the flight of the ball, and makes this too tall for himself. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG(36), 26-14, 3 min 3rd Q. EMU fumbles the ensuing kickoff.|
|O17||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||17||Hart||Zone right|
|Jones again into the frontside of the play but there's no one on the backside with long cutting that DT just enough. Kraus(+1) gets a great second level block, as does Schilling; Hart waltzes. Another "woop" move on the same safety.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 33-14, 3 min 3rd Q. Michigan. Charting ceases, as the rest of the game is Carlos Brown thudding into the line. This does miss one bad Henne INT.|
Where were all the points?
16 first half points against a team like EMU is not a bounty, but if you check the drive chart above, please note that Michigan only had five possessions in the first half, and one of those was a (failed) two-minute drill. That, some bad luck, and terrible special teams play had Eastern within 8 at the half. I just bring this up to reinforce the idea that playing a style of offense that relies on lots of long drives reduces the number of possessions in a game and exposes you to the vagaries of fate more than, say, Texas Tech.
Not that Texas Tech is the end all and be all of programs, or that we should follow their example. But by God whoever wins or loses a TT game does so thoroughly.
So, a ton of penetration against us when we play EMU. We're doomed.
Yeah, maybe. One thing: I think we ran into this year's Dan Bazuin in the personage of EMU's Jason Jones. That kid is just good. He blocked an extra point, sacked Henne, and got tons of penetration on running play, and generally terrorized Michigan. He screwed up a bit and would occasionally slant himself out of a play, but I'd take him on my team any day. (We're thinking of cobbling together a ragtag crew of losers, calling ourselves the University of Phoenix Phoenixes (We're From Phoenix!), and claiming that we're the local rivals of every I-A school since the Internet is everywhere. Viola: 12 crushings at the hands of actual teams for six figures each and early retirement. He can play with us. Or on Michigan.)
Also, Hart kinda ran for 10 yards per carry. So things weren't that grim.
But both Boren and Schilling are struggling to keep guys in front of them. Part of that is the predictability of the offense: we've run stretch play after stretch play, allowing DTs to slant with impunity as soon as an offensive lineman steps to one side
or the other. We need to incorporate more counter action into the run game, as we did with great success against Oregon, to keep from ending up in second and third and long with frequency. If you sell out to stop the zone game you can get to it in the backfield and throw guys for losses. Hart lost 39 yards all of last year; halfway through this year he's already reached that number. Did our offensive line get worse? Probably not appreciably... there were plenty of issues last year, too. Did Hart get worse? No. It appears teams have started to figure out Michigan's rushing attack and are content to roll the dice risking a 10-12 yard chunk for the chance of a TFL and long yardage situations for a team that hasn't handled them well so far.
I don't think it's a coincidence that Michigan had great success the few times they deigned to run a sort of counter by stepping the line to one side or the other but shooting Moundros at the backside DE, opening up big cutback lanes when the EMU DTs slanted. Hart's 61 yard run came on one of these plays.
We do this all the time, though.
Right, we do. Even today, when we broke one tendency -- zone left first play of every game -- we introduced a new one, the unbalanced line. Michigan ran every time they covered up the TE. This worked, but we were playing Eastern Michigan, so it had damn well better.
Rope-a-dope seems to be a key aspect of Michigan's offensive philosophy. It's the only way to explain many of the trends we see in playcalling. Vijay of IBFC astutely observed that Debord appears obsessed with setting up tendencies so he can break them later. Thus the fullback shuffle. Thus the 100% run with an unbalanced line: he's setting up foes down the road by actively trying to look like a predictable idiot. Then Michigan ditches the staid stuff in the big games. This might explain both Michigan's tendency to play down to its opponent and its typically better than expected results against top competition. (At least when the entire Carr era is considered; not so much the past few years.)
This is a slightly different critique than the one put forth when people mention the "scoring offense"; the results are often the same. There was quite a contrast between watching the Michigan offense I know and love-hate and watching EMUs. The difference, as pithily as I can construct it: EMU hopes to confuse opponents into not knowing what the play is; Michigan hopes to convince opponents they're doing something else.
|Oregon - Henne||1||13||6||3||1||0||3|
|Oregon - Mallett||3||7||2||3||1||1||2|
|ND - Mallett||2||7||4||1||0||2||0|
|PSU - Mallett||3||12||6||3||6||1||2|
|NW - Mallett||2||5||4||1||1||1||1|
|NW - Henne||1||19||4||1||1||1||0|
That's slightly generous, as Henne had six further attempts in the game, going 3/6 and throwing a bad interception. Also, the first INT was filed as BA when it didn't seem to be a good idea to throw even if you didn't end up with a guy draped all over you. Even considering that, Henne had a very good day with few unforced errors. If he plays like that versus Purdue (minus the ugly INT) we win.
Another week of no drops, though Arrington misjudged a flag that should have been a TD.
Protection is a bit uglier: 28/37. Schilling -5, Ortmann -1, Boren -2, Team -1. Schilling was the culprit when Jones beat him silly on the sack that killed Michigan's first drive. Youth, playing out of position, etc. Plenty of excuses; would like him to play better.
As close as you can get to heroes playi
Hart and Henne. Moundros also had his most effective game to date. None of those flops at the defender's feet.
Schilling; Boren had trouble containing Jones as well. Arrington did turn a TD into a FG by getting too aggressive on a pick, then misjudging that flag, but he's kind of good anyway. Also: he sounds just like Carlton Banks. I swear to god.
What does it mean for Purdue?
There is still little data on Purdue's defense. They gave up a ton of yards to Minnesota, but I believe that was mostly garbage time. Notre Dame managed 377 passing yards... so, like, wow. They must seriously suck? Dunno. Boeckman threw three picks amongst two TDs and 200 yards passing; WellsX2 rattled off around five YPC but got stuffed in some critical situations. I don't think they're going to be a pushover. Still, given the ND game, in which they only got two sacks, one of them from a safety, it seems safe to say that Michigan's passing game, if unleashed, should shred the Purdue secondary. Pending, of course, Henne playing like he did in this game instead of his frightening Year of Infinite Pain reversion in the first couple weeks.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Troy falls and how, down to #13 after gacking it up against Stanford. Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Missouri, and South Carolina enter the top ten, Georgia drops out of the poll entirely, and some wag puts in a vote for a 2-3 team with all three losses by 20+ point margins. LSU is a near-consensus #1 with just three Cal holdouts.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- Our three Stanford wags: EDSBS, The Enlightened Spartan, and Boi From Troy.
- Less ireful than weird, this but: pollsters generally agree that Missouri could be ranked anywhere from 6 to 13... except definitely not number ten. Only Maize 'n' Brew dares to place them there.
- My Opinion On Sports (henceforth MOOS) ranks VT #5; Frank McGrath places them #5. I realize they beat the sin out of Clemson, but doesn't that seem sort of exuberant for a team with no offense?
- Texas #14? Given their best performance YTD was a loss to Oklahoma, uh... seems high. EDSBS the offender.
- Two voters are completely insane about Rutgers; Both DeepSouthSports and BruinsNation plug the Knights #15 after two consecutive losses and no victories of note.
- MOOS has Penn State #18.
- Florida is #2 to Losers With Socks and #4 to DeepSouthSports. There exists football outside the south, gentlemen.
- The whole host of people voting Hawaii high up disgust me. I am repulsed by your odor, which is immensely displeasing. Hawaii's stirring victory this week was over 0-6 Utah State, and every single one of the I-A opponents Hawaii has played to date lost over the weekend. Hawaii's opponents still have not beaten anyone outside of the state of Utah. And yet there are plenty of people voting them in the top fifteen. Inexplicable.
- Pitch Right is the only voter to rank Cal lower than #3, placing the Bears seventh.
- Pitch Right and Jonthan Tu, place Boise State at 16 and 15, respectively.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
This week's Mr. Bold. is Frank McGrath, one of the Cal voters. His ballot's top ten looks fairly reasonable save the inclusion of Virginia Tech and a very soft landing for Kentucky, down only three. Nothing on the rest of the ballot seems truly unjustifiable -- though what is these days? -- except maybe holding on to a thoroughly uninspiring Wisconsin at #11 and bothering to rank Texas at all. Still, if this season has been anything it's been bold. Approbation withdrawn for this week.
Mr. Numb Existence goes to Double Extra Point (ballot), which wins this award so often it's freaky. Other things DEP likes: white bread, vanilla ice cream, and the Ford Taurus. If that makes them sound racist, that's not the intent. Boring is what we were looking for. Boring.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award remains strong like bull, bestowing a horrible loss upon the school favored by its winner for the fourth straight week. This week's demonstration of the award's dire power: Northwestern 48, Michigan State 41. Battered and without reason to rank Michigan State at all, The Enlightened Spartan finally gives up the ghost.
Next up: Dan Shanoff overrates Florida at #10, up one after losing to LSU (on the road against the #1 team in the country, okay). A potentially dicey game that pits Florida's wonky-to-date secondary against Andre Woodson and Kentucky approaches... can the CK award keep the streak going?
During the season, the Straight Bangin' Award is often the property of blogs covering a highly-ranked team coming off a dispiriting loss. This week Saurian Sagacity goes flapjack nuts, as mentioned, ranking UF #21.
Our top four voters in this category represent USC, Florida, Wisconsin, and USC. The winner is Jonathan Tu, who one-ups Saurian Sagacity by leaving USC completely out of his poll. Saurian Sagacity's own total omission of Florida from their ballot can't compare; they narrowly finish second. I believe Tu's winning margin of -12.46 is the highest score ever recorded in this category.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive is also the property of Mr. Tu, as tends to happen when you chuck the #3 (USC) and #11 (Florida) teams out of your poll entirely. We'll chalk things like Boise State up ten to the insane grief of losing to Stanford.
Tennessee blog Losers With Socks is (are?) Mr. Stubborn. They did move a lot of guys around, but, like... wtf: USC down only two, to #4; Florida up two, to #2.