OR ACID OR COLD OR SOMETHING. So… uh… there was some mascot segment on Real Sports that featured this decidedly un-real Michigan mascot:
If you ever wondered why Michigan didn't have an anthropomorphic wolverine, wonder no longer. What is that thing? Who made it? And why hasn't it been drowned in acid? Answers: my idea of hell, Special K, and because society is falling apart.
Man up. This Notre Dame guy lost a bet, but owns it:
Your pathos is delicious, but respect for putting it on the internets.
Double pass in the sky what does it mean it means touchdown. A Wolverine Historian tribute to the transcontinental:
I don't think we'll see that at Michigan for a while since the play keys on people forgetting about the quarterback and what are the chances of that with Denard running around? Not so good.
Stapled together. A couple of commenters objected to the idea that "upcoming" Big Ten opponents feature freshman quarterbacks and stapled-together run games, and insofar as we know anything about Indiana after a I-AA game, bye, and the closest thing they could find to a I-AA game (WKU just transitioned to I-A last year) they are right that the first two offenses Michigan faces in the Big Ten look at least competent.
These are the stapled together folks:
Only 16 of those  rushing yards [against Ball State] came from a guy (Dan Dierking) who actually plays running back, although he's listed as a fullback on the team roster. The others came from two quarterbacks (Rob Henry and Robert Marve), a fullback (Jared Crank) and three receivers -- Antavian Edison, O.J. Ross and Justin Siller -- one of whom, Siller, used to play both quarterback and running back.
That's Purdue. Meanwhile, Iowa's down to Adam Robinson and whoever and Penn State's Evan Royster has 31 carries for 110 yards through three games, averaging just 3.5 YPC on 22 carries against Akron and Youngstown State. As a team, PSU is averaging just over 4 YPC despite playing two tomato cans to start. I'm sure they'll all exceed season averages against Michigan but that might not mean a ton.
Go wherever you want, cheer for whoever you want. In Rod We Trust makes the terrible confession that the author did not attend Michigan. Who cares? Michigan fans who didn't attend the university are paranoid about the depth of their fandom because they're in a situation faced by many schools in a Big Brother/Little Brother situation where there's a less prestigious school in state fewer care about because they're historically crap. The historically crap school gets all mad that people like to watch the football team that usually does something other than go .500 and asks everyone if they went to the school they root for. This has happened to me multiple times as I leave Michigan State, and the crestfallen look on the brah's face when I say "yes, I went to Michigan" never fails.
Fans who buy stuff and indoctrinate their kids who might turn out to be 6'8" maulers and fill up the largest stadium in the country are all assets to the program no matter where they went to school or if they, say, have multiple crayon-like tattoos akin to the ones all around me at the UMass game. The more the merrier.
The reason there are people unaffiliated with Michigan who root for it is because the football program has offered something other than pain and fleabag bowl games against Fresno State over the years.
Kicking in a sentence. Rodriguez:
"The guy from the parking lot has not been cleared yet so I don't know if he hasn't gotten his physical yet or if there's an issue with his eligibility."
HA HA HA I FEEL GREAT. Go for it, Rodriguez, go for it so hard. Third and six is a running down now.
Interesting bits. MGoUser sits next to Chargers scout and gets a largely positive take on the team, plus something we're seeing play out right now:
Robinson's defenses have always been a "bend don't break" style that simply count on the opposing offense to make enough mistakes for your offense to outscore them. He felt Robinson was very gifted at player development, even though his schemes are often too passive.
FWIW, before the season I got second-hand report from another NFL scout that was basically the polar opposite of the take linked above, stating that Michigan had nothing but Martin on defense and the immediate future is grim, but this was before the Denardening.
Etc.: Following up on the curl-flat discussion last week is a Football Defense post on defending it when you're in quarters. The answer is "you can't defend the flat." Pedobear invades Neyland. Soccer wins 3-2 in OT over Kentucky; should have gone last night, eh? Double rainbow Denard. MVictors interviews author of book on Michigan Stadium about… Michigan Stadium.
Substitution Notes: Starting secondary, Kovacs, Mouton, and RVB went the whole way. Patterson and Black got some time on the DL; Leach substituted in for Banks on passing downs and for Gordon a little bit. Moundros got one series at MLB; Fitzgerald came in for Roh a tiny bit.
Formation notes: More of the same, with Michigan spending most of the day in a stack but occasionally shifting to a 4-3 front (sometimes Roh did not put his hand down in the front but it was a 4-3) and using the same nickel rush package they've shown in the first two games.
Against the twin TE formation Umass showed a lot the stack looked like this:
Kovacs is rolled up tight to the line there. Michigan appears to be aligning based on pass strength, so whenever they saw a formation like this it was Banks and Kovacs to the run strength.
Chartin' note: the "Rush" column contains the number of pass rushers on a pass; on a run I attempted to determine to which side of the line it was run, doing this by the Michigan DE that was nominally run at. "Banks" is a run at (surprise!) Banks. NA is for something that went either right up the middle or the DEs weren't relevant.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O35||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Inside zone||Mouton||9|
|This is supposed to go right up the middle by the looks of the blocking scheme but Martin(+1) tears through the center's block and Ezeh(+1) shoots past an attempt to get him on the second level, forcing a cutback. Kovacs has cut past his blocker too and the RB has to head way outside, where Mouton(-1, tackling -1) is unblocked and has an opportunity to tackle for loss but overruns the play, which lets the RB dart upfield because Banks(-1) was easily single blocked and controlled. Floyd is also out there with Mouton but his weak diving tackle attempt (-1, -1 tackling) is run through.|
|O44||2||1||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||Down G||Roh||0|
|TEs originally split but one motions over the other as they test the other side of the M DL. Roh(+2) slants past the TE's attempted down block, sliding in between two guys and meeting the RB in the hole a yard behind the LOS. He comes around to tackle, but the RB can fall forward because of the OL blocking Roh. Ezeh took on a blocker in a way that would have funneled the RB to an unblocked Gordon, FWIW, if that was necessary.|
|O44||3||1||I-Form big twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Iso||Banks||4|
|Martin(+1) blows through a double and occupies two blockers; Banks(-1) is bashed back and sealed by a momentary double, opening up just enough space for the RB to run through a Mouton tackle. No minus because he had to fight through a FB block and did well to slow the RB; Floyd(-1) is slow recognizing and can't clean up in time. His tackle(-1) is run through but the RB falls afterward; Michigan fortunate.|
|O48||1||10||Ace||3-3-5 stack||Pass||4||PA waggle||Rogers||12|
|First of the many rollouts. Gordon covers the short guy well enough but Rogers(-1, cover -1) has his hips turned way early on the play, even before people scroll offscreen, and is easily beaten on the hitch. Roh(-0.5) sucked into the PA and gave the guy a wide open corner (pressure -1)|
|O36||1||10||Ace||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||Down G||T. Gordon||-2|
|UMass center stumbles as he gets out of his stance and Ezeh(+0.5) reads the direction of the play, flowing to it under control. They've only got two guys blocking three defenders as a result; Ezeh takes the correct shoulder of his blocker and T. Gordon is the free hitter. He makes a solid TFL in some space (+1, tackling +1). Lower than normal plus for a TFL because Ezeh had it easy on the stumble.|
|O38||2||12||Ace trips TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||NA||PA draw||Mouton||5|
|Bubble fake to a draw. Martin absorbs a double, getting pushed a few yards downfield but occupying two blockers for the duration. This gives Kovacs and Mouton free runs at the carrier; Mouton(-0.5) makes a dodgy tackle after slightly overrunning the play, turning 3 yards into 6.|
|O33||3||7||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel rush||Pass||4||Slant||Ezeh||14|
|The reason this simple slant on third and seven is wide open is Ezeh(-1, cover -1) bumping a tight end two yards from the LOS instead of getting a zone drop. A senior four-year starter doesn't know to drop to the sticks on third and seven.|
|O19||1||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||NA||PA waggle hitch||Floyd||Inc|
|PA fake is to the backside of the play so the LBs are there; Mouton(+0.5) gets a bump on the releasing RB, forcing him into Ezeh and forcing a throw from the QB that Floyd(+1, cover +1) breaks on to break up.|
|O19||2||10||Shotgun twins||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||Zone read inside||Mouton||2|
|Center again stumbles. We'll give some credit to Martin(+0.5) since he's occupying those guys. RVB(+1) has also flowed down the line, occupying the hole; the RB cuts back all the way to the backside where Mouton(+1) has scraped and tackles with T. Gordon. RB does a good job of getting YAC.|
|O17||3||8||Shotgun trips bunch||3-3-5 stack||Pass||4||Drag||Leach||5|
|Leach blitzes from a slot LB spot as the other three DL and no one else come; QB has to roll out away from Leach(+0.5, pressure +1) and away from his trips bunch. One of those guys is on a drag route and the QB hits him; Mouton(+0.5, cover +1) is there for the immediate tackle.|
|Drive Notes: FG(31), 0-3, 10 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O49||1||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||Inside zone||Roh||1|
|Martin(+1) shoves his blocker back into the path of the RB, forcing a cutback into an unblocked Roh(+0.5), who closes from the backside to tackle for minimal gain.|
|50||2||9||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 stack||Pass||5||Hitch||T. Gordon||3 (Pen -10)|
|T. Gordon(+0.5) gets out on the edge, forcing a throw on a short hitch that Rogers(+1, cover +1) can tackle on immediately. UMass gets a holding call but I have no idea who draws it because of crappy BTN production.|
|O40||2||19||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Down G||Mouton||1|
|Banks gets doubled and blown back but does absorb two without crumbling. Mouton(+1) reads the OL pull and shoots into the play, cracking into one of the pullers in the backfield and drawing attention from both. This creates a pileup in the backfield; RB comes through the mess; the delay has allowed Kovacs(+0.5) to fill and tackle at the LOS.|
|O41||3||18||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel rush||Run||NA||Draw||Roh||3 (pen +5)|
|A give up and punt; Roh(-1) jumped offside.|
|O46||3||13||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel rush||Pass||4||Scramble||Martin||6|
|Martin(+2) shoots past a double and is then flagrantly held, preventing a thunder-sack. He does force a rollout; no one is open and Havens has to run, whereupon the DEs converge. (Pressure +1, cover +1.)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, 6 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|Moundros in for Ezeh. Roh as a standup DE with Gordon playing back; more of a standard 4-3 look. Roh pwns the TE(+1, pressure +1) but is almost literally dragged to the ground by the guy; no call. Very frustrating. He gets up and forces a scramble from the QB; as he rolls out he finds a TE open for several. He's immediately booted OOB. This drive likely ends immediately if the refs get this obvious call right.|
|O40||2||3||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Power off tackle||Moundros||4|
|Backside G pulls around but is tripped because Martin(+0.5) is slashing into the backfield and pushed his guy back a little. Banks is cutting inside, as is Mouton, so this should provide an opportunity for Moundros to get a free hit if he hits the hole fast enough. Instead he sits around the first down marker and accepts a block(-1). Mouton rolls off a block and Kovacs comes up to tackle just past the first down sticks.|
|O44||1||10||Shotgun trips TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Power off tackle||Banks||4|
|TE covered up and can't go downfield, so I'm a little disappointed Mouton isn't more aggressive here since he won't be threatened by the TE. Banks is sealed and bashed back a bit, allowing the RT to get a hat on Mouton and opening up what looks like a crease, but Banks(+0.5) fights through and sets up to tackle after a few yards. Cutback lane was there but untaken because Moundros(-1) immediately went into a pass drop without even checking a key.|
|O48||2||6||Ace twins twin TE||Base 4-3-ish||Pass||4||PA deep hitch||Rogers||15|
|Covered TE. Martin is coming around on a stunt and is going to get there somewhat fast, but not fast enough if the primary read is open, which it is in front of Rogers(-1, cover -1) and behind Gordon(-1, cover -1) as he came up on a shorter receiver.|
|O33||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||Power off tackle||Van Bergen||1|
|RVB(+1.5) surges into the backfield past an attempted down block, cutting off the hole in the center and picking off the pulling guard. RB has to cut way outside where T. Gordon and Ezeh(+0.5 each) are waiting; they tackle.|
|O32||2||9||Ace 4-wide bunch||3-3-5 stack||Pass||NA||PA drag||Mouton||12|
|Pretty slick with the RB motioning in from an empty set and UMass faking a pitchout to him. This sucks in Mouton(-1, cover -1), opening up a drag route, though to be fair to the D the window here was not enormous because Kovacs was in decent position and this is just a good play. Catch is turned upfield for good yardage.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun trips TE||3-3-5 stack||Pass||5||Flare screen||Mouton||5|
|Mouton(+1) appears to be pass rushing. He bumps an OL and then reads the flare screen, getting out between the releasing OL and running the RB down for a minimal gain despite a corner blitz that could have made this very bad. RB does fall forward so no tackling +1.|
|O15||2||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 4-3-ish||Run||Banks||Reverse||Banks||5|
|End around coupled with a reverse gets Michigan confused as the motion sends Michigan into a check they never get completed. Mouton gets chop blocked by a guy coming upfield of him, which was apparently a penalty on Kelvin Grady last week but isn't here... which is it? Kovacs bit; it's Greg Banks(+2) who sets up outside in a bunch of space, positions himself so the WR cuts inside of him, then disengages to tackle and possibly prevent a TD. (RPS -2)|
|O10||1||G||I-Form Big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Power off tackle||10|
|They load up the short side with two TEs and pull a guard around to go with the FB: 4 blockers. TE blocks down on Banks. Kovacs and Mouton both attack, getting caught in the wash but also jamming up the LOS and wiping out the last TE and the two lead guys, leaving Floyd(-2) totally unblocked on the edge with a RB; he lets the guy outside; touchdown. Good lord, if you're going to get beat get beat to the inside. Turrible.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-10, 14 min 2nd Q. Floyd's run support: very bad.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O15||1||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Run||NA||Inside zone||Mouton||16|
|Ezeh back, Patterson in, and as always the opponent goes right at him. Patterson(-1) goes behind the single block of the center, which might work if the linebackers were making him right but Mouton(-1) starts flowing away from the play instead of attempting to fill his gap, which is a shame because Ezeh had gotten playside of his blocker and could have held this down to a few otherwise. I do not understand the gap integrity here, but what it looks like to me is Mouton thinking this is play action. Kovacs(-0.5) does just manage to tackle(-1), but it's very tenuous and gives UMass another 5 yards. Given the blocking scheme I don't think this is a good play by Patterson.|
|O31||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Base 4-3-ish||Run||Banks||Quick pitch||Mouton||7|
|The FB-dive/quick pitch combo suckers Mouton(-1), who should at least be looking at the tailback on a running play, and Banks, which is more understandable. Mouton closes it down fairly well but misses a tackle; Floyd(-0.5) wasn't much help on the corner.|
|O38||2||3||Shotgun twins||Base 4-3-ish||Run||NA||Inside zone||Gordon||12|
|Guh, come on, you're on the backside of a run play that happens to have 2TEs to the backside, maybe a cutback is coming? Roh(-1) is ridden down the line out of the play; T. Gordon(-1), crashes down way too far, opening up the cutback, and Ezeh(-1) just eats a block as per usual. Mouton was free and could have finished a play if someone had funneled to to him, but no one did.|
|50||1||10||Shotgun trips bunch||3-3-5 stack||Pass||3||Sack||Martin||-12|
|Martin(+3) tears through a double team and authoritatively sacks. Beast mode. (Pressure +3)|
|O38||2||22||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Down G||Mouton||3|
|Mouton(+1) flashes to the hole immediately, blasting the pulling guard and forcing the play inside where Banks(+0.5) and Floyd can combine to tackle.|
|O41||3||19||Ace trips||3-3-5 stack||Run||NA||Draw||Martin||1|
|A give up and punt, but Martin(+2) still blazes past blockers and then forms up, having read the play, to tackle for no gain.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 8 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O21||1||10||Shotgun trips TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Power off tackle||Banks||4|
|Leach in for Gordon. UMass runs power at Banks(+0.5) and he seems to get doubled out of the play but comes around it to help tackle with Floyd(+0.5), who set up well and came off a block to deal with it.|
|O25||2||6||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||3||PA rollout flat||Roh||13|
|Roh(-1) sucks up too far after the play action instead of taking an angle that goes straight outside; Leach(-1) overruns the play and allows the receiver inside of him for big yardage. (Cover –1.)|
|O38||1||10||Ace||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||Pin and pull zone||Roh||10|
|New play sees three UMass players pull around. RVB(-1) gets pushed out of the play pointlessly, leaving Roh and Leach and Ezeh on three blockers. Play goes outside so Ezeh has no chance. Leach has to turn it inside and does. Roh? I think he's held, personally, but I'll leave the question open: is this is egregious or not? I am going to -1 him for not forcing it back inside. Michigan was caught in a slant away from the play, too. (RPS -1) Rogers(-1) was weak on the corner.|
|O48||1||10||Ace||Base 4-3-ish||Pass||4||PA Scramble||Roh||3|
|Play action pass sees no one open at first (cover +1), at which point Roh(+1) spins off a blocker and charges in on Havens. He scrambles for a few yards. (Pressure +1)|
|Leach's(-2) drop is terrible, opening up the easy slant because he took a step forward without so much as a PA fake (cover -1)|
|M35||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||Base 4-3-ish||Run||NA||Inside zone||Mouton||15|
|More completely terrible outside angles reminiscent of last year. There is nothing inside thanks to RVB(+0.5) and Kovacs(+0.5) shutting down running lanes and the bounce meets an unblocked Mouton(-2.5), who can force the play back inside to two unblocked LBs but instead lets the RB outside, turning nothing into a first down. Awful, awful, awful. Picture-paged yesterday.|
|M20||1||10||Ace twins||Base 4-3-ish||Run||Banks||Dive||Banks||5|
|Backside G pulls; this is supposed to go more directly upfield. Banks(-1) gets rudely escorted out of the play like he's Kovacs, providing a ton of room the LBs can't shut down. Ezeh does force it back, where Kovacs(+0.5) tackles solidly.|
|M15||2||5||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Power off tackle||Mouton||6|
|Sagesse(-0.5) gets pushed too far inside; Floyd takes out a blocker as the outside contain, leaving a guy one on one with Mouton and Kovacs coming up to help; Mouton(-0.5) doesn't really take either shoulder of the defender, instead plowing into him and giving the RB a lane to the inside that Kovacs can't close down.|
|M9||1||G||Ace twins||3-3-5 stack||Power off tackle||Ezeh||9|
|Ezeh(-2) has a simple job: get the outside shoulder of the lead blocker and let unblocked Mouton pound the guy; he doesn't do it, instead letting the RB outside, where he scores a touchdown. His uncertain waddle to the line is incredibly depressing.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-17, 1 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O36||1||10||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 stack||Pass||5||Rollout hitch||T. Gordon||Inc|
|Leach in for Banks with Roh playing DE. Mouton(+0.5) is blitzing from the backside and is fast enough to make this a problem; coverage(+1) is good enough for the QB to hesitate, then try to hit a drag route late that he ends up turfing. Rogers +0.5, T. Gordon +0.5, Ezeh +0.5.|
|O36||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Run||NA||Inside zone||Leach||20|
|Martin(+1) shoves his guy back and cuts off any holes in the middle of the play, forcing a cut outside. Leach(-3) is sitting approximately a thousand yards outside, sitting and waiting and watching the bounce here cut up for major yards. He should be there for a free hit, or at least a delay, on the back. Instead we again get a big gainer when the DL set the LBs up for a zero-yard run. Kovacs(+3) comes in from the side, strips the ball out, and recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 14-17, 50 seconds 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O26||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Inside zone||Ezeh||6|
|So in the 3-3-5 the job of the MLB is to make the NT right, which means when he closes off one A gap (between a C and G) you close off the other. Martin(+1) blasts the C back and cuts off one A gap; Ezeh(-1) flows into the same gap instead of shooting into the huge gap in the line on the other side of the center created because of Martin's disruption. This allows a G to come off and harass him and allows the RB to cut back. Banks and Kovacs are doing a meh job, standing up but not making any headway, and there's a TE out there to block Mouton. Mouton scrapes over; RB jukes out, Mouton cuts it off; Floyd's corner support does the exact same thing, meaning both guys head outside for a bit, providing a crease; Floyd and Kovacs tackle, but not before the RB plows for six. -0.5 Floyd, -0.5 Kovacs, though Kovacs's minus is simply because he's leetle.|
|O32||2||4||Shotgun 3-wide bunch||Base 4-4||Pass||4||Out||?||Inc|
|Roh hops down to the line and C. Gordon comes up in the box as a fourth linebacker. Simple out is open for the first (cover -1) but dropped. Pressure was getting there.|
|O32||3||4||Shotgun empty||3-3-5 stack||Pass||6||Out||Floyd||16|
|Confusion from Roh as he flops over to the other side of the line only for Ezeh to point him back where he used to be. Doesn't really matter since six guys are rushing and Martin dropping off into one of those screen-destroyer zones; another quick out at the sticks is thrown, with Floyd making a great break on the ball but whiffing (cover -1), yielding a tackle and some YAC. Kovacs(-1) misses an open field tackle(-1); Martin is the guy who tracks him down. Actually, I won't minus Floyd here since he did deflect the ball and the receiver was just lucky it bounced off his facemask and into his chest.|
|O48||1||10||Shotgun twins twin TE||Base 4-4||Run||NA||Inside zone||Ezeh||4|
|Zone read look from UMass. Ezeh(-1) has another one of those plays where he just sits exactly where he is and eats a blocker as the line flows down, leaving absolutely nowhere for the RB to go (+0.5 Martin, Roh). T. Gordon(+0.5) maintains contain and then crashes down after the handoff, tackling the RB from behind as he passes the LOS.|
|M48||2||6||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Inside zone||Martin||-3|
|Martin(+3) blasts through the line into the path of the RB, tackling for loss by himself. Banks(+0.5) had also fought through a block and was there to help if Martin couldn't get the job done himself.|
|O49||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Stack rush||Pass||5||Out||Mouton||Inc|
|Mouton(+0.5) gets a free run on a Michigan blitz, with Martin again dropping out (RPS +1, pressure +1). This forces an errant throw, though it's depressing how open this is in front of Floyd(-1, cover -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 28-17, 10 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O30||1||10||Ace twins||Base 4-3-ish||Run||RVB||Off tackle||Ezeh||4|
|Michigan slants, leaving Ezeh(-0.5) alone with a motioning TE. He takes the wrong shoulder of the defender, leaving a big gap between himself and Gordon, who's set up outside the slot receiver; Cam(+1) fills quickly and makes a good open field tackle to hold it down(tackling +1)|
|O34||2||6||Ace trips TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||PA draw||Kovacs||-2|
|Martin(+0.5) shucks the C to the ground and gets in on the G; RVB(+0.5) and Banks(+0.5) also do good jobs of driving into the backfield without vacating lanes. RB has to cut outside, where Kovacs(+2) reads the play, shoots the gap, and tackles(+1) behind the LOS, albeit a tiny bit shakily. He is a good linebacker. He should play middle linebacker. I am not kidding.|
|O32||3||8||Shotgun trips bunch||Nickel rush||Pass||4||Drag||Leach||9|
|Leach(-1) and Ezeh drop super deep, leaving this simple drag route open for the first (cover -1)|
|O41||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Quick pitch||Floyd||8|
|No idea what Floyd(-1) is keying on but his run read is way late given the single receiver to his side is obviously blocking from the snap. Kovacs(-0.5) also could have read this faster.|
|O49||2||2||Shotgun twins twin TE||Base 4-4||Run||NA||Inside zone||Roh||1|
|Roh(+2) slants into the backfield into the path of the runner and tackles at the LOS. Since he gets no help from the LBs the RB can fall forward near the sticks.|
|50||3||1||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Pass||NA||Waggle out||Rogers||9|
|Michigan in man, biting on the fake. (RPS-1) Open in front of Rogers(-1, cover -1) and UMass converts. RVB charging down the QB, but for naught.|
|M41||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||Base 4-4||Run||Banks||Power off tackle||Banks||5|
|Banks(-1) doubled and blown too far back this time. Ezeh(-0.5) sits and eats another block; Patterson(+0.5) does an admirable job to eventually fight through his block and make an ankle tackle as the RB slashes past the LOS.|
|M36||2||5||Ace 3-wide||Base 4-4||Pass||NA||Waggle hitch||?||8|
|An absolute ton of time (pressure -2, RPS -1) as Michigan is slanting towards a run play and needs Mouton/Kovacs in coverage (cover +1), which they do well. Havens comes off those two guys, finding a third open for the first in front of Ezeh. No blame there; just too long.|
|M28||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||Power off tackle||Fitzgerald||0|
|Fitz in for Roh. Not sure about this play since it looks like an off tackle play with a backside guard pulling but the RB's angle is kind of directly upfield. Maybe a bust by the RB. Anyway, Fitzgerald(+2) is being blocked down by the TE but gets in the gap, picking off the pulling lineman and causing the RB to try to bounce outside; he can't because Fitzgerald throws him to the ground. Possibly the best play by a LB all day?|
|M28||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||6||Seam||T. Gordon||Inc|
|Michigan sends six and does not get there (pressure -2); T. Gordon is in man on the slot receiver and his man gets a step (cover -1); ball is low and tough to dig out and not dug out. Probably a TD if accurate.|
|M28||3||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel rush||Pass||5||Tunnel screen||0|
|Man to man, tight man, and Rogers(+1, cover +1, RPS+1) is right there for the tackle. Maybe some credit to Martin(+0.5) for harassing the QB and forcing a suboptimal throw? Sure.|
|M28||4||10||Shotgun trips bunch||Nickel rush||Pass||6||TE corner||Mouton||13|
|Five or six sent; not sure WTF Mouton is doing. He chips the TE and then starts moving inside, which is weird since that means there's no contain to the short side of the field, where the QB rolls and finds the TE, who's broken just in front of Kovacs in man coverage. (Pressure -2, RPS -1) Anyone with a theory as to what Mouton's assignment is here please inform. Man cover on the RB?|
|M15||1||10||Shotgun twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||NA||Inside zone||Ezeh||9|
|RB makes a quick cut to the backside as Martin cuts off the playside A gap. Mouton attempts to funnel the RB to help, which is Ezeh(-1), who stepped to the wrong side of the play and had to leap a cut block and is late. A desperate ankle tackle from Kovacs(+0.5) prevents a TD. Please tell me if I'm right and Ezeh is insane or not here.|
|M6||2||1||I-Form Big||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||Iso||Ezeh||-1|
|Martin(+1) pounds the center back, allowing Ezeh(+1) a lane he takes, shooting up between the C and G and pounding the fullback. No room, RB slides along the line, meeting RVB(+0.5) for no gain.|
|M7||3||2||I-Form big||3-3-5 stack||Pass||Waggle scramble||Kovacs||7|
|Kovacs(-2) bites like a mother on the run fake, opening up the corner wide enough for Havens to stroll in. Mouton(-1) also bit, and then passed up a chance to pound the guy at the two.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 35-24, 13 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O27||1||10||Ace||Base 4-3-ish||Pass||3||Deep hitch||Floyd||19|
|Just bad luck and bad refereeing here. Play action sees RVB and Martin through the line, with Martin(+0.5) recovering in time to force a throw(pressure +1) that Floyd(+1, cover +1) deflects. Receiver steps OOB, is STILL OOB when he touches the ball, and somehow gets credit for a completion.|
|O46||1||10||Shotgun twins twin TE||Base 4-3-ish||Run||NA||Inside zone||Ezeh||4|
|I am really, really frustrated with Ezeh(-1) at this point. Here he is totally unblocked but just sits on his ass the whole play instead of hitting it up in a gap that opens behind RVB and in front of Roh. RB goes through a gap, Ezeh tackles, but it's four yards instead of zero.|
|50||2||6||Ace||Base 4-3-ish||Pass||Waggle hitch||Rogers||15|
|No pressure (RPS-1, pressure -2) and all day for Havens to hit his receiver in front of Rogers(-1, cover -1)|
|M35||1||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Run||NA||Inside zone||Martin||0|
|Martin(+1) blasts the C back and sheds to the playside, forcing a cutback. RVB(+0.5) got inside the pulling WR block and forces the RB into Mouton(+1), who zipped past a blocker. The trio tackles for nothing.|
|M35||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||4||C. Gordon||Int, fumble|
|Corner blitz from Floyd is picked up; Banks(+0.5) gets enough pressure to force a rollout from havens once his first read is covered by Ezeh(+0.5) and Roh(+0.5, cover +1). As he rolls out he throws it to a drag route still pretty well covered by Ezeh(+0.5 again). Pass is way overthrown and intercepted by Gordon, who runs it back to the 30 and fumbles it because of course.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 42-24, 10 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|M26||1||10||Shotgun trips TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Banks||Down G||Banks||5|
|Patterson in. Banks(+1) holds up to a double team well enough to occupy two guys and get Mouton in clean on the tailback; he hits him, so does Kovacs, and there are like five M guys and three UMass guys as this tailback just drags a pile five yards. I'm not minusing anyone because who do you minus? Impressive by UMass; kind of depressing for M.|
|M21||2||5||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 stack||Pass||5||Slant||Floyd||Inc|
|Fake six, drop Ezeh into short zone, open up slant in man from Floyd(-0.5, cover -1) that is behind the WR and dropped.|
|M21||3||5||Ace||Nickel rush||Run||NA||Down G||Martin||2|
|Martin(+2) shoves back the C, refuses to get sealed, fights off a hold, and runs down the tailback for nothing. Ezeh and Mouton were around but not needed.|
|M19||4||3||Shotgun 3-wide bunch||Nickel rush||Pass||4||TE out||Leach||4|
|Wide open; totally lame coverage from Leach(-1, cover -1, RPS-1)|
|M15||1||10||Ace trips bunch||3-3-5 stack||Run||RVB||PA draw||Ezeh||6|
|Ezeh(-0.5) drawn out of position by the fake; RVB(-0.5) rushes upfield after the passer and vacates the lane.|
|M9||2||4||Shotgun twins twin TE||Base 4-3-ish||Run||Banks||Inside zone||Ezeh||8|
|More zone read action. M slants the line again and totally destroys the play, with Martin and Roh ready to obliterate; Ezeh(-2) ran himself way to the frontside of the play, got sealed, and there's no one back there. T. Gordon blitzed at the QB, opening up a lane, too. (RPS -1)|
|M1||1||G||Goal line||Goal line||Penalty||False Start||?||-5|
|M6||1||G||Ace twins||Base 4-3-ish||Run||NA||Inside zone||Martin||0|
|Martin(+2) flashes into the backfield impossibly quick and almost has a five-yard TFL but a last-second shove from an OL causes him to miss the tackle. Still, he's destroyed the play and Michigan just has to clean up. Ezeh(-1) overruns a stationary RB and Gordon has to clean up at the LOS.|
|M5||2||G||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||6||Waggle cross||C. Gordon||5|
|Man coverage as Michigan is going heavy after the run; Cam Gordon(-1) is beaten easily by the WR, opening up an easy TD (RPS -1, cover -1)|
|M3||2pt||2pt||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||3||Improv||Kovacs||Int|
|Drop eight, covering everyone(+1) for the first read, at which point the QB starts scrambling because of good pressure from RVB(+0.5, pressure +1). He rolls out, finds no one, and chucks a hopeless pass back across the field that Kovacs(+0.5) picks off.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown(2pt failed), 42-30, 5 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|M25||1||10||Ace||3-3-5 stack||Pass||NA||RB scramble||?||5|
|They try a halfback pass but it's covered(+1). RB decides to scramble and picks up five. Not charting this one too harshly since this is such an outlier of a play.|
|M20||2||5||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 stack||Pass||3||Out||Rogers||7|
|Martin(+1) rips through the line instantly (pressure +1) on the roll but the soft corner (Rogers) opens up the little out for the first. (Cover -1)|
|M13||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||4||Dumpoff||?||6|
|Good coverage(+1) downfield forces a checkdown as Banks is collapsing the pocket; Ezeh tackles immediately.|
|M7||2||4||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||7||Fade||Rogers||Inc (Pen +5)|
|Michigan sends the house and gets there(Pressure +1) so the QB chucks one off his back foot that's too long; Rogers(-1, cover -1) is called for PI. Weak call, but they all are.|
|M2||1||G||Goal line||Goal line||Pass||2||PA flare||Kovacs||2 (Pen -5)|
|Kovacs(-1) overruns the play and the RB cuts past him into the endzone. This ceases to exist because of a false start but no one knew it when he scored.|
|M7||1||G||Shotgun trips bunch||3-3-5 stack||Pass||7||TE corner||Mouton||7|
|Mouton(-2, cover -2) doesn't bother to cover the TE.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-37, 2 min 4th Q. M gets the onside kick and runs out the clock.|
Down or across?
Should I cut down or across with the razor? The former is just a cry for help, the latter is srsly.
Maybe on the diagonal?
I HATE YOU
Yeah, okay… chart?
If you'd like an answer to "what if Brandon Graham played every snap against Delaware State like his life depended on it," here you go:
|Van Bergen||5||1.5||3.5||Lots of half points for doing decently on run plays.|
|Martin||25||-||25||I just write the numbers down! More on this later.|
|Banks||6||4||2||Not great but not the big problem.|
|Sagesse||-||0.5||-0.5||Very few snaps.|
|Patterson||0.5||1||-0.5||Not exactly Martin but seems okay.|
|Black||-||-||-||Did play, didn't record anything.|
|Roh||7.5||4.5||3||Okay, not great.|
|T. Gordon||3||0.5||2.5||Doing okay.|
|Leach||-||8.5||-8.5||Extremely poor performance spotting Gordon and acting as a passing down LB|
|Moundros||-||2||-2||Poor on single series.|
|Fitzgerald||2||-||2||+2 play may have been in error but it worked.|
|TOTAL||24||38.5||-14.5||What the hell happened? This was +21 last week against ND!|
|Floyd||2.5||8.5||-6||Major issues in run support..|
|Rogers||2.5||5.5||-3||Guys were open in front of him consistently.|
|Kovacs||7.5||5.5||2||Michigan's best linebacker.|
|C. Gordon||1||2||-1||Not tested much.|
|TOTAL||13.5||21.5||-8||Corners were exploited for the first time.|
|Coverage||12||19||-7||Scary against a I-AA team|
[A reminder: RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]
What didn't go wrong?
First a word on that number: holy pants. I don't even know if I can stand by that but what I saw is Martin either occupying two blockers or obliterating the blocking concept on almost every play. He tore into the backfield for +3 TFLs twice and got a a pair of +2 near TFLs. He was completely un-containable, and the number is just this side of literally incredible because what would happen if a ridiculously good player happened to be on a terrible defense that kept him on the field the whole game and saw the opponent put together multiple grinding drives on which to rack up points by destroying run concepts only to see the confused ducks behind you clack heads and fall over?
He would get a damn lot of points, is what. That's a UFR record.
Also, I went into the UFR after watching UMass go at Banks and Kovacs all day to good success and thought I would end up with big negatives for at least one of those two guys. I didn't. Neither exactly covered themselves in glory but both ended up on the positive side of the ledger, and on this day that makes you immune from criticism. RVB had a solid day. You'd like to see him do better than that against a I-AA team but he was not tested much what with all the running at Banks. For the record, I have ten rushes at RVB for 2.1 a carry and 18 at Banks for 4 a carry, so the intuition wasn't wrong: UMass ran at Banks a lot and did better than they did when they ran at RVB, but the defensive ends weren't involved in the big gainers much.
And that is all.
I trusted you! Linebacker GERG fairy theory! I HATE YOU
Yeah, man, hell if I know. A week after racking up thirteen tackles and getting talked up by the NFL risers and sliders guy, Mouton forgot seemingly everything he'd learned over the offseason, repeatedly getting lost. Ezeh, meanwhile, is back to that thing where he stands around until someone blocks him, whereupon he starts moving backwards and maybe falls over to make an ankle tackle:
At this point it's almost hopeless. What are the chances Obi Ezeh learns how to be a linebacker in the last ten games of his career if he's still making incredibly basic mistakes like that after starting for three years? This has nothing to do with scheme. This is basic play recognition/ability to remember how to make your legs go.
Mouton's mistakes, too, are things common to every defense like "don't let the tailback outside of you when you are a force defender," but at least he makes some plays to help with his deficiencies. The ugly fate foretold by the "Mark Moundros could start" preseason meme appears to be coming true.
Here is where I take up the shield of someone who knows what he's talking about to forestall the inevitable complaints that I'm not being very nice and we should really give Boubacar Cissoko a chance before declaring him not good at football: this is an opinion shared by former M LB Ron Simpkins, whose latest interview with Rivals($) has the word "inexcusable" in the title in re: linebacker play and is even less kind behind the paywall. These seniors are not good at football.
What are they so indecisive?
So I think what the coaches mean by "this is not a stack" is that in a stack everyone has a gap. The line will slant one way and from a combination of blitzes and other attacking bits all the non-DL gaps get filled. Usually the OLBs and DEs will have specific B and C gaps depending on the slant; the goal is to kick runs out to the spur and bandit or just fill your gap and tackle there. The MLB's read depends on the NT. The NT has to take a double, and then he has to slant into a gap, and the MLB has to figure out which gap he's covered and attack the other one.
Here's Ezeh not doing that even a little bit on a counter:
Ezeh does not key off Martin or he'd shoot the gap in the backside after Martin closes off the frontside A gap. He reads the running back, steps to the wrong side of the play, does not take the opportunity to shoot in a gap for a TFL, and allows the back to run up the backside of a bunch of blockers for decent yardage. He did this all day. He does not have a gap, he has to figure out what's going on and then try to close it down, usually with poo results of poo.
Why isn't it a stack?
Don't know. I think it should be because anything that gets Ezeh moving forward is good. Especially when you've got Martin, an incredibly active NT who is going to be able to close off big gaps frequently, I'd rather have Ezeh shoot gaps and get guys in the backfield or at the line than rely on all this reading business that the linebackers suck at and ends up bleeding the kind of yards UMass had on the ground last week. My complaint here is they didn't go far enough.
What can we do?
The worst part is that when Michigan got tired of Ezeh they put in Moundros for a series and Moundros proceeded to do the exact same things, except in his case it's obvious why: he was a fullback last year. He's no substitute, and he's the #2 guy on the depth chart! JB Fitzgerald and Kenny Demens: where are you? You are nowhere.
Everyone's got their crackpot theories of how to fix the defense with random positions switches or, in the case of a couple dedicated caterwaulers, overhauling the scheme to be more of a 4-3 to take an extra defensive back off the field, which makes zero sense because Michigan's 4-3 would have the exact same personnel as last year's 4-3 and this year's 3-3-5. None of that is going to do anything, and Will Campbell is not a useful football player right now.
My suggestion is going to sound utterly ludicrous but here it is anyway: replace Ezeh with Kovacs and bring Marvin Robinson in. This is nuts, I know. Kovacs is a leprechaun-sized walk-on. But I go back to the stack DVD Casteel put out back in the day. In it he made two things clear: the NT is by far the most important player in the defense and makes things go (check), and the middle linebacker can be spectacularly undersized as long as he is a heady, instinctive player who can put a hat on the right shoulder of the right guy at the LOS after "making the nose tackle right". Casteel specifically says that the player they had the previous year was 190 pounds. Raise your hand if you'd take West Virginia's 2002 defense right now. That's everyone.
I mean, Kovacs does this:
He is a decisive slasher. Mike Martin is peeling the faces off of people right now and Kovacs will have free runs to the ball plenty. It won't be good, lord knows, but it almost can't be worse.
Enormous secondary minus?
Part of that was the return of rollout doom reminiscent of that Toledo game. Midnight Maize tallied up the results of those:
- Out of 11 Roll Outs or Moved Pockets UMASS hit on 8 of them. Two were good Michigan defense and one was a UMASS holding call.
- UMASS gained 87 yards on Roll outs
- James Rogers was to blame for 5 of them.
This is also a major source of the crappy RPS metric; Michigan had no effective response to these all day, though that may be due to the fact they couldn't consistently stop a I-AA team's running game.
Not sure what to do about that since M is in cover three a lot and the cornerbacks are so weak they have to play soft, basically. Floyd did make a few plays on the ball, though he had the misfortune to see two deflect to his receiver anyway; Rogers was not going to challenge anything. I might do more edge blitzing against QBs who can throw on the move, and though Rogers hasn't been a huge liability it might be time to start seeing some of the freshmen work in.
Mouton and Ezeh primarily with assists from the corners. Especially Ezeh. Also Kevin Leach managed some impressive minuses in a brief window. Missing Herron and Jones is hurting; where is Hawthorne?
Mike Martin a thousand times. Not exactly heroes but okay: the Gordons, Kovacs, the DEs.
What does it mean for Bowling Green and the future?
It means the linebackers are going to either revert back to their decent form of the first couple weeks or it's happy-happy walk-on time again, at which point they'll basically play like the starters and we'll get a rotation and everyone's brains will explode. I do think this game was a perfect storm of crappy play by Michigan and excellent execution by UMass and that there will be a couple Big Ten teams that get Denarded this year and fill their message boards with threads like "but UMass scored 37, fire everyone!" Michigan did not see that level of offensive execution from their first two opponents and it's hard to picture some of these upcoming Big Ten foes matching it what with their freshman quarterbacks and stapled-together run games.
But, really: it's time to replace Ezeh once and for all, except they can't. Mouton will turn in up and down games but as long as Ezeh is on the field Michigan is going to get gashed, nice guy though he may be. Who do you do that with, though? Michigan's inability to see the enormous problem mounting here and have four kids shoehorned into the position who aren't former walk-ons is a failing on par with starting Sheridan over Threet. Fitzgerald and Demens should have been backing Ezeh all year; their failure to develop, and Michigan's failure to acquire and keep any reasonable linebacker sorts in the last three years, is killing the defense.
QB pressure does remain an issue, though against passing teams Michigan has used a series of blitzes that get free guys in because you have to deal with Mike Martin before outside threats. Play action and rollouts will be issues; passing downs will be okay if they can just get some zone drops.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at email@example.com or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
This question comes from TK-421, one of the contributors at Wolverine Liberation Army. He asks:
I'm assuming the makeup of the next recruiting class has been altered, considering the losses of Dorsey, Emilien, and Rogers (and I'm probably forgetting some). My question is, is it possible to shift the demographics of a class (in this case back towards defense again) midseason? Aren't recruits already narrowing their lists down, and so defensive guys that MICH wasn't in the running for back in August are already looking elsewhere?
At this point in the process, the staff has still cast a wide enough net that the tone of the class could be completely different based on which ones they land. The only thing that would truly have to change is which guys get more attention (NCAA video game analogy: give 60 minute calls to the defensive guys, 10 minute quick calls to the guys you're de-emphasizing, for example).
Also, this staff is known for unearthing sleepers later in the process and flipping commits from other schools, so there are definitely other places to look for commits. Look at a guy like Ray Vinopal last year. The staff offered him in the process and landed him, and he immediately made a move on the depth chart (enough to get Vlad Emilien to reconsider Michigan?).
There's plenty of time left in the recruiting class, and last year's class showed that they're able to close strong on defense. Even if a couple of those guys didn't end up qualifying, hopefully that lesson is learned. Guys with "narrowed lists" are nothing to worry about.
Visits Past and Future
The UMass game brought in a few unofficial visitors, including a couple bigtime 2012 prospects. Tom let us know late last week that IL OL Chris Bryant and his teammate, 2012 OL Jordan Diamond would both be in the house. Bryant enjoyed himself, but isn't committing to anyone quite yet. Scout reports ($, info in header) that he enjoyed his visit enough to make the Wolverines his leader, but won't take many visits until after his high school season ($, info in header).
MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel also attended the game, along with 2012 MI DT Danny O'Brien. More on O'Brien below.
From Tom's Weekly Update, FL CB Dallas Crawford and WR Sammy Watkins are both planning to make it to Ann Arbor for the Iowa game. Watkins is still looking for a couple more points on a standardized test before he's allowed to take officials.
The long, bizarre recruitment of FL RB Demetrius Hart takes another turn, as he visited Auburn last weekend, and left "very high on Tigers" ($, info in header). As Sam Webb revealed on WTKA, the article says he was close to a commitment, which spawned a freakout amongst Michigan fans.
I'll try to talk Michigan fans off the ledge a bit. Tom spoke to Hart's Mom:
"Demetrius said he liked it, and so did his uncle. His uncle said that overall though it was about a 7 out of 10." As far as what's next for Demetrius, he had always planned on taking a few more visits, and then making his decision since he'll be graduating early.
Keep in mind that Hart has always returned home from visits VERY high on the last place he saw (remember Alabama briefly becoming his favorite, then sinking to an afterthought shortly thereafter?), but after a bit of time to settle down, things have returned to normal. He has visits upcoming to Arkansas and Alabama, and if he manages to make it to Ann Arbor one more time before deciding, there's not too much to worry about.
Michigan and Auburn lead for NC WR/LB Kris Frost ($, info in header), but it sounds like the Tigers might have a slight lead.
MI DE/DT Damon Knox has a top three of Michigan, Michigan State, and Illinois. He won't make a decision until well after his senior season.
The Wolverines make the top 9 for LA DT Mickey Johnson, and are one of the four schools recruiting him the hardest. He'll make a decision after all of his official visits.
FL DT Timmy Jernigan will take a visit to Michigan this fall, but not for the MSU game, when he'll be visiting Florida. He won't commit until after all of those visits.
Michigan is "still in the hunt" for PA LB Branden Jackson ($, info in header).
FL S Karlos Williams is committed to Florida State, but still keeping his eye on Miami, Michigan, USC, and Ohio State. Tom shared a while back that Michigan might have a shot at receiving a visit from Williams, and as long as they continue winning this season, that's still the case.
Tom thinks LA CB Daren Kitchen is on the backburner, until some other (more coveted) prospects come off the board.
Speaking of those prospects, Michigan is in the top four for TX CB Charles Jackson. Though Jackson is a highly-coveted prospect, other news on him has been very slow lately.
Happy Trails, OH CB/WR Roger Williamson, who committed to Michigan State.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012.
With 2012 news picking up, I think I'll aim for a debut of a 2012 board within the first couple weeks after the end of the regular season. Expect it then. For the record, Scout has released their initial top-100 list for the 2012 class.
OH QB Maty Mauk was in the house for Michigan's game against UConn ($, info in header). I also saw him in Notre Dame Stadium a couple weeks ago, so he's already seen Michigan twice in this young season.
NC OL DJ Humphries (a teammate of 2011 QB target Marquise Williams) is "paying attention to Michigan" ($, info in header).
MI DT Danny O'Brien (at right) was the focus of last week's recruiting column by Sam Webb in the Detroit News. First on his game:
"Dan is very quick off the ball, he plays with a lot of intensity, and he has the agility to get around blockers," said Scout.com Midwest Regional Manager Allen Trieu. "He's about 6-2 and 280 right now, so he's not a big run stopping gap-plugger. I think you'd like to see him get to 300-lbs and get a little stronger in the process. "
O'Brien compares himself as a player to Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. "That's because of his intensity and his just going crazy," O'Brien said. "I love to hit. There ain't nothing like it. Any sport I play, I always play with intensity. I always go nuts. I think that is the way to do it. You just throw your body out there. That's the way to play football."
And on recruiting:
"Right now the schools that are high on my list are Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma," O'Brien reported. "I want to get down to see LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma...
"(My brother) and my dad would love to see me in a Michigan uniform, but they'll support me in whatever way I go," he said. "They will help me out with my decision and they'll understand it is for me. I'm going to take my time, look at all my options, and then make my decision. I want to commit after my senior season -- maybe a week or a month after that."
...and despite my extensive blockquoting, there's actually much, much more information in the article. Click through to check it out.
Don't expect Michigan State to go after MI CB Terry Richardson:
Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said it is Richardson's lack of size that has recruiters from MSU backing off. "He's not big enough," Wilcher said. "Terry said they want their cornerbacks to rotate and play safety.
Michigan should be one of the leaders whenever they offer.
Men down. Two major injuries in the Big Ten just came down the pipe:
- Badger linebacker Chris Borland, last year's Big Ten freshman of the year, is out for the season with a shoulder injury. It sounds like he will be replaced by sophomore Mike Taylor, who just returned from an offseason full of injury himself.
- Iowa's Jewel Hampton was struck down by Angry Iowa Running-Back-Hating God, tearing his ACL. AIRHAG, as BHGP has taken to calling him, also saw fit to concuss Paki O'Meara, leaving Adam Robinson and "anybody else who wants to volunteer," according to Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa also lost second-string LB Bruce Davis for the season.
Iowa's looking like a potential swing game after the Arizona loss, and getting down to their equivalent of JT Floyd at tailback might mean Michigan's linebackers can actually get an angle on outside runs; I'll still believe M beats Wisconsin when the clock reads zero and I'm all like "woo New Year's Day," which isn't happening so don't get your hopes up.
Man down less sympathetically. The reason Dion Sims isn't playing for Michigan State is he has "allegedly been involved in a Detroit Public Schools computer theft ring involving 988 stolen laptops valued at around $800,000." This will presumably knock him out of the Michigan game unless Michigan State manages to swing a work-release program for him. (How does MSU manage to get all of this stuff done during the season? They could be making headway towards a third straight Fulmer Cup, but nooooo they only get in massive trouble from September to January.) QUICK EVERYONE LOOK AT THE JAW.
Speaking of hopes up. Michigan did not get punished by sportsbooks for the events of last weekend. They're now a 4.5 point favorite against MSU (up one), one point favorites against Iowa (up one) and Wisconsin (even), and 3 and 14 point dogs to PSU and OSU, respectively. IE: the most reliable predictive device available projects something slightly better than a 2-2 split against the meat of the Big Ten schedule. If Michigan takes care of business against BG, Indiana, Purdue, and Illinois they would be 9-3 if that comes true; even if they biff one of those four they'd be 8-4.
This makes me terribly nervous.
Troof. Orson's graphs are back and yeah:
Our other stuff looks like Run DMC, though, so we've got that going for us.
The other football. The Daily was there and so was I, and we both thought the same thing: whoah. 3,500 people packed out the officially 2,200 seat soccer stadium to see a 0-0 tie against Notre Dame, and the Daily is overrun with people who want to write the other football:
…at the latest mass meetings, the majority of students said they were interested in a different kind of football — the one with a “u” and an “o” and a significantly different ball. And each time, I did a double-take. This is the University of Michigan, after all, and all of you just want to cover soccer?
My friends and I tried to sit in the grandstand, which was full, and then migrated to the student side of the field, which was shockingly lively. The "Ultras," as they're calling themselves, badly need to work on their chants* but do an outstanding job of existing, especially since the soccer complex is way off campus.
There are games tomorrow and Saturday at 7 PM, with the latter against Ohio State.
*(A large number of them were classic tunes that saw a couple words replaced, with the weakest being "When The Saints Go Marching In" sung except they say "blue" instead of "saints." You've got two guys named "Saad" on the team! What do you think some working-class London hooligans would do with that? This is a layup.
Also, soccer and hockey have the same aims; many of Yost's cheers could be appropriated. Apparently some have, but I saw a 0-0 draw without any goal chants.)
Expansion: over? OSU AD Gene Smith says so:
"We're finished (with expansion)," Smith said. "The only thing that would cause us to look at it further is if someone contacted us. …The reason most of us say it's not done is because we think there are some schools that are going to try to talk to some conferences. But we're not actively out looking at expansion. After our October meetings, that's going to be the last we talk about it."
Fine by me. 14 or 16 team conferences are dumb.
Smith also says the schedule has not been finalized past '11 and '12 and that Michigan-OSU at the end of the year is not a given. Though he'll 'push for it," he doesn't know what "Barry Alvarez might bring in the room," to which I say if it's not bratwurst tell him to go back and get some.
Etc.: At least everyone's special teams suck. More on Kiffin's bizarre two-point hijinks. Full RR presser transcript. The Daily's story on the Shirtpocalypse is ironically paired with a big animated ad exhorting you to purchase their picture of Denard doing the Heisman on that Te'o. Must… not… smash… faceintodesk SPOCK.
For live updates of the games I'm attending, follow me on Twitter @varsityblue. If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, @reply me on Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
FL QB Kevin Sousa
Sousa had 151 yards passing but threw three interceptions. He was 9-of-24 and was hurried quite often by the University defense.
Sousa had 2 TDs through the air, and added an 8-yarder on the ground (on 9 carries for 67 yards, according to what he told Tom), but two of those picks were true Stanziballs:
...things appeared to get to Sousa after that as the senior Michigan commitment threw back-to-back interceptions that Johnnie Griffin and Jachary Baldwin each ran in for touchdowns.
This was University's first win on the year, so Lake Nona is still very bad. Sousa clearly doesn't have much help around him.
|Kevin Sousa 2010|
|Oak Ridge||L 0-48||6||13||46.15||34||2.62||0||1||7||31||4.43||0|
This week: Lake Nona hosts Sebring on Friday at 7:30.
MI WR Shawn Conway
Last Week: Seaholm fell to Detroit Country Day 21-28. Conway tweaked his ankle covering a punt early in the game, and Seaholm's starting QB was also out. These factors, along with the weather, limited his production, though he still did some stuff through the air. I was there, so enjoy the (mostly unedited) highlights:
And the scouting report: Don't be too alarmed by the defensive play where Kenny Knight (#8 on Country Day, considering Minnesota and others) ran right by him. It was the play immediately after the ankle injury - probably why DCD decided to test him - and Conway fell for a pump-fake. He won't be playing defense at the next level, so it isn't much of a concern.
Offensively, the backup QB for the Maples couldn't throw a bubble screen to save his life, and those are typically a pretty big part of the Seaholm offense (and Conway's involvement in it). He did get chewed out on the sidelines by head coach Chris Fahr (his stepdad) for giving up on routes during the game, so with a 100% effort, he might have had a bit more success.
In all, this definitely wasn't his best performance (it's a shame this had to be the one Rod Smith and Tony Dews saw in person), but there are enough reasons to explain it, so I don't think it's anything to worry about. I would also point out that Country Day has five or six Division-1 prospects over the next couple classes, whereas Seaholm has... one. Conway was a big part of the Maples even staying in this game.
FridayNightHighlights.tv has comprehensive highlights, as usual.
|Shawn Conway 2010|
|North Farmington||W 26-6||4||32||8.00||1||3||137||45.67|
|Country Day||L 21-28||3||62||20.67||0||3||32||10.67|
This week: The Maples host Auburn Hills Avondale on Friday at 7.
OH OL Jack Miller
Last week: St. John's pasted rival St. Francis 42-10. The Titans scored nearly every time they touched the ball, and rushed for nearly 200 yards.
This week: St. John's heads to Toledo Whitmer on Friday at 7. Jack will be tested by elite defensive ends Kenny Hayes (2011 OSU commit) and Chris Wormley (2012 Michigan prospect).
FL OL Tony Posada
"I told some people if it appears it's shady out there Thursday night, it's because of this lineman," said [Abilene coach Steve] Warren of the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Michigan commitment. "He's the biggest person I've ever seen. Why doesn't he just go on to the NFL instead of Michigan? He's huge."
The game didn't go so well for the Panthers, as they fell 17-27. It was on ESPNU, so I got a chance to watch. The story on Posada remains the same: he's massive, but will need to work on his conditioning before he's able to contribute at the next level.
This week: Plant takes on Riverview at home on Friday night.
MI OL Jake Fisher
Last week: Traverse City West lost to Cadillac 35-58.
This week: TC West hosts winless Gaylord on Friday at 7:00.
OH DE Chris Rock
This week: DeSales heads North to take on Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's on Friday at 7:30. I should be in attendance, though I make no guarantees.
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
Last week: Plymouth beat Livonia Churchill 41-27.
Michigan-bound Brennan [sic] Beyer led the Plymouth defense with 10 tackles, including three sacks.
This week: 3-1 Plymouth heads to Livonia Franklin on Friday at 7:00.
TX LB Kellen Jones
Last week: St. Pius X defeated Worthing 20-12. Jones didn't play, because he's resting his ankle injury from last week, and wants to be healthy for conference play.
|Kellen Jones 2010|
|Trinity Christian||W 33-7||11||5||1||0|
|Worthing||W 20-12||DNP - ankle|
OH CB/S Greg Brown
Last week: Ross defeated Cleveland Benedictine 47-7:
The Little Giants even came together early Friday night, racing to a 7-0 lead on Greg Brown's 85-yard touchdown reception on Ross's first offensive play. Wolf skied a pass to Benedictine's 45-yard line, Brown reeled it in and then raced to the end zone for the game's first points...
Fremont head coach Derek Kidwell said, "Greg Brown started the game off well for us."
The proprietor of the Fremont Ross Forum blog mentioned Brown's TD:
From the first quarter when Tyler Wolf hit Greg Brown on an 85 yard TD pass to the runback of a fumble by JJ Moreno in the fourth quarter, Ross was hitting on all cylinders last night.
This week: The Little Giants host University School on Saturday night.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell
Last week: Cass Tech dominated Detroit Southeastern 42-0. No mention of Hollowell.
Next Week: Cass Tech faces Detroit King on Friday.