I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
I don't pretend to know the intricacies of football but during the Nebraska game it seemed that Toussaint, in pass protection, would wait for his blocking assignment to come to him before engaging the player. Seeing as Toussaint is significantly smaller then the LB or lineman he's been assigned to block this usually resulted in Toussaint getting pushed backwards (physics and all). Is this how RBs are typically coached to play pass protection?
I mostly stay away from the how of any particular technique failing; more of a "what" guy since I didn't play the game, etc. But to me Toussaint's blocking issues stem from three problems:
- Michigan's line has to resort to slide protections that often expose him to a pass-rushing DE. This is a bad matchup for anyone.
- He's part of that need to resort to slide protections since his recognition isn't good; when he is tasked with identifying guys to pick up he often catches them. Vincent Smith and Mike Hart would find guys and then get some momentum before making contact.
- He hits guys too high sometimes, which makes it easy for them to shed him and attack. Smith and Hart got low, or in Smith's case existed in a perpetual state of low-ness.
3 is his problem, 2 is part his and part a holistic inability to pick up blitzes, and 1 is not his fault.
What's different about this year?
Regarding the offensive line, I saw some comments that intrigued me that intrigued me the other day and I’m curious your perspective.
Borges indicated that another variable in the mix this year is that it’s “the first year in the scheme we’ve wanted to move to.” Based on your work therefore, do you conclude that:
1) There is a significant difference this year in scheme, protections, and what the offense is asking of the o’line?
2) That experienced lines would be impacted by such a scheme change?
3) That inexperienced players would unimpacted (i.e. just as inexperienced)?
4) That therefore the years experience/games experience would also be negatively impacted from a production standpoint.
So that in conclusion – there’s actually hope bc the ones that are young are young and the ones that are supposed to have experience have less experience than one would otherwise understand to be true.
And – that next year or the year after really will be better!
Keep up the good work.
Unfortunately, I'm not seeing a whole lot of evidence for that rationale.
Borges's comments make no sense. This year started out with Michigan running a bunch of stretch plays, which was a departure from what they'd done the first two years… and a staple of the Rodriguez offense. If that's what he meant, he could have just, you know, kept running the stretch.
Instead Michigan was almost exclusively an inside zone and power team their first two years here, and the differences between running those things from under center versus the shotgun are minimal. There has been a more concerted effort to run plays from under center, but that shift was even more pronounced late last year after Gardner took the helm of the offense.
If anything's changed this year from last year in terms of blocking it's that Denard isn't around to bail it out. Borges trying to use him to cover his ass by claiming he somehow couldn't run the schemes he wanted to be cause the guy running behind them was also the one taking the snap is a weak excuse that throws Denard (of all people!) under the bus.
[After THE JUMP: WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT MAKES ME FEEL BETTER]
This isn't a stage of grief but it is a stage of life: at some point during the long process of disintegrating into a grotesque version of yourself, you stop asking rhetorically when the kids will visit, stop being horrified at the exponential indignities, stop trying to convince everybody you're still just as capable as ever, and just decide to be tickled to death at anything good. You're past caring what ol' so-and-so thinks, and save your opinion that Alabama is something to be ashamed of, not commit to, for the people at your bridge game.* When the doorbell rings you expect it to be Death; if it's the grandkids, we'll order subs and won't that just be grand!
MGoBlog, you've reached the Appreciation stage. Right now on the board you can see a thread for appreciation of Jabrill Peppers, and appreciation itself, and one for Al Borges, and I even made one for you, dear readers. Where are the rest? Where did they come from? I'll allow you this peek behind the curtain:
Poor Ace. We'll put that one with Treadwell's and Levenberry's. And Armani Reeves and Sam Grant and Josh Garnett and Bri'onte Dunn and Anthony Standifer (the second time) and all of Tim's 2011 opponent previews, and some weirdness Brian puts up every once in awhile. Okay ONE example:
<) )> ooohh
I don't know. But that's your user content this week: people admitting our program feels every year of 134. Next time we have Ohio State over let's wear our ratty sweatpants and make fun of their latest girlfriend. What is she 25? Really.
* [The Big Ten is analogously a bridge game.]
The Diary to Read if You Still Care is the one about how experience seems to matter a lot on the interior of the offensive line but not so much on the exterior. Get ready for Michigan and Purdue to be extreme examples of a gentle trend:
Having two 5th year senior tackles don't seem to matter at all. Having an average of 1 year in the program among the three interior guys is not good, but it's not death either: the second star to the left over Michigan is UCLA. Gandalf the Maize, you are the Diarist of the Week. Also I like your wizard hat.
You probably already saw the incredibly detailed one by Space Coyote where he disagrees with Brian over whether Kerridge should be able to make that one block. I have a unifying theory: the part of the brain that has the ability to release the enzymes with which to formulate excuses is often destroyed in the process of playing or coaching football. Ask a coach sometime about the Alabama game last year; he'll probably tell you that was on execution too.
The Other Diary to Read if You Still Care is by a former D3 fullback who went over three complaints we've had about the offensive coaching:
- Don't know their personnel/strengths
- Stubbornly sticking to an offense their players can't run.
- Tipping calls
The anecdotal approach both addresses where our expectations are too high (they can't run simple stuff AND not be predictable) but mostly confirms the general complaints about stubbornness and misusing the personnel.
Etc. I think Brian linked to the weeklies in previous posts, but if you missed it here's parallels between Michigan and the Soviet Space Program. Dragonchild wants to bring helpful signs for the other team that say "WE'RE RUNNING" or "WE'RE PASSING" that our fans can use to prove just how predictable they're being. Has nobody considered what would happen if Borges just starts calling whatever's on the signs?
IN JUG NEWS
I was right about where they'd put the new jug scores:
There are five lines up here, and room for six under each M—seven if they don't have header rows beneath. So that's maybe 26 years before we have to worry about how to fit more scores on the jug gain. How did we beat them 42-13 this year?
Your Moment of Zen:
Sedate me fast 'cause I don't want to think about this. /beats Alabama
Contrary to popular perception recruiting is not over. The Michigan coaches have offered 2014 prospects RB Vic Enwere and DE Jhonny Williams.
Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt: 6'1"/215 lbs.
Location: Fort Bend Austin High School – Missouri City, TX
Offers: Committed to California, Arkansas State, Colorado, Duke, Houston, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, LA Lafayette, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Texas, Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, Texas State, Tulsa, Utah, Virginia, Wake Forest
Enwere is a big back with a pretty large, but not powerhouse-studded, offer list. He does hold an offer from the Spartans and they seem to do pretty well at uncovering lowly-rated, highly productive running backs.
Enwere is currently committed to Cal but it’s a soft commitment at best. He spoke with the Michigan coaches on Thursday about how he’d fit in to the offensive scheme and also about setting up a possible visit in the near future. Enwere told me that receiving an offer from Michigan was a big deal and that he was honored. In talking to him it was pretty clear that the Michigan offer has thrown a wrench into his thought process. I asked him what the Michigan offer meant to his commitment to Cal and he said, “I’m really not sure. I am definitely considering Michigan now that they are a real option.” As a Texas kid, committed to Cal he cited Michigan’s storied history as the first thing that attracted him to the Maize and Blue. He also said that a flip from Cal to Michigan is possible, but he just has to really evaluate all of his options now that the Wolverines are in the picture.
Position: Defensive End
Ht/Wt: 6'6"/230 lbs.
Location: Berrien Springs High School – Berrien Springs, MI
Offers: Committed to Missouri, Ball State, Bowling Green, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Toledo
The Michigan coaches wasted no time extending an offer to Williams once Da’Shawn Hand committed to Alabama. Williams is an in-state product with some non-power conference offers plus Notre Dame and the program he’s currently committed to, Missouri. On film Williams is quite impressive but Berrien Springs doesn’t exactly play top competition. Regardless of who he plays against though, you can see his athleticism and his size is impressive as well.
Williams wasn’t shy about being excited to hear from Michigan for the first time just recently when we first spoke. After receiving his offer, Jhonny texted me last night with a very respectful message as he sorts through his options.
I’m not ready to comment on the recent events. I’ll let you know my thoughts when I gather them. I need time. Thank you.
He didn’t hide the fact that he’s juggling some thoughts now that Michigan has offered and I expect the Wolverines to get some consideration. Missouri has done very well this season and should continue to improve with some promising young talent on the roster, but Jhonny’s latest offer must carry some weight to stir up his mind that way. He’s been committed to Mizzou since late September so it will be interesting to see what he says in the coming weeks.
Previously: Northwestern Offense
WLB Chi Chi Ariguzo is asked to make a lot of plays in space, and make plays he does.
I'll be perfectly honest—I couldn't bring myself to get through this whole game for the second time, for a few reasons:
- BTN's refusal to show the defensive backfield during plays or provide anything but a pore-o-vision replay made this endeavor unnecessarily difficult/fruitless.
- Nebraska's offense and Michigan's offense function very differently in that one has a running game and the other just pretends to.
- Related to (2), just about every weakness I noticed in Northwestern's defense is something that Michigan has shown zero ability to exploit.
- Did I do a bunch of research and write a lot of words over the last 24 hours for a post that will never see the light of day? Yes.
Fun times ahead. Here goes nothin'.
Base Set? 4-3 over. When Nebraska spread the field, Northwestern usually lifted their strongside linebacker for backup safety Jimmy Hall, who'd play over the slot, often shaded a bit to the inside to help against the run.
Man or zone coverage? Mostly zone. Northwestern runs a lot of Cover 3 and some Cover 2; in this game, they utilzied a ton of soft zone coverage in order to help mask the fact that—after starting corner Nick VanHoose exited the game with an injury—they were playing two freshmen on the corners. Man coverage was mostly reserved for the red zone, which was also their strategy against Ohio State.
Yes, Nebraska took advantage of this.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
FORMATION NOTES: Michigan abandoned the two-high look for most of this game in favor of seven or seven and a half man fronts depending on whether Nebraska was in standard or three-wide personnel. Against 2TEs and a back:
Against three wide they would often go with a straight up 4-3 under on plausible run downs. This is a four-wide formation on which Michigan has 4-3 personnel on the field (that's Cam Gordon over the slot) and only gets out of their 4-3 under because Nebraska splits a TE.
This is a wide shot of a fairly typical one-high setup:
All of this was great for jamming up Nebraska's inside run game and very bad for option pitches.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Avery and Furman started at safety, with Wilson frequently subbing in. He was in the same role Bolden was, essentially a third starter. Thomas Gordon did not play. Countess went out in the first quarter, which put Dymonte Thomas on the field in the nickel and Stribling on the field on all downs. Lewis played only a little early and then was out.
Linebackers were the usual. Ryan/Gordon at SAM, Ross/Bolden/Morgan three guys for two spots at ILB. On the line, Jibreel Black(!) was your starting nose tackle with Washington rotating in. Henry and Glasgow were at the three tech, Clark went almost the whole way at WDE with Ojemudia in a clear backup role, and the same thing happened at SDE with Beyer and Wormley. On nickel packages, Taco Charlton came in as a DT. This was probably not a good move.
[After THE JUMP: 17 points should be good enough.]
Join us tomorrow night (November 15), from 6-9 pm at Moe's Cantina River North for an evening of beer, bitching about Borges, and basketball.
- Q&A Session with Brian Cook and Todd Howard and the staff of MGoBlog!
- Drinking with other MGoReaders!
- Bitching and moaning, mostly regarding the offensive coaching!
- We already mentioned the Q&A, didn't we!
- More drinking!
- Snark (probably)!
- Celebrity deathmatch of Henri the Otter of Ennui vs. Tacopants!
- Talking about the Michigan's hockey team (if you let us)!
- Absolutely no justification whatsoever for the exclamation marks in these bullet points!
Will be at
155 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60654, one block north of the Chicago River between LaSalle and N Wells. M: Merchandise Mart.
WSG: Todd Howard, who will arrive around 8 p.m. for the Q&A and hang out after.
HT DeSimone (Sorry but the next best photos of him were all getting torched by a giant Plaxico)
Who still has a couple of spots and tickets left if you're like hmmm I think I'll go to Chicago this weekend.