SPONSOR NOTES: Got a couple of requests to re-record the podcast commercial featuring Matt and his kids because it sounds like Matt has dragooned his offspring into this. Well, yeah, that's what offspring are for. Matt is a man who will dragoon for you. That's not something everyone can say, because not everyone knows what that word means. Matt does!
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
IDIOT DIRECTOR NOTES: This goober zoomed in so close to almost everything and provided zero high-angle replays, so I'm doing a lot more guessing about coverages than I usually do. As a result some plays of interest aren't clipped because the interesting bits I remember from the game aren't actually on the screen.
FORMATION NOTES: Okay, I separated front and cover look, and am still not satisfied with the results. "Press" was anything with hard corners on guys on the LOS:
Off was off. This was two high, and also the post TD.
One high version of same:
Still a work in progress.
Michigan and Colorado didn't do anything too weird except for some offset three man lines I'm just piling in as "exotic."
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Again a tight rotation, which makes yet more burned redshirts puzzling. Wormley and Glasgow led the way on the DL with 53 of 71 snaps; Godin, Winovich, and Garry all got around 40. Hurst got 27 and since he played well I'm guessing they're trying to keep his workload light as he continues to recover from whatever held him out of the opener.
Linebacker was as you'd expect, with Starters getting the whole game minus some personnel package items. Gedeon is the guy who stays in when Michigan has just one true LB on the field.
Secondary was also low rotation, with Thomas, Stribling, and Clark playing every snap. Hill got dinged up and missed 16; Kinnel saw 20 snaps, most meaningful; Watson had 18.
WTF burned redshirt of the week goes to Carlo Kemp and his four snaps.
[After THE JUMP: panic calibration.]
Penn State desperately needed changes at offensive coordinator and quarterback after the last few years of horrible offenses, and they've upgraded those spots with former Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead and redshirt sophomore Trace McSorely. Add in star running back Saquon Barkley and the bucket of points scored against Pitt and you'd think this offense has probably undergone a transformation, right?
After watching the Temple game, it certainly doesn't feel that way. PSU's blocking continues to undermine everything they try to do; even a huge play like the bomb to tight end Mike Gesicki embedded at the top of this post involves PSU allowing immediate pressure on a three-man rush.
This offense isn't the same as previous years; at least against Temple, it essentially functioned the same anyway.
Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
It was difficult to select key backups for this game because PSU simply does not rotate their receivers or tight ends. When Barkley isn't dinged up, they hardly substitute at all. Godwin/Hamilton/Thompkins/Gesicki played every meaningful snap in this one as best I could tell.
As always, the diagram is not gospel: we don't know for sure if Taco Charlton and Jourdan Lewis are going to play, though it seems very likely for the former and looking good so far for the latter. No, Ryan Glasgow still isn't getting first-round NFL draft hype, hence the continued lack of a shield even though he's M's best defensive lineman.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. Literally every snap came from the gun.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Mostly zone blocking.
Hurry it up or grind it out? PSU doesn't usually huddle but they also don't push the pace at the line, instead taking time to survey the defense and make checks. They're 105th in adjusted pace and don't look capable of tempoing Michigan like UCF and Colorado.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
Deron Irving-Bey: very large human [Nasternak/MGoBlog]
The crystal ball may not reflect it just yet, but it seems that Michigan’s interest in Flint Southwestern SDE Deron Irving-Bey has risen of late, and vice versa. David and I took the opportunity to travel to Davison to take in the best game left on Irving-Bey’s schedule; Davison’s long been a local power with good linemen, and they had a right tackle who could provide something of a challenge for Irving-Bey.
Though lining up across from Davison RT Zach Slezak did provide an intriguing, back-and-forth matchup, the game itself was, uh, not as intriguing. Southwestern fell to Davison 42-6, dropping them to 0-4 on the season. Davison was perfectly content to hand the ball to running back Tariq Reid, a 2018 recruit who has exploded this season with 16 TDs in four games and a 200+ yard per game average. He understandably spent most of the game running to the side opposite the defense’s only D-I recruit. Irving-Bey did what he could to get involved in stopping the run; whether this was at the expense of his pass rush is a question for a different game, but he did look good in pursuit. That was good for Irving-Bey as it relates to our scouting, but infrequent enough that it was ultimately inconsequential for Southwestern considering the numerous other paths Davison had to the end zone.
[After THE JUMP: Irving-Bey video and scouting]
This drove us nuts against UCF:
This drove us nuts against Colorado:
This shouldn’t be happening. To understand why we have to go back to the rules of football.
Ends and Backs
Football evolved from a rugby-like game, with forward passing added almost a generation later. The running sport and the passing sport never perfectly coalesced into one—even today there are offenses that treat their quarterback as a primary rusher or primarily a passer. You can also trace the problem of linemen blocking downfield on passing plays back to this awkward marriage of two games. So they had to make rules: You can block here but not there. The rule that matters to us is this guy is an eligible receiver and that guy isn’t.
[After THE JUMP: What’s a legal formation, why teams do this, and a jazzy snazzy video]
There's a veritable bounty of GIFs from the Colorado game. First, however, I'd be remiss if I didn't post the Harbaughs's star turn as milk spokesfamily:
And lo, there were GIFs.
— Joe Sports (@joefedewa) September 20, 2016
The full Harbaugh mirror routine is here.
With those early contenders for the 2017 Jim Harbaugh GIF Tournament out of the way, let's move on to the Colorado game after the...
[JUMP like Jabrill Peppers over a prone quarterback.]
[Kevin Jairaj – USA Today]
Week Three gave us a slate of appealing games, especially at the top: the #1, #2, and #3 teams in the rankings (Alabama, Florida State, and Ohi7o State) traveled to ranked foes (Ole Miss, Louisville, and Oklahoma, respectively). Unfortunately, only one of those games lived up to the billing, as Ole Miss ran out to a huge lead against Alabama – only to blow it in what was eventually a 48-43 shootout. The other two weren’t competitive: Ohio State manhandled Oklahoma, 45-24, in a long-hyped matchup; Louisville absolutely destroyed Florida State – Lamar Jackson tallied five touchdowns and coasted to a 63-20 win that might slightly understand the level of blowout that this was.
As we settle into conference play, there are already some pretty valuable data points that might shape the rest of the season – Week One was a much ballyhooed schedule of games, but Week Three shaped the narrative of the upcoming season perhaps just as well.
--- The narrative after the OHIO STATE – Oklahoma game seems to be that the Buckeyes – despite their youth and / or inexperience – were the la crème de la crème of high school croots (which is undeniably true) and Oklahoma’s were inferior (also true). That’s reductive though: sure the difference in sheer “talent” was apparent early on, was felt most acutely in the trenches, and held up throughout the game. Still, the explanations for the Buckeyes’ routine win over an erstwhile playoff team also boils down to two other things: JT Barrett was far better than OU QB Baker Mayfield (and threw four touchdowns to burgeoning star WR Noah Brown), and Urban Meyer gives OSU a huge advantage over Bob Stoops and Oklahoma. Because the Sooners now sit at 1-2 following losses that weren’t close, there’s a natural reaction to dismiss them – but credit should go to Houston and Ohio State for so easily winning two of the marquee national non-conference fixtures of the season. After three games, we can pretty much tell that the combination of Meyer, Barrett, and the level of raw talent on the roster will overcome most concerns and the Buckeyes will be a playoff frontrunner until at least the last two games against MSU and UM.
[more on the week that was after the JUMP]