We are at 333 S. Main Street, the Bo Store. Come down and join us for a show that’s mostly about Bo. With special guests Big Ed Muransky and Craig Ross. We don’t have food or beer, but we may go out and acquire some afterwards.
If you have any questions put them in the comments.
A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out the new Bo Store on Main.
Our other sponsors are also key in the expanding empire: thanks to Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Liz Crowe, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Tailgater Concierge.
|WHAT||Illinois at Michigan|
Ann Arbor, MI
October 22nd, 2016
|THE LINE||Michigan –38.5|
|WEATHER||sunny, around 50
0% chance of rain
Illinois has a relatively legit coach in Lovie Smith, formerly of the Bears, but is still digging out from the demise of the Beck Man era and the brief Bill Cubit tenure that followed. The results have not been pretty. Rutgers, who you may remember cowering in fear for three hours two weeks ago, just outgained Illinois in a 24-7 UI win.
Add "approximately as good as Rutgers" to "probably playing a third string quarterback" and you get the above spread, which is truly massive. Juice Williams and Greg Robinson aren't walking through that door.
Run Offense vs Illinois
CHUNKY CAN GET UPPPPP
Illinois enters with some quality pass rushers... and one of the worst rushing defenses in the country. They're #122 in S&P+ after five straight weeks in which they gave up 200 rushing yards. (UNC was technically at 197, but remove sacks and they're at 204.) The two most recent of those weeks were games against Purdue and Rutgers.
Purdue. And Rutgers.
This has been a holistic collapse. Illinois is tied for 110th in 30+ yard rushes ceded with 7; per S&P they're in the bottom third of the country in adjusted line yards and dismal in run success rate. On the other hand, they have a ton of TFLs. DE Carroll Phillips has 11, but when he's not beating a guy he's losing in a blowout. It's quite a trick to be on pace for nearly 20 TFLs and end up slightly negative to PFF; Phillips has pulled this off. Ace on the Illinois DL:
Smoot is a problem. DTs Rob Bain and Jamal Milan both stood out to me as strong run defenders—I clipped a nice run stuff from Milan and was tempted to add another to the video pile before realizing he isn't in the starting lineup. SDE Gimel President, an Auburn grad transfer, has the size and strength to allow Smoot to move to the weak side. WDE Carroll Phillips is more in the Winovich mold; he provides decent pass-rush, too, though he's more susceptible to getting pushed off the line—his presence forces Smoot to play SDE. Freshman DT Kenyon Jackson looks like a freshman for the most part, but did have a couple nice plays in this game.
Illinois will blitz, stunt, and twist all day to cover up for mediocre nose tackle Chunky Clements, who is a name All-American and iffy run defender. Sometimes they'll slice past Michigan opposition for a TFL. When that doesn't happen Michigan will rip off chunks of yards. Illinois's defensive strategy appears to be "do anything to get the opposition in a passing down," and they will win on that from time to time.
If Illinois is hitting early this could be more of a frustrating slog than you would anticipate given their numbers to date; it is deeply unlikely they can go a full game without cracking and giving Michigan some huge chunk runs. This goes double if Michigan continues to work Jabrill Peppers and his Pepcat package into the gameplan.
KEY MATCHUP: MICHIGAN RUNNING BACKS versus UNEXPECTED CUTBACK LANES AS ILLINOIS GETS AGGRESSIVE. They're going to be there; the Illinois DL is very much a roar-into-a-gap kind of outfit. Isaac's been doing a great job finding the little creases; he could be in for a big game.
[Hit THE JUMP for OH MAN THIS LINE against MICHIGAN'S DL is a THING I SAY EVERY WEEK NOW]
SPONSOR NOTES: Rutgers's total yardage is like Matt's rates: absurdly low! Their general organization is like Matt's competition: disorganized beyond belief! Your pants after watching the Peppers punt return are like your pants when applying for a mortgage with Matt: optional but discouraged!
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.
FORMATION NOTES: Rutgers was all gun and mostly three-wide. Michigan responded with two different approaches. One was their conventional 4-2-5. Here Thomas and Peppers are over the slot receivers with out of the picture as the free safety.
The other was a 3-3-5 package; since I consider Peppers a safety those were listed as 3-2-6. Similar packages with Furbush were labeled as a 3-3-5.
Michigan had this setup, which is close to a stack. They had others where a safety crept down to an OLB spot that were kind of a 3-4; I called those "faux 3-4." They had some 5-1 lineups with two LBs on the end of the LOS and the DL folded inside. This package comes in for much more discussion after the jump.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Obviously there was a massive pile of it. The starting line only got about 20 snaps each, with Hurst getting 26 to lead all DL. Gary, Charlton, Wormley, Winovich, and Glasgow all got around 20. Godin got just 12. Jones, Onwenu, and Kemp also got late snaps. Lawrence Marshall did not play and did not travel.
Starting LBs went the whole way until the starting D got lifted; backups were as expected with Furbush at SAM and Bush and Wroblewski at ILB. Wangler got in very late, as did Mbem-Bosse.
Secondary as per usual. Metellus, Hudson, and Kinnel split snaps at S with Kinnel getting more time since he plays on passing downs with the regular D. David Long got far fewer snaps than Lavert Hill... still affected by that injury?
[After the JUMP: oh man]
Tufele, Gay Headline Weekend Visitors
One of Michigan's most anticipated official visits occurs this weekend with the arrival of four-star UT DT Jay Tufele. Michigan, Ohio State, and Utah have long been considered the main contenders for Tufele; Washington and USC have also been mentioned among his top schools of late. Tufele talked up all five programs to 247's Steve Wiltfong and previewed his visit:
“I watched their game two weeks ago, it was amazing,” Tufele said of the 78-0 dusting of Rutgers in Piscataway. “I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Coach (Greg) Mattison came down to our game last week. He’s pumped. I’m so excited to be down there and see life in Ann Arbor and everything, and get to know all the players and get to know the coaches as well and see what happens from there.”
While Tufele has high praise for all of his top schools, Michigan insiders—namely Sam Webb and Steve Lorenz—have been optimistic about M's chances. Tufele has repeatedly mentioned Tony Tuioti and the Polynesian players on the team when discussing what the Wolverines bring to the table; their presence could help M vault into the lead on this visit.
A player we haven't discussed much here, four-star MS OLB Willie Gay, will also take an official visit this weekend. Gay is an Ole Miss commit, but he told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown this week that a different school is on top of his list:
Having been committed to the Rebels since June 16, Gay seems like a solid pledge but things aren't always as they seem. The 6-1, 203-pounder actually claims another school as his favorite.
"Michigan is my No. 1 school right now," Gay said despite being committed to Ole Miss. "It's crazy right now."
That is quite a crootin twist. 247's Steve Lorenz mentioned the reason that could really be the case: Gay "is currently a non-qualifier" by Michigan's standards, and Lorenz expects off-field hurdles will be too high for Michigan to overtake Ole Miss even if Gay qualifies.
Four-star PA DT Donovan Jeter decommitted from Notre Dame last week. Not long after, he set up a Michigan visit for this weekend. Jeter's post-decommitment quotes indicate he's looking for more than the Irish can offer right now:
“I don’t want to play for a mediocre school,” he said. “I don’t want to play for a team that goes like 7-6. I want to go to a school that plays in the big bowl games or plays in the College Football Playoff. I don’t want to go to an average school because I don’t think I’m an average player. I want to make big time plays on a big time stage.”
That whole article is worth a read; Jeter also mentions that a phone call with Greg Mattison was part of the impetus for him looking around. He felt he was hasty in his initial decision, so I wouldn't expect a committment soon—he plans to choose in December before enrolling early—but Michigan is right in the thick of things, and as long as they keep winning they should stay there.
Lorenz added another name to the weekend visit list in his insider post a couple days ago: three-star TX CB Matt Hankins, an Iowa commit. Michigan offered last month, and Lorenz says Hankins is indeed a take for the staff, though he may not be easy to pull from the Hawkeyes—"as of now" his family wants him to stick with his commitment.
Three-star FL DE Robert Porcher IV is also expected on campus, per TMI. Porcher, the son of the former Detroit Lions DE, is currently committed to Nebraska.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
TONIGHT, 5-7 PM
[Evan Aaron / The Michigan Daily]
A special Schembechlerian edition of MGoRadio from the new Bo Store, 333 S. Main Street, downtown Ann Arbor. It is against code or something to advertise refreshments in a retail store, but I can tell you that Big Ed Muransky and Not As Big As Ed Muranksy 3,000 Year Old Druid Craig Ross will be there with us. Stop in and try on the latest jacket that I really really want. If enough of us are around after maybe we’ll do Pretzel Bell or something.
TOMORRROW NOON TO 2:30:
For the 40-something-ieth time the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan will be hosting a massive Homecoming Tailgate. This year’s is again at Ooserbaan Fieldhouse, but they’re changing things up—rather than have Brian getting red-faced on the main stage, we’ll have Brian red-faced yelling at Iowa-Wisconsin, plus four other activity centers, each with an array of food, activities, and touchable banners and such. This year's event will of course include tons of spirited entertainment, appearances by numerous University officials, games, and a host of fun for Wolverines of all ages. Then the Michigan Marching Band will once again lead us to the Big House prior to kickoff.
Bring cash for the cash bar, with wine and North Peak beer.
Doing it a bit differently, thanks to reader Boliver46, who started this thread on the board. Winner gets donations to their favorite charity. LIST YOUR SCORE AND YOUR CHARITY. From Boliver46:
I did this last year vs. Utaugh, so thought I'd bring it back out since I won a shirt for a PERFECT 45-28 Colorado guess this year.
Again, I thought it'd be fun to make predictions regarding tomorrow's final score - and to benefit a good cause along the way!
Closest Guess to the Final Score Tomorrow vs. Illinois, and I will make a $20 Donation to your favorite charity! (No Human Funds, please).
I will use the first rule from the MGoBlog guess the score rules:
1. Readers predict the final score of a designated game by placing a guess in the comments, preferably in the format of [M score][hyphen][Opp score], for example "41-30" or "35-31 Michigan", or "28-24 Go Blue", or "38-0 Harbaugh!" etc.
and add another of my own:
2. Place the name of the charity of your choice in the body