You guys didn’t punt until the fourth quarter Saturday. I’m guessing you’re pretty pleased with the way things went offensively.
“Yeah, went well. Good to get a win on the road like that. Guys played well. Always good to come back with a victory. I was pleased with the offensive performance. It’s a new week. Kind of forgotten about that. The problems that occur here with the next opponent we face, so just moving on.”
Mason seems like a very dependable guy. Talk about that side of him and what he gives you every game, every play.
“Mason, football’s very, very important to him, [and] that he’s right. He’s got great football awareness. Can really fix problems. He’s a competitor. He loves to compete. Great leader. Really gets it. Once you tell him, he’s got it. Really locks in his brain. He plays at a very, very high level and it’s just a real pleasure to have him. He’s a real great team leader, especially on the offensive line with what we’re trying to do.”
What went into the decision to have Bredeson in there and have Juwann [Bushell-Beatty] with the second team?
“We just felt like that was the best thing for us. Juwann’s doing a nice job. Ben’s done a nice job. We just felt that that was a good combination in there, best for us to be successful.”
How far has Ben Bredeson come from that first game to now?
“A long way. Just, he understands what we want to do, how we’re going to do it. Processes quickly on his feet. Just, he’s played a lot of reps in there. The maturity level, the confidence in his eyes. Anytime you go out in a game and suit up and go play another game and start, you grow more and the more practice reps you get the better off you’ll be, so he’s really made a great transition.”
[Hit THE JUMP for more]
How does game 7 look for you tonight?
“Oh, I don’t want to talk about—I don’t want to jinx ‘em. I just know last night in the seventh inning my wife tried to talk to me and I wouldn’t speak to her. I said, ‘Let me concentrate on this.’ Great move by the manager, by the way, to get the win you have to get.”
How about game 7 for you guys, Michigan State. They moved the ball on you guys a little bit. What happened there?
“I think they had some good runs. We didn’t tackle as well as we should’ve. I think our guys up front would say that at times we got a little high, and we haven’t been doing that. They saw it themselves. That’s the kind of group it is, and we addressed it and you keep moving forward.”
Was that more on the D-line?
“Yeah. I mean, I think I’m the kind of person, and our players, I think the D-linemen would say if a team runs the ball, it’s the D-line. We take great pride in that. We don’t want anybody to be able to run the football and when they do, we look at ourselves first. That’s the way it is.”
When you see Jabrill do all the things he did in that game and yet be able to move as quick as he did on that fumble, what are your thoughts?
“That’s Jabrill. I mean, he’s a special player. You see him practice like that. You’ll see him in practice—a lot of guys don’t see that. He’s in practice and he’ll do something like that, intercept the ball or something like that, and you’ll see him take off running and you’ll go whoa, where did that come from? That’s just the way he plays.”
[After THE JUMP: “So, some people when people gain a few yards every once in a while, they’d say, ‘Ah, no big deal.’ This group takes it to heart, and that’s what I think separates them.”]
SPONSOR NOTES: Matt reminds me that there is some chatter that the Federal Reserve could finally raise rates in the near future, which would be bad for your mortgage.
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: Michigan broke out the 'bone a couple times:
That is a bonafide flexbone. One of these snaps was a jet sweep, the other a trap that coulda shoulda worked in the fourth quarter but for McDowell blowing Cole up.
Pistol diamond with MSU in their very standard arrangement:
4-3 over, two safeties sitting at 8-10 yards, on damn near every play.
Late MSU did split their LBs and blitz them as they threw the kitchen sink at M in an attempt to get the ball back.
But it was mostly "here we are running quarters."
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Starting line with the Braden/Bredeson left side for the second straight game, Speight your QB. Peppers got six wildcat snaps and one as a WR; Morris got thee QB/FB snaps. JBB got five snaps as a TE-type substance.
Darboh led the way at WR with 54 snaps; Chesson had 40 and Harris, Crawford, and McDoom got the scattered remainder. Poggi and Hill again split FB snaps about down the middle. Smith got 60% of the RB snaps with Higdon and Evans splitting most of the rest; Isaac was only used on four snaps, three of them sweeps.
Butt got 57 snaps as the primary TE; Asiasi (31) and Wheatley (18) also got significant action. Bunting was briefly on the field as well.
[After THE JUMP: three quarters of up and down the field followed by (correct) turtle time.]
Is this the year for a DJ Wilson breakout? [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]
The offseason transfers of Kam Chatman and Aubrey Dawkins have left Michigan surprisingly thin on the wing. After starters Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Zak Irvin, and Duncan Robinson, there are only two scholarship players who slot into the 2-4 spots: DJ Wilson and Ibi Watson, who have only 182 career minutes played between them, all belonging to Wilson.
Both will play—even with Derrick Walton covering a lot of minutes at the two with Xavier Simpson running the point, John Beilein will need to deploy both Wilson and Watson to keep the starters fresh. What the two will contribute is anyone's guess. Wilson is a big, athletic redshirt sophomore who's still figuring out how to function in Beilein's system; Watson is a true freshman without much in the way of recruiting hype. Both are intriguing players with potential; both have something to prove before they can be relied upon.
[Hit THE JUMP for player breakdowns.]
My videos had trouble uploading. Here’s DGDestroy’s every snap for now.
Mark Dantonio came prepared for this game. He had thoroughly scouted this Michigan defense, learned how it adjusted to motions and angles, and put together a bewildering drive plan that kept everybody confused and got State the matchups they wanted. It must have taken hours of watching game film and practice to make it all work. He could have used it for the game-winning points against, oh, Northwestern, or Maryland, or Indiana.
But this is Mark Dantonio. This drive was always intended for Michigan. It used Michigan’s own ideas, exploited Michigan’s tendencies and personnel. It was a coaching masterpiece he made for us. Let’s appreciate it.
Play 1: Jet to Split Zone
This play sets up the rest of the drive. Jet motion from RJ Shelton pulls the WLB, McCray, out of the box, effectively removing a linebacker from where they’re planning to run.
The split zone means the play’s backside DE is blocked by the fullback, freeing up the RT to block Godin. The plan at the playcall is to hold a linebacker outside with the jet motion and zone run into the remaining four-man (two DTs, a DE and the MLB) front with all five offensive linemen.
But Godin and Glasgow have a stunt on here. That could kill Michigan since Gedeon gets a releasing center on him and Glasgow is putting himself out of the backside B gap with the stunt. Godin made a great play to shoot underneath the right guard and push that guy down the line to squeeze the gap out of existence. Like a Roman at Cannae, the back is trapped behind his own men until the Carthaginians have hacked their way through.
Also note that the jet motion to the boundary side played with Michigan’s OLB designations. McCray ends up the guy covering a slot type in space while Peppers is lined up a foot away from a big tight end.
Anyway, great play Godin. Second and long.
[After the JUMP: a counter off a counter off a counter]
Bryant McIntosh [Nuccio DiNuzzo – Chicago Tribune]
After thirteen seasons with Bill Carmody at the helm, Northwestern decided to move in a different direction, bringing in Chris Collins – a Duke assistant and son of former NBA coach Doug Collins – to lead the program on its quest for its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. That drought is the overwhelming narrative of Northwestern basketball; the goal for Collins – or really for any NU coach – is very simple, though quite difficult. As the administration’s patience with Carmody shows, he’ll probably be given plenty of time to get the Cats to the dance before they turn to someone else.
Through three seasons, it’s hard to tell if Collins will be able to get the program there or not. The challenges of coaching at Northwestern are obviously much different than they were at Duke, and even though he’s improved NU’s recruiting and upped the general talent level of the program, they’ve struggled to develop an identity as Collins has had to learn to be a head coach on the fly. Last season, they had an incredibly easy non-conference schedule and went 12-1 (losing only to North Carolina, the national runner-up), but had a losing record in Big Ten play and didn’t even get an NIT bid.
Still, even if the wins came mostly against poor competition, Year Three was a step in the right direction for Collins and the Wildcats: they jumped to 68th in Kenpom’s rankings after finishing outside the Top 100 in the first two seasons of his tenure. Northwestern does lose two key seniors – chucker combo guard Tre Demps and the Great and Powerful big man Alex Olah – but they return their best player, point guard Bryant McIntosh, get Vic Law back from injury, and have a promising class of rising sophomores. At Northwestern, building is slow, but the NIT is a realistic goal for this season.
[More on the Wildcats after the JUMP]