"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Previously: BYU Offense
You don't want to see Bronson Kaufusi in your rear-view mirror.
While BYU's defense has been mediocre by most measures thus far in 2015, their ability to create havoc has helped them get enough turnover luck to make up for many of their shortcomings. Their best outing of the season came against Boise State; BYU held the Broncos to 5.2 yards per play, shut down their running game, and picked off three passes to do their part in the comeback victory.
Personnel: BYU is a pure 3-4 team. Seth denotes them as an 8-3 because this is the defense du jour for stopping spread teams—it's just a 3-4 but the eight guys standing up will move all over the place [click to embiggen]:
BYU tends to stick to their base personnel on standard downs but they have a couple special looks with different personnel—Takitaki is a nickel linebacker—for obvious passing situations.
Base Set? 3-4. As for those different nickel looks, BYU will go to a nebulous front with as few as one actual defensive lineman. On this play, DE Bronson Kaufusi is the only DL on the field; the three others near the line of scrimmage are all linebackers:
BYU shows this type of look quite a bit, at least against three- and four-wide. They can run a huge variety of blitz packages out of it and were successful generating regular pressure against Boise.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
Gary To Take Official This Weekend
Five-star NJ DT Rashan Gary's recruitment has trended towards the SEC lately but that doesn't mean Michigan is out of the picture by any stretch. The Wolverines will get their best chance to vault back to the forefront this weekend when Gary, accompanied by his mother, will take his first official visit for the BYU game, per Sam Webb:
The Wolverines appeared to have helped their cause significantly during Gary’s two prior unofficial visits, especially when it came to connecting with his mother. That is a crucial element in his recruitment considering what the talented youngster has cited as the significant factor in his decision-making process.
“Make sure my mom is comfortable with the decision and my family coming to see me play games,” Gary said. “If that’s alright I’m good.”
Gary's reaction to the visit should be telling. If it's similar to his first two visits to campus, M should be in decent position, though they'll have to sweat out four more officials. If he's not singing M's praises next week we can probably move on from being emotionally invested in this.
Also taking an official this weekend is four-star CO OLB/DE Carlo Kemp, who could be the guy to fill that open spot at BUCK. Three-star 2017 GA RB Kurt Taylor should also make it in after flight delays forced him to reschedule a planned unofficial for the Oregon State game. Brian would kill me dead if I didn't mention one more unofficial visitor, per TMI's Brice Marich ($):
Fort Wayne (Ind.) Snider 2017 wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer will be visiting Michigan this weekend. He said that he is excited for the trip this weekend and feels it going to be a good game with a great atmosphere.
MAC HIPPENHAMMER. Clearly a must-get.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Upon Further Review has not yet lost its sponsor.
Look you probably know about the rates and the pants and the whatnot. Homesure Lending is also a good option because on otherwise boring phone calls you can talk about how awesome Ryan Glasgow is.
FORMATION NOTES: By this point the defense is pretty well established. We got a few glimpses at what Michigan intends to do against pro-style formations; this is a 4-4 with the line shifted over (to the strength of the formation), Ross at SAM, and Hill threatening off the weakside:
Wilson, the free safety, is about 20 yards downfield.
I'm calling the thing where they drop the buck off the line like so…
…"30 nickel buck" to distinguish it from an actual 3-3-5.
This is what I mean by "triple stack" on UNLV's part; Michigan is in their standard nickel even:
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Line was close to the first two games with Henry/Glasgow/Wormley backed by Charlton/Hurst/Godin except that you could replace Henry in the starting lineup with Godin based on snaps played. Henry got cut a bunch on the backside of zones and didn't see much time in the middle of the game.
WDE/buck was the usual 70/30 split between Ojemudia and RJS.
Lawrence Marshall got in on the last drive, as did Brady Pallante.
Linebacker was the same; a little more James Ross at SAM in this game; Gedeon and Ross also got a couple drives as ILBs in the nickel.
Secondary saw the same rotation as per usual (Lewis/Peppers/Wilson/Hill with Stribling or Clark in the nickel) except that Wayne Lyons was the dime back. Brandon Watson got in on the last drive as well.
[After THE JUMP: defense crush]
If you’re like most people, watching movies-- especially movies in the same genre-- has a sort of comfort to it, an ease of accessibility that comes from well-tread narratives that we’re familiar with. That isn’t a mistake. There’s a good piece from The Atlantic that details the great lengths studios go to in order to produce thoroughly average and increasingly similar movies. They’re happy releasing something that won’t be remembered long after it’s released but is good enough to bring an audience in and make the money needed for the studio to see some return on its investment, and they’re finding that the key to bringing audiences in is giving them something they’ve basically already watched.
As Derek Thompson wrote in the aforementioned piece:
They are the product of Hollywood's exquisitely designed factory of average-ness, which has evolved as the industry has transitioned from a monopoly to a competitive industry that can no longer afford to consistently value art over commerce.
Hollywood keeps making the same movie over and over because we don’t really want things that are all that different. We get used to something and there’s a standard that’s set, and that becomes what we expect to see. If you’ve watched Michigan this season, you’re getting familiar with this feeling. The stats for the UNLV game are strikingly similar to those of the Oregon State game. If the UNLV game didn’t feel as interesting as the Oregon State game it’s because in most ways we’ve seen it before. Michigan deviates from Hollywood in the quality of its output, but right now they’ve both flipped the switch on the assembly line and are letting the same thing roll off over and over.
Michigan again faced an outmatched opponent in week three and did about what you’d expect to them. The second half didn’t have the same feeling of total dominance the Oregon State game had mostly on account of not wholly and completely dominating, but the stats are still kind to Michigan’s performance. Getting the whole wet blanket thing out of the way early, keep in mind that though Michigan’s defense looked great they’ve done their best work against offenses ranked 114th (Oregon State) and 121st (UNLV) in S&P+. But hey, Utah’s offense is ranked 66th and the defense did alright against them. That sounded more comforting in my head.
The advanced box score for Michigan v. UNLV is lopsided from the most basic stats on down. Michigan scored 21 more points than UNLV despite having one less drive (13 to 12), though Michigan did run one more play (64 to 63). Michigan outgained UNLV in yards per play (5.67 to 3.89) and had six scoring opportunities to their two, though Michigan’s points per opportunity was a meh 4.67. Then again, UNLV’s was just 3.50 and they only had two scoring opportunities, so that’s basically a recipe for disaster. As if things weren’t bad enough, Michigan’s average starting field position was the 37.1 while UNLV’s was the 22.8. Success rate was similarly ugly for UNLV, with Michigan holding things together at 53% compared to UNLV’s 32%. Michigan even had a positive turnover margin(!). (It was just +1, but this is Michigan and any movement toward the mean is appreciated.)
[After THE JUMP: Mathlete’s four factors and a whole lot of S&P+ stuff]
[ed-Seth: Sources close to Jim Harbaugh are now saying with 99.999999% certainty that whether he leaves Michigan to coach the Colts this offseason will not come down to who has the better barbecue. Again, we're not screwing around this.
So we're bringing out the big guns, and in the case of BBQ that is Joe Pichey from MMMGoBluBBQ. Stubb's has again offered to sponsor it. This is one of those things where we really liked their BBQ sauce, and they like this blog, and the blog likes Joe's recipes, and we all like to laugh at NFL people who think their stale, over-manufactured, flavorless product is more attractive than Michigan.]
[Also please know that Joe sent me the photo below with 1 hour left to go in yesterday's fasting holiday. Thanks Joe.]
I love this recipe. If I had to choose only one hunk of meat to grill each season, this would be it. Every Saturday...Every Tailgate...Every opportunity to fire up the grill would include this part of the cow. The Flanken Ribs or TABLITAS as they are known in Texas would be my "GO TO". Flanken Style ribs are nothing more than cross cut beef short ribs. They are the fastest and tastiest cut of beef you will ever serve to your Maize and Blue guests. Not only are they super tender, they have huge flavor and can be cooked during halftime. Trust me, head to your local butcher shop and pick up a few pounds of these Flanken style Short Ribs.
Flanken Style Ribs - aka "TABLITAS"
Stubbs BBQ Rub
[After the jump: no more excuses; you are going to make these]
About Last Week:
The Road Ahead:
#22 BYU (2-1)
Last week: Lost at #10 UCLA, 24-23
Recap: BYU had the ball down one point with under three minutes left. They had a 4th down with about a minute left. This was their time. They had UCLA right where they wanted them. And then for some inexplicable reason, Tanner Mangum tried to throw a 20-ish yard pass instead of unleashing his inner Mormon Rex Grossman. This inexcusable lack of recklessness led to the ball being picked off, and BYU lost their first game of the season.
BYU actually controlled most of the game; they had a ten point lead in the fourth quarter, and UCLA’s only second half in which they had a chance to take a lead was their last possession, which resulted in an 80 yard touchdown drive. BYU held freshman quarterback Josh Rosen in check for most of the game, by which I mean they stood there while Rosen exploded in a thousand directions. The kid finished with 106 yards on 11-for-23 passing (4.6 YPA) and three brutal picks. Given the way both Boise State and Nebraska moved the ball through the air, I’m tempted to think that UCLA’s failure was mostly of the Freshmen Gon’ Freshmen variety.
Mangum finished with 244 yards passing, but for only 5.2 yards per attempt, his worst average of the year by more than half. He has also showed very little of the mobility he hinted at against Nebraska; in the last two games, he’s rushed for -57 yards on 18 attempts, and is only averaging 1.1 yards per carry excluding sacks.
This team is as frightening as: Still, the thing with the Samoan guy punching you in the dangly bits. Fear Level = 7
Michigan should worry about: BYU held the ball more than twice as long as UCLA (40:37 to 19:23), and ran 44% more plays (88 to 61). These statistics are the mark of a true Capital-F Capital-T Football Team.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: UCLA racked up 296 rushing yards. Michigan likes to run the ball. They call that “synergy.”
When they play Michigan: PLEASE STAY WITH THE TALL MEN DOWN THE FIELD THANK YOU.
This week: @ Michigan, noon, ABC
Maryland (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Last week: Beat South Florida, 35-17
Recap: Caleb Rowe replaced Perry Hills as Maryland’s starting QB, and was… better? Maybe? I guess it depends on what you’re looking for in a quarterback. Hills has been pretty mediocre overall this year, and Rowe provided a bit of a spark by throwing for 297 yards at 8.7 YPA with four touchdown. And three interceptions. And three fumbles (all of which Maryland recovered). So I guess he provided a spark for both teams. Still, a win is a win, even if it is a win over a bad team.
This team is as frightening as: Small spiders. At first glance, you think "AAAHHH THAT LOOKS LIKE A THING" but then you look closer for two seconds and you're like, "nah."
Michigan should worry about: Punting Will Likely etc.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Maryland is still pretty bad.
When they play Michigan: No punt Will Likely very bad.
This week: @ West Virginia, 3:00 p.m., FS1
[AFTER THE JUMP: Additional opponents of note]