The rest at CBS Sports.
Tim's final ballot after the jump.
The men's hoops teams heads to Orlando this week to participate in the Old Spice Classic. The bracket looks as such:
Here's a brief look at the teams in the tournament field.
So Far: Creighton fell to Dayton in their opening game this season, and came back with a big win over Florida A&M. On Sunday, they beat Arkansas-Little Rock by 15.
Profile: Creighton is slightly above average on both offense and defense. They're certainly not a team that likes to bang in the post, as they've hardly gotten to the line, and haven't sent their opponents to the line much either.
Matchup: Creighton is the only team that Michigan is guaranteed to play, and they seem to just average. As uncomfortable as it is to say that Michigan basketball should be able to take care of opponents that are simply average, that's the new reality I guess. They shouldn't be an easy out, but Michigan should emerge victorious. UMHoops talked with a Creighton blogger about the Bluejays.
So Far: The Eagles have feasted on an easy schedule so far, knocking off Centenary, Maryland-Eastern Shore, and Grambling by at least 20 points a pop. All three games have been at home so far.
Profile: It's hard to determine a team profile based solely on the tempo-free statistics from games against opponents that are so overmatched. Marquette has been very good rebounding the ball on both ends of the floor so far, and is shooting the ball very well. They don't foul a whole lot, nor do they draw a lot of fouls from the opposition.
Matchup: One area that might hold Michigan back should they face Marquette is turnovers. Marquette gets a lot of steals, and the Wolverines start a freshman point guard. Still, it remains to be seen what this Big East squad can do when they aren't operating at a significant talent advantage.
So Far: The Musketeers are 3-0 so far this year, with the wins coming against Younsgtown State, Bowling Green, and Sacred Heart. They have yet to play anywhere other than their home arena.
Profile: Xavier currently leads the nation in effective field goal percentage, though it's unclear how much of that is a product of the competition they've played. They're great shooting from behind the arc, and have done a decent job of getting to the free throw line so far this season.
Matchup: For all that they're good at, Xavier is seriously deficient in one area, and that's forcing the opponent into turnovers. That plays somewhat into Michigan's strengths. However, they also haven't been letting opponents rebound their own misses, which Michigan, as a Perimeter-Oriented Team, should be susceptible to.
So Far: The Tide lost at home to Cornell, and rebounded to beat Jackson State. Most recently, they beat Providence 84-75 on Friday.
Profile: Alabama is below average in offensive efficiency (despite being above average in the four factors.; figure that one out), and above average in defensive efficiency.
Matchup: It's too bad Michigan is unlikely to face Alabama, because they'd be a good matchup. They've allowed opponents to make a bunch of threes, and although they've blocked a bunch of shots, that was against far inferior opposition, and a perimeter-oriented team that still has some height in the middle should be able to shred them.
So Far: The Bears are 4-0, having knocked off Norfolk State, Hartford, and Southern. They also pounded D-3 side Hardin-Simmons, which isn't a very relevant data point.
Profile: Baylor is a very efficient team offensively, coming in 29th per Ken Pomeroy. They're a below-average defensive team, however. They get a ton of offensive rebounds, and block a bunch of shots, both of which are at least partially attributable to erstwhile Michigan Wolverine Ekpe Udoh. They've also held opponents to bad shooting numbers, but not so much with the three-pointers.
Matchup: I'm sure a lot of Michigan's players would like the opportunity to play against their former teammate Ekpe Udoh. The Bears look like a pretty good team on paper, though the numbers have all come at home against questionable competition. The one area that Baylor struggles with is three-point defense, which plays to Michigan's strength.
Note: written before Florida beat the hell out of Florida State last night. That certainly rounds things down for the Seminoles.
So Far: Florida State has beaten the hell out of far inferior opposition, with a comfortable victory over Jacksonville and an 80-38 pounding of Stetson. They also dismantled Mercer on Saturday.
Profile: With only three games against bad teams as evidence, it's hard to judge Florida State's style. They seem to be above average in just about everthing, especially two-point shooting on offense and defense. They're also #1 in the nation in blocking opponents field goals.
Matchup: The oddsmakers say Michigan will meet up with the Seminoles in the finals of the tournament, and they look like a formidable opponent from the evidence we have so far. Still, the areas in which they're least excellent are strengths for Michigan. They turn over the ball a bit, and don't guard the three-point line that well. They also haven't stolen the ball a lot, despite the vastly inferior opposition. That could help Michigan, who will play young point guards.
So Far: Iona has notched wins against Boston University, Hampton, and most recently Norfolk State on Saturday. The game against Hampton was their only away contest so far.
Profile: Iona is a physical team. They are near the top of the nation in drawing opponent fouls, but near the bottom in not returning the favor on the other end of the floor. For all the fouls they draw, you'd think they wouldn't be so bad at making the freebies, but they're shooting just 61% from the stripe.
Matchup: Though it's unlikely that Michigan sees the Gaels during this tournament, they would probably be a good matchup for the Wolverines. They don't stand out in any significant way other than their ability to get fouled, and MIchigan would be one of the taller, quicker teams they'd face, which would neutralize much of that.
Michigan has gained a commitment from PA CB/S Cullen Christian, from Pittsburgh's Penn Hills High School. Yay and whatnot. How about we move on to the informative portion?
|4*, #3 CB||4*, #6 DB||4*, 79, #18 CB|
Christian can play either safety or corner, but he's ranked by all three sites as a corner. Scout.com's Bob Lichtenfels offers a scouting report:
Christian is a nice sized cover corner who gets better with every rep and only lacks experience at the position. He has the ability to a true lockdown corner. Right now he relies a lot on instinct, but is getting better at being aware of everything that is going on around him and jumping routes. He is tough to beat in press coverage and he will hit you. Plays very physical football and is not afraid of contact.
From the start, Christian is noted for his physical ability. As a corner, that means he's good in press coverage or in Cover-2. It can also mean he's suited to switch to safety. Rivals's report echoes the sentiment, but points out that he isn't a speedster:
Needs Improvement: Needs to improve his speed, which will help him to recover when beaten on a route. Christian will also need to add some muscle mass and strength, which will help him make solo tackles in the open field.
Most Impressive: He has hips on a swivel, excellent ball skills and the ability to steer receivers off their intended route by using his long arms as weapons. His long arms also allow him to reach around receivers and bat down balls that smaller corners couldn't even reach. Christian is very confident and does not let getting beat affect him on the next play.
ESPN has more of the same, though they're the outlier with a low ranking:
The only asset Christian is missing is great speed. He has coveted size, quickness, fluidity and savvy as a D-I corner prospect. Utilizes his long arms and frame well jamming and pressing receivers off the line. Consistently forces receivers to the outside in zone, Cover 2 schemes and takes away....
I'm not linking it because they've hidden most of their coverage behind a paywall for the express purpose of annoying me. Take that, corporate drones!
For a guy who gets a lot of talk about moving to safety from corner because of less-than elite speed, hearing that he has loose hips is encouraging. Still, after entering a college weight-training program, it's unclear how much mass he'll add to potentially become a safety. His coach gives standard coachfluff on Christian's abilities:
"He's an excellent cornerback," Graham said Thursday. "And he's a leader on and off the field. He brings leadership to a team, and he has big-play ability. He has excellent hands and is very quick. He runs excellent patterns. He's just a well-rounded athlete.''
Yay, meaningless quotes. For his part, Christian prefers CB:
• WHY ARE YOU PLAYING SAFETY THIS YEAR? Just the fact that at cornerback, the other team can take you out of the game and not throw your way. Teams didn't throw the ball to my side much last year. At safety, I can make plays.
• DO YOU LIKE SAFETY? It's OK. I don't like it better than corner. I love corner. You can show your athletic ability more at corner.
Christian had offers from a number of programs across the midwest and nationally, including Pitt, BC, Cincinnati, Colorado, and Illinois. His finalists were Michigan, West Virginia, and UCLA, and all had offered. "DB offer from Ohio State" is just as ringing an endorsement as "QB offer from USC" or "LB offer from Penn State," so knowing that he also held a Buckeye offer should be a hugely encouraging sign for Michigan fans.
High school DBs rarely have easily found stats. Christian is rarely mentioned in articles following Penn Hills games, so I assume that's a good thing (though it likely means he's not contributing a ton on offense either). If you find something, leave it in the comments.
FAKE 40 TIME
Christian's Scout profile gives him a 4.55-second mark, which is about where you'd expect for a DB. However, since every scouting report on the kids says he's not that fast for a corner, that sounds like a 1 FAKE out of 3 score. His Rivals profile says 4.68, and is combine verified. It is quite obviously not FAKE.
Christian has a long junior highlight on Youtube, uploaded by a user who calls himself "cullenchristian." Coincidence, I'm sure.
Part 2 can be found on the tubes.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Despite a widely-reported lack of great speed, the recruiting sites are still very high on Christian. This means he's probably very good at most other things. His rankings are pretty even across the different recruiting sites, which mean's he's pretty-well scouted, and probably accurately rated.
The big question is whether he ends up playing corner or safety once he gets to Michigan. He's known as a big, physical presence who doesn't have elite speed. That sounds like a future safety to me. His position, at least for year one in Ann Arbor, will depend on where JT Turner plays (and whether Donovan Warren stays for his senior season). Christian is likely to end up at the other spot, and take a redshirt year or play exclusively on special teams as a freshman.
In his second year on campus, Christian will probably play a big role in nickel packages, in addition to special teams duty. After a couple years getting acclimated to college ball, he can be a starter down the road.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan needs about a thousand DBs, so taking a highly-rated one probably won't change the way they're recruiting. It might give them the ability to be a little more selective with the guys that they do take. Tony Grimes and Rashad Knight are still realistic options, and definitely wouldn't be turned away. Any top prospect, such as Tony Jefferson, is not affected by the commitment of Christian.
Etc.: Penn Hills is also the home of D-1 prospects DT Aaron Donald (Pitt commit) and S/WR Brandon Ifill. Neither is considering Michigan at this time.
Site note: remember how I said the blog would be off Thursday and Friday? Psyche. Tim will be around posting up basketball content. I'm taking a couple days off, but the Old Spice Classic will get its due around here.
Hey, thanks for the timely assist. The AP follows up the UV from yesterday that mocked Terry Foster's baseless blog post about Rodriguez's lack job security—the theory being that big money donors would wake up two weeks from now, find out Michigan is 5-7, and revolt—with a few timely quotes from uber-donor Stephen Ross:
"If he has a bad year next year, he'll have a lot more pressure," Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told The Associated Press, standing near midfield before the Wolverines lost to Ohio State on Saturday to finish 5-7. "I don't think he has anything to worry about right now in my mind." …
"People take shots at him for whatever reason," Ross said. "Some people like to beat people when they're down. I think he's a great man and he's been a winner wherever he's been.
"It's just that a lot of people don't like change. I think it will all work out."
Dollars to donuts some hack picks up on "doesn't have anything to worry about right now" and spins it into a grim tale of a pre-2010 firing. Hell, this very article manages to quote Mary Sue Coleman's explicit statement of support for not just this year but next…
"I don't think it's fair to coaches to bring them in and say, `We're going to give you three years,'" Coleman told The Journal early this month. "When Tommy Amaker came in, we stuck with him for six years. It just wasn't going to work; it wasn't the right fit. But it wasn't a rushed decision."
…and deploy this sentence:
One person can end the speculation about Rodriguez's future and she has declined to do it.
IT'S IN YOUR ARTICLE. AAAARGH. LOOK AT THIS HEADLINE
An annual tradition, now with glass houses.
Michigan State's now-annual Posse Roundup & Engineer/Woman Beatdown was moved up this year:
Witnesses and students involved in the incident said a group of 15 to 20 men, who some described as MSU football players, stormed into the dormitory and hit and injured about seven students, some of them women.
Brent Mitchell, a communication junior who said he was sent to Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital after being punched in the face, said some of the men wore ski masks, but others were recognized as football team members.
“I walked up and said, ‘It isn’t worth it.’ A guy with dreadlocks hit me and in the scuffle slapped, hit females to get them out of the way,” Mitchell said.
It'll be interesting to see the reaction of the Detroit media to this since it seems explicitly caused by Dantonio's limp-wristed response to last year's PREWB. There is a straight line drawn from last year's incident to Dantonio's refusal to levy any serious sanctions, including on the guy who spent the summer in jail and became the starting running back, to mechanical engineering students being terrorized:
Mechanical engineering sophomore Andrew Green said he saw one of the men hit another student on his way out. “He was coming downstairs and looked at him and punched him in the jaw,” Green said.
“There was some medic treating this kid sitting in lounge area,” [journalism freshman Mitch Lex] said. “It looked like he had a baseball in his cheek.”
Even better: none of these kids had done anything to the football team. Like the Saint Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, the target was not in the area of the violence. Posse fail.
Say what you want about Justin Feagin, but Feagin was not on the Michigan roster for a millisecond after Rodriguez found out about his cocaine blues, and if the sexual assault case against anonymous 18-year-old proves founded he won't be on the team either. If Dantonio doesn't come down on another incident where a quarter of his team roams around beating up innocent students, we'll get to see the power of public relations in full bloom. What will it take for reality to overcome preconceived notions of Rodriguez as an outlaw and Dantonio a saint?
And now for the best reason to mention this, via the comments of the above article:
If you ever find yourself being attacked by an MSU football player, just yell “Wheel Route” and you’ll quickly find yourself being left all alone.
The RCMB has been here.
Grist. Notre Dame is about to undertake a coaching search and some guy who wrote some book also wrote a letter to some newspaper about what sort of coach Notre Dame should hire next. It might be of interest given Michigan's current situation:
When Notre Dame hires an experienced, successful, major college football head coach, the success rate in turning the Irish into national champions is 100 percent. When Notre Dame hires anybody else, the success rate is 14 percent.
You read that correctly. Since 1940, every single time Notre Dame has hired a college football head coach who has taken multiple teams to major bowls and achieved Top 10 national rankings, he has coached the Irish to at least one national championship and has posted regular Top 10 finishes in the national rankings. Every single time.
This neatly excludes Willingham and is kind of a weird, hacky metric. Lou Holtz hadn't taken multiple teams to major bowls unless my perception of mid-70s bowl games is way off and the Peach, Liberty, and/or Bluebonnet bowls were big deals. So the "multiple teams" metric is kind of weird. Please note that Brian Kelly does not meet this standard and should be avoided at all costs, kthx.
Relevant for Michigan is that coaches who have established major successful programs have been successful at Notre Dame, and this is likely to hold true at Michigan given enough time.
Etc.: Jimmah! No! I agree with the WLA: if you make a list of "things Notre Dame has going for it" Clausen is in the top three with Floyd and Tate; you should probably start your guys to punch list at #4. The Big Ten basketball resume picks up a couple of nice wins with Purdue beating Tennessee and Wisconsin taking out Illinois; does Iowa get half a win for being tied with Texas at halftime? Yes? No. UMHoops gets Creighton's pulse. Henri, anglicized, is in a movie.
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
MI QB Devin Gardner
Last week: Inkster beats Warren De La Salle 12-3 in the State Semifinals.
"We started 0-2," Gardner said. "It feels great to go back. It's a state championship game."
Last season Inkster lost to East Grand Rapids in the Division 3 title game, 43-24.
Gardner, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior who committed to Michigan, had a subpar game, particularly in the first half. He finished with two interceptions, both in the first half, and completed 7 of 16 for 75 yards.
Gardner's 12-yard touchdown run with 1:07 left sealed the victory.
This week: Inkster (9-3) takes on Lowell in the State Championship Game at Ford Field Friday at 1. The game will be televised live on FSN Detroit.
|Devin Gardner 2009|
|East Kentwood||L 33-52||19||30||389||3||1||63.33||12.97||10||102||2||10.20|
|St. Edward||W 14-7||1|
|Highland Park||W 27-22||9||16||127||2||2||56.25||7.94||11||74||2||6.73|
|Bay City Central||W 27-20||7||13||132||1||0||53.85||10.15||15||95||1||6.33|
|Muskegon CC||W 34-19||4||9||110||0||0||44.44||12.22||99||1|
|St. Ignatius||L 20-49||1||0||1|
|Edsel Ford||W 51-19||4||7||51||2||0||57.14||7.29||6||98||2||16.33|
|De La Salle||W 12-3||7||16||75||0||2||43.75||4.69||5||34||1||6.80|
SC QB Conelius Jones
Jones, a Michigan commitment, completed 9 of 14 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries for two more scores.
Quarterback Cornelius Jones went in from seven yards out two plays later for the touchdown with 8:05 left in the first quarter.
The Vikings didn't capitalize on that, but they did capitalize on the eight plays they ran in the second quarter, scoring on two of them on long touchdown passes.
The first was a 61-yarder from Jones to wide open running back Jamiah Fowler on a wheel route — a la Clemson's C.J. Spiller — down the left sideline to make it 14-0 with 8:18 left in the first half.
On Spartanburg's next possession, Jones avoided a couple of would-be sacks and went down the middle of the field to wide receiver Arland Woodruff. He got in behind the Sumter defense and caught the ball in stride for a 75-yard TD pass to make it 21-0 with 5:03 left.
The joy of being back in the game didn't last long. On the third play of the drive, Jones found an opening and went 64 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-14 with 8:15 left.
This week: Spartanburg (5-8) will look to keep the upset train rolling against national #2 Byrnes in the 3rd Round of the State Playoffs.
|Conelius Jones 2009|
|Boiling Springs||L 35-39||1||0||77||1|
|Rock Hill||W 41-28||0||0||0||0||0||-||-||18||110||2||6.11|
TX RB Tony Drake
This week: Skyline (12-0) plays Cypress Woods in Round 3 of the State Playoffs.
|Tony Drake 2009|
|Plano East||W 45-19||15||167||1||11.13||0||0||0||-|
|Lake Highlands||W 42-27||19||226||2||11.89||1||6||0||6.00|
|W.T. White||W 62-3||4||50||1||12.50||0||0||0||-|
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
Last week: Marcus falls to Cedar Hill 17-41.
Marcus’ Stephen Hopkins, the school’s all-time leading rusher, was held 50 yards on 20 carries and didn’t gain more than five yards on any carry.
This week: Marcus (7-4) has been eliminated from the playoffs, and Hopkins's senior season is over.
|Stephen Hopkins 2009|
|Plano West||W 35-25||28||128||3||4.57|
|Tyler Lee||W 17-7||22||118||1||5.36|
|Southlake Carroll||L 30-41||28||150||1||5.36|
|Flower Mound||W 63-39||21||217||2||10.33|
LA Slot WR Drew Dileo
Last week: Parkview Baptist beats Crowley 38-16.
Wilson also threw for 114 yards with Drew Dileo making five catches for 87 yards.
This week: Parkview Baptist (10-1) faces Patterson in Round 3 of the State Playoffs.
|Drew Dileo 2009|
|Christian Life||W 60-14||1||50||1||50.00|
|Church Point||W 54-0||2||40||1||20.00|
|Port Allen||W 32-7||11||65||0||5.91||3||92||2||30.67|
|West Feliciana||W 23-7||50||1|
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
Last week: Hampton falls to Hopewell 9-31.
This week: Hampton (7-4) has been eliminated from the State Playoffs, and Paskorz's season is over.
LA S Carvin Johnson
Last week: Rummel beats Jesuit 14-7. Johnson was a standout for the Raiders:
In the return game, Carvin Johnson, who played huge all night long, came up big. Fielding a punt at his own 36 yard line, Johnson started up the middle, shook a tackle, shook another tackle, moved left, broke another tackle, went toward the Rummel sideline, shook a final tackle and sprinted 64 yards for a score to give Rummel a 7-0 lead with 11:29 to play in the game.
For Rummel, Johnson had seven tackles, an interception, returned the punt for a score and had four catches for 56 yards.
“Carvin Johnson made a huge play for us and he played great all night. He felt bad about fumbling a punt but made up for it with a huge interception to stop Jesuit. I cannot say enough about him and our defense." [Rummel coach Jay Roth].
"This was about team play, " Johnson, a Michigan commitment, said. "Things looked bad for us and then another player would make a play. Special teams, the offense, they made plays when we needed it. This game was just about making plays."
About his touchdown return and the preceding muff, Johnson said, "The defense picked me up. They wouldn't let me get down on myself. Everybody on the team was picking me up. They said make a play next time."
Johnson did, fielding a 31-yard punt by Jonathan Poole and then breaking threw [uh, sic] Jesuit's first wall of tacklers. He stiff-armed Poole at Jesuit's 46-yard line and then was escorted up Rummel's sideline.
This week: Rummel (12-0) plays Hahnville in Round 3 of the State Playoffs.
|Carvin Johnson 2009|
|East St. John||W 20-14||0|
|OP Walker||W 23-0||1|
|Brother Martin||W 13-7||0|
|St. Augustine||W 7-6||1|
|Archbishop Shaw||W 18-17||0|
|Captain Shreve||W 10-3||2||2+||2|
MI RB Austin White
Stevenson's (8-3) season is over after falling in the second round of the playoffs.
|Austin White 2009|
|South Lyon||W 37-0||8||173||3||21.63||0||0||0||-|
|South Lyon East||W 47-20||16||234||5||14.63||0||0||0||-|
|Catholic Central||L 0-38||10||75||0||7.50||0||0||0||-|
MI WR Ricardo Miller
Pioneer's (8-3) ended after a loss in the second round of the playoffs.
|Ricardo Miller 2009|
|Arthur Hill||W 58-20||1||20||0||20.00|
MI WR Jeremy Jackson
Huron's (5-4) season ended without a playoff berth. Jackson finished with 43 catches for 573 yards.
OH WR Jerald Robinson
Canton South (3-7) missed the state playoffs, and its season is over.
OH WR DJ Williamson
Harding (6-3-1) will not make the State Playoffs, and its season has ended.
OH OL Christian Pace
Avon Lake (8-4) has been eliminated from the playoffs, and their season is over. Pace was named All-District.
OH DT Terry Talbott
Wayne's (7-4) season ended with a defeat in the second round of the playoffs.
PA DE Ken Wilkins
Trinity (4-6) has been eliminated from the State Playoffs, and their season is over.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
Liberty (4-6) missed the State Playoffs, and its season is over. Kinard was an All-District Honorable Mention.
FL S Marvin Robinson
Lake Region (0-9) missed the playoffs, and their season is over.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Lexington (6-4) missed the State Playoffs, and their season is over. Avery was named All-District as a defensive back, after winning Offensive MVP honors last year.
OH CB Terrence Talbott
Wayne (7-4) has been eliminated from the playoffs, and their season is over.
WI P Will Hagerup
Whitefish Bay (5-5) has completed its season after a first-round playoff loss.
2011 OH CB Greg Brown
Ross (5-5) missed the State Playoffs, and its season is over. Brown was 2nd-Team All-District as a wideout:
[Ross Coach Derek] Kidwell said, "Greg's a phenomenal athlete. His numbers would have been better if we were better on offense."
|Greg Brown 2009|
|Benedictine||W 28-21 (OT)||6||99||1||16.50|
|Findlay||L 40-43 (3OT)||8||122||1||15.13||0||0||0||-|
|Marion Harding||L 0-21||0||0||0||-||4||13||0||3.25|
Personnel notes: nothing unusual. Dorrestein was the RT, Omameh the RG. Roundtree played as the slot the whole game.
Video note: some of the cut points are a little odd this week; I was using a different file and was having some issues actually getting it cut.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M40||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read veer (inverted)||Robinson||0|
|Robinson the tailback here. Schofield gets out on this lightning fast but the linebackers aren't reading the line and are also flowing down at the play so a Forcier keep is no good either. With Schofield standing up outside the tackle here I think this is a play Forcier needs to check out of. Just a freshman. Excellent play by Schofield, too.|
|M40||2||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||2|
|This is open and looks like it will go for good yardage but Forcier throws it high and hard, necessitating a tough catch from Roundtree. Roundtree brings it in but the tough catch has put him off balance and he stumbles to the ground untouched. (MA, 2, screen)|
|M42||3||8||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||QB draw||Forcier||-3|
|I don't know if this is miscommunication or a bust or just a poor block from Brown. Omameh passes the playside DT off to Brown to go get a downfield block and though Brown bumps him it's as if he wasn't expecting this; if this was planned it's a cut block, you have to think... so the tentative verdict is Omameh busted. Virtually unblocked DT tackles.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M26||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Mathews||6|
|Wisconsin sitting on this and the DB is there to try and make a play on the ball or rake it out; he can't quite make it but does tackle. Wisconsin making it tough so far. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)|
|M32||2||4||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Minor||0|
|Dorrestein(-1) discarded by the DE and he closes a tiny hole down that wasn't big because a couple of Wisconsin DTs had closed down the hole and the MLB didn't get blocked because Koger had to take on an OLB before he could get to him. Minor buried at the line.|
|M32||3||4||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read veer||Minor||14|
|Michigan catches Wisconsin here despite really tipping their run with Forcier well in front of Minor. UW is shifted away from the backside, which makes the DL an easy seal; Huyge(+1) gets a crushing block on the OLB as the DE runs too far upfield to contain the handoff that Forcier correctly makes (ZR +1); Minor shoots into the secondary without anyone coming close to him.|
|M46||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||?||Run||Edge pitch||Brown||0|
|Schofield again reads this instantly and gets out on the edge, killing the play. I don't know if Michigan was trying to do this but if they were that calculation backfired a little bit, eh? I'm not sure what, if anything, Michigan could have done on this play since BTN gets to it late.|
|M46||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Minor||2|
|Robinson at QB. Michigan seals the edge pretty well as the backside DE keeps contain and the playside DE spins inside, but Koger(-1) gets totally crushed by the OLB and Minor's forced inside for a minimal gain. Koger's blocking needs to improve.|
|M48||3||8||Shotgun trips bunch||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Rollout deep hitch||Mathews||17|
|Wisconsin anticipates this well, getting a guy on the edge and forcing Forcier upfield instead of letting him drift to the edge. Forcier finds Mathews open between about five guys and tosses it right as the LBs converge on him; the dart hits Mathews in the numbers for a first down. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)|
|O35||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Minor||-4|
|Really terrible blocking from the OL, just awful. Wisconsin has like 5.5 guys in the box. This should be a win. Instead Moosman(-1) gets cut under badly and Ortmann(-1) gets smoked by the DE to the outside. One of these breakdowns you can deal with. Both and the RB gets smoked in the backfield.|
|Weird. The three guys at the bottom of the screen are blocking a WR screen for Roundtree. Brown's running a wheel that's covered at first and that's where Forcier is looking. Forcier doesn't have time to wait for the play to develop because Ortmann(-2) got beat to the inside and Schilling(-1) to the outside on a stunt Michigan did not anticipate or pick up, so again there are two guys in on Forcier at the same time and that always ends in doom. (PR, 0, protection 0/3)|
|Michigan running a protection slide that sees Smith(-1) end up one-on-one with a DE; he attempts to cut the guy and gets bowled over. Odd that he's in on third and twenty-four, isn't it? Forcier(+1) sees the guy come inside and starts scrambling; Smith, to his credit, starts to get up and sort of trips the DE as Forcier rolls. This gives Forcier the edge, where he points Roundtree somewhere and hits him at the sticks; Roundtree brings in a tough pass and stumbles over the line. Wow. (DO, 2, protection 2/3, Smith -1)|
|O23||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Smith||2|
|Michigan trying to scoop the playside DT, who is lined up nearly over Moosman, and just about does it thanks to Omameh(+1) making a spectacular play to overtake a guy not particularly delayed by Moosman(-1). This has forced Smith outside a bit, unfortunately, where Schilling(-1) can't get a block on an OLB and he tears through to tackle Smith. He manages to cut up behind Schilling to fall forward for a couple.|
|O21||2||8||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel||Pass||RB wheel||Smith||21|
|OLB in the flat on Smith delays a bit for reasons unknown, opening up the wheel; Forcier hits it right in stride, and Smith(+1) jukes a safety, keeping his feet into the endzone. Kid is pretty good. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 6 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O37||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read veer||Minor||3|
|Michigan should be able to kill on this as Wisconsin has only 5.5 in the box again. This time the DE stays home and Forcier should pull, but he gives it off and Minor runs right into said DE. (ZR -1)|
|O34||2||7||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Flare screen||Smith||18|
|Dubbing this a screen because Roundtree is not running a route, he's blocking. Roundtree(+2), by the way, manages to get outside of a linebacker on this play, sealing him to the inside and giving Smith the edge. Great, great block. Smith has about eight yards until resistance, at which point Smith runs through a tackle, keeps his balance along the sideline, and zips for like ten bonus yards. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)|
|O16||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read inside||Smith||6|
|Looks like a stretch from the positioning of the tailbacks but the linemen head straight upfield and this is no stretch. Moosman(+1) blows the NT off the ball and two or three yards downfield and Omameh(+1) kicks out the other defensive tackle, giving Smith a big cutback lane. He makes that initial cut but his vision fails him as he should then cut it behind Koger to get himself past the linebacker level and possibly into the endzone. Instead he meets a linebacker who chucked Schilling to the ground.|
|O10||2||4||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read inside||Smith||3|
|Same exact play and it blocks the same way with Smith hitting it up between Moosman and Omameh. Smith should again cut it outside behind Roundtree's block but takes the sure yards; Moosman did not do quite as good a job on his guy this time and he comes free to tackle with help from the OLB.|
|O7||3||1||I-Form 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB sneak||Forcier||2|
|Bush-pushed forward by Grady.|
|O6||1||G||Shotgun 2-back 2TE||2||2||1||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Minor||3|
|Moosman(-1) and Omameh cannot seal the Wisconsin NT on the scoop and he, along with a crashing OLB, meet Minor just past the LOS as he cuts up; Minor manages to fall forward. On plays like this I'd really prefer it if the lead blocker was told to bash that DT and leave Minor one on one with a linebacker or whatever.|
|O3||2||G||Shotgun 2-back 2TE||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Zone read stretch||Minor||2|
|Um... the hell? Michigan runs the play where they fake the RB handoff while the FB heads into the flat that everyone's got scouted by now, except this time they hand it off. The NT is totally unblocked but running upfield so fast that Minor can run by him. This leaves four blockers on three DL near the goal line; Moosman and Schilling get split by the playside DT, and Koger(-1) got smoked by the DE, so guys meet Minor at the LOS and fall forward. Good playcall submarined by poor execution. (RPS +1)|
|O1||3||G||Shotgun 3TE||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||QB stretch||Forcier||-2|
|Really obvious playcall in this situation that Wisconsin consumes alive by slanting into the play. They've moved the LBs playside and are clearly anticipating this. No one has a chance to block their guys here. (RPS -1)|
|Drive Notes: Blocked FG(21), 7-7, 1 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read veer||Minor||3|
|Backside DE is standing up and just waiting for this call; Forcier gives it off and I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not since Schofield can probably deal with either option. No ZR. Michigan's shoving the Wisconsin DL down the line and Minor has a little room to hit behind Ortmann but Schofield closes him down after a couple yards. After the first big run Michigan got off this they've adjusted.|
|Missed play #4; as we come back Forcier is throwing an out that's behind Roundtree; Roundtree can't adjust to make the catch. Maybe had something for a first down here if accurate; since the throw is behind Roundtree a safety is going to tackle immediately for just three even if caught. (MA, 2, protection 1/1)|
|I think this pressure is mostly on Forcier, who drops way back and sits there despite both DEs tearing around the edge and into him; if he was more aware he could step up into the pocket, which is big and clean. DE blowing past Grady(-1) makes contact as Forcier belatedly realizes his error and begins to sack, at which point Forcier flips the ball to Smith, turning a major loss into a meh gain. What the hell to file this as... CA? TA? PR? Um. (CA, 3, protection 1/2, Grady -1, screen)|
|Drive Notes: FG(36), 10-7, 14 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M23||1||10||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read inside||Brown||2|
|Webb(-1) doesn't block the DE, which okay, but also doesn't bother to block the WLB, instead heading outside as if he's expecting a stretch. It's not a stretch. Forcier correctly hands it off(ZR +1) as the DE is far enough outside that Brown can get by him, but that unblocked WLB is sort of there, causing problems.|
|M25||2||8||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||QB stretch||Robinson||0|
|Robinson in and this isn't going to work against Wisconsin. Moosman(-1) releases to the second level immediately, giving Omameh no chance to block the NT lined up way playside of him, and Schilling(-1) just flat-out loses against the playside DT. No room for Robinson.|
|Forcier with a deep drop and Michigan max-protects; plenty of time for Forcier and he nails Hemingway on a hitch; good timing. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) Smith again the tailback in a pass-pro situation. I know Minor's hurt but that's weird. Hemingway's route was excellent.|
|M36||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Shaw||-1|
|Good blocking from the line this time as Wisconsin gets sealed; UW OLB is blitzing into the gap, though, and the lead blocker, Grady, totally whiffs on him, leaving him right in Shaw's path. I wonder if Wisconsin is slanting one way and having their linebacker shoot the other way all the time when they see the line slants. I think this is what Michigan was doing against Iowa, to far less excellent effect.|
|M35||2||11||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel||Pass||Flare screen||Smith||8|
|Wisconsin's line pretty good about recognizing this and getting back but Smith's too much of a jackrabbit to be caught; he steps through some waving arms. Good block from Roundtree(+1) kicks out the OLB; Huyge(+1) and Omameh(+1) both get good-enough open-field cuts on their guys. Smith's one-on-one with a linebacker with lots of green in front of him and totally jukes the guy, leaping past him... and the guy gets an arm out, grabbing Smith's foot and tripping him mid-air. Rats. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M43||3||3||Shotgun trips bunch||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Out||Roundtree||5|
|Ends up wide open as Michigan's formation just beats the Wisconsin coverage; part of that was UW blitzing a linebacker off the edge. Forcier finds Roundtree and flips a weird, high-arcing ball that seems like trouble, but it's accurate enough and there's no coverage so it works out. (CA, 3, protection NA, RPS +1)|
|M48||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read inside||Smith||4|
|Eerily like what seemed like every Mike Hart run against Wisconsin in the Debord stretch era: totally unblocked mofo into the backfield, Smith jukes him out of his jock with a sweet spin, four yards out of nothing. Moosman(-1) and Omameh(-1) got split; the spin destroyed blocking angles and allowed linebackers to show up.|
|Deep drop and good protection; Mathews sails past a Wisconsin defensive back and Forcier chucks it. It's well outside; Mathews makes a great adjustment and reels it in but his front foot hits out of bounds microseconds before his back toe drags in bounds and it's ruled incomplete. Forcier had this if accurate, and Mathews did all he could. I want to give him credit for a 1 here, but can't. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Great protection but part of that is that Michigan is resorting to max-pro a lot and Forcier can't find anyone open since he's got three receivers against seven in coverage. He moves up in the pocket, then a linebacker starts running at him and he rolls out, where he gets sacked. He fumbles; Michigan falls on it. I don't mind the scramble and sack here; I'd rather take a chance at getting a first down here than have a throwaway that saves you eight yards on a Zoltan punt. Would like to see Smith slip out for a dumpoff, though. (TA, 0, protection 3/3)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 4 min 2nd Q. Next drive happens with one minute left. They do try to score, so I'll chart it.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|Simple and something that Wisconsin does a good job of defending considering the situation; Mathews(+1) does a good job to get out of bounds. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M26||2||4||Shotgun empty||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Short bubble||Roundtree||4|
|Big umbrella zone here so Michigan has an opportunity to take a screen for the first time today. They do so; Roundtree manages to pick up the first. (CA, 3, screen)|
|Hitches again; they're covered; what's with the short stuff? I don't know. Forcier takes off and makes what he can out of the play. Not charted. Protection 1/1.|
|Very tight spot here for both WR and QB; Roundtree does a good job of running to the open spot and Forcier hits him just as he gets there. These two are developing serious move-the-chains chemistry. (CA+, 2, protection 1/1)|
|Smith(-1) whiffs a cut block and his guy gets in on Forcier; Forcier does the flip thing to Smith again, with results not very thrilling since a linebacker is racing to cover Forcier and can adjust his flight path. (TA, 3, protection 1/2, Smith -1) Eventful play for Smith.|
|M43||2||9||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Rollout throwaway||--||Inc|
|Rollout gets Forcier some time until a guy Dorrestein(-1) inexplicably let around him without bothering to block heads out and forces Forcier to chuck it. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Dorrestein -1)|
|M43||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Flare screen||Smith||2|
|Damn, O'Brien Schofield is good. This should just work given the situation but the dude recognizes the play and manages to track down jackrabbit Vincent Smith from behind just as he bursts upfield to pick up first down yardage and maybe more. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M45||4||7||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Hail Mary||--||Inc|
|Whatever. Robinson does throw this, and it is sad that Ortmann(-2) lets him get hit as he throws it. Not charted.|
|Drive Notes: EOH, 17-21.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M40||1||10||Shotgun trips TE||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||PA short seam||Mathews||25|
|Zone read dive fake; Roundtree runs a bubble and Mathews heads upfield into the open space the bubble reaction creates. Forcier nails him. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|O35||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Flare screen||Smith||-1|
|Should be open but Roundtree(-1) fails to cut the LB lined up over him and Forcier's pass is a little behind Smith, forcing him to spin around and delay. Not much, because Vincent Smith pirouettes like a mofo. The Roundtree block was the real issue. (MA, 3, screen)|
|O36||2||11||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Smith||1|
|Dorrestein(-2) gets smoked inside and Smith has to cut back past Schofield, who is just a killer DE. He manages to cut back but Ortmann(-1) has also lost his backside DE—they blocked him, sort of—and Smith gets run down from the other side. Still... Smith does a lot with what he's given.|
|O35||3||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Jailbreak screen||Roundtree||1|
|Excellent play call catches Wisconsin blitzing both MLBs and should work if Michigan can just get the last LB blocked. Schilling(-1) doesn't even whiff, he just runs in totally the wrong direction as Moosman(-1) got caught up blocking guys on the line for no reason. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)|
|O34||4||9||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Skinny post||Hemingway||14|
|Max protect and the line keeps Forcier totally clean. Excellent job. Forcier waits for Hemingway to clear the first level and then zings a pass in a seriously tight window that Hemingway leaps and hauls in in traffic. Henne-like throw, Avant-like catch. Coverage was very good and forced Michigan to make an excellent play to convert. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|No stretch blocking here: Michigan blocks down and this works as the linemen's instinct is to flow; this leaves Smith and Grady with a good hole and one LB; Grady does okay on his block. Unfortunately, UW is run-blitzing a safety who shows in the hole right after and is there to pop Smith. Smith gets under him and manages to fall forward.|
|O16||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read inside||Smith||6|
|Non-Schofield DE slants inside of Ortmann but Ortmann(+1) goes with him and walls him off; good block. This opens up the edge a bit; Smith starts to go outside and draws that safety out there, then cuts up behind Koger's block on the LB. Koger's guy reads it and manages to hop inside to make a tough low tackle; Smith runs through it and picks up the first down. I really, really like this kid.|
|O10||1||G||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||10|
|Excellent read or playcall by whoever: all game UW has had a guy on the slot to prevent the bubble; now they roll the OLB inside and Michigan immediately hits them. Also note the adjustment on the blocking here: outside WR blocks down on the crashing safety, springing Roundtree for an easy touchdown. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +1)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-28, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|Excellent protection and Michigan goes deep. Mathews is inside the guy in coverage, but has no separation; Forcier throws it well long instead of at least giving Mathews a shot at a jump ball. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|M15||2||10||Shotgun trips TE||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Scramble||Forcier||1|
|Michigan goes with the PA bubble fake to a seam that Mathews picked up a bunch on earlier; Forcier doesn't throw it. It looks like it's open underneath but maybe a safety is jumping it or something. Forcier scrambles out and picks up a couple yards. Schilling lost his guy, robbing Forcier of the time needed. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Schilling -1)|
|M16||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Scramble||Forcier||13 (Pen -8)|
|Smith(-1) chops he knees out from under a guy engaged with Dorrestein; call is totally legit. Omameh(-1) fails to pick up a stunt and lets a guy in on Forcier; Forcier jukes the guy and starts running around, picking up good downfield blocks from Omameh and Schilling en route to the first down. Penalty brings it back. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Smith -1, Omameh -1)|
|Excellent protection and Wisconsin is letting guys deep, I guess, so Stonum has a step and some room to the sideline here, but Forcier waits a bit too long or doesn't have the arm strength to get there, or both, and his ball is short and to the inside. Still think Stonum could do a better job adjusting here but this is not a good throw, and it gets picked off. It's a 52 yard punt, though, so not exactly a disaster. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 24-35, 1 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
Bad combo of coverage and receiver here: ball has to be thrown high because of the good coverage and Forcier ends up overthrowing Smith when virtually anyone else on the team might have had a shot. I have to file this the way I do, though. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)
|M26||2||10||Ace 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||2|
Impossible to tell anything with this wide shot.
Forcier's first read is covered and he bugs out upfield into linebackers. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-42, 9 min 4th Q. No more charts.
Ah, let's just get to it. Charts?
[Hennechart legend; MA is "marginal", screen results are in parens.]
|Notre Dame||5||20 (6)||2||4||3||3||-||4|
|Eastern Michigan||1||8 (2)||1||1 (1)||1||4 (1)||-||-|
|Indiana||3||13 (3)||1 (1)||2||5||3||-||2|
|Michigan State||5||19 (3)||2||4||3||3||-||5|
|Delaware State||-||2 (1)||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Penn State||3||9 (3)||-||4 (2)||4||2||1||1|
|Purdue||2||13 (6)||1||2||1||4||1 (1)||5|
The zone read metric was 2 – 1 = 1.
|Eastern Michigan||-||1||1 (1)||2 (1)||-||-||-||-|
Robinson did not throw. As far as Forcier goes: he had a good day against one of the better overall defenses in the big ten. His downfield success rate is 11 / 19 = 58%, which is better than okay and maybe a tiny bit worse than good, but if you drill a little further into the numbers there were no bad reads and four TAs, a couple of which were effective scrambles or flips to tailbacks as he was getting sacked. The huge, mind-destroying errors that plagued him against Ohio State did not exist against Wisconsin.
Most of Forcier's inaccurate throws were long: he drew Mathews out of bounds on a late bomb that Mathews almost caught. He wildly overthrew a covered Mathews on another. And the last was a ball to Stonum that was short and to the inside when Stonum had a step and plenty of room to the outside. It seems like he's not recognizing his coverages fast enough and getting the ball out to his deep receivers in time for his arm strength to get it there. There were a couple of similar instances against Ohio State, where a throw against cover-two was late enough for OSU to get a safety over for a pass breakup or interception. The lack of accuracy can be interpreted as another form of a BR where he makes the right read but too late and ends up leaving a ball short.
Another indicator of how well Forcier played in this game: there is but one ball filed uncatchable.
About the receivers themselves: an excellent day with only one ball filed less than "circus" not brought in. Vincent Smith had one game as the quasi-starter and was targeted more than any other player. Though two of those were accidental targets as Forcier looked to avoid a sack, it's clear that we can expect Smith to be considerably more involved in the passing game than any of the backs were this year except maybe Brown, and in this one game Smith ended up with eight attempts to get him the ball to Brown's season-long total of 13.
The tight ends are falling off after a strong start because they're dropping a lot of easy balls. Grady and the tight ends have 9 of Michigan's 12 routine drops between them and with Roundtree's emergence into a totally reliable option in the same general area of the field their usage has dropped considerably.
The one complaint I have about the receivers is the same old one about Stonum: on the deep bomb that was intercepted, he failed to make a play on the ball, got undercut, and allowed an interception that should have been an incompletion at worst. It would have been a difficult catch but that seemed like another example of Stonum not adjusting well to balls thrown deep downfield.
PROTECTION METRIC: 31/41, Ortmann –2, Schilling –2, Smith –3, Grady –1, Dorrestein –1, Omameh –1.
Probably the line's best day in a while given the level of competition they were going up against. 76% isn't great but four of the minuses go to tailbacks, three of them to tiny freshman Vincent Smith. The line did a pretty good job holding Schofield and company out of the backfield and the results were considerably improved passing from Forcier. Forcier still has to get used to the idea that the line will do this for him; there were a couple of instances where he had a big pocket to step into but did not.
And our RPS: 5 – 1 = +4. Good day strategically—
Then why couldn't we run?
The flipside of the better than usual pass blocking was Michigan getting owned in the run game by the Wisconsin line. That stretch gap that opens up between the playside tackle and center was never there as one of the best rushing defenses in the country refused to let themselves get sealed. Michigan was running a lot of inside zone, too, so what happened a lot was Moosman not getting enough of a delay on a DT and one of the guards futilely attempting to seal a guy who was slanting directly into the play; Michigan didn't have an effective counter to that with Minor's rage severely limited.
Talent, experience, and injury: though Michigan's ground game took a step forward this year it was clear that when it came up against truly excellent run defenses there was something lacking. That's probably talent since Minor was largely absent against Ohio State and Wisconsin and Molk missed the portion of the season in which the run game alternated between okay and poor.
Yeah, pretty much. The last time I broke out the Vincent Smith praise a commenter said he's not Mike Hart, but he might kind of be Mike Hart:
How many times did Hart do exactly that against Wisconsin to turn a three yard loss into a moderate gain? It seems like a thousand times. He will not grind piles forward like Hart did but I don't recall Hart having this sort of instant acceleration:
I will not be dissuaded on this: Smith performed pretty well in his first two quasi-starts against Wisconsin and Ohio State, scoring receiving touchdowns in each game and grinding out respectable YPC numbers against two of the country's best rushing defenses. He is probably going to start next year and he is going to be good.
Tangent: I think the threat of Smith on these screens and wheels may have had some impact on the line's ability to pass block. When there's a guy out there who can punish you for getting too far upfield, you adjust so that you are not useless when they screen it out.
Roundtree, Smith, and Forcier.
There were a lot of minuses in the interior line on run plays, and not a lot of positives.
What does it mean for 2010?
It's an encouraging day for Forcier, an indication that Roundtree has a death grip on one starting slot job and an invitation for the tight ends to step it up lest they be displaced by a Roundtree/Odoms pairing, and maybe a sobering look at the maximum talent level of the line. Omameh did play okay, showing outstanding mobility on a couple plays, but it seems clear that Schilling is not going to live up to the five-star hype and will top out at "decent"; the prospect of starting Dorrestein next year isn't horrifying or anything, but he also seems like a low ceiling sort.