"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at email@example.com or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
Justice Hayes Goes Blue
In something of a shocker MI RB Justice Hayes, who recently decommitted from Notre Dame, picked the Wolverines Monday night. Check out the commitment post for more on him.
VolNation broke down his game back in May, and some of the slot-relevant portions follow:
For the spread offense, however, Hayes is the ideal fit. He is a young man who can attack with authority the lanes that are created in a spread offense, can attack creases, get to the perimeter, catch the football, and make big plays with the ball in his hands...
Often times, players with Hayes’ agility and quickness spend too much time juking and not enough time actually gaining yards. This is not a problem for Hayes who is very decisive in his movements...
Hayes has wide receiver skills in many regards. He has very smooth hands and catches the ball with authority. Hayes does a fine job catching the football away from his body and quickly plucking the ball out of the air smoothly... His speed and agility would create serious mismatches for linebackers and safeties even at the next level.
They have much more on him, so be sure to click through. The Flint Journal covers Hayes's commitment, and Hayes says he's a Wolverine as long as Fred Jackson is on Michigan's staff. [ed: so... forever.]
Now, since some Michigan State supporters seem to insist on trumpeting their in-state recruiting dominance over the Wolverines:
|Top Michigan Recruits|
On top of that, a couple more in-state prospects (Anthony Zettel and Thomas Rawls) openly favor Michigan... consider the myth busted.
FL LB Ryan Petro has burst onto the Michigan recruitnik scene, and his Michigan visit for the Wisconsin game exceeded his expectations ($, info in header). He tells the Orlando Sentinel he'll be back in a couple weeks:
Petro might be even more impressed with his next trip to the "Big House," Dec. 10th weekend, when he'll be on hand during his first official visit for the highly publicized Michigan State-Michigan hockey game that is being touted as the "Big Chill at the Big House."
Don't be surprised if he's offered at that time.
NC WR/LB Kris Frost told Tom that he enjoyed the visit, and he'll take trips to LSU and Cal before coming to a decision, which he'll announce at the Army All-American Game. He plans to enroll early at the school he chooses.
Tom has smaller reactions from Frost and Petro.
The Orlando Sentinel discusses the wavering commitment of FL QB Kevin Sousa:
Lake Nona quarterback Kevin Sousa is still committed to Michigan. As his assistant coach Anthony Paradiso says, "Michigan will be hard for anyone to beat," in the recruiting game. But there are still some things Sousa wants to sort out.
At Michigan, he knows there are several quarterbacks ahead of him on the roster and he might labor in the wings for a few years before seeing the playing field. Somewhere else, however, Sousa might be able to step in and compete for the starting job right away.
Paradiso alternates between saying things like "we're committed to Michigan" and "once we finally choose a school..." so the commitment is soft. NC QB Marquise Williams is doing the same song-and-dance with North Carolina, and impending NCAA doom may be the only thing that shakes him from his commitment there.
OH CB Greg Brown took an official visit to Syracuse and was downgraded to a soft commit by the recruiting services, but he's still firm to Michigan ($, info in header). In fact, he plans to enroll early, along with Dee Hart.
FL WR Sammy Watkins was officially invited to the US Army All American game last week, but uh, he also committed to Clemson. Will Michigan commit Dallas Crawford try to sway his teammate in the months before Signing Day? Only time will tell.
TX LB Anthony Wallace committed to Oregon. He hadn't been strongly considering Michigan, but was still on the Recruiting Board.
NC TE Drew Owens has narrowed his list to NC State and South Carolina.
A couple Michigan prospects, including FL RB Commit Demetrius Hart, are semi-finalists for the Army All-American Player of the Year. FL S Ha-Sean Clinton-Dix, GA DE Ray Drew, KY LB Lamar Dawson, and VA LB Curtis Grant are longshots for the Wolverines to land.
I'd hesitated to mention a hazing incident at Dr. Phillips High school earlier this year, since there were no mentions of Michigan targets, but unfortunately, that is no longer the case. FL WR Chris Gallon is among the accused, and criminal charges may be on the way.
Michigan has offered CA WR Devin Lucien, a new name on the radar for Wolverine recruiting fans. Highlights:
He plans to visit, so expect more on Lucien in future updates.
IL OL Chris Bryant is seeing his recruitment "wind down." He'll make a decision after visits to Arizona and Michigan (the 3rd and 10th), as well as Illinois and maybe Memphis. He tells the Chicago Tribune he'll probably only visit the first three.
GA DE Ray Drew is still considering a Michigan visit, though Notre Dame or UCLA might receive his final official instead.
TomVH talks about defensive recruits still in play for Michigan.
OH DE Chris Wormley is the Defensive Player of the Year in his district.
PA LB Deaysean Rippy has received a Michigan offer.
Cass Tech CB Terry Richardson is the focus of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News.:
"Nick Saban called me into his office and offered me. He gave me the rundown and everything — told me he's going to offer me and they like me. Afterwards, my coach called Les Miles and told him the deal with Alabama. (Miles) said, 'The next time you bring him, I want to offer him in my office.' He said everything was taken care of and I'd have an offer..."
Michigan and Michigan State have shown interest, but neither has extended a verbal offer. That has done nothing to lessen his interest in either program.
"Those are my in-state schools," he said. "You've always got to show that mad love for those two schools. Those are schools that you grew up watching. There is always some type of love there..."
Another factor, albeit a minor one, could be the decisions of two of his good friends. Cass Tech linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone and Orchard Lake St. Mary's linebacker James "Biggs" Ross are highly regarded prospects in their own right.
There's much, much more in the article, so be sure to check it out.
Recruiting guru Duane Long runs down some of the top Ohio sleepers, including some potential Michigan targets.
Yesterday I put up an analysis of a simple iso that cut back behind Mike Martin and picked up ten yards. In the comments Magnus mentioned he thought this must be a mistake on someone's part because when you have the DT and MLB both heading to the playside A gap your defense is no longer "gap sound"—ie does not have one guy in every place a tailback can go—and things like ten yard iso plays result.
This resulted in some discussion about how the MLB's job in the 3-3-5 is to "make the nose right", IE fill the other A gap depending on what the nose does. This is a phrase unleashed to the world by Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 DVD, and I think it's what West Virginia does with its middle linebacker. It's evidently not what Michigan is doing with Demens when he's aligned in what I've come to think of as the Gergbacker position. Demens doesn't have time to make anyone right because he's too close to the play; he picks a side of the line and goes into the guard.
Another commenter complained that I shouldn't criticize Van Bergen for getting locked out upfield on this particular play because I can't be sure what his assignment is. That's true and a frustration I often have but amongst Wisconsin's brain-melting array of second half runs there is a serendipitous iso that Michigan stops that demonstrates the trends from yesterday's post and suggests that the key guy on a cutback is indeed the backside DE.
It's first and ten on the Michigan 41 in the midst of Wisconsin's first soul-crushing ground based touchdown drive of the second half. Wisconsin comes out in the same I-form they showed on the play featured yesterday. Michigan goes with basically the same stack look as well, though they've flipped Kovacs and Avery. The backup DL (Banks, Patterson, Black) is in:
A moment after the snap we see a difference: the backside tackle is releasing downfield instead of blocking Banks out of the play. That's left to the TE. He gets slanted under:
A moment later we see that Patterson is getting playside of the center… and Demens is shooting into the same gap to take on whoever shows up. Banks is sliding down the line behind them; also note that Jibreel Black has beaten the block of the RT and is coming upfield.
At the handoff point Patterson is beating his guy and Demens is about to slam into a guard at the LOS. In doing so he halts all progress from both the G bubbled over him and the FB. Massive cutback lane would result, except Banks is right on the center's hip. Black is now through the tackle totally and converging; tailback has nowhere to go:
Wad of bodies…
…and two yards.
So. To continue the Week of Defensiveness, usually these plays are picked because they illustrate a larger trend—Kenny Demens runs at the playside guard all day and eats facemask, and I'm pretty sure the design of this defense has a backside DE assigned to an A-gap. My choice here was between criticizing Van Bergen for getting locked out so easily or Greg Robinson for putting him in a tough position. The right answer is some of both, probably.
Object lesson type objects:
- This is a slight variation on the play yesterday. Yesterday Wisconsin kept the backside T in to block Van Bergen and ended up blocking Mouton with a guard. Here the guard attempts to slide over on Patterson and the T is assigned Mouton. These seem like subtly different playcalls with the first designed to cut back and the second to go straight upfield.
- Kenny Demens really does just run to the playside A gap all game, where he enjoys a scone with the DT. Here it works, though the next play is a 12 yard Down G run, the play after a four yard power play, and the play after that a 23-yard Down G touchdown.
- So that means your options on the cutback are backside DE or no one. Here Banks gets a relatively easy task since the guy lined up over him heads downfield and he can just slide along the line; Van Bergen had that guy blocking him. Still, the results were not so good and were repeated on a number of other runs.
- I'm pretty sure this is a bad idea. And not just on general principles! Having the backside DE clean up behind the NT seems like a thing that would work in the 4-3 where the backside DE is actually a DT inside of the tackle. In this scheme he releases downfield or he's got what seems like easy work to seal out a guy who's supposed to be an A-gap player.
- How about Jibreel Black beating a block and being useful on a run play? Woo progress!
For live updates of the games I'm attending, follow me on Twitter @varsityblue. If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, @reply me on Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
New Commit MI RB Justice Hayes
Game 1. Grand Blanc defeated Carman-Ainsworth 21-7. Hayes had a good game:
Hayes finished with 149 yards on 18 carries. He also threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Ryan Morley, who began the play by tossing a lateral to Hayes. Hayes attracted a pass rush, then threw to his left to Morley, who had plenty of room down the left sideline with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
"There were guys in my area, so I had to hurry up and get if off quick," Hayes said. "It was a very difficult throw for me."
...but also fumbled in the end zone, giving Carman-Ainsworth their only score.
Game 2. Grand Blanc was pasted by Canton, 20-62. Hayes had just 20 yards on 9 carries.
Game 3. Grand Blanc dropped an overtime decision to Milford, 35-42. Hayes did most of his damage as a receiver:
Justice Hayes caught 11 passes for 98 yards and one score
His junior teammate Detrick Goff got most of the rushing yardage.
Game 4. Hayes missed the game with a wrist injury as Grand Blanc beat Brighton 27-20. More on the wrist injury:
As for Hayes, Delaney doesn’t know when his star running back will be able to play again. “At first it was thought to be a bad sprain, but the swelling never went down,” Delaney said. “It looked as bad last week on Friday as it did on Saturday morning the previous week. He’s gone around to different places and gotten different opinions. It seems to be a problem in the wrist with a small bone. We’re trying to get it figured out.”
The injury turned out to be a broken wrist, and Justice missed the remainder of the season. Grand Blanc would finish 7-4, losing in the second round of the State Playoffs to Lake Orion.
FL RB Demetrius Hart
Running back Demetrius Hart rushed for 118 yards and accounted for three touchdowns — two rushing, one receiving — to lead the Panthers in a 52-3 rout.
|Demetrius Hart 2010|
|Cypress Creek||W 52-0||14||168||4||12.00||1||7||0||7.00||3||24||0||8.00|
|Oak Ridge||W 56-28||21||126||3||6.00||4||37||1||9.25||1||5||0||5.00|
|West Orange||W 49-6||11||121||4||11.00||4||24||0||6.00||2||69||1||34.50|
This week: Dr. Phillips hosts Oak Ridge in Round 2 of the State Playoffs next Friday.
FL OL Tony Posada
This week: Plant faces Newsome in Round 2 of the State Playoffs.
OH OL Jack Miller
Last Week: Pregame Fluff:
“Even though we're only 16, 17, 18-year-old kids,” Miller said, “we kind of know what this means in the big picture [of Toledo football history]. For us seniors, this is our last year and it's the last year of the City League [for St. John's, Whitmer and others]. On so many different levels, this game is very meaningful.”
Miller was also named 1st-Team All-District, and the District Lineman of the Year.
This week: 11-2 St. John's has ended their season with both losses coming at the hands of Whitmer.
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
Last week: Plymouth upset Rockford 20-17 in the State Semifinals. Beyer was the star of the show:
"Obviously, (Beyer) is an outstanding athlete," said Rockford coach Ralph Munger, whose team ended its season 11-2. "The quarterback made the throw and he made the catch with two guys in coverage. But you have to make plays and deny plays, and we didn't make enough big plays today." ...
"(Beyer) is a great kid, and he just keeps playing," Plymouth coach Mike Sawchuk said. "As a coach, obviously, you have doubt (when they score that touchdown with just over a minute to play), but these kids never quit.
Beyer made plays on both sides of the ball for Plymouth. He caught his team's first touchdown early in the first quarter and, on defense, he caused problems for the Rockford offense all game from the defensive end position... Beyer had five catches for 105 yards.
PlymouthCantonSports has much more:
"I ran a streak and our coach said to high-point the ball," said Beyer, describing his incredible reception. "That's what I did. It was surreal. I didn't even know what was happening. I was so dead tired, but it felt incredible. This feels so great. I just want to close my eyes and try to remember this moment for the rest of my life." ...
Plymouth's defense was outstanding the entire afternoon. Beyer led the way with seven tackles and three sacks.
This week: The 11-2 Wildcats will take on Lake Orion at Ford Field on Friday at 1PM. The game will be televised on FSN+ and MHSAA.tv.
TX LB Kellen Jones
Kellen Jones' team lost 22-21 on the last play of the game, a 38 yard field goal. Kellen left in the fourth quarter with a high ankle sprain, but he had 9 total tackles, 6 solo, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FF.
So there's that. Final chart below:
|Kellen Jones 2010|
|Trinity Christian||W 33-7||11||5||1||0||0||0|
|Worthing||W 20-12||DNP - ankle|
|St. Thomas||W 28-10||11||3||1||0||0||0|
|Houston Christian||W 37-13||9||3||1||0||0||0|
|Houston Christian||W 49-7||8||1||1||0||0||1|
|St. Thomas||W 33-28||13||2||0||0||0||0|
|Bishop Lynch||L 21-22||9||3||1||1||0||0|
This week: St. Pius has seen their season come to an end.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell
Next Week: The 12-1 Technicians have seen their season end.
FL CB Dallas Crawford
South had 161 rushing yards and Crawford completed 11 of 14 attempts for 163 yards and two TDs.
Sammy Watkins had... a 23-yard TD pass to Crawford.
Dallas dedicated his performance to his father, who passed away last Friday:
“He was my biggest fan... He taught me everything I know,” Crawford said. “He taught me how to throw a football.”
Article 2. Rest in Peace, Steven Crawford.
|Dallas Crawford 2010|
|Cypress Lake||W 39-0||9||10||90.00||118||11.80||1||0||6||24||4.00||2||0||0|
|Bishop Verot||W 35-3||18||23||78.26||299||13.00||4||0||9||12||1.33||1||0||0|
|Gulf Coast||W 49-7||12||16||75.00||277||17.31||3||1||11||34||3.09||1||0||0|
|North Fort Myers||W 34-0||7||13||53.85||88||6.77||2||0||5||38||7.60||0||2||1|
|Fort Myers||W 43-10||10||13||76.92||144||11.08||1||0||12||38||3.17||2||0||0|
This week: Undefeateds square off as South Fort Myers travels to 11-0 Naples in Round 2 of the State Playoffs.
FL QB Kevin Sousa
Lake Nona's season has ended with a 1-9 record. Sousa finished with 125/226 passing for 1936 yards with 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Rushing, he had 120 attempts for 835 yards and 6 touchdowns. For a full game-by-game stat breakdown, check out last week's FNL post.
MI WR Shawn Conway
Seaholm's season is over, with a 4-5 record. Conway finished the year with about 22 catches for 375 yards, and 11 kick/punt returns for 393 yards.
MI OL Jake Fisher
Traverse City West's season is over, with a 6-4 record and a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs.
OH DE Chris Rock
DeSales's season ended at 5-6 with a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs.
OH CB/S Greg Brown
Fremont Ross's season is over, with a 9-2 record and a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs. Brown was named All-District.
[Ed-M: bumped from diary - MGoBlog's recruiting editor updates the status of defensive recruitment]
Since Justice Hayes just committed, and there were still people looking around to see if it was ok to ask if he plays defense, I thought I would help them out. Here's a look at who's left on the defensive front for Michigan recruiting.
First, who's committed so far:
|Brennen Beyer||DE||6'4", 225 lbs.||4 Star|
|Demetrius Hart||RB||5'8", 190 lbs.||4 Star|
|Justice Hayes||RB/Slot||5'10", 175 lbs.||4 Star|
|Dallas Crawford||DB||5'10", 185 lbs.||3 Star|
|Shawn Conway||WR||6'4", 183 lbs.||3 Star|
|Greg Brown||DB||5'10", 180 lbs.||3 Star|
|Jake Fisher||OL||6'7", 260 lbs.||3 Star|
|Delonte Hollowell||DB||5'8", 162 lbs.||3 Star|
|Kellen Jones||LB||6'1", 209 lbs.||3 Star|
|Jack Miller||OL||6'4", 270 lbs.||3 Star|
|Tony Posada||OL||6'5", 315 lbs.||3 Star|
|Chris Rock||DE/DT||6'5", 250 lbs.||3 Star|
|Kevin Sousa||QB||6'2", 220 lbs.||3 Star|
For those counting at home, that's six commitments out of thirteen that are on the defensive side of the ball. There are around 9 spots left, give or take, for Michigan to fill up this class with. These are the current defensive recruits that Michigan has a shot with.
6'4", 255 lbs.
West Branch, MI
|4 Stars||Junior Highlights|
|Zettel is waiting until after the season is over to make his announcement. He has already taken his official to Iowa (Nov. 20th), he's visiting Penn State this weekend, and will be at Michigan on December 10th for the Big Chill.|
6'5", 230 lbs.
|Philadelphia, PA||4 star||Deion Runs Fast|
|Barnes has Michigan in his top five along with Georgia, Penn State, Pitt, and South Carolina. He has mentioned several times he plans on visiting after the season. He may visit for December 10th as well.|
2011 Defensive Tackle Prospects
6'2", 275 lbs.
Lake City, FL
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Jernigan has Michigan in his top group with LSU, Alabama, and Florida State. He has made some recent trips to Florida, so I wouldn't count them out. I've been hearing a lot lately about Timmy, and a recruit actually told me that Jernigan really likes Michigan. He's concerned with our defensive scheme, however, so we'll see what happens.|
6'3", 275 lbs.
|Hyattsville, MD||4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Cooper is planning a winter visit to Michigan, and outside of Jernigan, is probably Michigan's best option at defensive tackle. His season ended in the WCAC championship game this weekend, so he's now focusing on recruiting.|
6'1", 310 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|While Johnson continues to list Michigan in his top group, I don't think he'll end up choosing the Wolverines. His name is still on the radar, but not likely.|
6'3", 210 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|As everyone knows, Frost just got back from his official visit to Michigan. This visit came at the perfect time for Frost, and for Michigan. He will take officials to LSU and Cal, and is going to try to make it back up to Michigan again before deciding at the US Army game. Frost will be an early enrollee. I included him here for argument sake, since he is also being recruited for receiver.|
6'1", 225 lbs.
|Holland, MI||3 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Morgan is a lifelong Michigan fan, and was beyond excited to receive his offer. He took an unofficial visit with his dad to the Illinois game, and will be back for an official visit on December 10th. He's taking his time, but I expect him to be in this class. If Michigan grabs Morgan and Frost, that will be a nice linebacker haul for the 2011 class with Kellen Jones already on board.|
5'10", 170 lbs.
Owings Mills, MD
|4 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Countess has a top four of Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State and Michigan. It's been rumored that Michigan is in the lead, but Georgia Tech might be right there with them. Countess plans on visiting December 3rd, and will also be playing in the US Army game.|
6'1", 170 lbs.
|Houma, LA||3 Star||N/A|
|If Michigan missed on Countess, they may finally offer Kitchen. Kitchen has said he's a big fan of Michigan, and would most likely commit if offered.|
5'11", 185 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Walls has already been to Michigan several times, including an official visit for the U Conn game. He has since taken visits to Oregon and Cal. I still think Michigan is in a good position, but I think Oregon has made a good impression on him. Due to an illness in his family he had put recruiting on the back burner. He still plans on taking a few more visits before he announces.|
6'0", 190 lbs.
|Ft. Lauderdale, FL||4 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Lyons recently announced that Michigan will get one of his official visits. That was huge news for the Wolverines, as they seem to be climbing up his list. Wayne plans on being up at Michigan on December 3rd, and then out to Nebraska on December 10th. He has already taken visits to Notre Dame, Stanford, and UCLA. Michigan is making a move with the talented safety.|
6'2", 210 lbs.
|5 Star||2010 Spring Game|
|I'm including Karlos on this list because he still maintains that he will visit Michigan. The visit will probably take place in January. I've heard that it's not likely he will switch from FSU, but there's at least a small chance. He has been recruiting hard for FSU, so don't get your hopes up, but who knows what could happen with a visit.|
6'2", 190 lbs.
|5 Star||Junior Highlights|
I'm including Ha'Sean for the same reason that I'm including Karlos, he still plans on visiting Michigan. I have heard that there's a small chance that he changes his mind from Alabama. Don't get your hopes up here either, but with his teammates selling Michigan and his visit you never know.
Michigan obviously doesn't have enough room to take everyone, and they're still looking for a few more offensive positions like tight end and offensive line. Most of the decision time tables for these recruits are after the season, or during the Army All American game. That should give Michigan plenty of time for visits, and a little extra push with coaching visits too.
Emotionally, this is an odd week for me. I find that I don't care about Ohio State at all. They're a very good team that's going to win in a not-that-competitive game on Saturday, like they always do. I get irritated at the hurr hurr coming from the Ohio State blogosphere but mostly because Michigan's so far from their level that it seems like a waste of time.
My hate still exists but it's focused internally, as the emails pile up and message boards pile on because I have the audacity to say if it was my decision I'd keep Rich Rodriguez on the condition he reshapes the defensive staff in such a way that we can expect them to do one boring thing reasonably well. I've explained why. In a sentence, the offense is excellent and should maintain that level over the next two years as the defense digs itself out from a massive hole.
This has caused the wing of the Michigan fanbase that thinks keeping Rodriguez is absolutely insane to search high and low for various metrics in which Michigan doesn't rate well. They can't take any of the basic stats...
|Rushing Offense||10||257.36||Georgia Tech||319.36||1||Michigan||257.36|
|Total Offense||5||514.55||Oklahoma St.||552||1||Michigan||514.55|
|Sacks Allowed||T-11||0.91||Stanford||0.36||1||Penn St.||0.91|
…and they certainly can't take any of the advanced metrics that rank Michigan second* and fifth nationally, so they resort to things like in-conference points per drive. Michigan is tied for third in the league in that metric.
If you are using this stat, you have decided that Rich Rodriguez should go and are backfilling reasons. If you're trying to downplay Michigan's second-half points against Iowa, Penn State and Wisconsin, you're doing the same thing. Michigan got back in those games by scoring often and quickly, by bombing away. Michigan scoring drives against Wisconsin lasted 3:57, 0:22, 2:19, and 2:57. They could do this because defenses were aligned to stop Michigan's powerful ground game even with big second-half leads, which is why Denard Robinson racked up a bunch of deep completions against single-covered WRs in the second half. Prevent defenses do not give up sixty yard touchdowns to tight ends, as Penn State did.
The whole reason the FO stats exist is to smooth out differences in opportunities and schedule strength as best they can and they indicate that whatever problems Michigan has don't include being the nation's #15 scoring offense against a schedule with two real nonconference opponents and without Northwestern (82nd in FEI D) and Minnesota (98th).
David Brandon's got a tough decision ahead of him—something it only seems that people who are still in favor of Rodriguez returning acknowledge—because the offense is elegantly constructed and deadly. Michigan's quarterback couldn't throw a pass straight in the first half and the receivers couldn't catch it when he did, but they still ended the day with more points than any Michigan team had scored against Wisconsin since 1990. The 31 they put up on Penn State were the most since 2000. They're solidly in the top five of the best metrics available with two seniors and a sophomore quarterback. They're going to obliterate the best rushing YPC mark Carr put up since the turn of the century by over a yard and finish in the top 20 in passing efficiency.
Anyone seriously arguing that Michigan's offense is not a reason to keep Rodriguez around is a raving lunatic. Period. I'm tired of being vilified for using numbers in non-abusive ways, but that's what we've come to. My hate week is about other Michigan fans.
*(FEI ranks Michigan second but has not been updated for last Week's games. Since Michigan put up a touchdown better than Wisconsin's scoring average any drop from Michigan will be minimal.)
So… Greg Robinson doesn't know how to run a 3-3-5. For whatever reason, Michigan is running a 3-3-5. This results in situations like this first quarter run for the Badgers that echoes several themes from the This Is Not A Stack post: by lining up his MLB just behind his nose tackle he dooms that guy to take one step to the playside, whereupon he is eaten by a guard who has no one lined up over him. Even if Michigan successfully plugs that hole they are crazy vulnerable to cutbacks and counters.
It's second and three on Wisconsin's second drive of the day. they come out in an I-form with twins to the field side. Michigan aligns in its stack formation with Jordan Kovacs—supposedly the bandit—aligned to the strong side of the formation, with Cam Gordon hovering over the wide receiver stack to the outside:
Wisconsin's going to run a simple iso play that's designed to go off the right side of the line. You can see in shot two Demens's alignment just three yards off the LOS:
Martin's getting momentarily doubled in the shot below but the G peels off quickly to block the rolled-up Demens. On the backside Ryan Van Bergen has gotten kicked out and Mouton is staring down a free release from the backside G:
Demens is swallowed. I think the idea here is to force Wisconsin to come off their double of Martin quickly, allowing him to run free and eat people, but don't quote me on that. Ezeh is attacking the FB, and there's nothing on the frontside:
Because Martin has slanted past the center and Van Bergen has gotten kicked out there's a big cutback lane. Mouton is in a bad situation, essentially standing still as a guard comes out on him. Demens is getting blocked; the OG has his arm around his back. This never gets called holding but he's being held:
Mouton gets blasted three yards downfield and gives up the inside. Courtney Avery was filling from his overhang spot and could have maybe held this under three yards but once Mouton gets hit in that position the RB cut past him and it's up to Demens and/or Martin to spin of blocks and close it down.
They can't. Vinopal is forced to tackle ten yards downfield.
Object lesson type objects:
- Theory as to the deployment of Kenny Demens two feet from his NT. Demens threatens to shoot into the backfield immediately on plays like this, which seriously reduces the time Wisconsin guards have to double Mike Martin. This allows Martin to use his quickness to slant under the center, get to the playside, and close off holes.
- Problem with the deployment of Kenny Demens two feet from his NT. Once you're engaged with an OL he is going to grab you and delay you and let go before he gets a flag, so you can attempt to get off him and close down the massive cutback hole you've opened up by shooting both your MLB and NT to the playside but you're probably not going to make it.
- Second problem with the deployment. I imagine it has something to do with opponents' consistent ability to hit balls over the linebackers and in front of the safeties; having your linebackers five yards off the LOS gives them more time to reduce throwing windows. I've charted basically all of Tolzein's throws and three or four could have been shut down if the linebackers had been a yard or three deeper.
- WTF Van Bergen? When Michigan is aligned in this fashion the overhang guy—in this case Courtney Avery—is in great position to shut down anything that bounces all the way outside to the short side. With both Demens and Martin headed playside RVB should be flowing down the line, relying on Kovacs to bounce anything that gets behind him and Avery to clean up. Instead he gets upfield and seals himself, basically, leaving Mouton in acres of space with a guard bubbled over him.
- Mouton could do better here, too. It's never good when you're taking on an OL three yards downfield and that OL is moving while you're not.
Ironically, I think this MLB deployment would have worked out okay for Ezeh, who's a big guy with some pop but terribly indecisive. Here there's not much of a decision. Line goes one way, you pound the playside guard ASAP. It seems like a waste for Demens, who has displayed good read and react skills in his brief career as a starter.
I was looking for an adjustment here where Michigan would defense something like this by not having Demens right at the LOS but haven't found it yet. I've seen a lot of small guys getting battered and crappy pursuit angles. I'm not sure if my haziness on what the appropriate play is is my fault or the defense's fault; it seems like Michigan players are making basic errors but it could be a shifting scheme in which a guy like JB Fitzgerald's attempt to defeat a downblock sees him go from the LOS at the snap to six yards off the LOS outside the hashmarks.
More than anything this seems like another example where the scheme is either incoherent or the players don't know what they're doing. Van Bergen getting upfield is the killer here and makes no sense given the alignment of the D.