About Last Week:
The Road Ahead:
Rutgers (2-3, 0-2 B1G)
Last week: Lost at Ohio State, 58-0
Recap: Little known fact: “recap” is short for “recapitulation.” And this is fitting, because Rutgers capitulated over and over again on Saturday.
They capitulated on offense, gaining 116 yards at 2.1 yards per play. They capitulated on defense, surrendering 669 yards at 7.5 yards per play (including 410 rushing yards at 7.7 YPC). They capitulated on special teams, returning 8 kickoffs for an average of 12.4 yards per return.
Rutgers is among the worst teams in the country. But we already knew this.
This team is as frightening as:
NOTE: So, last week I made a Punch-Out reference, and people demanded more. So this week, the Fear Levels are based on old-school video game enemies.
Goomba: self-explanatory. Fear Level = 1.5
Michigan should worry about: Stranger things have happened. That’s the thing you say when there’s no way this strange thing is happening, right? It’s like saying, “yeah, I probably won’t make this 80-foot putt… but remember that time that guy fired the space-torpedo into the Womp Rat-wide vent thing while dudes were shooting lasers at him? Stranger things have happened.”
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Rutgers is #99 or worse in S&P+’s rankings for Explosiveness, Efficiency, Field Position, and Finishing Drives. So, they start a long way from the end zone, they can’t get there quickly, they can’t get there slowly, and even if they get near it they can’t get the rest of the way.
When they play Michigan: NSFW.
This week: vs. Michigan, 7:00, ESPN2 (Michigan -28)
[AFTER THE JUMP: One of Michigan's opponents is statistically certain to go 11-1]
[Melanie Maxwell, The Ann Arbor News]
They were at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated, now-air conditioned IM building. The sound isn’t great.
Part 1: Wisconsin
- That was the game when missing field goals really hurts—get Wisconsin behind and M’s defensive line can tee off.
- Hornibrook turtling was emblematic of the game, and Michigan’s much improved lane integrity. Taco helps.
- 350 yards against a very good defense is fine. Isaac and Smith had good games.
- Was Michigan’s offense elite by the end of last year, or was Florida just mailing it in?
Part 2: David Siegle, IM director and NCAA official
- David Siegle, headmaster of intramural sports, talks about the IM building renovations.
- What’s a catch? What is targeting? Mostly the coaches are making the rules, and they want to avoid head injuries. Officials with the cameras are weirdly not applying this rule.
- The Newsome knee-cut: maybe 5 years from now there will be either no cut blocks or just OL right after the snap.
Part 3: Mr. and Mrs. Sam Webb
- Rutgers had 116 yards against Ohio State and lost 59-0. With the home field advantage flipped that should be 130 yards and 52-0.
- Mrs. Webb works at the IM building. Sam used to get kicked and elbowed for snoring, then he got drugged.
- Another 9 minutes of Sam talking that I want it to be known I didn’t listen to, Mrs. Webb.
THE USUAL LINKS
Previously: Rutgers Offense
in coverage: RU's top-graded player in their back seven.
After looking at the more recent OSU game for the offense post, I switched to Washington for the defense because OSU's and Michigan's offenses are so dissimilar.
It probably didn't matter. Does anything matter?
via The Mathlete. bottom left is good, top right is bad.
Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
Rutgers's second-best defensive lineman, DE Quanzell Lambert, was lost for the season in the Iowa game, and SLB Greg Jones suffered a scary injury after a helmet-to-helmet collision against OSU—he's out and may be done playing football. Their season-opening starter at free safety, Saquon Hampton, went down in the Washington game; his replacement, Kiy Hester, got dinged up last week and is questionable for Saturday. Hampton is reportedly ready to return to the lineup this week, so we've penciled him in as the starter.
Base Set? 4-3. Since Rutgers is a heavy quarters team—Chris Ash was OSU's defensive coordinator before coming to RU this year—they don't bring on a nickel as often as many teams; their safeties are responsible for the slot receivers if they go deep, and they'll shade the SLB over the slot to cover underneath stuff.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
SPONSOR NOTES: Also at the Marlin tailgate I met a guy who had refinanced with Matt and was now hanging out with him pregame, because they're buds. I didn't judge. Maybe I judged a little.
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
FORMATION NOTES: Michigan spent a lot of time in this formation:
Line is shifted to the TE so that's an over set. Peppers is overhanging the TE. Two deep safeties, press coverage.
They'd also put Peppers inside the end. I called that "4-3 bear".
PERSONNEL NOTES: Wisconsin's manball and constant three and outs caused some shifts in the DL snap distribution. Charlton played every snap—although there were just 53. Wormley and Glasgow were close behind with around 40; Godin and Hurst just about split the other DT spot. Gary (13 snaps), Mone (7), and Winovich(2) rounded out the rotation. Mone's just getting back, obviously; the other two are either freshmen getting their first taste of manball in a game situation or much lighter than alternatives.
The back seven starters never came off the field except for a few dime packages without McCray. Watson(7 snaps) and Kinnel(3) got a little bit of PT on passing downs as extra DBs.
[After THE JUMP: this QB got shook]
He left room for help, but Alex Kile returns as Michigan's lone 30+-point scorer [Rapai/MGoBlog]
I don't think it will get picked as the slogan for the student section t-shirt, but if you plan to refer to the 2016-17 hockey season as "the season of cognitive dissonance," you're not wrong. After watching a team with one of the most potent offenses in the country three of the last four seasons, Michigan loses five of the their top-six wingers and their two most offensively productive defensemen. The cavalry isn't exactly arriving in the form of the freshmen class, as Michigan will add productive lower-line players but no phenom in the Kyle Connor/Dylan Larkin mold.
All, however, is not lost. The aforementioned group of freshmen should be ready to play immediately, and by all accounts the majority of them should provide solid two-way help. Alex Kile appears ready to handle an increased scoring burden, and MIchigan’s deeper and more talented on defense than they’ve been in years; with eight that could justifiably be in the lineup every night, the blueliners should be the backbone of this team.
Red Berenson doesn't have the task in front of him that he thought he would when he decided to come back for one more season. Instead of having to find a winger to complement JT Compher and Tyler Motte's scoring prowess and near-telepathic connection he has to find a brand new top half of the lineup. The entire first power play unit needs to be replaced. Steve Racine, who finally found his groove as a starter in 2015-16 thanks to goaltending coach Steve Shields, is gone. Berenson will need to take the talent he's been given and mold it; he has a bit of head start with the incoming freshmen, as most scouting reports laud their defensive responsibility more than their offensive prowess. There will be games you'll sit down and watch this season and recognize almost nothing aside from the "M" on the front of the sweater. That's fine. If this team can reinvent its identity in an offseason, if it can eschew wide-open play for tighter defensive coverage, then they can contend in the Big Ten.
[After THE JUMP: position group previews, a new stats project, and the season outlook]
Melo Trimble [Rob Carr – Getty]
Since joining the Big Ten for the 2014-15 season, Maryland has been one of the league’s best teams; the Terps have gone 26-10 in two years of Big Ten play and were a five- and a four-seed in trips to the NCAA Tournament – even though Mark Turgeon hadn’t had much success in his first three years in College Park, all in the ACC. Point guard Melo Trimble has been instrumental in the turnaround; even though he regressed as a sophomore, he was the leader of an impressive five-man unit: Trimble, transfers Rasheed Suliamon and Robert Carter, versatile senior Jake Layman, and 5* big man Diamond Stone.
Last year started well for UMD as they had a 21-3 record after beating Purdue in February (maybe their best win), with all three losses coming on the road – to North Carolina, Michigan, and Michigan State. They slid some towards the end of the season – in particular, an awful road loss to Minnesota may have hurt their NCAA seeding – and eventually finished 12-6 in the Big Ten, in a four-way tie for third place. They came close to upsetting Michigan State in the second round of the Big Ten tournament, but didn’t – and they beat a 13-seed and a 12-seed to make it to the Sweet 16, where they lost to Kansas, one of the best teams in the country.
There’s a nagging sense that they underachieved though. In terms of the hierarchy of the conference, they were a decidedly second-tier team; Trimble’s 3-point % and FT Rate dropped starkly; and there always the lingering feeling that the Terps’ killer five-man unit was somehow noticeably less than the sum of its parts. More than anything though, the bench offered little depth or flexibility – Trimble was the only PG and the wings couldn’t provide shooting or the minutes to go small with Carter at the five, which could have perhaps unleashed a devastating offensive lineup.
With the departures of four of the five key players for Maryland, there’s a good chance that they will take a step backwards. Trimble coming back saved them from slipping further and perhaps he will be better in a more focal role. Additionally, there’s a host of newcomers that could potentially make an impact and improve the team’s depth, but there will probably be some pretty glaring holes in the rotation. Right now, this seems like a team with a decent ceiling, though it’s fair to question how good the odds are that they approach that level.
[More on the Terps after the JUMP]