At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one. Something like… Punt-Counterpunt.
By Ken “Sky” Walker
Last week, one of the comments asked the question “Am I the only one that doesn’t really understand what this is supposed to be?” in reference to the columns appearing here on game day. Lest any of our readers wallow in ignorance, here’s the genesis of (at least what I believe it to be) Punt/CounterPunt.
Search for Point/Counterpoint and you’ll find that this was the name of a segment aired on the CBS show 60 Minutes. The idea was to feature opposing political viewpoints on the issues of the day. You should also come across a YouTube video of a Saturday Night Live take on this segment [ed: embedding disabled, sorry kids]. Watch and you’ll understand why Counterpunt’s columns take the tone they do. Guess he’s just never evolved beyond that old comedy bit (though I admit it’s a classic). There—consider yourself learned.
That was the history geek coming out of me. Let's continue: the recent history of the Michigan/Notre Dame rivalry in football has greatly favored our Wolverines. The last three games each had their season’s best finishes. The Denard Robinson Experience has been at its most spectacular vs. the Irish. Golden Dome worshipers have to wonder when divine intervention going to kick in on their behalf. Denard’s performances in these games have been truly a wonder to behold. He’s left his mark on one of the sport’s best rivalries, one that won’t be equaled for a long time to come.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly doesn’t seem to be much concerned with historical trends. I think he sees his lack of success vs. Michigan as merely a matter of unlucky breaks. (Bad luck and the crap load of yardage his defense gives up to Denard every game!) That would jibe with his persona, which is kind of smarmy. He’s like a cocky, fast talking Wall Street con artist who just lost (or stole) your life savings. So sorry, how did that happen?
As much as I’d love to see Denard put on another show, I think Coach Kelly has got the goods this time. The Irish defense looks strong—the Wolverine defense looks kind of squishy. Michigan’s receivers sho
uld give them an advantage in the passing game, but can the offensive line give Denard time to make comfortable throws? I fear the third time’s a charm for Kelly – Irish eyes will be smiling after this one.
Michigan 24 Notre Dame 35
By Nick RouMel
I am not too keen on pop culture. For example, I am vaguely aware that there is someone named “Snooki” who is wildly popular, despite having no discernible talent.
Similarly, someone who was not steeped in football history might wonder why there is all the fuss about Notre Dame football. Since Lou Holtz left in 1996, they are on their sixth coach (yes, I’m counting an 0-1 interim coach, plus non-coach resume-padder George O’Leary). On the field during that span, they have averaged 7-5 seasons, putting them on a par with fellow ACC football powerhouses such as Wake Forest.
Yet, like Snooki, the Irish still get media love. Why? Have we plummeted to such depths, that mediocrity plus media coverage somehow equals greatness?
You may discern that I don’t like Notre Dame. That is not entirely accurate. I despise Notre Dame with every fibre of my being. I hate them so much that I actually root for Michigan State to beat them every year, and the Spartans are well down my rooting hierarchy, perhaps a notch above Ohio State for third to last place. And what does Sparty do? Lose! Not that it broke my heart, but it gave Notre Dame this feeling that they’re back! That this year, they really mean it! Like Snooki having her baby, they now have a legitimate reason to be media darlings! [ed: "Vaguely aware" indeed.]
Why, just look at the Irish, sitting pretty at 3-0. Like they’re not supposed to start 3-0, year in and year out. (Remember they criticized Ty Willingham for only starting his first three games at 3-0.) So now the Irish are ranked, #11, and they host Michigan in their storied stadium tonight, with Touchdown Jesus, First Down Moses, and Illegal Procedure Paterno (whoops, wrong school) smiling benevolently at the beat-down. Their fans will be out for blood, looking to defeat Michigan for the first time in four years.
But they also fear the Wolverines, perhaps like no other team in recent history. The Irish have lost the last three contests in the last 40 seconds combined. Tate Forcier beat them in ’09 with 11 seconds on the clock, and Denard torched them twice - with 27 seconds left in ’10, and just 2 seconds from the final gun last year - when we rallied from a 24-7 deficit at home.
Yes, we have their number. Michigan’s recent football fortunes may still have us shackled in football prison, but if so, Notre Dame is in solitary confinement. And we are the envy of all the other inmates, because with those golden helmets and all, the Irish are even prettier than Snooki.
Denard does it again, with a second left:
MICHIGAN 24, NOTRE DAME 23
Brief position paper on hanging a banner on the other team's stadium. It's better than not doing it. It involves scaling a locked fence and risking a night in not just any jail, but a Northern Indiana jail. Judging from the billboards you pass to and from Chicago, the very bars of said jails are made from child molesters righteously imprisoned by the local sheriff.
So, like, what's up, SI? Not one but two of their CFB folks have dumped on the above. Aunt Stabby:
Son, I am disappoint. So here’s the thing: You travel from Ann Arbor to South Bend. You get close to the stadium, circumventing students guarding its iron and concrete honor or whatever. You hang what looks, from a distance at least, like a very well-made banner on a stadium gate. And that banner says … “BEAT THE IRISH”??
We'll discuss the changing fan culture at Notre Dame in more depth later, but Michigan may also want to embrace a new, snarkier age. How could the same fan base that gave us MGoBlog -- one of the best, most irreverent college football sites on the web -- embark on anOcean's Eleven-style caper to infiltrate Notre Dame Stadium only to hang a banner that says "Beat The Irish?" You're traditionalists? Fine. I get that. But in bygone days, college football fan bases also committed better pranks.
Flattery gets you nowhere, Staples. Yeah, okay, it would be a lot better if the sign said simply "RETURNING TO GLORY SINCE 1993" right under "University of Notre Dame. But did Clemson students scale something or other at Doak? Did Notre Dame students set Sparty's head aflame? Bah, bah on you and your bahing. Bah. I bah at you.
ATTENTION STUDENTS THINKING ABOUT DOING SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN THE FUTURE: I am now available for snarky consultations on these matters.
I can post this again, I think. If Special K hauls you-know-what out again this will be in error, but since I believe we have dumped you-know-what for good, it's Freekbass time on mgoblog again:
That feels amazing.
BONUS GRATIUTIOUS YOUTUBIN':
2010 from the field from Ryan Terpstra:
Unfortunately the original Yakety Sax went up in flames thanks to Thought Equity Motion.
Holy crap! Mike Rothstein profiles Roy Roundtree and drops a fact that I can't believe no one knew already:
The first major change in Roundtree's life might have set everything else in motion. When he was starting school, his maternal grandmother died and his mom, Sheila, took the Roundtrees from Pahokee, Fla., to her hometown of Dayton, Ohio.
Roundtree is originally from the Muck. Small world. Also read that, it's good and not paywalled.
Previewland! Hey, guess who forgot to link to everyone's previews in the preview post? This guy. Here you go:
- BWS: "Arbitrary percentage that Michigan wins: 43.79%"
- MNBN: "I have no earthly idea who is going to win this game. I don't even have any criteria in which to make an educated guess. I got nothing."
- M&GB: has an average score of 30-28 M. Also preview.
- TTB: not exactly out on a limb with "Denard Robinson has his worst career performance of the Notre Dame series," predicts 24-20 ND.
- HTR: "This is essentially a greatly scaled down version of the Alabama game," predicts 27-17 ND. Also Who Are You, Why Do We Care.
- Tremendous breaks down the ND defense.
- Know Your Foe from the MZone.
- Meinke predicts the spread, the crafty dog, with ND 31-27.
Auerbach on Mealers. Go:
"After all the bad things, it's been hard to push through that and continue to believe that good things are going to come our way," Brock said. "I just love being able to see him succeed in something he's worked so hard for. He's put in that time and effort for the last four years, and he inspires me the same way so many people tell me I inspire them."
I don't even want to know you. Bacon hears these people on the radio and has written about it in the News:
So, the day after Michigan slaughtered UMass, I was not surprised to hear fans complain about quarterback Denard Robinson's performance. Mind you, Denard ran for 106 yards and a touchdown, and passed for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns.
And that, to one caller, was the problem: "I'm tired of living and dying with Denard." In other words, Robinson was too good for that fan's taste.
hate you hate you hate
Etc.: Ugh, enforced know-nothing user content highlights plague Baumgardner's life. Let's all keep him in our hearts. Also from him are Michigan coaches' first trips to South Bend. Infante on the O'Bannon case documents.
|WHAT||Michigan vs Notre Dame|
Notre Dame Stadium,
South Bend, IN
|WHEN||7:30 pm Eastern, September 22nd 2012|
|THE LINE||ND -5|
|WEATHER||rainy and mid-50s most of the day, but clear by gametime, minimal wind|
Run Offense vs Notre Dame
the thing no one remembers about this is Te'o made this tackle about two yards downfield
This was a slog for Purdue and not particularly effective for Michigan State, though the Spartans may have been better off imitating their Boise State gameplan: LeVeon Bell averaged 4.1 yards on just 19 carries.
You're probably all like "none of those teams have Denard Robinson," and that's true. But Michigan only got 114 yards last year, almost literally all of them from Denard. Vincent Smith, Michael Shaw, and Stephen Hopkins combined on eight carries that gained ten yards with a long of three. Denard managed 113 on 15 carries. This was very early in Borges's wild ride with the spread, though, and his first against a real opponent. The next week Robinson would carry 26 times against EMU, which is either inexplicable or Borges trying to get a handle on something he hadn't been able to against the Irish. Much rests on that handle being acquired by now.
Notre Dame's star is of course Manti Te'o, the inside linebacker from Hawaii who etc etc etc you've watched him meet Denard probably thirty times, you know all about Te'o. He's kind of good, you guys. This year I'm not even sure the ND LBs are freaking out enough to burn them on misdirection—whatever reads they're making have been accurate. The other guys aren't quite to that standard. Chris Fox is pretty vulnerable in space, whether it's tackling a guy or covering one; Carlo Calabrese is good, but not great.
The line is getting nasty. Nose tackle Louis Nix was a stumbling battleship last year; he's slimmed down and is two-gapping opponents effectively. Stephon Tuitt is a 3-4 DE at 300 pounds who has five sacks on the year, about which more later. They'll put LB Prince Shembo down at DE on passing downs and use Kapron Lewis-Moore (a strong candidate for Brooks Bollinger eighth year memorial senior) as a stouter run defender. These guys are all playing effectively, albeit against questionable offensive lines.
ND's 3-4 is predicated on two things: making you double those linemen to move them and getting both inside linebackers to the gap clean. This is happening a lot. The results are above.
Michigan has Denard!
Right, so that. Denard is a problem for anyone on the ground because he gives the offense an extra blocker. Opponents generally combat this by bringing down a safety, which ND will likely do by splitting him over the slot when there's a slot. There is a not-insignificant danger ND will not have to do this. Michigan's interior line has been worrying, and it's hard to see any of Michigan's OL in there being able to prevent Nix from bulling his way into the backfield without help. If Schofield can't hold up against Lewis-Moore or Tuitt, two linebackers will be enough when one of them is Te'o quality.
Misdirection is called for. Neither of ND's first two Big Ten opponents could use much of that for whatever reason, but Michigan has a big threat wearing 16 and a mad scientist OC who had better damn well have something up his sleeve after two weeks in which the offense was "whatever because it works" and a third in which the offense was "don't get Denard hurt."
Key Matchup: ND ILB versus second level blocks. Must get hat on opponent or Denard goes no places.
[Hit THE JUMP for Hannibal Lecter DE, Brian Kelly cat, and oh God I have to predict something don't I.]
It's strange that Notre Dame is considering giving this up for more Syracuse and stuff. In the relatively short time since bringing this thing back, it accounts for some of the greatest moments of the season's first quarter. It's Remy Hamilton, and Desmond laying out for a 4th down dagger, and time running out at the 11, and Denard going DENNIS BERGKAMP! (compare to Wheatley with a crease), and several more increasingly preposterous ways to beat them by 4. Even when it's terrible, it's crazy-ass yakety-sax in a freshman quarterback terrible. And oh, TD Jesus knows this rivalry has seen its freshman quarterbacks, from Henne, to the stork-off of 2007, to The Jedi of Moxie, and now the Golson Show. So whether you're making the drive to South Bend or the walk to your living room, start off with a stroll through inthebluelot et al.'s special gallery of Great Images from the Battle of the Winningests. Bonus 2012 exhibit: first blood Michigan.
Since we're leading with Best of the Board, here's the rest of that:
WORST QB PERFORMANCE OF ALL TIME?
The first two episodes of that famous M-ND saxophonic trilogy were submitted along with Bauserman, Buffalo's Alex Zordich last week (4-22 with 2 INTs), and "any game where Lovie Smith said 'Rex is our quarterback.'" #loldabears. Then came the Mathlete:
Pulled the old database up and Brian Luke from Kansas gets the worst showing at -28 in a 2005 game against Oklahoma. 11/30 86 yards, 3 INT and -40 yards rushing
Juice Williams narrowly edges out Henne for worst B1G game, with a -20 in 2008 against Penn St
If my fist had ever stopped shaking at 2007 it would start shaking again. The opposite side of this coin is the Charles Woodson vs. All Time Best NFL DBs thread.
ETC. Mgrowold (who's spending time in the pony box for illegal use of avatar), apparently has the right tailgate spot, since both Hoke and now Mattison have stopped by it. Adidas, which is supposed to be a friggin' soccer company, manages to totally biff the soccer uniforms. Ultimate UFR experience: offense, defense.
The diaries, after THE JUMP
About Last Saturday:
Baby Seal 13, Club 63
The internet is a strange place.
The Road Ahead:
No. 11 Notre Dame (3-0)
Last game: Notre Dame 20, Michigan State 3 (W)
Recap: Another Michigan fan on twitter suggested that watching this game was like watching two douchebags trying to get with your sister at Rick’s. If that’s the case, congratulations to Notre Dame for the equivalent of having more than three dollars to pay for her drinks.
Anyway, Football. Right. The Irish beat Michigan State by a healthy margin. After scoring twice in the first half to get to a 14-3 lead, Sparty never came close to breaking the chokehold despite holding the Notre Dame offense to a pair of field goals in the second half. The Irish front seven was just as impressive as Michigan State’s. Their defensive line ran through Sparty’s offensive line on nearly every play, which made life miserable for MSU QB Andrew Maxwell (23/45, 187 yards) in passing situations. They limited RB Le’Veon Bell’s (19 carries, 77 yards) effectiveness such that Michigan State had to abandon using him in the second half. More importantly, the pass rush allowed the inexperienced secondary to make a few plays on Sparty’s equally inexperienced receivers.
The linebackers impressed as well, and Manti Te’o (12 tackles, 2 PBU) was Manti Te’O, despite dealing with the tragedy of losing both his girlfriend and grandmother just days earlier. There are lots of Notre Dame players who are very easy to root against. Te'o is not one of them.
Offensively Notre Dame was underwhelming but relatively error-free. The game plan was to rely on the defense to win the game, so offensive playcalling focused on the ground game save for a couple spectacular big plays that ultimately resulted in points. The conservative approach resulted in some ugly stats like 1 of 14 on third down conversions, but it won the game, so I won’t criticize. I’d be surprised if the Irish deviate from that plan against Michigan since offensive errors cost them the last two games in the series.
This team is as frightening as: Windows 7. The previous version was buggy and unintuitive and too complicated with all the bells and whistles -- it sucked. This one looks like it could actually be viable for the long term, but by this point pretty much everyone owns a Mac. Bill Gates was so last century. Regardless, fear level = 8.
Michigan should worry about: An Alabama redux. If Michigan doesn’t hit a bunch of passes early, there will be no room for either Denard or Fitz to run.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: With S Jamoris Slaughter out, Notre Dame’s secondary looks an awful lot like NEVER FORGET. Michigan might actually be able to hit a bunch of passes early.
When they play Michigan: If this were any other game, I wouldn’t bother getting my hopes up for a Michigan win. But it’s Notre Dame, and weird things happen when Michigan plays Notre Dame.
Next game: vs. No. 18 Michigan
Depart posthaste. Go read this Hinton piece on Denard Robinson vs Notre Dame or I swear I will find you and glare at you:
Give us some of that old time Denard Robinson religion
Aside from certain injuries and Colorado's existence, generally, the most depressing moment of the early season is Alabama's crisp, methodical bludgeoning of Michigan on opening night, a lopsided dominance display that confirmed everything we already knew about the Crimson Tide defense as the taker of souls. In this case, the life force the Tide consumed belonged to the most exciting player in the country, Denard Robinson, who was hounded, hit, picked and demoralized by a cold, calculating, perfectly calibrated machine bent on snuffing out any hint of spontaneity or creativity in its path. Pick your synonym: Blowout, rout, trouncing, debacle, shellacking – it was the opposite of a "classic." Mere mortals were not spared.
Vamanos. Please leave him some comments that are not ND sprotstakes.
Also highly recommended. OSU got gashed by Cal on Saturday; Ross Fulton breaks down the various ways in which that happened. Some of it's schematic, with Cal busting outside of OSU formations without a force player. OSU runs the same under Michigan does and they were also aligning it to field like Michigan has been, so that's something I'll be looking out for in the future.
Some of it is Shazier being Shazier. He was at least partially responsible for both of Cal's long rushing TDs. The second:
Oy, –3 right there. The first one was the guy getting way too aggressive and shoulder-blocking a tailback who popped outside. He makes a lot of plays for both teams.
"How to knit a stadium in 15 days." Wot it says on the tin:
This has just become the most intriguing blog post in this site's history for my mother. The above is composed of 2670 yards of Andes Bulky wool, 14 of the skeins "hand-dyed in various patterns to simulate the crowd." This woman is deadly with needles.
Oy. A bunch of emails sent back and forth between NCAA folk in the aftermath of the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit dropping have just been released. Highlights include UNL chancellor Harvey Pearlman telling the group they're totally boned, a Texas administrator coming off very poorly…
"I view these cases as being the result of the entitlement attitude we've created in our revenue sports," Plonsky wrote. "We now have threatening s-a's -- many of whom, based on grad rates of the '80s and '90s, sucked a whole lot off the college athletics pipe -- and now want to buckle the system at the knees of the expense of today's s-a's."
…and the admission that EA puts the student athletes in the game and only scrubs them right before launch.
The picture painted is of a lawsuit that has the NCAA in a panic because they know they're SOL. Which, good. I'd rather have old athletes people remember get some money than "today's s-a's," by which they mean "athletic department employees."
Police work. BWS is also talking packaged plays by looking at something Michigan ran against Air Force that turned into the usual zone, but featured the fake
bubble LAZER on the outside:
This is interesting to me because it was a standard part of the RR offense. This is different in that it's the inverted veer being run, not inside or outside zone, but the bubble attachment is pure RR. I watched a video of Calvin Magee giving a coaching clinic talk last summer and in it there was an interesting discussion of this very thing. Magee talked about sometimes they called this presnap, but sometimes they "read it out," i.e. allowed the QB to make this read after the snap. There are two ways they did this:
- allow QB to abort mesh point entirely and just throw the bubble.
- give the QB a post-keep option in the event he gets a guy in his face.
Usually this was #1. In a way this was the ur-packaged play. It's a run, it's got a pass built in. The innovation Oklahoma State and WVU added was going vertical with it after they realized refs aren't throwing illegal man downfield penalties. The bubble is behind the LOS and thus invulnerable to that call.
BTW, when they called stuff presnap the bubble route still got run, but just to demand someone cover it, as you can see the linebacker is doing in this frame. Borges said something about not liking the bubble because they prefer their WRs to block, something that didn't make much sense to me because of plays like this. That LB is not going to be relevant in the run game.
Anyway, this could be any of three different things:
- straight called handoff
- zone read
- zone read w/ attached bubble
Given how wide open that bubble is I don't think they've hooked that up yet, and since they let both the playside and backside ends go, I'm guessing this was a straight handoff.
Rocky's really doing it. If you haven't been paying attention to SDSU coach Rocky Long's assertion that he's just going for it all the time, he actually did it a couple weeks back. Result:
Then, with 4:50 remaining in the fourth quarter and SDSU down 21-12, Katz drove the offense 66 yards to the Washington 8.
Conventional wisdom dictated that if the Aztecs converted a 27-yard field goal and stopped the Huskies on defense, they’d be in prime position to go for the tying touchdown, and potential game-winning extra point.
Instead, once again, the offense stayed on the field. Katz’s attempt to squeeze a touchdown into the end zone for tight end Gavin Escobar fell incomplete, and thousands of Aztec armchair quarterbacks screamed at TVs all over the West Coast, wondering why Long hadn’t just opted for the safer field goal.
They talk to a professor about this. It turns out it was fourth and six. My initial reaction there is that's a tight decision. Fourth and six is not easy and when the defense is packed in near the goal line it's even tougher. You need two scores either way. Let's run over to that Advanced NFL stats calculator, which says…
…kick. An NFL kicker has a 95% shot at that field goal, you convert about a third of the time from that distance, and the expected points are dead even. You're still not in good shape but it's a big difference: kicking is 16% win, going 10%. You'd have to think you have a two-thirds shot at making it to justify going. It's NFL so it is not precise, but the differences aren't large enough to swing that.
Moral of the story: if you need two scores you'd better make sure you get one on your second to last drive. Also maybe the Aztecs don't have a kicker—they were down two scores because they went for two twice and failed.
Turns out not so much. Remember the guy who got beat up by a bunch of MSU hockey players? Turns out he's been charged with various things including "making a false police report." Dialing back mass-violence-against-students jokes.
Etc.: Last year's ND game synced with Ufer. Eamonn Brennan considers this year's edition of Michigan basketball, says if things break right they could be a national title contender(?!), which is optimism on a level I am unprepared for.
Formation notes: Michigan spent virtually the whole game in a nickel package, with occasional forays into okie stuff. I started labeling various okie looks "one" "two" and "zero" with the number denoting the number of deep safeties on the play. This was zero:
Also there was this weird thing once.
That is okie two, one they shifted into late. Look at Campbell there right next to Roh.
Substitution notes: Avery slid back inside and it looks like your new field corner is Raymon Taylor. Guessing it's Taylor out there when Michigan is in a 4-3 set.
At linebacker, heavy rotation between Bolden, Ross, and Demens; Hawthorne got in a bit thanks to Morgan's absence. Mike Jones came on in garbage time.
On the line, the aforementioned nickel oddity where Roh and Black were usually the DTs, flanked by Clark and Ryan. Cam Gordon and Ojemudia rotated through at DE; at DT it was Brink and Heitzman with some appearances by Campbell and Washington. Pipkins did not get in until late.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Shotgun trips covered||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Zone counter||Demens||5 (Pen -10)|
|TE motions into the backfield to act as an H-back as UMass goes with a covered slot guy. TE then goes backside and nails Ryan. Demens is slow to the hole, getting hit two yards downfield, and Black(-1) is sealed out of the hole. Ryan(+0.5) does a pretty decent job to constrict that hole and forces Cox to knock into some of his own blockers; Demens would get a minus for missing the tackle here but his blocker is called for a hold. Gordon(+0.5) fills decisively, holding the gain down. He can't tackle Cox cleanly but does delay him enough so that there is no YAC.|
|O15||1||20||Shotgun trips bunch TE||Nickel under||Pass||5||Quick out||Gordon||6|
|A little dink pass is complete on a half-roll. Gordon's a little iffy on his approach and falls down, but Demens flowing out makes the WR run into the prone Gordon anyway. Push, but I'm eyeing Gordon warily.|
|O21||2||14||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Tunnel screen||Black||-1|
|Black(+2) reads it, backs out, gets to the spot, and tackles for loss. Roh helped out as well and Ross(+0.5) fended off a block to put himself in a position to contribute.|
|O20||3||15||Shotgun trips bunch||Nickel even||Pass||4||Corner||Floyd||Inc|
|Stunt doesn't quite get there but that's because the QB is going from five yards back to 11 by the time he throws. DL is getting in, with Roh(+0.5) getting pressure that forces a throw. Floyd has a better shot at a reception than anyone else and should really have an INT but misjudges the ball badly. No points for you. (Cover +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O6||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||N/A||-2|
|Fumbled exchange. FWIW, looked like Cox was going to get popped by an unblocked Ross near the LOS.|
|O4||2||12||Shotgun trips||3-4 nickel||Run||N/A||Zone stretch||Ojemudia||11|
|Ojemudia(-1) as a 3-4 DE, which goes about how you'd expect. A 230 pound freshman is doubled and pancaked, cutting off the outside. I feel better about this because Michigan's not going to do this against a real opponent unless it's third and twelve, not second and twelve. Campbell(+0.5) got some good push, but it was irrelevant. RPS -2. I moved a minus to the RPS from Ojemudia, FWIW. Because obviously.|
|O15||3||1||Shotgun trips||Okie zero||Penalty||N/A||False start||N/A||-5|
|Same guy who got the hold.|
|O10||3||6||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Run||N/A||TGDCD||Ryan||-1|
|M sends Bolden and Avery, sending Ross on one of those hash to hash drops. They've slanted the line away from this and had Ryan back off the LOS, which is fortunate because the playcall goes right where Ross just vacated. Roh(+0.5) comes around the tackle and squeezes the hole down; Ryan(+1, tackling +1) brings down Cox in space. RPS +1|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O26||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Stop and go||Taylor||Inc|
|Good time(pressure -1); Taylor hops up on the hitch route but has safety help so that's fine. There's a small window for a 15 yard completion that's missed. Cover push. Illegal man downfield penalty is declined.|
|O26||2||10||Shotgun trips TE||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Counter||Ross||6|
|Ross(-1) doesn't read the T pull and gets sucked away from the play, sealed into oblivion. Bolden(-1) does an okay job of getting to the hole and makes contact with the pulling T at the LOS, but slows up. Instead of lowering the boom like Ross he gently contacts the T, and there's still a gap. Needs to hit that blocker in the mouth, drive him back, and then be able to come off and tackle. As it is, Ryan, the contain, is the only guy trying a tackle attempt and that doesn't go so well. Black got sealed away but I'm not sure that's really on him. Need some linebackers to not get blocked. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) makes a nice fill. Picture-paged.|
|O32||3||4||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 cover one||Pass||5||Out||Avery||4|
|M shows man and runs zone, but this still comes off as Avery isn't quite able to tackle on this little out before the WR can reach the sticks. This will happen on this down and distance; push.|
|O36||1||10||Shotgun trips covered||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Zone counter||Black||-1|
|Same as their first play. Black(+1) gets some backwards motion and this convinces Cox to go nuts. Instead of slamming it up in a meh hole and getting tackled from the side by Black or Ryan, he hits a blocker, bounces, runs into Roh(+1), who shed a blocker to get into the backfield, and then Clark(+0.5) cleans up on the edge. Somewhere, Rich Rodriguez has an inexplicable urge to spike his headset.|
|O35||2||11||Shotgun trips bunch||Nickel even||Pass||5||Rollout out||Avery||Inc|
|Michigan brings a blitz that UMass rolls away from. Same little out they got the first on is preferred because Michigan has good coverage(+1) in the area. It's turfed. Avery(+0.5) looked ready to light this guy up on the catch.|
|O35||3||11||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Run||N/A||QB draw||Ross||16|
|Michigan stunts out of the gap UMass is attacking. That leaves Ross(-1) alone in a ton of space against two blockers. One runs by, he fends off the other, and can't get out to the QB to even slow him. Ojemudia was tearing back in pursuit and safeties were filling, all Ross needs to do is slow the guy a half beat and this is not a conversion. But really, this is RPS'd. RPS -2.|
|M49||1||10||Shotgun trips covered||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Zone stretch||Ojemudia||14|
|Campbell is moving and gets chopped, but I guess I can't minus him because this convinces Cox to reverse field. Or maybe it was Ryan(+1) coming under a guy—usually a no-no—with enough speed to make me think the outside is cutoff. Ojemudia(-2) abandoned his cutback contain to start a long-term pursuit angle, which opens up the corner once the QB cuts off a redirecting Ross.|
|M35||1||10||Shotgun trips||Okie one||Pass||5||Fade||Taylor||22|
|One on one to the boundary, Taylor takes inside leverage and is basically step for step with the guy on the sideline. QB throws it perfectly, WR makes incredible catch, nothing you can do. Cover +1.|
|M13||1||10||Shotgun trips bunch||Nickel even||Pass||5||Out||Avery||11|
|Kovacs comes up late for a safety blitz, UMass dumps it short. Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is through the line and about to nail the QB, so he has to dump it. Avery(-2, tackling -1) is there for a tackle attempt on a stationary guy one yard downfield that he misses. He manages to hold on to the guy but guy drags him ten yards.|
|M2||1||G||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Pin and pull zone||Clark||-1|
|Clark(+1) blows outside a TE trying to seal him, Roh gets push on a G trying the same. Cox cuts behind that, away from his blockers. Ross(+0.5) is in in the hole and gets a tackle attempt in from the side. Black got cut and reaches out as well. Cox falls over.|
|M3||2||G||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Ryan||-1 (Pen -10)|
|Ryan(+2) motions in late, shoots inside the RT, gets held, and still stops Cox in the backfield by diving at his feet. Black(+1) drove through two blockers to meet Cox in the backfield as well. Slant got it here. RPS +1.|
|M13||2||G||Shotgun 4-wide tight||3-4 nickel||Pass||5||Improv||Black||Inc|
|Black(+2) motions late to a gap between the C and G and jumps the snap Worthy style. He's offsides, obviously, but they don't call it. So you get a plus. He's up the middle of the pocket immediately, forcing a flush (pressure+2). QB actually has a shot at a WR but can't hit it. Gordon and Avery in pursuit. Gordon(+1, cover +1) was there to bat at it.|
|M13||3||G||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Penalty||N/A||Offsides||Clark||5|
|Clark(-1) also offsides, this time they call it.|
|M8||3||G||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Dumpoff||Roh||Inc|
|Roh(+1, pressure +1) splits two OL and gets in to force a dumpoff. Clark(+1) reads this, backs off, and bats it down. Michigan had this killed dead anyway (cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: FG(25), 14-3, 13 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O26||1||10||Pistol 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Bolden||4|
|Bolden gets to the hole at the LOS and Cox has only a narrow gap, but he should be funneling back inside and does not. He got there pretty well, so I'll say push. Roh(-0.5) got blown up momentarily, so maybe Bolden's leery about that subconsciously. Gordon(+1, tackling +1) fills nicely, holding a dangerous-looking burst through the line to four yards with help from Avery.|
|O30||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||Okie one||Pass||5||Rollout out||CGordon||5|
|They roll the pocket away from the blitz and Gordon has to try and track down a slot guy running an out, which doesn't go well. He does enough to make the throw outside and diving, removing a potentially large amount of YAC from the equation. RPS -1.|
|O35||3||1||Pistol 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Roh||3|
|Still playing Roh at DT on third and one. He gets blown out of the center by a double, and that's enough. I'm not minusing the guy for being 280 pounds. Gordon(+1) fills well, hitting at the LOS, but without DL support this is always going to get it. RPS -1.|
|O38||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Hitch||Floyd||Inc|
|Half roll deflates pressure but M is all over the receivers (cover +3); a two-yard checkdown is jumped by Floyd(+1) and may have been an INT if more accurate. Nowhere to go.|
|O38||2||10||Shotgun trips||3-4 nickel||Pass||5||Rollout out||Gordon||3|
|Avery cuts off the outside and forces a throw. Pressure is not exactly rampant but it's a push. Pass is a four yard out Gordon(+0.5) is in good coverage(+1), guy runs OOB anyway.|
|O41||3||7||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Out||Clark||Inc|
|Hawthorne sent as Gordon backs out. Clark(+1) gets around the edge(pressure +1) and gets the QB's feet moving. Floyd(+1) jumps one out; CGordon(+1, cover +2) has the one underneath. QB turfs it, possibly on purpose.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-3, 10 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O35||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide tight||Nickel under||Penalty||N/A||False start||N/A||-5|
|O30||1||15||Shotgun 4-wide tight||Nickel even||Pass||4||PA Out||Clark||Inc|
|They leave Clark unblocked, try to throw a three yard out and miss. Clark may have gotten a finger on it. RPS +1? By default, I guess. Clark +0.5.|
|O30||2||15||Shotgun 4-wide tight||Okie two||Pass||5||Tunnel screen||Ross||4|
|WR ends up in front of all his blockers. Bolden(+0.5) and Ross(+0.5) force the guy upfield away from all those folk. Gordon(+0.5) comes up to keep leverage well inside the numbers, and then everyone rallies to tackle.|
|O34||3||11||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Pass||5||Sack||Bolden||-24|
|This is a screen. Bolden(+1) is charging forward at the snap along with Avery; Bolden gets through clean. Ryan(+0.5) has dropped right into the screen; not sure if this is read or if QB is just panicking. Roh also gets some pressure before bailing out; QB ends up tossing the ball away well short of the sticks after giving up 24 yards, giving Bolden a sack. RPS +2, Pressure +2, cover +1.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 6 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O28||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Counter||Gordon||6|
|LBs do a much better job of reading this, with Ross(+1) sticking the pulling T in the hole and Bolden(+0.5) getting around a block to fill if Cox is going to go where Ross wants him to. He doesn't because Gordon(-1) has lost the edge. Kovacs and Taylor fill on the bounce; still gave up more yards than they had to there.|
|O34||2||4||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Pass||4||In||Ross||9|
|M ran this against NW last year: double flare screen fakes with an little middle hitch opening up. Ross(-0.5, cover -1) books out for the flare, opening a slant behind him. I don't really blame him. RPS -1.|
|O43||1||10||Pistol 3-wide||Nickel under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Clark||9|
|Okay so our DL on this play includes Clark as a DT. M blitzes one LB-type substance—Kovacs is the other—and stunts Roh back around. Clark(-1) gets blown back, so Roh can't flow; Kovacs is taking on a pulling G and there is no one on the second level. Clark does spin off his block and take Cox down with a lunging shoulder grab; otherwise this is Gordon vs touchdown. RPS -2. Virtually nothing any M player could do. Hope they're just screwing around at this point.|
|M48||2||1||Ace twin TE||4-3 even||Pass||4||Flea flicker||Taylor||33|
|This looks like man coverage w/ Avery going in motion to mirror his guy presnap. The flea flicker sucks up all the underneath guys, giving the QB a look at the deep guy, who is covered(+1) by Floyd and Gordon. Taylor(-2, cover -2) got way behind the second option, a deep in by the other receiver. Not close enough to tackle immediately, Taylor gives up another 20 yards after the catch.|
|M15||1||10||Shotgun trips bunch TE||Nickel under||Pass||4||Rollout out||Floyd||2|
|Another one of these dink passes. This one takes the WR off his feet; Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) looked like he would tackle anyway.|
|M13||2||8||Shotgun trips bunch TE||Okie zero||Pass||6||Throwaway||Clark||Inc|
|Mattison sends the house. Clark(+1) leaps a cut block, Roh(+0.5) and Kovacs(+0.5) both come free as the T can't get out and the G has another guy to block. QB just gets rid of it. Had no one anyway. (Pressure +2, Cover +1, RPS +1)|
|M13||3||8||Shotgun trips bunch tight||Nickel even||Pass||4||Throwaway||N/A||Inc|
|Miscommunication and QB tosses it into the endzone, where none of his WRs are. Coverage(+1) looked good.|
|Drive Notes: FG(30), 35-13, 2 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Pistol trips bunch||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Roh||-3 (Pen -13)|
|Roh(+2) shoves an opposing guard into the backfield, causing a full stop by Cox as he reaches where he'd normally cut despite Black getting chop-blocked to the ground (no minus, that ain't right). Ryan(+0.5) cleans up as the unblocked backside guy. Ross(+0.5) split blockers and was going to be useful if Roh hadn't beat him to it. Flag overrides play.|
|O12||1||23||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Zone stretch||Black||3 (Pen -6)|
|Runner is actually a slot receiver who comes in motion and takes a shovel pass. Ryan(+0.5) gets upfield, forcing it back and stripping the WR of a lead blocker. Black(-0.5) avoided a cut but got delayed sufficiently that he can't close the hole. Ross is bugging out, gets blocked. Demens is taking 'er easy, which fine given down and distance. Ross forces back to Demens; before Demens can tackle the RB falls of his own accord. Another chop block backs them up even further.|
|O6||1||29||Shotgun trips covered||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Zone counter||Black||-1|
|Again with the counter; Ryan(+0.5) squeezes down and prevents that backside hole from forming. Black(+1) and Roh(+1) both shed blocks and meet Cox in the backfield to tackle for no gain.|
|O5||2||30||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Pass||4||Hitch||Clark||7|
|Clark(+1, pressure +1) rips around the corner and is about to safety the QB when he fires out a short hitch that is complete. Instant tackle from Demens(+0.5, cover +1)|
|O12||3||23||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Draw||N/A||10|
|Give up and punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 42-13, 12 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Pistol 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Power||Brink||7|
|Brink(-2) blown up by a double. This means Ross can't flow; Bolden(+1) got to the hole, stood up the blocker, and funneled to his help but that help got washed out. Ross does come through the block to tackle; Brink spun off and added a little help too.|
|O32||2||3||Shotgun 4-wide tight||Nickel even||Pass||4||Scramble||Clark||6|
|Clark(-0.5) left unblocked and gets in on the QB as coverage(+1) takes away whatever he was about to dink. Clark misses the tackle(-1); Campbell(-1) misses another tackle(-1) and QB squeezes out the first down. Campbell's was worse because QB didn't even put a move on.|
|O38||1||10||Shotgun trips||3-4 nickel||Run||N/A||Inverted veer keeper||Avery||-1|
|Avery(+2, tackling +1) comes up hard, stalls out a couple yards in the backfield, convinces the QB to give, and then tackles the guy. Ojemudia(+0.5) had prevented an OL from releasing into Ross so he was likely to hack this down pretty quickly.|
|O37||2||11||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Run||N/A||QB draw||Roh||3|
|Roh(+1) takes a shove from the C but still doesn't get kicked out and this convinces the QB to start rolling outside, away from the guys releasing downfield. Black(+1) also helped this no crease situation and when he read the play he's the guy containing, forcing the QB back into blockers.|
|O40||3||8||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Pass||5||Throwaway||Demens||Inc|
|Blitz gets picked up but Demens(+1, pressure +2) drives inside his blocker and gets upfield pressure; Roh(+0.5) also got in on the edge. QB is like seeya ball, don't need you no more.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 49-13, 8 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O29||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Washington||4|
|Washington(+1) clubs a G backwards, which cuts off the guy trying to move backside to pick up Ryan. Heitzman(-1) has gotten shoved backside, though, and there's a crease. Ryan(+0.5) comes down to tackle from behind. I still wish the LBs would be a little more aggressive here but this is single blocking and immediate release stuff. Bolden does shed to help tackle downfield.|
|O33||2||6||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Zone stretch||Clark||-6|
|Clark(+1) shoots past the RT and gets upfield, picking off a leading block. That's a two for one. Cox stops and thinks about hitting it up. I think Heitzman is again getting too much motion; Washington(-0.5) gets cut but Michigan gets lucky as Cox slips on his cut. By the time he gets going forward again Washington is to his feet and unblocked backside guy Ryan is a factor. Cox doesn't know when he's beat and gives up a bunch more yards by trying to outrun Ryan(+0.5) upfield. Shades of that Sugar Bowl play.|
|O27||3||12||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Pass||4||Rollout corner||Avery||13|
|Mostly an RPS thing as Richardson gets run off deep and there's no one in the zone to get the corner that develops underneath it. I'm guessing Avery may have been able to play this better somehow, but it probably wouldn't have been enough to stop it. (Cover -2, RPS -1)|
|O40||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Washington||2|
|Washington(+2) blows up the LG and shows up in the middle of the line. Brink(+0.5) is also there, albeit still blocked and just holding on. Bolden was free thanks to Washington's work and moves up in the hole, but doesn't actually get to do anything because Washington eats the guy instead. NT play. Just UMass. Remain calm.|
|O42||2||8||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Pass||3||Throwaway||Hawthorne||Inc|
|Another double flares and slant combo that is designed to get the LBs bugging out and open up the inside. Hawthorne(+1, cover +1) doesn't bite as Gordon flares out with the flare. Pipkins(+1) avoids a cut block and trundles up them middle, forcing a throwaway. RPS +1.|
|O42||3||8||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Pass||4||Out||Hawthorne||11|
|Stunt doesn't get there (pressure -1) and the man cover behind it is vulnerable to a route like this; would still like Hawthorne(-1, cover -1) to at least be there to challenge on the catch, maybe try a tackle. He's not and then misses his tackle attempt. No real damage, but first down yielded.|
|M47||1||10||Pistol 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Jones||4|
|Heitzman(-0.5) gets plowed back; he also lets a guy through, a guy that Hawthorne(-1) eats when he really should be able to scrape past it. Jones(+0.5) gets a hit on the pulling G at the LOS; Ojemudia(+0.5) can peel off and tackle thanks to the small hole created.|
|M43||2||6||Shotgun empty||Dime||Pass||5||Rollout out||CGordon||15|
|Rollout away from pressure effective; again running off that outside corner and finding space underneath. No idea if this is Gordon or Richardson or just RPS; we'll give it to RPS. (Cover -1, RPS -1)|
|M28||1||10||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Pass||4||Scramble||N/A||1|
|Thought this was a draw but no one releases downfield and the WRs are running routes, so just QB panic. No particular reason for this; unblocked LBs converge after a yard.|
|M27||2||9||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Pass||6||Batted||Bolden||Inc|
|Bolden(+0.5) gets a free run(pressure +2) and hits the QB as he throws. RPS +1|
|M27||3||9||Shotgun trips bunch||3-4 nickel||Pass||6||Batted||Clark||Inc|
|Clark(+1) bats down an out that may or may not have had it; Hollowell in coverage that is not great.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG(45), 56-13, 13 min 4th Q. It's walkon white CB time the next time UMass gets it; charting ceases.|
THEY GOT SIX YARDS ON THAT ONE CARRY WERRRRR GON DIEEEEE
I was with you man, but then I was like "oh, they are putting 250 pound guys at DT and 230 pound guys as 3-4 DEs."
WERRR GON DIE?
Oh, I'm not saying we're not going to die. We may very well die. But the yards UMass was grabbing weren't evidence of things that should carry over against bigger opponents. They were evidence you should not expose Mario Ojemudia to OL double teams at this juncture.
wer gon live?
Well, the Big Ten sucks. I'm a little worried about what it means when Michigan is not even playing its DTs on first and ten. Okay, it's a sub package. Why run that on a potential running down even if you've got the nickel in there? Is it because you're wondering if you can get away with it against other opponents? What does that say?
Mattison talked up Washington, FWIW…
"I will say this, the one guy if you ask me to single out, one guy I was really really pleased with as far as seeing his technique really come on was Quinton Washington. When he went in there, he did some things that we have been trying to get done, and it was just the technique. I was real pleased with him.”
…so I'd wait on any conclusions you might draw from the substitution patterns until after the ND game. If you've got some extra heebie to go with your jeebie I can't say I disagree.
That said, Roh and Black did turn in nice games. Here's this—
--chart I've got.
|Roh||8||0.5||7.5||Tiny opponent funtime.|
|Campbell||0.5||1||-0.5||Not much PT.|
|Black||8||1.5||6.5||Snuffed his share of runs.|
|Pipkins||1||-||1||One play late.|
|Heitzman||-||1.5||-1.5||Needs weight. Ideally would not see field until 2013.|
|Clark||8||2.5||5.5||Whacks down all the passes.|
|Ojemudia||1||3||-2||Too small to be anything but situational pass rusher.|
|TOTAL||30||12.5||17.5||Problem solved forever you guys.|
|Demens||1.5||-||1.5||Didn't notice him do much either way.|
|Ryan||8.5||-||8.5||Essentially a DE in this game.|
|Ross||3||2.5||0.5||Another couple blocks split; still think he got lost on misdirection.|
|Bolden||3.5||1||2.5||bring more BOOM plz|
|Hawthorne||1||2||-1||Nevermind the Hawthorne PT thing.|
|TOTAL||19||5.5||13.5||Jones also +0.5. Move Ryan to DL and this is a lot of nothing.|
|Floyd||3||-||3||Shoulda had a pick though.|
|Taylor||-||2||2||Flea flicker is the negative. Check cover metric below.|
|Kovacs||0.5||-||0.5||No deep passes at all.|
|T. Gordon||6||1||5||Various authoritative fills.|
|TOTAL||12||5||7||Not much to do.|
|Pressure||15||2||13||No time… no time!|
|Coverage||19||7||12||Open downfield guys were about zero.|
|Tackling||5||3||62%||Whiffs mostly on QB oddly.|
|RPS||8||11||-3||Weird personnel most of this.|
That's about what you'd expect when an opponent's offense scores six points.
Overall numbers are low because of a low number of plays and a lot of dinky four-yard routes on which pushes are extremely common since the DL doesn't have time to get to the QB and the thing to do in the secondary is let the pass happen and tackle.
Is any of this meaningful? Doubt it.
We did get a few additions to Frank Clark's rapidly expanding collection of knocked-down scuds. If he keeps doing this I might start calling him the Patriot Missile.
I'm worried about everything DL related.
I feel you. At least Clark is making plays out there. He was batting stuff down, he got a one on one speed rush that almost racked up a safety…
…and he made some plays against the run. He does tend to get far upfield quickly, which is nice on passing plays but could expose Michigan to things like That Goddamned Counter Draw, which ND used for a big gain against the Spartans.
Meanwhile on the other side, quasi-DL Jake Ryan is playing at a high level. Those two guys are your pass rush. Their performance against ND will be crucial, especially since Golson loves rollouts, whether they're called or impromptu.
Also, Quinton Washington made a couple of plays. He's driving UMass's center back and blowing stuff up…
…so this is obviously going to happen against ND. But that's what Mattison was talking about. If your NT is not going to do that when single-blocked, thus demanding another guy, your linebackers are doomed. It's hard to put their iffy performances to date in perspective when the line is not helping them out at all.
Kind of pointy for Gordon there.
Yeah. I thought he came down well when Cox popped through the line. If he missed a tackle it was after he'd created a long enough delay to prevent any more yards from being gained, and he didn't often do that:
The coaches were talking him up over the course of camp and we're beginning to see a sliver of that there. Yes, UMass, etc.
What's this "covered" thing?
A high school coach convinced me that "unbalanced" was not a great term for plays on which only four guys are eligible receivers because one is covered on the LOS. So I'll go with covered since that's explicit. For the people asking why you'd do this, UMass had a play made possible by it:
Michigan adjusted after that first one when UMass tried it a couple more times. Here they've dragged coverage outside and gotten that counter to work since Kovacs is in man and can't get through the trash as the LBs attack the frontside.
Mike Cox is good?
While he's tough to bring down and fairly athletic, I totally get why coaches benched him. He has a bad tendency to miss holes and then start running around in the backfield in a way you can't get away with in college.
Everybody! The line mostly because UMass couldn't get past the line.
What does it mean for ND and the future?
Another playmaking performance from Clark offers hope that Michigan can get some impact from their WDE spot. Notre Dame will be the big test for that. They probably should use NTs against the Irish, and Washington might be the man there. And… uh. Don't play Ojemudia as a five-tech?
It's UMass. It is not that useful.
Generally, this is going to be when we find out what happens against a bunch of mortals instead of the godly, dead, or bizarre. I'll be looking to see if Clark and Ryan can beat guys one on one on the edge, if Washington in particular can hold up—Campbell hope is flatlining—and looking out for Taylor on the edge. Moment of truth stuff this weekend.
Today's recruiting roundup has the latest on the Green/Treadwell/McQuay triumvirate, the status of Shane Morris, and much more.
Morris Done For The Year?
This isn't at all how Shane Morris expected to finish out his high school career—the Freep's Mick McCabe reports that Morris will miss this weekend's game with mono, and his coach doesn't expect him back for the rest of the season. If you doubt the kid's toughness, read this paragraph...
“He had a sore throat and took some medicine and took it easy at practice but didn’t feel any better," Verska said. “Friday morning, he had a blood test and found out right before the game he had mono. He said he wanted to play, and the doctor said it was OK, because it wasn’t in his spleen. And Mom and Dad said it was OK. He tried, but he ran out of gas in the second quarter.’’
...and then see where he ended up a couple days later:
Shane Morris sent me a text saying he is hospitalized for the night with mono, and they're not yet sure what will happen with his season.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) September 19, 2012
The biggest priority for Morris will be getting back on his feet and caught up in the classroom—no easy feat with mono—and I hope you'll join me in wishing him a swift recovery, because mono really, really sucks.
[Hit THE JUMP for upcoming official visit plans of McQuay, Green, and Treadwell, plus much more.]
I've been complaining about Michigan's punt coverage for a while now but it was a Notre Dame message board* that finally screencapped the thing. Here's Michigan's coverage at the point of the kick against UMass:
Couple of gunners with two guys on them, two guys at LOS with a blocker coming down the middle. This was a short punt by Wile that would have been fair caught around the ten if the returner hadn't fumbled it.
Same, though the gunners are diving inside this time.
At the catch:
That's a 31 yard punt and there is a ton of room for a return if the guy doesn't fumble it.
Even worse as this time there's only one guy at the LOS. This one is the bomb.
If these guys could catch any of these punts, there is room.
UMass uses the spread punt, which is now almost ubiquitous.
When their punter contacts the ball,there are four guys already five yards past the LOS and a fifth is there.
None of the guys downfield is being dealt with by more than one blocker, and that heap at the top of the screen is comprised of four Michigan players blocking two UMass guys. This one was a duck that barely got more than 30 yards that Gallon stayed away from.
UMass's second punt is from the ten and is a line drive of about 35 yards. The director used an end-zone shot, but here's the catch:
UMass's third punt was from the 42. On the kick:
You've got the two guys M did in the center releasing; they're further downfield. There's a guy on the edge who is doing a crappy job of getting a release and two outside guys against single blocking who are free to run. This punt is a beauty that goes 45 yards in the air and is fair caught:
And this is one of the worst teams in I-A.
Playing with fire
Michigan is doing it. They're giving back large chunks of the yards Hagerup's boomers are grossing and leaving themselves exposed to a game-changing return.
It's probably too late to do anything about this without risking a Boccher-style debacle, and I doubt Hoke has much interest in doing so anyway. On the upside, if opponents keep doubling the gunners you'd expect a fake to be pretty effective once you're playing six on eight in the box. The opponent can choose not to do this if you're in a situation when a fake is a reasonable possibility, though, and then you're stuck with two guys past the LOS when the kick launches.
*[I found it by looking at referrers; it looks like it wants to stay off the radar in case trolls or ND Nation admins descend so I'll forgo a link.]