THE BIG TEN IS PUT OFF BECAUSE OF STORMS
For those that were wondering where this diary was this week, it was in my head. By this, I mean that I had every intention to do it as normal, but because my life goes to hell when the weather goes to hell due to my real-life job, things like this get put off until the next available moment. Indeed, that moment did not come until this morning as the storms from Sunday did a good amount of damage around southeast Michigan.
This week’s entry will be somewhat abbreviated, however, so if there is more specific information that anyone would like, I can produce it.
SCORING OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
At this point in the season, it seems unlikely that anyone will catch Ohio State and their 49.4 points per game average, but Michigan does sit in the next tier, if you will, with Wisconsin, Indiana and Nebraska as teams that can put some points on the board. In our case, we have 34.3 points per game on average and that is good for fifth in the conference. When it comes to giving up points, Michigan sits in the middle of the conference approximately at 25.2 points per game allowed. By leaps and bounds, the most generous teams are Illinois, Purdue and Indiana. I doubt that changes now.
TOTAL OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
Last week, it was mentioned that our attempts at forming an identity on offense were creating a bit of a muddle when it came to our average yardage differential. Despite how the Northwestern game may have looked, no harm, no foul this week – we still sit there with a slightly positive differential. Wisconsin and Purdue are the extremes in the conference, one because of their rushing attack and the other because of their ability to crater themselves with a mere thought.
RUSHING OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
At this point, it is well-established that we have some issues with the when, how and why of rushing, and our rushing offense is still twice as productive as Purdue, which is good for 11thin the conference. Ohio State and Wisconsin have essentially made the most prolific rushing offense a two-team race this season, leaving the rest of us to try and catch up. However, we are still quite proficient at stopping runs overall, as you can see below:
PASSING OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
We’ll start with defense here – we allow an average of 236.4 yards per game through the air, which is 10thin the conference. Interestingly, our pass efficiency defense rating is 117, which is third in the conference. So, we have our moments, but we’ve given up some good sized plays. That aside, Michigan is doing quite well on passing offense, as you will note below:
DOWNS AND DIFFERENTIALS:
In what has been a slow slide since the Michigan State game, Michigan is now in a rare position of having a slightly negative third down differential. As we know, that won’t make it impossible to win, but it typically makes it a little more difficult. It can be considerably more difficult actually, if the differential is well into negative territory. Michigan’s average differential is -0.80, which is not unrecoverable but it does speak to some of our issues with sustaining drives. If nothing else, we do average more first downs than our opponents, which does help some.
I’m not touching the play call itself. Most of have pretty strong feelings about it. Criticizing a failed play in hindsight is usually a pretty lazy thing to do, but Michigan has a set of plays this year that have a firm history of no success and should never be run in critical situations.
But what about the decision itself to go for the 1st down. In the situation there were two possible choices and two possible outcomes for each.
|Kick the FG||Success/Failure|
|Go for the 1st||Success/Failure|
Each choice has an associated odds of success and each outcome has a resulting win odds.
Kick The FG
The safe, NFL worthy decision would have been to kick the field goal (“Take the points,” because field goals are never missed). In a low scoring game this probably gets you to overtime and there are no guarantees you get another chance or that you can take advantage of it. The downside is that with about 5 minutes to go, you are opening the door to give Northwestern the ball with plenty of time to drive the field and run out the clock.
A successful field goal means kicking off in a tie game with about 5 minutes left. In this situation, the team kicking off wins about 46% of the time. A made field goal would have made Michigan a slight underdog.
In the fourth quarter of close games, college kickers make 94% of field goals from inside the 5 yard line. Those are pretty good odds, but still a 1 in 16 chance that the kick is missed or blocked. A missed kick would have given Northwestern the ball at the 20 and dropped Michigan’s odds of winning to 23%.
Go for the First Down
Picking up positive yardage has been a challenge for Michigan the last month. Had they been able to convert for a first down their win odds would jump up to 70% (74% with a touchdown). Still plenty of time for a Northwestern touchdown, but definitely putting Michigan in the driver’s seat.
The failure to secure the first down left Michigan with a 34% chance at victory. Far from over but a lot of leverage on the play.
The Break Even Point
A field goal attempt would have given Michigan a 45% chance at victory once the small chance of a miss or block is factored in. With 70% odds with a first down and 34% odds if they failed to get the first down, Michigan would need to be able to have at least a 30% chance of success to break even on going for the first down. Michigan has had its troubles on offense but a 30% break even point is a low bar. 3rd or 4th and 1’s from inside the 5 are converted at 57% historically. So even if Michigan was half as likely as an average team to convert it still would have been an even decision with kicking the field goal.
If the numbers seem too high or too low there are a couple of follow up dynamics in play. A failed fourth down would have left Northwestern with the ball and the lead late. Coaching history as taught us that this is a recipe for most coaches to curl up into a ball and try and ground out the clock and if they’re lucky get a first down or two. Because of this often failed mentality, giving the other team back the ball with a lead can be more valuable than giving them back the ball with a tie where there is some pressure to push forward.
I think this was absolutely the correct decision to go for the first down in the situation even if the “execution” was less than ideal.
No Turnovers?: It is extremely rare in football when neither team has a turnover. The last time this happened to Michigan was three years ago in the Penn State game in 2010. The official stats for the game will document there was a turnover and will be misleading. It was fourth and 23 in OT and the game would have ended on that play with merely an incomplete pass rather than the interception in the end zone. But, Thomas Gordon will be happy and it does help Michigan's turnover stats.
Synopsis: Michigan's TOM for the game was +1.0 and for the year is now +1.0 (+ 0.10 per game) which improved slightly to #55. Turnovers were not a primary factor in determining which team won the game. In fact, turnovers have not been a factor in determining which team has won the game in any of Michigan's games this year.
Funchess had the one fumble in OT but recovered it himself. Thomas Gordon ended the game with his interception (his third of the season).
Michigan is +6.0 in TOM for B1G conference games which is second only to MSU at +8.0. And yet, M is a mediocre 3-3 in conference play. Perhaps the 2.3 YPA for rushing in B1G conference games has something to do with that (ranked #11 in B1G and 34% less than the next worse – Illinois at 3.5 YPA).
Versus Iowa: For the year, Michigan and Iowa are virtually identical for turnovers. Iowa has 1.6 giveaways per game ranked #57 and 1.60 takeaways per game ranked #75 with a 0.00 TOM per game ranked #61. But, Iowa is –0.20 TOM for home games. Michigan has a +0.3 TOM for home games and has a -0.2 TOM for away 3 games. For B1G conference games, Iowa's TOM is –1.0 and is ranked #7.
National Rankings: All rankings include games between two FBS teams ONLY and are from TeamRankings except for forced fumbles which is from CFBStats. The four columns with *** show the best correlation to offense and defense (per Advanced NFL stats).
This chart shows Expected Points for various yard lines.
This chart shows the basis of EP calculations for each turnover.
It's always such an honor to reach out to the UM fan base. I cannot thank you all enough for your continuous support throughout the years while playing at Michigan, in addition to the various endeavors I have been involved in since my basketball career ended back in 2009. To the MGoBlog staff and all the readers out there, I just want to say thank you.
Because of your support, and the support of many others, my cause-based fashion brand, Merit, has opened up its very first retail storefront right in the heart of the UM campus (1113 South University). For those of you that don't know, every Merit purchase shapes the fate of students in need and helps send them to college. Not only do we donate 20% of all our revenue to fund college scholarships for underserved youth, but our very own education enrichment program (FATE) increases access to college by providing the tools and opportunities necessary for our students to graduate high school.
Did I mention, the product stands on its own? We've worked extremely hard to offer tees, hats, hoodies, henleys, and accessories that are incredibly fresh and provide amazing comfort.
All in all, we need your support. This is an enormous endeavor and we would like the chance to be successful and become a fabric of the UM/Ann Arbor community for many years to come. So if you can, come out and support our grand opening this Wednesday, Nov 20th at 6:30 PM. If you can't, come by some other time. Tell your friends and family too. We need all the support we can get. :) Thank you for your time and GO BLUE!
Merit Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday; 12-8pm
Amidst all of Michigan's offensive struggles this year, the relative youth of our offensive line, particularly along the interior, has been a constant concern. Regardless of which side you fall on in the "Execution vs. Play-Calling" debate, you probably agree that having 6 combined years of experience between our three interior linemen is part of the issue. While the interior will hopefully improve next year with another year under each of their belts, Michigan will be losing it's two 5th year senior tackles.
With this in mind, I attempted to quantify the impact that an offensive line's experience has on a team's offensive success. Can Michigan expect to improve it's offensive output next season? How painful will it be to lose Lewan and Schofield?
I used depth charts from Rivals' database (they seemed more or less up to date) to get average experience (defined by academic standing) for each team in the Big 10's OL as a whole as well as split up by subgroup (T, G, C). I then drew scatter plots comparing those ages to overall YPA and rushing/passing YPA.
After seeing the initial results, I had to remove Purdue since they have the oldest OL and yet the worst offense by nearly two standard deviations. Some other teams were lesser outliers (Michigan, Indiana) but with such a small sample I didn't want to remove them too.
Michigan has a young, but not absurdly so, offensive line. Of course, they are helped tremendously by Lewan and Schofield. They have a very young interior though, with 6 combined years of experience. Iowa's interior is second youngest at 8 combined years, and their offense isn't exactly instilling fear across the nation either.
Purdue sucks. Wisconsin, OSU, and Indiana are really good. The rest of the Big 10 is mediocre. No news here.
Below are a series of scatterplots comparing the age of each Big 10 team's OL (and it's subgroups) to the offense's YPA (passing and rushing.
Overall, the age of the offensive line seems to have little to no impact on overall yards per play. In the Big 10, it has a slight positive impact on rushing yards but actually has a slight negative impact on passing yards. The negative impact on Passing YPA is mainly due to Michigan and Indiana, two teams with young OLs but high Passing YPA. In general though, these are pretty low R-squared values and don't seem to show much.
Tackles seem to have almost no impact on YPA, whether in the air or on the ground. This is probably largely a function of the sample, where 7 of the 11 teams have tackles with 7 combined years of experience. If I remove Indiana, the impact on Passing YPA becomes more meaningful, which makes sense given tackles' roles in pass protection. Michigan is wholly responsible for dragging down the Rushing YPA graph.
Again, guards' ages don't show much impact on YPA according to R-squared, although you can see an upward trend here at least. Even removing Michigan's young guards results in guard age having a negative correlation with passing YPA which is surprising. The rushing YPA graph makes sense at least, showing a relatively strong R-squared value.
Center experience shows by far the strongest relationship between age and YPA. This makes sense both because of center's importance to the OL as well as the complexity of the position requiring some experience to learn. The entirety of that influence comes on the ground, with center's age meaning nothing to passing YPA.
Before attempting to draw any conclusions, I think a few caveats must be stated:
- This analysis looks strictly at academic standing as a measure of experience. That means that a RS senior starting for the first time is viewed as more experienced than a true junior in his third year of starting.
- This analysis ignores all positions other than OL. As we saw last season at Michigan, for example, a dynamic QB can make up for a youthful offensive line. It also overlooks TEs, which in a system like Michigan's are also a vital part of the OL.
- The sample size is pretty thin. If I had more time, I'd like to do this for a large group - maybe the top 25 teams or something.
The above aside, I still think there are some interesting takeaways from this analysis.
- Offensive line experience matters in the run game. OSU and Wisconsin have the top two offenses in terms of YPA and 2 of the 4 most experienced lines. In particular, their rushing attacks average over a yard more per attempt than any other team.
- Offensive line experience does not seem to matter as in the air. While Indiana's passing YPA may be a function of it's system, Minnesota and Illinois have respectable averages with relatively young lines.
- Michigan's rushing game should improve next year (how can it get any worse...). Both guard and center experience correlate with rushing YPA. Losing their tackles doesn't appear to have much impact based on this analysis.
- Michigan's passing game is not necessarily doomed next year. The data doesn't show much one way or another, but tackle experience at least is not strongly correlated with offensive success in this sample.
Any thoughts/feedback are welcome.
I watched this game on tape and isolated from what seemed like a generally negative atmosphere on MGoBlog during the game. Also, I forgot to turn off my phone, so the result was ruined at around halftime for me, so I saved myself the stress and nail-biting aspect I'm sure people watching live felt. As such, I came away with a generally more positive feeling about the offense. We seemed to be moving the ball a lot better than we have the last couple weeks (lowered expectations is a wonderful thing). 365 yards, 3.2 YPC and 5.3 isn’t great, but worlds better than recent efforts and a marked improvement. Still, only 9 points in regulation and no 3rd down conversions (3 for 17 overall) is concerning and shouldn’t be glossed over either. We seem to be improving, but not good enough yet to get out of our own way enough to keep drives alive and score TDs.
The following Diary is an attempt to analyze the cause of our abysmal performance on 3rd down conversions by looking at the entire set of downs preceding each one. I attempt to assign blame, much like Brian did in his similarly eye bleed inducing 27 for 27.
Drive 1: 1st and 10 from NW 8 after a promising opening drive
1st down. Gardner sees 9 man front, checks into .... run. Argh. Unblocked defender meets Green at the LOS for loss of 1.
- Gardner -1
2nd down. Waggle play. I absolutely hate this play call. Gardner does well to get back to the LOS.
- Borges -1
What exactly is the plan here?
3rd down. Shotgun 4 wide. Gardner has good protection but bugs out early after his 1st read is covered. Funchess hasn't even made his break yet and appears to be open just as Gardner heads into a defender for no gain.
- Gardner -1
FG good 3-0 Michigan
Drive 2: 1st and 10 from M 48 after a couple first downs from Funchess and Gallon screens and Green runs up the middle.
1st and 10. I form run. Gardner fakes the quick screen and hands off. Nice hole at the line between Glasgow and Bosch and Kerridge seals the edge. Green pounds it forward for 7. Good play, no minuses
2nd and 3. NW has 9ish in box against 8 blockers. M actually does ok picking up first level defenders but Kerridge doesn't get any push and gets shed easily. D. Smith misses a cutback lane and plows directly into the pile for a yard. There was some space to make a play here I think.
- Borges -0.3
- Blocking (Houma) -0.3
- RB (D.Smith) -0.4
It’s collapsing, but the hole does exist momentarily.
3rd and 2. Michigan does its best Stanford impression and lines everyone up in a bunch. NW responds in kind with everyone in the box. PA with a designed roll out to the right. Right side of line gets caved and Gardner has to redirect 7 yards upfield to avoid it. TFL
- Borges -0.8
- Blocking -0.2
Drive 3: 1st and 10 from NW 48 after NW goes 3 and out and punts.
1st and 10. Michigan 3 wide shotgun with Funchess in slot. Gardner looks for Funchess, hesitants and then tries to throw it to him but a defender has gotten into the lane. Lucky for that not to be INT. Pocket also breaks down just as he throws. Gallon looks open downfield later but could just be his defender broke off after the throw. I'm tempted to put this all on NW playing it well, but I Gardner might have been able to make a better throw there. So I guess
- Gardner -0.5
- NW -0.5.
2nd and 10. Shotgun with 3 receiver stack on one side and another on the other side. Michigan runs inverted veer. Not really sure what went wrong here. The option man does play this just about perfect, forcing the pull but yet still harassing Gardner enough to prevent him from getting north-south. Perimeter blocking is pretty poor as Gardner is tackled for no gain. I think I'm going with
- NW -0.75
- Blocking (Butt, Gallon) -0.25
3rd and 9. NW brings the house because we can't do crap with it in 3 weeks. Gardner nearly gets sacked but gets it off that's batted down. Chesson ran a quick out route and was open for the dump off but Gardner has his eyes the other direction. It probably wouldn't of picked up the 1st down either though. We had a man for every defender here but Bosch gets destroyed and Magnuson and Kerridge didn't do too much better. I know everyone will want me to put this on Borges, but there looked to be a quick outlet but Gardner was looking for more (understandable with 3rd and 10 I guess). I'm going to go
- Blocking (Bosch) -0.5
- Down and distance -0.3
- Gardner -0.1 from not getting rid of it see if Chesson can get some YAC
- NW -0.1 for covering the routes. 3rd and long is tough. :(
Very short window for Gardner to dump it off, Bosch allows instant penetration.
Drive 4: 1st and 10 NW 41 after a Funchess catch for 1st down.
1st and 10, play action. RB screen to Hayes for 5. Nice play that could've gone for much more with one better block from Bosch. No minuses though, that's a tough match-up for him I guess.
2nd and 5. I form run. Bosch has a tough combo block as the D line slants away from him. Green reads it and cuts behind Lewan but trips over him a bit. Paskorz ID's his block late and has a bad angle, probably because the play wasn't designed to go where Green went. Green falls forward for 3. I dunno, let's go with
- Blocking -0.5
- Crap happens/ok play for what it is -0.5.
3rd and 2. Shotgun, 2 reciever stack with Butt at TE on other side. 2 backs next to Gardner. NW brings the house and Gardner tries to dump it to Green leaking out of backfield. The one LB that stays in coverage reads Gardner's eyes the whole way and almost pick sixes it. Butt is all by himself, no defender within 5 yards. Too bad, blitz pick up was excellent. Snap gets bobbled, FWIW, might have thrown off timing.
- NW -.75
- Gardner -0.25 for telegraphing and not seeing Butt.
Butt is literally hand-wavingly open.
Drive 5: 1st and 10 M29 after a Gallon pitch and catch
1st and 10: Shotgun 3 wide with TE eligible. Bubble screen to Funchess, dropped.
- Drop (Funchess) -1
2nd and 10: I form PA, Gallon open on an out route. Throw is dead on but dropped.
- Drop (Gallon) -1
3rd and 10: Shotgun with triple stack on the field side. NW blitzes like you’d expect. Michigan actually gets in position to pick this up but the delay by the LB convinces Hayes to help Williams by making a diving attempt at Willams's guy’s feet. To be fair Williams is having a hard time, but com’n. Hayes has to pick the LB up.
- Blocking (Hayes) -0.8
- Gardner -0.1 for not dumping off
- NW -0.1 for presumably covering 1st down depth routes
You would assume Hayes blocks 44 here.....
...you would assume wrong. No.44, come on down!
Drive 6: 1st and 10 M 15
1st and 10: I form run into 8 man box. Michigan has 7 blockers. Blocking is also a complete mess as Kerridge seems to head to a different hole than the OL is blocking and Glasgow can't get a tough combo block. Green gets swarmed for no gain.
- Borges -0.75
- Blocking -0.25
2nd and 10: Play action from I form. NW blitzs 2 LBs and another gets sucked in by the PA, leaving a huge hole underneath. Gallon is wide open for 20 but Gardner puts it too far in front. Gallon gets his hands on it but can't bring it in. Nice play that had potential.
- Gardner -1
3rd and 10: Surprisingly NW rushes 4 and drops into coverage. Bosch gets chucked like a ragdoll allowing his guy a free run at Gardner. Glasgow looks to be releasing downfield, so the play call was probably a screen anyway. Gardner dumps off to Funchess. Michigan has this blocked well except Magnuson for whatever reason leaves the guy he's engaged with to go help Glasgow. The guy he leaves tackles. WTF.
- Blocking -1
Magnuson was in good position to block his man (the guy he's got his left hand on) but he’s losing him now because he’s worrying about Glasgow’s guy
Magnuson instead leaves his guy to go block Glasgow, not Glasgow’s guy, Glasgow. The guy he leaves covers and tackles Funchess on the screen pass.
Drive 7: 1st and 10 at midfield on a screen to Chesson and a nice pair of runs by D Smith
1st and 10. I form run. NW only has 7 in the box, but the safeties are in fairly shallow alignment and one tears at the LOS at the snap. Doesn't really matter since Magnuson and Paskorz both get chucked aside and there's two unblocked guys to meet Green at the LOS. Probably wasn't going far based on design and defense.
- Borges -0.5
- Blocking -0.5
2nd and 10: Gardner under center in I form with Funchess and Gallon out wide on either side. NW brings a safety blitz and Gardner hangs out coolly in the pocket as the unblocked defender is screaming towards him. Gallon is left singled up so Gardner goes to him. The corner does a fantastic job to undercut the throw. Seemed to be some confusion between Gardner and Gallon, maybe he had to get rid of it early, but I also think he left it a bit short/inside.
- NW -0.75
- Gardner - 0.25
3rd and 10: Shotgun with 3 wide to the field side. Michigan rolls the pocket as NW rushes 5 and sends a delayed blitzer. It's picked up well. Dileo is 1 vs 1 and Gardner throws it to him, but a beat late. As a result the defender makes a diving play to knock it away and also runs over Dileo in the process. Borderline PI no call.
- NW -0.75
- Gardner -0.15
- Refs -0.1
Ball is still in the air and Dileo is being run over, looks like PI to me.
Drive 8: 1st and 10 at NW 30 following a couple nice passes and a long Derrick Green run.
1st and 10: Assigning blame can be tricky business but this one is easy. Play action from under center and Schofield straight up gets beat by his guy as he takes a step inside at the snap (WTF?) Sack for 13. Ugh
- Blocking (Schofield) -1
Where are you going Schofield? Your responsibility is to your right, why are you taking a step left?
2nd and 23: Michigan spreads the field with 4 wide in shotgun. Pass is batted down at the line. Looked maybe ill advised anyway as a LB drops to undercut Funchess's route. Can't tell for sure, so we'll give this one to
- NW -1
3rd and 23: Shotgun with triple stack WRs opposite AJ Williams at TE, FB in backfield with Gardner. Delayed blitz. M has no chance at picking this up since the whole line shifts right leaving a gaping hole for Kerridge to defend and two guys coming through it. He gets neither. Dileo looked open for a hot read, but not sure. This is an RPS- type play, but more of the variety where the opponent does something well as opposed to you doing something stupid.
- NW -0.3
- Down and distance -0.4
- Blocking (Kerridge) -0.2 for not even slowing down either guy
- Gardner -0.1 for holding on to it.
Drive 9: Michigan 1st and goal at NW 10 following the shankapotamus punt from NW.
1st and Goal: NW has 8.5 in the box shifted towards the boundary side because AJ Williams and Butt next to each other screams run to that side. Michigan runs to that side. Goes about as well as you'd expect.
- Borges -1, but also gotta check out of that one man.
I think NW might know we’re running left guys.
2nd and goal: Shotgun with 2 stacked receivers to the field side and one to the boundary. Butt motions past the stacked guys. Nice play design leaves 3 recievers on 2 defenders and Funchess is open. But... Michigan rolls the pocket that way to help out the OL and Gardner turfs it because he's on the run and doesn't set his feet. It's actually still catcable, especially for Funchess, but tough.
- Gardner 0.8
- Drop (Funchess) 0.2
3rd and goal: Play action I form. Gallon is one on one and Gardner tries to hit him on a fade in the corner of the endzone but air mails it. Wind was probably a factor here and defender had pretty good position.
- Gardner -0.7
- Crap happens -0.2
- NW -0.1
FG - 6-9
Drive 10: 1st and 10 at NW 13 on a couple nice pass and catch to Gallon.
1st and 10: Freaking waggle. Gardner jukes 2 guys to make something out of nothing for 5, getting plastered in the process. I'm still minusing Borges for the play even though it worked. It worked in spite of the play call not because of it.
- Borges -1
Again, what is the plan here? Gardner is running for his life 10 yards behind the LOS.
2nd and 5: Shotgun 4 wide. Gardner looks screen (probably fake) and then gives a delayed handoff to D. Smith who jukes a guy and burrows for 4. No minuses
3nd and 1: Michigan in jumbo package under center with 2 TE and a H-back. Bosch cedes ground at the snap and that's all she wrote. Play design seems borked too since I don't know where Schofield is pulling to and Kerridge seals the edge instead of blocking the point of attack. Thought D.Smith got hosed on the spot as he got back to the LOS but they docked him a yard for 4th and 2 FWIW. Also, gotta question why you don't have Green in this situation instead.
- Borges -0.8 doing something Michigan can't do, even if it's the right play for 1 yard.
- Blocking (Bosch) -0.2
4th and 2: Tackle over, *sigh*. I get the idea here: sucker NW into over playing the left so you can sneak Gardner around right. The problem is it doesn't look like the normal tackle over since you bring in Williams in as a TE on the other side with an extra lineman too. Add in a pulling Kalis and NW has this sniffed out and dead to rights. A couple weak blocks by Green and Magnuson were the cherry on top.
- Borges -0.9,
- Blocking (Green, Magnuson) 0.1.
Hoke seems on tilt after going conservative burns him a couple times earlier in the season
Drive 11: 1st and 10 at NW 30, following a (legit) PI on NW. Michigan is running it's 2 min drill and if you want to be technical, they failed 2 3rd down conversions on this drive earlier, but converted on 4th
1st and 10: Shotgun 3 wide. NW rushes 4. God. Damn. It. Schofield. He does his step inside thing when he's got a guys shaded outside of him. I don't get it man. He's not even trying to sell PA or something. I mean come the f*ck on man.
- Blocking -1. Gardner needs to get rid of it here, but he had very little time.
Again Schofield? Your guy is outside of you, what are you looking and stepping inside for?
2nd and 23: Nice play, overthrown. Chesson had a step on his man. Wind a factor on such a long throw. Protection was good. Could maybe question a shot down field when you should be working back into FG range, but that's nit-picky. FWIW
- Gardner -0.75
- Crap happens -0.25
3rd and 23: Shotgun 4 wide, 3 on the far side. Gallon catches it short and in bounds.
- Down and Distance.-1
Monkey Rodeo FG ties it. Lulz
(OT1: Hey Hey! Michigan converts 3rd and 5 on their way to scoring, the first of the game.)
OT2: Michigan converts another on 3rd and 1. The next one.. not so much
1st and 10: I form PA. Play action does suck up the LBs and leaves Butt 1 v 1. Gardner holds for way too long staring him down, not sure what he's waiting for. Bosch gets beat and forces Gardner to scramble for a loss of 1.I guess Butt can turn his head a little sooner, but this play is there if Gardner gets the pass off.
- Gardner -0.75
- Blocking (Bosch) -0.25
2nd and 11: Shotgun 3 wide. Butt runs a flat route and Gardner hits him. NW does a good job not allowing YAC. No minuses, par for the course for everyone.
3rd and 8: I form PA again. Again the play action sucks up the LBs. Gallon works a post in front of his corner and Gardner hits him dead on. Dropped. *sigh*
- Drop (Gallon) -1.
OT3: Gardner scores on 3rd and goal FTW, literally. What’s this feeling? Happiness? No too far… Not sadness? Yes, definitely not sadness.
Gardner comes out with the largest chunk, but I think a lot of that is just the nature of his position. I ding him small fractions of points for not making the exact correct reaction to someone else's screw up. Still, he did miss some key throws, held the ball too long a couple times, and failed to check out of bad plays and/or made bad checks.
Borges is at just about 25% too, which is higher than I initially expected. The waggle plays were just brutal, I just don't see the upside with it. Gardner has to scramble for his life to make a couple yards if he's lucky, usually at the cost of getting lit up. The jumbo package stuff is also frustrating. It might be the right call if you have the right personnel for short yardage situations, but it's beyond clear we don't. In the interest of fairness, I do feel compelled to say Borges made some nice adjustments that helped keep the ball moving at times and kept the blitz at bay except on obvious passing situations. Also, in his defense, some of the minuses were based on the defensive alignment, which he can only guess at when calling the play, but I'm following Brian's convention here for consistency. That said, when Borges's lizard brain took over, it was costly to Michigan in terms of keeping drives alive.
Blocking was next up. There was improvement but consistency was still any issue. When things went bad, they were costly. The sacks left Michigan in deep, deep holes. Even on 3rd and short, basic assignments were missed that cost us the first down on several occasions.
Also, you gotta give NW credit. Their defensive backs were all over our receivers and we were extremely fortunate not to have many INTs, some of the pick six variety. Beyond that, we had some drops and the wind played a factor but those weren't really persistent problems.
So.. takeaways? None really that we didn't know. We have a lot of issues everywhere still. At least we were ending some long drives with screw-ups at times instead of never getting drives going. That's something to build on going into Iowa I guess.