The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
FF410: 2012 Spring Game Breakdown - DG Pass Plays - Day 3
Last time we looked at the second five pass plays from Devin Gardner and analyzed the results. Today will be much of the same. I'll also break down one defensive play.
Play 11 - 4:12
It’s really hard to tell what routes the WRs are running as the camera doesn’t give a good enough look. Based on the down in distance I would assume it’s a verts play, either 3 or 4 verticle routes in an attempt to find an opening between the safeties downfield. In all honesty, I can’t even really tell what the defense is running. You can see that the two safeties are dropping. My guess is that this is a very safe cover 4, in which case hitting any seem pass is going to be difficult. If they were facing cover 3 or cover 2 the play would work very well, as the safety would have to essentially choose a side, however, against cover 4, the WRs are basically running directly at the defenders. If every assumption I made is correct, than DG makes the correct read on the check down.
DG’s footwork here looks alright. You can still see him thinking about his drop a little bit though once he gets set. It’s clearly his natural tendency to escape backwards out of the pocket still (or simply to keep dropping/back peddling). He hesitates and looks a little indecisive with his footwork as he attempts to at least maintain his position (or stand in the pocket). I’d still like to see him actually step in and make his throw though. He “arm throws” it again on the check down pass. It was successful, but it’s still breaking form, which leads to bad habits which leads to bad mistakes. DG looks like he does everything effortlessly (I mean that in a good way), but I think he needs to not be so lax on the shorter throws and stop trying to aim the ball and actually throw it properly.
The RB out of the backfield actually probably has an option route, either check to the outside, inside, or check back (in between gaps in the LB zones). Smith makes the correct read and Ryan does a poor job of getting a body on him. Typically, the LB in this case will essentially want to take away half the field by using his body. If the RB tries to cross the LB, the LB needs to stop the RBs body. If the LB is in the correct position, the RB will have no choice but to break this outside, where the LB’s body is facing and the LB can make a play. Ryan wiffs and thus the RB picks up decent yards. There is some confusion in the zone drops by the LBs as it appears Ryan and the MLB drop to the same point, rather than bracketing anyone coming out of the backfield/crossing the field.
A couple other things I’d like to point out: notice the nickel back over the slot toward the top of the screen. He is lined up inside of his receiver to stop any quick slants to break into the next level. He then forces the WR off of his path (though not exactly well) to disrupt the timing of the play and appears to let him through to the deep safety. He is covering the short zone to the field side, but is dropping deep because of down and distance.
Play 12 - 4:33
Michigan in a pro set I and the defense in their typical 4-3 under look with a safety rolled down. DG appears to almost drop the snap as he is really trying to bail out and get a good run fake. Michigan is doing something that should look familiar, deep post to one side to take advantage of any single man coverage, and a levels concept to the short side to take advantage of any zone look. The defense actually shows a wrinkle, which I can be seen below: a corner blitz.* Note how they roll the DBs so that they are still running a cover 3/ shifted cover 2.
I believe here that the TE is open but DG can’t get him the ball because of the pressure. The X receiver successfully takes the safety covering him out of the short zone. He does so by attacking the safety, which he would do regardless if the corner was blitzing or if it was a typical cover 2. He forces the safety to take him and take away the inside threat, before breaking to the corner. Will bites hard on the PA and gets out of position and the TE is athletic enough to get behind him, which is why I believe he is open toward the sideline. I believe DG was making the correct read as you see him look left when he sees the SS stay high (basically bracketing the Z receiver). But he feels the pressure and can’t make his second read (the TE). I think he actually had enough time to make the read if he stays in the pocket, but it would have been an uncomfortable throw. This is because of the O-line. The LT recognizes the corner blitzing very late but gets enough of a push on the corner to drive him deep. The break down on the offensive line actually comes at LG, as he gives up too much depth which doesn’t give DG a solid pocket. This forces DG to basically run and he makes some athletic plays to gain yards and use his center as a blocker.
The breakdown on defense comes from the WILL spot, as he slips when trying to contain DG. That changes this from a 3 yard play to a big gain.
*As said, Michigan is corner blitzing and turning into a quasi- cover 3 or shifted cover 2. It appears as if the FS is matched up on the X receiver, most likely to prevent any quick play like a quick WR pass so that he has the ball in space. He then follows him deep, so I think it’s more of a cover 3. It could also be a shifted cover 2 which is the second picture below.
Play 13 - 4:50
Slants with a play action fake to get the LBs to clear out from the underneath zones. Very simple play. I like it from the shotgun because it moves the LBs away from the single receiver side. The tightend sells the play action by faking a run block on a power play or a QB read. It also allows DG to see the play develop. The first thing DG reads is the single high safety and single coverage on the X receiver. This means that he is going to the X receiver pretty much all day as his initial read. If the CB over the X receiver had safety help, he would look to the other side initially. At the snap, the WR does a great job getting off the LOS cleanly. He runs a great route until the end, when he starts to fade up field. It doesn’t appear this is really his fault though. Clearly, there is PI on the CB on this play. But even before that it looks like he grabs the shoulder and pulls the WR into him. I guess it’s a good play by the corner as it would have been a TD had he not interfered. The problem begins with the WILL over committing to the run and not maintaining his underneath zone, which is intended to stop the slant. Basically Michigan has two LBs covering one zone that no one on offense is threatening.
The backside is actually more open on this play, but DG can’t know that because he is accurately going through his progression, which reads that the first man is open (which he is for a TD, good read). On the field side, the slot is more or less intended to clear out that underneath zone from the nickel back/ LBs/ safety by running an initial slant. He doesn’t run a great route but it isn’t too important. The outside WR then runs behind that to a news vacated area, which is also wide open. He runs it a little more flat and a little deeper to truly attack the endzone and the opening between the FS and the corners. The corner either needs to play it more inside, as the slant or in is much more dangerous than the fade route if he doesn’t have safety help; or the safety can’t react so much to the run fake and take himself out of position. The corners alignment tells me he thought he had safety help, but the safety’s eyes tell me he was looking run support first and would help over the slot first. There is some confusion there on the defense. It appears he is playing him straight up as if he has inside help, which isn’t there because of the slant from the slot.
This play looks eerily familiar to a great play in Michigan history, where Michigan attacks the 2 WR side with great success:
- Tight end will not be a position of strength this year. The run blocking is their strong area, which is meh. The route running is ugly.
- WR =/= getting separation. This was a worry last year and it gets even scarier this year. They still need to work a lot on their route running, as I think the athletes, while not great, are sufficient enough to get open. Hopefully they’ll be working hard over the summer.
- The O-line is still feeling itself out. Barnum appears to be struggling with some calls, which is expected at this point. LG is a worry. At this point I actually think having a Denard type QB is beneficial for this O-line, as the tackles still struggle gaining depth and any QB that takes deeper drops is risking getting beat up a bit. They are a much stronger unit at run blocking.
- DG needs to improve his footwork. You can tell he’s working at it, but it’s still not second nature. When his footwork is better, it still looks a bit mechanical. Otherwise it slips and you see some poor throws. The worst is that he doesn’t consistently step into throws. He has a strong arm, but needs to improve his mechanics to become more accurate. Also needs to work on getting the snap from under center (he’s bailing early). This is probably a bit nerves to be honest. Very good athlete though (aka get him in at WR).
- I’ll try to discuss the RB position a bit more later, but there is a wide separation between Fitz in the next guy. The depth seems decent, but Michigan needs Fitz to stay healthy this year (knock on wood).
- It appears that Kovacs has moved to more of a free safety position, which is something I haven’t seen pointed out here before.
- It looks like Michigan will run more odd fronts this year to get more LBs on the field as LB appears to be a stronger position group than the D-line, particularly on passing downs
- As many have seen, even during last year, the DBs have improved and continue to improve tremendously. This was partially due to them being so young previously, but also because they are actually being coached properly. You can see them starting to naturally understand why they are doing what they are doing, not just individually but as a group. There is no understating how much better that makes the position group.
- The LBs are still struggling a bit with their zone drops. This is something almost all programs struggle with as there as so many other responsibilities they are being coached to do. Most important is run fits, which they are improving on.
I think these break downs give a pretty good idea of where Michigan is going into the fall. They still have a lot of things to work on, particularly in the pass game. The defense looks decent on pass plays, but there is still some confusion in the zones, particularly from the LBs. Again, we didn’t see anything very interesting from the defense.
I still plan on doing select plays from Bellomy and some select run plays. If you have any questions or suggestions or things to add let me know.
Since the stroll through 1986 came off pretty well, and since it’s the off-season, and since Seth asked for it, we step into the Quantum Leap accelerator, once again, and journey back into the glorious past to observe Michigan athletics as part of overall history. We emerge in a time that will be unfamiliar to most of us, including yours truly as this is the year of my birth; a time without PCs, and cell phones, and ESPN, and internets, and blogs. Journey back to the bizarre and colorful times that were….1971!
We are in the midst of Richard Nixon’s first term as president, where he shows a penchant for pointing at things. Vietnam is still going on and still unpopular. It gets even more unpopular when the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers, and all the dirty secrets of the war that past administrations have kept from the public are brought to light. On the international scene, the United Nations formally recognizes the Peoples Republic of China and also declares the first Earth Day, Idi Amin leads a coup and seizes control in Uganda, and IRA-led rioting in Northern Ireland grows worse against British rule.
Human exploration of the Moon continues with the Apollo 14 and 15 missions, with Apollo 15 featuring a crew of Michigan alumni (Space, Bitches….Space) and a sweet ride in the Lunar Rover. The Soviet Union also achieves a technological milestone with the launch of Salyat 1, the world’s first orbiting space station. Other milestones in technology include the release of the Intel 4004, the first commercial microprocessor. Texas Instruments introduces the first pocket calculator sounding the death knell of the slide rule. And, the first e-mails and chat rooms appear on the ARPAnet, the precursor of the modern Internet.
1971 is the year that many sporting legacies are born. Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali in the “Fight of the Century” to set off one of the great boxing rivalries in history. The great Roberto Clemente leads the Pirates to the World Series title. In the NBA, future legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the Milwaukee Bucks to their only world title. In other areas of sport, legacies are being solidified. UCLA continues its era of dominance under John Wooden, defeating Villanova to earn their 7thtitle in 8 years. The Montreal Canadiens win the 17thof what will be 24 Stanley Cups. In the world of golf, Jack Nicklaus wins the PGA, rounding out the first half of his record 18 major championships.
In our spare time we watched television on just three stations. We were offered edgy broadcasting like “All In The Family” and “The Odd Couple” and tamer fare like “The Partridge Family”. On the big screen we were following the exploits of Popeye Doyle in “The French Connection”, Alex and his droogs in “A Clockwork Orange”, and we meet Dirty Harry for the first time. On the music front, Led Zepplin IV is released, the Allman Brothers record At Fillmore East, Queen is formed, and Jim Morrison is found dead in Paris.
The music of Michigan was different during this time too. The Michigan Marching Band is an all-men arrangement under the direction of the legendary William T. Revelli and are introduced with the less politically correct “Men, take the field!” during football pre-games. Women would not be seen amongst their ranks for another year. Women are not seen amongst the ranks of any of Michigan’s varsity sports in 1971, as Title XI is still a year away from passage into law.
Bo Schembechler is in his 3rdseason as head coach of the Wolverines and fields one of his greatest teams and points at things while doing so. Lead by All-Americans Reggie McKenzie, Billy Taylor, Thom Darden, and Mike Taylor, Michigan went 11-0 during the regular season and won Bo’s 2ndBig 10 championship. Billy Taylor would finish his career as Michigan’s all-time rushing leader with 3,072 yards, a record that would stand for 6 years until broken by Rob Lytle. Mike Taylor would go on to play 2 seasons for the New York Jets. Reggie McKenzie would go on to a 13 year NFL career with the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks, blocking for the likes of OJ Simpson. Thom Darden would be a 3 time All-Pro in his 10 seasons with the Cleveland Browns and is still the career-leader in interceptions for the franchise.
The season was highlighted by a thrilling 10-7 victory over Ohio in Ann Arbor. The game’s memorable moment came late in the game when Darden came up with a win-preserving interception that Woody Hayes insisted to the referees should have been called pass interference. Hayes proceeded on a minutes-long tirade, ripping up yard markers, drawing 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and making an embarrassing spectacle that aired on news programs nationally…quite an accomplishment in the days before 24 hour media coverage.
Michigan’s season would end with another disappointing showing in Pasadena with a 13-12 loss to the Stanford Indians (Stanford would not become the “Cardinals” until 1972 and not the “Cardinal” until 1981). Michigan came into the game ranked 3rdin the country and a 10.5 point favorite against the 8-3 Indians, but Stanford managed to edge out the Wolverines with a 31 yard field goal with 16 seconds to play. The 1971 Michigan team would finish ranked 6thin the AP and 4thin the UPI and is commonly regarded as the team that came closest to earning Schembechler a National Championship, although it is debatable that even a 12-0 Michigan team would’ve passed up eventual champion Nebraska.
Well, that concludes our nostalgic step through 1971. A time where clothes were bold and loud, phones were rotary dialed, and Michigan still didn’t sell out every home football game. It’s hard to imagine a time without video games, personal computers, and 24 hour news coverage, but those times existed. Here’s hoping that Michigan’s upcoming season sees Michigan back in the Rose Bowl undefeated against Stanford. I got a feeling Hoke would serve up epic payback topped off with a pointed finger.
(Click the image to view full size)
Ohio State vs. Michigan. Thor vs. Loki. Mark Dantonio vs. dentistry.
And now, I give you... Baby Bo and Fielding.
On Thursday we'll start with a new string of Charlie-related strips pairing our own Michigan fanaticism with good ol-fashioned childhood optimism and creativity.
I'd also like to announce that next week I'm embarking on a good ol' American family vacation... As such, the regularly scheduled Tuesday and Thursday strips will tentatively run on the official site with an automated publish, but I'm not going to be putting together the Tuesday strip here on MGoBlog. So no Tuesday post next week.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog, and at least
every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out our newest
feature, Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
College Football 101
100. Funny Press Conferences
You can't go wrong with funny press conferences. The interesting thing about press conferences is that they are the only time you hear from coaches and players. We fans tend to define coaches and players by their responses in press conferences. Brady Hoke said, "This is Michigan for God's sake!" That made Michigan fans like him right away. Les Miles seems like a funny and crazy guy because that's how he responds in press conferences. We don't know these coaches personally, so we shouldn't assume this is how they are. But anyways, here are my top five press conferences that are guaranteed to make you laugh.
This one's not for content.. Just for laughs.
- John L Smith Slaps Himself
- Urban Meyer: You're a Bad Man
- Brendan Gibbons Brunette Girls
5. Have a Great Day
Les Miles has many funny press conferences, but here is what he had to say about the rumors of him coaching at his alma mater-- Michigan.
4. John L Smith after Ohio loss
Not only did John L Smith slap himself after losing to Notre Dame, but he got just a little upset at his coaching staff after this one...
3. I'm a Man; I'm 40
Although some people think this is not funny, it truly is. What is really happening is OSU coach Mike Gundy stepping up for his player-- or at least his idea of it. He calls out the reporter and says some things that you usually wouldn't hear at a press conference.
2. Steve Spurrier and Ron Morris
This is just halarious! Steve Spurrier called out Ron Morris and basically said, "I'm going to do individual interviews for everyone except Ron Morris because he sucks." He goes on and on and on. This is a classic.
1. We Need More Dogs
NOTHING BEATS THIS! This is awesome! I don't need to say anything. Just watch the video.. Meow
Hope you all got a good laugh out of this!
Check back tomorrow for some good content. It's the first rivalry. Also, Michigan Football 101 starts tomorrow. See who or what is #101.
The offseason is really starting to drag and recruiting is relatively calm after a frenetic start. At times like this, I have only one question: Has Indiana picked up a 2013 commit yet?
No, no they haven't.
Changes since the last rankings:
5-16-12: Nebraska picks up Greg Hart.
5-17-12: Iowa picks up Nic Shimonek.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
College Football 101
Welcome to the College Football 101 series. For those who are counting down the days, college football kicks off in 101 days. Every day until then, I will write about one topic per day. As the days get closer, the topics will get better and better until we get to #1 on August 29th, which is one day away from kickoff.
The series will consist of:
- Top 25 Programs
- Top 15 Rivalries
- Top 15 Bands
- Top 15 Stadiums
- Top 10 Coaches
- Top 10 Plays
- Top 5 Heisman Trophy Winners
- Top 6 Miscellaneous
In addition, I will do a very similar series starting Wednesday called Michigan Football 101. Both of these series will hopefully get all of you college football fans, specifically Michigan fans, excited for the season. So here it is!! 101 days until College Football Kickoff...
101. Boise State
A quick look at Boise State:
- Founded: 1932
- Nickname: Broncos
- Location: Boise, Idaho
- School Size: 19,664
- Stadium: Bronco Stadium
- Conference: Mountain West (subject to change anytime soon with the realignments)
- Conference Titles: 16
- National Titles: 0
- Overall Record: 377-145-2 (.721)
- Mascot: Buster Bronco
- Interesting Facts: The field, Lyle Smith Field, has blue turf.
Boise State is an interesting school. It is one of the few schools that is not in a BCS conference but is a threat. It is not a big school, but Boise State has made a name of itself since it defeated Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Ever since Chris Petersen called a Hook-n'-Lateral to send the game to overtime and a Half Back Pass for a Touchdown followed up by a Statue of Liberty for the 2 Point Conversion to win the game-- and a proposal from Ian Johnson to his cheerleading girlfriend-- Boise State has attracted many college football fans.
Since 2006, the Broncos are 73-6 (.924). There are two people who hold almost all of the credit for that-- Chris Petersen and Kellen Moore. It just so happens to be that 2006 is the year Chris Petersen took over at head coach. Not only do they have a winning percentage of 92.4% under Petersen, but they are 4-2 in bowl games. This proves that Boise State has not only won all these games, but it can win the tough ones, too. This makes you wonder why they haven't played in the national championship game. They have had three undefeated seasons in the past five years, yet haven't played in the big game. Hopefully, the BCS can fix its problem, form whatever superconferences it needs, and give a team like this a chance to win a championship in a playoff.
Kellen Moore has the most wins as a starting quarterback in college football history. That is saying something! You think of all the great QBs-- Peyton Manning, Doug Floutie, Tim Tebow, Vince Young-- and Kellen Moore has more wins than any of them. His record at Boise State was 50-3 (.943). The lefty QB graduated this year and hopes to make the Detroit Lions this summer. Where does that leave Boise State? The Broncos have lost 14 starters-- six on offense and eight on defense. Junior Quarterback Joe Southwick is likely going to be the starter in 2012. He completed 15 passes on 19 attempts in the Spring Game and has taken over the leadership role. Boise not only lost its passing game, but senior Chandler Koch takes over for Doug Martin at Running Back. They are expected to fill the shoes of their predecessors according to Chris Petersen. They are definitely in a rebuilding year. Also, it doesn't help that they open up with Michigan State in East Lansing on a Friday night. Although many analysts are putting that game on upset alert, I don't think Boise State has a chance against the Spartans. It should be very interesting to see how Boise State does this year without its best player in program history.
Although they may be in some trouble this year, any team with a blue field has to be interesting. Personally, I find it interesting to watch them on TV because the players somewhat blend in with the field. My Dad says it hurts his eyes, but he's getting old :) but most people love it! How can you not like it? The stadium only seats 37,000 people, it's a relatively small school, and it's not a school full of much tradition. The Smurf Turf defines Boise State football. The first thing you think about when someone says "Boise State" is the blue field.
Boise State is not a well-known program simply because it has not won a single national championship. The Broncos are one of my Top 25 Programs because they do have a good winning percentage, they have a blue field and they have proven themselves over the years. They aren't scared to schedule tough teams-- they beat Georgia in Atlanta to open the season last year. The Broncos can prove themselves once again by beating Michigan State on the road to open up the season this year. Chris Petersen has certainly done an excellent job at Boise State, and it is going to be very interesting to see how well he does with his Broncos in this rebuilding year.
Boise State 2012 Schedule with predictions
- @Michigan State L
- Miami (OH) W
- Brigham Young W
- @New Mexico W
- @Southern Miss L
- Fresno State W
- UNLV W
- @Wyoming W
- San Diego State L
- @Hawaii W
- Colorado State W
- @Nevada L
My Regular Season Presiction: 8-4
Check back tomorrow to see what #100 (#6 Miscellaneous) is on College Football 101.
The Countdown begins... Only 101 days until college football! Hang in there!