[ED: PGB - I took the liberty of adding each of these courses to the MGoHallofFame: http://mgoblog.com/content/user-curated-mgohalloffame. ED: bump.]
FF210: Screen Package
Whatchya know, I still exist. That’s right, I’m like either Santa Clause or the red M&M in that commercial. If you haven’t been here for more than a year, or worse yet, if you have a life outside of here, then you either don’t know or don’t remember about the series above. I’m formerly [name redacted] and am now a Space Coyote (deal with it, mostly because a Space Coyote from Space is awesome), and I’m going to do a slight continuation of the previous series. Heck, let’s call it FF210: Football Packages. Rather than talk about what the title suggests (wrong website), I’ll add this little section about screen packages. Other classes could include: blitz packages, coverage packages, bunch formation packages, etc. The fun could be never ending.
(Aside: If you’re wondering why the previous series seems a bit incomplete, like “where’s the defense?” it’s because it is incomplete. If you’re wondering why I didn’t finish it…yes. Also, I’ve been a bit busy.)
Lately there has been much confusion about screen type substances around these parts and I figured I would be a bit of a guest professor for a second and teach a few things. If you are looking for how to install a screen door, this is not the place for you, so I’ll just let Menard’s do that for you.
Not all screens are created equal. And as they are not all created equal, they are also not all designed to take advantage of the same things. There is a lot in common with many screen passes, but there are also key differences. There are lots of different types of screen passes, and I’m not going to cover them all. What I will cover today is probably the more fundamental screens. The discussion below will consist of what these screens are attempting to constrain (“constrain play” has become a favorite word around here), what the keys are to the type of screen, and how to successfully run the screen. Note, as I said above, there are many, many more screens out there that I won’t cover. There are also many variations of these screens that I won’t begin to touch. This is only meant to be an introduction to these basic concepts. The types of screens included are:
1. The ones where you throw to the WR, we’ll call those WR screens
- Bubble Screen
- Tunnel/ Jailbreak Screen
2. The ones where you screen to the RB, we’ll call those RB screens
- Slow Screen
- Crack Screen
Screens not covered: middle screen, TE screen, throwback screen, transcontinental (even though it’s a crowd favorite), etc.
Screens in College Football
In college football linemen can block down field at the snap as long as the pass play is completed behind the line of scrimmage. This is not the same in the NFL, but is a big reason why screens are so successful at the college level.
Wide Receiver Screen
Just because you’re throwing a screen pass to a wide receiver doesn’t mean it is in an attempt to do the same thing. There are two main types of WR screens that I will discuss, and each have very different keys and are constraints of different things. They are the bubble screen and the tunnel/jailbreak screen.
Better image with some play action
mgoblog bubble screen picture paged
This is essentially a run play constraint. The bubble screen is intended to strength the defense horizontally. It is an easy way to reach the edge without a clumsy pitch out of the shotgun. It is typically run to get defenders out of the box. It takes advantage of defenders peaking into the back field and reacting quickly and out of control to flow. Gap sound teams with safeties in the box with responsibilities in gaps will have trouble on bubble screens because they are not stretched horizontally and are focused on the play in the backfield.
Running the bubble screen will:
Running the bubble screen will open up lanes in the middle of the field as defenders must flex from sideline to sideline. This will give gaps for RBs/QBs on Zone Reads, RB power, and QB draws. This also opens up the deep middle of the field by often forcing safeties to play off the edge of the line rather than in the box as linebackers or OLBs out of the box to respect the sideline threat more. This makes it much more difficult for defenders to play both the run and the pass. If run correctly it will leave a WR one on one on a corner in space, or better yet, with both corner taken out of the play and a score up the sideline.
When to run it:
Typically you run it when corners aren’t pressing. If corners are pressing the pass can become very dangerous. More importantly, you run it when safeties and LBs are shaded too far inside in an attempt to play both run and pass. The danger: make sure the corners respect routes enough to not quickly jump the bubble.
How to run it:
It’s not as simple as just taking a snap and winging it out there. As I have been told before, a QB throwing a bubble screen is kind of like a short stop turning a double play as far as the importance of footwork, body position, grip, and not rushing.
Most of the time in the backfield there is some sort of zone read action. This means that the play looks like a zone read it terms of what the running back is doing. The process of the QB adjusting the ball and throwing means that an actual playaction is really necessary. What is so different about the bubble screen is that it doesn’t typically require linemen to block for a “screen”. The linemen also carry out the zone read play. This causes LBs and Ss to flow down to play the zone read, leaving the WR open on the edge.
The blocking WRs come off on the snap as if they are running routes. His job is to take the nearest threat, which is mostly the man covering him. As they converge on the man covering them, they square their bodies and force and get their backs to the sideline, blocking those covering them to the inside and leaving a lane down the sideline. If the defender does manage to get outside, continue to drive him to the sideline (this isn’t O-line blocking, there is a lot of space and the ball carrier will run off the blockers butt to the hole in the defense regardless). In most cases the WR blocks the man head up on him (or the man that appears to be covering him). In some cases the WR will crack down on the defender covering the screen receiver. It all depends on how the defense plays it at the snap. The reason that the WR usually blocks the man covering him is because it causes traffic for the inside cover guy to have to get through. You can, in essence, block two guys with one blocker, leaving a seal down the sideline. Some people crack the inside guy and hope the outside cover man follows inside, but you run the risk of the outside guy reading the play and blowing it up. All these decisions must be made based on the defenses alignment.
Oregon. The first one suffices (some of the others aren't really bubble screens). Note that they double the near man to the second corner. The second corner jumps outside and the WR kind of just blocks him straight up, making this play a first down rather than TD. This can be done with 3 or 2 WRs.
[Ed: others after the jump.]
Get out the globe and encyclopedia (ok, Google Earth and Wikipedia, since it's 2011), it's time for the Ugly Game of the Week. But first:
Georgia beat Ole Miss 27-14. When the ESPN summary calls your QB "efficient", that's about the faintest praise you can get for a win. Things we learned: 1. Ole Miss is officially not good. They had 8 first downs, two turnovers, and under 200 yards of total offense. 2. Ole Miss has now lost 10 of their last 11 SEC games. So they're like the SEC's Minnesota, then? 3. Mark Richt may still have a job, Huston Nutt may not. 4. Huston Nutt sounds like the mascot for the Astros or something, like the Philly Fanatic or the Capitol City Goofball. Can I play Baby Elephant Walk when he gets fired? Well, I'm going to.
Elsewhere, San Jose State beat New Mexico State 34-24 proving once and for all that Bad Team versus Bad Team equals entertaining game. SJSU came back from a 24-17 deficit to pull out the win in the 4th quarter.
Last, Ohio State handily defeated CU 37-17. Ohio debuted a new wrinkle in their offense called "Screw It, We're Not Passing" and it was effective. OSU passed for only 110 yards, but it didn't matter. The Buckeyes ran for 220 yards and that was that.
We start off with the "Historically Significant Mascot Bowl", featuring the Virginia Cavaliers(2-2) against the Idaho Vandals(1-3). Virginia has wins against Indiana and W&M, and loses to UNC and Southern Miss. Idaho has beaten NoDak, and loses to the likes of Bowling Green and Fresno State. But that's not even very important. For you non-history buffs out there, the Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that sacked Rome in the 5th century. How they ended up in Idaho, I have no idea (ok, I do, but it's not very interesting. "Sports team named by quip from local sportswriter" does not a catchy byline make). Virginia, on the other hand, chose what could be the least intimidating mascot until someone names their team "The Yorkshire Terriers" or "Fightin' Lichen (We're Likin' the Lichen!". The Cavaliers get their name from people loyal to the crown during the American Revolution. Evidently the Commonwealth of Virginia was particularly partisan toward the King. I mean, it's this:
I don't know about you, but I'm picking against powdered wigs in this one.
The granddaddy of the week is the World's Furthest Conference Game, with Louisiana Tech (1-3) taking a long layover to play Hawaii (2-2). That's a 4000 mile road trip.That's like Russian hockey league-level road trip. To put that in perspective, here are some things that are not 4000 miles apart: NYC to London. Ann Arbor to Anchorage. Hawaii to Tokyo. Low Earth Orbit. You get the picture. Yay jet lag. Hawaii has beaten CU and lost to UNLV. Louisiana Tech one win against Central Arkansas, and that was overtime. Enjoy the poi, guys. To be fair, they've got to OT twice, and lost three games by a total of nine points.
So I usually do not post a wallpaper until the end of the week. I try to get the time to work on it after the work that feeds the family is done. Last week I had a few people state that they really wish I had the wallpaper done at the beginning of the week so it could be enjoyed leading up to the game.
Blue Indy quickly agreed to get his work out a little quicker and was bumped in points so he could create content. Just check a couple diaries (here) below this and you can see his work for this week, and the past weeks. He has done some great work for all of the non-rivalry games.
I felt a little pressure to produce something and after taking in the Cowboys/Redskins game (my first ever NFL game) I was struggling to get some sleep. I thought it was a great opportunity to be productive and get something done.
My original idea was to take a good looking gopher and give it a Michigan branding. I was struggling to get a truly good "burn" look into the fur without it just being poorly done. The more I thought about it I figured Michigan does not really need to brand Minnesota and then there came a better idea. It's Minnesota and really deep down in their hearts they want to be a Michigan. I think every Golden Gopher fan, when no one is looking, really shows their secretive desire to be a wolverine... so much that they have the tattoo to prove it.
The picture is far from perfect but at least it is done earlier in the week.
Expected Point (EP) Calculations Dramatically Enhance Turnover Analysis!: This year I added EP calculations because I thought it would provide a more reasonable measure of the net effect of turnovers. (In previous years I had used an average of 4-5 points per TO based on sites like the Football Outsiders.) The benefit of using EP calculations for turnover analysis has been far greater than I could have ever imagined.
In the WMU game, M returned two TOs for touchdowns and the EP calculations reflected an additional 7.7 point advantage to Michigan (versus using just an average of 4-5 points per TO). This week, the EP calculations actually give Michigan an advantage of 1.91 expected points even though we had a negative one TOM! How could this be? Well, in retrospect, it is fairly obvious. Each turnover may result in a immediate lost opportunity for the team committing the TO and a potential gain in field position by the opponent. Both of these components can vary dramatically based upon the down, the yards the TO is returned, and whether the TO was a fumble or an interception.
For example, in the SDSU game, Denard threw an interception on third and 6 from the M28 and SDSU took over on the M39. If the pass had been incomplete, M would have punted on fourth down and SDSU would have gotten the ball at the SDSU 36 (based on a net punt of 36 yards from the M28). Therefore, the total effect of this TO was only 25 yards of field position which is about 1.00 EP. Contrast that to the SDSU fumble after a 30 yard run to the M07 yard line. SDSU would have had a first a goal at the M07 with an EP of 5.32. Michigan did have an EP of –0.72 because of recovering the ball on the M07 (poor field position) but this still is a net of 4.60 EP. The bottom line is that the M turnovers were far less damaging than the SDSU turnovers and this is reflected in the EP calculations.
In general, interceptions will have less impact than fumbles because an interception usually results in a smaller difference of field position. Also, turnovers on third down will have less impact than TOs on first or second down.
Synopsis for Turnovers: For the first time this year, M had a negative turnover margin. The game had a total of 7 turnovers. Michigan lost 4 and gained 3 from SDSU, leaving M with a TOM of -1 for the game and +5 for the year.
Turnovers did not impact which team won the game (TOs did impact which team won the WMU and ND games).
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: Remember the table below includes the WMU game and will NOT be the same as the (incorrect) NCAA Rankings. DRob continued his TO problems with 2 interceptions and a total of 6 for the year. Through the first four games last year, Denard had just one interception. Interceptions are ranked #104 Nationally. Overall, the –1.0 TOM for the week dropped M to #12 in TOM for the year.
The Gory Details
Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Basically, the probability of scoring depends on the yard line that the offense is at (which seems fairly obvious in retrospect). Therefore, the impact of a TO also depends on the yard line where the TO is lost and the yard line where the TO is gained.
Here are the details for the game.
The analysis is a bit tricky because: (A) the TO may directly result in lost EP for the offense but (B) only modifies the EP for the team gaining the TO because the team gaining the TO would have gotten another possession even without the TO (due to a punt, KO after a TD, KO after a field goal, etc.). The Net EP Gain must take into account the potential EP gain without the TO. The EP gain without the turnover is based on where the field position would have been for the next possession if the TO had not occurred.
The expected point data has been revised this week to reflect updated data from Brian Fremeau at BCFToys (he also posts at Football Outsiders). Fremeau has updated his data to reflect all offensive possession played in 2007-2010 FBS vs. FBS games. I "smoothed" the actual data.
Here is a summary of the smoothed expected points.
Details for Turnovers: Here is overall summary for all games by player (data in yellow was affected by this week's game).
Here's a five word diary.
So this is it... my first diary! Thanks to those of you who requested that I get the points necessary to post this :-).
EDIT: Since photobucket was resizing my images, I changed the links over to a new site. This will look a LOT better on your monitor!
When I saw that monuMental wouldn't be posting his amazing weekly wallpapers this season, I took it upon myself to carry the torch until his triumphant return. He has since stated that he'll be creating rivalry wallpapers, so I'll take a break on those weeks. Since I've been hijacking posts to upload my wallpapers, here's a review of the ones I've created so far for those of you who've missed them:
Western Michigan "Denard vs Broncos"
Eastern Michigan "Eagle Dove"
San Diego State "Aztec Art"
...which brings us to this week's wallpaper, Minnesota's "Brown Jug Kool-Aid"
I do sort of wish that my first diary featured a better wallpaper, but I was having a difficult time adding in a background and went with the minimilistic "monuMental's penn state" look. I've noticed a lot of people commenting on the resemblance of our current 4-0 season to those of the last couple of years. Others, however, have commented on the relative down year the B1G is having and how we have a much better chance of steam-rolling through the conference than in recent years. I'm "cautiously optimistic" myself and thought we could all enjoy a big ol' jug of Kool-Aid to celebrate our success so far. Enjoy!
PS: Here's a link to my wallpaper album, if you or I miss a posting on Monday.