"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
|MICHIGAN FOOTBALL DEPTH BY CLASS|
|B. Moore*||K. Koger|
|Q. Washington*||M. Martin|
|JT Floyd*||T. Woolfolk*|
I did this before the season started but attrition always rears its ugly head. I think these numbers are likely to stick for the 2011 Class.
SS M. Williams seems to be headed for a medical scholarhsip and is not counted.
DE S. Watson or RB K.Grady are uncounted because they are buried on the depth chart and unlikely to be asked back for a 5th Year.
SCHOLARSHIP COUNT: 63
Current Commits: 13 (this includes A.Kinard)
2 of these commitments may be in question (K. Sousa and G.Brown) so we'll have to see how that plays out.
I believe Michigan will be looking to sign 10 more players for the Class of 2011.
Rush Offense vs Purdue
Michigan Off: +8, 2nd nationally, 1st Big Ten
Purdue Def: +0, 54th, 6th
Denard Robinson: +7, 1st nationally
Michael Shaw: +1, 7th in Big Ten (RB only)
Vincent Smith: +0, 10th in Big Ten
For the first time all season Michigan put up a huge day on the ground without Denard having a big day rushing. Shaw, Smith and Hopkins all had strong days against a very good defense. Purdue’s defense has been consistently average. All of their games so far this year have been between +4 and –2.
Last week proved that the offense can be big even without Denard gaining hundreds of yards on the ground. Purdue’s consistent averageness makes a strong day very likely. Let’s hope that the backs can continue their progress from last week and Denard can limit his carries enough to make it through a full game.
Prediction: Michigan +8
Pass Offense vs Purdue
Michigan Off: +5, 10th, 1st
Purdue Def: +1, 48th, 5th
Denard Robinson: +5, 5th in Big Ten, 23rd nationally
Junior Hemingway: +6 5th, 28th
Roy Roundtree: +6, 7th, 34th
Darryl Stonum: +3, 15th
Despite two early interceptions and a host of drops, Michigan’s two-headed passing attack produced one of their top two games of the season. Roundtree and Hemingway produced most of the highlights but Stonum added several key catches as well. It was far and away Michigan’s best Big Ten performance since Indiana and considering the stakes last weekend, probably their best showing of the year through the air.
Purdue’s pass defense has been all over the map. They have produced very good games against Wisconsin and Minnesota but have been terrible against Illinois and Ohio St, two teams with mobile quarterbacks. If Purdue’s weakness through air has been due to a focus on running quarterbacks, it should be a fun day Saturday.
Prediction: Michigan +4 with the possibility for much more.
Rush Defense vs Purdue
Michigan Def: –4, 109th, 11th
Purdue Off: –0, 67th, 7th
Dan Dierking: +0, 8th in Big Ten
Michigan has had three really bad games defending the run against some of the best Big Ten rushing teams. Against more mediocre ground games the porous Michigan run defense has held up OK.
Purdue hasn’t put more than +1 on the ground in any Big Ten game and only did it once against Toledo in non-conference play. Purdue doesn’t look like a team that can do the damage that Illinois, Penn St or Michigan State did.
Prediction: –4 by the numbers but a good chance it’s closer to 0 barring another Siller-tastrophy.
Pass Defense vs Purdue
Michigan Def: –4, 110th, 11th
Purdue Off: –4, 107th, 11th
Sean Robinson: –2 average against Illinois and Wisconsin
No qualifying receivers
That’s a whole lot of ugly all around. Michigan has been in the –6 range for most of Big Ten play. The Penn St showing might start to look better as they put up a better opponent adjusted score against NW than they did against Michigan. Purdue hasn’t been better than –6 versus anyone that’s not Minnesota or Ball St.
Although this matchup looks like what we thought would happen at Penn St, Purdue has a more known quantity behind center and McGloin has proven for at least two games to be a significant upgrade to the Penn St offense which has been +10 opponent adjusted the last two games after being –5 prior.
Prediction: Push, Purdue does more than normal but no major damage.
Special Teams vs Purdue
Michigan: –2, 107th, 10th
Purdue: +0, 82nd, 8th
Michigan Kicks: Push, both teams are bad
Purdue Kicks: Advantage Purdue, we are not good
Michigan Punts: Big advantage Michigan, hopefully don’t need it
Purdue Punts: Advantage Purdue, they’re not good but they’ve been better than us
Kicking: slight advantage Purdue, they’re not good but they’ve been better than us
Purdue hasn’t been great at any special teams but they haven’t been the disaster Michigan has been, either. Hopefully our offense renders most of our special teams weaknesses irrelevant.
Predictions almost certain to cost you money if taken seriously
Michigan 35 Purdue 30 The Vegas number seems a bit high but even though the numbers are calling a 5 point game I think there is substantially more upside than downside with a depleted Purdue offense.
Illinois 31 Minnesota 10 – Illinois gets a nice cupcake to bounce back after last week’s tough loss
Iowa 42 Northwestern 20 – Sorry Jamiemac, still not buying NW this year
Ohio St 31 Penn St 21 – Walk-on Favre keeps it closer than the experts think and if the Penn St offense can keep up their strong performance of the last two weeks then I think Penn St actually has a shot to pull the upset.
Wisconsin 38 Indiana 20 – Another bottom feeder for the Badgers before their trip to AA next week.
Watching the videos from the Illinois game, and then going back to the Michigan State game, have confirmed something for me: Denard's mechanics have broken down a bit over the course of the season. This is, in a way, good news. It is good news because it can be accounted for in the play-calling, and because it is fixable.
Denard throws with quite the rotating motion of his upper body. This is not unusual, and is more common with QBs with more of a sidearm delivery. Because of this technque, however, Denard often releases the ball with his chest rotated past the point where it is directly at his target. This can lead to inaccuracy.
To see where this is a problem, watch the Michigan State interceptions. Both were on patterns where the receivers crossed from Denard's right toward the middle of the field. He rushes, and doesn't quite rotate his body enough, leaving the ball behind the receiver.
It is important to note that QBs rarely have their chests perfectly pointed at their target. The target changes slightly even in the moment between when a QB begins his throwing motion, and when the QB releases the pass. So, QBs make small, usually unconscious adjustments with their arm and shoulder - their feet, hips, and chest are already set. THis is not a big deal when a QB is well-squared to his target, but when his technique involves an overrotation of his chest, it makes it more difficult for a right-handed QB to adjust his pass further left. On the other hand, adjusting further right on a throw is easy.
To see this, watch the last two TDs Denard through to Roundtree. Both were routes moving from Denard's left to right - the better route for him. On the shorter, Denard was able to adjust the throw a bit behind the receiver - but still catchable - to avoid a safety. On the longer, he threw one of the prettiest touch passes of his career. I submit that these throws - and any other crossing routes, posts, or slants coming from his left to right - are well-suited to his technique and likely to be accurate.
This is a very common technique problems with a young QB. The fact that he had better technique at the beginning of the year means that he was well-coached in the offseason, but that it hasn't become permanent yet. These technique issues take quite awhile to perfect. But they'll be even better next year, and the year after...
This year, this suggests the play-calling can be done in a way to maximize Denard's effectiveness. Throw posts, slants, and crossing routes to receivers to the left. To the right, throw outs, curls, gos - anything vertical or to the outside. Those are going to be the money plays for the next three games.
|QB||Kevin Sousa||6"2, 210 lbs||Orlando, Florida||***|
|RB||Demetrius Hart||5"8, 190lbs||Orlando, Florida||****|
|RB||Malcolm Crockett||5"11, 180 lbs||Washington D.C.||***|
|WR||Shawn Conway||6"4, 185 lbs||Birmingham, Michigan||***|
|WR||Kris Frost||6"3, 210 lbs||Mathews, North Carolina||****|
|WR||Sammy Watkins||6"1, 180 lbs||Fort Myers, Florida||****|
|OL||Jake Fisher||6"7, 260 lbs||Traverse City, Michigan||***|
|OL||Jack Miller||6"4, 260 lbs||Perrysburg, Ohio||***|
|OL||Tony Posada||6"5, 330 lbs||Tampa, Florida||***|
|OL||Chris Bryant||6"5, 310 lbs||Chicago, Illinois||****|
|DE||Brennen Beyer||6"4, 230 lbs||Plymouth, Michigan||****|
|DT||Darian Cooper||6"3, 275 lbs||Hyattsville, Maryland||****|
|DE||Chris Rock||6"5, 250 lbs||Columbus, Ohio||***|
|DE||Anthony Zettel||6"4, 260 lbs||West Branch, Michigan||****|
|LB||Kellen Jones||6"1, 210 lbs||Houston, Texas||***|
|LB||Desmond Morgan||6"1, 225 lbs||Ottawa, Michigan||***|
|LB||Antonio Kinard||6"4, 215 lbs||Youngstown, Ohio||***|
|DB||Dallas Crawford||5"10, 180 lbs||Fort Myers, Florida||***|
|DB||Greg Brown||5"10, 180 lbs||Fremont, Ohio||***|
|DB||Delonte Hollowell||5"8, 170 lbs||Detroit, Michigan||***|
|DB||Blake Countess||5"10, 170 lbs||Owings Mills, Maryland||****|
|S||Avery Walls||5"11, 185 lbs||McDonough, Georgia||****|
National signing day is still three months away, but many teams seasons are wrapping up and players are taking their official visits to schools. Michigan currently has 11 known commitments, and this list is extremely tentative and not indicative of where recruits are going.
With that being said Michigan is in great position to land a number of non-committed players. If Dallas Crawford does announce tomorrow, it will likely be to Michigan. And if he does commit, that will only help with his teammate Sammy Watkins. Watkins currently has Michigan in his top five, but in reality we're likely in his top two along with Clemson.
Missing out on Arnett did hurt, but with Watkins still on the board, Conway committed, and no senior receivers this year, it will not be terrible if Michigan misses out on both.
Many are wondering who will be the complementary back to Demetrius Hart.. Thomas Rawls would likely be that candidate but his grades are not yet in order. Michigan also recently offered both Tre Mason and Malcolm Crockett, but Auburn desperately needs a running back and they want Mason so I see Michigan making a push for Crockett. He is currently committed to Cincinnati but visited Michigan this past weekend.
Defensively Michigan needs a defensive tackle prospect. Darian Cooper (now a four-star, 250 rivals member) has Michigan in his top five and will be visiting in the winter. He's got a great relationship with Delonte Hollowell, so that can only help. If they miss out on Cooper, I think Michigan's coaches will continue to evaluate other tackles and maybe offer some in the coming weeks.
Also, Michigan recently offered Maryland CB Blake Countess. Tom caught up with his coaches and Michigan may have surged near the top of his list. Countess is very highly ranked and would be a steal if Michigan can secure his services.
Edit: I realized Devondrick Nealy is not included here.. Michigan leads for his services right now as well. 23!
Updated to include both wheel route plays.
WHEEL OF DOOM #1 (1st play of 4th quarter):
Sharik has broken down the mistake on the first wheel route, but I thought that it might be worth picture paging. I used the video so generously provided by Boyz in da Pahokee. Here is what it looks like pre-snap; the Michigan defenders are settling in after some initial confusion about where they should be aligned:
You can see that Michigan is in a 3-deep look, with four players rushing the passer and four underneath zone defenders -- that is, a standard 3 deep zone. Brian in the UFR calls Michigan's formation 4-3 light. Illinois' formation is Shotgun 2-back twins.
Here we are, immediately post-snap. There is a run fake to the RB on the far side of the field, Troy Pollard (I think). The Illinois LG is pulling to the right to provide protection to Sheelhaase when he rolls to the right. Both receivers get a clean release and will run post routes, clearing out the near side of the field for the wheel route. LeShoure will run the wheel route, Pollard will go into the flat to keep the short defender honest.
We have to use ESPN's cameras, so it is hard to see what has happened, but the three deep has totally broken down. Rogers and Vinopal (the latter is barely visible at the top of the photo above), have both followed the slot receiver to the far side of the field, presumably because Sheelhaase has rolled to that side.
Avery, meanwhile, has taken the outside receiver into the center of the field. T. Gordon doesn't stay with LeShoure, presumably because he sees Pollard in the flat. The result is that LeShoure is wide open.
In the UFR, Brian writes:
Who's responsibility is this? I'm not sure anyone's except GERG. T. Gordon does not know to carry the running back vertical. If he does the other running back will be vastly open in the flat because Demens is bugging out for the deep middle. Avery's going with the post, as is Vinopal, and Rogers is covering no one on the far side of the field. So... who and what can Michigan do to make no obvious touchdowns on this play? Don't know. T. Gordon -2, Cover -3, RPS -3.
My football knowledge is minimal, but I think that Avery needs to stay in his deep third on the near side of the field, Vinopal needs to take the outside receiver into the center and Rogers the slot receiver to the far side of the field. Rogers plays this well, so I conclude that the fault lies with the true freshmen, Vinopal and Avery, for not maintaining their responsibilities.
Sharik concludes that this is on T. Gordon for not picking up LeShoure, but if he does this, then Pollard is wide open. If Avery maintains his position, however, every receiver will be covered.
WHEEL OF DOOM #2 (1st play of 2nd overtime):
Sharik says the following about this play:
On the 2nd one (in the 2nd OT), we were bringing 6 with 3-deep, 2-under behind it. When you bring 6 and play zone behind it, you can't zone the flat, let alone a wheel route. When you bring 6, whether it be man or zone behind it, the contain rusher must either hug up a releasing back or peel and cover him. Therefore, it was the blitzing safety's responsibility.
Here is the setup:
So, Illinois is in the same formation, two backs and two receivers on the same size of the field. Michigan is again in a 3-deep look, again with four down linemen.
Immediately after the snap. This play is very similar to Wheel of Doom #1. There is run action to Jason Ford (#21), who was lined up to Sheelhaase's right. The inside receiver is running a post, the outside receiver is running a 15-yard in. Leshoure is running a wheel route, and Ford is drifting into the flat. You can see the Michigan CBs and FS going into a 3-deep look. We are actually only bringing 5 (not 6): Kovacs is blitzing off the short side of the field.
Same mistake as Wheel of Doom #1: Avery (red arrow) is following the inside receiver who is running a post, leaving vast amounts of green behind him. Mouton is on the 13 yard line, stopping the in route of the outside receiver.
The result is a very grainy TD.
So Sharik may be right about the blitzing safety needing to pick up the RB, but it doesn't look like Kovacs is aware of this at all. Even if that is so, I don't think that Avery can follow the post route here, since that's Vinopal's responsibility. So the cause and the result of Wheel of doom #2 is substantially the same as #1.
Moving Picture Pages version of http://www.mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-snag-package. After what seems like a dozen MPPs that all end badly for Michigan (even the one that showed Denard gaining seven yards was a woulda-coulda-shoulda been a lot more), I finally get a chance to do one that shows something going right. Don't worry, I'm right back to working through the backlog after this one, and the next one will definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth.
I don't have a whole lot to add to this one except that there's a whole lot of analysis after the last picture that didn't translate well to a clip, so go read it again (I say this because it's safe to assume you've read it once already). And I'm still working out the timings on the titles.
The other thing that struck me about this, as I learn more of the intricacies of the game, is that there's a whole lot more to a simple 5-yard slant-and-hitch than just running a 5-yard slant and stopping. It also makes me realize just how difficult it is to play a zone defense, as you have to make split-second decisions about what to do when someone (or multiple someones) enters or leaves your zone.