This is maaaaybe premature there, ESPN. Maryland #1 FWIW.
[Note: Sorry for the week delay on this, reaching 100 points takes some time apparently…]
I’ll be trying to provide these write-ups as often as I can for home games. If you are familiar with the recent changes in student season ticket seating, skip to the next paragraph. For those who missed all the drama last season (and who could blame you), the athletic department decided inexplicably that none of the following contributed to the inability of students to show up to games on time:
- Crappy scheduling,
- Crappy timing,
- Poor performance,
- Rising prices,
- Things being expensive in the stadium and thus eating before arriving, and
- An athletic department that just seems to not give even a Norfleet-sized care about the student experience.
Instead they figured that students were not sufficiently motivated and that they wanted better cell service in the stadium. They thus switched to general admission, which I took as a semester long course in game theory. Things went about as expected with the stadium empty at kickoff against Akron and there being a footrace where it’s a small miracle no one was injured for UTLII. Enter Michael Proppe and the student government who turned a year of haranguing the misguided policy of the athletic department into a seating policy change that actually makes sense.
Well I’d say so (disclaimer on the opener), but I’m biased just slightly by my location.
It is worth noting (per the play-by-play offered by @mikeproppe) that at MSU’s opener, their student section looked significantly emptier at kick off. This is likely both that it was in fact emptier, and that with equal attendance percentages (<100%) GA will always look emptier.
With the new seating policy here is a list of things that I did not do for the opener:
- Wake up at 7am for a middling opponent.
- Wake up more than 12 hours before kickoff (Ok that was for the ND game but still).
- Get sunburned before kickoff.
- Roast hotdogs over a makeshift grill made of a can of sterno.
- Light said grill on fire.
- Have to donate my tailgating supplies to actual tailgaters.
- Be uncharacteristically tired by halftime.
- Spend 15 minutes furiously arguing with fellow fans about their behavior during a veritable stampede (Again the ND game)
- End up sitting in the wrong section without recourse because queues are hard, man.
- End up next to an obnoxious opposing fan, just because she was willing to show up early (seriously whoever you were from Nebraska, the Ohio guy was more tolerable. Significantly)
And the list of things I did do for the opener:
- Go to a pre-game brunch
- Watch about half of the PSU/UCF game before trekking over to the stadium
- Show up in time for warm-ups
- Enjoy game, being loud and energized
- Leave game with enough energy (and soul) left to want to watch all of the interesting matchups still on TV
During the Game
The student section seemed much more in order throughout the game. People seemed more cordial with each other (probably a combination of not having our souls sucked out of us through a straw, and the fact that we weren’t competing with each other for seats). People seemed louder and more engaged. And the wave was executed significantly better (it wasn’t the slowed, split wave from a few years back but hey, progress). Hell, some students near me even lifted the one App State fan for ASU's second touchdown because he was pretty drunk and they felt bad.
I won’t go too in-depth on my take on on-the-field analysis, as it seems that that has been handled pretty thoroughly, but my one hot take comes from the ASU drive early on where they faced a 3rd and 25. I could feel the anticipation welling up. The sense beaten into me by the last 6 years that this was the moment we’d get gashed. They’d find the seam, get a guy wide open 30 yards out and it’d be off to the races. Instead we shut it down handily. I was floored. Even against an overmatched, undersized opponent I had gotten used to the secondary getting torched like that, time and time again. So maybe this year has something different in store. We’ll find out tonight.
Yes, Yes, but about the cell service
While I wasn’t actively paying attention to the cell coverage/wifi. I will say it is significantly better. Was it the deciding missing piece in the fan experience? Absolutely not. It did help with the following game related activities:
- Checking in on H.A.I.L.: I could do it, progress made.
- Getting “WE SAW YOU ON TV #rowA” texts: phone lit up like a Christmas tree a few times. Not complaining
- Checking other scores during TV timeouts…well actually the new score board design is much improved and the ticker of the scores was a nice touch, so that wasn’t actually that important.
- Coordinating post-game meet-up plans with out of town relatives: Possible.
Deal maker/breaker? No. But it was just that a nice touch that, assuming we address the actual problems, will eventually help improve the fan experience.
So is it better?
Honestly, it’s hard to say. I appreciate the superfan/seniority based seating. I appreciate it a lot. But in the long list of ways the AD is finding to make things more difficult and less enjoyable for fans (especially student fans), I’m just not sure how big of an impact this change will have. With the schedule still being what it is, and prices still being what they are, and games taking more and more time. I just don’t know. I’ll be curious to see how this holds up when the semester gets going, people need to be studying more, the weather gets colder, etc. The one thing I want to seriously point out though, is that the student section is approximately 60% of what it is last year. While I fully expect things to bounce back with a better schedule next year, that type of drop-off, regardless of schedule, is inexcusable. Yes non-students pay more for their tickets, yes they make up 75% of the attendees, yes they’ve been doing this a lot longer, etc. But the fan experience is significantly improved by having a loud and energetic and engaged student section (and a large one at that). It seems like we have a seating policy that motivates students to show up on time. Now let’s work on pricing and scheduling that get them to show up at all.
There were a couple light showers early on this morning but the main rain is south, with cloud cover decreasing from northwest to southeast over Illinois- it won't be long before it reaches Indiana too. There are a few sprinkles still popping up on the map mid-morning, most of them south of US-30. Starting the day overcast, but more and more of the clouds will break up throughout the day. Temperatures will be in the mid-60s until closer to lunchtime, when we finally break the 70 degree mark. Overall high of 73 degrees, with a north-northwest wind around 8-10mph until early afternoon, when it jumps up to 15mph (this is a little breeze-you'll see leaves and loose paper blow about). It should feel like a great fall tailgate!
68 degrees for the start of the game. Not a whole lot of cloud cover, which will let temps fall at a decent rate throughout the evening. Winds out of the north-northwest at about 8mph (it'll rustle the leaves).
You may want the sweatshirt by halftime! Down to 62 degrees with just a few clouds lingering. Winds are very light, just enough to feel it on your skin, at about 3-5mph out of the north.
Clear skies and calm winds leaving the stadium to celebrate! It will be chilly, temps down to 60 degrees and falling to the mid 50s if you plan on being out late. If you're headed home Sunday, you'll need the sunglasses - sunny skies, light wind, and afternoon highs in the mid 70s (up from the low 60s in the morning).
If you're staying home... Very similar weather, but it'll take a tad longer to get the clear skies. We'll reach the low 70s in A2 with a northwest wind at 10mph before it calms down closer to dinner. 65 degrees at kickoff, dropping to 55 by the end of the game. With clearing skies, if you're out late we'll drop to 50 by the last ride home. Quiet conditions continue into Sunday, with highs in the mid 70s and plenty of sunshine. Let's finish this out with a win!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for ABC in Flint, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
Four Plays – Michigan @ ND 2014
This series examines the probable individual matchups Michigan expects to face against particular opponents on one each of Michigan’s basic running and passing plays, as well as defensively against a couple of the opponent’s base plays. I did four of these last season, and would have done more, but after games like Penn State and MSU I eventually just became too demoralized to keep going. Not only that, but Borges would install new concepts every other week and I couldn’t keep up.
A new season is upon us, however, so it’s a nice day to start again. For the first 2014 edition of the series, let’s take a look at Michigan’s visit to South Bend in the (sniff) final matchup of this iconic series.
When Michigan has the ball…
1. Inside Zone Left
The Appalachian State UFR showed that RT Ben Braden struggled with his run blocking technique and RGs Joey Burzynski and Kyle Kalis were inconsistent. Michigan should get some help on the right side of the line with Graham Glasgow returning, but the best bet for running the ball may be to go left behind Mason Cole and Erik Magnuson. Shown here from a “Shotgun Deep” formation, this inside zone play is designed to attack the “3-hole” between offensive guard and tackle, but the back must read the blocks and may attack a different hole if a defender gets caught out of his gap or too far upfield. As for Notre Dame, Bob Diaco and his cats & dogs are out; former NY Jets defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder is in. He supposedly runs an aggressive 4-3, mixing under and over fronts and using lots of pressure.
LT Mason Cole: Covered; block SDE Romeo Okwara, who is covering him
LG Erik Magnuson: Uncovered; release to second-level and block WLB Jaylon Smith
C Jack Miller: Covered; reach block NT Jarron Jones, who is covering him
RG Graham Glasgow: Uncovered; chip DT Sheldon Day, then release to block MLB Joe Schmidt
RT Ben Braden: Covered; block DT Sheldon Day
UTE Khalid Hill: Covered; block WDE
Ishaq Williams (haha) Isaac Rochelle, who is covering him
RB – Derrick Green: Receive handoff and aim for 3-hole between LT and LG; read blocks, make a single cut and head downfield
Though Cole, Magnuson, and Miller graded out well against Appalachian State, this play calls for Cole, a true freshman, to single-block ND’s upper-classman DE and for Magnuson to hunt down Jaylon Smith—one of the best young linebackers in the country. On the backside, expect Braden to struggle with Sheldon Day, even with help from Glasgow.
2. Four Verticals
Cover 3 gets its name from the three defenders (i.e., both CBs and the FS) who play deep 1/3 zones over top of four underneath defenders. Four Verticals is designed to attack Cover 3 by forcing those three deep defenders to cover four receivers. The outside WRs occupy the two cornerbacks, leaving just the FS to deal with the two inside receivers (the Y and the U, as depicted above). In more advanced versions of the play, one or more of the receivers will run option routes, adjusting their patterns after the snap to exploit the holes in the defensive scheme or coverage techniques. Here, the U receiver will run a fly route—but in the event both safeties drop deep (e.g., in a disguised Cover 2 scheme), he will covert to a post route and attack the open middle of the field.
XWR Amara Darboh: Run fly (9) route vs. BCB
KaiVare Russell (doof) Cody Riggs
YWR Dennis Norfleet: Run option fly (9) route vs. FS Max Redfield
LT Mason Cole: Pass protect vs.
WDE Ishaq Williams (blarblar) WDE Isaac Rochells
LG Erik Magnuson: Pass protect vs. DT Sheldon Day
C Jack Miller: Pass protect vs. DT Sheldon Day
RG Graham Glasgow: Pass protect vs. NT Jarron Jones
RT Ben Braden: Pass protect vs. SDE Romeo Okwara
RB Derrick Green: Pass protect, then release to flat
UWR Devin Funchess: Run fly (9) route vs. FS Max Redfield
ZWR Jehu Chesson: Run fly (9) route vs. FCB Cole Luke
QB Devin Gardner: 1-step drop (from shotgun); read free safety to see which of the inside receivers he plays tighter on; read “inside-out” on opposite side of field; if corner plays outside receiver, throw to inside receiver and vice-versa
Successfully defending Four Verticals requires advanced zone coverage technique; the underneath defenders must jam the inside receivers, while the corners and safeties must be able to split their receivers and stay in position to make a play on a ball thrown to either one. Yet ND will be missing its best starting CB due to honor code violations, and starting safety Austin Collinsworth is also out with an injury. To make matters worse for the Irish, starting DE Ishaq Williams is also out because of the academic scandal. That’s a lot of vulnerabilities—and expect Michigan to take full advantage.
When Notre Dame has the ball…
3. Outside Zone
Outside Zone remains the staple of Brian Kelly’s running game. Unlike Inside Zone, a physical running play in which the offensive line tries generally to drive defensive players out of their gaps, Outside Zone calls for agile linemen to step across their defenders and seal them inside (reach blocking). Defenders must fight to avoid being sealed—but in doing so, must also be careful not to flow too far outside, lest they open up cutback lanes behind them.
WDE Frank Clark: Defend backside C-gap vs. LT Ronnie Stanley
NT Ryan Glasgow: Penetrate backside A-gap vs. LG Conner Hanratty (try to demand double team from C)
DT Willie Henry: Penetrate playside B-gap vs. RG Christian Lombard
SDE Brennan Beyer: Fight outside block of TE Ben Koyack to defend playside C-gap; set edge point to force run inside
WLB Joe Bolden: Defend backside B-gap (watch for crackback from invisible slot receiver)
MLB Jake Ryan: Defend frontside A-gap vs. C Nick Martin
SLB James Ross: Defend frontside C-gap vs. RT Steve Elmer
Notre Dame has a veteran line with some quality players, but could be shaky on the right side with a young RT and a new starter at TE. Michigan is stout in the middle, but small at SDE and the move to a 4-3 Over base has shuffled their linebackers’ responsibilities around. No clear advantage for either team on this play.
4. Stick/Draw Packaged Play
Notre Dame’s biggest offensive weapons this season are in the backfield, with several touted RBs and QB Everett Golson returning from a one-year academic disqualification. For Michigan, the greatest concerns with the defense lie in the middle of the field—where distinguished SAM linebacker Jake Ryan has moved to MLB, veteran inside linebacker Desmond Morgan is reportedly out with an arm injury, and new (though talented) players start at safety and nickel. One way ND might test these greener players is through a packaged concept that targets the MLB. The line pass-blocks and the TE runs a stick route; the QB reads the MLB to see if he drops into coverage on the TE or plays the run—and then either hands to ball off to the RB (if the MLB drops) or throws to the TE (if the MLB plays the run). This play destroys zone coverage, but Michigan has moved to primarily man-to-man coverage this season.
FCB Blake Countess: Bump & run coverage vs. SE
DaVaris Daniels (hoohoo) Chris Brown on fade (9) route
NCB Jabrill Peppers: Coverage vs. Slot WR Amir Carlisle on out (8) route; defend C gap vs. run
WDE Frank Clark: Penetrate C gap vs. LT Ronnie Stanley
NT Ryan Glasgow: Penetrate weakside A-gap vs. LG Conner Hanratty, C Nick Martin
3-tech DT Willie Henry: Penetrate strongside B-gap vs. RG Christian Lombard
SDE Brennan Beyer: Pass rush vs. RT Steve Elmer
WLB Joe Bolden: Read pass or run; against pass, cover RB Cam McDaniel; against run, defend B gap
MLB Jake Ryan: Read pass or run; against pass, cover TE Ben Koyack; against run, defend A gap
SS Delano Hill: Cover deep half
FS Jarrod Wilson: Cover deep half
BCB Raymon Taylor: Bump & run coverage vs. WR Corey Robinson
This play puts Michigan’s newest starters (Jake Ryan, who is new to MLB, and Delano Hill, who is new to starting altogether) under stress. But Ryan is, as they say, "a football player." And Hill may be a new face at SS, but he’s reportedly a high-IQ guy who should at least be in position. Having a war daddy at the 3-tech position also helps; Lombard is a well-regarded player but if Henry can 2-gap him then the draw play won't work anyhow.
It's Notre Dame week. More specifically, it's the last Notre Dame week. I wanted to make a few different wallpapers for this game, but only had time finish one. I figure one is still better than none, right?
Anyway. The photo I used is from the 2012 game (I believe it was taken by ESPN). I chose this one because Michigan will be wearing away jerseys this week. It's also just a really cool photo. I used a color pop effect to really bring out the maize and blues. I think it looks pretty cool. Kinda neon-ish.
Anyway, here it is. Hope you like it. Go Blue! (click for full size)
here it is, didn't get a chance to update per the Bosch news and not sure where Glasgow fits in.
SOME OF THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF WEEK 1 IN BIG TEN FOOTBALL
As it is difficult to delve into meaningful statistics after one game of play, although some people try all the same, we shall instead embark on looking at some of the highs and lows on various statistics around the conference in the first week of the new season.
Who scored the most points? That honor goes to Nebraska, which put up 55 (7 TDs, 7 PATs and 2 FGs) on a team which footballs while legally blind and with a broken leg, just so there is perspective here. Incidentally, Nebraska also allowed the fewest points for largely the same reason. Come to think of it, their 784 yards of offense was the most in the conference this past weekend too, and the 498 yards of rushing buried within that number. Who’s up for playing Florida Atlantic?
Who score the fewest points? Northwestern and Wisconsin share the bottom at 24 points each. In the case of Wisconsin, the one thing we know now is that Tanner McEvoy once walked into the path of a bicycle and scrambled but was eventually tackled at the LOS.
Rutgers gave up the most points – 38 of them to Washington State, which managed to move the ball well enough to outgain Rutgers despite losing. The lesson here is that a fade into the end zone might be the most Leach call ever.
Total defense? Here’s something you’ll never see again – Indiana gave up only 170 yards, aided largely by Indiana State’s inability to make intelligible use of the football. It’s actually a wonder that Indiana only scored 28 points, I would think.
Rushing offense? As mentioned, Nebraska was the most prolific, and at the other end of the spectrum, there was Penn State and their 57 yards of rushing. Indeed, 28 carries for 57 yards is the sort of stat that hits far too close to home around here.
Rushing defense is an easy one to cover here – Rutgers gave up 6 yards of rushing to a team coached by Mike Leach. Fail, right? Or is that “mathematically impossible”? Either way, not shocking. Ohio State gave up 370 yards of rushing to a triple option team in Navy, which again shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Penn State threw for the most yards – 454 of them – mostly because Christian Hackenburg and why not, right? Ohio State gave up on 20 yards of passing to a triple option team which….NAVY THREW A PASS?
The most efficient passing games this past weekend? Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan in that order with ratings of 240.1, 237.2 and 218.6 respectively. On the flip side of this state, Nebraska, Maryland and Indiana made the opposing QBs look the worst.
As the games progress and the stats become more meaningful, obviously bona fide analysis and charts will happen, but for now, we are through the first week. Let us make the second a good one as well.