Also I lost money on Stately Victor. So I chose a bad weekend to take a semi-vacation. Every time I hopped on my phone to see what was going down, Michigan was picking up a DE commit or Ohio State was seeing its troubles expand or Michigan State fans were having entertaining meltdowns or the OHL draft was somehow giving Michigan commitments instead of stealing them. You think it's just a random weekend in May and surely the only thing you're going to miss is nothing. Not so much. But if that's going to happen every time I'm out of pocket I'll be in the Yukon until August even if we pick up some suspensions along the way.
It all started with dozens of cars over a decade. The Dispatch reports Ohio State is looking into their players' tendency to buy cars from one guy with the usual level of signed memorabilia in his office and at least one very interesting sale:
Public records show that in 2009, a 2-year-old Chrysler 300 with less than 20,000 miles was titled to then-sophomore linebacker Thaddeus Gibson. Documents show the purchase price as $0.
Unfortunately for people wishing to see OSU bombed into the stone age, the Dispatch found that "nearly half" of the cars are on record as being sold for less than the Blue Book value, which is a way of saying it seems like there's a reasonable distribution of prices when that price isn't no dollars. That's unless the cars in question are all blinged out yo—the Dispatch only knows make and model.
However, in addition to all these sales this Kniffin guy also loaned Terrelle Pryor the cars he was driving when he was pulled over three times in loaners. It's extremely implausible that the NCAA won't be able to put together another finding of improper benefits. It was also implausible that Pryor could get away with the car hijinks and he did.
Ohio State compliance is putting up a brave face, but privately the prospect of Kniffin and his 130k in IRS debt facing down the law for misreporting sale prices for these cars has to be foreboding. If there's a choice between jail and confirming documents that would expand the scope of OSU's trouble to include a lack of institutional control, skeezy guy in undisclosed state will no doubt take the latter.
Still need that smoking gun to turn up, unless OSU's crack compliance storm troopers investigating car purchases and letting that Gibson thing slide is it. Ohio recruiting guru and OSU partisan Duane Long:
What about Pryor? I mean, every dealership owner is totally cool with letting me test drive their personal automobile for days on end across state lines. Especially when I was in college. Apparently that’s when I was most trustworthy. That story is believable right?
Now we find out it’s not just star players, it’s a bunch of players AND their families. Good Lord.
Don’t fret Buckeyes because this stuff was already cleared by OSU compliance. Whew!!! I knew they were on top of this. Sure they missed years of players cashing in on items that we would cherish our entire lives but are trivial to the players in exchange for tattoos and cash. But buying cars, they were all over it. Color me relieved, except for one thing. I saw a post asking one simple question, If all of this was cleared already then why the INTERNAL investigation? Hasn’t there already been one? Hasn’t it already been cleared? So what if the Dispatch thinks it’s a big deal. The answer to the Dispatch article is “It’s already been cleared”. Case closed. Story over. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead we muttered under our breath like Latoya Jackson’s mousy voice “we cleared this” and then contradicted the value of that entire “clearing” by announcing our internal investigation. That is ridiculous. Doing this internal investigation is a big announcement to the world “Yeah we didn’t really clear anything and we would hope you guys wouldn’t notice”.
It beggars belief that 50 different Buckeyes all got a legitimate deal with one particular salesman who has provably given Terrelle Pryor rides no one else would get. Maurice Wells' mom bought a car in Columbus. She lives in Maryland. So did Pryor's mother and brother, who live in Pennsylvania. The NCAA should be able to ask anyone with eligibility to prove they're making the payments the notes claim they are with permanent ineligibility the alternative. There's clearly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest what went down was rife with illegal benefits. If they don't they're making a mockery of their enforcement process at a school that's already done a better job of that than USC.
The car thing brings options approaching nuclear into play. Basketball players are involved and violations uncovered could stretch back a decade to when Maurice Clarett and Marco Cooper told ESPN they were given loaner cars and sweetheart deals. If the NCAA uncovers an ineffectual see-no-evil car accounting system in the wake of that very public accusation, pairing that with Tatgate makes for the worst NCAA violation in a long, long time.
BONUS: Texas fans are running a strong second to Michigan when it comes to e-outrage about this stuff. Burnt Orange Nation campaigns for a show-cause—their third post on the subject—and Barking Carnival opens up both barrels as well. A sniff of Switzer is a red cape to Longhorns.
Other possibility: Malletts be Mallettin'. Ryan Mallett's father dropped a dual bombshell as he tried to explain why his kid transferred away from Michgian, saying that Lloyd Carr told Mallett to transfer and Rodriguez didn't pursue Mallett as hard as he should have. The latter quote:
“Ryan’s the one who called (Rich Rod),” Jim Mallett continued. “He said, “Can I talk about the offense?’ And then he told me, ‘Daddy, (Rodriguez) never looked me in the eye.’ He never visited with the family, he didn’t talk to us. I never met the man. But hey, it wasn’t a fit. Let’s move on.”
This set off another minor war between the Rodriguez and Carr factions vying to determine which of them was incrementally less of an asshat over the last three years. There is another possibility: this is just a self-serving remembrance from the sort of guy who promises "revenge" on Miami for not drafting his kid. For one, Rodriguez never looked Mallett in the eye because Mallett was in Arkansas, not Michigan—unusual behavior for a player planning on staying at Michigan. For two, Carr told Mallett to transfer plenty before he'd even retired. I believe Carr told Mallett to GTFO, but it wasn't because he was looking out for his player.
The team. The team:
Also the team.
Stonum suspension redux. Darryl Stonum has been suspended "indefinitely" for his second DUI, which is better than the rumor I got in my inbox that he had gotten the heave-ho but seemingly not much better. Stonum had a breakout 2010 and could have done so again as a focal point when Michigan went under center; now he could be out for anywhere from a couple games to the year. Michigan could hypothetically redshirt him, FWIW.
I wish I had something to offer about how serious the on-field repercussions would be but it sounds like that's up to Stonum's actions over the next few months. A second DUI is a serious offense.
We're going to need a bigger ark. Michigan picked up a pair of WDE commits over the weekend from Ohio's Pharaoh Brown and Michigan's Mario Ojemudia, bringing their 2012 class to ten guys all from Michigan and Ohio, all offensive linemen or front-seven defensive players. This would be Brady Hoke self-parody if every guy in the class didn't sport the offer list of a guy at least on the 3-4 star borderline, but they all do so it's just good stuff. Michigan has 17 slots right now and can push that to 19 by not offering a couple of guys fifth years; with a reasonable amount of attrition they'll be looking at a class of 22 or more.
They seem to lead for Matt Godin, Chris Wormley, Terry Richardson, Anthony Standifer, and Jordan Diamond. They'll probably grab two DTs from the Pipkins/O'Brien/Day/Johnson group, which brings them to around 17. The five remaining scholarships go to:
- Mystery QB
- Mystery RB, Preferably Blue Chip, Thx
- Hypothetically Qualified Aaron Burbridge or Mystery Outside WR
- Mystery OT Probably From California
- Mystery OT
If they end up whiffing on any of the guys counted in the class it will probably be Wormley, at which point Michigan will put the full court press on the touted SDEs who veritably litter Ohio this year and, given the way things seem to be going, get one.
Michigan's problems, such as they are: getting the second WR it seems they need, finding a true safety, and smushing MI TE Ron Thompson in. If they bloat this class up to 25 they can add Thompson, another safety, and another WR without squeezing out that fifth OL.
That's asking for six kids to leave the team before February. I can glance at the Depth Chart By Class and easily pick off six guys whose absence wouldn't be felt but that's somewhere between rude and skeezy. While Michigan won't put themselves in a situation where they sign a bunch of guys and then say "medical scholarships for everyone," the best interests of the program are now aligned with certain guys leaving it. That's uncomfortable.
Tell me something I don't know. Rivals initial top 100 is a bit light on Midwesterners and, as usual, over-represented by the Texas/California/Florida triumvirate. I'm working on a larger post about this but:
- From 2000-2006 Texas, Florida, and California supplied 35% of NFL draft picks. From 2007-2010 they supplied 34%.
- This year's Rivals 100 has 48 players from those three states.
- The Midwest (MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, PA) supplied 17% of NFL draft picks.
- This year's Rivals 100 has 15 players from those states.
I haven't looked at enough data to see what the issue is but my bet is consistent overrating of Big Three players at a the near-uniform expense of everyone else. Some of this is inevitable unless you expect the Rivals guys to figure out which half a Montanan is going to get drafted every year, but if you suck out the odd NFL player from the ignored Great Plains and New England states you should be overrating the rest fairly uniformly. That hasn't happened so far this year.
Caveat: it's possible that the good players in the big states get scouted sooner, leaving the rest of the nation to catch up. That would mean the final Rivals 100 would be less Big Three biased. I'm not sure yet, which is why there's a post in the works.
Etc.: Brandon Burlon's departure is official. Michigan's solar car hits the NYT. They're going to paint the imaginary no-charge circle on the floor. Beilein thinks that helps but I'm not sure since their defense is built around charges, not blocked shots. Hockey's endzone nets are stupid.
There's been some chatter about Terry Richardson's upcoming announcement being a twitter prank from Royce Jenkins-Stone but 247's Steve Wiltfong reports that Cass Tech coach Tom Wilcher says Richardson will "probably make his decision this week." With Ross and Jenkins-Stone in the boat, Michigan is the presumed favorite.
Ankles are both good: "I'm at the health that I want to be right now." The week of rest has helped, and no hitting for a couple weeks should also do him some good. He expects to be 100% by bowl time. It's frustrating being injured, because you put in the work to be ready, "you got 12 opportunities a year... you're not able to play those minutes and those plays, it's rough." Getting to full strength is his priority. A lot of guys who were banged up have been getting a lot of treatment in the week off. "There's a very good chance for me to be feeling great for the bowl."
More practices will help the young team improve: "You improve any time you can get some work in. Whenever we get into practice or anything, we always make sure we're ready to work and get better."
Excited to play an SEC team. "It's big for me, it's big for the guys that I came in with that haven't gone to a bowl yet." It's rare for a junior to not have gone to a bowl game yet. Older players are excited to get back there. Michigan has a lot of contenders to win an eating contest, if there is one. Mike doesn't think he'd be one of them.
Mouton and Denard predicted wins at the banquet: "I would say that's just excitement." Everybody is just excited and anxious to practice, and to play in the bowl. "Jonas and Denard, probably just pure excitement. Just wanting to get down there."
Rodriguez job limbo: "That's not something I can control, or anyone on the team can control." The players are just worried about playing, and controlling what they can. "Whatever pans out, we're worried about the game."
Roh's move: "I know he feels a lot more comfortable being on the line." He played DE in high school, and wasn't as comfortable at linebacker. He's able to just play his game at DL instead of over-thinking.
Reaction of team to playing Mississippi State? "We was all pretty happy." Playing in a January 1 bowl game is exciting. "We're all happy with the Gator Bowl."
Playing an SEC team: "You always hear about the SEC speed, and the Big Ten is like slow and big muscle guys and SEC is the fast, athletic guys. In 2008 Michigan did a great job against Florida." Eager to prove that Michigan will be able to beat a good SEC team.
Exciting to play in his first bowl game. "Hopefully we can keep this going, keep the bowl game streak going, and get Michigan back to where it's supposed to be."
Taking the time in between the end of the season to heal up. "You don't want to go too hard." Worried more about sharpening skills than hitting each other. They know the whole playbook, they need to make sure they'll be able to execute well, "getting ready mentally more than physically."
Ankle is "pretty good," but he's still getting treatment. Should be 100% by bowl game. Against OSU "it was pretty tough. They tried to tape it up and do all kind of things." He was going to gut it out for the seniors no matter how much it hurt.
Denard deserved the MVP honor (though Darryl joked that he tried to vote for Troy Woolfolk). "Especially for a sophomore, so he's only going to get better. We're looking for big things from him his junior year, and big things in the bowl game" Denard should still be in the Heisman race.
In the bowl game, "I think you'll see how everybody played in the first few games," because they'll be much healthier. Everybody's rehabbing and should be fresh. "We'll be ready to go."
"No need to beat ourselves up. Might as well save it to beat up Mississippi State."
"Denard. Denard Robinson." for team MVP. Mike Shaw voted for himself as a joke, because he knew Denard was going to win it. "Everybody knew who was going to win it because of all the hard work he put in all season." There's still more room for improvement.
Denard's very humble every day. Always trying to learn something, trying to improve his game and his teammates. Even when he was getting mentioned for the Heisman, he was more worried about working on his game.
"I felt like I played great all year, but at times, lack of focus on the football." He knows he can play better than he showed in the last four games. He's only a sophomore, so he has the offseason to work hard toward a good junior year. "Trying to take off without the ball in my hands. Drops: I had several drops in this last game." Doesn't lack confidence, just needs to practice to fix it. "That's easily corrected. It's just up to me to really maintain that."
The team will work out to stay focused in the layoff. "When we do have practice, I'm sure pretty Coach Rod's gonna have us ready." It's helping people heal up.
It's nice to finally be playing in the postseason. "Watching bowl games? You know that really sucked bad. You really couldn't do nothing about it because of the season we had. Finally getting out there, getting ready to play Mississippi State, come January first, it's gonna be great. It's SEC vs. Big Ten and we're just getting ready to go in there and give it our all."
Chris Spielman's comments on how Jordan isn't good enough for Michigan: "I heard about it. It's nothing that I haven't heard before. Obviously it motivates me." Every player - especially walkons - motivated by outside comments.
Against OSU, the front 7 played pretty well "eventually I guess their running game just wore us down." They played hard though, and if they can continue that, the defense will be fine going forward.
Never been to a Michigan bowl game, even though he was a fan growing up. Remembers the Capital One bowl a few years back. Jordan was 1 year old last time Michigan was in the Gator Bowl.
His roommate spoiled the surprise yesterday by telling him it was the Gator Bowl. Excited to play an SEC team because they're supposed to be the best conf. All 4 of MSU's losses are to top-16 teams in the SEC.
"The first couple weeks, I think you've really gotta heal up, because it's been a long regular season." After a couple weeks of workouts, they'll start practicing, then preparing for Mississippi State specifically. "We can get back to fundamental football. We don't have to focus on Mississippi State as much right away." Can work on getting back to Michigan football and understanding team goals and individual roles, then worry about the opponent later.
Banged up a bit during football seaosn, because that happens to everyone. "We had a lift this morning, and I feel pretty fresh." Hit his high weight of the season, so a week off can help you heal up.
Ryan Van Bergen
"I voted for Mr. Shoelaces as well. He obviously deserved it, he broke all the records." He was unstoppable until he got injured. "He wasn't able to showcase how really spectacular he can be" at the end of the season.
Junior Hemingway made big plays against Indiana and Illinois, and could have been MVP. Roy Roundtree had a great Illinois game and a couple other fantastic games, but Denard was the guy who got the ball when they needed a play all year, so he's the MVP.
4-man front worked well against Ohio State: "I think that the 4-man front, we completely thwarted them the first half." He would guess that they run some 4-man fronts in the bowl.
Used to watch a lot of hockey, Red Wings v. Avalanche, excited for the Big Chill game. "I'm excited. I've never been in the student section at Michigan before. But I'll be there in the student section at the Big House, watching a hockey game."
Big Ten v. SEC: "I don't know if they're the conference to beat, but they're the conference that I'd definitely want to play against" to get the best test. SEC, Big Ten, maybe a bit of Pac 10 are the best conferences. Regardless of when it's played, those two conferences in a bowl are a big deal.
Nobody needs to worry too much about MSU yet. Focus on self, healing injuries, get in better shape, focus on fundamentals, and then 4 weeks in, you finally start worrying about the gameplan for Mississippi State. "If you focus on the opponent that long, you're just going to overlook self-improvement."
Media circulating talking about RR: "There's always something out there." RVB is in support of Coach Rod. Somebody around the program as long as Van Bergen has has, he's excited to get back to a bowl. "I would like to say that I want to be with Coach Rodriguez for the rest of my career."
"All people see is the stuff that goes on camera, that goes out to the television sets, and you can't understand what goes on at Schembechler Hall." RR is hard-working, and cares about his players "as much as any other coach in college football cares about his players." Wants them to succeed. "He's just a great guy, and when you recognize somebody that has those leadership qualities, that's somebody that you're going to wanna follow, and I think the whole team takes that attitude."
Voted for Denard as team MVP. "When he handed out the ballots, in my head I was saying 'do we even really need to vote?'" Denard getting hit hard every game, tough to keep that up. He persevered and was never out for extended time. "He's been through it, he's felt it, and next year it will be a little more natural to him."
OL MVP award: "It's a huge honor, definitely. To be rewarded for consistent play over three years is an honor." Proud to be a 3-time winner.
Really excited to be in a New Year's Day bowl game. Glad that OSU disappointment isn't his last game. Glad to get back to a bowl game for the seniors and want to start a new streak.
Feels like the Capital One bowl was a long time ago, but sometimes it seems like yesterday. Getting to a bowl game as a freshman helped him improve: "I think it was huge. Towards the end of my freshman year, I was struggling a bit." Having time off and able to worked on fundamentals and confidence helped him grow a lot as a young player. They can regroup mentally coming off a couple losses.
There's a long time between games, can't worry about MSU too early. First two practices are just getting back to fundamentals. Worry about the gameplan later, then "you go out there to win the game."
Big Ten and SEC are two of the top conferences. "It'll be fun to see how the two conferences compare" in the bowl matchups.
A few young offensive linemen will be ready to step up once Schilling graduates. Ricky Barnum got in a few plays at tackle against Ohio State "He's more fit at guard." Mealer's been playing a lot. Will Campbell has improved a bunch in the past couple weeks, and the bowl and spring practices might allow him to challenge for the job.
11/27/2010 – Michigan 7, Ohio State 37 – 7-5, 3-5 Big Ten
The Ohio State game has the power to make whatever happens in it seem like Michigan's season in microcosm, and so the overriding theme of the 2010 season is looking up at the scoreboard at halftime to see Michigan on pace for about 500 yards and about twenty points. Michigan had 238 yards and seven points this time around and instead of a competitive game we got the usual.
The last couple weeks the "loss will cause me to" bit has been "repeat I expected 7-5." That kind of mantra to keep your boiling rage under control has been necessary and less than effective as Michigan has fallen behind massively against good opponents and shown little ability to get up, causing the chattering class to rush to their keyboards so they can point out the lack of progress after Saturday. In the Game-as-microcosm sense, it's true. Last year Michigan was an opponent that got Tresselballed to death. This year they weren't good enough to pose the vague threat. They made Tresselball into things like 98 yard touchdown runs (save an iffy holding call after ninety of those yards) and 85 yard kickoff return TDs.
In the larger scheme it's not. In the nonconference Michigan traded Eastern Michigan for UConn, who may have lost to Temple but is also a game away from the Big East title, and traded home for road against Notre Dame. The conference record of the two teams not on their Big Ten schedule (excluding the game between the two) is 4-10. Last year it was 7-7. They got two more wins. Last year their average yardage differential excluding the Baby Seal U game was –57 yards. Even if you hack out this year's most lopsided game against Bowling Green—something that's not fair to the 2010 team because of the schedule upgrade—this year they're +18. That's a huge swing.
And yet. Today even the most insanely patient Michigan fan feels zo unzatisfied.
This is the point where some sort of post from the summer that took a cold-eyed look at what Michigan had and what it would have in 2011 and set a baseline—what's that? It's Some Sort of Post From The Summer's music!
I know it's my role as the crazy fan blogger to demand the head of the coach when he fails to live up to my crazy expectations, but if we're seriously talking about an 8-4 regular season "not being enough" for Rodriguez to get a year four Michigan should have just fired him already. If this ends up being an 8-4 team the Mathlete's luck chart will have Michigan considerably on the happy side of the ledger. …
"This is still Michigan" is demonstrably false. Even in year three this remains a desperately young team with major holes in the secondary and no upperclass quarterbacks. Rodriguez's responsibility for the state of the state of the roster is limited to the absence of Terrelle Pryor, or any marginally acceptable option at quarterback from his first two months on the job, and a couple of would-be-sophomores Rodriguez did not add to the end of his first full recruiting class. You can wave your hands and say "Michigan! Rabble rabble rabble!" all you want but if you dressed these guys up like Generic State University people would expect them to go .500. …
My personal measuring stick for Rodriguez: yardage parity and a winning record. I would be displeased with 7-6 but willing to grit my teeth and give Rodriguez a shot in 2011, when he will return both specialists, every starter on offense save Steve Schilling and all but three starters on defense. That will seem exceptionally kind to many, I know, but literally no coach in the country could take the leftovers after Mallett's transfer and do anything other than flail as Rodriguez has.
2008 was a complete waste. To me, this is year two for Rodriguez, and 2011 is when I expect rubber to meet road.
That was before Troy Woolfolk blew up and Vlad Emilien and Justin Turner lit out. (While not having Emilien around is grating apparently Michigan just came up craps with Turner, who is heavily rumored to be out at West Virginia and headed DII; since this was a guy with an OSU offer it was not apparent this would happen.)
There are arguments that 7-5 is not good enough because this was the most unsatisfying 7-5 possible, and, yes, it was. Michigan's record in close games is 3-0, 4-0 if you want to count the Purdue game (UMass does not register since it featured an unrecovered onside kick). They fell behind massively in every loss and never had a chance to drive for even a tie in the second half of any. I've said before that if Rodriguez is broomed and Harbaugh installed here my reaction will be "meh" quickly followed by "what about Denard?" Because this is Michigan football Rodriguez will take Clemson to the BCS four times, but even that certainty doesn't dull the shine on Harbaugh.
But it's pretty hard for me to go back to what I thought before the season, see what it is, see what we got, and think Rodriguez didn't put himself in position for Put Up Or Shut Up 2011. Barely.
Non-Bullets of Something Or Other
Well, that was horrible. Awful refereeing plagued that game. There were the two inexplicable OSU personal fouls after TDs—the first I thought was for the dive but that was a legit dive with two guys coming at him—the iffy penalty on the 98-yarder, a terrible holding call on Steve Schilling, and a non-review of what seemed clearly like a non-interception followed immediately by a review of an OSU non-fumble that screwed Michigan both incompetent and competent.
Also, Michigan got called for "encroachment" before the snap, on offense. Can that even happen? WTF?
Well, that was horrible. Darryl Stonum emo 2010:
Well, that was horrible. Mmmm Seth Brokhuizen rugby punt. Kicker Nick Sheridan? Kicker Nick Sheridan. Not his fault he's seeing the field. Save us Justin Meram. Anyone.
Well, that was horrible. Michigan got what seemed like its first procedure penalties of the year from someone other than Taylor Lewan when Je'Ron Stokes and Jeremy Jackson picked up five-yard penalties. Jackson's wiped out a 30-yard gain and led to Michigan's only three and out of the first half.
Well, that was horrible. At least we won the "don't look retarded" game. 2-0, baby!
Well, that was horrible. Further adventures in hating Michigan fans:
Well, that was horrible. God… Roy Roundtree… not all of those were easy, but… arrrrrrgh.
BONUS psychoanalysis note: since everyone does it I might as well offer a protip so the evaluations are less annoying. If you're going to respond to something I say by discovering the way in which my brain is broken, you should say "excessively skeptical of using emotion in decisions and too fond of numbers."
Wind-down, offseason, bowl, etc. note: I am burned out. I'm not making any promises about UFRing this game. I might, I might not. This week is going to be relatively light and then we'll start talking about bowl stuff and whatnot, with an eye towards what will or will not happen with Rodriguez. I'll have something up this afternoon about what I've got, which isn't definitive at all but exists.
Formation notes: Nothing fancy from Michigan. Wisconsin mostly went with the linebacker-over-slot stuff ND and others have run all year. Most of the game they paired this with safeties 6-8 yards off the LOS like so:
Occasionally they would shift into a cover-zero 4-4 look but mostly it was this. On Michigan's final charted drive they went with the slot LB look with their safeties at real safety depth, whereupon Michigan passed all over them.
Substitution notes: Lewan missed the game so Michigan went back to its earlier configuration with Huyge at LT. The rest of it was as per usual, except Shaw missed the game with a concussion and Smith got the vast bulk of the time as the number one back.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M1||1||10||I-form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Iso||Smith||2|
|Wisconsin LBs aligned to the backside of the play, allowing the backside DE to slant under the block of McColgan. Smith does well just to get a couple yards by picking his way through trash. RPS -1, though perhaps harsh since it's first and ten from the one.|
|M3||2||8||I-form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout hitch||Roundtree||14|
|…but they could have done this so the RPS stands. Michigan rolls the pocket as the two RBs run at the LOS like they're running another iso, sucking linebackers up. Slot safety heads out on the Hemingway hitch outside, leaving Roundtree wide open for the first down. McColgan(-1) got chucked by a DE and Robinson gets some pressure so he has to throw this awkwardly; the resulting pass is on target but inside and takes Roundtree off his feet. Borderline MA/CA, but with the pressure I think it's the latter. (CA, 2, protection 1/2, McColgan -1, RPS +1)|
|M17||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone dive||Smith||7|
|Eerily similar to the MSU game, where Michigan kept running it right down the throat of an opponent determined to let the backside DE contain on the read. Here he's even standing up with a big blinking sign that says "no scrape here, thanks." Dorrestein(+1) and Omameh(+1) destroy the backside DT, shoving him five yards downfield. This cuts off any LB angles and allows Smith a cutback lane behind the contain DE that he takes for a good chunk. (ZR +1)|
|M24||2||3||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone dive||Smith||4|
|Same thing, same result, backside DE crashes faster and tackles better. Dorrestein gets a ding for not getting push sufficient to get out of the way of Smith as he tries to run past the DE. (ZR+1)|
|M28||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Hemingway||Inc|
|Batted into the air as M slides their protection and leaves Smith one on one with a DE. DE forms up, perceiving this is a quick pass, and leaps to bat it. Smith needs to go at this guy's knees so this doesn't happen. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, Smith -2)|
|We miss this play. Hate you director.|
|M29||3||9||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Scramble||Robinson||6|
|Protection is fine; Robinson can't find anyone open and ends up running for a gain well short of the first down. Reminder: these get put in TA if they are a clear second option instead of an obvious way to pick up the first. (TA, N/A, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 8 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M28||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Post||Stonum||Inc|
|So like Purdue, Wisconsin's 4-3 alignment has featured safeties 7-8 yards off the LOS with a bias towards charging forward. Michigan goes after it this time around with a play action inverted veer look. Safety 1 sucks up and is dead, safety 2 sucks up and is dead, Stonum gets inside the cornerback and gets yards of separation on a 15-yard post that's either a diving ankle tackle for 20 yards or a touchdown like the Indiana post... Denard overthrows Stonum by five yards. Sad face. (INX, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +3)|
|M28||2||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inverted veer keeper||Robinson||4|
|Aiiigh. Michigan goes with the Cam Newton, and I think Perry Dorrestein(-1) does not get his assignment right. He's blocking down on the playside DT, which is also what Omameh is doing. This allows the MLB to scrape unmolested. The playside DE is headed upfield to contain the handoff so Robinson pulls (ZR+1). Schilling's pulled around and kicks out the OLB, leaving Robinson one on one with that unblocked MLB in a ton of space. With one safety screaming playside to contain Smith and the other headed around the outside Denard is gone--gone--if he gets through the first level. A diving arm tackle succeeds in getting Denard down. Sadface.|
|M32||3||6||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB draw||Robinson||29|
|Safety in the box here for a seven-man front. Daring them to throw, except when M runs the QB draw it rips off a big chunk. Go figure. Schilling(+1) gets the key block at the line that gets a DT upfield and opens it up for Robinson. Omameh(+1) set his guy up well, allowing Smith(+1) to take a run at a linebacker not sure which side of the NT the play will go. Molk(+1) gets a block in space against the last linebacker and Robinson doesn't even have to cut until a safety attacks. He dodges the S(+2) and picks up another 15 before someone can run him down from behind when he cuts past the corner.|
|RUN+:Schilling, Omameh, Smith, Molk, Robinson(2)||RUN-:|
|O39||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-4||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||3|
|Linebackers in the box and soft man on the edges for the first time. Michigan attacks it with the bubble. Robinson's throw is behind Roundtree, forcing him to spin around and robbing him of an opportunity to attack the charging safety. (MA, 3, screen)|
|O36||2||7||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone dive||Smith||6|
|Same thing, other side of the line, with Huyge(+1) and Schilling(+1) doing the honors by blowing the backside DT yards off the LOS and giving Smith an easy six yards. Schilling peeled off the block to kick a charging MLB impressively, otherwise I'd think about knocking these down to halves. Backside DE again crashes to tackle.|
|O30||3||1||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-4||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||1|
|Omameh(-1) gets slanted under by the backside DE, making this a difficult, hairy conversion that Robinson barely makes. Honestly it looks like the spot was a half-yard generous. (RPS -1) Huyge also slanted under so no cutback lane.|
|O29||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||7|
|Backside DE contain; handoff (ZR+1). Wisconsin's playside DT too quick to get sealed and an attempted scoop on the playside DE gets run through. It's cutback time. Molk's block on the DT has driven him off the LOS. Huyge ran at the backside DT and kind of fell down in his general direction, which does not look like an effective block in any way but does force the guy about four yards downfield and opens the lane up further. Smith reads it, hits it, makes contact with the backside DT five yards downfield and gets tackled for six. Wow. So... um. Half points for Smith, Molk, and Huyge? Sure!|
|RUN+:Smith(0.5), Molk(0.5), Huyge(0.5)||RUN-:|
|O22||2||3||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||5|
|Double by Molk(+0.5) and Omameh(+0.5) drives the playside DT back; he attempts to swim through and Omameh kicks him out of the play. Molk's release is awkward since he's coming from inside the LB, but he pushes the guy past the play and gives Robinson a cutback lane. It's a cutback lane directly into a linebacker but it's good for the first. If M hadn't released oddly because of the swim this could have opened up for more, thus the halves. Smith(+1) got a good pounding block on another LB.|
|O17||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-4||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||Inc|
|In front of Roundtree by a yard; it glances off his fingertips. (IN, 0, screen)|
|O17||2||10||Shotgun empty TE||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB draw||Robinson||4|
|Offensive line has enough blockers to get Robinson one on one with a safety but it looks like Schilling(-1) loses his guy to the wrong side and forces a cutback; Omameh(+1) got a one on one block with the backside DT that got him on his butt four yards downfield and Robinson runs off that for a decent gain.|
|O13||3||6||Shotgun empty TE||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout out||Smith||Inc|
|Wisconsin goes with an aggressive look and sends six with man behind it. Smith runs an out past the sticks and is open for the first; Robinson sees it and throws it. This would hit any average-sized WR in the facemask but Smith is 5'6 and it glances off his hands. This is like throwing strikes to Eddie Gaedel. I can't give him an IN here, I don't think. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG(30), 14 min 2nd Q. So… Robinson threw four passes on this drive, and all of them were IN or MA.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M36||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inverted veer handoff||Smith||2|
|So the problem with this play is that Schilling ends up blocking no one on his pull. M leaves the playside DE unblocked, as you do on the veer, and pulls Schilling to the frontside as everyone else blocks down. Dorrestein releases into the MLB. Koger heads outside for the playside safety. This leaves the SLB. Schilling's pull actually has to go around the playside DE--he goes upfield of him, and as a result ends up chasing no one in space as the SLB runs out on Smith. Smith cuts it up, where the DE tackles. It was a correct handoff (ZR+1) with the DE biting inside but the inability of Schilling(-1) to block either guy kills the play. RPS -1.|
|M38||2||8||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB draw||Robinson||0|
|Opens up but for Omameh(-2) getting smoked by a DT, which closes off the intended hole and forces Robinson to bounce it outside where Valai has ample time to fill for no gain.|
|M38||3||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||Flare screen||Smith||2|
|Smith runs out before the snap; Robinson pumps the throw, oddly. He still gets it out and accurate; Smith heads upfield. Roundtree's lost the guy inside but man there's a reason you don't go inside on this one; if Smith(-2) cuts it out he's got acres of space and the first down. He doesn't and Roundtree's guy collapses on him to tackle short of the sticks. (CA, 3, screen)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-10, 6 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|We come to this play with the ball already in the air. Hemingway can't escape from the tackler this time and goes nowhere. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M40||2||7||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Slant||Stonum||Inc|
|Open for the first down, zinged in accurately and on time. Stonum drops the ball. Corner came up to hit him but the ball was already coming out when he arrived. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M40||3||7||Shotgun empty||1||0||4||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||Slant||Hemingway||Inc|
|Another well timed throw, though this one is a bit low. Hemingway does bring it in briefly, but the Wisconsin DB is right with him and rakes it out as they go to the ground. Nice play. (CA, 1, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-17, 3 min 2nd Q. Wisconsin scores, Gallon fumbles the kickoff, and M gets the ball back with 30 seconds left, running two QB draws and not trying to score. Not charted.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M29||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Post||Hemingway||Inc|
|A play action fake with just one receiver in the route; the same play Michigan tried and missed on with Stonum in the first half. This time the Wisconsin safety doesn't bite entirely--just mostly--and sits down in front of the route. Robinson overthrows Hemingway, which is better than throwing it to the safety. However, Robinson had time to let the play develop with good blocking and if he waits another second or two Hemingway clears the safety and he's got a 15 yard throw that's another hopeful ankle tackle or touchdown. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +2)|
|M29||2||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Stonum||9|
|Simple hitch against a backed-off corner good for five and then Stonum tacks on a few after the catch by running through the corner's tackle. Refs blow it dead just as Huyge comes up to bang him across the first down line. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M38||3||1||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-4||Run||Inside zone||Smith||3|
|Wisconsin runs a scrape exchange, sending the backside end in and running LBs over the top. Handoff made (ZR+1); Omameh(+1) and Dorrestein(+1) crush the playside DT off the ball and Webb(+1) cuts off the DE, giving Smith a window. He could cut for a big gain but trips coming through the hole.|
|RUN+:Dorrestein, Webb, Omameh||RUN-: Smith|
|M41||1||10||Shotgun trips TE||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Robinson||12|
|This seems like an instant response to the scrape Michigan saw on the last play. They come out in trips with a TE to the other side, which drags LBs to the strong side and the slot LB way outside the hashes. Linebackers suck in on the inside zone fake and the DE crashes so Robinson pulls(ZR+1), finding himself in a ton of space. Rolled up safety is supposed to contain but good luck with that, dude. Robinson falls as he cuts past the guy and that's all that keeps this at 12 yards. RPS+1.|
|O47||1||10||Shotgun trips TE||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB stretch||Robinson||4|
|Wisconsin DL sliding down the line well and keeping the holes to a minimum. Molk(+1) does eventually get his helmet across, though and Omameh(+1) drives his man back as Michigan stretches the line; Robinson has a seam. Seam is filled by the safety, who beat Roundtree(-1) and can fill as Robinson threatens the second level.|
|RUN+:Molk, Omameh||RUN-: Roundtree|
|O43||2||6||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone dive||Hopkins||4|
|Backside DT finally stands up to the double decently, though he gets pushed back. Schilling comes off on the linebacker coming up the middle and Hopkins cuts behind Huyge into the other MLB, who is unblocked. He falls forward for a few.|
|O40||3||2||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||0|
|We get to the play late so I'm not sure why but the playside DE is left unblocked as Dorrestein moves out on someone or another, which lets that guy tackle two yards in the backfield. Certainly looks like a bust on Dorrestein's(-2) part, especially because this is the exact same play they just ran.|
|O40||4||2||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||PA rollout cross||Grady||13|
|This is the same route pattern from Odoms Way Down In The Hole. Playside slot runs an out, playside WR runs a deep hitch behind it, backside slot comes on a crossing route for a third option. Here the CB goes with the hitch and the playside safety jumps the out, opening Grady up on the cross. Robinson reads it and zings it into the open Grady a second before the safety can get there. Pass was a little behind Grady and the catch was tough-ish with the safety coming. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|O27||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||3|
|Michigan checks, flipping the RB, and Wisconsin checks from a soft-ish base 4-3 to the quasi eight man front they've been running all day. Watt drives through Dorrestein(-1) and forces Robinson to cut behind him, away from the driving double on the playside DT. This robs Omameh of an angle to get a second level block and Robinson runs into a linebacker after a few yards.|
|O24||2||7||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Stop and go||Stonum||24|
|Corner bites on the hitch fake but blocks Stonum's path as he attempts to release and gets himself in with a chance. Handfighting down the sidelines gets Stonum open by exactly one step; Robinson sits and fires a gorgeous looping ball over the corner's head and directly into Stonum's hands. Could not be better thrown. (DO+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-24, 11 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O38||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Post||Stonum||34|
|Play action sucks the safety, who's already seven yards from the LOS, up a step and Stonum's gone. He's got a step or two on the DB; Robinson sees it and sets up to throw. He's getting pressure at his feet because Hopkins(-1) blew his chip on Watt. All he did was knock Huyge upfield and let Watt in. Robinson's throw is a little short, which is fine considering. Stonum then makes the best adjustment of his career by deploying a Manningham-quality move. He slows up, gets his body into the defender, and then releases at the last moment to haul in the over-the shoulder catch just over the outstretched arm of a cornerback he personally prevented from getting the half-yard he needed to break the pass up. Excellent. (CA, 1, protection 1/2, Hopkins -1)|
|O4||1||G||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||4-3 split||Run||Veer keeper||Robinson||4|
|Robinson keeps(ZR+1) as he sees the playside DE crash on Smith. M doubled the playside DE, allowing the S to scrape over the top, though, since this is four yards from the endzone. Robinson jukes him, then shoots inside of the befuddled, spinning DE, breaking his tackle and lunging into the endzone, where Dorrestein, Omameh, and the playside DT await.|
|RUN+:Robinson(2), Omameh, Dorrestein||RUN-:|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-24, 9 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M43||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||4|
|There's a linebacker right over the second slot WR who blows him up, forces the play inside, and tackles. Not sure why they're throwing this given UW's alignment. (CA, 3, screen) I guess I can't RPS-1 a four yard gain that Wisconsin had defended perfectly.|
|M47||2||6||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB stretch||Robinson||3|
|Michigan again can't seal the playside DT but does get the advantage on him as they run down the line. Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) have two guys moving laterally three yards downfield as Robinson tries to find a hole; Dorrestein(-1) loses his DE to the inside and he tackles from behind. Cost Michigan 2-3 yards there.|
|50||3||3||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||3|
|Linebackers slid heavily to the side of the line with the H-back and Smith, probably in anticipation of a Robinson run. Schilling(+1) delays the backside DT, allowing Huyge to attempt a cut; it's stepped over but does open a cutback. Molk(-1) loses the playside DT and he can tackle from the side as Smith cuts it up. Smith takes a shot from another linebacker and manages to spin for the first down despite having a DT on his back.|
|RUN+:Smith, Schilling||RUN-: Molk|
|O47||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Post||Stonum||32|
|UW corner is lined up with inside position on Stonum but he still gets to the inside. With one safety at LB depth and the other dropping to the other side of the field Stonum's position allows Robinson to toss a ball up about three yards inside the pair; Stonum again keeps the DB on his back and makes a good catch for big yards. (CA, 2, protection 2/2, RPS +1)|
|O15||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||4|
|A similar story to previous stretches: Wisconsin DTs don't get sealed but in doing so give up a lot of ground and Smith runs to the sideline, gaining a chunk of yards but nothing explosive with the playside DT coming through Omameh about four yards downfield.|
|O11||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB off tackle||Robinson||11|
|Michigan blocks down and pulls for the first time. Koger(+1) seals Watt. He gets chucked eventually but it's too late. Molk(+2) obliterates the MLB with a devastating cut. Playside LB and S have to contain, with Schilling(+1) kicking out the playside LB, and Robinson can cruise into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-31, 3 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M28||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout hitch||Roundtree||16|
|This is now a staple of the offense: Denard rolls, Roundtree is singled up against a safety ten yards off the LOS, and he runs a ten-yard hitch the opponent can't cover without risking a big play as the linebackers are all in run mode. Easy first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS+1)|
|M44||1||10||Shotgun H-back?||1||1||3||?||Run||Inside zone?||Smith||6|
|We're looking at John Clay instead of the play. This may have been a veer, actually.|
|50||2||4||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||5|
|Safeties are now at regular safety depth FWIW. Wisconsin slants hard playside with the backside DT giving ground without engaging, as the Badgers have done most of the game on stretch plays. With the backside DE containing (ZR+1) the hard slant allows Smith a cutback lane. Huyge(+1) engages the DT as he cuts it up.|
|O45||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||PA TE Flat||Webb||9|
|Corner blitz to the playside is awkward, forcing Denard to pump and loft a touch pass over the guy that Webb leaps for and turns up for a good gain as he beats the UW LB to the sideline. Robinson had just this option and getting this pass with enough loft and getting it in a place where Webb isn't immediately tackled for two yards is impressive. (DO, 2, protection N/A, RPS -1)|
|O36||2||1||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Grady||0|
|Pass is too far in front of Grady and he ends up lunging forward to catch it, falling for no gain. (IN, 2, screen)|
|O36||3||1||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||4|
|With a twist: the running back is Webb. I wonder what's coming? Oh. Watt beats Dorrestein(-1) inside. This happens sometimes but here Dorrestein is driven back, which means Webb can't cut outside and change the angle of his block. He bumps into the pair, sending Watt sprawling. He then bounces off that and does get a block(+1) on the playside LB, which allows Robinson to squeeze out the first.|
|RUN+:Webb, Robinson||RUN-: Dorrestein|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||PA Hitch||Roundtree||Inc|
|Wisconsin sends six and doesn't get there, giving Robinson his choice of open targets. Roundtree's open on that same hitch again; Webb has no one within ten yards of him on a flat route. Robinson picks Roundtree, puts it right in his chest, and sees 'Tree drop it. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O32||2||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||?||?||Int|
|Robinson drops to pass and throws; Watt bats it and picks it off. (BA, N/A, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 21-38, 12 min 4th Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M17||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Rollout scramble||Robinson||2|
|Wisconsin covers both receivers and while Robinson has an opportunity to hit Koger by the time he does he's already decided to run up the sideline. (TA, N/A, protection 1/1)|
|M19||2||8||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB down G||Robinson||2|
|Watt destroys Koger(-2), running through his down block and losing him so quickly that Smith can't adjust; Robinson had a lane inside for decent yardage thanks to some cutbacks on the backside.|
|M21||3||6||Shotgun trips TE||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Post||Roundtree||28|
|This is a four verticals concept, I think, but run from trips that means Roundtree has to run a post to get to the seam on the far side of the field. UW has just one deep safety and the linebackers get lost, failing to drop back. They've been coached to defend four verts but probably didn't recognize it out of this formation. Roundtree breaks wide open; Robinson hits him with a touch pass that hits him in stride; safety does manage to cut Roundtree's legs out and prevent a TD. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, RPS +1)|
|M49||1||10||Shotugn trips TE||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Rollout sack||?||-4|
|Spielman is spending the entirety of this drive bitching about the defense. Michigan rolls the pocket, with Dorrestein(-1) allowing the playside DT to run upfield outside of him without bothering to deal with it. Michigan's routes are all covered on the roll side except maybe Hemingway at the LOS, but that's going to get like three yards. DT comes in on Robinson as he sets to throw; he pulls it down and dodges the guy but takes a hit and falls as he does so. (TA, N/A, protection 0/2, Dorrestein -2)|
|M45||2||14||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB draw||Robinson||14|
|Molk is going to double one DT and shove him to Schilling; as he does this the DT moves upfield himself in an attempt to get pass rush. This gets Robinson through the line. Downfield, Koger, Grady, and Molk(+1s all) get great downfield blocks. Robinson runs straight upfield to draw the safety and LB on Grady in, then tries to cut outside past them; safety manages to tackle before he can break it outside and threaten TD.|
|RUN+:Molk, Grady, Koger, Omameh||RUN-:|
|O41||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Roundtree||21|
|All day as the line gets Robinson a fantastic pocket. Wisconsin goes with zone, and unintentionally high-lows the MLB. The line opened up a big running lane for Robinson so the LB is naturally wary of dropping too deep and allowing him to jet, which means he's six yards off the LOS as Roundtree is running a hitch behind him at 15. Robinson sees the opening and hits it; throw is a bit high but not too bad. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Yakety sax||?||-8|
|Michigan going for a bubble when Smith runs by Robinson and knocks the ball out of his hands.|
|O28||2||18||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Seam||Roundtree||28|
|PA fake eliminates LBs in the middle of the field, leaving Roundtree against what must be zone from the slot LB and a safety. Slot LB chucks but leaves a window; Robinson zings it in as Roundtree gets between levels. That's a first down; Roundtree turns it into six by juking the safety and darting upfield before people can tackle him from behind. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-41, 6 min 4th Q. Forcier enters with Michigan down 20 on the next drive. EOG.|
DID YOU KNOW I AM A RAVING LUNATIC?
I suspected, surely.
I THINK THE MICHIGAN OFFENSE IS SECRETLY NOT GOOD BECAUSE THE TEAM HAS FALLEN BEHIND IN GAMES AND COULD NOT CATCH UP IN THE SECOND HALF.
Second half and first half points count the same and while I could see some sort of argument that Wisconsin had lightened up on the pressure because they were ahead by so much, they didn't do that. They remained very aggresive until the last drive I charted above, whereupon they backed the safeties off to safety depth… and Roundtree immediately caught three balls for 28, 21, and 28 yards. There's one play in the whole game you can chalk up to Wisconsin having a big lead: a QB draw that worked on Michigan's final TD drive.
BUT THEY DID NOT SCORE ONE MILLION POINTS.
This is true. There are a couple obvious reasons for this. One: Wisconsin grind time and the Gallon fumble limited Michigan to nine drives above. Remember being super excited about everything after the UConn game? That was a 30-point performance on eight real drives with a missed extra point. This was a 28-point performance on nine real drives with a missed 30 yard field goal. The other is in the--
|2009, All Of It||1||7||6(2)||3(1)||4||4||-||-||?||-||44%|
Well, maybe not obvious from this chart. But it's in there. Robinson had a bounce back day, completing 64% and averaging almost 10 YPA, but in the first half he racked up almost all of the MA and INs you see above, three of them on screens that may have been open but never had the opportunity to develop. Early his inability to hit Stonum deep allowed Wisconsin to continue pressuring the run game. In the second half he turned those inaccurate passes into complete bombs to Stonum and touchdowns resulted.
The other bit is hidden in this chart with the receivers:
A couple of key drops added to the passing game issues in the first half. Consecutive accurate slants hit the ground on one of Michigan's three and outs, one a pure drop by Stonum, the other raked out by the guy on covering Hemingway.
On the other hand, this was probably the best game of Stonum's career. This is some Manningham-level stuff right here:
That ball is short and Stonum knows it so he slows up, uses his body to shield the defender so he can't break it up, then extends to make a great over the shoulder catch. He also did this:
He's got too long of a track record to dismiss his previous struggles, but hey, I'll take it.
PROTECTION METRIC: 31/37, Dorrestein –2, Smith –2, Hopkins –1, McColgan –1.
RPS: 10-4 = +6.
A sparse run chart, as Michigan only had about 28 charted:
|Huyge||2.5||0||2.5||Run game seemed to tilt the other way.|
|Molk||7||1||6||No reaches but some good blocks otherwise.|
|Omameh||10.5||3||7.5||Surprisingly the focus of the run game. Executed a lot of grinding double teams.|
|Koger||2||2||0||Also the usual.|
|TOTAL||33.5||23||20.5||Solid blocking day.|
|Robinson||6||-||6||Perfect ZR day, even got a keeper.|
|Smith||3||3.5||-0.5||Missed a cut on a third down conversion, just ok otherwise.|
|Toussaint||-||-||-||Like three snaps.|
|Hopkins||-||-||-||Did not score.|
|TOTAL||9||3.5||5.5||Not getting much more than the blockers give them.|
Michigan averaged 5.2 YPC minus sacks, which is on par with the best performances on the ground against Wisconsin this year but does add in the two first half scrambles that were not charted. Without those that gets knocked down to okay, not great. The tradeoff for the Badgers was giving up 10 YPA in the air.
Stonum, second half Denard.
First half Denard.
What does it mean for Ohio State?
Michigan should be able to move the ball but we've seen enough breakdowns over the course of the season to know this offense is not quite at the point where they can expect to run up and down the field against a very good defense. Drops, penalties, inaccurate throws, etc, all conspire to end drives. OSU's had some injury issues, especially at safety, and I'm expecting they'll put up points. Not enough to keep up, obviously.
Happy to get to a bowl game, but the job isn't done. Every win from here on out is to improve bowl standing. "I think that's added motivation for us... We love our teammates, and our seniors mean a lot to us." Glad to send the seniors out with a bowl game.
Doesn't care where the bowl game is "as long as it's warm."
Hopefully the team can get wins in all three remaining games.
Denard is harder to understand in the huddle than Tate. You have to go by the signals, because otherwise you won't hear the right play.
"After those turnovers, we picked each other up, we didn't hang our heads." Molk was saying that they had a full 60 minutes to play - maybe not counting on the extra time. Have to keep spirits up after mistakes, because you can't go back and change that.
"When Roy first got here, he was an outside receiver with us." That summer, he put in the work to get bigger in offseason workouts. "He's still working hard, he was in the weight room today working extremely hard."
"I didn't know [about setting a record] until after the game when Dave [Ablauf, UM Associate Athletic Director] pulled me aside and said I had broke the single-game record." It amazed him that he had done so much. "In high school I had one, it was a playoff game that went into overtime and we won that. I think I had 15 catches for 2-something... It ain't nothing like playing here and breaking the record."
When he talked to his cousin yesterday, it sunk in that he had outdone a bunch of Michigan's historic wideouts.
Both quarterbacks are leaders of the offense, it doesn't matter which one is in. "I don't know man, we exploisove everywhere, we got threats everywhere at every position. If we play like we can play, I don't think nobody can stop us." Denard was still involved in the game despite injury. "He just told us that we gotta keep going." Even though he wasn't in, he wanted to give encouragement.
"I try to play everybody like it's my last." No special feelings for Purdue. "I think every time we play throughtout our season gonna talk smack to throw you off." The fast tempo offense doesn't give them a lot of chances to say anything. Committed to Purdue as a junior. Told RR "I don't think I'm going to West Virginia." Once he came to Ann Arbor, it opened Roy's eyes. "I think I made the right choice."
Came in weighing 152 pounds, now 178. In his first year on scout team "I'm like 'Man, they just killin' me.'" In the offseason, he hit the weights, made it his "best friend." Wants to get up to 185-190 "I'll get there man." Really embraced the offseason to get faster. "I'm willing to get faster."
"I just try to block out everything" once he's at study table or practice, he manages to get focused.
"Man, Junior is a great football player, man." Receivers just want to be the best once they hit the field.
On the #1 jersey: "I mean hey, I still gotta work for it... When it's time, it's time. Oh yeah, I want it."
Sense of relief after the last play. "It was exciting, and my heart topped a couple times, but we pulled it off." Good feeling to win in overtime. "It's a lot more emotions involved, and there's more at stake because you're invested so much already." Crossed his mind what it would have been like to be on the losing end. "Of course it's not something that would be pleasant."
Good emotional boost to win. Need to carry that forward into the coming weeks. It's good to clinch a bowl game, but they need to continue winning to earn spots in a better bowl. Everybody showed lots of emotion after the game because of the circumstances, not necessarily because it clinched a bowl.
Offense wants to continue clicking, and minimize the times when they aren't quite on the same page.
"Running on the field, I wasn't even sure Denard was out yet." Didn't notice until the huddle, when Tate gave the play. Easier to understand because Denard talks really fast.
Will Campbell "Big guy, he's a strong guy." He's making progress, learning the ropes on the offensive side of the ball. "He could be somebody that could help us down the road."
"We were aware that the investigations had wrapped up, and we didn't fully understand everything that was going on, but we were confident in our coaches... When things turned out in our favor, we were jut glad to hear it."
Ryan Van Bergen
Everybody excited for the sixth win "A lot of pressure off a lot of guys' shoulders." They're confident after a win, and are motivated going into next week. Ryan feels pressure lifted from his shoulders to be a team leader that got the team back to a bowl game.
On the final 2-point conversion, Michigan was running the same defense against the same offensive play that Illinois used to convert for 2 in the first quarter. They executed better and were able to get the win.
Defense played 100 plays, and they were exhausted "I literally had no more gas left in the tank." Were glad to end the game.
Defense can't be excited about giving up 65 points, but they played well off turnovers and from bad field position. "There's some things we definitely could have cleaned up, but I would say as a leader of the defense, we made some tremoundous strides last week."
Only two Big Ten wins is not acceptable to them, they need to keep going. More excited to play Purdue than he has been to play in a long time. Defense finally has a bit of swagger and attitude.
Purdue has good size on OL, but so has the rest of the Big Ten so far. "just excited about an opportunity, moreso to prove ourselves."
Defensive line improved with Roh on it. More pressure off the edges forced at least three holding calls. Didn't register many sacks, but were able to pressure Scheelhasse. "I really like when Mike [Martin]'s in the game." It opens up 1-on-1s because teams have to worry about handling him inside.
"It's early to speculate about the future" but the young guys that are getting experience now will be great in the future. "Next year, or two years from now, these freshmen, all of them are going to be veterans."
Forcing more TOs. "Disguising our coverages a little bit... getting around the football a little bit more." Now that they're making solid tackles, they need to get at the ball.
3rd downs: "We were highly motivated on third down. We talked about it all week. Something we were embarrassed about against Penn State." 3rd downs were the reason they didn't beat the Nittany Lions.
Ndamukong Suh's missed extra point: "I know I would have made that. There's no way I would have missed an extra point." Kicked in high school - long of 46. "If I got called upon, I would make an extra point for this team, for sure."
One topic that was brought up during your WTKA segment today regarding special teams was, "what happened to the kickoff return game?' You never addressed it during the segment, so I thought I would throw this at you.
I haven't done my Mgoresearch, but wasn't there a rule change regarding kickoff return team blocking? IIRC, the NCAA has limited the number of return team players allowed in a blocking wedge or wall.
I would have to look up video from previous seasons, but I believe U of M utilized a 3 man wall in front of the returners with Kevin Grady and others.
David is correct: the NCAA banned wedge blocking this offseason, which at least partially explains how an effective kick return game has disintegrated. If Michigan was really good at the wedge and now it's gone they're starting over. That doesn't explain why they're really bad, but does get you to average.
That lack of effectiveness and Darryl Stonum's increased importance to the offense make his removal from kick returns less annoying than it was earlier in the year. With Odoms out there's not much depth on the outside and Stonum wasn't getting any returns; it's possible that one-cut-and-go type stuff is less effective and kick returners should be shiftier guys closer to punt returners.
What do you think of Devin Gardner's expected plea for a medical redshirt? It's suspicious he's only played 1/3rd of the season and is eligible for the redshirt. If this is RichRod bending redshirt rules for an extra year of eligibility from Devin, isn't this a bad thing, like Saban's redshirts? We're not gaming the system for more scholarships, but we are gaming it for a competitive advantage, right?
The difference is that I'm sure Devin Gardner is 100% on board with getting a fifth year of eligibility. The Alabama players "encouraged" to take a medical scholarship would like to keep playing football and are being presented with an involuntary choice: transfer or medical, take your pick. I'm not too concerned about skating the edges of NCAA rules when it doesn't have a negative impact on the student-athlete the entire enterprise is supposed to support.
The timing is convenient but unless Michigan has an inordinate number of medical redshirts per year I'm not sure the NCAA would even bat an eye at a documented injury. Like, say, this:
That looks like exploitation. Michigan's pattern probably isn't that blatant, so what can you do when they say he was hurt?
Finally, concerns about looking bad to the NCAA are overblown. The worst thing that can possibly happen is the NCAA says no.
The future of defense. Many questions answered piecemeal:
One of the potential "benefits" of having so much youth on defense is that they could potentially lock down their positions for years. If that happens in any cases, can you explain whether there is any positional flexibility with this 3-3-5 alignment we're using?
Could Carvin move to FS?
Doubtful. His strengths and weaknesses make him an excellent fit for the spot he's at right now and not so much of an excellent fit at FS, where speed and raw athleticism are more important. Not that our current FS has those in buckets, but moving Johnson doesn't really solve that issue.
How is Marvin going to see the field if he's behind Kovacs? (who expected us to say something like that?)
Possibly by trying out free safety? This is the weird thing called "depth."
Could Furman or Hawthorne see the field anywhere?
Hawthorne is the third team spur behind two guys younger than him. The most likely career outcome there is special teams only. Furman is likely to move to OLB, where he'll need another year or two of seasoning before breaking through. Remember he was super raw out of HS.
Would Roh move to a true DE in this scheme or stay in this hybrid LB situation?
He's already a DE (mostly) against conventional teams. Michigan is a 4-3 or 3-4 base against conventional pro-style sets and Roh puts his hand down more often than not. So the question is really "will Roh play DE against spread teams next year?" That depends on how Jibreel Black, JB Fitzgerald, Brandon Herron, and other OLB/DEs (Wilkins, Paskorz, Furman) develop. I think the ideal situation sees Roh add another 10-15 pounds over the offseason to hit 265—he's listed at 6'5"—and becoming a full-time DE. Before Herron went down Michigan was using him as a 3-3-5 DE to good effect against Notre Dame, and we've all seen him struggle in space against Indiana.
Roh will probably remain a hybrid against pro-style teams, playing clunky LB when Michigan drops into the 3-3-5.
Could Cam Gordon move down to another spot?
If you can find a suitable replacement at free safety, but who's that? Kovacs? No. Floyd? Really bad tackler. Vinopal's made a lot of hay out of one play against Bowling Green but remains a true freshman as well. Ideally he'd move down to spur or bandit (or even OLB) but unless Michigan snags someone ready to start at FS from day one it's hard to see him relocate.
That's why the recruit I'd most like to get in February is JUCO safety Byron Moore, who qualified out of high school and transferred away from USC after a redshirt season to get playing time and scout out a new destination not being cratered by NCAA sanctions. As a big time recruit two years removed from high school with a year of PT under his belt, Moore is the closest thing to a quick fix at FS Michigan will ever have.
But wait, there's Woolfolk, right? Well a bit more on him later.
How do you see the open positions being filled in 2011 on defense to see if there's hope? I assume Jones and Demens will be the LB (backed up by Ryan, Bell, and any freshmen)
Yes, though Jones might field a challenge from parts unknown. It's hard to see anyone displacing Demens if only because there almost literally isn't anyone behind him on the depth chart at the moment.
I assume Black will be the DE (backed up by Heninger and the RS-Freshmen)
Yes, unless they go with Roh there—Black will find plenty of PT platooning—and Herron/Fitzgerald at the other OLB spot. With the lack of depth at DT that might be a way to spot Martin with RVB from time to time, as well.
Does Woolfolk automatically go back to corner or deep safety? I assume corner, but with the time Avery and Talbott are getting could he be better served protecting the deep ball?
Up in the air, something that will be decided based on the potential acquisition of Moore, Gordon's play the rest of the season, and how things work out in spring. Right now I'd say corner since Michigan plays a ton of cover three and none of the freshmen looks like they should be starting next year. Even if one of them develops quickly you'd like to have some depth at corner for nickel and dime packages.
And then there's this:
I liken the "Angry M hating God" to Yukon Cornelius and Hermey Scrivello from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
For instance, the M defense is the Bumble, ready to devour talking reindeer and #1 wide receivers accross the land. Then Yukon and Hermey show up unexpectedly and ruin everything. They rip out your teeth (Woolfolk) and force you to do stupid shit like hang Christmas ornaments or run only zone because you have lost the only thing that instilled fear in your opponent.
Our defense is the Bumble without teeth. Right now our pass defense is being shoved off a cliff every week until we grow new teeth or we realize we have claws to gouge the eyes of our opponent. I'm just sayin'.
I have nothing to add.