Bullets of informative information:
- Michigan State. This is a rivalry game. Rivalries are important.
- Vincent Smith getting held out for his hamstring was precautionary. May be back this week. Maybe not.
- Hopkins is "back."
- Frank Clark's decreased playing time was due to rotation, not due to injury.
- Denard is fine.
“You know, obviously it was a great team win the other night. Played well as a team. Played together. Probably our most complete game when you look at the offense and defense. In the kicking game I thought we did some very good things. Had some penalties that we don’t want to have when you look at hitting the returner late and we had two defensive offsides penalties that we need to be a little more poised and a little more composed about that. A couple dropped passes. I think we were 9 of 14 on third downs, probably could have been 11 of 14. Missed assignments, I think we had 10 of them on offense. Defensively, early in the game I thought they ran the ball a little too well, so we have to do a better job with the integrity of gaps and getting off blocks. Best we’ve played, but a long way from playing championship football, so we have a lot of work to do. We’ll go back to work.
"This is a great week because it’s a rivalry game and those are always special, always fun. At the same time it’s another championship game, which we’ve started that run two weeks ago. We have to prepare like we have, and I think we will because we’ve done a nice job to this point and the maturity of our team – I think we are maturing, so we just have to keep going forward.”
Something came up yesterday and I had to drive to Cincinnati, which is why this is late. I will post today's presser transcript later this afternoon/evening. Apologies for the whacky timing.
Desmond Morgan and Denard Robinson
Opening remarks about Gerald Ford’s jersey:
Morgan: “I’d just like to say it’s quite an honor and privilege not only to represent a former Michigan player -- obviously left his legacy on the program, was a standout person and player -- but on top of that the President of the United States. It’s an honor, and I’m going to wear it proud.”
Denard, what did you hurt and were you scared that it was going to be more serious than it turned out to be?
Denard: “No, it was just a boo boo. I mean, everybody gets hurt, so I mean, it was all good. I came back in and it didn’t bother me at all.”
Denard: “It didn’t bother me. I don’t know. It was nothing. Funny bone. Nothing serious.”
Denard, can you talk about the defense and how much you feel like you can rely on them?
Denard: “Uh, I think every great team has to have a great defense. It starts with the defense, to be honest with you. If they can stop people, we could score three points and win the game if they shut them out. They’re playing well and it was a team effort.”
10/13/2012 – Michigan 45, Illinois 0 – 4-2, 2-0 Big Ten
Six games into year two of the Hoke and Mattison defensive regime, Michigan stands 10th in total defense. Last year they finished 17th. The year before that they languished in the triple-digits, unsure of who they were, what they were doing, and how life was supposed to have any meaning. Now, they know.
The flow thing is no coincidence.
RYAN THE BARBARIAN
Yeah, you can use the advanced numbers to push the exact measure of Michigan's improvement to and fro—Michigan is 16th in S&P+ with FEI pending—but who cares? The exact magnitude of the improvement is difficult to measure in the same way an exploding volcano is. It is organized and has long hair and will hit you very hard. Volcanoes. Dig it.
Michigan has not quite swept across the steppes, burning all in its path yet. They're still waiting for a real test after they got run over in the opener and had to survive an option attack they were ill-prepared for. Since those two games they've played UMass, a Notre Dame team that seems to score 13-20 against any opponent more competent than Miami, Purdue, and Illinois. Competent quarterbacks have exited. Chaos reigns even before Michigan gets involved.
But but but, by whatever measures you care to look at Michigan is providing novel horrible experiences to the hapless in their path:
- Illinois was held to under 150 yards of offense. In blowout losses against Arizona State and Penn State, the former without Scheelhaase, they racked up over 300 and scored. They neared 300 against Wisconsin last week.
- Purdue's worst yardage output of the season was versus Michigan; they've played ND and Wisconsin.
- Michigan held Notre Dame to under 250 yards, also their worst output of the season.
When life gives you lemonade stands, all you can do is pillage five-year-olds. Nickels in hand, Michigan faces a recent nemesis this weekend. They've got a real nice stand set up. Would be a shame if something happened to it.
It's mostly lemonade stands from here on out. Only two of Michigan's remaining six opponents squeeze into the top half of the total yardage rankings—Ohio State (34th) and Nebraska (12th). Hypothetical Big Ten Championship Game foe Wisconsin is cooling its heels at 87th. Thanks to the BIG TENNNNNN nature of the Big Ten, Michigan's defense can get along despite being rickety in parts.
Six weeks in it's getting hard to figure out what those rickety parts are. Kenny Demens has just spent three weeks attacking third and one with abandon and dropping into all the deep seams. He's been able to do that because the defensive tackles are keeping him clean. Raymon Taylor is being avoided by opponents who would rather go at JT Floyd. Craig Roh's move to strongside end has been successful beyond all reason.
The big hole on the defense is…
…weakside end? Maybe Floyd himself? It's unknown, really.
We do know now what we hoped—maybe suspected—at the beginning of the year: the GERG to Greg turnaround was 10% fumble fluke, 90% sustainable development. I watch Michigan play defense and think about watching Greg Mattison get distracted by an endzone shot of his four DL making the exact same step on a particular cutup at a coaching clinic. The line moves with perfect choreography and Mattison's supposed to be talking about higher-level stuff but is simply incapable of looking at that beautiful synchronicity and not stopping to talk about it:
Mattison did not select the cutups himself—that was delegated to a video coordinator—and didn't know exactly what would come up. This made for an interesting dynamic as he evaluated each play live. He repeatedly digressed from his main topic to note the footwork of his linemen: Van Bergen is getting distance with his first step. All of these guys have identical footwork.
The tape winds back and forth; Mattison beams like a proud father. He fumes at imaginary people who would not direct their weakside end to put his outside foot back when he gets a tight end to him. He passes the geek test.
The same folks who made Will Heininger a key piece of a top 20 defense have reconstituted Michigan's defensive line from a converted OL, a five star at the bottom of the sea, and a 250-pound weakside end. When not battered by a once-in-a-generation outfit in Tuscaloosa, they've stoned everyone they've come up against*. That line is not where Michigan's going, but it's good enough to be amongst the best in the conference.
That is the brick on which Hoke's program is built. They will take whatever they've got and turn it into a well-oiled machine. Some years they will be undersized and coping well. Some years they will be rampant. The next ten years will feature an endless procession of mashing defenses. There will be one blip to the downside and two units that put Michigan in national championship contention.
Year in, year out, lemonade stands across the Midwest will burn. Toddlers in Elmo t-shirts will weep. Winged helmets will look on impassively, knowing what is best in life.
*[Air Force's success was not on the DL, at least not much.]
Highlights from parkinggod:
The Ford presentation:
Upchurch photos went up this morning.
Brady Hoke Epic Double Point of the week. Jake Ryan, come on down. Obviously. He's got a bullet down the page, but: 11 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and a number of plays made that didn't even show up on that statline.
Honorable mention: Denard Robinson (7/11, > 10 YPC, no turnovers), Patrick Omameh (seems to be destroying Akeem Spence on a few of Denard's long runs), Kenny Demens (INT, two third and short thumps), Greg Mattison (knows what is best in life).
Epic Double Point standings.
3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama)
I know, man.
My God, It's Made Of Funchess note of the week. From my vantage point in the stadium, I thought the play-action rollout that eventually turned into the Funchess touchdown had been defeated by coverage. I thought that Denard saw this too and was chunking the ball out of the endzone, which I was pleased with—WOO NO INTERCEPTION—as I saw the ball soar into the stands… at least the dance team… well past Devin Funchess's outstretched… oh.
Ace made this. ESC to stop it, unless you're on Chrome.
Wow. Is that legal? Should I clap now? Is touchdown? Is touchdown. Clap. Smile. Turn to wife and console her that the Illinois people are probably used to this anyway and she shouldn't feel bad for them because… um. Return to clapping, wait for day when Michigan throws more than 15 passes and Jim Mandich Watch returns.
norfleetwatch. hai guys here's this punt i should probably fair catch this syyyykkkkkkeeeee hey i'm going this way syyyyyyykkke I PUT OUT MY HAND AND YOU STOP BECAUSE I HAVE POWERS goodbye tackler goodbye tackler goodbye tackler hello sideline i am sorry i will never touch you sideline i just don't feel like that about you ZOOOOOOOOOOOOM wait wat is punter
wat is punter wat is
Kicking from the one. Michigan pooted in the shortest possible field goal late in the first quarter, which normally would have driven me bonkers. IMO that was a close enough call that I wasn't super peeved. The situation:
- Denard is out so you've got a freshman at QB.
- Barnum is out so you've got your 6'1" walkon at LG.
- You've just been stuffed twice consecutively since Illinois knows you're not throwing, not least because…
- It's a rainstorm that could easily degenerate into an MSU-Iowa-ish slopfest in which points are at a premium.
If an 18-yard field goal in the first quarter is ever going to be the right move, it's there. It was really hard to disentangle any emotions about the kick from the momentary dread experienced as I watched Michigan's season circle down the drain in an injury deluge, but before it was a laugher it seemed like the kind of game where the first team to 17 wins and the field goal is defensible.
This is an extension of my being fine with a similar chip shot field goal in last year's Illinois game; that one came later and extended Michigan's lead from 14 to a probably-insurmountable 17. Early in this game any points seemed like a good idea in case the skies truly opened up.
Not that it mattered, but this wouldn't be MGoBlog without minute dissection of every possible game theory decision.
Even if you didn't like the kick you should note with approval that Michigan tried to take their two-minute opportunity at the end of the half only to be foiled by a bad snap after they'd moved the ball 19 yards.
Never again. Hey, guys, we're past Annual Denard Versus Illinois Injury Scare, and this one was the best of all because Denard came back and Illinois scored no points anyway. High five.
Michigan has now survived half the season with only one major injury, that to Blake Countess. While Wormley and Brink being out strips Michigan of some of its DL depth, neither guy was playing much or projected to play much—hard to imagine Wormley being a major step up from Michigan's current three-tech/SDE production.
That's getting off relatively light. Anyone glancing at Iowa City or East Lansing will get quick confirmation of that. Brady Hoke poops magic, still going strong.
Everything is not a bubble screen. I got a half-dozen tweets after the Gallon touchdown about bubble screens, and I knew that there had been a disturbance in the force due to announcer incompetence. Watching the highlights, I found out: the PBP guy thinks any throw to a wide receiver behind the line of scrimmage is a bubble screen.
That's not true, obviously, and the Gallon touchdown was the Always Works Every Time Except That One Time Against Iowa throwback screen. That play has little to do with the various critiques leveled around here about the lack of edge pressure applied by the Borges spread. It works by getting the playside tackle out on the edge without blocking that DE, and that gets you a chunk of yards. Michigan's broke huge as Michigan picked up +++ downfield blocks from Schofield and Kwiatkowski:
Schofield got a piece of the safety 20 yards downfield. That's a throwback to his days as a guard and a reason Rodriguez was so hyped on acquiring him. Michigan's OL can still get downfield like a boss.
Anyway, the throwback screen has been a strange disconnected bit of the offense that Borges pulls out once a game that picks up between 15 and 70 yards without fail except that one time against Iowa. It's always run from under center; it's obviously a pretty awesome play but it isn't yet anything more than a dime store novelty because the core of the offense remains spread.
Lewan injury scares. Taylor Lewan wasn't the first choice in warmups and again exited before the rest of the offensive line; a couple of people have mentioned to me that he seemed to have a limp as he went back to the locker room at half-time. This is fine, because Lewan is in fact powered by injury. Tom Gholston will rip his leg off, laugh evilly, and turn around only to be faced with a being of unimaginable power created by his very own hands.
PROTIP: let's not try to throw screens over that guy.
Fitz vs Rawls vs Hayes vs Norfleet fight. The Toussaint Job Threat watch is still on after his YPC was the worst of anyone who got more than one carry—and the guy who got that one carry also almost took a punt return 90-some yards.
Rawls has earned some more playing time—if he's not taking over short yardage duties posthaste I'll be surprised—and will be given an opportunity to take some chunk of the carries, but Fitz is going to remain the starter, I'd imagine. Michigan did hand it off to Rawls on an inverted veer, FWIW.
Rotation. Michigan had more of it in this game, especially one Pipkins:
That started early on Illinois's somewhat annoying early successes straight up the gut. I'll have to see what was going on there in the UFR; live it seemed like a thing that Michigan was not quite expecting but quickly got fixed. Think early Rodriguez offenses in the first half versus the second.
Moore return, maybe not so much. Brandon Moore was back and still apparently behind Kwiatkowski and Funchess, possibly also Williams. I saw him whiff a block badly on one of his limited snaps. I don't think he's getting much playing time back.
Everybody Hates Russell. It was bad enough that Michigan receivers reacted to Russell Bellomy's passes like they were radioactive, but does the media have to pile on? Daily:
Bellomy struggles in spotlight
Apparently the offense couldn’t move a single yard without Robinson under center, and the Wolverines settled for a field goal…
Fans’ expectations for the quarterback position could be a bit exaggerated because they’ve been spoiled by the exhilarating play of Robinson, but Bellomy didn’t do a great job of living up to any expectations in his brief role on Saturday.
On the following drive, he tossed a pair of incomplete passes — granted, the second was dropped by fifth-year wide receiver Roy Roundtree — before Michigan punted on a three-and-out.
Russell Bellomy wasn't exactly sparkling in mop up duty for Robinson. He took over with the ball inside the five in the second quarter, and couldn't get Michigan into the end zone. He also lost a fumbled snap in the second half.
Michigan's backup quarterback situation is shaky. Russell Bellomy struggled somewhat. He let a snap squirt right through his hands, and he completed just 1/3 passes. I'm not a huge fan of what I've seen out of Devin Gardner as a quarterback, and I do think Bellomy has potential down the road . . . but boy, does he look shaky right now. He wasn't helped out by his receivers, though, who had their hands on both incompletions; but Bellomy looks afraid to push the ball down the field, and he's not very crisp running the plays.
Come on guys, he handed off a couple times and threw a few passes that were dropped. Given the conditions, the fumbled snap is not a huge surprise—I file Bellomy's performance under incomplete.
Hoke likes him. Yeah.
Another lost shoe. An epidemic. This never happened before. What's the deal?
Roh pretty damn good. Two of Michigan's WDE's switched positions in the offseason, and that was pretty worrying. At least one of those seems to be working out pretty well: SDE Craig Roh. Check out Michigan's first third and short stop. Watch 88, the DE to the top of the screen:
Shift a step before snap to line up right over the TE, get under the TE, move upfield and pop the pulling guard. That's why Demens is free to tackle. That's a full point in UFR that doesn't show up at all in the box score, and Roh has been doing that consistently for the first six games. There's a stretch at 2:14 that's similar: Ryan gets a TFL because Roh beats his guy playside.
Also on that first play Jake Ryan pops his guy back and disengages to make that Demens tackle a matter of stopping an already-falling guy's momentum. Funny how Demens is a lot better now that he's not eating guys on a free release. Speaking of…
JAKE F RYAN. Ryan needs no explanation, and in this game he put up the kind of stat line that makes even distant observers sit up and take notice: 11 tackles, 7 solo, 3.5 TFLs, a sack and a half. He also got some of those Roh plays—the stuffed fourth and inches was Ryan getting the two-for-one with a slant under the tackle and letting Demens roar up into the hole untouched.
Repeat of all things previous about all Big Ten, verge of—the next two weeks will either solidify that or delay it.
A screen worked, to a running back and everything. That's an everything's coming up Milhouse moment.
Scheelhaase out. At least one team in the Big Ten is willing to remove a guy with a concussion. Terry Hawthorne didn't play, either. Objection from UV withdrawn.
OL doing stuff. Big Robinson runs resulted from:
- Omameh blowing up Spence one on one.
- Lewan blowing up a DE on the easy Denard draw TD.
- Omameh blowing up Spence again on the 49-yarder
Student section fight. Michigan State:
Difference is that Michigan was up by a billion in a noncompetitive game, and they look to have about twice the people. Win for Michigan.
Yakety sax pending. THE KIDS ARE PLAYING THEIR TAILS OFF AND THE COACHES ARE SCREWING IT UP
FURMAN DESTROY. My only disappointment with the above highlight reel is that it leaves out a fifteen-yard penalty on Michigan, when Josh Furman went Fresno State on an Illinois punt returner. A personal reaction:
OHHHH HE'S GONNA LIGHT THAT GUY UP
/ball hits ground
That punt had ridiculous hangtime, is what I'm saying.
Damn you, Special K. Damn you. You know, you get through two full games without hearing the Dog Groomers play "In The Big House" and you think you're out of the woods and then they bring it back. False hope is worse than death.
I am so with you HSR:
Really, I could have like six anti-Special K bullets here, but will it really do any good?
The weirdest thing was the soulful acoustic guitar thing they played for like an entire commercial break. YEAH I'M FIRED UP HIT ME WITH THE JOSE GONZALEZ I CAME HERE FOR WARRRRRRRR.
Now you can't do it. Ace mentioned the on-field proposal after everyone had cleared out Saturday, and now the gentleman who totally one-upped you passed along the event itself:
Jonathan San declares "I've never made that many girls scream before," and he's got you topped. Unless you're Steve Breaston—in which case respext, you are good at football.
Dang big gap. The MSU line opened at M –11.5 and currently stands at M –10.5.
After watching the Spartan fan-fail, I was curious to see how UofM's students would approach the game. Even though the weather was basically the same - rain - the stands looked full to me. There were a few who left the game in the 2nd half, but I'm sure if we would have gone to double OT, the stands would have been full. So even though State may have won the last four games in the series, they have a long way to go to match the University of Michigan on the field, in the classroom, and in the stands.
Also, ST3 goes to badminton practice. MICHIGAN MENZ.
Turd Ferguson kicks off a rivalry week with a dossier of Michigan State's recent achievements, as well:
Michigan State athletics programs have become pioneers in 21st-century teambuilding. Concerned about the rapid decline of face-to-face contact, MSU athletes have repeated come together, in large groups, to contact the faces of their fellow athletesand classmates.
Spartans are known to generously extend a hand to those in need. They’ve developed a prison-to-work program seen by many as a model for how to reduce to an absolute minimum the time between prison and work. Their athletic director moonlights as avolunteer career counselor and their football coach as a public speaking coach, offering their time even to supposed athletic rivals. When one of their neighbors could use help just stretching his neck, scratching his eye, massaging his arm, or bludgeoning his face, a Spartan is always there to assist.
As I mentioned a moment ago, I was lucky enough to play football, first on Ferry Field and then in the stadium. And I was lucky enough to start a few games in the football season of 1934–and that was quite a year. The Wolverines on that memorable occasion played Ohio State, and we lost 34 to 0. And to make it even worse, that was the year we lost seven out of eight of our scheduled games. But you know, what really hurt me the most was when my teammates voted me their most valuable player. I didn’t know whether to smile or sue. [Laughter]
It’s seems like a simple expectation but you forget, especially in the aftermath of the Alabama and Notre Dame games, that these coaches have a track record of making players better. You are seeing it. The defense confident and fun to watch and they’ve retooled the gameplan with Denard and it’s clearly working. I’ll take this stat line 24/7: 7-11, 2 TD, 0 INT.
If yesterday was a heavyweight title fight it was over in the first round. The only drama came when the champion hurt his hand because he was hitting the challenger's face too much. TKO Round 1 - UMass played harder in the Big House.
One thing we do know is the defense put in an amazing performance against Illinois. They were held to 3.3 yards per carry (with a standard deviation of 5.1 yards). These two stats indicate that not only did the D hold the Illini in check, but that they kept them from pulling off many big runs; in fact, Illinois only had one run of over ten yards all day, the Nathan Scheelhaase dash that knocked him out of the game. If you calculate the standard error about the mean, it's 0.14 yards, suggested that if U-M and Illinois face of again and again, Michigan would hold them to under 3.5 YPC again and again and again. That's consistency. That's dominance.
Al Borges continues to pare down his play calling to suit this team, and it has worked the past two weeks as Michigan has run for just under 330 yards per game and thrown the ball only 27 times total. The
When Odysseus* returned home, he was met with a cohort of unruly suitors. Like those suitors, Illinois simply did not have the strength to string the bow and fire.
RAMROTH FINNEGAN declares Michigan by far his best visit. I know the kid is destined to end up at Cincinnati, where all the best names go, but let's savor this moment when it is just fate, not fact.
In our last nine Big Ten games, we’ve scored 7, 14, 7, 14, 17, 7, 7, 14, and 0 points. 9.7 points per game. Has to be the worst such stretch since the 1970′s, right? We had huge offensive failings in 2005 and 2003 and 1997 and even 1993. But we’ve never had a stretch like this, have we? I mean, since the days of 0-0 ties with Northwestern and such in the 70′s. Can anyone remember anything this bad?
Less than two years ago, we scored 63 points at Michigan. With Nathan Scheelhaase at quarterback. How could we fall that far in 24 months? Yes, Michigan’s defense has improved tenfold over RichRod’s 2010 defense. But from 63 points to zero? How is that even possible?
Mainstream folk. Grades are somewhat good from Meinke. Daily game story. Smith sat out with a hamstring issue, "boo-boo" resurfaces as nonspecific Denard injury term. Helfand on Michigan's defense. Estes on Kenny Demens. Meinke on MSU week. Baumgardner on lack of turnovers.
Outside of a two-possession stretch when Michigan fans held their breath as Denard Robinson was sidelined with a pinky injury, the Wolverines couldn't have made it any easier to look ahead to next week's game against Michigan State, pounding a hapless Illinois squad, 45-0.
If anything, the final score belied Michigan's dominance. The offense moved the ball at will, rushing for 353 yards on 6.9 per carry and adding 174 through the air on just 15 attempts. The defense held the Illini to a mere 134 yards, including an unheard-of 29 yards on 16 passes; while it didn't help matters when starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase exited in the second quarter with an upper-body injury, his four yards on six attempts weren't lighting the world on fire.
Seemingly every play called by Al Borges worked as intended, starting with a 71-yard touchdown to Jeremy Gallon on a bubble screen* to open the scoring; Gallon weaved through the Illini defense, helped by stellar downfield blocking, most notably by tight end Mike Kwiatkowski. The next drive stalled near the goal line for a field goal after Denard exited the game with a banged-up pinky; it was the only moment when Michigan fans felt even a hint of concern.
The Wolverines continued to establish their identity as a run-first, run-second outfit on Denard's first possession back in the lineup, gaining all 68 of their yards on the ground en route to a six-yard scramble for Michigan's dreaded wonder. When Robinson opened the second half with a physics-defying 49-yard scamper to paydirt, the rout was on in earnest. Illinois's next possession ended after one play, a Kenny Demens interception of Reilly O'Toole. Three plays later, Devin Funchess hauled in a Robinson lob in the back of the end zone, bringing the score to 31-0 before many fans had returned with their halftime hot chocolates.
On the other side of the ball, Jake Ryan flashed his All-American potential again and again, amassing 11 tackles (7 solo), four TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and a devastating forced fumble as he flushed O'Toole out of the pocket, doubled back, and blindsided him to jar the ball loose. Denard Robinson may have finished with four touchdowns, 159 yards passing, and 128 yards rushing, but Ryan made a legitimate claim for best Wolverine on the field.
Ryan wasn't the only standout, as seven Wolverines tallied tackles for loss, neither Illini quarterback could find an open receiver, and Greg Mattison's blitzes hit home time and again. Two years ago, Michigan faced this same Illinois squad—with the same starting quarterback, even—and gave up 561 yards and 65 points. Against this defense, the Illini would need almost a full 17 quarters to rack up that same yardage; no matter how long they went, they'd obviously never reach that point total.
Safe to say, times have changed for both programs.
Michigan has found their perfect match at head coach and defensive coordinator. The offense under Al Borges has had their growing pains, but it's clear that they've found a suitable balance since the bye week to maximize Denard's remaining time as a Wolverine.
After the game, the marching band spelled out "Marry Me, Danielle?" as a band member dropped to a knee at midfield. Like everything the Wolverines dialed up on Saturday, the play was a success. On a cold, grey, rainy day in Ann Arbor, only the weather could dampen the spirits of those in Maize and Blue.
*On second look, it wasn't exactly a bubble screen, as Gallon started downfield before stopping and coming back to the line; a very well drawn-up play regardless.
- Trouba is the truth. Three assists, one leveling open-ice hit, and defensive responsibility until everyone got sloppy up a ton in the third. A tape to tape breakout pass machine. Money money money.
- Andrew Copp is an interesting guy to keep an eye on. Not a big recruit by any stretch of the imagination but Copp stood out as a big dude with some jump; he split time between football and hockey in high school and may develop into something a bit better than Danny Fardig 2.0.
- Moffatt-Treais-PDG looks to be your top line, at least for now, with the wingers on that line seeming to have good chemistry. Looking for a bustout year from PDG, who was young enough to get drafted after his freshman year and should improve greatly.
- Brennan Serville is another guy I'll be watching early for signs of improvement, especially with Merrill out six weeks and Serville skating every night as a result. Initial impression was not much different than last year's struggles, unfortunately, but confirmation bias and all that.
- I miss Hunwick. Rutledge gave up a soft goal in his period and looked like he had holes all over. This may be paranoia.
The mid-tier guys (Moffie, Bennett, Guptill, Old Lynch, Hyman) were scratched, FWIW. Hyman's another guy I'm hoping will start producing more after his freshman hype fizzled.
Jake Ryan, basically. Roh on Ryan:
“He’s like a Tootsie Pop,” Roh said. “No matter how many times you talk to him, you really never know what you’re going to get until you get to the chocolatey center.”
Zach Helfland asks the obvious question:
Meaning what exactly?
“I don’t know,” Roh said. “You can’t describe him, really. He’s like, I don’t know, he’s like smart but dumb at the same time, but he’s also just random, just like, ‘Yo,’ randomly.”
YO. Elsewhere in that article, Ryan is an alien. Read it.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO JT FLOYD WHYYYY
"I told him right before I cut them, 'Man, 'Lace, I'm going to cut 'em,'" Floyd said. "He's like, 'No you're not, no you're not.'
"He was the first guy I saw. He just looked at me and smiled, 'Man, I can't believe you did it.' We had a little dreadlock bond, I guess. Now I'm trying to persuade him to cut 'em"
but it's not going to happen. Not going to happen."
Ticket pricing update. To be fair The M Zone needs to continue their scalping project into next year to see what it's like trying to grab OSU tickets online, but so far so good for the idea we're closing in on the max amount people will pay to go to Michigan games:
Endzone Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $64.72
Illinois - Saved $31.72
Total Endzone StubHub Savings So Far - $96.44
Maize Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $87.38
Illinois - Saved $43.38
Total Maize Section Savings So Far - $130.76
Victors Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $165.24
Illinois - Saved $98.12
Total Victors Section Savings So Far - $263.36
MSU is looking like a win for season ticket holders but that's the only one, and that's with Stubhub's massive cut (15% from the seller plus 20 bucks in "convenience fees" from the buyer) taken into account.
Willis Ward to be honored. Michigan's going to do it, and it's all thanks to an eight year old girl:
"A lot of people like to listen to little kids, and you should speak up and make a difference," said Genna, a Brighton third-grader.
She addressed the university's board of regents in March and lobbied state legislators in June to name a special day after star U-M football player Willis Ward, who was benched for a game against Georgia Tech in 1934 because he was black.
Genna succeeded, and Willis — a friend and teammate of future President Gerald Ford — will be honored by the state and school next week.
Like flies. Blocking-type Michigan State people continue to get injured at an alarming rate. TE Dion Sims may or may not play against Michigan; if he doesn't they probably won't be throwing his backup many passes:
Andrew Gleichert, a walk-on who was awarded a scholarship before the opener against Boise State, has a broken wrist and will have to play with a cast the rest of the season.
"We got concerned with him being a point-of-attack blocker," Roushar said. "We feel like he's got to do a better job. He's working on it. With the loss of Dion, you're looking for something stronger at the point of attack."
Meanwhile, former megarecruit Lawrence Thomas went from linebacker to 295-pound fullback and can't move down to tight end this week because he picked up a concussion against Indiana—his second since August. He's expected to play against Iowa because obviously.
[AFTER AN UNUSUAL UV JUMP: THINGS PEOPLE DID TO THE DANNY HOPEDOKEN GIF]
Formation notes: Stacks and stacks. Here's a "shotgun trips" with Dileo moving outside a couple of stacked WRs, one of whom is Kwiatkowski:
Totally standard three wide for some reason:
Michigan spent a lot of time in this, which was dubbed Shotgun 2TE twins:
And triple stack tight:
Substitution notes: Nothing weird. No Rawls, a few Smith plays. Darboh got on the field for some real plays for the first time but no passes—not that there were many to go around. Didn't see Jerald Robinson at all, FWIW.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M22||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||Inverted veer keeper||Robinson||5|
|Three man front for Purdue for whatever reason. Michigan doubles both playside DTs; Short is moving away from the play at the snap anyway. Omameh(+1) pulls past that and a double by Lewan and Kwiatkowski on the playside end; LB contains and Denard(+1) pulls. A safety has moved down to add another guy to the box; Denard has to go inside the Omameh block. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) peels off to get a pop on a linebacker, but these guys were a bit confused and did not try to seal the DE inside, so he can disengage from Lewan and tackle. Purdue in pure cover 0 here.|
|M27||2||5||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||End-around||Gallon||4|
|I wonder if this might turn into a read at some point as Denard does appear to be looking at someone on the D as he executes the mesh; Barnum pulls around and heads up inside, so a pull could be viable here. I don't think it's a read yet, though. Denard hands to Gallon as the playside DE chucks Schofield in an effort to get to the inside. He removes himself from the play. Schofield didn't look too hot here but he's probably not expecting the DE to do his job for him. Toussaint(+1) gets a hit on an OLB that gives Gallon(-0.5) the corner as Gardner(+0.5) cracks down on a LB; Gallon kind of jogs out of bounds instead of trying to blast out the first down.|
|M31||3||1||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Base 3-4||Run||Power off tackle||Toussaint||1 + 15 Pen|
|Michigan barely squeezes this out as Mealer(-0.5) kind of loses Short and does not get around him to seal him out of the intended hole and Williams(-1) really loses the end; both of those guys are in the hole as Lewan and Barnum release into one guy. Bler. Omameh(+0.5) is pulling around and manages to get a hat on a filling LB; this gives Toussaint his tiny little crease he hits for a yard and a first down, with a facemask penalty aiding the cause.|
|M47||1||10||Shotgun empty TE||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB sweep||Robinson||4|
|Kwiatkowski(+1) blocks down on the playside end and erases him. That's Short! Dang. Lewan and Barnum pull around him. Lewan(+0.5) kicks a linebacker type, easy. Barnum(+0.5) finds a linebacker farther inside and blocks him. Mealer and Omameh are trying to scoop the NT and don't quite get it done but it's a push since the guy has to give a ton of ground to prevent the seal. Robinson runs up in the huge gap and goes NS, picking up a decent gain on first down. The 3-4 seems to be screwing with some blocking assignments.|
|O49||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||4-3 under||Run||Pin and pull zone||Toussaint||-1|
|Michigan gets caught by a corner blitz that allows Purdue to slant towards the playside. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) shoves the playside end past the play. Omameh(-0.5) gets no movement on Gaston and loses him to the frontside; Short beats a scoop by Barnum(-1) badly, and when the LBs keep leverage on the pulling linemen the two DTs flow from the interior to eat up Toussaint. RPS -1. Nice kick from Schofield(+0.5) and cut by Mealer(+1), FWIW.|
|50||3||7||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel even||Pass||Drag||Roundtree||10|
|Pretty simple for Robinson as the MLB is stacked over the center and takes a step to the field as Roundtree drags inside of him. He recovers okay; not nearly enough to prevent the conversion. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O40||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||4-3 under||Run||Reverse||Gallon||7|
|Purdue blitzes off the slot; Michigan fakes a QB run to the field and pitches to Gallon coming the other way. Schofield(-1) blocks down on the backside DT for a moment and then lets him go, then thinks he's messed up and chases the guy. Gallon avoids him, then cuts up; the DE who is further downfield now comes up to contain and or tackle; he can't do anything. Schofield ends up blocking the DT but after Gallon beat him and doesn't actually make anything useful happen. Omameh(+1) makes the yardage happen thanks to a long-term block on the other DT that ends up sealing him away from the sideline. Gallon(+2) has already beaten two guys and throws in a third for good measure.|
|O33||2||3||Shotgun trips TE||1||1||3||Nickel 3-4||Run||Inverted veer give||Toussaint||3|
|The playside end comes down a little bit, enough to convince Denard to give. DE can chase Toussaint outside but not catch him, so maybe this is right? I'm not sure. Dileo(-1) runs by the slot LB, who forces Toussaint to bounce upfield; Darboh(-0.5) also gets beat by his blocker. Toussaint(+0.5) bounces outside of the first guy and then tries to do the same with the second, getting slowed by one DB and bashed by a second when just hitting it up is a first down.|
|O30||3||In||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB sweep||Robinson||2|
|Same bit with Kwiatkowski(+1) shoving an end well out of the hole; his block eventually takes out Short, who slanted inside an attempted double. Roundtree(-1) whiffs an easy crack down; Barnum(+1) pulls and slows up to knock a linebacker inside, which gives Robinson a crease for the first down despite Lewan(-1) getting only a bler kickout as he falls to the ground. Robinson(+1) had cut well and was one and a half of those missed blocks from a touchdown. RPS +1.|
|O28||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||1||2||4-3 even||Run||Iso||Toussaint||6|
|The slightly odd shotgun iso Michigan broke out against Minnesota a while ago. Gap to get is between Lewan(+1) and Barnum(+1). Lewan gets movement and a kickout; Barnum's guy helps him but Barnum locks him out well despite a hands to the face that goes uncalled; Kerridge(+1) thumps a linebacker. Toussaint's got a good hole and hits it; overhang guy is unblocked and tackles.|
|O22||2||5||Shotgun 2TE twins||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||Inverted veer keeper||Robinson||0|
|Purdue moves a guy off the slot and blitzes right into the mesh. Again, have to prevent this from happening with bubble punishment. M runs the veer; Robinson does read it and pulls in time. Schofield(-1) is getting slanted under and gives up too much ground, knocking Barnum off his pull. That guy shoots past the play as Denard pulls; now he's past an initial wave and in space further inside than he wants to be. It really looks like he's got huge lane outside but because of the bump on Barnum he's not making contact with the LB at the LOS and Denard(-1) fails to read the open space he will have. He made a quick decision to take here, but a missed opportunity for more. Since he does not cut outside he has blown up the blocking angle of a down-blocking Omameh and an overhang guy can come in to tackle for no gain. Kind of want to RPS -1 this but M did have an opportunity to pick up yards if Schofield and Denard execute a little better.|
|O22||3||4||Shotgun 3TE||3||1||1||Base 3-4||Pass||Flare||Toussaint||Inc|
|OLB is moving at the QB at the snap; Funchess is mainly picking the ILB to the short side, leaving Toussaint all alone on a little swing; Denard overthrows it. Toussaint almost makes a one handed stab-and-grab but can't quite. (IN, 1, protection 1/1, RPS +1)|
|O22||4||4||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 3-4||Pass||Hitch||Gardner||8|
|Great pocket; Denard zings it into Gardner's chest on time. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O14||1||10||Shotgun 2-back trips||2||0||3||4-3 even||Run||Inverted veer give||Smith||1|
|Covered slot play. Purdue has a CB to the non-WR side on the LOS, a LB there, and a safety who is reading run the whole way. Corner comes upfield at snap; this looks like a veer but if so it seems like Denard should pull, except it doesn't really matter since Toussaint blocks the corner and there is no one being optioned. Denard gives; Smith meets an unblocked guy at the LOS. RPS -1. Schofield(+1) had a good block on a slanting guy, FWIW, and Barnum(+1) got to the second level right quick. If they'd had a guy for the safety...|
|O13||2||9||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||4-3 under||Run||QB iso||Robinson||4|
|This is an iso on which they run a fake veer mesh point and send Smith up the middle of the field. Barnum(+1) gets a tough scoop block on one of the DTs, sealing him. Mealer moves to the second level and would get an LB blocked if he knew where the ball was. Omameh(+1) kicks the other DT, Short. Lewan was blocking a guy who never tried to contain because the slot LB had it; he never gets sealed or kicked and flows down the line to tackle. Would like to see Mealer(-1) hold his ground and react on the fly once that LB starts moving away from the play. That's what the action is supposed to do, so set up and wall off anyone who shows, not just the LB.|
|O9||3||5||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||4-3 nickel||Run||QB draw||Robinson||8|
|How does this even happen I don't know. Purdue is running man on the goal line against Denard. They send a corner who Schofield(+0.5) flings upfield; Short gets out of his lane all by himself, and this gives Robinson(+1) a crack to the outside that he takes, as he is wont to do. He cuts past a charging LB and extends the ball to score, probably, but is called down and the replay can't overturn it. Bah. RPS +1, amazingly.|
|O1||1||G||Goal line||2||2||0||Goal line||Run||Trap||Toussaint||0 (Pen +0)|
|Burzynski in and a Lewan/Schofield setup on the left side of the line. Schofield(+1) blows up Gaston and Kerridge(+1) blows up a linebacker; Toussaint(-1) has an easy dive into the endzone that he does not trust and goes too far outside, allowing Purdue to recover. Rawls scores this. Purdue is offsides.|
|O1||1||G||Goal line||2||2||0||Goal line||Run||Off tackle||Toussaint||1|
|Basically the same one gap over. Lewan(+1) and Barnum(+1) pave the way and it's Toussaint one on one with a safety; Toussaint manages to squeeze in.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 4 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M37||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel even||Run||Inverted veer keeper||Robinson||38|
|Man, this is easy. Just six guys in the box for Purdue and the sixth flares out on the slot receiver. Playside DE contains, but it doesn't really matter since Omameh(+1) is pulling around and blocks him since he's got no one else to deal with. Lewan(+1) gets rid of the only(!) LB. Barnum got beat-ish by a late shift by Short but not enough to screw the play up; push. Robinson(+2) is into the secondary in a flash and turns ten into lots by making a safety look foolish. Gallon(+1) fended off a cornerback, adding a big chunk, too. RPS +3: five in the box against Denard Robinson.|
|O25||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB power||Robinson||3|
|NT blows upfield of Mealer(-1) and disrupts the pull from Omameh. Against a three man front this is bad. Mealer ends up blocking no one. Lewan(+1) crooshes silly donkey DE to the interior but Kwiatkowski(-1) shows to the inside too much and lets a linebacker run over top of him. Toussaint kicks a guy, leaving two unblocked in the hole. Denard(+0.5) dances for a couple.|
|O22||2||7||Shotgun 2TE twins||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||Inside zone||Toussaint||6|
|OLB comes off slot; Kwiatkowski blocks him out. Purdue slides its line playside and has a linebacker behind who's unblocked thanks to the blitz. He's staying outside, so handoff. The slant gets the Purdue OL past the M OL but the M OL gets good push on a couple guys. Mealer(-1) lets Short by him in frightening fashion; Lewan(+1) gets his guy two yards downfield and makes him give up a lot of space. Toussaint(+1) cuts backside and avoids that linebacker, stumbling as he manages to power through the arm tackle. Short can now finish the job from behind.|
|O16||3||1||Shotgun 2-back 2TE||2||2||1||4-4 even||Run||Speed option||Smith||2|
|You know, Denard never ever pitches here and on this play of all plays he does. He's got a completely obvious lane for a first down; yeah, charging safety but he'll never stop you. Instead, pitch. That charging safety alters his angle and gets past Toussaint's hypothetical lead block; Toussaint does get a bit of a shove on him as Smith cuts inside, which gives Smith just enough to squeeze out the first. Schofield(+1) and Williams(+1) had crushed guys back for that lane; Denard(-1) should have kept this instead of risking the pitch.|
|O14||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||Power off tackle||Toussaint||0|
|Funchess in as an H-back. This looks like the veer but they don't let anyone go so I assume this is an actual no read power to screw with folks. Schofield(-1) doesn't fire off, ends up catching a DE, lets him inside, and then Barnum(-1) blocks him too as he fills the hole. Toussaint bounces outside, unblocked LB, no gain. Barnum should be moving outside of this block instead of dealing with the guy who shows. If Schofield can't push him past the play that's not on you.|
|O14||2||10||Shotgun 2TE twins||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||QB sweep||Robinson||-1|
|Bubble stuff. OLB comes hammering off the edge; Lewan(-2) is pulling around Kwiatkowski(+0.5) who again eliminates the DE easily. Barnum pulls up to wall off a LB coming from the inside and would have a crease for Denard but for Lewan getting blown upfield and the OLB disengaging to tackle. RPS -1.|
|O15||3||11||Shotgun 4-wide trips bunch||1||1||3||Okie zero||Pass||TE Dig||Funchess||14|
|Okie look from Purdue with no single deep safety. Only four sent; M picks it up. Nice pocket that Robinson steps up into and rifles a pass to Funchess at the goal line in between three zone defenders that Funchess brings in. Slightly behind Funchess but still a good throw given the coverage and situation; even better catch by Funchess. (CA+, 1, protection 3/3)|
|O1||1||G||Goal line||2||2||0||Goal line||Run||Off tackle||Toussaint||1|
|Purdue better prepared for this, getting into the pulling Barnum(+1) in the backfield; Toussaint(+0.5) feints outside, finds an unblocked guy, decides that's a bad idea, and then cuts back into Barnum's ass, which is busy escorting a dude into the endzone so that works out okay.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 14 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O26||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel even||Run||Inverted veer keeper||Robinson||5|
|Gallon motions in from the slot to be the possible handoff and Robinson(-1) keeps. That's an error as the DE is diving down. The corner is coming and this could be an issue but there's a lead blocker to pick the guy off. DE who has come down is in the hole... oh and I guess we take Denard's minus off the board(+1) since he bounces it outside after everyone sucks in and picks up five. Dios mio man. Gallon(+0.5) got a block on the edge. Barnum(+0.5) got a good pull and seal.|
|O21||2||5||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Base 3-4||Penalty||False start||Schofield||-5|
|nyet. Schofield –1.|
|O26||2||10||I-Form twins covered||2||1||2||4-3 even||Run||Power off tackle||Toussaint||0|
|FB offset, TE covered. A big gap develops between the Mealer block and a pulling Barnum on the playside DT. LB shoots the gap, Toussaint gets nailed. Not sure what to do here; Barnum has to block that guy, need that playside double from Kwiatkowski and Lewan on power, Purdue gets unblocked LB in backfield; RPS -2. Insert rant about running from the shotgun.|
|O26||3||10||Shotgun double stacks||1||0||4||Okie zero||Pass||Throwaway||Robinson||Inc|
|Purdue sends seven at first but backs out the middle three guys. Schofield doesn't get out on the outside blitz and lets the guy through but to be fair Omameh is thinking about blocking a guy dropping out and you go inside out on pass pro. If Schofield goes out the inside guy goes in. Robinson should step up in the pocket and be Dan Marino at this point, instead he rolls out and chucks it OOB. I'll take it! (TA, 0, protection 0/2, team -2)|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG(43), 21-0, 11 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M26||1||10||Shotgun empty TE||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB sweep||Robinson||8|
|Kwiatkowski(+0.5) gets Short sealed for a moment before Short spins past the block; he falls. Mealer(-0.5) and Barnum are trying to scoop the NT and don't quite do it but he is delayed; Mealer releases into the second level and ends up blocking no one there as he lets a LB run past. He does get a safety as a second reaction but it seems like the 3-4 is confusing the line a bit. Schofield(+1) gets a good kick on the OLB; Omameh is leading Denard; a little slow but okay. Denard(+1) sees a crease and hits it fast.|
|M34||2||2||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB iso||Robinson||10|
|Gallon comes in from the slot, fake end around. Short and the OLB both go way upfield and outside in an attempt to contain. Line does an eh job on the iso stuff; MLB meets Toussaint at the LOS and there is no crease. Schofield, Mealer -0.5 each for not getting movement on their guys; Kwiatkowski(-1) blew a block on the OLB. All of this is fine because of Short chasing Gallon, which opens up a huge cutback lane for Denard(+2), at which point he's into the secondary for a nice gain. RPS +1.|
|M44||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||4-3 even||Run||End-around power||Gallon||2|
|Barnum pulls. Toussaint is a lead blocker and Gardner is cracking down on the outside. The corner comes, Gardner shoves him some, which causes the guy to spin (odd). Gardner then gets a shove on a linebacker. Toussaint hits the spinning CB and puts him on the ground; Gallon is headed way outside where an unblocked safety has time to fill. Gallon can't make him miss. This may be a read but they don't appear to be optioning anyone. Pull looked pretty good, FWIW. RPS –1; the corner blitz again.|
|M46||2||8||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Base 3-4||Pass||Throwback screen||Gallon||28|
|Always works, works this time even though the pass is deflected. Secondary is fearful of bomb; Funchess whiffs on his guy, but Gallon has so much space he can just run inside a little bit. Omameh(+1) is in space and gets a safety block. Schofield(+1) gets an effective cut way downfield, and Funchess saves a minus by keeping with the play and latching on to the guy Schofield cut to give Gallon(+1) an extra ten yards. (not charted, 3, screen, RPS +2)|
|O26||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Base 3-4||Pass||Bubble screen||Gallon||3|
|Jackson(-1) starts the play by taking steps inside like he's going to crack down on the LB, who has no chance at making a play here, and is thus late getting out on a safety lined up eight yards off the LOS. That guy gets outside and fights off a cut, so the inside guy can come up and make a play after a couple yards. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O23||2||7||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||Inverted veer keeper||Robinson||0|
|I'm not sure who the read is since it looks like everyone is getting blocked. Jackson(-1) comes down on the OLB, poorly. The guy is upfield and can explode into Toussaint if he gets the ball; Funchess thinks about blocking him before moving to the second level inside that block. That leaves a charging safety for Toussaint if he gets the ball, so that's not likely to be successful. Denard pulls anyway. Schofield(-1) got beat and his DE sheds to the inside, where Barnum is pulling. Now Denard has to go outside of that block, where Jackson's guy comes down to tackle because he's got an angle. RPS -1; this one was hard to see working even if Schofield gets his block. Slot Jackson is kind of an obvious run tip.|
|O23||3||7||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel even||Pass||Post||Gardner||23|
|Purdue sends five and goes from two high to one high late with one safety coming up in a robber. Robinson reads it, finds that the other safety has dropped way too deep, and zings a twenty-yard post to Gardner as a stunting blitzer gets to him. He leaps, catches, falls into endzone. (DO, 3, protection 2/3, Barnum -1)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-3, 3 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M39||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||Inverted veer keeper||Robinson||0|
|OLB tears at the mesh point; Denard pulls but too late and it looks like Smith is instinctively clamping down as he takes the hit. Denard(-2) should have just aborted the mesh early but it's tough to ask that.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 28-3, 1 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M38||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB iso||Robinson||9|
|Same thing as the previous play with Gallon in motion sucking Short way upfield. The playside end is slanting hard under Lewan(+1), who latches on and shoves the guy inside and upfield. Barnum(+1) and Mealer(+1) get movement on the NT and Barnum pops out on a linebacker who is coming up. Toussaint pops the other ILB, leaving a safety who came down unblocked; Robinson(+2) cuts behind and thanks to the Lewan block and Mealer getting movement he's got that cutback lane generated by the Gallon fake. He takes it. Short recovers to tackle from behind. You would like Omameh(-0.5) to prevent this from happening. RPS +1.|
|M47||2||1||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB power||Robinson||2|
|Kwiatkowski and Lewan get a little movement on the end; Fitz kicks the OLB. Omameh is trying to get to the ILB to the playside; a safety in the box comes down unblocked to fill and tackle. Denard does get it. Okay, fine, short yardage against cover zero no funny stuff up 18. Push for everyone.|
|M49||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||Sweep||Toussaint||3|
|Well blocked, with Kwiatkowski(+0.5) bashing the DE inside; he trips as he spins upfield past the block; would prefer this to not look like it's going to work before it doesn't but the movement Kwiatkowski gets is the reason someone steps on him. Lewan(+0.5) kicks; Barnum(+0.5) gets the ILB, and Toussaint... has an eighth defender in his face because Purdue is in pure cover zero. He makes a good cut past the containing safety and is about to get some nice yards when Short, unblocked on the backside, tackles from behind. RPS -1, technically, not that I'm all upset about it or anything.|
|O48||2||7||I-Form Big||2||2||1||4-3 even||Pass||PA TE Wheel||Funchess||Inc|
|Throwback screen fake that is supposed to get Funchess wide open down the sideline; it does not. Whatever the safety's key was it wasn't something M showed; he drops off and has great coverage that forces Funchess OOB. That's Denard's only receiver and he doesn't have anywhere to scramble so he tosses it up. The pass is perfect, except Funchess is running OOB so that ain't legal for catchin'. Um. (CA?, 0, protection 2/2, RPS -1)|
|O48||3||7||Shotgun trips stack tight||1||1||3||Nickel even||Pass||Out||Funchess||Inc|
|Denard finds Funchess for about ten and it looks like they'll convert but the pass ends up well behind him and wobbly. I looked at this a lot and I think Short got a finger or two on it, as it looks like a tight spiral until it reaches Short reaching up and then it gets wobble on it. I get it if you're like IN, but this got deflected. (BA, 0, protection 2/2). BAs still count against your downfield success rate anyway.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 13 min 3rd Q. Man, the drop from NBC to BTN is enormous.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M27||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel even||Run||Belly give||Toussaint||2|
|Poor damn Toussaint. Again he's eating an unblocked guy in the backfield. The end shuffled down and then collapsed on the handoff; give or not is a push for Denard because the corner was blitzing. Play was dead on the snap. RPS -1.|
|M29||2||8||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel 3-4||Pass||Bubble screen||Gallon||6|
|Second bubble, second screwup by the WR blocking. Darboh(-1) stands at the LOS like a doof and Gallon actually reaches the guy as he catches the ball. From there Gallon(+1) does Gallon things to pick up pretty good yardage. More Gallon touches. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M35||3||2||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel even||Run||QB sweep||Robinson||4|
|Outer two players block down as Mealer and Omameh pull around. WR motions in right before the snap and cracks down. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) shoves the DE inside, getting the edge. Toussaint(+1) kicks the corner with authoritah. Big hole with three M guys in it and three Purdue guys; Denard gets a little impatient and runs up his blockers' backs. Omameh(+1) gets a good second level bock and Mealer is leading, looking at the safety, when that safety goes low, submarining Mealer and just tripping Denard as he tries to cut behind. Think Short had him in pursuit even if this doesn't happen but pretty close to making things happen.|
|M39||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||Zone read keeper||Robinson||46|
|This pull is brilliant madness. M leaves the back two guys unblocked; Short tears after Toussaint. The OLB is unblocked and containing, Denard pulls anyway, and goes straight upfield. Short's still after Toussaint; the end cannot reach Denard as he goes straight NS. Mealer(+1) moved the NT playside and got him a yard off the LOS. Schofield(+1) was releasing downfield to get the other ILB, who starts heading outside even before the mesh and runs himself out of the play; Schofield adjusts to eliminate him. Then, Denard(+3), space, fast, etc. No shoe. Runs OOB. Would like to see him be more aggressive in big games. Keep yer shoe on.|
|O15||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||Sweep||Toussaint||0|
|Kwiatkowski(-1) does not get a seal on the end this time. Schofield(-0.5) loses the OLB upfield because he's attacking aggressively there. Mealer and Barnum can't get a seal on the backside DT. Toussaint has to arc outside that DT and then try to hit it up; Mealer(-1) couldn't get to a LB despite leaving early and he and Short blow it up at the LOS. Nobody got blocked here. RPS -1.|
|O15||2||10||Ace big||1||3||1||Base 3-4||Run||Inside zone||Toussaint||0|
|Michigan runs an inside zone away from the strength of the formation and into five guys against four blockers. This doesn't work, especially when the playside ILB bugs out to beat a block. Maybe this should have been a cutback. Yeah, maybe, but tough when Barnum(-1) has just caught a guy and is a yard in the backfield. Still, Toussaint -1.|
|O14||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide tight||1||1||3||Okie zero||Run||Speed option||Smith||4|
|Jackson(-2) is the main blocker on the edge here and barely touches the cornerback. Denard gets some pursuers from the interior and ends up pitching late, but it's so late that as one pursuing guy tackles Denard becomes a human cut block on a second, leaving Smith in space with the corner and Jackson; if Jackson can even shove this guy a little Smith can score a TD; he does not. RPS push since normally the second guy on Denard would hold this down.|
|Drive Notes: FG(29), 6 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M11||1||10||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||4-3 even||Penalty||False start||Lewan||-5|
|bah. Lewan –1.|
|M6||1||15||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||4-3 even||Run||Iso||Toussaint||0|
|Safety overhanging is an unblocked guy in the box as M bizarrely doubles the backside DT. I guess Denard could pull and go vertical again; he doesn't. There is a DE that seems to be containing but I'm not sure if he can do anything about this. Anyway, blocking is good for the iso; Toussaint(-2) sees the overhang guy and tries to bounce away from him, turning five yards into zero. Lewan(+0.5) got a good kick; Kerridge(+1) bombed the MLB. Barnum only did eh with Short, understandably.|
|M6||2||15||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB iso||Robinson||6|
|Gallon end around fake. This again gets Short chasing, but no cutback as one of the ILBs is filling that gap. Omameh(+0.5) and Mealer(+0.5) are able to shove and seal the nose. Toussaint(+0.5) gets an okay lead block and Denard(+1) just hits it straight upfield. A safety comes down to tackle after a few; he's doing it from the side and Robinson can drag. This play... this play will be able to hit big on PA. This is going to get an RPS +3 sometime in the next three games.|
|M12||3||9||Shotgun double stacks||1||1||3||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||Dig||Roundtree||13|
|Only three rush. Denard sits and zips it to Roundtree for a first down. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M25||1||10||Shotgun 2TE twins||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Pass||Veer PA post||Gallon||Inc|
|M continues to have trouble blocking this play action as Barnum sort of overruns his gap and a LB threatens. Barnum does get a shove that allows Denard to move outside and reset but now he knows he's got to go go go and can't let a wheel develop, etc. Gallon is one on one on the outside and has inside position, so this is a throw you may as well make. It's accurate enough despite being a back foot throw; Gallon leaps... and is too short. It does go off his hand, which is pretty good for a 40 yard throw under these conditions. (CA+, 2, protection 2/3, Barnum -1) Funchess or Gardner likely brings this in.|
|M25||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB sweep||Robinson||2|
|Gallon end around action to the sweep. Kwiatkowski(+0.5) bombs the DE. Schofield(+0.5) gets a good kick. M can't seal the NT but does okay and Robison can run by him.Smith and Omameh(-1) are leading into two defenders; Omameh lunges at his guy and doesn't cut him but does fall as he hits in the midsection; gotta pick one thing to do. Robinson is thinking he'll hit a hole between his two lead guys and burst into the secondary; that plan is foiled when Omameh's guy comes through the block to tackle.|
|M27||3||8||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 3-4||Pass||Corner||Gardner||Inc|
|Gardner gets himself open with a post corner; Robinson hits him a little high and a little hard but it's still right in his hands; dropped. (DO, 2, protection 2/2) Denard threw this so the ball was in the air on target as Gardner came out of his break.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 31-10, 3 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M25||1||10||Shotgun 2TE twins||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||Zone read keeper||Robinson||59|
|Pretty much the basic spread play bursts huge. M lets the DE go with Kwiatkowski blocking the OLB. DE shoots for Toussaint, pull. LBs also going for the frontside, so there's a big hole. Safety coming down to fill it; Denard cuts behind Schofield(+1), who latched on to one linebacker and shoved him outside, giving Denard a lane. Lewan(+1 released downfield and though the LB has the angle on him he still collapses to his knees and falls. Boom, lane, gone. 50 yards later there are members of the secondary. He dodges one, then gets ankle-tackled. Dangit. Robinson +3. RPS +2.|
|O16||1||10||Shotgun 2TE twins||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||Zone read handoff||Toussaint||-1|
|Exact same thing except Denard(-1) hands despite the DE crashing. At least five if he keeps. Schofield(-1) got blown up too, making things worse for Fitz.|
|O17||2||11||I-Form twins covered||2||1||2||4-3 even||Run||Sweep||Toussaint||2 (Pen -15)|
|LB overhanging goes upfield and gets a two for one as he picks off Kerridge and forces Toussaint inside. Williams(-1) loses his block; both LBs are flowing hard, and there is a safety. Four Boilers, one blocker. Ball game. Schofield(-1) gets called for a chop block.|
|O32||2||26||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB draw||Robinson||8|
|Man, Short can recover like whoah. He gets way upfield, M runs a draw right up in that lane, and he still almost comes back to kill it. Robinson(+1) manages to cut inside the containing LB for a nice gain.|
|O24||3||18||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Pass||Batted ball||Gallon||Inc|
|Five man rush with two delayed guys. Picked up. Can't tell if this is a good idea or not. Gallon thinks so, FWIW. (BA, 0, protection 3/3)|
|Drive Notes: FG(42), 34-13, 10 min 4th Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O27||1||10||Shotgun 2TE twins||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||Inside zone||Toussaint||2|
|Purdue selling out now and M just killing clock so I'm not going to be too tough. Toussaint would have a shot at a cutback for some yards but the MLB is ripping at the LOS at the snap and bowls Barnum(-1) over backwards; Lewan can't get on him because he's just charging. Situation, whatever. Toussaint does well just to get a couple.|
|O25||2||8||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB iso||Robinson||11|
|Playside DE slants inside hard and is shunted away by Lewan(+1). Kwiatkowski(+0.5) kicks the OLB. Toussaint(+0.5) stands up a LB who is containing. Barnum(+1) managed to sidle out into the other ILB; Denard(+1) shoots through the gap and brushes past Barnum for a first down.|
|O14||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||Inside zone||Toussaint||0|
|This is the frustration play where Toussaint(-2) has 4-5 just by running up his OL's back but bounces for zip. Lewan(+1) had pounded a DE. Mealer(+0.5) locked the NT out.|
|O14||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Run||QB power||Robinson||4|
|Gallon end around action. Barnum pulls, power etc. Well blocked; Robinson(-0.5) probably makes an unwise decision to bounce but has the speed to pick up five or so so no full minus. Kwiatkowski(+1) had gotten a ton of movement on his guy. Barnum went for a safety instead of the LB, but that decision wasn't tested.|
|O10||3||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 3-4||Pass||Slant||Gardner||Inc|
|Batted at the line, and then by a linebacker. Fingertips both and he may have had Gardner otherwise so no BR. (BA, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: FG(30), 37-13, 6 min 4th Q. That's it for Denard. I'll take a look at Rawls in the next drive but I'm not charting too hard at this point.|
|O33||1||10||Ace||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||Inside zone||Rawls||5|
|Lewan out, Burzynski in at RG, Omameh RT, Schofield LT. Barnum(+1) and Mealer(+1) blow the NT off the ball; Rawls cuts behind and rams it into a safety.|
|O28||2||5||Ace||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||Inside zone||Rawls||2|
|Basically same thing except Schofield gets slanted under a little and Rawls has to cut further back, allowing the safety time to get to him near the LOS. He tries to bounce and probably should just slam it right upfield.|
|O26||3||3||I-Form twins covered||2||1||2||4-3 even||Run||Iso||Rawls||19|
|Barnum(-2) whiffs on his DT, falling; Kerridge is forced to take him instead of the LB charging up the middle of the field. Schofield(+1) has enough push on the DE to allow Rawls(+3) a bounce; Rawls then runs over a filling safety and turns barely a first down into a big gain.|
|O7||1||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||4-3 even||Run||Iso||Rawls||7|
|DT slants under Barnum(+1) again; this time Barnum latches on to drive Short past the play and gets a cutback lane. Schofield(+0.5) kicks the DE well; Mealer(+0.5) gets out on one ILB, with the other trying to fend off Kerridge. Mealer's guy can't extend to tackle in time and Rawls(+2) runs through another safety tackle after the cut for six.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 44-13, 2 min 4th Q. Rest of M snaps are kneels.|
Fine, you win.
We get it.
Yeah, but how about this business on the passing—
[Hennechart legend is updated. Hover over column headers for quick explanations]
|2011 through MSU||13||66(12)||11(1)||34(1)||17||2||3||10||4||55%|
|2011 after MSU||9||77(9)||7||17||9||6(1)||5(2)||9||5||69%|
How about that BR number compared to the TA number? Yeah. Yeah man. Oh, Denard threw it away. Threw it away LIKE A BOSS. That one time.
Anyway, very low numbers so don't take the DSR super serious you guys. Potential alterations: a particular throw behind Gardner may have been IN instead of BA, the one charted IN was filed a screen since it was a little flare behind the LOS, and I gave Denard a CA on the Funchess wheel route that was OOB since he did as well as he could in that situation and it wasn't his fault that the WR was running out of bounds. Also I didn't chart the deflected screen to Gallon.
The line kept him clean, and he responded with a quality small-sample-size day. What happens when he has to throw more than 16 times? We'll cross that bridge if we have to.
I think having faith in the OL is key for Denard. Here's a third and eleven from the 15 on which Denard's got a great pocket, steps forward a couple times, and rifles it to Funchess:
BOOM. Denard with/without pressure is just night and day. Also when he's set up in the pocket he seems to handle it better than when his feet aren't set.
There was a bubble screen!
As Borges pointed out to a shamed Heiko, there were two. Weirdly, both got crap blocking as exterior WRs seemed to not get the playcall. Jackson started a crackback block on no one on the first and I have no idea what Darboh thinks he's doing on the second:
Even so they picked up 3 and 6 yards. You don't want to get so bubble dependent you're getting Jake Ryans in your face on the edge but if you want big plays—and if we've learned anything in the past year and a half it's that Borges has a Fathead of a freestyle ski-jumper screaming GO BIG OR GO HOME in his room—you've got to pull those corners up when they try to play you from the parking lot. Next week maybe the outside WRs will even block for them.
A side note on this section: man, we need more Gallon touches. He had three runs, three catches, and a fourth target in this game. I'd like to see him get to 10-12. Toss him screens, use him as a pitch back on the speed option, hand it to him on an inverted veer from an otherwise empty formation, etc.
All right, passing whatever, MANCHART
|Lewan||10.5||4||6.5||Best drive blocker on the line.|
|Barnum||11.5||6||5.5||Big numbers because M is now lefthanded.|
|Mealer||5.5||5.5||0||Can't seal like Molk against big time competition.|
|Omameh||7||2||5||Reliable, got some space stuff.|
|Schofield||10||8||2||Gets pushed back more than the other linemen.|
|Kwiatkowski||7||3||4||M's running all those sweeps for a reason.|
|Williams||1||2||-1||Less effective than 81.|
|Funchess||-||-||-||Got a push on the screen|
|TOTAL||52.5||30.5||63%||Slightly below desired 2:1 ratio, but game situation mitigates|
|Robinson||20.5||6.5||14||9.8 YPC is good, right?|
|Rawls||5||-||5||Made a case for more PT.|
|Smith||-||-||-||Didn't get a plus or minus.|
|Kerridge||3||-||3||Insert complaints about scholarship FBs x3|
|TOTAL||33.5||12.5||21||Denard kind of good at the running thing.|
|Gallon||5.5||0.5||5||More touches more touches more touches|
|Jackson||-||4||-4||For a designated blocking WR he needs work on blocking|
|TOTAL||6||8||-2||Gallon ran well, receivers blocked poorly.|
|Protection||20||4||83%||Team –2, Barnum –2.|
|RPS||12||11||+1||massive credit to Borges that this is positive with 76% runs and Purdue selling out on them|
Protection stellar, Denard a flaming tower, line could have done better but got a win. Wide receivers were a problem when not in possession of the ball.
Why can the line block for Denard but not Toussaint?
Well so the thing is Purdue spent a lot of bullets blitzing against zone stuff. On plays where Fitz took inside zone handoffs and ate turf for no yards the handoff was always correct because someone was containing. If Denard keeps, he's meat (except that one time). Then you're left with a weird conundrum about why.
Well, one reason why: blocking the inverted veer is relatively easy. It's power without a kickout usually, because the end is containing the back. So the kickout can't screw up, and you get a free release from the guy who would be kicking out, and then you get a downblock on the DT, and you get a bonus guy pulling around to clean up first level mistakes and head-hunt LBs. It's a pretty good play you guys.
Also, sometimes Denard is just dang.
Hello, OLB specifically designed to contain me. Goodbye, OLB. Say hello to Walrus when you get chewed out on the sideline.
There is something to the idea Purdue was going after Toussaint aggressively. On Denard's 59-yarder the unblocked end charged after Toussaint, causing a pull. Denard dipped inside a Schofield second level block when the safety charged up and that was all she wrote. Why you would construct your defense to get Denard Robinson to pull I have no idea.
How much should we care about this?
Um… not much? Michigan put up 6 yards a carry* while running 76% of the time. Completely erase Denard's 59 yarder and you're a hair under 5 yards. That doesn't even make sense! That is a totally unfair thing to do! And Michigan is still kicking ass against a team that did this to Notre Dame:
- five sacks for 40 yards
- 3.3 YPC, sacks excluded, while running 40% of the time
ND just rushed for 376 yards against Miami. Purdue did better against the ND offense than World Best Defense MSU did. Michigan spent the entire game running into stacked fronts. I'm willing to give the OL a pass for getting blown up by Kawann Short a bit en route to 300 yards rushing.
That this game comes after a second half in which Michigan bulled its way down the field against the mansome ND front seven only makes OL fretting even sillier. These guys aren't Steve Hutchinson clones but come on man. They'll be fine until the final test against Hankins and Simon.
*[kneels excised as per usual]
What is your Kwiatkowski deal?
I tried to back off on the assumption that what he was doing wasn't that hard, but Michigan's running that sweep thing where the TE blocks down and the two guys to the interior pull around all the time and you have to figure Kwiatkowski is a reason why. I mean, this is against Kawann Short:
Later in the game Short would start fighting back upfield of this by spinning but Kwiatkowski had usually shoved him so far that he could not recover to make a play. He's kept AJ Williams, a 285 pound player who was a tackle last year, largely off the field. Dispense with anti-walk-on bias—he's a pretty good player. I'd be surprised if Moore got his job back when he returns from injury.
You teased something about QB iso, and I want it more than crack cocaine.
It's back, albeit in a modified form. One of a few things Michigan ran off the Gallon end-around action was an iso where the back would move a gap or two over and Robinson would go straight upfield. The first couple times they ran it, the playside DE to Gallon's side of the field blew out of his gap to chase the end around and Robinson got big cutback runs…
…that would end later when LBs started filling behind the DL. They also ran it with Toussaint a little, but the lack of ostentatious presnap motion didn't cause the same kind of freakouts on the DL.
That vertical motion is going to lead to some freakouts if opponents are going cover zero as much as Purdue and ND did. In the Toussaint link above, if Smith runs by the LB it's game over for the Boilers as Denard flips it into space for an easy TD. In the embed the worst thing that happens is you have pure one on one matchups with both outside WRs; you may be able to shoot a TE down the seam against certain defenses, though this one looks like man to man so that's not the best option.
The return of the iso is what can truly bring back QB Oh Noes, as fear of Denard will drive safeties to abandon deeper responsibilities. If Kwiatkowski gets a shove and then releases downfield on this play… well… you know what happens.
It's called "Tony Moeaki 2009."
Someone's getting burned big time in the next few games. Not Illinois.
Okay, he's shown a little something with the annihilation of the UMass LB and running through tackles against Purdue. Upgraded from Mark Ingram But Fast to Jim Brown But Fast, by which I mean I am intrigued and would like to see some real carries for the guy on Saturday.
The guys who do the… thing. With the hands. Catching?
Oh right those guys.
[Passes are rated by how tough they are to catch. 0 == impossible. 1 == wow he caught that, 2 == moderate difficulty, 3 == routine. The 0/X in all passes marked zero is implied.]
Minimal numbers, most notable thing the Funchess circus catch.
Denard, the left side of the OL, Kwiatkowski.
Toussaint did get antsy. Jackson needs to block better if he's going to be a blocking WR. Schofield got pushed back a bit too far for my tastes.
What does it mean for Illinois and beyond?
Encouraged by the new stuff in the run game; if Borges is focusing on that it looks like we may get little tweaks to keep it fresh.
Denard had a big bounce back from ND and we can tenuously hope he has found turnover religion. Funchess: bad ass.
The line… is okay. They'll never blow guys off the ball but the best DL in the league other than OSU is now in the rear view mirror and they'll be fine.
Gallon needs more touches.
Toussaint will get some holes the next few weeks.