|Taylor Lewan||So.*||Ricky Barnum||Jr.*||David Molk||Sr.*||Patrick Omameh||Jr.*||Mark Huyge||Sr.*|
|--||--||Chris Bryant||Fr.||Rocko Khoury||Jr.*||Elliot Mealer||Jr.*||Michael Schofield||So.*|
Readers are advised to follow the same procedure as they might for the defensive line: look at the soothing, soothing starters and not the precarious dropoff—this time including a true freshman and non-entity "Dash Dash"—immediately after them.
Here the fainting should be kept to a minimum. Michigan returns four starters, inserts a well-regarded redshirt junior into the open slot, and ran for a crapton of yards last year. And the depth isn't all that bad. At various times new offensive line coach Darrell Funk has expressed a desire for seven or eight guys who are ready to play. That's how many they have: seven or eight, depending on which way the wind is blowing about Elliot Mealer today.
While not having a backup at left tackle looks ominous, in the event Lewan is forced off the field Michigan will just rearrange some guys and pull Schofield onto the field. The coaches have proclaimed their faith in both Schofield and Khoury, so Michigan won't get to serious collar-puling time until the third injury/suspension/abduction. Even that would likely bring a redshirt junior out of mothballs.
They'll be okay this year. The depth bomb hits next year as Khoury and Schofield draw into the starting lineup, leaving just Mealer and a horde of redshirt or true freshman behind the starters, including zero (0) backup tackles who won't be going to prom in a few months. At least those backups are backed by panting recruiting rankings. But that's for another season preview.
This season preview is concerned with the above offensive line and how well it will transition to MANBALL downhill running. It's not that they don't know how to do this. Here's the line doing this:
This is the third time I've pulled a different gap-blocked play from last year to claim they can pull, so… yeah, they can pull. (FWIW, that is not Power O but Down G.) If you don't believe me, believe Mark Huyge:
"Last year, our primary play was outside zone, and this year it's coming at you. Really, they're not that much different. We ran the power last year, so we knew the footwork already, basically. [Offensive line coach Darrell] Funk tweaked us here and there a little bit. But it's just doing it more often."
Taylor Lewan also dismisses the idea the new offense incorporated anything he wasn't being taught a year ago:
"We have the same plays … Instead of an outside zone we might run a lead zone."
The issue is what happens when power goes from a constraint play designed to keep the defense honest to the bread and butter designed to make the defense cheat. The conventional wisdom is that power requires massive road graders a la the Wisconsin offense while the zone game requires guys who, while big compared to civilians, are less likely to annihilate a tackle one-on-one than dance their way into an advantageous position. Boy howdy can these guys do that.
They can do the other stuff when opponents are expecting an outside zone. Can they make it the base? And can they pass protect well enough to open up a full pro-style route tree? Well, we just don't know, Dude.
Rating: 4 of 5
Taylor Lewan started getting hyped up as the next Jake Long as soon as he committed. That hype never waned until Lewan managed to start his RS freshman year on the bench behind Mark Huyge.
That dip was brief. Lewan forced his way into the starting lineup by the second half of the UMass game and quickly established himself as a man who perceives men in other football uniforms as donkeys and himself as the last survivor of a species destroyed by donkeys. Result:
|hate you, donkey|
|donkeyed DT plus LB|
|caves in Clayborn|
|Ogbu through endzone|
|mobility matches Martez|
|enjoy 0 tackles Clayborn|
|goodbye PSU DE|
|reads scrape, adjusts(!)|
|not so good|
|gets QB pwned|
That was pretty exciting, and when he turned Adrian Clayborn off in the Iowa game the Jake Long hype hit fever pitch. Not even Long had started at left tackle as a freshman. Then Lewan took sixteen straight holding or false start penalties and harshed everyone's buzz good and proper.
This happened in the same game…
After the third Lewan penalty Michigan Stadium was ready to throttle the guy. It would have taken most of the stadium to do so, but the "AWWWWWWWWW" coming from the stands suggested it was possible.
He's good. The Clayborn line: one solo tackle, two assists, a half sack on the last desperate Michigan drive. Last year Clayborn had 70 tackles, 20 for loss, and 11.5 sacks. Against Penn State earlier this year Clayborn had ten tackles, three TFLs, and a sack. He's a holy lock first-rounder, and Taylor Lewan all but erased him. …
That was a star-making performance. Lewan == Long has gone from optimistic ceiling to serious possibility.
…and Lewan established himself as the Mouton of the offense. He continued to sabotage Michigan drives with false starts and holds the rest of the year; when he wasn't doing that he was all but impenetrable.
He's not dumb. He knows he's got one big thing to work on:
"Last year, I had a lot of penalties and that's one of the main things I've tried to work on," he said. "My biggest problem was the penalties, absolutely. Everybody saw that. My biggest thing is to focus on that, stay onsides, stay aggressive between the whistles and not after.
"(But) I'm not trying to tone down the aggressiveness, because the offensive line, I feel, should be one of the most aggressive on the field. Have a defensive mentality on the offensive line."
The Mouton comparison is ominous since we just watched that guy start for three years without getting any better, but Lewan hasn't suffered at the hands of poor coaching yet and won't in the future. This should be the year he drops the crazy hot girl act and establishes himself as an All Big Ten left tackle. He'll still be a little penalty-prone but it will be worth it.
|wipes out Lloyd|
|could do better on S|
|decent at POA|
|washes scraper out|
|again washes scraper out|
|pulls a bit|
|down G LB|
|can't maintain block|
Opposite Lewan, Mark Huyge is barely holding on for the third straight year. A who-dat recruit Michigan snatched away from the MAC in the first year of Mike DeBord's zone transition, Huyge's done well for himself to be a sort of kind of three year starter.
That hasn't prevented him from losing his job over and over. Two years ago it was a rotating cavalcade of missed blocks at right tackle as Huyge swapped with Perry Dorrestein and got sucked inside to play guard in David Molk's absence. Late in the year Patrick Omameh emerged at right guard and Huyge was finally exiled to the bench.
Last year it was Lewan bursting onto the scene. Huyge popped up from time to time when Lewan's penalties were too infuriating for Rodriguez and when Dorrestein's back injuries cropped up again. He was okay, his pass blocking issues covered up by the offense and Denard, his rushing numbers usually a little bit above zero.
This year he's in another "dogfight," this one with redshirt sophomore Michael Schofield and, oddly, Omameh. Funk:
“Mark’s played all over the place, been a starter at three different positions. He’s set himself up to have a great senior year,” Funk said. “He’s a great kid, great with the young kids. He defers to Dave [Molk] in the leadership role, but they are both seniors who are always both counted on to be leaders. He’s playing right guard and right tackle, has that flexibility that he could play left tackle if we need him.
“I’m happy with how Mark is doing. It’s a little dogfight between him and Patrick [Omameh] and Michael Schofield, who is doing a nice job."
I hope that's just a motivational device for Omameh, who needs to get better against elite DTs but… well… more on him later.
Huyge has the lead for now, so he goes here. I wouldn't be surprised if some pass blocking issues crop up and give Schofield a shot at the job—Huyge has never been able to hold off elite rushers. The difference between him and Lewan in that Iowa game was stark:
…the Huyge/Lewan battle [was] resolved in the exact same way the Demens/Ezeh battle was: by some Iowa guy running over the backup. In Ezeh's case this was Iowa OL Julian Vandevelde. In Huyge's it was Adrian Clayborn.
Huyge wasn't terrible but when you play a third of a game and you don't get a single +/- on the run chart you're being avoided to some extent and just doing okay at when you're not. He got a –4 in pass protection; Lewan has a –3 in twice the time. Lewan was +7 on the ground, tied with Denard for the best score.
He'll be better, and he'll be needed unless the line miraculously skates through the season without injury. I'm just not sure he'll be the first choice at tackle when the Big Ten schedule rolls around, because...
Schofield and… Schofield
The aforementioned Michael Schofield is it, man. Jake Fisher's post-firing defection to Oregon and Tony Posada's instant exit leave Schofield the only scholarship tackle on the roster who's not, like, starting, man. That's not good.
At least Schofield was a consensus four star who picked Michigan over Notre Dame back when all our OL recruits belonged to Weis. He's spent a couple years bulking up and is now the obvious #6 offensive lineman:
"Schofield would be a top back-up if we started today ... but he could easily be a starter. He’s playing most days at a starter level. His big deal is he’s inconsistent, and that’s the whole group. We’ve got go make sure we’re consistently good.”
Huyge's flexibility will allow Michigan to flip Schofield onto the field if anyone other than Molk goes down. He's likely to start a few games in preparation for a full time role in 2011… unless he rips the job away from Huyge right now.
Given the way Huyge's career has gone and the general vibe coming from camp chatter and Funk's public statements, that's a strong possibility. Huyge's never been much of a pass blocker and Michigan's offense is going to require quite a bit more of that as Robinson starts making more and more five and seven step drops.
There's no one else thanks to Rodriguez's failures in the 2010 class and The Process. A discussion of the walk-on options would be pointless since in the event two tackles explode Michigan will flip Barnum (who played LT last year on the second team) or Omameh (who was widely regarded as the tackle of the future before he was needed as the guard of the present) outside and bring in Khoury.
Rating: 4.5 of 5.
This would be a five if Rich Rodriguez was still around. I've been badgering people about how awesome David Molk is since he was a redshirt freshman; Patrick Omameh's full-season debut was not quite spectacular but promised it right quick; Ricky Barnum is a touted recruit who's hitting the field as a redshirt junior. All were prepped to reach-block the living daylights out of opponents this year.
Now I'm not so sure. I think they'll still be pretty good, but worry that their strength is not their strength, if you know what I mean. I think they'll end up running a lot of zone blocking, whether it's by choice or hard lesson.
Your starting center for the fourth straight year is MGoBlog fave-rave David Molk. He drops f-bombs in press conferences, openly disdains stupid questions, and frequently makes the toughest block in football look easy. I love David Molk. This is what he does:
That was against freshman Akeem Spence but here's one of a few ass-kickings he handed veteran Penn State DT Ollie Ogbu:
|reach destroys you|
|a tough seal|
|a classic stretch|
|execute the scoop|
|another textbook scoop|
|lewanesque donkey hating|
|latches onto the NT|
Sometimes he joins Taylor Lewan in his donkey hating campaigns. He's getting a little All-America hype, and I think he could deserve more: CBS has him on the second team behind OSU's Mike Brewster. If my OSU blog interpretation is correct I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a Buckeye fan who wouldn't complain about the frustrating lack of dominance from their OL.
Molk is the perfect spread 'n' shred center, a major reason Michigan put up an unprecedented-this-millennium 5.6 YPC last year. If he's got weaknesses they apply to the transition he may or may not have to make.
While it's usually guards who end up pulling in gap-blocked rushing attacks, having a center who can do likewise is an asset. It opens up extra possibilities. Molk has the agility for that sort of thing but it seems like the act of pulling right after you've snapped the ball is one of those things you have to practice a ton to get right. Molk's spent his time doing other things. Additionally, when Molk takes on a DT with the intent of blowing him off the ball he's almost always doubling with an intent to peel off after a scoop. If he's asked to go one-on-one with bigger guys that might not go so well.
That is admittedly me trying to find a concern. David Molk is great. You can never tell which interior linemen are going to be up for postseason awards but I'll be incensed if he's not All Big Ten after a healthy year. I think he'll be a Rimington finalist.
in space, where he belongs
Returning next to Molk is redshirt junior Patrick Omameh. Omameh broke into the stating lineup at the tail end of his freshman year and immediately displayed an agility I'd never seen in a Michigan guard before. Last year he built on that. You know what I am about to embed, but are you sick of it? No, you are not sick of it.
|completely plows Te'o|
|finishes the job|
|seals and pancakes the DT|
|controls, then destroys DE|
|kicks out Reyes|
|dominates the playside DT|
|combo onto LB|
|Clayborn in space|
|Te'os a PSU LB|
That was no fluke. He did the same thing to the same epic linebacker later in the game, did it to Penn State, did it to Adrian Clayborn, did it to a lot of people. If you get Patrick Omameh to the second level he is liable to turn an opposing linebacker into a safety-destroying club.
His weakness was a lot more obvious than Molk's, though: he had a lot of trouble with beefy, high quality DTs. He actually picked up a negative in the opener against UConn due to his struggles with Kendall Reyes…
He didn't exactly lose out, but as the only guy on the line anywhere near even he stood out as a sophomore. UConn's Kendall Reyes was a problem all day, bursting into the backfield on the Shaw ten-yard loss and causing most of the bounce-outs. Sometimes this just happens. I remember Eastern Michigan's Jason Jones doing a lot of damage, pointing out how good he was, and hoping this was true both for credibility and what it said about Michigan's offensive line. Jones eventually went in the second round of the NFL draft. I both think and hope Reyes is really good, headed for All Big East recognition. If not, Omameh has a lot of work to do.
…and had a rough day against Corey Liuget ("when he did get Liuget he struggled … Many times Schilling or Omameh had not been able to keep pace with that spring into the backfield [that Molk did.]")
There are worse things. Reyes did end up first team All Big East. Liuget was a first-round pick over the summer and Reyes may be one next year. A lot of players have bad days against them. But that is a downside that will be relevant this year when Michigan sees Jared Crick and John Simon roll into town. It'll help out immensely if Omameh can stand up to them mano-a-mano. I'm not sure if that will happen unless the zero extra pounds he's credited with is gamesmanship, which has been rumored. That seems like an obvious rationalization to me.
Omameh's lack of out-and-out POWER to run POWER, his agility, and Lewan's donkey-hating ways mean that when Michigan does use POWER to run POWER they are going to be heavily left-handed. Remember when the first play of every game was zone left over Jake Long for two yards? I'm hoping Borges isn't as predictable as Mike "The Avalanche" DeBord, but the breakdown of left-right might be similar to 2007.
As for Omameh's performance, he should get towards the fringe of All Big Ten. They spread these things out amongst linemen and Lewan and Molk are ahead in the pecking order so he probably won't get it; I don't think he'll necessarily deserve it but he won't be far off.
Ricky Barnum is the line's only newcomer. He'll fill in for the departed Steve Schilling. As a backup offensive lineman we don't know much about him; his only appearances on the field to date have been in uncharted garbage time. We do know he was a touted recruit who backed out of a Florida commitment to follow Rich Rodriguez north—which, wow, dude, that's a hell of a decommit.
He's gotten good reviews from insidery types for the bulk of his career, and these have spread to his coaches and teammates as he prepares for the big stage:
Barnum, a junior, however has received rave reviews from Funk and his teammates. Funk described him as most improved from last spring, and Lewan said he's been playing like an experienced, fifth-year senior.
In classic offensive lineman form, Barnum laughed off the praise and spoke about the big picture.
"It's not what I've done," Barnum said. "It's what we do as a team. We worked really hard in the offseason, and we're dedicated. We want to get better as a group."
"Ricky keeps making tremendous strides," Huyge said. "The kid works really hard. I know in spring ball, he took a lot of reps, and that helps, and he's come a long way, as well."
Borges makes him sound a lot like the guy on the other side of the line:
On Barnum: "Ricky is as athletic as anyone on our line. Ricky is a tough guy." Biggest problem is that he's a little underweight, but he's gotten stronger, doesn't get pushed around, and "looks like a back out there sometimes when he runs."
"Underweight" in this case is 292; "looks like a back out there sometimes" is like looking in the Omameh mirror. File this under yet more evidence they're going to have to remain a primarily zone team the next couple years.
The only issue with his acquisition of the starting job is that he didn't have to fight too hard for it. Rocko Khoury and Elliot Mealer are the only plausible alternatives. While Khoury did an admirable job against Iowa, he's primarily a center. Beating out just one guy means you're necessarily more of a risk than someone who emerged from a thicket of a depth chart with a machete in his teeth.
The one thing that might hold him back early is injury. As of a couple weeks ago he was held out of the punting demo because of a knee issue. He still dressed, so it can't be too serious. He seems to have dumped the brace in recent photos; he'll probably be just fine.
Khoury against Iowa; Elliott with brother Brock
|doubles w/ Schilling|
|shoves on DT|
|not quite omameh|
|shed on second level|
There are only two before you get down to walk-ons and freshmen. Rocko Khoury is the only one who won't cause some hyperventilation. When Molk was knocked out for the Iowa game last year he stepped in and performed ably. Most of the clips at right are Khoury doubling DTs with Schilling, which isn't the toughest job in the world. He does display a bit of ability on the second level; he does not reach someone into oblivion.
If Khoury draws in it will be a downgrade since he's not likely to do any of the exciting Molkomamehwan things I embedded above. It won't be a disaster. Michigan averaged 4.5 YPC in his start against the #6 rush defense in the country, almost a yard and a half better than Iowa gave up against the rest of their schedule. They'll live if he plays.
Redshirt junior Elliot Mealer is the sole other non-freshman option. That qualifier is probably unnecessary since the freshmen are either 340 or 270 pounds—he's the last line of defense between Michigan and someone totally unprepared to play in the Big Ten. The coaches clearly have him behind Khoury and Schofield and while they do make encouraging noises about him from time to time…
Elliott Mealer and Rocko Khoury are vying for back-up positions on the interior line, ‘right on the cusp’ but depth guys right now, Funk added.
…the overall impression is that they'd like to avoid having him on the field just yet. He's still much better than the alternatives.
[Sorry about the delay. Internet issues this morning.]
To continue a theme on Michigan's suddenly mediocre run game: dude, it was all Purdue's cover zero approach. Here's a play that's beautifully blocked all around and still ends up with meh results. It's Michigan's final drive of the first half; the Wolverines have the ball first and ten on their own 43.
Standard three wide from Michigan; Purdue moves their nickelback over the slot receiver and has their safeties in that no-mans-land between deep and shallow:
By the snap they're still in that shallow range; the deeper guy is only seven yards off the LOS—that's where WVU's stack keeps its middle linebacker. Michigan's going to run a stretch:
As usual the key block is the one in the center of the field, where Schilling and Molk are working to seal the playside DT. you can see above that the playside DE is not slanting inside this time and will get kicked out. Michigan is doing something weird, though: they are blocking the backside end. They've done this a lot this year but in almost all cases they've done it on inside zone plays where a cutback is one of the main ways to gain yards. On a stretch this guy is usually set free to fruitlessly chase.
At the mesh point Robinson gets contain from the safety no jk lol linebacker and hands off. Molk has already gotten across the playside DT, who is dead:
That is a dead DT. With Lewan getting a kickout Smith will have a hole to cut into. Schilling releases downfield and gets a good block on the playside LB; Koger heads outside and pulls the other safety no jk lol lb with him. Hurray yards?
Yes, but issue in the middle of the field wearing #45:
This linebacker is the guy Huyge would have released into if he wasn't blocking Kerrigan. He's totally unblocked and can run down the line as Smith zooms past dead DT and Omameh drives the backside guy yards downfield; Schilling and Koger have picked up eliminating blocks on the other LBs.
Through the hole, Smith is one on one with the LB…
The end result is a play where all six Michigan offensive linemen get blocks between good and great… and Michigan gets six yards.
Object lesson type objects:
- Generic stretch stuff. This is another example of how the stretch usually works when it works: Molk seals that DT, Lewan kicks the DE, Schilling releases into a linebacker, a lead blocker takes another one outside, and running back hits a big gap.
- Cover zero problem reinforcement. In this particular instance blocking that backside end is a bad idea, but with eight guys in the box Michigan knows they'll leave contain to a safety and send Kerrigan tearing down the line. If Smith has to cut behind Molk he will be swallowed at the LOS. There's a nonzero chance Kerrigan manages to grab Smith from behind even if the blocking plays out like this. Michigan has a choice between leaving the MLB free or leaving a guy they know will crash down the LOS free. In this particular instance getting a block on the MLB, even a crappy-push-by-the-RB-forcing-a-cutback block, is a touchdown unless Smith gets run down from behind.
The fundamental math is still the same: there is going to be an unblocked guy in the box and Purdue can slant and shift its defense in an effort to get the ballcarrier to an unblocked guy. On the previous example Purdue did this effectively; here they hang on by the skin of their teeth but do get it done.
- Weather allows cover zero. BWS did a post on Michigan's only successful gotcha play, the fourth quarter completion to Kevin Koger that jump-started Michigan's final touchdown drive and was so wide open Denard could throw a wobbly underthrown duck and still have it easily complete. The pass on that play and about a dozen other hilariously misthrown balls by all four quarterbacks goes a long way towards justifying Michigan's resignation to pounding its head into the wall repeatedly. I'm sure Michigan won't do this again—not that they'll have an opportunity against Wisconsin and Ohio State, two teams that won't run cover zero much if at all.
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."
Dropped passes: "We were frustrated, but it happens. Unfortunately it happened in a pretty big ballgame." They'll catch some extra balls this week, and avoid it happening again. "There's nothing that happened on Saturday that's not fixable." Even the best players drop the ball sometimes.
The offense has high expectations for each week, and had more mistakes Saturday than they've probably had for the rest of the year. "We had to make some changes, and unfortunately some of those changes didn't work."
Denard was poised, but got caught in a couple situations he's not used to being in. He spoke up in the locker room after the game, and got a message across to the whole team. Said that the team had to work to avoid feeling that way again. "In his eyes, you could just see it. He's hungry."
Iowa's a great team with a great defense. "We've gotta be ready for it and we are."
"We're 5-1, not 1-5. Even though we lost to a pretty good Michigan State team in a rivalry, we've gotta move on."
"Sometimes when you're winning and everything's going perfect, we don't see the things we need to work on."
"I feel like we were doing pretty well early in the game, and they switched up some looks on us." Michigan adjusted, but wasn't able to execute as well. Being unable to get the pass game going hurt as well. "If we executed the way that we should have, it would have been more favorable on our side."
Team had grown accustomed to 500 yards of offense every week. They learned they can't just expect it, they have to work for it.
The team should respond well coming off a loss. "It's going to be something to grow from."
Iowa defense - "They have a talented front four. They have a talented defense overall." Big, strong guys on the front. "They're a sound defense. They won't throw a lot of different things at you, but they're really good at what they do."
Denard "was clearly upset after the game. We all were." He told the team that it's going to be unacceptable for them to play that poorly again.
Resolve going into this week's game. "It's a learning experience." They'll recuperate and go into the week with the same focus as last week.
"Losing is losing. Every game for us is a big game." Trying to prove that they can accomplish their goals despite setbacks.
Leaders - seniors all have to step up. "There's some things I could have done better myself."
It was hard coming in as a young guy, the freshmen this year will get it soon enough. "You just gotta bring them up to speed. The game's gonna go how the game goes." Seniors need to help keep them up to speed on the field. Off the field, they lead by example in the weight room, etc.
"We have the players to defend anybody that we play. It just comes down to execution and keeping a clear focus."
"We aren't blind to the fact that we have some glaring weaknesses, but we're working hard to get on those."
Ryan Van Bergen
"We just didn't play gap-sound football" against the run. Guys were trying to make plays in the wrong gaps.
Hard for the young guys to come in without seniors to teach them the ropes in the secondary. "I think that as they grow, the defense is gonna get better and better." That improvement can happen from week-to-week. Once a couple different guys "click," the defense should be good.
In the locker room after the game, Coach Rod said that one loss can't deter the team from their goals. There's a lot of season left. "We still have a lot of opportunities to prove ourselves as a good team."
Fewer injuries than last year, losing Molk was a big deal. The losses started snowballing. This year, the seniors have made the underclassmen understand that there can't be a letdown.
Molk and Schilling, Roundtree, Denard are offensive leaders. All three D linemen, Jonas and Obi "try their best." And Craig. J.T. Floyd and Jordan Kovacs are the leaders at DB.
"I'm very confident in the gameplan." They knew what Michigan State was going to run, and that's what made it so disappointing, because they knew what was coming. "We were prepared for it all week, and unfortunately we just didn't get it done when it came time."
Formation notes: Michigan debuted something sort of like Gator Heavy:
This isn't different personnel than the shotgun 2TE set that Denard scored on to beat Notre Dame but deploying the two TEs as H-backs gives Michigan added flexibility and unpredictability in the run game. I called this "Shotgun 2H," since if I did call it Wolverine Heavy I'd have to come up with something else if and when we see a formation that adds McColgan or Brandon Moore to the mix by taking one of the WRs off the field. Wolverine Super Heavy? Wolverine Weis*?
Other than that it wasn't too exciting. Bowling Green stuck with base personnel the whole game, deployed a ton of eight-man fronts either by alignment or a safety walking down before the snap, and played way more man than any previous opponent. You can see their "base 4-4," as I called it, above. Here's what I called "nickel 4-3," as the slot LB is way outside the box:
This almost always saw a safety walk down, FWIW, and often had the nickel LB blitz for contain.
Substitution notes: You know all about the carousel of incredibly dangerous quarterbacks. Lewan started at left tackle and Huyge did not get in until Dorrestein came off with a slight injury. On the last series before Michigan sent in the backups, Barnum replaced Schilling at left guard.
At tailback, Shaw and Smith remained the starters with Hopkins getting the first non-those-guys opportunities. When he fumbled it was back to the starters for a while, then Cox, then Toussaint, then Teric Jones. With Shaw and Toussaint "doubtful" for Indiana per RR, Hopkins and Cox are poised to get more first-team opportunities against Indiana.
At wide receiver, the usual rotation with less Terrence Robinson and more Jeremy Gallon.
*(Fairly indifferent to you at this point, xoxo.)
On with show:
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||5|
|Lewan starts at LT. BG slants a bit and the backside DT gets into the A gap past Schilling; Omameh tripped and so the frontside doesn?t look to good; Smith(+1) cuts it back behind Schilling. DE is moving laterally down the line and is in good position until Shaw pops him backwards, allowing Smith to snake his way for decent yardage. Lewan clamped onto a LB downfield, FWIW. He was not blocking for the cutback so it didn't really matter.|
|M25||2||5||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-4||Pass||Rollout quick out||Roundtree||7|
|Man coverage so Roundtree has plenty of room working against a safety. Robinson seems a little late on this but this is not a good D and it doesn't matter; Roundtree has time to catch and cut back inside past the safety overrunning the play to pick up some YAC and a first down. (CA,3, protection 1/1)|
|M32||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||5|
|BG flowing hard, so Molk and Omameh have no chance of scooping the playside DT; Omameh ends up taking him and riding him down the line; Shaw stands up a LB in the playside B gap. Molk(+1) sees what's going on and adjusts, picking off the MLB as he shoots up into the gap and giving Smith(+1) a crease he finds and hits. Schilling(-1) could do nothing with the backside DT, who did a good job of not getting sealed and makes a diving tackle just as Smith looks to be off to the races.|
|RUN+: Molk, Smith||RUN-: Schilling|
|M37||2||5||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-4||Pass||Corner||Roundtree||35|
|BG has been putting their DBs in man on Michigan receivers and being very aggressive up front so Michigan goes after it, running a hitch/corner combo that opens up as Roundtree gets his man turned and ends up with yards of separation. Robinson reads it and pulls up on his roll, hitting Roundtree in the numbers. This was pretty easy but I usually DO any long pass that's right on the money and this is a 30-yarder to the edge of the field that could not be thrown better. (DO, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)|
|O28||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Shaw||12|
|Similar to the last stretch but to the other side: playside BG DT does not get sealed and neither does the backside guy. I'm not minusing either G here because they do control their guys well enough; neither manages any penetration. Molk(-1) whiffs on the MLB, though, and he's through on Shaw. Shaw(+1) runs through a tackle, then spins through another one(+2) past four BG defenders, stumbling his way for a first down. Lewan(+1) engaged the DE, who then attempted to shuck him upfield; Lewan was off balance for a moment but maintained contact and finished the kickout, providing a large amount of space for Shaw to operate in. Smith isn't getting a plus but I appreciate his instinct to bash the DT flowing past Schilling; too often in these situations under Carr guys just ran by and problems resulted.|
|RUN+: Shaw(3), Lewan||RUN-: Molk|
|O16||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB power||Robinson||9|
|A down G scheme where Koger and Dorrestein block down on the playside DL and Omameh pulls around to the outside. Omameh(+1) has the agility to wall off the MLB, who charges outside to force Robinson back into safety help; Molk(+1) got out on the WLB, providing a ton of space that Robinson hits it up into. This was the GTFO play.|
|RUN+: Molk, Omameh, Robinson, Koger||RUN-:|
|O7||2||1||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Dive||Shaw||3|
|A power look with Lewan and Schilling doubling the backside DT; Molk and Omameh double the playside DT. Koger kicks out a DE and this leaves the WLB unblocked. Schilling(+1) peels off the double to get a shove on the MLB blazing into the picture, giving Shaw a spot to cut up behind Lewan, who's burying a dead donkey. A note: I try to keep +/- about in line with how good a play was; as the field compresses I get more generous since a two-yard run from the six is much better than a two yard run from the 50.|
|RUN+: Schilling, Lewan||RUN-:|
|O4||1||G||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||2|
|Omameh(+1) gets under one DT and kicks him out. Schilling gets a good shove on the BG DT but doesn't seal him away; there is still a big gap right up the middle. Molk again lets the MLB by him but I think that's partially on Schilling not getting his block exactly right. I won't minus Schilling because he did hit this guy back far enough that it's still two yards in a situation when you do that twice and you get a TD.|
|O2||2||G||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||2|
|BG actually does a good job of coming underneath the blocks on to the playside but in doing so they just open up the outside, which Robinson(+1) reads, using his agility to walk in.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 12 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M12||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||PA circle||Grady||9|
|This curl-flat combo was picture paged against ND. It looks like BGSU is running almost all man here, so the guy covering this is the safety. He is nowhere near the LOS when the play starts so it's a fairly simple read for Denard to see the open guy and hit him. Grady turns upfield for some YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M21||2||1||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||24|
|Hopkins in. Schilling(+1) locks out his DT; Omameh(+1) locks on to his guy and starts driving him downfield, which is important because the BGSU LB is attacking the LOS. Hopkins(+1) gets a good block on him but the quick reaction and Molk(-1) missing another LB means Robinson can't cut it behind Omameh's excellent block but has to hit up the small crease Hopkins has provided. Second level and more because of excellent blocks from Stonum(+1) and Grady(+1).|
|RUN+: Schilling, Omameh, Hopkins, Grady, Stonum, Robinson||RUN-: Molk|
|M45||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Flanker screen||Hemingway||7|
|Hemingway is the outside WR; the other two guys attempt to get him blocks, with Roundtree doing okay since the BGSU CB attempts to go inside of him, opening up the outside and a good gain. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O48||2||3||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||Belly||Hopkins||2|
|Correct handoff(ZR+1) as BGS blitzes from the backside, getting two guys in unblocked. Hopkins is immediately tackled by the second guy, falling forward for a couple. (RPS -1)|
|RUN+: N/A||RUN-: N/A|
|O46||3||1||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||QB stretch||Robinson||46|
|Schilling(-1) does not get a seal again and this time his guy shoots into the backfield, which is bad. Robinson(-1) misses a pretty obvious cut since Omameh(+1) had sealed the backside DT and there was a crease up the middle. He heads outside, running past both Schilling's guy and a charging linebacker, then stopping on the sideline for a safety to overrun him and slide to the ground. He leaps past a tackle attempt from a corner and is then into the open field, at which point it's academic. Points to Dorrestein, Stonum, and Webb for getting downfield blocks that assured no BG players had angles. Oh, yeah: Robinson +4. BWS picture-pages.|
|RUN+: Robinson(3), Webb, Dorrestein, Omameh, Stonum||RUN-: Schilling|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 9 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M9||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||42|
|BG slanting again; this time Molk(+1) realizes it and starts a combo block with Schilling on the backside DT, bashing him downfield; Omameh(+1) seals the playside guy. Schilling(+1) peels off the combo to take out the WLB and there's a big hole; Smith is one on one with the MLB and gets a hat on the guy; hole is big enough for Robinson to move through it. Robinson(+2) then smoothly jukes a safety down in the box and is off, getting great downfield blocks from Odoms(+1) and Grady(+1); the last guy has an angle and tackles him as Robinson crosses the 50. Robinson bangs his knee and is done for the day.|
|RUN+: Robinson(2), Omameh, Molk, Schilling, Odoms, Grady||RUN-:|
|O49||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Gardner||1|
|Gardner in. Correct read(ZR+1) as the DE crashes down and there's no one scraping over, but instead of slamming it upfield into acres of space he cuts outside and gets tackled by the cornerbacks.|
|O48||2||9||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||PA fly||Stonum||35|
|Stonum(+2, though I don't track this) smokes the corner with a great double move, getting yards of separation. There is no deep safety. Gardner has okay protection and launches it deep but the ball is well underthrown, forcing Stonum to cut back and haul it in underneath. This is something Stonum could not do last year; he's made a leap. Some part of the throw ending up short was Dorrestein(-1) letting his guy in on Gardner, shortening his release. Still... (MA, 2, protection 2/3, Dorrestein -1)|
|O13||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Gardner||2|
|Incorrect read since the crashing DE is not the guy to read since Shaw is going to cut him; it's the scrape backer who keeps contain. Gardner is run down from behind by a late blitzer who came free and either would have nailed Smith in the backfield if the handoff was made or (more likely) run right by him and given Smith a good shot at a TD. (RPS -1)|
|O11||2||8||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Gallon||11|
|Just man on the edge and Gallon's guy is ten yards off the LOS so unless he tears at this immediately he's not in great shape; he does not. Hemingway(+1) blocks his corner into the sideline, leaving Gallon(+1) one on one with the safety, who he beats for a touchdown. (CA, 3, screen)|
|RUN+: Gallon, Hemingway||RUN-:|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 4 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M26||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||Belly||Hopkins||4|
|Slot LB is the contain and is tearing downhill so probably a correct handoff despite the DE crashing on Hopkins (ZR +1, RPS -1). Hopkins(+1) does well to carry the tackler four yards.|
|M30||2||6||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Run||PA circle||Roundtree||5|
|Same play as earlier; BG again in man and the safety too far away to effectively combat this, overrunning the play. Roundtree cuts past him but slips as he goes and stumbles short of the sticks when he had an opportunity to pick up a lot of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M35||3||1||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Hopkins||7|
|Omameh(+1) latches onto and controls one DT with help from Molk(+1), who then pops off and whacks the MLB. Schilling and Lewan double the other guy and handle him, though really they should. Hopkins slams it up in the crease, picking up the first down and a bit more.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Molk, Schilling, Lewan||RUN-:|
|M42||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Hopkins||19|
|The classic stretch we haven't really seen much of this year. Molk(+2) and Omameh(+2) execute a textbook scoop block, which seals the playside DT and dooms BG. This is tough to do and they make this look easy. After they seal the guy Molk crushes him backwards and Omameh peels off to batter the MLB; Webb(+1) kicks out another LB and Schilling(+1) successfully delays the backside LB with a cut; Lewan(+1) cut the backside DE. Essentially everyone on the OL except Dorrestein dominated his man on this play, and Dorrestein still did a good job of kicking out the DE. Hopkins has huge lanes to hit, which he does, running through an arm tackle and into the secondary. (Run+: Molk(2), Omameh(2), Schilling, Webb, Lewan.)|
|O39||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||4|
|BG slants under the blocking, which gives M trouble as Omameh and Dorrestein are split on the backside and Molk and Schilling have a tough time with the playside DT. The latter guys do get their guy under control but do not get out on LBs; Omameh(-1) does not help seal the other guy and he comes through Dorrestein. Dorrestein avoids a minus for pushing the guy beyond the play; allowing Smith(+1) to cut behind it and pick up an excellent edge block from Hopkins(+1) to pick up a few.|
|RUN+: Hopkins, Smith||RUN-: Omameh|
|O35||2||6||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Hopkins||-2|
|Well, first Michigan gets a deserved chop block call as Schilling(-1) engages with the backside DT and then Lewan chops him. I blame Schilling since Lewan had this guy. On the frontside BG again slants under, this time getting past Molk(-2) and Omameh(-1), leaving Hopkins facing down two guys in the backfield. He gets hit and fumbles. Fumbles are not a part of the run tracking.|
|RUN+:||RUN-: Schilling, Omameh, Molk(2)|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 21-0, 1 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M24||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||9|
|Gardner should have pulled with a TE coming to block the backside DE and Lewan moving out on the WLB (ZR -1). Schilling doesn't get a seal but manages to control his guy enough that he can't make a play in the backfield. With an unblocked linebacker coming up into the playside B gap the cutback's where it's at. BG DE does a good job of flowing down the line and cutting it off but Koger(+1) gets enough of him to provide Smith(+1) a window behind him; Lewan has engaged the WLB and though he ends up playside Lewan just donkeys him to the ground, giving Smith another cutback lane he takes; a safety fills at this point.|
|RUN+: Smith, Koger, Lewan||RUN-: Gardner|
|M33||2||1||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||11|
|Lewan(+1) gets a face-planting cut block on the backside DT, leaving him crumbled on the ground. On the frontside Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) get a good scoop on the playside guy; Omameh pops out on a LB. BG brought a safety down late and has a guy in the gap, though, as Webb got caught up in some wash and can't get out front. Because of the Lewan cut, though, there's a huge cutback lane. Schilling(+1) gets a shove on the WLB and Smith has a lane, leaving a guy over the slot receiver to recover and tackle. Handoff was correct (ZR +1).|
|RUN+: Lewan, Molk, Schilling, Omameh, Smith||RUN-:|
|M44||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Gardner||3|
|Should hand off with the DE maintaining responsibility; this is compounded by a safety filling fast, leaving three guys out on Gardner with no shot for him to do much (ZR-1).|
|M47||2||7||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||PA Fly||Gardner||Inc|
|MICH obviously pissed about all this cover zero safety nonsense, so they go deep. Gardner sets up in the pocket and this time the pocket is excellent. He lays one out to Hemingway, who's got a step on the DB; DB falls; ball hits Hemingway in the hands at the ten... dropped. Breastonian. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M47||3||7||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Post||Gardner||53 (pen + 2)|
|Gardner knows he has Grady on a linebacker and goes right to him, feathering a ball on a post route that fits perfectly in a window between that LB and the safety, who takes a terrible angle and turns a big gainer into a touchdown. Molk gets it called back for whacking some guy. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M49||3||5||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Slant||Hemingway||16|
|Zone this time; double slants to one side of the field. Roundtree's interior slant drags a defender and opens up Hemingway's; Gardner nails it for the first down. Finally. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O35||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||PA circle||Gallon||Inc|
|BG prepared for this after seeing it a few times and blitzes into it, getting a guy in free(RPS -1). Gardner has an opportunity to make a play but his pass is inaccurate as he gets hit as he throws. Still think his delivery gets poor when he's under duress. I am going to mark this IN because the ball is out before he gets hit. (IN, 0, protection 0/2, team, RPS -1)|
|O35||2||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3-||Run||Zone stretch||Shaw||3|
|BG again slanting under blocks. Lewan(+1) does an excellent job to react to it, latch onto the guy, and shove him out of the RB's path, giving Shaw a lane with Koger(+1) kicking out a blitzing LB. Schilling blocks a linebacker on the second level but Dorrestein(-1) could not do anything with the WLB, who flows down the line and tackles. RPS -1.|
|RUN+: Lewan, Koger||RUN-: Dorrestein|
|O32||3||7||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Flare screen||Shaw||2|
|Great read by one of the BG DTs, who takes off after Omameh as soon as he feels him release. A safety is screaming down past blockers as well but while this play looks grim Shaw might have a cutback lane for big yardage if the DT(!) isn't quick enough to get out there and tackle him from behind. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O30||4||5||Shotgun empty||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Drag||Hemingway||Inc|
|Zone behind a four-man rush; Gardner cannot find anything and tries to hit Hemingway on a drag. He is between two guys, and one of them almost intercepts. Very poor decision since he was short of the sticks anyway. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 21-7, 4 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M31||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Flanker screen||Odoms||2|
|Tate in. TRobinson(-1) gets chucked by the guy he's blocking and Roundtree(-1) whiffs on a cut, leaving Odoms dealing with two guys and no blocks. He gets what he can. (CA, 3, screen)|
|RUN+:||RUN-: Roundtree, TRob|
|M33||2||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||0|
|TRobinson(+1) gets a good cut this time, but instead of heading straight upfield and either juking the linebacker coming out on him or plowing into him and getting somewhere between 4 and 8 yards Roundtree(-1) spins around and falls to the ground in an attempt to get outside. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M33||3||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Deep hitch||Odoms||13|
|Just a very long pitch and catch; worry that he does not have the arm strength to get this out there against top competition, because as it is this BG CB isn't exactly miles away here. Nevertheless today it's good enough and Odoms evades the CB for a few YAC, though it could have been more if he had kept his feet. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M46||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Forcier||5|
|Eh? probably the right read since the DE was sliding down the line to prevent the belly and the LBs both came in(ZR+1). Tate ends up on the edge with the slot LB and I still want him to just run upfield until he gets tackled but he tries to juke the guy to the outside and gets tripped up.|
|O49||2||5||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||10|
|Backside DT gets completely donkeyed by Lewan(+1) and Schilling(+1), ending up somewhere around the first down marker by the time Shaw flies by. Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) had done basically the same thing to the other DT, with Lewan and Molk getting easy popouts on the BG LBs. One of them gets a diving tackle attempt that Shaw spins out of but he's lost his momentum and goes down. If this was a read it was the right one with a DE in an inconvenient place and a scraper over the top(ZR+1).|
|RUN+: Lewan, Schilling, Molk, Omameh||RUN-:|
|O39||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||PA Bubble||Roundtree||10 (pen -6 lol)|
|Forcier fakes the inside zone and immediately goes to the bubble; Odoms pounds a guy in the midsection for a good block and somehow gets called for a chop block because these guys are pure Sun Belt. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O45||1||16||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Throwback screen||Stonum||-3|
|The counter to the flare screen; Robinson(-2) gets confused and doesn't block the slot LB at all, which blows up the play. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O48||2||19||Shotgun empty||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Improv fly||Roundtree||Inc (pen +15)|
|Ton of time as M stones four rushers; no one open for Forcier so he starts rolling in the pocket. His receivers break deep and he picks out Roundtree but throws the pass well short. Roundtree is run over, drawing a flag. I don't really know what to tag this. It was good play to chuck it because the DB was definitely in trouble but the ball was not great. I'm going with... (MA, 0, protection 3/3)|
|O33||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||PA Bubble||Roundtree||23|
|All Roundtree(+3) as he jukes two different guys and turns this into a big play; Stokes(+1) did get a good block on the corner and finished it off by shoving the guy past Tree as he cut back for his final six or so yards.|
|RUN+: Roundtree(3), Stokes||RUN-:|
|O10||1||G||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-4||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||8|
|Wolverine heavy, sort of. It works, with Omameh(+1) controlling and shoving his man to seal him just as Shaw approaches the line; Dorrestein(+1) kicks out the DE and Koger(+1) gets an excellent lead block on a filling LB; Molk(+1) moves to the second level and plants the MLB. Shaw bursts through and gets cut to the ground by a desperate safety.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Koger, Shaw, Dorrestein||RUN-:|
|O2||2||G||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-4-||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||2|
|Pretty much the same thing, with BG slanting heavily to the inside; Dorrestein(+1) caves his guy in and Shaw(+1) reads that, slipping outside and running over a linebacker who tried to fill. Webb(+1) got a good edge block.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-14, EOH.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M49||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Shaw||2|
|No cutback with Schilling(-1) unable to do anything with the backside DT; he is moving into the backfield. This is relevant because BG has slanted heavily and the frontside guy is shoving Omameh(-1) well into the backfield, forcing Shaw outside the tackle. Smith(+1) plugged the LB to that side, actually pancaking him, which does give Shaw a little crease; the delay allows a BG safety to thwack him just past the LOS.|
|RUN+: Schilling, Omameh||RUN-: Smith|
|O49||2||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||PA cross||Roundtree||21|
|BG again getting good pressure on this PA rollout protection scheme by having a linebacker zip up into the hole between the line and a pulling Schilling, so Forcier doesn't have much time. The BG linebackers jump the circle route M's thrown a few times today, opening up Roundtree behind them. Forcier reads it and finds Roundtree. Ball is a little high but just in front of the safety and Roundtree brings it in as he's hit. The guy in the face increases the DOD. (DO, 2, protection 1/2, team -1)|
|O28||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||8|
|Schilling(+1) owns one DT on a single block, shoving him back three yards. Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) do the same to the other, with Molk popping out on a middle linebacker. All that beef moving downhill means Shaw is met four yards downfield and the pile lumbers another four. Lewan flashed his impressive agility here, too, though for no real purpose.|
|RUN+: Schilling(2), Molk(2), Omameh||RUN-:|
|O20||2||2||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone counter||Shaw||2|
|At least I think this is designed to cutback with both TEs headed to the backside of the play, the line blocking down, and Shaw ready to cut back real fast. Lewan(+1) helps cave in the playside DT and then pops out on the LB. Webb(+1) takes out the slot LB and Shaw looks like he's about to be in the clear with Koger ahead of him and just one BG safety left; he heads outside, Koger(-1) watches the safety run by, and that guy makes a desperate arm tackle to prevent six.|
|RUN+: Webb, Lewan||RUN-: Koger|
|O18||1||10||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Shaw||9|
|Slanting under again and moving an eighth guy in the box. Molk(+1) moves past the playside DT and then realizes what's happening. He peels off and seals that guy. Lewan and Schilling are dealing with the playside DE who is threatening to slant between them as Koger(+1) kicks out a blitzer. Webb(+1) is leading Shaw and kicks out the playside LB, giving him a lane between that block and the Lewan/Schilling double. Shaw(+1) did a good job of finding and hitting a small crease.|
|RUN+: Shaw, Koger, Webb, Molk||RUN-:|
|O9||2||1||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||0|
|Confusion between Lewan(-1) and Webb(-1) as Lewan starts moving to the second level and then gets held up by the DE; DE is now in good position to eliminate a cutback. Webb runs by this for a second level block; this is not so good. Forcier could have kept but I don't know if he actually has a read here; since it would have been successful and he didn't keep it I have to ZR -1 him. Smith(-1) should have just run to the frontside of the play, where Omameh(+1) had blown out the playside DT badly and there was a gap for the first down and maybe more.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Koger||RUN-: Webb, Lewan, Smith|
|O9||3||1||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||3|
|These are not all the same play as the H-backs keep going in different directions, FWIW. Here Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) pancake a BG DT; Schilling(-1) falls and loses his guy, drawing Webb's block and allowing a BG guy to come in to tackle after a short gain, but the obliteration of the DT was sufficient for the first.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Molk||RUN-: Schilling|
|O6||1||G||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||4|
|Good handoff (ZR+1) with lots of guys unblocked on the backside. BG is running down the line fast, preventing anyone from getting a seal, so the OL just rideS guys down the line. Omameh(+1) gets the relevant block, controlling his guy and keeping him at the LOS, driving him far enough along that there's a cutback hole between him and the unblocked backside DE; Dorrestein and Molk(+1 each) get second level blocks. Smith hits it up and is lassoed down by the DE.|
|RUN+: Smith, Dorrestein, Molk, Omameh||RUN-:|
|O2||2||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Iso||Shaw||0|
|No push from the line but there is a gap for McColgan to hit, which he does(+1), blowing his guy into the endzone. If Shaw(-1) had run up his FB's back it's a touchdown but he hesitates and then has nowhere to go.|
|RUN+: McColgan||RUN-: Shaw|
|O2||3||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Pass||PA boot FB flat||McColgan||2|
|McColgan wide open as BG bites (RPS +1) and he flips it in for the easy TD. (CA, 3, protection NA)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 37-14, 9 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O37||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Fly||Stonum||Inc (pen +15)|
|Forcier fumbles the snap on what was going to be a bomb and just chucks it after he recovers. TA? IN? MA? I don't know. I'm going to file it TA since I think he's just getting rid of it to live another down. BG's corner has great position on the play and gets an awful flag for pass interference. This is raw, throbbing injustice in a can. A perfect example of the kind of play a cornerback in position should be allowed to make. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O22||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout quick out||Gallon||14|
|No PA, just a plain old rollout that sees Shaw cut the playside DE, giving Forcier plenty of time to find Gallon yards in front of a slot LB that appears to be in man coverage. Easy pitch, catch, and YAC. (RPS +1, CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|O8||1||G||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||8|
|Molk(+2) gets a great reach block on the playside DT, creasing the line; Omameh(+1) gets a second level block, and Lewan(+1) cuts two(!) guys on the backside. Schilling(-1) whiffed his second-level block but Smith(+1) runs through the tackle into the endzone. Dorrestein(+1) pancaked his guy too.|
|RUN+: Molk(2), Omameh, Lewan, Smith, Dorrestein||RUN-: Schilling|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 44-14, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M38||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||2|
|I am officially in half-ass mode, FWIW. Good play by a deep corner to charge this down. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M40||2||8||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Cox||3|
|Corner blitz provides contain on the QB so BG has a DE and a LB on the backside; they slant hard to the playside and don't get sealed. Cox cuts up in a big hole between Omameh and Dorrestein and sort of avoids two tackles before being whomped by a safety. RPS -1. Could have minused Dorrestein if I was feeling mean.|
|M43||3||5||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-4||Pass||PA Deep comeback||Stonum||10|
|PA rollout sees a BG blitz get in Forcier's face; he pulls up and nails a comeback route to Stonum. It's weird to remember he can do these things. (CA+, 3, protection 1/2, team -1)|
|O47||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-4||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||16|
|This one is wide open by alignment and M takes it; Roundtree gets a block from Hemingway(+1) and it's easy. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2)|
|O31||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||6|
|Little room as BG slants under again and Molk(-1) gets driven into the backfield some. Smith(+1) cuts back and gets outside thanks to a crushing block from Webb(+1) on the edge and jukes a tackler for decent yardage.|
|RUN+: Smith, Webb||RUN-: Molk|
|O25||2||4||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||Base 4-4||Run||Power off tackle||Forcier||16|
|This is a broken play since Shaw just takes off to block someone on the backside as Forcier holds the ball out for a mesh that never comes. Okay, so Forcier just runs the play, which features Dorrestein(+1) and Webb(+1) blocking down as Omameh and Molk pull. Smith(+1) kicks out a linebacker; Omameh(+1) demolishes his guy, and Forcier hits the gap, makes a safety miss, and would be gone if he was Denard but is not Denard and gets a shoestring tackle for his troubles.|
|RUN+: Forcier(2), Omameh, Smith, Dorrestein, Webb||RUN-: Shaw|
|O9||1||G||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||Base 4-4||Run||Down G||Smith||6|
|Other side of the line with Webb(+1) sealing the playside DE and Schilling pulling around. Schilling(+1) and Cox(+1) both kick out second level guys and Smith is one on one with a safety in some space; he lowers his head and is tackled. Meh.|
|RUN+: Webb, Lewan, Cox, Schilling||RUN-: Smith|
|O3||2||G||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||Base 4-4||Run||Inside zone||Cox||2|
|Omameh(-1) whiffs on his guy, who ends up falling in the backfield in the path of the runner, forcing Cox outside where he runs through one arm tackle and then meets a safety while still off balance, getting stood up. This was possible thanks to Huyge, now playing RT, kicking his guy out far enough for Cox to have a lane.|
|RUN+: Huyge||RUN-: Omameh|
|O1||3||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||1|
|Omameh, Huyge, and Webb all blow their guys out and Omameh actually has a moment in this play where he's blocking two separate BG players by pushing them in the chest simultaneously. McColgan doesn't even have anyone to block as Smith strolls in.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Huyge, Webb||RUN-:|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 51-21, 13 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M6||1||10||Ace twins||1||2||2||Base 4-4||Run||Inside zone||Cox||4|
|Barnum in. Okay, I will do some vague charting here but I'm not going to bother with RPS since M is just running the game out. Here blitzing linebackers hit the gaps too fast for the linemen to get out on them, forcing a cutback from Cox(+1). He runs through a tackle and drags another guy forward four yards; would have gotten a couple more if the refs hadn't whistled it down for lack of forward progress that seemed to be progressing still.|
|M10||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Cox||2|
|Also discarding ZR since I don't want QBs carrying at this point, but this should have been a keep if it wasn't a 30 point game in the fourth. Omameh(-1) gets stalemated and then his guy fights inside; Dorrestein is only doing OK on the edge so Cox does not have gap to the outside and has to cut back into a crashing DE. He keeps his feet impressively on a tackle attempt but the delay allows BG to converge and he only gets an extra yard out of it.|
|M12||3||4||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Scramble||Forcier||7|
|Five guys come and Michigan blocks them all; Forcier actually has Koger wide open for the first but sees a lane open up in front of him and knows he can get the first with his legs; he does so. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)|
|M19||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Forcier||2|
|Forcier keeps; no idea what or who he's reading here since the blocking is unfamiliar. He fakes the bubble as he attempts to get to the edge but a linebacker runs him down; Molk was blocking for the handoff and the LB read keep too fast. Denard gets the corner here but you knew that.|
|M21||2||8||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Cox||10|
|Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) fire off to double one DT, who gives a ton of ground; Molk pops off on the MLB. The other DT is crushed by Barnum(+1) with help from Lewan; a crashing DE is taken out by Koger(+1). Cox just has to run up in the gaping hole and does.|
|RUN+: Barnum, Omameh, Molk, Koger||RUN-:|
|M31||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Gardner||3|
|Gardner returns, and should definitely keep this since BG is cheating on the RB but still gets run down for two yards by taking an angle not far enough outside. I think he's plenty fast but he's got a lot of work to do as a runner.|
|M34||2||7||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Power off tackle||Toussaint||60|
|Features a pull from Omameh as Huyge(+1) blocks down on the playside DT and provides a big hole. Koger(+1) kicks out a DE; a blitzing MLB has taken himself out of the play and Omameh(+1) clubs the last LB out of the way, opening up green pastures for Toussaint.|
|RUN+: Huyge, Omameh, Koger, Toussaint||RUN-:|
|M6||1||G||Shotgun 2-back||2||1||2||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Toussaint||6|
|Backside DT is cut to the ground by Lewan(+1) and the frontside guy kind of lunges in at Molk, forcing Toussaint around him but falling uselessly; Omameh(+2) controls and then destroys the playside DE, who is blocked into the endzone. Toussaint with an easy TD. Barnum(+1) also did well to get a block on the second level.|
|RUN+: Omameh(2), Lewan, Barnum||RUN-:|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 58-21, 7 min 4th Q. Backup OL comes in and charting ceases, as we're not going to learn anything about this year's team from this game. You can watch Cox's long run, on which Quinton Washington obliterates some dude, though. And here's Gardner's touchdown.|
*Elaborate yawning mechanism.*
Yes, yes, steampunk fictional questioner who does not appreciate where he has come from.
Well, is there really even a point?
No, not on this side of the ball. I would have cut this off sooner but for BG's annoying persistence on offense and our first extended look at Devin Gardner. The offensive line was crushing to the point where it was tough to tell whether or not I should be handing out pluses to the tackles on plays where the interior linemen were ridin' that donkey five, six, seven yards downfield. Here's Fitzgerald Toussaint's touchdown. Watch Omameh:
This was most of the day. So take everything below with a grain of salt. Michigan won't face a defense this bad after this weekend again.
We demand low-information charts anyway.
Low information charts, then.
Hennechart comes with a reminder that numbers in parentheses are screens! I've also added the zone read metric to these charts instead of spreading it out. It's in the format correct decisions / opportunities.
|2009, All Of It||1||7||6(2)||3(1)||4||4||-||-||?||-||44%|
Nobody had enough downfield throws to warrant a downfield success rate, but everyone impressed. Denard hit a 30-yard corner route, Devin had two long should-have-been touchdowns, the second a beautiful touch seam, and Forcier rolled out and pulled up to hit Roundtree over the middle.
My only complaint/worry here was the short toss to Gallon on which Gardner was pressured. He defaulted to that pushing motion, it looked, and the resulting pass was well off target. Oh, and there was the failed fourth down attempt. In any case, it certainly looks like Michigan is more loaded at quarterback than they've ever been.
Who works for number two?
Uh… if that's a question about the second-string quarterback, I think it should be Tate, but not because of any of the passing numbers above. It's the zone read stuff, where Gardner's barely above 50%, and the numbers from the—
Run chart, but whatever. BEHOLD THE DONKENING
|Huyge||2||-||2||Couple of good plays at RT late.|
|Lewan||11||1||10||Was very effective on cuts, too.|
|Schilling||10||5||5||Had some trouble with BG slants.|
|Molk||16||5||11||Wish he'd be more consistent on MLBs.|
|Omameh||20||6||14||Most of Michigan's long runs came over his side of the line.|
|Barnum||2||-||2||I'll take it from the back of the rotation starter.|
|Dorrestein||6||1||5||I'll take it from the back of the rotation starter.|
|Webb||9||1||8||Fetch me the club…|
|Koger||7||1||6||…and smite the heathen seals.|
|TOTAL||83||20||63||Even more obliteration.|
|Robinson||8||-||8||Not bad for four rushes.|
|Gardner||-||5||-5||Yeah… about that.|
|Forcier||2||1||1||Was limping, too.|
|Shaw||10||2||8||Broke some tackles, seemed to hit all the right holes.|
|Smith||10||2||8||Smart blocking, good cuts, an occasional broken tackle.|
|Cox||2||-||2||Physically impressive. Good balance again.|
|Toussaint||-||-||-||Runs were super easy.|
|Hopkins||3||-||3||Fumble not included.|
|Jones||-||-||-||Stopped charting by the time he got in.|
|TOTAL||36||10||26||Shaw again most impressive.|
So this was more of the same, with Lewan being impressive for a tackle just because he is noticeable on so many run plays. Tackles mostly just lock out DEs who are happy to cut off the outside; Lewan is making an impact comparable to an above-average guard. Also, the tight ends were just clubbing guys all day.
At tailback, Smith and Shaw came out about even in the numbers above and the official ones (both had 12 carries; Smith had three more yards) but if I had to pick it would be Shaw and it wouldn't be that close. The three backups who got charted all flashed some ability and didn't screw up except for the Hopkins fumble. Cox really is physically impressive, capable of dragging tacklers and again flashing great balance. I'm hoping we get to see more of him as the season goes on.
So about number two?
Right, so, Gardner has a –5 up there, the only minus of the day aside from Terrance Robinson. This came about because he pulled the ball on three separate instances when he should have handed off and got roped down for little gain; on a couple other runs he eschewed certain yards for more of that high school stuff where you just cut it outside all day on the assumption you are faster than everyone else. Tate has more experience at the college level and when he cut it way outside he had a block and got tracked down by a linebacker from behind; he also seems to be better at ascertaining when to hand it off.
That plus Tate's excellent day throwing makes me lean towards Forcier in the unfortunate event of a serious injury to Robinson.
I still have a couple more charts, by the way. Receivers:
A fairly boring day here. Just one drop, but it was a big one: Hemingway's oopsie on Devin Gardner's first shoulda-been touchdown.
And this isn't a chart but PROTECTION METRIC: 26/31, Dorrestein –1, Team –4.
The "team" minuses were for blitzes into Michigan's favored rollout package that got Forcier and Gardner in trouble a couple times. Michigan might have to go way from that now that Bowling Green has demonstrated how to pressure it consistently. M got away with it against a team with little talent, but add some speed to that linebacker or some competence to the secondary and bad things might happen.
Did we see anything new?
Obviously the Wolverine Heavy look was new, but Michigan also started responding to BG's tendency to slant like there's no tomorrow by breaking out the pulling OL. Watch Omameh:
That's a completely standard run play I've seen Michigan defend dozens of times over the past few years. I've even got an automatic link for it: Down G. See? It linked.
On Down G you've got a tackle and sometimes a tight end blocking down on the line as Michigan pulls one OL and finds a lead blocker from somewhere else, whether it's a tailback or a H-back or whatever. This is a response to BG's uber-slanting. If the DL slant in the direction of the play, they meet the downblockers head on and get blown up as they do above. Then there's lots of space off tackle and usually the linebackers will be hanging out on the backside of the play where the cutbacks are on a zone. On this play one blitzes right up the middle, another heads to the backside, and there's just one guy in a big hole starting down the mobile death that is Patrick Omameh. And then you get a lot of yards.
Here's another example, on which Shaw busts his assignment but BG is so confused that it doesn't matter and Molk doesn't even have anyone to block:
Michigan has not shown this much in the RR era (and literally never ran it during the DerpBord stretch-and-stretch-only era). I wonder why they chose to do so in a game they'd salted away already. It's not like this is rocket science—it's a totally standard play—but I'd rather break it out against Michigan State than BG.
What does a can of injustice look like?
Poor BG cornerback. This is my least favorite iteration of pass interference, where a guy is running in front of or even with a receiver who tries to run through the DB. The DB has great coverage and is penalized for it. They should clarify the rule to express that a player who is even or deeper with a wide receiver can't be penalized for not changing his momentum. If you're beaten and the ball's underthrown and you run a guy over, fine, flag. But that stuff above is painful even when you're on the right end of a wrong call.
Again, you could almost pick anyone. Special commendation to the offensive line and tight ends.
Hopkins fumbled, Molk got that personal foul, and Devin Gardner had some iffy running plays, but that's it when you score touchdowns on 9 of 11 drives.
What does it mean for Indiana and beyond?
Indiana is going to get nuked. They are currently sporting the 92nd-best rushing defense in the land thanks to the dynamic ground attacks of Towson, Western Kentucky, and Akron. None of those teams have a win over a I-A opponent, and they're actually 1-3 against I-AA thanks to Towson sucking and Gardner Webb beating Akron in OT. Akron exceeded their season average in yards by over 100 and their opponents other than the I-AA team were Syracuse and Kentucky. They are donkeys.
As for the rest of the season, Taylor Lewan seems to have locked down the left tackle job and pushed that position from average or slightly above to good, potentially verging on great. His emergence gives Michigan spare bodies on the OL and makes the offense close to bulletproof without an Angry Michigan BLANK-Hating God injury monsoon with the lone exception of quarterback, where your prayer vigil should be unceasing.
Even there, both Michigan quarterbacks showed well. Michigan gave up a couple scores late in the first half and there was a rumble of worry in the stadium when it was 21-14, but Rodriguez just threw Forcier out there and watched him march down the field for a touchdown, another touchdown, some more touchdowns, additional touchdowns, etc.
I'd ratchet up expectations another half-notch here. Lewan gives the offense more depth, Denard's added a few more items to his "not a fluke" pile, and the backup quarterbacks look solid. Also they just put up 721 yards, and I don't care who it's against if it's a I-A team: 721 yards means your offense is scary.
First: Look at those glasses! He says they're not prescription.
When he made two big plays late in the first half "I just felt like it was the momentum changing." The offense started poorly, and he needed to provide a boost. "I don't know if 2 touchdowns in 45 seconds is quite the dream," it might be better. "I was always the big-play guy in high school, I was always the deep threat in high school. I've always wanted to get that transition over to Michigan."
In the third year of the offense with Denard throwing well, it's not just Stonum that's blossoming. Everybody knows stuff so can go out there and play fast.
"I try to lead by example most of the time. I'm not really a vocal screaming yeling in the huddle type of guy." He lets his work ethic speak for itself. Always works as hard as he can in weight room, in class, and on-field.
Defenses play differently with Denard in the game. They'll contain instead of trying to sack Denard. He's making the right reads and is pretty dangerous. "We knew we didn't want him carrying the ball 30 times a game every game." They were able to get the ball to some RBs and establish something else on the ground.
"We've got some pretty athletic offensive linemen." They relish the opportunity to show off that athleticism by getting downfield and making plays. "I knew we had playmakers, it was just a matter of us getting the ball into the laymakers hands and setting up opportunities for them through our blocking."
The OL is coming together each week, as they have pretty good experience. Molk jumped back in where he left off with his injury last fall and spring. Taylor Lewan - "I watched the whole game yesterday, and he seemed to have a pretty good game." He and some others have been performing well in practice, even if they haven't seen the field much.
"There's absolutely more [offensive improvement] to come. The offense is clicking but we're still not performing to our full potential and capability."
UMass was a "mini wakeup call." Seniors have been good at getting them pumped, but they need to do better than last week. "I'm frustrated now and I was frustrated then. You just can't do anything about it now." The defense needs to prepare better and be more hungry going forward.
The first two games were good for the defense. Against UMass "looking at the tape, we just didn't tackle well." Were surprised by a few schemes as well. Have to have a certain persona to tackle well. "I really did think every guy came in with that" and it just didn't work out for some reason. They'd hit guys in the backfield, or allow 5 yards to be stretched into 10. Don't want to let guys get more than they should.
"With our training from Mike Barwis, we don't get very tired ever." The fourth quarter points for UMass were not a result of that.
Taylor Lewan played well. Proud of him because they've been buddies for a couple years. "He's finding a happy medium between being aggressive and holding a lot." That style will work well in the Big Ten.
Mike Martin "he is the strongest person I' ve ever seen in the weight room, and it's really showing on the field." Beat a double team to sack the QB.
It won't be tough to get up for BGSU. "From our performance this Saturday, this team is definitely going to get up for this game."
"The offense really helped us out this past Saturday, and that's why it's a team." One side will have to rely on the other from time to time.
Craig doesn't listen to music before games to get pumped up - reads a bit of the Bible.
Being a hometown guy, it'll be a different experience to play BG. He doesn't know anybody on the team though, outside of Bryan Wright. "It's gonna be weird" being on opposite sidelines. Knows him well, good kicker. They keep in touch a little bit, but haven't been trash talking yet.
Defense mindset - "Obviously we aren't satisfied with the way that we played defensively." It's much nicer to get that out of the way early in the season, and with a win. "I expect it to be a 1-game slip-up. I'm sure we'll make our corrections today."
Feels different than last year's struggles. They'll move forward. "I think they're pretty simple things." Technical errors and a couple missed assignments. Players might have been hesitant after giving up big plays to Notre Dame "maybe guys are just inexperienced and aren't feeling comfortable in their zones yet."
Obi and Jonas are the senior leaders on D. Each said a few things after the game in the locker room, as did Craig Roh.
"If you can control the ball, you can wear out a defense." The D didn't do their job to get themselves off the field.
Interception - "The first thing I was thinking is 'yes I finally got one.' Sometimes, you don't want to do too much." He should have tucked the ball better.
The team will be very focused after a letdown against UMass. "Last game was a reality check for many games to come. Of course, it's a good thing that we still got the win." There's a small margin for error at this level. The other teams prepare, too. "You have to prepare even better. It's not like high school."
The defense wants to do their part like the offense has been doing. "We're still not as good as we need to be or want to be." Both sides of the ball can improve, but there's only been three games.
Going against Michigan receivers in practice helps prepare for other teams' best receivers.
Transition to safety is good. Still room for improvement. "What's the best room in the house? That's room for improvement."
Choosing Michigan - "I love it here." Everyone will face adversity growing up, and he's learning at Michigan that working hard and staying in the fight will help you through.