at least it's not just us?
upon further review
Hello! If you’re new here, UFR is a play by play breakdown of each Michigan game. I try to grade out players, give an overall impression of their performance, and tell you just what happened on that play or that other play. As always, this is the work of a dedicated amateur, may occasionally be flat wrong, and does not constitute legal advice.
Video added gradually.
Update: Sigh. Video erratic. I know how the team feels: you try to do something cool-looking and it just blows up in your face. Suggest you click the title and go directly the post page if you want the cool doohickeys.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M29||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 4-3||Run||Shovel counter||Odoms||3|
|This fools the cameraman but not the Utah defense as Odoms comes in motion in the slot and takes a shovel pass; a speed option is faked to the other side of the field. The eighth guy in the box is just sitting, waiting on Odoms, and makes a tackle as Odoms attempt to use Butler as a blocker.|
|I'm not sure if I agree with Rodriguez's policework on this one, or maybe it's Odoms'. A simple flare pass to McGuffie (CA, 3) is a little upfield, slightly delaying the play. The outside receiver takes his man, but Odoms peels back to take a pursuing defensive end, leaving the slot corner one-on-one with McGuffie, who spins out of a tackle deftly (MCGUFFIE!). Problem: Odoms vs. Defensive End did not go well and he spins into a prone Odoms and an unblocked defensive end.|
|Relatively safe throw, but a low percentage one. It's wildly overthrown; Mathews was blanketed anyway. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, though McAvoy gets Sheridan plowed.)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O26||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Run||Yakety Sax||Sheridan||-6|
|I believe this is going to be a reverse—a true reverse since Sheridan again goes in motion like it's a speed option—to Odoms, but McGuffie bumps into him and the play turns into a mess.|
|This play looks downright professional. No problems from the OL, well timed slant, gain of seven. (CA, 3, protection 1/1). Let's take a picture.|
|O25||3||9||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||Wheel||McGuffie||Int (Pen +15)|
|NICK SHERIDAN... IMPACT PLAYER. THUNDERSTRUCK. Uh. This play seems like a good idea: get McGuffie isolated on a linebacker, but there are multiple problems. 1) Mathews' route doesn't dig far enough inside to pick the LB. 2) Sheridan's throw is a hideous floating duck the safety picks off. McGuffie had a ton of room on the sideline; Sheridan puts it way inside. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Extremely questionable pass interference call bails Michigan out.|
|O9||1||G||Shotgun 2-back TE||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read handoff||McGuffie||1|
|Creepy how similar the blocking looks, though I'm no doubt failing to pick up on some technical differences. McGuffie stumbles in the backfield after receiving the handoff, which doesn't help. Schilling's attempted chop fails to get his man on the ground; McAvoy's peel off on a Utah player is a complete whiff. The rest of the blocking was actually pretty good: Ortmann, Molk, Moosman, Moundros, all get good push or seal.|
|O8||2||G||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Pass||PA counter flat||Shaw||8|
|Hurray TD. This is a zone read fake to Minor; the line blocks it like a run play. This suckers the backside linebacker in just enough to get shaw out into the flat, where Sheridan hits him for the touchdown. Outside receivers had run off their guys. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q. ALL HAIL GLORIOUS NEW ERA|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|50||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Yakety Sax||Mathews||Inc|
|Sheridan's ball fakes are really terrible; on this one McGuffie isn't within two yards of him. As a result, the blitzing linebacker lined up over the slot doesn't have to think for one second about who to go after. Sheridan actually deftly avoids him... and throws a ridiculous duck that should be intercepted. Mathews breaks it up. The kicker: I'm 100% sure the primary read on this was Carson Butler on a little TE flare route not five yards from Sheridan's face, which is wide open and a sure first down and exactly where the blitzer came from. (BR, 0, protection N/A)|
|50||2||10||Shotgun 4-wide tight||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Out||Odoms||4 (Pen -5)|
|Rollout cuts off half the field—must not like the OL in pass pro much—and Sheridan throws the ball late so Odoms has no room to turn upfield. Stonum(-1) lined up off the LOS. (CA-, 1, protection 1/1)|
|M45||2||15||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||Middle Screen||McGuffie||23|
|Well executed play sees Molk and Ortmann get downfield blocks as McGuffie dummies a defensive end into believing he's trying to block him. The middle of the field is wide open for ten or so yards; McGuffie cuts behind a safety for a few more. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 3-4||Pass||Bubble Screen||Odoms||-3|
|Odoms starts stumbling as he runs the bubble screen route; Sheridan's throw ends up a little behind him. These items combine to cause Odoms to fall as he catches the ball. Otherwise this would likely have been a nice gainer. (CA-, 2, protection N/A)|
|Actually an excellent route by Mathews as he gets the DB as step behind him and to the inside while provide himself plenty of room to the sideline. Sheridan overthrows it. (IN, 0, protection 2/2.) I do question the choice of receiver here: Mathews is not exactly a burner and it's hard to lay it up there for him. Stonum maybe?|
|O35||3||13||Shotgun 2-back||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Draw||Shaw||2|
|IMO, McAvoy blocks the wrong dude here, picking on a DE stunting around the NT when Schilling's already got him. This leaves Ortmann to try and block the wild-haired Samoan MLB; he has no angle to do this. Shaw stumbles—what's with all the stumbling?--which prevents him from cutting away from the guy into a wide open sideline.|
|Drive Notes: FG(51), 10-6, 6 min 1st Q. I mean... you can see this offense becoming somewhat effective if they can just do the screens and not stumble and not be completely stupid. The remarkable thing about this drive is that just about all of these plays should work, and by “should work” I mean “have caught Utah in an unfavorable position.” There's just no execution.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read handoff||McGuffie||-5|
|This is our first real glimpse into the issues on the OL and particularly at center: David Molk gets crushed into the backfield spectacularly, actually bumping McGuffie and causing an inadvisable field reversal. Disturbingly, Schilling wasn't doing much better with his guy.|
|M15||2||15||Shotgun Empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Throwback screen||Mathews||11|
|A misdirection play that works to good effect. Sheridan starts rolling one way on what looks like a bubble screen, then pivots and throw back to Mathews. McGuffie walls off a corner; Moosman and Schilling head downfield, where Schilling whiffs a block or Mathews sets it up poorly; the Utah defense is still out of position enough that Mathews can fend off the diving tackler and pick up a bundle. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|M26||3||4||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel||Run||Triple option||Sheridan||3|
|Fake belly handoff to Shaw; Minor is the pitchman. Sheridan makes a pitch fake—I never figured out what button that was—and deftly cuts up past a linebacker only to stumble short of first down yardage.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-9, 12 min 2nd Q. A costly stumble, that, and Michigan's third of the day. WTF? Thanks for the WVU-Nova highlight, ESPN.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Base 4-3||Run||Yakety Sax||Sheridan||1|
|M21||2||9||Shotgun Trips Bunch||Base 4-3||Run||ISQD||Brown||4|
|Utah linebacker does a good job of getting outside of Schilling's block; Minor hops over the mess and Brown follows, tripping forward for a few yards. Probably should have cut back behind the Schilling block.|
|Sheridan looks off to the left for a moment before coming back to Hemingway on the slant; good job not to stare his guy down. When the linebacker underneath starts clearing out to cover the flare Sheridan flings another accurate slant; Hemingway makes a tough catch with the Utah DB coming up to bang him as he reels it in. (CA+, 2, protection 1/1)|
|M33||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Minor||0|
|Ortmann(-1) and McAvoy(-1) get split, allowing penetration on a double team; this leaves an interior lineman unblocked. He flows down the line and tackles.|
|M33||2||10||Shotgun Trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Flare||Butler||2|
|I'm not sure how this is supposed to pick up yards. Half-roll by Sheridan and then he just tosses one to Butler as the rest of the receivers take off downfield. Butler's swarmed by defenders. A lot of the plays in this game have looked like potential big gainers the players screwed up. This is not one of them. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M35||3||8||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Curl||Odoms||4|
|Utah rushes three; Sheridan could step up into the pocket or run around or something, instead he just tosses a checkdown to Odoms, who has no chance for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 1/2, Schilling -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-12, 7 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M24||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Weird Fly||Mathews||35|
|I don't get it. So Sheridan does the normal hand-slap thing to indicate he wants the ball but this time there's a pause before Molk snaps it. In the interim, Utah jumps offside because they've been timing the snap. Okay, super. Then Sheridan rolls out as the offensive line remains motionless and heaves one downfield to a blanketed Mathews, who leaps and makes the catch. Why not just run a play there? More later. (DO, 1, protection N/A)|
|They come back to this play late, but IIRC Michigan did the same thing again, didn't get a flag, and Sheridan threw into double coverage, nearly getting intercepted. (BR, 0, protection N/A)|
|O41||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 4-3||Penalty||False Start||Butler||-5|
|O46||2||15||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||Fly||Mathews||Inc|
|Max protection with three guys running routes, two on flies and the other on a post; all are covered. Sheridan wickedly overthrows Mathews and didn't appear to be throwing it away; he was bracketed. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O46||3||15||Shotgun Empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Seam||Minor||Inc|
|Well, at least he made a read and found a guy open downfield. This is the seam pass Sheridan throws high. Minor gets a hand on it but can't bring it in; this a touchdown if accurate. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-15, 3 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|Pretty ugly when a defensive tackle goes right around a guard. Sheridan scrambles up into the pocket and is eventually sacked. A dumpoff to Minor probably would have picked up nice yardage but it's tough to criticize here. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Moosman -2)|
|M36||2||14||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Middle Screen||McGuffie||Inc|
|Same play that went for 23 earlier; here the DE reads it and nearly intercepts. (BR, 0, protection N/A)|
|M36||3||14||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||WTF?||???||Int|
|This is way, way worse than I remember. Utah rushes two(!) and there's no pressure; Sheridan just wings up a duck directly to a Utah defender. I don't even know who he was throwing to. (BR, 0, protection 0/0)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 10-15, 1 min 2nd Q. Worst interception I've ever seen? Maybe.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M11||1||10||Shotgun 2TE||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read dive||McGuffie||2|
|Moosman is blown back and ends up with his man to the playside of him a yard behind the LOS. McGuffie cuts back, but an extra Utah player allows the nominal QB contain guy to collapse down and Schilling can't get playside of the DE. McGuffie manages to fall forward.|
|M13||2||8||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||Zone read handoff||McGuffie||-4|
|Sheridan tries to take the ball back from McGuffie, who ends up fumbling because of it.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-22, 12 min 3rd Q. Can I give him a BR here? Can I? Please?|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Shaw||-1|
|Threet in the game. Anyone wondering why Michigan didn't run more can have this play for an example: both Molk and Moosman get battered backwards, allowing their guys to come underneath(!) them and into the backfield. It's ugly out there.|
|I don't know if Schilling's any better this year. Here he gets clubbed backwards, falling into the path of Shaw. Shaw's running that same flare route to the backside of the play he scored on; a Schilling in his way is not helpful. The play's timing disrupted, Threet takes off for a few yards.|
|M25||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel||Pass||Freeze play||Stonum||Inc|
|Michigan gets Utah again here, except the refs don't call the obvious offsides. Thanks, guys. Threet hurls the usual sideline route to Stonum. It's accurate but well-covered and broken up. (CA+, 1, protection N/A)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-22, 10 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||Curl||Mathews||Inc|
|Mathews drops an accurate, open pass, then gets injured. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M20||2||10||Shotgun Trips||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Minor||6 (Pen -10)|
|Molk again has trouble with the DT, so Minor decides to head outside, where he... gets the corner? Oh, Mark Ortmann yanked his man to the ground. That explains it.|
|Your standard hopeful fly route downfield. Decently thrown; Hemingway lays out but it's just a foot too long. (IN, 0, protection 1/2, Ortmann -1)|
|M10||3||20||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Sack||--||-2|
|Utah rushes two, Michigan leaves seven in to block. No one open, surprisingly, so Threet sort of ambles to the sideline and is sacked. (TA, 0, protection N/A)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-25, 6 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Run||Triple option dive||Minor||21|
|Don't know if this is a stunt or a slant or what but both Utah DTs slant outside, creating a cavernous gap up the middle. Molk(+1) gets out to the second level and thumps the WLB; the option threat has held the other linebackers to the outside.|
|M41||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Minor||0|
|No respect for the idea of a keeper, FWIW. Molk beaten by allowing his man inside of him and upfield too quickly; Moosman fails to cut his guy. Ortmann is driven back, cutting off the outside, which is where Shaw is headed as a lead blocker. Minor's forced to cut up into the guy Moosman didn't cut and the MLB, who Shaw isn't blocking.|
|M41||2||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||Throwback screen||Stonum||5|
|Zone read stretch look followed by a throwback screen to Stonum. Fairly open but a Utah DE comes back to make a shoestring tackle after a few yards. Timing issue or location issue maybe, one that holds this play down. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|M46||3||5||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||Miracle improv||Butler||15|
|Yeesh, I don't know if Threet can't read coverages or what, but both outside WRs are wide open on little stop routes that would pick up the first down. I guess the first read is Butler on a slant; this looks covered and Threet holds the ball. Since the line decided to cut block everyone Threet is now surrounded by Utes; he scrambles out and throws up a duck that Butler makes a circus catch on. (CA, 1, protection N/A)|
|O39||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble Screen||Odoms||4|
|This is the one playcalling issue I've had so far: not enough of these. This one's horribly blocked and looks like it will fall apart; Odoms turns it into positive yardage. Note: this may have looked like a horsecollar to some live, but I'm pretty sure that's a legal tackle. You're allowed to grab a player and ride him to the ground. You can't violently fling him down in the hopes that his head cracks open like a coconut. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|O35||2||6||Shotgun 2-back||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Triple option dive||Minor||0|
|I wonder if this is a read issue or if Threet doesn't actually have an option on this play, because Utah's slanted to this side of the field. If they actually run the option here they've got Shaw headed to the corner with only DBs blocked by WRs for a while. Anyway: McAvoy gets pounded backwards and the extra guy to that slide shoots through a gap in the line. Minor jumps outside, gets tackled at the LOS, and fumbles. FTR: I don't think it's a fumble, as the ball appears to be in his hand when his elbow bangs the ground, but it would be hard to overturn this.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-25, 1 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M15||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Base 4-3||Run||Dive||McGuffie||4|
|End-around fake to Odoms; good block by Ortmann on the DT, who steps upfield and allows himself to get sealed. Other DT is doubled; McAvoy heads to the second level. There's a crease that McGuffie heads into for a few.|
|M19||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||McGuffie||5|
|Possibly the best-blocked play of the day, and a subtle demonstration how Threet/Sheridan kills this running game. Okay, the good: McAvoy drives his man downfield and kicks him out, a real ass-kicking block. Molk fends off the other DT, and gets him to flow down the line and cede ground a bit. So there's this mess of players, the LOS has moved downfield a couple yards, and McGuffie can get some steam. The downside: the backside DE did his due diligence on Threet, then crashed down on the play. McGuffie takes the best path, running into the flailing DT as the DE converges. If that guy is a yard farther away, a second more hesitant, this breaks into the secondary. As it is it's just a decent gain.|
|M24||3||1||Shotgun Big||Base 3-4||Run||Zone read dive||McGuffie||2|
|Moundros in as a lead blocker for McGuffie; this goes straight up the gut. Molk and Moosman double the DT at the POA and drive him back; Schilling does just okay with the DE, letting him get around him to the outside and reach his arm out, impeding his progress. The LB Moundros has on an iso block dives to the ground. McGuffie hurdles him. And they said it wouldn't work.|
|M26||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Curl||Babb||Inc|
|Babb is open and Threet finds him; pass batted down. McGuffie's block was a real ole job, BTW, and got Threet hit on an otherwise well-blocked play. (BA, 0, protection 1/ 2, McGuffie –1)|
|M26||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Wheel||Odoms||Inc (Pen +15)|
|I think this is actually a nickel corner but he kind of looks like a linebacker in comparison to Odoms. This probably says more about Odoms than the corner. Anyway: rollout, good blocking, no pressure, Threet lofts a ball as Odoms is on a wheel route and the corner isn't looking for the ball and runs over Odoms—easy to do but still a penalty. (CA, 0, protection 2/2) On replay, Odoms makes it look good. Kid's a technician.|
|M41||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Pass||PA flare||Shaw||2|
|Third time we've run this; first two times it was good, this time there's a corner waiting for it in short cover two and the tackle is made immediately. Our rock, their paper. Actually, screw that. We call scissors now. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|M43||2||8||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Pass||???||???||Inc|
|Max protection with three guys in the route again; Utah rushes four. Threet finds someone, either Odoms or Savoy, but Ortmann got beat one-on-one and the Utah player hits him as he throws. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann -2)|
|M43||3||8||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Jailbreak screen||Odoms||-2|
|Has a chance of working if Massey can just make any sort of block on this linebacker. He can't. Possibilities: Massey screws up, Odoms doesn' take it far enough outside, the timing is screwed up. I suggest, tentatively, that it's A. Play had a great chance of working if not for this. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-25, 11 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O33||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Pass||Fly(?)||Hemingway||33|
|And they're rolled up in press man cover one. Though they bail at the snap, Hemingway somehow manages to get behind the guy and reels in a picture-perfect touchdown. Henne to Manningham there. (DO, 2, protection 2/2) Max pro again, BTW. Not one replay shows the route.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-25, 9 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O31||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||Sack||--||-12 (Pen +15)|
|A corner blitz gets said corner in unblocked and Threet doesn't read it and go to Odoms, open on a circle route. Result: sack. Result: major facemask penalty. Result: first down. Threet is AWESOME at drawing facemask penalties. Call that again. (BR, 0, protection 2/2) Also: they mark this off as a 17 yard penalty, then fix it. I'm just sayin'.|
|O16||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Threet||-2|
|This is the correct read: the DE does indeed say “f-it” to the idea of contain. Unfortunately, the MLB is a ninja or psychic or something and reads this insane play from the get go, tackling. Maybe this is a sucker job, get the noob to keep it so you can tackle him like whoah.|
|O18||2||12||Shotgun Trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Slant(?)||Odoms||Inc|
|Utah sends the house; Threet doesn't pick up on it and throw either of two safe routes (Butler bubble screen(!) and McGuffie flare) that would pick up decent yardage, instead hanging in and getting battered as he tries to throw a slant to a covered receiver. PR? BA? BR? Who knows. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, team)|
|O18||3||12||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Fly||Hemingway||Inc (Pen +15)|
|I think SMQ thinks this is questionable, but IMO this is a totally legit flag where the DB is specifically trying to impede Hemingway's route, does so, and gets the flag. (CA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O3||1||G||Shotgun 2TE||Goal line||Pass||PA FB Out||Moundros||Inc|
|Zone read fake into a rollout into a questionable pass to a debatably open Moundros as Threet is getting swarmed. Eh... (IN, 0, protection N/A)|
|O3||2||G||Shotgun 2TE||Goal line||Run||Zone read dive||McGuffie||3|
|Play is made by the DE getting over-aggressive on his flow down the line and opening a crease behind him; McGuffie reads the lane opening and exploits it for a touchdown and the SLB is way, way slow.|
|O3||2pt||2pt||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 3-4||Pass||PA Post||Clemons||Inc|
|Threet really wings this one. He might have to, as there are a lot of bodies in a small space and there are unblocked guys converging, but that requires a poise an accuracy that's beyond him. Henne makes this throw, maybe. Not Threet. (IN, 0, protection 1/1) Clemons does get up impressively, FWIW. Best play would have been to go back to McGuffie after the PA fake; dude was wide open.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown(2pt failed), 23-25, 6 min 4th Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M27||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Slant||Stonum||Inc|
|Open slant is way, way behind Stonum. Bleah. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|M27||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Scramble||--||-1|
|I have no idea what happens downfield here, just that there's a good pocket for Threet he can step up into; instead he takes of hoofin' with predicable results. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|M26||3||11||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||???||???||Inc|
|Corner and an OLB blitz as the DE stunts around; this fools Ortmann and Threet is under instant pressure. Hit as he throws, the ball flutters harmlessly to the turf. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann.) Nice blitz pickup from McGuffie.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 23-25, 4 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M11||1||10||Shotgun Empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Bubble Screen||Minor||4|
|Except there's no real blocking from the other guy and Utah is in zone and they converge right quick. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|Oh ha. Same route combo by the guys on the outside does not fool Utah; Stonum is well covered and the LB makes a great play to break the pass up without, IMO, interfering. (CA, 1, protection 1/1)|
|M15||3||6||Shotgun Empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Sack||--||-1|
|Protection fine for a first read; covered; Threet starts scrambling. Moosman is spun off of and his guy is the first to really cause serious issues; he sacks. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Moosman -1) Believe the first read was Minor on a wheel.|
|M14||4||7||Shotgun Empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Curl||Stonum||Inc|
|Outside corner—guy on Stonum—blitzes. Stonum shoots his hand in the air to say “OPEN!” and Threet locks on. Throws... Tacopants. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 23-25, 2 min 4th Q. EOG.|
Well, how did that go?
Not. well. Let’s do a rundown of position groups relative to preseason expectations:
Quarterback: no one expected they’d be good but the performance was close to the lower bound of the feasible.
Running back: I’m tempted to give them an incomplete because they had so little opportunity to do anything. McGuffie did okay; so did Shaw; Minor was Minor.
Receivers: possibly a bit better than we expected if Hemingway can continue his impressive performance. He got behind a Utah defensive back who was bailing out into a cover three for the touchdown, caught a tough slant, and generally looked big, fast, and good. Everyone else was okay; Mathews is always going to be a step or two slow on the deep balls. Odoms didn’t get much of a chance.
Offensive line: their overall suck was obviously part of the gameplan in a huge way; I expect that will seriously impinge on Michigan’s attempts to forge an offense all year. Like 2005 except worse.
Can you make up a word to describe the Sheridan interception?
Putreficent. It was putrescent but sort of magnificently so. There are two rushers. Neither of them is anywhere near me. I know! I’ll throw off my back foot. I will aim it such that the ball comes down amongst no fewer than three Utah players. It is in this way we will achieve victory.
In away, You have to respect that sort of spectacular failure. If you’re going to screw up, go for the gusto, son.
Shouldn’t we have Lloydballed it there?
Well, maybe. Before the play I thought the most logical thing was to hurl it down the sideline in the hopes of picking up 30 or so yards but mostly just resigning yourself to a punt. Throwing a fly route is a safe thing you can ask your n00b quarterback to do without much risk, as we saw a half-dozen other times during the game.
With Michigan in max protect and two guys running fly routes and the third on a post, this is what they called, only to see the quarterback do that putreficent thing. You’re weighing the chances of that happening against the chances of something good happening… eh, it may have been a better idea to run a draw and punt. But I think Carr would have made the same call; I’ve seen him do it.
Are you sure?
I can take it, it’s Thursday, I hardly remember what happened.
Fine. Charts, jerkwad.
This is ugly, as it should be.
In general, a positive-negative ratio (DO + CA / IN + BR + TA + BA+ PR) of 50% was just above Mallett performances last year, and that was in an offense that did a lot more than throw a wide variety of screens and the occasional downfield hurl.
Threet’s advantage over Sheridan was simple: when things went to hell he trundled about for a bit and took a sack instead of throwing the ball directly to players wearing Utah colors. These are the TAs—throwaways—you see above. Threet has some; Sheridan went with BRs—bad reads, the worst, worst thing on the chart—instead.
Unstable protection metric?
This is also not good:
PROTECTION: 21/32. Schilling –1, Moosman –3, Ortmann –3, McGuffie –1, Team -3
In general you’re looking for 75%. This did not happen. Note also the tiny total number here: 32 is less than half a typical Carr score. This is partially just the Rodriguez offense with all the screens and whatnot.
But IMO it’s mostly an extreme lack of faith in the line. Max protect was a common occurrence, at times leaving as many as nine(!) Utah players covering three Michigan receivers.
And the receivers:
(a brief legend:
- 0: totally uncatchable, just here to indicate targeting
- 1: extremely difficult catch.
- 2: moderately difficult catch.
- 3: routine catch.
When they were called on they were good, with the Mathews drop being the only one of the day. Two 1s got hauled in, too.
I don’t do run grading, but Genuinely Sarcastic does: here’s the no-longer “Hart Chart.” I think they should have been a bit harsher on the OL on various plays, particularly the McGuffie field-reversal forced by the presence of Molk’s butt mere inches from the handoff, but it’s their chart so they can do what they want.
We should play Minor more!
Not seeing it. He did have Michigan’s one nice run of the day, upon which he had to run directly upfield into a gaping hole. Hey, great, that’s completely adequate. He then fumbled on his next carry. (-Ish.) He may be a better pass blocker, but McGuffie had all of one whiff job on the day and was completely adequate outside of that.
He should play, he should get carries, but shoving him on the field more wasn’t going to change Michigan’s run game.
What does it mean for Miami and the rest of the season?
It means we’re in for a long year. We knew the offensive line and quarterbacks would be bad. We didn’t know how bad. In the Utah game the answer appeared to be at or near the bottom of the scale of realistic possibilities. You can get away with either your OL or your quarterback sucking, but not both.
There were some positives. You could see the outline of a rudimentarily effective offense in the guys running open underneath and sometimes past the secondary. The execution issues that plagued Michigan can and should get fixed over time; when (if?) that happens the offense will be ugly but functional.
There are some problems that will not go away: the offensive line is bad for reasons other than execution. It is bad because the players on it are small or underpowered or just plain bad. The quarterbacks can’t make the zone read fake worth defending. Also they cannot find open receivers. Also sometimes their brains asplode.
Just don't. I know it's here. That doesn't mean you have to read it. Every play found worthy has a video clip associated with it.
|OSU in a base set; Michigan gets tricky by not running zone left on the first play of the game. It's a straight go route and it's well covered and it's badly underthrown and to the inside and it is not, in fact, all that clever. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Good coverage everywhere, btw.|
|Neither is the second-and-ten draw particularly clever, and Ohio State has a safety rolled up so he's nearly in the box at the snap, and he's moving forward, and just... well. I think it's kind of fitting the Carr-Debord era ended with these two shocking playcalls Michigan had clearly set OSU up for all season â€“ we run left first play always lol â€“ and they just didn't work. Fish. Anyway, this probably shouldn't work but Mitchell (+1) gets a great, crushing block on his guy and drives him downfield and Laurinaitis gets caught up in wash he shouldn't and Hart has a seam.|
|Or a zag or something. This doesn't actually have a circle but it's a slant-out, and it's open for the first down. Henne overthrows it. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 10 min 4th Q. This will quickly become the story of the day: Henne is just broken. Well. There are competing stories, the other being "AAARGH SCHILLING".|
|Wide open out that should probably go for a first, looped out all Clausen-like, though, and kept down. Henne obviously has no arm strength. (CA-, 3, protection 1/1)|
|We miss this play recapping Michigan's season.|
|Butler kept in to block on the waggle side, so Henne has plenty of time. He fires well high of a covered McLaurin, but it appeared everyone was completely covered and he had nowhere to go; the decision here was probably the best available: try to make a near-impossible throw to a well-covered guy. This is sad. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|M49||2||10||Ace Twins||Run||9||Hart||Inside Zone|
|Very well blocked. Long crushes the nearside DT; Kraus gets his head across the weakside DT, and Boren, executing a zone double w/ Long, helps kick out the Dt then crushes Freeman. Hart bursts into the secondary, spinning through Freeman for near first-down yardage. (+1 for all! They're not tracked, but who cares!)|
|O42||3||1||I-Form Big||Pass||5||Arrington||Long handoff|
|Arrington's brought in motion and, as is often the case in these situations, the corner is forced to loop around his defense to follow and is not able to press at the LOS. This gets Arrington the room to catch this ball and make first-down yardage. I like this call and how aware it is of little football fobiles. (CA, 3)|
|We come to this play late, but just in time to see it happen. Kraus(+1) is doubling a DT with Mitchell as two OSU LBs fire into the hole; Moundros chops Freeman as Kraus does a fantastic job to make a late peel and pick off Laurnaitis, allowing Hart a cutback lane behind him and a significant gain.|
|A number of short zone stretch routes designed to pick up the first down by providing Henne easy targets; Butler comes open and Henne hits him. Ver' nice pickup from Hart on Gholston on a protection slide. (CA, 3 protection 1/1)|
|O25||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||12||Hart||Inside Zone|
|I was informed by a couple people that the block previously termed "handoff" in a bit of made-up jargon was actually a "scoop" block; this is a scoop blocked play. Boren fires off in to the DT and hands him off to Kraus; Kraus then pounds the guy backwards. Mitchell(+1) gets a nice downfield cut on Freeman and once Hart pops through the scoop-created hole he's got room to motor.|
|O13||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||-1||Hart||Zone left|
|OSU blitzes right into this with perfect timing; Freeman into the backfield unblocked, forcing a cutback. Hart slips and falls; if he hadn't there was the possibility to pick up a few yards.|
|Gholston completely destroys Schilling(-3). Gholston then sacks. No chance for Henne, who would have had a shot at Arrington on a post for a TD otherwise. (PR, 0, protection 0/3)|
|O20||3||17||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||5||Butler||TE Out|
|Pretty bad decision here spurred by an OSU blitz. It's picked up and there's man cover all over the field. Henne takes the dumpoff that gets Michigan very little. Tenuously CA, but suspicious. (CA-, 3, protection 3/3)|
|Drive Notes: FG, 3-0, 1 min 1st Q. Goodbye, scoring.|
|M18||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||-1||Hart||Zone counter|
|Difficult to tell what happens here, but Butler pulls around a la those plays against Oregon, but Hart does not cut back, instead running into Gholston, who's beaten Schillng at the line. Failure there was irrelevant though, as Freeman was unblocked due to the TE pull. Misread by Hart, IMO.|
|Hart offset and Butler out wide; pass all the way. Henne throws an out to Tacopants that's nearly intercepted. It's at this point his ain't-rightness is an obvious factor. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Long(-1) not infallible! OSU sends the two guys on the right side of the line on a late developing stunt that gets the DT in through a gap between Long and Boren. Falling, the DT sacks Henne, though he had time to survey the field for a bit previous. (TA, 0, protection 1/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 14 min 2nd Q.|
|M20||1||10||I-Form Big||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|OSU's DT shoots past Boren(-1); Hart manages to move past him. Mitchell's lost his block on the ba ckside, otherwise Hart might have a hole on the interior. As it is he's forced to run up Long's back a nd get what he can.|
|A late cut to the play because we're focused on the band. Anger! Hard to tell what happens as a result, but one of the OSU DTs has dove forward and taken out a couple of Michigan OL. Freeman is unblocked, and Hart gets nowhere.|
|This might have been an out or something. As it is, it's a comeback that floats out to Manningham. It's short; Manningham does a good job to dig it out. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)|
|M34||1||10||Ace||Run||-10 (pen)||Hart||Zone left|
|I don't know what Hart's thinking here, as the Buckeye LB is clearly set up outside of Butler here and there's a potential lane to cut up in. He takes it outside, where Butler(-1) duly holds his guy, still doesn't block him very well. Washington comes up for the TFL.|
|Hey, guess who's not fooled even a little bit by this? Those guys. Freeman bolts into the backfield unblocked.|
|Thrown well upfield and glances off Manningham's diving hand. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Schilling(-2) owned by Gholston. Henne rolls out and throws it away. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 7 min 2nd Q.|
|M21||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||2||Hart||FB Zone counter|
|We shoot the FB to the backside DE, so this is sort of a counter. Problem: eight guys in the box; Mitchell is blown back by the DT here, allowing Laurinaitis in unblocked; the eighth guy in the box comes through the weakside hole. Hart has nowhere to go.|
|Hart lined up at WR but motions in; M takes an out to Manningham. No zip on these. (CA-, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Gholston owns Schilling(-2); Henne hit as he throws. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 3 min 2nd Q. Zoltan murders a punt.|
|Stop route right in Manningham's hands is dropped, though it was going for five at most as someone was shooting out into the flat. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Completed for a decent gain, but again looped out and little YAC opportunity. We're also avoiding the middle of the field like whoah. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O45||3||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||Skinny post|
|Henne's best throw of the day so far, a skinny post that's a little behind Manningham but for good reason, as it needs to fit in a place in the zone. Eminently catchable all the same; Manningham drops it. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 2 min 2nd Q. A truly killer drop there, and a truly killer missed opportunity going into the half.|
|Thrown late, giving Jenkins an opportunity to break on it, and sailed. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Good protection; Henne pumps once then throws it to no one in particular. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Checkdown; OSU has it well covered and there's no YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG (48), 3-7, EOH.|
|Kraus(-2) gets driven back into the path of the FB, who piles into him; Hart soon follows. Result: loss.|
|Freeman is all over this, actually batting it down like a DB. We used to be good at these, right? (CA, 0)|
|Thrown wide, well into the sideline. No chance for Arrington. Well covered, FWIW. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 14 min 3rd Q. Well, that's an inspiring way to start the second half. Wells goes for a touchdown on the next play from scrimmage and Michigan is looking at a two-score deficit.|
|The multiple-stops we run with some frequency. Henne comes off Arrington and eventually finds Butler for a moderate gain. Good protection. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M27||2||2||Ace 3-Wide||Run||-1||Hart||Zone left|
|Excellently timed corner blitz gets Jenkins in unblocked and turns this play into no gain. It's like they have some idea what we'll run. Without the blitz this is meh but likely enough for the first down.|
|Completely overthrown. Hello, Tacopants. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 12 min 3rd Q.|
|Standard TE dumpoff that looks open for a nice gain; OSU closes quickly. (CA, 3)|
|M23||2||5||I-Form Twins||Run||-3||Hart||Inside Zone|
|Must be some miscommunication, because Mitchell doubles down on Gholston as Kraus moves to the second level, leaving a DT wholly unblocked; he engulfs Hart.|
|Woo! Tacopants! Not going for more than two yards even if completed. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 6 min 3rd Q. Next drive is Mallett's.|
|We're watching Henne trot off the field as the play snaps, and so miss the privelige of watching Carson Butler (probably) whiff badly. Hart snowed under after no gain.|
|Good protection; Mallett provides a throw with actual velocity, but it's behind Arrington, forcing him to the ground to catch this ball and removing any YAC possibilities. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)|
|M28||3||2||I-Form Big||Run||6||Hart||Zone right|
|OSU slants right tat the snap and attempts to shoot a linebacker between Gholston and a blitzing Jenkins, but Helmuth manages to get enough of Jenkins, Gholston's slant takes him out of the play, and Butler actually gets a good block. There's a hole, and Michigan gets the first down.|
|Well, sort of. Jenkins is all over Arrington here, drawing an obvious PI... except that the ball is ten yards past the pair as it looks like Mallett's throwing a flag and Arrington's running an out. Probably should have been uncatchable, though you might have gotten Jenkins for holding anyway.|
|M49||1||10||I-Form||Run||-8 (pen)||Hart||Zone left|
|So Michigan's actually got something resembling a drive started, Hart finds a crease and goes for eight on first down, and what brings it back? If you said "Carson Butler holding penalty," give yourself a pat on the back. But a small one: this trivia is strictly $200 Jeopardy! stuff.|
|Gholston destroys Long(-2) this time and sacks Mallett. Michigan's run the "everyone stop" routes again, which OSU has covered well, and Mallett's hesitation ends poorly. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Hey, Mallett, if we wanted our QB to overthrow his receiver by yards we'd have Henne in. Mmmm. Bitter. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Arrington's beaten Washington downfield here and actually has a shot at a catch and run for the first down; Mallett throws it well behind him. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 1 min 3rd Q. Henne returns.|
|A bit of a variant here with the TEs staying in to block the weakside DE. Henne has all day to throw and tries for Manningham deep; well underthrown. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Mark Moundros 1) doesn't line up on the LOS out at WR and 2) completely whiffs his block on Washington. Result: loss.|
|Oh, I'd forgotten about this one. Henne believes he's doing a check, lifting his leg then approaching the center to bark out an audible; the center snaps the ball into his chin. Fumble.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 13 min 4th Q.|
|Similar setup to the last waggle bomb; this time an OSU DB takes a flagrant PI.|
|M45||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||-1||Hart||Zone left|
|Vijay's infamous screenshot play.|
|And, of course, when Henne actually finds an open receiver downfield and hits him the guy drops it. (CA+, 2, protection 2/2)|
|An attempted dumpoff, as Henne has sat and surveyed but now things being to collapse. Well behind Arrington, not going for the first anyway. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: AAAAAAAAAARGH AAAAAAARGH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH AAAAAAAAAAARHG|
|Eight minutes left in the game, two score deficit, we still have a fullback around. We run play action; Henne drops to throw deep; Gholston owns Schilling(-2) and clubs Henne to the ground. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Accurate; OSU playing off. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Gholston crushes Schilling(-3), knocking him over, and pressures Henne. Henne nearly throws an interception as a result. (BR, 0, protection 0/3)|
|Drive Notes: AAAAAAAAAARGH AAAAAAARGH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH AAAAAAAAAAARHG. With 6 minutes left in a two-score game and Michigan punting, this charting bullshit is over.|
Let's get this over with.
Despite missing a drive, Henne set a new UFR record for INs; collectively Michigan QBs piled up 14 between them. Applying our standard Metric of Suck -- remove screens, add CA + DO, put in a ratio with IN + BR + TA -- yields 12 good results and 14 poor ones, a 46% success rate. This sucks butt, but not quite as much as Mallett's Wisconsin game; Henne's 2005 Wisconsin game remains his low point.
Of course, there's one obvious reason this happened: Henne's separated shoulder. He was obviously broken and it's hard to blame him for that performance.
That guy has got to be on roids.
Protection: 40/55. Schilling -12, Long -3.
Awful, and every minus received was because of Gholston.
Ye observe balls flying ten yards over your head!
Basically irrelevant, though the two opportunities Michigan receivers had to make big catches were dropped.
What does it mean for Florida?
If Henne is not healthy we have no chance. If he playing at his apex we have a shot. Our running game is uncreative and full of fail and, like everything Mike Debord does, makes babies cry. We should use our killer wideouts and attack the Florida secondary, the Gators' weak point, but we might have to do so with the burned out husk of Henne or Mallett's suck festival.
The Maginot Line in action!
|M45||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||17||PA Stop|
|Zone read fake, Dixon forms up and delivers a strike to a wide open reciever (cover -2). Basically the entire defense bites on this fake, most relevantly Jamar Adams(-1) and Brandon Harrison(-1), who flies up at a guy running a little flat/screen route. This is the kind of thing we should be running from time to time to exploit excessively aggressive corners.|
|M28||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||8||Triple option|
|Zone read fake again into a speed option as the slot guy, who is Oregon's second tailback, motions into the backfield. Jamison(-2), unblocked, crashes down on Stewart, going up the middle, and gives up contain.|
|This is truly outstanding: Johnny Thompson(-1) bites on nothing at all... there's not even any playfake, opening up a spot for an easy slant completion. Michigan blitzed here and didn't get there. (pressure -1, cover -1)|
|M10||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||10||Zone read handoff|
|They're in this no-huddle thing where they line up, fake a snap with Dixon doing the leg lift, and then check for a new call based on the defensive alignment. (I hate this thing, by the way, and wish I could think of some way to outlaw it. Quarterbacks no longer have to check themselves, they just let the coach make all the calls.) Anyway: this time they actually go with the zone read handoff here; Taylor(+1) times the snap and gets a good push into the backfield. Thompson(-1) sort of runs forward, arms extended like he's blind, and getes chopped to the ground uselessly. Then Stewart just makes an awesome play, leaping through a thicket of arms and helmets, landing on his feet, and grinding towards the endzone. Our defense this day was atrocious, but part of that was because Jonathan Stewart is an outstanding player.|
|M1||1||G||Ace 3-Wide||Goal line||Run||0||QB sneak|
|Slipped as he got the snap.|
|M1||2||G||Shotgun 3-Wide||Goal line||Penalty||-5||False start|
|Note: this is a the "1" but is really the one-inch line, thus the M5 on the next play.|
|M5||2||G||Shotgun Tight||Nickel||Pass||Inc||PA Rollout|
|Zone read fake; Dixon keeps and has one guy on a wheel plus the other outside receiver crossing at the back of the endzone. He throws; Donovan Warren is close enough to break it up. (+1, cover +1)|
|M5||3||G||Shotgun 5-wide||Nickel||Pass||-1||WR screen|
|Brandon Harrison(+2) reads this and attacks before he can get blocked, disrupting the play. This is never a good call inside the five, IMO... too many bodies in enclosed space.|
|Drive Notes: FG(23), 0-3, 9 min 1st Q. Is this our best defensive stand of the day? Maybe.|
|Zone read fake. Dixon sets and throws behind his guy, preventing any YAC. Same play as the slant on the previous drive; bad throw and timing turned that into a stop.|
|Dixon has all day to throw (pressure -3). Brandon Harrison(-3) is burnt all crispy by Paysinger. Harrison just gets run right by. WTF? (Cover -2.)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown(2 pts), 7-11, 4 min 1st Q. We're out of position on the swinging gate and give up a two-pointer. Yay yay yay.|
|O23||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||7||Zone read handoff|
|I'm not sure how Michigan can defend this better. Jamison has to stay outside to prevent Dixon from pulling the ball out and running. He collapses down and tackles Stewart, but Stewart is like 240 pounds of rapidly moving anger and he falls forward for a lot. I guess Chris Graham could have been more aggressive, but an aggressive Chris Graham is a Chris Graham who's running himself way out of position.|
|No formation here because of TV. As we come back to the play Dixon is firing a twelve-yard stop route. (Pressure -1, cover -1).|
|O42||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Penalty||-5||False start|
|Graham comes through unblocked on a blitz, Dixon just runs the hell away from him. I don't even think Jamison is blamable here, as he was set up pretty far outside. Once he gets around him, there's acres of space. This is something you just have to live with sometimes when you're playing a quarterback as fast as Dixon.|
|50||2||2||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||6||Zone read handoff|
|Stewart breaks Chris Graham's tackle(-1) that would have stiffed this for no gain, then grinds forward for a first and more.|
|Crable crashes in recklessly as he was not in position when the ball was snapped â€“ most of the defense wasn't actually â€“ and gets hurdled. Michigan is fortunate that this didn't go for a big gain.|
|M42||2||8||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||8||Triple option|
|Zone read fake inside to Stewart is coupled with an option play using one of the wide receivers as a potential pitchman. Since Thompson(-1) and Harrison(-1) react to this slowly, there's no need for a pitch.|
|M34||3||In||Ace Big||Nickel||Run||1||QB sneak|
|For the first.|
|M33||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||-7||Fumbled snap|
|Yay yay yay.|
|Simple stop route ten yards downfield is wide open (cover -1); it's a little behind the receiver but catchable. Dropped anyway.|
|Dunno WTF the Oregon tackle is thinking, but he just decides to not block Jamison. Jamison(-1) overruns the QB ridiculously, letting Dixon outside to scramble for about half the yardage.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG(49), 7-11, EO 1st Q. Note that this "stop" has nothing to do with the Michigan defense: a fumbled snap, a dropped pass, and a blown blocking assignment. This is what we're banking on versus Notre Dame.|
|O25||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||18||Zone read handoff|
|This is Johnson, not Stewart. And this is too easy. Crable(-1) streaks upfield, opening a big lane. Terrance Taylor(-1) gives up that gap at the snap, getting sealed on a textbook easy zone block that allows the guard to come out and pound Chris Graham. The defensive line gave the linebackers no chance.|
|Zone read fake. Trent(+1) breaks on this ball and breaks up the pass(!!!). A nice play. (Cover +1)|
|O43||2||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||7||Zone read handoff|
|Same motion into the backfield that created the first triple option of the day; this time they go with the handoff. Taylor(-1) slants inside, giving up the same gap he did earlier in the drive. Graham(-1) is blocked to the ground, and there's a major gap.|
|50||3||3||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||5||Zone read handoff|
|Same play. Crable(-1) keeps contain but when he dives down to take the tailback he misses the tackle.|
|They hurry to the line and snap it this time, catching Michigan (and the ABC producer) off guard. A short pass is open (cover -1) at the sideline. Michigan misses an opportunity to keep this to a small gain as Donovan Warren(-1) misses a tackle.|
|Jumpin' Jehosephat. This is That God Damned Counter Draw. You know, the one Michigan was burned on time and again during the Year of Infinite Pain. But this time there's no running back. Dixon rolls to the right for a bit, then the two OL on the left side of the line get down and chop their guys as Dixon takes off to the wide open backside. This is a called run. And it works brilliantly. Chris Graham(-2) is supposed to be on the weakside here; when Michigan has corralled this it's because the WLB stayed home.|
|M25||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||14||Statue of Liberty|
|This actually shouldn't work. Adam Patterson has shot past an attempted block by Jeremiah Johnson(+1) and has Stewart dead to rights, but just runs past him. (-2). Graham also takes a terrible angle (-1) and then Stewart just does his thing.|
|M11||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|John Thompson, unblocked, attacks the hole and tackles. Why is he unblocked? I dunno. Brandon Logan also helpful. Probably good play by the DTs this time.|
|Flushed out of the pocket by Brandon Graham(+1, pressure +1) and an unidentifiable linebacker. Good coverage (+1) on the roll and Adams keeping him in front of him keeps this from any yardage.|
|Dixon can't find anyone (cover +1), and is flushed by Brandon Graham(+1, +1 pressure).|
|M3||4||2||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read handoff|
|Stewart right up the middle. Johnson(-1), Taylor(-1); these guys have both been massive disappointments.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-18, 10 min 2nd Q.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||8||Zone read handoff|
|Massive hole inside as Oregon takes advantage of a large split between Crable and Taylor. Thompson(-1) waves aimlessly at the passing Stewart.|
|O28||2||2||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||23||Zone read handoff|
|Complicated dance here; they pull a guard around to block Crable after the zone fake that holds him outside; this works. Then they pull the tight end around this guard to come up and block Thompson. This works. Stewart flies up to the outside, evading the late tackle attempt of Jamar Adams(-1) and Brandon Harrison(-2) being reckless on the outside.|
|M49||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||4||PA short out|
|Zone read fake to a pass play; Dixon throws high to a relatively covered reciever. Harrison makes an immediate tackle. (Cover +1)|
|M45||2||6||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||7||Short out|
|Quick snap â€“ we aren't set â€“ and a rollout to the short side to set up an out at the sticks. Dixon is off, forcing the reciever to retreat; we cannot tackle him anyway and he gets the first. (cover -1)|
|M38||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||-2||Zone read handoff|
|John Ferrara (+2) defeats a block on the inside, closing the hole and making a TFL. I remember when this happened with regularity. Jamar Adams, drawn up, prevents him from hopping outside.|
|M40||2||12||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Is this Ferrara's doing again? He gets shoved back a bit but is enough of a bother such that both men blocking him keep blocking him, allowing Graham and Ezeh to congregate unharried. We'll give him a +1.|
|Before the play, Griese is confused by Michigan not covering the slot guy, thus tipping their obvious zone coverage. He thinks this is dumb. Thank you, Griese. Finally someone points this out on the teevee after years and years of it. Anyway: Michigan's zone covers this just fine(+1). But Chris Graham(-3) runs his ass off attempting to cover someone on a nothing crossing route, opening up vast areas of field for Dixon to run up into. Worst linebacker ever.|
|M25||1||10||Shotgun 5-wide||Nickel||Pass||11||Deep stop|
|Oregon's stacked Stewart and Johnson, their two RBs, at the bottom of the formation. Obviously this has some interesting stuff associated with it. This is just a simple stop route that Dixon throws high but well enough in front of Donovan Warren. (Cover -1.)|
|M9||1||5||Shotgun two-back||Nickel||Run||9||Statue of Liberty Fake|
|This is pretty fricking cool, the way they set this up earlier. Jamar Adams(-1) buys this hook, line and sinker, as does Thompson(-1). Hell, every-damn-body bought this, including Ferrara(-1). Easy.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-25 , 4 min 2nd Q. This drive is the difference between Mike Debord and Chip Kelly, and the decision to hire a guy who's proven he can light up opposing defenses at UNH (UNH!) instead of your buddy is the difference between Carr and Bellotti or Miles.|
|This into a three-deep zone. Disgusting. Jamar Adams(-4) decides not to cover the guy. (pressure -2, cover -4)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-32, 3 min 2nd Q.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||14||Zone read handoff|
|Right up the middle. Taylor(-1) and Johnson(-1) are single blocked and creased, Graham(-1) meekly accepts a block.|
|Zone read fake; easy open gainer. (Cover -2)|
|Dixon zings this over a guy open for the first down. (Cover -1)|
|O42||3||2||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||-2||Zone read handoff|
|We... stop... them? Crable(+1) and Thompson(+1) slice into the backfield for the stop.|
|Drive Notes: Pu... Punt?, 7-32, 13 min 3rd Q.|
|Dixon has time but can't find anyone (cover +2). Harrison (+1) flushes Dixon and Taylor(+1) surprisingly tracks him down.|
|O20||2||22||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||4||Zone read handoff|
|Jamar Adams(+1) comes up to fill this near the LOS. Just fine given the down and distance.|
|Incomplete and dropped; not going for the first anyway. Cover +1.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-32, 10 min 3rd Q.|
|M37||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Deep cross|
|Faked end around gets a wide reciever wide open (cover -2). Ball is a little behind and dropped.|
|M37||2||10||Shotgun two-back||Nickel||Run||7||Zone read handoff|
|Ferrara(-1) blown off the ball, opening up a hole behind him.|
|M30||3||3||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||8||TE out|
|Thompson(-1) gets shoved by the TE as he runs his out and coverts the first down. (Cover -1)|
|M22||1||10||Shotgun 5-wide||Nickel||Pass||2||Jailbreak screen|
|Dixon overthrows this badly. Brandent Englemon(+1) reads it and comes up to snuff it out.|
|M20||2||8||Shotgun Tight||Nickel||Run||9||Power iso|
|A tackle and TE pull around to obliterate linebackers; Ferrara(-1) blown off the ball along with Gallimore(-1) (BRETT GALLIMORE!)|
|M11||1||10||Shotgun two-back||Nickel||Run||1||Triple option|
|Dixon keeps this. Thompson(+1) does well to beat a block and eliminate a pitchman. Crable(+1) stays responsible and corrals Dixon.|
|M10||2||9||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||8||Triple option|
|Gut handoff to Johnson this time. This is embarassing. Crable(-1) misses a tackle, as do Englemon and Trent. Trent's fortunate to force a fumble and fall on it.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-32, 6 min 3rd Q. Yay?|
|O49||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||5||Zone read handoff|
|Johnny Sears(-3). Awful coverage. He's in a deep zone and decides to ignore the guy he's lined up over. Aaaaand defensive charting stops here. (Cover -4)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-39, 2 min 3rd Q.|
You got me. The most damning thing to me: two of Oregon's long touchdowns were thrown into wussy three-deep coverage designed to prevent any long completions. On both, one of the guys in the three deep just decided not to cover a guy running a fly route right in their zone. Result: doom. By now we kind of expect that from Johnny "-3" Sears, but the other culprit was three-year starter and senior Jamar Adams.
Oh, but there's plenty of damning to go around. Chris Graham remains an easy starter on the Todd Howard All Stars*, always running hither and thither without any care as to where he should actually go. He doesn't defeat blocks or read plays or do basically anything well. Jonas Mouton's been held out the first couple weeks with an ankle injury; hopefully he will replace Graham as soon as he's healthy. Both interior defensive linemen have been disappointments. Neither has provided anything in the way of game-altering plays or even running lanes clogged. John Ferrara had the most positive impact of any DT, and no offense to him but that bodes unwell.
*(A team of the worst players in the Carr era who started regularly. Coming soon.)
I guess. You aren't going to like it.
|Jamison||-||4||-4||Hopefully will be more of a menace against non-spread runners.|
|Johnson||-||2||-2||Did little; not the worst offender, but last year we were getting production from this spot.|
|Taylor||3||5||-2||Looks much worse as the main guy.|
|Ferrara||3||3||0||Actually made a few plays; may be promising.|
|Crable||2||3||-1||Not a defensive end.|
|B. Graham||2||-||2||Has played little in the first two weeks; if healed looks like he will be a help.|
|Trent||1||-||1||Our best defensive player? That would say it all.|
|Harrison||3||6||-6||One! One long touchdown... ah ah ah|
|Sears||-||3||-3||Two! Two long touchdowns... ah ah ah|
|Adams||1||7||-6||Three! Three long touchdowns... ah ah ah|
|Englemon||1||0||1||Oh, Brandent. Always with the 1-0-1 line. How blameless you are.|
|"Coverage"||9||28||-19||It's a three deep zone! You can't give up long touchdowns in a three deep zone! What's the point of anything? Why don't I just die?|
Uh... pay no attention to the text next to "coverage." So... violence has been done unto everyone via numbers, and that was only about 2/3rds of that abortion.
Is there any hope at all?
Maybe if Jonas Mouton and Brandon Graham come back from injury and are effective players we will get a boost; also it'll be quite a bit easier going up against Jimmah and Notre Dame's offensive line, which appears to suck at a level even beyond that of Michigan's defense. But, long term: no. The linebacker play is atrocious and will remain so. At this point you may as well throw in Ezeh and Mouton in the hopes that they can learn. The secondary is atrocious and will remain so. Any time we want to go to a nickel we have to put two of the following players on the field:
- a true freshman
- a midget who can't even run fast
- Johnny Sears.
A hypothetical dime package would see all three on the field. Plus, our safeties are Michigan safeties. Finally, the DL has been a huge disappointment. Crable is a useless defensive end; Jamison has had no impact; the DTs have been pushed around time and again.
Things will get better, but bad is as good as it gets this year.
Come on, there must be some bright spots here or there.
Maybe Morgan Trent is a lot better? And John Ferrara made a couple plays as a redshirt freshman, so that's good. But that's it.
What does it mean for Notre Dame?
This is it for the defense. Notre Dame's offense has three points in two games -- the ten they put up against PSU were off an interception return and a punt return that led to a field goal. If they are to be anything other than Indiana in winged helmets, they have to do the proverbial "step up" and club Jimmah and company to the ground.
Can they do this? Uh... well. I expect things will be a lot better against that OL and a true freshman quarterback who's not that much of a run threat. But I also expect busted coverages, sporadic runs, and one or two hair-pulling moments.
Oh, who am I kidding? Four to six.
|M20||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|Third wideout is actually Butler, who comes in motion to the playside. He kind of whiffs on the linebacker but with the help of Ecker, turns him out. Gholston, lined up over Long(-1), gets free, forcing Hart back inside of him and into the remaining linebackers.|
|Smith owned. Henne lays it right in stride to Manningham, allowing him to rack up a big gain after the catch. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)|
|First indication that the field might be an issue, as Washington slips trying to break on this. Wouldn't have done much other than hold the gain down a yard or two, but still an indication. Ohio State's doing this flyaway thing I've seen them do quite a bit where they line up in press cover, then start bailing at the snap. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Ton of time for Henne. Henne looks deep, then comes down to Butler for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|I'm not sure what to call this. It's not our typical zone stretch but it's not really a draw either. Oluigbo leads weakside as Michigan OL start pass drop, then engage. The OSU defensive line has started shifted right, over the tight end, and is walled off fairly easily. Obi kicks out a blitzing corner. Laurinaitis and Kerr get sucked up and blocked â€“ Kerr tries a diving tackle that Hart bursts through â€“ and Hart's into the secondary for a good gain.|
|O24||2||1||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||23||Manningham||Post (2)|
|Press-bail again, where the cornerback immediately turns his hips and starts flying downfield, reading the quarterback. Michigan is ready for this, running a post against cover 1 (seven in the box versus this formation that features Ecker spread wide to the top of the formation). Manningham gets inside Smith easily and throws a perfect dart. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Yeesh. Nearly a hold on Butler as he grabs a cornerback's arm, and then he falls to the ground. Obi gets the other corner hooked and Hart has the corner easy.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 12 min 1st Q. I didn't realize the Dave Matthews Band had kicked in for this game. Anyway... uh... yeah. That was machine-like.|
|Manningham slips... he was open and the ball was there despite pressure. Ball was there. (CA, 0, protection Â½)|
|Michigan has the outside sealed â€“ Laurinaitis swept up by the guard and then Obi â€“ but Arrington can't maintain his block on Jenkins. He comes free and shuts Hart down for a moderate gain. Riley(-1) driven backwards, delaying Hart's progress around the edge and giving Jenkins time to come up.|
|Second read nails Breaston between the numbers. Excellent coverage. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|M31||1||10||I-Form Twins||Penalty||-5||Mitchell||False Start|
|OMG DEREK JETER|
|Ugh. Manningham is ten yards past Jenkins and heading for an easy touchdown but Henne overthrows him. Manningham throws his arms up in despair. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Another second read. This one is a bit in front of Butler but still reeled in for a good gain. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Plenty of time. Ecker is jammed at the line and held. Henne appears to have Breaston short quickly but he never comes to him. Eventually he tosses it away, trying to avoid pressure. Musberger getting intolerable. (TA, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 4 min 1st Q.|
|Henne has a moment before Lawrence Wilson drives Ecker(-1) into the pocket, forcing a panicked scramble. He has to realize what's happening and do something like dump the ball off to Hart, who looked like he had some room to make positive yards. Instead we get the same thing we've seen a lot this year where Henne takes his eyes off his receivers and gets sacked. (PR, --, protection 1/2, Ecker -1)|
|Well executed. Good blocks by Arrington(+1) and Butler(+1). (CA, 3)|
|M23||3||1||Ace 3-Wide||Run||0||Hart||Zone right|
|Oh, how I despise this playcall. I've been bitching about this all year, no? Third and one, we bring in three wideouts and run a stretch play without a lead blocker. They stuff the box, sell out on the zone play, and stuff it. Musberger credits Laurinaitis when all he did was chase down the play after everyone else did the hard work.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 14 min 2nd Q. Dear Animal, Your Kid Is Overrated.|
|M27||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||1||Hart||Zone left|
|With two receivers to one side, OSU shows eight in the box then backs out of it just before the snap. OSU gets far enough upfield to cut off the outside and with the still aggressive safety on the backside the linebackers are free to flow to the ball, outnumber the Michigan blockers.|
|Actually an intentional grounding call but it goes down as a sack. Henne has time and the ability to make a throw here but hesitates and starts r unning around, at which point he's dead. Strange thing is that he started running into pressure instead of moving up into the pocket. I have no idea if his man was covered or whatever, but this is brutal play. Step up in the pocket, throw it away... do something other than take a 17 yard sack. Goddammit. Now I see why the hesitation: Henne's receiver (the second read) ate turf trying to cut. He was open, so Henne didn't come off of him, and when he went down the blitz had gone from picked up to not picked up. Filed as a BR for poor pocket awareness but with an asterisk. (BR, --, protection 1/2)|
|Open underneath deep coverage and picks up half of it. I don't have a huge problem with the call. It's 14 yards of field position and getting it on third and twenty seven is not likely. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M25||4||12||Punt||Penalty||15||--||Whackin' the Center|
|Yeah, you can't do that. Ever wonder why long snappers are always the third guy downfield on punt coverage? Because you can't hit 'em until they get their head up, by which point hittin' em is useless.|
|M40||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||0||Hart||Zone left|
|Against the strength of the formation. There's a bit of a problem with the exchange, but it doesn't affect the play. No one gets a block on the second level or much push. Riley(-1) is so late he tries to go out and block the corner to that side because the linebacker's already yards inside of him. Hart cuts back. There's a lot of space but two unblocked linebackers.|
|No blitz and hardly any penetration from the DL. Weird looking screen. The third "wideout" is actually Ecker screen side, which might be a tipoff. Pitcock reads it and tracks down Hart; Hart jukes past him easily (Kraus slips to the turf trying to turn and block him) but the delay holds down the gain. (CA, 3)|
|Henne checks down as Manningham is covered and hits Breaston on a cross. He's tackled immediately by Freeman. Nice play. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-14, 8 min 2nd Q.|
|Smith bails out, giving Manningham a ton of room. There might be a miscommunication on this as the throw is a yard or two further downfield than Manningham expects. Still catchable but only marginally accurate given the error. Not sure who to blame. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)|
|Woo. Life. Laurinaitis is plowed by Oluigbo and out of the play, then Hart puts a move on the safety to break past the line of scrimmage. He puts a second move on Jenkins, bursts past him, and is tripped by by a diving corner.|
|50||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||1||Hart||Zone right|
|Extra guy in the box; they're in cover one with a seven man front. No likey run here. The front side is jammed up â€“ we can't crease them so far â€“ and when Hart tries to cut to the backside Gholston is there. Butler was confused, initially blowing past him in an attempt to get out on a linebacker, then turning and trying a half-hearted grab a second later. Gholston would have been vastly out of position on the waggle if Henne kept the ball.|
|O49||2||9||I-Form Twins||Run||7||Hart||Zone left|
|This is kind of weird. Looks like OSU is caught in a nickel here. They have one safety way back in the middle of the field and one shaded over Arrington and Manningham. The third corner backs off the LOS before the snap in that weakside zone technique you see a lot. We run at him. We finally crease the line, giving Hart a lane. Someone dives at his feet, he hurdles forward and falls for seven yards.|
|I bet an OSU fan a dollar about Herbstreit's opinion on this. Jenkins jams Manningham about eight yards downfield as Henne lofts a ball up for him. Flag comes down as the ball was in the air. Bet is a push, as Herbstreit offers no opinion either way. (Not charted, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Poor Alex Mitchell is asked to block two defensive linemen as we bust a blitz pickup. Henne's snowed under, no chance. (PR, --, protection 0/3, Riley-3) It's Riley who decides to take a late blitzing corner instead of blocking Gholston.|
|Combo route with Manningham gets Arrington millions of yards open â€“ this will happen again in the second half but Henne will miss him â€“ and leads to a touchdown. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-21, 2 min 2nd Q.|
|Massey slips trying to set up and block Smith; freed of Ecker, Smith makes the tackle. (CA, 3)|
|Laurinaitis does a great job of fending off Oluigbo â€“ first time I've ever seen him do that â€“ and manages a tackle attempt near the LOS. Hart runs through it. The other linebacker, Kerr, was engaged on the second level nicely by Bihl(+1) and can't do anything but chase Hart down from behind.|
|This is Adam Kraus' hole. He gets an outstanding, driving block on Kerr. Long kicks out Gholston; Bihl chops and removes Pitcock, who was firing forward at the snap. Oluigbo takes out Mitchell, opening up a hole for Hart.|
|No presnap formation; we join the play just as Hart gets the ball. Don't know if we caught them off guard or what but they have their linebackers shifted towards the open side of the field, away from where we're running. Patterson gets in to the backfield but can't get out to Hart before he shoots up into the hole. Bihl(+1) scoops Pitcock out of the way, and gets out on Laurinaitis. Hart reads everything beautifully and cuts his way through the ho le, past Bihl, and into the secondary.|
|Obi motions out to be a second TE on the right side. Great job by Butler(+1) to seal the DE, then impede Laurinaitis enough to give Hart the corner easily.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-28, 12 min 3rd Q.|
|O25||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|Nominally eight in the box â€“ Jenkins on the weakside covering a short zone â€“ but we run away from two blitzers who shoot upfield and take themselves out of the play. As a result, the backside is wide open. Hart sees it... cuts... slips. His hand hits the turf and he stumbles. Out of position linebacker (55?) recovers. He makes that cut cleanly and he has one safety between him and the endzone and a sure first down.|
|O20||2||5||I-Form Twins||Run||-2||Hart||Zone right|
|Playside block for Bihl on Patterson that he does not make. A replay of various runs all season where a DT drives one of our interior linemen into Hart in the backfield. Hart breaks the tackle but by that time he's swarmed.|
|Gholston and Pitcock stunt; Gholston blows up Kraus(-1) and gets pressure on Henne, who ends up throwing the ball away in the general direction of Manningham. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Kraus -2) No Gholston likely means he throws to Breaston free on a crossing route after coming off Manningham.|
|Drive Notes: FG, 24-28, 8 min 3rd Q. The obvious issues with the field are actually affecting our offense more than our defense. Hart was one move away from the endzone on first down here.|
|Batted down at the line. (BA, 0)|
|Quick snap. Long(+1) gets great push on Richardson, allowing Hart the corner. Obi takes out the nearest linebacker and Hart goes up the sideline until the defense converges.|
|Ohio State blitzes; we pick it up. Mario comes across the formation and is trailed by a defender, revealing man coverage. With time, Henne finds Arrington, who's beaten Smith to the inside by a couple yards. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)|
|Quick snap. Long(-1) is hesitant (slip?), allowing Gholston to burst into him and shove him back. He then definitely slips. With the DE to the playside free, there's not much Hart can do except cut up into bodies.|
|Beautiful pocket. Henne drops back and fires it to Arrington running in between levels in the zone; right on the money. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O33||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||0||Hart||Zone left|
|Smith brought off of Arrington in the slot to blitz; does so right into the play. Arrington comes in motion before the snap and manages to wall off Smith without blocking him in the back. Hart jumps outside of him. Timing disrupted, the safety already creeping towards the line of scrimmage, Hart has the outside cut off and has to head upfield.|
|Don't know what Long's doing. The DE slants inside and gets there, driving towards Henne. Henne has to get rid of it and throws to an open Butler but can't step into the throw with the pressure and sails it. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Long -2)|
|Stunt. Patterson splits the gap between Riley(-1) and Mitchell(-1). Henne, under tremendous pressure, has to toss it away. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Mitchell, Riley -1)|
|We've seen this play all year, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's a checkdown to Breaston on the crossing route a few yards short of the sticks. Breaston cuts and slips to the turf. Does he make it otherwise? Maybe. We've seen him do it before. He had Jenkins to contend with... 50/50.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on Downs, 24-35, 4 min 3rd Q.|
|Ugh. The aforementioned overthrow on the wheel route. Arrington was open by about ten yards and all Henne had to do was lay it in there for a 20 or 30 yard gain. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|OSU blitzes right into this. Obi gets a piece of Laurinaitis and allows Hart a crease to split the two linebackers; Hart then owns Brandon Mitchell for another four yards.|
|Jenkins step for step with Manningham but has given him way too much room inside. There's a window here for a completion... unfortunately, Long passes Gholston off to Kraus, who hasn't slid his protection. Result: Henne hit as he throws, underthrown ball, and a punt. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Kraus -2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-35, 1 min 3rd Q.|
|Ohio State strings this out nicely. Obi decides to head outside and Hart follows him. Ecker is battling Gholston to a stalemate when Wilson shoots past Long(-1) and grabs Hart from behind.|
|Play is made by Arrington's killer block on Washington. Breaston's speed got him outside the defensive end. I don't see how this replay is indisputable, by the way.|
|By all rights should be stopped at the one by an unblocked Mitchell with Kerr impacting him a moment later. Hart plows in anyway.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-35, 14 min 4th Q.|
|Henne stands in bravely as Patterson goes right past a confused Mitchell/Bihl combo and hits an open Manningham for about six yards with a lot of YAC potential. It's dropped. (CA, 2, protection 0/2, Mitchell -1, Bihl -1)|
|Open and he's immediately into the second level with the linebackers dropping way downfield.|
|Washington jams Breaston and he's yards away from the ball as the pass is thrown. Uh...BR, I guess. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 31-35, 10 min 4th Q.|
|Underneath the coverage for a few; need yards in bigger chunks here. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Double clutch as Henne comes off Manningham and hits Arrington. It's a little low â€“ there was an opportunity to get a few more yards and then OOB if accurate. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Comes down to Hart as his first read or two is covered. Jenkins makes a nice ankle tackle to hold the gain down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Beautiful throw well downfield in between four guys in the zone. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Throwing under the coverage. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Holding on Riley and a call that has to be made. Henne puts this in a tiny window in the zone right on Arrington's hands. Arrington is blown up by Laurinaitis but holds on. (DO, 2, protection 0/2, Riley -2) Shame. GOOD LORD. ABC does its standard "look at the guy who screwed up shot" and catches Alex Mitchell popping Riley's shoulder back into place.|
|Good for 8 to 10 if Ecker makes a simple catch. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|This is just terrible from the right side of the OL. I can't get that mad at Riley â€“ shoulder â€“ but when the DE swims inside and no one's coming at Mitchell, he has to get out and help Riley. He ends up blocking no one, getting Henne sacked. (PR, protection 0/2, -1 Riley, Mitchell)|
|M44||4||16||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||Inc + 15||Manningham||Bomb|
|Weird. Herbstreit immediately bursts into a spiel about how that's obvious interference and I'm like 'no it isn't.' This ball is well underthrown â€“ Mario had burned O'Neal crispy â€“ allowing the S to get back into the play. He doesn't look, the ball hits him in the back or arm or something, and Manningham's progress is never impeded. This is the same kind of crappy call we've been getting on our DBs all year, and it's still crappy when it happens in our favor. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Underneath again; a second read as Arrington was running the wheel again. Defender on that side dropped back to cover it and Henne's second progression was the cross. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Not well thrown â€“ Massey has to dive to the ground and scoop the ball off the turf as he gets into the second level â€“ but I think Freeman's threatened bump caused Massey to get to the designated spot a little late. Great catch. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Though incomplete this is an excellent decision and throw from Henne. Arrington is bracketed and with 2:30 left in the game and no timeouts Michigan can't really afford little checkdowns anymore. So he fires it high and to the outside where only Arrington can get it. It would have been a miracle if he pulled it in but it was still the best option. Filed as TA. (TA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|OSU blitzes; we pick it up but only momentarily. Henne starts moving up in the pocket and I'm like "aaah no more useless Henne scramblor", then finds Ecker wide open at the six; he takes it in for the touchdown. (CA, 3, protection Â½)|
|Just a little stop in front of the zone. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown(2PT), EOG|
So... the field?
It clearly harmed Michigan on a few critical plays: stumbling receivers on various passes, a Hart run that was held down to five that should have been a big gain, a fourth down conversion attempt that ended with Breaston skidding to the ground yards short of the sticks. Overall, far more Michigan players ended up face down on the turf than Ohio State players, and though I gave the turf theory little credence in the immediate aftermath of the game I have to say that on replay there's about 8-10 instances where a Michigan player's inability to plant is relevant and maybe 1-2 similar plays for OSU.
How could this be true? Theories:
- Michigan has guys who rely on sharp cuts more often. Manningham's a double move guy. Breaston's entire football usefulness is built around his ability to change direction faster than anyone else. Hart is a low-to-the-ground, compact back in a running game that demands wild changes of direction fairly regularly. Meanwhile, Pittman and Wells are more north-south guys and Ginn just runs straight past people.
- OSU's used to playing on crappy turf, having dealt with this issue all year (OSU's resodded twice). Maybe they know what they can and can't do when you're on the football equivalent of ice levels in Super Mario Brothers.
Now let's not get all PSU here. Unless this is a brilliant conspiracy launched as soon as word of a zone rushing game reached OSU coaches' ears that sacrificed an entire year of reasonable field conditions and was immediately followed by the installation of fieldturf, the conditions were more fortuitous than a dark plot. But it's clear that the conditions harmed Michigan more than they did Ohio State.
This will no doubt lead to an assertion that "both teams played on the same field," but if Michigan installed a field that randomly shot white-clad players in the kneecap you would agree that this is not a situation that impacts both teams equally, yes?
The difference between the two quarterbacks comes in the final column. Smith hardly ever had things filed "PR" because even when get got "PR-ed" he usually got off a short hitch to Gonzalez or Hall or Ginn or whoever because we couldn't cover long enough for unblocked blitzers to be useful. Henne, on the other hand, got swamped by linemen:
Protection: 34/55. Kraus -4, Ecker -1, Riley -7, Long -2, Mitchell -3, Bihl -1, assorted miscellaneous.
Some of that was just the scheme: Michigan's routes need time to develop. Primary reads on each play are long gainers and our little checkdown routes are slow-developing crosses. Henne spent vastly more time with the ball in his hand than Smith did. Some of that was just bad play. some of that was no doubt Henne-caused, as there were a few more instances of run-around-uselessly theater (though, like Navarre, Henne has started to indicate that he's getting better at this late in his junior season: see the Ecker touchdown).
(Question for peanut gallery: I'm thinking about adding a "marginal" category. It would live in-between "CA" and "IN" and exist for throws that are, well, marginal, like a slant that's completed but forces the wide receiver off his feet to catch it, removing the possibility of YAC. Yes/no? I'm bothered by the huge range of throws in the "CA" category.)
A good day from the receivers, who got a ton more work in this game than any previous. Only one drop of a 3.
Well, if you had told me we would score 39 points I would have kissed the man. And even in the aftermath he revealed himself to be anything but a run-first curmudgeon when Michigan isn't being mind-bogglingly arrogant. DeBord used the pass to set up the run and this worked. We marched down the field mostly through the air on the first drive, and from that point on Hart picked up a number of huge gains on draw plays. He established Henne and Manningham as threats early and forced Ohio State to defend everything. I have few quibbles with anything DeBord did.
I do have some questions:
- We didn't run play-action once. How bizarre is that? Henne's throwing the ball all over creation and there's not so much as the token draw fake we throw out there nearly constantly. No waggle, either, even though Vernon Gholston displayed a predilection for being wildly irresponsible about it.
- I swear to God if I see another zone stretch in three-wide on third and short I am going to short-circuit. How many drives this year died at the hands of that call? I'm going to revisit this in the offseason, youbetcha.
- The screen and Hart dumpoff nearly vanished from the playbook this year. That's understandable because the passing game spent much of the year in mothballs and why screen when they expect you to run every first and second down, but I still miss it.
That was the Michigan "scoring offense," and it scored. Next year, when our number of reliable cornerbacks dips to zero and quarterback pressure becomes less of a given -- in short, when our defense does not destroy (almost) all comers -- it will have to be deployed all game long, especially with a senior Henne.
How come we never throw over the middle?
What, are you stuck in 2005? This time-tested complaint should be shelved until 2008. Henne is now probing the middle of the fiel d on digs, crosses, seams, and posts with frequency and success. Yes, this is a reminder for the first game of 2007, when we run a really boring offense against a MAC school and everyone freaks out.
What does it mean for Probably LSU?
An interesting note on LSU's pass defense: it has faced no one who even approaches competent save Chris Leak. (We all agree to discard Brandon Cox from that category, right? Right.) Eric Ainge missed UT's game against the Tigers. Jonathan Crompton stepped in, but not very well.
Leak was held in check -- 17/26 with an interception for 155 yards -- but that's partially because Tim Tebow ganked his touchdowns. If we face the Tigers I'll provide a fuller breakdown, but a cursory glance at their opponents reveals a virtual who's who of D-I's worst passing offenses. Wait... make that worst offenses, period.
Anyway: Chad Henne was deployed fully for the first time since the Notre Dame game and turned in an impressive performance. He has total command of his reads and routes. His accuracy is greatly improved. His pocket awareness... needs work but is improving. So aerial fiesta against LSU? Maybe. The issue the game will turn on will be protection. Michigan struggled to keep Henne clean and LSU presents a similar challenge -- 7th nationally in sacks and just generally very LSU-y, which is to say good God they're terrifying.
|O31||1||10||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||2||Long handoff|
|Hall(+1) holds this down wonderfully, making the tackle after a stiffarm. (CA, 3 â€“ screen) (Cover +1)|
|Combo route designed to beat zone coverage that OSU knows we're in because we have Burgess lined up over Ginn and Gonzalez. Burgess(-1) bites on play action, then slips on the turf as he tries to react to the pass. Slip was probably irrelevant. (CA, 3, protection 2/2) Note: Biggs also slips trying to cut and attack the rollout of Smith. (Cover -1, pressure -1)|
|Play action is a speed option fake. Ginn gets open deep on Hall(-1, cover -1) but Smith overthrows him, probably because Woodley(+1, pressure +1) gets loose and plows him as he throws. (IN, 0, protection Â½)|
|Smith throws underneath the zone to Hartline. Graham(+1) makes a nice tackle. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|OSU goes five wide and motions a guy up into a three WR set at the top of the screen â€“ something we do when we throw our diamond screen. They run patterns out of it against obvious zone coverage, flooding that zone and giving Smith an easy read of one guy. He steps out, Smith throws in. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, cover -1)|
|OSU rolls away from Woodley and into Biggs(+2), who works through a TE block and even a double team to reach out and hurl Smith to the turf. (pressure +1)|
|Woodley(+1) goes right around Schafer, nailing Smith as he throws. It's a screen but they were blocking the DEs. Pass still complete, but David Harris(+2) fights through a block and tackles for no gain. (pressure +1) (CA, 3)|
|Two blitzers, mistimed. A safety is yards from the LOS at the snap, and OSU rolls away from it anyway. Smith finds Hall well past the sticks as Sears(-1) is beaten badly. (cover -1) Where is the deep safety? We double Gonzalez on a shorter post... Smith just finds the open guy. (DO, 3, protection 2/2, pressure -2)|
|We run ourselves out of this play. Stunting? Or just fooled? I think the latter, as we overreact to OSU's first step and get trapped. Biggs(-1) gave up the hole.|
|Ginn in that "Ginnback" thing. They try the slip screen; Ginn drops it. A little in front of him, but come on. (CA, 3)|
|Ugly. All Hall does is run like five yards downfield and stop. He's open by yards... we're rushing three! Harrison(-1) misses a tackle to compound his coverage. (Cover -1)|
|M9||1||G||Base 4-3||Pass||7||FB flat|
|Musberger calls it a "slant." At least when Jackson started slipping he had his essential Keith-Jackson-ness to fall back on. Anyway. Fake end around. Crable in man coverage against the fullback, can't get out there in time. (Crable -1, cover -1)|
|Excellent job by Woodley(+1) to penetrate and get Pittman's legs in the backfield. Harris pops him to finish the play.|
|Hall wide open on a pick play. (cover -1, CA, 3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 6 min 1st Q. Herbstreit goes on about the confusion on the touchdown play, but that was a simple pick â€“ a legal pick, since the receiver never impacted the defender â€“ that was rock to our man-coverage scissors. OSU spread us out, putting us in obvious zone coverages, and found the open receiver each time. When we went to man on third and sixteen he found the mismatch against Sears. What can you say?|
|OSU lines up in the I and runs. This is a zone play... weird. Pittman decides to cut it back inside as Crable(+1) cuts off the outside. Burgess is unblocked and makes the tackle.|
|Woodley slips trying to explode into his pass rush. Trent(-1, cover -1) is also playing way off, certainly too far to bother this slant. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Pittman manages to plow ahead for a few right up the middle; the pull to the outside doesn't open up any space. Harris fills but has to deal with a guard diving at his feet and so can't move up that quickly.|
|Harrison is cut and Sears takes a couple steps back at first opening up the screen. (CA, 3)|
|Taylor(+1) gets good push; Woodley(+1) is into the backfield too quickly for the pulling guard to block him properly. Pittman up into a mass of unblocked linebackers without a lead blocker.|
|Smith fires to an open Ginn underneath the zone. It's a bit hard and outside and dropped. A catch was only going to get three, anyway, as we actually had this one reasonably well covered. (CA, 2, protection 1/1) (cover +1)|
|Michigan loads up with six rushers against an empty set. Smith is forced to backpedal and toss it away with an unblocked blitzer coming in. (pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 1 min 1st Q. Michigan goes three and out and gives OSU the ball back right where they punted it.|
|A designed run for Smith. Fakes the end-around to Ginn then rolls out. No pass option here as his wideouts to that side are blocking. Good contain from Adams(+1); Harris pounds Smith as he cuts back.|
|O48||2||4||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||52||Zone left|
|It all starts out so well. Crable(+1) penetrates into the backfield and blows this play up. Wells spins away from Crable's tackle â€“ unfortunate but at the speed Crable's going not shocking â€“ and cuts up in to the line, managing to squeak behind Branch(-1) as he gets shoved by his blocker. Harris, reading the blocking, has moved to the frontside of the play and gets blocked out. Burgess is containing the cutback. Once Wells manages to cut through the line the linebackers are toast. Adams(-2) takes a terrible angle and Mundy(-2) reacts way late. A great play from Wells, some luck to find the hole after the spin move, and late reacting safeties.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-14, 12 min 2nd Q.|
|Taylor(+1) pushes into the backfield, forcing Pittman to cutback. He makes an ankle tackle for a small gain.|
|Another late blitz. Smith hesitates â€“ we must have covered someone â€“ long enough for the blitzer to get there. Crable(+1) also disengages and is about to sack Smith when he rolls outside of him, steps up, and fires a dart to Robiskie 20 yards downfield. Hall(-1, cover -1) misses the tackle, allowing Robiskie another 20 yards. Trent is the last guy and makes the tackle. Alan Branch slips here trying to get upfield on the Smith rollout. (DO, 3, protection Â½) Harrison wiped out trying to cut and tackle Robiskie, too. (pressure +1)|
|M48||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||10||Off guard|
|Taylor(-1) doubled and blown off the ball. He can't hold his footing or explode out of his stance. There's a big hole and no linebacker around because Burgess(-1) tacks too far inside.|
|OSU rushes up to the line in a big set and alarm bells go off in my head... it's second down, why pull out this quick snap thing for a second down? They playfake. Hall has let Ginn behind him but that's to be expected. What's not expected is Mundy(-2) having bitten ridiculously hard on a nothing conversion attempt, giving Ginn the center of the field wide open and Smith an easy throw. (DO, 3, protection 2/2) (cover -2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-21, 6 min 2nd Q.|
|Same zone fake Smith ran off of before the Wells touchdown. He rolls out, finds Gonzalez in a hole in the zone, and hits him, (CA, 3). Both linebackers bit hard on the fake, opening up the hole. (Crable -1, cover -1)|
|Hall playing way off in man. (-1, cover -1) (CA, 3)|
|Ugh. Hall(-1) getting killed. Robiskie gets inside of him on the post and Smith fires it in there. We were in some sort of blitz package that came way too late, leaving the secondary manned up. (DO, 3, protection 2/2) (cover -1, pressure -1)|
|Smith hesitates though it looks like he has Robiskie on a simple hitch. That delay allows Crable(+1) to crush Smith and force an errant throw. (PR, 0, protection 0/2) (pressure +1)|
|Four receivers to one side in this empty look; we have three defenders out there plus a deep safety. All defenders get run off, giving Smith an incredibly easy read and throw to a wide open Gonzalez. (cover -2, CA, 3, protection 1/1) Sears(-1) misses a tackle.|
|Graham(+2) does a great job of reading this, beating a block, and tackling. (CA, 3)|
|God. We aren't covering anyone. They have Gonzalez lined up against Graham... which needs a word stronger than "mismatch" to describe it. This actually appears to be a zone but there's so much space here. Easy. (Cover -2) (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Combo route against the zone. Corner steps towards Gonzalez, Smith goes short. We tackle this time. (Cover -1, CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Graham(-1) is trying to cover Gonzalez. This works about as well as you would think. (Cover -1, CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-28, EOH.|
|A deep one at the sticks that's open. (Cover -1) Smith one-hops it. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Ginn open on the out (cover -1); flat drops it. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Branch(+1) comes free on a stunt, forcing Smith to throw fairly quickly. He throws it low to Ginn, who can't pull it in. Trent was in position to tackle short of the sticks anyway. (CA, 2, protection Â½) (cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-28, 14 min 3rd Q.|
|O17||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||2||Zone right|
|Branch(+1) plows into the backfield, forcing Pittman wide. Burgess(+1) comes up around a blocker to make a tackle near the LOS.|
|Well timed blitz from Mundy(+1) gets one guard trying to block him and Harris(+1). Harris comes free, forcing a throw from Smith that's early and only vaguely accurate. (pressure +1) (CA, 1, protection 0/2)|
|Smith hesitates â€“ first guy is covered â€“ Biggs(+1) gets free, as does Crable, forcing him to scramble out. Smith fires it to Robiskie, who's doubled by Harris(+1) and Adams(+1). The ball deflects up and is intercepted by Branch(!, +1). Poor decision. And we covered not one but two guys. Killer. (Cover +2, pressure +1, BR, 1, protection Â½)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 21-28, 10 min 3rd Q.|
|Easy pitch and catch in front of Hall(-1, cover -1). (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|They pull a guard around into the hole. With the FB they have blockers for both Harris and Burgess plus a sizable hole between Biggs and Branch(-1), who gets blocked down out of the hole. Pittman's through the hole fast and with Adams rolled up near the LOS, only Mundy(-2) is between Pittman and t he endzone. Yards after Mundy: 45.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-35, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|O28||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||3||Zone read|
|Same shotgun zone stretch play OSU has run or faked a few times before. There's a hole between Woodley and a doubled and blown off the ball Branch(-1), but the hole closes quickly.|
|Taylor(+2) times the snap, shoots into the backfield, makes a six yard TFL, and picks up a holding call. Outstanding.|
|Woodley(+1) slips to the ground, manages to get up, and pressures Smith into a throw short of first down yardage to Nichol. Englemon(+1) is in great coverage, forcing an incompletion. (pressure +1, cover +1, CA, 2, protection Â½)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-35, 3 min 3rd Q.|
|Line creased as Branch(-1) slants inside at the snap right where they run the ball. Harris taken out by the fullback, and I'm about to sarcastically congratulate Ryan Mundy for making a good tackle until Brandent Englemon (31 instead of 21) gets up. Mundy was yanked after the Pittman run.|
|O25||2||5||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||-14||Speed option|
|First Smith fumble. Bad time to get a high snap when you're taking off as soon as it's snapped. Branch(+1) hustles for the recovery.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 24-35, 1 min 3rd Q.|
|In front of Hall. (Cover -1)|
|O33||2||3||Base 4-3||Run||4||Off guard|
|Same quick pull of the guard they've been using with frequency. Johnson in at DT; Harris walled off by the FB; Englemon comes up and tackles.|
|O37||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||4||Off guard|
|Mirror image of the last play. Harris and Crable disengage and grab Pittman at the LOS, but their momentum is going laterally as Pittman's goes upfield, so he is able to drag them forward a few steps.|
|Blitzing six against an empty set. Woodley comes free and nails Smith; Ginn runs a simple hitch that Trent(-1) plays too far off of then misses a tackle(another -1), giving Ginn a bunch of extra yards. (CA, 3) (cover -1)|
|M38||1||10||Base 4-3||Pass||6||TE Out|
|Graham(-1) late reacting in his zone; Nichol very open as he goes to the sidelines. (Cover -1)|
|Immediate tackle from Harrison(+1) prevents a conversion. (Cover +1, CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M29||3||1||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||-2||Fumble #2|
|Snap just falls out of his hand and rolls backwards.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 31-35, 12 min 4th Q.|
|Taylor(+1) holds up at the line, sees where the play is going, and submarines Pittman as he gets to the LOS.|
|Think there might be a pass option here but filed as a run anyway. The DE on his side stumbles, opening up a ton of room and he takes off.|
|O28||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||26||Fake WR Screen|
|They fake that Ginn slip screen then turn around and hand off to Pittman going the other way. Harris(-1) starts flying towards Ginn and is gone. Branch manages to read it but can't get out there. Englemon slips to the turf as Pittman cuts past him. We were going to give up eight or so at least but the turf didn't help here.|
|No pull this time. Harris stands up the FB and disengages as Michigan converges â€“ eight in the box here.|
|Same play. No room as Branch(+1) and Taylor(+1) hold up.|
|Hartline on a slant in front of Sears. (CA, 3, cover -1)|
|M33||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||0||Off guard|
|Nothing. Another good job by the DTs. (Taylor +1, Branch +1).|
|Woodley(+1) crushes Smith as he throws, as he's unblocked. Okay. (Pressure +1)|
|M38||3||15||Nickel||Pass||Inc + 15||Goddammit|
|Smith has some time to start, until Branch(+1) bowls through a guy. Smith rolls out, avoids Biggs, and runs to the sideline, throwing up a prayer as he reaches the sideline that Robiskie can't get back to. Then, the flag. More later. (IN, 1, protection 1/2, pressure +1, cover +1)|
|This could not be easier. Trent is hanging back, way out of position, and never breaks on the ball. Terrible. (-2, cover -1)|
|M14||2||1||Base 4-3||Run||1||QB Sneak|
|Ton of time. Ton. Smith sits back, waits for his receiver to cut, and fires to a wide open Robiskie. Trent, summing everything up, slips helplessly to the ground. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, pressure -1, cover -1)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-42, 5 min 4th Q.|
God, I don't know. I've always believed that there's not that much you can do when an opposing quarterback is on like that. Several times in the second half we managed to get to him and force errant throws, but I think our much-ballyhooed defensive adjustments were overblown. Second-half drives:
- Smith short-hops an open receiver on first down; Ginn drops a first down out on second; on third we do get a little pressure, forcing a throw that wouldn't get a first down even if completed.
- Three straight good plays: a run stop, pressure, an then actual coverage.
- Two-play touchdown drive.
- Two runs get OSU in 3rd and 11, then Woodley pressure forces a punt.
- The first fumble; unforced on second and five.
- OSU drives down to the Michigan 29, then fumbles on third and one.
- Crable-aided touchdown.
So, yeah, there are a couple good plays interspersed in there but it was usually one of every three snaps. The difference was some OSU errors -- drops, an errant throw, fumbles -- and OSU's decision to go with less consistently effective running plays. There was no adjustment to be made that would suddenly make that four and five wide package anything other than a mismatch.
The really disappointing part was not the pass defense -- that guy's going to win the Heisman and for good reason -- but the two free touchdowns on runs up the middle. The Wells touchdown was dangerous as soon as he slipped through that crack in the line. The backfield spin changed his direction suddenly and oddly, putting linebackers in untenable positions. Branch is a big guy flowing down the line and he couldn't stop his momentum (footing may have been an issue) in time to slow him down. A running back coming straight down the middle of the field with a head of steam and no linebackers is a recipe for disaster, and disaster it was.
Helmet to helmet?
Well, it was helmet-to-helmet. So, yeah, it was a good call as the rule book is constructed.
But it was irritating, right? Not just in the "oh god now we're going to lose" sense, but because it was irrelevant and arbitrary. Shawn Crable's just trying to make a play. He's running full speed, Smith's running full speed, and he's just trying to make a play. If Smith was any other player taking that hit, they don't throw a flag. I can understand the rationale for trying to keep a stationary quarterback protected from headshots, but if he's running willy nilly all over the field a defender's ability to control exactly where and what he's hitting is limited at best.
Is this a nation of men? Should we just outfit quarterbacks with pink jerseys and frilly tutus? The Russkies must be licking their chops.
|Woodley||6||6||Never quite got to Smith but forced a number of errant throws with pressure.|
|Biggs||3||1||2||Had a sack. Woo.|
|Taylor||6||1||5||Lifted a lot. Held up against OSU's late game runs and helped kill a drive with a four-yard TFL.|
|Branch||7||4||3||A lot of good plays; a lot of slanting away from run plays. Hell of an INT, though.|
|Crable||4||1||3||Don't blame him for the penalty, really.|
|C. Graham||3||2||1||Not a cornerback.|
|Burgess||1||2||-1||Tried to go but was eventually lifted.|
|Englemon||1||-||1||Why Mundy instead of him?|
|Trent||0||5||-5||Aaaand the corner position next year is very much in question.|
|"Pressure"||11||6||5||How did this happen? Well, Smith scrambled out on a few instances of pressure, the coverage was so bad that he threw a ton of short routes, and hardly ever held the ball long enough for pressure to come.|
Um. Alan Branch intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, plus did fairly well late in the game when OSU lined up and ran it (as did Taylor). Lamarr Woodley was pressuring Smith all day, albeit often unblocked and never in time for a sack. But when you give up 42 points and over 500 yards of offense there's not a lot of backslapping going on.
I do hate this bit. I wince at the idea that Pat Massey stumbled across this thing and swore a silent vow to choke me to death should he ever run across me (If so, Pat, this is what I look like).
But goddamn, sometimes it just has to be said: Ryan Mundy is a 50 yard touchdown waiting to happen. He was out of position on the Wells touchdown, blazed by Pittman on his long run, and -- most egregiously -- came up hard on what was a second-and-inches fake dive, robbing Leon Hall of safety help he expected and needed. I don't pretend to understand the intricacies of safety play, but I don't think I need to when we give up a million long run in 2004 with Mundy the starting FS, one in the first half of 2005's first game that's obviously his fault, none the rest of the year with Mundy out injured, and none in all of 2006 until Mundy is pressed into heavy duty with Barringer out and Englemon inexplicably benched.
Not that the rest of the secondary was any better. Hall and Trent were both victimized repeatedly on any route you care to name. And while we knew that Trent was kind of dodgy on short throws, Hall's inability to so much as slow down whoever he was covering was a killer. Hall does get bonus points for limiting Anthony Gonzalez -- I believe they were matched up most of the second half and Gonzalez was not effective -- but whenever he was thrown at his man was open.
Chris Graham isn't a cornerback. But you knew that.
What does it mean?
Well, I was wrong about the Ball State game being irrelevant: Johnny Sears was indeed forced onto the field with frequency and that didn't go so well. If we do get LSU we will be facing a highly efficient pass offense, but is it more Notre Dame or Ohio State? I haven't seen enough of them to know, but only three wide receivers have more than six catches this year (though Jacob Hester has only 91 rushing attempts in LSU's running-back-by-demographic-trend and 34 receptions... third down back or RB/WR?), meaning that it's unlikely we see the four and five receiver sets that murdered us versus OSU. At they very least, if they do they'll be shoehorning them in and throwing to guys who haven't seen much of the ball.
But LSU is a statistical nightmare: 6th in pass efficiency, top ten in every defensive category aside from rushing, where they're 15th. Badass up and down.
|You know it, you love it: zone left on the first play of the game. Pretty well blocked, but Mitchell's guy gets free of him and closes down Hart's hole after a few.|
|Manningham runs off the zone, leaving Breaston wide open a long way down the sideline. Hene flutters the ball out there, but it's accurate. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Blitz up the middle is unblocked; Henne gets the ball out anyway to Manningham, who makes a semi-tough catch. (CA, 2, protection 1/2, no specific blame.)|
|Nowhere for Hart to go off the left side of the line. Momentary pause is followed with a bounceout all the way around fallen IU defenders and a nine yard gain. Hart is k-rad.|
|O28||1||10||Trips Empty||Pass||Inc||Breaston||Diamond screen|
|Breaston motions over to the trips side of the formation for the obvious screen; Henne throws it wide of him. (IN, 0)|
|O28||2||10||I-Form||Run||16||Hart||Lead draw (2)|
|This director refuses to show the play until it's underway. Ecker(+1) gets a nice block on the second level; Breaston also comes in to seal the last guy that can get Hart before he's into the secondary. Well blocked all around. I miss this play.|
|Cutback this time as the front side is closed off. Riley's actually cutting guys now. This one isn't completely wonderful but does delay his man enough to get Hart a lane. Corner comes off Arrington to pop Hart and grabs his ankles, preventing him from getting another couple yards.|
|Mitchell(-1) whiffs a second level block. His man comes in on Hart; Hart ducks under his arm and plows for a couple.|
|Note that we've spent most of this drive in 2TE with the TEs overloading one side and twin WRs to the other. We do this again and run to the strong side. Oluigbo is one of the "tight ends" in this case. Same cut as the last play between Bihl and Riley with Mitchell trying to get a guy on the second level. He does better this time. There's a small crease between him and Riley occupied by the DE, who's trying to fend off a blocker and is moving laterally. Hart crashes into him, blowng him back three yards and finding first down yardage.|
|Perfect throw and catch. (DO, 3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 10 min 1st Q. Less sloppy than previous games. Helped by IU defense best described as "not present."|
|Hart decides to cut all the way back past the backside tackle, dodges an unblocked guy to prevent a TFL, and gets a yard.|
|I prefer the waggle when we get a guy on the outside to block the backside end or linebacker, giving Henne more time to throw. This one doesn't feature that, so he dumps the ball to Butler for a moderate gain. (CA, 3) Still in the overloaded twins formation.|
|Marginal throw behind Manningham forces a double-clutch grab and prevents him from getting the first down. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)|
|M47||4||1||I-Form 2TE||Run||4||Hart||Zone left â€“ Iso|
|Yeah, this features zone blocking but the directive is clear: Obi finds a crease and Hart follows him. This seems a different playcall than the stretch stuff that drives me mad on third and short. Oluigbo does find a crease as Mitchell(+1) gets enough of a playside block to force the IU DT back a bit. Oluigbo finishes blowing up the DT; Hart has a path.|
|Pitch and catch; nicely executed. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|O38||1||10||I-Form||Run||17||Jackson||Zone right (2)|
|Against the strength of the formation and another cutback lane. Oluigbo(+1) deftly pilots a filling linebacker out of the play. The backside is two blocked IU guys, cavernous space, and a safety trying to fill. Jackson bursts through a tackler near the LOS and rips off a major chunk of yards.|
|O21||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||6||Hart||Zone right|
|Kraus cuts the DT, totally eliminating him and opening up a huge cutback lane in the middle of the field. Hart makes a brilliant in-out cut that had him free for a big gainer but stumbles at the last moment.|
|Token draw fake; Butler finds himself in one-on-one coverage with the free safety. The ball is placed right in Butler's hands but he juggles it and Meyer accidentally bats it free. Great throw; not so great catchin'. (DO, generous 2, protection 2/2)|
|Henne throws a dead-on bullet to Arrington for the first down. Arrington holds on despite the safety nailing him as he catches the ball. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Mitchell's guy on the second level beats him to the spot and makes the tackle at the LOS. Near impossible for him to make that block given how quickly the IU guy read it.|
|O4||2||G||I-Form 2TE||Run||4||Hart||Zone left (2)|
|IU dead from the snap here; DE attacks outside and is sealed. DT also pushes inside. Kraus gets out and gets a second level block. Massive hole; Oluigbo thumps the last defender with a chance. Hart touchdown.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 4 min 1st Q. File under make OSU prepare: more empty sets plus this overloaded twins formation.|
|M31||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||1||Hart||Zone right|
|Only six guys in the box and Michigan runs away from the seventh, shaded over the slot WR. Unfortunately, this is away from the wide side of the field and the strong side of the formation. Momentary double on the DT by Kraus and Long; Kraus tries to disengage to block the linebacker but is too late. Hart's forced outside into unsealed guys.|
|Balanced TEs this time. Short side again (WTF). Linebacker comes through unblocked (also again) as no one gets out at him. Grumble grumble playcalling grumble. Hart powers through the tackle and falls forward for his customary four-yards-from-nothing.|
|Well wide. Had Breaston on that short cross wide open, too. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 1 min 1st Q.|
|M26||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||12||Hart||Zone left|
|Wide open on the left side â€“ the strong side, as Hart has a huge cutback lane. I initially thought this was a draw due to Henne's straight-ish dropback and Hart's immediate backside cut. A planned playcall? I do know that the backside DE flies up towards Henne, opening this up. Hart gets past the linebacker shaded over the slot WR and slips a couple tackles. I heart Hart.|
|M38||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||62||Breaston||Hello, Nurse (2)|
|Dude, like, we could have used that versus ND last year. I keed, I keed. Post and go pwns Meyers; Henne drops it in his midsection; Breaston catches it yay. (DO, 2, protection 3/3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 10 min 2nd Q. Dear Bill Curry, if our biggest concern versus OSU is people tracking down Steve Breaston from behind I'll take that chance.|
|O49||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||6||Hart||Zone right|
|Hart cuts back behind Kraus. A linebacker has an angle and gets a hand on him a couple yards downfield. This is not enough to slow him down. He stumbles and powers and generally Mike Harts his way for six yards, tacklers draped.|
|Balanced TEs. Not much room; Minor hops inside an attempted arm tackle. Bihl(+1) is driving his man well downfield, allowing Minor to follow him for near first-down yardage.|
|O40||3||1||I-Form 2TE||Run||0||Hart||Zone left|
|A linebacker isn't blocked. He flows down the line, steps up through a crease and hits Hart in the backfield. Another run to the short side, not that it would have mattered much.|
|O40||4||1||I-Form 2TE||Run||7||Hart||Zone left|
|Same formation, same play. This time there's a gap between Long and Kraus. Long's kicked his guy out and for some reason the Indiana DT gets sealed instantly, dooming the Hoosiers.|
|O33||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||-2||Minor||Zone right|
|I'm not sure what the deal is on this play. There's a huge gap between Bihl and Kraus, especially with Oluigbo flying up into it to pound the linebacker, but Minor hesitates and runs into a mass of blockers and defenders on the left side. Theory: one of those counter-zone plays that Minor screwed up. Acres on the backside here, which is also the strength of the formation.|
|I guess you could blame Jackson for this shaky blitz pickup, but two more guys come free, forcing Henne to step up into the pocket and the two remaining Hoosier pass rushers. Ugly all around. (PR, protection 0/2, -1 Jackson, -1 Kraus/Bihl)|
|O36||3||13||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||22||Ecker||Deep cross (2)|
|Protection is great, great, great this time. Henne sits back in the pocket and fires, hitting Ecker in the numpers past the sticks. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Ecker follows up his nice catch with a crappy block. Kendal blows him backwards. It forces Jackson to cut back inside, then outside, disrupting the play's timing and screwing up what's otherwise a big gain.|
|Hey... at least it's his second read. With no one occupying the corner in the short zone, he's free to drift back and step in front of Henne's pass. (BR, Breaston, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 21-3, 3 min 2nd Q.|
|M41||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||3||Hart||Zone right|
|Eighth guy in the box for the first time this game â€“ Indiana perceives that the scoring offense has gone in the box, perhaps. Kraus' man gets playside of him and engages Hart at the LOS, making the tackle. Decent crease otherwise.|
|Minor chooses to plow ahead; I think he's got a major lane to the right that he misses. Plowing ahead is good for about four, as the Indiana DL has given up the ghost when it comes to holding up at the POA.|
|Oluigbo lined up at TE. He's beat by his man after the PA fake to the inside, forcing Hart to pick him up and leaving a blitzer from the outside unblocked. Henne stands in and rifles a pass 20 yards downfield that hits Breaston in the chest as he's being hit. (DO, 3, protection 1/2, -1 Oluigbo)|
|See, this is why I think we have more running plays in the playbook than zone right, zone left, and draw: Riley's first two steps here are parallel to the LOS â€“ almost backwards â€“ and he only engages his guy once he knows he's got the outside shoulder. He's sealed, and this play is supposed to go outside the tackle. Early in the year I labeled stuff that seemed like it was supposed to go like this "off tackle," then decided everything was the same and just went with "zone right/left"... now I'm not so sure. Anyway: yes, Riley seals his guy. Manningham, motioned in presnap, gets out and blocks a linebacker, as does Butler. Jackson goes off tackle for a nice gain. I mutter and type in "zone right."|
|Grumble! Also think this is planned to go the backside, as we fake an end around. This holds the backside DE and opens up a cutback lane that Jackson exploits like whoah.|
|O17||1||10||Ace||Run||16||Jackson||Zone left (2)|
|Not so grumble. Here Long engages right away, making me think this is a traditonal zone left. It goes outside anyway â€“ great second-level blocks by Butler and Kraus; Long seals his guy. Breaston's motioned in and is trying to deal with a safety. When Jackson gets to the outside he makes a smart cut upfield when he clearly had a pretty good gain outside. The smart cut carries him past Breaston's guy and another player trying to get outside, getting down to the one.|
|O1||1||G||I-Form 2TE||Run||1||Jackson||Zone left|
|Met at the LOS; Jackson gets his pads down and powers through. A well-deserved touchdown.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown (missed XP), 34-3, 5 min 3rd Q. I don't get why Jackson was the starter for most of the year when Hart went out. Grady potential whatever but on the field Jackson has owned him. I wonder if history would have been different if he wasn't injured early in Hart's freshman year. He must have been better than Underwood. If Grady gets any carries versus OSU he must have incriminating photos of Carr.|
|IU cuts off the play side with a blitz. Jackson cuts back finds more bodies, cuts back some more... space. Cuts up past Mike Massey then bounces it out again. Nice run. Why can't you be a freshman?|
|Zirbel and Boren in on the left side now. This run in stuffed as there's no crease on the left; unblocked linebacker on the second level finishes the play|
|Coupled with an end-around fake and designed to go off right tackle. The backside guys don't take the bait this time.|
|Zirbel is owned by Kenny Kendal. If we're going to get a QB killed subbing for Long, could it please be Forcier?|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 34-3, 13 min 4th Q.|
|Notice all the 2TE sets? I imagine we wanted to use these all year but with Ecker and Massey out (plus Butler suspended one game) we never really got the opportunity.|
|Good job by Boren to ride his guy out, providing a lane. IU's defenders are overrunning the play.|
|Will Paul in. This is like that window in the fourth quarter of a MNF game where you talk about anything other than the game.|
|Brown needs work. Should have redshirted.|
|AAAAARGH YOU'RE GOING TO GET HENNE KILLED AGAIN. Oh. Screen. (CA, 3)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 34-3, 8 min 4th Q. Next drive features Chris Richards; charting ceases.|
- Savoy now has zero reception for seven yards; he's the all time leader in YPC.
- Forcier is all runny.
- Darnell Hood pwns you.
OSU OSU OSU OSU OSU.
We showed a few things we hadn't before, or at least not for a while:
- Massey and Ecker's return also featured the return of a lot of 2TE sets that had receded in favor of the I or three-wide.
- Steve Breaston running a deep route, and catching it.
- The empty sets we started breaking out a few weeks ago.
- A few fake end-arounds that are designed to cut back inside the DE.
Manningham was used sparingly, though just about everyone ends up being used sparingly when you only throw 15 passes. He looked fine on his two catches.
|Notre Da me||6||10||2||2||0||1||3|
A weird game from Henne where he was either doing something really bad (interception, misthrowing a screen, winging it wide to Manningham) or throwing lasers twenty-to-forty yards downfield. The lasers outweighed the errors, say the numbers, and I agree. That's partially an artifact of playing Saturday's red-clad men that claim they are a secondary, but a 62-yard bomb placed delicately between the 1 and the 5 on Breaston's jersey is a 62-yard bomb placed delicately between the 1 and the 5 on Breaston's jersey. Henne was also aided by a couple plays where Indiana rushers didn't come within five yards of him. I don't expect a similar performance against a much better defense, but if we get one...
Not much throwing to go around. No mindboggling drops, but Butler probably should have had the potential touchdown thrown to him. Otherwise, the WR corps was perfect.
More on this later, but I think there's strong circumstantial evidence that we'll be able to move the ball on Ohio State. Opponent running backs in Hart's statistical class have done well versus the Buckeyes this year, but have had vanishingly few carries because damn near everyone is trailing big early. In the pass game, Gholston versus Riley seems problematic but Rueben's quietly put together a solid season. Other than one play against Iowa where he unwisely tried to limp back onto the field after an injury and immediately gave up a sack to Brian Mattison, I can't remember any "aaaargh Riley" moments since the Wisconsin game. Say what you want about the level of competition, but he's done well enough to escape much mention in UFR for about half a season.
That'll obviously be a key matchup, but how much worse can Gholston be than Abiamiri? I think we'll see a couple plays at Riley's expense but my main worry is receivers catching the damn ball.
As much as DeBord grinds my gears, one thing Michigan has always done is pull out the stops for OSU. I expect a fairly even run-pass balance unless our relative proficiency at one blows the other away. No more of this 80% rushes on first down. I doubt we'll see any wacky halfback passes or flea-flickers or whatever. I also doubt Michigan will throw away a couple possessions trying to figure out if they have to get Henne out of mothballs.