if you seek an image of the most Wisconsin OL ever, enter here
upon further review
New thingy: "pressure" charted much like "coverage" is. First attempt seems generous.
|O23||1||10||Base 4-3||Pass||14||PA Deep comeback|
|Waggle on the first play; a nice call from the Minnesota OC. Wheelwright drives Hall off, then breaks back to find a perfectly placed ball. Excellent execution. (DO, coverage -1, pressure -1)|
|Biggs is unblocked by the tackle on that side. Minnesota pulls a WR to block him, but his attempted chop is avoided, leaving Biggs(+1) free to dive at Pinnix and stop this for a minimal gain.|
|Branch(+1) comes free a bit late, forcing a dumpoff to Pinnix. Harris(+1) comes up to prevent any YAC. Cupito had some time to find a receiver but not much. (coverage +1, pressure +1)|
|Essentially a replay. Some time for Cupito but not much. Biggs(+1) spins free, forcing a checkdown which is read and tackled by Harris(+1) (coverage +1, pressure +1, CA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, ??? 1st Q. Michigan didn't get a sack or even a hit on this drive, but on second and third down they did get enough pressure to force a Cupito dumpoff and vanishingly few yards.|
|O21||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||20||Pitch sweep|
|Spaeth, lined up wide, comes in motion towards the line and crushes Jamison to the ground. I'm cereal: he's blown off his feet. The WR remaining to that side comes in and gets a block on Burgess as two OL pull around. One steamrolls Stewart, the other gets a block on Mundy downfield. End result: 20 yards, none of which I think we could have done a damn thing about. I think we were in trouble when we shifted our linebackers towards the wide side of the field, where Minn's second TE was lined up, and forgot about the omnipresent threat of Spaeth clocking someone. Stewart (-1) could have done better downfield.|
|Branch(+1) penetrates into the backfield, getting a hit on Pinnix just as he reaches the LOS. Burgess(+1) cleans up.|
|O40||2||11||Base 4-3||Pass||Inc||PA Throwaway|
|Branch(+1) breaks through the line almost immediately, forcing a Cuptio scramble and errant throw. (IN, pressure +1)|
|Good protection for Cupito, who fires behind Payne. Marginally catchable. Some discussion about Jamar Adams getting in Payne's way potentially being interference... and it probably is. Without it, Payne's way past the ball and it's probably a Hall interception, actually. (IN, pressure -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 2 min 1st Q.|
|Goes right up the middle with Minnesota in a three-wide formation. A disappointing play. Branch is doubled and driven back; Taylor's penetrating move upfield is used against him. (-1 for Taylor.) Result: hole up the gut. Both Burgess and Harris have to take on blockers and can only make a downfield tackle as a result.|
|Both DTs get caved in again (-1 Branch, Taylor). Adams in in the box; he makes a stop downfield.|
|I think this is our first blitz of the game. Crable(+1) gets in on Cupito quickly, forcing a dumpoff to Spaeth. Adams(+1) closes quickly but is dragged a couple yards. (Pressure +1, CA)|
|O42||2||6||Base 4-3||Run||-1||Pitch sweep|
|Good job by Crable(+1) to fight through a block and get to the outside of his man, forcing a Pinnix cutback. Woodley(+1) and Harris(+1) converge to make the tackle.|
|Outnumbered to the wide side of the field, as our linebackers are shifted to the weak side. Pinnix takes the handoff and doesn't meet a Michigan player until he's past the first down marker. Stewart, lined up in press, doesn't recognize the play at all â€“ but when you're in press coverage on third and seven that's not a shock. I don't like Harris'(-1) tentative play here. He pauses in the middle of the field for a moment despite two Minnesota OL pulling to the outside, which gives Pinnix the corner and the first down.|
|Jamison(-1) bites hard to the inside, opening up the short side. When Jamison figures out that Pinnix doesn't have it he takes a couple steps towards Cupito, not Payne. Burgess also gets trapped inside.|
|M38||2||3||Base 4-3||Run||1||Pitch sweep|
|Alex Daniels in. He fumbles the pitch momentarily. Burgess(+1) cuts up between two OL to make a play near the line of scrimmage.|
|M37||3||2||Base 4-3||Run||0||Pitch sweep|
|Pinnix decides to cut this up, right into the waiting arms of Branch(+1). He probably ends up with about as many yards if he moved to the outside, as Crable(+1) was coming up hard.|
|M37||4||2||Base 4-3||Run||10||Zone Right|
|Again we seem misaligned. They're in a straight I with a tight end on each side of the line. We have Crable lined up just wide of the TE to the short side, a cornerback lined up a yard and a half behind him, and two linebackers in the middle of the field. They run away from Crable's side to the vacated area of the field, and despite Terrance Taylor(+1) driving his guy way into the backfield, neither linebacker can get to Pinnix, partially because the Minnesota fullback levels Burgess.|
|Daniels runs right into the waiting arms of Taylor(+1), who spun off a block and closed the hole at the LOS.|
|Token fake to Pinnix. Woodley(+1) discards a blocker and pressures Cupito, who hits Pinnix against the motion of the play. Hall(+1) comes up to make an immediate tackle. (Pressure +1, CA)|
|Payne just outruns Stewart(-2). I know Payne's good and all but I can't imagine this happening to Trent. (DO, coverage -1)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7, 8 min 2nd Q. Already we've lined up in an odd formation that gives Minnesota an advantage should they run to one side or the other three times. Each time, Minnesota has taken advantage of that opportunity and gashed us. Shades of the disastrous Russell run that cost us last year's game.|
|O31||1||10||Base 4-3||Pass||14||PA Comeback|
|Hall(-1) is there at the catch but misses a tackle, yielding 6 extra yards he didn't have to. Michigan was coming if this route wasn't open. (Coverage -1, CA)|
|O45||1||10||Base 4-3||Pass||Inc||PA Fly|
|Cupito is way long... Hall in good coverage but not great coverage. (IN)|
|We blitz past Pinnix, opening up a bunch of space for him. Harris and Burgess (-1 each) get obliterated by blockers.|
|M41||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||-4||Zone Right (2)|
|Woodley(+3) twists around the tackle, getting penetration into the backfield and stoning the play.|
|We send five; no pressure. Stewart(-1) is way off Payne, open for a good gain. (CA, coverage -1, pressure -1)|
|M35||3||4||Base 4-3||Run||0||Pitch sweep|
|Brandon Harrison blitzes into the sweep. He's eventually crushed backwards, but his momentum manages to convince Pinnix to cut inside. On the inside, Biggs(+2) has done an excellent job to spin off his blocker and meet Pinnix at the LOS.|
|M35||4||4||Base 4-3||Penalty||-5||False Start|
|Convinces them to punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, EOH.|
|Hall closes on Wheelwright immediately for a minimal gain after the catch. (CA)|
|Big hole up the middle because Taylor's almost tackled by the guard, otherewise he picks up a TFL. Downfield, Burgess is getting doubled and Harris is blitzing away from the play. Should have been a holding call.|
|Backup center in. Taylor(+1) gets quick penetration, delaying a blocker destined for Burgess. Unblocked, he quickly fills the hole and tackles.|
|O48||2||11||Base 4-3||Pass||Inc||PA Deep out|
|Not great pressure but Branch does drive his man back and discard him, forcing Cupito to throw. The throw is a very tough one, as Decker is bracketed by Hall and Mundy in the zone. (IN, Coverage +1)|
|Terrible play by Harrison(-1). Run off by a deeper route, he reacts to the cross to Payne by coming up hard instead of trying to get wide and funnel Payne back to the help coming to the inside. If he takes a shallower angle it's highly likely this is stopped short of the first down. (Coverage -1)|
|M39||1||10||Base 4-3||Pass||-10||Misdirection bomb|
|Mundy(-1) toasted on this play. Holding called on a Minnesota guard trying to block Terrance Taylor(+1). I've seen worse go uncalled and it was not relevant to the play, but Taylor had gotten free except for the Minnesota player's arm clearly grabbing him outside of his shoulder pads.|
|M49||1||20||Base 4-3||Run||-1||Off tackle|
|Slow developing because we blitz. Englemon takes on the fullback, blocking off the outside. Crable's(+1) blocked by a DL but sheds him and attacks the LOS. Englemon finshes the tackle.|
|50||2||21||3-3-5 Stack||Run||2||Zone Left|
|Biggs(+1) holds up outside, forcing Pinnix back into the defense. Will Johnson flows down the line and closes down the cutback.|
|M48||3||19||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||Inc||Deep Cross|
|Crable(+1) and Woodley(+1) force Cupito out of the pocket. He lofts a hopeful ball to Wheelwright, batted down by Hall(+1). Barringer also around. (Uh... CA, coverage +1, pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, 11 min 3rd Q.|
|O20||1||10||Base 4-3||Run||0||Off tackle|
|Woodley(+1) penetrates into the backfield before being spun out of the play. Pinnix tries to come up inside, but that's filled by Burgess(+1), leaving him to try the outside again... Woodley there to make the stop. The entire backside was full of un-cut Michigan defenders, as well.|
|O20||2||10||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Out and up|
|Cupito lays it inbetween a beaten Stewart(-1) and a quickly closing Barringer. Should have been a completion for a first down but Wheelwright can't handle the somewhat difficult throw. (CA, coverage -1)|
|Burgess's blitz stunt is unblocked and results in a QB hurry for Michigan. Cupito throws a comeback that's unlikely to result in a first down even if Crable(+1) doesn't deflect it at the line. (BA, pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, 4 min 3rd Q.|
|Jamison(+1) gets some penetration, cutting off the outside. Pinnix cuts behind the man blocking Jamison, but Harris(+1) fills the gap, avoiding the cut block of the late-arriving pulling guard.|
|O20||2||10||Nickel||Pass||Inc / -10||Deep Out|
|Cupito needs a second or two more for this route to finish, but Harrison(+1) avoids a block on his blitz and Branch(+1) spins off a tackle. Cupito has to throw it early and Decker isn't ready for the pass. (IN, pressure +1) Holding penalty backs Minnesota up to the 10 but no replay is provided. I don't see it from the original angle. Weak call.|
|The kind of play you cede in this situation to get a third and long. Five Michigan players converge on Pinnix downfield. Hall(+1) came up to cut off the outside, removing any potential for major yar dage.|
|Uh... okay. Nice job by Englemon(+1) to get off the block and tackle.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, 12 min 4th Q. They give up after the holding penalty. Glen Mason coaches to win!|
|Stewart versus Wheelwright this time. Stewart(+1) gets a bump right before Cuptio throws, disrupting the timing of the route. Probably irrelevant since the throw was not going to be catchable anyway. (IN)|
|We zone blitz; Minnesota is prepared for it. Biggs fakes a rush then drops back awkwardly, not in time to get between Spaeth and Cupito. Hall probably tipped this pre-snap when he threatened a blitz from the corner, as we've run a lot of zone blitzes this year where the DE opposite a corner blitz drops into coverage. (CA, coverage -1)|
|Either miscommunication or a really poor ball. Decker is missed by yards. (IN)|
|Cupito has time. Good coverage(+2) for a while, then Cupito flushes himself out of the pocket and gets rid of it. (TA, pressure -1)|
|O20||3||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||Inc||Deep Cross|
|Decker wide open (coverage -1) about 20 yards downfield. Cupito throws way behind Decker. (IN) Reason it was so open: Barringer bangs into Hall.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-7, ??? 4th Q. Clock malfunction again.|
|Good coverage from Burgess(+1, coverage +1). Spaeth wings it wide anyway. (IN)|
|O16||2||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||23||Deep Out|
|Some guy named Chambers gets a step on Mundy(-1). Cupito puts it on the money â€“ tough throw, especially as he's about to get hit. (DO, pressure +1)|
|Burgess comes free on a delayed blitz, forcing a throw from Cupito. It's accurate but Hall(+1) gets a deflection, I think. (CA, pressure +1, coverage +1)|
|Good protection. Crable is about two inches away from hitting Cupitos arm but can't quite get there. Payne gets open underneath the safeties and Brandon Harrison (coverage -2, pressure -1)|
|Stewart(-1) hit with pass interference, as he impedes the receiver's progress with the ball in the air with his body. Sort of like the Trent call in the ND game except without the obvious offensive PI afterwards. Probably unnecessary. (coverage -1)|
|A simple six-yard stop. Stewart(-1) manages to whiff on the tackle and let him outside, equalling touchdown. That's not a good play. (CA, coverage -1)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-14, 4 min 4th Q.|
|We blitz but don't get there. Mundy(-1) is man-on-man with Spaeth and is beaten badly on the post; Cupito lays it out there for him (DO, pressure -2, coverage -1)|
|Crable(-1) and Burgess(-1) both miss tackles that would make this a minimal gain.|
|Spaeth sits down in front of the zone. (CA)|
|Hall has a big cushion on Wheelwright and backpedals on the snap. Wheelwright stops ten yards downfield and Hall is way off him, moving backwards. Makes no sense on the 19 yard line. (Hall -1, coverage -1).|
|Receiver never breaks on the route. Not charted.|
|Caught but out of bounds. Johnny Sears now in. (Coverage -1, CA)|
|Harris(+1) right with Spaeth, making the high and hard throw almost impossible to catch. (CA, coverage +1)|
|They roll the pocket. Michigan's all over the side of the field where the pocket rolls to and gets fairly quick pressure. (Coverage +1, pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 28-14, 3 min 4th Q.|
Was that a letdown?
Well... yeah, a bit. You can point to the total yardage allowed when Minnesota got the ball back down 28-7 (it was essentially 400 yards to 200 yards), but in terms of possessions this was a remarkably short game. By that point in the game Michigan had only faced eight Gopher drives. Only one of those had ended in a score, but Michigan narrowly escaped letting in a second touchdown when the referee threw a tenuous flag for holding and only one of the Gopher drives went three-and-out.
It's hard to get really righteously angry when your opponent has seven points when the game is over (and with five minutes left in the game down 21 it was over, despite the wackiness at the end), but Minnesota was more successful than any opponent to date against our defense.
|Woodley||7||7||Same as last week. All plays came against the run, though.|
|Taylor||3||3||0||Uneven but all right.|
|Branch||5||1||4||Quieter day than normal.|
|Jamison||1||1||0||Not the sort of opponent he excels versus.|
|Crable||6||1||5||Solid day from all the linebackers.|
|Mundy||3||-3||Didn't really cover anyone.|
|Trent||-||-||DNP due to broken hand suffered against Wisconsin. Expected to play versus MSU.|
|"Pressure"||11||7||4||A little generous, perhaps, but Cupito was forced to throw when he did a lot of the day. Any hesitation from him would have resulted in a few sacks.|
|"Coverage"||10||15||-5||Was approximately even until desperation drives from Minnesota.|
Pressure is a work in progress. In general: three step drops are not charted. Longer drops get plusses if the QB has no opportunity to find a player downfield because of incoming players. Sacks generally get bonuses. Minuses appear when a QB has a ton of time. The scale shifts towards the negative when a blitz comes, as it should be easier to get to the QB then.
With that in mind...
The front seven did a good job holding the Minnesota rushing game in check. About half of Minnesota's yards on the ground came on three plays where we were misaligned before the snap and unable to compensate afterwards, including the sweet 20-yarder where Spaeth knocked Jamison into next week. There was but one minus on that play, handed out to Stewart, because we were essentially dead on the snap. That's on the coaches, not the players.
When the players were in a position to halt the Minnesota ground game they did so, getting contributions from everyone. Woodley would make a play, then Branch, then Biggs, then Taylor or Harris.
It doesn't take obsessive tape review to see that Charles Stewart wasn't particularly good. He was beaten for both Minnesota touchdowns, had an unnecessary pass interference call, and didn't exactly display the fierce run support that was rumored to be his calling card. His momentary presence as a starter in name only now looks like a motivational ploy aimed at Morgan Trent more than a reflection of reality. It could just be one rough game, but I was skeptical about his contribution in the offseason and am more skeptical now.
Also: Brandon Harrison's tendency to take bad angles on guys running short crossing routes was cute when it was the only thing wrong with the defense against ND. It's less cute now.
The safeties were less than stellar on Minnesota's deep passing, getting reprieve by flag once, then watching as Minnesota took huge chunks of field late in the game.
So, Morgan Trent was injured, huh?
Yup. Respect my authorita!
He should be back next week. No word yet on Jamar Adams, who missed the second half with an undisclosed injury.
What does it mean for Michigan State?
Depends on whether the Spartans have packed it in for the year. Without Ringer they're down to two big, pounding tailbacks who don't seem like huge counter draw threats, and they're still shuffling their offensive line around. Illinois had five(!) sacks against them. All signs point to the defensive line wreaking havoc. Expect a lot of the 3-3-5 Michigan's deployed this year with Crable featuring as a roving blitzer.
Michigan State will move the ball, IMO. They'll come out fired up and play competently because they're Michigan State and that's just what they do to spite Michigan. Stanton's struggles over the past two games are aberrations in a fine career. And the Spartans put up 37 on ND, anyway. They have talent.
That said, things are lining up nicely for Michigan: Stanton's ribs are bruised, Ringer's out, and the interior of their line is having issues. Their running game is severely hampered. If they get in a lot of third and longs as a result the returns from Illinois indicate that Stanton is going to be buried under Branch, Woodley, et al, until his ribs go splat.
|Against the strength of the formation â€“ probably wise as Wisconsin anticipates run, bringing a linebacker up tight against the TE and moving a safety into the box. Hart(+1) turns this into four by breaking the tackle of MLB Zalewski, who's unblocked. Riley was following him around but that's a tough block to attempt.|
|M24||2||6||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||14||Arrington||PA Out|
|Token draw fake. Henne goes through his five-step drop and fires immediately to an open Arrington a couple yards short of the sticks. Zone defender to his side has been run off by a Manningham fly route, resulting in a lot of space for YAC. (CA)|
|If Ecker can get his man pushed back a couple yards Hart gets a wide-open corner and a first down. As it is, he is shoved himself, forcing aHart cutback. That would have been just fine but Alex Mitchell(-1) fails to cut the DT, who cleans up on the backside.|
|Wisconsin covers this very well, leaving Henne no one to throw to. He keeps running for a first down. Mobility! (TA)|
|We run into eight guys; unsurprisingly the box is completely jammed. Hart(+2) meets a Wisconsin defender a yard into the backfield but somehow manages to drive forward for four. Spielman notices this, too, and points out the victimized player. When he's not going BOOM or POW! He's an able color commentator.|
|O48||2||6||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||4||Breaston||Slip screen|
|Read very well by Langford (I think). Breaston is forced inside and tackled by the linebacker flowing to his spot. I think we need some patterns that exploit a defense's tendency to insta-attack whenever Breaston starts running parallel to the line of scrimmage. (CA)|
|Throw might be a tiny bit high, but it hits Manningham(-2) right in the hands and ricochets into the air. Not Henne's fault at all. Manningham is fallible. But only just. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. Something that's beginning to bother me: 3/3 first down runs, two of them from a three-wide formation against eight in the box.|
|M27||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||10||Manningham||PA Out|
|Actually only six in the box. The reason? Wisconsin sends two corners on the snap, but they start so far from Henne that getting to him in time to do anything useful is very doubtful: this is a run blitz. We don't run, and Manningham is open on the sidelines for an easy pitch and catch. (CA)|
|Eight in the box, and it's the eighth guy who cuts off the outside when Ecker turns his man in, forcing Hart to cut it up. First contact here is at the LOS. Hart(+1) makes four yards out of nothing again.|
|Seven in the box, one of them spread out to nominally cover a slot reciever on the strong side. We run weakside and there looks to be an excellent hole for a moment until Zalewski closes it down, unblocked. Bihl did not get out on him, although it looks like he might be getting held.|
|Henne slips trying to plant when he finishes his drop, and Deandre Levy is upon him immediately, having beaten Riley(-2) badly. (PR)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 6 min 1st Q. 4/5 first down runs, 3 into eight-man fronts. Hart hasn't had a hole yet but manages to make four yards on every play.|
|M29||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||33||Arrington||Seam (2)|
|UW tries to go straight man with a safety on Arrington, who proves thats a bad idea by streaking down the seam. Before the throw Henne looked off the safety, opening the route even further. (DO)|
|Seven in the box and even though Kraus totally whiffs on the WLB, Hart(+2) cuts to the backside â€“ adequately cleared this time â€“ and breaks tackles for ten yards.|
|Eight in the box. Hart cuts behind a linebacker when Jake Long manages to get a bare touch on him, knocking him off balance. Safety fills.|
|Well-read by Wisconsin. Breaston(+2) manages to turn this from -4 into +4 by beating two separate defenders four yards apart.|
|Hart cuts back and meets two Wisconsin defenders. Normally I think he gets this, but not this time.|
|I though they thought they had less yardage to go. 6/8 first down runs, 4 into eight.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 0-7, EOF.|
|O36||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||8||Hart||Off tackle|
|Long(+2) destroys the defensive end, pancaking him and getting a linebacker caught in the wash as a result. Hart has a ton of room.|
|Seven in the box. Hart cuts back to an open backside when no holes appear. Ecker(+1) did a good job delaying the pursuers.|
|O24||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||24||Manningham||Stop and go (2, 3)|
|Manningham(+2) is kind of good. He's just smooth. Henne's throw is where it needs to be. (DO)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 13 min 2nd Q. The slickness of Mario: He briefly slows his route a little bit to prevent Langford from getting in position to deflect the ball, then gracefully jumps back and snags it. Outstanding! 7/9 FDR, 4 vs. 8.|
|Eight in the box, we run to the weakside away from the eighth .Looks like there's going to be a nice hole between Long and Kraus but when Kraus disengages from the DT Bihl(-1) gets shoved back a couple yards, closing the gap. If Hayden is dealt with this is a nice gain.|
|A four yard miracle from Steve Breaston(+1) as Manningham(-1) whiffs on a Wisconsin DB, forcing Breaston to dance just to get back to the line. (CA)|
|Plenty of time to convert a five-yard throw but Henne does not fire. I can tell you that Arrington's short cross was well covered but TV does no reveal the disposition of the others. The bell goes off in Henne's head and he gives up on the play to start scrambling just as Hart's about to release for a short flat route. That combination allows a linebacker tasked with covering Hart to come up and sack Henne as he tries to run. Um... TA.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 10 min 2nd Q. 8/10 FDR, 5 vs. 8.|
|Pass is sailed by Henne; Manningham goes up and gets it. Vaguely CA.|
|Eight in the box with a ninth guy, the safety, coming up at the snap. He jumps when we hand the ball off and fills the hole that eventually forms a couple yards from the sideline. We actually had those eight guys blocked.|
|Play action rollout to the short side of the field has no one open, so we throw it away. (TA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 4 min 2nd Q. 8/11 FDR.|
|Ugly. Seven guys nominally in the box against this passing formation. Guy #7 is lined up inside of Arrington, making it extremely hard to block him. He comes in and forces Hart to cut back into nothing.|
|I'm tired of this play, which is an obvious tipoff as to our intentions: TE who can't block in the backfield == pass, often to the Incredibly Surprising TE coming out of the backfield. It is this time, we throw it, and Wisconsin is not surprised. (CA)|
|Ton of time for Henne but no one is open. He fires it onto the crowd. (TA)|
|Drive Notes: FG, 10-10, 3 min 2nd Q. 9/12 FDR.|
|WTF is Riley(-2) thinking? Henne's pass is batted into the air, then caught by Riley, who immediately falls down, losing nine yards and keeping the clock running. Just knock it down. Would have been the dumbest thing I saw Saturday if a Spartan hadn't kneeled down at the 12 yard line on a kickoff return. (BA)|
|TV hardly picks this play up at all. (CA)|
|Can't blame Henne too much on this one. Manningham's running a slant and go but gets jammed and is not open. Breaston's sideline route is not a good option but the other option is Unblocked Wisconsin Blitzer. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 1 min 2nd Q. 9/13 FDR, but this one is a two minute drill and maybe shouldn't count.|
|Only seven-ish in the box but neither linebacker has anything resembling a blocker approach him. One meets Hart in the hole for a minimal gain.|
|Rifled and a bit high, but like the earlier interception this goes right through a wide receiver's hands and should be caught. (CA)|
|M48||3||7||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||3||Ecker||Shallow cross|
|Everyone hates this route but this one is open. If Ecker has another couple yards before the sideline he can turn this up for first down yardage but by the time Henne comes to his route that ain't happening. Mistimed and (IN).|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-10, 12 min 3rd Q. 10/14 FDR.|
|Nominally seven in the box with UW in their base defense w/ a linebacker shaded over the slot receiver. He comes up on the backside when we run our play; Hart cuts back there as everyone gets blocked except him, and he makes the tackle after a decent gain.|
|M39||2||5||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||14||Manningham||PA Out|
|Spielman has just called our quarterback "Chad Henry" for about the fifth time. Anyway: zone PA and Henne drops back to pass, hitting Mario just as he comes out of his break. And a good thing, too, as Ikegwuonu was right on top of him. (DO)|
|We run into eight guys just sitting in the box. No stemming or D changes, just eight guys in the box with their corners playing ten yards off our Wrs. Stupid.|
|Our first successful screen of the year finds Hart out with Mitchell and Bihl with two linebackers coming up. Hart cuts up behind Mitchell for a good gain when trying to split his OL would have resulted in five or six yards instead. Nice read. (CA)|
|Eight in the box. We actually get a linebacker blocked by a wide receiver and there is the potential for a hole except Riley(-1) doesn't do anything to his man on the backside other than follow him to said hole. Hart tries to cut outside and is stymied.|
|The interception in the endzone. Henne should never have thrown this pass, as Langford is a step and half in front of Manningham. If it's third down in this situation, sure, wing that mother, but on second down check it down to Hart â€“ who didn't have a linebacker anywhere near him â€“ and get yourself in a makeable third down. (BR)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 10-10, 6 min 3rd Q. 13/17 FDR.|
|Great coverage by Ikegwuonu here forces a throw low and to the outside that Mario digs out. (CA)|
|Probably the correct read here â€“ Ecker was covered farther downfield. (CA)|
|Finally we try one of these to test those way-off corners. Unfortunately, Langford manages to grab Breaston's collar and drag him down. We should have been doing this all the time on first down. (CA)|
|O38||3||4||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||38||Manningham||Slant and go (2, 3)|
|Eet's a touchdown this time as Manningham's slant and go burns Langford like crispy toast. Henne lays it in his arms like soft baby. (DO)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-10, 3 mind 3rd Q. 13/19 FDR.|
|M27||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||14 + 5||Hart||Zone|
|Seven in the box == big cutback opportunity as Hart can diagnose and deal with the filling safety with a couple extra seconds. He ditches him, then stiffarms the hell out of Langford for another five or six yards, plus an incidental facemask on the way.|
|Wisconsin walks an eighth guy up, and we run away from him. Both linebackers get blocked by OL moving to the second level (finally), but Hart's bumped at the line and somewhat disrupted. Still good for five.|
|Eight in the box. Newkirk gets free because we ask Kraus to impossibly block a guy lined up to the playside, and there's nowhere to go after that.|
|Henne wings it wide of Breaston, but it's doubtful he gets the first down anyway. These throws are too common in this offense and easily read. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-10, EO 3rd Q. 15/21 FDR.|
|I have no idea how he does this. There's nowhere for him to run; he stops; he's dead in the water; some guys fall down and he's seven yards downfield. Don't ask me how.|
|Hits Arrington right in stride way downfield on the run. (DO)|
|Riley(-1) driven into the backfield, fouling the intended direction.|
|O5||2||G||I-Form 2TE||Run||5||Hart||Iso (2)|
|Mitchell has a lot of trouble handling the UW DT; Hart is forced to stop when a linebacker come up unblocked and dives at his legs. He breaks the tackle, cuts behind Mitchell and he's in. Made that by himself.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-10, 11 min 4th Q. 17/23 FDR.|
|Momentary re-position of the ball does not appear to be a trick play attempt, as no one is on a route. Also this is Michigan with a two-touchdown fourth quarter lead we're talking about, come on. Backside DE has great contain... it's Jamal Cooper, glorified linebacker, but Manningham get back to the los.|
|Eight in the box; POA jammed; Grady is not Hart.|
|Wide open; perfect throw. (CA)|
|Cutback isn't really open as the backside DE is unmolested by Riley(-1) but Grady manages to power through his tackle and gain decent yardage.|
|Cuts it up and delivers a blow to the dfender, getting two yards after contact and the first.|
|They're stacking the line and we don't care... nor should we at this point. This is a run run run FG situation.|
|Run into the wad. Yay wad.|
|I don't agree with this playcall: run the ball into the line and kick the FG. Don't get Henne killed.|
|Drive Notes: FG, 27-10, ballgame. 20/26 FDR.|
What was the deal with that last interception?
I dunno. Lloyd muttered something about it being third down or some such stuff after the game, but that wouldn't have passed a polygraph test. I guess he was ticked Bielema called his last timeout. Still, dropping back to pass there can only lead to bad things in that situation, like Henne getting his face broken and the beginning of the Jason Forcier era. With just over a minute left and Wisconsin out of timeouts, running into the line almost ends the game. Figure five seconds for the play, forty before the play clock runs out on fourth down, eight seconds for a punt, and then the clock winds when the ball is ready for play. UW would get one or two plays at most. Weird.
Maybe he's trying to get Manningham the Heisman.
Grumble grumble mutter mutter playcalling grumble. Debord!
I'm with you. Michigan spent around half of its first downs running into eight guys and another chunk running into seven from a three-wide set, which is functionally equivalent. Fully 20(!) of Michigan's 26 plays on first down were runs*, which is a big flashing sign that says "BAD OLD DAYS" to me. A big reason that hards YPC average to date is somewhat disappointing is his frequent deployment into obvious rush defenses. He's still doing his thing, but a combination of bad blocking and predictable playcalling means he's dodging tacklers at or before the line of scrimmage instead of three yards downfield.
The end result was a lot of plays where Hart turned something that should have been zero yards into four. I guess the theory is that teams will be incredibly surprised -- note the lack of Ironic Caps -- when Michigan throws to Arrington down the middle and thus those plays will be both safe and yard-rich, but in the summer doldrums I highlighted a post from Smart Football that discussed the proper distribution of run and pass calls for maximum awesomeness. The upshot was that you should balance it such that your passes are only a bit more efficient than your runs, as passes are a bit more risky. The "passing premium" cited by Smart Football is about a yard. Year to date, Michigan averages 4 yards per rush and 7.8 per pass, which is way out of whack. We've also ran fully two-thirds of the time: 181 rushing attempts to just 90 passing.
Before Wisconsin I was willing to dismiss that as two games against patsies and a weird game versus ND that we led by a billion points the whole way, but the stubborn decision to plow ahead into a good defense stacked against the run in a tight game was lame. I don't mind running on 55 or 60 percent of first downs, but 75 percent is almost certainly hurting our offense.
*(Caveat: three first-down runs were when we had the ball in their territory leading 24-10 with time slipping off the clock. I have no problem with these, so 17/23 is probably a better measure. That's still way high.)
Another fine performance, especially because Michigan only threw four screens and only one of those INs was an inaccurate pass. (The other was one of those horrible three-yard TE outs that would have gone for a first down but was thrown too late.) At this point I think it's safe to declare Henne's accuracy vastly improved. He still makes the occasional Morelli-esque throw into a Mongol horde of defenders, but he's performing more like the Henne from last year's OSU game than last year's Wisconsin game. Loeffler strikes again?
The chart for the rest of the offense just isn't working out. I'm going to revamp it but keep forgetting to do so. The idea: passes will get rated on a catch-difficulty scale a bit more fine grained than the passing chart (0 through 3, with zero being totally uncatchable and three being something that would be a hair-pulling drop if it hit the ground) and receivers will get rated on that. Offensive linemen will have separate grades for pass and run blocking... still pending. Anyway, I'm working on something. I don't think the +/- system really said anything about offensive players. I was always getting done and thinking "wow, those numbers are wrong," which is not something that happens for the D. Work in progress.
Henne was excellent. His only real mistake was the second interception, which should have been checked down to Hart. And who thought we'd say that about the King of Checkdowns?
Hart was the engine that kept the offense going by regularly turning poorly-blocked plays into moderate gains.
No one else really stood out, as Manningham coupled his two touchdowns with a drop that led to an interception and probably could have done something to prevent Henne's second, even if that meant taking a penalty. He's still kind of good. Also, Adrian Arrington is emerging as a #2 wideout, but more on him later.
Vijay's been quietly peddling a theory: Rueben Riley's inability to do much of anything useful when he's on the backside of the zone severely hampers the running game. I noticed it a couple times in the second half and offered (-1) for it, but Vijay took a look at most of our run plays and concluded the situation was much worse than that. When he locks onto a guy and drives, he's fine, but try to get him moving at all and he can't hack it. Sort of explains that speed-rusher thing, too.< br />
Two turnovers were a result of missed Manningham-Henne connections, but then again so were two touchdowns, so we can't complain too much.
Mike DeBord's playcalling left something to be desired, IMO, as discussed above.
Do you have any cracked-out suggestions to improve things, you know-nothing internet loon?
Why, yes, yes I do.
- One thing I noticed in the Minnesota game is the frequency with which they faked an end-around. This often held the backside defensive end/linebacker long enough to let Pinnix dart up through a hole that would otherwise have been shut down. Since our slot receiver is usually Breaston, a man who's not much of a blocker but is a terror with the ball in his hands, constantly threatening to hand him an end-around could open up those cutback lanes which are so frequently absent either because they have an eighth guy in the box or someone on the backside has let their man pursue without interference.
- Wisconsin played way, way off our WRs when they brought that eighth guy in the box. I was calling for the long handoff to Breaston over and over again, though when they finally ran it the UW corner made a great play to snag Breaston with his arm and made me look stupid. That thing works 90% of the time, though, and would be a great way to force opposing cornerbacks to inch closer to Manningham (and therefore their doom) presnap.
- We need some plays that play off our WR screen tendencies. When Breaston starts running parallel to the line of scrimmage, entire secondaries freak out and converge. Either a transcontinental or just some faked screens would be excellent. Purdue pulled out a sweet play where they faked the WR screen, then ran a statue-of-liberty sweep to one of their runningbacks. The play sucked in a linebacker and went for a 14-yard touchdown.
- Our old friend the screen was executed successfully for the first time this year. With Hart being who he is I'd like to see more.
- Speaking of screen: play-action waggle screen. Fake a zone, get the offensive linemen moving left, get the defense reacting to the "waggle"... throw back to Hart. It's gold, Jerry! Gold!
How about that Arrington kid?
So. Excited. Disappointed he dropped that fade, but he's open a lot, has displayed an aptitude for the tough catch, and has a rangy easiness about him that radiates "star." That redshirt year forced by an ankle injury may be the best thing that ever happened to him. I expect he'll relegate Breaston to the third-WR slot role he excelled in during the Braylon Era and provide a presence over the middle and on fades that we need sans Avant.
And what does it mean for Minnesota?
We should crush them like silly bug. It's one thing to have troubles against Wisconsin, possesors of a solid front seven and a burgeoning star in Jack Ikegwuonu (who was great in that game, BTW) and entirely another to have the same troubles against a Gopher team with no discernable talent.
That said, we probably won't if we insist on running into stacked lines some more, and I fear that the Boiler offensive line is just plain better than ours (Steve Davis made not a peep). I figure our offensive line kills a few drives, stubborn playcalling a few more, and we score somewhere in the low 30s more due to great field position provided by special teams and defense more than anything else.
Video this week is thanks to Chris of Dangerous Logic.
|Wisconsin's RG doubles Branch momentarily with the RT, then peels off to block a charging Burgess at the last moment, opening a hole up the middle. Very nice play.Hill pops through the LOS for a nice gain. If I can blame someone it's Mundy(-1), who's too far inside and is washed out. YAM: 3. But he's done pretty well this year.|
|Crable(-1) is not the right guy to be taking on fullback blocks and it shows here, as he is shoved to the ground by Rentmeester with ease. Dave Harris(-1) gives up â€“ yes â€“ outside contain, opening up much room for Hill.|
|M37||1||10||Standard 4-3||Pass||5 (Pen)||PA out|
|Taylor(-1) offsides at the snap. Wisconsin goes with play action; Branch(+1) pushes his blocker back over a fallen UW OL and hammers Stocco as he throws, forcing an incompletion. (PR)|
|Pulling guard is supposed to block Woodley(+2), but Lamarr plows him backwards. This takes away Hill's lane and removes two blockers. Hill tries to bounce it out; Trent(+1) has also defeated his man and wraps him up for a major loss.|
|Same play that killed us when Owen Daniels ran it last year. Effective because when Woodley reads screen he goes and finds the RB, not the TE. Will Johnson does make it back to the TE but can't make the tackle. No minus, but a missed opportunity for a plus. Would like to see a linebacker somewhere around here. Refs miss a facemask on Johnson. (CA, coverage -1)|
|M29||3||2||Standard 4-3||Pass||29||Busted dumpoff TD|
|Could be on Burgess but Harris was the player closest to Hill when he made his cut, so he gets the -2. (CA, Coverage -2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 9 min 1st Q. Creepy drive to start with... D is AWESOME! What? Er.|
|O18||1||10||Standard 4-3||Penalty||-5||False start|
|Point of attack is jammed up, so Hill is forced to cut back. Unfortunately, there are acres of space as Tim Jamsion(-2) has totally vacated the backside.|
|Jamison(+1) is run at again, this time intentionally. He holds his ground against a pulling guard nicely, allowing Burgess(+1) to close down the outside and track Hill down when he cuts up looking for what he can get.|
|O25||3||3||Standard 4-3||Pass||6||Short cross|
|Burgess's blitz chopped down and Woodley just loses his balance before getting to Stocco, allowing him to complete the cross for the first down. (CA, coverage -1)|
|Zone blitz where we drop off the weakside DE (Jamison) into coverage: they run right at the vacated weakside DE. Should be a big gain â€“ our rock, their paper â€“ but excellent work on the inside by the DTs (Johnson and Taylor, both +1) to the left forces a bounceout: Harris and Burgess(+1 each) kill it in the backfield.|
|Crable lined up over a slot receiver as UW goes three-wide. Surprisingly, Michigan is in man. Unsurprisingly, Crable's not much good against a WR, who gets a yard or two of separation and a good gain. (CA, Coverage -1)|
|Another zone blitz â€“ Van Alstyne drops into coverage â€“ that sends Burgess and Harrison to one side of the formation. RB picks up Harrison, leaving Burgess(+1) unblocked and forcing a ball from Stocco that's ruled intentional grounding. (PR)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 3 min 1st Q. Couple times on their last series of downs that drive we find ourselves out-schemed. Once we turn it into a three yard loss, but the other one sets up a 3rd and 3. English gets his stop with a well-executed blitz.|
|Branch(+2) crushes his man three yards in to the backfield, disengages, and tackles. Terrance Taylor(+1) also got good push.|
|Stocco bounces it. Harris(+1) was right there if the pass was accurate. (IN, Coverage +1)|
|Branch(+1) spins off his man and comes free, forcing Stocco to get rid of the ball way early. The pass ends up a two-yard dumpoff that's almost intercepted by Burgess(+1), who would have waltzed in if he makes the catch. (BR, coverage +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 15 min 2nd Q. Branch almost singlehandedly kills this drive.|
|Crable(+1) takes the fullback on and hold his ground, forcing Hill outside of him. Harris(+1) is unblocked, reads the play and closes quickly, making contact a yard behind the LOS. Hill manages to stumble forward for a small gain.|
|Wisconsin runs play action and runs Stocco out on a bootleg. Branch(+1) is through the line instantly and starts running Stocco down, forcing a throw-away due to good coverage(+1) downfield. (TA)|
|Sideline image of English PISSED for some reason.Woodley(+3) goes right around the tackle and kills the Wisconsin drive. (PR)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 12 min 2nd Q.|
|O12||1||10||Standard 4-3||Run||-1||Off tackle|
|They're in three-wide and decide to run against our base defense. This goes about as well as you might expect. Woodley(+1) drives his man back, disrupting the timing of the play. Harris and Crable clean up.|
|Taylor(+1) gets a good pass rush, forcing Stocco to check down to Hill. He's covered, but Burgess(-1) overruns the play a bit and is forced to try to arm-tackle Hill around the legs. That would probably work against most backs but Hill's a big dude â€“ like Rob Stone's prom dates, apparently, except for the "dude" bit â€“ and breaks the tackle. Sixteen yards later, first down. (CA, coverage +1)|
|Wide open(coverage -1) but thrown a bit behind Hubbard, who drops it. Still has to make that catch. Hall came up to make sure the bobble became an incompletion, but was way too far off of him to make a play if he secured it quickly. (CA)|
|O27||2||10||Standard 4-3||Pass||12 + 15||Stop|
|Simple seven-yard stop finds Trent(-1, coverage -1) way off the receiver. Easy catch and opportunity for YAC because we're playing soft. Jamison(-1) picks up a personal foul for an unnecessary blow to Hubbard's head. WTF is he thinking? (CA)|
|M46||1||10||Standard 4-3||Run||2||Off tackle|
|Good job by Jamison(+1) to fight off a block from the FB and prevent the play from going outside. There's a tiny bit of room inside but not much.|
|M44||2||8||Standard 4-3||Pass||16||Deep cross|
|Rare instance where Stocco's kept totally clean by his OL. Given time and plenty of space he fires a dart in between four Michigan defenders. (DO)|
|M28||1||10||Standard 4-3||Run||5||Off tackle|
|Hill manages to find a tiny crease and burst through the line even though this looks like it's going to go for very little. Jamar Adams with a rare safety tackle.|
|Harris(+1) avoids an attempted block from the tackle, then sticks and drives Hill backwards with a textbook tackle. Spielman starts going POW BOOM OOF.|
|Biggs(+1) leaps into the air, forcing a high, inaccurate throw from Stocco. 50-50 this works if it's complete. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: FG, 10-7, 6 min 2nd Q. Last thing approximating a drive Wisconsin gets until garbage time is a couple instances of soft coverage, a kind of ticky-tack personal foul, and one nice throw from Stocco.|
|O16||1||10||Standard 4-3||Run||1||Off tackle|
|Very nice job by Taylor(+1) and Will Johnson(+1) to kill this right at the LOS.|
|Johnson(+2) drives into the backfield and snuffs this draw out by himself by tossing the guard away like he's a toy.|
|Blitz + picket fence zone around the first down line, which is what I like to see. Blitz is picked up but Terrance Taylor(+1) pancakes the OL and charges in on Stocco, forcing him to take what he can get. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-10, 2 min 2nd Q. Consistently great play from both DTs on this drive and Alan Branch isn't even in the game! Johnson's been more than adequate in limited snaps this year â€“ see third and one versus ND â€“ and is an excellent option to keep the starters fresh. There's not much of a dropoff when he's in the game and that there is one at all speaks more to Branch's overwhelming awesomeness than anything else.|
|Beckum gets a couple steps on Englemon(-1), who's not in position to deal with this presnap (that isn't his fault) but gets way behind him on the crossing route. (CA)|
|Stocco throws it out of bounds, as Hall(+1, coverage +1) gets a jam and is in tight coverage. (TA)|
|Woodley(+1) spins back inside his blocker, getting pressure that forces a Stocco dumpoff. (CA)|
|Stocco is crushed by Branch(+1) as he throws. Ball was heading OOB anyway. (TA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-10, EOH.|
|O19||1||10||Standard 4-3||Pass||Inc||RB flat|
|Good coverage(+1) forces an inaccurate dumpoff to Hill that was going to get crushed anyway. Terrance Taylor is trying to run Hill down, BTW. (IN)|
|O19||2||10||Standard 4-3||Run||3||Counter trap|
|Taylor slants inside, getting pushed out of the designated hole on this play. Burgess(+1) takes on a blocker and comes off for the tackle.|
|Great coverage(+2) as Stocco has a ton of time but can find no one. Stocco is eventually flushed and throws it away. (TA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-10, 13 min 3rd Q.|
|One of their better runs comes one of the few times we bring an eighth guy into the box. There's a big hole between their RT and RG as Crable blitzes upfield. Adams and Burg ess get blocked off, leaving Hall to come up and make the tackle.|
|No room here. Great play by Branch(+2) to drive all the way to the other side of the line and tackle. Jamison(+1) also holds up well.|
|O39||3||4||Standard 4-3||Run||3||Pitch sweep|
|Looks like it should get the first down but comes up just short... possibly a questionable spot. Credit to Hall(+1) for coming up, absorbing the blow, and getting Hill to the ground just short of the marker.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-10, 10 min 3rd Q. On replay the spot is correct. Excellent job by Hall.|
|O20||1||10||Standard 4-3||Run||2||Counter trap|
|Branch(+1) cuts off the outside with penetration; Crable(+1) runs Hill down from behind. Dude is fast.|
|Pass is deflected at the line by Branch(+1) another zone-blitz, with Woodley dropping into coverage. (BA)|
|Blitz. Pass deflected at the line by Biggs(+1). (BA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-10, 5 min 3rd Q.|
|Morgan Trent(+1) comes up hard on the outside to prevent Hill from reaching the corner; Harris cleans up. There's nowhere to run inside. Ever.|
|Taylor(+1) comes free after a couple moments of being blocked, forcing Stocco to throw off his back foot. The resulting pass is shockingly good considering the situation but Hubbard can't make a tough, diving catch. (CA)|
|Michigan's in Stocco's head now. Branch(+1) spins inside on the snap, drawing the attention of a guard and the center, as Taylor(+1) stunts around him, coming clean. Stocco rolls a bit and throws it away. (TA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-10, 2 min 3rd Q. The Terrance Taylor/Will Johnson combination this year is better than Gabe Watson was a year ago. There. I said it.|
|This is an outstanding play from Jamar Adams(+2). TE Beckum comes across the formation on this play action fake to the left. Adams, in man, watches Beckun release and sprints across the field to prevent any gain whatsoever.|
|Alan Branch(+3) is a damn beast. Good coverage(+1)|
|Biggs(+1) discards his man and closes on Stocco. Harris(+1) delivers another thumping blow to Hill to finish this drive.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-10, 13 min 4th Q.|
|I'm shocked when our DTs are actually blocked. Hill squeezes up between them but Burgess(+1) makes a nice play to contain the run for only a few yards.|
|O23||2||7||Standard 4-3||Pass||Inc||Deep cross|
|Has just enough time to find a small hole in the zone, but Anderson drops it. (Coverage -1, DO)|
|Jamison(+1) totally unblocked. Uh, okay. Obviously the OL thought Hill was supposed to pick him up.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-10, 10 min 4th Q. Wisconsin gets no second half first downs until the game is over.|
And there relevant football ends. Michigan puts together a field goal drive, then gives the ball back leading by 17 with 5 minutes left. The second string proceeds to give up a big chunk of yards. Michigan brings in the first string and holds UW to a field goal.
So that performance certainly didn't suck.
Uh... no, it didn't. Wisconsin went three-and-out on nine of the thirteen relevant drives they had and scored on but two, one of which was a semi-short field after the first interception of the day. By the time Michigan had effectively ended the game, Wisconsin had around 150 yards in total offense. Some garbage-time passing from Stocco on the second-string defense in prevent mode propped up their final numbers but make no mistake: if inclined to continue, Wisconsin probably could have gone another four quarters without another touchdown.
Here is chart:
|Taylor||7||1||6||Came through with flying colors in first serious test versus running team.|
|Branch||12||12||Jumpin' jehosephat. Officially the best player on the team.|
|Johnson||4||4||A fine player in his own right.|
|B. Graham||-||-||-||Made a brief appearance in the second quarter at DT.|
|Crable||2||1||1||Not much for him to do with the front four getting pressure on their own.|
|Harris||5||3||2||Blamed for the bust on the UW touchdown; otherwise the steadiest and best linebacker Michigan has.|
|C. Graham||-||-||DNP, I think.|
|Burgess||6||1||5||Did well in the run game.|
|Mundy||1||-1||Was fine. Possible run/pass platoon with Englemon?|
|Trent||2||1||1||Seemed fine in run support. Started again despite the stadium announcement. Has essentially won the job, IMO.|
|"Coverage"||9||8||1||Far less busy than against ND.|
Obviously, we are very happy with chart. Chart is a fine representation of the Michigan defense.
For a second straight week I desire to say "everybody." That's just the way it is when you give up 150 meaningful yards. More specifically: the entire defensive line. Aside from a couple plays early Hill had nowhere to run and poor John Stocco spent his day screaming "run away, run away, run away" when the nasty big pointy teeth of Branch or Taylor or Woodley or Jamison or Biggs or Johnson came bearing down on him. This defensive line is ridiculous, especially because it has six players who are all contributing at a high level.
Well, David Harris had a tough first drive, giving up outside contain on a Hill run that netted a first down and (probably) blowing the coverage on the Hill touchdown. But he ended up positive on the day -- like everyone who was involved in more than a couple plays -- after thumping the UW ground game and so is declared redeemed.
Anyone emerging further?
Jamison continues to get more and more playing time as his ankle heals. There was one messed up play on the backside but that was more mental error than anything. When he knew what to do in the run game he held up well enough. He's also fast.
Taylor and Johnson were both great. They're active, driving players who would be an excellent starting tandem even in the absence of Alan Branch (BTW: Alan, you are getting verrrry sleepy. You love Michigan and would never consider early entry into the NFL draft). Morgan Trent showed well in run support one week after playing an excellent game versus ND's passing game.
The aforementioned players are all playing in spots Michigan fans were fretting over at season's start. Add in the emergence of Biggs as an above-average player and the remarkable transformations of Crable and Burgess and there isn't a spot on this defense that can be considered a major hole anymore.
Shall we invoke that particular year again and tempt the gods of hubris further?
Uh, no. This defense is terrible, I miss Todd Howard, Zach Kaufman, and Pat Massey and will be surprised if we make a bowl game this year.
What does it mean for Minnesota?
The Gophers may prove more troublesome than Wisconsin did, but they're down to a converted linebacker and Amir Pinnix at RB and have lost that Setterstrom-Eslinger combination that powered their run game for so long. They did rack up 421 yard against Purdue, but that D has been giving up nearly 30 points to I-AA teams. They were largely shut down against Cal -- one of their scores was a kick return -- and if I had to pick between Michigan and Cal's defenses, I would definitely pick Michigan's.
The trouble comes in the form of Ernie Wheelwright, Logan Payne, and Brian Cupito. We haven't faced a receiver with the size and speed of Wheelwright, who is the frequent target of Cupito bombs. We lived on the edge against ND, occasionally letting Rhema McKnight get open downfield. Fortunately for us, Quinn was either getting hit or panicking about getting hit to hit him, except once when McKnight dropped it. I have the Minnesota-Purdue game on DVR and will relay further impressions later in the week.
|We still have zone blocking even though there's a designated hole with a lead blocker here. Mitchell(+1) and Riley(+1) do a good job on the backside, allowing a cutback lane and a decent gain.|
|Bihl(-2) completely whiffs on his block, forcing Hart to stop a good five yards in the backfield. He manages to inch toward the line of scrimmage, minimizing the damage. (+1 for him, this could have been -4.)|
|ND floods the LOS with players, blitzing two up the middle. There must be some threat of a blitz from the outside, because Hart(-1) sets up to protect outside of Jake Long, allowing an unblocked blitzer up the gut. Henne throws that pass straight to Ndukwe when he should just take the sack. (BR)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q. Anyone else panicking at this point? Clear miscommunication here on the blitz pickup, but the person at fault is murky. It could be Henne, as he says something to Hart right before the snap.|
|Henne's pass is tipped at the line but falls to a diving Breaston(+1) anyway. He makes this catch but anything that hits him in the numbers plummets to the turf? (BA)|
|Breaston comes in motion for a fake end-around that freezes no one. Hart(-1) really should have cut this up. He had a hole he could have exploited for near-first-down yardage but he tried to go outside and got swallowed up. Also of note: end around was wiiiiide open.|
|Another unblocked blitzer comes straight up the middle. This time it's Travis Thomas. I'm not sure what exactly goes wrong here... Bihl is blocking the NT, who stunts off to right a bit but towards the quarterback and not in a looping fashion â€“ clearly Bihl is trying to block him so he doesn't get to Henne. This drags him away from the center, allowing Thomas a free lane. Bihl, Long, and Kraus end up blocking two guys. Bihl(-1), I think. (PR)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 8 min 1st Q. Both of our first two drives end with missed blitz pickups. Bihl has a hand in both. Wonder why we never came back to the end-around that was so wide open on this drive?|
|I think this is another missed cut by Hart(-1), but Notre Dame is going nuts overpursuing to the ball and eight guys are in the box at all times.|
|M19||2||11||Five Wide||Pass||11||Breaston||WR Screen|
|Another telegraphed screen but they can't do much about it. Superb block from Manningham(+1) and Breaston(+1) does the sort of thing that makes him great. (CA)|
|Don't see much of this play because of NBC incompetence.|
|M30||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||70||Manningham||QED, Mfer!|
|Single blitzer picked up here. Notre Dame's linebackers are within three yards of the line of scrimmage as Henne completes his drop despite no play action fake(!). That's the focus Mike Hart draws from a defense right there. Good God, Ambrose Wooden is slow. (DO, Manningham +3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 13-7 6 min 1st Q. I thought Charlie Weis told the Notre Dame secondary to get faster in the offseason? XP blocked.|
|Blitz off the corner right into the waggle, but Henne leaps and hits Oluigbo perfectly for a nice gain anyway. Throws this short never get (DO) but this one deserves it.|
|Finally a good gain on a running play. Bihl(+1) and Mitchell(+1) maul their men. Hart(+1) makes a good, decisive cut up into the gap and finishes in Mike-Hart-drags-the-world style.|
|Notre Dame run blitzes into the gaps of the zone play. Hart is swarmed before he can even get a foot upfield. Bihl(-1) also gets shoved back a couple yards, and his man disengages to help tackle.|
|I thought Charlie Weis said no penalties.|
|O4||2||G||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||2||Manningham||Pass Interference|
|Zbikowski manhandles Manningham. Don't actually know about this call. He gets a jam before the ball is in the air, which is legal, then the ball is thrown as Manningham is collapsing to the turf. Michigan saw a similar flag waved off earlier in the year.|
|Hart(+1) leaps into the endzone. Hurrah.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 20-7, 1 min 1st Q. Notre Dame essentially gave us this one. Second and goal from the eight turns into first and goal from the two with two penalties.|
|Newly chastened, ND only has seven in the box. The result is more room than Hart's had all day to this point. Alex Mitchell(-1) blows by Trevor Laws, hardly disrupting his flow to the play. Riley ends up futilely chasing him but without a momentary double from Mitchell he has no chance to get him blocked. Hart's cutback lane is filled by Laws, otherwise this gets into the secondary for a big gain.|
|The reviewed play on the sideline. This is a difficult catch from Arrington(+2), who had to dive to catch a low ball and manage to stay in bounds at the same time. With a defender in the area and the throw downfield don't want to be too harsh, but this could have been thrown a bit better. Still (CA).|
|Outstanding play all around from Michigan. Everyone on ND is blocked and Hart makes the correct reads to get everyone FUBARed behind their men. Bihl(+2) is especially good with his block; Kraus(+1) also does well. Hart darts up through the gap between them then cuts back... only to be caught from behind by Abiamiri as he slows. This is six points without the outstanding pursuit by Abiamiri.|
|Bihl(-1) gets beat by Landri to the playside, allowing him to disrupt the run in the backfield. Hart(+2) dances through it and manages to get upfield for a nice gain anyway.|
|Bah. Zbikowski is the eighth guy in the box and as he is unblocked he forces Hart to make an unpleasant cut and gain little.|
|You put Manningham(+2) in one-on-one coverage with a crappy cornerback and he dies. Ball could not have been more perfect (DO). Of note: picture perfect blitz-pickup from Hart(+1) allows Henne time and space to throw.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 27-7, 11 min 2nd Q. One play after running into the stacked line Debord exploits it for six. Is the seemingly wasted first down rope-a-dope? A missed check from Henne? Just a bad playcall? Who cares, we're up 27-7?|
|Interior of the line completely mauls the Irish D. Two pancakes from Mitchell(+2) and Kraus(+2)... Bihl(+1) gets out on a linebacker. Obi plows Thomas(+1). Hart just takes the open space before Zbikowski runs him down. Seven in the box == run run run.|
|M30||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||2||Hart||Lead Draw|
|Not sure what exactly is going on here. Hart decides to go between Riley, who's being pushed back a bit, and Mitchell, but Obi goes outside of Riley, leaving Travis Thomas unblocked in the hole. If Obi gets a good block on the undersized Thomas this goes for like eight; if Hart cuts outside he might get the same. But wires are crossed. No idea who to assign credit and blame to. (-1 for Riley, I think.)|
|Henne overthrows a screen. Hayden thinks this is going for a while if it's accurate, but Mitchell Thomas was on Hart's heels and had a chance to grab his ankles. Otherwise, yes: mucho yards. (IN)|
|Dropped by Arrington(-1), and good coverage by Wooden makes it unlikely that he gets the first down even if he makes the catch. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-7, 8 min 2nd Q. What... no touchdown? Are you sure?|
|This one's a mess I can't make sense of. I think Mitchell's(-1) cut block on the backside was not good enough, and the ND DL on the playside get good penetration, forcing a cutback up into morass.|
|M41||2||10||I-Form 3-Wide||Pass||Inc||Breaston||PA Deep Cross|
|Excellent play by #30 to get a hand on the ball, deflecting it so that Breaston can't make the catch. Henne stood in there and got hit as Abiamiri spun right by Riley(-1). This is a really accurate throw in the middle of the field with a man in his face. DO to me.|
|Thrown five yards short of the marker, but Breaston's(+1) first step gets him by the DB and past the sticks. He's going to drop a slant in the second half, but keep in mind this play when he does. (CA)|
|ND flooding the LOS again, with linebackers lined up right next to their defensive ends, waiting for the zone play. It comes, and there's no way for Bihl to block Landri, who flows down the line and makes the tackle. Zbikowski would have stopped it after about six if no Landri.|
|Oluigbo(+1) pounds Mitchell Thomas as ND stunts themselves into big trouble here. Hart(+1) breaks through two arm tackles for a big gain.|
|Eight in the box and it's jammed at the POA. Grady(-1) has two options: 1) cutback all the way and try to outrun Thomas, or 2) take Zbikowski head on. He delays on one then cuts right into the heart of the line instead for little yardge.|
|A small crease is enough. Grady(+1) runs through about four arm tackles, finsihing the run with about four extra YAC.|
|Both safeties are moving forward right at the snap; linebackers are equally aggressive and there are no gaps for the draw.|
|Mitchell(-1) moves to the second level but doesn't really block anyone. He ends up chasing Mitchell Thomas right to Hart at the LOS.|
|Hey, uh, maybe you should cover t hat guy(+2). (DO) Outstanding protection again.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 34-7 2nd Q. Is it garbage time yet?|
|Breaston(+1) manages to barrel his way for three extra yards after contact. He's not supposed to be able to do that. (CA)|
|M25||2||4||I-Form Twins||Run||6||Hart||Off tackle|
|We're lined up heavy to the short side of the field -- 2 WR and the FB offset there -- and run off Jake Long. They slant inside, leaving Long to block a linebacker. Oluigbo gets a block on Zbikowski but Hart(-1) doesn't cut behind it, instead getting tackled. Another missed cut, IMO.|
|I don't know WTF Ecker(-2) is thinking. He doesn't even bother to block Abiamiri, and that's a problem when you're running to his side. Also, the refs missed an incidental face mask on Abiamiri.|
|ND threatens blitz on the right side of the line, causing Michigan to slide its protection so much that Long blocks down on the DT, leaving Frome unblocked. Hart tries to pick him up. This is a major bust in the protection, IMO, as one of the threatened blitzers goes in motion mirroring Breaston â€“ clearly in man coverage â€“ and any threatened blitz would clearly be coming up the middle. Why leave Hart to block a DE? End result: Henne forced to throw off his back foot incomplete to a fullback who was covered anyway (PR)|
|Give up and punt. Eh, up 20 this doesn't bother me so much.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 34-14, 12 min 3rd Q.|
|This is pass interference: Wooden impacts Mathews before he has a chance to get to the ball. If Wooden decided to attempt an interception he might have had a touchdown. (BR)|
|Goes right after Darrin Walls (ha! That's what you get, fool), as he comes in to replace Wooden. Ndukwe hits Breaston(+1) about four yards out of bounds. (CA)|
|M36||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||-1||Breaston||WR Screen|
|ND linebackers are flowing towards Breaston right at the snap. Mitchell Thomas forces a WR to block him, leaving Richardson unblocked. Clearly we tipped a play here. (CA)|
|No push at all from the left side of the line and the backside is filled by Abiamiri. Nowhere for Hart to go. (Long, Kraus -1)|
|This is an ugly breakdown: Jake Long(-2) gets beat one-on-one by a DT, Landri, and Hart's(-1) attempt to chop him fails entirely. Henne scrambles up into the pocket and takes the sack. (PR)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 34-14, 9 min 3rd Q.|
|No push, two guys in the hole. Oluigbo's block(-1) is kind of weak. These wad plays are impossible to evaluate.|
|Ball is really well thrown where only Arrington can get it. Fades are often difficult catches, but Arrington(-1) has to come down with this one. (CA)|
|O4||3||G||I-Form 2TE||Run||1||Hart||Off tackle|
|Bihl has a seemingly impossible assignment: try to block Landri when he's sitting play-side of you. He doesn't and so Hart doesn't have anywhere to go despite a nice job by the right side of the line.|
|Drive Notes: FG, 37-14, 6 min 3rd Q. Pushing the margin from 20 to 23 is almost ending the game at this point, so I don't mind the third down call, but I would like to have seen another fade maybe. Those are really safe.|
|ND brings both safeties up into the box. There's no way you can run on that. Blocking is fine, there's just too many guys.|
|Hart(+2) somehow finds a tiny lane to slide through, then drives Zbikowski for another three yards downfield.|
|M41||3||2||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||26||Manningham||Deep Out|
|No play action? By the snap there are 10 Irish players within four yards of the LOS. Only one blitzes, that to the side we motion Breaston to in order to disrupt the presumed zone blocking. The rest sit to react to the play... which is a simple pass to Manningham(+1) in one-on-one coverage. Only a genius would disrespect his opponent so. (CA)|
|Landri beats Kraus(-1) and Ecker's beaten by Thomas(-1), forcing awkward cuts before Grady would like to move. Michigan is "out-Weis-ing" the Irish.|
|ND blitzes but it's picked up fabulously this time. Good coverage on reads one and two but the zone, seeing Henne's eyes, slides to the right side of the field, leaving Arrington open for a nice again despite Henne's throw being a bit of a slow looper thrown of his back foot as the pressure finally comes. (CA.) Nice YAC from Arrington(+1).|
|O15||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||0||Grady||Lead Draw|
|Landri beats Kraus(-1), forcing Oluigbo to attempt a block on him. Stripped of his lead blocker and with the lane in front of him clogged, Grady makes what he can.|
|O15||2||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||Inc||Breaston||Zone PA|
|Weis has his team so well prepared for this game â€“ he is a genius, you know â€“ that the entire team freaks out and zooms towards the line on this play, leaving not only Breaston but Manningham wid e open in the endzone. Chad overthrows it. (IN)|
|O15||3||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||Inc||Breaston||Delayed Slant?|
|Henne is again coming to a second or third read here, and it's Breaston on some sort of short, slant-type route that still has him moving well after a normal slant would have been deemed useless. Pass hits him in the hands and is dropped. (Breaston -1, DO, as it led Breaston to a point where he would tear past the defender for a first down and possibly a TD.)|
|Drive Notes: FG, 40-14, EO 3rd Q. Look at this drive. It's beautiful playcalling in which DeBord destroys Minter. Third and two? Everyone comes into the box but does not rush: easy pitch and catch. Second and nine? Eons of time with no pass rush and an open receiver. Second and ten? Fake the zone and get two guys wide open in the endzone.|
|M23||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||20||Hart||Off tackle|
|Why Mike Hart(+1) is awesome: he bounces this outside, getting a nice chop block from Breaston(+1) and a great downfield block from Arrington(+1). Ecker also seals Thomas well. Hart finds himself rumbling down the sideline when Ndukwe comes up to tackle: Hart collapses to the ground, pointedly getting his knee down, and comes up making the "wind the clock" signal. I LOVE YOU.|
|Great blocking, but nine guys in the box.|
|Big cutback lane to the backside of the play that Hart(+1) finds smartly. ND DL starting to flag.|
|I mean, there's just no way. Literally every Irish player is within three yards of the LOS. Six guys cross the line at the snap with three linebackers waiting to hit any creases, and we run a stretch play. Guaranteed to be snowed under. I don't mind running here, but bring in Oluigbo and ram it down their throats.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 9 min 4th Q. The third or fourth time this year we get stoned in short yardage by trying to do something cute.|
|Nine in the box again. There's no real reason this play should work for any yardage, but Hart(+1) finds a tiny crease and manages to fall forward for another couple.|
|They're stuffing the box and we don't care.|
|No room at the POA. Hart tries to cut outside but Zbikowski is standing there. Hart's magic feet take him back to the LOS. A useless one yard play but fun to watch anyway.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 40-21, 6 min 4th Q.|
|Bihl||6||3||3||Generous. More later. Thought he was an issue and don't know how this happened.|
|Ecker||3||-3||Not a very good blocker.|
|Arrington||4||2||2||Getting involved in the passing game now.|
Still don't like this and wouldn't hang my hat on it. Going to split the OL stuff in to pass/run.
Manningham and Henne, obviously. Manningham's getting all the accolades but his three touchdowns were all inch-perfect throws by Henne and tough ones. (Maybe the first one wasn't so tough, but Henne laid it right in Manningham's chest anyway.) Here's the Hennechart:
Something not captured by the chart is the hugeosity of three of the DOs and one of the BRs. The magnitude of those throws isn't accurately captured. Anyway: yow. Five passes in the negative categories, 16 in the positive ones. Last year Henne's numbers were propped up with a copious number of screens of all varieties, but remove the five he threw in this game (4 CA, 1 IN) and you still get 12-4, a 75% "good" rate. Last year he often hovered around 50%. You could see this coming if you looked closely: Henne was victimized by a spate of drops and more pressure, so his first couple of games had ugly numbers but when he actually threw the ball he was accurate. (Commenters have pointed out that Henne robbed his recievers of YAC opportunities by delaying his throw against CMU and thus I was a little eager to bestow "DO" status. True. Those throws were between the numbers, though, so the accuracy bit stands.)
Also, notice who has a leetle "2" in the minus column versus Victor Abi amiri? Riley.
Bihl had a bad day versus Landri even accounting for the times he had no chance on the snap. Ecker didn't catch anything and had a series of mental errors in the run game.
Should be be concerned with the run game? We averaged 2.9 YPC while GT and PSU both broke five.
A little bit. Since we were so far ahead for so long, we ran into a lot of stacked lines -- we turned the "scoring offense" off -- and that naturally resulted in a lot of second and nine. These weren't your everyday run defenses where they walk a safety up, either. After the first quarter Notre Dame was selling out against the run 75% of the time. Look at our second field goal drive in the third quarter: the first three times we drop back to pass receivers are hilariously wide open because Notre Dame has about three guys who aren't laser-focused on Mike Hart.
What was disturbing: Derek Landri had a very good day against us. He was in the backfield an awful lot, usually with either Kraus or Bihl futilely chasing him. Some of that was blocking screwups where whoever was assigned to single block him was dead before the snap -- likely a consequence of having to shift blocking assignments because of the sell-out thing -- but he plain beat our interior linemen quite a few times, something I didn't see in either the GT or PSU games. I went from totally sold on Mark Bihl at center to uncertain as a result.
Also: Tyler Ecker blocking someone seems like a 50-50 proposition at best, and Mike Hart missed a number of cuts that hurt drives. I don't think he actually had a very good game. Not that this lessens my platonic man-crush on him at all. Wind that clock!
What is the deal with sucking in short yardage?
I dunno. That stretch play for Grady on third and one was stupid. You knew that ND, desperate for the ball and running out of time, was going to stack the line and blitz off the edge. In that circumstance running a stretch is punting time, especially when we've gotten stuffed doing similar things on third and short versus Vandy and Central.
Running is clearly the preferred option up a billion points, but bring in Oluigbo and jam it down their throat. Remember: Weis was totally unprepared for Michigan running up the middle.
What does it mean for Wisconsin?
Nick Hayden and the rest of the Wisconsin front seven will be a stiff test for the run game, but with Manningham firmly established as a threat and a closer game no doubt in the offing they won't be able to jam the line with the freedom ND did. What often wasn't a fair fight against ND simply due to numbers will be comparatively wide open versus Wisconsin. I expect another grinding day from Hart, but not an explosive 200-yard outing.
The passing game has another day against a secondary with pretty good safeties but a lot of questions at cornerback. (Not that ND has questions anymore. They have an answer: you suck.) Jamal Cooper and Matt Shaugnessy are both good DEs that have the potential to give Riley trouble, and against San Diego State they unleashed an array of blitzes that got their linebackers four sacks. The kind of protection breakdowns that plagued Michigan early against ND will end more drives if not repaired this weekend.
Some video from IBFC.
|Quinn lets it rip on the first play from scrimmage. Weis is such a genius. It catches us so off guard that Morgan Trent(+2) is in better position than Samarwhatever and can slow up a bit to impede his progress. Throw was vastly long anyway. (IN) Outstanding coverage from Trent. (Coverage +1)|
|O25||2||5||Standard 4-3||Pass||Int||Shallow Cross|
|Doink! Quinn throws it a bit behind Carlson, who blows the catch. Burgess(+1) is Johnny-on-the-spot and rumbles in. I'm not sure how the LT dragging Woodley to the ground isn't holding but whatever. (CA, barely)|
|Drive Notes:: Interception return touchdown, 7-0, 14:19 1st Q. Ha ha. This is going to take forever: I've watched the Burgess return 8... 9 times. Also: the "touchdown" graphic on NBC should NOT be yellow. Gave me a damn heart attack.|
|Taylor(+1) reaches out and hits Quinn's arm as he attempts to throw. Pressure was a little late in coming. (BA)|
|O11||2||10||Standard 4-3||Run||2||Pitch sweep|
|Woodley(+1) disrupts the timing of the play. He's not supposed to be blocked at the line, I guess, but the fullback doesn't turn him inside and the tight end coming in motion never gets there. Crable(+1) converges nicely to limit the gain.|
|Crable(+1) is lined up at DT and provides a straight-ahead pass rush that's sort of unbelievable. He's six-six and chicken-legged but ends up about a foot from Quinn. He leaps to block the passing lane, forcing a double-clutch. Delayed blitzer is Burgess, who crushes Quinn as he releases the ball. Quinn's throw is a moonshot well past Grimes, who was covered tightly by Hall(+1, coverage +1) (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 13 min 1st Q. Three straight plays from the defensive line. No one is open, either.|
|Walker right up the gut. There's a gap between our DTs but the linebackers close and prevent the TD. Good job by Harris(+1).|
|M2||2||G||Goal line||Pass||2||FB Flat|
|Touchdown. A momentary pitch fake freezes Crable inside, then Samarwhatever runs a pick that seals his fate. No actual contact as Crable avoids it, but it was enough to prevent him from recovering.|
|Drive Notes:: Touchdown, 7-7, 10 min 1st Q. "You have to prepare to defend everyone against Charlie Weis." Especially Prescott Burgess. That guy can score.|
|O40||1||10||Standard 4-3||Run||5||Pitch sweep|
|Biggs(-1) loses his footing, going to the ground and giving the corner. Burgess gets doubled and driven back. Trent(+1) fights free from a Samarwhatever block and grabs Walker around the angles, helping a filling Mundy to bring him down without trouble. Mundy was very solid on this run play: no YAM.|
|Lamarr Woodley(+1) stunts right past a guard and into the draw.|
|Quinn screws up this simple throw. Probably not going to get the first down anyway. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 6 min 1st Q. They try this swing/dumpoff stuff to Walker a few more times later and each time someone is in his face.|
|TE comes in motion to the middle of the line to provide a lead block. Michigan stunts its way into a cavernous gap in the middle of the line, but Burgess(+1) does well to defeat a block and tackle downfield. Hall assists.|
|Linebackers are playing off, allowing Walker to glide past the LOS without encountering serious resistance. Harris and Burgess take on the blockers and Walker stumbles over the mess a few yards downfield.|
|O16||3||1||Standard 4-3||Run||-2||Off tackle|
|No push whatsoever from the ND line as Will Johnson(+2) and Woodley(+1) drive their men about a yard back. Crable(+1) and Harris(+1) finish him off. Huge play.|
|Drive Notes:: Punt, 20-7, 14 min 2nd Q. How am I supposed to analyze this? They don't have a first down!|
|Quinn could throw this better but it's still in McKnight's hands. He drops it. We were in a zone that's vulnerable to this throw but Hall(+1) was there almost with the ball and probably contributed to the drop. (Coverage +1) (CA)|
|Good blitz design here gets Burgess in unblocked on a stunt, but Quinn has a wide open out of about eight yards which he takes. Zone so can't really blame anyone. No, wait: Morgan Trent is giving Grimes way too much of a cushion (-1, Coverage -1) . You're Morgan Trent! You beat Ted Ginn in a race once! (CA)|
|O39||1||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||Inc||I Dunno|
|This is probably an incorrect route run by the WR, but I really want it to be Quinn panicking about Burgess blitzing again. Not charted. The pass is off by yards.|
|No pressure because Woodley is being flagrantly held... I mean the guard has his hands on Woodley's shoulder pads for a good eight seconds. Great coverage(+2) downfield, though, forces Quinn to dump a ball off to Walker. Morgan Trent(+1) comes up quickly to make a nice open-field tackle. (CA)|
|Good protection is legitimate this time despite two blitzers. Quinn decides to hurl it to Carlson even though Burgess is sitting right on the route. Burgess(+1) deflects the pass, ending the drive. (Coverage +1) (BR)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-7, 10 min 2nd Q. Mutter mutter damned Big 10 refs. I start getting paranoid about holding at this point. Later I capture VIDEO EVIDENCE OF BIAS AGAINST MICHIGAN! Stay tuned.|
|Harris is engaged by John Sullivan and can't come off because he's getting bear-hugged. As a result, Walker can slip into a tiny hole between himself and Jamison to gain some yards. Our first "wait, that's an obvious uncalled hold" video.|
|We blitz; Quinn hurls a slant in to Samarwhatever's knees. Adams(+1) was right there to make a tackle, no YAC. (coverage +1, IN)|
|This one to McKnight is better thrown but still not caught. Hall(+1, coverage +1) was right on top of him, making a hit as the ball arrives. This could potentially be interference but no helpful replay is provided. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-7, 7 min 2nd Q. It's a conspiracy.|
|O28||1||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||3||TE Screen|
|Fake screen out to Walker then come back the TE for a screen to the other side. David Harris(+2) comes up and levels Carlson. Crowd goes "oooooh." (CA)|
|Samarwhatever with his first reception. We've rushed four and zoned the first couple plays this drive. (Coverage -1, CA)|
|O37||3||1||3-3-5 Stack||Run||2||QB Sneak|
|Hey, they got a first down.|
|O39||1||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||15||Deep out|
|One blitzer. I'm pretty sure Jamison is held on this play, as he makes a move to the inside, seems to have a clear path, and suddenly jerks to a halt. Anyway. No pressure and an accurate throw. (CA, coverage -1)|
|One blitzer again. He comes free as he's delayed, but it's too late to prevent the completion (CA, cover -1)|
|We blitz off the corner; Quinn goes to the vacated area and completes a pass in front of Trent. (CA, cover -1)|
|M24||1||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||20||Deep stop|
|Rush four + zone. Bleah! Lots of time for Quinn until Jamison(+1) gets free and starts chasing â€“ he's held on this play as the tackle hangs on to him far too long â€“ Quinn rolls and hits an open Grimes way down the sideline. (CA, cover -1)|
|Horrible throw is way, way behind Samarwhatever, but he does make this sort of catch and Trent can't recover in time to do anything about it. (IN)|
|Drive Notes:: 34-14, EOH. Well, we didn't stop blitzing entirely but when we did we only blitzed one and he was usually mistimed. I think the bigger issue was the coverage we played behind the blitzers. It seems like we backed off. Before, Michigan players were aggressive, all over the Irish and Quinn found himself freaking out about coverage with frequency. On this drive we try to prevent the big play and don't give our rushers time to do anything.|
|Walker drops a perfectly placed swing pass... and this is obviously a lateral by like two yards. Damn Big Ten refs. (CA)|
|Crable(+1) is knifing through the defense but can't get there in time to prevent the completion to McKnight. Trent in decent position. (CA)|
|Plenty of time, but Branch(+1) knocks the ball down. (BA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 34-14, 11 min 3rd Q. Should have been a turnover as the lateral bounced to Trent.|
|O26||1||10||Standard 4-3||Run||2||Pitch sweep|
|Alan Branch(+2) gets terrific penetration, forcing the play back inside. Could be a TFL for Taylor but he's pushed just a bit off balance and Walker dashes by. Burgess and Trent converge for the tackle.|
|Time for Quinn but he's forced to check down (Coverage +1) to Walker despite Michigan sending a blizter. (It's Mundy.) Harris(+1) is there to tackle Walker for no YAC. Woodley's being doubled. (CA)|
|O30||3||6||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||Int||Yakety Sax|
|Branch(+2) again plows his man way back, and bangs Quinn's arm as he throws. It's a popup that Burgess(+1) snags and returns to the five. Hooray Beer. (BA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 34-14, 7 min 3rd Q. Branch is driving mofos back like they're on one of those ice levels in Mario Bros.|
|Announcers give Remy Hamilton props for his Arena League resume: only on NBC! Crable(+2) bursts right past two blockers and levels Quinn, creating the shot featured in QED. He gets remarkable pass rush from the interior now on these plays â€“ he's been close to doing something like this a couple times â€“ whereas last year he was a one-trick pony: the stunt. (TA)|
|Branch(+1) and Woodley(+1) both occupy two blockers... on a draw! Harris is thus unblocked and reacts quickly to snuff it out. You can see on this play the difference between Harris and Burgess, as Harris reads this play a split-second quicker.|
|McKnight is open deep on this one but Quinn puts it five yards past him. Maybe Biggs'(+1) pass rush got to him? He was getting closed on and maybe didn't have the room to step into the throw. Also : Biggs flagrantly held. (IN, cover -1)|
|Drive Notes:: Punt, 37-14, 4 min 3rd Q. The only reason Brady Quinn isn't eating with a straw today is the Big Ten refs allowed the ND OL to hold all day long. Aren't you supposed to be on our side?|
|Woodley held but no call. Coverage is good (+1) forcing a four-or-five yard dumpoff. Unfortunately, Trent(-1) turns in what I think is the only missed tackle all day and Walker breaks it for a first down. (CA)|
|Again no one open deep. Quinn dumps to Carlson under the zone. Brandon Harrison(+1) makes a nice tackle to prevent YAC. (Cover +1, CA)|
|O37||2||6||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||3 + 15||Swing|
|Little swing pass to Walker is defended well by Crable(+1), who forces him out after a gain of maybe three yards. He gets called for a late hit here that's pretty ridiculous. (CA)|
|Trent(+1, coverage +1) nails Grimes the instant he touches the ball. Other than jumping the route this is as good as you can play this coverage. (CA)|
|They decide not to block Burgess(+1), who plows Quinn as he throws. Quinn could have got this ball off â€“ the impact came after the throw â€“ but is clearly a scared little girl. (IN)|
|You can't cover this any better than Leon Hall(+2, coverage +1) does: step-for-step, right in front of the WR, leaping up to deflect the pass away as it comes. Rhema McKnight hilariously gets up to bitch at the ref after the play is done. McKnight == TO â€“ Talent. (DO)|
|The slip screen catches Michigan so off guard that Brandon Harrison has Smarwhatever for a TFL but misses the tackle. +1 for the read but -2 for the miss. He gets the first down but it's called back because McKnight thinks this is the World Cup and is trying to swap jerseys with Sears. Finally! (CA)|
|M43||4||9||3-3-5 Stack||Penalty||15||Pass Interference|
|Mundy called. This is simultaneous with the ball and a good play, not a penalty, IMO. Ball was way high and probably not going to be caught, anyway. (Cover +1, IN)|
|M28||1||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||28||Ref Pity|
|I also don't have a problem with Trent's coverage(+1, cover +1) on this play. He's right with McKnight on a a fly route despite being line up right on his nose and is fighting him the whole way down the field. This is marginally PI on Trent not for anything he does with his hands but because he's not looking back for the ball and physically obstructs McKnight at about the five yard line, but these things will happen. McKnight clearly pushes off Trent afterwards, though, and knows it: he leaps up to contest the call, assuming it's against him. Took a miracle for McKnight to catch this ball and you might get away with this pretty often. (CA)|
|Drive Notes:: Touchdown, 40-21, 12 min 4th Q. Two terrible calls on this drive give ND 30 yards and a final one is marginal.|
|Great coverage(+1), Quinn has nowhere to throw. He scrables out as Biggs(+1) gets free. Crable(+2) tracks him down. He's frigging fast.|
|Quinn again can't find anyone and dumps it to Walker. Pass lands at his feet. (IN) (Coverage +1)|
|Impossibly good pass 32 yards down the seam. A rush-four-and-zone play on third and long? Don't like it. But he had to make an impossible throw. (DO)|
|Rush four + zone and McKnight finds himself wide open down the sideline(coverage -2). I think the safety gets him if he catches it, but if he doesn't it's a touchdown. Fortunately for Michigan, McKnight's only talent is bitching at officials and he drops it. (DO)|
|McKnight open on an out. We send Harrison as a blitzer but he's picked up. Trent makes the tackle as the ball is caught. Wish he was in tighter coverage but note that ND has had no opportunites for YAC all day. They catch it and are tackled. (CA)|
|Pressure up the middle from Jamison(+1) forces a checkdown. Nice tackle from Harrison(+1). (CA)|
|Good coverage(+1) forces a rollout when Biggs(+1) looks like he's going to come in on Quinn. Hall(+3, coverage +1) makes a spectacular diving interception.|
|Drive Notes:: Interception, 40-21, 7 min 4th Q.|
|Flagrant hold on Crable. Good coverage(+1) forces a dumpoff for five yards.|
|FRICKIN' FINALLY. Santucci tackles Woodley(+1) and is called for it.|
|Nothing open downfield (coverage +1), checkdown to Walker. Harrison(-1) misses the initial tackle, allowing some YAC.|
|O29||3||5||3-3-5 Stack||Penalty||-5||False Start|
|Plenty of time, no one open(coverage +1). After some more ridiculous holding, this one on Branch, we get pressure and the ball's thrown out of bounds.|
|4 + zone , and plenty of time. Legit this time to Samarwhatever. (CA)|
|McKnight had a step, but the pass is well over his head, robbing him of an opportunity to drop it. (Coverage -1) (IN)|
|Harrison(+1) unblocked off the corner blitz. Quinn hurls it downfield. (TA)|
|O42||3||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||-4 / +15||Sack|
|Brandon Graham(+2) gets great internal pass rush, flushing quinn. Jamison and he combine for a sack, then Van Alstyne like falls on Quinn, drawing a late hit flag. Dumb play.|
|Eugene Germany(+1) gets upfield on his blocker immediately, then is held. No call. Doesn't matter, as Jamison(+2) nails Quinn.|
|Branch(+1) spins away from the ND guard and levels Quinn. Comical summary of day: the guard feebly attempts to stop Branch by grabbing the back of his jersey and pulling. No flag and no stopping the train, either. Resultant throw is a bullet high that Samarwhatever can't catch. (IN)|
|M47||3||15||3-3-5 Stack||Penalty||-10 / +15||Holding|
|Walker draw goes for a first down, but is coming back for holding. The end of the run sees a really bad late hit call on Mundy.|
|M38||1||10||3-3-5 Stack||Pass||Ha ha||Stooge act|
|WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP! (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Fumble Return Touchdown, 47-21, 3 min 4th Q.|
Well, you have to be careful when comparing a team that's had one game against a top 25 team to one of the greatest defenses in college football history, but damn. Watching it live I thought that Notre Dame had shot themselves in the foot a lot but on tape review there was almost always a reason for their screwups, be it an offensive lineman who's just close enough to Quinn to make his throw uncomfortable or a defensive back who hits the receiver the moment after the ball gets there. Quinn had no time to throw, and even when he did his receivers were covered. That's a double-whammy a defense hardly ever pulls off.
And -- and! -- there was a comical amount of holding going on by Notre Dame offensive linemen. Maybe I'm crazy (we'll discuss that a bit later), but it seemed that almost every Notre Dame pass either featured Michigan pressure or an uncalled hold. They simply could not block Michigan's front four.
By the time the fourth quarter started Notre Dame had something like 118 yards offense. Credit the defense with the short FG and remove ND's four-yard touchdown drive and the defense outscored Notre Dame's vaunted offense. 1997? Not yet. But that was a performance worthy of them.
You've got to be joking: you win by 26 and then complain about the refereeing?
Well... yeah. I wasn't expecting to make a big deal of it -- though I did intend to savage that last touchdown drive of theirs -- but sometime in the second quarter I had seen one too many Michigan player dragged to the ground. Watch the clips above: I don't think any of them are ambiguous. When you get your hands outside an opponent's shoulder pads and grab, that's holding. When you reach out with your arm and yank a player that's beaten you to the ground, that's holding. When you ride Lamarr Woodley around the corner with your arms wrapped around his waist, that's holding.
Add in the two late hit calls, the drive-extending pass interference on fourth down and what probably should have been offsetting pass interference penalties on the McKnight touchdown and there is one inescapable conclusion: a vast nationwide conspiracy against the Michigan football program headed by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney, the Pope, Joe Paterno, and Osama Bin Laden. Well, forces of darkness, I regret to inform you that your feeble attempts to destroy us have failed! Mooohahahaahaahaha!
No, seriously: what do neutral fans out there think? Am I crazy, or are those things all holds and of the variety that have to be called? (The one on Harris is not a surprising no-call to me, what with him in the middle of the line and not able to disengage enough to make it obvious, but the rest seem blatant.) And what about the PI? I hate to go all BWI on these refs, but don't they deserve it?
Pick someone. Pick anyone. If I had to single out the best performers, they'd probably be Alan Branch, Shawn Crable and Leon Hall. Hall had a major hand in what you will see is a ridiculous coverage number; Crable is ridiculous in many ways; Branch was the best defensive lineman by a nose.
Nobody. There was not a single player on the defense who was not at least good. Brandon Harrison missed the occasional tackle, and he was a part of the silly great coverage. That's it.
|Woodley||5||5||Quiet game, possibly because he was held all the time.|
|Taylor||1||1||0||Spent much of the game watching after ND abandoned its run game.|
|Branch||7||7||Please come back as a senior.|
|C. Graham||-||-||Saw a few snaps but not many. Burgess is kind of the starter now.|
|Burgess||5||5||Everyone's going nuts but his big plays were gifted to him. Thought Crable was better by far. Still: not like he was bad or anything.|
|Hall||8||8||Outstanding all day. Don't think there was a pass completed anywhere near him. Crushed Samardzija into little bits.|
|Adams||1||1||Hardly had to do anything.|
|Mundy||-||-||-||Was fine. Possible run/pass platoon with Englemon?|
|Trent||6||2||6||New starter, apparently.|
I noticed some personnel changes.
Yes. Trent started in place of Stewart and Mundy in place of Englemon. Brandon Harrison was the nickel corner, and Jamison got some run with the first team. I think that Michigan might be platooning players the strengths of their opponents: clearly the run-support Stewart was so lauded for was mostly unnecessary, but a tall guy who once beat Ted Ginn in a race is a perfect player to match up with McKnight and Samardzija. Thus Trent. And Mundy is probably the preferred option at free safety for pass coverage given Englemon's bust against CMU and Mundy's dalliance as a nickel corner early this year.
Against Wisconsin's power attack I would expect more of Stewart and Englemon, especially since Trent and Mundy's strong performances didn't buy them anything on the depth chart: both are listed as "or" with their competitors. (Note, however, that Burgess has solidified a starting spot.)
What was the deal with that drive before halftime? That thing gave me hives.
Yes. Every Michigan fan had to find that particular Herrmannesque thing downright creepy. English called the dogs off a bit but often sent a fifth rusher, so I don't think it was necessarily a lack of rush -- though that contributed to it -- but rather a much softer coverage designed to keep players in front of defenders. Thus a series of slice 'n' dice completions and Quinn's momentary relevance. You'll note that more than half the negatives for "coverage" in the entire game come on this drive.
Hopefully a lesson is learned.
Any other coaching issues?
No. I didn't like the rush four plus zone on one of ND's last drives. It was third and sixteen and the end result was a 32 yard seam route to Carlson. But by that point I wanted blood and may not have been totally coherent. In general, I love Ron English. Notice how he never, ever rushes three people? Notice how receivers are instantly tackled when they catch the ball? Notice how the best option for offenses is often hopeful balls downfield to guys in man coverage, usually blanketed by our fast corners, if they have enough time to get it off? Given Zoltan's meh performances over the first few games my vote for Space Emperor might be shifting towards English.
So what have we learned so far?
An awful lot about what Michigan is going to do in passing situations against spread teams. In contrast to last year, when they stupidly sat in a base formation and tipped their coverages before every play, English is always in nickel and often a 3-3-5. From that 3-3-5 he'll play aggressive coverages coupled with frequent but not loony blitzing featuring Shawn Crable heavily. The defensive line is built with an eye towards penetration: get past your blocker and hurt someone. Terrance Taylor is often lifted in favor of a linebacker, allowing blitzes to come from more unpredictable locations. Sending cornerbacks is not uncommon.
We know much less about how the team will perform against a pounding run attack like Wisconsin and Minnesota fill feature, but it doesn't appear that Michigan will have much problem. They've faced only a few conventional running plays this year, but almost all of those have been swallowed whole. No opponent has lined up under center and rushed for more than ten yards. I don't think that's a fluke.
What does it mean for Wisconsin?
We'll get our first stiff test from a team determined to run the ball. Expect to see Jamar Adams in the box a lot, offering help to the linebackers, as Wisconsin's receivers are all raw and none seem like a particular downfield threat. Terrance Taylor and Will Johnson will see a bunch more playing time than they have to date. Wisconsin RB PJ Hill is a 242 bruiser who prefers to run over rather than around. Unfortunately for the Badgers, their interior offensive line is new and not particularly cohesive yet. Running against Michigan will be a major chore; throwing looks equally dodgy. There's some possibility the rush defense is vastly overrated due to a lack of serious competition this far, but given their struggle against SDSU and some Badger chattin', Wisconsin's offense will probably pose little threat to the Michigan D. But don't quote me on that.
How would you describe the defensive peformance, overall?
$&*#ing. Beat. Down.
|Hart ends up cutting this almost all the way back, slicing past Alex Mitchell(+1), who's driving CMU supahstar Dan Bazuin downfield on the first play of the game. Hart(-1) fumbles, Manningham recovers.|
|Something I've noticed: Henne does have the proverbial "command of the offense". On this play and several others he saves Michigan from confusion or penalty by correcting presnap alignments. Here he reminds Breaston to get up to the LOS after a TE goes in motion. The play? Easy as pie stop route to Manningham with the Central corners playing in East Herrmannistan. (CA) Would prefer he not stare down Manningham, though.|
|Dan Bazuin is from McBain, Michigan. It all seems so obvious in retrospect. This play is joined in progress and is thus hard to understand. Jake Long appears to miss a block on a filling linebacker, but as the play was going away from his side of the line I don't think you can blame him too much.|
|O39||2||7||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||10||Breaston||WR screen|
|We motion Breaston over to a stationary pair of Arrington and Manningham. I tell my cousin "screen" as the motion comes. I am so right. May have been a bit hasty on declaring the WR screen dead last week. This time Arrington(+1) gets a nice block to spring Breaston. Manningham(-1) is angry with himself after the play; he attempted to cut the corner and whiffed, preventing this from going a bit farther. (CA)|
|Bring in Oluigbo and fake an ISO. Henne starts looking deep but is rudely interrupted by Bazuin, who went around Riley(-2) like he wasn't there. Henne scrambles away from pressure nicely and hurls it in the general direction of Hart. (TA)|
|Play probably wasn't going anywhere anyway but it's notable that Riley(-1) got beat to the inside, and his man makes the tackle on a play run to the left side of the line. Oluigbo(+1) with another pounding block.|
|O26||3||7||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||Inc||Arrington?||Med. Out?|
|Bazuin again. This time he feints going outside, gets Riley(-1) moving that way, and swims back inside. Hart's staying in to help but Bazuin's right in the passing lane. Henne throws, he jumps and bats the pass. (BA)|
|Hart's again tasked with doubling Bazuin. McBain does essentially the same thing he did the play before, but the throw goes to the other side. Henne rifles it in a small spot in the zone for the first. (DO)|
|Er. Ecker lines up on the left side of the line, then motions to the right. We zone to the left side of the line. So either Kraus has to somehow seal the defensive end by himself or Long has to momentarily scoop w/ Kraus and then get out on the outside linebacker. Neither of these things happen... the DE is upfield immediately, forcing Long to pivot and get a glancing block on him. The OLB is thus free. Hart does some dancing for a couple yards. Weird play design? An attempt to catch them off guard? I dunno. I think this is Long(-1) but don't quote me on it.|
|Again we run away from the strength of the formation â€“ 2 TE on the right side. It looks like this particular zone play is actually designed for a cutback behind the RG, but Ecker(-1) can't block guess who and he's forced to run behind his OL... which works out pretty well as the left side has blown CMU yards off the ball. (Long, Kraus +1)|
|Good lord. We motion Ecker to the side we run to this time but he's window dressing. Long and Kraus KILL the CMU d-line with an assist from Bihl. (+1 for everyone!)|
|O5||1||G||Offset I-2 TE||Run||5||Hart||Zone|
|Touchdown. Couldn't ask for a better exemplar of Mike Hart's(+2) zone goodness than this play, in which Bazuin ends up penetrating into the backfield. Past Long(!, -1). A potential TFL goes bye when Hart zips upfield. Outstanding work on the backside by Riley and Mitchell.(+1 each)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q. Riley's inability to block Bazuin almost terminates this drive but everyone else on the O was picture-perfect.|
|Riley(-1) is blown into the backfield, forcing Hart to cut back into the heart of the defense. I really, really hope this Bazuin guy is a top five pick in the NFL draft.|
|Good protection this time, as Central stunts Bazuin into a Mitchell-Bihl double team. (WTF?) This might provide some evidence for the crowd who declare Henne coached into timidity, as he has plenty of time but just dumps it down to Hart for a meh gain. (CA and I really wish I could see what was going on downfield.)|
|This is closer to a third and two and an instance similar to that at the end of the Vandy game where we were merrily zoning away against a defense that was going to come hell-bent against us on a fairly obvious run down. Here, as there, our running is ineffective. A downside of the zone game? I thin k I'd prefer bringing Obi in and dropping the hammer. Anyway, the play: motion Ecker to the left side, zone there, safety on that side blitzes, Ecker's(-1) block is fey, and the timing is busted.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 5 min 1st, I put all the analysis in the third down play. Drat! So, uh... this Dunkin Donuts commercial with the "beard of bees"... that has to be They Might Be Giants, right? (TMBG +1)|
|Breaston comes in motion to the left (and short) side of the field; Michigan zones that way. His block (-1) is mediocre but enough to delay the safety such that Hart makes the corner. If he does a bit better Hart gets ten.|
|O38||2||5||Ace 3-Wide||Run||6||Hart||Off tackle|
|Good lord part six or whatever: Riley(-1) again blown into the backfield by Bazuin; Hart's path is fortunately not disrupted. Everyone on the outside gets good seal blocks except Arrington(-1), allowing Hart to reach the corner. (Ecker +1 for the block.)|
|O32||1||10||Offset I slot||Pass||Inc||Breaston||Stop|
|Henne(-1) makes this a much tougher catch than it has to be, throwing it really hard and about a yard inside. Still hits him in the hands and could be caught. (very nominally CA)|
|Grady(+1) does well to power through a a tackler and stumble forward for a good chunk of yards. Could have been stopped for two yards.|
|Again with the zone-short-yardage I mentioned earlier and a similar, disappointing result. Mitchell(-1) got driven back a bit.|
|O23||4||1||Offset I 2TE||Penalty||5||--||Offsides|
|Extremely fortunate for us, as the man offsides was not on the playside as was thus completely irrelevant. Otherwise we turn the ball over on downs. Don't like running to the weak side of this formation when they've overloaded said side. Henne(-1) has to get us out of that.|
|Right up the gut for a touchdown. Presnap Henne corrects Oluigbo's position â€“ he had moved to an offset. Postsnap, Oluigbo(+1) crushes a blocker, allowing Hart a hole between the last linebacker and the endzone. A blitz from the outside linebackers anticipating another zone opens up all the space. Our rock to their scissors.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 1 min 1st. I'd rather have Oluigbo in there on these short yardage plays.|
|They're playing way, way off Manningham. He stops after five yards, catches the pass, and has plenty of room for more. (CA)|
|Grady(+1) cuts back and is momentarily caught in an ankle tackle by Bazuin, but breaks it and plows ahead for a nice gain.|
|O11||2||1||Offset I 2TE||Run||3||Grady||Iso|
|Awful camera angle. Grady(-1) cuts this to the backside, too, and unnecessarily. He risks a TFL here when the hole ahead was clearly sufficient to pick up the first down. Another good stick from Oluigbo(+1), though it was moot.|
|Dagnabit. I like my heroes and goats clear. On this play the POA is clogged by a ton of CMU players. There would be a wide open cutback lane between Kraus and someone if Kraus(-1) hadn't been ripped to the ground by the DT and free to close on Minor. Touchdown if Kraus makes the block and Minor makes the cut.|
|Bihl takes a little too long on his double-team at the line. When Grady cuts up the MLB is still unengaged, making a cutback unpalatable, so heads to the right of Bihl for a few yards. Made a couple after contact.|
|Long(+1) ends up burying his man five yards into the endzone. A nice, solid cut by Grady(+1) splits two converging defenders. Touchdown.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q. Grind grind grind grind.|
|Lots of time. Henne gets to his second or third read, which is Hart, lined up at WR, on a six yard stop. Hart(-1) drops the ball. (CA)|
|Massive cutback lane as Central gets caught stemming into another defense right at the snap, one with only three DL. Since Riley is getting blown back again Hart cuts it up for a first down. CMU safety Curtis Cutts tatoos Hart.|
|Massey wiiiide open on the waggle. Excellent throw on the run. (DO, Henne +1)|
|Thompson at fullback. He decides to flail at a player already on the ground(-1), thus allowing a couple linebackers to fill.|
|O35||2||8||I-Form Twins||Pass||16||Breaston||PA deep cross|
|Breaston wide open after play action on the sideline about 12 yards downfield. Manningham's go route has run off the player originally in that zone. Henne puts it right on the money. (DO, Henne +1)|
|The play where Curtis Cutts comes up and goes Batman (POW!) on Minor. Great job by Bihl and Kraus to open up the cavern he runs through. (+1 for both)|
|Goofball in seat near me says "he's running tentative because of that hit," which draws muttered snark from me. It's hard to run anywhere when a defensive end is entirely unblocked. I'm pretty sure this is on Long(-2).|
|Man. Kids, Dan Bazuin is for real. On this play he starts out on the left, then has a delayed stunt inside Long. Kraus is trying to deal with the stunter and Bihl(-1) whiffs, forcing Henne to scramble and eventually take a sack. Can't blame Henne here: Michigan went max-pro, keeping 2 TEs in to block. The routes weren't ready by the time Bazuin was on him. (PR)|
|Drive Notes: Field Goal, 24-7, 6 min 2nd Q. A couple of breakdowns on the left side of the line terminate this drive.|
|Oluigbo(-1) does not do the job here. I hate this playcall: there are nine men in the box. Nine.|
|Ditto. Nine guys in the box. Arrington single covered out to the right with his man eight yards off him. Stupidly conservative.|
|M7||3||6||Ace 3-Wide||Penalty||-4||Butler||False start|
|Butler(-1). His second of the day.|
|Well, clearly you don't want to hover in the pocket all day when you're in your own endzone, but Henne should be able to find someone. There's an out just offscreen that looks open. (BR)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-7, 2 min 2nd Q. Hate this drive for its predictability and clear indication that the idea of a "scoring offense" is alive and well. Tactically it's saying "we don't want you to get a cheap touchdown before the half," which I dislike mucho because the best way to prevent a cheap touchdown before the half is to get a first down here and kill their drive dead before they even start it.|
|M49||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Pass||26||Breaston||Slip screen|
|Nice block from Arrington(+1), Breaston(+2) does his "I'm Steve Breaston" thing. (CA)|
|Very nice job by Bihl(+1) to seal off the DT. Mitchell and Riley(+1 each) create a gaping hole between themselves and Bihl. Hart(+1) makes another five or eight with a nice cutback once he gets through the hole.|
|O10||1||10||Ace 3-Wide Bunch||Run||5||Hart||Draw|
|Excellent blocking by the line. Hart is tackled by his shoes and falls forward.|
|Cuts up between Long(+1) and Kraus(+1). Just pushing them back, glacier-style.|
|Oluigbo(+1) pounds the outside linebacker, freeing Hart to waltz in to the outside. Michigan motioned a tight end to the left and ran right.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-10 10 min 3rd Q.|
|Cut is right up the gut.|
|Tight ends are open by five yards when we run this. Throw is right on the money (DO, Henne +1); Butler cartwheels to the turf after the catch.|
|Time to throw. Henne(-1) checks down to Massey, who's covered, and throws it well wide anyway. This could be evidence for those who think Henne has been coached into timidity. (IN)|
|There's a massive hole here but Grady makes a terrible decision, running back into the defense.(-1) Kudos to Kraus(+1) and Bihl(+1) for the blocking.|
|Kraus(-1) gets lost on a stunt, allowing his man to come in unblocked on Henne. He had just enough time to get it away but missed Manningham. (IN, though perhaps harsh.)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 31-10, 7 min 3rd Q|
|A promising hole off tackle is closed just enough when Carson Butler(-1) can't hold his position and bumps into Grady as he passes. Grady(+1) digs for extra yards after contact for a decent gain anyway.|
|Works to perfection this time: Long(+1) shoves his man over enough for Kraus to seal then gets to the second level. Massey kicks out a linebacker, and Minor finds the gap behind Long for the first down. Minor finishes this run by delivering the pop this time.|
|Carson Butler(+1) dismembers the linebacker to the play side on this snap. Arrington(+1) dominates the cornerback; Minor gets the corner with ease. He finishes the run with powah!|
|Butler can't handle Bazuin on this play. There's nothing to the outside so Minor cuts it up into a bunch of bodies to get what he can.|
|Riley(-1) killed by Bazuin again. Jackson is out of options and, much like the last play, a Michigan running play ends in a mass of flailing limbs. Oh, and a fumble.|
|Time to throw ends abruptly when Bazuin stunts past Mitchell(-1) and into Henne's chest. Henne does manage to get a pass off to Butler for a few yards. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Field Goal, 34-10, 1 min 3rd Q|
|POA jammed up so Hart cuts back. Dodges an arm tackle. Dodges another arm tackle, and now he's got the whole right side of the field, which he starts running up. NO NO NO NO CHAD IT'S 34-10 DOOOON'T. (+2 for Hart.)|
|Time, checkdown, timidity. (CA)|
|CMU blitzes into it... the guy up the middle is blowed up by Oluigbo, but too much traffic in the middle.|
|Flag is picked up. The contact was indeed before the ball was thrown, but this still seems like it should be a penalty. No justice no peace. Not charted since Manningham's fall makes it impossible to judge the throw.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 34-10, 12 min 4th Q. Garbage time ensues, though the first team gets another drive.|
Dude, there's like numbers and stuff.
Yes, we're trying out a very experimental +/- similar to that seen weekly for the defense. I forsee some problems:
- OL never get credit for good pass blocking but do get slammed for bad pass blocking.
- It's impossible to see if receivers are running good routes.
- A zone running game sometimes makes it difficult to assign blame or credit.
- Mike Hart got shorted.
But we'll try anyway. I added some +/- to Henne but I don't think that practice will continue since he's been the subject of much finer-grained analysis for a while.
|Long||5||4||1||Still missing a few blocks.|
|Bihl||3||1||2||No longer concerned about center.|
|Riley||2||7||-5||Plain murdered by Bazuin, who didn't even confine his damage to Riley.|
|Butler||1||3||-2||Stop false-starting, kid.|
|Oluigbo||4||1||3||Actually want to see more fullback. Who would have ever predicted that?|
At first glance, this might need significant work. Michigan crushed Central on the ground but the numbers don't really reflect it, though that was due almost entirely to Bazuin playing like Lawrence Taylor. And I have a feeling wide receivers are going to have mostly negative scores for dropping balls. We'll see.
IMO, a good game. There were a couple throws on the CA/IN border; one got dropped in each bin. The bullet to Breaston that was a yard off is the kind of pass that gets caught by Avant. So: a couple wobbly throws, one plain bad one, and then good results. Two tough-ish waggle throws made on the run hit TEs between the numbers. That deep cross to Breaston was perfectly placed and not a difficult catch. The BA wasn't his fault at all.
There wasn't much evidence to go on, but he came through when he was asked to throw. I do have some concerns about his tendency to check down when he has a lot of time, but with the umbrella CMU was putting around the deep receivers it's understandable. He should have some opportunities to go deep against Notre Dame.
If he is in rhythm at all. WTF haven't we thrown more?
I think the usual reasons trotted out (working on the zone game, DeBord and Carr treat the forward pass like apes encountering the Monolith) are probably part of it, but consider this: Michigan has essentially no backup quarterback. David Cone is a true freshman from a veer option team. Jason Forcier is a redshirt freshman who is not at all ready, if rumors are to be believed. So it might make some sense to keep your quarterback protected against teams that have very little chance of winning, especially when your right tackle is more door than wall and double especially when McBain is coming to kill you.
Speaking of McBain, good Lord.
No kidding. The word "unblockable" gets thrown around way too often -- I've heard people describe Woodley's first two games as "unblockable" when a better adjective would be "unblocked" -- but goddamn, that kid is unblockable. It wasn't just Riley, either. He blew past interior linemen on a couple stunts and would have ended Hart's first touchdown for a four-yard loss after shucking none other than Jake Long if not for Hart's unbearable awesomeness of being. I think he might be the best defensive end in the country. I know that I really want him to be the best defensive end in the country.
We'll find out when Abiamiri lines up versus Riley. I'm pulling for you, McBain.
And what does it mean for Notre Dame?
As previously discussed in the PSU tape review, Abiamiri is going to be a major problem. His matchup versus Riley is the key one for the Michigan offense, period. I expect him to get beat a lot. Just how much will determine the fate of the universe. Michigan will chip and offer RB support but when ND blitzes his help will be stripped away, leaving him one on one with the beast. I expect screens-a-plenty.
Michigan's run game is very good. Everyone on the line is capable of drive-blocking well. Oluigbo has established himself as a punishing blocker. Hart, Minor, and Grady are all good backs. Given what I've seen I think Michigan will be able to run on Notre Dame when they have seven in the box. Eight will work sometimes but not frequently enough for Michigan to go into a shell the entire game and come out with a win. Variety will be key.
We don't really know much about Michigan's passing game other than Riley's scary and the tight ends are heavily featured. I expect the TEs to remain heavily featured in an attempt to keep ND's linebackers from crashing the LOS. Waggles and seam routes should feature. Also, WR screens should be effective if the GT game is any indication of the open-field tackling ability possesed by ND's cornerbacks. Breaston and Manningham can make these guys miss. Ndukwe and Zbikowski might dislodge their fillings ten yards downfield, but ten yards is ten yards.
I'm still not sure what to expect except a lot of zone blocking and panicked scrambles from Henne when Riley whiffs. We could grind up and down the field on them, or we could succumb to an avalanche of tiny mistakes like we did last year. I think we score in the 24-27 point range.