Personnel notes: Smith replaced Williams for the whole game, and the linebackers were always Ezeh and Mouton. On (rare) obvious passing downs Floyd came in for Smith. I think there may have been a few plays where Floyd subbed in for Woolfolk, too.
Formation notes: Michigan spent the whole game in an eight-man front; late they moved up Kovacs for nine.
Video note: there was no HD torrent this week so the quality is poor.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Ace||4-4 under||Pass||Dig||Ezeh||27 + 15 pen|
|The first of a thousand of these. Wisconsin goes play action and sucks the linebackers up a little but the problem is that Ezeh(-1) and Mouton(-1) don't get deep enough drops (cover -2) and leave a wide receiver wide open on a two-man route. There is no one threatening either of those guys underneath as Wisconsin goes max protect. Graham had worked underneath and nailed Tolzien just as he throws and picks up a terrible roughing the passer call. Egregiously bad call.|
|Aaand Graham(+1) owns the tackle and is blatantly held, which allows Tolzien to escape the pocket; Brown(-1) hesitates in case Tolzien decides to throw and gives up the corner, allowing a nice scramble.|
|M26||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Inside zone||Martin||2|
|Martin(+1) takes on a double team and gives a little ground but not that much; Mouton(-1) is attacking the line of scrimmage and picks the wrong hole, which gives Clay an open cutback that he attempts to take; he trips over one of the offensive linemen trying to block Martin. Kovacs was filling strongly.|
|M24||2||8||I-Form Twins||4-4 under||Run||Inside zone||Graham||1|
|Graham(+1) gets off the ball quickly and gets inside of his blocker, convincing Clay to attempt to cut it behind that mess; Martin(+1) is looping around after taking on a double team and the two of them meet Clay to nail him at the LOS. Pretty sure this was a stunt that worked. (RPS +1)|
|M23||3||7||Ace bunch||Base 3-4||Pass||Dig||Ezeh||23|
|Three man rush gets no pressure(-1), partially because Graham is again blatantly held as he attempts to go around the corner. The Wisconsin OL has his hand outside Graham's shoulder pads and is hanging on for dear life; no call. This allows Tolzien to find his TE between Ezeh(-1) and Mouton(-1) wide open (cover -2); Mouton overruns the play, opening it up; Kovacs(-1) then misses a tackle(-1) to give him the last ten.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 11 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Martin||-3|
|Martin(+3) blows past the down-block attempt from the playside guard and is into the backfield like a shot, destroying the play. Clay tries to cut back and is swallowed by Martin(tackling +1). Major TFL by one player = +3.|
|Michigan tipping cover three and Wisconsin goes after the edge, which Smith cannot cover in time (cover -1). Throw is marginal but catchable; it is dropped, costing Wisconsin ten or so yards.|
|O17||3||13||Shotgun 2-back bunch||4-3 under||Pass||Sack||Graham||Inc (Pen -15)|
|Smith out, Floyd in. Wisconsin going with a screen that Michigan has killed because the DTs stunt and by the time Martin(+1) cuts through the trash it's obvious and he gets out on it, causing Tolzien to hesitate and Graham(+1) to hunt him down. Tolzien ends up turfing a ball five yards from the receiver and gets called for grounding. RPS +1|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 5 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O8||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Mouton||3|
|Mouton(+0.5) is a little late but does scrape to the hole past a center coming through the middle and meets Clay there, tackling(+1) with help from Kovacs. Ezeh got outside the pulling guard and forced it back.|
|O11||2||7||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-4 under split||Pass||Sack||Martin||-1|
|I mean, really, what is it going to take for an official to throw a flag on the Wisconsin offensive line? Martin(+3) zips around the center and is instantly into the backfield on this play action; center then grabs his shoulder from behind and starts slowing him down; no flag. Tolzien tries to evade Martin and manages to do so at first but Martin is agile enough to change direction and drag him down from behind. (Pressure +2)|
|Good time (pressure -1) on a four man rush before Martin(+0.5) does work his way through a double and to the quarterback. Tolzien fires to a guy open between Ezeh and Brown, but before the ball can get there Mouton(+1) deflects it and Kovacs(+2) digs out a tough, low interception of the deflected ball. (Cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 7-7, EO1Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-4 under||Pass||Waggle hitch||Roh||9|
|Absolutely no one on the corner (pressure -2) and Tolzien has epic time to wander towards the sideline in case someone gets open. Eventually, someone does. Roh(-1) got himself way far inside in anticipation of the stretch.|
|O34||2||1||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Iso||Heininger||9|
|Martin(+1) gets playside of his blocker and cuts off the intended hole but Heininger(-1) has gotten upfield and gets crushed/sealed out of the play, opening up a cutback lane. Mouton(-1) overpursued to the front of the play, which might be understandable, but then he misses a tackle(-1) and cedes another five or six yards.|
|O43||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 3-4||Run||Power O||Ezeh||11|
|Wow. Watch Ezeh(-2) on this play. He watches and watches and waits and then he's got a center on him blocking him and he's about five yards downfield without having moved as this play develops and as a result there's no one at all to help after Brown forces the play upfield; Roh(-1) also looked pretty goofy as he goes to cut the FB at the wrong spot on this play, which allows a pulling guard to come around; he neither delays the RB nor takes out two-for-one.|
|M46||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Smith||8|
|Hey, same exact play, virtually identical result. Here Graham(-1) cuts inside and gets absorbed by single blocking; he's cutting out of the area in which he can help. Smith(-1) gives up the corner and no one can flow to the ball carrier.|
|M38||2||2||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Iso||Graham||3|
|Graham(+1) zips around the tackle trying to block him and is in great position to potentially make a TFL if Martin(-1) can just hold up better against single blocking; he doesn't, getting banged inside and giving the RB a crease. Graham makes a diving tackle with help from Kovacs and Mouton, but not before the first down line.|
|M35||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Pass||Out||Smith||Inc|
|Smith(+1) is blitzing from the edge and is in lighting quick, too quick for the RB to slide over to get much of a block. RB does get a cut; Smith ends up falling into Tolzien's knees as he throws. Resulting pass is inaccurate. (Pressure +1) Good thing, because out was wide open in front of Kovacs (cover -1)|
|M35||2||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Run||End around||Brown||5 (Pen -9)|
|Brown(+1) is flowing down the line to string this out when the TE grabs him, holds him up, and then cuts him to the ground. Gilreath gets a crease for a few yards; comes back for the hold.|
|M44||2||19||Ace 4-wide||4-4 under||Pass||Corner||Mouton||Inc|
|Mouton(+1) gets a good zone drop as Wisconsin is running a couple of routes to the short side of the field, one a short out and the other a corner. Mouton does take a step to the out, which is not his responsibility, before recovering deep and getting enough depth to deflect the ball; TE catches it on the deflection but out of bounds. (Cover +1) Pocket was too clean: pressure -1.|
|Graham(+1) is shooting inside his blocker and reads this screen, possibly because Tolzien is dropping too deep for it to be a real pass, so he peels off to tackle with help from Roh(+1), who also stopped in his tracks and recovered. (RPS +1, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-7, 11 min 2nd Q. Roughing the kicker on Smith(-2) gives Wisconsin another opportunity. More about this later.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M30||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Heininger||4|
|RVB(-1) blown off the ball by a double; not a real surprise with that guy going up against the Wisconsin line. Heininger(+2), however, fights inside of his guy on the backside and gets inside quickly enough to make a diving tackle on Clay as he nears the LOS. Ankle tackle = YAC, but still a remarkable play; good thing, too, because Ezeh(-1) again sat around aimlessly near the hole and got blocked right out of it; Mouton(-1) had picked the backside of the line and without this play from Heininger Clay is probably scoring a touchdown.|
|M26||2||6||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Smith||7|
|Wheee they do the same thing to one side or the other over and over. On this one Smith(-1) shoots upfield instead of getting into the pulling guards and spilling the play, leaving Ezeh and Mouton one-on-one with two pullers; Mouton has to get outside of one and does; Ezeh(-1) is crushed by the other one and can only make a desperation tackle eight yards downfield.|
|M19||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||End Power O||Smith||13|
|Em. Well, it's the same play except this time they hand it to the pulling TE instead of Clay. Smith(-2) again gives up the corner, getting crushed backwards and giving Kendricks acres of space to head out in; Clay had fallen and if this play got forced back inside it probably wasn't getting much. Smith is every bit as bad as Williams.|
|M6||1||G||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Graham||-1|
|Graham(+2) ducks under the offensive lineman trying to down-block him and ends up in the backfield, where the pulling TE attempts to block him; too late, he's in the path of the play, and Clay goes down meekly.|
|M7||2||G||Ace||4-4 under||Pass||Rollout corner||Woolfolk?||7|
|Ezeh heading out for some contain if Michigan can get this covered, though he runs himself right into a cut block and falls. Doesn't really matter because Woolfolk(-1) got sucked out his zone by the outside receiver and opens up the corner. (Cover -1)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-14, 8 min 2nd Q. Smith is not a panacea.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Pass||PA TE Corner||Brown||Inc|
|Roh(+0.5) gets outside and avoids a cut to provide decent pressure on Tolzien, forcing a throw; Tolzien tries to hit his TE on the corner route that's killed M all year but on this one Brown(+2, cover +2) is running the TE's route for him and if this pass is accurate can intercept. It's not.|
|O25||2||10||Ace Twins||Base 3-4||Pass||Hitch||Mouton||Inc|
|Mouton(+1) blitzes through and does a good job avoiding the RB's block, forcing a throw (pressure +1) to a guy who looks like he's plenty covered(+1) downfield. Doesn't matter since Campbell(+1) bats the ball away.|
|O25||3||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Sack||Graham||-25!|
|Both LBs blitz, leaving Graham(+3) one-on-one with the backup RT, and Graham duly destroys the guy and then destroys Tolzien, sacking him and forcing a fumble that RVB(+1) sees, scoops up, and runs into the endzone. Replay.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble + defensive touchdown, 17-14, 3 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O26||1||10||Ace 3-wide tight||4-4 under||Pass||Counter pitch||Brown||6|
|Brown(-1) bites on the counter action, stepping inside. Roh(-1) gets blasted down the line and tries a futile spin move past the UW TE as three OL pull around. This wastes a good play from Banks(+1) who gets out, avoids a cut block, and is flowing down the line to tackle if only someone can force the play back to him. Not possible.|
|No pressure(-1), allowing Tolzien to step and fire to a TE underneath the zone.|
|O38||1||10||Ace||4-4 under||Pass||PA Dig||Various||35|
|Incredibly open dig #3. Ezeh(-1), Mouton(-1), and Kovacs(-1) are the nearest players(cover -2); no one anywhere near Tolzien(pressure -2). I mostly blame Ezeh: he's just sitting there with no one in front of him. He should be drifting back the whole time and in position to do something about this.|
|M27||1||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Pass||PA TE Seam||Ezeh||24|
|Incredibly open dig/seam #4. Partially on Roh(-1), who doesn't get an effective chuck on the TE; partially again on Ezeh(-1), who has no one in front of him and still doesn't get a good zone drop (cover -2). No pressure(-1) again.|
|M3||1||G||Goal line||Goal line||Run||Power O||?||2|
|Wide angle on this makes it really hard to tell what happens; I'm using an SD torrent this week... so I can't really tell you much other than it looks fairly well defended and Clay pops outside where he's met by a couple tacklers and John Clays his way for two yards.|
|M1||2||G||Goal line||Goal line||Run||Power O||--||1|
|Clay leaps over the top and is thumped back by Graham, but apparently not before he got the ball over the line. It's reviewed and stands; I think this is one of those plays that's so inconclusive that the call on the field will stand whichever way it's called.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-21, 1 min 2nd Q. RR should have called time out after the first and goal play.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||End around||Graham||3|
|Fake the power O and use the TE coming around on the end-around. Graham(+1) tears through the line and into the backfield; he can't make a tackle but does delay the TE. Smith(+0.5) gets deeper into the backfield this time and manages to occupy two blockers but does let a crease develop between himself and Mouton, which the TE hits; delay allows Ezeh and others to close it down. Runner fumbles; Wisconsin recovers but loses a couple yards. Kovacs(+1) forced it.|
|O23||2||7||Ace Twins||4-4 under||Run||Down G||Smith||21|
|Man, Smith(-2) just sits at the LOS with no idea what to do here instead of coming up to the line and forcing the play inside. He gets nailed by a G and driven literally ten yards downfield, which allows the RB the corner; Warren(-1) comes up to whiff a tackle(-1) that was made hard by the Smith crushage.|
|O44||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Martin||-2|
|Smith does attack on this one as Wisconsin goes back to the power O scheme. I think they spent halftime coaching him up on this but he failed to recognize the down G scheme. Not much a hole as a result but it doesn't matter because Martin(+2) ripped through the line and tackles(+1) in the backfield, crushing the play by himself. I think Michigan was misaligned here because there are two guys on the backside who end up unblocked; this could have broken for a lot without Martin's play.|
|Tolzien has time for a quick throw and finds a receiver moderately open in front of Woolfolk but the pass is poor and not caught.|
|O42||3||12||Ace 4-wide bunch||4-3 under||Pass||Post||Mouton?||21|
|Graham(+1) tears around the corner and hits Tolzien in the back with one arm as he throws; a half-second more in coverage and this is a sack. But... no. This has got to be a huge zone bust by someone... it's third and freaking twelve and three players to that side of the field are short; I get Roh and RVB since it's a zone blitz but Mouton is covering no one. (Cover -2) ARGH. Is this Warren? How the hell do you cover this?|
|M37||1||10||Ace||4-4 under||Run||Down G||Smith||2 (Pen -10)|
|Smith(+1) does get upfield on this one, taking a blocker and forcing the play inside. Ezeh and Warren are there; two guys on one blocker, and they get a stop. Smith draws a holding call. Not that it will matter.|
|Incredibly open dig #4. I don't know what the coverage is here, but it looks like man, which would make Brown(-1, cover -2) the culprit. Or maybe it's zone? I have no damn idea. If it's zone it's Ezeh again getting ridiculously dragged out of position and opening this up. All these can't be on Ezeh, right? They'd pull him, right?|
|M29||2||2||Ace||4-4 under||Pass||Waggle comeback||Woolfolk?||14|
|Waggle gets Tolzien forever(pressure -2) and allows him time to set and fire to a receiver on a comeback (cover -1) in front of Woolfolk.|
|M15||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Mouton||0|
|Linebackers read the play direction and are all flowing into the hole; Ezeh's headed outside in case it spills. Line creases because RVB is slanting away from the hole and he gets down-blocked; Mouton(+2) makes a really nice play to dodge the pulling guard and tackle(+1) at the RB's knees.|
|M15||2||10||Ace Twins||4-4 under||Pass||Waggle throwaway||Roh||Inc|
|Michigan better prepared for this as Roh(+0.5) does not get sealed inside by the tackle and eventually shakes free, drawing Tolzien's lead blocker and allowing Ezeh(+0.5) to shoot into the backfield, forcing Tolzien to chuck it. (Pressure +1) Graham was, of course, coming hell for leather from the backside. Whatever hell for leather means.|
|M15||3||10||Shotgun 4-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Fade||Warren||15|
|Warren(-1) has great position but doesn't get his head around and ends up allowing Toon to make a spectacular catch; Warren also gets flagged for PI. I've made my opinion on PI known. No cover +/-.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-28, 10 min 3rd Q. Aaaaaaaaaaargh|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O34||1||10||Ace||4-4 under||Pass||Deep out||--||25 (Pen -10)|
|Tolzien has a zillion years (pressure -1) as Wisconsin max protects and Graham is getting a breather. He eventually finds a receiver wide open (cover -1); can't blame the secondary too much because of the protection but maybe a little bit. One reason for the time: Roh(+1) is getting held by the LT like whoah. It comes back, not that it will matter.|
|O24||1||20||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Ezeh||33|
|Nine frigging guys in the box and this still happens. Jesus. Heininger(-1) gets crushed inside and pancaked by the down-block. Kovacs(-2) totally misreads the play and actually tries to tackle the TE, and Ezeh(-2) hits inside of the Kovacs mess, leaving no one in the secondary. I can't believe he hasn't gotten pulled yet.|
|M43||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Ezeh||6|
|Ezeh does a good job of banging into the lead blockers right at the LOS, cutting off the hole, but then inexplicably starts spinning, which allows an OL to start driving him downfield. Brown(-1) then eats a block passively, allowing Clay to lurch forward.|
|M37||2||4||Ace Big||4-4 under||Pass||Waggle cross||Floyd||13|
|Floyd(-1) in man on the outside WR and is nowhere near the route; no pressure(-1) on the edge. (Cover -1)|
|M24||1||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Mouton||4|
|Mouton(+0.5) does a good job of getting into a lead blocker behind the LOS, forcing Clay behind him; he trips over his OL. Graham(-0.5) had gotten caught by the snap count and blown off the line, ceding the room that Graham uses to pick up the yardage he gets.|
|M20||2||6||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Naked boot||Kovacs||1|
|Odd. Fortunate, too, as Graham had torn into the backfield and would have tackled this for a four yard loss. Instead Tolzien takes it himself and gets on the edge one-on-one with Kovacs(+1, tackling +1), who forms up and takes him down.|
|M19||3||5||Ace||4-4 under||Pass||TE Hitch||--||12|
|Brown(pressure +1) gets a free run at Tolzien on a blitz but Tolzien impressively stands in an nails a tight end (cover -1) in between like four guys. At this point, I am swearing like a sailor. ARGH|
|M7||1||G||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Graham||0|
|Graham(+1) is just a beast, tearing through the backside(!!!) tackle and pancaking him(!!!) en route to the tailback, who runs into Graham's side and slows, allowing Roh(+0.5) and Ezeh(+0.5) to converge and tackle for no gain.|
|M7||2||G||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Pass||TE flat||--||7|
|Wisconsin basically blocks Kovacs(cover -1), who's got coverage on the flat, and gets away with an obvious offensive PI. Touchdown. Anger.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-35, 2 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O40||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Martin||7|
|Actually well defended at the POA with linebackers rushing to the FB and taking out the hole right there but Martin(-1) attempted to come inside of the center and got sealed out of the play, opening a cutback lane.|
|O47||2||3||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Mouton||3|
|To the other side of the line. Kovacs is rolled up so this is a true nine-man front. He takes out a lead blocker, allowing Mouton(+0.5) to scrape to the hole and meet Clay there; Clay pops through a tackle somewhat and manages to fall forward for the first down.|
|50||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Mouton||13|
|Mouton(-2) gets lost in the middle of the field and there is no one to take on the tailback after Ezeh gets outside of the lead blocker. He's supposed to be there, unblocked, on this play and he's not, so it's a huge run.|
|M37||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Mouton||3|
|Mouton(-1) manages to get it right this time and shows up in the hole but misses the tackle(-1) and allows the RB to fall forward; Roh(+0.5) had peeled off to help.|
|M34||2||7||Ace||4-4 under||Run||Counter pitch||Brown||16|
|Roh(-1) gets crushed inside and Brown(-2) gives up the corner, then gets escorted almost 20 yards downfield by a pulling UW OL.|
|M18||1||10||Ace Twins||4-4 under||Run||Power O?||Smith||-2|
|Maybe? I think the center is pulling but he gets delayed because Graham(+0.5) blew into him, allowing a blitzing Smith(+1) a free run at the tailback, which he uses to tackle.|
|M20||2||12||Ace Twins||4-4 under||Pass||Waggle flat||Ezeh||6|
|I can't help but notice both Mouton and Ezeh are two feet from each other as the rollout begins, which opens up the little flat route as Ezeh(-1) slowly chases. Quick fill from Brown(+1, tackling +1) ends up as a solid tackle to keep the gain down.|
|M14||3||6||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Run||Down G||Mouton||14|
|Both the C and the playside G pull around to the short side as UW overloads the wide side and there's no one except Roh and a couple of quasi- or actual defensive backs over there. Roh(-1) gets crushed back, and Mouton(-2) overruns the play, giving the RB a crease between Roh and Warren when if he had just taken the inside gap this is little or no gain.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-42, 12 min 4th Q. Wisconsin gets the ball back up three scores with nine minutes left and chokes out the rest of the game. Charting ceases.|
Let's just get to the chart.
Before we get to this, I should say that I might have lost my mind at some point in the third quarter and started shooting out minuses to particularly incensing players on particularly incensing plays and some of the numbers may be exaggerated. It's tough to say that given the end result of the game, but I kept attempting to check my desire to throw out huge negative numbers; some rage probably slipped through into the numbers.
But, yes, chart.
|Graham||13.5||1.5||12||Poor pressure metric should slightly degrade your opinion here, though he did get two sacks and forced a defensive TD.|
|Heininger||2||2||0||One impressive play, a couple not so impressive ones.|
|Roh||4||6||-2||Wisconsin was always going to be the team to own him.|
|Martin||12.5||2||10.5||Huge day, especially early.|
|Van Bergen||1||1||0||Not a major factor.|
|Banks||1||-||-||One nice play for naught.|
|Campbell||1||-||-||Batted a pass.|
|TOTAL||35||12.5||22.5||21 tackles from the big two… you should have a great day against the run with that contribution.|
|Ezeh||1||11||-10||I can't believe he didn't get pulled.|
|Mouton||6.5||11||-4.5||Jonas Mouton: big positive, bigger negative.|
|Brown||4||6||-2||Gave up the edge a few times.|
|Warren||-||2||-2||Had no work, basically.|
|Smith||3.5||7||-3.5||This should actually be filed under LB, maybe.|
|Woolfolk||-||1||-1||Also mostly a non-factor|
|Kovacs||4||4||0||Did pretty okay. No idea why they moved him to deep safety; he's pretty effective in the box.|
|TOTAL||7.5||15||-7.5||Not much to do.|
|Coverage||7||19||-12||Ratio is awful.|
|Tackling||6||4||2||Still need to definite this more precisely.|
|RPS||3||0||3||Small number because UW just did the same thing over and over.|
[A reminder: RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]
If I'd charted Wisconsin's last grinding drive that ended in a field goal and game over, man, the numbers here would have been even worse but general policy is not to chart stuff after the game is effectively over, and down three scores when the other guy has the ball with nine minutes left is over.
You rage, contrary to the above statement, seems particularly well-focused.
Yes. Most of the poor performances on the chart that can be explained by size or youth or confusion or all three. Roh was always going to get pwned by beef machine OL 100 pounds bigger than him. Brown is basically a safety playing LB. And poor Brandon Smith is a redshirt freshman with no playing experience who has flipped positions twice this year.
What positions can't be explained by talent or youth or whatever… well, you know the story: Mouton and Ezeh. Wisconsin's passing game was almost exclusively zingers over the middle to incredibly open receivers 20 or even 30 yards downfield. On every damn one both MLBs were vastly out of position and the throws were easy. The pair was also very poor in run support: Graham and Martin combined for 21 tackles. They combined for eight!
These are returning starters and redshirt juniors. They have gotten so much worse this year, and it's obvious to everyone from Bret Bielema to stupid bloggers with charts. There is not quite enough data to outright support the ouster of a coach but I find it hard to believe that Jay Hopson could be any good. Maybe he just got stuck with mugs, but Jesus these guys can't even scrape to the right hole when Wisconsin is literally running the same play to different sides of the line four times in a row. Is this a defensive scheme change? I don't think so. Run to the damn hole.
The only possible mitigating factor is that maybe I'm not perceiving some errors by the defensive line that make it really difficult for guys to play linebacker. If one of the coaches who hangs around these parts thinks this is the case, please let me know and I'll post something about it. But I don't think that is.
Q: where were Leach and Fitzgerald? They busted a couple times against Purdue but good lord at some point I think you have to put them in just in case they do better. I thought they were okay.
Is Brandon Smith better than Mike Williams?
No. His contributions were on a couple of unblocked blitzes; he was very hesitant in the run game and often got blocked into the next county. He looked like a freshman in his first game in a new system, which he is. He's still got a lot of time to get better, but having Williams on the field was a necessary evil.
Is there anything we can take out of this for next year?
Well, Mike Martin probably turned in the best game of his career. He was in the backfield a ton, picking up a sack and a couple other TFLs amongst double-digit tackles, and nearly matched Graham's typically Graham-like performance. It's just one game and Martin fell off after a gangbusters first quarter, so it's possible that Wisconsin was just not prepared for his quickness, but if he can do something half (maybe two-thirds) as good against Ohio State that will be a step towards Martin turning into the death beast everyone thinks he can be and Michigan will need with Graham off to terrorize people in the NFL.
The rest? Bupkis.
Graham and Martin.
MLBs. See above.
What does this mean for Ohio State and next year?
See above about Martin. For Ohio State: doom.
11/14/2009 – Michigan 24, Wisconsin 45 – 5-6, 1-6 Big Ten
Well, I finally broke: I've checked out emotionally. This happened last year, too, and the game columns from the on were pleas for something else to do and grim, brief recaps of the latest indignity. It's progress of a sort that it took eleven games for the team to TKO any interest in what might happen the rest of this year, but it's not a fun sort of progress.
A serious thematic analysis of the Wisconsin game is pointless. Michigan's defense is exactly as horrifying as it's been all year. Everyone wants to fight each other in the liveblog. When the MGoPosse assembled to record this week's podcast, Paul said "at least we didn't muff a punt" and I responded "they didn't punt." (It turns out they did punt once in the first half, and Junior Hemingway misjudged a short one, almost fumbling it.)
Today I'll go on the radio and say the exact same things I've been saying all season to people who say the exact same things they've been saying all season. Here I could either repeat the assertion that firing Rodriguez after two years is idiotic or the description of what this season turned into in the third quarter of the Illinois game. Nothing has changed, and there's nothing to say when the team is turning in uncompetitive loss after uncompetitive loss.
There is an increased chance that sometime today I will read or hear something that cause my entire body to crumple and my head to thump audibly on the desk. So I guess that's different. Not different: for the second straight year the Ohio State week is only welcome because after it there won't be this unpleasant thing that happens every Saturday. The Notre Dame game seems like another decade.
- Surprised that Mouton and Ezeh got the whole game after their backups played at least as well as they did against Purdue. I guess there were huge busts by both Fitzgerald and Leach, but… um… right.
- Seriously: after Wisconsin completed their sixth or seventh big gain over the middle because Ezeh and Mouton were hugely out of position on zone drops, I was begging for the backups. No dice. The prospect of starting these guys next year is not fun.
- I'm betting the adjustment Wisconsin made to their running game was to start doubling defensive linemen for real and leaving the linebackers to their own devices, or down-blocking them on their slants and getting outside where the linebackers are on their own. Michigan was shooting into the backfield a ton early.
- Poor Brandon Graham: if Michigan would just cover anyone for two seconds he would have an incredible number of sacks this year. It wasn't Graham who had the most frustrating non-sack on Saturday, though. Stevie Brown came free up the middle on a third and five in the third quarter and Tolzien nailed a wide open tight end for a first down. That turned into the drive Wisconsin used to go up three scores, salting the game away.
- Vincent Smith is now your tentative leader for the starting tailback job next year, though that title figures to be a ceremonial one in a sea of options. I know Shaw's had the occasional nagging injury but I think he's just beat him out, fair and square. My favorite play from Smith was the screen he took past three or four defenders in the first half. He was one desperate hand-wave by a Wisconsin safety away from
a touchdowna long run that looks like it should be touchdown but disappointingly ends short of it. He's got skills. There was one out that was incomplete that anyone else on the team would have caught by virtue of being bigger than a marmot, though.
- Brandon Smith seemed pretty mediocre on the edge. I know he didn't make any of the huge, obvious mistakes that Mike Williams did, but Wisconsin isn't the sort of team that puts you in the backfield unblocked to make a huge, obvious mistake. I bet a lot of the outside running Wisconsin did will be on Smith somehow.
- I did think Wisconsin was the grabbiest line Michigan's played against all year. Wisconsin's first drive saw Graham held twice on long completions, and while they got a number of calls later they just love getting their hands outside the shoulder pads. Default disclaimer whenever officiating as mentioned: would not have changed outcome of the game, would merely have led to more second-and-twenty conversions. Maybe I should thank the refs for mitigating the damage I would have done to my forehead and the sidewalk if I watched another guy wide open over the middle.
As always, please read the Live Blog Chaos Mitigation Post before typing in your one-word responses.
|WHAT||Michigan at #21 Wisconsin|
|WHERE||Camp Randall, Madison, WI|
November 13th, 2009
|THE LINE||Wisconsin –9*|
|TELEVISION||Nationwide on BTN
|WEATHER||Around 50, cloudy,
slight chance of rain
Run Offense vs. Wisconsin
The stats here are grim. Wisconsin may have gone up against a I-AA snackycake but it was a I-AA snackycake that runs the triple option and put up 214 yards on 55 carries: their 1-AA game actually distorts their run defense negatively. There are probably four teams in I-A that can say that.
In the Big Ten, rushing has been near pointless for opponents lately:
Michigan State fell behind big in that game, which helps explain how the meh Spartan rushing offense got 5.1 YPC and why they wouldn't go to it more than 20 times if they were picking yards up at such a good clip. Then you've got a decent performance by Minnesota, a good one by Ohio State, and three obliterations. Despite a ton of sacks—about which more later—Wisconsin's stats hold up under scrutiny. This is one of the best rushing defenses Michigan has played, with only Penn State and Michigan State(!)* anywhere in the statistical ballpark.
Michigan's rushing game never got untracked in a bizarrely short game against State, but the more recent outing against Penn State saw three separate rushers crack four yards per carry; erase five sacks for Penn State—about which more later—and Michigan finished the day with 138 yards on 34 carries, 4.1 yards per attempt. This was accomplished with a long run of 17 yards and without David Molk, so there aren't any factors that suggest Michigan won't be able to replicate that performance against the Badgers.
Well, there may be one: Michigan's senior tailbacks have come down with their usual array of minor injuries. According to Rodriguez, Brandon Minor was "day to day" earlier this week after re-emerging as the primary option against Purdue. He was almost entirely absent from the Illinois game. Carlos Brown, the primary guy against Illinois, was hampered with tendinitis against Purdue and saw one carry. Neither was on this week's injury report, but they weren't on the injury report either of the last two weeks. Either or both could be limited and we won't know until their mysterious absence lasts into the second quarter.
I'm expecting something similar to the Penn State game, where the rushing is effective but erratic enough that Michigan can't just pound it all day; a big play or two is a possibility but not a major one. Unless Michigan can get some pass blocking drives will be hard to sustain.
*(Seriously: MSU is 15th in rushing defense, which makes that game earlier this year far less weird.)
Key Matchup: Brandon Minor's ankle versus Everything Good And Holy.
Pass Offense vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin's been far more vulnerable here when Purdue receivers aren't making Danny Hope's mustache droop and opposing passers aren't arm-punting all day. Ben Chappell, who you will remember as a polished, entirely average sort of fellow:
If that looks familiar, Ben Chappell against Michigan:
I'll take any statistic that suggests the opponent's secondary is on par with Michigan's. Please.
The wider view isn't as kind but it does suggest some vulnerability: the Badgers are 65th in pass defense efficiency, and those numbers Wisconsin's stats are probably about right relative to how they've performed. The Purdue game may have been a break but Wisconsin scrubs also gave up two long aerial touchdown drives to Michigan State after that game had descended into garbage time.
The secondary is vulnerable. The problem will be getting to it. Magically delicious Badger defensive end O'Brien Schofield has seven sacks this year and the run stats above required serious extraction to separate the actual runs from the copious sacks Wisconsin has racked up. They're 27th nationally, and remember they basically did not have a I-AA game in this statistic. Michigan is 82nd in sacks allowed despite being 82nd in pass attempts: the pass protection has been really, really bad. Michigan's responded with rollouts and screens and crazy huge dropbacks from the shotgun, so they might be able to get around the pass protection issues by it's going to be a matter of mitigation.
Roy Roundtree might be key again. He was the bulk of the pass offense against Purdue and while Wisconsin will adjust to that, the slot receiver is a guy who will be open in seams and on bubble routes when linebackers are cheating to the run game and having a rangy, sure-handed target like Roundtree can provide Forcier with an array of quick options on which magically delicious defensive ends are spectators. Then the weakside linebacker must choose between eating Brandon Minor facemask seven yards downfield or watching Roundtree grab a short seam route or four. Part of the slot receiver's popularity in this edition of the Rodriguez offense is borne of necessity: guy is close and you can get it to him quick.
I'm heartened by the relative inexperience of the Badger linebackers and think Forcier will have a good day in the short to intermediate stuff, with Koger and Roundtree frequent targets and that RB wheel route re-emerging into a threat. On passing downs Michigan will be ineffective and Forcier flushed or sacked frequently. The usual.
Key Matchup: Huyge or Dorrestein versus Large Minus In Next Week's UFR. This is easy, right: the RT spot has been a sore one in pass protection all year.
Run Defense vs Wisconsin
To adequately address the Michigan defense this weekend we have to address the rumors that there's been a major shakeup in the secondary. The rumors are so rampant that they just about must be true. "Guy is practicing at this position on the first team" is a rock-solid piece of information that comes with future intent; "OMG Forcier transfer!" is the opposite of that.
So: Michigan is likely to reconfigure its defense. The obvious thing to do is pull the overmatched or underperforming safeties off the field; rumors are focused on Brandon Smith, linebacker as of two weeks ago, as a replacement. This makes sense against Wisconsin, as Michigan figures to be in an eight-man front on any reasonable rushing down. Then you've got one deep safety who will probably not be Jordan Kovacs because Kovacs has shown over the past few weeks that he has magically un-delicious walk-on speed. Woolfolk may move, or it may be Warren, who's been playing a two-deep safety in various formations for much of the year after the Woolfolk move. This means JT Floyd gets another crack at corner.
To the run defense: despite rumors that the Big Ten is a huge power running sort of conference from people who haven't watched a college football game in ten years, this will be the first actual test of Michigan's defense against a team of neanderthals who know and love rock, only rock. Previous traditional running teams have not done that well…
[Note: QB/WR runs excised for tighter focus on 'rock' style running.]
…but none of those teams is actually much good at running. Iowa and Michigan State are terrible; Penn State is 42nd.
To boot: many of those yards have not been Michigan getting overpowered by their opponent but Michigan doing something dumb like Mouton leaving a 41-yard cutback lane for Royster, Kovacs whiffing on Robinson, or Mike Martin stopping his flow down the line against Caper. This is the opponent-invariant bit. Michigan's defense has been bad for reasons other than physical limitations.
Unfortunately, if there's a team out there more likely to expose Michigan's physical limitations it's the last game on the schedule. Wisconsin is Wisconsin except this year they've replaced an overweight plodder with John Clay, a true moosebeast of a tailback who looks like Beanie Wells or Adrian Peterson, a guy it's hard to believe is playing college football instead of the NFL variety. Clay had some issues early in the year of the practice fumbling or disciplinary variety that saw him lose time to decent backup Zach Brown, but once he emerged he did so with vigor. He is currently the leading rusher in the Big Ten and is averaging 5.1 YPC.
A few teams have held him in check but one of them is Ohio State, with whom there is no possible comparison to Michigan's defense. The other—outside of a strange 15 carry, 45 yard day against NIU in the opener—was Iowa, though, and we saw that Iowa's rushing defense was pretty mediocre this year. However, Clay's crushed Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, and Michigan State. Put Michigan's defense in one of those two categories, and it's the wrong one.
Michigan is already slant happy and will remain even more so against a Wisconsin line that is much bigger than they are; I think you''ll see a lot of cutbacks because guys are hitting it into the backfield. These cutbacks will meet late and ill-prepared linebackers and Clay is going to get his 2-3 YAC on most plays and grid like he usually does. He'll also break a long one when someone screws up. Fact of life. He should easily clear 100 yards.
Key Matchup: Whoever is at linebacker versus overpursuit. This week's key matchups are "things I expect Michigan will not do well."
Pass Defense vs Wisconsin
Death by tight end. I know that our Wisconsin guest suggested that Garrett Graham had disappeared after the Michigan State game—in which he and Tolzien had a creepy mind-meld—but Michigan has a knack for making tight ends re-appear. The dossier is extensive at this point: Moeaki, Quarless, etc. Last week against Purdue Kevin Leach got lost on a mesh route and turned a third and five dumpoff crossing route into a 56-yard completion. Garrett Graham will be hand-wavingly wide open on a series of waggle plays/seam routes, especially if Michigan goes to a one-high eight man front as the previous section suggests they will. Linebackers will bite, and Graham will be open, and he will probably get 100 yards.
That out of the way: Tolzien's been decent in his first year as a starter. He's 51st in efficiency and is completing 62% of his passes. His main issue has been interceptions; he threw five in the two losses against Ohio State and Iowa; those were huge factors in their losses. If Michigan can cover some guys, he might screw up, especially if Brandon Graham is attempting to eat his face.
That might happen. Wisconsin's sack numbers are decent on the surface—they're 49th—but that conceals a passing offense that doesn't get a whole lot of work. The Badgers are 94th in pass attempts. If Michigan can get Wisconsin into passing situations, Graham can nibble on a cheek here and there. Those figure to be few and far between.
When Wisconsin gets protection, the deep threat is Badger legacy Nick Toon. He's Wisconsin's best deep threat and a guy who can probably get open downfield against Woolfolk—who's been vulnerable—but not Warren. He's averaging 14.5 yards per catch but only has two touchdowns on the year.
And then there's Michigan's presumably reconfigured secondary. I assume Toon will draw the non JT Floyd corner, which means second receiver and infrequent target Isaac Anderson will get a lot of work. Given what we saw from Floyd earlier this year he's going to play off and hope for the best.
That'll be the recipe, I guess. Tolzien won't have a lot of attempts, but the ones he gets will be efficient.
Key Matchup: Roh/Leach/Ezeh vs Graham. If they can get a chuck or read the play action or just do something long enough for the dodgy pass protection to matter, maybe?
This should be a solid advantage for Michigan. Darryl Stonum continues to prove himself the conference's best kick return specialist. He's already broken the single-season kick return yardage record set by Steve Breaston a few years ago. That's largely because of sheer volume, but Stonum took one back for a touchdown against Notre Dame and has interspersed excellent returns throughout the rest of the year. He took two over the 50 against Purdue. Wisconsin, meanwhile, ceded a kick return touchdown of its own against Ohio State and Adam Hoge of Bucky's Fifth Quarter thought they might be vulnerable despite a recent improvement in performance.
Michigan's punt returns have been substandard all year, so that's not much of a threat; Wisconsin is about average in net punting.
When Michigan kicks to Wisconsin, expect little. Wisconsin's in the triple digits in both punt and kickoff returns and David Gilreath has taken a major step backwards this year. Kicker Phillip Welch has been okay, not great. He's hitting two-thirds of his attempts and missed an extra point against Wofford. He was very good last year, going 20/24. Jason Olesnavage is 10/12 with a far costlier missed extra point.
Key Matchup: CATCH THE DAMN BALL.
- Wisconsin has adjusted to the Roy Roundtree show and Michigan is forced to rely on pass protection more than they'd like.
- Michigan has no answer for the beast machine.
- Forcier doesn't play on the second drive.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- Wisconsin's OL can't handle the quickness of Martin and Van Bergen.
- The reconfigured secondary makes you wonder what the hell took them so long.
- It's 2010.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 8 out of 10. (Baseline 5, +1 for The Scales They Fall From My Eyes, +1 for We're Winless On The Road And Camp Randall Is Slightly More Intimidating Than Memorial Stadium, +1 for I Bet Totally Changing The Defense In Game 10 Is Going To Work Great, –1 for I Guess It Can't Be Worse, +1 for Forcier Aigh!).
Desperate need to win level: 9 out of 10. (Baseline 5, +1 for Bowl Game, +1 for Partial Cessation Of Hostilities In The RichRod War, +1 for Escape Big Ten Basement, +1 for Tip The Scales Back Towards Not Doom.)
Loss will cause me to... work on my Henri the Otter of Ennui impression even more.
Win will cause me to... relax.
The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:
To reiterate on the Forcier thing: I expect he will miss the first series and then return. If that assumption does not pan out, head for the hills and re-emerge in two weeks.
Given that: I can see many ways for Wisconsin to move the ball against Michigan's defense, reconfigured or not, and have explained them in detail above. I think Michigan will have a decent day on offense but be poor on third-down conversions because of the pass protection issues; they'll need about two huge breaks to win.
Finally, opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
- Garrett Graham goes over 100 yards receiving.
- Minor is the primary back and also goes over 100 yards.
- Robinson gets more work in the backfield than he has to date.
- Wisconsin, 30-20.
We've got a guest this time! Woo! It's Adam Hoge from Bucky's Fifth Quarter, the SBNation Wisconsin blog—and only extant one, it appears. Unfortunately, logistical issues—read "sleep schedule of a 70-year-old"—prevented regular guest Jamiemac from making an appearance this week. We persevere.
This week's edition is far less suicidal. Also, for the record: I was not drunk for last week's podcast, but I can understand how one might think I was.
Links of use:
Holy pants. YouTube HD, people!
Sweet. Someone lock Wolverine Historian in a room with a computer and a stack of videos. (This may be redundant, yes.)
Pah. The New York Times' bottom-to-top rundown of I-A football has reached Michigan at an uninspiring #57. The meandering glory of the thing has 100 words in German, mentions Elroy Hirsch, cites Varsity Blue, and desperately needs more paragraph breaks. It > CFN.
But the thing that sticks out to your correspondent:
Who is No. 56?: The name of its first president graces our next university’s football stadium and library. There is no memorial to Jimmy Bob, his ever-present parrot.
A commenter solves the riddle:
#56 is Western Michigan, home of Waldo Stadium and Waldo Library.
Awwww, come on. There is no way that's not a hook for the WMU preview.
Up-and-coming. This doesn't come as a surprise to me since the Doc pinged me to ask whether Boubacar Cissoko was a reasonable pick for the team—I replied "if you don't have anyone truly inspiring," to which he said "I do not"—but Michigan features twice on Dr. Saturday's up-and-coming defense. You'll be able to guess the other member without reading the post, but what the hell:
Defensive Tackle: Mike Martin • Michigan
Aside from punting, run defense was the only halfway respectable aspect of the entire Wolverine operation last year, and the best aspect of the run defense may have been that Martin held his own as a regular part of the rotation as a true freshman -- with both starters graduating, the middle of the line remains one of the team's many red sirens. Most importantly, Martin earned the MGoBlog seal of approval, which is no small feat.
Hey, now: the rushing offense was (very, very slightly) above-average. That linked caused me to return to the Wisconsin UFR, in which Martin thwarted Wisconsin's second attempt at a game-tying two-point conversion by escaping a double team and crushing the QB as he released the ball; he is kind of a great interior pass rusher already. I just hope he can hold up against the consistent pounding of the ground game.
The Doc's offensive team is hyah; call me skeptical about the inclusion of a no-block tight end from Ohio State on the list. Ohio State tight ends have to block because they do little else except get death threats. One dollar says that Kevin Koger has more catches than Jake Stoneburner at the end of the year. (Stoneburner, naturally, will blind more messiahs.)
Find Pierce Brosnan. Jewel Hampton is the tailback on that DocSat up-and-coming offense, but his knee may have up and left:
Multiple Web sites are reporting that Iowa football running back Jewel Hampton sustained a knee injury during non-contact drills Friday. If confirmed, that would put a damper on the 4th of July weekend for Hawkeye fans.
BHGP links to stuff that suggests the injury is a torn ACL, which would knock Hampton out for the year. Yea, if there is any Angry BLANK Hating God as wroth as Angry Michigan Safety-Hating God, it's Angry Iowa Tailback-Hating God.
However, the second-wave word on the thing is much friendlier to Iowa and Hampton:
"I'm OK," he said.
When the 5-foot-9, 210-pound sophomore-to-be from Indianapolis was asked whether he would play in the fall, Hampton said with a grin, "Don't know yet."
Dude NFW. You know what? I really don't want to get into this again. But I find it amazing that this happens to be true:
Almost there! With two graduated, third-team seniors predictably (and acceptably) having left the team over the past week, Bama Sports Report reports that the Tide only has ... 10 more scholarships to free up over the rest of the summer! That's not too bad! Here, here's a handy alphabetical run-down of how many scholarships each SEC team still has to clear off the existing roster to bring in their full signing class in fall camp:
Mississippi St.: 0
South Carolina: 0
Say what you want about the man, Saban stands by his principles, such as they are.
Etc.: You will be SHOCKED at the #1 players on Ace's list of the top 15 players on both sides of the ball from the past 15 years.