"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
A couple weeks ago, I put together a google map with all of the Michigan bars I'm aware of (and also everything from the spreadsheet that bouje has been maintaining.) The map is here.
Hopefully this will prevent the "where's the Michigan bar in Pittsburgh/Fresno/Topeka/wherever" threads that pop up every week, but if your favorite gameday hangout isn't on here, put it in the thread and let me know. I'll do my best to keep the map up to date.
Lots of visitors this weekend. And some are traveling more than I-75 or I-96 to get here! Any commits this weekend? More than one? I can't wait for tomorrow! You?
Four Plays – Ohio State @ Michigan 2015
This series examines the probable individual matchups Michigan expects to face against particular opponents on one of Michigan’s key running plays and one of its key passing plays, as well as defensively against a couple of the opponent’s key plays (assuming first-sting personnel in a base defensive alignment).
I moved into my current house here in Seattle late in 2011, and signed up for the best internet service provider I ever had. Clearwire was its name at the time, later shortened to just “Clear”—but the way it worked was, they just sent you a box that you plugged into the wall, and you had high-speed internet. It ran off these things called “WiMax” towers that just broadcast a signal throughout most of the Seattle area. There were no cables, no contracts, no service appointments—nothing. And it worked great for about three-and-a-half years.
But over the last six months or so, the service began to slow down and malfunction—and eventually went out altogether. When I looked into the problem, it turned out a competitor bought Clear and took down the WiMax towers—replacing them with nada. For someone like me, who thinks of internet service as a basic utility just like basic water service or garbage pick up, this felt pretty much like a giant, undeserved middle finger. It took me about nine days to get new service up and running with a new company—one that had to send technicians to my house with power drills and fiber cables. Yeah, Seattle ain't so high-tech.
At least we are back on-line now, but this all happened while I was supposed to be writing a Four Plays for Michigan’s trip to Penn State. It was very disappointing. That was a Four Plays I definitely should have written, but the internet service providers did not put me in a position to get it done. No chance I am letting that happen again next year. On the bright side, it’s good to know I won’t face discipline for letting my mgocomrades down last week.
Anyway, hopefully things will break our way this weekend—and if so, I will try and make up for last week with a special B1G championship game Four Plays (I’ve been planning to do our bowl game regardless). But for now, The Game is upon us. Let’s take a look at some matchups.
When Michigan has the ball…
1. Inside Zone/WR Smoke
A staple for Michigan all season has been the wide receiver screen. The play forces defenses to move would-be run defenders to the perimeter, or else cede easy yards on the edge. While technically a passing play, I am treating this as Michigan’s run play both because it seems to work more consistently than any of M’s actual runs, and because it’s basically a long handoff to the WR anyway.
The pre-snap read here is the slot defender (circled), who will typically either be a nickel back or a safety. If the slot defender aligns to the inside, then the defense will have seven run defenders in the box—but the offense can outflank the defense on the edge by throwing the WR screen. If the slot defender moves outside, then the offense has six blockers for six run defenders, and thus Rudock should opt for the run (per inside zone rules: covered linemen block the guy covering them, uncovered linemen help and then advance to second level).
WR Amara Darboh: Step back and create linear target for QB; secure catch, then turn downfield and read slot receiver’s block (cut inside if slot receiver forces the defender to the sideline, outside if the slot receiver keeps his defender inside)
Slot WR Grant Perry: Block CB Eli Apple (proper technique here is to get hands inside the defender’s shoulder pads and drive him in any direction; it will be the ballcarrier’s job to “make the block right”)
LT Mason Cole: Block WDE Tyquan Lewis, who is covering him
LG Ben Braden: Block NT Joel Hale, who is covering him
C Graham Glasgow: Uncovered; block MLB Raekwon McMillian
RG Kyle Kalis: Block 3T Adolphus Washington, who is covering him
RT Erik Magnuson: Block SDE Joey Bosa, who is covering him
TE Jake Butt: Uncovered; chip SDE Joey Bosa, then block ILB Joshua Perry
WR Jehu Chesson: Block CB Gareon Conley (so hard that he really, really understands he made the wrong choice)
QB Jake Rudock: Read alignment of WLB Darron Lee to determine run or pass; if pass, receive snap and throw immediately to WR Amara Darboh; if run, hand off to TB Deveon Smith
TB Deveon Smith: Receive handoff and aim for 4-hole between RG and RT; read blocks, make a single cut and head downfield
Advantage: Ohio State
Michigan’s rushing offense has been far from overpowering this season, and the edge defenders involved on this play would be bona fide college stars Eli Apple and Darron Lee. Not that our guys are chopped liver, but yeah: advantage OSU.
2. NCAA Route
One of the greatest college offenses ever designed, IMO, was the proto-Air Raid attack Steve Spurrier ran at Florida: the Fun & Gun. Unlike most offenses, which look to run the ball first and foremost and then simulate run action to open up passing plays downfield, Spurrier designed his entire offense around the drop back pass—and draw plays (running plays that simulate passes at the outset to draw defenders upfield) with dangerous runners like Erricht Rhett and Fred Taylor were his sort of anti-play-action passes.
Still, probably the Fun & Gun’s most lasting contribution to football schematics may have been Spurrier’s downfield route designs—which were simple to teach and execute, made use of the entire field, and put defenders in conflict. One of his most famous designs, the post-dig combination he called “Zebra,“ lives on as the “NCAA Route” that most college and pro teams now run. One of those teams is the Michigan Wolverines, as we saw last week when Jake Rudock lasered a perfect completion to Jehu Chessonon the dig. (Speaking of Chesson, I wonder who said this about him before the season started: “a giant leap forward in the Harbaugh offense is highly conceivable. He’s always been a smart player, and the coaches will want him on the field for his crack blocking and because his speed presents at least the possibility of stretching defenses vertically. Chesson is my pick for Michigan’s breakout offensive player (I consider Butt to have already broken out) this fall.” Hmm. I wonder who it was. Really wonder who. Maybe it was the guy who wrote this (page 27)? Sorry; I will go in the corner and enjoy my hypothetical self-awarded cybercookie).
As Space Coyote explains, the three key routes to the NCAA concept are the dig, the drive, and the post. This design puts receivers at three levels of depth across the middle of the field. The dig and drive routes stress the underneath defenders (i.e., the linebackers), while the dig and post routes stress deeper zone defenders (safeties)—all with the added challenge of forcing these defenders to find receivers coming from different directions across the field. Teams can also mix and match these route combinations to attack defenses in lots of different ways without necessarily requiring receivers to learn new techniques.
XWR Jehu Chesson: Run dig route at 12-15 yard depth vs. S Tyus Powell (quarters coverage)
Slot WR Grant Perry: Run wheel route vs. FCB Garon Conley
LT Mason Cole: Pass block vs. WDE Tyquan Lewis
LG Ben Braden: Pass block vs. NT Joel Hale
C Graham Glasgow: Pass block vs. 3T Adolphus Washington
RG Kyle Kalis: Pass block vs. 3T Adolphus Washington
RT Erik Magnuson: Pass block vs. SDE Joey Bosa
TE Jake Butt: Run drive route (like a shallow cross but where the receiver gains depth as he crosses) vs. MLB Raekwon McMillan, ILB Joshua Perry
ZWR Amara Darboh: Run post route (vs. BCB Eli Apple, S Vonn Bell (quarters coverage)
QB Jake Rudock: Three-step drop from shotgun; read deep-to-short (post, to dig, to drive)
TB Deveon Smith: Pass protection
The way Michigan’s passing game has been performing recently, I was tempted to declare the advantage for Michigan. But then I remembered that Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington exist, so downfield passing routes might be an issue. I do think M will hold its own in this phase, but so will the Buckeyes.
When Ohio State has the ball…
3. Inverted Veer
A constant frustration with the Al Borges offense was his tendency to run option plays without actually, you know, optioning off a defender. How much of this was because of Denard’s inconsistent ability to make quick and accurate reads and how much was a face-punching fear of leaving play-side defenders unblocked, I don’t imagine we’ll ever know. But Ohio State runs these plays correctly, and have plenty of hardware to show for it.
The Inverted Veer (or more tough-guy sounding “QB Power Read”) combines two of our favorite concepts—the Power O (note the double-team on the playside DT and the puling guard), with a mesh exchange and option read on the playside DE. Instead of having to block that DE, the QB “blocks” him by optioning him off: if the DE widens for the tailback, the QB keeps and runs inside the DE. If the DE stays inside, then the QB gives the ball to the tailback who cuts outside on the sweep.
Unlike most outside runs, where the playside defender on the end of the line-of-scrimmage needs to fight to set and edge point in the backfield and force the runner back inside, I believe the most effective tactic for defending against the Inverted Veer in this matchup will be for the DE to force the give, and then for the filling defenders to spill the tailback to the sideline. Yes, I realize that means putting the ball in the hands of Ezekiel Elliott, but such is life in The Game.
Buck LB Royce Jenkins-Stone: Defend back side C-gap vs. LT Taylor Decker; backside pursuit
NT Maurice Hurst: Defend back side A-gap vs. C Jacoby Boren (try to PLOW him into the pulling LG)
3-tech DT Chris Wormley: Hold ground and defend play side B-gap vs. double-team from RG Pat Elflein and RT Chase Farris
SDE Willie Henry: Defend front side C-gap vs. QB JT Barrett; force give, spill RB Ezekiel Elliott outside
WLB Joe Bolden: Backside pursuit vs. RT Chase Farris
MLB Desmond Morgan: Defend play side A-gap vs. LG Billy Price, backside pursuit
SS Delano Hill: Defend play side D-gap vs. TE Nick Vannett
NB Jabrill Peppers: Defend play side E-gap vs. H/Slot Braxton Miller
CB Jourdan Lewis: Defend play side F-gap vs. WR Michael Thomas
Yeah, Zeke Elliott gets the ball wide, but OSU also needs to block Jabrill Peppers with Braxton Miller. Good luck with that. I wouldn’t be surprised if Meyer tries to address this by alignment, such as by motioning Miller to the opposite side of the field (and hoping Peppers goes with him). But Meyer won’t want to take Miller off the field, because…
…Braxton Miller gives Ohio State a dynamic threat in the passing game. The play that probably best utilizes Miller’s athleticism as a receiver is what Eleven Warriors calls “H-Option”—sending Miller on an option route and having him just get open. More specifically, the H drives at his defender and attempts to beat him inside on a slant; failing that, he breaks outside.
FCB Jourdan Lewis: Press coverage (“Man everywhere he goes”) vs. XWR Michael Thomas
Buck LB Royce Jenkins-Stone: Pass rush vs. LT Taylor Decker
NT Maurice Hurst: Pass Rush vs. LG Billy Price, C Jacoby Boren
3T Chris Wormley: Pass Rush vs. RG Pat Elflein
SDE Willie Henry: Pass Rush vs. RT Chase Farris
MLB Desmond Morgan: Spy QB JT Barrett
WLB Joe Bolden: Man coverage vs. RB Ezekiel Elliott
NB Jabrill Peppers: Man coverage vs. H-Back Braxton Miller
SS Delano Hill: Man coverage vs. Slot WR Curtis Samuel
BCB: Man coverage vs. WR Jalin Marshall
FS Jerrod Wilson: Patrol deep middle
It’s pretty certain that Jim Harbaugh knows all about H-Option, because that’s a play he had to watch the BYU Cougars run against repeatedly against Michigan in the 1984 Holiday Bowl. Those plays (supposedly) gained 198 yards and 2 TDs against an overmatched M linebacker. But Michigan will be ready for it this time around.
Didn't see a thread started yet, so here ya go:
Miami (YTM) @ Pitt on ESPN2
Marshall @ W Kentucky on FS1
#15 Navy @ Houston on ABC
WMU @ #24 Toledo on CBSSN
Happy Football everyone!
I think we've had this conversation, in one forum or another, previously, but it's the Friday before THE GAME and another potential candidate (#5) has an opportunity to add to his fledgling resume for consideration tomorrow.
I'm glad Desmond is finally receiving his much-deserved recognition, but if his number had been retired when originally planned, we wouldn't have been able to see Junior Hemingway rock the #21 in Maize and Blue.
The question: Should a MICHIGAN player's number be retired, or should there be an alternative form of recognition that would also allow future Michigan greats to add to the number's legacy? (Ring of Honor or other)
Bonus Question: Can you name other notable Wolverines that have worn a retired number previous to its retirement?
Sounds like Charles is one of Jabrills biggest fans. We are so lucky to have, and to have had these 2 athletes play for Michigan. Let's hope Peppers is given the chance to shine tomorrow in all 3 phases!
Sorry, didn't realize the link directed to a paywall, blue israel was gracious enough to forma good link a couple posts below.