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Four Plays – UM vs. Minnesota 2013
This series examines the probable individual matchups Michigan expects to face against particular 2013 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). This is the third installment of the series; previous: Notre Dame and Connecticut.
Michigan opens Big Ten action at home this season against a Jerry Kill’s Gophers, who didn't exactly face a murderer’s row in their non-conference schedule but got off to a 4-0 start nonetheless—even despite an injury that deprived Minnesota of their starting QB for two games. [Edit: The Gophers are now 4-1, having lost 3-7 yesterday to Iowa. In the game, Minnesota gained only 30 yards rushing and gave up 147 yards rishing to Mark Weisman]. Overall, the Gophers looked well-coached and unlikely to beat themselves, but with the talent differential and Michigan needing to make a statement, this is not a game that should be close.
When Michigan has the ball…
The slant is a relatively easy throw that gets the ball to a receiver with a chance to gain yards after the catch. In west coast offenses, pairing multiple slants with a flat route underneath stretches a defense horizontally, while motion is used to help the QB diagnose the defense before the snap.
When the H-back motions across the formation before the snap, the QB will watch to see if a defender follows him. If so, then the defense must be playing man coverage—meaning the X receiver is one-on-one with the CB. If no defender follows the H-back, then the defense is in zone. The H-back (running the flat route) and the Y receiver (running a slant) will flood the right flat; the QB will read the flat defender (against cover 3, this is usually the box safety) and throw to whichever receiver the flat defender leaves open.
LT – Taylor Lewan: pass protect vs. WDE Theiren Cockran
LG – Graham Glasgow: pass protect vs. DT Cameron Botticelli
C – Jack Miller: pass protect vs. DT Ra’Shede Hageman
RG – Kyle Kalis: pass protect vs. DT Ra’Shede Hageman
RT – Michael Schofield: pass protect vs. SDE Michael Amaefula
TE – Devin Funchess: motion across formation, run flat route (covered by SS Cedric Thompson)
SL – Drew Dileo: run slant (2) route (covered by NB Brock Vereen)
SE – Jeremy Gallon: run slant route route (covered by CB Derrick Wells)
FL –Jehu Chesson: run slant route (covered by SS Cedric Thompson)
TB – Fitzgerald Toussaint: pass protect vs. SDE Michael Amaefula
QB – Devin Gardner: pre-snap, motion H-back across formation, recognize zone coverage underneath; receive snap, read flat defender (SS); if flat defender follows Chesson, set feet and throw flat route to Funchess, throw slant to Chesson if flat defender comes up to play Funchess.
Three weeks ago I wouldn’t have hesitated to declare the advantage for Michigan on this play, with Devin Gardner throwing to a solid group of receivers against Minnesota’s underwhelming defense. But Gardner’s been inconsistent over the past couple weeks, due in no small part to poor pass protection on the interior—and now Michigan has to face arguably the best DT in college football. That would be Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota’s senior DT who entered the season on most first-team All-B1G lists and boasts a first-round NFL draft grade. To have success against him, the Michigan line that handled Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt will have to show up against the Gophers. Another performance like the one we saw in Hartford could spell a long day for Michigan’s offense.
[After the JUMP: it's a trap!]
Hoping to spark some friendly conversation reflecting on the incredible comeback in 2003 at Minnesota. Chris Perry, Braylon Edwards, John Navarre and Marion Barber, this game was a classic.
Thanks to WolverineHistorian for the video. I remember myself capitulating to Minnesota (out loud) several times that afternoon...
Because, of course.
Lede: Ohio State University’s police department received a donated “Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle” this month complete with gun turret, armored siding and bulletproof glass.
Topics discussed in this week's installment:
Southfield defensive lineman Malik McDowell has some new developments in his recruitment, and Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone recently jumped into Michigan's big board of 2015 quarterbacks. Plus, Brad and Tom discuss the impact of Lane Kiffin's firing at USC.
I have a question about how plays are relayed from the OC to the offense and the differences between no huddle and conventional styles. As I understand it, Al calls the play, it gets relayed to Devin by someone on the sideline with a headset via hand signals. Devin then reads the play off of his arm band to the rest of the team, they break the huddle and line up. Correct?
How much different is no huddle mode? Would the entire offense have to memorize the plays and hand signals so that everyone just gets the call directly from the sideline? Is this something that's feasible to implement mid season? Brian has talked at length about the advantages no huddle gives to the QB in terms of time to change the play after seeing the defense (or for the OC to call in another play). What got me thinking is with the talk of a new center (and the young interior line in general), would getting to the line more quickly and seeing defensive alignment also help the center make the blocking assignment calls and for the OL to ID their targets?
The first two games of the season I noticed backgrounds being submitted under Diary column. I haven’t seen once since. I love setting them on my computer at work in Cincinnati Ohio. It makes for some good talks when people come in and out of the office all day. Does anyone have the new Minnesota’s one for this week’s matchup?