fair point that
RPS Part Deux: Comparing MSU to Michigan Defending Spread or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb vs. Man Free
Caveat: Again, I just watched the beginning and end of the game, blah, blah, blah...
Note: I added a basic field background to help communicate vertical spacing.
Last week I wrote about how Michigan defended the spread in the IU game. Today I'll compare that to how MSU defended OSU Saturday.
First, let's revisit how Michigan aligned vs. a 2x2 H-back look:
Notice how we are a man short in the box. If you're also noticing how it appears we have only 10 defenders on the field, it's b/c I tried to show the vertical spacing of the alignment; i.e., you can't see the Free Safety (FS) b/c he's 15-20 yards deep.
Similar to how Michigan aligned, MSU also had man over man on the Wide Receivers (WRs). However, MSU's safeties were no deeper than 8-10 yards, especially 8 on non-passing downs (what Bill Connelly of S&P refers to as "standard downs"). In doing this, MSU essentially has 8 in the box. If the safety over the H-back gets a run read from that H-back, the safety is down hill into his run fit.
In the comments of the previous diary, we discussed how playing no deep safeties is a recipe for spread adjustments like bubble screens and smoke screens; i.e. quick throws to the WRs. These are essentially wide running plays. Michigan has been using this tactic with great success the entire season--I'd guess that the success rate on these throws have been at least 90% for the Wolverines in 2015.
To take these away and remain sound defending the run, the defense needs OLBs and/or safeties aligned in such a way as to have the ability to defend both run and pass. Basically, the defense wants to have a man advantage against the number of eligible receivers on each side of the ball. In other words, if there are two receivers on a side, the defense needs to have three players in a position to defend them.
To have even 7 in the box, Michigan places a defender (in this case, the Will linebacker [WLB or simply W]) in a position to only play run and not be able to help on quick perimeter throws.
As you can see, the Spartans have safeties close enough to not be undermanned against inside running plays, and are also aligned so they have one more pass defender than the offense has eligible receivers to each side.
Again, I hope that Michigan does something different schematically against the Buckeyes than it did against the Hoosiers. If not, Ezekiel Elliot is going to have a Carlos Hyde type performance.
Les rumblings getting loader and louder, now supposedly holding a "special team meeting"
As you know, he is former Michigan DC under RR and former Stanford DC under Jim.
Hey guys, I worked pretty hard this past week making this video in hopes that when Michigan and OSU won, it'd be a fitting video for the stakes The Game would hold beyond the already legendary rivalry. Ohio State of course found a way to mess that up, so I almost didn't post it. But I still think it's decent and that you guys would enjoy it regardless. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Love making videos like this
and hope to continue to make ones in the future. So here it is, a quick video titled "Michigan Again". Go Blue and beat OSU.
Shoutout to WolverineHistorian for providing the source of the great Bo Schembechler pregame speech vs Iowa 1971. Really appreciate the help.
Song: Crystalline by Lights & Motion
Lastly, here's the preseason hype vid that I posted here a while ago.
- Western Michigan -- 383
- Oregon -- 432
- Air Force -- 428
- Central Michigan -- 340
- Purdue -- 301
- Rutgers -- 349
- Michigan -- 230
- Indiana -- 389
- Nebraska -- 499
- Maryland -- 289
- Ohio State -- 132