to play football, not to play trumpet
With such a surehanded Jug grip, Falk thinks Jabrill would make an excellent assistant equipment manager.
Mr. Peppers do pretty much anything better than the people who usually do that thing. We've been told he can play corner, nickel, safety, linebacker, returner, holder, kicker, punter, receiver, running back, quarterback, and do your taxes. I have no doubts he could write this blog better.
Peppers can't be everywhere, but Michigan did use the bye week to put him into the offense in interesting ways. So I thought I'd show all of them. Happy Peppers fun time everybody!
PLAY 1: Empty End-Around
Personnel: Peppers + QB, 2 WRs, 2 TEs (looks like Ace)
Peppers is a: Z receiver
Formation weirdness: Peppers lines up as a receiver and Butt is a flex TE to the same side as the Y-TE, A.J. Williams, who also is split off a good yard from the edge. This will come in hand. The result is an empty 4-wide look; safeties back off.
The play: End around. Peppers starts his motion just before the snap so the defense has barely reacted to it. Mason Cole pulls, other two uncovered OL release, and Kalis and Braden have to reach their guys.
How it worked out: The split of Williams comes into play here as the playside end is shooting that gap and gets caved [A.J. Williams heart bubbles!]. Braden and Kalis both got playside of their guys for just enough to delay while Peppers bursts past. All the 2nd level defenders except the MLB are expecting pass and don't react until Peppers has already turned the corner. They get blocked really far downfield. However Glasgow couldn't get a good angle on the SS, who gets a tackle in space after the 1st down.
[Hit the JUMP for two more of these]
What, are you worried Spartans are gonna be all "Typical Wolverines, whining about the refs."?
[Interference on Desmond.gif] [Spartan Bob stops the clock.gif] [etc.] Things that happen happened. Plus can you name a Spartan anyone actually takes seriously?
Granted. But is this hypothetical Spartan in your life Vannini, or this Youtube commenter?
Wow. That's— uh, that is…
…a person whose opinion does not matter.
I was going to say my brother-in-law. But they outgained us!
Special teams matter.
Still can't we be above blaming the refs? Steel in the spine and all that. It won't change the outcome of the game. At most we'll get an apology from the Big Ten that's worth exactly as much as Rutgers in a post-cable bundling media landscape.
Nice one. I'm not making a "Michigan should have won…" argument, because every play matters. The last play had a huge effect on the outcome. Connor Cook throwing perfect back shoulder passes and Aaron Burbridge being an NFL-caliber receiver was very relevant. Jake Rudock being bad at deep balls was relevant. If they'd won, Michigan's stops on 4th downs were relevant. All of it is relevant, and the game, as they say, is over.
So then what's the point?
The point is to assess how good this Michigan team is at football. IE were they significantly better than a Michigan State team that nearly lost to Purdue and Rutgers, and was absent its Rimington-quality center plus half the legs of its bookends, and is fielding a pretty awful secondary. But I'm also doing this for some more personal reasons:
- For myself, and for posterity, I want a thorough canvassing of the things I saw and thought I saw.
- I want to point out where the refs are getting a bad rap. Not everything we thought we saw was a legit gripe, and some of the legit gripes may have been hard for human refs to see in real time. Since complaining is inevitable, let's get it right.
- Right now I feel like a truck ran over my dog and then half of the people in my life came over to gloat as if they were driving this truck. This is part of my healing process.
And you're going to show we got hosed?
Can't promise it. That was my certainly biased hypothesis in the stadium, but I'm not going to be able to find every incremental hold and would-be pass interference. I want to tackle the things people were talking about.
Clip the plays people bitched about, watch the hell out of them, gauge the relative expectations we should have for the officials on those plays, and use the Markov Drive Analysis tool to calculate a rough expected points swing.
This tool is based on NFL drives but it serves for what we're doing here. It gives you a basic expected points for every down, distance, and field position. For example if you have 1st and goal on your opponent's one yard line, the expected points is 6.32. A 4th and 10 on your 40 is about zero.
If I've left out any plays (including and especially those where something went Michigan's way) let me know and if I deem it worthy I'll add it to the post.
I'd rather not be part of this.
Then don't hit...
On Saturday Michigan put up six points on Northwestern on the opening kickoff, a lead the defense was so unlikely to relinquish you might as well say this game was decided by a footrace between Jehu Chesson and the Wildcats' kicker. As Harbaugh described it in the presser:
“106-yard return. The blocks were sharp and crisp. Timing was nearly perfect. 10 guys, 11 guys hustling and 10 of them blocking, blocking for Jehu and he got- he is the fastest player on the team. I know Jabrill said one of the fastest but he is the fastest, and he showed it today.”
And our own Adam Schnepp got Butt on the record after yesterday's presser:
They hadn't really shown that on film where they were going to kick it there on the opening drive, but we knew they could potentially sky-kick it away from Jabrill and they did that to Jehu. We had the right return in anyway, so they kind of just gave us a counter. I had a kickout block and then we had like a wall built for Jehu. I mean, Jehu's a 10.3 100 guy. He just did the rest. You weren't catching him once he hit the open field.
I was still drawing it up when ebv posted an excellent writeup of the same. So at this point you might be sick of talking about it.
I'll use some of his diagrams, and show you what happened.
Our Playcall: Return (our) Right
Here's how ebv made it look:
Butt (on the 20 yard line)'s block is a kickout, not a lead but that's an otherwise very accurate description. Here's my drawing:
(kickoff coverage positions noted as left or right from the kicker, so e.g. "L4" is the fourth guy to the kicker's left.)
Omigod it's POWER—like manball-flavored power running where you form a wall that caves in on their wall, kick out the EMLOS to make a gap, then throw bodies at the point of attack. I color-coded the goals of the blocks: left for seal the guy inside, green for kickout, and blue for the lead blockers.
Wilson, Kinnel, Gedeon and Houma are going to form the "wall"—they each identify a gunner and their jobs are to block down, and keep their guys sealed from the play. Bolden and Poggi double a guy who's basically the playside end. Butt comes across the formation to blow the contain open, and Chesson gets an escort into the hole from Mason and Peppers.
Northwestern's Playcall: Corner (their) Right
This is a fairly basic kickoff coverage that only messes a little with the typical man-to-man return strategy. The kicker purposely sent it to the side away from Peppers, and the gunners were tasked with closing down running lanes. Two members of the coverage team, L5 and the kicker, are back as quasi-safeties to fill any lane that may be created.
[after the jump: execution]
This was boss from Harbaugh; Smith ignored it then got 10 yards with his own thing.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O44||1||10||Ace twins H||1||2||2||Base 3-4||Run||Counter trap.||Smith||11|
|This gets jammed up on the playside and is gloriously ridiculously wide open on the backside. Glasgow is the guy releasing immediately and he has to go out to a guy lined up directly over a slot receiver to get a block. That's a trap pull behind Kalis. A cutback is a massive gain. Smith doesn't see that despite it being the play design but I still like what he does on this play. Hill can't get a seal on this because the DT is heading right at him inside; that's one reason the backside gap is so massive. Braden(+0.5) gets caught up; forms up, and cuts the guy off. Kalis(+1) doesn't have an angle unless this goes backside and still buries a linebacker into the mess w Braden and Hill. Cole(+1) gets a yard of depth; Smith(+1) spots the tiny crease and does a hard out-in cut. Three BYU players take a false step and Smith bursts upfield for near first down yardage. RPS +2.|
And he had a breakout discussion on what Smith did with his cut. So that's what Smithg did but what about the RPS +2 part that Smith ignored. I'd like to show you what Harbaugh did to break that backside wide open, because it's a good example of atypical wrinkles he can pull out to mess with teams overreacting to the base power plays.
[after the jump I draw it up and try to figure out what was supposed to happen]
During the preseason I was goofing around with wide receiver targeting stats by Bill Connelly*, and Ace asked me if it says anything about anything if a team is targeting its tight ends more than its receivers. At the time it seemed Michigan was about to do that. They haven't:
But once things shake out it wouldn't be that surprising if it's Darboh and Butt then a bunch of low-amplitude dudes. The more the season has progressed, the more it seems Ian Bunting and Henry Poggi are going to siphon snaps and targets from Grant Perry and Drake Harris. Jehu Chesson gets ignored even when his cornerback has fallen down. We can compare this distribution to the rest of the Big Ten:
For the above I counted OSU's H-backs as receivers, fullbacks as RBs, and Northwestern's "superbacks" as tight ends. It's early in the season so there's still a ton of mess in those numbers. So lets get some more data and see what we find.
[after the jump: two blobs jousting]
All offseason I've been dickering around with targeting data trying to find something predictive about Michigan's receivers. Here's what I came up with:
Big makes click (WRs with <10 targets excluded)
What you're seeing is RYPR data for guys listed as sophomores on 2005-'14 rosters. I couldn't be precise because that doesn't account for redshirts, but whenever I came across a double I went with the later year. RYPR is an imperfect feelingsball stat by Bill Connelly that tries to tie in a receiver's targeting data and the nature of his offense with his raw production. The big yellow diamond around 60 targets and 70 RYPR is Darboh last year (the other diamond in the mess of barely targeted dudes is Chesson).
What I like about the chart above is it's the first one that seems to put the guys who wound up really productive dramatically above average. Gallon and Manningham are floating well above the dotted line, Greg Mathews is way below it, and Darboh, Funchess (who spent part of that season as a TE), and Roundtree are kinda on it, despite a big spread in number of targets.
The Michigan sample's small, but the vast majority of guys above dotted line as sophomores wound up NFL picks. RYPR/targets in fact was more predictive than RYPR itself. NFL draft picks averaged 1.43 RYPR/Tgts versus 1.05 for those not drafted. The graph isn't dramatic (again click to make it big) but it's at least useful for setting a baseline:
I noted some outliers among the undrafted: Jarrett Boykin (3.05 in 2009) spent three years on the Packers, starting for half of 2013. Billy Pittman had his big year with Vince Young but had a kind of palsy, got hit with one of the dumbest NCAA penalties ever (7 games for sharing his friend's car for the summer) and was an old man already by his combine. And Da'Rick Rogers left Tennessee after failing three drug tests, was the best receiver in FCS for a year, and has bounced around practice rosters since. As for those still playing, they're among the best in FBS: Tyler Boyd (Pitt), Pharoh Cooper (S Car), Will Fuller (ND), Michael Thomas (OSU) and Corey Coleman (Baylor) are all juniors this year. Sanity test: passed.
Remember these guys are all getting at least 10 targets as sophomores for a Power 5 or BCS school. Since that pack doesn't bother spreading out until 20 targets let's reset and from there and see what it says about about the future NFL draft picks versus the future pros in something else.
|As Sophomore||Players||Avg Yds||Avg Tgts||Avg RYPR||RYPR/Tgts|
Simply getting usage at Power 5/BCS team at this point gives you better than a 1 in 4 chance of getting drafted, about the same, we learned in previous studies, as a 4-star recruit. If Darboh was a guy who stood out in that stat I'd be excited, but he was pretty average. Still I'm interested to see what happened to the guys in Darboh's vicinity.
[After the Jump: guys who looked like Darboh]