this may be of some local interest
So I find myself in an extremely bizarre position: Michigan had a semi-public scrimmage on Saturday that I and a few hundred others attended after donating to Motts or buying the big baller seats. If you've been on the internet since Saturday you've noticed probably dozens of reports on message boards, the diaries here, other blogs, and one local radio host's (pretty inaccurate) tweets. Also there's a highlight video from the official site:
But they specifically told myself, MVictors, Scout, Rivals, and Craig Ross that "nothing was to be reported" from the scrimmage. This worked as well as you might imagine, leaving us on the sidelines as everyone with a username throws vague information around. So here's a bizarre roundup of things other people said on the internets and in my inbox that doesn't involve personal reporting. This lion is caged.
Popular sentiment holds that Denard is the man:
looks comfortable, made some nice throws, seems in charge of the O. Wouldn't want to have to tackle him.
Unless something crazy happens between now and September 4, Denard Robinson is your clear starter at quarterback. The quarterbacks weren’t live today, but Robinson still managed to carve up the second-team defense (running the first-team offense, of course) with his legs and his arm. His made good decisions with the ball and his passes were on the money, and he took a QB draw 40+ yards to the house — only Denard makes that play, and he made it look easy.
He will absolutely start as he is clearly the leader on the team. He had the most energy during warm-ups, was the first one and the fastest one doing stretch drills, and was clearly the first-team QB of the day during the 'scrimmage'. He hit a nice 23-ish yard pass on a WICKED play fake to Grady. And then ran it in for another 25 or so on a QB draw, juking a DB as he went. Enough to even get the sidelines "ooh-ing".
Prior to seeing this scrimmage I was a fan of Tate and would tell anyone who asked, that Tate would be the starter. After watching the scrimmage, D-Rob will be the starter. He was much better in the pocket, made good decisions when faced with getting rid of the ball or being sacked with loss of yards, and his exchanges were very good. Think about some of the ball fakes that Juice Williams had. D-Rob isn't there yet, but he will be.
That longish pass was the a half-roll at about 2:00 in the highlights on which Robinson pulled up and nailed Terrance Robinson between the numbers and between levels in the zone. An emailer suggested that he wouldn't have believed it possible without the spring game. Also, at the end of practice they had the team run a lap around the field four times. It's "a little tough to tell" because each position group starts from a different place on the field, but 3 of the 4 times Denard was the first player on the team to finish. (Ray Vinopal seemed to win the last one.) That's "more a measure of endurance than speed."
Robinson actually got a lot less run than the other two quarterbacks, finding himself on the bench as Forcier and Gardner (and Jack Kennedy) alternated series late; when he did get on the offense would score quickly, further depressing his reps. To me that reads like the decision is already made and they are being somewhat cautious.
Conflicting reports on Gardner and Forcier. Ace's take:
Devin Gardner, running mostly with the twos, looked at times like a seasoned veteran, but he had a couple throws — including an ugly interception to Marvin Robinson — that reminded everyone he is just a freshman. His natural ability could lead to him seeing the field this year, but I think it’s safe to say he’s probably a year away from really pushing for the starting job. Really like his poise in the pocked and running ability, however, and it would have been interesting to see what he could have done if the quarterbacks were live. Tate Forcier started with the threes but saw snaps with the ones and twos as well — he looked solid throwing the ball, but made a couple poor reads on zone running plays.
Gardner came in for a lot of praise but a trusted observer in the inbox says "Gardner made a number of bad decisions under pressure." There that Marvin Robinson interception reminiscent of the slo-mo-nooooo plays last year; observer also cited a strong tendency for Gardner to panic and chuck off his back foot when blitzers got through. He suggested that in a scrimmage with more blitzing—it was exceedingly rare—Forcier would have probably looked clearly better than Gardner. While a few folk are saying there is "NO WAY" Gardner redshirts, TO thought he was at best even with Forcier and given that should watch from the sidelines. He made more big errors than anyone else.
In drills, Tate looked best, FWIW.
Hopkins was the name on everyone's tongue after a day spent running through arm tackles and showing surprising shiftiness. He "hit the holes and was a load to take down." Trusted Observer said he had a hard time picking out Hopkins before the scrimmage, as he looked like PJ Hill in the spring but after losing ten pounds and reshaping maybe a dozen others into muscle "now looks like a tailback" instead of a moonlighting fullback.
One negative note:
I didn't think Hopkins looked as great as everyone else did. Not a diss on his play - he ran very hard - but I didn't see the world beater others did. Much like the other scrimmages, all the RBs looked good, but none really stood out. We have options in Cox and Shaw. Though V. Smith, as reported, looks great - no noticeable effects from the injury.
Ace and others also noted that Vincent Smith seems 100% healthy; you can see him dance his way down to the two in the highlights above on one of his better runs on the day. TO said it looked like he was tentatively first team with Mike Shaw second but "both those guys fumbled and I wouldn't put much stock in that."
Mike Cox continued to show that he might be the best athlete amongst the running backs, but on two separate instances he caused Rodriguez to "lose it" by cutting way back against the grain, turning a modest gain into nothing by dancing at the line of scrimmage. On one "there was a gap on the frontside but he cut all the way behind the backside tackle," losing yardage and causing RR to chew him out; on the second "RR just dropped his headset in disgust."
Toussaint did not play due to an injury.
If you're looking at playing time in this scrimmage as a signal as to which freshmen wideouts will play, your "leaders in order" are Jerald Robinson, Drew Dileo, Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, and finally DJ Williamson. Yeah, Dileo, who looked "natural fielding punts and catching the ball in drills" despite being "fricking tiny." Robinson got a lot of playing time but "dropped everything."
As for the veterans, the nominal first team was the same it was in spring with Martavious Odoms spending a lot of time outside with Darryl Stonum; Roy Roundtree was in the slot but "did not play much" probably because "they know he's the guy." In his stead Robinson and Grady got most of the playing time, with Gallon around but "not doing much." Hemingway was on the second team with Stokes.
At TE, Koger, Webb, and Moore "seemed even," with Koger suffering a frustrating drop. Robinson added one, but otherwise the starting WRs caught everything that came their way. It was mostly underneath stuff, probably because of the open nature of the scrimmage.
Not much here. Molk was in a green shirt and played only sparingly (this was "precautionary"); Khoury was his backup and there were several poor snaps, two or three of which led to drive-killing fumbles. Huyge (left) and Dorrestein (right) were tackles on the first team OL. Lewan was on the second team and played beyond the whistle to the point where he got a personal foul. TO noticed Quinton Washington struggling badly in the post-practice runs, finishing last. Someone, possibly Elliot Mealer, spent practice on the bike with a red jersey. Barnum was a second-team guard and the third-team center.
Coaches kept yelling at Schofield to keep his pad level down.
TO says he spent most of the scrimmage watching the offense and didn't have much on the D. He did note that Mike Martin finished first easily in the DL group on the runs with Will Campbell lagging behind. Ace highlighted Jibreel Black, who looks like a quick contributor. Another emailer said "Martin is a beast" and didn't get much playing time for precautionary reasons:
“Defensively, Mike Martin has had a tremendous camp. We limited him yesterday because we know what he can do, but he’s been really good and probably our most consistent defensive player since camp started.”
Campbell seemed to be on the third team. Sagesse sat out with an injury, though he was in green, not red.
It does not seem like Martin is moving, so everyone figure out who Greg Banks's backup is.
That stuff about Moundros possibly starting looks accurate:
Moundros starts in the middle, looks like he's been playing there for a while. A run stuffer certainly. Middle zone coverage? Not enough data. Ezeh also stuffed the run and took on blocks at Mouton's spot. Roh will be a beast, but given almost all of the throws were short, his pass rush didn't have time to get home.
Not much else here. Ezeh played WLB with Mouton in green. Davion Rogers is "a twig."
Ack. Cam Gordon, from reports ranging from some guy…
Vlad will hit you, but we all knew that. Cam Gordon is going to be very good, I think. Big boy. He was in position to make two great tackles, but unfortunately didn't wrapup and was pulled off the field. Later returned with the 1's. Going to take some time
…to the coach…
“Yesterday probably wasn’t his best day practice-wise, but other than that he’s had a really good camp,” Rodriguez noted.
“We were in position to make plays - I was in position - but we didn’t wrap up,” Gordon said. “I think we were all a little excited, especially us young guys to show what we could do and we had a breakdown in fundamentals. But those are easily correctable mistakes.
“Something Coach [Tony] Gibson said to me after our scrimmage was, ‘Cam, every hit doesn’t have to be a big hit.’ That’s a key for me and for all the guys. Any tackle is a good tackle. I don’t have to level somebody because in the stat book they all count the same way. I’ll get better and we’ll get better.”
…did not have a good day. Corners… not much detail. There's this:
JT Floyd looks good, Rogers looks big. Teric Jones and Christian are your 2's. Talbott and Avery don't look undersized, and don't look overwhelmed. Again, hard to judge corner play given the nature of the throws. But Christian has a way of moving that reminds one of Woodson.
If only. Floyd was pulled early, again likely as a precaution. Robinson looks good, a "big hitter and good tackler." Mike Williams spent a lot of time playing spur, not doing much of note. A push for a job or a sure starter (Thomas Gordon) getting held out of a high-contact scrimmage?
No worries at punter, where Hagerup's warmups were "just like Zoltan." The section of the practice dedicated to the punt team saw the punts "go straight" and were actually returnable. All were fielded cleanly except one fumble from Terrence Robinson. Here, too, Dileo "looked like a natural," executing a fair catch with aplomb and fielding an array of kickoffs and punts cleanly.
Field goal kicking was limited, with just two attempts. Meram missed from around 40, Gibbons hit from around 35. Kickoffs landed from the 2 to 10, which is about average these days. Kickoff coverage must be run at half speed because every one was returned to about midfield and then blown dead.
Tim will spin out posts on his experience at Media Day over the first few days of the week, but right now how about a million embeds? Oh and this from the MVictors photo gallery:
"Please stop doing that, you're making me uncomfortable."
And then there's all the video Boyz n tha Pahokee and MGoVideo put in a non-browser-crippling format:
Denard Robinson (wsgs Mike Rosenberg and Mike Rosenberg's Tiny Afro!):
Several more after the jump.
Rich Rod and a couple of the team's stars in the trenches met with the media today.
Rodriguez on Team stuff
Winged helmets - That's a team thing. It's usually more involved than 'is a guy out of shape?' It's more has he earned the wings?"In order to run out the tunnel on the fourth, everyone has to earn the wings. "You've got to appreciate the privilege you have to play here." Rodriguez expects everyone will meet the challenge.
Attention to detail good - guys done a good job picking up concepts. Pleased with special teams, and they're doing a couple new things schematically that he likes.
Had a couple really warm days. Need that to get guys in shape. Only had one 2-a-day so far.
Execution has been just OK offensively. Don't want any bad snaps or bad decisions. Defense - "Particularly because we've got a lot of our defensive package already in installed. I've been pleased with their mental part."
Number 1 jersey. hasn't been discussed in about two years. "It's not retired, but it's semi-retired at the moment."
They'll taper second-team reps about 8 or 9 days before the UConn game. Travel squad guys will get more reps at that point than those who are unlikely to play. That situation could change daily. More questions about the lineup are not a problem as long as it means there are more guys who can play.
Rodriguez on Personnel
QBs - "Wide open." They aren't consistent all the time. Hope we have enough confidence to play all three. Couldn't see it right now, because all three aren't playing to a high level. All three should get there before UConn.
RBs - "One guys stands out one day, today it was somebody else. It's probably as wide open as any position." With a couple physical practices this week, they'll have 2-3 guys hopefully.
Koger on the Mackey watchlist - "He's played quite a bit." Rodriguez puts no stock into preseason award watch lists. "If it helps motivate him to have a great year, that's great." Both Koger and Webb should have good years.
Stonum - returning and being a featured receiver. "He's had an outstanding camp so far." He, Martavious Odoms, and Terrance Robinson should be the top returners. "We expect a lot of Roy" Roundtree. He's in great shape.
Level of play has to get better on the offensive line. Experience doesn't necessarily mean you got better. So far, it's solid but not nearly good enough. It sounds like Dorrestein and Huyge have probably held off the younger guys so far, but "I couldn't tell you right now the depth chart" They're in great shape. Omameh: "Best I've seen him look" He and Schilling are good for a top pair of guards.
Freshman safeties have impressed. They've still had classes, etc. Anxious to see what they do once classes end and they can focus on football.
Will Hagerup has been really good. Today our kickers did a nice job. We haven't always been kicking field goals well. Hagerup tried some kickoffs, but is probably not in the mix for that. All kickers equal - Gibbons, Meram, and Broekhuizen.
Most experienced part of team. "I wouldn't say we're the most ahead..." in terms of schemes, but probably have the most leadership.
It's huge having Molk back. Not too deep at center. His return brings depth, experience, leadership.
RT - Who's looked good so far? Perry Dorrestein, Huyge, and Schofield are about even. Everybody's working and improving. Fair game, would be confident in any one of the three. LT Lewan competing with Huyge. That's wide open too. Both want it, both working hard. Tackle battles don't affect what he does - your technique doesn't change with who comes in.
Chemistry on interior is pretty good. Omameh had never played guard next to Molk until this fall. Right off the bat, things were clicking, working together all summer. "My knowledge has improved," talking with other interior OL, Molk and Schilling.
Patrick had never practiced at guard before his first start there last year. Not too much different, but little things you have to be aware of compared to tackle. "The guys were pretty big" when he came in last season. Played only tackle before, the tackles were tougher to block.
Denard - His knowledge of what we're trying to do has progressed. He still has the speed, quickness, etc. Combine it, and he's a lot more dangerous than he was.
RBs - everybody's had an impressive day or play. Excited to see what they'll do once the season hits. Vincent Smith coming back adds depth and experience. He's elusive, and it's great to have him back. He doesn't seem to be affected by the injury at all.
Maintaining 298-300 weight, even with heat. Was 251 pounds when he got here. Worked with Barwis. Made huge gains in strength, weight is just coming on. Only way he can tell he's heavier is the scale - still moves like he did before. Strength is evident when he's blocking.
Feel really good health-wise. "Feel really good, strong." Able to catch up strengthwise and get in shape during spring. "I was affected last year" by the injury. It became a mental game, and he tried to just not think about it. Put on pads and play.
D-Line - Those guys are doing a really good job. Everyone's stepping up. GB, RVB making plays. Getting to QBs and rushing the pass. WC, Sagesse, Patterson - adding depth, we can count on them. Adam Patterson is a senior, this is his year. We have a lot of depth with guys stepping up. Won't have a dropoff if someone goes out.
Will Campbell is camp roomies with Martin. The coaches might have put them together so Martin could try to pull him along, and Will's responding well. He's in good shape - but football shape is different than just going out and running sprints.
"Pat's skill as a pass blocker has really improved." Only faces him in certain rush schemes. Usually goes against Molk and centers in drills.
Molk and Martin are in in groups with Barwis. Always a competition on field, in weight room. Trying to beat each other's weights, always pushing each other. "It's back and forth. I like to say I win." Molk - Tough, he's the anchor, pulls everyone together. Doesn't talk much, but doesn't need to. We battle every day, making each other better.
Dealing with Brandon Graham's departure, there are many different ways to get to the QB. Several different guys contributing to pass rush. Good things with Roh, Van Bergen, Banks, doing a great job.
Why will this team be diff than last year - "we had stars then, showed up every game," this year there are more guys that can be counted on. Everyone's coming together.
Camp is fun when we do situational stuff - real football. Not so much the drills that get repetitive.
Agentzzz. Does the SEC's reaction to predatory agents seem, oh I don't know, slightly self-serving? On one level I don't actually disagree with the idea that maybe having a registered NFL agent represent a kid and possibly throw him some dollars isn't the worst way to bridge some of the gap between the amount of money players make for their schools and the amount of money they make for themselves. That would conveniently pay the players likely to be worth the most to their schools without actually acting as a drain on athletic department budgets.
But maybe the time to suggest something like this…
The SEC commissioner says the current rules "may be as much part of the problem as they are the solution."
…is before half the schools in your league are under investigation and likely to lose key players. Watching the local journalists scramble to think outside the bun when their precious local programs come under threat is annoying when no one has a troubling word to say about the NCAA and their pursuit of Reggie Bush. You had five years to cluck about agents before the knocking got local. Doing it now is pure hackery. I can only imagine what the Free Press would write if Michigan had anyone involved in this. Probably not "we need a whole new way of thinking about agents."
Meanwhile, hearing Nick Saban position himself as the great and good friend of college athlete's eligibility is the sort of spectacularly brazen thing that is totally expected from Nick Saban. Seriously:
"I have no respect for people who do that to young people, none," Saban said. "I mean, none. How would you feel if they did it to your child?"
Do what, exactly? Oversign the hell out of them and then either end their careers with dubious medical scholarships or spawn a "voluntary" transfer? No. Give them money they shouldn't have because the NCAA says so. All right then.
Stupidzzz. So some guy outed the author of the Bylaw Blog. As a result, the Bylaw Blog is going on hiatus as the man behind it tries to clear it with his athletic department, which is Loyola Marymount's. Hopefully they take a look at the content on the blog and see it as a positive for their profile, which it certainly is, and let Compliance Guy continue being exceptionally useful.
As for guy who outs exceptionally useful guy: congratulations. You dug up a piece of information of no value to anyone and possibly/probably cut off the only insight into the increasingly important world of compliance that anyone had. You have committed an act of anti-journalism. Here, the truth makes us all dumber. I hope someone runs your foot over with a lawnmower.
Also then afterwards these gentlemen stop by and bend metal threateningly. Via Rittenberg comes this little bit of Barwis hype. On Mike Martin:
Bench-presses 505 pounds, squats 700 pounds … Power cleans 430 pounds, hang cleans 475 pounds …Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds
Strength coach Mike Barwis says: "Mike is an absolute warrior. He has a never quit attitude and is a natural born leader. He is one of the most impressive physical specimens I have ever seen."
And on David Molk:
Bench-presses 490 pounds, squats 660 pounds … Power cleans 420 pounds, hang cleans 440 pounds … Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds
Strength coach Mike Barwis says: "Dave is an outstanding worker and a natural athlete. He is one of the most naturally explosive linemen I have ever trained."
Whatever Fred Jackson's got, it's catching.
Martin totally pwns Northwestern DT Corbin Bryant, who squats like my grandmother (a mere 600 pounds) and is essentially on par with OSU DL John Simon; no comparables were available for offensive linemen.
Clean. We leave the fresh for the rest of the conference. Dana O'Neil has a remarkable article in which she anonymously surveys D-I basketball coaches and comes out with quotes like "If the NCAA was serious, they'd hire someone who knew what they were doing, not these women out here trying to get a husband.''
"These women"—referred to elsewhere as "gestapettes"—are the NCAA enforcement people tasked with wandering around summer recruiting events attempting to make sure everything is on the up and up. If only Bobby Knight was still coaching we'd have a likely candidate for that Mad Men-era quote; as it is it could be anyone.
Anyway, here's a feather in the cap combined with a shot at Tommy Amaker:
Which league is the cleanest? The dirtiest?
Congratulations, Jim Delany. Your league wins in a landslide. Of the 20 coaches surveyed, 11 said the Big Ten was the cleanest in the country. Three others cited the land where time stood still, also known as the scholarship-less Ivy League. (Although even the Ancient Eight earned one disparaging nod: "The Ivy League,'' one coach said before pausing to add, "I mean the Ivy League a couple of years ago, before all of that stuff at Harvard.")
But coaches cited the Big Ten's perceived willingness to police itself and rosters that "made sense," in which players traditionally come from the footprint of the schools they choose to attend.
Tommy Amaker got dirty enough to mention when he left Michigan for Harvard. Michigan is bringing a fork to a gun fight in basketball recruiting.
Some nice things were said about Michigan State that we will elide before getting to the next shocker:
…the Southeastern Conference was perceived as the worst, with three coaches partnering the SEC with the Big East and another tossing in the Big 12 (one coach went league-by-league, counting up schools). All in all, the SEC was named by 14 of the coaches.
"Oh no, it's not just a myth,'' one coach said about the SEC. "It's the truth.''
Maybe we need to rethink the way we perceive rampant cheating in college basketball?
Etc.: The WLA quibbles with the Offense of the Decade, suggesting that Drew Henson's abbreviated season as the starter should have won at QB. The numbers (61.6% completion, 14.7 yards per completion, 9.1 yards per attempt, and an 18/4 TD/INT ratio) are pretty compelling; I left him off because he only played about 75% of the season but… yeah. It depends on how heavily you want to weight that.
They also suggest Askew instead of Dudley but I did not really consider Askew a fullback since he spent most of his time as the deep back in a single-RB formation, IIRC, and anyway if I was putting together a team I'd rather have Dudley for short yardage than an okay tailback who can block.
Coach Rodriguez briefly talked to the media at halftime of the basketball game against Iowa (Michigan leads 29-17 at the half). Relevant notes from coach:
- Michigan is looking to sign 26-28 recruits in the class of 2010.
- Rodriguez talked to a few coaches about Michigan's open linebackers coaching position at the coaches' meetings a couple weeks ago. They won't worry about hiring somebody until after Signing Day, but should have the new coach hired within a week of that date.
- All the players who have had offseason surgery (Mike Martin, Vincent Smith, et al) are progressing on pace with their rehab. They'll still be out for spring, but should be ready to play in the fall.
- As long as Kelvin Grady can manage his academics with playing basketball, Rodriguez has no problem with him re-joining John Beilein's squad. There shouldn't be too much interference between football spring practice and the basketball season, but if there is, the coaches will let him continue playing basketball.
- In spring practice, the slots and running backs are overlapping duties a bit, because many of the guys who play slot are used to the running back position from their high school days.
- The coaches are still trying to find guys who can help on defense. Cameron Gordon is one guy who is looking at a potential switch to the other side of the ball.
Rodriguez will have a formal press conference on Wednesday for the signing of the Class of 2010. More details on MGoBlog's Signing Day coverage coming later.
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.