chance of bowl: 13.6%
I've seen many references to this in recent times, including when I was reading HTTV. There seems to be some sentiment around here that Kenny Demens is better than Obi Ezeh but he won't make anyone forget about David Harris. I'm kind of confused why people are down on Demens in that way. He's not Ray Lewis, but David Harris wasn't Ray Lewis, either.
As a junior, David Harris had 88 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles.
In a comparison of junior seasons, Kenny Demens had 94 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 pass breakups.
Those are pretty similar statistics, and while Harris did more in the turnover department, I'm not sure why people are insisting that David Harris was so much better. Demens still has a year to get to that level. He may or may not get there, but I don't think it's really a fair argument to compare the two careers right now.
Analysis courtesy Brian, per usual. Original Picture Pages at http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-stunting-veer.
I apologize for the lack of slo-mo this time around; my video editing SW seems to have a mind of its own and decided 'no slo-mo for you!' OTOH, my lower-case letters are actually lower-case this time, so there's that.
Setup: Purdue comes out in the Wildcat with WR Justin Siller at QB, which immediately causes anyone who remembers the 2008 game to break out in hives. Then they realize that Greg Orton and Kory Sheets aren't on the field and they relax a bit. Michigan tips that they're going to drop Roh into coverage (Brian's original PP says he plays standup, but really he's just late to put his hand down) and stunt Ryan behind Martin (shown by Ryan lining up a yard downfield from Martin).
Wha'hoppon: Ryan does indeed stunt and Roh does indeed start to drop, then he reads the mesh point and heads for the edge to contain the outside run. Siller reads Demens heading outside as well, so he keeps. There appears to be an opportunity straight up the middle, as Purdue has two linemen heading downfield and nobody's in the hole...
...except Ryan. The pulling RG doesn't see him stunting into the hole and chooses to double RVB instead. The LG does see him but is too far downfield to pick him up. Ryan gets practically a free run at Siller, and it's only Siller's agility that makes this a regular TFL rather than a semi-vs-Smartcar moment.
Full YouTubage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzm-mAPvcw8.
No time to write a diary; it's past my bedtime.
Video companion to http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-linebacker-hesitancy-fml. Analysis, as always, courtesy Brian.
Full YouTube link is http://youtu.be/vHoyD1dnj4w
The more things change...
Well, that went better than expected. There's plenty of good things to see, but almost all of them come with caveats:
- We shut down a QB with a decent arm who was pretty productive last year
- Denard's running WOOOOO!
- DLine got good pressure
- We're causing lots of turnovers
- Defense looks more sound in general
- We kind of dominated a decent team
- We're 4-0!
- He was missing his NFL caliber WR's
- Denard's passing, eeerrrrr....
- DLine kept losing contain
- We're giving away lots of turnovers
- Every now and then we look like the keystone cops
- Brady Hoke has their playbook, signals, and personell memorized.
- We were 4-0 the last two years...
Next week won't be much of a challenge or informative either. Especially if Marquis Gray is injured or hampered. So the good news is that we look like it's an easy road to bowl elligibility, but whether or not we can beat any decent bigten teams remains to be seen for a couple of weeks.
I don't know if his throwing arm/shoulder is tweeked, or if he's still just struggling with his footwork, but his accuracy is way off from last year. He had a terrible overthrow on the deep ball, the interception that got batted up was due to placing the ball too high when throwing at the TE, and the other interception was due to him missing the zone coverage. He's also staring down the screen receiver and other receivers sometimes.
But hey, HELLLOooooo speed option!
This play works because of two things. Two of their defenders just flat out over-run the play because they're freaking about Denard's speed
And we get great downfield blocks that are sustained. It really is as simple as getting a hat on a hat when you've got dilithium in the backfield. The play is setup so nice that Vincent is celebrating the TD before Denard even passes the line of scrimmage!
Here's the same moment from behind. That's a nice hole.
Give some credit to SDSU, they stuffed this play when we ran it again in the 2nd half. But when you've got a guy who can do this:
You can't win just on positioning.
You can have perfect position, and Denard can stil make you look silly.
Lloyd Brady Approves! (drink)
Various Defensive Awesomeness
Mike Martin is awesome. I think all D-Linemen should have a background in Judo or Wrestling or both. On this play he doesn't get to the QB, but he causes a rushed throw with his bull rush.
First, he's quick off the line and gets underneath the pads of the guard and pops him back.
Then he drives him back so hard that the tackle has to come down and help out.
But he's got so much momentum that he's buckled the guards legs and knocks him over.
At that point there's nothing left to do except laugh at your defeated foe and scream bloody murder at the QB. RVB also does a nice job of beating his man on his speed rush.
Kenny Demens is often awesome. On this play Demens demonstrates the textbook definition of "fill the hole and blow up the blocker".
This is your typical power iso play with a FB and a pulling linemen leading the way. Demens recognizes run action and gets on his horse.
RVB does a great job on his slant to fill the hole. This bounces the play outside. Demens reads this too and accelerates to take on the blocker.
Hawthorne is a little slow to react and gets blocked too easily here. But because Demens hits his man so hard, the ballcarrier has to stop his feet and go backwards.
Meanwhile, Jake Ryan has beaten his blocker with a quick step (Dude has a quickstep, this is my meme for Jake Ryan from now on.) and cleans up the play with a TFL. Hawthorne is getting held, but he has to do a better job of reacting and shedding his blocker. This is probably why he got benched for a bit.
Craig Roh is still fighting for more playing time in the DE rotation, but on this play he shows how to shed a blocker using leverage.
Roh is kind of tall and lanky, that can be a good thing or bad thing depending on how you use it. Here he pushes his blocker sideways and gets him off balance.
Then he just tosses him aside and has eyes on the ball carrier. Results in a TFL and great play.
From the other angle you can see how Roh uses the blocker's arm as a lever and just dismisses him. Hawthorne could learn a thing or two from this.
But it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
In last week's tardy diary, I discovered a new pet peeve. That pet peeve now has a name. It's called FUCKING AROUND WITH ALIGNMENT IN SHORT YARDAGE SITUATIONS. (FAWAISYS)
It's one thing to flop the defensive alignment when it's 1st or 2nd and 10 or even 3rd and 5. No one's in a rush and it doesn't really matter if you give up an easy yard or two. But when it's 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1, you're really pissing me off with chinese firedrill bullshit. It makes you vulnerable to the quicksnap and if you're all worried about where you're supposed to be, you're not thinking about the play, the snap count, or the 600+ pounds of blockers that are coming at you shortly.
It happened all game. And it's not like we're forced to do it. It's just that some d-calls have us locked onto their formation strength.
This is the most egregious example:
This is a three man shift, the two TE's on the left are moving to the right and the FB that was at flanker is moving into an I form. Jake ryan is perfectly at rights to be moving. Nothing wrong yet.
And then the ILB's see it and swap places. Okay, nothing big about keeping the Fritz and Mike responsibilities on Hawthorne and Demens respectively.
But do the DE's really need to flip on this play? Are their responsibilities and talents that different? Why can't RVB just squeeze down and Jirbeel Black flex out a bit? Or is it that Black can't take on two blockers and needs to speed rush from the uncovered end?
So now we got 8 guys moving around and they've got about 1.4 seconds to get their shit sorted out.
Which is made harder when the two DE's collide 0.o And the secondary is completely lost and in no position to support the run.
It's 3rd and Fricken 1!!!
So, let's summarize. It's 3rd and 1, our DE's are hugging each other, our OLB is out of breath from sprinting into position, our DB's are in a cover 2 umbrella, there's about Umpteen million different ways for SDSU to pick up 1 yard without having to touch anyone, and we've got about 0.7 seconds to get lined up on 3rd and fucking 1.
Yes it's true that the offense has to reset for a second after the shift, so you theoretically have time to get setup. But one of these days it's going to bite us for a critical conversion. So far, Brady Hoke's Magical Golden Poop actually got SDSU to false start while we were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off.
- I'm not thrilled with our FB play. #44 doesn't seem to get his pad level low enough or drive through his blocks.
- Hopkins.... HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL.
- WTF is this? Does SDSU have some new cheerleader wannabe's?
- Who does this band director think he's fooling?
1 Drum Major
12 Alto Saxophones
12 Tenor Saxophones
4 Bass Trombones
6 Snare Drums
4 Bass Drums
AND NONE OF THEM ARE LOOKING AT YOU!
Over at Wolverine Nation, Rothstein wrote up a fluff piece on the improvement of our linebacker corps.
CliffNotes version: he points to the new scheme and improved depth and experience as the main reasons for the overall on-field improvement. Which, like, duh.
Some interesting quotes:
"It's different," linebacker J.B. Fitzgerald said. "Everything is a little bit changed up when you change coaching staffs and all that. However, I think our comfort level this year is really good."
"We don't have to just count on our first string," cornerback Troy Woolfolk said. "If they go down or they get tired, our young set of linebackers will go in and do the job. It's not the man, it's the position."
Nothing really new or earth-shattering, but our linebackers haven't been terrible, and overall I'd say they've definitely been better than last year's group. Hopefully Cam can stay healthy the rest of the year. I am really excited for Jake Ryan's potential, the kid has looked pretty good in the first couple of games, especially if you consider the fact that he's just a redshirt freshman.
In case anybody's wondering, I'm Chris of Dangerous Logic here, but parkinggod pretty much everywhere else on the web, including YouTube.
(apologies to those who are familiar with MPP from last year; this is for the new folks)
I love Picture Pages, but I'm so obtuse that I usually have to replay the video as I'm reading in order to understand what's happening. Finally it dawned on me that I have the game footage, a video editor, and a little bit of free time, so (with Brian's permission) I have annotated the play with pauses, spot-shadowing, and other kindergarden video effects to make it easier to follow. I notice that Brian has also started including an annotated version at the end of his regular picture pages posts (in this case, http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-how-not-defend-power-part-i), but he points out different things there so I think this is still useful.
Setup: It's second and two on the Michigan 47 on Western's second drive of the day. Western runs a counter out of the shotgun against Michigan's 3-4 front with corners pressing and only Kovacs deep.
Wha'hoppon: The LT ignores Brennen Beyer to double RVB. Beyer crashes into the backfield only to get hit by a pulling guard as the RB runs by him on the counter. Demens steps up into the hole but loses outside contain, and the RB cuts outside and may well have had a TD if Kovacs doesn't make a tackle 25 yards downfield.