Finally! No,... FINALLY!!!!!
So that game was closer than it should have been. Raise your hand if you think the replay official had taken Ohio against the spread. A touchdown would have made it a 10 point game with Michigan covering the 9 point spread. But let's bitch about that later.
10-2 with wins against ND and OSU! It's beyond all expectations. If we hadn't laid an egg at Iowa and gotten screwed by the refs that game, we'd be sitting with just one loss, 3 close wins, and 8 curb stompings. You could say that I'm sold on this coaching staff. I had no idea the coordinators and position coaches would be this good. We still have a lot of issues with our WLB and our secondary, but we're light years ahead of where we were last season.
On to the pics!
I have to give him credit for coming out with an aggressive gameplan that put a lot of pressure on Braxton Miller's arm and Posey's ability to get separation. It almost worked. But the punt from the 36 yard line was a pure Zookian moment.
It's 4th and 4, the game is a high scoring affair, you've been moving the ball pretty well with your mobile QB and there's a strong possibility that you'd only be gaining 16 yards with a punt anyway. There's no debate. This was a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE decision. Their punter did a good job executing the coffin corner kick, but that still doesn't justify the thought process.
Add that to Fickell's continued clock mismanagement, and I doubt you'll find a single bucknut fan who is sad to see him go (or demoted, or whatever). Not forcing a punt at the end of the first half was not that bad with a one point lead, but wasting 16 seconds for a 3rd down spike on the last drive was just awful. You could even hear Spielman rolling his eyes at that.
F* That guy
Miller is going to be a problem going forward. He fits "Urban Meyer's offense" as Spielman called it during the game (so much for the two weeks of pretense) almost perfectly. He doesn't throw a very accurate ball but *cough*tebow*cough* that doesn't mean he can't be successful in that offense.
It is interesting to note that Miller had 9 TD's and only 3 picks. Yeah, he didn't have many yards or attempts and was under 50% passing, but that's still pretty remarkable for a true freshman. He's been missing his receivers in safe ways and pulling it to run if the coverage doesn't look right. That's pretty good ball security for someone you'd expect to misread coverages due to inexperience.
He started out the game doing what we expected, we just weren't ready for his speed on the first couple of plays. On this 2nd and long, Ryan is blitzing from a walked off OLB spot.
But his path is a little too much to the outside. I know he's thinking about contain, but he's got to aim more directly at Boren and then use his arms to stay off the block.
Instead, he gets pushed outside and the tackle is free to release onto Demens.
Morgan has to do a better job of reading that lineman crossing the LOS and react quicker to Miller. Ryan would adjust later, but this gave them an important early 1st down.
Mattison really sold out on stopping the run and stopping Miller's scrambling. On Kovacs' delayed blitz, you can see we did a much better job of filling the running lanes on the rush. Morgan is playing spy (which was kind of useless...) and the D-line is free to shoot the gaps away from the blitzer.
But Miller is very elusive and showed great leg strength in getting away not only from Kovacs, but also RVB. Fortunately Demens and Martin have followed the play allowing Kovacs a second shot at the sack. Meanwhile, Morgan is .... well I think Ohio watched a lot of film on Morgan and decided to go after him all game.
Martin and RVB were great all day (of course), and they were twisting on most passing downs. This is a pretty good idea when the O-line you're facing is known to have communication problems. On this play RVB is supposed to go around Martin, but Brewster gives Martin a pretty good pop.
That's no problem for the two seniors, RVB just decides to go first and Martin swings around.
The center and guard are so concerned with Mike, they let VanBergen go free for the easy TFL.
Miller picked up 1st downs with his legs all day. The early bombs really messed with our gameplan and gave him more room to run. On this 3rd and long, we've got Kovacs in the box in our crazy lineup with all the guys on the line and different people dropping out. Because of the earlier passing success, three people are dropping into coverage, even though Ohio LOVES to call the QB draw in this situation.
The result is that Morgan got caught with his weight going the wrong direction and Miller galloped over Kovacs for a big gainer.
But I think Mattison just decided he wasn't going to let Boom Herron beat us. I think Herron ended up with less than 40 yards because of plays like this. Here we've got Kovacs coming off the receiver to run blitz.
And again you can see the linemen shooting gaps away from him.
Kovacs gets in there so fast that both Boren and Posey are blocking air. Jordan gets the TFL and the Ohio is stuck in another 3rd and long.
Miller ran the speed option a lot the last few games and that continued against us. On this touchdown, he cuts against the grain and makes Roh miss in space. Spielman was babbling about how great a play call this was and how it was a counter speed option.
I call bullshit. They definitely do have a counter speed option, but this play wasn't it. You can tell because Roh is unblocked. On the designed counter, the tackle engages the end and tries to seal him inside or kick him outside.
This looks more like improvisation by Miller. I think they just tell Posey to block on the backside like he means it on every play. They got a TD here simply on Miller's talent, not on any blocking scheme. You can see he takes a hard jabstep upfield that fools Roh just enough so that he can get outside.
After that he makes an amazing jumpcut and his momentum carries him into the endzone.
THIS is the counter speed option, except it's a playaction pass. The tip off that it's a pass is that Miller turns away from the LOS instead of going nose towards it.
It's a well designed play that turns into a rollout to the right. They've got three layers with a deep corner, the intermediate cross, and Stonebrunner is going to release into the flat. If the Defense over pursues the rollout, there's even a throwback available to Herron.
But Stonebrunner doesn't hold his block long enough or Miller doesn't get enough depth and Roh is right up in his face.
A more experienced QB might have tried to hit #11 who is open, but like I said before, Miller has been very safe with the ball. Morgan does a good job of knowing who he's playing against and comes up expecting the run instead of uselessly trailing the TE.
He was wide open though. And Denard made a similar play that turned a sack into a short gain. Maybe Miller will be making those plays in the years ahead. Guh.
I'm just glad we'll have Mattison. Because when push came to shove and we needed a stop on the goal-line in the 4th quarter, Mattison basically declared that Miller wasn't going to run the ball in. And credit Kovacs for picking up the TE on playaction so that Miller didn't have an easy throw.
F* this guy too
With only one game of film to watch, our DB's were not prepared for Posey's talent.
But after a couple of short passes to him, they were very concerned about his presence. A little too concerned.
If Gordon hadn't screwed the pooch on this, the ball was not well thrown and he could have given Brown a harder time catching it since Miller threw it to the wrong shoulder and brown had to turn around to find it.
I'm going to give our DB's a tiny little bit of slack in saying they haven't faced anyone with Posey's skill except for Michael Floyd. And they had a lot of safety help against Floyd that they didnt' get for this game. Posey is as close to Mario Mannigham that I've seen on an oposing team. He does a great job of getting on the DB's toes and making them turn their hips. But still...
Even though this is a triple move, (headfake outside, cut inside, cut outside)...
You can't let a guy get that wide open. Lucky for us this duck was overthrown.
If you're going to put 8 men in the box and play man up against the WR, then freaking play man up. Troy has Posey one on one, but because he's lined up so far back, there's no chance for him to make a play on anything but a fly.
This deep cross was not a fly.
And it didn't help that Posey turned Troy around with an outside fake. Amazingly, Miller hit him in stride (no it wasn't a tight spiral).
Posey did it to all three of our DB's (Kovacs was essentially a LB this game). On the last drive he turns around Floyd. J.T. was thinking about getting an interception, and we almost paid dearly for it.
We were about a yard and a half from being down by a point. There would have still been 1:30+ left on the clock, but I was pretty happy to see this ball hit the ground. Our offense was pretty good, and Denard was pretty accurate, but no offense to Gibbons, I'm glad we didn't have to drive for a winning field goal.
[hit the jump for the remainder]
Tackling Technique: 2011 vs. 2010
Greg Mattison vs. GERG. Cage Match.
It has been the opinion of many that the defensive woes were a perfect storm of inexperience, tweener athletes and GERG.. with the resulting picture of our defense against a B10 offense resembling something like this.
The underlying problem last year was that we couldn’t tackle for shit.
While scheme was a huge factor, even when we did end up in the right spots we had severe issues bringing down the ball carrier. Enter Greg Mattison.
This off-season there was interview after interview that stressed fundamentals and technique, and nothing is more fundamental or technical on defense than tackling. It is the quintessential ability that a defense is trying to incorporate, ending up in the right spot and smashing the ball carrier to pieces.
Good Tackles look like this:
<iframe width="560" height="345" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KsG5qZsORLM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
And Bad Tackles with poor form look like this:
<iframe width="560" height="345" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/jallAF8hjO0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
The basic analysis follows these formul
- Tackling Efficiency = (Made tackles – Missed Tackles) / (Bad Form Tackles + 1)
- Bad form tackles account for terrible form (bad angles, too high, getting shook etc)
Tackling % = Made tackles / Made + Missed
Tackling Efficiency - 2010:Blue WMU: Maize ND: Green
Tackling Percentage - 2010:Blue WMU: Maize ND: Green
Tackling Percentage is up for almost every player from last year through the first 2 games this year. That indicates to me that they are being taught better technique. There is the factor that some of these guys had a year in the weight room, but that alone is not the only indicator of success (See Barwis Wolves)
While this is a limited data set, this seems to suggest that we are getting better at tackling AS A TEAM. Decreases in Tackling Efficiency by some of the bigger names are accountable by there being a relative spreading around of tackling.
- This is not to suggest that our defense is not essentially anchored by Kovacs in the secondary, Demens in the backers and RVB/MM up front. We are.
- Kovacs is a manchild werebeast. He is easily the most accountable player on the field, always in the right spot to make a play. If he had the athleticism of Marvin Robinson he might be one of the best safeties I have ever seen wear the uniform at this point in his career.
- Demens is a sure tackler, but it seems he is lacking in making tackles for loss. Don’t take this as criticism, as his role is to stop the ball carrier after 1-2 yds consistently between the OTs, not make occasional TFL’s.
- Craig Roh. I think people are being too harsh here. He showed some flashes on plays, and I am going to assume that the decreased production is due to illness. It also seems that Roh is best suited to be at the SDE slot, as trying to keep contain all by himself on the WDE side is testing both his play-reading ability and athleticism. When he is allowed to pin his ears back is when he is best.
- Jake Ryan is your Freshman breakout contributor. No real shocker here, but this kid is everywhere. Cannot wait to see his development in the future.
- Certain diaries have suggested switching Roh to TE, that is ridiculous. Brink and Heininger make very little contribution to the position.
- Morgan makes decent reads but is not physically ready to play at this level yet.
- I am not as excited about Hawthorne as some, however he does seem to blitz with absolutely no regard for blockers or his well-being. Think non-heat seeking missle. If he learns to blitz this way and then get under control once past blockers he will be a special player. Also, he is solid in coverage.
- Jibreel Black is a playmaker, and it seems that more and more he resembles the 55 of yesteryear.
- While I cannot praise the pass coverage ability of Marvin Robinson, I am pleasantly surprised by his change in technique. He has abandoned his “DESTROY” technique, and instead looks for big hits when he can but more often than not wraps up.
- It seems that BWC seemed to improve as the game went on against ND. I hope that this trend transitions into the proverbial light turning on, as he made some good stands against double teams on short yardage runs. However, he is still a liability on pass rush.
- I would like to see Blake Countess get some PT opposite Avery in the coming 2 weeks, because JT Floyd is not a reliable answer for us on fast and physical WRs. He cannot press on the line, and this hurts him immensely.
- Mattison: All in all, I am more impressed this year with our defense. While there are definitely things to correct, we are not missing 2 or 3 tackles on the same play like last year. I think this is the greatest effect on coaching change that is easily apparent. Secondly, players are FLYING to the ball. Gone are the one on ones that result in a shook player and then a 5 yard gain. Finally, while sacks have been hard to come by, there is no question the opposing QB is feeling more pressure.