"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
(original PP is at http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-throwing-rock-against-slant. As always, text and analysis courtesy of Brian)
In this edition, Purdue recognizes that 8-in-the-box is like 9-in-the-box when the opposing offense is in 3-wide. But they're an enjuneerin' skool, so dey're smart like dat.
Wha'hoppon: Michigan has first and 10 on the 20 to open their third drive of the second half. They run a zone stretch left to Smith. Purdue slants the line against the stretch instead of flowing with it, which doesn't initially seem to do much except give Molk an easier reach block on the DT (one of several he had on the day, exactly as Brian predicted on MGoPodcast before the game). However, by slanting inside instead of maintaining outside contain, the playside DE forces Smith farther outside, where the MLB - the extra body Michigan can't quite block on this play - is headed at full speed. Purdue's paper, our rock, and Smith is stopped for no gain.
'Glass half-full' types will note that it required Purdue guessing right three different ways to stop this: 1) committing against the run with the 'extra' man, 2) slanting the DE inside instead of using him in contain, and 3) committing the MLB to the outside from the snap (although it could be argued that 2 and 3 are a combo meal). And the play was still just one ankle tackle away from being a big gain.
I don't have anything to add to this one, and I don't want to bloviate for another 160-some words to make this pass the diary minimum, so here we are.
Updated to include both wheel route plays.
WHEEL OF DOOM #1 (1st play of 4th quarter):
Sharik has broken down the mistake on the first wheel route, but I thought that it might be worth picture paging. I used the video so generously provided by Boyz in da Pahokee. Here is what it looks like pre-snap; the Michigan defenders are settling in after some initial confusion about where they should be aligned:
You can see that Michigan is in a 3-deep look, with four players rushing the passer and four underneath zone defenders -- that is, a standard 3 deep zone. Brian in the UFR calls Michigan's formation 4-3 light. Illinois' formation is Shotgun 2-back twins.
Here we are, immediately post-snap. There is a run fake to the RB on the far side of the field, Troy Pollard (I think). The Illinois LG is pulling to the right to provide protection to Sheelhaase when he rolls to the right. Both receivers get a clean release and will run post routes, clearing out the near side of the field for the wheel route. LeShoure will run the wheel route, Pollard will go into the flat to keep the short defender honest.
We have to use ESPN's cameras, so it is hard to see what has happened, but the three deep has totally broken down. Rogers and Vinopal (the latter is barely visible at the top of the photo above), have both followed the slot receiver to the far side of the field, presumably because Sheelhaase has rolled to that side.
Avery, meanwhile, has taken the outside receiver into the center of the field. T. Gordon doesn't stay with LeShoure, presumably because he sees Pollard in the flat. The result is that LeShoure is wide open.
In the UFR, Brian writes:
Who's responsibility is this? I'm not sure anyone's except GERG. T. Gordon does not know to carry the running back vertical. If he does the other running back will be vastly open in the flat because Demens is bugging out for the deep middle. Avery's going with the post, as is Vinopal, and Rogers is covering no one on the far side of the field. So... who and what can Michigan do to make no obvious touchdowns on this play? Don't know. T. Gordon -2, Cover -3, RPS -3.
My football knowledge is minimal, but I think that Avery needs to stay in his deep third on the near side of the field, Vinopal needs to take the outside receiver into the center and Rogers the slot receiver to the far side of the field. Rogers plays this well, so I conclude that the fault lies with the true freshmen, Vinopal and Avery, for not maintaining their responsibilities.
Sharik concludes that this is on T. Gordon for not picking up LeShoure, but if he does this, then Pollard is wide open. If Avery maintains his position, however, every receiver will be covered.
WHEEL OF DOOM #2 (1st play of 2nd overtime):
Sharik says the following about this play:
On the 2nd one (in the 2nd OT), we were bringing 6 with 3-deep, 2-under behind it. When you bring 6 and play zone behind it, you can't zone the flat, let alone a wheel route. When you bring 6, whether it be man or zone behind it, the contain rusher must either hug up a releasing back or peel and cover him. Therefore, it was the blitzing safety's responsibility.
Here is the setup:
So, Illinois is in the same formation, two backs and two receivers on the same size of the field. Michigan is again in a 3-deep look, again with four down linemen.
Immediately after the snap. This play is very similar to Wheel of Doom #1. There is run action to Jason Ford (#21), who was lined up to Sheelhaase's right. The inside receiver is running a post, the outside receiver is running a 15-yard in. Leshoure is running a wheel route, and Ford is drifting into the flat. You can see the Michigan CBs and FS going into a 3-deep look. We are actually only bringing 5 (not 6): Kovacs is blitzing off the short side of the field.
Same mistake as Wheel of Doom #1: Avery (red arrow) is following the inside receiver who is running a post, leaving vast amounts of green behind him. Mouton is on the 13 yard line, stopping the in route of the outside receiver.
The result is a very grainy TD.
So Sharik may be right about the blitzing safety needing to pick up the RB, but it doesn't look like Kovacs is aware of this at all. Even if that is so, I don't think that Avery can follow the post route here, since that's Vinopal's responsibility. So the cause and the result of Wheel of doom #2 is substantially the same as #1.
Moving Picture Pages version of http://www.mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-snag-package. After what seems like a dozen MPPs that all end badly for Michigan (even the one that showed Denard gaining seven yards was a woulda-coulda-shoulda been a lot more), I finally get a chance to do one that shows something going right. Don't worry, I'm right back to working through the backlog after this one, and the next one will definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth.
I don't have a whole lot to add to this one except that there's a whole lot of analysis after the last picture that didn't translate well to a clip, so go read it again (I say this because it's safe to assume you've read it once already). And I'm still working out the timings on the titles.
The other thing that struck me about this, as I learn more of the intricacies of the game, is that there's a whole lot more to a simple 5-yard slant-and-hitch than just running a 5-yard slant and stopping. It also makes me realize just how difficult it is to play a zone defense, as you have to make split-second decisions about what to do when someone (or multiple someones) enters or leaves your zone.
This Moving Picture Pages (original PP is here) looks at one piece of evidence that Michigan does not run a true 3-3-5 stack: the placement of the MLB. Kenny Demens is positioned several yards closer to the LOS than the MLB is in the West Virginia implementation of the 3-3-5 stack. Brian compares the play below to a play in the 2007 WVU-Rutgers game, where the MLB is positioned six yards back of the LOS. I don't have video of that game, and I'm kind of relieved about that, because I'd be tempted to try a side-by-side mashup of both plays together, and frankly my video editing skills aren't anywhere near good enough to pull that off.
Analysis and text courtesy of MGoBlog.
Wha'happon: It's the sixth play of PSU's first drive of the night. Michigan walks up Kovacs late to put seven in the box, which is a good thing, because he trips up Royster on the counter play. That slows him down enough that Demens and others could hold the gain down to four yards, when otherwise Royster might have broken it.
Brian adds a lot of analysis after the still shots, so be sure you go read the book after you see the movie, so to speak (oh, who am I kidding? You've all already read the book).
Normally, this would be the time frame in which I would create one of my all-killa-no-filla-and-nothing-remotely-resembling-an-opponent-highlight highlight reels, but I find myself with a little free time thanks to Saturday night's dong-punching (because when Michigan loses, There Are No Highlights).
Naturally, I used this time to revisit a three-week-old dong punch, the MSU game. This is the video companion to the Backside DE Pursuit Picture Page. But enough about my dong and punches thereto.
Wha'happon: It's early in the second quarter; MSU just scored on a 61-yard run that illustrates what can happen when you don't get any backside pursuit (which moment of defensive glory I'll be MPP'ing soon; I can only deal with one catastrophe at a time). Michigan runs Denard off left tackle with Hopkins as lead blocker. Schilling pulls around, but because his pull is disrupted by the MSU DT, he's not a factor. Lewan and Webb destroy the right side of the MSU DL, Molk takes out the WLB, and Hopkins gets a solid block on the SLB. Even without Schilling helping lead the charge, this looks like a huge play or even an answering 60-yard TD after Denard WOOP!s Greg Jones. HOWEVA, Dorrestein can't maintain his block on the DE, who hauls ass all the way across the formation and trips Denard up after seven yards.
I slowed the captions down considerably from my previous two efforts (for those of you doing videography at home, the rule of thumb is to leave a title up for THREE TIMES AS LONG as it takes you to read it aloud, but that seemed bloody ponderous when I tried it, so I cut all those times back somewhat). I'd say "Enjoy," but you're really not going to enjoy it. I'll just say "Watch and learn," because I sure as hell did.