Watching how creatively Jabrill Peppers (and hell, even Morris) has been utilized, I can't help but wonder what Harbaugh would have done with Denard.
Would Robinson have been a full-time qb? Would he have been a WR used in wildcat packages and end arounds? Would he have returned kicks?
Michigan put together a good drive right after halftime, capped by a nice run by Jabrill Peppers out of what I'm pretty sure I heard the announcers refer to as a "wild wolverine" formation - aka the wildcat.
The play starts fairly normally, with Rudock under center and Peppers in the backfield. However, after pointing at a few members of the Minnesota defense, Rudock motions outsite of the numbers, leaving Peppers in the shotgun with Chesson, Butt and Williams to his left. Minnesota has 4 down lineman (the standing DE ends up in a 3 pt stance before the ball is snapped) and 3 defenders over Michigan's 2 tight ends and 1 receiver bunch.
Or if you prefer:
After the snap Cole and Glasgow pull to the left, while Williams blocks down, Kalis cuts a DT and Magnuson tries to occupy a linebacker. I think Darboh is supposed to get the safety to his side, but he doesn't quite get there. Doesn't end up mattering. Braden gets pushed back a bit and harasses one of the DTs who pursues the play, irrelevantly. The weakside DE is left unblocked, and he'll chase the entire play. Rudock actually occupies a defender as well, respecting a throwback or something, which puts the math in Michigan's favor.
Michigan now has 4 blockers ahead of the ball carrier (Chesson, Butt, Cole and Glasgow), which ideally will account for the 4 unblocked defenders. In the next shot you can see that Williams has guided his new DE buddy almost to the endzone (and might be getting away with something of a hold).
Things don't go quite as they were drawn up. The middle linebacker (labelled #4) comes inside of the DE Williams is manhandling and first Cole and then Glasgow both go for him, Cole more effectively. Butt goes outside and blocks the guy Chesson is working on, but I think he's expecting Peppers to follow him towards the sideline. Instead, Peppers cuts it up and the defenders marked #1 and #2 above are unblocked. He's got some work to do.
The first guy (Minnesota #31) squares up and tries to tackle, but his attempt barely slows Peppers. Next up, the MLB that Cole and Glasgow went after comes in and gets his arms around Peppers (who's now secured the ball with two hands). The DE that Williams has been battling with starts to come off his block and tries to impede Peppers' path. The final unblocked guy (#1 in the diagram above) overruns the play slightly, and tries to swipe at the ball as the pile crosses the plane.
All to no avail. Touchdown
Talented BUT . . .
So I've watched about 7 of Ohio's games, (Brady Hoke has only watched 4, he clearly doesn't "Get It". I mean what's the point of the countdown clock if you're not doing something every day to beat Ohio? Doesn't that include watching ALL of their games? /sarcasm) and the team has lots of talent, as you would expect. BUT...
Most of it is inexperienced, and the experienced parts of it are having trouble getting on the same page. It's one thing for your QB to be young and dumb, it's another for your senior laden O-line to not be getting to their blocking assignments or your two upperclassmen running backs doing their impression of the keystone cops when you put them in the wildcat. Those things are on the coaches, and it's been pretty clear for awhile that these coaches are on their way out. (Regardless of what lies Urban is spinning)
The video above is pretty typical. Shazier is stepping in for team captain Sweat. He's got loads of talent, but if you look carefully, you'll see that a lot of the plays he's making are downfield (when they're not running right at him) because he's slow to react and diagnose. Once he get's going, he's got a lot of speed to get there, and he likes to hit, but not very much form on the tackle because it seems like he's more interested in making a big hit.
When I watch this edition of OSU, I see lots of playmakers, but I don't see a cohesive team.
OSU on O
The Speed Option
The two plays I worry about from Braxton Miller are the QB lead draw and the speed option. He's also dangerous when he scrambles, but I feel like our DL can be disciplined enough to keep him in the pocket. I've already focused on his scrambling and the lead draws in the previous scouting reports, so this time I'm focusing on the speed option, which they ran much better this game, and ran more often.
They like to run out of the pistol, and they'll run it to either the weak side or the strong side depending on what the defense does. But they do prefer running to their right, which is behind Shugarts. PSU shows a cover 2, so there's a numbers advantage to the left side.
I kinda think PSU is a little bit miss aligned for this formation, but it seems like they had a CB blitz called on the weakside. The option motion just goes away from it and those two guys are not going to be a factor in the play.
It's just zone blocking and this is one of the plays where the O-line does a good job of scraping to the 2nd level.
Miller looked much better this game at taking the hole that is in front of him. But from a scouting standpoint, he almost never pitches. So it kind of seems like a waste of a player. They had one play where they did the power lead, which I would be even more concerned with.
So now that they've hurt PSU with the base play, it's time for the companion playaction. PSU had 8 men in the box for a lot of the 1st quarter, but backed off a bit after Miller hit a couple of passes. Here they've only got 7 in the box.
The option motion starts to the right, but then Miller jabs his foot in the ground and gets depth to throw. The key to reading this play is that the O-Line is clearly in pass blocking mode. The backpeddaling uncovered guard is a dead giveaway.
PSU does a great job of rushing with discipline, no one is over-running Miller, and they get a free rusher coming up the middle.
Miller will usually make the first man miss, but because of the spread out pocket and controlled rush by the D-line, he's got no place to go.
[Ed-Seth: take the jump for the much more.]
So I'm watching NFL games today and I'm shocked (shocked!) at the amount of so called "gimmicks" being employed by NFL coaches... so far i've seen:
- Green Bay run the pistol formation TB dive with Ahman Green
- Miami run not only the wildcat, but speed option and spread option looks with Pat White at QB
- New England continue to run what looks to me to be the Mike Leach offense
What's next? The Giants running Nebraska Power I Triple Option? The Lions going all Navy and running wing-T? MGoBloggers, log your NFL using gimmick offense instances here... could it be that NFL coaches are finally breaking out of their conservative WestCoastProSetOffTackleCounterTrey offensive molds? Blasphemy I tell you! Blasphemy!