Megatron—the Decepticon, not the Detroit Lion—is definitely the most interesting robot in the Transformer pantheon. Classic Megatron had the most clearly defined mission—pillage Earth's energy resources to power Cybertron—of any imaginary bad guy leader, but still possessed all the classic bad guy traits: narcissism, obsession with power, mistrust.
That last gave the character a rich irony, since in order to provide his greatest contribution in a fight, Megatron had to transform into a weapon wielded by someone else—usually that was Starscream, Megatron's primary rival for power. Nobody seemed to mind the physics of a transformer equal in size to Optimus Prime—a truck cab—transforming into a handheld blaster.
The thing Carr said when he gave Braylon the number is it's going to make you a target—the defense will always be accounting for #1. But there's no point in having such a powerful bad guy if you don't give him plenty of his own screen time. Somehow, Nussmeier managed to get Funchess open all over the field this week, and I wanted to know how.
Catch 1: Quick WR Screen
How to read these diagrams: Black lines are blocks, blue are routes, red denotes the hot read (as best as I could tell) and dotted lines are pre-snap motion. Click for bigger.
Michigan has just spent an offseason talking about how they're going to be an inside zone team. So Nussmeier chooses the best possible debut: a totally spread "quick screen" to the guy in #1, with an extra block courtesy of putting the U-back, Khalid Hill, in motion. Hill goes flat to kick out whoever appears, Norfleet starts downfield then latches on to the guy over him creating space for Funchess to get the ball and turn downfield.
Why it worked: Like Megatron, Funchess may be big but he's also got the acceleration and wiggle of a much smaller guy, and the screen gets those qualities in space against small defensive backs. Because he's a such a downfield threat the defense has to give him that space at the snap (even MSU did that last year). To stop this the defense needed to react super-fast and/or beat a block.
Such a quick pass also saved the OL from having to make long or difficult blocks, so there was no need to have a perfect protection scheme—the backside routes were both outlets in case the CB on Funchess was jumping the route or something.
How it helps the offense: This play punishes App State's space linebacker (#88 in the videos, denoted as WLB in the diagrams for simplicity's sake) for coming down into the box, something opponents did a ton of to us last year. That guy is responsible for the edge if the offense is running to his side, so forcing him to book it outside on the first play really messes with how that guy can react to things the rest of the day.
Downsides? This is highly coordinated play that had to have taken a lot of practice time to execute. That practice time was only worth it because it directly punishes the defense for playing sound against the rest of the offense.
[The other seven, after the jump]
Catch 2: Double Move for TD
On 3rd and 7 they lined up Funchess in the slot and split the TE (Hill) out wide; App State allowed the TE/CB matchup, leaving Funchess on that poor linebacker, who at least has help over the top.
Why it worked: Ninja route.
ASU's defensive call was fine—the safety had to pick between Funchess and Chesson and came down on the correct guy, but Funchess's footwork and the situation (Michigan can get a 1st down at the two yard line) get both guys in coverage to bite on a perfectly executed double-move. One cut later…
How it helps the offense: Third and long scenarios are separate from the flow of the offense, but it's nice to show the defense early on that we can take their top off at any moment.
Downsides: Gutsy call; with decent coverage Michigan's kicking a field goal.
Catch 3: Lost on the Sideline
Again the TE was in motion. This is a PA rollout that Brian hates because it puts Gardner's back to the defense, and sure enough there's a DE (3-4 OLB, same thing) coming up to force a back-foot throw. The nickel checks Chesson and sits down in a flat zone while the cornerback over Funchess gets left with two dudes going deep. Funchess cuts off his route by the sideline.
Why it worked: Either the nickelback messed up a quarters read or, more likely, he just got triangle'd; the safety reacting to play-action doesn't seem to be worried about the field corner guarding two dudes, so either the PA made him come off Chesson (and the CB had to stay with the deeper route) or Funchess just found the hole on the edge of the nickel's zone.
How it helps the offense: Play-action on outside zone is scissors in this offense. OZ is a base complement to the base of inside zone, and showing it then passing behind it will keep those LBs and safeties from activating too quickly against it. A rollout is how you punish teams who try to react quickly to under-center running, which by nature attacks very quickly and downhill.
Downsides? Down with waggles. In order to run under center you need to show you can play-action from it, but you can run IZ and OZ just fine from the shotgun or pistol. [UPDATE: there's discussion on this in the comments. With a running QB teams won't usually be coming hard upfield because they can't risk breaking contain; the EMLOS will be watching the outside most often, not trying to scream inside as much.
Catch 4: Pick'd
This is play-action from the draw they ran earlier with a fullback as lead blocker and the LBs bite hard when they read Kerridge coming down the B gap and Green behind; both of those guys swing out for a checkdown pass while Chesson and Hill are going downfield to draw the safeties back.
This was all to get the intermediate route open. Funchess uses his speed to run off his coverage, and the deep routes of the other two guys create a bunch of bodies for that dude to work through. By the time Gardner's stepped up in the pocket Funchess has crossed the formation and is open 20 yards downfield. Bad mechanics by Gardner almost airmail it but Funchess brings it down on a short hop, stiff-arms a helpless cornerback, and scores.
Why it worked: ASU by this point knew Michigan really wanted to get some power running going, and that got the linebackers out of intermediate zones and out of Gardner's hair. When you get protection that can last that long, and there's a guy with Funchess speed coming across the formation, that's going to come open.
How it helps the offense: Again, the offense has to respect play-action from Michigan's base run look.
Downsides? This OL versus long-developing routes. The checkdowns to the RBs aren't likely to get much.
Catch 5: Unbalanced
At this point Michigan has been showing various run looks (IZ and power) from a similar formation. This time there's a wrinkle: it's an unbalanced line. M lines up with 10 seconds on the clock and ASU does a last-second changeup when they realize this—they're still expecting a run to Braden's side, and I'm guessing Gardner has been taught to throw the quick-hitter to Funchess if it's open. Easy yards taken.
Why it worked: Again again this is showing the defense a "we're running" look and punishing them for adjustments to the run. The ASU middle linebacker was stepping up to get a TFL on a backside cut and that created enough space for Michigan to get the ball to Funchess. Now it's Funchess in space versus defensive backs.
How it helps the offense: Michigan's best runs (including the long Green one) came from a similar (balanced) formation. This play forces the defense to play that honest.
Downsides? Unbalanced means one less receiver the defense has to worry about; when that receiver is A.J. Williams you're not giving up much.
(Non-)Catch 6: Back to the Well
Having Funchess work across the offense worked so well last time let's try it again. Darboh and Hill run off the coverage and Funchess leaves linebackers in his dust as he comes across the middle; Gardner threw behind him. Norfleet was running an underneath route to serve as either outlet or a way to keep the LBs from getting depth on Funchess's route.
Why it (should have) worked: Funchess can run guys off if the protection can last.
How it helps the offense: Attacking deep LB zones is the meanest thing you can do to linebackers charged with stopping runs.
Downsides? A lot of time and a lot of guys to work through before it comes open.
Catch 7: Bubble Screen
Remember the look from Catch 5 above? This is a very similar thing to that, and serves the same purpose: use Funchess as a quick-hitting option to the wide side so the defense can't overreact to the short side running game.
Why it worked: Well blocked by Chesson and Norfleet—the SS is the guy who had to make the tackle, and by that point it's easy yards.
How it helps the offense: Same as 5: keeps the defense from being too aggressive against the base run.
Downsides? Bubble screens aren't manly.
Catch 8: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
This was just mean.
Why it worked: Funchess can leap out of the building; ASU defensive backs: not so much.
How it helps the offense: Oh by the way, there's a third dimension you now have to cover.
Downsides? Requires an otherworldly being.
All of this was Michigan operating in an offense that made sense. Funchess was deployed in ways to put huge pressure on the defense: Overreact to the run and he'll get open in space; try to cover him over the top and he'll find the soft part of your zone; try to prevent him from getting the first down and he may put a move on your guys for six. And when we get down near the end zone, you'd better keep your safeties back and hope they brought their pogo sticks.
The spread forces defenses to cover the width and depth of the field and the offense Michigan used against Appalachian State was very conceptually spread, with a bonus dimension (up and down) you have to cover because Funchess isn't limited to merely one plane.
I would expect ND to have tighter coverage and/or double teams on Funchess this Saturday. I'm still not sure that it matters though. Also, Gardner only threw 14 passes against Appy. I think we'll see at least 30ish attempts this weekend. I think they held a lot back in the passing attack in the first game and will have to open it up at South Bend because I don't expect to have two RBs over 100yds each.
I think half the reason nuss got half this stuff on tape was so that notredame would be scared to death of funchess. ND will most likely be a depleted secondary trying to cover Funch yet still stay honest enough to stop the run and cover the other 2-3 talented receavers on the field.
Nuss was able to get at least one catch to Norfleet, Chesson, and Darboh. This game was as much pre-season practice as it was a game, and Hoke always likes to get a variety of players on the tape so they can learn. The question was never "will ND put double coverage on #1?" It was always, can our second and third options punish the secondary as well, and then when that is adjusted to, unleash the ground pounders.
Even though this is not the Rich Rodriguez run spread, it is a system with multiple choices from the same look. Yep, that one draw play didn't work, but the next time it looks like a draw play, someone behind the LBs will be open.
Also, did anyone notice Chesson being used in a motioned H-back role, and providing key blocks on run plays nearthe LOS? Add in the downfield blocking with the punt coverage and I think you have the winner for "Vincent Smith Memorial Title of 'Toughest Pound for Pound'" he even has the DL roar to the gods down pat.
He'll split out TEs and he'll align WRs tight to the formation. It's similar in some ways to how MSU utilizes their base defense all the time. Is Chesson aligned at H-back optimal compared to a TE? Probably not. Is Williams aligned split wide optimal compared to another WR? Probably not. But it's the same personnel, meaning that the defense doesn't anticipate a 12 personnel look, or an 11 personnel look, or whatever look they're throwing out their based on actual personnel.
In this way, Nuss keeps the defense doing essentially what they've shown to do against those personnel groupings and can take advantage in different ways. Say, for instance, when Michigan is in 11 personnel, the defense plays a soft Cover 3 with Sky leverage to the field. Well, against this, Michigan thinks they can run inside zone to the field or outside zone to the boundary and leverage the opponent. So they trot out 11 personnel, but go against tendency and align Chesson as an H-back to leverage the defense to the boundary with outside zone. It's not optimal in a vacuum, but it provides some information for Nuss to work off of and breaks some of the personnel keys that can crop up. You don't want to do it too much, again, because it isn't optimal in the "players in positions to succeed" category, but doing it just enough makes you harder to defend.
If they want to bracket Funchess with two DB's all day, more power to them. If they do that, then Funchess has already won his match-ups without even touching the ball. UM has enough other weapons at WR to punish ND for doing that. Although, after listing to the One Foot Down podcast, ND fans may not realize this considering they thought UM had to move a TE to WR (referring to Funchess) because UM didn't have any other players there...
Actually, thats how Nuss's offense is. I said this in the open thread Saturday. That is exactly how AJ McCarron used to do at Bama. AJ usually threw the ball 15-25 times a game, mainly to keep the defense honest. I'm not saying Devin won't throw the ball 30ish times this weekend, but I dont expect him to sling that many times every game.
Here's a link to AJ McCarron's number's during Bama's championship season in 2012. He rarely threw the ball more than 25 times in a game. The numbers went up in 2013, I'm not sure why though.
True. One usually opens up the other. I think it had a bit to do with the play calling itself as well as the run game. In every game he threw more than 25 times Bama still did decent to very well on the ground. The more you throw it, the more prone you are to turnovers or bad decisions.
On catch 3 what guy did Gardner have to dodge exactly? Just watched the play at 1:10 on the parkinggod highlight video, and he doesn't dodge anyone. The closest guy when he releases the ball is the end 5 or 6 yards away. I know you guys hate the waggle and I'm not a big fan of it either, but at least be honest about it.
There are also reasons to run it from under center
Rather than from gun or pistol.
1) the run threat is more down hill and more sudden; it just is, because of the hand off point and the fact that the RB can build up some speed.
2) The fake is not in the line of sight for the DE, meaning the QB can better sell the run fake.
3) The QB's release also allows him to PA to the playside because he has gained enough depth that he can roll behind it (something that is a bit more awkward in both pistol and shotgun)
A big part of this play is that hill will cut off any EMOL that attacks directly at DG and work underneath him so that he can't get in his face immediately. If the guy comes up outside of him, he should be a quick dump off. I'm not a huge fan of naked boots, but they are a good wrinkle to have in the offense to sell the run and to punish the backend of the defense, not just the EMOL, but the backside pursuit. The key is that DG gains some depth so that by the time he turns around he can: A) make the initial man miss; B) find his dump off. In this case, he didn't have to do either because there was no rush (there was on a similar play later that DG made a man miss before scrambling). Nussmeier put a lot of focus on the QB releasing from under center to get to the right handoff point this off season, and this is one of the reasons why.
I really liked the wrinkle where we would have a H-back or RB run out and be a dump off option on the waggle plays. It was almost like an option play where you would dump off a screen pass over the DE if he was going hard after the QB or run the QB if the DE hesitated about the guy behind him. It looked like the last time we ran it, App St flaired out their LB to cover the RB/H-Back instead which resulted in DG getting tackled for no gain (facemask penalty #2). That's still a positive since it gets another guy out of the box if we run the ball with the RB instead.
In the WCO it will often be a front side H-back or a FB that does that leak. Nussmeier seemed to run it with the backside H-back which gets out there a little quicker but isn't hidden behind the OL as much.
One of the biggest benefits is that it pretty much takes up two backside defenders to defend: one for the QB and on for the leaking H-back, FB, whatever. That's two fewer players chasing down the OZ from the backside, and a big gash in the defense if the RB can cut the ball back against the grain. And that's why you run waggle, it takes at least two players out of the box for something that initially looks like a run look.
I think that the argument would be that the waggle
is suboptimal when the defense is worried about QB runs. It works with a guy like Griese because opponents are not keying on him as a runner. With Denard and Devin, it's the opposite -- opponents are not at all worried about our running backs (maybe this year is different... let's hope so) and are terrified of our quarterbacks running the ball.
OK, not killed, exactly, but the dude went down and didn't get up immediately -- it was the play where they called a face-mask on App St., 4:32 in the 2nd quarter. When Devin turned around, this is what he saw:
After dodging the first guy and trying to get upfield, here's how the play ended:
You'll say that Devin should have thrown it away. I agree. But it was an awfully scary moment, and the counter-argument will be that it doesn't make sense to put your players into situations that are suboptimal. I think that it was after this play that Ace tweeted "Death to the waggle."
There is a guy accounting for DG and a guy accounting for the leaked player. There isn't a guy accounting (yet, a safety may be coming down) for the playside TE dragging across the field. We don't know what's happening deep. But what this means is that at least two guys are now out of the box because of the waggle threat. That's two guys that won't crash the backside or won't be there when the RB cuts vertical.
Now, Nuss didn't run this again after this. I don't know if on an earlier look (not the first waggle, but a recent OZ) he saw the DE crash again or not, but he had previous evidence of how they were playing it. He went back to it, it didn't work, but now the backside was accounted for. Waggle goal complete.
Small niggle: that defender didn't really cause a throw on the run. That ball did not come out any earlier than it was designed to. The QB didn't have to adjust in any way. The problem with the play (if you want to call it one) is inherent to the play design. Waggles are generally designed to result in a throw on the run, particularly when the route scheme is like the one in this play.
If we hate waggles because there is an unblocked defender that can disrupt the play, that's fine. But that's kind of the point, man.
Nuss (and anyone who runs waggles) believes that the unblocked man is a good trade off for the element of surprise, the forced flow of the linebackers and safeties, and the constraint action w/r/t the stretch run.
And the play is designed to somewhat mitigate the effect of that unblocked man. He has to keep contain while also constricting the end of the line for fear of a cutback. The boot action is deep enough to somewhat free the QB. And the routes aren't dependent on the QB surveying, planting, and throwing.
"In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity."
The guy was 5 yards away. The waggle is designed to be thrown on the run. If the guy he dodged or was in his face would get a no doubt roughing the passer flag if he hits DG after he releases the ball, he did not in any way affect the play.
"Death of Optimus Prime" is the signature dirge of my generation. You play that for Generation X'ers and we'll all be sad, and probably not realize why. And it's on the same album as Lion's solo in the title song, and The Touch, and Dare, and a Weird Al song and...what did we do at that age to deserve the kind of thought and effort that went into this movie?
This was for a cartoon based on a flimsy premise to sell a neat idea for toys, and the cartoon was standard '80s Saturday morning chum (we ate it up nevertheless), probably on par with G.I. Joe in storytelling.
They could have made a 120-minute toy ad and we would have bought it. I imagine a studio today would say "make a 120-minute toy ad and don't put any more thought than that into it."
("...and get that Bay guy with all the explosions").
But they made THIS. It's not just the music. To kill off an icon like Optimus at the start of the movie, then eject everyone into space, created a titanic sense of being totally lost as the plot progressed. The filmography, even, was amazing. Remember in the cartoon you would have a static background and watch characters melt into their car forms from a static shot. This one has a shadowcasting spaceship attack, a view of Hot Rod transforming from the undercarriage, and as he accelerates toward base we get "Dare!"
As they say in that not-famous-enough scene: Holy Shit!
Whether or not the live action version for another generation was any good, the cartoon they made for our generation WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Why is this film not a pop culture icon on the level of Legend of Zelda and Python?zk_w1YAI
Assoc. Editor & Business Manager, MGOBLOG email me for advertising | Alias: @Misopogon
The megatron stuff needs to be toned down a touch. Calvin was doing stuff like this to All Americans as a true freshman. Funchess is big, and quite nimble for his size, but its unfair to him to keep trotting out comparisons to the best WR to ever play college, and probably even professional, football. Let him write his own story.
Player B: 137 receptions, 2310 yards, 16.9 yards/reception, 27 TD.
Player B is Mario Manningham. Great players both, neither even close to being the best ever. In fact, neither holds a candle to Braylon Edwards, but I used Manningham because he and Megatron started as freshmen, played three years, and left for the 2006 NFL draft.
As for his pro career, Jerry Rice isn't impressed.
"In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity."
I watched Reggie Ball go entire quarters of football without even throwing to Calvin. If Chad Henne had been our QB Calvin would have obliterated every record in the book. But even still, relying on numbers at all means you didnt see much of him at GT.
I saw him play once as a senior. I remember thinking, "Wow, this guy is supremely physically gifted. It's a shame Reggie Ball doesn't throw it to him more."
I once saw the greatest lineman to have ever worn a jockstrap. I was looking in the mirror. It's crazy that you disagree with me. You can use fancy numbers like games played or whatever, but that is just an affront against the greatness of me. All you had to do was see me once, and you'd know that I was the best, statistics be damned.
"In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity."
weird post, considering you admit you watched him play all of one college game and managed to draw such conclusions. but lets look at those numbers with more context.
Mario Manningham 137/2310/27
Henne's stats over that time period
588 comp 6972 yds 52 TDs
Adding in Mallett's totals for 2007 brings those to
649 completions 7864 yds 59 TD's
Subtracting Manninghams stats gives you
512 completions for 5554 yards and 32 Td's
Now take Calvins 178/2927/28
Reggie Ball's totals for those years + Taylor Bennett's #s from the 2006 Gator Bowl
500 comp 6458 yards 50 TD's
Subtracting Calvin's numbers gives you
322 completions 3531 yds 22 TD's
Thats a season of work for a good QB. Calvin's numbers excluded brings a yearly average of 107 completions for 1177 yards, and 7.3 TDs. Michigan's Manningham-free yearly averages are 170.7 completions, for 1851.3 yds, and 10.7 TDs. Calvin accounted for almost half of our total passing yards in that time frame and 56% of our TD's. As a percentageof total team production, Manningham doesnt even come close to what Calvin did. And even still, Calvin out-produced Manningham by 40 catches, 600 yards, and a TD despite working with a QB several rungs below Henne (or Mallett) on the talent ladder. Quarterback play as poor as Calvin had to deal with does not make Mario Manngham even close to the player Calvin was and is.
Well, duh. I'm not saying Manningham is as good as Calvin.
I'm saying, rather clearly, that Manningham had a comparable career.
Funchess has more physical ability than Gallon, for example. He is bigger, faster, stronger, and can get to more balls. Funchess is the more talented player. But Gallon has better numbers. He has had a better career. Gallon, thus far, has been a better collegiate player.
Suppose Calvin had played at Michigan with Sheridan as his QB. His career would have been worse than what it was at GT with Ball. He would have been no less of a player. But he would have had a worse career. He probably still would have been drafted high and really broke out as an NFL superduperstar.
You really can't claim that Calvin was the best collegiate WR ever without also conceding that I was the best collegiate lineman ever. If you want to do that, I'm down.
"In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity."
and i have, as there are 35-40 games on film of Calvin excelling at everything that makes a receiver great, while also demonstrating his unmatched physical talents. im not sure where your own athletic resume has any relevance. actually seems like a diversion from having to make any argument of your own.
It's not a diversion. It's a silly little analogy to refute your notion that numbers don't matter when comparing how good players are. I understand your point, that Calvin was in a bad offense with a bad QB but still played great. He was better than his numbers.
But production speaks for itself, and presumably guys who produced more than Calvin were also doing the things that make receivers great -- that's why they put up such great numbers. No one ever played poorly and put up great numbers. There are many, many guys who had better careers than Calvin.
"In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity."
It's hard to defend "greatest college receiver ever" statements, because different eras, opponents, teams, etc. but Calvin Johnson was the most amazing college receiver I've ever seen (caveat: I never saw Jerry Rice play in college).
Reggie Ball was the least accurate passer I've ever seen. He completed 44% of his passes as a senior - even though his primary target had a catching radius the size of, well, Megatron. Unlike rag-armed Sheridan, Ball could chuck it; he just had absolutely no idea where it was going.
Their strategy was simple - Ball rolls out, heaves the ball randomly to Johnson's side of the field, Johnson somehow comes up with the catch.
The closest comparison I can make of how dominant he was despite a poor fit to progam is AC. Carter's genius forced Bo to throw the damn ball, against every Woody-honed instinct in his bones.
GT with Ball as QB was a horrible fit for Johnson, but his talent was so immense you couldn't help but see it.
First, Michigan was illegal downfield pretty bad, but as we all know from various examples, that doesn't get called anymore, so whatever.
Second, on the same play, I'm pretty sure Nuss talked to Gardner about making that throw in the future. Safety crashing over the top is dangerous, that pass needs to be deeper and more like a throw away at that point. Talked about it a bit in my coaching points post.
Didn't even notice Braden way downfield. Hopefully a play like that does't cost us down the road.
And I agree. The throw could have been better. Hopefully Gardner can fix that a little bit. Because if that is ND, MSU, PSU, OSU, etc. that is an INT in the redzone. But then again, 13 of 14 or whatever and 3 TDs. Can't complain too much.
Maybe it's just semantics, but Catch #2 above wasn't a "double move" was it? It was just a standard head fake on a single move, one cut? If it was a double move, Funchess would have made another head fake/cut to a different route, usually a GO. Football nerds, help me out. What am I missing?
But there was no route to the outside. It was just a head-fake on the inside route. Receivers make those head fakes on every cut. A 'double-move,' the way I understand the term, means two routes on a single play, typically involving two cuts and two head-fakes. Oh well, clearly I'm in the minority here and more people agree with you, but I've rarely seen a one-cut, single route with a simple head-fake called a double move. Thanks for responding.
Those are double moves. This wasn't a head nod, as Funchess, rotated his body out before going up field. That is a double move and not a shoulder shiver or head fake to break inside.
What you're thinking of is an option route. The receiver has the option of sitting or going, running an out, or something along those lines. That wasn't the case here. I don't think there was any option for Funchess here, it was a standard out and up route the whole way.
FWIW, if it was an option route, the #2 would have cleared out quicker to allow for the out to get open.