This is just pure aaargh right here, but how about a preview of why the Michigan defense was so terrible against UMass?
It's first and ten on the Michigan 35 on what will be UMass's second touchdown drive. UMass comes out in an ace set with two tight ends to the short side of the field:
Michigan is in a 3-3-5, basically, but the twins formation and the double TEs distort it. Roh's off the field momentarily, replaced by JB Fitzgerald. UMass is going to run it up the gut:
There's no pull on this so it's an inside zone. There's nowhere to go with RVB shoving his guy into the backfield, Kovacs beating the second TE to the inside, and Leach blitzing unmolested off the weak side. Michigan has basically killed this play as the RB has no choice but to head outside, where…
…Mouton is totally unblocked. You can also see Kovacs poking his head through at the top of the line and Van Bergen getting his shove on.
Anway, Mouton: with no one outside of him because of the alignment he's the force defender who must get the tailback inside of him, where Leach and a scraping Ezeh can deal with the tailback if he cuts back inside tackle. (For some reason, this is "keeping leverage on the football.") And he's playing against a I-AA tailback. So he runs up real fast…
…lets the tailback outside of him…
…and personally turns zero yards…
Seriously, there's nothing else here except Mouton making an enormous mistake. The good news is that if they fix that stuff the scheme of the defense is fine. It's not like they're asking the players to do anything particularly difficult or novel: make tackle. If cannot make tackle, funnel RB to help. Do not let RB outside of you. This has nothing to do with a shift to a 3-3-5. Look, here's Mouton doing the pretty much the same thing last year, albeit against a blocker:
That's the bad news: if these linebackers have been starting for three years and are still making these mistakes, why would they stop now? GERG linebacker fairy theory is about it and that took a major hit against UMass.
Maybe it was just an off day, one on which the linebackers took it easy and reverted to old, bad habits. Yeah. That, too, is the ticket.
If this defense doesn't hold up against Big Ten lines composed of 320-plus-pounders, it has more to do with the players running the statck than the stack itself. Big Ten defenses have played 3-man lines in the 3-4 before and done fine, and it's not like our defense was all-world or anything when we were running a 4-3 last year. If the defense is poor this year, it's not because of the stack. This just seems like the defensive analogue to "The spread won't work against Big Ten defenses."
Look at the second still. Notice how high and out of their stance both Obi and Jonas are. This is piss poor fundamentals. Dudes, if you have to move in any direction you're going to have to sink back down. Wasting time standing up.
A key coaching point that NEEDS to get through to our D (immediately) is that there are 11 guys who MUST DO THEIR JOB on each play. Sometimes, your job is not to tackle the ball carrier. Rather, your job may be to KEEP CONTAIN, thereby forcing the ball carrier back to the other 10 guys on your defense. It's such an elementary concept that I think it's the second lesson taught to all young defenders, right after "keep your head up."
This was something that was preached by Mo and Lloyd and every other defensive coach (back in the day). It is so permanently etched in my brain that I continue to preach it to my players on a daily basis.
DO. YOUR. JOB!!!!!!
"the Spirit of Michigan...is based on a deathless loyalty to Michigan and all her ways....and a conviction that nowhere is there a better university, in any way, than this Michigan of ours" - Fielding Yost
This can't be all on the LB coaching staff. I mean, seriously, players get pounded with this stuff even at the H.S. level.
However, some will just never "get it". They may be tremendously talented, with great potential, but don't apply their understanding to the why and how - so they repeat the same dumb ass mistakes over and over.
Linebacker is a challenging position. Not everyone can handle it. You have to have a very smart and decisive player located there, aside from the nastiness/mean-streak/attitude.
My son (who plays LB) and I watched the game together and one thing he noticed right off the bat was how bad the LB's were playing. They were doing things wrong that he had been taught since his first game of peewee ball.
Do you think M will take 5'10" middle linebackers in the future? Me neither, but I'll let him keep his dreams.
100% concur...people that say that the coaches are NOT stressing this stuff are nuts. These guys in Obi and Jonas never learned, and seem incapable of doing so. I hope they prove me wrong...but c'mon guys...you're in position 95% of the time from what I can see. Sometimes they catch them in a call...but at least in 65% of the ND and 80% of the UConn games they were doing their jobs.
Jimmies and Joes, not X's and O's
Sing to the colors that float in the light;
Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue!
Ezeh turns in an equally (or nearly so) poor play on UMass's second TD (if memory serves)..where he waits too long to take on a pulling guard and fails to funnell the TB into a waiting Mouton..who may or may not have made the tackle of course.
I don't know what the problem is with these guys, you have to be really stupid if you can't figure this out..so I assume they just feel that "I have to make the play..screw fundamentals".
Ezeh and Mouton both will have very poor UFR scores this week.
They weren't the only problem..as backside contain was complete crap on the waggle. I can see getting busted by the waggle action once or twice, but my god, how many times do you have to get toasted by it (yes you Craig Roh and you Jordan Kovacs) before you start to look for it.
Getting back to Mouton, on the fourth down conversion in the second half, Mouton was more responsible for the completion than Kovacs..Roh had come clean and was chasing the UMass QB out of the pocket..but DE Mouton was apparently more interested in playing NT as he abandoned his containment completely ..if Mouton does his job, either he or Roh get a sack instead of a fourth down completion for a first down.
Part of our problem "seems" to be playing with an unselfish attitude. There are times when you simply MUST give yourself up so that a teammate can make the tackle. Now, if you think it's your god given right to make all the tackles and be a hero, then you might end up doing some of the crazy stuff our LBs (and other defensive players from time to time) try to do.
LB is one of the most demanding positions on the field, and is difficult to play but lets not make it "rocket surgery" :)...
I can forgive a guy who is trying to make a one on one tackle in open field against a talented running back and whiffs, but it really chaps my arse when someone can't do the simple, fundamental things required to play good defense.
I think that there has been a lot of pressure put on the individual players on defense to "make plays," i.e., create turnovers. Consequently, they are attempting to go for the big play when the opportunity is not always present and playing poorly fundamentally because of it.
I think the coaches need to stress the importance of playing as a unit and trusting your teammates and that, in time, if you play that way, the opportunity to create turnovers will arise.
I hope to be like dang for large sections of the season.