"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."
"The experience he has from last year is starting to show," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "He’s making shots, and he made some gutsy plays against Portland. He’s got a confidence about him that he can get the job done."
Conference play has come, and Big Ten teams can safely retreat to their thunderdomes to clobber each other in peace, insulated from the braying mockery of the national media. There is still upheaval. Michigan has fallen apart. Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke have been confined to the Touliers Palace.
Last time on Picture Pages we looked at a 35-yard iso on Michigan's first drive against Minnesota. A 35 yard iso means someone did something terrible on defense or your tailback did something ridiculous; Michigan was playing Minnesota so it was the former.
So Michigan scores a touchdown and gets the ball back and opens up with the same set. Minnesota again has both safeties rolled up.
There's a gap in the line that Hopkins is thundering towards again and by the time it's clear Denard has the ball the three LB type substances have started moving towards the LOS:
When Hopkins hits the LOS the two guys who could hypothetically cover him are four yards from the LOS and stationary.
This is what it sounds like when doves cry.
Items of Interest
Constraint theory right here. Minnesota just got hit with a big iso and got chewed out on the sideline about it. They are hyped up to stop it, so when Michigan shows it again the LB and S suck way up and leave Hopkins open for a big gain over the top. This works not only because Minnesota overreacts to it but because of the omnipresent Denard threat posed in the shotgun. That means the Gophers are operating with essentially zero deep safeties.
This is what happens when you can force the defense to cheat. An actual opponent playing this way probably would have given up five, not 35, on the first iso, but that's enough to force them to cheat to it, whereupon bang.
This isn't unique or new. Literally every program in the country except Ohio State* tries to do this. Michigan's old-school waggle is an example. The hope with Borges is that he'll use them frequently to score lots of points instead of occasionally as part of a bler offense run by 70s thinking. Denard is a hell of a thing to try to stop without cheating, much more threatening than Michigan's four-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust running game was in the late 90s and early aughts.
This is the stuff you get in the shotgun even when Denard is not running because the zone read demands attention at all times. Under center Denard's legs mean waggle or Incredibly Surprising QB Draw, neither of which forces safeties into the box.
We saw a bucket of constraint against the Gophers. This is in part because the Gophers are so bad they have to cheat every play in the hopes of stopping the opposition.
I think it's also in part because Borges is finding his legs in this strange environment where your quarterback is one of the most threatening rushers in the country. Michigan tried the waggle a bunch earlier this year (and in spring) and got little out of it; against the Gophers that was ditched in favor of plays that use fear of Denard's legs as a major component of their success.
Hey man, nice touch. Denard floated a nice catchable ball to Hopkins about 18 yards downfield. He could do that because there were no safeties, so I've got no problem with the throw.
Let's see if Shaw can block this. Because this is a 75 yard touchdown if a fullback isn't running it. Also Hopkins almost dropped this.
As I watched that play unfold I actually thought Denard had overthrown him when he released it, and I was getting ready to be pissed, but Drob laid it out there beautifully. Well executed, well played.
After watching it a few times it didn't really seem like Hopkins slowed down that much. I think him turning around was more a result of the spot where Denard was throwing from and the direction that Hopkins was running.
[Edit: On second thought, I think he threw it a little too inside, had he hit him on his outside shoulder then Hopkins might have been off to the races. However, I am nit picking a great pass. I'm just happy to see Denard throwing accurately again.]
My initial thought was that Denard lofted it too high and that a (good) safety would come over and break it up (at best) or pick it off (at worst). However, it was the Lolphers and neither happened, much to my relief.
Very minor issue/question here. Does Denard play it safe and wait for Hopkins to turn his head to the LOS before throwing it or should he throw it sooner? Hopkins turns his head at around the 27 yard mark, the ball isn't released until he reaches the 31. Just thinking the sooner it gets to Stephen, the more he can possibly gain with YAC.
Does everybody agree that this is the worst B1G team ever? I've been thinking about it since about 12 minutes into the game, and i've never seen a team that completley and uttlerly clueless. I hear people say Jerry Kill is a good coach with a bad team, a good coach would teach them how to not look like fools until the reinforcements get there.
"What the mind can concieve, the mind can achieve, and those who stay will be champions"-Bo