...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Upon Further Review: Defense vs EMU
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|A true ISQD here, with a wide receiver lined up at QB. Taylor and BGraham(+1) fill this hole, BGraham beating blockers while Taylor was just let free and had to fend off the block of a tailback. Stewart, blitzing, also helps out from behind.|
|O19||2||11||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||10||Zone read PA|
|Shotgun handoff fake with a pulling guard to take on the DE left unblocked on the backside. Crable can't beat him. Ezeh(-1) suckered in by the playfake and is a yard or two from the LOS, attempting to bat the pass, as the TE finds the seam behind him. Englemon(+1) with an immediate, solid tackle. (Cover -1, pressure -1)|
|Funny: this is a play we run, pulling the TE across the formation to scrape the DE, then release â€“ Butler had a nice gain on this early in the Oregon game. On this play they playfake; Crable(-1) bites inside. Coverage(+1) is pretty good but there's no contain and the QB can scramble for the first.|
|O34||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||6||Zone read counter|
|We blitz Ezeh from the outside; they pull a tackle around but use counter action to show a run to the left. Logan(-1) bites, getting blocked off and sealed by the EMU line; Ezeh picked off by the pulling tackle; Crable(-1), slanting inside at the snap, is shoved out of the play. Good, quick fill by Englemon(+1) holds it down.|
|O40||2||4||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read counter|
|Corner rolled up tight, threatening blitz. Similar play but this time they have their TE off the line and he pulls as well. Logan(+1) does a better job of recognizing, fending off a block to tackle despite the DL letting a big hole develop. Ezeh helps, too. (Taylor -1)|
|Trent(+3) jumps the slant, batting it up in the air. Adams(+1) intercepts and takes off. Great play from Trent. (Cover +3)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. Trent having a Jeremy Lesueur sort of renaissance back there... so far.|
|O24||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||4||Jailbreak screen|
|Good play by Ezeh(+1) to hop around the vanguard here and tackle this after a moderate gain.|
|Dunno if it's just this copy of the game or if this was universal, but the TV cuts out right before the snap.|
|Michigan sends a corner blitz from the side where the trips are; Eastern sends one guy deep, then has another guy running a little stop route right at the sideline and another on a short cross. Adams has to try to cover two guys; he covers neither. (Cover -1)|
|O43||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Taylor(+1) absorbs a double team, and fills this hole with help from Crable and Graham.|
|Little out by the slot guy on a half-rollout by the QB. Ezeh prevents any YAC; Harrison fell down or he might have had a play on the ball. (Cover -1)|
|Hey... Slocum! Good first play from FLMS(+1), standing up EMU's guard and filling the hole. His tackle attempt is whiffed as the tiny dude spins out from it, but the delay allows Ezeh(+1) and Logan to collapse. Ezeh forces a fumble that Eastern recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 5 min 1st Q. I feel like Dr. Z â€“ an old crotchety game charter â€“ but, well, I love Dr. Z: this PBP guy is awful about down and distance. Please, just get the yardage right once. Also, this i the hilarious drive where after a timeout they pull their offense off the field and we put out 14 freakin' guys in response. Wooo good coachin'.|
|M14||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Hey, wow. Taylor(-1, maybe harsh, but...) can't absorb the double team, this time, getting shoved inside by the guard and handled by the center as DE Crable flies upfield. Big hole. Brandon Logan(+2) takes on a blocker, gets outside of him, and delivers a thumping tackle to the tailback. Maybe this isn't a +2 last year, but by god I'm just excited to see a linebacker make a tough play this year.|
|M13||2||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|Rollout after the zone read fake is cut off by a charging Jamison(+1), who forces the QB back inside and cuts him off from most of his routes. Logan(-1) gets lost on a RB wheel route that Warren(+1) has totally locked down, leaving a drag Chris Graham-open; ball is too far in front of the receiver as the QB never got set. (pressure +1, cover -1)|
|M13||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||6||Zone read PA|
|No rollout this time; QB spooks though he should have time to get some guys open and runs up into three or four zone defenders.|
|Drive Notes: FG(26), 10-3, EO1Q. It would be helpful if Ezeh and Thompson could have numbers spaced a bit further apart.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||-3||Zone read counter|
|A guard and the TE pull around this time, but to no avail as Slocum(+1) has surged into the backfield. The mess impedes the guard, allowing Crable to shut off any holes, and the TE gets caught in the wash. After some hopping around, several Wolverines croosh like bug.|
|A one-yard drag route is batted into the air by the receiver and falls incomplete. Wasn't going anywhere anyway. (Cover +1)|
|Ezeh(-1) and Logan(-1) both read this very, very slowly â€“ when OL release downfield, guys, find the running back â€“ and once
the back is through the defensive line he's ten yards away from the linebackers. Logan(-1, again) compounds his error by getting pancaked by his guy and letting him outside of him; Englemon fills too late to prevent the conversion. (Ezeh did much better with his block.)
|O32||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read counter|
|First stunt of the game gets Jamison(+1) in unblocked; he lunges at the RB's feet, but misses the tackle. The delay he causes allows Michigan to converge. Ezeh dodges a blocker to finish.|
|O34||2||8||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||10||Zone read PA|
|Looks precisely like the premature scramble that ended EMU's field goal "drive", as the QB charges towards the LOS after the playfake. Ezeh(-1) charges at him, opening up a hole for the QB to exploit. Ball at the receiver's feet but completed for the first down. (Cover -1). Ezeh might have been damned either way here -- staying back means he can scramble -- but a scramble brings up third down.|
|Double move of some sort, as the QB pumps before letting a deep ball go. Englemon is step for step, locates the ball, and gets the PBU. (+2, cover +2, pressure -1)|
|O44||2||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|Similar to the last first down for EMU; Michigan in man this time. Adams(+1) in good coverage; throw in front of the wideout and Adams helps prevent a difficult completion. (Cover +1)|
|Jamison stunts around as Michigan blitzes a fifth guy, but Eastern reads it and the center moves to pick him up. Jamison(+2) blows right through the guy, battering him to the turf and sacking. (Pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-3, 10 min 2nd Q.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||6||PA Bubble Screen|
|Okay, transitioning to the bubble screen terminology. This is a zone read fake to a bubble. Harrison is blitzing and Trent is playing off, so there's a lot of room; Trent makes a nice open field tackle. (Cover -1)|
|Excellent coverage(+2) allows Michigan's line to get some delayed pressure. QB rolls out and throws it away.|
|O26||3||4||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||5||TE Circle|
|Zone blitz w/ Ezeh coming and Crable dropping off. The TE pirouettes just in front of the sticks, getting something of a pick from the umpire, and catches it. Logan with an immediate tackle but can't prevent the first.|
|O31||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||10||Zone read PA|
|QB rollout after the playfake similar to a couple earlier instances of this. Both linebackers and Adams(-1) bite; the Adams bite opens up a spot for the WR at the sticks on a curl. (Cover -1)|
|Coverage(+1) good enough to get the defensive ends to the QB; Patterson(-1) gives up contain and the QB exploits it for a few yards.|
|O46||2||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||12||Zone read screen|
|Similar setup to many of EMU's plays; no rollout this time and a simple throwback screen. Ezeh(-1), in man, gets caught up in the blockers; Crable(-1) fails to read this, though that minus might be harsh. This is a hard play to read.|
|Schmitt steps up and fires to a receiver; Englemon there with the ball and rakes, but he's a moment to late. (Cover -1)|
|M29||1||10||Ace Trips||Nickel||Pass||-8||Double Pass|
|At least I'm pretty sure that's what this was supposed to be. The only reason for EMU to come to the line would be to make sure the initial throw was backwards, and the outside WR doesn't even try to block his guy. That's Trent(+1), who shoots into the backfield and tackles the guy before he can even think about throwing.|
|Oh the immense loathing; no reason to to recognize this and get one or both safeties to the line ASAP. At the very least Ezeh(-1) and Logan(-1) should do better here.|
|Outstanding job by Trent to sit on this and break the play up. (+2, cover +2.) He's turning into a nice guy to have on these short routes because his makeup speed allows him to do this and risk the double move, especially against iffy wideouts.|
|Drive Notes: FG(41), 16-8, 2 min 2nd Q. Eastern playing well, and their offensive design makes it hard for us to leverage our talent advantage.|
|O43||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||-14||Chop block|
|BGraham(+1) draws the penalty by beating his man and forcing Schmitt to scramble. (Pressure +1)|
|O29||1||24||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||2||Draw|
|Why is this a 14 yard penalty? Who knows? Ezeh(-1), blitzing, runs right by this but Taylor(+1) fends off a double team to help out Crable(+1), who dropped off into a short zone and read this quickly.|
|O31||2||22||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||10||Post|
|We blitz; don't get there (pressure -1). Schmitt unloads to a receiver blanketed by Warren(+1, cover +2), who breaks up the pass. An unfortunate confluence of events ends up with the ball on Warren's back and the receiver grabs it for the catch. A total fluke.|
|Crable(+1) ducks inside his guy, getting pressure, but allowing Schmitt to flush. Taylor(-1) runs right upfield, allowing Schmitt to get around him, and he takes off down the sidelines. Can't tell who's fault it is downfield, but Jesus, guys. On replay: Logan(-1) had no idea what was going on.|
|M45||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Crable(+2) discards the tackles and closes for w
hat should be a two-yard TFL but misses the tackle(-1). The guy squirts through for a Hart-like two yards.
|M43||2||8||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||9||Zone read PA|
|Ezeh(-1) reads the play action, then turns around and starts running away from the LOS attempting to cover the deep middle and leaving no one to prevent Schmitt from running.|
|M34||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||8||Zone read handoff|
|Slocum(-1) can't handle the double; Logan(-1) is unblocked but doesn't cut the hole off and hold this down to three.|
|M26||2||2||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||5||Jailbreak screen|
|Logan(-1) cut to the ground; Ezeh(+1) does a better job and holds the WR up.|
|M21||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Warren sent on a corner blitz; Logan charges up but misses a tackle; Warren(+1) comes from behind to hold it down.|
|We miss this play but as we come back Schmitt has just missed a wide open receiver (cover -2)|
|M19||3||8||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||9||Stop|
|Zone blitz; Crable drops off and sets up, but a short sideline stop route is wide open for the first down. Disappointing. (Cover -2)|
|M10||1||G||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||10||Zone read keeper|
|BGraham gets some penetration, forcing a cutback into Crable and Taylor. Hey! Whoops! This is a touchdown because Crable(-2) gave up outside contain on the QB.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown (XP blocked), 16-14, 10 min 3rd Q. This personal foul on Warren looks superweak. Also: is this the weirdest way to get to 14 points you've ever seen?|
|O26||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||4||Zone read PA|
|Stop route. Trent, playing off, comes up hard and sort of tackles with his shoulder. Prefer it when Michigan plays tighter against these guys, who haven't so much as tried a downfield pass. (Cover -1)|
|O30||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read counter|
|EMU loves counters. Our line slants in, Crable getting pushed past where he's supposed to be, as EMU pulls around the TE to block a blitzing weakside linebacker. Englemon has crept close to the LOS as an extra guy in the box; he halts the advance long enough for Logan, the blizter, to recover.|
|O33||3||3||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|Logan sent as a blizter to the side of the PA fake; this is the same thing they did in the first half that often suckered up a linebacker or provided a run option for the QB. This time Logan(+1) spins inside, cutting off the easy scramble for the first down and forcing Schmitt to run outside, where Adams(+1) keeps contain. A last ditch throw to the sidelines is broken up by Harrison(+1, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 23-14, 5 min 3rd Q.|
|O23||1||10||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Same wide splits that hurt us badly against NW; this time no stunting and Crable blitzes between Taylor and BGraham; BGraham(+1) beats his man and collapses on the ballcarrier as he passes.|
|BGraham(+1) get the sack, but we're watching the wave instead of the play.|
|O20||3||13||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||10||Out|
|This out is like three yards short of the sticks, so like whatever on third and thirteen, but Warren(-1) misses the tackle and turns this into a potential first down. Fortunately, Englemon(+1) comes up and delivers a thunderous blow that's also a great form tackle. The ball pops loose; Michigan recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 33-14, 2 min 3rd Q.|
|There's a hole here for the back, but Crable(+1) has beaten his guy to the interior and closes it down.|
|One linebacker, Logan(-1), lines up outside over a slot receiver; Ezeh(-1) in the middle. Both are extremely hesitant, allowing this obvious ISQD to get good yardage when Taylor and Crable get creased. Poor recognition.|
|O14||3||1||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||-4||Zone read handoff|
|Crable(+3) schools the OT, darting past him into the backfield and making a TFL without any help. Nice play.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 33-14, 15 min 4th Q.|
|O18||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|A Harrison corner blitz leaves a short receiver wide open; EMU's QB throws it wide. (Cover -1)|
|O18||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||2||Zone read PA|
|QB decides to run this up too quickly, IMO; no chance for a route to develop. (Cover +1, though, as the short routes appeared covered). Greg Banks(+1) gets on the correct side of the OL and closes down.|
|O20||3||8||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Batted|
|M sends two blitzers between one of the big DE/DT gaps; the EMU TB picks up the unblocked guy. BGraham(+1) beats the LT, forcing the QB to throw, and then bats the pass. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 33-14, 12 min 4th Q.|
|Torrent doesn't have this play on it.|
|An incredibly surprising zone read keeper with EMU's WR/QB guy in there. Jamo(+1) keeps contain, forcing the QB back inside, where Slocum(+1) is waiting after impressively discarding a double team. He tackles violently. Learned that from the F Lion, I bet.|
|O34||3||9 td>||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Hitch|
|Warren(+2) all over the wide reciever, breaking the pass up and forcing a punt. (Cover +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7 min 4th Q. EMU gets the ball back with 3 minutes left and Anton Campbell is in the game... sorry, Anton, but that's a sure sign charting is over.|
How much should we panic?
Meh, not much. Your baseline panic for this year -- already high -- should be sufficient.
I was unimpressed by the D in the first half, as they only forced one three-and-out and often let Eastern pick up a first down or three before getting the ball back, which contributed to the low number of possessions and the relatively close halftime score. Then they gave up that touchdown off the onside kick and everyone was like "here we go again" just in time for the D to go the rest of the game without giving up a first down. (There was a garbage time TD, yes, but who cares?) Take away the fluff (blocked PAT conversion, FG from KO return, garbage time TO) and the D gave up ten points. That's not bad.
|Jamison||5||-||5||A couple points for keeping contain; didn't exactly blow up OL.|
|Taylor||2||4||-2||Little impact; starting to get harsher on the DTs on these shotgun zone read plays.|
|B. Graham||5||-||5||Relatively quiet day but still had a sack.|
|Crable||8||7||1||Alternated great plays with bad ones; second week in a row his irresponsibility has cost Michigan a big QB run.|
|Banks||1||-||1||Played as a DT|
|Ezeh||3||8||-5||Very hesitant. Hasn't made a play yet. Still young.|
|Logan||4||9||-5||Not a fan; where's Mouton? And how bad can Panter be?|
|Trent||6||-||6||I was really, really wrong about him, and happy about that. Will have to watch for double moves.|
|Warren||5||1||4||Quickly becoming a typical Warren day: three instances of blanket coverage that become incompletions, one badly missed tackle. I'll take it.|
|Englemon||5||-||5||Wow. He's been good... nearly impactful. How did Brown get the starting nod?|
|"Pressure"||5||3||2||Almost entirely three-step drops.|
|"Coverage"||19||14||5||Do I like this secondary? Can I?|
The biggest takeaways: another weak day for the linebackers; on the other hand, I think that's the highest collective score I've ever given a Michigan secondary. The fact we were playing Eastern Michigan undoubtedly has something to do with it, but over the past two weeks Trent, Warren, and Harrison have been jumping all sorts of quick routes, breaking them up and forcing interceptions. Meanwhile, if Englemon keeps up this level of play he'll be Michigan's best safety since Marcus Ray in 1997 -- big if, given the whims of Angry Michigan Safety Hating God, but a possibility. Vance Bedford? More experience for the lot of 'em? Ron English? An artifact of playing crappy teams instead of Oregon? Dunno.
Purdue will provide a real test.
Amorous Big Cat Enthusiast!
Indeed: Marques Slocum, after two years, one awesome/embarrassing Facebook quiz, a MIP, and five games on the bench, finally found his way to the field. And thank God for that. He saw a fair share of meaningful snaps as part of the defensive tackle rotation with Will Johnson out of the game and did well with them, holding up against double teams and occasionally discarding an offensive lineman like it was a non-Nextel phone. Nextel is da shit.
Standard disclaimers about level of competition apply, but he looked very good. Hopefully he'll be a part of the rotation from here on out.
So... is this defense getting better? Might it not suck?
Again, standard opponent quality disclaimers apply, but I think it is. The addition of BGraham to the defensive line and the insertion of Warren and Englemon into the secondary has made a world of difference. Graham appears to be our best defensive lineman, and the other two are replacing Johnny Sears, who was Michigan's worst player in the opening two week debacle, and Stevie Brown, who played a prominent role in The Horror by falling down on two separate AppSt touchdowns. If Slocum can maintain his level of performance against Big Ten foes, Michigan should have a 6-8 man rotation on the defensive line; the secondary suddenly looks okay.
One continual sore spot: the linebackers. Not having Thompson for the past two games hurts, but none of the four guys who have seen significant time has done anything to impress. I wonder just what's wrong with Mouton.
Things are verging on all right, though... I feel somewhat okay with Purdue coming in this week, which was inconceivable after Oregon. A quick look at next year: Michigan returns every defensive lineman in the two-deep save Crable, their top three corners, and three of the four linebackers who have seen time; the departure is Chris Graham. They could be pretty good... e
xcept we're obviously going to die at safety.
Trent and Warren ended multiple drives by jumping three-step drops, once causing an interception. BG and Jamo were both excellent.
Pick a linebacker.
What does it mean for Purdue?
The Boilers are down Jaycen Taylor but still retain the services of Kory Sheets; they've been electric against the weak sisters of the college football world but were something less than that against Ohio State, needing a late meaningless touchdown to break a shutout. This is something of a trend in West Lafayette: last year Purdue obliterated all comers except for Wisconsin and Penn State, against whom they scored a total of three points. Michigan's thoroughly proven that their run defense is not the caliber of Ohio State's this year, but the numbers versus the Bucks were really, really ugly:
Painter threw 60 times, completing just over half his passes (naturally)... I'm relatively confident Michigan can hold down the Purdue spread. Which is, I'll grant you, a completely insane thing to think. More tomorrow.