this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Upon Further Review: Offense Versus Oregon
No video, sorry. Still downloading.
|M24||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Hart||Zone counter|
|I don't know exactly what to call this, but this is actually a variation on our traditional zone left to start the ballgame. Massey is lined up off the line and on the snap cuts to the backside of the formation to block the defensive end tradtional zone schemes leave alone. The rest of the play is basically a zone left except Hart knows he's cutting back. This works well, but Hart miscalculates in an attempt to get outside the linebacker and leaves three or four yards on the field.|
|M28||2||6||Ace Twins||Run||7||Hart||Zone counter|
|Virtually the same play but this starts right and comes back left. Butler's actually in on this snap and is the TE cutting across the LOS as Oregon attacks the frontside fiercely. Hart hurdles some traffic and plows out for a first down. These first two plays do a good job of playing off our tendencies.|
|Same set as the last play: two Tes to on side, two WR to the other. We play action the waggle and bring Butler along the same route he took on the last play. This suckers the weakside linebacker something fierce and Butler is wide, wide open. (CA, 3, protection N/A)|
|Beautifully blocked with a gaping hole off the right side; unfortunately Schilling falls down as he moves to the second level, leaving the WLB to fill the hole without having to deal with a blocker.|
|O31||2||6||Ace Splits||Pass||-5||Manningham||WR screen|
|DeBord's done a great job of mixing up his stuff, playing off our tendencies, and generally proving he's not a dumb robot... but he kind of blows it on this play, which is the same screen we've run a dozen times over the past two years where Michigan takes two Tes but lines up in a four wide, then motions one TE to a cluster at the top of the screen featuring the other TE and the designated screeny guy. Michigan always runs a screen when they motion into this formation. They do so here. Oregon has this scouted and attacks; Butler hauls down a defender for a penalty. Holding, but five yards downfield. (CA, 3)|
|A completely inexcusable ball into a safety who hardly has to move to pick the ball off. (BR, 0) A replay shows Adrian Arrington open by ten yards for a huge gain. (Protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q. Debord starts the game off with a series of clever plays that play off both each other and Michigan's tendencies, then blows it on two downs by doing something predictable and then something just dumb. Henne cannot throw this ball, either. What the hell could he be looking at?|
|M29||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||-1||Hart||Zone right|
|Here endeth the Debord smartness: Michigan puts three wide receivers and a fullback on the field, then shuffles the fullback. If you're counting at home, fullback shuffle is currently reading 100% run. Oregon is counting, runs the safety up to the side of the shuffle and stuffs this in the backfield. This had no chance because Oregon knew exactly what was coming.|
|M28||2||11||Ace 3-wide||Run||17||Hart||Zone right|
|Massive backside hole because Justin Boren deposits one Oregon DT in the stands and Long cuts the other to the ground. By the time Hart gets the ball there's one DE futilely chasing and a linebacker who has to deal with Kraus. Hart can just scoot up without delay for a big gainer.|
|M45||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||3||Hart||Zone right|
|Eight in the box this time. But Michigan runs anyway because like whatever. Schilling doesn't get any push on his guy and the zone block in the middle is similarly stonewalled. Hart rushes up into a wad.|
|Wide open for an easy first; Manningham(+2) dodges a tacker and gives a few yards to set up a picket fence of blockers along the sideline to turn this from a twelve yard gain into a big gainer. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1) I don't like how Manningham just runs out of bounds here. He could pick up another couple if he tried to cut inside.|
|Waggle; this isn't shown but from my seats it was plainly obvious that Arrington was wide open. (BR)|
|O15||2||8||Ace 3-wide||Run||6||Hart||Zone left|
|Oregon's DT does not react quickly enough to Butler's motion across the formation â€“ the middle linebacker has to come up and tap him â€“ and Michigan catches he guy as he's still moving into position; he gets blown off the ball. Hart ends up cutting behind the two guys plowing him, bumping into Mitchell as he does so and falling forward for six.|
|This is jammed up and crushed, no lanes anywhere; Hart bounces outside and manages to plow through two guys for a first down. Hart's essential Hart-ness.|
|O6||1||G||Ace Twins||Penalty||-5||Mitchell||False Start|
|Again, this doesn't show up on TV but Arrington is wide open for a sure touchdown on this. Instead, a checkdown to Butler for four. A tentative CA. (CA-, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Hart is set up offset. This is always a pass. He flares out into the flat; Henne wings it well over his head. Hart was going nowhere on this anyway. (IN, 0)|
|Thrown high, but within Arrington's range. He skies and stabs his foot down for the touchdown. (CA, 2). Arrington made this look easier than this is.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-3, 5 min 1st Q.|
|M38||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Hart||Zone right|
|Hole is between Boren and the DT on the backside who Kraus cuts. No second-level blocks so Hart can't get more than a few.|
|M42||2||6||I-Form Weak||Pass||18||Manningham||PA out|
|Arrington motions in tight here and makes like he's going to block; the only person in this route is Manningham. Again this
is supposed to play off our incredible predictability... we never pass out of something like this.(Hardly anyone does with one-man routes, too) It works; Manningham is wide open and Henne hits him. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)
|Jake Long obliterates the defensive end, shoving him yards downfield. Kraus walls off the DT and there's a gaping hole Hart makes the most of, juking his way to extra yardage.|
|O29||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||6||Brown||Zone counter|
|Same TE pull. The immediate reaction: of course we put in the guy with a broken hand and he fumbles. But this is probably just the general bloody-mindedness of the universe more than anything else. Other than the crushing fumble, this is a nicely blocked play and Brown did just fine cutting up into the hole.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-11, 3 min 1st Q. Seriously, God. WTF?|
|We motion Massey away from the playside. Pretty decent push from the OL but no creases for Hart, he runs up into a wad for three.|
|Same exact play we ran earlier that got Manningham 18. This time Manningham is covered and the zone blocking that imitates a run play turns a DT loose; Henne hammered as he throws. Re-using this play is stupid. It's a one-man route that has no backup plan if that's covered other than a throw to Hart in the flat after he's been faked to and has lienbackers in his face. Henne's throw is an atttempt to use this option, but is wildly inaccurate because of the hit. (PR, 0, protection 0/1)|
|Manningham brought in motion in close; Oregon blitzes the hell out of this. The drag route is wide open, Henne lays it in. (CA, 3, protection 3/3). Nice blitz pickup.|
|Simple play where Arrington's guy is eight yards and bailing off the snap of the ball. He sits down after five yards, beats the corner with a juke, and picks up major YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Manningham to the short side of the field in tight to the line. Manningham comes around and the crashing defensive ends give up contain. Result: open field. We haven't run one of these in forever and I don't know why... the zone forces defensive ends to chase down from the backside like crazy and this sort of thing is likely to be open frequently.|
|O17||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||0||Hart||Zone left|
|We run into seven guys, the equivalent of eight when we have three wide receivers, for little as Oregon's linebackers are slanted heavily to the playside. Predictability? I hate this because the other guys are in an umbrella. Our two receivers to the weakside are in a position where they can run a combo route with the outside guy running the cornerback into the endzone and then the slot guy will be open for a guaranteed eight yards. It's an easy read we don't make. Henne? Debord? We'll never know who's at fault.|
|Henne stands in confidently and fires high to Mathews streaking towards the endzone. He had few options here; everyone covered. Mathews himself was doubled and got knocked out anyway... very marginally CA. (CA-, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Henne hesitates and gets murdered by an unblocked, delayed blitzer. Has to read this and get rid of the ball. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG(43), 7-11, 12 min 2nd Q. Hits the upright. If Henne gets rid of the third down ball, this is good.|
|Open for a decent gain. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M27||2||3||Ace Twins||Run||1||Hart||Zone counter|
|Oregon is wise-ish to this now, but Hart still has a nice lane if not for a crappy block/nice play on the part of Butler and the DE he's supposed to block. The DE refuses to get cut and fills the hole. Otherwise, a first down.|
|M28||3||2||Ace Trips||Pass||1 (10)||Manningham||Out/Holding|
|Bunch of wideouts all jammed into the short side of the field. Henne does a half-roll towards them as they spread into their routes, then fires high and hard to an open Manningham a yard downfield. Manningham makes the catch but the ball carries him OOB before the first down marker. (IN, 2, protection 1/1). Michigan gets bailed out by a holding call.|
|M38||1||10||Ace Trips||Run||18||Hart||Zone right|
|Manningham runs Breaston's old slip screen route as the handoff goes to Hart. It doesn't do anything â€“ both linebackers are charging upfield â€“ but the run goes for mucho yard as Long and Kraus crush their guys down the LOS and Massey(+1) gets his helmet across the defensive end.|
|O44||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||13||Hart||Zone left|
|We spread them out and it actually pays off: they have six in the box this time, perhaps expecting our default bomb when we cross midfield. We run to the weakside of the formation, away from the overshifted linebackers. Oregon expects a zone to the strong side and the DE to that side slants inside on the snap. Long walls him off. Butler, spread wide, walls off the guy lined up over him and the late-filling safety can't prevent Hart from getting outside.|
|Wide open as the corners are playing off. Henne gets it to him but is late and outside such that Arrington has no chance to turn it upfield. (CA-, 3, protection 1/1)|
|O26||2||5||Ace 3-wide||Run||2||Hart||Zone counter|
|There's no hole here as we do the same TE pull. The video does not provide evidence of why, probably on Alex Mitchell.|
|Zone blitz from Oregon sends a linebacker and a corner from the left. Kraus momentarily picks up the DE, then attempts to pick up the linebacker; a DE turned loose then sacks Henne. Hart(-2) spends this play on the other side of the formation, looking for someone to block. Boren doubled a DT instead of attempt to pick up a blitzer. This route was a slow developing one; I watched Manningham do the drag cross that was Breaston's favorite route a year ago when a quick out was an easy first down.
(PR, protection 0/2, Hart -2)
|Drive Notes: Idiotic Punt, 7-18, 7 min 2nd Q. Yay we get 13 yards of field position when our defense can't stop them. Quintessential Carr error.|
|Arrington bumped before the ball is there... potentially interference, but not called perhaps because he's looking at and possibly going for the ball. Good defensive play. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)|
|Wings this one out of bounds at no one. (TA, protection 2/2)|
|Manningham is wide open on this one but Henne throws it well outside and Manningham can't track it down. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-25, 3 min 2nd Q.|
|M29||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||8||Hart||Zone left|
|Oregon's backed off and has only six in the box; neither do they overshift their linebackers. Long kicks out his guy, Boren and Kraus seal the DT, and Kraus gets out to the second level along with Massey. Textbook.|
|M37||2||2||Shotgun 3-Wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||Long handoff|
|Henne throws this in the turf. (IN, 1)|
|M37||3||2||Ace 3-wide||Run||14||Hart||Zone left|
|This hole is enormous. There are huge splits between the DT and DE on the strong side and Michigan goes between them. All they have to do is wall off guys moving in the wrong directions; nice block from Kraus on the second level on a blitzing linebacker.|
|O49||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||8||Minor||Zone left|
|Same huge split, same result. This is completely insane and crap defense. WTF. There's been no shift on either play when Michigan motions the TE. Maybe they're afraid of the TE pull counter game. Must be it.|
|O41||2||2||Shotgun 3-Wide||Pass||11||Arrington||Delayed slant|
|Pitch and catch, a rare one. Massey runs a seam up the middle; Henne reads the linebacker and goes with the shorter option. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Tackles set up to pass block as the interior line drive blocks; TE pulls around to help out in that effort. No matter as Kraus(-1) is beaten by a Samoan dude and he sticks Hart like whoah.|
|Crossing route is open for the first as Henne steps up into the pocket and throws. Some issues with guys as his feet but this is a makable throw. It's well behind Arrington and eventually dropped. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|The insane scramble for yards that he backs out of and tries to throw from. He eventually gets run out of bounds for a loss. The guy has lost it, man. The kicker: he had already crossed the LOS when he decided to start heading backwards. (BR, 0, protection 1/3)|
|Wide open; fired right in for the first. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O14||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||8||Hart||Zone left|
|Backside cut again as the backside DT gets blown off the ball by Mitchell and Schilling.|
|O6||2||2||Ace 3-wide||Run||-2||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(-2) gets owned by the DT with all the vowels in his name, who swallows Hart in the backfield.|
|O8||3||4||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Arrington||Deep cross|
|Same route as the earlier touchdown; Henne overthrows him. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)|
|Manningham totally covered here. Actually, every receiver was covered here despite Oregon sending six rushers. Henne had few options. Still (BR, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on Downs, 7-32, EO half.|
|M18||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||-2||Hart||Zone right|
|Boren plowed backwards by the DT again.|
|M16||2||12||Ace 3-wide||Run||2||Hart||Zone right|
|Uncharacteristic trip by Hart... because he's injured. I hate life.|
|Into double coverage, nearly picked off. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-32, 12 min 3rd Q.|
|M39||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||-3||Minor||Zone left|
|A repulsive playcall. We're down 25, have three wideouts on the field, and they have a legit eight men in the box. They fear a pass not at all. This is stuffed; it didn't have a chance from the moment Debord called it.|
|Eight men drop into coverage this time; Mallet checks down for three. But by God, it's a poised three yards. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Ton of time... great protection. Mallett rifles it directly to Manningham, who appears to be falling down as the ball gets there. He deflects it: TO. (DO, 2, protection 3/3)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 7-32, 9 min 3rd Q.|
|Nice second level block from Kraus; effort reduced from here on out on running plays. Just Mallett.|
|Almost Clausenesque in its magnificence, this screen. (CA, 3)|
|Dunno why Oregon isn't being more aggressive here but they aren't. Given Oregon's actions all Minor has to do is run up into open space.|
|Whatever. This play was screwed from the start anyway.|
|M12||1||20||Ace 3-wide||Pass||-3||--||Fumbled snap|
|Sure, this is a tough situation, but this is a give up and punt call. Down four scores towards the end of the third.|
|This is a little bit inside and well covered, allowing the CB to get a hand on it. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-32, 3 min 3rd Q. Note: we're in stupid time now. All drives from now on end in no points, so I'm just going to chart what Mallett does irrespective of drives and so forth and so on.|
|Thrown into coverage. Not sure if this is innacurate or a bad read. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Mallett flushes out of the pocket and hits Manningham smartly for a good gainer. Excellent accuracy to keep it away from the DB and give Manningham a tough but catchable ball. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Batted at the line. Stared this one down a bit. (BA, 0)|
|Never had a chance. Did Mallett lead them to him with his eyes? Debatable. (CA, 3)|
|Manningham sort of gives up on this route too early, but this was well overthrown anyway. (IN, 0, protection 1/2). Mallett took a guy at his feet as he threw this.|
|Sort of across the middle(!) for Mallett. Rifled high and hard, still catchable. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Basic. (CA, 3). Mathews kicks out at one of the defensive backs after the play.|
|Massey gets obliterated by this DE, who comes off the backside just as Mallett starts his throwing motion. He brings it down for the sack. Not his fault at all. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Massey -2)|
|Mallett flushes away from heavy strongside pressure, waves Arrington downfield, and hits him for the first down. This is sort of badass. (DO, 2, protection 0/2)|
|Double covered and badly overthrown. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Mallett gets blitz presssure â€“ Schilling(-2) whiffs on a guy â€“ and lofts a ball into double coverage. (BR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Overthrown. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O40||3||9||Ace 3-wide||Pass||--||--||Fumbled snap|
|A little outside, but maybe to keep it away from coverage. Mathews drops it. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Needs to check this down sooner. He has enough time to find someone. (TA, 0, protection Â½)|
We gained 65 yards with Mallett under center against a crap defense. We're gonna die.
That's not a question.
We're gonna die?
Maybe. Let's look at the...
|Oregon - Henne||1||13||6||3||1||0||3|
|Oregon - Mallett||3||7||2||3||1||1||2|
(Legend for this one.) I was initially skeptical of Mallett's performance...
I'll go in and grab all the Mallett plays to evaluate how he did. (Not well is your answer.)
...but after reviewing the tape I think it was considerably better. If Manningham hadn't tripped, the interception would have been a rifleshot completion. Arrington also dropped a ball he could have gotten a first down on. Only once did he sit in the pocket to take a Sack of Ultimate Poise (the other sack was a blindside hit from a guy that schooled Masssey); twice he rolled out of trouble and found receivers downfield for long gainers. Michigan's failure to move the ball in the second half boils down to the following things:
- Predictable playcalling. It's bad even when we have our senior QB in there; with Mallett things were worse. Most egregious was the I-form zone play with six blockers against eight men in the box that had no chance. Michigan pissed away downs in an attempt to protect Mallett.
- Non-throwing errors. A holding call and a fumbled snap put Michigan in second and twenty-four on one drive; a punt soon followed.
- Dropped balls and misfortune. As noted, the interception should have been a completion; Arrington and Mathews also dropped balls.
I fear the first will not change. Michigan is going to run the ball from the first play from scrimmage and probably on most first downs, which might not be a bad strategy against a Notre Dame defense that's thin and prone to tiring as the game drags on, but you can't grind someone into dust if you're getting yourself in second and nine. The other stuff isn't really on Mallett. I mean, obviously he is less effective than a senior Henne, but when he got the ball and threw it the results were okay. Two th
ings that are concerning: the fumbled snaps and the throws into coverage. Mallett was responsible for those things. I don't think the latter will get fixed, but since we've worked the shotgun into our passing offense maybe Mallett can work from that on all obvious passing downs? Texarkana ran that exclusively; he's used to it. There appears to be no reason whatsoever to go from under center on passing downs. I wonder if Michigan will ignore this because the expectation is for the position. I fear they will.
As for Henne: his worst performance since some of the really ugly ones in 2005. The opening pick was inexcusable: two Oregon players had better shots at the ball than Manningham did. Many of his throws were off, and the pocket presence thing remained an issue. The best summary of his day was the play he got injured on: instead of running up for six or seven yards and a makable fourth down, he scrambled out of the pocket, crossed the line of scrimmage, and then ran back behind it in an attempt to find someone to throw to, but could not even come close to squaring his shoulders and ended up losing two yards.
All told, I don't think Mallett's performance was any less effective than Henne's, though there's at least a chance Henne was having a bad day and is better than he showed. Mallett is likely to wing a couple balls directly into coverage Saturday.
I think the most notable thing here is the staggering amount of 1s -- passes that would require a circus catch to haul in -- for Manningham. Some of those were instances of short coverage, but mostly that was deep balls he had no or little shot at. Some people are getting on Manningham for not putting in full effort, but I didn't really see that in my review of the game. There was nothing he could have caught that he gave up on, and he remains a slight guy unsuited for going up and getting a jump ball; none of the vaguely accurate passes hung up that much anyway... they were just a little off. His main problem is that he's not getting open as much.
Yeah, what's the deal with that?
No doubt this will come off as a damned if you do, damned if you don't sort of criticism, but Mike Debord's fondness for the deep ball appears to be hurting the offense. Several times this year Michigan quartebacks have lofted balls into three-deep coverage where there is very little hope of anything positive coming. Michigan's deep routes have almost all been well covered (when they have not, Michigan quarterbacks have missed their passes), probably because the timing of their shots downfield has been predictable. The most frustrating thing about watching this year's offense has been it's refusal to take advantage of two things:
- Adrian Arrington being eight inches taller than anyone on Appalachian State and
- the huge cushion Oregon was giving to both receivers all day.
Quick outs and slants would have been easy completions on several key plays -- I am thinking most prominently of a third and three in the second quarter that resulted in a sack -- but Michigan instead chose their traditional drag routes that depend on tremendous protection. It's really frustrating to see the Oregon defense in an obvious three deep zone when Michigan lines up two receivers to one side of the formation and then see Michigan throw a bomb into that coverage designed to stop it.
This is Michigan's problem in a nutshell. Far too often they run plays into obviously bad situation. You can blame this on the quarterback, I guess, but I think I've seen enough bullheaded rushes into stacked fronts to tell you that the quarterback is not the main issue. Many times Chad Henne will come to the line on first down with two options: a run and another run. This is the only way to explain our run-pass distribution on first and ten. Michigan would be better served if Henne was permitted to check into whatever would exploit the defense. He obviously does not have this power.
Meanwhile, Oregon loses Gary Crowton to Les Miles and brings in Chip Kelly, a guy who lit up I-AA at New Hampshire, and Kelly destroys the Michigan defense with plays both conventional and non-. That's the difference between Michigan and most programs: Oregon goes out and grabs a guy with a proven track record of beating other programs with similar talent; Michigan hires Lloyd Carr's old buddy without any sort of search because he needs a job after failing utterly at Central Michigan.
Why are the coaches sending in a kid with a broken hand to fumble?
Actually, I chalk this one up to the general bloody-mindedness of the universe. Brown should be able to hang on to one friggin carry even if he's got a small cast. No one will ever be able to convince me it was a good idea to not only play Broken Tim Massaquoi during the Year of Infinite Pain but throw him and his sizable cast rockets on third down, but this seems like a criticism we can
My opinion: should be suspended for the Notre Dame game. That's not tolerable.
What does it mean for Notre Dame?
I remain encouraged we can score on them despite the issues against Oregon pending the healthy existence of Mike Hart, who has missed sections of both of Michigan's first two games. Minor is an obvious step down. Notre Dame has been okay in the early going of games but their run defense has worn down as the games have rolled on; if we can get offense going early we can duplicate the success of GT and Penn State. This will mean staying on the field, which will likely require some passing against a defense that knows it's going up against a true freshman.
How will this go? Well enough, I think. Mallett's numbers were not great but his performance belied that, and not just in a "what a poised screen" sort of way. Mallett's screen went for -4 yards. His completions were darts on rollouts, some of them in the middle of the field, and the receivers made about as many mistakes as he did. I assume the fumbled snap thing should go away; I further assume that not even Michigan is doofus enough to put this kid under center for no reason on passing downs. This may be a dodgy assumption. I don't think 50 points is in order, but 24-30 is doable. The keys will be not wasting downs coddling the kid and how many mistakes he makes. Michigan should come out throwing, because Notre Dame is going to assume run and sell out for it. I don't think they will; the low end is likely.