...talks about how UConn hasn't been in contact and how they're out. (HT: UMHoops)
I wanted to find a picture perfect example of that play from our last game, but I didn't have the time, unfortunately (I'm not that quick at this video/picture stuff!). Instead, I'll post some pictures of Koger's TD catch, which shows the basic principles that SmartFootball discussed today, but also accentuates some great play by Tate and Koger.
So, here we are in our new shotgun ace base set with Koger lined up at H-Back, rather than as a TE:
As you can see, ND is either in a 4-3, or a nickle 4-2. I can't tell if the third LB over Koger is indeed a LB, or a Saftey. Doesn't really matter, anyways.
You also see a Safety walking into the box, for a total of 8 defenders in the box. (For clarification, I'm referring to the player on the "I" in "MICHIGAN" in the end zone)
Next, we see Tate receive the snap and read the backside. ND is running a variation of the scrape - so far, we usually have heard about the DE crashing the RB and the LB coming for the QB. Here, ND actually crashes the backside LB, and the DE is coming straight down the line looking for Tate.
Tate makes the read and decides to keep it. [EDIT - GSimmons suggests below that this is merely a play action, and not a read, which basically answers my own question that I possed at the end of this post] Also, notice that Koger is coming back against the grain - all the OL are blocking to their right, and Koger comes out to his left.
The unfortunate thing for this particular play is that the Safety walked into the box, as shown earlier. ND could afford to do that, since they're already back up against the end zone and Tate can't exactly go deep.
As a result, that Safety can (theoretically) easily pick up Koger, as seen below.
However, the Safety freezes and Koger blows past him. Tate has to wait an instance for the throwing lane to open, but he delivers a strike to Koger.
End result = Touchdown.
A remark about the play: This was a great play on both sides. First, ND had the safety in the perfect position. Normally I'd expect that Safety to be deep and Koger to be wide open. Second, the ND LB/DE did a great job of getting after Tate. One of them was responsible for crashing C. Brown (IMO that'd be the LB) but they both hauled ass and would have sacked 80% of all QBs. Third, Tate made a HECK of a throw. I have no idea how he managed to see between those two defenders. Finally, great route by Koger to get away from the Safety.
I have a question about the initial play call, however. Somehow running the zone read into the short side, with 8 in the box seems like an odd call. I wonder if Tate had any intention of handing it off to Carlos. Instead, I suspect this play was a roll-out from the get go, with the hand off used to keep the back side pursuit at bay.
This might have been a good situation to call for a fade instead, if RichRod thinks he has a good match up on the ouside.
1) Play 60 minutes. The defense was awesome in the first half, and not bad in the second half. My concern, however, is that we don't have the depth to exchange blows with a tougher opponent for 60 minutes.
2) Continue to excel in one-on-one situations. Aside from Warren losing his cool towards the end of the game, I thought that both he and Cissoko (i.e. Floyd Simmons) did an excellent job of covering receivers. Moreover, I noticed that even Stevie Brown was hanging with receives he was assigned to cover. And, to top if off, they all tackled well. This positive trend needs to continue against ND.
3) Better blitz packages. Against WMU,I think we generated most of our pressure because our DL was superior to their OL and by bringing an extra line backer. It worked, but I'd like to see some more complex blitz packages against Jimmy Claussen, who will probably be better prepared than Hiller was. I think GERG was holding back, but let's see what he's got for us next week.
1) Personnel: MINOR RAGE and 'Lace. Ok, this key is really made up of two points. First, Props to Brown and Shaw for picking up nice yardage, but neither of them possess Minor's ability to rack up yards after contact. Not even close. Even though yesterday's numbers were good, MINOR RAGE is a significant upgrade and will really help us against ND.
Second, I think its clear that DRob needs to get on the field even when Tate is running the offense, and also that DRob needs to do more than just run the QB draw.
2) OLine improvement. I didn't think the OL played well enough to control the line of scrimmage against a top DL. Not sure how good ND's DL is, but the OL needs some work.
3) Offensive rhythem and play calling: We need to see if our offense can put together the long drives. Also, I think RichRod was holding back on the play calling, as we didn't see much yesterday. Do people agree with that?
Finally, I want to point out the obvious, so... Tate will be critical the our success. I likes his accuracy and patients, and he even looked good with his back to the play on the play action TD to Koger. Two unanswered questions: Is he tough enough to run against better athletes? Second, I don't think he was seriously pressured at all yesterday - he was able to run away from the little pressure that WMU got on him. What happens when Tenuta dials up a big boy blitz?