Forget ND. Here comes the first REAL test of Michigan's defense? Why do I say that? Because Indiana is 11th in the nation in passing and 10th in points scored and has a senior QB with 30 career TD passes. Last year they scored 33 points on us while rushing for nearly 200 yards.
Are you scared yet?
Okay, maybe that's because you looked at their scedule and realized that while they were scoring close to 40 points a game, they were doing so against what amounts to the equivalent of Bowling Green's JV team.
No, seriously. They've played three games, against something called "Towson", Western Kentucky, and Akron. I'm not exactly sure, but I think some of those might be division 1 opponents. Let's compare:
Michigan is pretty good from year to year, Michigan State is usually hovering around .500. Western Michigan is a middling MAC team. Kentucky SUCKS, Kentucky State exists? (maybe) So what does that say about Western Kentucky?
Yeah, Michigan played FCS UMass, but at least that SOUNDS like it could be a FBS school. "Towson"?? Is not exactly a two time defending nation champion of the lower level.
How bad are these teams? They're a combined 1-11 with the lone win coming in OT against *drumroll please* COASTAL CAROLINA! Although Akron did almost beat GARDNER WEBB in OT. In the other ten games, Indiana's opponents were outscored by an average of about 40 points (no I didn't actually do the math, but I'm not really that far off).
So while I did manage to dig up some film on them, there's not much we can learn other than formations and base plays (and the fact that IND is wearing some uglyass 1970's uniforms).
Grannie grab your gun.
Hey, remember when ND played Nevada? And Nevada had Gumar from 'Harold and Gumar goto whitecastle' playing QB. They ran this funky type of offense with the RB 5 yards behind the QB who was already in the shotgun. That's called the pistol. It's also what UCLA just used to depants Texas and will probably be the next fad spreading across the college football world, if it isn't already.
The point of this alignment is to get a little bit more downhill momentum for your running back so that he can hit the holes with speed.
You still get the ability to do playaction, but you lose the lateral fakes. To regain the lateral motion, the RB will line up next to the QB in the shotgun like this:
On Running downs, they might put a fullback into the formation. If the QB was under center it would just be an offset I formation. But with the group of them back an extra 5 yards, we have to call it something different. I'm gonna call it the .38 caliber.
Here we have both the FB and the TE to the right, so this is likely to be a run to the right 60-70% of the time. In this case, they ran a zone dive to the left.
When they go spread, they like to use three receivers in a bunch so they can run pick plays.
Here's a running play with the bunch formation.
The middlebackers and the safety are confused and out of position.
The middle backer blitzes to the wrong side, opening up a huge running lane.
So the hoosiers get an easy 50 yard TD with 4 blockers on 2 defenders at the point of attack.
QB Ben Chappell is the same guy that put 30 some points on us last year. 5th year senior? Not a super strong arm, throws with his body. Good size. Not fast. Decent pocket presence. Likes to do 3 step drops for quick routes or playaction boots. Has good timing with his receivers, can hit them on a fly in stride. Doesn't throw well on the run. His strength is in reading the defense and picking the right receiver to go to. I suggest we run more pressure and man coverage with a single high safety this week.
#88 Belcher is their deep threat. Tall kid, not blazing speed, but chews up a lot of yardage with long strides.
TB Darius Willis is their main running threat. He's 6 foot, 220 ish and can run through arm tackles. Has a good head fake. He also had an 85 yard TD against us last year.
TE #83. Tall, soft hands. Less athletic version of rudolph.
O-Line. They look small and meh. This is probably what separates Indiana from most big ten teams. There's just not a lot of talent there.
They run a base 3-4 on 1st and 2nd down, will not substitute against a spread, instead they flex out their OLB to cover the slots. On 3rd down they like to switch to either a nickle, or a cover 1 to put extra DB's on the slot receivers.
Not a lot of speed. Towson's QB had a 40 yard scramble against them on a broken play. So like WOOOOO DENARD! They've given up oodles of yardage against teams that really don't run the ball very well.
Their safety #10 looks like a weaklink. (He may even have been replaced already.) Takes a lot of bad angles. Towson managed several plays over 40 yards against them.
They've given up huge amounts of yards to teams that don't sport very good offensive lines. Here's an example of what might be the reason why.
This is Indiana's short yardage defense. If you're saying, 'but wait a minute that looks just like their base 3-4!" then you've been paying attention. Do the hoosier's have a defensive coordinator? Because this personell package, in this situation is almost criminally stupid.
It's 3rd and 1 and they're in a base 3-4.
It's 3rd and 1 in THE REDZONE and they're still in a base 3-4!
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a DOUBLE TIGHT formation and they're in a 3-4?!
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a double tight formation WITH A FULLBACK MEANING THERE ISN'T A SINGLE WR IN THE GAME, and they're still in a base 3-4 with 4 DBs!!!?! (well hey, at least they walked up one of the safeties...)
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a double tight formation with a fullback and there are EIGHT OFFENSIVE LINEMEN AGAINST YOUR 3 DOWN LINEMEN!!!!!!!!! THEY ONLY NEED TO GAIN 1 FREAKING YARD!!!!!!!
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a double tight formation with a fullback AND IT'S AN UNBALANCED LINE TO THE RIGHT!!!!!!OMG HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT?!!?!
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a double tight formation with extra o-linemen, no WR, in an unbalanced formation to the right WITH THE H BACK IN A WING TO THE RIGHT!!!! THE UNBALANCED SIDE!!!! THERE ARE 9 OFFENSIVE PLAYERS FROM THE BALL TO THE RIGH!!!!! AND INDIANA HAS 4 (FOUR!) PLAYERS COVERING 2 (TWO!) ON THE OTHER SIDE!!!?! WTF ARE YOU DOING??!
So you won't be surprised that WKU ran to the right and scored a TD on this play.
They use a spread punt formation.
Had an okay return against Towson and got a 70+ yard return against WKU, so they must at least know their blocking assignments on kickoff returns.
Tandon Doss, who some of you might remeber is a pretty nifty runner, even if he doesn't have a world class top gear.
Should be a high scoring game. And most likely a preview of things to come. If the offense doesn't score more than 45 points, they should hang their heads in shame. The key will be in stopping Chappell. If we can hold them to 30 points, I'll be happy. (not really, but I'll take it.) Their running back is talented enough, but that O-line just doesn't run block very well, and we should have a sizeable advantage there.
I'm gonna say 48-28 good guys.