alternate headline: man does job
I would normally throw this in a UV, but this warrants a little shrine all its own. Via the M-Zone, this is the best summation of Ohio State's contribution to the national culture ever recorded in a bathroom and posted to youtube:
In this week's Thursday Recruitin', Danny O'Brien's decision is just hours away, but don't hold your breath, Bri'onte Dunn takes over the fourth quarter, and the Cass pipeline appears it will continue into 2013. Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.—as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.
Danny O'Brien Announces Today
Hooray for timely news, even if every indication has O'Brien leaving the state. Just in case something crazy happens and he ends up blue (again, unlikely—if it does, I'll be torn between being happy for a new commitment and angry at myself for skipping the presser) here's a couple quotes from Tim Sullivan's Freep piece on O'Brien's decision, which takes place at 2:30 this afternoon:
"O'Brien has always had an explosive first step,” said Rivals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt. “Over the course of the spring, (he) added 25 pounds to his frame and, with the weight gain, came the needed strength.”
O'Brien plays all over the field for Powers, lining up at defensive tackle, defensive end and even running back. [Power coach Bob] Buckel, in his first year, considers it a blessing to have O’Brien.
“I’ve been a head coach 29 years, but this is my first year at Powers,” he said. “It’s nice to come into a program where you have a great player your first year. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he got the chance to play a little bit of offense in college.”
O'Brien will choose between Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan State. Check any O'Brien-related message board post and you'll get a pretty good idea of where he's very likely to end up.
In other news on (for now) uncommitted prospects, Tim also breaks down the top remaining 2012 targets on the board for the Wolverines. Jordan Payton and Amara Darboh, who have already visited campus, seem to have a leg up in terms of securing the open spot(s) for wide receivers in this class over Monty Madaris, who hasn't yet been to Ann Arbor, though he plans to do so later this season. The rest is stuff you probably already know, but if you want a good primer on the most likely names to fill in the class, it's a very solid breakdown.
Fox Sports Ohio televised Bri'onte Dunn's latest game, and Scout has the highlights available for free. Click through to see the video, and here's a summary from what turned out to be a remarkable fourth-quarter performance:
For much of the game, it seemed as if Dunn would get only a token carry or two and be used mostly as a decoy. Then the fourth quarter came, and GlenOak's strategy to use Dunn became clear. Call it "Jordanesque"; keep it close, then let the star take over.
Dunn had two carries for three yards heading into the fourth quarter. He had 15 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown in the final frame alone. That could almost be considered a night off for the workhorse running back who is likely to finish his career with over 1,000 carries.
Dunn had injured his hip the previous week, which explains his lack of carries early, but his performance in the final stanza propelled GlenOak from a 7-3 deficit to a 16-7 comeback victory.
Quickly, the paywalled stuff: Misleading Scout headline says Zach Banner has a timeline ($, info in header), when said timeline is that he'll announce his decision date for "either before or after the Army [All-American] Game]." His last three official visits will be to Notre Dame, USC, and Washington; he has already visited Michigan and Oklahoma. Five-star receiver Stefon Diggs has cut his list down to 11 ($, info in header), and Michigan is among them, though I wouldn't get excited unless he takes an official visit (obvious statement is obvious, I know). Good Counsel (MD) prospect Wes Brown has a top six ($, info in header), and it appears Michigan has another potential option at running back if they can't lure Dunn away from Ohio State. Wideout Jehu Chesson has a top five that now includes Northwestern ($, info in header), and yes, Michigan is in it for him as well.
Hit the jump for the rest of Thursday Recruitin', including updates on 2012 commits and videos of Jeremy Clark and Shane Morris, plus much more from the class of 2013.
The defenses are yelling spoon!
And the offenses are the little guy pleading "Not in the face! Not in the face!"
This was a fun game to watch if you don't like either of the teams. Both teams have pretty good defenses and horrible, horrible offenses. MSU's only threat is B.J. Cunningham and OSU's passing offense is reminiscent of 2008 Michigan (The wonderful Threet/Sheridan days). Both teams have major issues with their offensive lines. MSU's problems can be explained by a lack of experienced personnel, but this is a little surprising for OSU.
Luke Fickell will not be the head coach of OSU next year. The only question is whether or not his replacement gets hired before the end of the season.
Balls were slippery...
But before we get too giddy here, it should be noted that there was a misty rain and the ball was wet, so that accounts for a tiny bit of the Herpy-derpy-ness. Like this:
The punter actually recovered the ball and got off one of his ugly-ass rugby kicks.
Stanton Nichols Cousins doing his best Tommy Rees impression.
MSU on D:
When you don't respect the other team's passing, you can walk up your safeties and do a lot of run blitzing.
On this play, the short side safety walks up before the snap even though 2nd and 9 is often a passing down.
The flanker comes in motion which makes the other safety tip off that he's in cover 1. The CB is playing run support all the way. The safety is blitzing the C gap.
The OSU TE is oblivious to the blitz and 76 (the RT) is doubling down the DT for some reason. Notice how the MSU MLB is completely free to clean up the place. OSU's O-line had trouble getting to the LBs all day long. I don't know if they've had a major philosophy change, but it looks like their linemen are not getting the right assignments on the zone blocking scheme.
I'm pretty sure this is the shortest UFR table in a long time. Probably not forever since in the embryonic stages a lot of plays were described as "a big wad of bodies I can't figure out," full stop, but in a long time.
Substitution notes: Secondary was the usual; Countess came in in the second quarter for Woolfolk. He is clearly the #3 CB, with Johnson the #3 S. At LB it was Ryan/Demens/Hawthorne the whole way until garbage time. On the line the usual rotation with a bit less of the backups because there was no opportunity for the starters to get tired. Still no Cam Gordon.
Formation notes: Nothing we haven't seen before, and since Minnesota was so transparently bad I didn't bother to get a bunch of screenshots of certain plays.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Pistol 3TE||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Hawthorne||1|
|Heininger(-1) blown off the ball by a double; this should provide a lane but Martin(+1) drove the center back, Roh(+0.5) held up on the outside, and Hawthorne (+1) hit a lead blocker on the LOS, holding up surprisingly well. With nowhere to go we have a wad play that Roh eventually ends by tackling the RB.|
|O21||2||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Roh||-1|
|I think, anyway. No doubles from Minnesota as two guys release downfield into Gordon and Demens immediately. This means all of the DL are one on one and all of them end up controlling their guys, able to release on either side of them if the RB tries to hit a hole. RB tries to go outside where Roh(+1) is waiting and Gordon(+1) flows up to help; Demens(+1) had also beaten a block and was there. RVB and Martin pick up half points.|
|O20||3||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Sack||Van Bergen||-5|
|Stunt gets RVB(+2) through as the Gopher line busts; RVB tackles the relatively immobile Shortell before the Gophers can even finish their routes. (RPS +1, Pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O41||1||10||Pistol 2TE||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Demens||3|
|Martin(+0.5) is doubled; while he does give a little ground it's not much and the pulling G doesn't have much room. Hawthorne(+0.5) hits him near the line, causing a cutback into Demens(+0.5), who is unblocked because of the double and scrapes into the backside hole to tackle. Heininger(+0.5) did a good job closing down the intended hole as well; he popped off a defender and had a shot to tackle if the RB didn't cut back.|
|O44||2||7||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Out||Floyd||5|
|Delayed blitz does not get through; Minnesota throws a dinky route that Floyd lets happen; he tackles immediately. Fine.|
|O49||3||2||Ace twin TE||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Kovacs||-1|
|2TE motions into an H-back spot; Kovacs rolls down into the box. H-back flares in an attempt to kick out Roh(+2), the EMLOS. Roh bowls him over backwards. This cannot happen on a power if you're ever going to gain any yards. There is no lane. Pulling G derps his way past everyone without blocking anyone; Kovacs(+1) is blitzing from the outside; untouched, he tackles for loss. Hawthorne(+0.5) had also blitzed right into the play, so three separate M players were in a position to stop this. Minnesota is not good.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 4 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O6||1||10||Pistol twins||4-3 under||Pass||5||Out||Woolfolk||12|
|Minnesota successfully high-lows Woolfolk in zone. Not his fault as he's got a corner route coming from the inside and has to drop back into that; this naturally opens up an underneath receiver since there's no underneath help. (Cover/RPS -1)|
|O18||1||10||Shotgun trips bunch||Nickel under||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Ryan||9|
|Martin(+1) fights a double team and gets enough penetration when the second guy releases into the linebackers to close off the hole himself. RB has to bounce and it looks like Ryan is about to read this and pop out on the edge to finish the play when he's yanked and seemingly ankle tackled by the OT. No call. Refs -1. Floyd(-0.5) did a kind of weak job on the edge, though the Ryan issue allowed a quick bounce so he had a tough job.|
|O27||2||1||Shotgun 2TE||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Heininger||0|
|Nowhere to go as Martin(+1) holds up to a double and Heininger(+1) a single block. Cutback from the RB; an unblocked Roh(+0.5) read the play and shuffled down the LOS before exploding to tackle at the line. Heininger gets his extra half point for getting control of his guy to the point where he can disengage to help tackle.|
|O27||3||1||Pistol 2TE||4-3 under||Pass||4||Sack||Ryan||-4|
|I'm not entirely sure but Shortell appears to be looking for his TE on a tiny little hitch first but pulls it down because Black(+1, RPS +1) chucked him before going into his pass rush. This disrupts the timing and causes Shortell to move on. RVB(+1) gets in at this point, flushing the awkward Shortell out of the pocket, where Hawthorne(+0.5) and Ryan(+0.5) roar up to sack. (Pressure +1, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Pistol 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Demens||7|
|Michigan's line steps to the left on the snap. This doesn't seem like a full on slant, it's just a way to one-gap the D. I'm not sure if Heininger(+0.5) is playing this okay and just gets pushed past the play or if he got out of position. He does slice through two blockers, causing the C to attempt to peel back and forcing a cutback behind him—away from the blocking angles. Demens(-1) has a free run at the gap but reads it late and meets the RB a couple yards downfield when he can make a tackle at the LOS. Then some bad luck as a pursuing Black impacts the tackle from behind, knocking Demens to the ground and giving the RB some YAC.|
|O27||2||3||Ace twins||4-3 even||Pass||N/A||Sack||Ryan||-9|
|Ryan is lined up over the slot and blitzes. Minnesota is trying a PA rollout to his side, pulling a backside OL around to give some edge protection. Ryan(+2) explodes upfield, getting into Shortell's feet and cutting off the outside. Shortell does manage to escape upfield, where Martin(+1) is tearing around blockers, coming from the inside. Shortell spins back to avoid that sack, whereupon the Red Sea caves in on him. (Pressure +3, RPS +1)|
|O18||3||12||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||--||4|
|Give up and punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 7 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun twins twin TE||4-3 under||Pass||4||Rollout hitch||Countess||8|
|Countess in for Woolfolk. You can see Michigan checking when the TE motions across the formation; Gordon comes down into man on the slot receiver, implying that Ryan(-1) should come to the LOS to act as a 4-3 SLB. He doesn't, instead dropping into a redundant zone and opening up the corner (pressure -1). Shortell finds his hitch in front of Countess.|
|O28||2||2||Shotgun twins twin TE||4-3 under||Pass||5||PA Quick seam||Hawthorne||Inc (Pen +9)|
|TE motions to Ryan's side and this time he does creep down off the slot. He blitzes off the snap, getting picked off by a pulling pass protector after the PA fake. Michigan is zone blitzing and tips it by leaving Roh in a two point stance; he drops off in coverage over the TE. Hawthorne makes one of those back-to-QB zone drops across the field, and this zone seems perfectly designed to stop this route. Hawthorne(cover +1) gets over to the TE quick seam before the TE can get there; he slows up rather than run over Hawthorne and Shortell's wobbler goes well long. Demens(+1) timed his blitz excellently and got a free run, thumping Shortell as he threw(pressure +2) Hawthorne(-2) then gets an incredibly late, but legit PI call for grabbing the TE as he tried to cut inside.|
|O37||1||10||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Pass||N/A||Bubble screen||--||Inc|
|Dropped. Strong possibility Hawthorne blows this up for little.|
|O37||2||10||Shotgun twins twin TE||4-3 under||Pass||N/A||Rollout hitch||Countess||11|
|Replay of the previous hitch except Ryan is on the edge this time, though he gets eliminated easily. (Pressure -1) Again in front of Countess(-1, cover -1) and I will ding him for not being there to challenge on the same route he just saw.|
|O48||1||10||Ace||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Demens||0|
|Martin(+1) takes on a double and wins, forcing his way into the gap to his left and preventing anyone from getting out on the LBs. Demens(+2) uses this to his advantage, seeing the gap open up behind Martin as he pushes playside. He shoots it and makes a tackle at the LOS after having removed the cutback lane. RVB(+0.5) held up well on the edge and helps tackle.|
|O48||2||10||Shotgun twin TE||46 front||Pass||5||Fly||Countess||Inc|
|Campbell(+2) runs over the center and comes right up the middle of the field (pressure +2), leveling Shortell. Shortell stands in and chucks one to a guy on a fly route. Countess was in press coverage and is step for step(+2, cover +2); he finds the underthrown ball and adjusts to it. He has a shot at an INT but it's a tough catch and he settles for the PBU.|
|O48||3||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel press||Pass||6||Hitch||Countess||7|
|Michigan sends the house and doesn't quite get there; Roh(+0.5) seems like he's coming around the corner fast enough to cause problems if Shortell has to wait another beat. Instead he throws a hitch route short of the sticks that Countess(+1, cover +1) allows to be completed but tackles immediately on. He pops the ball loose as he does so; Michigan recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 31-0, 3 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O34||1||10||Pistol 3-wide||Nickel press||Pass||4||Fade||Floyd||Inc|
|Testing the press w/ McKnight. Floyd is in good position and has pushed McKnight almost to the sideline but does not time his jump well; he gets his head around and then it seems like he fails to locate the ball. McKnight goes up to grab it but steps OOB on his way down. Given the position of McKnight this was circus all the way, so (+1, cover +1)|
|O34||2||10||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Demens||7|
|Kovacs blitzes from the backside and gets upfield outside of the TE. That seems okay since he'd have to contain the QB. Roh is shuffling down the line on the inside zone and gets cut behind. This may be possible because instead of a mesh point the QB accidentally bats the snap right to the RB. The cut backside this should expose RB to unblocked Demens; Demens(-1) drops into a short zone and then lets the RB outside of him. Johnson has rolled down over the slot and does keep leverage; Demens tackles from behind. Partially one of those things—an actual mesh point and Demens/Roh probably have time to react better to this—but an unblocked LB should not let an RB outside of him.|
|O41||3||3||Pistol 2TE||4-3 under||Pass||4||Rollout TE Flat||Roh||1|
|Roh(+1) drops off into a short zone as Ryan blitzes. He gets cut; Heininger(+1) bumps the TE and then heads upfield between two befuddled Gopher blockers once that guy releases. He pressures(+1) and Shortell has to dump it off; Roh gets outside to tackle(+1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 14 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O16||1||10||Ace||4-3 under||Pass||5||TE comeback||Ryan||Inc|
|Roh again in a two point stance, indicating he will drop; he drops. Ryan(+1) blitzes from the other side, beating the TE and flushing Shortell up into the pocket(pressure +1). Shortell manages to find the second he needs and finds a receiver, who happens to be the TE on a comeback in front of Roh. TE drops it. (Roh -1, cover -1)|
|O16||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel press||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Van Bergen||2|
|Michigan blitzing Ryan and Demens; Demens lines up right over the C and then twists outside. The C is convinced he's supposed to block Demens, which he doesn't; G releases downfield. This allows RVB(+1) a single block that he gets playside of and carries to the hole; Martin(+1) also closed off the frontside, leaving nowhere for the RB to go.|
|O18||3||8||Shotgun trips||Nickel press||Pass||6||Fly||Johnson||Inc|
|Johnson backs out in to a deep zone late as Kovacs is sent on a blitz. Roh(+1) beats his blocker and is getting into Shortell's face (pressure +1) as Kovacs comes; Shortell bombs it deep. Gordon(-1) is beaten but Johnson(+2) is quick enough to get over and get a PBU as he arrives at the ball at the same time the WR does (cover +1, better thrown ball does find space).|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 38-0, 10 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O34||1||10||Pistol 2TE||46 front||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Heininger||2|
|Heininger(+1) dives inside the OT trying to block down and comes around. Black(+1) has driven the OT back, giving the RB an awkward cut to make upfield. This allows Heininger to tackle from behind. Demens(-0.5) ended up running past the play as the pulling G got to him.|
|O36||2||8||Shotgun twins twin TE||4-3 under||Pass||5||Rollout TE Flat||Black||9|
|Again with the blitz and WDE dropping off into coverage. Minnesota runs a quasi-screen here, pumping to the left, then coming back to the little TE flare as the RB comes out of the backfield intent on blocking. This time Black(-1, cover -1) drops a ways and because the RB gets in his way he's not in position to tackle this on the catch, allowing the TE to turn it up for a first down.|
|O45||1||10||Ace twin TE||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Heininger||1|
|Similar to the previous power on this drive. Minnesota flips the TEs, which doesn't make M flip the lines, they just move Hawthorne and Kovacs over. Hawthorne lines up right over the tackle. On the snap he takes a block and starts giving ground; Heininger(+2) bowls over this blocker as Black(+1) gets penetration that restricts the hole and prevents a bounce. Those two combine to tackle at the line as the RB just kind of falls over.|
|O46||2||9||Shotgun 2TE||4-3 even||Pass||5||Hitch||Avery||Inc|
|RVB(+2, pressure +2) slants inside a blocker and comes right up the center of the field to get a hurry; throw now or get sacked. Hitch is open in front of Avery(-0.5, cover -1) for near first down yardage; throw is upfield and dropped.|
|Good pocket(pressure -1); Shortell wings it well high. Avery(+0.5, cover +1) appears to have reacted quickly enough to make a play on the ball if there was one to be made.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 45-0, 6 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel over||Run||N/A||QB power||Campbell||0|
|Hawthorne(+1) reads the QB's cut upfield and runs away from the blocking angle further outside; he and Campbell(+1), who beat a single block to show up in the hole, combine to tackle.|
|O25||2||10||Shotgun trips||4-3 under||Pass||5||Fade||Avery||33|
|Okay, Brink and Avery and Fitzgerald in. This game is not long for the charting. Shortell gets the corner (pressure -1) and has an easy deep throw to Avery's guy(-1, cover -1) as he's beaten so badly he cannot recover.|
|M42||1||10||Shotgun trips||Nickel press||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Campbell||3|
|Wad o bodies as Minnesota can't move Campbell(+1) out of the playside hole with a double. He gets support from Heininger and Ryan(+0.5 each) and the RB runs up into the wad for little.|
|M39||2||7||Pistol 2TE||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Down G||Brink||-4|
|Instead of blocking Brink(+2) the playside TE watches him run past and make a TFL. Minnesota: not good.|
|M43||3||11||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel press||Pass||4||Slant||Countess||Inc|
|Countess(+2, cover +2) fights the WR for position and makes a play on the ball as it arrives.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 48-0, 14 min 4th Q. Charting ceases.|
So, about that.
Yeah, not much you can take from that game.
But it's nice to be able to say that about a Big Ten team, right?
Sure. The last team Michigan made look that inept was Baby Seal U, and the last team before that was the 2007 Notre Dame outfit that was the absolute nadir of super-geniusdom. Last year's Purdue team may have been as bad on offense; with the help of a driving rainstorm Michigan held them to 256 yards, giving up a 61-yard field goal drive early. This edition of Michigan's defense was better against the 2011 equivalent.
But… yeah, the Purdue example is instructive. There is a level of offense that can make even last year's Michigan D seem competent. Minnesota is at that level of offense.
There is something we can take from this, though, I mean, right?
A little, sure. A couple years ago Michigan gave up 17 to EMU in the first half, ceding 179 rushing yards to that year's #116 total offense. Last year Michigan gave up 37 to I-AA UMass.
You can never tell anything good from a game like this, but you can receive an ominous message that causes you to stock up on survival gear. The failure to get one of those represents progress.
Also, I only caught one wacky misalignment in the above-charted plays, that a failure of Jake Ryan to come down to LB depth after Minnesota shifted a TE. That's significant improvement from the nonconference portion of the schedule. That first drive against Western where no one knew where to line up has receded almost entirely.
I suppose we should look at the chart.
Man, you are subdued.
I'm locked and loaded. Actin' like I've been there. Emulatin' Brady Hoke's cool sideline demeanor. Somewhat terrified about what happens after game five in Michigan football seasons.
Keep in mind that this is only 36 snaps, five of which were contested mostly by backups. If you had to reduce certain games last year to find reasonable numbers, for this game you need to almost double them to find a per-play average approximately in line with historical norms.
|Van Bergen||7||-||7||Minnesota couldn't move him.|
|Roh||7.5||1||6.5||Seems to have reclaimed the starting spot.|
|Brink||2||-||2||Thanks, lack of Minnesota blocking.|
|Heininger||6.5||1||5.5||Hard to move after first snap, too.|
|Black||3||1||2||Playing time reduced.|
|Campbell||4||-||4||"Get off me"|
|TOTAL||37||3||34||lol. +0.94 per snap|
|Demens||4.5||2.5||2||Not many plays even got to him.|
|Ryan||4||1||3||Couple of explosive pass rush moves.|
|Fitzgerald||-||-||-||Nothing of note.|
|Beyer||-||-||-||PT in garbage time.|
|Hawthorne||3.5||2||1.5||Not giving his PT back.|
|Morgan||-||-||-||PT in garbage time|
|TOTAL||12||5.5||6.5||Enjoyed some tea as they watched the DL do the tackling for them.|
|Avery||0.5||1.5||-1||Has obviously slid behind Countess.|
|Woolfolk||-||-||-||Rest this man.|
|Kovacs||1||-||1||Earl Grey, please|
|T. Gordon||1||1||0||I'll have chai|
|Countess||5||1||4||Think we may have something here.|
|Johnson||2||-||2||Roobios for me|
|Pressure||15||4||11||NO BLOCKY FOR YOU|
|Coverage||10||5||5||Tony Gibson –6.02 x 10^23|
|Tackling||-||-||-||Nothing even approached an open field tackle.|
So… yeah. The defensive line annihilated the opposition to the point where nothing else really mattered. Can we take anything away from that? Eh… probably not. I'd love to live in a world where Will Heininger can flatten an opponent's interior OL, but I don't think that's the case.
We require some sort of crazy extrapolation to justify this piece.
Okay. We did get some depth chart clarity. Roh seems the clear starter at WDE, and Countess is #3 at CB and rising. Also we should now know who is redshirting and who is not. On defense:
- Burned: Countess, Brown, Taylor, Beyer, Clark, Morgan
- Redshirting: Carter, Hollowell, Heitzman, Rock, Poole
A couple of those do strike me as AAARGH burned redshirts: Brown and Clark. Brown is the #5 CB at best and Clark has two guys in front of him at WDE. Maybe the long-term plan is to slide Roh or Black to SDE next year, in which case I retract my argh.
Can we at least get a little Countess eeeeing?
Oh, all right: Countess had a couple of hitches completed on him but also acquired two PBUs, one of them another of the "too bad the QB didn't throw that more accurately" variety, the other a broken-up slant:
That looks like an exceptionally crappy route to me, but every little bit helps as we try to extrapolate young Countess into Charles Woodson. He also forced a fumble thanks to Mattison's new turnover-causing technique: tackling the opposition. That was a completion given up but it was also seven yards on third and ten, ie fine.
Was Minnesota really bad?
Oh, God yes. It was kind of marvelous. The best examples (on defense, anyway) I found were two separate incidents where Michigan defenders destroyed Minnesota OL. The first was Craig Roh taking a kickout block and turning it into total destruction:
That never happens.
And then there was Will Campbell using his sumo belly flop on someone other than Thomas Gordon:
After that it was a surprise Shortell didn't get up two-dimensional.
Minnesota is a bad football team.
Everyone but especially everyone on the defensive line.
What does it mean for Northwestern and beyond?
It means we don't have a terrible, terrible defense but not much more.
(No jump because this was a pretty short presser.)
News bullets and other important things:
- Barnum isn't "out", but didn't practice much yesterday.
- Hemingway's arm wrap sounds about as concerning as Denard's arm wrap.
Opening remarks: “We had a good day yesterday, I thought, on both sides of the ball. One of the big things in this football game is going to be field position and turnovers. They’re plus five and we’re plus seven. They’re taking care of the football, and they’ve done a nice job defensively of creating some opportunities. The other part of it is the field position in the kick game, when you look at their returns on punt and on kickoffs, they’re significantly higher than the average. Both of those things I think are a big part of it. We had some struggles with kickoff coverage last week. We haven’t done great in kickoff returns. I think we had some opportunities in the punt game punt-return wise, but we have to be better at those two things to create some things for us offensively. Obviously defensively, when you look at helping your offense out so they can get another -- steal another possession.”
How much do you physically practice coverage? “We always do coverage teams Tuesdays, plus our return games on Wednesdays, plus we always do another five-minute segment with the punt because that’s such an important play in football. Statistically, if you believe in statistics, if you look at teams with a punt return against them or a punt block, your percentages go way down to win a football game, so we work pretty physical with it. We’re going to do some kickoff live at the end tonight, and we have to send a message. We also have to do a better job of coaching and teaching.”
How much success on kickoff coverage is location of the kick? “I think it’s always part of it. When we’ve had really good locations, usually we’ve had good coverage. I can think back to last week, there were three of them that were really located pretty daggone well. And then two of them, one of them was in the middle of the field where we didn’t want it, and the other one was -- if I’m coming down the field -- right-middle, which wasn’t far enough. There’s all kind of things you look at. I think their returner is very good, quick, and he does punts and kickoffs. We just have to be more sound.”
You pitched a shutout on third downs defensively last week. What’s your target percentage for third-down stops? “I think if you can be successful defensively 63-, 64-percent of the time, maybe a little higher than that -- but I don’t know where we are right now. I don’t really look at that stuff much. I don’t think we’re where we need to be. I think last week helped, but that’s an anomaly a little bit.”
How much is Junior Hemingway limited by arm wrap? “He’s all right. He’s just got a little boo-boo on his elbow. He’s fine. We did punt yesterday and he’s one of our wings and did a great job protecting. We serve them live bullets.”
Have you talked to players about road game and traveling expectations? “A little bit. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow. It’s more when we, on Thursdays, you cover some more of those administrative things. Where they sit on the plane, all those kinds of things that go along with it. How we’ll dress, getting to the hotel, knowing where you’re at, knowing where the stairs are, because that’s important. Elevators sometimes don’t, you know, bode too well.”
Are you pleased with how healthy this team is given how physical you practice? “Yeah. Yeah. No question about it. And I will knock [on wood] a bunch (knock knock). Understanding that Tuesdays are going to be heavy work days and today will be a heavy work day where we’re going to get as good a look as we can, as physical a look as we can so that the reactions on both sides of the ball and even on the kicking game are what we want come Saturday. And the mentality of how we play.”
Is Barnum out for Saturday? “No, I don’t think he’s out. ”
How much is he practicing? “He didn’t do much yesterday, but today’s Wednesday.”
Countdown clocks … have you caught anyone talking about Michigan State yet? “No. Heck no. No way. The seniors have done a nice job. They’ve done a nice job.”
How is Will Heininger doing? “I think Will has come along when you look from the fundamental side of playing the position and what we ask those guys to do up front. He has always wanted to do it. I think there is a confidence thing at times that he had to, in my opinion, push through. Being a little more confident in this is how we’re teaching this and how we want you to do it from a physical standpoint. But I think we do some two-on-one live drills on Tuesdays and Wednesday that are really good for our guys up front on both sides of the ball.”
Craig Roh was dropping back in coverage. What does his versatility do for your defense? “I think it helps. When you have a guy that can do a couple different things, it can keep an offense off balance. Craig’s greatest asset is he’s a smart kid and he’s a smart football player, and he picks up things well and he has good recognition of if he has to wall the second receiver or if he’s on what we call train and he has to take the guy out of the backfield. He has a good understanding of it.”
Do you see your players getting more comfortable with Mattison’s defense? “Last two weeks they feel more comfortable. I think this week we have a different challenge because of pace and tempo that we’ll get from Northwestern. They’re going to snap the ball at times with 30 seconds still on a 40-second clock. So that’s getting to the line of scrimmage and making a decision. At other times they’re going to slow it down, so all those things that are things that will disrupt you defensively, and that’s where our discipline, our communication, our urgency to look into the sideline and getting set -- that’s all part of it.”
Mattison talked about players taking ownership of defense. What does that mean to you? “I think there’s a lot of pride. There’s a unit pride by position. I think it’s always important. I think the personal pride you have, how much you really study the game and study the oponent and look at tape and all of those things. I think they’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
What kind of effect will having a whole lot of Michigan fans in the crowd have on the game? “Well I think it’s always nice to play in front of folks that are behind you. It may help a little bit with crowd noise if we have a lot of Michigan people there. I know there’s a ton of alums who live in the Chicago area, so we welcome them all.”
Bear with me this week as I test out some format tweaks to FFFF—please let me know what you think of the new format/features in the post, as I got some good feedback last week about needing more structure for these. This week, I'm breaking down film from the Northwestern/Illinois game from last weekend, which ended in a 38-35 comeback victory for the Illini. The show? It's on...
First, the newest feature, in which I give a very brief overview of the general structure of a team on each side of the ball. For the offense, there are a few basic questions:
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Also known as zone or gap blocking—in Northwestern's case, they run almost exclusively zone.
Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): Dan Persa, without speculating on injury status, is about a six. Kain Colter, his backup and part-time slot receiver, is a seven.
OVERVIEW: Northwestern utilizes a run-heavy spread offense with a strong emphasis on zone read and inside zone plays. Their passing attack is mostly limited to short, quick passes to Jeremy Ebert or running back screens, in large part due to the fact that their offensive line is terrible in pass protection. While Persa, at least before he left the game after feeling discomfort in his injured ankle/foot, looked relatively mobile, he wasn't able to establish himself as a real threat on the ground.
When they scored points, it was on long, drawn-out possessions or after getting the ball with a short field—it doesn't appear that the Wildcats have much quick-strike ability. The running game, especially without injured tailback Mike Trumphy, is pretty ineffective—even after sacks are removed, NW averaged just 3.2 yards per carry on 47 attempts against Illinois. This team needs to be able to chew up yards on the ground to be a big threat, but with a less-than-100% Persa and no deep passing game, their efforts to power their way down the field were mostly fruitless, with the team averaging just 4.9 yards per play.
PLAY BREAKDOWN: This first clip was one of Northwestern's best runs of the day, a simple inside zone in which their left guard and center combine to get a great block to seal off the middle and open up a gaping hole:
This is Northwestern at their most effective, as their zone read game is still hampered by the injury to Persa—who gained just 14 yards on five carries with sacks removed—and Colter doesn't provide enough of a passing threat to keep defenses from keying on the run. The Wildcats were most successful running the ball on the inside zone, despite the fact that their offensive line wasn't opening up many holes—instead, they did a solid job of holding their ground and not letting defenders through, giving the running back time to find a crease inside or bounce the play outside if the defense didn't keep contain. The key for Michigan will be to get penetration in the middle—Mike Martin, I'm looking at you—while maintaining leverage on the outside.
Hit the jump for the rest, including offensive formations, defense and a brief note on the special teams.
After about a week we had just over 3000 responses, 2983 of them male and 120 female. We are all dudes.
- high school or younger: 16
- undergraduate: 287
- 22-34: 1874
- 34-49: 760
- over 49: 166
- Student: 283
- All or almost all games: 659
- A few games a year: 1173
- Every once in a while: 920
- Never: 68
If anyone wants the full dataset it is available as a csv here.
Graphs? Graphs. I had to shorten some of the Qs so they'd fit on the axis.
Piped In Music: If And When
AFTER THE JUMP: DO PEOPLE LIKE POP EVIL OR NOT?
Not much to see on the Win Probability Chart this week. Michigan was a heavy favorite and shut the door early. After adjusting for the spread the chart imagines a conversation like this:
GopherBoy1960: Hey Chart, do we a shot to get the jug back today.
Chart: I wouldn’t get your hopes up. We are talking about single digit percents here.
GopherBoy1960: So you’re telling me there’s a chance.
LloydBrady: Hey, that’s my line.
Chart: Technically you have a chance but oh wait, just turned the game on and your chance is now zero. Hope you enjoyed your two minutes of hope.
GopherBoy1960: I miss Glen Mason.
Biggest plays of the day (from the unadjusted numbers)
1. Fitzgerald Toussaint rushes for 35 yards on the fourth play of the day, +7%
2. Denard scores from 9 yards out to push the lead to 14, +6%
3. Denard goes for 18 yards to the Minnesota 3 to set up Michigan’s first score, +5%
Worst plays of the day (and there weren’t many)
1. The first appearance of Fritz loses 4 yards, –4%
2. Michael Shaw loses a yard to set up 3rd down inside the 10, –2%
3. Dan Orseske boots a 64 yard punt with no return after Minnesota goes 3 and out, –2%
After the jump, projections, rankings, and a Northwestern preview.
Thoughts on Denard’s improvement? “We worked on it pretty good, you know. And he took it to heart. He was stressing that he wasn’t throwing well. He’s a better passer, I’ve told you that before. Like I said, part of it is we had to get him some throws that he could make early and then he got into rhythm, and it was lights out after a while. Yeah he was feeling good. But his fundamentals were so much better other than two throws, okay -- there were two throws and both of them were pocket movements to the left where I think he didn’t get turned very well, and part of that was protection. But he got his screws in the ground pretty good and transferred through most of the throws, and he was pretty much on the money. And he touched a few balls nice, too. He dropped a couple balls in, and the key to passing is it’s a finesse art.”
How did you come up with the diamond thingy and what can we expect to see from that in the future? “Well I’m not going to tell you that. But it’s something -- Devin Gardner’s a talented kid, and we just wanted to give him a chance to feature him a little bit in a couple of deals. [With] Big Ten play, we’ll empty the drawer more as we go now. Our first four games, we’re still learning the offense. That’s still a work in progress. We’re going to have our deals. They’re not all going to work. Some are going to be good, some of them aren’t. But that was just one of them.”
Is it based off anything or did you just kind of pull it out of thin air? “Well, it goes way back. There was a series [that the] Chargers ran back in I think was the 80s or early 90s with Buford Jordan, where he was a quarterback in college and we took a piece of that and expanded it a little bit. I think Dan Fouts was playing back then. Part of that’s kind of old Ernie Zampese would have done that. The other piece is that we just kind of built some stuff off it that they didn’t do back then. The option part of it was a piece from the past.”
(more after the jump.)
Brilliance is brilliant even if it's not yours. Via the comments of The Only Colors:
This is not a criticism of Brady Hoke. Brady Hoke went for it on fourth and two. Hoke uber alles.
Fleming many places. The AV Club has launched in Ann Arbor with a few stories, one of them focused on the response to Patrick Fleming's death not only at Michigan but around the marching band world:
A group of representatives from the Ohio State marching band drove from Columbus to Ann Arbor just so they could say a few kind words during Wednesday’s practice. And MSU posted a YouTube recording of their entire band playing “Amazing Grace” as a tribute to Fleming. (The band’s version of the song, by the way, is just the way it should be: proudly, wonderfully loud and brassy.)
style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt">The goodwill doesn’t stop with the Big Ten. If you go to the MMB’s Facebook page color=#000000>, you’ll see condolences from members of seemingly every college marching band in existence. Notably, there are a fair amount from the University of Massachusetts, the roles reversed from when their band director George Parks died last year while his Marching Minutemen were en route to Ann Arbor.
The goodwill doesn’t stop with the Big Ten. If you go to the MMB’s Facebook page, you’ll see condolences from members of seemingly every college marching band in existence. Notably, there are a fair amount from the University of Massachusetts, the roles reversed from when their band director George Parks died last year while his Marching Minutemen were en route to Ann Arbor.
How much money again? Via the magic of FOIA, AnnArbor.com reveals the finances of next year's matchup against Alabama, but they are not specific enough about a critical detail:
In addition to $4.7 million, U-M will receive 200 tickets, two luxury boxes and one field-level suite. The U-M marching band will receive free entry and reserved seating. U-M cheerleaders, dance team and mascots will also receive free entry.
Officials will provide approximately 25,000 tickets for Michigan to sell.
Does Michigan buy those tickets to resell at basically no gain or do they get them for free? The difference there is huge. If it's the former that $4.7 million makes this a negligible financial gain. Michigan made $41.3 million from spectator admissions last year, or about $5.2 million per game. They have to write checks for bodybag games but if bowl trips are any indication the cost to ship the team and the band to Dallas will be at least as much as half-million or so Michigan is hypothetically making if it's just the 4.7 million they're banking. If they're also flogging 2.5 million worth of tickets that's a big bump.
There are also some quotes from Brandon than make this seem awesome because it's like "a regular season bowl experience," by which he means a crappy environment thousands of miles away from either school run by a guy in a blazer. I'd rather play Alabama than San Jose State but Michigan playing in Dallas against a team from Alabama just reinforces how fan-screwing college football has become.
Here's a fantabulous statement that should totally obliterate your opposition to players getting more of what they bring in:
Brandon said the 967-mile trip is a part of U-M athletics’ effort to rebrand itself.
In the past year, U-M has hosted its first night game, purchased and installed a $20 million pair of scoreboards and drastically restructured its athletics marketing arm to include more than a dozen marketing professionals, up from three at the start of 2010.
“Where we were before, I don’t know if we would have considered going off campus to play a game like that,” Brandon said of the Alabama-Michigan game.
Insert Lloyd Carr sneering "money" here. Guy was 150% right about the direction college football was going upon his retirement. Maybe I'm just watching baseball right now, but rebranding the Yankees would get you shot, and deservedly.
(Budget HT: cutter)
BONUS BONUS, and by bonus bonus I mean not bonus not bonus. Michigan just sent out a letter to everyone on the season ticket waiting list telling them "500 bucks or GTFO." The 500 bucks guarantees you nothing except the privilege of waiting for season tickets. The privilege of buying split-season non-guaranteed seats will run you $100.
This may be a good time to revisit next year's home schedule:
You could scalp half the season for the 100 bucks they're charging you just to be in line for tickets.
Hoover Street Rag on this development:
I've always wanted my own Michigan season tickets, and I was waiting out my opportunity. I've cobbled together season ticket packages from the Alumni Association, from the Athletic Department's general sale, from friends, from other means. So I have gone to my share of games, especially over the last five years. But the reality is simply that I don't have $1000 to spend on six games in 2012, especially if the highlights are Michigan State and Iowa. I suppose this is the new economic reality of big time college football, the middle class are being squeezed out of a stadium that can hold a medium sized Michigan city; the wealthy, those who can afford to donate to the athletic department, are the lifeblood of the program, the core customers to whom need to be catered, both figuratively and literally. Season tickets are not about having tickets for all of the games, but rather assuring that you have tickets for Ohio State or Michigan State, depending on the year. This is not new, but it's going to become more and more common with the ever escalating financial demands on the season ticket holders. The Athletic Department now faces a stadium for the Ohio State game which may lack an enthusiastic student section because of the post-Thanksgiving date of the game, and may lack the focused pro-Michigan crowd they want due to potential highest bidder ticket sell off by season ticket holders. Perhaps it doesn't matter to the Athletic Department. As long as the ticket has been paid for, it doesn't matter who is in the stands. The partnership with StubHub seems to indicate this line of thinking may have merit.
I wanted to quote a lot less of that just so you'd click through but there's at least twice as much discussion of this. During the season I don't have a lot of time to spend on this but I feel the papercuts incrementing. In the long run finding the exact breaking point at which your mostly-full stadium puts up with your marketing seems like a recipe for long-term decline.
Speaking of long term decline…
Ohio State business. There is more of it and it further tests the idea that there is anything resembling compliance or control within a 200-mile radius of Columbus. I'm wary of exposing myself to more homerderp statements in the aftermath of the NCAA not even bothering to charge failure to monitor, let alone lack of institutional control, in the aftermath of tatgate, but, like, seriously.
Even the intentionally bland ESPN Big Ten blog is beginning to ask WTF:
"These failures are individual failures, failures of individual athletes, obviously a previous coach," Smith said Monday. "It's not a systemic failure of compliance."
There's that line again. Just a few bad apples. Apple cart's fine. Nothing to see here, NCAA. Keep moving along.
"These individual decisions were made to go off the reservation," Smith said. "At the end of the day, it’s not a systems problem."
Remind me to ask Smith where I can find this reservation. Getting paid for not working? Sign me up!
"These were individual decisions by individual people," Smith said. "It's not 30."
It's getting close.
• A former head coach who admitted to (and was formally charged with) covering up major NCAA violations by multiple high-profile players for nearly nine months, including the entire 2010 regular season and the 2011 Sugar Bowl, even after said violations became public.
• A starting quarterback who was initially suspended for accepting more than $1,000 in improper benefits, and later forced to leave the team amid reports that he a) Accepted tens of thousands of dollars more in exchange for autographing memorabilia, and b) Had been regularly accepting money from a businessman in his hometown, with whom the head coach kept in frequent contact, for more than two years after they had been specifically warned to cut all financial ties.
• Four other veteran players suspended along with the quarterback for accepting thousands of dollars in improper benefits.
• Two of those same four players suspended further for accepting more improper benefits after having already been suspended for accepting improper benefits.
• Three other players suspended for accepting small cash payments from a booster, apparently via a teammate who had already been suspended for improper benefits.
• A booster formally disassociated from the program for providing said payments.
That's what Ohio State has more or less owned up to, not including the discounted cars and other assorted freebies that have failed to progress beyond the "rumor/allegation" phase. That's what we can realistically say we know.
So... that seems sort of less than controlled, you know? Here's someone who agrees:
The fact that Smith has failed to notice Bobby DiGeronimo, an OSU booster who has apparently been secretly paying OSU athletes for years, or Edward Rife, the architect of the tat-gate scandal, to communicate with its athletes is embarrassing. Even after all that has ensued this offseason with the punishments and sanctions, athletes are still finding ways to get in trouble. For Smith to say OSU doesn't have a problem with their "system," is a joke.
That's Fox Sports's Thayer Eva—Wait… that's Eleven Warriors. What?
Etc.: Not one but two sets of excellent Northwestern wallpaper. The Illinois-Northwestern game in full. Five hours of Calvin Magee explaining the spread n shred three years too late. Shorter Houston Nutt: "a verbal commitment is a sacred bond; a signed letter of intent is for me to poop on."