Hockey pet peeve: "when a teammate tips a puck in on you, which is exactly how my first collegiate goal against happened. Thanks, Copper."
|Last week's ballot|
Dude, the deltas on my ballot are not working at all. That probably (helps) explain why I got Mr. Stubborn last week, and it actually looks like I may be cruising for that award again.
I moved Texas ahead of Alabama, because the 'Horns showed that even when they play horribly, they're capable of blowing a team out.
I'm finally giving Pitt the respect they've probably deserved for the past couple week. I think that NC State loss was really holding me back, but there's hardly anybody out there who hasn't had a couple sketchy games.
I was surprised how little Iowa and Oregon moved down. I'm not sure if I like the small difference there, but I think the resumes still fit.
I don't like moving BYU in at the end of the poll, since they've gotten blown out in their only two games against actual competition. I also don't like dropping Wisconsin (though their resume isn't too different from BYU's). I think I'll switch Wisconsin back out for BYU in the final.
Michigan (0-0) 73, Wayne State 54.
It was an exhibition game against a D-2 team. It's meaningless in the grand scheme of things, and counts toward nothing. Yet it still felt good to be back in Crisler Arena, and perhaps even better to emerge with a win, be it over Duke, Michigan State... or Wayne State.
In the grand scheme of things, nothing is more important than junior Manny Harris's hamstring injury. Though it has been hampering him throughout fall practices, there was no noticeable effect on the floor. "I think it got a lot better," Manny said following the game. He led all scorers with 25 points,tied senior DeShawn Sims for the team lead in rebounds (5), and even came away with three steals to lead all players. Manny said he wasn't sure how much he was going to play, but coach JOhn Beilein Beilein explained, "I wanted to make sure he got enough touches and just felt good before the real thing starts."
The fast break was a good source of offense for Michigan, as well. "This year, we're trying to be faster, and just really anticipating that. We've got more people athletic on the wing, so there's no reason why we shouldn't be running," said freshman Darius Morris. The three ball wasn't quite as consistent, except from sophomore Zack Novak, who went 5/8 from behind the arc.
I was somewhat surprised that Michigan's athleticism wasn't able to simply overpower the Warriors for the entire game. Basketball is a more skill-oriented sport than football in some respects, so the difference between the divisions may be there and in size, rather than raw athletic ability. Wayne did have a couple guys who could really shoot the ball, but Michigan's defense made it difficult to get a lot of open looks.
The Crisler atmosphere was pretty good, with 9,657 fans in the house. "It's blessing, with all those Maize Rage fans are out there, calling your name. It was just a great atmosphere," said Darius Morris. "It was great," Novak said, "The Maize Rage was awesome, and we had a really good turnout, I thought." A good turnout indeed: That's within a thousand of last year's season average. It's not guaranteed to continue though, according to Beilein: "We certainly have to win to keep them coming back, but it's really neat to have that type of student support."
- Your starters were Darius Morris, Laval Lucas-Perry, Manny Harris, Zack Novak, and DeShawn Sims.
- Coach Beilein mentioned that he would like to get DeShawn Sims on the court with another bigman more often. He couldn't tonight because of Sims's foul trouble, but look for that in the future.
- I was surprised at how little Matt Vogrich played. You'd think a good outside shooter like him would get more run in Beilein's system. He was unable to get into a rhythm in his 11 minutes and was 0/2 from the floor.
- Michigan was able to empty the bench at the end of the game. You can see that those guys aren't as talented as those who will get more regular playing time, but there are a couple guys who could be contributors in the future.
- Zack Gibson is still good for at least one play per game that makes you think "he can do that?".
- It's touched on above, but I was shocked at the fan turnout for a weekend exhibition game. Good work, Michigan fans (or is this a sign we're just waiting to transition from football to basketball?).
- Area for improvement: Free throw shooting. The sample size is small (and Michigan was an excellent free throw shooting team last year), so hopefully the 60% number is just an anomaly.
Rounding up the week's best in user-created content. There's so much good stuff around here that this should become a weekly feature.
[Editor's note: that is the plan for the rest of the season; if/when diaries start to fall off we might make it biweekly.]
Any discussion of excellent diaries from the past week has to begin with Misopogon's 2-parter, "The Decimated Defense" (part 2).
Part one discusses the number of recruits and the amount of attrition from Michigan defensive recruiting classes over the last five years:
- Small defensive class size seems to more culpable than attrition for the defense's depth issues.
- Very, very little of the overall attrition on defense seems to be related to the coaching change.
- The disastrous Class of 2005 is still leaving ripples through Michigan's program. If you discount the erstwhile 5th year seniors and true freshmen, our attrition rate is still like 1 out of 3, which is bad, but not as ludicrously bad-looking at you see here.
- RR's focus on offense in his limited time in 2008 may have resulted in a class just as disastrous.
- The English-to-Shafer-to-GERG shift is probably somewhat at fault for many of these players' seemingly retarded development (particularly the linebackers)
Part Two compares the findings of part one to a number of teams in Michigan's cohort, and it has a lot of awesome graphs like this one:
Michigan Alabama Notre Dame Ohio State Penn State 2005 4 3 0 6 3 2006 6 5 2 6 8 2007 4 8 4 8 6 2008 7 15 10 6 4 2009 5 10 4 9 4 4-Star+ 26 41 20 35 25
It even includes a call to action for you, prospective diarist!:
I posted a copy of the Excel spreadsheet above. I would love it if someone would add more teams to the study, or qualify the recruits by creating a new category for later-career ranking. In that, I mean find some way to reassess each player based on his performance thus far against what we should expect from a player of any given Rivals Rating. I'd like to see how Michigan stacked up in picking up guys who would come above versus below expectations.
Misopogon, you are The Diarist of the Week.
CollegeFootball13 does some additional analysis of Michigan's recruiting and attrition over the past few years. You may recognize MCalibur's diary from being bumped to the front page earlier in the week. Don't be scared by the Picasso at the beginning, there's a statistical analysis of offensive improvement in there, as well.
Elsewhere in graph-heavy diaries, Enjoy Life looks at whether Michigan's ongoing turnover woes are a result of the spread option system that Rich Rodriguez runs. He concludes that Michigan's turnover problems aren't because of the system based on RichRod's past at WVU. He is supported with a little less analysis by bouje:
He didn't forget how to coach, turnovers were never an incredible problem under RR at WV, so what is the problem here? I don't really know but I have the confidence in RR to know that he will sort it out.
HOWEVA, PeterKilma thinks that maybe Rich's style of coaching may not be the most effective for all types of kids, and that could be the problem.
The Mathlete gave his stats-based preview of the Illinois game, then followed up with a recap. These things are not at all alike, of course, because WTF Illinois? I think the whole thing can be summed up by one line:
WOW. This was really bad, worse than I expected even.
The emotional counterpart to that is provided Seth9, who is really, really sad for the sake of sports in the state of Michigan:
Now, as I write this at 1:30 in the morning after watching one of the most atrocious games I've ever seen out of a Michigan football team, I wonder why it is that we surrender our emotional well-being to these teams that so often disappoint us. I am still simultaneously depressed and angry about losing such an awful game to such an awful team and I know that this will persist for at least the rest of the week. And it's not as if this situation, this streak of disappointing performances, is unusual. Our teams will generally disappoint us, because we will always hope that our teams will do better than what we can reasonably expect from them. So why is it that we let ourselves care so much? Why do we look to something as inconsequential as the result of a football game as a source of elation or despair?
jamiemac, ever the reasonable one (except when he bets on Michigan to cover against Illinois), strikes out against the more vocally stupid members of the fanbase:
Those critics must be RIGHT becasue their OUTRAGE is LOUD and ANGRY and this is UNACCEPTABLE and they WONT TAKE THIS ANYMORE because this is not MICHIGAN FOOTBALL.
Well, I have two words for those hyperbolic reactionaries today.
Oh, and another sentence.
Go cheer for another team for awhile.
joeyb breaks down some Picture Pages, and determines that the quarterback who is best with his ballfakes will eventually be Michigan's starter. Using Juice Williams's ninja-osity, and BJ Daniels/Jeremiah Masoli's similar abilities, selling the fake is deemed most important to running the read-option.
Etc.: oakapple reminds up that Rodriguez won't be fired until at least 2011 without major NCAA violations. stubob runs down the worst games this weekend. dmccoy reminds us to keep our expectations in line with where they were in the summer.
|WHAT||Michigan vs Purdue|
|WHERE||Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI|
|WHEN||12:00 EST, November 6th, 2009|
|THE LINE||Michigan -6|
|TELEVISION||Nationwide on BTN|
|WEATHER||Sunny, dry, mid-50s|
So, a bird dropped a baguette on the Large Hadron Collider, causing it to overheat. This is the thousandth thing that has gone wrong with the LHC in the past six months. A couple weeks ago some scientists suggested that the LHC could never be activated because the creation of a Higgs Boson—the thing the LHC strives to create—would not only destroy the universe but retroactively destroy the universe. Therefore the LHC's problems were an inevitable consequence of having a universe and that the universe would prevent the LHC from ever operating in order to protect itself. In effect, they argued that the Higgs boson was preventing itself from ever generating itself from the future. They were serious about this.
Theory: you can create the Higgs boson by combining three things: Rich Rodriguez, a Michigan windbreaker, and a bowl game.
Run Offense vs. Purdue
The issues that cropped up when David Molk got injured are likely to compound this weekend. Perry Dorrestein, who drew into the lineup when Molk went out, wasn't listed on the injury report this week but missed some time against Illinois with a back injury, and midweek his availability was in question:
“(His back problem) has been ongoing,” Rodriguez said. “He's been fighting it every week, and it flared up a little with him in last week's ballgame. He's been battling that the last couple weeks, really."
Patrick Omameh would replace Dorrestein if he can't go. Mark Huyge would kick out to tackle and Omameh would play RG. Omameh did okay in his first shot at playing time but is a redshirt freshman and a backup for a reason. That would probably ding the running game farther.
The Illinois stats are pretty ugly and the goal line stand that will live in infamy is the item that lingers in everyone's mind, but the running game has played a fair number of stiff defenses this year and done well; the Illinois game is an outlier. A scary, terrible outlier against a team that had been horrible against the run, but an outlier. Well, mostly an outlier: Michigan State also shut down Michigan's ground game. The running game was effective against Penn State and Iowa, however, and gets Brandon Minor back from his overwhelming ennui. Mike Shaw, who missed the Illinois game with a knee sprain, also returns.
Purdue, meanwhile, is a bad rush defense. They're 88th nationally and just finished having their head caved in by John Clay and a zillion other Badgers—Wisconsin ran for 266 yards on 53 carries. The week before, Mikel Leshoure ripped off a 65-yard run and Illinois picked up 180 yards on 37 carries. The week before that, Purdue totally annihilated Ohio State. Yeah, that doesn't make any sense. But over the course of the season Purdue has proven itself pretty terrible.
Obvious riposte: so had Illinois. The Illinois game shouldn't be weighted too heavily—losing Minor meant Brown was forced into a lot of sub-optimal situations and Michigan lost its most effective runner by far—but it must be weighted. Michigan now has three good rushing performances in the Big Ten (Indiana, Penn State, Iowa) but no great ones—the long stuff has disappeared since the Indiana game. They also have two bad ones.
Purdue blogs say they're extremely susceptible to up-the-middle pounding…
As boilerdowd noted to me, UM is not a rough and tough team. They're a little more finesse. And if they play that way, Purdue can own 'em. However, if they punch Purdue in the mouth early, like Northern Illinois and Wisconsin did, Purdue may run away whimpering like my dog when I get mad.
…and say that Michigan is not a team to pound you, which is weird but on the radio Monday I argued with a guy who thought the problem with Rich Rodriguez was that he didn't run the ball enough and that running "side to side" gets people hurt. People think things and retroactively come up with reasons for them.
If Minor's back and healthy and Omameh can slot in this should be an effective, if uninspiring, day on the ground, with Minor getting 100 yards on 20 or so carries and other people chipping in to get Michigan near 200.
Key Matchup: Brandon Minor versus His Overpowering Ennui. His ankle has been sprained since the 2007 Purdue game.
Pass Offense vs. Purdue
Purdue's got a good pass efficiency defense, which I do not understand as a thing that is possible but there it is: 25th nationally. Their pass defense is 34th. Some of that has to do with the run defense. Scott Tolzien attempted all of 13 passes last week, and Adam Weber's preposterous stat line from a 35-point output was 5 of 9 for 74 yards and two interceptions. Um.
On the other hand, Jimmy Clausen had what was probably his worst game of the year against Purdue:
There was some severe turf toe involved there, but Clausen would need one foot and half a hand to shred Michigan's secondary.
Purdue's also 25th in sacks, and Michigan's shuffling the offensive line again or playing a guy who was hurt and pretty poor against Illinois. This does not seem like a good matchup after Tate Forcier's last month of football and the problems the right side of the line's had in pass protection. Bonus negative: Martavious Odoms is definitely out for the second straight week. While Roy Roundtree had a nice day against Illinois, he lacks the quicks Odoms has on bubble screens and whatnot.
Forcier did have a nice day against Illinois but remains plagued with freshman inconsistencies and happy feet; this will be a secondary option given Purdue's apparent lack of run defense.
Key Matchup: This
UPDATE: …um, this nefangled offensive line pass protecting again.
Run Defense vs. Purdue
Purdue's Robert Bolden started the year off hot but as the competition has gotten better the Purdue run game has fallen off:
These numbers correspond well to the quality of the opponent rush defense, and are uniformly terrible except for the Illinois bludgeoning. Purdue's early cupcake indicators have given way to the reality that the rushing game can't move the ball at all against quality teams.
Michigan, all you are well aware, is not a quality team. They languish 85th in rushing defense after taking a hammering from Illinois last week; the week before that Penn State racked up a bit over four yards per carry. Michigan's main issues have been terrible linebacker and safety play that causes good work from the defensive line to go to waste, and Robert Bolden is a fast bugger if you screw up like that.
On the plus side, Michigan did do good-to-excellent jobs on the two rushing-deficient Big Ten teams they went up against before the last two debacles. Purdue is evidently a rushing-deficient Big Ten team. Illinois played straight into their weaknesses, too: confusion, inability to maintain their assignments, safeties who have religious proscriptions against containing Juice Williams. Purdue's got a pocket passer and an run game that isn't nearly as good at getting really fast guys in open space one-on-one with guys who might well be chasing someone who doesn't have the ball. The numbers should come down, with an error here and there springing Bolden for a long run or two between a lot of 0-2 yard runs.
Key Matchup: Mouton and Leach versus cutbacks. Obi Ezeh lost his job because he attacks wrong holes all the time and Mouton only has his because Michigan doesn't have many other options. The numbers suggest there will be a lot of fouled running plays that either get crushed or break long.
Pass Defense vs. Purdue
This is where you go "urgh we die" except that Purdue has been crazily inconsistent all year here and it may be a game where Boilermaker receivers drop a thousand passes, as they did against Wisconsin, and Joey Elliott calls them out after the game, as he did after a game earlier this year.
I mean… Jesus:
That makes Denard Robinson look like Tom Brady. But then there's the Ohio State game, in which Elliott was 31 of 50 for 281 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception against the #8 pass efficiency defense in the country.
Which is it? Against Michigan, the probably the latter. Purdue still loves the short dink-and-dunk offense that Tiller deployed so effectively in the early part of his term and Elliott has been moderately efficient running it, racking up a zillion attempts that aren't as accurate as you'd think—58% completion rate—but are as dinky: 6.7 YPA. Boiled Sports on the dinky:
One of the biggest problems that I have with the Elliott-led offense this season is their lack of a vertical passing game. Granted, the simple fact that Purdue's receivers aren't really burners plays into the equation, but, both Valentin and Carlos have gotten behind the defense on numerous occasions this season only to be missed.
Elliott's also had an issue with interceptions, with 11 against 14 touchdowns.
Michigan's got a couple of decent cornerbacks and then hellish confusion all over the field; Purdue is a team that can exploit Michigan's inability to cover anyone with a linebacker or safety with any of their equally mediocre wide receivers—four guys already have over twenty catches. They'll be open, they'll drop some balls to kill drives, they'll be less likely to hit a big play than teams with more explosion at the position, they'll probably still get a couple because Michigan's starting two walk-ons and they're clearly better options than some other guys who are starting.
Key Matchup: Safeties versus enormous long touchdowns. Purdue looks like it will stab itself in the foot often enough if forced to march down the field for Michigan to give up a non-huge amount of points. They also appear to be a team that doesn't have a ton of big-play ability in the passing game unless Michigan gives them the opportunity, which they probably will. Just tackling guys as they grab the ball will be a win.
Hey, Jason Olesnavage and Zoltan Mesko are pretty good. Purdue's guys are not. The Boilers are 104th in net punting, 91st in kickoff returns, and dead average at punt returns. Slight advantage Michigan, I'd say, except that Michigan returners have muffed two punts in the last three games against real competition and let a lot of other punts drop to the turf.
Key Matchup: HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL
- Anyone from Purdue shoots into the backfield like Corey Liuget did.
- Purdue decides to catch stuff.
- Minor limps off again.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- Purdue leaves the sanity at home.
- Forcier can get time in the pocket.
- Suddenly it's next year.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 6 out of 10. (Baseline 5, –1 for We're Favored By Almost A Touchdown, +1 for Why Are We Favored?, –1 for Purdue Hasn't Won Since 1963 At Michigan Stadium, +1 for The Last Year And Half Has See A Lot Of "Since Impossibly Long Time Ago" Records Fall, +1 for they Spread And Throw At Our Weakness, +1 for And What The Hell Was That Last Week, –1 for Purdue Is Thinking The Same Thing).
Desperate need to win level: 9 out of 10. (Baseline 5, +1 for Bowl Game, Any Bowl Game, +1 for And Really If They Don't Win This Game It's Hard For Them To Not Go 5-7, +1 for And I Am Tired Of Talking People Off Ledges, +1 for Why I Am I Talking People Off The Ledge When I Want Them To Jump?)
Loss will cause me to... well, there's damn well going to be an otter picture, that's for sure.
Win will cause me to... start perusing arcane bowl rules in the hope that Michigan doesn't get dragged into the Alamo or something where someone will rain fury on them.
The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:
Does anyone get this line? I know the records are divergent but Purdue is outgaining opponents by 10 yards a game and hasn't played any I-AA opponents. Their nonconference schedule was two MAC schools, Oregon, and Notre Dame. Take away the Baby Seal U game and Michigan is getting outgained by 40 yards a game. I guess they've managed to be competitive until the last couple weeks, but despite Purdue's record I think they've proven themselves a better team over the course of the season. They could-have-should have beaten both Notre Dame and Oregon, they did beat Ohio State, and… well, they did lose to an eh MAC team. And just got crushed, but by Wisconsin, not Illinois.
Purdue's managed to get themselves crushed by making a crap-ton of stupid mistakes. They're turnover margin buddies with Michigan—M is 109, Purdue is 108. They've had punts blocked for touchdowns. They fumbled away the Oregon game. Etc etc etc. They're sort of a version of Michigan that's not quite as bad, despite the records.
I don't want to be over-reacting Straight Bangin' Award winner guy here, but I made a mistake before the Penn State game of not taking Michigan's yardage margins seriously and predicted a win despite Michigan getting seriously outgained in four previous attempts at BCS competition. That streak is now at six if you count Illinois as part of the BCS, which we have to and no one else does.
I mean, sure, Michigan can win if they stop making huge mistakes all the time, but why would that happen now? After the Iowa game you could say "oh, that's just an outlier"; now it's just life.
Finally, opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
- 60+ yard Bolden touchdown.
- Shaw gets about as much time as Brown.
- Michigan is –1 in TO margin.
- Purdue, 30-28.
Basketball Exhibition v. Wayne State. 7PM ET, Crisler Arena. BigTenNetwork.com
After the Wolverines did in John Beilein's second year what they couldn't do in six under Tommy Amaker, expectations for the Michigan basketball team went through the roof. Suddenly, this is a tournament team. Suddenly, it's the #15 team in the country.
At his latest press conference Beilein joked about not being on the wall mural in the Junge Family Champions Center like Rodriguez is. Maybe he should be. If last year's scrappy group started 2 different walk-ons during the year, and made it to the second round, what can this year's edition pull off?
Though Laval Lucas-Perry, Stu Douglass, and Zack Novak are no longer freshmen, the team still will rely on first year players. Freshman Darius Morris may start at point guard. "His head's swimming like any other freshman," Beilein said, "It would be, I'm sure, what you go through in football when it's a quarterback that's a freshman. Boy, it's really hard."
"He's a good passer and he can score," said junior forward Manny Harris. He also likes defending—maybe a little too much, as he can get into foul trouble.
Classmate Matt Vogrich is known as a shooter, but he has to adjust to the athleticism and size of college defenders. "Being open in high school is a whole lot different than being open in college," he said. Sophomore forward Zack Novak praises his young teammate, saying "Yeah, he can shoot it. There's definitely no question about it. He can really shoot."
Forward Blake McLimans will add some serious size to the frontcourt, at 6-10. As the 11th or 12th player on the bench, he doesn't get as many practice reps as the rest of the team and will probably redshirt.
The other scholarship member of the recruiting class, Jordan Morgan, won't even be able to run full-court as he's coming off a knee surgery. He may not hit the court for Michigan this fall. "If there's any question in my mind, we will redshirt until we burn it," Beilein said, "You can't go the other way now." If Morgan can get healthy by the time the season begins in earnest, he may be a contributor.
Laval Lucas-Perry, Stu Douglass, Zack Novak, Anthony Wright, and Zack Gibson are all back in the maize-and-blue jerseys. The first three are only sophomores, and are expected to take a big leap forward in year 2. "You just feel so much more comfortable, knowing what to expect," says Novak. Novak, by the way, looks like a completely different player, replacing extra weight on his body with muscle.
This team will look different than last year's. There are more talented—though not as gritty—options at point guard, and DeShawn Sims won't have to spend the entire season toiling away against the Dallas Lauderdales of the world with Ben Cronin and Zack Gibson around to take some of the burden at center. In what is probably the last season for both Sims and Manny Harris in Ann Arbor, they are the team's leaders. "I mean everyone talks and helps," says Harris, "It ain't like we're the two biggest talkers on the team." Like many great leaders, they prefer to lead by example.
(One grim note: Harris is struggling with a hamstring injury. He doesn't participate in team sprints, and doesn't quite have the explosive moves that he's become known for.)
The season kicks off tonight against Wayne State in an exhibition game at Crisler Arena. It's not unheard of for Division 2 squads to pull off the big upset. Just this week, Lemoyne College knocked off Syracuse. Beilein, a former Dolphins coach, received a text that read "Finally Lemoyne has a good coach."
Joking aside, the Wolverines aren't taking Wayne State lightly. "We do not want to lose this game now," said Beilein, "We're trying to get 9 or 10 guys ready for our first game, which is in a week, so we'll be treating this like a game-like situation, as will Wayne State."
"My expectation for the team is that we're better than a lot of people think we are," says DeShawn Sims, "It's all about winning right now. Everything is about winning." Every great journey starts with a first step. For the 2009-10 Wolverine basketball team, that step comes tonight.
I… here. This is for you. Is there a thing that makes these things? If there is a thing that makes these things, this is slightly crazy. If there isn't I don't know what you can even say. Other than FTW. It came from the message boards.
This is where we are this week.
Thank God for Adidas. I know Michigan would never go for something like this…
…or do I? I mean, we are currently enduring hyper-loud blasts of Bob Seger and AC/DC on a regular basis. There is some possibility Special K, Michigan Marketing Droid, thinks "wicked sweet" when he sees things like this "tribute"…
…to Ohio State's championship team on their very special 55th anniversary. I think you're supposed to get her a wicker lawnchair. 54 is a tea set made from the bones of your enemies. Adidas may have put stupid piping* on the away jerseys and convinced a lot of players to wear weird stripey undershirts, but it's not Nike and their band of evil scientists.
Yes, yes, I know. There's a "get off my lawn" tag for a reason.
*(Nameplates on the back cover up the piping if the name is of any length—Smith works, Forcier does not—and look stupider than even regular stupid piping, which also looks stupid.)
I don't know the answer to this complicated question, let's ask someone else who doesn't know and be kind of a jerk about it yay. This is just another stock answer to a dumb press conference question that's sort of adversarial and makes the questioner feel fuzzy about asking truth to power, but it's more irksome than most because of MCalibur's extensive offseason research project on the matter:
Rodriguez disputed the notion that his spread-option offense puts quarterbacks more in harm’s way than other systems.
“I think when you’re a younger guy and you’re 180 pounds and you hadn’t had a chance to get a couple years in the weight room and a couple years of maturity and growth, I think you’re more likely to get banged around,” Rodriguez said. “But other quarterbacks when we were in the system played entire years without missing a snap. So I don’t think it’s the system.”
The MCalibur study has five years of numbers behind it now and has a clear outcome: quarterbacks who run the ball more often actually miss less time than quarterbacks that are exclusively passers. (They are slightly more likely to get injured, but tend to lose fewer games when they are.) You could ask the coach about something or you could do it yourself—in this case you could just look it up. Who cares what Rich Rodriguez—who might have a stake in this—thinks about this? You might as well ask Bobby Bowden if he thinks he is awesome.
While I'm on the kick. Michael Rothstein put out an article at AA.com disputing the notion that Michigan is a particularly young team:
On this week’s depth chart for Purdue (noon, Big Ten Network), Michigan will start eight players on offense who have been in college for three years or more, including redshirt years.
On defense, eight starters fall into the same classification.
So to point to the roster and say 60 freshmen and sophomores are on it, including walk-ons, as a youth excuse a false truth.
This has been picked apart on the message board already, but to echo: just because the starters have "experience" doesn't mean they are good options. To cite another extensive research project by a diarist here, Michigan has endured four years of terrible retention on defense, giving them few or no options beyond players who do not appear very good at football. Not every high-rated recruit works out, and not every "experienced" player—and Kevin Leach counts in this metric as an experienced player—is good when you have recruited Penn State-sized classes and experienced sub-Alabama level retention.
Arbitrarily drawing a line at redshirt sophomores and arguing that Michigan is plenty experienced enough to win without providing any context is not a good way to argue when there's an extensive study that shows Michigan has fewer, and much younger, options than its primary competitors. Youth does not exist in a vacuum. Michigan is vastly younger and thinner than its rivals, and that's a valid reason they are not very good at football.
This is why UFR exists. It's rip on people for not being engineers day, apparently. BTN analyst Chris Martin never says anything useful as a color guy so it's unsurprising he's dead wrong about Michigan's problems on defense this year:
Big Ten Network analyst Chris Martin, who’ll broadcast his third Michigan game Saturday against Purdue, said the secondary has played like “part of the hospital burn unit,” and its problems are compounded by issues up front.
Michigan ranks ninth in the Big Ten with 16 sacks and has one of the smallest defensive lines in the league.
“I think their inability to get pressure up front has kind of caused them to pressure a little bit, no pun intended,” Martin said. “Now it’s like they’re working so hard to get to the quarterback and get sacks, they’re getting gashed on run plays."
"Inability to get pressure" is something you'd say if you looked up those sack numbers and had no other context in which to judge Michigan. Other than the Notre Dame game, Michigan has gotten to the quarterback plenty, they just haven't ever covered anyone long enough for Graham to get his due.
That article cites the following people in a discussion of Michigan's defense: Martin, Lee Corso, Shawn King, Ray Bentley, and Matt Millen. Other than King that's a short list of people I wouldn't trust to count to five.
This unnamed "evaluator" is interesting, however:
According to one talent evaluator, defensive end Brandon Graham is Michigan’s only high-level NFL defensive prospect. Warren projects as a "later"-round draft pick, and Mike Martin is “a good college player” who “might have a chance at the next level,” the evaluator said.
Here's hoping Warren is indeed a "later" round pick and decides to help his stock by coming back, because Michigan needs him badly next year.
Run chart. The run chart from the Illinois game is up; I think it's a little less harsh on Brown than it should be and packs it in after the rage-inducing goal line stand. A reader emailed me a good point: if Minor wasn't available on the goal line, wouldn't a package of Moundros and Grady gotten the job done? What is with the marginalization of Moundros this year anyway?
Apologies for a moment of meta and self promotion, but we are the champions.. This is apparently the best college football blog in the universe according to Sports Media Challenge, a consulting/marketing firm that operates in the digital space and other such droidwords. It's a narrower field than it should be, though, with the exclusion of a subset of blogs that tend to be good ones:
We do not include blogs that are subscription based or backed by traditional media outlets. This is especially true of blogs that do not have full editorial control over their content.
That's the only reason Doctor Saturday isn't anywhere on the list, right? I get that they're trying to distinguish between blogs run by newspaper folk that are mostly extensions of beatwriting and fan-driven media, but DocSat is firmly One of Us.
A couple of notes on the list:
- The Big Ten lands five of the top ten slots, the SEC two, the ACC and Big 12 one each. Two general blogs (EDSBS and the Wizard of Odds) show; if you want to file EDSBS as a Florida blog I think you're wrong but whateva you do what you want.
- SBNation has either six or seven of the blogs on the list, depending on how you classify EDSBS. Hall gets his funding from SBN but has not converted over to the software monolith. This place, the Wiz, and Eleven Warriors are the only indies.
Etc.: We are on the spot this week, and how. Michigan has a huge hockey series against #1 Miami of Ohio this weekend; I would have said more but the only non-exhibition game I've seen this year was the Thursday night Niagara game so I don't have any smart opinions. Having this series so early is frustrating.
Podcast is a bit late and this week… well, it was right after the game and no one was feeling up for it and I can confidently say this is the worst podcast that has ever been recorded. There is some humor value in how much it sounds like we want to die.
As per usual, we talk to Jamiemac of Just Cover.
Links of use:
Your weekly dose of who's in and out for the weekend's game.
For the Purdue Game (Saturday, Nov. 7)
David Molk (knee)
Martavious Odoms (knee)
Questionable (50 percent chance of playing)
Greg Banks (foot)
Probable (75 percent chance of playing)
Zac Johnson (shoulder)
In addition, head coach Rich Rodriguez announced the game captains for the game at Purdue: linebacker Stevie Brown, defensive end Tim North, left tackle Mark Ortmann and slot receiver Ricky Reyes.
We already knew about Molk, as he's done for the year. At his press conference yesterday, Rodriguez seemed moderately optimistic about Odoms's chances of playing. Losing the team's best slot player is a downer.
As the captains go, I wondered earlier today if Ortmann would be named a game captain to spite the people who said he should be suspended. Not sure if that's the motivation, but the senior is indeed a captain.
Personnel notes: Odoms did not play and was replaced by Roundtree. Patrick Omameh got a series late in the first half, probably because Dorrestein was injured. It sounds like Dorrestein might miss the Purdue game, with Patrick Omameh his likely replacement at RG. Robinson did not play until the game was over.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M30||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Long handoff||Mathews||5|
|Illinois walks a safety down. Corner is playing off Mathews a bit so Michigan takes the quick pass for a few yards. (CA, 3, screen)|
|First missed play of the day; we cut to Brown with the ball and an indecipherable blocking scheme; think Michigan pulled out something new and it didn't quite work.|
|M38||3||2||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Koger||9|
|Good timing from Forcier, with the ball getting thrown before Koger fully turns around, which allows him to pick up a few YAC. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M47||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone veer keeper||Forcier||4|
|Okay, so the veer: here the line blocks one way—they downblock—and the running back comes across the line going the other way, with the frontside DE ending up unblocked. Here Forcier should definitely give it off as the DE came inside (ZR -1), but he does juke the DE in question and turns no gain into three yards. Forcier could have had a couple more but he's clearly been told to get down before he gets hit.|
|O49||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||10|
|Illinois crashing the DE and using an OLB on a scrape. Schilling and Ortmann are trying to scoop block the backside DT and can't get it done because the DT is serious about flowing down the line but Schilling(+1) adjusts well, deciding to seal the guy instead of attempting to pass him off and head to the second level. Since Illinois has slanted hard to the playside and neither Moosman or Huyge has managed to seal his guy, Brown's only option is to hit it up in the small crease the Schilling block provides. Good read there and he hits the crease, bouncing off Schilling and running through a diving ankle tackle attempt by the backside DT, hitting it up into a vacant second level. This could be a touchdown but Brown bizarrely cuts right instead of left and finds Illini.|
|O39||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Power off tackle||Brown||4|
|Moundros in. This is a gap-blocked play with Huyge pulling around in an attempt to attack the gap between Koger and Ortmann. Schilling(-1) does not seal his guy, who closes off the intended hole and forces Brown away from the blocks of Huyge and Moundros. Moosman(+1) got a really effective down-block on the backside DT, though, and this gives Brown a cutback behind Schilling. Unblocked LB meets Brown two yards downfield; he picks up two more.|
|O35||2||6||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||6|
|Huyge gets a good stretch block on the backside DT, who was lined up in such a way that made this relatively easy as Illinois appeared slightly misaligned at the snap. Schilling loses control of his guy but it's not quite quick enough for that DT—Josh Brent, he's pretty good—to close down the gap. Brown squirts through it and meets a linebacker that Moosman(-1) had a free run at and could not block. He tackles just short of the first.|
|O29||3||In||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Base 4-3||Run||Power O||Brown||2|
|Pretty easy, as Illinois' line is slanting away from the play. Moundros(+1) gets a good kickout block on the OLB on the line and Schilling gets a block downfield, clearing the way for a first down.|
|O27||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||QB power O||Forcier||4|
|Another power run play, this with Forcier as the primary ballcarrier. DE they're running right at slants himself out of the play; Huyge pulls around with the MLB in his sights; MLB attacks the LOS well and is in a difficult spot for Huyge, cutting off the outside hole and then getting inside of Huyge when he tries to block the MLB. Forcier does well to read the play and cut upfield and looks like he's got a big crease; MLB makes an ankle tackle to hold it down. (RPS +1, Huyge -1) Excellent play by 38 here. Our linebackers never do this.|
|O23||2||6||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||8|
|This is called, as Forcier makes only a token fake to Brown before pulling it out for the bubble. This isn't a true bubble, either, as Roundtree takes a couple steps outside and then sets up; he's not running as the ball comes to him. He makes a good, decisive move outside and picks up first down yardage; good block from Koger. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O15||1||10||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Iso||Brown||-1|
|Huyge(-1) is blown back into the backfield by the playside DE, which erases the hole. Brown has no options and gets tackled for a loss.|
|O16||2||11||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle hitch||Mathews||14|
|Schilling pulls around and does a good job blocking on the edge; Forcier pulls up and zings one to Mathews just as he breaks open in front of the DB. On replay, throw is a bit inside, but this close to the sideline that might be okay. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|O2||1||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Zone stretch||Brown||2|
|Dorrestein(+1) gets off the ball and knocks the playside DE back by himself, opening up the corner and providing a lane for an easy Brown touchdown. Huyge(+1) and Moundros(+1) also erased guys, providing a walk-in.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 3 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M21||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||8|
|Vincent Smith the other back. Michigan running away from the line shift, and Illinois is slanting away from the play, meaning Moosman hardly has to try to block the playside DT. Schilling(+1) makes a good adjustment to get the slanting DE, Smith(+1) pops the blitzing OLB, and Ortmann seals the MLB. Brown can't cut upfield of Stonum's block because of the flowing WLB and cuts outside where a diving ankle tackle sees him fall.. Pursuit would have limited this to a couple more without the fall.|
|M29||2||2||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Iso||Brown||4|
|Similar to the previous third and short conversion, with the backside DT getting himself easily sealed by Schilling(+1) but no frontside crease; Brown cuts back, where the frontside DT peels and tackles, but not before the first down.|
|M33||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Long handoff||Mathews||15|
|This is interesting: it's new. It's basically the zone-read-to-bubble play except instead of throwing the bubble it's just a long handoff to Mathews, who is the lone receiver away from the playside. With the CB there cheating down it's open and Mathews(+1) cuts it up for good yardage, making the most out of the room he was given. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M48||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read veer||Forcier||2|
|This doesn't really work because Illinois is running a scrape. Result: backside DE crashes down on Brown, causing Forcier to pull it (ZR + 1), but the scraping OLB gets out on Forcier and prevents him from picking up any yardage. When Michigan was running this against Iowa and Penn State they were blocking the backside DE and reading the OLB; I guess they thought Illinois would adjust to that. They didn't.|
|50||2||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Edge pitch||Brown||2|
|Roundtree(-1) fails to get a block on the OLB to that side, so the play gets strung out. There was not really an option for a cut up since this is not a true option play and Forcier did not take the DE away by forcing him to come up.|
|O48||3||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Throwaway||Brown||Inc|
|Wholesale OL failure as both OTs get run around and Forcier has to step up in the pocket, where Huyge and Schilling have both failed to control the IU stunt/blitz. The pocket collapsing, Forcier steps up, finds more pressure, and just tries to get rid of it to Brown; ball is understandably inaccurate. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, team)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 13 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O43||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||5|
|Omameh in at right tackle(!). I didn't notice this live but Craig Ross did, and it's true. Dorrestein is apparently having injury issues. Omameh kicks out the DE on the stretch; DE gets upfield enough to take out Smith and force Brown up behind him. Playside DT gets doubled by Moosman and Huyge; that double takes long enough that the release into the second level does not get the MLB, who can tackle Brown. Still a decent gain.|
|O38||2||5||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Smith||4|
|Hell of a four yard run as this is epic OL fail. Omameh(-1) gets slanted inside by the DE and he's going to crush the play for a four yard loss but Smith runs through the tackle. Corner comes up to try to finish it off and misses; Smith spins through his tackle attempt past another DL, where he meets a diving linebacker, avoids him, and falls forward. This is basically 8 YAC; great, Hart-like run. Announcers are talking about Halloween costumes.|
|O34||3||1||I-Form Big||2||2||1||4-4 split||Run||Power O||Brown||2|
|Koger and Ortmann double the playside DE, driving him off the ball; Moundros(+1) pops the OLB, knocking him backwards and giving brown enough room to pick up the first. It's remarkable how bad Brown is about contact.|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||19 (Pen -0)|
|Only six in the box for Illinois as they are manning up on the outside with a single deep safety. Omameh is blocking the backside end since Michigan assumes a scrape and they're right; MLB eliminates himself as Forcier contain. SLB then freaks out to the playside, giving Brown a huge cutback lane as Huyge(+1) slices the backside DT to the ground. Brown jets into the secondary. He cuts outside a good block from Mathews to make the safety chase and gets down to the 13; Mathews gets a somewhat ticky-tack holding call... but I can see it. Dumb. It comes back and we have a do over, basically.|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Sack||--||-2|
|PA stretch fake with Grady rolling out for some pass pro. Forcier appears to have a hitch for a few but doesn't throw it immediately and then the CB comes up, then definitely has a corner route for lots but doesn't throw that, either, and eventually starts running around, taking a sack. Should have thrown it. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)|
|O34||2||12||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||?||Pass||Tunnel screen||Roundtree||4|
|Late to the play again. This is not actually a bubble, as Roundtree is moving inside at the catch. Probably an attempt to take advantage of people over-reacting to the bubble, but on this play Illinois does a good job of staying responsible and holds it down. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O30||3||8||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Sack||--||-8 (Pen+15)|
|A couple of blitzers. One of them attempts to spectacularly hurdle Minor and gets owned, but that blitz and the general tendency of the OL to give ground spooks Forcier and he ends up attempting to roll out against DEs way upfield; he rolls himself into a sack. Should have stepped up in the pocket, where the spectacular leap attempt would have given Forcier a lane to escape the pocket and do his Forcier stuff. He gets facemasked on the tackle. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O15||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Smith||-1|
|Poor read by Smith(-1) as he does not have faith that Moosman can seal the playside DT. Moosman eventually does in the manner of many successful stretches. By that point Smith has abandoned the idea and attempts to hit it up behind Moosman, which ends with Smith getting tackled by the unblocked MLB.|
|O16||2||11||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone veer keeper||Forcier||5|
|Michigan's version of what Illinois does all the time. They must have practiced this all week to prepare for it and threw it in the playbook. Downblock the line, fake the handoff, Forcier(ZR -1) makes the wrong read again when he should give it off, I think, jukes the DE again, and gets a decent gain out of it. Man, this thing can be dangerous if run by a huge fast guy.|
|O11||3||6||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout corner||Mathews||Inc|
|Good playcall gets Illinois in man and should see this open up but the corner here makes a good play and Mathews doesn't sell his route; his in cut does not turn the CB, possibly because it's a rollout, and the guy is close enough to grab Mathews's shoulder as the pass arrives. It's high and as a result Mathews can't extend to bring it in. Pass interference? Technically, yes. The grab came before the pass arrives. Does this ever get called? No. So it's a good play by the DB. (MA, 1, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: FG(28), 10-7, 7 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M46||1||10||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Pass||PA short seam||Hemingway||21|
|New item! Michigan runs a zone read, basically, but Forcier pulls it out and immediately throws to Hemingway, who is open because his guy has set up to play on the corner, allowing Hemingway to lope past unmolested. Forcier hits him for a first down. (CA, 3, protection NA, RPS +1)|
|O33||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||-7|
|Schilling(-1) fails to pick up on the slanting DT and just runs by him; slanting DT shoots into the backfield. Brown(-1), for his part, should instantly slam it up behind the failed block and hope he doesn't get run down by the backside DE. Even if he does it would be a minimal loss; as it is he tries to stretch it out to the sideline and ends up giving a ton of ground and getting tackled for a big loss. Brown is fast as hell but has little in the way of RB skills.|
|O40||2||17||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Scramble||Forcier||16|
|Forcier does have a pocket this time and steps up into it as a DE comes crashing around the outside of Ortmann. Seeing no one open, because there is no one open, he takes off for good yardage. I won't chart this, because it's a good decision and doesn't deserve a TA. Protection 2/2.|
|O24||3||1||I-Form Big||2||2||1||4-4 split||Run||Power O||Brown||2|
|Another good double on the playside DE blows him back; Moundros(+1) kicks out the OLB, and Schilling pulls around into the SLB. Brown has the first down before he hits anyone, at which point he goes down immediately.|
|O22||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||5|
|Very similar situation to the seven yard loss, with the playside DT slanting hard; this time Brown makes the hard cut upfield and because Huyge(+1) got a great block on the backside DT he's out of the play. Brown can run up into folk for a decent gain. I think Molk is getting some of these reach blocks and the cutbacks aren't so constant.|
|O17||2||5||I-Form twins||2||1||2||4-4 split||Run||Iso||Brown||0|
|OL sliding over to run an iso off tackle; Huyge(-1) is pwned and blown back into the intended hole. I'd rather see Michigan double the guy and leave Brown with the linebacker; instead they shoot Omameh at the linebacker and leave Huyge to get pwned. Brown heads outside and is lucky to get back to the LOS.|
|Actually very good protection from the tackles, who don't let the DEs tear around the corner this time, but Schilling(-2) is just beat one-on-one by an Illinois DT—no trickery—and the immediate pressure up the middle gives Forcier no choice but to eat a sack. I do think Forcier had a slant for the first but just did not have the confidence to throw it. Still... (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG(41), 13-7, 1 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Ace||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Brown||-2|
|Illinois shifts a LB late and Michigan busts his pickup as Ortmann doubles the playside DE with Schilling. Koger(-1) lets the LB right inside of him without getting a block; that guy tackles for loss.|
|M18||2||12||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB draw||Forcier||5|
|I don't know what Forcier's looking at because he's got a crease between Ortmann and Moosman that Brown's heading up into to provide a lead block, but Forcier heads directly upfield instead. On his way through a small crease someone knocks the ball loose; Michigan is fortunate to recover.|
|M23||3||8||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Post||Roundtree||77|
|Excellent pocket this time gives Forcier time and room to step up and throw; he rifles a ball 20 yards downfield that hits Roundtree right in stride. A trailing safety is beaten, but a Roundtree stumble gives him a shot at a tackle; he misses it. Roundtree is on the 45 and gone until Hawthorne tracks him down. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O1||1||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Iso||Brown||0|
|Schilling(-1) is blasted back by a single blocker on the backside; the frontside DT double gets him moving backwards and should be enough for Brown to get in but for Schilling falling backwards and giving him no room. Brown falls forward to about the half-yard line; probably could have extended it in.|
|O1||2||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Power O||Brown||0|
|They've got a gaping hole to run a sneak but they don't check to it. Argh. Dorrestein(-1), back in for Omameh, gets blown back and Schilling runs into him, falling right in Brown's path. Resulting unblocked guy tackles Brown just short of the line.|
|O1||3||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Inside zone||Brown||0|
|Brown's fault: the interior line freaking caves the DTs back and if Brown hits it up immediately this is a walk-in touchdown. His vision has always been bad, though, and he waits too long, and his balance has always been bad so he can't run through a tackle here.|
|O1||4||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Outside zone||Minor||0|
|Again a missed read from the RB as Grady takes an interior LB charging up and the OL has slammed Illinois into the endzone. Minor should still get in, but ends up tackled as his elbow hits.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 13-7, 11 min 3rd Q. After the review, Rodriguez looks like Don Draper on this week's Mad Men.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Smith||0|
|This looks like it's going to go pretty okay as a double on the frontside DT looks like it's working. Playside DE gets upfield so there's a crease; Schilling pops off the double to block the playside LB, at which point the DT they were doubling beats Moosman(-1) and shoots up into Smith at the LOS. My kingdom for a Molk. This play has one of my persistent pet peeves about the stretch: Brown goes outside the playside DE and basically makes himself useless. If you tell him to shoot it up then the players never have to stop doubling the DT here and this is a good gain.|
|M20||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Flare screen||Brown||7|
|Good gain; great cut block from Roundtree gets a DB to the ground and the Illinois DL sucked up, removing themselves from the play. Dorrestein(-1) manages to whiff on the charging safety, but Brown cuts up behind him, where a DT and the CB the outside WR was blocking converge. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M27||3||3||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB stretch||Forcier||2|
|Michigan hurries to the line and catches not one but two Illinois players on the field of play as they snap the ball. No call. Ridiculous. Anyway, again Brown just heads outside the tackle and Forcier has to cut it up; a quick-reacting corner blazes past Stonum and Schilling can't block the backside DT, so Forcier gets taken down after just two. If Brown was acting as a lead blocker maybe they get this; I really don't get this blocking scheme on third and short.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-14, 7 min 3rd Q. That is a ridiculous noncall.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M36||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Koger||Inc|
|Quick hitch identical to the first one from earlier; Koger drops a ball that hits him in the hands. (CA,3, protection 1/1)|
|M36||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Roundtree||4 (pen -15)|
|Come to the play late as it's being thrown so not much detail; simple pitch and catch for just four. (CA, 3, protection 1/1) Moosman gets a dumb, unnecessary chop block call.|
|M21||2||25||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Corner||Stonum||Inc|
|Stonum runs what looks like a slant at first before breaking it out into a deep corner route on which he's got a step and there's a window. Good pocket for Forcier breaks down with a delayed blitz but Forcier can stand in and throw just before he gets hit; the ball is a couple yards long. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|M21||3||25||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Improv comeback||Stonum||Inc|
|Third and twenty five sees a four-man rush that's picked up well; instead of stepping confidently and firing to someone, Forcier hesitates, bringing his eyes down and then scrambling out. He pulls up to fire deep to Stonum, who's trying to get open, and throws it a bit wide of a covered receiver; ball is deflected away. Trying to make the best of a bad situation and a throw that was okay after finding no one open, so... (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-21, 4 min 3rd Q. Michigan's trying to avoid the hellacious wind and ends up with a line drive rugby punt for little yardage.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||17|
|Michigan again blocking the backside DE so maybe this is supposed to be a cutback sort of thing. Huyge(+1) cuts the backside DT, who leaps over the block and stumbles wildly; scraping MLB runs himself out of the play chasing Forcier and the SLB move out anticipating a stretch; huge cutback lane. Brown cuts behind the out-of-control backside DT and heads right up the middle, grabbing a chunk of yards before the safeties close him down.|
|M37||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||TE seam||Koger||22|
|Bubble fake with Koger faking a block on the LB lined up over him, then releasing beyond him; Forcier hits him as he clears the second level but before the safeties get up on him. Poor block from Huyge(-1) gets a guy in Forcier's face and forces him to get rid of it when he had two receivers breaking deep against one safety and could have waited for a home run if a guy wasn't in his grill. Good play anyway; throw is a bit high but Koger brings it in. (CA, 2, protection 1/2, Huyge -1)|
|O41||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||17|
|Excellent blocking by the interior line with Schilling getting a seal on the backside DT easily. He's out of the equation. Moosman and Huyge double and blow back the playside DT, with Huyge releasing onto the MLB; he gets outside and threatens to hold it down but the blocks by Moosman(+1) and Schilling have provided a major crease; the backside DE is getting blocked so he's out of the picture, too, and the scraping backer has run himself out of the play for Forcier. Brown's got space and this is what he's good at: darting into the secondary. Again the safeties close him down.|
|O24||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Forcier||2 (Pen +5)|
|Backside DE unblocked this time and stays home but Forcier pulls it out(ZR –1). He's one on one with the DE and jukes him pretty well... and then fumbles for no reason whatsoever. The ball is juggled and he brings it back in; the distraction may have prevented him from fully juking this guy. Result is two yards; Michigan finally gets the “hey you have 12 guys on the field” call as Illinois is egregiously late getting off.|
|O19||1||5||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||9|
|Backside DT slices into the backfield past Schilling and Ortmann and threatens to make a play but he needs Brown to get delayed and that doesn't happen. Brown runs past, then cuts up. Schilling's gotten out on the MLB and a double from Moosman(+1) and Huyge(+1) has stoned that guy; Brown slices through a crease between Schilling and Moosman before getting taken down by a safety.|
|O10||1||G||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read stretch||Brown||-6|
|Three fold: Huyge(-1) gets absolutely blasted back into the backfield by the playside DT and Moosman, attempting to get the same double he did on the previous play, ends up running at no one, with a linebacker coming behind him. This is not a good situation. Brown should just cut up behind Huyge and take his 0 yards, but instead he tries to get outside—preposterous—and ends up giving up a ton of yards. Freshman mistake.|
|O16||2||G||I-Form twins||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle throwaway||--||Inc|
|No idea why this is so open; Illinois should have someone cruising in to crush Forcier on the rollout. It's second and goal from the sixteen. It is open, though. Forcier doesn't like his deep options and should throw to Moundros in the flat for a few yards but doesn't and ends up getting to the sideline and throwing it away. Borderline BR, but (TA, 0, protection 1/1)|
|O16||3||G||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Sack||--||-4|
|Dorrestein(-2) gets completely destroyed by the DE, run around like the other guy is Brandon Graham. Huyge(-1) is bowled over, too, so Forcier has no lane to scramble up in. He gets the ball banged loose and Illinois recovers. (PR, 0, protection 0/3, Dorrestein -2, Huyge -1)|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 13-28, 14 min 4th Q. Michigan fit all that in like two minutes of game time BTW. Jet tempo is fast.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M20||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Stop and go||Mathews||Inc|
|Great stop and go route from Mathews coupled with a pump fake from Forcier gets Mathews open deep for what could be a long completion. Mathews looks inside for the ball the whole way, adjusting only when it's clearly farther outside than he thought it was going to be, at which point it's too late. Mathews had plenty of time to adjust and just did not. The throw as not great but it wasn't that bad, either; this is more evidence that the receivers aren't adjusting to balls well. (MA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|M20||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Deep post||Hemingway||66|
|Great protection allows Forcier to step up in the pocket and nail Hemingway as he smokes an Illinois safety, getting two and half steps on his guy. Hemingway has to break stride a tiny bit, allowing the safety to catch up, but the end result is still a huge gain. These last two plays invite the question: why are these the first deep balls of the day? (DO, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O14||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||4|
|Roundtree has a bunch of space and manages to cut inside the crashing safety for a few yards. Timing seemed a little off on this; also if this was Odoms maybe he makes the guy miss totally? (CA, 3, screen)|
|O10||2||6||Shotgun trips||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Hemingway||Inc|
|Hemingway has this for near first-down yardage when a DB comes up to hit him, jarring the ball loose. DB made it tough but you'd still like to see him make the catch here. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)|
|O10||3||G||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Flare screen||Brown||Inc|
|This is too far in front of Brown but it's possible this is on Brown for not running the route right or adjusting to the pass as it came. Still: (IN, 2, screen)|
|O10||4||G||Shotgun 4-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Slant||Stonum||Inc|
|Forcier finds a window to zing this in to Stonum. It'll be a tough-ish catch with the safety breaking to possibly make a play on the ball, but it is there; Forcier wings it high and wide. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 13-31, 8 min 4th Q. Charting stops as this game is over. Forcier fumbles on the next play after a blocked punt.|
So I'm still having this ichor problem.
Man… man. This is going to sound insane, but if Michigan just stops turning the ball over they'll have a pretty good offense.
If my eyes weren't empty sockets dripping with a viscous black goo, I would have perfect eyesight.
Hush, tentacled alter-ego cornerback.
Ain't sayin' it. In fact, here's a chart—
NO I MADE A LOL
(Hennechart legend; MA is "marginal", screen results are in parens.)
|Notre Dame||5||20 (6)||2||4||3||3||-||4|
|Eastern Michigan||1||8 (2)||1||1 (1)||1||4 (1)||-||-|
|Indiana||3||13 (3)||1 (1)||2||5||3||-||2|
|Michigan State||5||19 (3)||2||4||3||3||-||5|
|Delaware State||-||2 (1)||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Penn State||3||9 (3)||-||4 (2)||4||2||1||1|
|Eastern Michigan||-||1||1 (1)||2 (1)||-||-||-||-|
Robinson DNP until garbage time late.
Forcier had a decent game. He was not asked to do a whole lot until late. Illinois was apparently vulnerable to screens, so we saw an uptick in little short throws that were effective until the last one. The downfield success rate is good, not great: 9 / 15 = 60%. And the BRs weren't killer interceptions but just poor reads or poor decisions where to scramble, which is progress. I might need another category for "aigh."
The fumbling issue remains a problem, though: Forcier was irresponsible with the ball and coughed it up twice, once on a QB draw he made a poor read on. Michigan lost one, causing everyone to turn the TV off. Hopefully this is a major point of emphasis in the offseason; Forcier can't be as careless with the ball going forward or the offense is never going to get off the ground.
Receiver chart is interesting mostly for its distribution:
[Receiver chart explanation: throws are rated on how difficult they are to catch. A 3 is a totally routine ball that would induce groans if dropped. 2 is moderately difficult; you'd like to see players catch 50-70% of these. 1 is a circus catch on which the QB is bailed out by a great play from a WR or, more usually, not bailed out. 0 is totally uncatchable and mostly exists to chart how often a player is targeted.]
Roundtree tied for the most looks with Mathews, and Stonum is the new Roundtree. Roundtree has passed Grady on the depth chart in what looks like a permanent way because when he is thrown a ball that hits him in the hands it does not fall to the ground. At least, not yet.
Koger also had another bad drop, further sullying his crazy start to the season. He's kind of a tight end version of Braylon, capable of making spectacular catches and dropping routine ones.
And PROTECTION METRIC: 22/27, Schilling –2, Team –2, Huyge –1.
Actually a good day here, though it was against a poor pass rush and Michigan got smoked a couple times. Note the low overall number: Michigan was ground- and screen-heavy.
Why the hell couldn't we get it in from the one?
In four ugly acts:
- Schilling is blown back into the path of an iso play that otherwise would have worked. Even with the pwnage Brown should have an opportunity to extend the ball over the goal line; he does not.
- Michigan attempts to run off tackle where Dorrestein, who's apparently injured and missed the last drive of the first half in favor of Omameh, gets blown off the ball; Schilling runs into him and Brown has no lead blockers.
- Brown waits way too long on a stretch play that sees Illinois's line cave in.
- Minor fails to read the blocking in front of him as Illinois's line again caves in and cuts to the wrong side of Grady's block.
Minor scores on third down and possibly second down if he's in, assuming he is healthy, which is a bad assumption. Actually, at this point I'd rather see Vincent Smith down on the goal line instead of Brown, who is a terrible short-yardage back. Brown's quick and nimble but has no balance or power: you hit him and he's tackled. Sometimes if you wave at his foot he's tackled.
Does this make you want to rage about the coaching?
Yeah. If Minor was healthy enough for fourth down he's healthy enough for first down. I think the coaches thought, as everyone did, that a sustained goal-line stand from Illinois was highly unlikely and didn't think it was a good risk. I can understand that on first and second down. On third, though, it was painful to see a play that Minor would have slammed into the endzone easily end short.
The other major coaching bitch from the game: why didn't Michigan take timeout with a minute left in the half? There was another possession waiting against a terrible defense there if Michigan would have just taken it. I'm willing to live with Rodriguez taking risks like the ones at the end of the first half against Iowa as long as he does it when it's a good idea, too.
My theory as to why Michigan did that, FWIW: they wanted to come after the punt hard but didn't want to give Illinois a chance at a drive afterwards if they got a penalty. That was why they waited to take TO but eventually did at about 30 seconds. Michigan did come after Illinois punts hard all day and blocked one. So it might not have been a terrible decision.
What is wrong with the run game?
Remember that it did pretty well against Penn State so failures against Illinois are not a trend. But issues exist:
- Brown is not an effective short-yardage runner. He's very fast and the risk-reward with him is good on normal downs where a zip into the secondary is a possibility. On short yardage he is bad because his vision and cuts aren't great and he goes down very easily. Without Minor or Shaw, Michigan could either deploy Cox or Smith in those situations; they are freshmen.
- Moosman is not as good as Molk on tough reach blocks. Lot of cutbacks against Illinois because the playside DT did not get sealed. Cutbacks are tougher sledding, usually.
- For whatever reason, Illinois was blowing guys back all day. I don't know if they were timing the snap count or just beastlier or whatever, but there were many instances where the playside DT would shoot into the backfield, which is very bad. Backside DT you can run past; playside DT not so much. This, again, is a Molk issue but it's also a RG/LG issue and a RB issue. Brown compounded problems twice by not cutting his losses and turning zero-ish-yard plays into huge TFLs. This goes back to his lack of vision. Moving Moosman out of the RG spot hurts Michigan there, too.
- Dorrestein is apparently hurt.
Here's a successful run from Brown on which Moosman does not seal his guy and Brown has to hit it up behind Moosman in front of Schilling:
From what I've seen, Molk is more likely to actually get that block on the frontside. He won't do it all the time and the cutback can be effective but then you're relying on the backside block, which is often a tough one.
The other thing on this play: why in the hopping hell does Brown cut right instead of left? This could be a touchdown if cut left, but instead Brown heads into three guys. I mean this…
Forcier, I guess, and Roundtree, I guess. I didn't think anyone on the OL played particularly well, and Brown's drawbacks were evident.
Brown? I know he had a good number of yards but he was one of three players primarily responsible for the goal-line stand, with other demerits going to Schilling and Dorrestein.
What does it mean for Purdue and the rest of the season?
I still think this can be a fairly effective offense when it doesn't turn the ball over willy-nilly. Is that ever going to happen this year? I don't know.
That effectiveness is seriously lessened by Molk's absence. A healthy return for Minor—which is supposed to happen this weekend—would help out; Brown and Minor have their strengths and when Michigan has only one the effectiveness of their game is compromised. Getting Odoms back would help, to. Though Roundtree had a good game, Odoms has proven himself a tough blocker and reliable option more likely to break a screen long, and maybe he won't fumble punts.
I think they'll be able to move the ball against Purdue effectively, with stupid mistakes the difference between a good output and the Illinois game. Wisconsin and Ohio State are a little dodgy with Molk out.